Hot Rocks Lager - Pizza Port Solana Beach

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Hot Rocks LagerHot Rocks Lager

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361 Ratings
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Ratings: 361
Reviews: 183
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 10.96%
Wants: 19
Gots: 14 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Pizza Port Solana Beach visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Euro Dark Lager |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Kegatron on 03-17-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 361 | Reviews: 183
Reviews by jminsc76:
Photo of jminsc76
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Into a Firestone pint glass, pours a big, BIG pinkish head, very thick (like a milkshake) atop a ruby red body. Murky yet somewhat vibrant.

Mild aromas that include caramel malts and biscuit, with some of that smoky roast and toast others have alluded to in their reviews. Just wish it hit a little stronger.

Flavors of charcoal…

Ok, maybe not charcoal. More blackened toasty malts dovetailing with a medium-level spiciness. Some of that crisp lager hops and caramel sweetness near the finish, the latter reminding me somewhat of a cherry-flavored Jolly Rancher.

Mouthfeel is light despite the appearance to the contrary. That body appears really thick and ebullient.

Overall, I dig Hot Rocks for its combination of toasty, sweet, and smokey. Reminds me of a Kostritzer with a tinge of Rauchbier. I can’t say it’s smooth – it’s not – but it is flavorful and pairing well with the seasoned hamburger and noodles in gravy I’m eating with it. Due to its more abrasive effect on the palate, one per sitting is all I need.

More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
3.47/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - This is a dark brown in color with an almost purple hue. The head needed a lot of elbow work and didn't stay long.

Smell - This doesn't smell like a traditional red ale. It doesn't have that massive malt base that you find in typical examples of the style. I'm getting a strong smoke aroma and even some darkish notes like you'd find in an Export Stout.

Taste - This is definitely misclassed. It is more like a dark lager with some big smoke, dark fruits such as plums and raisins, and a roasted malt base that I guess comes from the infusion of granite as indicated on the label.

Mouthfeel - This is medium-bodied with little carbonation. It's not what I would call smooth but the beer is well lagered and has that "on-tap" kind of feel in the mouth.

Drinkability - This is a strange one that you'll love or hate. I enjoyed the uniqueness of this effort and especially appreciated the expert lagering that went into the storage process. I don't know if it was the granite or whatever but this had that musty character like it was aged in a damp cave, something almost impossible to find outside of Germany.

Photo of byaeger
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Spotted this on tap at the Toronado last night. I asked what kind of beer it was and he said something along the lines of, "not sure, it's dark, I think it's a rauchbier." Well, I love rauchbiers, and since it was one of the few lines going I'd never tried, I ordered it. What it is is a tasty schwarzbier with a hint of roastiness from the malt, but certainly not smokey. More of a dark muddy brown than black, it looks, smells, and holds its own. Certainly has some punch, guessing at least 6% ABV. Quite worthwhile trying, though not my new favorite at least after just one go.

Photo of Drunkenass
3.27/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up in LA on a recent trip.

This beer was not what I expected it to be. It is well hopped but a little too malty for me.

Appearance: dark and malty with a good head.

Smell: malty with a hoppy note

Taste: not like a lager I wanted it to be. Heavy malt and tropical fruit.

Mouthfeel: Heavier than it looks with a hoppy aftertaste.

Overall: I'm into trying new brews, but this one was a disappointment. I'm a big fan of west coast IPA and this lager didn't do it for me.

Photo of Mora2000
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A dark brown beer poured into a pint glass. The first smell is of a malty sweetness that smells very inviting. The taste is different than the smell, with chocolate and roasted grains being the predominant flavor. There is not a lot of carbonation, which is okay in this beer. Overall this is a very drinkable beer that would go very well with a hamburger or a steak.

Photo of magictrokini
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark mahogany with a thick tan head. Looks opaque until held up to the light. Thick lacking. Burnt sugar and roasted malt aroma. Some caramel/molasses aroma as well. Toasty. Heavier mouthfeel than expected, somewhat syrupy, with a long finish. Not the taste I was expecting. None of that sweet lagery nonsense. Grainy and minerals, with a strong malt character. Balanced well with spicy hops. Finish is also spicy, but sweeter with the maple syrup everyone reports. Very roasty throughout. It tricks you into thinking its coffee, but my guess is that its from the burnt grain and malt from the super-heated granite. Loved this beer.

Photo of kingcrowing
2.86/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap poured into a pint glass.

Pours a very dark black with a small brown head. Nose is very light but malty and a tinge of coffee but not much...

Taste is fairly bitter and sharp. There's a lot of coffee and almost tart flavors from the toasty roasty flavors. Unique but good!

Photo of ehammond1
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Dark brown pour with ruby edges. Thin tan cap. Decent lacing down the glass.

Roasted malts and a very earthy character in the nose.

The flavor is similar to the aroma as there's tons of roasted malt and earthy characters, along with a licorice and bitter accent; this beer reminds me a lot of a winter time porter.

Medium to thick mouthfeel.

A heavy and thick lager, more reminiscent of a porter than anything else. Earthy and roasty, lots of flavor, and perfect with food.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.31/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Good brown and ruby red color going on, slight beige head, fluffy and ample. Aroma was largely missing. Tasted at the SDIBF.

Taste, maybe its just the imagery, but this one seemed to coat and help put out a little spice despite its smokiness. Super restrained in terms of hoppiness for a Port beer, but to style my friend, to style. More complex than a traditional brown ale, this lager had some nuances and possibly more malt heft than the average brown. All together, it all makes for a pretty smooth coating beer that might be good in place of a Negra Modelo (my usual spicy food go to beer).

Definite drinkability points for the cheapness $4, and for the uniqueness of this beer.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a deep dark cola brown hue with a nice light beige tan head dwindling quickly. Aroma has dark roasted malt layers a touch of cola and fruit tones. Mild herbal layer with caramelized sugars just for a spot to dress my oldest son in the nose. Dark cola anise in the background, creamy dark chocolate mildy roasted malt character minimal hop impact. Hint of bready dough yeast, solid brown ale lager that's what it reminds me of. Mouthfeel is medium bodied creamy textured even carbonation not bad. Drinkability is solid all around a decent interesting brew from Pizza Port callaboration with Bend Brewing up in Oregon.

Photo of glid02
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this courtesy of jophish - much obliged!

Pours a hazy dark ruby color with a one-finger off-white head. The head dissipates into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of earthy malts with good amounts of herbal hops and a light spiciness.

Tastes similar to how it smells. The malt flavors are very earthy, and the only other beer I've had that had this profile was Granitbok - it must be the rocks. Those malt flavors are joined by herbal hop flavors that do just enough to keep the malt from taking over. There's also a very light spiciness that comes in right before a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's very thick for a lager with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I enjoyed one glass but I'm not sure about another.

Overall I'd like to taste more beers that actively use rocks in the brewing process as the two I've had definitely change the flavor profile. Definitely worth a shot.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.31/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in a pint glass)
A- This beer has a dense brown body with a garnet glow to it.  There is a thick lumpy light tan head that last for a bit.  It is a bit to dense to see much carbonation.
  S-  The dry roasted malt is by itself in an otherwise clean aroma.  There is a very perfumy quality to the malt that grows as the beer warms up.
  T-  The dry pure toasted malt note finishes with a bitter hop bite.  There is a melanoidin flavor to the darker toasted malt and coffee roast that come through when the beer warms.  The bitterness of the dark malt and hops linger a bit after each sip.  M-  This beer ha a light mouthfeel with no alcohol heat and a tight fizz finish.
   D-  This beer is very dry with the melanoidin/nougat flavor grown and just the hop bitterness to follow.  It would be nice if there was more caramel flavors form the lava rocks to add some depth and flavor. 

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Capitol Beer an Tap Room in Sacramento, CA.

Appearance - Pours a semi-hazy, dark rusty amber. The head is off-white and a finger thick with good retention. Lacing is spotty with almost no stick.

Smell - Hits on bread and a piney hop aroma.

Taste - Hits on a lot of mild piney hop bitterness. Malts are moderate, coming across as bready with faint hints of caramel. Finishes much in the way it starts, with a lot of piney hop bitterness. Very little depth.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium body with fair, lively carbonation. Finish is fairly dry.

Overall - Good, but not impressive. Comes across as fairly generic. Lots of simple hop character, with a basic malt character. Based on the flavor profile, I'd have never guessed this to be a pale ale or a light IPA, not a lager.

Photo of GilGarp
4.11/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Really? This was brewed over hot rocks?

A bomber served cool into an imperial pint glass. Hot Rocks has a deep brown color with good clarity observed on the pour. It has the most creamy perfect head that I've ever seen this side of a nitro stout.

Aroma is sweet and roasty. It reminds of a baltic porter or milk stout at this point. Milk chocolate and light roasted coffee. No hop aroma that I can sense.

Flavor is a good balance between sweetness in the form of milk chocolate and bitterness in the form of black malts.

Mouthfeel is wonderfully creamy and smooth. I never expected to enjoy the looks and feel of this beer so much but it's just about perfect in both regards.

Overall a much better beer than I expected to find. I've passed this one over many times but I might just pick a couple more up next time I'm at the store.

As a sidenote, this beer had a ton of sediment in the bottle. Luckily very little of it came out. Most had partially solidified at the bottom. Maybe that bottle conditioning gave it that perfect head.

Photo of Metalmonk
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brewed using hot black granite rock, which boils the wort, according to the story on the label. Interesting.

Dark brown color veering toward black, with reddish highlights when held to light. Head is small and doesn't have much staying power.

Nose is fresh dark bread, currants and chocolate cake.

Milky cocoa sweetness pervades in the flavor, which is nice, and it's balanced with a bitter grassy element, with a little bit of a mineral earthiness to it. Cola, date, and root beer too. Both toasty, nutty and vibrant, this is an interesting and comforting flavor. I wish it weren't quite so biting, texturally, as the sharpness of the carbonation pins down the flavors somewhat.

I like the novelty of this, although you'd never know it was brewed using black granite if you weren't 1) told so, or 2) an expert on black granite. As is, it's a refreshing dark lager that elbows into bock territory, flavor-wise, although not really texturally. All I know is the flavor is the best thing about it, which is pretty much 95% of the reason I drink beer, and I was left wanting more of the same after this bomber was gone.

Photo of Sammy
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

$20 bottle at Fallen Rock club, Denver. Shared with JMSHB. Darkish body, almost nohead though lace. Sweeet with spices and pepper, root beerish.Chocolate, caramel, nuts. A brown ale more than anything. Average mouthfeel.Understated carbonation.Needed something very American, smoke or whatever.

Photo of dirtylou
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap at the rathskeller in DC - a true american dump

cell phone notes

appearance: served in a water glass(?) - an apparent 10oz pour, ebony body with a creamy beige cap - cola-esque

smell: the stone brings out the caramel in a big way, lots of malt - dark fruit in abundance

taste: underwhelming by Port standards but still very solid for what it is - big gummy caramel, big malts - heavy malt profile afterall. interesting beer

mouthfeel: very creamy, milky and smooth

drinkability: high

Photo of WoodBrew
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance of the Hot Rocks Lager is great.. The beer poured a ddep rich amber that was nearly opaque. A huge froathy off-white head formed and is lacing down on the glass. The aroma carried caramel malt and slight spice. The taste starts with a sweet malt then becomes dry on the pallet. The mouthfeel is good medium body....big carbonation...which I think affects the taste slightly. Overall this is a good beer.

Photo of prototypic
3.46/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hot Rocks pours a darker, almost mahogany brown color. It's clear and a little backlighting reveals nice burgundy highlights. A vanilla cap tops it off. It reaches about two fingers deep. It recedes to a surface covering rather quickly, but took a while to completely disappear. Light, sticky strands of lace clung to the glass.

The nose is straight forward enough. It's malty, but isn't the least bit sweet smelling. It's a little yeasty and features some grain at the secondary level. There's a hint of a spicy aroma, but I can't quite put my finger on it. There's really not all that much to talk about here. It's a little on the weak side and doesn't have any real standout qualities. Pretty average if you ask me.

The flavor profile is easily better than the nose. It is indeed rather malty. It's not sweet at all. It tastes mostly like chocolate malt. It has a strong cocoa-like quality. There's a yeasty flavor that permeates throughout. There's a light spice flavor present that I can't identify. It's somewhat earthy, herbal, and grainy. It's somewhat reminiscent of a black lager, but not entirely. There's a light hop presence noted that gives it a slight bitter buzz. I like that. Alcohol is not noticeable. It finishes earthy and a little dry. It's alright. Above average.

Hot Rocks has a medium body that's nice and smooth. Actually, I think it might be my favorite thing about this beer. Carbonation is light and restrained. It goes down really easy. Drinkability is above average. It's easy drinking, but is lacking a little in flavor. This bomber is enough.

I had high hopes for Hot Rocks. Perhaps too high. I like collaboration beers and this effort by Port and Bend Brewing has an interesting story. Read the label if you're interested. I won't rehash it here. The results are alright, but aren't spectacular. It just doesn't have any standout qualities that make it shine. It's alright and is definitely worth a try, but go for the single bomber. You can thank me later.

Photo of PirateUlf73
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber. Poured into a big 'ol mug.

A: Pours a cloudy, brownish-black color with a light-tan head.

S: Fantastic aromas of roasted and toasted barley, caramel and even some earthy hop notes. Perhaps just a whiff of coffee as well.

T: Big malt sweetness up front. Very reminiscent of a dopplebock. Smooth caramel, rich roast and a pleasant toastiness seamlessly meld to create a sweet taste all its own. Some hop bitterness is noticeable, but merely serves to balance some of the sweetness.

M: Rich and slick medium body with adequate carbonation. Finishes clean and sweet, with a bit of that sulfur-esque, lager "bite" that I love so much.

D: Probably not the best choice for a session beer, but the flavors expanded and held my interest throughout.

This is the first beer I've had that took the "stein bier" concept quite literally, and I like it a lot. Smooth like a lager should be, yet nice and sweet in its own right. I would love to see more brewers take a crack at this style. Definite thumbs up from me!

Photo of MrKennedy
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber via Beermasons and poured into a 7oz glass.

Has a pretty big head of beige foam on top of an amber-copper colour.

Smell is quite nice, no hint of any staleness from the long journey. Instead a little bit of roasted malt, a touch of smoke, but these are all built around a big caramel base.

Taste is caramel with a touch of roasted malt and minimal smoke bite at the end.

Even with plenty of caramel sweetness, it isn't cloying and i think that last little bit of bite from the smoke works wonders in helping the drinkability of this.

More complex than you think and expect. A very nice lager.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Pours three fingers of tan head on a dark brown-red colored body.
The aroma has roasted malt and a little cocoa power. Nice.
The taste is dark roasted malt, bitter chocolate and a little cream.
The texture is soft and fizzy.
Excellent flavors and smell.

Photo of dannydetox
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a couple of pints of this brew at the Weiland's late night happy hour while waiting for Eddie & the Hot Rods to play down the street. Deep reddish brown-black beer with moderate carbonation. Smelled roasty and a touch sweet. The beer started with caramel malt and toffee qualities that were backed up with a pleasing spine of hops on the finish. I thought it would be syrupy, but I was pleasantly surprised with the balance of malt and hops.

Good enough for a second pint, especially at $3!

Photo of hooliganlife
3.82/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A - pours deep reddish b lack with little to no head. decent retention

S - strong black cherry and caramel up front, light malts hidden in the mix.

T - deep caramel and black cheery flavors. a bit of fig and very malty. a tad sweet.

M - very full bodied. perfect carbonation, in between light and medium. helped bring out the flavors. pretty smooth overall.

D - a great lager but this is sort of too much for me so there is no way id drink more than 1.

Photo of russpowell
3.84/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the first Lager I've had from these guys. I've had a few Stein Beers before, I'll interested to see how this stacks up...

Pours a chill-hazed brown/chestnut with a pinky of mocha colored head. Some lacing & head retention

S: Breadyness & caramel, metallic hops & jammyness

T: Brown bread, metallic & herbal hops caramel & slight nuttyness, plus dryness up front. Slight smokeyness, more brown bread & a touch of caramel as this warms. I also get some figs & persimmons. Finishes slightly dry, with brown bread. a touch dark fruitty with some figs & herbal hops

MF: Light/medium bodied with low carbonation. Some alcohol warmth once warm

Drinks pretty easy, not perfect, but right in my malt-centric wheelhouse. I wonder if these guys will do Rauch or Dopplebock? They might want to give it some serious thought...

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Hot Rocks Lager from Pizza Port Solana Beach
84 out of 100 based on 361 ratings.