It’s the beginning of April in Michigan and of course in true spring fashion it’s snowing outside. In the beer world KBS and Hoplsam hype is still in full swing and Oberon is flooding shelves since we assume at some point winter might go away. In the midst of all this there stands No Rules by Perrin Brewing, an Imperial Vietnamese Porter that is released once a year and brings with it a different kind of hype. No Rules is definitely a beer that is sought after by many of us who hunt down trophy beers but for whatever reason it’s still something of an unknown to a lot of beer aficionados out there. It’s starting to feel like every brewery has their big annual bourbon barrel stout release that’s loaded with coffee, vanilla, and chocolate. There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact I love the majority of those beers. Perrin, on the other hand, went a different direction with the big bourbon barrel beer; choosing to feature different ingredients that make a unique flavor profile and still live up to the hype and expectations of an annual bourbon barrel release.
No Rules (like most porters) pours dark, essentially black with off cream head that dissipates fairly quickly leaving some beautiful lacing on the glass. The beer immediately greets you with a fairly strong bourbon nose that introduces itself warmly and pleasantly. That nose is met with persistent flavors of vanilla, molasses, coconut, and of course bourbon that is chased with a nice dark fruit finish that goes down very smoothly without any burn from the bourbon presence. Compared to a lot of big imperialized porters out there No Rules doesn’t bombard you with overly aggressive malts or coffee characteristics. Those flavors are present in the brew but they are definitely not the highlighted, instead they peak out as subtle notes that are hidden nicely to keep the beer balanced out. What really peaks out in this beer nicely is the turbinado sugar that the brew is made with. The sugar doesn’t really come out at first but as you drink up your glass or bottle of no rules it became more and more present. By the time I had finished my glass I noticed that my lips had been left with a sweetness from the sugar much like after eating a stack of pancakes covered in syrup.
As someone who reviews beers on a regular basis there’s a special place in my heart for a beer that’s not only really good but really different. No Rules is both. This is a porter that is way up there in terms of its ABV (15%) but doesn’t sit on you like you would expect a heavy imperial porter to in the belly. It’s remarkably sweet while not being overpowering or so sweet that it turns away people like me that usually don’t go for sweet stuff. Then you add in Walter Sobchak on the bottle from the movie the Big Lebowski and you have an instant sale from me. Furthermore the beer helps support a good cause. Perrin donates a generous portion of its sales of No Rules to The Raider Project, an organization that helps returning veterans transition back to the private sector. I’m not the kind of guy that normally argues about the price tag on a beer, I figure that good beer is typically worth the investment. Knowing that Perrin is donating to The Raider Project honestly makes me wish they would have added a few more dollars to the price of a bottle.
No Rules is a limited release and it’s unanimously highly rated on pretty much any website that rates beers . It as a 100/100 on Ratebeer, a 99/100 on Beer Advocate and a 4.5 out of 5 average on Untappd. According to Perrin’s website they are all ready out of 22oz bottles at their pub and knowing that it hit shelves locally here in Michigan at the end of March it might be a hard beer to find in stores right now. However if you’re a fan of bottle trades or swaps this is definitely a beer worth trading for. Additionally if you happen to find a pub that’s pouring it stop in and grab a glass while you can. No Rules has definitely made it’s way into the realm of such trophy like KBS, Bourbon County, and Hunahpu; beers that are highly sought after and will excite the passions of beer fans throughout the country. You can argue how much of an effort some of those beers really deserve to hunt down, however No Rules is without question a beer that is definitely worth the effort to find and even more enjoyable to drink.