OK … before you Regular Show fans start lambasting me for making a mistake – YES, i’m very aware that Skips is not a Vanilla Gorilla. In fact he is not a gorilla of any sort, but rather a Yeti. But, I can’t help it, I kept thinking of this guy as I tried this one. Thanks to my sons Parrish and Sagan, I’ve come to love Regular Show. Skips is one of my favorite characters … and just LOOK at him … he’s vanilla colored and CERTAINLY could get mistaken for a gorilla … but I digress.
The name of this one nearly scared me away due to the “Smoked” part of it’s name: Red Brick Smoked Vanilla Gorilla. I tend to have a love/hate relationship with smoked foods/drinks. Most are overdone in my opinion and the smoked flavor often overtakes the flavor rather than accentuating it. Lucky for me this wasn’t the case with this beer. An Amerian Porter,aged in Tennessee Whiskey barrels with smoked vanilla beans, Vanilla Gorilla is made with cherry wood smoked malt that imparts a complex flavor.
It poured a dark brown, almost black, with a generous tan head that left some spotty lacing. The nose was smokey malts, molasses and deep, dark fruits. As it warmed chocolate and wood notes became apparent but the vanilla and/or bourbon was nowhere to be found – which was a bit of a bummer. The first sips was brimming with dark fruits, coffee, smokey malts and the tiniest bit of vanilla – but again, no whiskey. I wish I had tried this one with someone else, just to see if my tastebuds were off … but alas, I had no one to confer with. So, having had high hopes for this one, I was left with a somewhat mediocre reaction to the Gorilla. While it’s an above average smoked porter, the promise of whiskey and vanilla didn’t pan out. Still worth checking out!