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Hot Rocks Lager - Pizza Port Solana Beach

Not Rated.
Hot Rocks LagerHot Rocks Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

349 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 349
Reviews: 182
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 10.67%
Wants: 18
Gots: 12 | FT: 0
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Kegatron on 03-17-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 349 | Reviews: 182 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jamie2dope
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It is always nice to see something new from Port on the shelf. This bomber was bought at Liquor World in Cambridge for six bucks. I was surprised when I started pouring in that this beer is a lot darker than I was expecting. It has a cola/root beer look to it, and a creamy white heading. One of the best looking beers I have encountered in a while. Nose has some malted milk balls, chocolate, bit of rye and toasted bread. More of the same comes from the taste, which is fine, as all the flavors really work well in unison. Body is somewhere in the middle of light and medium. While it is an easy drinker, sometimes the sweetness of it becomes a bit much. Still let this one unfold, and you will see that there are multiple layers of complexity. A very nice beer they have crafted here. I love the fact that they brewed this style, which I rarely try.

jamie2dope, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of Talisker
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bomber purchased from SF's City Beer Store for $4.99.

Deep murky dark brown color. Hard to get any head no matter how aggressive the pour - just like most bottled beers from Port Brewing or Lost Abbey. No lacing at all.

Aroma is nice. Malty, not overly sweet, a tiny bit of lager-y twang. Taste very well integrated. More malt than hops, could maybe use a slightly more bitter edge. Looks like a doppelbock, but doesn't taste like one. Mellow texture, not overly creamy, but not metallic, either. A little bit of a "fluffy" aftertaste that hangs around at the bottom of the mouth.

I'm a lager fan and happy to see more coming from our leading craft breweries. This one's fine, but nothing to get too excited about. Beef up the carbonation a bit, get a bit more hop bite - then this one would be special.

Talisker, Apr 17, 2009
Photo of IBUnit63
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

So it's brewed with hot rocks, huh? Well since I really liked Moonlit Sessions this should be interesting. In my Medley's pint glass from a bomber.

Head is about a full finger, maybe a little less. Ginger/rye colored...sort of like sourdough/rye bread color - the stuff my dad used to bake. Retention isn't huge, though...leaves a dusting of ginger/rye flour up top. Body color is dark-cherry-bourbon and pretty clear with a nice about of carbonation.

I get a fair amount of slate in the background and a hint of smokiness along with ample hop grass but I'm surprised at how much dark fruit character I'm picking up. Maybe not as tangy as plums but a touch of figs and perhaps a stewy ripe prune or two. Natural roasted grain character - maybe a touch of tannin too. Nice balance makes this better than average for the style.

This is a lager that doesn't have a sense of clamminess, and that's a wicked good thing. Huskiness of the malt combines with carbonation to put off a slight salt, but it mixes well with grassy and somewhat piney hops and the smoky grill char and slate. Dry, but not as dry as expected. This is very solid.

As good as it tastes, the palate feel is even better. Much more meaty than your ancestor's Eurotrash lager to say the least. Full-flavored with a nice, healthy grain component, and a hint of boozy sweetness typical for style on the finish, but it's rather fresh. Hop character is reserved but good to tie it all together.

As I watch the B's seal the Game 1 deal I gotta say that this drinks well. I'll leave the commentary to the Habs' antics for a more relevant forum. This drinks very nicely and is enjoyable as hell.

IBUnit63, Apr 17, 2009
Photo of snaotheus
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This lager is very dark but slightly translucent (maybe a very deep nut brown). Pours with almost no head and basically no lacing. Smells murky and sweet like waterlogged wood.

Taste is deeper and richer than I expected for a lager. Sweet with a bitterness behind it, a little peaty. It does have a little of that lager aftertaste, which is understandable, since it's supposed to be a lager.

Mouthfeel is very thick but not syrupy -- good body. Pretty drinkable.

I would never have guessed this was a lager.

snaotheus, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of bigbelcher
4.22/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

bigbelcher, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

ChainGangGuy, Apr 13, 2009
Photo of YonderWanderer
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a relatively clear brown-ish color with hints of amber and copper around the edge. An almost Guinness-like head forms on top with about a finger's thickness.

S: Light roasted malts and a hint of coffee.

T: Hints of coffee, hints of roasted malt, a tiny bit of hops, and a bit of cocoa all blend together into a nice smooth brew.

M: Smooth and creamy. The mouthfeel impressed me, as I was expecting something completely different. It drank more like a beer off of a nitro tap practically. Well done.

D: Excellent flavor, and excellent feel. This is a solidly enjoyably ale that I'd definitely recommend.

YonderWanderer, Apr 12, 2009
Photo of matty
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown colored beer with a rapidly fading head.Aroma is malty with a hint of coffee.Taste also is coffee,malts,sweet cream and perhaps a pinch of chocolate.This is very smooth and creamy from the first sip to last gulp.I would recommend and purchase again.

matty, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of m1ked
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up from a great bottle shop disguised as a pharmacy....thanks Joey.

A- Pours a clear yet dark brown, like dark tea or light coffee with coppery edges. Has a quarter inch off white head that very quickly retreats to a fine ring.

S-I get light roasted malts, a little sweetness, light coffee. A little metallic alcohol.

T-That roasty malt flavor holds throughout the swallow. Some sweet tones to it. Light toffee. Reminds me of a brown ale.

M- It has...carbonation! The body is mild-medium. Nice fine carbonation.

D- Nothing crazy here, but a nice solid stein beer that I could session. I don't drink a lot of lagers, I would definetly drink this one again. Cool colaboration. I would like to see the process of making this beer, or at least the magma (think Austin Powers here) part.

m1ked, Apr 08, 2009
Photo of reginaldo
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cracked open a bomber and poured into a mug. Lives up to the dark lager name in color. Borders on dark red and brown and has a thin tan head. Sweet malty goodness on the nose. Mostly caramel and molasses. The same sweetness in the aroma comes through in the taste. Roasted flavor mixes with an assortment of fruits that don't seem like they should be in a lager. Regardless still very good. Reminds me more of a brown ale although it resembles a lager feel on the finish. Not usually a style I go with but overall this was a tasty brew. Also interesting to try out a beer using the "hot rocks" method as explained on the label.

reginaldo, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of scottoale
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

scottoale, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of Floydster
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle purchased from the Pizza Port Bottle Shop for six dollars I believe, split this with my dad last night before the Samichlaus Helles, poured into my Port Brewing pint glass

A-Medium dark brown color, 1/4 inch creamy off white head that does not last too long, great lacing though along with nice legs even at the end
S-Caramelized malts, roastiness, brown sugar, skunky yeast, light hops, toasted bread, and earthiness
T-Starts off with a mix of what seems like molasses and caramel, roasty malts in the middle, finish has a little bit of chocolate in it in addition to the bitterness from the hops, gets earthier as it warms, bit of lingering sweetness too with a sugary vanilla aftertaste, this pushes the limits on being a lager and I like it
M-Sweet, roasted, toasted, and slightly sweet mouthfeel, medium bodied but on the thicker side for its style, low carbonation, taste lingers
D-Could drink a lot of this stuff, does not taste six and a half percent, light on the stomach, only thing that might hurt its drinkability in the long run is the constant attack of caramel and other malts

Cool to hear Tomme collaborated with Bend Brewing on this and also the whole idea of this brew in general, did not even know this type of thing was done, will be drinking again, recommended

Floydster, Apr 04, 2009
Photo of Overlord
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

What a strange animal, this beer was. Poured brown with dark red highlights. Some off-white, tannish foam.

Smells like molasses, brown sugar, and earthy hops. What the ... this is a lager? Didn't taste like much of a lager, either, except maybe in the biting, zesty finish. More brown sugar, more molasses, the hops kind of disappeared, which was a shame, and a bit of a zest to it. Bit thin.

Quite refreshing. I enjoyed it.

Overlord, Apr 02, 2009
Photo of Halcyondays
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Halcyondays, Apr 01, 2009
Photo of seaoflament
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Read about Steinbier when this came out and the way the used to use heated rocks to boil the wort was fascinating to me. I just had to try this beer and hopefully later on use this method in homebrewing.

The beer has a dark caramel color with about an inch of off-white colored foam.

Chocolate, roasted and toasted malts upfront. Some earthy and slightly spicy hops in the background. Clean finish from the lager yeast. Cocoa and caramelized malts. A touch of a grainy aroma buried in the back. Maybe a little nutty too. Near the end I pick up some sweet bread aromas.

Toasted malts, grainy, burnt sugar, and hints of mocha. Lightly roasted malts in the finish with some brown sugar. I can also taste some biscuit malts as I finish my glass

A little prickly, medium-low, carbonation on the tongue, and some body. A little harsh in the finish which seems to be from a combination of the alcohol and grain tannins. Not bad but the finish is just a tad harsh. A little smoother as it warms up.

seaoflament, Apr 01, 2009
Photo of Blakaeris
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours light mahogany with red-amber highlights. Head is mild, and quickly dissipates to a thin soapy sheen.

Aroma is malty with a peat smokiness. Earthy hops, and mild nutty quality.

Taste is burnt dark malt, brown sugar, and molasses up front. Surprising amount of fruit - orange, apricot, and plum. Earthy hops provides balancing bitterness. Finish is dry and woody cedar with a definite musty quality.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly chewy.

Very robust and flavorful. Certainly worth a try.

Blakaeris, Mar 31, 2009
Photo of bashiba
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice dark brown with some nice bright mahogany highlights and a thick off white head.

The smell had a nice dark malt smell with a bit of smokey grains and heavy oak.

The flavor is very malty with a light molasses and caramel flavor with a big smokey and burnt malt finish.

The mouthfeel is on the medium side with a long sticky oilyness to it.

Overall its good, but nothing I would search out for, and very overpriced.

bashiba, Mar 31, 2009
Photo of rallison
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from PP Bottle Shop. Very cool history with regard to the style.

Muddy brown with a minimal head. Low carbonation. Lighter sweet molasses notes in the nose.

Taste is rather rich for a 6.5% lager with a fair amount of caramelized sugar, molasses and maybe hints of chocolate. Finishes is ever so slightly sharp.

Carbonation could possibly be a touch higher.

All in all, good and interesting. As I've never had a stein beer before, I have no frame of reference for properly rating and judging this, but, it did taste good.

rallison, Mar 30, 2009
Photo of PhiloPsych
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I don't drink a lot of lagers. I'm really only so so on double bocks--even those that are supposed to be the best in the style. But this is a real nice beer. The color is ruddy brown and slightly hazy red when held in front of a light--very pretty. The smell is malty. The mouthfeel is clean and crisp lager. The taste is also clean, malty, slightly nutty, with a detectable toasty backdrop. Very well balanced and exceptionally drinkable. Good beer! Well done, Port Brewing. The idea that this was brewed using hot rocks to boil the wort also adds serious coolness points.

PhiloPsych, Mar 27, 2009
Photo of HopHead84
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Taproom in Pacific Beach. The beer is dark, dark brown. The glass is filled to the brim so I don't know much about the head or the retention, much less the lacing.

The aroma is of sweet, roasted, bready malt. It's pretty malt dominated, with just a bit of herbal and spicy hops. There's a hint of chocolate and just a touch of coffee to this black euro lager. The flavor is of toasted, roasted malt. To be honest, I get a little hop bitterness, but no hop flavor. The flavor is mostly the aforementioned roasted malt, with some breadiness and a very small amount of coffee.

The beer is light-medium bodied (despite its dark color), with good carbonation and a dry and light mouthfeel.

Hot Rocks is pretty damn flavorful for a lager of the darker persuasion. It's very similar to a schwarzbier.

HopHead84, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of byaeger
3.9/5  rDev +4%
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.

byaeger, Mar 25, 2009
Photo of popery
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at City Beer Store, San Francisco 3/21/09.

A: Hazy amber brown liquid with a nice head and moderate lacing. At least, I was able to kick up a nice head with some swirling after draining the glass a bit.

S: Very nice doughy malt in the aroma. Some citric/earthy/spicy notes from hops and yeast linger in the background.

T: Similar to smell. It's a solid malty lager given character by lightly citric and floral hops and earthy yeast. It doesn't knock you off your seat, but I always enjoy a good American take on a European lager.

M: Full and round. The feel holds up very well to the malt. It tasted fresh and smooth.

D: It's a bit big for a Euro lager. I'm really nitpicking here, but I expected something that was a bit more sessionable. I would definitely have another glass if I see it again.

popery, Mar 23, 2009
Photo of jdense
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Lost Abbey/Port Tasting Bar 3/20. Been waiting to taste this since I got wind of Mr. Arthur's visit to Tonya Cornett's outstanding Bend Brewing facility for a collaborative effort. It was certainly worth the wait.

Tan one-finger quickly dissipating head over dark almost opaque brown body with a fair bit of lacing. Sweetish caramel and B and M Baked Brown bread (!) in the nose, and a slightly sweetish malt taste. Not overly hoppy, but there is enough presence in the nose and taste to make this one drinkable lager for the hopheads among us. Very tasty, and a much needed lagerlicous deviation from ale madness. Lets hope Tomme and Tonya get together again soon!

jdense, Mar 21, 2009
Photo of Kegatron
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Kegatron, Mar 17, 2009
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Hot Rocks Lager from Pizza Port Solana Beach
85 out of 100 based on 349 ratings.