Port Barrel Aged Scotch De Silly

Oh boy, I’ve been down this road before. I can’t stand even the slightest hint of diacetyl in my beer. That buttery/butterscotch flavor that seems to be a common component in a lot of English pale ales just kills a beer for me. I’ve been over this before, so I won’t belabor the point, but this was a Scotch Ale made in Belgium, then aged in Port barrels, what could go wrong? Diacetyl, apparently.

Port Barrel Aged Scotch De Silly

Brasserie de Silly Port Barrel Aged Scotch De Silly – Pours a deep, dark amber brown color with a finger of whitish head. Smells sweet, lots of vinous fruit (presumably from the port), but uh oh, is that diacetyl I’m picking up here? Taste starts off well enough, nice rich malt backbone, some fruit, a vinous note from the port, maybe a hint of oak, but also that slight diacetyl note that I just can never stand in beer. And it lasts through the finish, too. It’s not super prominent, but it’s really dragging this beer down for me. Mouthfeel starts out great, full bodied and rich, but it thins out a bit towards the finish. Overall, dammit, this is an otherwise excellent beer, but I will brook no diacetyl. Would still prefer this to most crappy macro beers, but it’s a big disappointment. C+

Beer Nerd Details: 9% ABV bottled (750 ml caged and corked). Drank out of a tulip glass on 11/22/13. Vintage: 2013.

I really enjoy a glass of Porto from time to time, so it’s depressing that every time I try a Port barrel aged beer, it turns out like this. One day, I’ll get one that works. One day.

4 thoughts on “Port Barrel Aged Scotch De Silly”

  1. I’m with you, can’t stand diacetyl either, ruins a beer. I also like port, though I haven’t had a ton of kinds, and nothing expensive.

  2. Padraic! How’s it going, man? Yeah, diacetyl makes buying English pale ales (and even barleywines) a bit of a crapshoot for me. Usually Scottish beer is pretty good, though I’m not going to claim to be an expert.

    As for Port, I’m with you there. I’m no expert. I like it, and I’ve had a few different ones, but nothing super expensive. I was looking at some 20 year old (approx $50) bottles the other day, but couldn’t pull the trigger (opting for a single barrel bourbon instead… oh, and lots of beer). I think the most expensive one I’ve had was a 10 year Taylor Fladgate, which was really good. But I don’t really have the basis for comparison down yet…

  3. I never knew what that funky butterscotch flavor was for the longest time, but always associated it with bad craft beer, especially way over malted ones. I don’t know if there’s a tendency for malty beers to go funky or I just had a run of bad luck, but the association is there.

    I’m doing ok, thanks, getting by. I’m the same way with port, I’d love to try something beyond the basic stuff I’ve had, but not looking to shell out big money for something I might not love. Novak Black and Warre’s Warrior Reserve have been reliable cheap bottles for me.

    What single barrel bourbon? How is it? Bourbon has pretty much replaced Scotch for me…different flavors, but much cheaper for good quality stuff.

  4. Diacetyl is a byproduct of all fermentation, but most of it is consumed by the yeast towards the end of fermentation. I’ve noticed that British yeasts tend to produce this more than most others, and from what I can understand, low levels are somewhat “desirable” to some drinkers (apparently British ones!) I can’t tell, though, because even a faint hint of the stuff kills me!

    It looks like 2011 was a “Vintage” year for port, so I’m seeing some bottles pop up. But they’re supremely expensive (like $40 for a 375), which is too rich for my blood. I like Six Grapes Reserve, and I’d like to try that Warrior Reserve you mentioned…

    It was a Four Roses single barrel, cask strength thing. It was expensive, and I haven’t opened it yet. Need to finish some of my open bottles before I get to it! I’m pretty slow with whiskey… But I really liked that Evan Williams Single Barrel 2003, and it’s cheap too…


Leave a Comment