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Dark Horse Thirsty Trout Porter - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dark Horse Thirsty Trout PorterDark Horse Thirsty Trout Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

82 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 82
Hads: 382
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 21.24%
Wants: 15
Gots: 44 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-12-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 82 | Hads: 382
Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

More of a porter slash brown than a baltic porter, on tap at Hopcat. Brown with carbonation bubbles. Average mouthfeel. Malty. Licorice brown taste. A little roast, more licorice than chocolate, and a tad coffee. Much better at the brewery, better mouthfeel..

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Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a quarter finger high dense tan head that died down, leaving a large patch of bubbles in the center and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of dark chocolate malts in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the the taste has has lots of flavors of dark malts along with hints of coffee beans. There is a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied and a little dry on palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer tastes a little heavier bodied compared to regular porters but is very drinkable when compared to other types of Baltic Porters.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

good complex porter as they go. this one features some vanilla and some spice in both the aroma and flavor, a nice twist on the classic style. its dark but still lets some light in to give it the faintest amber glow at the bottom of the glass. not much head on it, but its got a creamy enough mouthfeel and I don't wish for more carbonation at all. its only mildly bitter in the finish, with subtle spice wafting throughout. earthy malt vibe, not as dark as some, and certainly not as full bodied. I also get a lager yeast vibe, especially in the crisped up finish, but maybe my palate is playing tricks on me. a good porter overall, on par with the other quality dark horse brews, but this one didn't stand out to me the way some of the others did. maybe just a little light for the style in winter time.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

If the trout is thirsty, you might want to put it back in the water- fish really, really, really like it there! But as a beer goes, the Baltic porter portrays a lot of porter-ish character but plays it safe on the sweeter, fruitier, and smoother character of classic Baltic options.

Thirsty Trout opens with the typical appearance of porter: Strong dark "bark" brown with a modest haze that strictly prohibits light from emitting. A creamy blanket of lace covers the beer with solid retention and spotty lace. Where I often look for bright clarity or a depth of clarity and rubyish highlights in Baltic versions, those seem to be omitted here.

Strong, masculine aromas of coffee, chocolate, roasted nuts, and black jelly beans play out in the nose with a deeply grounded malt scent of milkshake. The roast-heavy scent begins to resemble stout, but pulls away with more cocoa and fruit complexities.

Coffee lovers should feel right at home with this beer, as the taste of Colombian and breakfast blends rise in the most bold and delicate ways. The coffee focus is backed with the flavor of bittersweet chocolates, walnut, toffee sweetness, malted milk, and a tinge of grape-like fruitiness (I doubt that I would have picked up on much of the fruitiness if the beer hadn't been described as a Baltic porter- I would have likely chalked it up to a standard American porter). Coffee-like bitterness rises in the broad and earthy wood taste to close the beer.

Medium bodied throughout, the beer's early texture relies on its malt sweetness and creamy carbonation, but the slow fade into finish brings a tad of abrasion from alcohol, grain, and hops-again, fine for standard ales, but I'm looking for a smoother lager-like mouthfeel in the Baltic porters.

Where Thirsty Trout draws in inspiration from several porter sources, it doesn't really resonate with the palate as a Baltic porter any more as it does for American porters, robust porters, or English brown porters. But it is a pleasant flavor profile that makes it a joy to drink.

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Photo of jlindros
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Snowed in, time to break out the baltic porters.

Pours a very light fizzy bubbly but darker head covering that fades pretty quickly, more like a 9-10% abv beer like head, touch of lacing, pitch black beer.

Nose brings loads of chocolate, creamy milk chocolate, hot cocoa, a little expensive Belgian or Swiss creamy lush chocolate, little bakers even, etc. Some vanilla, light caramel and even a little syrupy sweetness. I think there is a hint of lactose sugar in there since it brings quite a bit of creaminess.

Taste starts with creamy flavors again, almost sure there is lactose sugar in here with the creamy milky flavor almost like a milk stout. Then chocolate but not as complex, more like milk chocolate and a little creamy Godiva chocolate filling flavor. Light caramel and sweetness, a little stout like bitterness, light vanilla too, and faint bitter hops. Finish is quite dry, bitter slightly earthy hops and stout malt bitterness, more creamy lactose and chocolate lingering.

Mouth is quite creamy and milky but feels a bit thin, esp for a 7% baltic porter... then again a baltic porter is typically has lots of malt and flavor with lesser overall beefiness to the beer, so I can't fault it for that, lighter carb though.

Overall not bad, more like a milk stout than baltic porter, but still fairly tasty and drinkable, nice robustness, just a bit light overall feel and carbonation.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a tumbler at The Tribes.

Memories of somehow drug-free arguments about Spongebob episodes come to mind here: How can a trout be "thirsty"? Anyway, this stuff pours a straight obsidian topped by a finger of dusty tan foam. The nose comprises chocolate (both dark and syrup), molasses, and roasted malts. This stuff smells damn fine, I tell you what! The taste holds notes of dark chocolate powder, roasted malts, light coffee, very light molasses, and a kiss of maple syrup. The body is a sorta-light-medium, with a light moderate carbonation, a generally smooth feel, and a kinda dry finish. Overall, a very nice porter, one I wish I could find regularly in bottles out here. Let's go, Dark Horse!

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

At this point I've had enough baltic porters (from both sides of the pond) to know the difference. This one is thick as it should be. That someone berry kind of robust sweetness is there. Smooth feel. Minimal carbonation. An easy drinker and a good example of the style.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 1/3/2013. Pours fairly pitch black color with a nice 1-2 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, coffee, toast, light char, molasses, light raisin, floral, and hop earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance, strength, and complexity of dark malt notes. Taste of dark chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, coffee, toast, toffee, molasses, light char, light raisin, floral, and hop earthiness. Light earthy coffee bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, light coffee, toast, toffee, light raisin, floral, and earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and robustness of flavor with good complexity; and zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy and smooth mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice porter. Very nice flavor balance and robustness; and very smooth to sip on. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown - almost black - with a tan light brown head that leaves lacing.

The smell is of chocolate, coffee, some dark fruit and a touch of licorice.

The taste is of chocolate upfront soon backed by coffee and dark fruits coming in as it progresses. Finishes with roasted coffee with a touch of lingering chocolate and a hint of licorice.

Creamy and smooth, the abv is well-hidden.

This is a complex, rich, well-balanced porter. Easy to drink, especially for the abv. Well-made and certainly enjoyable!

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Photo of tdm168
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark brownish black with reddish hues and a soft, thin layer of quickly dissipating brown head

S - fruit, chocolate, faint coffee

T - big roasted malts, coffee, intense dark fruit, some faint black licorice, very mild bitterness

M - medium bodied, some warming alcohol, well carbonated

This is a nice porter. It has a nice flavor profile that is intricate but simple. The body offers great drinkability. Overall, a good, well-rounded porter. It probably won't please everybody, but for me this is a porter I would go back to.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I do not remember where this beer came from - whether I bought it at a local bottle shop or if tone77 brought it by in one of his in-person trades. Either is possible because I generally eschew buying bottles, I am a huge fan of Dark Horse B.C.'s beers and will buy them for myself.

A vigorous pour led to a pseudo-cascade which settled into a finger of frothy, deep-tan head with limited retention. Color was a deep, dark-brown (SRM = 44), allowing zero light penetration. Nose was very roasty with a deep charcoal aspect. Say, is the Trout a Stout? Hmmm. Mouthfeel was medium and the taste was very much of charcoal and dark chocolate. Finish was semi-dry with the roastiness leaving a bitter, smoky flavor as its aftertaste. This beer leaves me with a conundrum, since it is not really what I would consider a porter, but more towards a stout. I did not dislike it, but it was not really what I was expecting, either. I guess that you will have to try one and gauge it for yourself.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A one finger tan head produced off the pour, not much going there, but settles quickly to a thin collar on top of a classic very dark brown nearly black body. Good hint of red hue to this as well.

Nose has some real nice chocolate angles, slightly milk but more bitter hinting towards dark, and bitter cocoa as well. Powdery, slightly dry, if a little chalky smelling. Quite nice if a bit straightforward.

Palate is very light but full of flavor that is a bit unexpected. Very nice controlled warmth with a dark berried fruit sense, more like a blackberry quality. Finishes with a good coating feel, hinting of a bit of baltic licorice like qualities, but very subtle. Controlled alcohol content on this without an overly boozy quality.

It's got some interesting qualities for a baltic porter, but even though this isn't a prefered style of mine, there are others that I would probably choose over it.

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Photo of dcmchew
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%

Pours black with a small tan head, quick to a modest lace.
Smells really tasty, with lots of milky chocolate, sweet coffee, faint dark cherries, rich caramel, cream and cinnamon, licorice, roasted malt.
Starts really juicy, like iced coffee-milk and cocoa mix, topped with cinnamon and a great refreshing dark fruity zing underneath that really fits. Gets a bit darker but also sweeter, with molasses, faint plum jam, dark roasted malts, extra coffee powder, faint herbal-kinda note (hinting coke, some licorice). Finishes with a bit of nut, a touch of ash and some burnt bread crust.
Rather light bodied, but not watery. Smooth, subtle carbonation, really easy to drink. Aftertaste is roasty, dark chocolatey with a bit of lingering coffee.
Really tasty, complex enough and extremely quaffable. One of the most thirst-quenching porters i've ever had, i wonder if there's any relation with the name in this matter.

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Photo of biegaman
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thirsty Trout Porter is by most accounts a thoroughly black beer, though even casual inspection to the light reveals a great deal of chestnut colour and even some clarity. We will call it opaque, though we wouldn't be entirely accurate. Its head is stained with an almost greyish tint. To my disappointment, none of it sticks to the glass.

Much in the same way that wines are often reviewed with tasting notes that say something along the lines of "lush berries, soft tannins, light oak" - observations that could describe countless numbers of styles - it's accurate, albeit not exactly useful for me to characterize this aroma as having "cold coffee, dark chocolate, and dried fruit" notes.

Truth is those features are or can be present in many types of dark beers, and they don't exactly help narrow down whether this is British, American, or even Belgian influenced. As it happens, this recipe is in fact styled as a Baltic porter, which, as it happens, has always been to my senses among the most distinct styles. How so? Good question...

What distinguishes a Baltic porter from other types? For one, it has a slightly 'stale' quality. This 'oxidative' element can be almost Port-like when combined with the vinous, dried fruit (cherry, currant, prune) flavors imparted by its esters and likely mimics how it used to have tasted after spending months in transit from England through the Baltic States.

There's also little actual roast considering all the dark, deep flavours. This is notable. Both coffee and chocolate flavours exist without the usual bitterness and, unlike a stout or some 'imperial' porters, there's nothing remotely ashy or smoky about it. It drinks with smooth, lush qualities and doesn't resemble anything close to its true strength (7%).

There's also two keystone flavours that are invariably present: unsweetened cocoa and black licorice. This one shares reserved yet noticeable amounts of those to accompany its prominent black coffee taste. There's even less molasses and nutty sweetness though, again, there is some. The finish, however, is bone-dry as the trout on its label.

The late Micheal Jackson, hailed as the original and still greatest beer writer of all time, said of the difference between stout and porter that it was "as unambiguous as a horoscope". Imagine then the difference amongst porters themselves! This review should have focused less on categorizing this beer and instead taking it at face value - Thirsty Trout is a nice offering, simple as that.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ HopCat. Served in pint glass.

A - Black with a small ring of white head.

S - Roast, chocolate, and light coffee. Fairly sweet overall nose.

T - Big roast profile, chocolate, some nutty flavours and a touch of coffee.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation.

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Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a brown/black with a fluffy tan head that retains nicely. Lots of spotty lacing left on the glass.
Smell is of roasted malt with crystal malt and creamy sweetness evident.
Taste is sweet, roasty, dark fruits, creamy vanilla.
Mouthfeel is chewy, creamy, sweet, balanced, and getting the job done.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bro-in-law comes through with this brilliant porter from DH. The beer rated low on appearance because there wasn't a decent head present..nor did it lace. The smell and taste however were very good. The scent had dark roast chocolate. The taste was slightly sweet yet bitter....somewhat like the semi-sweet chocolates used for chocolate chip cookies. The mouthfeel was full body with smooth carbonation. Overall this is a great porter....sessionable for sure.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Bright black under a half inch tan tinted white foam cap that produces thick lace.
S: grainy nose with some chocolate.
T: Starts juicy and then some chocolate and grain come forward finishing with dark bitter chocolate with hints of espresso. Burnt roast flavors are constrained.
M: Lighter in body than a stout, creamy carbonation.
O: An easy to drink porter with some character.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both decent enough. Aroma is nice and sweet, the brew smells like roasted malt, chocolate, coffee and a bit of dark fruit. It tastes like roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and some licorice. The aroma is sweet, but the bitter roastiness really shows up in the taste of this brew. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and has moderate carbonation. I think this is a good brew, I'd definitely like to try it again sometime.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

After being turned down for Plead the Fifth everywhere I am glad to come home and drink a this new Dark Horse beer. Got it from Vintage Estate for $1.99 a single.
A - Fairly dark for a porter it does have some ruby hues with a 1/4 inch of silky mocha head atop. As most of their dark brews the lacing is excellent.
S - Smell is very roasty with tones of lactose sugars, some mocha, and a touch of sweet chocolates.
T - Has everything I expected, moderate bittering hops, some coffee and burnt sugars, and a bit of milk chocolate to boot. Finish is also on par with the style slightly drying finish.
M - Quite creamy much more than the Reserve Special Black Ale. Liked the medium slick body.
Overall another great beer from Dark Horse. In a way if made me remember how good the series of the "four" beers are.

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Photo of barczar
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This one's at least a year old, probably 2.

Pours an opaque deep brown with a modest frothy mocha head that lingers as a thin layer of foam.

Deeply nutty, toasted malt, chocolate, and prunes form the initial aroma. There's a hint of roast, but chocolate dominates.

Flavor reveals underpinnings of raisins and prunes, which are met early by chocolate, becoming somewhat roasty and a touch bitter mid palate. The nutty malt backbone is present throughout.

Body is fairly full, with a slick mouthfeel and modest carbonation. Alcohol warmth is light.

Great malt character, with a nice balance between chocolate and roast, though chocolate outshines the roast. The nutty, toasted malt is a nice treat. The dark fruit adds interesting complexity. Becomes a touch metallic late.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.59/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

This one pours a mildly dark brown, with a half inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like smoke, licorice, coffee, and roasted malt. It doesn't smell as sweet as the typical Baltic Porter, in all honesty, this doesn't really smell like a baltic porer at all.

It tastes the same- hardly feels like a Baltic Porter, more like a dry English Porter or a dry Irish stouts. There's some definite smoke, ash, and ground coffee beans here, very dry flavor, with some licorice, and burnt malt. It's feel slightly watery on the finish, I wish it finished stronger.

This is fairly light bodied for a porter of 7% ABV, with a dry and creamy mouthfeel, and a lower level of carbonation.

Not one of Dark Horse's best offerings, I felt this did not meet my expectations for a Baltic Porter, let alone a good porter itself.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - dark brown with a creamy tan head that fades to a foam
S - chocolate, dark fruit, caramel
T - chocolate malt, caramel, nutty, earthy, fruity, faint spiciness; excellently balanced
M - full body, creamy and smooth
O - very good baltic porter. I'd definitely buy this one again, but a little more booze might have done it some good.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap at revolution house - served in pint

Pours an opaque mahogany color with charred hues. Crop of toasted brown head slowly fades into patchy lacing on the glass.

Roasted dark malts, chocolate and a dash of smoke in the nose. Soft sweetness, nutty and a bite of warmth.

Waves of maltiness up front with soft, smooth sweetness driven by cocoa and dark chocolate. Coffee beans, roasted dark malts and caramel. Finishes with a touch of alcohol and dark sweetness.

Fuller medium body, decent carbonation, chewy and smooth on the tongue. Well-crafted, albeit fairly standard porter. I'd drink this again, but there's definitely some better ones out there.

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Photo of drpimento
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 4

Goot schtuf! Served at a good temperature with modest head that soon settles to a light cover that lasts forever and good lacing. Color is an opaque black brown. Aroma is malt, roast, dark ripe fruit, molasses, cocoa. Flavor's like nose with all the above characteristics amplified plus the integration of sweet, carbonic tang, and bitter. Body is good but carbonation seems a little light. Finish is like flavor, longish, and a touch boozy.

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Dark Horse Thirsty Trout Porter from Dark Horse Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.