Beer: Trooper Red ‘N’ Black Porter
Brewery: Robinsons Brewery (Cheshire, UK)
Style: Porter- English
6.8% ABV / N/A IBU
If you already know that this review is just going to be a showcase for egregious Iron Maiden puns, run for the hills. The first dark beer in the Trooper series—collaborations between Bruce Dickinson and Robinsons’ Head Brewer Martyn Weeks—is the best of the beast, a medium-bodied take on the English Porter style. Trooper Red ‘N’ Black is also the strongest, topping the previous mark of 6.6% ABV from Trooper 666, the boozier version of the Trooper Extra Special Bitter (the series also includes a Belgian dubbel and a golden ale).
Dickinson is an unabashed enthusiast of pub ales, so Weeks likely did the heavy lifting here, riffing on an old Robinsons recipe from the 1850s. Which, interestingly enough, isn’t too representative of the Union Jack: the English Porter is a straight rip of the Baltic Porter from Estonia/Latvia, itself a lost-in-translation version of the Russian Imperial Stout. But, considering the references to the Battle of Balaclava in “The Trooper,” it’s probably the most quintessentially Maiden of the Trooper series, even if it’s in a very abstracted, seventh sud of a seventh sud kinda way.
As a porter, Red ‘N’ Black is a straight shooter: minimal carbonation and head, pours with a dark amber color. It basically pours out of the bottle like it would be on cask, so perhaps you should drink this like the Brits and old sailors did, at room temperature. Not overly bitter, not overly sweet, with hints of cocoa, raisins, chocolate-covered raisins, black licorice, sun, and steel. The dominant character comes from the roasted malt (wheat and barley), which gives Trooper Red ‘N’ Black Porter a pronounced caramel character. Overall, it’s solid and drinkable and a fairly rad excuse to revisit Powerslave. Not essential like Steve Harris, but more essential than Jannick Gers.
More more info, check out Robinsons here.