Reviewed by Ron DeGregorio and Cory Smith
In honor of the launching of our brand new .COM website,www.brewreviewcrew.com, we decided to do a collaborative review, where we both sit down and enjoy a beer together after an exhausting Ohio State victory! This time, we reviewed our first pumpkin porter!
Fermentation Without Representation, aside from a wonderful name, is beautifully presented. It has a very neat label, an awesome online information center, and even informs you of which batch release you are drinking; all of which I (Ron) greatly appreciate and enjoy. We both love collaborative beers as well, so this was a must-try.
Here is what Epic has to say about this release:
“The essence of the fall! This beer explodes with aromas of sweet spices giving way to chocolate and roasted malt. Flavors are reminiscent of fresh-cut pumpkin and chocolate and complimented by hints of clove, fresh Madagascar vanilla beans, nutmeg and allspice.”
Let’s see how they did.
APPEARANCE: Right out of the bottle, Fermentation Without Representation (FwR) is jet black with a thick mocha/vanilla colored head that quickly dissipates. The beer leaves a nice, spider “webesque” lacing on the glass. The beer is completely opaque, but when held under light it has a orangish hue.
AROMA: The first thing we smelled was deep, dark malts, fall spices, and boozy alchohol. This beer smells like the mash portion of a home brew (to Ron) who exclaims that this smells just like homebrew. Rich coffee aromas, burnt notes are rounded out by a slight cinnamon/pumkin, very faint aroma.
MOUTHFEEL: FwR is creamy, full bodied, and coats the mouth. It has medium/low carbonation and has a very slick motor oil consistency (in a not horrible way). This beer has a high viscosity.
TASTE: Right off the bat, we can tell you that there is absolutely no pumpkin taste….anywhere. There are a ton of burnt flavors (possibly from roasting pumpkins to get flavor, but just getting burnt). Along with it there are burnt coffee flavors with a definite bitterness on the backend, but not from hops. It tastes like eating dark, burnt grains and oats. As the beer warms in your hand, you are met by a nice amount of chocolate notes coming in as it warms up.
Conclusion: I (Ron) am giving this beer a 78% or a C+. I am giving this beer a 3/5 or a solid C. Things I thought the beer did right: I like the appearance, It is a good representation of the style.The alcohol content was not overpowering or burning. It was well balanced in the fact that it was not overly bitter or boozy, but still at 8.0% abv. I enjoyed the presentation of the beer, I enjoy the label and the cool online features of the beer, informing me when the beer was brewed and bottled.
Epic and DC Brau had a good idea with this beer, but unfortunately it had too much going on for any one part to stand out as a success. Its very much just a middle of the road of a beer. Nothing terrible, but nothing too exciting.Without any pumpkin flavor the question that needs to be asked is what is imperial about this beer? The porter? or the Pumpkin?
Unfortunately, without a proper hyphen, the world may never know.