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Drake's Black Robusto Porter - Drake's Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Drake's Black Robusto PorterDrake's Black Robusto Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

41 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 41
Hads: 196
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 19.95%
Wants: 8
Gots: 37 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Drake's Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  6.30% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: xhcadamx on 02-27-2009

Drake’s Black Robusto Porter – 7% ABV, 25 IBUs
A robust Porter, Drake’s Black Robusto has a roasty character and is stronger in alcohol than a regular porter (thus “robust’). Dark black in color with chocolate maltiness from seven different types of barley and spicy herbal hop character from Northdown and Williamette hops.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 41 | Hads: 196
Photo of laituegonflable
3.36/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a dark brown, with mild red tinge. Head is beige, large bubbles, ring around the rosies. Lacing is alright.

Smells decent. Roasty, with a touch of espresso, bit of booze and a touch of yeast putting me in mind of vegemite. Overall salted caramel malt notes as well. Nice.

Taste is fairly roasty, kind of light though, with some savoury wood notes. Touch of coffee, some boot polish and a touch of dried sage. Very portery, a bit savoury for my liking though, like there's a slight hollowness in the palate where more sweetness could poke through.

Feels light, not a lot of texture. Bit of presence very late.

Decent enough porter, but the roast is quite strong, and yet palate overall is quite light, so it kind of statistically works out without any individual part feeling or tasting great.

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Photo of Jeffsta1
3.46/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Deep black, very convincing. Pale head

Mild smell, subtle hints of brown sugar sweetness that aren't present in the beer.

Taste is subtle, light, doesn't fit with the style or color. San Pellegrino more than porter. No off notes, at least.

Moderate mouthfeel. A bit more carbonation than I prefer, with larger bubbles.

Finish is very light.

From this bottle, this is really not a great beer, not even a good beer. Maybe an off bottle? So far off what others are getting...

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Photo of womencantsail
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Blue Palms for Drake's/Triple Rock Tap Takeover

A: The beer pours almost black in color with a finger of creamy tan head.

S: The nose is almost all roast and ash. Some notes of dark, bitter chocolate are also present, and some coffee and coffee grounds. Maybe a hint of licorice. Not terribly complex, but quite nice.

T: The flavor is fairly bitter from all of the intense roastiness. Quite a strong ash and char flavor with some dark chocolate and coffee. Somewhat astringent and slightly acidic as well.

M: Medium in body and carbonation.

O: I liked the nose on this quite a bit, but the flavor fell short and was just too heavy on the burnt flavors and bitterness.

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Photo of SHODriver
3.71/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: pours a deep black with a finger and a half of dense light tan head with good retention into a nonic pint glass
S: smells intensely chocolatey and roasty with just a hint of espresso
T: chocolate up front followed by some nice roastyness, a bit of herbal and spicy hop as well with a hint of coffee. swallow brings more roastyness and chocolate with a bit of spicy hop
M: fuller side of medium in the mouth with a nice and soft carbonation
O: not a bad beer at all. good flavors and easy drinking.

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Photo of lighthabit
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

written a couple days later, neighbor gave me this and i'd forgotten what it was by the time i got around to trying it. need to grab one when down at the store, as it has merit.

chocolate and coffee, typical porter character, hint of vanilla that i really enjoyed. not sure on the head/lacing, as it was in a bottle unlabeled container, probably had lost some of its oomph.

note to self - if trying an unknown, at least jot some notes down for later.

update 9/23/13 smell and taste from bomber have a faint hint of something reminiscent of carnation powdered milk.

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Photo of Philousa
3.79/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Imbibed on tap at Bair Island in San Carlos.

Poured an opaque, murky black, bright amber around the edges against the light. Big creamy tan head settles to thinly cover the top. Smells like a porter should: lots of dark malt, some coffee, baker's chocolate, and slight vanilla, which to me hints towards creaminess. The taste comes across thin, dry and chalky. Typical flavors such as dark chocolate and roasty malts are duking it out with fruity flavors like raspberry and green apple. Very odd to me. Dry finish with some green hop bitterness.

I'm not the biggest fan, but I suspect this line may have switched the lines with a cider and failed to clean the lines properly. Not sure if I should have reviewed it with this suspicion, but I feel I got enough of the true flavor to pass judgment.

EDIT: I just tried this out of the bottle and I think something was wrong with the tap lines. Most of the big flaws were absent in this bottle. In addition to what was described above: I get some creaminess in the aroma, almost lactic. Taste is not dry, but finish is. Baker's chocolate remains, but it's not chalky. Some fruitiness is observable but it's fleeting. Really digging this after months of pooh poohing it.

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Photo of mactrail
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma of dark roasted malt greets the nose. Pours very nearly black in the tall tulip with a fine beige head. Lots of lacing in the glass and quite sudsy in the mouth.

Flavor is kind of like slightly burnt rye toast. Good, though. There is just a lot of the charred flavors and a touch of burnt sugar. A little sweetness makes this more malty and less dry than a lot of these black beers. It just makes up for it with a longer, more bitter burn at the end. Warm yet edgy, a lot of grainy flavors, and that deep roasted taste makes for a mouthful of flavors.

Thoroughly refreshing and intriguing dark brew. Another example of the slightly off-center style that makes me a Drake's fan. From the 22 oz bottle bought at Bine & Vine in San Diego.

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Photo of caligreen333
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

The only reason I am reviewing this beer is because I am now currently drinking a Bear Republic BLACK STOUT and it does hold its own against this Porter! Mind you I am not the best candidate to review a beer at this moment considering I have already had about 4 IPA's, BUT for comparison purposes I had about 4 IPA's last night before I had the Drake Robusto. All I want to say in this review is if you have had a good amount to drink and are still looking for a "closer" beer for the end of the night then this is it. It has a strong flavor, over powers the Bear Republic "BLACK STOUT" which is rated at a higher level. I know your thinking a Stout is not supposed to be a porter, well this isn't about that. The basic's behind this review is to show that if you want a strong flavored smokey malty beer, the Robusto is the way to go. End of rant. The avg ratings mean I dont know so really I give it a 4.0 at least. Thanks Drakes for making an affordable Porter that packs a punch!

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours near black with a tan, finger width head. Sub-par retention, leaving behind a thin layer of microbubbles on the surface and around the edge of the glass. Lacing is minimal and spotty, with fair stick.

Smell - Milk chocolate; touches on baker's chocolate and mild coffee roast, with hints of earth.

Taste - Follows the nose. Moderate chocolate sweetness, met with undertones of baker's chocolate and coffee bitterness that rides out to the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth from start to finish.

Overall - Very approachable porter. It might not quite satisfy the geekiest of dark ale aficionados, but there's enough here to respect it. By that same token, I think anyone getting into porters would find this rich, but not overwhelming. When all's said and done, however, I myself would rather pony up for a Black Butte sixer at nearly half the price per ounce, which to me is not only the better beer, but obviously a far better value.

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Photo of magictacosinus
3.84/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured in a 10oz pint glass on tap at Comal, located in Berkeley.

The appearance is pitch-black alongside shades of brown as the glass is placed near any lighting. Slight streaks of bubbles rise towards the top of the beer's decent yet small bubbly head. The head eventually fades to pretty much nothing, but what remains are slight traces of foam floating at the top, as well as semi-strong alcohol legs sticking to the glass's rim.

The aroma is far maltier than I thought it would be, especially considering that all other beers I've had by Drake's are fairly hoppier and drier in smell - and flavor, for that matter. This holds a slightly strong smoky backdrop, combined with woody oak and coffee notes. Definitely not too much fruitiness overall, although the coffee flavor melds really well with the wood and dark malts. There's a little bit of alcohol that sweetens things up, but I can tell that this going to be a primary focus on the smoked coffee malts overall.

The flavor takes whatever was the aroma tenfold, but what does arrive in midst of the coffee are surprisingly decent chocolate syrup notes, as well as a deep, heartened bready flavor. In fact, the dark bread, often resembling pumpernickel or German rye, is pretty well flavored and melds fairly well with the coffee and chocolate, despite the fact that the earlier wood notes have pretty much vanished in the flavor. There's no real strong hop backbone to speak of here, but it is still aggressively bitter, and definitely more so on the malty side. Cannot complain about the feel of the beer overall - it's definitely thickened and never dies down no matter how it warms up, which really melds well with its bread flaked characteristics.

A pretty interesting take on a porter from another East Bay representation! Definitely fresh on tap, but curious to see how it will be when bottled. Porters aren't my top beer style, but I do enjoy the coffee and bread characteristics very much here, in ways that I haven't had a West Coast porter before.

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Photo of emerge077
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Drake's Barrel House, review from written notes.

Black body, dark chestnut brown transparency in the light. Delicate spindly webs of tan lace, spotty in places. Long lasting foam, floating island of skim in the center.

Aroma of dark roast coffee and roasted barley.

Medium bitterness, earthy roast with a mild astringency from the roast malt (acceptable) and a dry bitter finish. Medium bodied, smooth feel. Pretty pleasant and drinkable, a coffee version wouldn't be too farfetched...

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.87/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Type: 22-oz. glass
Glass: Karl Strauss pint glass
From: Whole Foods in Hillcrest (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $4.99
Purchased: Feb. 12, 2014
Consumed: Feb. 16, 2014
Misc.: N/A

Poured a practically pitch black color with two fingers of frothy tan head. Above average of light semi-layered lacing along the sides of the glass. Good retention all the way down.

Smelled cocoa, dark chocolate, caramel, toffee, black coffee, fudge, cocoa nibs and light smoky fire notes.

Tasted similar to the nose, although not quite as good. Got dark chocolate, dark chocolate cocoa mix, chocolate syrup, smoky notes, caramel, toffee and black coffee.

Full-to-medium body. Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Long, warming, bitter finish.

This was a pretty good porter, although something was slightly off. The smell was by far the best part.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.89/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #72 (Jan 2013):

This is what we crave in a darker ale, bold enough to push out palates around yet still pretty quaffable. Extremely well balanced, this is a shining star in the vastness of usually hopped up ales of the west coast. Porter fans should put this on their list.

STYLE: Robust Porter
ABV: 5.4%

LOOK: Nearly pitch black, healthy tan head

SMELL: Mild coffee, milk chocolate, black currants, slightly burnt toast, minty, caramel

TASTE: Deep smoothness, roasty, slightly chewy, medium bodied, treacle, dark roast coffee, carob, charcoal, earthy hops, mild spice, yeast, dark bread, semi-dry roasty finish

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Photo of ESPNman
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served into a tulip glass

A - It pours like a viscous used motor oil. It has almost coffee-like legs, and a dark brown almost-black color. It leaves a very thin but surprisingly well-retained mocha head. Solid lacing despite the lack of head.

S - Super roasty, malty, and bitter. Lots of burnt cocoa and deeply roasted coffee on the nose. A bit of sweet malts, and just a hint of astringent hop.

T - Much like the nose, but much more subtle. A lot of the burnt smell of coffee and malt comes through as much more roasted, with an almost toasted marshmallow sweetness on the back end. It finishes with a stinging bitterness and lingering cocoa.

M - Well-carbonated, almost champagne-like at first. The mouthfeel gets better as the brew warms up and flattens out a bit. It's thick, without being overly coating and chewy. It definitely needs some time to warm up before it's actually good, though.

O - A solid deeply roasted porter. It does a good job of walking the fine line between roasty and burnt. Unfortunately the nose makes a few promises that the taste can't quite deliver on.

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Photo of Maurizio
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brown, approaching black. Moderate head with good lacing.

Smell: Delicious combination of roast and chocolate.

Taste: Doesn't quite deliver the promise of the nose, but still very tasty and smooth.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium, just how I like my porters.

Overall: Very solid and affordable porter. Will definitely seek it out again.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ, on to the beer:

The head retention is great on top this coal black beer. Great, thick lacing sticks to the glass. It's a very astringent flavor as far as flavor and aroma is concerned. Roasted ground coffee and a strong astringency dominate the nose and palate, and on the palate, a brush of hops interrupts the roasty notes on occasion. I enjoyed this one, although this may not be everyone's cup of joe (no pun intended).

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Photo of Gavage
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark brown in color with a 1/2" tan colored head that falls to a spotty surface foam.

Smell: roasted malt and some chocolate comes through to the nose.

Taste: roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, some earthiness, and a mild bitterness create a well balanced beer.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp throughout with a bit of dryness late.

Overall: a very drinkable porter that has a nice flavor and hits the spot when looked for a roasty and earthy beer.

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Photo of peacebone116
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

SF Beer Week Drake's Tap Takeover at The Poor House Bistro in DT SJ. Poured into a plastic cup.

A: Deep black body with a tight, tan head. Head left lacing marks along the side of the glass after it slowly dispersed.

N: Roasted notes of coffee and a bit of chocolate. Not overpowering, but definitely hard to miss.

T/M: Follows the nose with roasted malt that gives off notes of dark chocolate, a bit of coffee and subtle hints of dark fruit like plum and cherry. There is a nice, light spiciness that backs this beer, making it very drinkable. The body is light though, almost a bit too light, feeling very thin and nearly watery. There is a slight chalkiness or astringency to the mouthfeel as well, but this quality is very short lived.

Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. It is incredibly drinkable for a moderately strong dark beer. It was a nice way to warm up while listening to some live blues outside at the Poor House. Honestly, I was a little disappointed with the thinness, but I suppose this is because it is a Porter not a Stout. I hope to try this one again soon.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bomber purchased from Whole Foods, Los Altos, CA. Shared with Sam and Rich in Sydney on my return.

Pours a deep, indeed robust, black-brown, with a faint hint of ruby-brown at the edges. Head forms fairly solidly at first, settling to a mess of chunky pancake bubbles across the top of the glass, fairly deep brown in hue. Body is solid, and it holds fine carbonation very well. Looks good.

Nose is very pleasant: toasty and dry with noticeable overtones of coffee, a little pepper and a suggestion of acidity. Slight salty characters are tempered by a lingering, almost ephemeral sweetness that gives a deep rye bread type of note when they combine. It's good stuff.

Taste is quite similar. Again, there's not a huge sweetness or body to it, and here the coffee characters are much more pronounced—but there's a filling quality to these two things together. Mild roasty grain on the back is very smooth, and the lingering coffee notes caress the back palate while providing a slight punctuation of pepper. Finish is long, but lacking bitterness, so it's never harsh. Very nice.

Feel is slightly light, but it's not too bad, and it probably aids the drinkability somewhat.

Overall, this is a pretty cracking drop of beer, plenty of character that stays pleasantly balanced and coherent. The flavours are good, but it's how they're placed together that makes it as approachable and drinkable as it is. Good stuff.

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Photo of angrybabboon
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to magictacosinus for sending this my way

Split with Goblinmunkey7

Review from notes, 4/11/14

Appearance: Dark, dark, deep brown - lighter brown around the edges with some garnet highlights - medium, light brown head - small, but nice cap, leaves some nice streaks

Smell: Very roasty with some great chocolate aromas - roasty coffee, dark chocolate, semisweet chocolate, and some milk chocolate - some malty sweetness

Taste: Delivers on the aroma with some serious chocolate - dark, semisweet, and milk chocolate - Tootsie rolls - nice roasty malts, with some touches of coffee - some roasty bitterness - not particularly complex, but nicely interesting

Mouthfeel: Medium body, nice carbonation, smooth, very drinkable

Overall: Drake's can make great dark beers, too?

I guess I shouldn't be surprised at how much I enjoyed this, based on how much I've enjoyed other offerings from Drake's. It's a great example of a robust porter. It's bold, robust, roasty, without being burnt.

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives almost pitch black capped by a couple of inches of tan foam; a few shards of lacing are produced

Smell: Roasty, with chocolate and a hint of coffee

Taste: Roast and chocolate, up front, with a subtle hint of coffee in the middle; the finish matches the front end

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A nice robust porter, just as its name says

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Tony’s Darts Away in Burbank, CA.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a 1/2 inch foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. A thick curtain of lace clings to the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt and some subtle coffee and cocoa notes. Taste is of dark roasted malt, burnt coffee, and cocoa beans. There is a somewhat assertive roasty bitterness that lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is good porter but it’s roasty as hell.

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Photo of avwrite
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Dark coffee like appearance. No cloudyness, a bit of foam on the top, and thick.

S - Bitter smell with strong coffee scent brewed in.

T - hoppy and bitter. Thick like guiness.

M - thick. Syrupy going down.

O - a heavy beer, keeps you warm. Ideal for winter.

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Photo of veinless
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Lanesplitter in Berkeley.

Pours a dark brown with hints of red; a dollop of foamy tan head crowns it. Lace is spotty at best.

Nose is strongly roasted and charred, with coffee and chocolate able to make it out of the fray somehow. Fruit not as evident, but present. Charred character is really the focus and it's solid.

Taste has the roasted element of the nose but a great deal of grainy character as well. Sweetened coffee and a hint of chocolate round out this well balanced brew. Hops are evident in the semi-dry finish.

Mouthfeel is slick and crisp while being medium bodied. Carbonation is at a good level. Drinkability is good, if not spectacular due to the char getting a bit old. Solid porter.

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.04/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours two fingers of tan head on a black body.
The aroma is rich roasted malt, chocolate, a little burnt wood and milk. Excellent.
The taste burnt, roasted malt with some chocolate to smooth it out. It stays on the roasty/bitter side.
The texture is softer with low carbonation.
Nicely done.

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Drake's Black Robusto Porter from Drake's Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.