A rare cold night in Brisbane and no suitably dark beers to be had in my house for love nor money. I decided to man up and walk a hundred metres down the road in search of Temptress. I spotted it in the fridge not long ago – a surprisingly astute purchase by one of my housemates – and, with any luck, there would be some in stock in the nearest bottleshop.
Hallelujah! There’s a couple of bottles left and a slightly reduced price. I pick up two: one for now and one for a time when I can coherently state my thoughts on the beer.
Fortunately, Holgate has already had a go at doing just that:
A tempting twist on the classic Porter style, The Holgate Temptress is infused with a dash of rich Dutch cocoa and whole vanilla beans. The result – a “moreish” dark ale with luscious chocolate, coffee, and caramel flavours balanced by a hint of vanilla and 6% alcohol. A perfect winter warmer or a complement to meat pies and chocolate-based desserts.
I’m assuming they mean a nice gourmet meat pie prepared by someone who cares in an oven, not a “I’m starving, drunk and lost and its 2AM, oh there’s a servo, I’m starving” meat pie.
Pouring into my tulip, Temptress is a great looking, black, opaque beer with an off-white head which lends a suggestion of the chocolate about to envelope the senses. The head retention is not great but not unexpected of the style either. The aroma is intriguing, like chocolate brownie, but not powerful, with boozey notes developing. There are possibly Chicos in the air, not unlike my attempt at stout which went a tad off-course.
On tasting, Temptress is still very porter-esque but the the chocolate is overlaid well. It’s not a milky chocolate, more like a straight contribution from cocoa. There’s no vanilla but maybe a tiny hint of espresso with are touches of burnt bitterness around the edges and at the end. It doesn’t display a whole lot of carbonation, which is typical of the maltier end of the spectrum, with a decent – maybe even oily? – body but not exceptionally heavy.
As most beer geeks would know, flavours and aroma decay over time. The samples for this review were bottled in January and I tried the first in May when I bought it, and again in September for this write-up. My notes the first time around are more vivid than the second, suggesting I was either drunk the first time or that the beer hadn’t aged well in my admittedly piss poor beer cellar (i.e. a cardboard box under my desk).
My advice is if you can find this delicious take on the porter style, drink it quickly and don’t wait for it to mature. The flavour profile is what it is so enjoy it while it lasts, preferably, as a great dessert beer at the end of a long meal.
- Genre: Porter/Stout
- Regionality: Woodend, VIC
- Strength: 6.0%
- Rating: 2 / 3 taste + 2 / 2 ancillaries = 4 / 5
- Plus: Excellent execution of both the underlying style and twist on the style
- Minus: The beer doesn’t age well – drink it if you can find it!