Kyoto Brewing / Swan Lake Kokucho is a 7% baltic porter that is a collaborative effort between Kyoto Brewing Company, based in Kyoto, and Swan Lake Beer, based in Niigata. The name “kokucho” means black swan in English and came about from the two breweries sharing a booth at craft beer events. What came about was a beer that hadn’t been brewed at either brewery. The name came about from Swan Lake and also this being a black beer – so black swan it is. Kyoto Brewing / Swan Lake Kokucho is brewed with Maris Otter, Munich, Crystal T50, Red Rye Crystal, Carafa Type 2, and Carafa Special Type 3 malts, along with the bittering hop being Merkur and the flavour / aroma hops being Cascade and Belma.
Kyoto Brewing / Swan Lake Kokucho Aroma and Taste
Kyoto Brewing / Swan Lake Kokucho poured out a dark brownish black colour, depending on the angle and the light. Viewed from the side, it appeared black but peering over the top and into the glass, it appeared to be a dark brown colour. It had a strong cocoa and chocolate nose with just a hint of light citrus aroma coming through once it had warmed up.
The body was a little thinner than your usual porter, perhaps due to the lager yeast used, but it didn’t detract from the flavours. A balanced chocolate and creamy latte flavour came through when served and more so once Kyoto Brewing / Swan Lake Kokucho had warmed up. It would be nice to compare this to, say, a winter version of this beer with a thicker, bolder base so the difference in how the yeast affects the thickness of the body. It left a light chocolate flavour on the palate that faded fast.
Kyoto Brewing / Swan Lake Kokucho The Bottom Line
I like my porters a bit bolder and thicker than this but Kyoto Brewing / Swan Lake Kokucho merries the line between a schwarzbeer and a porter well.