When we first made our smoked porter, it was great and interesting and complex… and not nearly as good as our favorite… which will remain nameless. Instead of simply releasing it on draft, fresh, we decided to age it for a full year in thrice used Petit Syrah and Zinfandel barrels. Any fresher barrels and the oak would be absolutely dominating, but even after a year, this beer is restrained in vanillin. The resulting beer is ridiculously complex; notes of sherry, fermenting wine, tobacco and ever so subtle vanilla in the nose. The flavor reveals the oh-so complex oxidation that occurs in any barrel-aged beer, but is especially pronounced in a beer that has stayed in a barrel for a full year.