Orlio Brewery
South Burlington, VT

Preface: I am going to assume that this is a 2008 version of the Black Lager the folks at ORLIO released last year. This sample recently arrived and has been living in my refrigerator, in the truly chilly dark, for a week or so. Allowed to come to “cellar” temperature the following notes chart the experience…

Appearance: This brew is as deep red as the old Soviet army. The head is a loosely knit fragile structure of good sized bubbles. The color of the head is almost mocha and the Belgian lace is exquisite.

Aroma: As soon as I opened the bottle there was a pleasant grainy aroma present. The second impression found plum and prunes aromas hiding in the chilly space between foam and nose. The moment between lip and sip also sensed the fruity esters in the aroma.

Mouth feel: This is a creamy feel of a high alcohol brew but the effect is attributed to the malt and carbonation.

Flavor: Refreshing liquid surrenders to a very full mouth feel and a rich coffee flavor that shows a great deal of affection toward the sweet, not quite molasses maltose.

Finish: For those of you who know what it is… This is an egg cream with a touch of bitter cherry. (An egg cream has neither egg or cream in it and with the demise of soda shops has become almost extinct.)

Comments: Although this is a rich brew it is not overly aggressive. There is little astringency and more sweetness than a stout. The hop nose and not so subtle presence nods to the esters of ale yeast. Not quite a “session” brew, I would enjoy two or three with a winter supper of crusty bread, hearty meaty stew and a wedge of New England cheddar and an apple.

The Brewery: http://www.orlio.net/

What others say:

BeerAdvocate: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/15997/36369

ratebeer: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/orlio-organic-black-lager/76396/