Shallow Grave - Heretic Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Shallow GraveShallow Grave

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very good

54 Reviews
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Reviews: 54
Hads: 238
Avg: 3.95
pDev: 20.51%
Wants: 21
Gots: 36 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Heretic Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Zorro on 12-16-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 54 | Hads: 238
Photo of Philousa
2.38/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours an inky black with a half finger tan head. Chocolatey, roasty, and sweet aromas. Some phenolic plastic characteristics. I get some fresh coffee as it warms up. Dark chocolate hits the tongue first. Thick caramel flavor turns to bitter chocolate and coffee. Phenol is not as pronounced in the taste, but still there. Good mouthfeel, quite creamy. Balanced, drinkable.

Just not very impressed. Obviously the plastic aroma isn't appetizing and it stuck with me throughout, even though it wasn't that pronounced. Hopefully I got a bad bottle, because the other reviews show this can be a great beer.

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Photo of jmarsh123
2.88/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours black with a thin off white head that fades immediately with minimal lacing.

A little bit of chocolate and some roasted malt, but really struggling to find any substantial aroma to this.

Flavor is similar. A little chocolate and roasted malt. Not overly flavorful. Just a standard porter.

Thin for the style. I'd prefer a bit more creaminess. A tad too much carbonation as well.

I thought this one was pretty bland. There are no huge off flavors, but it kind of lacks flavor in general.

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Photo of shleepy
3.2/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had on tap at Gourmet Haus Staudt in Redwood City on 3/8/2012.

A: Dark brown. Small, off-white head.

S: Chocolate, faint toastiness.

T: Roasty chocolate milk. That about sums it up.

M: Medium to heavy body. Not as velvety smooth as some better porters/stouts (even something like Velvet Merlin).

O: OK for the style (I don't remember ever having an awful porter, though), but nothing too interesting.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.3/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Almost black, brown. Tan head, fast to ring. Lots of cling.

S - Cocoa, choc chip cookies, very pleasant.

T - Not so nice. Astringent, harsh, no sweetness. Dry as all get out.

M - Good carb, medium body, balance is hard when it's so one sided.

D - Liked it up to smell!

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Photo of Srsly
3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Verdugo Bar

S - very roasty, lots of coffee notes along with dark chocolate and some sweeter malts underneath.

T - starts well, with coffee and chocolate in the primary positions, as in the nose. A nice example of the style until...

M - Wham! I got hit with a fatty bitter finish that totally caught me off guard. I wasn't expecting it and honestly it felt pretty harsh.

O - I liked the flavor profile and the smell, I would even say they were above average for the style. However, that bitter finish hurt my enjoyment of the beer. I'm even more surprised at how intensely bitter it tasted because I see on their website that it's only supposed to be 33 IBU. Interesting.

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Photo of DocJitsu
3.55/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear reddish-black with a root beer head. Poor head retention. Dark chocolate and sorghum bouquet. Dry dark chocolate flavor that yields to a bitter coffee finish. It was strongly recommended that I have this beer. He must've been drunk. Heretic's Evil Cousin and Evil Twin are both far more interesting.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.57/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.

Pours a dark, but relatively fluid black colour, with a fine ring of beige-foam around the edges. Spotty, patchy lace forms erratically. Body looks really quite light, and the carbonation, while fine, runs through it pretty quickly. Looks ok, if not spectacular.

Nose is pleasantly deep and dark, without being too sharp, smoky or ashy. Roasted notes, some chocolate, a bit of turned earth, tobacco and coconut. It's all pretty smooth, and while not aggressive, it's quite full-flavoured. Nice stuff.

The body is very light—it's the first thing I notice when I take a sip—meaning that although the flavours are pleasant, they feel a bit weak and thin. There's more of that nice chocolate and mildly roasted grain character, a hint of something vegetative and supple, and a slight coffee note on the finish. But for 7% ABV, I'm surprised at how dry and thin it feels. It really needs more.

It's a shame, more than anything, because in many ways this is a very nice beer. It has some pleasant, well-integrated flavours and subtle complexities, but it feels like it dropped the ball overall. It should be better.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.62/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Golden State Cafe in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt, cocoa, and slight coffee bean aromas. Taste is the same with a mild roasty bitterness with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but it smells better than it tastes in my opinion.

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Photo of tbeckett
3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Beer Deluxe.

A - Poured black with slight red edges. A bit of carbonation coming up the sides. Three finger brown, creamy head. A few spatterings of lace and a half finger of retention.

S - Chocolate and roast.

T - More of the same with a bit of coffee roast.

M - Mild carbonation, medium to full body and a sweet then dry finish.

O/D - Well within the style guidelines, just not really pushing the boundaries. Everything is done well and it's enjoyable.

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Photo of mactrail
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thoroughly black in the tall glass with a nice beige head rising high. Not too much aroma, just a note of dark malt. Pleasant mouthful of suds. Strikes the balance between sweet and dry. Fairly malty with more of a medium body. So dark, but the charred flavor seems to have been kept at a minimum. Just a hint of burnt raisin toast. A little bit woody, a touch of nut shells. Modest hops with a slight bitter aftertaste.

Nothing really stands out with this, but it's a very drinkable and pleasant Porter. 22 oz bottle from Olive Tree Market in San Diego.

12-08-2013 Update: Tried a bottle of this I had in the cool basement. Not very impressive. I poured the rest of it in the skillet with the chicken and apple sausage. Label says Bottled 10.29.12

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Photo of woosterbill
3.67/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into a 25cl Duvel tulip. Thanks, Matt, for sharing!

A: Black body, clear persimmon highlights. One finger of fine tan head. Mediocre retention, plenty of lace. Nice.

S: Vanilla, rotten fruit (in an OK way, I swear), chocolate, and light smoke. Interesting, and enjoyable.

T: Coffee, chocolate, char, and fruit. Dry, roasty finish. Still a little overripe tasting with the fruit, but pretty good.

M: Fairly light body, creamy carbonation. Nice.

O: While the fruitiness was a little off-putting, it also set this one apart from your normal Porter. Enjoyable beer, and well worth a try.


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Photo of Fatehunter
3.7/5  rDev -6.3%

Pours a thin head on a black body.
The aroma is roasted malt and chocolate, nice.
The taste is a great balance of roasted malt, chocolate, coffee with a a slight bitterness.
The texture is thick with lower carbonation.
A superb porter.

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Photo of BryanCarey
3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

With aromas of coffee, roasted malt, and chocolate, this ale pours from the bottle with much promise. The body of the beer is dark brown/black and the tan head of foam maintains its presence for some time, leaving a good deal of lacing as you consume.

Heretic Shallow Grave Porter is a full bodied beer with a taste that combines coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt- exactly as expected based on the aroma. Digging deeper, there are some other flavors such as caramel, some milk, and some toasted notes. The beer finishes bitter, with the taste of bittersweet chocolate and hops.

This is a very tasty porter, but potential consumers must remember that the overall flavor profile leans toward the bitter side and this bitter finish could prove to be a turnoff for some- at least those who prefer their porter taste a little sweeter. I still find this a good porter overall, but even I admit this is not the type of beer I could consume on a regular basis. It is not a session beer by any stretch, but it is still flavorful and interesting enough to consider a drink or two when the urge for a bitter, robust porter strikes.

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Photo of dgilks
3.74/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque dark brown colour with no head. The head is a disappointment but the rest is good.

Roasty and clean with a clear coffee and roast malt note. Some earthiness. A classically English robust porter.

Roasty, earthy and dry with some maltiness on the palate and a nice chocolate undertone. Hints of fruit. Very good.

A medium body works well with moderate carbonation. A truly good beer without being exciting.

A nice enough porter. While I expected more from Jamil it is good and would hit a lot of the requirements to be called 'to style'.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.76/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

BOD 3/2/15. Pours dark as a starless night. Significantly below normal head volume and retention, normal lacing.

Light nose of roast and cocoa.

Medium body with a texture that is quite smooth and has strong creamy notes. Excellent carbonation with a mild burst of effervescence from the middle on.

The very nice flavor profile is reasonably intense, a bit complex and superbly balanced. It begins with a mild blend of roast and cocoa. Chocolate is hinted at, at best. The middle brings a mild balancing hop bitterness with a hint of sweetness. The finish is a slow fade of hop and roast bitterness. This offering is certainly not bad, it is quite good actually, but lacks the flavor intensity and complexity of world class porters such as Victory at Sea or an outstanding one such as Founders.

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Photo of 57md
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep dark brown color. Hearty body. The roast is certainly present but not super potent. This offering finishes off with an odd note at the end.

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Photo of stlunatic15
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Black & thick (that's what she said). Hardly any head or foam. Lacing falls along down the pint glass.

S - Difficult to tell since I have a stuffy nose at the moment, but I can contract some mocha (which I fucking love).

T - Spicy! Little kick of heat in the end there. Still maintains its standard Porter profile of coffee/chocolate/spice. However, it really tastes like a Chipotle porter. Reminds me of Mikkeller's, but not as smokey.

M - A bit different from the typical porters. A slight burn sensation occurs in the back of the throat as you're swallowing (not a negative aspect, though). I also noticed that it's not as thick or viscous as other porters. I'm actually diggin' the mouthfeel on this one - it's interesting.

O - Not as chocolate/coffee forward compared to most porters, but this is still a damn good one.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.79/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint, the beer is jet black, with a frothy, bubbly, light, filmy, light tan head. Aromas of mocha, char, campfire, chocolate, and hints of cream highlights. Flavors are bitter roasted coffee forward, with notes of hazelnut, crème, and campfire smoke. Very light, dry bodied, with a smoky and bitter coffee aftertaste. The finish is dry, with a smoky and bittersweet linger.

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Photo of Boto
3.79/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber: This one pours a fairly opaque, inky dark brown color. There was foamy light brown head on it. It has a good nose. Chocolate, some sweetness and roasted malts. The taste is good. Some chocolate sweet malts, with some roastiness in the background. Some hops in the background just knocking down the sweetness, but just letting a little through. Some milkiness to the taste. Slightly more than medium bodied. Nice.

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Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Second beer of my NYE taste-a-thon. First beer from Jamil and Heretic.

Pours VERY dark into my pint glass, hints of ruby shine through at the right angle when held up to the light.

Delicious roasted goodness on the nose. Sweet chocolate notes as well.

Tastes more like an American Stout than an American Porter (is there such a nothing? Not according to the BJCP). Roasty and bitter. Hint of hop character. Bitterness is a touch strong for a Porter.

Mouthfeel is nice. Thickish and well carbonated. Spot on for the style.

Overall this is a good beer. It somewhat straddles the lines between American Stout and Robust Porter, but honestly should have been called a stout. Naming/marketing discrepancies aside, this is definitely a really nice beer. Highly recommend seeking it out if you're not afraid of stouts or robust porters.

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Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
3.84/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – A super dark brown beer, with a good tan head and nice lacing.

Smell – The smell wasn’t very strong; roasted malt and a little chocolate.

Taste – A very classic porter. Roasted malts with a little extra sweetness that makes it above average.

Mouthfeel – Medium body, lightly creamy, good carbonation for the style.

Drinkability – This is an easy drinking porter. It’s above average, but I didn’t find anything exceptional.

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Photo of zac16125
3.89/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle into a pint glass
no bottling dates

A: Opaque black, 3 fingers width of light tan head that has good retention and leaves lots of lacing. 4.5

S: Big chocolate notes, roasted malt, caramel, whipping cream. A pretty big sweetness, blends nicely with the roasty porter notes. Straightforward, but very nice. 4.25

T: Like the nose its a combination of roasty notes and sweetness. Too much sweetness in my opinion. Its kind of got that cheap chocolate sugary sweetness to it. A bit of bitterness as well helps to balance things out. 3.75

M/D: Fuller side of medium body, but not thick. May actually be a bit thin for the flavors it carries. Carbonation appropriate. Drinkability is limited by the at times cloying sweetness. 3.5

O: Good, not great. Worthy of a try, but not something I would likely get again. 3.75

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Photo of JackieKu
3.89/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650ml bottle. Bottled on 2015-04-08.

A: Dark brown. The head was small but well retained.
S: Moderate toasted aroma. Biscuits.
T: Moderate cocoa/coffee flavors. Slightly vanilla. Low bitterness. A touch of sweetness. Finish is dry and cocoa like.
M: Medium bodied. Low carbonation.
O: A delicious, slightly above average, but not outstanding porter.

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Photo of Act25
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

as good as most strong porters, sweet.

A dark brown colored beer with a small dense tan head that doesn't last, but laces.

S - An aromatic beer. Sweet with a strong chocolate and coffee. Little bit of toasted bread and vanilla scent. No real hop scent.

T Follows smell, a bit sweet. Big malt taste and a bitter finish. Sweeter than average, like a Milk Stout. Chocolate, vanilla and not much hops. Tasty, well rounded, lovely. As it warms more like a milkshake.

F Mouthfeel is thick. But lacking in finish.

On the sweet side, if you like Milk Stout you will like. Hides 7% well, the sum is greater than the parts.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Arbitrator for the bottle.

Appearance: Deep dark brown. Starts with a decent sized dark tan head. Drops to a small creamy collar and cap. Nice smooth pour. Minimal to moderate carbonation on the pour.

Smell: Solidly roasted with some faint hints of cocoa. Chocolate malt with some underlying caramel malt. Slightly sweet with some creamy, almost oat-like backing. Very knightly hopped. Small hint of coffee and a nice milky chocolate. A touch of smoke on the back of it all.

Taste: A hint of old coffee under a deeply roasted malt base. A hint of ash and char in the back as well. Chocolate malt in abundance tempered by a little caramel malt sweetness. Some cooked and caramelized sugars as well. Dark chocolate, cocoa, and bitter baker's chocolate. Some dark fruit and a hint of raisin. A touch grassy with some distinct alcohol on the back. Lots of roasted malt and increasingly sweet as it warms. Some grassy notes as well.

Mouthfeel: Creamy medium leaning toward full body with a moderate carbonation. Nice and clean with a slick finish.

Overall: Dig a foot, take a sip. Rinse and repeat.

A decent enough porter. Heavier on the roasted malt than is typical, but crushes the chocolate aspect of it all.

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Shallow Grave from Heretic Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.