Evil Twin Brewing
Valby, Denmark/Brooklyn, NY
Lil’ B Imperial Porter
I’ve generally been happy with the stuff Evil Twin – the gypsy brewing pseudonym of Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergø – has been putting out for the past couple years. While it’s sometimes hard to get past the sticker shock when it comes to prices, the beer is solid and at times – in cases such as Soft Dookie, Imperial Biscotti Break and Femme Fatale Brett – stellar.
Even better, Evil Twin’s been setting up shop in Mt. Pleasant recently, brewing up a growing number of beers at Westbrook, including Lil’ B, the 11.5% imperial porter you see pictured above. I’d had the chance to try a nip before, but after getting a bottle of my own and sitting down to really break it down, it’s one of those beers I think joins the “stellar” ranks of their catalog.
It shouldn’t be surprising that the beer pours black as night, with absolutely no light getting through. The pour was that great thick, viscous motor oil consistency. The head is more like a film of a foamy brown that gravitates toward the edges of the glass fast. Some slight lacing but epic alcohol legs that go for weeks.
The nose is anything but lil’. Massive bitter coffee and espresso, dark chocolate, vanilla, hints of cherry, plums, caramel, black licorice, nuts, even a sort of cookie sweetness to it as well. There’s almost a bourbon-like quality to it from the booze. Epic is the only way to describe how this thing smells.
There’s just a very mild bitterness on the front of the tongue but it’s canceled out quickly as it’s smooth as velvet across the palate. In the middle of the mouth is a big dark cherry tartness the tingles on the tongue. On the back, there’s a giant sweeter dark chocolate and a bitter black coffee taste. It’s balanced nicely and works well to keep everything in check. The tartness pops up again on the end with a black cherry kind of quality to it. The alcohol is certainly there but it’s masked with the abundant sweetness of everything else.
Lil’ B is a certainly a sipper and a sharer. At times, it’s a bit overly sweet, especially as it warms. But at the same time, the little hints of all the flavors that go into it pop up more and more as you drink it. The sweetness gives way to the tartness gives way to the roasted qualities and so on. It’s unique and more than lives up to the “imperial” tag. Anything but lil’ in every way.