Epic/DC Brau “Fermentation Without Representation” Imperial Pumpkin Porter is 8.1% ABV.
I poured some of a 22 oz bottle into a porter glass.
Appearance: I poured this one steadily, then vigorously at the end. This produced just a half inch of thin beige bubbles that quickly bubbled away, leaving almost nothing left of a head. The color of this beer is a very dark brown with some definite red hues throughout it (especially when held to light). This has a little murkiness to it, and looks to have light carbonation.
Smell: At the outset I get that wonderful rich roastiness that the good porters have. There is also some nice pronounced vegetal pumpkin, as well as definite toffee, cocoa, and some spicing of cinnamon and nutmeg. The malt in this is great and roasty. This has absolutely great aroma.
Taste: The first sip was so pleasant: strong, bold, and rich. This has great dark roasty flavors. Flavors of coffee, toffee, and some nice spices come through. I get cinnamon, and maybe some nutmeg; though the dark and roasty malts really have a powerful hold on the flavor profile, making it harder to discern the spices. Maybe some clove. This has clear and pleasant vegetal pumpkin, which is a nice clean backdrop to the bold and roasty character of the other flavors. There is some strong sweetness of light brown sugar and molassas that comes in clearer towards the end. This finishes pretty sweet, to leave a bold and coffee-bitter aftertaste that hangs on for quite a while. These flavors are here to stay.
Feel: This is medium bodied, with medium carbonation. The carbonation is more pronounced than I was expecting, maybe a little higher than I’d want with this. This beer also comes of as fairly thin-bodied, compared to how much powerful and pronounced roasty flavor this exudes. The feel on this is warm, and has nice texture with strong and almost coarse sugar at the end, followed with the bitterness that hangs on.
Drinkability: This big 8.1% porter is good on this score. This isn’t a fast sipper, but it could easily get away from you if you aren’t watching; for it goes down pretty easily. The intense roastiness does hang on the palate some, though I wouldn’t say it drags. The strong sugar is the only thing, really, that might keep this from being legitimately dangerously drinkable.
Overall: I picked up a bottle of this when I saw it hit market. I’ve had it the past two years, and enjoy coming back to it. I’m also a fan of both breweries that work on this one. DC Brau is a cool spot that makes great beers like “On the Wings of Armegeddon”. I’ve had a good time rolling through their brewery when I’m in the area. And Epic’s beers like Big Bad Baptist just demand serious attention. But, back to this beer. I of course like it. This is the first dark pumpkin beer I’ve come to this season. I love how the roastiness grabs you and stays with you. I love the dark flavors. I do wish the pumpkin were a little more prominent, at least when I think of this as a pumpkin beer. Also, after about 5 0z of this, the strong sugars are hanging some on my palate, which might make it harder to acknowledge the vegetal pumpkin that operates among all the roast. Again, though, overall, this is a good beer!
Overall Rating: ***
Epic, DC Brau, and this beer: Peter Erickson and David Cole founded Epic Brewing in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2010. With their head brewmaster, Kevin Crompton, and in the land of 4% beers, where anything higher can’t be sold in supermarkets or places with a beer only license, Epic said they’d rather go for the bolder, more…epic styles! So they set out to make high point beers and be relegated to 22oz bottles to sell in liquor stores and places with liquor licenses. What did Utah say? More! So I’ve heard, anyway. I spoke with Matthew Allred, their communications director, and he talked about how they’ve become very popular in these 3 years. This has helped them to expand into another brewery in Colorado, and a brewpub in Salt Lake City. They now have 39 different beers they market!
1 year earlier, and 2000 miles east of Epic was the time and place of the beginnings of DC Brau. Brandon Skall, sales and business manager, and Jeff Hancock, master brewer, founded DC Brau in Washington D.C. in 2009. They were the first brewery inside the city since 1956! They put a focus on helping to develop the craft beer scene in D.C., since there was a genuine lack of craft beer in stores, bars, and restaurants. And, with their flagship beers “The Public”, “The Corruption”, and “The Citizen”, they have done that. They certainly bring delicious beer to the good (though, perhaps, too aggressive-driving) people of Washington D.C..
So, what brought these folks together to make a bold pumpkin porter? Well, apparently, since DC Brau was the first brewery to open in DC since prohibition, and Epic Brewing was the first to brew only heavy-hitting beer in UT since prohibition, these champions of the 1933 appeal got together to make this bold and flavorful brew.
“Fermentation without Representation” is proudly brewed with Muntons Maris Otter as part of the base malt. This malt is a specialty import from England, and a very popular base malt for U.K. style beers. The bottle I tasted of this beer is release #9. Though all of the releases have the same base malts and general recipe, the releases do vary from batch to batch, as noted by the differences in ABV with the previous batches I’ve reviewed: 2012 (7.7%) and 2011 (7.3%). In any case, check this beer out if you can. It goes great with the music of Michael Kiwanuka and Otis Redding.