Flavored beers can be a huge hit or a huge miss. When done properly, they can be magnificent, taking on flavors in the right spots and leaving out things that aren’t really noticeable. When done wrong, which is the more common occurrence, you give half-assed flavors that don’t really do anything for the name. A while back, I reviewed the Liquid Bliss Peanut Butter Porter from Terrapin, which is a beautiful execution of flavors pairing with the style, and also a while back I had a sickening take on something that was described as a Raspberry, Chocolate, and Pretzel ale, which tasted like none of these flavors. Being that it is the holiday season, I decided to go for holiday inspired beer. Pecan pie has been a staple in the south for as long as any of my family can remember, and I’ve always loved it so when I saw that Clown Shoes had a Pecan Pie Porter, I knew I needed to try it. Also, it is worth noting that I have tried Clown Shoes beer on several occasions and never been impressed; it’s just not good. No matter how much I read the label and no matter how much I wanted this to taste good, again in true Clown Shoes fashion, it failed me miserably. Here are my thoughts:
The beer poured a nice, dark black with about one and a half to two finger widths of a khaki-colored head. The head settles slowly, but the retention was very small with some patches of light lacing. I let it settle for a moment before I began to sniff in hopes that I would be blown away by something magical. Turns out, this beer doesn’t have the slightest scent of pecan pie at all. I was heartbroken. I just went out of my way to purchase a beer that is falsely labeled. Anyways, a lot of strong coffee notes with some nice malt scents, and possibly a little vanilla made its way through, all of which are not pecan pie; which is dumb.
From the first sip, you really pick up on a lot of coffee and roasted barley. There were some chocolate flavors, but more specifically dark chocolate. Other people note that they tasted pecans and spices, but all I really tasted was just coffee and generic porter flavors. A lot of malt, coffee, and some faint chocolate flavors are this beer is really offering. On the label indicates that the beer is 25% aged in bourbon barrels, which, to me, didn’t add anything to this beer at all. There is no flavor gained or lost from the “bourbon barrel aging.” I guess this also has to do with the fact that I hate beers that are aged in bourbon barrels. It just doesn’t do anything for me, sorry. I wish there would have been a bigger level of sweetness from some brown sugar and classic pumpkin pie spices, although, more than anything, I would have enjoyed the taste of pecans somewhere in this beer that is labeled as a pecan pie beer. My mind was boggled, but I guess such is the game when you attempt to give redemption to a brand you’ve been let down by so many times before.
The mouthfeel was the best aspect of this one. The carbonation level was dialed in perfectly for a porter. It warmed the stomach and settled well on the tongue without that horrible carbonation tingling. There was some sort of sour after taste mixed with the only vanilla I tasted through the whole beer.

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