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Old Eight Porter - Barley John's Brew Pub

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Old Eight Porter
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very good

28 Reviews
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Reviews: 28
Hads: 64
Avg: 4
pDev: 11.25%
Wants: 1
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Barley John's Brew Pub visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 08-13-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 28 | Hads: 64
Photo of tavernjef
3.25/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Color is very, very dark solid brown, nearly black with a thin tannish-cocoa brown head that fades to a thin ring and small sheets of lacing. Smell is a good sense of dark roastyness and chocolate with a good coffee backing which seems to pick up and become more evident as it warms. Taste comes across way to soon and very uneven of coffee, chocolate and bittering hops, very unbalanced, almost enough for it to be enjoyable. The alcohol of 8% makes an appearance far to soon and is what really makes the flavors falter, it seems to get in the way of any taste.The finish is tolerable with light lingering dark fruits and sweet malts. Its overbearing in the start making this very hard to enjoy or finish. The richness trying to poke through is bogged down by uneven chocolaty bitterness that just never settles or shines like a good chocolate should and the coffee flavor seems like its a week old in pot with only about an inch of liquid left in it. Didn't like this one, seems like it could be better, perhaps next time I'm in at Barley John's I'll try it again sense it is a year round tap.

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Photo of ADR
3.27/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap...Twin Cities Pub Crawl 2004...

Decent dark brown and opaque in its pout. Yellowish head, not more than 30 seconds in duration. Ring laces, simple in architecture. Definite bitter chocolate aroma, mildish oily hops, the beer's best feature. Medium mouthfeel, somewhat gravelly. Light chocolate, distinct anise, alcoholic sharpness start the flavor profile off, astringent and lingering finish, aftertaste is somewhat offputting. The sweetness is adequate in this beer, but the malt could have more interest and less sharpness, bittering is good, but I can't really jump on the bandwagon with this one.

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Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed April 9, 2005. On tap at the Gitchee Gumee Brewfest 2005. I’d usually not been fan of Porters at this point, because they seem a little watery and weak, but this one has body and backbone. Aromas of rich chocolate. Strong flavors of more swiss chocolate and a good dose of dark pipe tobacco and strong birch wood smoke. I would drink this all the time. Finishes a little too dryly though, if there were a little more sweetness in the smack and finish, this would be out of this world!

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Photo of jrallen34
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brew pub into tasting glass...A dark brown, almost bordering black. Light tan head with good retention and lacing...A roasty aroma that is nice, but I really wish it was stronger...The taste is really sweet, didn't see that coming at all, a little too sweet but smooth.

An average porter but worth trying as its one of the better regulars available.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured on tap at the brewpub into a pint glass.

A- Very dark thick pitch black, no head, small mocha ring around glass, some lacing as well.
S- Mellow aroma, coffee, cocoa, slight chocolate on the nose.
T- The taste is not as mellow as the aroma, strong coffee flavors, roasted malts, some bitterness, well carbonated; alcohol is there but not overpowering.
M- Medium mouth feel, smooth, slight carbonation
O- This is a decent porter, nothing amazing or mind blowing but solid, it hits the spot if your wanting something dark with nice roasted coffee flavors, would definitely drink again on my next visit.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Very very dark brown. Head is thin and tan. Fair retention with a good amount of lace sticking to the glass.
S- The aroma is mild and tends a bit toward the sweet end for the style, though there is a bit of coffee ground aroma as well.
T- The flavor jumps out a little bit better. At first it's quite like milk chocolate, with a touch of sweetness lingering throughout, but there is a roasted, ever so slightly bitter coffee kick in the finish.
M- A bit thin for what I'd like out of a porter (especially if we call it a Baltic Porter). Carbonation is smooth. With a little more body it would be silky but as is it comes off a little weak.
O- A tasty porter, albeit one that punches a bit below 8%. Worth a try though.

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Photo of treznor
3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - nice dark color with a dark tan head

S - slightly almost sweet aroma

T - Nice roasty flavor and the chocolate malt comes out well

M - Fairly full mouthfeel for a porter

O - a solid representation of style, though not something I'd go too far out of the way for

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Photo of AgentZero
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very thick and black, onlay a slight bit of red coming in on the edges, and you have to look hard to find it. light brown head leaves sheets on the sides which turns into some nice lace.

S - Nice chocolate and roast on the nose.

T - Light chocolate, nice roasty taste without any bitterness. Nothing offensive on this one at all, nothing standing out as great, but quite solid.

T - Creamy beer with low carbonation, very full bodied.

D - Highly drinkable at 8%, a solid beer I don't mind having.

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Photo of weeare138
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to hopdog for opening the growler...
Appears black with a 1/2" tan head that slowly fades. Tons of scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of bitter chocolate, dark fruit, and even a light whiff of banana somewhere in there.
Taste is that of a porter that is rich with chocolate, cream, truffels, and a touch of dark fruit.
Mouthfeel is a little rough around the edges but has some smooth, creamy, rich chocolate and sweetness.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: fully black, near-opaque, with a short, yet substantial head above, toasty tan. Aroma: roasty, peppery, notes of anise, and bittersweet espresso, and chocolate.
Gritty, earthy taste, solid, rich character, loaded with malt, just a whiff of hoppiness, full-bodied. Easily drinkable, despite the higher-than-normal ABV. A very pleasurable porter, indeed.
I was just getting used to this one, when along came the waitress, unbidden, with free samples of Alfred's Porter, their step above, weighing in at 14%!
I'll try a full sample of that, next time, if I can, but I'll look forward to this every visit!

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Photo of ahalloin
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark black with a very dark tan head that fully lingered while I drank the other beers in the sampler.

The aroma was dominated by roastiness with slight hints of chocolate and dark fruits.

The flavor was much the same with roasty coffee, somewhat smoky and a light hoppy finish with very little carbonation.

Overall a great brew for a cold Minnesota day.

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Photo of tempest
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This isn't a Baltic porter, it's just big American porter. I actually found some similarities in flavor with their wild brunette. The cocoa flavor was very smooth (like so many of their beer seem to be). This was backed up by a light roasted flavor and not much else. It's just chocolate barley flavors that are a bit roasted. It's a deep flavor though, and well worth trying.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Barley John's Brewpub.

A: opaque
S: roasted, dense malt - very good - almost barleywine like
T: thick roasted, syrupy, great Russian imperial stout type porter but Beer Advocate labels it a baltic porter which would be brewed with a lager yeast
M & D: dense but good and drinkable

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Photo of brdc
4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had it at their place, poured into a regular pint.

Near pitch black, with a very short and not so long lasting tan head. Nice aroma, mostly roasted, coffee, chocolate.
A bit thin, but tasty. Mostly malt notes, the chocolate is a bit sweeter than the average, some hoppy bite at the end. Alcohol becomes more noticeable over time, but still does not interfere.
Easily drinkable, if not spectacular.

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Photo of hopdog
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler acquired in trade with kms399 (thanks!).

Poured a dark black with red edges and a smaller sized light brown head. Aromas of chocolate, coffee, lactose, vanilla, and some wood. Tastes of chocolate, coffee, wood, and light smoke. Smooth body. I glad I had a chance to try this one!

Notes from 2/3/06

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Photo of will4240
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From beer notes... Had on tap at the brew pub June 6th of the 2009 year.

A- VERY dark. Deep brown almost black. Nice one-and-a-half finger head that slowly dissipated within the first five or so sips.

S- Smoke! Chocolate! wow, both are very pronounced to the nose... if this beer tastes like it smells I am in for a treat.

T- Smoke! A little too much smoke for my taste... The chocolate sort of balances it out, but by the end of the glass it weighs on you, making it hard to finish. A friend asked me why my breath smelled like bonfire...

M- Definitely full bodied, the abv at 8% is definitely there.

D- All things considered- the smoke, full bodied nature, and 8% abv- this is a darn drinkable beer.

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Photo of Mistofminn
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Second beer I had at Barley Johns for lunch.

Served in a pint glass, appears to the darkest brown possible, nearly black. Served with a large mocha head that was very impressive, however I turned around for just a minute and it was already gone. So retention isn't the best. I couldn't coax out more foam even with a good swirl. There is a little bit of lacing going on, but nothing special.

The nose is very mild. I get sweetened chocolate, a roasted malt and smokiness going on. I also get a strong vanilla characteristic. Odd. Overall, just pretty roasty and smokey.

I'm finding it odd that there was a vanilla scent in the nose, but there is none in the taste. Maybe it was just the combination of the alcohol and the malts. Anyways, chocolate and smokey malts dominate this one. Velvety smooth stuff.

Very smooth and creamy, delicious. There is no alcohol bite and hardly any bitterness. This is what I would consider a great mouthfeel for a porter or a stout. Drinkability is high for this reason, and the fact that the alcohol is nowhere to be found.

Overall, a great offering from Barley John's. Smooth and smokey, and easy going down. I would think if the alcohol content wasn't 8% I could session this, and I gladly would.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ Barley John's Brew Pub (New Brighton, MN) on 8/12/10. Served in a pint glass.

Pours black, with a ½ finger of burnt and reddish colored dark mocha head. This hangs around with some foamy richness around the edges, leaving some quality spotty lace all down the sides of the glass. Quite the angry look on this guy. The aroma is sharp in the nose with dark roast and coffee and is backed by a sticky twang of chocolate and caramel pulling up behind it. Some light earthy hop textures waft outwards out of the roast and round this out nicely.

Cocoa and toffee sweetness takes more of a foothold in the taste, mixing with dark roasted malts to coat the mouth with a dark and sticky tang before burnt and bitter notes rock the finish. Like the aroma, there is just enough green feeling bitterness here to add a little extra complexity to this but it's mostly covered up by the strong roasty presence in this. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a creamy sharpness that then gives way to a bit of chewy beef underneath which perfectly compliments the heavy roasted bitterness and sweetness in this.

Rich with roast and all around robust flavors, this is great Porter and despite the bigger body on this, it still stays very smooth and drinkable for 8%. Man, they have some well made house beers on tap here. Another winner from Barley John's!

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Photo of Viggo
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can't remember who provided this, but thanks! Via a growler at DLD, from notes.

Pours an opaque brown/red edges, thin tan head, nice lacing, pretty sticky stuff. Smell is sweet, very malty, great chocolate and coffee, bit of roast, very nice. Taste is similar, big malty sweetness, lots of chocolate, nice roastiness, touch of vanilla, solid balance. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation, very smooth, a porter I would be happy to have again. Thanks whoever it was!

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Photo of shroompod
4.26/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick mocha head , tons of lacing.

Aroma was fairly faint with a slight chocolate and charcoal smokiness.

Decent amount of smokiness on tasting. Dark Burnt coffee and good hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel was medium , slightly drying. Good carbonation.

Overall this is probably the best Baltic porter I've had , a nice treat.

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Photo of maximum12
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled this a few times, but the wife ordered a half-pint at dinner the other night & they accidentally poured her a pint. Yeehaa! Dibs on the rest.

Pour is big black stallion, nothing light going on around here. Smell is excellent, big sweetness upfront, cocoa, strong roast.

Old 8 Porter is a benchmark other porters could be measured by. Huge waves of chocolate roll out over the palate, but they're restrained by a balancing shoulder of roast that keeps the cloy at bay. No smokiness detected at all. Smooth & easy drinking for a bigger porter.

Another offering that's simple, direct, & delicious. One of my favorite straight-up porters of all time, I'd put a glass of this up against most imperial stouts - & it would come out on top. Excellent beer.

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Photo of Chaz
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured medium-firm into a 250 ml A Chouffe goblet. Almost no head and virtually no lacing to speak of, in fact there was no "hiss" as I popped the cap! Oh well, I know that the wisp of dark mahoganny lace that rings the glass is typical of the color that the head usually appears as. The nose offers a sweetish blend of dark malts and roasted malts, very much gives the impression of espresso, complete with the bitterness. No hops to speak of, but I did just pour this from the fridge, so maybe if I let it warm? Appears very dark brown, almost black, and rather opaque. The first sip is sweet and malty, with a very very mild astringency and a lingering bitterness. Notes of coconut (?), chocolate, green apple, and rum. Slightly boozy, but the alcohol is actually quite well-contained and it improves the drinkability greatly. Tangy . . . with some of the malt and roasted malt character I recognize in e.g. Fuller's London Porter, but overall much more on-style for a Baltic Porter (I used to drink this in the past and knew it was off-style for an American or London-style porter : ) Body is medium, mouthfeel is rather good, coating the tongue and palate the way a good treacly-sweet doppelbock might. Not quite creamy, but pretty close. Slightly chalky on the tongue . . . not grainy, but a decent texture overall. Very, very drinkable. As this warms it opens up more, and there's a good bit of yeast on the nose, but still no hops. The hops *are* there of course, offering a classic lingering bitterness that would be acceptable in any other rendition of a British or London style porter. Alcohol warmth comes on slowly, about three quarters of the way through the glass. I've enjoyed this on tap many times and I'm glad to have the ability to bring some home! My second favorite of John's brews, after Little Barley Bitter.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was the first beer I tried at Barley John's. Very dark, almost black with a thin tan head that sticks around until the glass is empty. The smell is toasty and fruity, with hints of fig and espresso. Flavors of coffee and fresh baked bread strike the palate first, followed with a sweet, almost rasiny character. It finishes slightly dry, with a very nice hop backbone. The mouthfeel is silky and coats the palate with flavors that linger throughout the whole experience. Even with it's 8% ABV, this beer is very approachable. I found it to be better than some of the Baltic porters I have had from Europe.

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Photo of Deuane
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Black with ruby highlights. Thin dark tan head that leaves spotty lacing.

S-Rich deep roast with hints if chocolate and a bit of alcohol burn.

T-Big, rich and roasty. Alcohol warmth with a nice backing of chocolate. Simply awesome.

M-Medium heavy body with BIG smooth, creamy roundness.

D-This would one of my porters of choice. Great stuff....like a roasty chocolate milkshake.

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Photo of dave43
4.44/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one substantial porter. I believe the alchohol content is 8% but seems a little higher to me. Has the aroma and taste of coffee and chocolate. It is sweet but not too sweet which is the problem I find with some porters. I wish I lived closer to Barley John's as I could drink this everyday.

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Old Eight Porter from Barley John's Brew Pub
88 out of 100 based on 28 ratings.