Hot Rocks Lager - Pizza Port Solana Beach

Not Rated.
Hot Rocks LagerHot Rocks Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

182 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 182
Hads: 362
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 6.07%
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 182 | Hads: 362
Photo of Sammy
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
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. (294 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 4/6/12.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a 1 inch foamy dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace of lace form randomly around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, slight caramel, and some mineral aromas. Taste is of roasted and toasted malt and some burnt caramel and slight mineral flavors. There is a medium roasty and hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but I prefer the way it smells over the way it tastes. (616 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.74/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is jet black in color and has bits of carbonation visible near the edges of the glass. It poured with a two finger high off white head that gradually died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of dark and roasted malts in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of dark and roasted malts in the nose along with notes of chocolate and hints of sweetness.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and a little watery and airy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is easy to drink and seems a little reminiscent of a schwartzbier and a porter. (645 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Coffee brown color, with a mocha milkshake film that leaves quite a few squiggles of lace behind

Smell: Brown bread and toasted marshmallow

Taste: The brown bread and toasted marshmallow flavors present themselves immediately, with a bit of caramel sweetness developing by mid-palate; after the swallow, the dark malt flavors continue to dominate though there is a bit of European hop bitterness in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A lot of malty flavor, like a big dunkel but a nicely balanced hop profile, too (568 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
2.93/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

this beer is disgusting. i love the idea, but the execution is appalling really. granted, my bottle had a little date on it, and may have deteriorated some, but i cannot imagine a great beer ever lived in here. sticky brown caramel color with some tan suds. the nose is sweet malt, but not fresh and harvest grainy, but more a euro extract thing, like a home brewers extract. no hops at all in nose or taste, but thats there least of the worries here. the flavor is an acrid funk that turns into unfermented sweetness. old taffy and gum and gross fair candy come to the forefront, behind stale grain and other off flavors. hard to believe this is rated as high as it is. thick and textured for a lager, although carbonation is fine. the price is right on some of these port bombers, but as much as midnight expression made my day for being so awesome and cheap, this one turned me right back off. if you can make older viscosity, you can do better than this. (958 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle dated March 2010 - I love that Lost Abbey and Port Brewing have started dated their beers. Much appreciated.

From a bomber into a nonic, Hot Rocks is a dark mahogany brown with a bone-colored head that crackles away like cola. Actually, the beer has a cola-like appearance in general.

It smells hugely metallic initially, but toastier as it has a chance to breathe. Whole grain bread, toasted nuts, a whiff of caramel sweetness, this could be confused for a brown ale.

There's a metallic roughness to the flavor that's supported by toasted and caramelized malt, light roastiness, hints of coffee and fruitiness. It's rather full-bodied and rich, making it not exactly sessionable, but certainly enjoyable and easy enough to drink a pint of. It's nice to see new breweries using traditional, arguably archaic brewing methods such as this - I don't think I've had another stone beer beyond this one, but I'd love to try more. (938 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Roasted pecan brown that becomes glowing ruby red when backlit with morning sunshine. Up top sits a thick chunk of golden sandstone colored foam that looks good in all respects. It's also sticky enough to grace the pint glass with scattered patches of lace. Based on appearance, schwarzbier seems a more accurate choice.

The aroma is dark without being black. Closer to a brown ale than a porter, though neither one of those is a serious consideration since HR is a lager. Repeated sniffs result in a whiff of earthy malt... and very little else. Warming results in enough of a power and personality increase for an above-average score to be granted.

Until reading the label, I had no idea that Port Hot Rocks Lager was brewed with hot rocks. That must have been some interesting (and fun!) brewing session. Whether or not that procedure added anything of value to the beer's flavor or mouthfeel is another matter entirely. Cool idea, though.

As far as style goes, schwarzbier still fits. Unlike the aroma, the flavor is definitely 'black' enough to qualify. There's an impressive amount of licorice/anise present, without much roasted maltiness. Maybe that's due to the mash being superheated so suddenly by the rocks, rather than more gently by more modern methods. Since I'm neither zymurgist nor brewer, I have no idea.

The flavor profile is on the simple side. Again, black licorice leads the way, followed by dark chocolate, English toffee and a hint of medium-dark fruit. Actually, the fruity esters that an ale yeast would have provided would have been an improvement. Although hop flavor is lacking, sweetness and bitterness are fairly evenly matched. Given the spicy quality of the beer, German hops would be a good guess. Either that or a small percentage of rye malt. On second thought, the cumulative bitterness tells me that the IBU count might be pushing 50.

Considering the ABV, the mouthfeel could stand to be more full. It does manage to achieve a light creaminess and a lagery smoothness by the bottom of the first glass, however. In addition, the carbonation is pretty much right on the money: lightly and softly tingly.

The process by which Hot Rocks Lager was brewed is more interesting than the beer itself. That said, this is a pretty enjoyable schwarzbier that is a few more flavor facets away from being worthy of a repeat purchase. If it's ever released again, that is. (2,402 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed this one out of the fridge where it had been sitting forever it seemed. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 11/22/2009

Dark brown pour and was not really expecting that at all. Rich looking caramel color with a nice touch of off white lacing around the sides of the glass. Rich caramel and roasted malted tones here on the aroma. Even more so as we dive into the flavor. Really intense malt presence here. Lots of bready notes and light notes of molasses almost it seems. Clean and smooth flavor, not much in the way of crisp though as the medium body really sticks to the tongue thoughout the session and lets the malts really settle in something fierce,

Overall this was a really intresting beer and not at all what I was expecting. (775 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an opaque, chestnut brown body with a thinnish, light ecru head.

Smell: Malty nose alive with notes of toasted bread, toasted sugars, and toasted nut shells. Touch of fruitiness and spicy hops.

Taste: Lightly toasted, lightly nutty, lightly grainy maltiness with a sweetish taste of charred, caramelized sugars. Fruity hints of apricot and baked raisins brushed with molasses and brown sugar. Spicy, earthy hops with a medium bitterness. After the bitterness slackens, it's back to the toasted and smoked nuts until you reach the drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Fairly enjoyable. It's definitely good to see someone's trying to bring a little excitement to the humble, sometimes dull lager, especially when it's in the form of broiled hunks of granite. (817 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Port Brewing/Lost Abbey tasting bar on 3/14/09. Served in a pint glass. This a collaborative Stein Lager between Tomme Arthur and Tonya Cornett of Bend Brewing.

Pours a murky dark brown with a thin covering of light tan foam. There isn't a whole lot of retention, mostly hanging around the edges, leaving some light spotty lacing and brown residues behind. The aroma possesses a deep bready sweetness, a touch of fruity tang, some light floral hops, and a definite touch of Lager yeast in the nose.

The taste is quite similar, with an assertive bready sweetness that mixes with the present citric character to really give this profile a tangy feel. I'm also getting a sense of that particular Lager yeast and some moderate hopping that nicely drys out the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a firm carbonation and crisp feel. There is a touch of beef to the body but it does do a nice job of bringing out that deep bready character in this and doesn't inhibit the drinkibility at all.

This was quite the tasty Lager, with a deep tangy feel to it and a solid drinkibility that worked for me. Good stuff and it's nice to see another Lager beer coming out of Port Brewing. (1,198 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a dark brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of roasted malts, lager yeast, some fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts with a strong roasted malt character and sweet flavors of chocolate, caramel and dark fruit. There's also a touch of smokiness in the background. The hop presence is mild but complementary and creates a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, different representation of style, this is a solid beer to drink if you're looking for a poundable darker beer that is different from your typical stout or porter. (821 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark with a chestnut in the pint glass. Nice roasty aroma. Hint of sourness, like black patent malt adding a little burnt flavor. Sweet with malt. A thick mouthfeel, and it seems to coat the tongue. Hops give a decent bitter burr. Richer than a Schwartzbier or other lagers, but not enough of the burnt caramel taste to make it a stout. Hint of cocoa and something fruity, like canned peaches.

Not a bad rich flavor, but not much for drinking a pint. (456 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a nice dark lager. When I got the initial hits of malt and caramel, I was worried that it was going to be too much. But it ended up being quite balanced and even. Thorough flavor profile. Even delivery. Not overly complex, but it works. I can dig it. (258 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.84/5  rDev +1.3%
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... (827 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
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. (624 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
2.92/5  rDev -23%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is my second time trying to upload this review, so it'll be more brief than most of my reviews as I'm pissed off at the website for screwing up. Bottle into stemware. Cost was $4.29 USD.

A: One finger of decent thickness, okay retention, and no real cream. Caramel-black colour; murky and nontransparent.

Sm: Light chocolate, some vanilla bean, and dominant dark malts. A mild strength aroma.

T: Vanilla, chocolate, cream, and awkward cola notes are present on the climax - where the majority of the flavour is located, throwing off the structural balance. Dark malts comprise the foundation and body. The cola feels awkward. It's imbalanced but still generally enjoyable.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Too sharp from overcarbonation. Too thick for the lack of complex flavours.

Dr: Drinkable but merely average for the style. I wouldn't have it again. A relative disappointment from this brewery. The cola notes throw the whole beer off substantially.

(961 characters)

Photo of smcolw
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brief beige head that leaves some slippery and spotty lace. The color is deep brown where only a tinge of light passes through.

Biscuity and toasty aromas. Mild chocolate in the background. Chalky with a touch of sweetness.

Nice balance of chocolate malt and bittering hop (peppery?). The body is thin as would be expected. High carbonation. The finish is interesting as it mostly dark malts, not hoppy. The aftertaste is muted but lasting, similar to drinking hot cocoa. A smooth and flavorful beer. (502 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into lager glass, bottled on 3/13/2013. Pours lightly hazy deep reddish brown color with a 1 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings down the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of caramel, chocolate, toast, cocoa, brown sugar, pear, apple, roasted malt, light coffee, light smoke, floral, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of roasted malt notes with light-moderate yeast esters; and good strength. Taste of caramel, chocolate, toast, brown sugar, cocoa, roasted malt, pear, apple, light smoke, light coffee, floral, and roasted earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, chocolate, toast, cocoa, brown sugar, light fruits, smoke, light coffee, floral, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of dark malt flavors with light yeast ester fruitiness; and a nice amount of flavor robustness with no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy, slick, and crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent "Stein beer" dark lager. All around nice balance, complexity, and robustness of flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering. (1,394 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled on 04/06/12

A: Pours a clear dark amber in color with some light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation and some moderate garnet red highlights. The beer has a three finger tall dense foamy light tan head that reduces to a large patch of thick film covering about 85% of the surface of the beer and thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of toasted and roasted dark malts.

T: Moderate flavors of toasted dark malts with some light amounts of sweetness and just a touch of nuttiness. Lighter notes of dark chocolate and earthy hops. Light amounts of lingering bitterness.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation.

O: Interesting and not exactly what I was expecting when I opened this one - the hot volcanic lava rocks must have made the brewing experience interesting. Very malty but pretty easy to drink. Reminds me a bit of a schwartzbier. (959 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
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. (367 characters)

Photo of GClarkage
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

05/01/09- Purchased at K&L Wine Cellars in Redwood City, CA.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into my 20oz Pizza Port glass.

Appearance- Deep burnt caramel malt color. Beyond brown, but not quite black. Maybe a burnt sienna (bringing out the old school crayola colors). Pours with a smaller 1/4 inch head and leaves some very light lace spotting behind.

Smell- A bit of hops, but not as much as the caramel malt ball notes. A bit of alcohol as well. Also a slight macro note.

Taste- Kind of a mix between a strong lager and a schwartzbier. Also has some odd clove flavor to is. Tastes dark and on the sweeter side with a deep malty flavor. Also can taste a wee bit of alcohol, but doesn't taste like most of the crappy euro lagers I have had.

Mouthfeel- Suprisingly smooth with a medium to slightly lower carbonation level. Sweetness in the aftertaste.

Drinkability- Was impressed by this one. I like the flavors and mouthfeel and found it very drinkable. (985 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces an almost three-finger thick, amber tinged, tan colored head. The beer is a dark amber, brown color that shows a clearish, bright cherry hue when held up to the light. The aroma has a full, malty, caramelized (very much so actually) note that is quite a bit more distinct than I was expecting. This has an almost fruity caramel not to it that sort of reminds me of something like cotton-candy or marshmallows. There is a backdrop of toasty, bread-crust like and biscuit leaning maltiness.

This has quite a spicy, herbal hop note to it along with a clean, biting bitterness. The malt, while distinct, is almost secondary to the hop character; this is quite a departure from the nose. The beer might be a bit too cold (the low to mid 40s), but when warmed it becomes more creamy in texture. This is still quite hoppy though, but that fruity-caramel / caramelized cotton candy note becomes more noticeable in the flavor. The beer almost has a sort of roasted character to it; it is a touch sharp, with a faint hint of roasted character, even a touch of coffee like notes, but not really roasted. This definitely has a toasted malt edge to it that picks up lots of biscuit character in the finish.

In the end this is quite malt focused, even if I can't quite decide if the initial hop focus in the flavor was distracting or intriguing. This is quite a tasty beer and the unique notes, presumably from the stoning process, makes this that much more interesting to try. (1,515 characters)

Photo of Gavage
3.76/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark brown color with a one inch head that falls to a thick surface foam.

Smell: some malt sweetness is all you can detect.

Taste: malt, dark fruit sweetness, some earthiness, and a mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp to start, a bit smoother towards the finish.

Overall: an easy to drink dark lager but the flavor profile is a bit mild. (389 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours brown with a minimal white head.

S: Molasses, brown sugar, some chocolate.

T: Heavy sweet malt, caramel and brown sugar. Definite notes of fruit - apricot, raisin. Tastes like a mix of a brown ale and a black lager.

M: Smooth, light carbonation, a bit tannic though.

D: Not a bad little brew out of Port, glad I got to try it. (365 characters)

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This one borders on being a schwarzbier in my mind, but it's not quite as dark and the hop tones just aren't there. The way it's brewed is interesting; dropping hot rocks into the wort to produce a boil. The old method....

Pours a dark ruby/chestnut color with a small layer of off-white foamy head. A bit sticky in the lacing as it drank.

Aroma is sweet, a bit smoky, and anise-like. Caramel seems to provide a the backbone, slightly smoked. Anise and/or almond comes and goes.

Flavor isn't bad, just not very noticeable. I think if I had paired this with some Mexican dishes, slightly spiced, the flavor may have popped more. As it is, it's soft. Caramel, anise or root beer-like center...soft. Smoke comes in a bit and the caramel finishes it off. Slight earthy spice.

Thin mouthfeel. Or perhaps it's just so smooth. Again, should have paired it. Makes it quite drinkable. Nothing bad here. (898 characters)

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Hot Rocks Lager from Pizza Port Solana Beach
85 out of 100 based on 182 ratings.