Payback Porter - Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Not Rated.
Payback PorterPayback Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

245 Ratings
THE BROS
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 245
Reviews: 84
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 9.72%
Wants: 17
Gots: 35 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Murchmac on 12-21-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 245 | Reviews: 84
Reviews by bernat1971:

  None found.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep chocolate brown with huby highlights,a creamy one finger tan colored head atop that never really left.Sweeter chcolate notes along with almost a cookie dough element to it,not overly roasted in the nose.Slightly sharp in the mouth,not overly annoying but it's noticable.A nice mix of sweet and roast on the palate,starts out with some chocolate and molasses then melds into a roasty dryer finish that lingers.A solid porter from a brewery that I miss,I can't get their stuff here in NC.

Photo of andyfrancis
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black beauty in a glass. Nice brown head that's holding up nicely and condensing in to a froth. Roasty malt on the nose, hint of something sweet. Nice. I loves me a good porter and this one passes my test. nice subtle carbonation, drinkable without being too watery. Wouldn't want more than two or three in a sitting, but I'd gladly come back to it again.

Photo of Billolick
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ouncer, purchased this evening at DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY for $6.99. No freshness info offered. Pours near black, very dark khaki head, initially over 2 inches, then slowly fading to a thick and blotchy film, leaves nice looking thick sheeting in spots and plenty of scattered ribs of stickage. The sniff is of dark malts and vanilla. Bold porter, more then ample dark malts, more vanilla, milk chocolate, then quite dry hops in the finish to balance things off. Highly enjoyable American style porter, go get some and enjoy this quality brew

Photo of magictrokini
3.82/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tap @ Hamilton's. Black pour with a squatty tan head. Old coffee and cream with cocoa powder in the nose. Bitter baker's chocolate up front that melds into a coffee-nuts-malt carpet on your tongue. A bit grainy and metallic at times Some nuts and smoke/roast comes through, but inconsistently. I still liked it despite its warts.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up on Haight St after the barleywine festival.

Pours out a sturdy dark brown onto the desert playa. Seems to have ample carbonation and head. Was worried about freshness, but a vibrant coffee, hops and chocolate aroma still bursted from this one.

Taste, man, total porter/cascadian dark ale hybrid I guess. Very hoppy, a little more thin on the mouthfeel from the malt perspective, of some porters. Being that I drank this about 4 months after purchase, I was worried about the hopping. Man, it was still huge. Price at $6 for a 22 was more than I wanted to pay, and the beer is probably challenging to those outside of its niche, but I would definitely have it again. Not sure how it differs from their blacktop iba though. Both good.

Photo of glid02
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown in Washington DC.

Pours black with a half-finger brown head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of dark chocolate and roasted malts with a good amount of underlying earthy aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Large dark chocolate flavors mix with roasted malts up front. Near the end of the sip a very faint hint of dark fruit flavors sneaks out before a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It has a great thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass quickly and could have another.

Overall I was impressed with this beer. Halfway between a porter and a stout I'd say this is worth a shot.

Photo of biboergosum
3.96/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Having been watching House of Cards of late, this brewery's period piece labels resonate all the more with me, even despite the obvious temporal incongruity.

This beer pours a solid abyssal black, with slight basal cherry cola highlights, and a teeming tower of puffy, rocky, shiny, and tightly foamy beige head, which leaves some random splattered and streaky lace around the glass as it duly recedes.

It smells of gritty roasted pale and caramel malt, wet ash, bitter day-old coffee grounds, bittersweet chocolate, reduced brown sugar, besotted raisins, and a soft metallic booze warming. The taste is more cocoa-heavy up front, the toasted malt ceding the driver's seat early on here, as that ashy character from the nose slowly wafts off, the coffee staying put in yesterday's news, a bit of black licorice rising up, and some vegetal hop notes combining with an edgy alcohol warmth to round things out.

The carbonation is fairly average, just a trilling frothiness for the most part, the body a sturdy medium weight, and perhaps a tad pithy in its otherwise agreeable smoothness. It finishes off-dry, the cocoa and neutered caramel malt still holding tough, the anise flavours niggly in their persistence, and that vegetal hoppiness starting to gnaw at my thus far forgiving good graces.

A pleasant enough new-world porter, overall, though the Americanisms here are limited to a certain cutting of corners sentiment - the hops just seem so plain and even off-putting, but not really to any large degree. Anyways, the other prominent flavours surely make up for it - the chocolate, coffee, and toasted malt providing adequate roughage to dissuade this drinker of any notion of that dreaded misinterpretation of English heritage.

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.94/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a near black, deep, dark cordovan brown with a powder chocolate colored 2 finger head. Good retention. Healthy amount of lacing left along the sides of the glass, sip after sip.

Smell - Strong notes of buttery chocolate (chocolate chip cookie?) wrapped around hints of caramel. Cream.

Taste - Initial roast quickly gives way to sweet milk chocolate and buttery, creamy qualities. Moderate notes of caramel. Finishes like cold coffee with a heavy dose of creamer to smooth out all bitterness, which is sorely lacking.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, with moderate carbonation. Creamy. Goes down with nice smoothness.

Overall - Great beer, but missing a nice bitter punch, or any bitterness really, to take it to the next level. As is, it drinks like a dessert beer; something I wouldn't want to drink more than a bottle a night.

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

UPDATE- 2/3/11

I just bought a bottle, my original review below was a beer from tap.

This time, I noticed strong smoky chocolate notes in the smell and taste of the beer. Great stuff.

NEW SCORE: A-/A

---

First time I've tried this and I was very happy with it. I was enjoying the beer with food, so I am a little reluctant to rate it too highly. The beer has a nice dark color (almost black) with very little light penetrating the glass. I could smell the barley and the dark malt. The taste is also very malty and a bit sweet. It has a rich body with chocolate undertones. I would totally drink this again and would love to have another right now.

GRADE: B+/A-

Photo of WestValleyIPA
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Zatec fluted glass. A great looking 3 fingers of head. Tan and firm. Smells like cream, coffee, chocolate. Light smoke. Typical Porter. Tastes strongly of bitter chocolate along with light bitter hops. Mouth feels slightly powdery/chalky. Very little evidence of the 7.5 abv. Goes down nicely for such a big beer.

Photo of GRG1313
4.21/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a big, thick, firm and pillowy off-white/tan head. Nice looking.

Nose is sweet ripe pears and peaches with hints of apricots.

Mouthfeel is rich and "half and half" consistency that is pleasant and welcoming.

Flavors are big and bold roasted grain, rich black coffe with an underlying hit of sweetness and black chocolate.

Finish is bitter espresso/bitter black chocolate. Beer is complex and layered but with really nice integration. Very much like a big stout it belies the name Porter. A rich, roasted grain brew all around.

Photo of EagleTalon
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a thick tan head and opaque dark brown color. Aroma is roast coffee, dark chocolate and earthy hops. Flavor is a malty, roasty explosion backed up by malt sweetness and hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium and moderate CO2. Overall, I would say this stuff is a very well made and tasty American porter.

Photo of BeerSox
3.18/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap into pint glass @ Birreria Paradiso Georgetown, DC

Pitch black with a one finger light brown head that leaves behind solid lacing. The aroma is very roasty with a little bit of a slight sour aroma. The flavor has the typical robust porter flavors: coffee, cocoa, burnt malts, but this one added a little extra in the way of tart dark fruit. This comes with an acerbic feel.

I had no problem finishing this one but then again it has a bit of a tartness that I don't think is supposed to be there.

Photo of smakawhat
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 aged Hunter's Porter poured on tap resembling a nice tan head with a simple dark walnut body. Very nice head that remains throughout with minimal lace.

The bouquet on this is very muted and closed however. THere is a faint malt and some very faint burnt char notes but not much else to speak of.

Luckily upon tasting the beer opens up. Great malt softness in mid palate with a giant big milk chocolate finish. Elements of soft toffee and great velvet feel. Great tasting on tap brew!

Photo of djeucalyptus
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a near opaque rich dark brown with glimpses of apricot and ruby at the edges. A warm mocha colored creamy head of a few fingers stays for a good while and leaves behind pretty impeccable lacing.

aroma is roasty, malty, with hints of peat, a touch of wood smoke, and almost a hint of lactose. a touch of vanilla. Clean, smooth, and delicious aroma.

hints of smoke and peat accentuate a deliciously roasted malt backbone with just enough hops to balance everything nicely. Definitely more on the roasty, malty side of things than a hop bomb, which I'm all for. Hints of vanilla and a touch of lactose sugar sweeten to keep it from being overly bitter roast.

Mouth is a touch thin given the abv, but it works nicely with the flavors. Maybe i'm just in the mood for it, but I'm kind of enjoying the smoothness, hint of slickness, and general light and bright mouth that accompanies the roasted flavors. It kind of works.

All in all, this is really hitting the spot. Maybe it's just my mood, but everything is jiving nicely with this one. Complex without being too intense, drinkable without being thin. Not quite sessionable, which certainly makes it enjoyable. All in all, a deliciously roasty example of a porter with an exquisite implementation of west-coast hops to make a beautifully drinkable brew. And I'm really wishing I had brought more than a bomber back in my suitcase. This will definitely be one of the first ones I'll search for when I'm back on the west coast.

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

An opaque chocolate brown body topped by two fingers of tan foam. The head retains well, leaving sheets of lace clinging to the glass. Chocolate, subtle black licorice and roasted malt come to me first in the aroma, with a touch of coffee and roasty acidity behind. It's roasty and dry on the tongue, baking chocolate, coffee and burnt toast flavors lending nuance. There's also a bit of alcohol flavor that reminds me of vodka. The mouthfeel is dry but rich, medium in body with substantial carbonation. Dark fruit, coffee and burnt toast linger on the palate in the dry finish. This is very solid stuff.

Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark amber (near black) in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high tan head the faded away and left some lacing in the center of the glass along with a ring of bubbles around the edge.
S: There are aromas of roasted malts in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has flavors of roasted malts and coffee. There is a light amount of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a low to moderate amount of carbonation. There are some hints of dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is very easy to drink and hides its alcohol well.

Photo of Xul
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours dark brown with some deep ruby highlights when held up to the light, capped by two fingers of foamy, mocha colored head. Retention is good as the head recedes slowly, leaving moderate lacing down the glass.

S: Rich coffee up front followed by bittersweet chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla and caramel. Very robust aroma that isn't overly complex but hits the right spots for a good porter.

T: Opens up with coffee and roasted malts, before moving into some semisweet chocolate on the mid-palate. An acrid character comes in just after the chocolate that's just a bit too strong, before leading to a finish with some faint dark fruits, caramel, and roasted malts.

M: Medium to full bodied with low to moderate, velvty carbonation.

D: If not for the acrid bitterness, this would be a great, sessionable porter. Still good, but doesn't quite reach its full potential.

Photo of Murchmac
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pretty sure this is their Hunters Point Porter, but now available for distribution in 22oz.s and given a fancy label. Wish they kept the old name, but not old school gangster enough I guess. Fancy picture of a guy with a fedora and a lamppost on the bottle.

Had this beer for years on tap but now happy I can enjoy it in the comforts of my home. Pours a beautiful black with brown highlights, big tan head that leaves lacing around the pint glass.

Great choco-coffee sweet smell, roasted goodness with some bakers chocolate thrown in that teases the olfactory factories.

Good choco-coffee taste, smooth, roasted, taste follows the nose, some hops kick in at the end for a bitter citrusy aftertaste.

Always a good beer, glad its bottled now.

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brought back from my recent trip to SF. Poured into a pint glass.

4.0 A: Black color. Two fingers of pillowy light brown head with average retention and a good bit of lacing.

3.5 S: Roasty with moderate coffee and chocolate component. Biscuity overall with light caramel sweetness. Smells pretty good other than a faint "industrial" aroma, that may or may not stem from the hops, which are mainly earthy and barely citrusy.

4.0 T: The taste is like the nose, but with different proportions. Equally roasty and sweet. Roasted coffee flavors offset by sweet dark caramel. Mild bitterness with earthy hop flavor. Again there's the industrial component. Not sure what it actually is. No hints of booze at all.

3.5 M: Lighter medium to medium body. Carbonation is a bit more aggressive than I'd like. Reasonably creamy and smooth overall.

4.0 D: A couple categories were borderline next step up. If not for strange "industrial vibe" this brew gives off, it would be a very tasty one. Still, not a bad beer and I would drink it again.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.01/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Met my exceptions as dark as it can be slightly viscous with a 1/4 inch of mocha head that seems to stick around forever with a nice lace ring to boot.

S - Smells of decent hops, sweet chocolate, a touch of ashy roast, and some fruity yeasts.

T - Enough porter aspects to remind you it's one. Slightly chalky finish with some ashy roast but mostly a balanced level of bitter and sweet chocolate with a citrus hop finish. It's good.

M - Medium bodied, slightly chewy, well hidden ABV.

Overall Not a bad porter for 7 bucks but nothing I would revisit again.

Photo of Ghenna
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Super hard pour yields a half inch cola colored head atop a typical dark porter.

Really nice coffee/roasted malt/dark chocolte smell on the nose. Not at all acrid.

Very mellow flavor- excellent for a porter. Roasty, but lacking any real harshness or tanins. Milk chocolate, dark malt, no hint of alcohol at all. Super nice.

Medium in terms of MF, which lends itself to drinkability. Really nice example of what a regular porter/stout should be.

Photo of bigfnjoe
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

A- pours jet black with a thick, two finger brown head. The lacing is minimal, which is a little disappointing

S- really strong smelling chocolate with subtle hints of coffee in there. Getting a slight hoppy character as well

T- tons of roasted malt, almost to the point where it's burnt. Pretty bitter coffee flavor too.

M- pretty thick, but not enough to choke you. Thank god

D- it's a little too bitter, and maybe not balanced enough IMO. I'd like a lot more chocolate flavors out of this one. Regardless, it's a solid porter, but it's a little strong for a porter at 7.5%

Photo of kbuff13
2.96/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured out of a 22 oz. bomber. Poured a very dark brown almost black. Very little head that quickly faded and not much lacing. Very heavily roasted flavor. A little bit too bitter for my taste. Not a bad beer overall but I don't this I would go out of my way to buy it again.

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

Growler obtained via Growling at the Moon from swnicholson. Cool Speakeasy swing-top growler. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" brown head over the almost opaque dark brown brew. Head dwindles gradually, with average lacing. Aroma is rich darkness, a blend of chocolate, coffee and light smokiness. Taste starts with sweet chocolate, finds some coffee in the middle, and closes with a lingering hops bitterness. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both good. Nice brew, and glad I have more pints of this for later.

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Payback Porter from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
88 out of 100 based on 245 ratings.