In an experiment of reciprocal reviews, Soggy Coaster's friend the Grizzly Growler, a talented wordsmith who runs a beer blog of the same name from Montana, has written a guest review for Beer at 6512 readers. Grizzly Growler chose Old ViscosityAle, a big, blended beer from Port Brewing Co. in San Marcos, California. Here it is:
This is not a get-home-from-work-and-slam-a-cold-one beer. This is not even an enjoy-a-pint-or-two-with-buddies beer. No, Old Viscosity from Port Brewing Co. is a beer enjoyed under very exacting circumstances.
First you must search out this beer in finer stores. In Durango, Colorado, I'm told only certain liquor stores might carry a beer of this size and strength. The bottle says, "This is not your dad's 30-weight." At 10.5 ABV and with the mouthfeel of Pennzoil, this beer is not light and not taken lightly.
If you can't find it at a local store, you can try ordering it online at Liquid Solutions.
After your bottle has chilled, remove it from the fridge or your beer cellar and let it stand in the bottle for 20 minutes. Take a bowl-shaped glass made for any of the Belgian varieties, or, if you don't have a good beer glass, try a big wine glass, and pour your beer in so that it forms a good half-inch-thick head.
This should provide a good setting for the contemplative nature of this complex beer.
I did it all wrong, but then again, the last time I had this beer, somebody put a scoop of vanilla ice cream in it. I'm not saying it wasn't good that way, but I wanted to try it all on its own.
Everything was going well up until the point I let the beer warm to the proper temperature. My mistake was trying to watch "24" while sipping on an Old Viscosity. Watching Jack Bauer thwart the plans of yet another heavily armed and incredibly well-prepared terrorist holding the entire U.S. military and FBI at bay is just not the best time to contemplate the rich, dark chocolate and toasted wood notes that come off the beer when you swirl the glass. It's lucky that I write about beer for a living, or I might not have taken the time to Tivo "24" and spend some time in this beer.
The silky mouthfeel puts this beer strongly in the stout category but other subtle flavors released as it warms tease the boundaries of porters, old ales and barley wines. Not one style stands out above the rest, but the sheer darkness and intense nature of this beer reminded me most of a big, imperial stout.
Though I really like big wood-aged beers with lots of alcohol heat and woodsy characteristics, blended beers like Old Viscosity offer the brewer a chance to mellow out certain attributes that can come across as too strong for some beer drinkers. By taking a percentage of the beer and blending it with 20 percent barrel aged beer, the alcohol and woodsy vanilla flavors are blended in with the chocolate malts to make a beer where not one single flavor is dominant and the beer drinker is able to discern multiple flavors and a complex nose. Try buying two bottles and laying one down for a year. You won't be disappointed.