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Hot Rocks Lager - Pizza Port Solana Beach

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Hot Rocks LagerHot Rocks Lager

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360 Ratings
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Ratings: 360
Reviews: 183
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 10.96%
Wants: 20
Gots: 13 | 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: 360 | Reviews: 183
Photo of Tolnik
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This very dark deep amber colored beer poured out with a good amount of lacing that retreated to wisps of lacing. The beer smelled of good balance of hops and malt with the aroma of a good roast. The caramel and chocolate gave hints to a fig like taste. Overall this beer was a roasted dry excellent light porter which is a lager. Strange but an excellent beer.

Photo of Docer
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got a bomber of this from a very kind BeerMolly... I have looked forward to trying this after reading a lot about the joint efforts between both Port and Bend Brew. I ran away from lagers long ago... and after seeing Full Sail do the LTD.. I have been more interested ever since... and now this!

- A very dark-ale type appearance almost like a cola... great rootbeer head with an abundance of lacing...

- A very mild sweet aroma.. almost a bit of mild port.. but not so much roasted.. hard to explain.

- Roasted caramel, hint of chocolate.. spicy.. little bit of bittering hop.. like a lager infused porter..

- Little dry, bit roasty..

- Overall somewhat drinkable... the strength of the brew should spit out an unnoticeable 8.0% Alc. by Vol. but doesn't.. bit sweet but overall very good.

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

A - Very dark brown to black. Not much head, reduces to ring fast. As you tilt the glass, LOTS of cascading bubbles.

S - Roasty malt, clean and simple.

T - Light coffee and chocolate, mostly roasty malt. If someone said this was a porter, that I would believe.

M - Creamy, pretty filling in the mouth, lots of carb, fairly balanced.

D - Pretty nice. Easy enough to drink.

Photo of mjl21
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle poured into the NEW SA glass. Comes in at 6.5%. No bottling info is given.

A-Pours a dark brown, similiar to a nut brown ale, with a one finger tan head that dissolves into a decent ring and film.

S-Not a huge nose by any means. This one is all malt. Get some notes of both sweet and roasted malt.

T-When it first hits my tongue, sweet malt is apparent. There is a slighhtly roasty feel to this one as well. There is a decent hoopy bitterness in between sips. I don't think I can taste the rocks used to boil the wort.

M-On the lighter end of medium. I found the carbonation level to be adequate. Has some lager bite to it.

D-Drinks well for being such a dark beer. Not overly heavy.

Always cool to see two brewers collaborate and try using a technique not commonly used. I would prefer even more hops in this one. All the malt flavor makes me want to go for something else, but for $4.00 I am not going to complain.

Photo of Murchmac
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer pours a lot darker than I thought for a lager. I guess cuz it's a euro dark lager. Dark brown almost black with some ruby highlights. Like Count chocula mixed with crunchberries.

Not much of a nose. Toucan sam would be way lost trying to find this puppy.

Good malty taste, some hops, carbonation, sweet sticky aftertaste. Well crafted, better as it warms up. Unlike life cereal as it gets soggy. Just not good anymore.

Tasty, sweet, nutty toasty quality comes out in this biznatch. It's a nutty of an O is hot rocks lager-0.

Photo of bonsreeb85
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Let me begin my saying I love the name-sake of this beer, very clever, and an interesting style.

Poured this 22oz. bottle of goodness into my trusty Optimator mug, and the color is a very dark-nearly-black brown color. Head was rather small, and faded quickly.

THe 'ol olfactory picked up on some chocolate, toasty malts, caramel, and even a spot of alcohol(what a pleasant surprise)

Tastes very similar to the smell, w/ nutty/earthy aftertaste, very sweet, with a slight bitterness. The taste of alcohol comes through about halfway and adds to the body and depth of flavor.(did not expect this from something w/ this low of an ABV). There is also a smoke flavor that comes through, perhaps because of the method of brewing. This gives it a schwarzbier-like characteristic, only not nearly as dry. - very interesting

Medium full to full body, is relatively low to moderate in the carbonation dept. For being such a big beer this is pretty easy to quaff, or perhaps i am just really thirsty and this tastes really good?

The high ABV. makes this not quite sessionable(not my favorite style to have to many of anyway)
but i am good for 1 or 2 bombers worth if the mood is right.

Photo of GClarkage
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

Photo of BretSikkink
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

With a tan creamy cap that starts about one finger high and recedes slowly to a solid cap, Hot Rocks hits the ground running. The body is shy of mahogany but fairly dark; depending on the light source you'll have trouble seeing through it.

The nose is malty, with some toast, light roast, cocoa powder, and sugary nuts bouncing around in there. The hops add a touch of fruit, and there is the palpable presence of alcohol - rather hot nose for a beer of this size.

The flavor is mostly grainy, with some nuts in the malt component - only a very light note of chocolate, although it's easier to find in the finish than in the mouth. There is a nice hops presence that adds some spiciness and a little bitterness, certainly not much. The hazelnut character is really nice and plays well off the hops. The body is medium in size with a good bubbling presence. Carbonation is a little low, as the caramelized malt flavor really lingers in the aftertaste.

Interesting take on the Steinbier, always good to see invention alive and well. Cool beer that tastes pretty good.

Photo of yemenmocha
3.3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


Pours cola colored brown with small head that disappears completely within moments. Nose is weak to nonexistent, with a suggestion of musty caramel. Palate has an earthy quality that is probably the rock influence, but beyond that it's just a light roasty malt flavor profile. It's watery, with not much exciting going on.

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 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 jamie2dope
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Photo of Talisker
3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

Photo of snaotheus
4/5  rDev +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.

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 ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev +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.

Photo of YonderWanderer
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Photo of matty
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Photo of m1ked
3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

Photo of reginaldo
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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 Floydster
4.01/5  rDev +7.2%
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

Photo of Overlord
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Hot Rocks Lager from Pizza Port Solana Beach
84 out of 100 based on 360 ratings.