Hot Rocks Lager - Pizza Port Solana Beach

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Hot Rocks LagerHot Rocks Lager

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BA SCORE
84
good

361 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
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
Photo of Jemonster
4.54/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: This beer "(malt beverage?)" is my first dark lager. Honestly, I didn't even know that this style existed until now. Compared to other offerings, this is a lager in name only. According to the bottle, the wort is boiled by dropping hot granite into it. It has a dark chocolate brown body with a creamy coffee colored head. Opaque.

S: Faint and simple, even when warmer. Straightforward roasted malt smell. I could try to make up a bunch of other stuff, but that would be pushing it here.

T: Very good. Smooth malt flavor, balanced hop bitterness that is more forward that typical lagers. Some coffee notes and moderate acidic tang. Basic and tasty. Less is more.

M: Refreshing and crisp. Thin bodied but fits the flavor very well. Quenching. Perfect mouthfeel for what is presented here.

O: I've gotta get this again. This beer impressed me with its quirky character and refreshing flavor and body. I'll see if my lighter beer drinking friends might like this.

Photo of DaveAnderson
4.46/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

One of the best lagers I have ever tasted, I only sought this after seeing it being made on the Beer Geeks TV show. Great on tap at the brewery, where I was told I would not be able to find it in bottle shops. Heh - that may have been true in SD, but in LA, I tracked a couple down. Still tasty as hell.

Photo of DogFood11
4.42/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass it is easily managed to a nice off white head. Reddish rusty clean body.

It smells fantastic. Lots of sweet malts and some fruity background. Hard to believe this comes in at 6.5% abv. I can't pick up on any alcohol at all. The "Hot" part of the name can cast an impression of Hot Alcohol or Spicy but this has none of those features. Its rather gentle and smooth with just enough spice to balance it out.

The ever creative port brewing nails it again. A generally subtle style with a slight spin and it makes this brew exciting. Hunt this one down!

Photo of sessycuban
4.4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - The beers pours a dark brown. Half a finger of head, great lacing.

S - The beer smells of bananas, roasted malts, and caramel. Very pleasant.

T - Malty goodness! Caramel malt, cloves, and bananas.

M - Incredibly balanced. A bit undercarbonated but not really a problem for this beer.

D - If it was a bit cheaper, this would definitely be a go-to beer.

Good work on this beer! With all the problems the Lost Abbey has been having lately, it's good to see that quality control issues aside, they still put together fantastic recipes. No significant problems with this beer. I'd love to see this become a regular beer in the Port lineup as opposed to a one-off.

Photo of ppoitras
4.39/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Julio's, Westboro, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" tan head over the clear reddish brown brew. Head recedes gradually to a slight layer of froth, with average lacing. Aroma is deeply of rich malt, reminiscent of a black lager, but dialed back a bit. Taste mirrors the nose, maybe the second runnings of a schwartzbier. Chewy sweetness upfront, peeks of crisp hoppiness to close. Mouthfeel is good, and drinkability is nice and easy. One I would definitely look for again.

Photo of pkalix
4.36/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

this was a great brew. actually, it still is... on the 2nd half of the bottle now....
very dark brown with some red in it- kind of like how your hair reddens in the summer.... beautiful foamy head, volume according to the vigor with which it is poured. super nice holding on to the side of the glass as it's tilted. i like that property....
smell is interesting. light, grain-y, nothing special, and smells like a very UN-extraordinary brew of which i was expecting to be disappointed.
taste, however, is very good. not spectacular, but very good. sweet and malty, with traditional bitterness, reminds me of a european commercial style, but with some substance. again, surpassed the expectations formed during the sniff...
it is an interesting note about dropping the glowing 'hot rocks' into the boil, but i wonder how much that contributes overall to the flavor. this is just a great 'standard' beer with some great properties. i like the way it laces on the sides. i like the semi-chocolate-y taste. i like the 6.5 % abv. it's not a super awesome brew, but a great standard which is very easy to drink and with a respectable abv.

Photo of jwhancher
4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 22 oz bottle out in Denver while out for GABF. Bottled on date states 3/14/2011. Poured into my Prima Pils pilsner glass.

A: Was expecting a lighter colored lager, but got a clear amber colored beer with mountainous head that seems to linger around forever. Great carbonation throughout.

S: Upon first pour I get some cocoa notes, but they fade away & give way to some floral hops, caramelized malts, then some rather clean smelling malt character.

T: Taste the caramelized flavors of the malts. Reminds me of cocoa, a dab of chocolate, some caramel, maybe some raisin and dark fruit (cherry, plum). Very clean tasting with no off flavors.

M: Seems light to medium in feel. A tad sweet in finishing and about par in sweet to bitterness. The ever lingering head gives it a nice foamy quality to it.

O: A very nice beer. I dig that this was a collaboration with some brewery I've never heard of. Even still, I like the experiment in using dark granite rocks to help heat the wort and give some nice off-kilter flavors. Think the process produced some nicely done caramelized, almost decoction-like qualities. Really glad to have tried this.

Photo of scottoale
4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Port Brewing in San Marcos, picked up some bottles as well. It pours a dark rootbeer brown with a small foamy ivory head. Carbonation is very evident on tap as well as from the bottle, even so, the head disappears quickly none the less.

The smell is sweet and full of caramel and malty goodness. As it warms notes of molasses, spicy hops and even some alcohol come into play.

The taste is where this beer starts to shine. A sweet raiseny caramel with a touch of molasses and vanilla, followed by spicy earthy hops down to a brisk balanced finish. As it warms the alcohol also adds to the finish with it's warmth. Very nice full flavor and a medium full body and smooth mouthfeel.

Very drinkable with a low-moderate ABV and it's really good flavor. Very refreshing when drinking it on the cold side. A must try for the style.

On a side note_- I remember a brew by AleSmith and Tomme Arthur and another Port brewer (Bagby or Nickels I think) that used this same method for brewing using with the hot rocks. Can't quite remember the name of that brew except the word stone or stoned was in it.

Photo of potownbill
4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I liked this beer!
Appearance: Cloudy brown with a 1"head. Left decent lacing in the glass
Smell: Dark, dried fruit, molassas, sweet malt
Taste: Molassas, hint of hops, Some alcohol
Mouthfeel: Right amont of carbonation, smooth.
Drinkability: Warming, nice for a Northeast December night.
Liked this beer a lot. Improved as it warmed. The last few sips were the best. Need to get back to Philly and get another bottle.

Photo of Beerenauslese
4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Body is very dark brown, a bit transparent at the edge. Poured into a Lost Abbey stemmed glass, it produces a half inch tan head with light sticky lacing.

This smells of roasted malt, charred malt, brown sugar. There is a faint hop aroma.

Tastes of roasted and charred bready malt, like a mix of light toasted bread and some burnt bread. Still, has a lager maltiness and while light in body, it is really rich in flavor. There is also some brown sugar along with notes of both milk and dark chocolate and some vanilla. Hops are there, but subdued.

Body is light to medium, certainly not much viscosity, though seems to have more body because of the dark and sweet elements--and while it is lightly carbonated, it is enough to provide a refreshingly fizzy mouthfeel.

Overall, a very tasty dark lager with a nice bright and dark flavor on draft and very drinkable. Which is why I bought a growler after tasting it on draft.

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

Pours a thick murky brown hue with dark copper highlights and leaves a bubble laden two finger head that settles to an outer rim,the smell is steam,caramel,fruity hops and toffee fondue,the mouthfeel is spot on for a lager its light bodied but the difference setting it apart from other lagers is this light body has abit of backbone which carries the tastes nicely of sticky caramel,burnt toffee,raspberries,poached fruit and finishes pretty much like a milky bitter white coffee that you have been waiting for ages to cool down and is ready for sculling and overall im a big fan of this brew as you dont see the hot rock method used too much these days and compared to one of our local australian micro breweries that brews a brew using the similar style this one is far superior and my only complaint is that i probably will not see this again for a while and am looking forwards to seeing it again one day cheers.

Photo of JonCaytion
4.23/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Awesome notes of cocoa make for a great dark Lager

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 ngeunit1
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark black with a hint of red and a finger of frothy khaki colored head. The head fades down very slowly leaving behind some nice lace.

S - The aroma is a mix of roasted chocolate and caramel malts with a touch of burnt malt and some dark fruit with some earthy hops and bit of lager yeast.

T - Starts off with a mix of roasted chocolate and caramel malts with some earthy hops and light bitterness. Through the middle some more burnt malt and lager yeast flavor comes through. The finish is a mix of roasted chocolate malt, lager yeast, and earthy hops.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a roasted, dry, and lightly sweet finish.

D - Very drinkable. Feels smooth with a nice roasted dryness that balanced the hop and other flavors nicely.

Photo of bigbelcher
4.18/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very unusual beer for Port to make. Once they did away with the amigo lager i thought they were going to go for more extreme style beers. Pours a dark brown, almost black color with almost no head. Mostly dark malt aroma, no hop aroma whatsoever. The taste was extremely good though, really nice carmalazation. Not roasty but malty sweet but well balanced. Good CO2. A very good example of a german schwarzbier in my opinion.

Photo of elgiacomo
4.18/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottled March 14, 2011.

Pours copper/brown with a large fluffy light beige head that leaves some lacing and holds a nice cap.

Aroma is caramel, toffee, toasted bread, nutty, a hint of chocolate. Fair to good strength.

Flavor is more caramel, toffee, molasses, brown sugar, strong toast, nuts, a hint of dark fruit and chocolate, fair sweetness, minimal hop presence. Rich and flavorful for the style.

Mouthfeel is between light and medium bodied, medium to high carbonation.

Good stuff. Reminds me a lot of a Brown Ale in some ways. Very tasty and another great brew from Port who has yet to disappoint.

Photo of OldIronLungs
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured fresh into a new RR deep goblet-stemmed-wonder a dark wet tobacco color with some red, a finger of nice off-white head.

Nose is lightly smokey and burned with a slight berry sweetness.

A sip actually tastes how it looks - rich malts and a satisfying sweet smokey, caramel bread flavor. You can sense the way the wort was scorched by hot stones added to the pot. Full carbonation and a surprisingly light, clean, only suggestively hop-balanced finish; very drinkable, though the body of the beer is filling.

It's odd, it seems a perfect accompaniment to a cool summer meal or a warm winter's feast - a very nice balance, I enjoyed this greatly.

Photo of spicelab
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber with thanks to Beermasons.

Deep bronze with a huge heaving saffron head that continues to rise for a few seconds after pouring. Modest spotty lace and nice final retention.

Cut herbs, flowers and bready yeast initially, followed by an armada of nutty, sweet and spicy aromas. Nutmeg, almond, baked caramel, brandy snap, cola. Very clean and refined.

Flavours are richer and not so refined. Treacle, nutmeg, cassia bark, muscatels and a distinct but difficult to define clean earthy quality that I'm assuming comes from the rocks.

Medium, slightly chewy mouthfeel with a mild carbonation presence, which is surprising. Bit of mouthwash freshness on the finish.

Great stuff. Bright and ballsy malt profile with plenty of added intrigue from the hot rocks.

Photo of billshmeinke
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at golden state.

Pours a murky brown color with an off white head of about half a finger. Retention is decent.

Light caramelized malt and toast.

Tastes of caramelized malt, a touch nutty, some chocolate, toasted bread. Slightly spicey hop presence.

Mouthfeel is creamy with high carbonation, a somewhat acidic bite, and slightly spicey hop presence drying it out very quickly.

A great lager. Seriously a must try for those who appreciate lagers.

Photo of Maximusmaximus
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I don't understand the packaging here. This beer is made by putting red-hot chunks of granite into the wort. This is how some old-school Germans boiled their wort and it lends the beer a hearty, rich, cooked-sugar complexity that is entirely unique. If the earth were a beer, this is what it would taste like. This deep winter, Euro dark lager, "stein" beer screams of its German ancestry. So why put it in a bottle with little Hawaiian guys dancing around a fire on the label? Beats me. Hand me another.

Photo of Drinkerofales
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark, opaque brown, with golden highlights on the edges. A huge light mocha head leaves plenty of thick lace.

Smells of toasted malts, caramel, and a hint of smoke.

Tastes of chocolate, a tiny bit of char, fruity grilled pears, with a yeasty tang on the finish.

Medium bodied and smooth, good drinkability. A light carbonation sting hits the tongue, which kind of detracts, but not horribly so.

What a strange beer, I really liked the flavor. Other aspects not so much, but flavor is the king.

DOA

Photo of scruffwhor
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The color is a dark murky brown with a light brown head that recedes after a sip or two. Can't see any bubbles due to the viscous murk of this brew. The aroma is a crisp and dry smelling pumpernickel bread and some dark cocoa powder. The taste is a firm roasted malt with a little coffee and some powdered dark chocolate. The finish is very dry compared to most dark lagers I've had. My guess is that the black granite played a hand in that.

All in all a good dark lager that is easy to drink, and I would love to have again.

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 OWSLEY069
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy deep amber color with a light tan head. In the aroma, small fruit, charcoal, and some small smoke. In the taste, small sweet fruit, dry rocks, and a hint of smoke. A small bite and medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a dry hint of smoke. Almost like a rauch, and quite "grill" like.

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