As it is still pretty chilly outside my thoughts are still on dark beers suitable for winter evenings. This latest beer was available at our beer festival at the beginning of February, but has also been putting in a regular appearance at our local pub – The Industry, Queen Street, Chesterfield. On each occasion I’ve seen Acorn Old Moor Porter for sale I have had pleasure in sampling it.
Acorn Brewery was set up in May 2003 in the village of Wombwell near Barnsley in Yorkshire. It was formed by a former chef (and head brewer of Barnsley Brewery) Dave Hughes and his wife Judi. Production began in July of the same year and in the past few years the range and amount of beers produced at Acorn has increased.
Their portfolio features three core beers, plus a selection of special and seasonal offerings. These can be found in over 300 pubs and also via three national wholesale companies. Beers to look out for include the wonderful Gorlovka (a Russian Imperial stout at 6.0% ABV), Barnsley Bitter (a traditional chestnut coloured Bitter at 3.8% ABV) and Barnsley Gold (a golden citrusy Bitter at 4.3% ABV).
*A Bit of Background*
Old Moor is a beer brewed in the style of a porter. These were dark ales (brewed using darker roasted malts) named after the market porters of London, who popularized this style of drink in the 18th and 19th centuries. Porters were originally made by mixing different types of beer – generally a stale (or old) ale, a new pale or brown ale and a mild. This end result could be made up of any combination of these beers and the resulting concoction was called the “Entire Butt”. Eventually porters were brewed from scratch, resulting in more consistency. Generally they are made using a pale malt as a base, mixed with chocolate or black (sometimes other dark malts are used too) malts. Porters range from dark brown to black in colour and are moderately bitter, through the addition of hops.
Old Moor weighs in at 4.4% ABV and is a good example of a full-bodied Victorian style porter.
*Look, aroma & texture*
Looks wise, Old Moor is a very dark brown, almost black beer with a hint of red, when held up to the light. It has a small, but bubbly, beige coloured head that retains itself reasonably well. Aroma is mainly of slightly roasted malt, and has elements of coffee, chocolate and a little bit of licorice. There is also a very slight smoky smell. Texture is medium to full-bodied and there is very little evidence of carbonation present.
Old Moor Porter is quite a complex beer. It starts off pretty bitter, with flavours of dark chocolate and coffee. This soon gives way to a sweeter taste of licorice, vine fruits and a little bit of vanilla. There is a faint hoppiness present throughout as a base flavour, combined with a little bit of spice and a burnt smokiness. The finish combines this bitter/sweetness and leads an aftertaste that is warming and has a definite alcohol kick.
~~~WHAT I THOUGHT.
I have tried Old Moor Porter in quite a few different places now and have enjoyed it immensely each time. When it ran out at my local I was most put out and am hoping that they buy some more from their suppliers soon! I like the complex layers of flavour and find the way the different elements complement each other very clever – it is a very well crafted beer indeed. The flavours are quite distinct and pretty strong, so I think this is probably a beer that you will either love or not. The burnt roastiness will not appeal to everyone, but us dark beer lovers will definitely enjoy it! You may not be able to convince a lager drinker to try it – but bitter drinkers should appreciate the hoppy bitterness and the fruit flavours.
I have paid anything from 1.59 a pint in Wetherspoons pubs, through to 2.60 a pint – it’s 2.45 in the Industry, which seems to be a standard price for beer these days (and it will only go up, thanks to the increasing prices thrust on the brewers and the licensees).
For a good and tasty beer though it was worth the outlay and I have no qualms about drinking, and also recommending to others, a good pint of Old Moor Porter.
Acorn Brewery Limited
Unit 3 Aldham Industrial Estate
Tel: 01226 270734