If you have been paying attention you know by know that the Black Butte Porter XXI from Deschutes Brewing is probably my favorite beer of all time. When I first picked that up at the store (everyone with me now - "For $12!!!") there were actually two reserve beers from Deschutes, the other being called Mirror Mirror (yes, also $12).
So I had bought one of those as well.
For those unfamiliar with Deschutes, Mirror Pond Pale Ale is just that - a crisp, clean ale that goes great with just about anything. Mirror Mirror is an aged barleywine based on the Mirror Pond recipe. But while Mirror Pond is crisp and clear, Mirror Mirror seems to have lost a little bit in translation.
By doubling the malt and adding in flavors of raisin and citrus - which I didn't find at all - Mirror Pond has been completely lost. Instead what Deschutes Brewery created was a heavy amber ale. Now, perhaps this is what they intended, but my point of contention is it has very little resemblance to the recipe it's based on.
That's not good or bad, just perhaps a bit unexpected.
Whereas BBP XXI took all the good things about Black Butte Porter - the chocolate and coffee tastes, for sure - and embraced them, strengthening them proportionately for an amazing taste sensation, one would be extremely hard-pressed to find Mirror Pond in Mirror Mirror.
Well, at least, my taste buds couldn't see it. To me this special $12 beer really just taste like a heavy amber, something like a McTarnahan's or even Hammerhead from McMenamin's. That is to say, it didn't taste special, it tasted like an overly strong version of a couple beers I do like, and it sure wasn't worth $12.
Oh well, now I know - and I have three more bottles of BBP XXI waiting in my cupboard, so it's not all bad.