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Payback Porter - Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Not Rated.
Payback PorterPayback Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

225 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 225
Reviews: 80
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 9.72%
Wants: 15
Gots: 24 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Murchmac on 12-21-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 225 | Reviews: 80 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

metter98, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of bigfnjoe
4/5  rDev +2.3%
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%

bigfnjoe, Feb 19, 2011
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-

negroobserver, Jan 17, 2011
Photo of Ghenna
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Ghenna, Jan 14, 2011
Photo of smakawhat
3.95/5  rDev +1%
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!

smakawhat, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Charred pecan brown that appears to be opaque when backlit with the overcast morning sky outside my front window. The upper third of the glass is filled with a chunky dollop of pale caramel colored foam that looks good in all ways that matter. Lovely lace too.

American hops and dark malts are a wonderful combination. Actually, American hops and *anything* are a wonderful combination. Each sniff delivers lots of chocolate, roasted barley and citrus zest. Good things are expected on taste bud submersion.

Despite being slightly thinner than it ought to be, Payback Porter is tasty beer if you like fruity-hoppy American porters. The ABV would have been easy to estimate even though no alcohol per se is appreciated in the flavor profile. Hopefully, warming will bring a little more depth and complexity, although this isn't a style that succeeds or fails on that particular litmus test.

Specific flavors include bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans, dark caramel, citrus (primarily grapefruit) zest and pine. In other words, pretty much what was expected. A moderate sweetness is easily exceeded by a crisp, finishing nip of bitterness. The taste score is a tweener (the higher was chosen), but the drinkability score is rock-solid.

More size, more lush creaminess and harder working carbonation would have improved this offering in the mouthfeel department. Despite a barely audible 'pffft' on crown cracking, the beer was far from flat, but it still could have been more expansive.

In my experience, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers brews beer that ranges from pretty good to solidly good. Payback Porter is much closer to the latter. What the hell, I would have no trouble at all laying out the cash for another bomber if the opportunity presents itself.

BuckeyeNation, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of GarthDanielson
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass. The beer pours a nice jet black color with a thin, light brown head. Good, heavy smells of malt, caramel, and just the slightest bit of coffee. Initial flavors of coffee and sweet caramel or molasses, flowing on a rounded, full body. There is an extremely smooth finish, with the slightest aftertaste of malt. This is an insanely easy beer to drink. Well done!

GarthDanielson, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of Xul
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Xul, Dec 10, 2010
Photo of OakedCanuck
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into pint glass. Extra from dgb3, thanks!

This beer poured a light black to very dark brown with visible edging. Very nice fluffy medium khaki head with minimal lacing. It smelled a roasty with some smoke and burnt malt. The taste was roasted coffee and chocolate, some of the smoke and fairly bitter. The hops are most noticeable on the back end. The mouthfeel was medium and kinda thin. This porter is decent, not the best but a good offering and easy to drink.

OakedCanuck, Dec 03, 2010
Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Beer is brown to black and mostly clear at the corners with a decent head and some lacing.

Aroma is smoky, pretty smoky but after the smoke there is a nice Brett c character to the whole thing, almost a citrusy sourness to it. Pretty awesome if you ask me.

Beer is light and I don't know if this was infected but the funk character coming from the Brett is playing well with the smokiness of it. I like this beer, not at all what I expected.

drabmuh, Dec 03, 2010
Photo of willjschmidt
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Rosamunde in SF.

A: Pours a near jet black with tan head.

S: Roasted malt, bitter chocolate.

T: This is a very good porter. Excellent roasted flavors, malt and chocolate. Bitter baking chocolate along with a hint of espresso. All the flavors meld and mesh very well together.

M: Medium bodied.

D: A very good and very drinkable porter. I would have this again for sure.

willjschmidt, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of kbuff13
2.98/5  rDev -23.8%
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.

kbuff13, Oct 30, 2010
Photo of afksports
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Standings in August exactly one beer before I had my first ever Bourbon County Brand Stout (also on-tap). Needless to say, this wasn't my most memorable beer of the evening. However, I do remember a drunken train ride home.

This struck me at first as average for a well-done porter. That is to say, if you're used to drinking American craft, this isn't going to stand out. If you're used to drinking Bud, it'll blow your mind.

In appearance it's dark brown, with a tan head. Relatively bubbly. It smells of burnt malts, chocolate, coffee. Sweet. The taste follows the nose, and manages to keep some hops involved in the sweetness. Too bad the mouthfeel isn't as big as you'd hope with the malts and carbonation that's present. Drinkable, but maybe not my first choice porter.

afksports, Oct 22, 2010
Photo of mactrail
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Inky dark ale with rich roasted flavors.

Not quite black color in the glass with reddish on the edges. Hops are tasty without being excessive. Dark roasted malts with nutty flavors and a touch of bitterness, like Brazil nuts. Fruitcake richness yet only a touch of sweetness. The stronger alcohol content goes nicely with the robust flavors.

Well-balanced flavorful porter. Hard to find fault. My favorite Speakeasy beer to date.

mactrail, Sep 21, 2010
Photo of seand
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a very dark brown, near black, with a huge foamy tan head. A fair amount retains fairly well and leave lots of lacing.

S: Roasted malt with coffee and brown sugar notes, as well as a touch of booze.

T: Malty but not all that sweet; it has a bit of a black liquorice flavor going on. Somewhat bitter towards the end, finishes quite dry.

M: Light to medium body, much lighter than I expected. Fairly low carbonation, leading to an overall effect that's a little watery.

D: The light body and lack of intense sweetness or bitterness tend towards drinkable, but the flavor and ABV hold it back from being sessionable.

seand, Sep 17, 2010
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.84/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Beerandraiderfan, Aug 17, 2010
Photo of StJamesGate
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours impenetrable black with rocky cafe au lait head that is slow to fade but sheets and cathedral. Nose is dark roast coffee, molasses, creme brulee and orange undertones. Soil, ash, fig, burnt sugar up front followed by roasty bite and lemondrop hops. Citrus punch on the finish. Minty clean linger. A bit salty and metallic at the end. Lt-medium, slight heat, some cling.

Not subtle! Big + bold, but balance between hops and roast. Lots of other reviews here say chocolate brownie, which I can see. Not up to Ed Fitz/Anchor levels, but a good hoppy California porter.
But since it doesn't bill itself as an Imperial, takes a half point hit for drinkability for the high ABV.

StJamesGate, Aug 17, 2010
Photo of RustyDiamond
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No date on bottle. Very dark pour into a stein, almost black. 3 fingers of cappucino foamy head, quite frothy.

Powder cocoa aroma, navel orange

Nestle Quik chocolate, cold brewed coffee, touch of citrus. Pretty thin at first before the flavors kick in. Quite chewy with some nice piney bitterness. Nicely hopped.

Dry, roasty mouthfeel finishing bitter.

Quite drinkable.

RustyDiamond, Jul 07, 2010
Photo of djeucalyptus
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

djeucalyptus, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of woodychandler
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

When I had some last summer (July 2009), they were calling it "Hunter's Point Porter". What's in a name? It alludes to the southeast part of The City, where a Naval Shipyard once existed and I visited a few times over the course of my duty in Alameda. Now you know, if you didn't before.

It was presented to me with a finger of deep-tan head with decent retention. Nose smelled like a fresh fudge brownie, direct from the oven. Color was a deep, dense brown with ruby highlights. Mouthfeel was light-to-medium with a wholly chocolate taste on the tongue, This was a dessert beer, to be sure! There is no way, given its 8.5 ABV (that was what was listed at the time) and its sweetness, that I would want a steady diet of this beer. Finish reminded me of chocolate cake, fudge brownie, chocolate chip cookie and chocolate ice cream, all wrapped up in a single package. If that seems appealing to you, have at it. For my own sake, I'm taking a lay-down. Wow!

woodychandler, Jun 24, 2010
Photo of Beerenauslese
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark reddish brown with a decent head that lasts awhile, leaves substantial lacing.

Aromas of coffee, chocolate, hops.

Tastes of chocolate and coffee, with a tangy fruity acidity which I like. Sweet and sour elements. Finishes dry and hoppy.

Body is light for a porter, with good amount of carbonation, in the Deschutes Black Butte porter style, but with a little more substance in the mouthfeel.

This is quite drinkable. The tangy fruit, slightly sour taste keeps me wanting more.

Beerenauslese, May 31, 2010
Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.7/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark as pitch with a fat two finger head. The head recedes quickly and leaves a small amount of lacing. Smells of dried plums, coffee and a bit of chocolate. The taste is fantastic. Much like it smells but not too fruity. Bitter and sweet with a very earthy finish. Mild carbonation makes this go down super smooth. I love this porter. It doesn't taste quite as good in the bottle but it is still top notch beery deliciousness.

OBeerMeGreatOne, May 30, 2010
Photo of EagleTalon
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

EagleTalon, May 15, 2010
Photo of andyfrancis
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

andyfrancis, May 04, 2010
Photo of 100floods
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

nice dark hue with a tan/mocha head. Rich chocolate aromas blended in with some darker roasted notes. Thin-Medium body. Notable carbonation. The roasted flavors come through in tasting it, some sweet after flavors. Dark chocolate flavors linger at the back of my tung The body is where it falls short for me. There's nothing compensating. There's nothing really wrong with this beer, just nothing outstanding. This is, however, a good porter to have around that won't make a dent in your wallet. I think I still prefer the Hunters Point Porter which is very similar to this (why they didn't just bottle that, I don't know), but HTP has some more body to it. I'll still go out and buy this beer, it's good and available which I am thankful for.

100floods, Apr 13, 2010
Payback Porter from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
88 out of 100 based on 225 ratings.