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Anchor Porter - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor PorterAnchor Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,011 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,011
Reviews: 1,435
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 11.44%
Wants: 130
Gots: 160 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-01-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,011 | Reviews: 1,435 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BacklitAvenger
3.68/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation - Cute little funny shaped bottle into my liberian pint glass.

Appearance - Deep dark brown pouring into the glass, capped with a finger and a half of tan, sand-colored foam that leaves sparse traces down the sides of the glass. When held to the light is is pretty much opaque save for a few mahogeny highlights at the bottom of the glass.

Smell - Roasty malts and a slight alcohol aroma. A bit surprised by the roast, as most porters tend to the malty, chocolatey sort of smell in my experience.

Taste - Dark fruit begins, which is very interesting, as I do not often detect that in porters. Dark maltiness, with a bready cast to it follows. The chocolate and toffee hit at the end, followed by a pleasantly bitter roasty aftertaste and aroma. No hop flavor detected, though I detect hop bitterness. Alcohol at the end. Moderately sweet, with sort of bucket full estery overtones. I do not like these esters in this beer. Tastes weird to me.

Mouthfeel - A slick, chewy, somewhat thin cream texture. Prickles from carbonation at the finish especially.

Drinkability - Medium. The bottle I opened wasn't quite cold enough, but I suspect the alcohol note would disappear with a chillier temperature, something I plan to test tomorrow. Will update when complete. The bucket o' esters and alcohol note keeps the drinkability lower than some other porters, but overall this is a reasonably mild mannered porter of medium drinkability.

BacklitAvenger, May 16, 2009
Photo of barnzy78
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

6oz (shared a 12oz bottle). Poured near black with a creamy tan head. Aromas were roasted malts with hints of cocoa and coffee. Tastes were initially sweeter than expected with a pleasant roasted malt and cocoa up-front followed by a finish of coffee with a slight hop bitterness for balance. Hops were more noticeable than other porters, but the amount used was spot-on for an overall very good representation of the style. Solid porter and one I would drink again and recommend.

barnzy78, May 16, 2009
Photo of stumac
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I just wanna start off by saying I wish I had tried this beer when I first knew of it's existence a few years ago because this beer rocks!!!

it pours up straight black with a huge frothy tan head. great lacing. the nose is very yeasty, fairly sweet malts, cocoa. the taste is big malts, very crisp, nutty, chocolate, subtle coffee bean, a clean finish, medium to full bodied, medium spritzy carbo. Damnlicious!

stumac, May 14, 2009
Photo of miket163
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into pint glass, very dark brown, with a rocky tan head that lasted the entire beer.

smell: Very malty, sweet coffee and caramel notes.

taste: Dark malt character with upfront bitterness, followed by a sweet chocolate malt like character. Smoky and espresso flavours present. Outstanding porter!

Beautiful beer to behold and drink.

miket163, May 12, 2009
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a nice coffee colored brown head that is very dense and takes some time to fade.

Hints of smoked malt in the nose as well as some hops. Smokey sweet smell.

Very full beer with coffee hints and some chocolate notes at the end. Mostly coffee and smokeyness at the beginning though.

Creamy mouth feel with refreshing quality at the same time. It is very rich.

I loved this beer and found it a good example of a porter from the US.

JoEBoBpr, May 09, 2009
Photo of Viggo
3.65/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from Premier Gourmet.

Pours a pretty opaque dark brown, some reddish highlights, thick tan head forms, slowly settles down to a thick ring around the glass, some nice lace chunks stick, good retention. Smell is nice, lots of dark fruit, raisins and prunes, strawberries, caramel, biscuit, light bit of roast but not much for a porter, touch of vanilla and some brown sugar, pretty neat. Taste is similar, very fruity, lots of raisin, dates, dark fruit, cherries/strawberries, some sweet caramel and brown sugar through the middle, maybe a touch of roast in the finish, this reminds me quite a bit of their bock. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation, pretty drinkable but definitely not any American porter I've ever had. Still good though.

Viggo, May 05, 2009
Photo of SirDrinxAlot
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color is black with ruby highlights and a tan colored head that left good lacing.

Smells of roasted malts, coffee, chocolate.

Tasted like roasted malts, with chocolate,coffee,and some nutty flavors. Hops are just right and give this beer a good balance with not too much bitterness at the end.

Very smooth and drinkability was also very good. Rich mouthfeel and light carbonation. Definitely a beer that I will be drinking again.

SirDrinxAlot, May 05, 2009
Photo of seand
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Nearly black, with some dark red. About 2 fingers of tan head, which faded pretty quickly. Good lacing though.

S: The malts are the main thing that comes through on the nose. Nice and sweet, I would have preferred a slightly stronger smell though.

T: The toffee/chocolate sweetness is nicely balanced by the hops. No overwhelming flavors, solid all around.

M: Lots of carbonation, almost a soda like mouthfeel. Works quite well with the taste.

D: Drinks quite easily.

seand, May 03, 2009
Photo of dauss
4.9/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Standard Anchor bottle offering in the shorter more slender bottle. Production: 9J7

Appearance: Pours very dark brown, with light just barely getting through near the edges of the glass. A large tan head forms easily. Retention could use a little work, light lacing on the glass.

Smell: First whiff you get the roasted malts with a light hint of alcohol. With a deeper inhale you just get an incredible amount of chocolate.

Taste: Full mouthfeel with plenty of roasted character and the perfect amount of bitterness to balance out the sweetness from all that malt. Carbonation is a little on the light side, but it just makes the beer that much more silky smooth and rich.

Notes: Just came back into distribution in Colorado and couldn't want to buy myself a case. I think the head retention could use a little work, and I would prefer the beer to be a little fulller in the mouthfeel, but I'm just splitting hairs. Here you have it, the gold standard for the American Porter. Everything is just so nicely balanced between the roast, malt sweetness and the bitterness. The overwhelming chocolate in the nose is just bliss. I could drink this all day and in any season.

dauss, May 02, 2009
Photo of drtth
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lightly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, almost black, with reddish highlights and a thick tan head that holds for a long time. As the head thins there is a nice ring of foam around the glass with a layer of fine bubbled foam on the surface of the liquid. Sipping leaves interesting patterns of lacing.

Smell: The aroma reveals the roasted malts with traces of coffee and dark chocolate.

Taste: The flavor contains both some modest sweetness from the malts as well the flavors of dark roasted malt, dark chocolate and coffee. This is an incredibly well balanced porter.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a soft and creamy mouthfeel from the carbonation. The finish begins sweet and then is long and dry with elements of dark roast bitterness along with traces of hop bitterness and flavor.

Drinkability: This is a really nice porter and it would be easy to sit and drink several of them in an evening.

drtth, May 02, 2009
Photo of MadeInOregon
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this one once a long time ago and remember it being pretty good but hadn't tried it again since it's always so freakin expensive due to the "Anchor" in the title. Well, it finally went on sale for $7.99 at a local BevMo so I couldn't resist cuz I'm a big porter fan.

Poured into my cup it had a HUGE smoky, brown head. It was very pillowy and nice looking. Seems pretty big for a porter. Held up to the light the brew was pitch black; no light getting through at all. Cool.

Also on the topic of appearance: the bottle is one of the nicest bottles I've seen. The glass itself makes it feel like you're about to drink something classy; it's so smooth and solid feeling. Maybe the gentle curves that make the bottle seem like some kinda torpedo justify the high price (?). Also, the label is nice. Nowadays it seems like the motif of choice for American micro/semi-microbrewery labels is something that plays on words, is quirky, or comes across as borderline inappropriate. This one, like the bottle itself, is simple and to the point. It's not trying to be funny or push any envelopes, though it also doesn't come across as cheap. Well done, Anchor.

As for the taste, like someone else mentioned, it's best to try to let this brew warm up a bit. The first taste right out of the fridge was pretty flat and empty--even when I take into the account that I've been drinkin a lot of IPA's and winter brews lately. If I hadn't let it warm up a lot I would've been pretty disappointed cuz the initial tastes are certainly sub-par, even though there is a pretty nice warming effect from the alcohol.

Once it warms up to, say, 55 it's great! It has a strong coffee aftertaste, the head tastes like marshmallows (seriously!), and the body itself is quite creamy.

The smell is also pretty nice: chocolate, raisins, and bourbon. Impressive for a straightforward porter!

Alas, this is not the best porter out there despite the hype (and the price). The fact that so much of its flavor can be masked at a low temperature is both interesting and disappointing, and it is that fact that earns this beer lower marks from me.

The king of porters, as far as I'm concerned, is still Deschutes' Black Butte. Tastes great at any temperature, cup or no cup and definitely more worth the price than Anchor's.

MadeInOregon, Apr 30, 2009
Photo of jsh420
2.15/5  rDev -47.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

pours deep brown with a 3 finger pillowy head. smell is very metalic and macro. taste is not even close to a porter this is just darker version of the steam beer. mouthfeel is the best thing that this beer has going for it - with a light crisp feel which i feel does not even come close to how this style should be. over all this one of the worst porters ever made. it would be an ok session beer for people looking for a bud ligt of porters

jsh420, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of BarrelO
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Blackish with a nice head.

S: Dark fruits, bittersweet chocolate, and roasted malts.

T: Same as the nose, pretty much. Chocolate and dark fruits with a bitter roasted aftertaste.

M: Medium to big body. A bit more carbonation than I would have liked.

D: Very nice. Small enough to be sessionable, but packed with tons of flavor. Highly recommended to all dark beer afficionados.

BarrelO, Apr 25, 2009
Photo of Lerxst
3.18/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into Sammy Smith Imperial Pint Glass

A-A nice start! Pitch black goodness nice head with good retention and lacing.

S-Is it my sinuses or is this thing missing some nose? Faint chocolate, malts, coffee are there, but too understated for me.

T-Hints of malt, molasses, chocolate, coffee. But its just another porter. Nothing outstanding for me.

M-Carbonation level is light, which is good for me. Coats the tongue with a nice oily finish.

D-I suppose this would be a doable session brew, but the nose and taste aren't something I was particularly impressed with.

I was anxious to try this one since I love porters, but this one just didn't do it for me. Its not bad, but I'd rather have others.

Lerxst, Apr 21, 2009
Photo of walshclimb
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours pitch black, barely brown even held up to the light with thick tan frothy head that leaves good rims of lace. The head thins considerably, but sticks around for the long haul. The aroma is excellent roasted malt that is maybe a little peppery, increasingly sweet as it warms - brown sugar. Rich malty initial flavor that leads to a well balanced bitter aftertaste that has roasted and burnt malt, caramel and a bit of hops. My only complaint is that it occasionally seems slightly medicinal as it warms. The smooth, medium bodied texture is basically perfect. lighter than a stout but not at all watery. The flavor and texture coat the tongue and throat but the finish is dry. This is my favorite american porter, and I am ranking it accordingly.

walshclimb, Apr 21, 2009
Photo of dmamiano
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown motor oil like. Stout like with a big ,creamy off white head that holds and leaves plenty of tan lacing.
Bready in the nose, roasted nuts and dark chocolates pop in the head.
Smooth, full feel on the palate. Malty and roastiness prevail.
Finishes smooth with a slight lingering bitterness.

dmamiano, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of sweetbrew82
4.63/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P: Looks damn near black in the glass with only some rosy-brown rays of light on the edges. Tan head is creamy and frothy with good retention. Sticky as hell as it sinks to leave big patches of lace.

A: Smells of chocolatey malts, caramel, dark fruits, molasses, and citric hops underneath. Not as aromatic as I remember from the bottle, though.

T: Man...this slightly roasted malt bill is enormous! It's cereal-like graininess is capitalized on by the dark fruits that remind me of figs and raisins. Molasses and coffee only adds to the sweetness while the citrusy hops and the faint hint of charcoal work to even it out with bitterness. One of my all-time favorites!

M: Anchor Porter is a medium-bodied brew with a creamy, rich, slightly chewy, supremely smooth texture that just glides down the back of your throat with ease.

Notes: This is a damn fine porter! Probably one of the best that I've had. This used to be an old favorite of mine, but finally being able to review it after having it on-tap was wonderful. Recommended

sweetbrew82, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of dismal
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Pours a black extremely dark brown color with a one finger tan head that quickly fades away but leaves some lacing down the glass but not much. The smell is sweet and the smell of chocolate comes to mind and caramel. The taste is similar with the chocolate and the sweetness. Has some roasted taste to it as well. I think a hint of coffee is there but it's not very strong. The taste of this one is really good. The mouthfeel is a little above average. Kind of a medium bodied feel to it but not like this needs to be thick or anything. The drinkability of this beer is high. I find myself going through a glass very quickly and wanting to grab another. Overall a great porter, probably one of the best I've had recently.

dismal, Apr 15, 2009
Photo of SFBeerGuy
4.58/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured form a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass

A- Poured a deep brown/black color with a generous 1.5 inch froth. Tan, light brown head slowly receded leaving behind sticky lace.

S- Chocolate and toffee on the nose with bittersweet caramel. Nothing overpowering.

T- Smokey malt and bittersweet chocolate. Mild tannins towards the end which help draw out the bitterness. Chocolate stays in the mouth from beginning to end. Small coffee bitterness creeps up in the finish alongside the bittersweet of the chocolate. Delicate balance and compliment between the bitterness of the hops and malt which is almost indistinguishable.

M- Slight tannin bite at the back end following a refreshingly crisp carbonation.

D- The hop bitterness of this ale is more evident after the first few sips as it lingers behind in the mouth. That said, this Porter is very drinkable and extremely balanced.

SFBeerGuy, Apr 15, 2009
Photo of Rodekill
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is an American classic. It's really its own thing, as other robust porters tend to have more roasted malt character than Anchor Porter.

Great head retention, nice lacing, perfectly carbonated.

Coffee, molasses, and bitter chocolate all come into play on your palate.

This is one complex beer: the aroma and flavor meld perfectly for a total sensory assault, in a good way!

This is not a session porter, but should be sipped and savored. It pairs well with spicy food, as well as pasta and chocolate.


Rodekill, Apr 09, 2009
Photo of pants678
4.8/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Took this one straight from the bottle, there wasn't a pint glass around. From memory it's opaque black with a beige head that maintains well throughout.

It's an open smell, a hint of freshly brewed coffee and a tinge of carmel.

There are layers of flavor, starting with a sweet chocolate in front of a strong coffee that ligners with a sticky aftertaste. There's almost a salt undertone through out, a consistent base. It adds a baltic sensibility and pungency.

It's like a cool ocean breeze felt on a pier at midnight.

Carbonation is but a light tingle, it's just a bit of laced distortion that helps bring this brew together.

pants678, Apr 05, 2009
Photo of katan
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint

A - Certainly dark and opaque, this thing appears thick. The head formation is very strong and mocha in color. Well retained.

S - Has a hair of the roasted malts you would expect from a porter. Almost the trademark Anchor moss earthy smell hanging around as well.

T - Starts off with a sweet steam flavor - hard to describe but I can get it from other steam beers. Almost a peat-moss flavor to me. A fair amount of bitterness is present in the early flavors and builds even stronger. Aftertaste is light, just a bit of bitterness.

M - Carbonation bite is light on the tongue. Does leave a fairly oily film on the tongue after drinking.

D - Moderate drinkability. I do think it is better than most porters of similar style. ABV is manageable. Flavors are not overbearing.

An interesting beer - it seems to carry the steam characteristics from our friends at Anchor into a normal beer style.

katan, Apr 04, 2009
Photo of rkinsella
3.23/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Almost jet black, thick tan head, good lacing.

Licorice and dark fruit were the most dominant on the nose. Not much coffee aroma for a porter. A bit of molasses too. Maybe a whiff of alcohol?

Good sweetness upfront, dried fruit and licorice again were very present, long bitter finish with a bit of coffee on the very end.

Mouthfeel was somewhat heavy, smooth, medium carbonation.

Drinkability is on the low side for me. Complex and rich, more of a sipper.

Overall this was a very flavorful porter, and well crafted indeed. It's surprisingly has almost a "liquor taste." And the strong licorice notes almost seemed to pull the balance. Has the huge flavor of a Imperial Stout, or Baltic Porter. I see it as an after dinner beer.

rkinsella, Apr 04, 2009
Photo of Kromes
3.65/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured black with red fringes. Thick head that quickly died down to a thin line of bubbles. Looks very cloudy, but I can see through a little bit. Aromas are of coffee, sweet malts, a little bit of hop that was kind of skunky (this went away after a while). The initial taste was burnt coffee and chocolate then a sweet tangy fruit flavor kicked in with a little bit of hop in the background. The aftertaste was bitter burnt cofee with the sweet and sour tang. Kind of out of place. The beer also felt thin and watery just before the carbonation kicked in and filled it out. It has a unique flavor and is somewhat drinkable, but the tang kind of threw me off.

I tried looking for a date on the bottle but could not find one. Well there was a 6 . . T on there, but I don't know what that means. I love Liberty Ale and Anchor Steam, so I am assuming that this might be an old or bad bottle as it didn't taste right. I think I picked this up off a shelf in the back of World Market. I won't be going there for beer again. I'll give this another shot if I see it at a different store.

Kromes, Apr 02, 2009
Photo of IronCitySteve
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A really dark brown color, almost black color, with some vague reddish undertones. A nice tight brown/tan head with ample lacing.

S: Mostly malt scents, molasses, nuts, dark fruits and some chocolate. Gets more predominant once it warms a bit, but nothing real overwhelming.

T: Taste is much better than the scent lets on. Very robust and mixes quite well. Lots of coffee, toffee (which I could not smell), brown sugar and bread.

M: A really nice creamy mouthfeel, not chewy. Really decent carbonation.

D: A very nice Porter, relatively low ABV. If you enjoy Porters, this is a definite must try, easy to enjoy.

IronCitySteve, Apr 01, 2009
Anchor Porter from Anchor Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,011 ratings.