Monday, May 15, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #25. Craft Stout and Porter with Kinnegar, Tom Crean, West Kerry and Dot Brew

CorkBillyBeers #25

Craft Stout and Porter with Kinnegar, Tom Crean, West Kerry and Dot Brew


Kinnegar Yannaroddy Porter 4.8%, 440ml can Bradleys Cork

Black, more like a Ford Model T than a ripe blackberry on the briar, is the colour here with a tan head that doesn’t hang about. Smells roasty. And the palate is full of those traditional dark roasted malt flavours and, eventually, there is a touch, a sweet one, of the coconut, which is actually listed in the ingredients. 

But it all returns to the more traditional porter characteristics as the long and very satisfactory finish progresses. For me, it is velvety smooth with good acidity on the way to a lip-smacking finish. That smoothness is quite amazing and no nitro was harmed while it was achieved.

Very Highly Recommended 

By the way, the Yannaroddy (based on European hops) is the 2019 Brussels Beer Challenge gold medal winner “whose surprisingly light profile delivers rich and complex flavours”.

Where did they get the name? Sounds Australian to me. But no, they found it in their own little corner of Donegal where they get all the names for their beers. A stone’s throw from the brewery is a field with the intriguing name Yannaroddy.


Tom Crean Six Magpies Stout, 4.5% ABV, 440ml can, Carry Out Killarney

Magpie black is the colour of our Six Magpies Stout from Tom Crean, Kenmare’s independent brewery, and it has a soft tan head. Gentle coffee notes from the aromas. And that coffee streak runs through the palate with the hops also doing their subtle bit.  Excellent mouthfeel and a fine dry finish as well. 

I’m inclined to think this is the best of the Crean beers, at least is the one that has made the best impression on me. Of course, I’m not the only one, as it won gold in its category at the Blas na h-Éireann awards in 2002.

The brewery: A combination of 6 grain types, but that’s not where the name comes from! A traditional Irish stout, triple hopped and reminiscent of stouts before the addition of nitrogen. Subtle hop presence, perfect mouthfeel and classic combination of grains.

So where did the name come from? Brewer Bill was trying to settle on a name when he heard an almighty racket overhead. Looking up to the trees, he saw a bunch of magpies, six in all. (Brewers are sticklers for detail). He was aware of the old saying about the noisy bird: One for sorrow, Two for joy, Three for a girl, Four for a boy, Five for silver, Six for gold, Seven for a secret never to be told.

Suitably inspired, the brewer christened the beer Six Magpies. And, of course, it went on and won gold!

Very Highly Recommended. The beer, that is, not counting magpies!


West Kerry Carraig Dubh Porter, 6.0% ABV, 500ml bottle, Carry Out Killarney

This is the brewery’s take: A rich luxurious porter brewed with bags of chocolate malt. This bold heavy porter is laden with coffee and chocolate tones. 

Enjoyed this previously over the Christmas and see little reason to change my notes. Black as you’d expect and it comes with a quickly vanishing head. Aromas coming from the malt are coffee and caramel. The roasted flavours are on the bold side, and really wake up those taste buds. Lots of chocolate malt here but there is also a balance and it never gets too sweet, just spot on. The aromas and flavours continue to make this a superb experience right through to the finalé. They also do a barrel aged version - must sometime try that (as Yoda might put it)!

Their original beer was Cúl Dorcha, a red ale (great with oysters, I’m told); then came Carraig Dhubh a porter “because we like the sound of the word as opposed to stout!” Hard for us amateurs to describe the difference between stout and porter if the professionals chose to call this one porter on the basis of how it sounds!

But agree we can (again Yoda) that this is quite a beer. Smooth, seductive, chocolate-y and there is no letting go as the lingering finish is along the same lines. One to sip and savour, arís is arís. Superb beers like this are making me think I may soon be drinking exclusively on the dark side.

It is bottle conditioned and made from malted barley, hops, yeast and spring water “from our own spring”. Traditional, yes. A bottle (or two) would go down well at the threshings I remember - but not too many threshings on farms anymore. 

Very Highly Recommended


Dot Brew Spin off Series Dark Side Stout, 4.2%, 440ml can Aldi only

Colour is black, no surprise and the soft tan head reduces rather quickly. There’s a moderate chocolate and vanilla aroma, (the head has vanished by now as I type that). The liquid in the mouth is roasty and chocolate smooth, and a hint of vanilla towards the end which is dry and refreshing. All this at an Aldi price. How bad!


Their Instagram says its an approachable stout with a medium body. “Built with Irish pale barley / caraffa special II / pale wheat / flaked oats / carapils / chocolate malt, fermented with a not so traditional low rider yeast, Willamette hops to the hot side with an addition of natural vanilla post fermentation.” 

Yes, vanilla is listed in the ingredients.

Highly Recommended.

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