Port Brewing is one of the best ale factories in the nation and perhaps their most famous creation is the Old Viscosity. That beer is made by brewing a style-busting dark, strong ale that lies somewhere on the continuum between Old Ale and Stout. 80% of the beer comes straight from the stainless steel fermenter while the remaining 20% comes from an older batch that was aged in bourbon barrels for a spell. Someone at Port apparently got the bright idea (no sarcasm there…it really was an awesome idea) to bottle a brew that was 100% comprised of the barrel-aged Old Viscosity. This boozy, brawny beauty was naturally dubbed the Older Viscosity.

NOTES: Bottle from City Beer Store in SF

STYLE: Imperial Stout

ABV: 12%

APPEARANCE: The easy response is “black”, but it’s more like the darkest possible brown. I’m sure the name of the beer gave me some pre-conceived notions, but I can’t help thinking that the beer just “looks” dense and heavy.

HEAD: Minimal, dark khaki-colored head that fades in moments.

LACING: Very little…a dot or two of oily foam at the top of the glass.

NOSE: This is a take-no-prisoners malt-bomb. The nose combines massive amounts of extremely dark caramel, vanilla, and baker’s chocolate with the distinctly powerful aroma of boozy bourbon and toasted oak. It smells like an evening of terrible decisions (but in a good way).

TASTE: Sweet sassy molassy…this sucker is big. It starts off pleasantly sweet with chocolate and toffee being the most pronounced flavors. The middle is where the barrel aging really shines with perfect notes of vanilla and oakiness. The finish is bracing and bitter from super dark-roasted malt and a wash of bourbon.

MOUTHFEEL: I always thought the Old Viscosity was a bit of a misnomer and that the beer actually drank fairly light for what it was. The same is definitely not true of the Older Viscosity which has massive “mouthlegs” (Wifey McHops’s term) and coats your tongue like melted butter. A loooooooong finish keeps that bourbon taste in your mouth for minutes after each sip. That’s a good thing…as long as you like bourbon. Which I do. Because it’s delicious.

DRINKABILITY: I mean…it’s called Older Viscosity, it’s 12% ABV, and it has the mouthfeel of cough syrup. So despite it’s inherent awesomeness, this bad boy is the antithesis of a session beer. One and done…but a really, really good “one”.

RATING: An easy 4 Hops.

4 hops


  1. I’m wondering how this compares to Founders Backwoods Bastard.

    Your description of the Older sounds similar to what I experienced with Backwoods, but they are pretty distinct in terms of style (the former being an Imperial Stout, the latter being a Wee Heavy).

    I suppose any heavier beer aged in bourbon barrels is going to produce something close to what you described, but still…I’m curious.

  2. I love ’em both, but I would give the edge to the Older Viscosity. The Backwoods Bastard has a stronger bourbon edge and hotter booze afterburn (despite being a tick lower in the ABV department). Nothing wrong with that of cours, but to me, the Bastard tasted like a great Wee Heavy with a shot of bourbon poured on top while the Older Viscosity tasted like an Imperial Stout with bourbon highlights. In other words, I thought the booze flavor was better incorporated in the Port offering.

    But in the immortal words of Derby, I wouldn’t kick either one out of bed for eating peanuts.

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