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Here we go with another year of Night Shift Barrel Society releases!  Since I was sufficiently well-behaved enough last Christmas for my wonderful wife to continue her tradition of gifting me with Society membership, I once again have 7 special brews to look forward to throughout the coming year.  Without further ado, I present to you all the first offering in this year’s lineup.

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Beer Name: Krakatoa

Brewer: Night Shift Brewing Company

Style: Baltic Porter

ABV: 9.6%

Description: Bottled in March 2016 but not released on tap until yesterday, this beer was listed as a Baltic porter brewed with Dutch cocoa and aged in bourbon barrels.  The tasting for this review was done on-sight at the brewery, poured fresh from the Barrel Society tap into a flute glass.

Appearance: It poured a dark brownish/black body with a healthy two finger tan head going right up to the rim of the glass.  The head stuck around for most of the beer, content to lay across the top as I enjoyed the liquid beneath.

Smell: I didn’t get too much at first, but the longer I let the beer sit the more roasty cocoa and bourbon aromas emerged.

Taste: Upfront I got a mix of cocoa, light roast coffee, and sweet malts.  The finish was a combination of bourbon and some moderately bitter dark chocolate.  I swear there was also a slight leathery taste (in a good way!) somewhere in the middle for balance.  As with the smell, the cocoa and bourbon intensified as the beer got warmer.  By the final sip the beer had taken on a nice bitter chocolate, roasty cocoa, and bourbon character.  Despite the definite bourbon presence throughout, the beer never tasted particularly boozy or hot at any point though the fairly high ABV was not a surprise.

Mouthfeel: Super smooth with an occasional hint of carbonation at the end of some sips.  Pleasantly thick bodied and right in line with other examples of the style.

Hype Factor: I was excited about this one.  Not only was it the start of a new line of releases, but Night Shift has been putting out some really amazing dark beers lately.

Overall: I liked this offering a lot and it served as an excellent opening round for this year’s Barrel Society members.  However, as a sign of how spoiled I’ve been by this brewery lately, I couldn’t help but feel that their extremely limited Year 4 Stout and Elevensies releases had a slight edge over this one.  Still, the beer was quite good in its own right and I am really looking forward to trying it again with some age on it.  Can’t wait for the up and coming Release #2.

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