1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

General Washington's Tavern Porter - Yards Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
General Washington's Tavern PorterGeneral Washington's Tavern Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

575 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 575
Reviews: 259
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 12.3%
Wants: 25
Gots: 37 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Yards Brewing Co. visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
English Porter |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Detailed in a letter from the General to his officers during the war, Washington’s recipe employed molasses to aid fermentation and give rich caramel notes to this robust, roasty ale. The recipe reflected his admiration for Philadelphia-style porters, especially those brewed by Robert Hare (whose original brewery stood just blocks from where ours is now). Our Tavern Porter, inspired by Washington’s, is dark, smooth, and complex with just a hint of dried fruit in the finish.

(Beer added by: SixpointJMH on 09-30-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 575 | Reviews: 259 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NClifestyle

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -6.3%

Pours a dark amber/brown color, thick head of light tan foam, thin layer stays put, some lace on the glass.
Smells of molasses and sweet caramel.
A bready maltiness mixes with a sharp acidic flavor. Bitter roasted character in the aftertaste. Goes from a malt taste to toasted/burnt wheat bread.
Medium and creamy mouthfeel, slight carbonation, coats the mouth all over.
Drinkability is decent, beer tastes better as it warms, but the harsh acidic flavor never really dissapates.


03-14-2006 03:04:05 | More by NClifestyle
Photo of Jredner


3.05/5  rDev -20.2%

Aroma is very muted, but some mild sweetness of indeterminable origin comes through. Dark brown with a large creamy head. More sweet than roasty, but it has sort of sulpher tinge to it rather than any molasses I have had. Some mild cherry fruit flavors in the finish. Doesn’t have that roasty wholesomeness I expect froma porter.

03-07-2006 17:28:55 | More by Jredner
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

3.43/5  rDev -10.2%

Appearance: Pours a garnet and brown body with a reasonable tan head that declines to a film without leaving much lacing

Smell: Burnt caramel and molasses dominate the nose

Taste: Starts with a nice roasty, burnt caramel base; mid-palate some off phenols emerge and the finish is a wash, with a bit of astringency as well

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation; a little bit of warming, as well

Drinkability: This is a beer that I wish I liked better and perhaps it merits another taste to see whether the unusual finish was a function of an off bottle

03-01-2006 19:16:33 | More by brentk56
Photo of mntlover


3.9/5  rDev +2.1%

Pours a deep rich mahogany color with a nice tan head that falls slowly to a cap and laces well.

Aroma is molasses and fruit plums dates riding a mellow malt body some smokey hints mixed in. Kind of subdude but nice.

Taste is some meloow malt mixed with molasses and dark fruits, hints of chocolate malts. Finish is lingering coffee flavors mixed with light spice and smoke with a lingering herbal/earthy hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium nice smooth fell slick easy drinking.

Drinkability is good a different kind of porter then I usually go for but the flavors are good even though they are more subdude and not as big and in your face as others.

02-28-2006 18:26:56 | More by mntlover
Photo of jaluria


4.28/5  rDev +12%

I was eager to try this beer having heard very good things about it as well as the brewery located in Philly. I hope to take a tour of the brewery in the near future.
Getting to the beer:
Poured a viscous, opaque, black color with an incredible light mocha color that seemed to grow and bloom into an entity entirely separate from the the beer. I took me a few minutes to pour the entire beer into my 16 oz. pint glass. A moderate amount of lacing was left behind in my glass. Aromas of chocolate, fresh coffee beans, wood, and raw grains seemed to come out. Quite exciting. The taste was just incredible with a sweet/bitter balance that left me wanting more. Flavors of chocolate and coffee were present throughout the session and yet subtle; not crowding out other interested flavors of burnt wood, roasted grains, and complex malt. Refreshing, robust, and full of flavor, this beer insisted on being had repeatedly. Each sip was an experience to be enjoyed. The texture was thick with a creamy center that mixed very well with the head giving the impression of an ice cream float.
Overall, this is an excellent porter and one that hides it's alcohol content very well.

02-23-2006 14:22:02 | More by jaluria
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +6%

Poured a deep crimson with deep brownish tint with a thin light brown head that didnt stick around long,black strap molasses is big in the aroma along with bursting fruitiness,very effervescent.Molasses and bitter chocolate notes hit up front maybe a touch of orange finishing with light earthiness to keep things in check.My only complaint and its a small one is that it seems a bit thin but the alc% is hidden well and is quite drinkable.I bought it on Presidents day for the fact it was GW but it is a real fine beer what ever day you buy it.

02-23-2006 02:50:41 | More by oberon
Photo of yelterdow

New Jersey

3.53/5  rDev -7.6%

Part of a mixed sixer I created a few months ago... this has been in the fridge since then.

Served in an imperial pint glass at cellar temperature.

Appearance- A light-bodied brownish red ale pours from this bottle, I'm surprised to see such a thin consistency to this beer. The creamy, light tan head develops nicely to about two fingers, and remains steady for several minutes. Bubbles are microscopic and have a soapy appearance. Some mild lacing is left behind.

Smell- Right out of the bottle, I get chocolate covered cherries and molasses... then some fusel alcohol aromas. Notes of fudge brownies and just a hint of roasted malts are present, but at small levels.

Taste- A creamy, chocolate molasses dessert is what this tastes like. Mild and relatively easy to approach, the malts carry the flavors across the palate and into a nice, mellow hoppiness that drys the mouth. The beer is based on the original recipe from General Washington himself, so something must be said for this recreation that we get to enjoy.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The frothy carbonation just saves this beer from being too watery in the mouth... it is light, make no mistake. At 7%, it's not quite the session beer but it really is an easy drinker. Closing my eyes, I can imagine our forefathers gathered together at City Tavern discussing the important issues of our country, while enjoying the nectar of the future President's creation.

02-08-2006 01:39:47 | More by yelterdow
Photo of unknownlamer

North Carolina

3.85/5  rDev +0.8%

Pours brown/red (kind of light for a porter, and clear) with a nice large tan head that sticks around for a while before settling into a thin cover over the beer. The lace is sticky and hugs the sides of the glass the entire way down.

The smells is of sweet roasted grain with just a little bit of fruitiness. Just a tiiiiny bit (I guess from the molasses). Definitely sweet. The smell isn't terribly strong though.

The taste starts off a bit roasty, and then switches to a mildly fruity sweetness. There is an undertone of burnt grain, and the finish has a brief roasted grain bite followed by a brief flash of sweetness. The burnt grain flavor is very subtle, and this taste rather different from any porter I've had before. There is a nice roasted grain feel that sits lightly on my breath.

The mouthfeel is pretty good, but there is an odd roughness to it around the tongue. The taste is complex, and I could see myself drinking a few of these in a row. Solid, but different from most porters.

11-30-2005 07:13:38 | More by unknownlamer
Photo of jmz62565


3.8/5  rDev -0.5%

This looks good, a nice dark brown color,and the carbonation is crazy.I know this is bottle conditioned and the head is like four fingers.The smell is alittle slight,but with fruit and some roasted malt .The taste is OK,some roasting flavor,it almost tastes like coffee with prunes or raisins.This doesn't taste bad,but it is very different for a porter. I'm a little intrigued.Every time I take a sip I taste a different flavor.Sometimes medicinal,some chocolate,fruit, and some coffee.The label says this is an old recipe.I'm going to give this another try,maybe I'll grow to like it more and more.

10-13-2005 04:02:44 | More by jmz62565
Photo of jakester


1.93/5  rDev -49.5%

I got this as a single at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. I drank it in a pilsner glass. It looks like an attempt was made to put a date on the bottle, but it was mostly rubbed off when I bought it.

Pours a slightly hazy deep garnet with a brown tint. A two finger head of tan foam forms on top. The head eventually drops to a good coating and a ring, with great lacing on the glass.

Why is it that everything from Yards has the same off smell? Every damn one! It's an odd, cardboardy fruit type smell, not real pleasant. I can also pick out a citrus hop aroma in the back, and maybe a little chocolate as well.

It has the same off flavor all their beers have, too. It's a hot cardboard, band-aid taste that is in all of their beers. There is some chocolate and roasted flavor in there, but it is just overwhelmed by the cardboard. This could be hard to finish.

Mouthfeel is kind of smooth, semi-sweet, with a weird metallic finish.

This could be the last Yards beer I ever try. Almost every one I've had has the same damn off characteristics. Someone at Yards needs to completely dismantle the brewery and sterilize everything. They've got bugs in the works. If, for some reason, these are the flavors and smells they are seeking, they need a new recipe writer, or a new yeast, or something. Their stuff is just weird.

09-28-2005 18:02:28 | More by jakester
Photo of KroMagnon


4.22/5  rDev +10.5%

Nice tan head with some rockiness to it. The color was a brownish red, and the beer was not opaque at all. The clarity was evident even through the dark color. The aroma featured a clean maltiness along with some slight dried fruit / raisin hints. The flavor was killer, though - I found it to be rather unique, with initially a light fruitiness evident, complimented by some maltiness and a nice bitter - bittersweet finish. Subsequent tasting shows some additional dark roasted malt flavors, particularly chocolaty and burnt bread or toast crust. The beer is unique but to me the flavor blends maybe detract slightly from the overall drinkability. There is also a slight bite or roughness to it in the mouthfeel. Still I think this is quite good and I recommend it.

[edit] The bottle says there is molasses in it. this may be another factor in the unique flavors I get. Nicely blended and not dominated by molasses at all.

09-08-2005 01:38:42 | More by KroMagnon
Photo of weeare138


3.53/5  rDev -7.6%

I'm usually a fan of this in bottles but this was a bit of a let down on cask.
Appeared a brownish black with a tan head that is floating on top of the brew.
Smell is very faint but hints of dark malts, a touch of coffee, and some unpleasant crystal malt sneaking in.
Taste is ok. Seems a bit light but there are some roasty malts and bitterness standing out with nothing being better than decent.
Mouthfeel is thin with a bit of a muddled mess going on between the bitters and roastiness.
Drinkability is ok but I was hoping for more, as I do enjoy it in the bottle.

08-25-2005 16:39:58 | More by weeare138
Photo of tomthumbsblues


3.63/5  rDev -5%

Brought a bottle of this home with me after working down in Philly...

This offering from Yards, one of their Ales of the Revolution, pours a clear dark brown with a thin head on top and very little carbonation apparent. The aromas are of roasted malt along with hints of vanilla, dark chocolate and bitterless coffee. Taste was a mix of charcoal and smooth coffee. Not bitter, but smooth. Very smooth ending with some dryness in the front of the mouth. A bit more watery than I would've liked. A pretty good beer.

08-10-2005 19:25:34 | More by tomthumbsblues
Photo of TongoRad

New Jersey

2.45/5  rDev -35.9%

Pours a translucent blackish brown color with a temporary one-finger soda-like head.

Aroma is unusual- there is an overriding character that I can only describe as 'wet plaster'. Underneath that is some acidic roast malt notes and some resiny/floral hops. I don't get sufficient malt to make it work.

Flavor is way too roast-malt acidic. Yes- there are other beer-like characteristics and some coffee and chocolate-like qualities, but the acid dominates to the point of being a real detriment. Something could have gone wrong with the bottle conditioning, but I just didn't enjoy this beer.

07-14-2005 01:53:19 | More by TongoRad
Photo of rajendra82


3.45/5  rDev -9.7%

A colorful colonial looking label, and some history of the beer on the back made this a good looking and informative bottle. As I uncapped it, the foam started rising above the top. Pouring it confirmed a highly carbonated beer that was difficult to pour in the first pass, as a majority of the pint glass was filled with a thick foamy head.

Underlying the head, the beer was murky, reddish brown, rather than the typical nearly black Porter. The aroma was musty, sprucey, and sour, rather than the roasty chocolaty smell I typically associate with Porters. This smelled more like an Old Ale.

The taste was tangy, woodsy, and sour with some chocolate like taste. There was almost no burnt taste in here. The molasses mentioned on the label must have been used sparingly, as the beer taste rather light and thin, but somewhat sweet. I am sure they even used any hop, because there wasn’t a trace of hop bitterness or flavor.

Felt a bit too experimental and homebrew like to fully enjoy. A different take on the style to be sure.

07-12-2005 03:32:06 | More by rajendra82
Photo of BrewMaster


4.03/5  rDev +5.5%

This bottle is one year old and has been aging in the back of my refrigerator since July 2004.

Appearance: Deep murky brown color with a big and fluffy tan head. The head is made up of identically sized small bubbles. The head also leaves very fluffy and stiff lacing on the side of the pint glass. This lacing lasts just as strongly as the head, which has nice retention itself. In fact, the head lasts the entire glass leaving a bit of foam on the bottom of my pint glass when I was finished. This is a nice looking beer with presentation that makes the beer more appetizing and desirable. Well done here.

Smell: Very floral and roasty nose with a light scent of chocolate. The nose is nice but certainly not where this battle will be won.

Taste: This beer is roasty and woody and smoky up front with a sight undertone of cherries. More flavor as the beer warms up and opens to soy sauce and a sweeter smokiness. The beer is nice and roasty with only a slight sourness coming from the roasty flavor. This tells me that the dark malts are nicely roasted but not overly so. As the malt takes over there comes more borwn sugar, toast, and burnt coffee. This beer hides its 7% very well. There is no taste of alcohol making it very quaffable. The aftertaste is a bit more spicy than the original flavor with sage and cumin showing up.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and sticky with nice carbonation. Very nice feel on the palate. Medium to full bodied.

Drinkability: This is quite a good brew with a big roasty character. I would say that this beer got a bit better after aging a year. It's still just as good with BBQ though. This beer is one of the many porters that borders on a stout. Wisely they still call it a porter and it represents the style quite well.

07-11-2005 20:20:11 | More by BrewMaster
Photo of cubedbee


3.88/5  rDev +1.6%

Pours a very dark brown with a huge almost overflowing cream head and excellent retention. Nose is rather light, some coffe, sweet milk chocolate, maybe a little sour milk. Taste is much better, sweet molasses, chocolate, caramel, toasted malts, slightly wine taste. Mouthfeel is extremely creamy with a nice dry finish. This is a really nice tasting porter, I'd buy it again.

07-02-2005 00:25:58 | More by cubedbee
Photo of Brent


2.2/5  rDev -42.4%

Poured a nice dark color with a long-lasting mocha head. Surprisingly little aroma - what there was seemed to hint at sweet chocolate. Flavor profile was puzzling - almost no roasted malt flavors other than the barest coffee at the very end. The predominant flavor was an oddly wine-like flavor, both sweet and tart. The combination did not harmonize well. Bottle notes that the beer is brewed with molasses. Perhaps I'm simply too acclimated to beers brewed in the traditional English style and the American interpretations to be able to appreciate this reincarnation of the Colonial "Philadelphia" style.

05-23-2005 03:28:10 | More by Brent
Photo of TheDeuce

New York

4/5  rDev +4.7%

General Washington's Tavern Porter....

Appearance-dark brown, almost black with a simple yet majestic head of foam that leaves lace and slowly dissipates.

Smell-some notes of coffee and dry hops, very dark sweet malt almost chocolatety, a lot of aroma.

Taste-dark chocolate on first sip with a simple flourish of coffee malt and some hops, fairly full and thick but a nice mouthfeel.

Mouthfeel-not bad, thick yet good flavors, dry aftertaste and it goes down smooth.

Drinkability-hey man, it's a strong porter not exactly a sessioner but you can have a few for the night if you like it.

Overall-I haven't had many porters but I must say this is the best one I've had, full of flavor with a nice mouthfeel and balance and while it isn't exactly complex it's certaintly one to pick up.

05-19-2005 02:50:39 | More by TheDeuce
Photo of blitheringidiot


4.03/5  rDev +5.5%

Dark brown mahogany pour into a pilsner glass with a scattering rising bubble carbonation meeting up with a thin wafer cap.

Scents of Tootsie Roll & rye grains.

First swigs: Fruity roasted malts. (House flavors...note to self: Find out what yeast YARDS uses) Toasted rye wheat grain meets cocoa and toffee.

Mouthfeel: Clean sticky thick medium to full, but not a Baltic.

Last swigs: Strong Porter! Rye & toasted coffee. This bottle saved my visit to Rembranbdt's on a pubcrawl. This was the best beer they had.

04-28-2005 18:26:34 | More by blitheringidiot
Photo of LuckySevens82


4.22/5  rDev +10.5%

12 oz bottle

Pours an opaque reddish brown with a huge off white head. Retention is kind of rediculous as I can't seem to get the whole bottle into the glassat one time. Nevertheless, I enjoy that every once in a while. Lacing is nice as well.
Whiffs of coffee, toffee, caramel, and perhaps some molasses in this one. There is definitely some chocolate in there as well. Definitely toasted malts as well.
Wow, very similar to the smell but a little bit sweeter than I would have imagined. Alcohol and hops also make themselves known.
Overall, a good porter, very robust and quite enjoyable. It's kind of hard to believe that this is George Washington's real recipe. A darn good beer

04-19-2005 01:15:35 | More by LuckySevens82
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.38/5  rDev +14.7%

Murky magenta, with able cocoa-toned froth.
Aroma, rich and toffeeish, coffee-ish, chocolatey, a little...a trickle of treacle, some molasses and anise. I like.
In the taste: nice, a repeat of the above, with a little bit more. Sweeter, richer, thicker, and quite tasty. Different from the average porter, that's for sure. A bit stronger, as well, and it is felt.
this was George's own recipe? Really? Damned good general and president, but mightyfine brewing man, too!
Yum...I could get acquainted with this one!

much thanks to KafkaESB.

04-10-2005 10:24:35 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of nvsblman


4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Overly carbonated, took forever to pour this one! Very thick, pillowy head that is lightly coffee colored. Rich dark bark color to the beer. Nice lacing as I drink it. The aroma is fully of roasted malts and nuttiness. A little coffee in the background too. This is a very tasty beer! Loads of molasses, roasted nuts, toffee and some espresso too. Just enough hop presence for a nice balance. The mouthfeel is very creamy and the carbonation just seems to stick to the toungue.

04-08-2005 21:32:09 | More by nvsblman
Photo of fretlessman71


3.25/5  rDev -14.9%

Pertinent Preliminary Comments: Big thanks to Chazwicke for providing this for me.

There’s a blurb on the bottle about how Ol’ George created this recipe for his field officers. Also says it’s brewed with molasses, which might help to explain the 7% ABV. Not quite Imperial Porter status, but seems like it might be pretty close…

APPEARANCE: Dark root beer brown. Light easily passes through. HUGE foamy tan head that took up most of the glass, has since settled to a frothy cap, leaving behind moderate lacing.

AROMA: Kind of sour. Not bad at all, really, but I’m a little gunshy about infected beer these days. Not a big nose to this one; picking up a few prune-like aromas, some red wine, and a little tiny bit of malt. Maybe I’m picking up the molasses, since I’m unaccustomed to its taste. Bits of chocolate coming through as well.

FLAVOR: High alcohol content is evident at first sip. Almost winey on the sides of the tongue. No sourness here – must have been a false alarm. Roasted malt, chocolate, a little hop bittering (were they using hops in the late 1700s?). The beer gets a little sweeter as it warms. Black malt is just barely there. I’m warming to this one, but it might be that I only had a light meal first and since I’m such a lightweight 7% ABV is rather noticeable to me! Then again, it may turn out that it’s because I can taste the molasses better with every sip.

MOUTHFEEL: Slightly astringent, but otherwise smooth. I’m sure the astringency is due to the higher alcohol content.

DRINKABILITY: Boy, one of these is enough for an evening. If I were to continue, I’d probably change to something else at this point.

OVERALL COMMENTS: A decent beer; reminiscent of homebrew experimentations gone right and wrong. The final sip was far better than the first with this brew. There’s something a little funky about every aspect of this one, yet it is imminently endearing. I’d love to try this one on tap, and I’d probably even get it again in the bottle despite all of my complaints. It’s certainly different, and in a good way!

03-18-2005 20:52:35 | More by fretlessman71
Photo of lackenhauser


3.85/5  rDev +0.8%

Deep, deep chestnut brown in color. No real head to speak of. Low aroma-some roasted malt and a slight cinnamon spiciness. Good flavor-roasted malt,slight chocolate flavor and an almost vanilla finish in the backround. Nice body-maybe a touch beefier for my liking. A very drinkable brew-my only complaint and it doesnt affect the overall review of the beer is the price. $9 and change for a six pack is a bit stiff-might be my locale but Ive seen it this price in 3 states-overall it doesnt warrant that price. A damn good porter but theres better ones out there for cheaper.

03-06-2005 22:36:36 | More by lackenhauser
General Washington's Tavern Porter from Yards Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 575 ratings.