Capturing the Essence
A Review of Texas Ranger (Chipotle Porter) by Mikkeller
Posted on 9/19/2013 by Chops
Some flavors go very well together and it's not really obvious as to why. There are a lot of these marriages in the craft beer world, one of my favorites being roasted malts and chipotle peppers. It's odd because the specific type of pepper tends to matter. Habanero peppers go better in lighter ales. Jalapeno peppers tend to do well with IPAs. Chipotle peppers blend great with porters. But why? Seriously, I'm asking. I have no idea. Regardless, that beautiful flavor combination always gets my drool glands pumping. And wouldn't you know it, I just happened to come across a Mikkeller version, a moment that damn near buckled my knees. It's called the Mikkeller Texas Ranger Chipotle Porter and the find made me positively giddy as a beer fan. I couldn't wait to get it home and bust it open.

In the glass, this beer is as black as night and pours like used motor oil. It comes with a dark creamy coppery head that likes to stick around for a very long time. On the nose, I was greeted with a delectable aroma of strong coffee roast and chipotle pepper sting. I hesitate to call it powerful because that's not exactly the right word. It has so much presence that you can actually sense the heat before you taste it. However, it's not needling or aggressive, just confidently bold. I wasn't afraid of the first sip, I just respected it.

Wow, talk about a rewarding flavor punch. The coffee roast is strong, solid, and resilient. Churning on top are notes of dark chocolate and a savory smokiness. Rounding out the mix is the blanketed heat of the chipotle peppers. The pepper profile is actually warm rather than harsh. I have to commend Mikkeller here because so many breweries get pepper beers wrong. They aren't supposed to taste like pepper flavored beers. They are supposed to be quality stand-alone beers with a peppery essence. Mikkeller nailed it. The mouthfeel remains mid-bodied, silky smooth, and any aggression remains centered around the malt roast. The beer finishes smooth and exits with a flavorful aftertaste of coffee roast and a lingering spicy heat. This brew is a great example of heat versus burn when it comes to the use of peppers in beer.

Overall, Mikkeller's Texas Ranger Chipotle Porter is a delightful brew with great flavor and beautiful balance. As far as pepper beers go, this is by far one of the best ones out there. Not exactly a surprising revelation considering the fact that Mikkeller is a master of brewing science. If you ever want to understand the difference between brewing these beers the right way and the wrong way, then pick up some standard pepper beer and try it side-by-side with the Texas Ranger. It won't take very long to grasp the concept of essence versus infusion. Mikkeller understands this, which is why we keep coming back for more. After all, every Mikkeller brew is an exciting new adventure. You may not like or even understand the concepts, but you can rest assured that the execution is flawless.

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Texas Ranger (Chipotle Porter) by Mikkeller
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