Old Viscosity - Port Brewing

Not Rated.
Old ViscosityOld Viscosity

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

858 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 858
Hads: 1,851
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 8.23%
Wants: 155
Gots: 294 | FT: 22
Brewed by:
Port Brewing visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: drewbage on 08-11-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 858 | Hads: 1,851
Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thick dark XXX with coffee and chocolate aroma. Taste with my eyes closed is certainly imperial stout. Smooth and drinkable but I am getting stout first and foremost.

A large bottle found at a well-stocked grocery store called Minute Shop in Solana Beach that I have tried to add, to heads up other BAs. (306 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a HUGE 3 inch khaki head that fades to a small cap. The head is thick and craggy and leaves sticky globs of foam on the drink down. Smells of roasted dark malts, dark fruits, raisins, plums. Taste is same as the smell with nice roasty malt, dark fruits, and citrus zest hops. Mild bitterness in the mouth after each sip. Good level of carbonation with a thick and creamy mouthfeel. This is a very tasty beer, but I question the stout categorization. To me it seems like a mix of a stout and Belgian strong dark ale. Either way, it's very good. (570 characters)

Photo of GRG1313
4.85/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Old Viscosity ON TAP at STONE BREWERY; Black color with a dark short tan head and lovely in appearance-very inviting.

A sweet assertive and most appealing rich sugared coffee nose-smells like a piece of fresh dark chocolate/coffee candy;

Huge dark bitter chocolate flavor with a creamy chocolate mouth and loads of underlying sweet coffee flavors. A big creamy and wonderful drinking stout.

Bigger, creamier, thicker, sweeter and, candidly, more appealing on tap than from the bottle. Nice! I had this with spicy wild boar ribs at Stone's cafe, but this would drink well with most spicy and big meat or game dishes. Also would do well as a nice accompaniment to drink with dessert.

A nice drink with which to simply relax and sip away after dinner or with a cigar.

This stout, ON TAP, can give any of the "big player, prestigious stouts" a run for their money. (869 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a half finger high dark beige head that died down a bit but left a thin head that mostly covered the surface.
S: Light to moderate aromas of dark and roasted malts in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has a light to moderate amount of bitterness. Hints of oak are also noticeable and linger through the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There are some hints of dryness from the oak barrel aging and roasted malts.
O: This beer isn't too difficult to drink considering its strength because for the most part the alcohol is well hidden from the taste. (684 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours near black. Slight mocha head and a slight amount of lacing. The nose is loaded with coffee, chocolate, vanilla, roast, and a bit of anise. The taste i most coffee and chocolate alongside the roast, and the balance is great. Good feel with a nice body and alcohol level. Drinks very well and is another hit from Port. (345 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours an espresso black color with a sturdy head that retains nicely and leaves a web of lacing on the glass

Smell: Dark chocolate, oak, rum-soaked dark fruit

Taste: Starts with a roasty, oaky, fruit cake-influenced chocolate flavor that is incredibly intense; by mid-palate, the hoppy bitterness adds complexity and, after the swallow, the chocolate builds in sweet/bitter intensity, portending an entrance to molasses and charcoal flavors that join the fruit cake elements in the finish

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous, with moderate to low carbonation and a bit of heat as the beer warms

Drinkability: One luscious brew, closer to a RIS than a Strong Ale in my book, but I'll not argue with the brewer

Thanks, Boolshot, for the opportunity (756 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.31/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Not one to favor acrid roast or the texture of ash in a stout, Port Brewing devises a smoother, sweeter and more succulent taste. With a total seduction of the palate, Old Viscosity drinks with the sensibility of a big Porter or strong Scotish Ale. Aah, burnt barley never tasted so good!

But with no identity crisis to its appearance the beer pours with darkest of dark brown before falling undeniably black. Absolute opaqueness ensues as the Stout absorbs all light. Its creamy topping of foam is dense and lush as it swirls on top of the beer like espresso creme. As far as lacing is concerned, the Stout favors brandy-type legging over clinging Belgian lace.

Sweet and savory to the nose, the scents of dark chocolate, bold-roast coffee, walnuts, singed molasses, port wine, sherry wine, and a hint of sweet teriyaki join to create a melange in the nose that's somewhat meaty, hearty and oh-so succulently sweet.

And as the taste aligns on the tongue, its equal parts molasses, espresso, and bittersweet chocolate. Keeping the heavy roast and toast in check, the sweetness carries its taste to introduce the robust and almost salty and savory aged sherry, port and worcestershire sauce. The combination seduces the taste buds as complexities of port, brandy, figs, dates, and even walnut and vanilla provide new twists and turns with every sip.

One sip explains why the Stout takes on a namesake of motor oil- it coaxes the mouth with a lush and velvety texture that seeps into the soft tissues with melding creaminess. Despite its tepid carbonation, the beer is still creamy, weighted and velvety. Its malty-sweet finish makes it well suited, not as a complement to dessert, but as a replacement for dessert instead.

Its warm closure is wrapped in a cocoon of malt sweetness just as the mind starts to think cookies n' cream. That vinous and fortified wine-like undertow is the perfect complement to its big sweetness and balanced char. Its an ideal stout when the sweet tooth needs dire satisfaction. (2,011 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This poured out as a nice beer black color with a tan head on top. The retention is pretty decent but not much lacing. The smell of the beer is oaky, roasted and semi-sweet. The taste of the beer has a subtle tart flavor from the oak. There is a balance sweet chocolate with roasted bitterness. The mouthfeel of the beer is pretty thick, it's a bit oily with a sharp carbonation to it. Overall this beer is pretty good all around. Worth having. (444 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a black color ale with a off-white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of bitter roasted malt with some citrus hops is intriguing. Taste is dominated by some medium roasted malt mix with some bitter hops as well as some oak and maybe light bourbon and vanilla notes. Very interesting and complex beer with a full body and no alcohol was discernable. (382 characters)

Photo of largadeer
3.55/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Dark, muddy brown; very nearly black. Pours like oil with no head other than a few wispy bubbles floating around on top.

Smell - Chocolate syrup, molasses, hints of oak and vanilla with plenty of noticeable alcohol.

Taste - Molasses, cocoa, toffee, vanilla - sweet at first, and then a permeating bitterness hits the palate. The finish combines intensely bitter roasted barley mixed with a massive herbal hop kick and an astringent alcohol flavor. Much complexity, though it's really a bit over the top; I could never drink an entire bottle of this.

Mouthfeel - Heavy and minimally carbonated. Syrupy on the palate - this is seriously thick stuff.

Notes - Beer for masochists. Sure, there are stronger beers out there, but very few of them have the ability to wreck the palate like Old Viscosity. The Bottle of The Abyss I had yesterday was downright mild compared to this. (890 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Espresso black with zero highlights. Not even bright July sunshine is able to penetrate the depths of this black hole brew. A mousse-like crown of coffee-with-cream colored foam is generated on the pour and hangs around for a good, long while. When it finally starts to fade, a passable amount of lace is left on the glass.

The brewery says that Old Viscosity 'blurs the boundaries between porter, stout, old ale and barleywine'. Like Older Viscosity, it smells pretty much like a Russian Imperial stout or an American double stout. Bourbon notes are appreciated as well, although only 20% of Old is aged in bourbon barrels, while 100% of Older receives that treatment.

First impression: the flavor score will be a difficult call that will have to wait until many more ounces have disappeared. No problem, that's why I'm here. While I prefer the in-your-face flavor of the bourbon whiskey in Older, this one is pretty damned delicious too. The barrel aging is especially noted on the finish, once the malt flavors have begun to fade.

Warming is beginning to deliver the depth and complexity that I've been waiting for... and that ensures the higher of the two taste scores. That said, Older is a 4.75 (rounded down) and this beer is a 4.25 (rounded up). Specifics include bittersweet chocolate, dark caramel, molasses and a hint of vanilla bean. The 10.0% ABV is integrated exceptionally well, which increases drinkability that much more.

Due to only 20% barrel aging, this mouthfeel is slightly more full and creamy than Older's mouthfeel. It still doesn't have quite the size and heavy creaminess of the best big stouts, though it isn't far off.

I didn't intend for this review to become a comparison between Old Viscosity and Older Viscosity, but that's how it turned out. They're both excellent elixirs from a world-class American craft brewery that any RIS lover should seek out. Given my love for bourbon, however, Older is clearly superior. (1,953 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black body with a frothy head of tan foam, spotty bits of lace dot the glass. Little upside-down "W" bird shapes lace the edges. It demonstrates nice head retention, never breaking the surface layer. Cocoa and trace alcohol in the aroma when inhaling deeper.

Rich, bittersweet bakers chocolate flavor, with a mild hoppiness that lingers well into the dry aftertaste. Some charred malt character blends with the layered hop flavors, giving a good deal of complexity to the taste. Very smooth and creamy body, but slightly thin for being a higher abv stout. Easy drinking, nice west coast hop twist makes it unique...Thanks for sharing Jay! (640 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to Joey at South bay for this one. I have been waiting to try it for a long time, and to
be honest, just had never gotten around to it. Last night after dinner decided to grab this one out of
the fridge and pop it open for no other reason then just for the hell of it. Nice 22oz bomber that I
served at cellar temp after letting it warm up a bit and poured it into an over-sized wine glass to
really let it go to town. A very nice pour was the result. Thick and black, there was really no light
coming through this one at all. A nice one finger high head of chocolate colored foam rose up on top
and gradually settled down to just a crown, but left some nice side glass lace in its wake, not too
bad at all.

The aroma was extremely nice and immediately reminded me of its older brother. First notes I picked up
was that lovely barrel aged bourbon like smell; you knew you were getting into something right away.
Hints of oak, and vanilla, loads of cocoa and a touch of earthy hops all balancing out nicely.
Somewhat sweet, but with a nice balanced bitterness to it, this was very nice indeed. The flavor
followed suit perfectly, evolving and morphing with each sip you take. The start was of cocoa, very
dark bitter chocolate that rushed over the tongue and left a silky smooth feeling as it went by, hints
of vanilla and oak as it warmed up really started to push themselves in and take over after a few
moments. Some nice bourbon like alcohol in the middle, just enough to let you notice, but nowhere near
distracting. Quite complex, and straddling many different styles here. There was just enough of a hop
bite to dry out the finish and really push the flavors back onto your tongue. The last lingering drops
giving you that wonderful barrel like oaked taste that you were craving and just dropping the
slightest bit of baker's chocolate on the tongue, very complex flavor. The feel was smooth and
delicious, a little light in carbonation, and not nearly as thick as a big stout. Still not overly
thin at all, and still coated the mouth very nicely. For being 10% abv, you knew it was, every second
of sipping on this it was a full and

Huge in every aspect. Really not for beginners here in any way.

Overall I was very pleased with this one. You need to have a good experienced palate to appreciate how
much was put into this. It is not really that smooth of a drinker, but for me, it was just wonderful.
A bottle is good on its own, as you will feel this one, but still very good and highly recommended. (2,525 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a thick, oily, black color with a small, brown head of foam. It left some sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled of caramel malt, coffee, cocoa and some subtle bourbon notes.

T - Great taste of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt and sweet caramel. Some nice bitterness and sweetness create great balance.

M - It was soft and smooth. A heavy bodied brew that is definitely a sipper.

D - This is a great tasting ale. I loved the coffee and cocoa flavors. (466 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I can't believe this is the first time I have had this beer.Pours a jet black except for just a hint of chocolate brown when held to the light,a large fluffy deep beige head atop.Smells like sweet alcohol and dark fruit over top of chocolate and roast.The roast plays a much bigger role on the palate,roasted and charred with caramel and alcohol dipped dark fruit on the palte,I have to say the alcohol lingers.This is an old school favorite and Iam glad to finally try it,it kicks ass. (486 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with a friend returning home to So Cal after his first semester at law school in Boston.

A: The pour into a snifter is black. Pitch black with a finger high layer of mocha colored foam.

S: Interesting if not subtle aromas on this. Vanilla, roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and some dark fruits.

T: Such a smooth flavor. Roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, dark stone fruits, and a hint of alcohol round this one out. They might call it a strong ale, but it's very reminiscent of an RIS.

M: The carbonation is low, but appropriate. The body is very full.

D: It packs a punch at 10%, but the booze does not really come through on the flavor. I had forgotten how much I enjoy this beer. A great offering from the folks at Port. (749 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.6/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a black, brown-edged body with a khaki-colored head.

Smell: Rich, roasty aroma, with hints of coffee, chocolate, and anise. Deep within the scent are some faint notes of cherries.

Taste: The semi-sweet taste is an engaging mixture of black licorice, molasses, and cold coffee that would evoke thoughts of an imperial-strength root beer if it weren't for the ever-increasing roasted bitterness and hints of alcohol. Also, there's those far-off cherries carrying over from the aroma.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderately carbonated, with some alcohol warmth showing throughout.

Drinkability: While I would've preferred a lessened presence from the dark roasted grains, it was still pretty good! (722 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4.29/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Thick, two finger, dark brown head resting on a opaque, black body. The head sticks around for a long time, but somehow doesn't leave much lace.

S - Rich, mocha aroma with an excellent balance of chocolate and coffee. Velvety hops lurking in the background with a whiff of alcohol.

T - Sweet, toasty malt followed quickly by spicy chicory/ coffee flavors. Dark chocolate slowly reveals itself in the middle and transitions to a dark, bitter roast grain finish with notes of mild vanilla, charcoal, smoke, and spicy hops.

M - Thick, truly chewy body, medium-low carbonation, and a fairly dry finish.

D - Complex and enjoyable. Very dark flavors bordering on carbonized. Surprisingly smooth for a 10% beer. The flavor is quite nice, but the aroma is really the most successful aspect of this beer. (803 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Blithering Idiot for the sample...

Unique unto itself, Old Viscosity is neither a barleywine nor an old ale, although if you'd have to choose it's more like an old ale. But it's also nicely chocolatey and slightly roasty like a porter... but bigger and richer and fuller. Yet not a Russian Imperial. In fact, not a stout at all. But not an Imperial porter either. It's, shall we say, a hybrid?

A rough pour will bring up a short head of frothy dark tan foam, but even that is hard to coax. As it pours from the bottle, the stream is dark and reddish, but once the glass is filled it's black without question. Some deep mahogany highlights can be seen when held to the light, but that's it.

The nose is restrained, and this beer doesn't really come into it's own until it reaches close to cellar temperature. There's a bit of oily dark malt, a note of licorice due to the combination of dark malts and hops, some deep dark chocolate, some softer fudge, an air of delicate roastiness, a waft of alcohol, and some grassy hops in the background.

The flavor pretty much follows the lead of the aroma, but it's just slightly fuller. The alcohol is more present, and becomes even more apparent as it warms; and the hop flavors seem to rise to the top as the roastiness subsides. The chocolatey character turns a bit vinous with a bit of dark black cherry and red wine, and the bitterness rises. The softer caramel notes get pushed aside. Over the course of the glass it goes from dark-sweet to dark-bitter; and it finishes semi-dry with a lingering dark chocolate note, a subtle astringency, and a lingering deep-roasted, almost-burnt, acrid edge. As you progress, and your palate fades and it warms and becomes a bit tar-like.

A sipper for sure, this oddity could use a touch more refinement in its formulation, but is nevertheless a pretty decent goblet at the end of a long day. (1,900 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a mug glass. I know I've had this bottle for a while and the numbers on the bottom of the bottle look like this beer is from January 2006.

A: The beer is a deep dark black color, with a thin light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of rich roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is very malty and very stout-like with flavors of chocolate, dark fruits and a tiny hint of smokiness. The sweetness is not overdone and is at just the right level to let a mild hops presence creep in to achieve a good balance leave a slightly sweet after-taste.

M: Crisp and very smooth, dare I say "viscous", medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, I had become a bit disenchanted with the bigger darker beers out there but this beer has restored some of my faith, this is an excellent beer to drink for a whole evening. (995 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.92/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Inky black in the chalice at Pizza Port in Ocean Beach, Calif.

Modest head, some lacing. Huge flavors, really rich, and full of fruit. Seems hot and spicy. Chocolate and burnt caramel. Big bitterness to match the sweet malt. Vanilla oak rises out of the heavy stew of flavors. Cloys a little after a while. Not so good with food. Make it a small one for after dinner or that half-hour classic TV rerun.

There are several Imperial Stouts that deliver knock-out flavors with a fine smoothness. So it's another one for the list.

06-20-2012 Update - Rich, dark, thick-- everything a RIS should be. Not overly sweet, but full of malt. Not too bitter but nicely hopped with plenty of charred barley and burnt sugar. Some nice smoothness from the barrel aging. And at $6 a pint, a bargain. (786 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I appreciated sharing this with carlos and others at Al's of Hampden. Poured chilled from the bomber into an ale glass.

A - A deep brown shade with a viscous appearance(coincidence?)and thick tan cap which leaves spotty lace on the glass

S - The smell is cocoa puffs to me, malted cocoa and slightly woody sweet aroma w/ a dense roasted and mildy coffee-like scent. The intense chocolate it gives off is great

M - The feel is full and has moderate carbonation w/ slight warmth and rich malt depth with a slight drying effect on the palate in the finish

T - The taste of chocolate malt with a sweet toffee and caramel note in the middle, the roast character is there but not overdone and the taste has a mild woody oak flavor to complement -a very pleasing flavor in every sense. The balance for me is what I enjoy most about this

D - A very tasty roasty, yet not over the top beer, lots of similarities to an imperial stout,yet has more intense alcohol and the wood is really the icing on the cake for me (1,009 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark, opaque black with no head even off a pretty firm pour. Nose is heavy with alcohol. Very slight roasted tones to it. Flavor is extremely robust with a roasted quality to it that is deep and clings to the palate. Unfortunately, that drops off to a thinner flavor, though there is still a strong lasting aftertaste. Feel is low on carbonation and bordering on syrup like. Overall a pretty good beer. I only wish the initial flavor profile would hold out a lot longer. (483 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.65/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a ruddy chestnut/ebony with 3+ finger of mocha colored head. Good lacing & head retention

S: Bakers chocolate & licorice & booze

T: Nice chocolate & coffee grounds & some booze up front. Carob, mocha & toasted to the point of some burnt grains as this warms, along with loads of dark fruits ( raisins & plums mostly), vanilla, & touch of herbal bitter hops sliding down the throat. Finishes dry with some whisky/oaky notes along with caramel & more vanilla

MF: Oily with near zero carbonation & much chewyness & great warming sensations. Every thing is in near perfect balance

Drinks great for the style & ABV, but 2 bombers of this & it's probably, nighty, night!
Another great purchase from Plaza Liquors in Tucson & a super value at $6 a bottle! (759 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from a 22 ounce bottle the labelt won't specifiy what style of beer this is, but it's a big dark American ale aged on oak barrels. Pitch black body with tart tan head forms a fine even coated style lacing. Aroma offers up hints of dark fruit touch of vanilla/oak dark chocolate malt layers that's about it. Flavor brings on light cocoa flavored chocolate with over ripened fruit with oak barrel characteristics a bit of charred oak, cherry, vanilla really rounds out the dark ale with a bit of booze noted. Very nice drinking dark ale body isn't thick but it's full carbonation is mellow and it chugs along slowly on the palate flavor really stays on the tongue between sips. Really really drinkable compared to other versions of big dark oak aged ales, this one balances out everything out so nicely. Strong oak in the finish as it warms with equal strength coffee and chocolate, this is intense stuff. (909 characters)

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Old Viscosity from Port Brewing
92 out of 100 based on 858 ratings.