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Payback Porter | Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
88
very good
89 Reviews
THE BROS
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
89
Ratings:
278
Avg:
3.93
pDev:
16.79%
 
 
Wants:
17
Gots:
46
For Trade:
1
Payback PorterPayback Porter
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
California, United States | website

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
American hops provide a smooth distraction for Payback Porter’s robust strength, which is concealed within the shadows of dark imported malts. Brewed with English chocolate malts and rolled oats, this Robust Porter pours a deep chocolate brown and is rich in roasted malt aromas and coffee flavors. With notes of espresso, baker’s cocoa, and sweet, toasted maltiness, Payback finishes with a creamy mouthfeel.

Added by Murchmac on 12-21-2009

User Reviews
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Reviews: 89 | Ratings: 278
Photo of kbuff13
2.96/5  rDev -24.7%
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.

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Photo of afksports
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of mactrail
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of seand
3.56/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.85/5  rDev -2%
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.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.97/5  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.

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Photo of RustyDiamond
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
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!

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.65/5  rDev +18.3%
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.

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Photo of EagleTalon
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of andyfrancis
3.75/5  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.

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Photo of 100floods
3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

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Photo of WestValleyIPA
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour is a dark brown color with some slight reddish highlights and a minimal off-white colored head.

S: The nose is pleasantly roasty with some nice notes of coffee and a touch of smokiness. There's a bit of sweetness to the smell as well.

T: The flavor is much like the aroma would lead you to believe. A touch of smoke along with plenty of roast and coffee and just a hint of chocolate. A light bitterness on the finish to work well with the other flavors.

M: The body is medium with a tingly and medium level of carbonation.

D: A very nice porter by Speakeasy. I never would have guessed the beer is 7.5% ABV. I'd pick this one up again.

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Photo of stoutfiend27
4.65/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bomber sent my way again by genghis22..cant thank you enough james...poured into a tulip

a-black...one and half finger head....sticks around for a while...lacing is there..

s-big rich coffee and chocolate malts..lots of roast...a hint of sweetness steps in before the bitter coffee notes carry this one off

t-starts off with a ton of coffee and chocolate..the sweetness steps in ....the hops are there to keep this one in check only...finishes on a bitter dry coffee note

m-thick and chewy...up there with edmund...creamy smooth as well...coats the mouth well and leaves a tad bitterness behind..

d-man i wish i could get this all the time...i would....goes down way to smooth especially on a chilly evening in NC...

overall a sold porter def in my top 5....James you are killing me with these boxes...

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Photo of GRG1313
4.21/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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Photo of Billolick
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%
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

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Photo of tpd975
3.66/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark brownish black with a khaki colored head. Moderate retention and some nice lace.

S: Aroma of roasted malt, chocolate, and a mineral like sharp almost urine type aroma.

T: Milky chocolate, bold roast, fresh coffee, tinges of sweet molasses. Tastes a hell of a lot better than it smells.

M: Medium in body, smooth.

D: Pretty good flavors in this one.

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Photo of bonbright7
4.55/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I split this porter with a friend after closing at Bellport Beer and I was easily enamored by the seductively dark ale in my glass. The Payback looked good in its pure darkness with a brown oatmeal head that never went away, it only sank lower in the glass. The aroma exhibited an elaborate mix of roasted malts, coffee and chocolate, which invited the first taste.

Wowed by the medium to heavy taste that reminded me of a milkshake, I bought another bottle without finishing the glass just because the first taste told me this was so good. The mouth feel and the ease of drinking more were merely after thoughts, like frosting on the cake.

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Photo of 1759Girl
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance> Dark, midnight black with a beautiful chocolate malt-looking head.Great lacing.

Smell> Sweet molassess, dark chocolate, burnt toast.

Taste> Good representative of a porter. Balanced. Not too complex.

Mouf> nice, nothing special

Drinkability> Sure thing

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass.

A: Pours a pitch black body with an initially fluffy mocha head. Retention is pretty good, and after a minute or so it retreats into a scattered film on top of the brew. Some lacing.

S: Roasted malt / coffee, toast, chocolate. Interesting dark fruit nuances to it; not too strong, but enough to distinguish the bouquet.

T: Same as the nose suggests: strong roasted malts / coffee and chocolate up front. The mid-taste has a nice dark fruit character, seemingly plum-ish, but there is more that I can't quite place. It's very subtle and nicely decorating. Toast in the exhalation.

M: Medium-bodied. While not dry, it's definitely less malty than a stout. Goes down pretty nicely.

D: A pretty solid intepretation of the style. I wasn't expecting a whole lot, but Speakeasy managed to impress on this one.

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Photo of krisandajt
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Working on a hat trick worth of tasty beers courtesy of cloudskipper. Many thanks Chris!

Appearance: A rough pour into my Sam Adams glass shows the beer to be very deep dark brown in color. There's a plentiful inch + worth of coffee colored head sitting on top of this fine brew. Retention is impressive, and the lacing ain't too shabby either.

Smell: An interesting smell dominated by an overly roasted, almost burnt coffee smell blended in with bitter chocolate. I have to focus on the coffee, it really reminds me of a pot of really good coffee that has sat in the pot a bit too long. Not really offensive, and certainly not bad, but not as refreshing as I would have liked.

Taste: Taste drifts away a bit from the coffee and leans a bit more towards the bitter chocolate. The coffee is still present, but not as strong as the smell would indicate. Not a bad tasting brew.

Mouthfeel: A little thin for my tastes, but pretty typical for the style. Carbonation is good, not intense enough to take away from the smooth texture. Body is good, light to medium.

Drinkability: This is a simple, straightforward, easy drinking porter. Not complex enough to require indepth taste analysis, but not so simple that you forget what you're drinking. A quality beer that I wouldn't turn down if offered.

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Payback Porter from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
88 out of 100 based on 89 ratings.