84 / 100
Can given to me by Jez for my birthday, reviewed in Winter sometime, I just remember it was a good day for it.
Pours a dark reddish-tinged brown, clear body. Head is nice and voluminous, beige colour with a nice medium density. Sinks to a decent crown with some trails of thin lacing around. Pretty nice looking porter.
Smells nice. Big coconut aroma with a real nutty coconut flesh kind of character; touch of milk and some slight cocoa notes giving a touch of bitter chocolate. But yeah mostly nice sweet coconut. Really pleasant fragrance.
Taste is yeah more of that coconutty goddness. That's actually quite impressive; I've had beers with coconut added but this is full on with that sweet, milky and nutty flesh flavour. Starts on the front, gets stronger midway and finishes sweet, maybe slight lactose character there as well, with some noticeable but unobtrusive chocolate roastiness as well, with a very subtle bitterness on the very end. That's a really very tasty dessert beer; nutty enough to take the edge off the sweetness, with a very pleasant overall coconut character. If you're not a fan of coconut it wouldn't be a great beer, because it's maybe a touch one note, but I'm definitely a fan. Not only do I like coconut but I think this is a rich and complex depth of coconut flavour, and I'm impressed.
Decent malt stickiness, maybe a little thin as it goes down and some subtle alcohol warmth that maybe shouldn't be there.
That's a very tasty impressive coconut-centric beer, really nice sweetness to it and a subtle but noticeable roasty malt base just to allow the sweetness to shine through more brightly without going overboard.
Robust porter brewed with herbal adjuncts designed to mimic the taste of wormwood. Brewed for GABS festival 2017 and tried there on tap.
Pours a black colour, really very dark brown at least. Cream-coloured head, foams up nice and thick. Looks good.
Smells weird and licoricey. Touch of roast malt but it's all sweet and spicy licorice and aniseed. I like.
Taste is similar; kind of tastes like aniseedy liqueurs, Sambuca or absinthe or whatevs. Some caramel tinge to the malt, and develops some nice dark fruit complexities late as well, but predominantly that aniseed flavour. Sweet and spicy; fairly pleasant but maybe a bit too boozey-flavoured.
Full body with a sharp kick from the alcohol. Could be toned down a bit.
Interesting drop, really quite wormwoody without the psychotropic effects.
I retried this beer but it didn't end up cracking my top 20.
Jeez, how does one classify a 'golden porter' brewed with rosemary? As a porter, is what, and one then tells all critics to go fuck themselves. This was brewed for GABS 2017, and tried there in a sampler.
Pours a golden amber colour, slight haze, with sparse white head, doesn't retain but leaves some nice lace behind. Looks alright.
Smells pleasant. Caramelised grain on the base and then a nice big rosemary character over the top, slightly herbal and grassy and almost piquant. Curious.
Taste is quite malty upfront. Nutty at first, with hints of chestnut and roasted peanut character, develops some sweet vanilla and caramel notes midway, then a subtle rosemary note towards the back, not a whole lot of other bitter or herbal notes and judging from the aroma I feel it could be bigger. Still, pretty decent tasting beer.
Body is a little thin, but it's smooth and pleasant and has a good presence in the mouth.
Smelled better than it tasted, but still tasted pretty good and enjoyable overall. I retried this and long-listed this but it didn't crack my top 20.
330ml bottle purchased from Leura Cellars.
Pours a deep mahogany-tinged brown, with a fluffy, but bubbly head of beige that leaves specks of lace. Body has some slickness to it, but mostly it looks pretty light and fluid. Looks decent enough.
Nose is pleasant. There's a toastiness to it which helps make it feel substantial, with a bit of roast and coffee. There's maybe subtle hints of coconut and vanilla, but they're mostly hidden behind what's a fairly standard but solid porter aroma.
Taste is pretty solid too, at least on the front. There's a roastiness that is prominent, but it has slightly too light a body, which means the dark grains project a sense of acidity. The back is a bit too thin, without the malt structure that would make it feel dry, toasty and coherent. Vanilla and coconut are nowhere to be found.
Overall, yeah, I'm not super impressed. Merchant have done some reasonable things in the past for me, but this is a misstep as far as I'm concerned. It's a fairly generic porter, without the promised accentuations.
69 / 100
Cherry/coconut/chocolate porter, aged in port barrels for GABS 2016. I've called it an English porter just because it feels more English to me.
Pours a dark-brown colour, clear with dense beige head, retaining well. Looks great.
Smells big and coconutty, but it's largely oak-driven rather than actual coconut. Some dark fruit notes, touch of rummy sweetness as well. Touch of cherry maybe, which could be stronger.
Taste is similar, again with a big oak character. Coconut and peanutty character upfront, that develops a touch of tart fruit late-mid and a hint of booze that takes on a bourbon kind of character with that big oak drive. Not bad at all.
Decent body, nice texture.
Very respectable drop. Could have really amped up the amount of coconut and cherry used here though. It's probably a shame for this beer that it necessarily draws comparisons with Big Shed's very similar beer at this festival, basically because Big Shed did it better. This is genuinely not bad though.
49 / 100
500ml brown bottle, part of the Black Box of Dark Ales. Purchased from Camperdown Cellars in Leichhardt.
Looks decent enough. Deep brown, slight lightness at the edges, with noticeable clarity. Head is large and coarse to begin with, a decent dark brown hue. It settles out to a firm crest with excellent lace. Light bodied. Otherwise looks pretty good.
Nose is quite strange. Sure, there's coffee there, and some general dry roasted notes. But there's also an odd floral character, and a hint of melted butter. Other notes come through, dusty and dry, lavender, stewed peaches, just odd characters popping their head out where they don't belong. It's interesting, though.
Taste is exceptionally thin. Dry and light on the front, with a hint of coffee, but it's not the dominant flavour here. Towards the middle and the back, the thinness on the palate almost turns towards acidity. There again is that slight hint of stonefruit, almost metallic and sour. It's a big miss—and I can't believe it's intentional.
It's a miss. That lack of body and that sour, metallic character is really quite offputting, and the coffee character is peripheral at best. I'm really very unimpressed.
58 / 100
On tap at Hobart airport, November 16, 2015.
Pours a dark cola colour, with some beige bubbles on top. Not a lot of head. Retains a thin film. Nice colour, feel like the head's alright in theory but it ain't a good pour by the staff here.
Smells chocolatey and roasty. Somewhat sour, with a hint of leather to it. Some herbal notes, maybe vanilla and a hint of lavender too, plus thyme maybe? Pretty decent, sweet focused porter, pretty appealing.
Taste is largely roasty but goes slightly on the sour side at times. Nice bitter coffee character with a touch of spice, but just dips unfortunately into that weak tart note. Very sour cherry flavour that might be welcome if it were well-rounded and felt intentional, but it's just a tartness without explanation, on that overall bitter earthiness. Coffee, toasty. But sour. It's a shame, I feel there's a nice beer in here somewhere.
Slight sizzle, goes down a little soft-drinky but OK.
Maybe a touch infected. Nice beer underlying but that tartness definitely mars it a bit.
On tap at the K&B, called 'Robust Peanut' on the tap. Assume it's the same thing.
Dark dark brown, disappointing head. I get the feeling K&B don't go in for promoting head. Small beige bubbles round the rim. Some bead bursting at the top. OK. Looks portery.
Smells robust, roasty and yeah, nutty why not? Decent savoury edge to a roasty and somewhat sweet porter. Pretyy decent construction.
Taste is peanutty upfront; somewhat grainy but a big nut character that develops into roasty, oddly sour territory midway. Just light under-roast coffee. Finish has some more of that peanut note emerge again, very welcome. Could use more of it through the middle though as the middle is an odd journey through astringency and sourness by way of coffee. Other than that there's some interesting and enjoyable sweet notes.
Decent body, little bit thin but it just adds to its fluidity. Quite pleasant.
Decent idea; could have really dialled the peanut up though in a big way. Apart from that, the base beer isn't that interesting so the nutty characters are tokenistic gestures that provide moments of relief.
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours an amber red colour, seemingly off for a porter, very clear but with some weight to the body. Head is a creamy, solid ring that leave some bits and streaks of lace as it goes down. Carbonation is long streams, quite fine when tilted. Looks good, despite the odd colour.
Nose is pleasant with smoky dark malt and a vanilla sweetness that keeps it together. Some lighter fragrant notes like frangipani. It's simple in many ways, but I like it.
Light entry on the palate, with a touch of salt and fish & chips batter. Toastiness comes through on the mid-palate giving it some roasted notes that develop into a slight touch of ask in the finish, almost medicinal and astringent in the aftertaste.
Feel is pretty light, but it works reasonably well.
Overall, I did like this. There's something interesting about it overall that makes it seem like a worthy GABS entry at the very least.
Pours a mahogany colour, quite pale at the edges and just in general. Head is pale beige, foamy and retaining OK. Not bad apart from the palour.
Smells meaty. Maybe a touch of chocolate malt upfront, with a touch of roasted grain that gives spicy coffee notes, but apart from that it's all spicy meaty roast. Quite nice.
Taste is peppery, with a touch of smoke. Roasted malt on the back gives some spice notes including pepper and star anise. Fair whack of meat as well; yeah smoky, meaty. Does what it says.
Decent body with a touch of carbonation cutting through. Not bad.
Not as vegetative as I expected; the 4 Pines Sunday Roast 'Beer Mimicks Food' beer a few years ago captured the various aspects far better. This kind of has a good idea but delivers the typical non-excitement from a Vale beer.
71 / 100
Calling this an 'English porter', because the bottle calls it "a hoppy take on a classic English porter'. Could go either way really but I've chosen to go English. Bottle gifted to me by Jez; shared with Chris and Andrew.
Pours a dark cola colour, flash of brown at the edge. Head is beige, dense and marshmallowy. Nice lace is sticky and curtainy. Retains well, but sinks slowly. Looks wonderful. Really as good as a porter would get.
Smells chocolatey. Touch of raisin. Some candied fruit with orange peel and a touch of roast. Fairly pleasant.
Taste is lightly roasty and somewhat chocolatey. Sweet and somewhat caramel, with chocolate characters and then cocoa bitterness, quite roasty. Somewhat bitter as well with a hint of resinous bitterness but still feels just roasty and coffee-esque bitter. Still quite sweet and toffeed and fairly pleasant.
A little bit thick and fairly syrupy. Quite smooth. Nice.
A nice porter; fairly light bodied and flavours are well blended. Nice and drinkable.
70 / 100
33cl brown stubby bottle purchased from Drinks of the World in Zürich.
Pours a muddy liquorice black-brown colour, with a fine, slightly overcarbonated head of beige that settles out to a persistent film. Some streaky lace around the edges of the glass. Body has a little weight to it, but less than I would expect from a beer weighing in at over 8% ABV. Looks decent all up though.
Nose is quite pleasant. Nutty malt characters, with a solid roast character touched with a suggestion of kirsch. There's a subtle meaty or smoky note to it as well that adds some depth and richness to the brew. All up, it's pretty aromatic.
Taste is a little bit muted by comparison. But here that mild cherry/kirsch character is more present through the mid palate providing an odd sharp sweetness a little like root beer or cherry soda. Around the outsides it's a solid porter however, perhaps even tending towards a more roasty stout-like flavour. Feel is smooth throughout, giving a pleasant slickness to the brew.
Overall, this is solid stuff. There's a thinness to the palate that cries out for a bit more weight and complexity compared to the nose, but it's generally pretty good from start to finish. Certainly Ticinese have proved themselves a Swiss brewery to take notice of.
Tried on-tap at the Brew By Numbers brewery on the Bermondsey Beer Mile.
Pours an opaque black colour, with a hint of colour at the edges. Body is very decent, with very fine carbonation. Head is a pale mocha colour, forming a foamy, firm and persistent crest. Lace forms in specks and gargoyles. Looks good.
Nose is toasty with a slight creaminess. Hint of spice, mint and anise perhaps with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on the top. It's a bit light in weight, but overall, it's pretty good.
Light entry on the palate, smooth and a little thin. Light cacao comes through and some spice notes. Rubbery chocolate. The finish leaves little behind. It's smooth but weak—almost feeling watery by the time it reaches the back. This means it cleans out nicely at least, but it could really afford to be bigger. Feel is fairly smooth throughout, with a rubbery texture again.
Pretty easy to drink despite being 6.5% ABV. There's plenty to enjoy in this. I think it was just a bit underwhelming after trying their exquisite 05|01 IPA.
57 / 100
500ml brown purchased from Marks & Spencer Victoria in London.
Pours a very clear, but also fairly light reddish brown colour, with a slightly coarse head of pale beige. No lacing, and very little carbonation. It's decent enough, but not all that great.
Nose is quite pleasant, with smooth malt and a touch of toffee. Hints of anise and peely spice come through as well. It's way more spicy than I expected, and certainly nowhere near as much dark and roast as I expected, but it's still fairly pleasant.
Taste is thin, but again, fairly pleasant. Mild roast, clean neutral malt characters, and a finish with a little bit of metal. It's all fairly standard stuff, and not terribly exciting, but it's decent, and certainly brewed without flaws.
Feel is also a lot lighter than you maybe expect. A smoother feel would probably give it more weight and gravitas, but it's a bit dull in the end.
Not a great porter, not a great beer. It skirts the very periphery of decency, producing a beer that doesn't offend me, but is far, far away from inspiring me. It is perhaps the most medium beer I've ever had.
44 / 100
Pours a mahogany colour, very pale for a porter. Head is foamy, cream-coloured and not bad.
Smells grainy, and sweet. Chestnut character mixing with sweet caramel malt notes, with a hint of coffee and licorice at the back. Fairly sweet overall, but pleasant enough.
Taste is also very sweet, more so in fact. Malty grains upfront develops some vanilla and whipped butter on the mid-palate, then finish has a faint whisper of coffee notes but not a lot. Definitely needs more roast; not only is it just lacking stylistically but the sweetness of the front could be forgiven if there were more bitterness to balance the finish.
Body is OK, bit of carbonation. Not bad.
A little weak, and not portery enough. Too sweet, as well, for me at any rate.
43 / 100
Brewed for the GABS festival 2013 in Melbourne. Having visited the brewery two years ago was looking forward to trying another of theirs.
Pours a dark-brown colour, the colour of porters, with foamy beige head, sticks around nicely. Pretty nice-looking porter.
Smell's a bit lacking, quite simple. Touch of cocoa and some sourdough bread graininess, with a slight touch of cinnamon. Really need to sniff around a lot just to get a bit of aroma. Pretty meh.
Taste is overly sweet, and quite insipid. Malty notes upfront with a touch of cocoa-infused puffed rice. Note of caramel on the midway that isn't quite strong enough so it ends up more like carob, and finish is bready while remaining sweet. Not hugely unpleasant but definitely unimpressive.
Thin body, slight carbonation. Not too bad.
Needs more roast even to make it to porter standards. Sweet and insipid, mostly.
59 / 100
Supposedly a 'dry-hopped' porter brewed for the GABS Festival in Melbourne, May 2013. Not sure if this is the right entry, but I can't find sufficient info to add a separate dry-hopped version to their repertoire on BA. Anyway, sample on tap at the festival.
Pours a dark brown colour, large bubbly beige head, sticks around quite nicely. Looks good.
Smells fairly portery. Chocolate notes with a touch of caramel malt, some roast and a slight sweet clove note. Bit sweet overall, but not bad.
Taste is similar. Chocolate malt notes upfront that develops a light roasty character midway, together with some spice notes of black pepper and licorice. Not bad, but quite thin and simple, and don't get a lot of dry-hopping flavour here or on the nose.
Nice body, however. Decent fullness and nice texture.
Not getting much hop at all. A decently-made porter that tastes a little thin at times.
46 / 100
On tap at the brew pub, 9th July 2013.
Pours a dark red-brown colour. Definitely too pale for porter. Head is nice, dense ecru foam. Decent lace. Looks great, apart from the colour which is just wrong.
Smells tasty. Very sweet, with vanilla making itself very much felt, then giving way to caramelly malts and a touch of crême brulée. Wouldn't mind more roast or chocolate notes, but it's still a very enticing desserty smell.
Taste is quite watery upfront, I think yet another flow-on effect from insufficient dark malt for the style. Vanilla midway is quite nice, sweet with a touch of spice; cinnamon mostly. Finishes maybe slightly bitter with a touch of chocolate, which maybe demonstrates that there is malt, and maybe it's chocolate malt or slightly roasted, but not nearly enough.
Surprisingly decent body upfront, but gets thin very quickly. Not great.
Vanilla yes, porter definitely not. From the marketing around this pub it almost seems to me like they're afraid of putting people off with big-flavoured brews. I get that but this effort is just weak. No brewer should ever be afraid of making a proper dark beer. They can still be sweet, tasty and drinkable anyway.
I'm not going to lie. I purchased this exclusively for the name and for the picture on the label. I guess that's what they're betting on. 500ml bottle purchased from BevMo in Menlo Park, CA.
Pours a pleasant ruby-brown colour, with a lightness to the body and good clarity. Head is a disappointing film of off-white, not really creating itself to begin with, and then fizzling out to a minor ring. Carbonation is fine. Some streaks of lacing. It's ok, without looking magnificent.
Nose is sweet and toasty, with a slightly nutty, slightly buttery character coming through above a solid, standard grainy English malt character. It's really quite sweet and quite potent—even if it's something of a one-character aroma, it at least has conviction on its side.
Taste is light, but pleasant. Again, toasty grain notes drive it forward, with a smoothness in the flavour, if not in the feel. Mild watery coffee tones, a suggestion of red cherry, and a rather dry finish, again with some weak roasted tones. It's pleasant enough, but the strength on the nose isn't really present here.
Feel is a little weak and watery: if it were fuller I think it would really help the beer.
Overall, this is decent stuff. It's not really exciting, but there's a little interest there, and it's structured in very much the way it should be. In the end, there's a little class hiding behind the gimmicky label, at least.
660ml bottle purchased from Platinum Liquor in Bellevue Hill.
Pours a rather light reddish hue, really I think too light for a porter, with a frothy head of pale beige. Bubbling forms the majority of the head, meaning it collapses in on itself after a while. Body is pretty light, carbonation races through it quite vivaciously. Overall, it looks a bit weak, to be honest.
It's up from here, fortunately. Pleasant nutty malt characters on the nose give a mildly roasted, flavoursome and wholesome character to the beer. Light sweetness comes through, some crumbly brown sugar and a suggestion of chewy toffee. Some light fragrant overtones give a suggestion of fruity coffee and snapped vegetables. Not bad.
Taste is light on sweetness, and very light in the feel, but there's some really lovely flavours providing the interest over the top of this, covering it up somewhat. Lots of nuttiness, mild caramel, macerated strawberry and a seedy fragrance, perhaps a little like caraway. There's a prickle of carbonation throughout, which is a most certain disappointment. The beer would be served beautifully by a smoother feel: even give us a gimmicky nitro-pour. A hand pump from a cask would be even better.
Overall, this is decent enough, but with flaws. The malt characters are constructed very nicely, and I really want to enjoy them in a better beer.
60 / 100
Pours a dark-brown colour, clear with nicely thick tan head, nice and foamy. Decent porter look; one might almost say good. Colour and head are good.
Chocolate and dry cocoa on the nose giving plenty of roast. Touch of vanilla too moves it slightly to the sweet side, but decently portery.
Slight roasty palate but a little empty and watered-down. Mostly thinnish darker malts; roast suggests itself more as an afterthought. Porter character is there but not really robust enough for me.
A little bit thin and a slight tingle from carbonation. Not a bad texture for the style but not much of a body to back it up.
OK porter. Pretty standard stuff and nothing exciting though.
61 / 100
Pours a clear but deep brown colour, with a frothy and bubbly head of beige, that settles down to a pancake-bubble riddled film with creeping legs of lace. Body is very light and rather thin. Overall, it's a bit insipidâthe colour is fine for what it is, but nothing else is particularly exciting or inspired.
Nose is sweet and pleasantly grainy, with a touch of flavour and colour giving hints of roast. It's really rather pleasant, and balanced nicely between the sweetness and the darkness, giving a pleasant aroma like milky coffee. Not bad.
Taste is similar, although the sweetness is hampered by a genuine lack of body. Still the roastiness is smooth and the graininess tempered and pleasant. The thinness causes the back to fall out of the palate, but a pleasant roasty grain/coffee grounds dryness continues towards the back.
Overall, it's decent enough, without being very exciting. To be honest, I'm probably never, ever going to drink this beer again, because I won't stumble across it accidentally, and I'm certainly not going to go out of my way to get it.
46 / 100
Awesome bottle, looking like a tiny, 330ml squat champagne bottle, with a raised seal for the brewery.
Pours a rather light coloured reddish brown, with a fine, but extremely filmy head of beige. Carbonation is fine when tilted, and the body looks pleasantly heavy at least. Overall, it's a pretty decent look, but certainly not the best of the style I've seen.
Nose is malty and very faintly roasted, without much else in the way of character. A little carob comes through, giving a sweetness, that meshes with overtones of yeast and dark brown bread. It's not bad, but exceptionally generic.
Taste is worse. Here, there's a very disappointing thinness to the palate, giving a lacklustre grainy malt character and a hint of the type of sweetness that comes from underfermentation. Slightly watery, quite bready, with very little to recommend it. Feel is faint and thin as well.
A very average brew indeed. One that has a bit of flavour, but not much more. It certainly has no inspiration or excitement to impart. Very disappointed.
57 / 100
Pours a dark chocolate colour with beige head consisting of small visible bubbles and lovely thin, crisp lace. Bit paler than ideal, but otherwise good.
Smell is very roasty-bitter. Plenty of spicy espresso on that with a hint of cocoa dust, cedar wood and some whole nutmeg. Just whispers of sweetness on an otherwise roasty-spicy nose. Nice.
Tastes a bit watered-down. Roasty flavours all the way through but that never fill the palate, and end up a bit sour with instant coffee and charcoal notes leading to an essentially savoury palate. Hint of cherry on there and some caramel grain, but it's mostly just a disappointing porter palate, where the flavours are right but they seem too afraid to let themselves shine.
Thin mouthfeel, bit of fizz showing through but largely watery. Meh.
A bit of a ramp up of flavour would be welcome here. It's an OK porter and can be drunk quite easily but it's just uninspiring.
Pours a cola colour, clear dark brown with caramelly head, dense but dispersed to a thin ring of lace. Steady but light bead. Quite nice.
Sweet nose, mostly, with chocolate, caramel and distinct smokey wood on it. Mild, underplayed, but pleasant porter notes.
Taste is quite sweet upfront with dark caramel malt. Develops sour notes with some blackberry character and prune, then develops more roasty coffee notes towards the back. Mocha, really, with hint of star anise and coriander as well. Pleasant porter palate, could use more sweetness continuation from the front, but decent otherwise.
Thinnish upfront, develops more body towards the end and bit of tingle that needn't be there.
Pleasant porter notes, a bit more malt upfront would really make for a smooth, drinkable beer. It's a bit over-bitter with the espresso really taking the fore. Not bad though.
71 / 100
Tried on tap at the brewery 16/08/11.
Pours a dark cola colour with brown shining through at the edge. Head is off-white, fairly thick but dissipates to a thin film. Lace is alright. Pretty good.
Smell is a bit sweet. That classic cocoa-rich chocolate portery nose with a big glacé cherry hit, lots of raspberry, cinnamon and even pawpaw? Could use some more roastiness, it's just a bit too sweet.
Taste is better. Chocolate on the front develops bitter roastiness towards the mid with coffee and star anise and pepper. Nice rise of flavours towards the mid, then mellows out on the back with a touch of licorice, dark chocolate and spearmint. Espresso sourness on the hang which is unfortunate, but forgiveable as it's not too intense. Good palate.
Full enough feel, but not very thick. Decent tingle.
Yeah, a good porter. Does at times verge on stout territory, but sticks to its guns and leaves you satisfied.
On-tap at the Kiwi SpecTapular at the Local Taphouse in Sydney.
Opaque reddish-brown, only giving off its colour on the edges due to the opacity. Head is full and firm and persisten, although there's minimal lacing. The head is a pleasant mocha-chocolate colour, but the body is light. Otherwise, looks good.
Nose is smooth with vanilla cream sweetness and a hint of tannic red wine. A bleasant blend of dark cocoa and shiraz. Peppery characters and berry fragrance come through a little. Nice.
Taste is smooth, but relatively light in flavour. Bright, light acidity on the back of a strong and smooth vanilla and coconut flavour. Dark chocolate comes through, but it dips severely at the end, meaning the smoothness drops away as well, and the finish is rather empty. Feel is smooth, but light. Hazy heat is also noticeable after a while.
Not bad. It's smooth and has some interesting vinous characters, but the booze comes through after a while, and it's not terribly well balanced. Smooth and pleasant for the most part, however.
Tried at the Local Taphouse Kiwi Spectapular, 21/05/11.
Pours a dark brown colour with a red tinge when held up to the light. Head is mocha-hued, decent retention, quite nice lace. Pretty good.
Smell is that weak chocolate roast, lots of milky character to it. Caramel, touch of sourness that almost takes on a meaty edge, but yeah it's a fairly standard porter nose, lots of roastiness without that bitter stout edge to it.
Taste is OK. Lots of cocoa upfront with chocolate tinge, develops nice creme de cacao sweet flavours with good hit of booze on the back. Quite strong and fairly sweet with a touch of vanilla towards the back. Fairly boozey, fairly sweet. Not bad.
Bit thin on the feel surprisingly, bit of heat on the back but otherwise not a lot going on.
Nice portery flavours, amped up. Quite pleasant indeed. Maybe a touch too sweet for me to love it, but for the style it's very pleasant.
Rocks have restyled all the beers to have a common theme running through the range. This one, previously "Cribbs Porter" is now entitled "The Butcher". Suitably menacing for their dark ale.
Pours (not really that dark) a ruby brown colour, opaque, although due to some pretty heavy hazing. Head is fluffy and off-white. Body is moderate, and the head doesn't leave a lot of lace. Looks nice though, I like the haze in the body.
Nose is pleasantly dark, giving yeasty and black notes like vegemite, with a touch of roasted nutmeg. Slight whiff of artificial caramel. Quite nice.
Taste is roasty and pleasant enough, but with only a little sweetness. (It balanced nicely with the skillet cookie I was eating at the time, cutting through the sweetness there). Some bitter peanutskin characters, and the body is light and surprisingly clean--no weight behind it.
Tasty enough, and it matched the sweet dessert nicely. I feel it needed more body to be able to stand up on it's own, but it's again a very solid effort from Rocks.
73 / 100
Purchased from Platinum Liquor from their NZ selection on my continuing journey to drink a lot of Kiwi craft beer in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake. Yeah. I know it doesn't really help.
Pours a very nice reddish hued, but hazy black colour, with a frothed and fuzzy head of beige. Lacing is very solid, leaving sheets of straight lace down the inside of the glass. Body is full, but not particularly heavy. Not a bad looking drop all up.
Nose is roasty and dark, with big cereal characters of wet oatmeal coming through and a pleasant toasted grain note. Some sweetness, but this mostly comes from the oatmeal flavours, which dominate. Not bad, but not that complex either.
Taste is smooth and supple, with pleasant roasted but mild characters. Plenty of flavour to it, but everything stays nicely subdued, meaning the roasty grain notes and malty bitterness can come out without overwhelming the palate. Feel is smooth enough--carbonation is nicely balanced so as to give a lift without adding much zest to the palate.
Yep, another nice beer from Emerson's. A very solid and very drinkable English style porter. It doesn't push the boundaries, but it delivers well within them.
57 / 100
Had in a bottle at Preachers in Hobart. The guy warned me that a large proportion of the fermentables are honey, so if I don't like honey, I'm unlikely to enjoy it.
Ok, I don't really like honey, but I wanted to give it a go anyway.
Pours a cloudy and opaque dark brown colour. Very fine head of off-white/beige. Huge amount of floating sediment.
Lots of honey on the nose, with just a bit of deep grain. Dark characters of vegemite with some funky floral organics. Nice, but the floral honey characters really dominate.
Taste is similar. Sweetness with honey/floral organics is dominant, almost dragging the beer into braggot territory. Sharp acidity on the back as the sweetness dries out, leaving a very light feel and finish.
Not that great, and the darkness that the "porter" in the name promises is noticeably absent, and I feel like it's really needed to balance the honey sweetness.
Pours a light bodied, but reasonably dark-coloured reddish brown, with a lot of clarity for such a dark beer. Head is full and voluminous - extremely pleasant and finely foamy, and it leaves some impressive lacing. Overall, it's a good looking beer.
Nose is a bit dull, with some roasted over-browned caramel sweetness, and a little grainy malt with a lilt of organic honey. It's reasonably smooth, but it's also rather light on, and doesn't have a great deal of depth or complexity.
Taste is similar, although the honey sweetness wells a little too much here, leaving a rather cloying organic fruitiness on the back. Some roasted bitterness through the mid, but it gets well and truly overwhelmed by the sweetness, and it needs a bit of dryness on the back to clear it up. Pleasant biscuit characters and a light roasted nut roundness come through later, and these save it.
Feel is very smooth and quite slick, surprisingly bold for the apparent thinness in the body.
I had criticisms of this beer as I drank it, but the more I look at the whole picture, the more pleasant it seems. It's a very smooth drinking beer, and although the sweetness sticks around too long for it to be truly sessionable, it's a pleasant enough beer for a once-off.
78 / 100
Pours a slightly reddish-brown colour with modest beige head, sinks to a thin film with a ring of medium-sized bubbles forming lace around the edge. Good-looking porter; more head would be nice, though.
Smells quite mild with lots of sweet, chocolatey notes. Slight sour note with a hint of cherry. Some espresso characters and a mild peat smoke note as well. Very nice, with all the right porter notes in good abundance; and yet more.
Tastes roastier. Fair wallop of toasty malt notes on the assault, with a slight chocolatey tinge and mild vanilla sweetness. Flavour dips quite a bit on the mid, but retains an underlying creaminess, then roasty/sour notes return for the finish: underplayed espresso bean and cocoa mostly. Not bad, the right flavours are there but I'm not hugely interested in the palate; actually borders on insipid at times.
Good full body though, never feels heavy, just slips through the mouth. Very decent indeed.
A superbly mild and sessionable beer. The first truly quaffable porter I think I've really encountered.
84 / 100
Pours a deep, burnished brown, with tints of red amber at the edges. Head is fine, although it retains only as a filmy remainder on the top, but it leaves some impressive English lace. Looks very decent indeed.
Nose is nicely mixed between deep chocolate and roasted grain notes, and a sweet almost vanilla sweetness. There's almost a hint of something spicy and peppery coming through as well, but it just gives tiny staccato accents to the other very mellow characters. Quite mild but extremely delectable. There's a wonderful complexity to it.
Taste is also extremely good, and exceptionally well balanced. Throughout there are nuanced flavours peeking and then receding. Hints of chocolate, heather, liquorice, vanilla, roasted grain, and a light astringency on the back to clear it out. Ah, it's a lovely nuanced and complex palate. Feel is smooth but slick and relatively clean.
What a cracking beer, a lovely example of what the English can do so well. A smooth and mild beer, with nuanced and subtle complexity that makes the experience worthwhile.
Limited release from the brewery. This is bottle #005, purchased by my Dad, an Orange local.
Pours quite a deep brown colour, with a decent haze to it. It's dark enough that it looks stylistically good, but light enough that you can pick the hue. Head is a bit filmy, and takes a bit to get it going, but the low carbonation fits the style nicely. Bubbling in the head is very fine, and it leaves some sudsy, but not particularly intricate lacing. It looks pretty nice.
Nose is roasty and a little astringent. Mostly grain based, little sweetness of coffee, or even the blackened charred nature of truly dark beer. To be honest, there's not a lot to it. It certainly lacks complexity, although the characters are decent enough.
Taste is similar, the roastiness is the only real note to it, although it has a slightly harsh banana character coming through as well, which is a bit out of style. Finish is very weak and the feel is very light indeed. I really feel it needs a lot of body to back it up, and some more complexity to make it interesting.
It's a shame that this is not a better beer. For a "special release", they could do something more adventurous. This is a very safe and tame beer, and not a great example of the style.
I hope they try something more exciting in the future.
Pours a rich, deep brown; not as dark as some. Head is off-white, again not as dark as some. Decent at first, but sinks quickly, leaving little to the eye, just a cloud of saliva-esque foam. Decent, but thin, lace as well. Not a bad porter; not great either.
Smells quite chocolatey; classic dark grain but really noticeable barley notes on it as well. Some herbal notes like mint, and vanilla adding sweetness. Yeah, lovely sweet, chocolatey with hints of espresso and a hint of sourness. Not bad, again.
Tastes...portery. Fair amount of roasted grain, with barley and some oatmeal notes early. Retains that all for the mid but gains a chocolate note with some dry roasted espresso characters as well. Finish has a light, very light spice. I guess it's peppery in that there's a light spice sensation without a lot of noticeable flavour. The back is slightly woody with mild red vinous notes. Overall I feel it's a bit lacking, but it has all the right porter notes so I feel like it might just be where the style generally feels lacking to me.
Feel is a bit empty, really. I can feel the body in my mouth, but there's little more behind it, just enough for me to know there's something roasty on my tongue.
This is mild enough to drink quite readily. It does, though, remind me why I'm bigger on stouts than porters. Just a bit on the meh side.
72 / 100
Found this little beauty hiding in the fridge at the Old Fitzroy Hotel, Woolloomooloo.
Pours a deep mahogany colour with a burnt orange tinge. Nice dense mocha head retaining very well and leaving beautiful dense lace around the glass. Wonderful porter look.
Smell is nicely roasty, with cocoa, slight dusty character and a hint of coffee. But yes, mostly chocolatey; sweet with just a whisper of slight toasty sourness. Pretty decent.
Taste is roasty and fairly mild; lots of cocoa-rich chocolate up front and a slight woody note on the back. Yeah quite organic, with bark and vegetative notes running throughout the palate. A hint of mint and black pepper on the mid, slight sourness but just slight. Otherwise pretty tasty and sweet, very drinkable.
Fair amount of body but a slight rough texture midway and late. Could tone down carbonation a bit, but that's really the only criticism. A mild, drinkable drop, very enjoyable.
71 / 100
Pours quite an opaque black-brown colour, which looks dark and heavy, but ends up being quite thin and especially light at the edges. Still that's not bad in a porter. Head is a filmy but fine light beige.
Light dusty chocolate and a touch of acidity on the nose, backed up with a pleasant roasted grain note and a good whiff of vanilla. Nice.
Taste is toasted and mild, with a pleasant nutty twang and a hint of light-roasted coffee mingling at the back. Bit of beef gravy to it as well. Quite pleasant, savoury but mild. Dark in flavour but light in body.
It's a very sessionable porter, and a pretty tasty one. Lacks a wow factor, but it's pretty decent.
61 / 100
Pours a dark mahogany colour, clear in the body and letting some light through. Head is nicely beige, quite dense and creamy with trails of pleasant lace that clings like my ex-girlfriend. Looks like a nice dark ale.
Smell is quite malty and spicey. Fair amount of dark booziness with a tart dark berry note, hints of vanilla pods and lots of banana. Some mild licorice notes on there as well. Nice banana bready notes with sweet caramel as well, pretty nice.
Taste is a bit plain. Sweet on the front with mild caramel notes that then gets watery and slightly dark with a very slight roasty character. Yeah, really rather thin on the palate overall, some of that banana coming through clearly on the back, but it would be nicer if matched with more spice or more roasty bitterness. Very English, but that kind of becomes synonymous with bland in my book, unfortunately.
Very drinkable, though - let's not forget that the milder something is the more one can just chug it down.
62 / 100
Pours a murky cola hue with very frothy, foamy head that looks like whipped egg-whites, bubbly around the sides and some fairly fierce bead up the glass. Lace is not very existent. Pretty damn special though, in the good sense.
Nose is quite smokey - a lot of carbon character with a meaty, plummy robustness to it. Quite roasty with a slight musty note as well. Hints of chocolate and sultanas hiding at the back, pretty nice.
Taste is quite meaty as well, fairly sour for the most part with a dark, robust, smokey flavour, hint of peat smoke and some barbecue sauce on it as well. Yeah, quite strongly flavoured, plum and espresso joining the mix on the mid. Trying to enjoy it, but the flavours really are quite challenging; a lot of sour roasty notes producing some really organic overtones that seem almost rotting at times. Decent structure, just takes some getting used to.
Quite tingly on the feel, not thick enough to absorb the carbonation. Lots of texture, I think too much actually.
Enjoyable enough beer, but very strongly flavoured. I've had far more alcoholic beers that are easier to handle and quaff than this boldness. I don't hate it, but I couldn't drink a whole lot of it.
Very, very dark brown, with a slightly ruby-hued tinge to it when held to the light. Good clarity is evident. Head is a huge billowy puff of light brown candy floss, which leaves globs of foamy lacing as it collapses. Looks pretty impressive.
Big roasted, slightly tart chocolate characters on the nose, with a decent whiff of slightly acerbic booze. It has slightly too much vinous acidity to it, I'd prefer a lot more roasted and chocolate. But it's still pretty tasty.
Thin palate, with a definite hint of acidity, possibly cherries, something kirschy and slightly crisp. Mostly filled out with lots of roasted grain and a bit of dark boozy notes. There's something too thin to it though, and again that tartness is very odd.
Not quite sure what to make of this. It's not a big, roasty beer, and it definitely has some funky characters to it that seem a little off. Certainly not one of my favourite dark ales, but it's interesting enough to look at.
I've gone a long time without reviewing this stalwart of the Australian beer scene. How did I get away with that?
Pours a nice red-brown-black colour, with a filmy head of cream-coloured bubbles. Retention is not so great, collapsing slightly to just a ring of edging. Looks supple and solid in the glass, however, and it has the body to create some bubbling in the edges when it's swirled. Not bad.
Pleasant chocolate on the nose, with a decent whiff of dark grain, and just perhaps a whiff of "Australian-ness" which I'm almost tempted to attribute to Pride of Ringwood hops. Surely not in this beer, though, right? Right??
Taste is pleasant on the front, with some sweet dark chocolatey characters, before all the sweetness drops right out of the palate, leaving a dry and grainy finish. A hint of that slight seltzer-acidity-slash-bitter-chemical character on the back which again reminds me of PoR - perhaps instead it's a generic Australian yeast stock. Whatever it is, it takes the edge off the sweet and dark genesis of the beer, which is something of a shame.
Mouthfeel is a tad too carbonated to my mind, but round enough with a pleasant lightness, that isn't quite thinness in the body.
It's a drinkable beer that I'm ever so slightly suspicious of. At least it's something worthy of drinking when all your other options are variations on Tooheys New.
Pours a dark oaky brown, thin cream head that evaporates after a short period of time, leaves a small amount of lace that is nevertheless beautifully sticky. Yeah, looks like a porter. Decent.
Nose is sweet and mostly chocolatey, with a thin but sweet main aroma. Lots of nutty yeast character and fresh cracked grain. Cereal character with some oats and a mild honey note. Nice roastedness stops it from overly sweet fragrance but still retains a pleasant sweetness, not bad.
Taste is similar. Has most of that fresh cereal character on the front, puffed rice and honey notes that descend into a mild but distinct roasty mid-palate. Yeah, weak-ish but has a nice, reasonably sweet darkness, hints of licorice with anise spice and a dark caramel malt flavour. Finish trails off in a light toasted grain flavour.
Mouthfeel is dry, and a bit sharp around the edges but quite a hefty body for the strength.
Yeah overall it's a decent mild porter, pleasantly sweet but dark, nice balance. Doesn't have a lot to offer but what's there is pleasant. Smooth and drinkable dark ale.
62 / 100
Pours a very dark murky brown, cabernet-coloured tinge when held up to the light. Nice frothy beige head, quite dense webs but sinks to a 3cm crown, leaving some nice ebbs of foam lace on the glass. Seems to be fairly bubbly, certainly a decent-looking dark beer.
Nose is fairly astringent. Certain quantity of charcoal on that as well as some damp coffee grinds, red bean and brown sugar. Slight meaty undertone adds to that sour character, bit of bacon to it and some saltiness, like a curing agent smell. Pretty good nose but not extremely enticing as a drink.
Taste is far more interesting, with a more pronounced dark malt character. Starts out slightly bitter and ashy and gathers speed as it plunges into the murky burnt blackness. Never reaches the depths though, there's a shallowness to the flavour, like the burnt flavour is there but not in great abundance. Fair amount of smoke and dark cocoa, some milkiness in there and burnt toffee. Hint of boot polish and leather as well on the mid, but finishes more sweet than bitter, with a nice dark spice that adds piquancy. A decent dark beer for my taste, not sensational though.
Mouthfeel is a bit thin and watery in the mouth. Improves as it goes down, but the lack of body contributes to the shallow flavour sensation.
Decent drinking, certainly sessionable as far as dark beers go.
75 / 100
Pours a deep heavy black colour, just tinged with lighter brown at the edges, and a full and frothy head of mocha-coloured foam. Lacing is excellent. Body is quite full, evidenced by the wonderful static carbonation when it's swirled. Overall a very nice looking beer indeed.
Dusty refined character on the nose. Some roasted grains, and a decent organic cellar mustiness. Hints of barrel and wine cork, and even a light smokiness. It's very sophisticated, well-integrated and incredibly tasty.
Taste is very similar - a nice dusty roasted character on the fore, never verging into the territory of being charred, before a soft, sweet and mellow nutty character comes through on the back. Mouthfeel is soft, but not too thin. Could use something more, but it actually goes rather nicely with the rest of the palate.
A very drinkable porter, one with subtlety and finesse. It's not the strongest, or most robust beer you'll ever drink, but its structure is very good, and it stays interesting and drinkable to the last drop.
72 / 100
Drunk from a 2L growler bought from the brewery.
Pours a dark ochre colour but not too dark - lets a lot of light through. Head is very generous when poured - quite dense beige foam that dissipates quickly, leaving a thin crown of visible bubbles. Lace is nice and dense, but not very sticky.
Nose is quite strong and actually floral. A fair amount of lavender and rose petals blending with some slightly roasted malt. Has a brief whisper of rum or other refined spirit and a hint of espresso lingering at the back. But yeah, interesting flowery smell, quite nice.
Taste is fairly floral again, more of that lavender but with a tea leaf flavour as well on the front, slight peppery spice gives it a kick on the mid. Lightly roasted chocolatey malt with a slight caramel edge provides the backbone, while a slightly meaty aspic kind of flavour comes through as well. Quite a bit more interesting than your average porter, but is lacking the slightest bit on the classic porter dark sweetness. Nice, could be nicer.
Slightly thin mouthfeel, but with a good swirl of body as it goes down. A fairly decent feel for the flavour but still a bit lacking.
A pleasant drop with some interesting flavours. Really does drink better in this way than I imagine a bottle would. Let's have more growlers in Australia, I say!
75 / 100
Awesome two-litre growler brought back from the brewery by my bro from another mo, laituegonflable.
Pours a lovely dark copper-brown, quite clear, with a really fluffy head of pancake-bubbled white-brown foam. Body looks lovely and thick, leaving some static carbonation when swirled. Carbonation is fine. A very decent and tasty looking brew.
Some darkness on the nose - rich dark high cocoa chocolate is dominant, with a strangely leavened banana character. There's just something sweet and juicy in amongst the dark roasted notes, along with a freshness like jungle leaves. Really quite pleasing, and very deep.
Taste is also pretty good, with a long palate of rich chocolate grain notes and a freshly vegetative bite mid palate. Finish is rich and roasted, not particularly dry, but with a lingering charred bitterness. Again, the fresh notes leaven what is otherwise a pretty deep dark brew, providing a wonderful counterpoint and a necessary balance. Mouthfeel is a little thinner than I would have hoped, but the fine carbonation sets off the green notes nicely.
Yeah, a very nice beer, and one that has a really pleasant balance between dark malt and green freshness. A tad more sweetness and body would help it, I think, but that's my only nit on what is otherwise a exceptionally drinkable brew.
74 / 100
Dark copper with ruby infusion, clear body, beige head that's nice and dense, leaves a thin crown after a few minutes sitting there. Persistent but slow bead. Lace clumps here and there, looks good.
Nose is delectably sweet, lots of toffee and sweet caramel with milk chocolate, dried apple and berries. Not burnt at all, just sweet and rich, maybe the slightest whisper of diacetyl, but the intentional sweetness is well constructed, very enticing smell.
Taste is mostly sweet, with caramel and chocolate blending throughout the palate. Hints of Irish cream on the mid, then finish is slightly more sour, with a sultana character and a light roasted espresso bitterness. Maybe a hint of cola on the front, and light berry on the back as well. Nicely constructed palate, strikes a good balance between sweetness and roastiness. Great porter.
Mouthfeel is the thorn in the paw(ter), really quite thin, even for a porter but especially for a relatively high ABV one. Very watery through the mouth and leaves a little dry. Definitely needs more body to complement the full rich flavour.
Can't hold that against this beer though, otherwise a damn tasty, well-balanced beer. Enjoy this a lot.
Served to me blind by laituegonflable.
Pours a very deep dark cola brown, with a bubbly head of mocha cream foam. Lacing is very good indeed. Some flashes of light around the edges of the glass. Overall, it looks like a pretty decent brew.
Very strong coffee grounds aroma, with a big whiff of what I can only describe as frozen peas. But the coffee/chocolate, roasted aromas start to become far more dominant. Quite sweet and rich, and incredibly robust. This is a very strong nose indeed - it doesn't really blow me away though.
Taste is quite delectable, a smooth bittersweet conglomerate of chocolate and coffee, with a creamy feel and a dollop of grain husk dryness. It's not as robust, or as complex as the nose suggested it might be, but it's smoother for it, and it winds up a very sweetly drinkable beer.
A very rich, pleasant and creamy stout. Not overpoweringly black, and with a goodly amount of character. Very smooth and very easy to drink.
70 / 100
Deep ruddy brown, quite dark, but rather transparent at the edges. Head is a filmy ring of light beige bubbles. Lacing ok. It's not an amazing looking beer, but it's pretty decent.
Deep dark characters with a very robust boooze note. Hints of nuts and coffee, a little chocolate a hint of coconut. Really, it's quite a complex nose, and with some truly lovely characters.
Very smooth palate, very clean, but really without the complexity I'd expect. Some booziness, a little roasted characters, but it's quite subtle. It doesn't smack me in the face as much as I was expecting.
There's certainly things to like about this. It's not a huge beer, it's not something that's going to extremes. To be honest, I like Murray's because of their attempts at taking on extreme styles, and this one fails a little for me.
46 / 100
Darkish - well pretty dark actually - brown, with a nice pale coffee-coloured head, modest but a nice retaining crown. Lacing is pretty nice, sticky sheets. Good looking dark beer.
Nose is yeah, pretty coffee-esque. Smells like a jar of coffee grounds. Nicely fresh though, with a deep roasty character and a slight hint of unsweetened chocolate. Pretty simple, really, but delivers what it promises.
Taste has more of that coffee flavour throughout, actually flavour is a bit bitter and ashy, with a mild watery character on the mid which hinders the flavour because it essentially gives it the sensation of weak espresso. Flavour ends up a bit sour, with an under-roasted character. Hints in there of mint and charred meat, with a bit of a boiled lolly sweetness towards the back, but overall has that espresso flavour, without a great deal of oomph behind it. Dour, and a bit weak.
Not bad mouthfeel, a little bit thin but a bit of body to hold it up.
Yeah, the flavour and lack thereof, is a downer. Tastes like bad instant coffee served lukewarm/cold.
57 / 100
Pours a nice black colour, red tinged when held up to the light, with a thin rim of beige head. Leaves some nice sticky lacing, and some decent carbonation in there. Looks pretty good.
Pretty intense alcomohol phenols on the nose, some nice burnt characters with a hint of molasses and spice, but yeah mostly an intense boozey character, metho-esque. Interesting, not fantastic.
More stinging boozey character on the palate. Dark malt without much roastiness. Bit of a buttered popcorn character, slightly salty. Seriously smacks of alcohol, with a very harsh phenolic character on the back, and pretty simple. Just needs more flavour to compensate for the alcohol - and it's not that alcoholic.
Mouthfeel obviously a bit stinging, but has a nice full body and a good stickiness for all that. The alcohol kick is not repellant but is very noticeable.
Reasonably drinkable for its faults. Could use more roastiness or bitterness to cover the booze.
71 / 100
Pours a dark burgundy colour with a dusky brown tinge. Head is cream-coloured and fizzes up when moved, but mostly thin, just a bit of foam, and a bit of cloud on the top of the liquid. Seemed to have a quite thin meniscus when poured, which I loved. Looks thick, sticky and unique. Exactly what I was hoping for.
Nose is ridiculously sweet, such a rich syrupy honeycomb smell on that, blended with some mocha richness, chocolatey and honey-esque with a quite butterscotchy aroma as well, and also, I think lacqueredmouse is right - pot pourri. A lot of floral character on it. Insanely sweet, but pleasant.
More of a mustiness on the palate, along with a slight hint of a roasted malt bitterness. Floral elements with a bit of a nectar flavour on the front and back, a fair honeycomb lingering at behind the main palate throughout, and then a nice espresso bitterness on the finish, and a bit of an Irish cream flourish as well.
Mouthfeel is a bit thin, with a little creaminess from the malt being nice, but not quite enough. It's suitable but not delicious.
Overall, the burnt character is ever-so-slight off-putting from what is otherwise an incredibly tasty after-dinner beer, but not enough to detract, really. Perfect for a pairing with a nice crème brulée or panna cotta.
44 / 100
From vancurly's description, I believe this is the same beer as what is branded the "Resort Premium Black Ale" at the Hunter Resort's Bluetongue Brewery Cafe.
Pours a slightly hazy light-brown colour - certainly not a dark looking beer, even less so for one called a "black". Head is a thick and powdery off-white colour which retains reasonably well. It's not huge, and not particularly true to any "black" style I've heard of.
Some roasted characters on the nose. Some dirt, dust and a very light roasted bitterness, but not going anywhere near the realms of a true porter. In essence, it's like a slightly differently coloured version of any other of their beers.
Taste is light, more nutty than roasted, quite subtle. Bloating mouthfeel and a rank bitterness on the back which countermands what pleasantness the nutty character leaves. A confused conglomerate of reasonably pleasant, and unacceptably poor characters - the result is mediocre.
It has a tad more interest than Bluetongue's never ending range of pale lagers, but it seems very much a token effort, not a real attempt to brew a proper dark ale. Not bad, but certainly far from greatness.
88 / 100
Pours a lovely burnished brown-black, with hints of ruby through the body. Head is a great crust of oatmeal-coloured bubbles, which leaves some wonderful curtains of lacing down the glass. Looks really lovely.
Sweet, dark and rich, like a chocolate mud cake. But to save it from being sickly, it has a very pleasant light smoke, anise and a baked bread character, which makes the palate seem more mature, more subtle, and more well rounded. Extremely good.
Creamy on the palate, again with a truly lovely semi-sweet chocolate and grain flavour, which melds with hints of vanilla and currants, before being cleansed with a very pleasant dry dusty character, absolutely lovely. Mouthfeel is full around the edges, as though framing the sweet, mellow and thoroughly enjoyable flavours.
An absolutely delightful beer. Almost without question the best porter I've ever sampled. It now sets the bar for all others, although I'd be more than happy to just drink this one from now on.
75 / 100
Dark reddish black colour, not very opaque, but very dark. Head is an amazing rocky adventure of tan bubbles. Lacing is excellent. What an excellent looking beer.
Quite amazingly robust and powerful black roasted almost smoky nose. Very dark. Often I find some sweetness on the nose, and ashiness on the palate - but this has no sweetness here. If this is any indication, this will be one black dark and crazy beer.
Lots of roasted grainy flavours, not quite as dark as I'd have thought. The deep roasted notes are rich like deep brown toast. Very pleasant and pleasantly surprising. Mouthfeel is a little thin. A slight on an otherwise very pleasant beer.
Yeah. Nice. Roasty, but not too extreme. Plenty of character, and pretty easy to drink.
Pours a dark, Dr. Pepper kind of colour, dark brown with a slight red tinge. Head is very thin, can't make out much bead. Not all that impressive, just dark.
Nose is quite intense, coffee with a hint of scotch, very intense really, with not much complexity. More like smelling metho than anything else.
Taste - wow, also intense. Very toasted, burnt coffee. "Burnt" is really the only word for this beer, very bitter and ashy. Starts with a mild espresso flavour but descends quickly into a powerful charcoal flavour. Very bitter and gritty with a reasonable mouthfeel that is a bit sinky nonetheless.
This makes an impression but I can't say it's all that pleasant, and too simple to be interesting.
61 / 100
Pours very dark, almost pitch-black colour with a very large frothy head, mocha in hue, that dissipates quite comprehensively, leaving a thin crown. Lacing is OK, fairly lacklustre. Overall a decent looker.
Dark, heavy-roasted coffee character on the nose, some bitter cocoa-heavy chocolate, but a very grainy, oatmeal character as well. Slight dark tart cherry as well. Fairly predictable, nothing cruel or unusual, but nice.
Taste is again dark, very drying, bitter roastedness on the back, front is a bit disappointing, with nothing much except a tart hit of cherry and red grape skin. Very toasted back, great hit of espresso and a lot of burnt toast. It's quite a robust, bitter finish, slightly sour, quite manly but also a bit simple for its strength, not too much nuance to it.
Mouthfeel has a bit of a tingle to it but is quite thin. The slight grittiness on the back is a bit of a turnoff, but otherwise this is a reasonable drinker. And they have my blessing to call it a 'robust' porter, I don't think it's just marketing.
Dark cola coloured, a bit of an ochre head, just a film of bubbles now. No carbonation, but of course there shouldn't be. Thin but fairly nicely webbed lacing. Not fantastic, but quite true to style.
Dark toffee characters and a lot of chocolate malt on the nose. A bit of sour sultana or raisiny notes as well, cocoa and spicy fruit chutnet or something. Brooding, impressive nose. Very nice.
Tastes similar to the nose, with the same chocolatey texture and hints of dark brandied fruit but curtailed by a roasted espresso tap at the back of the palate. Palate is a little bit shorter than I would like. It's definitely like it's just had its tail clipped off by that slightly gritty, toasty finish which lingers in a slightly musty way. Not bad, certainly a typical version of the porter, but not quite as dark or potent. Pleasant complexity, just needs more flavour on the palate to make it stand out. Mouthfeel is quite good, maybe a touch watery.
Suitable for drinking :)
71 / 100
Dark ruby red, very clear throughout, with a nice filmy head of yellowish bubbles. Lacing is good, but there's something vaguely insipid about the look overall.
Lots of roasted, malty grain on the nose. Very sweet, lots of rye-bread notes, just rich and heavy. What a malt bomb.
Big, grain and malt characters on the palate as well. It's all huge notes of roasted barley, organic and bready. Not a hint of hops. Stays just malty and rich throughout. Mouthfeel is a little thin, but that's not unexpected, in a way.
It's a good beer, albeit one with just one big character. Bold and unapologetic, and surprisingly drinkable.
Red-tinged, in fact red, in colour. Very thin head but looks like it might have been good, back in the days of wooden plane wings and rubber computers. Looks pleasant enough.
Has a very strong musty odour with a distinct spice character, cloves and cumin coming through there. A kind of sourness peeps around as well, but it's mostly that locked-up attic smell. For that though, it's not bad.
Has a kind of smokey character on the front with malty, thick notes bringing up the rear and topped with a slight cherry tartness. This is quite bock-like as well actually, with a fair amount of darkish fruit and a slight tartness. But yeah, a pine-wood smoke kind of flavour, very smooth mouthfeel and a hint of nutmeg as well. Fairly pleasant drinking and with complex aspects.
A lot to like but doesn't really grip me by the balls.
61 / 100
Nice dark red-brown, with a filmy head of whitish bubbles. Not huge and certainly no retention in the head, but not bad looking. Pretty nice overall.
Some dark grains on the nose, but a slight carbonated acidity to it too, almost like a cider. There's a sweetness, a little like portwine or red vermouth. Not bad, a little unusual, and not that dark overall, but nice.
Clingy and crisp palate, with a light sheen. Taste has the same characters as the nose, a light vinous acidity and a lingering dark grain-husk character. Not huge again, but pleasant. Mouthfeel could use a little more fullness.
A drinkable and reasonably enjoyable brew. Not a massive or hugely exciting beer, but it's good for what it is.
48 / 100
Pours a dark brown with a slight orangey tinge around the edge. A little head with fairly good retention. Nice lacing, thick.
Nose has roasty notes with a hint of sour fruit. Nothing really out of the ordinary really, this is a very standard porter.
Taste is roasty and a bit gritty, like badly dissolved coffee. A bit weak, really. Unpleasant finish, like...Yeah, badly dissolved coffee. Mouthfeel is nice, quite full bodied, bit too much carbonation for the style. Apologies for a very unimaginative review, but I really think this is a very middle-of-the-road beer, quite unimaginative as a beer.
73 / 100
Tried at the Australian Beer Festival, 1st October, 2006...
Nice looking beer, this one. Almost opaque black, with a good, creamy head.
Nose is rich and smoky. Chocolate flavours, with a burnt, almost peppery character to it.
The taste is also rich, smoky and dark. It reminds me of a campfire in the bush. Long, roasted aftertaste. A very nice sippable beer. I reckon a bit of a boost in the ABV would help it a bit, give it a bit more body, as would a smoother mouthfeel, but this was a very enjoyable beer all the same.
One of the best I tried at the festival, and the only one I went back for seconds for... =)
Tried at the brewery, late Oct 2005.
They call this a Porter on their website, I'm more inclined to just call it a Mild Ale.
Looks quite rich and translucent dark. Heavy looking body with a film of off-white head.
Smell is predominantly dark malts, burnt aromas, not much sweetness.
Quite a burnt bitter taste. A certain amount of coffee flavours, but not nicely balanced with a sweetness, or even a dry finish that would leave if more refreshing. Overall, the flavours are quite weak for a dark ale anyway, and the depth is sorely lacking.
It's better than some in the Speight's range, but not particularly inspiring.