Pig Iron Porter - Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

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Pig Iron Porter
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very good

173 Ratings
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Ratings: 173
Reviews: 68
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 1
Gots: 16 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant visit their website
United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-20-2002

A classic porter, dark and full of roasted malt flavor. Chocolate notes are well balanced by a slight bitterness.

37 IBU
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Ratings: 173 | Reviews: 68
Reviews by JimsArcade:
Photo of JimsArcade
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, Pig Iron Porter produced a significant three-to-four-finger dark-tan head which soon dissipated to a thin, coarse coating leaving little trace on the side of the glass.

In the nose, roasted malts and coffee dominate. Surprisingly, there is little extra when bringing the aroma into the mouth.

The first sip is all coffee with some hops. The above-average carbonation makes this brew more refreshing than usual for the style. As the beer warms, the carbonation starts to dissipate rather quickly. Roasted malts and coffee remain in the finish.

Of all the beers offered in a sampler, this brew easily proved to be the most interesting. If Iron Hill were to have a signature brew, this should be it.

More User Reviews:
Photo of chinchill
3.54/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the brewpub in Media, PA.
Pours with a red-brown body that has excllent clarity and highlights. Minimal head yet decent lacing.
Very good bitter-sweet balance. No sour or other off notes. Light smoke in the finish and aftertaste.
Medium body and carbonation.

Photo of BillyB
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Excellent porter sampled at Iron Hill Brew Pub in North Wales on Nitro Tap.
Poured a dark brown, opaque, almost black color, with a thick creamy tan head.
Smelled and tasted sweeter than the non-nitro version. Also was much creamier and a much thicker head than the CO 2 version, due to the smaller nitrogen bubbles.
Light smokey aroma and taste. Overall very drinkable. I prefer the nitro version over the regular CO 2 keg.

Photo of mempath
4.8/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

had a sample while waiting for my pint of something else.

wow. dark, coffee black-hole color...smells of nuts...has a nice roasty, nutty flavor. maybe the best porter i've had. maybe i got lucky.

thick mouthfeel, but not in a chewy sense. which makes the flavor spread evenly with the low carbonation held at bay.

very drinkable. challenging and not bitter in the least. what a balance. glad i live 1.2 miles away!

Photo of tempest
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the brewpub.

Comes off like a tasty American brown porter in that it's on the lighter side and has clean flavors. The taste has a nice brown sugar undertone with cocoa and dark grains. It felt maybe a little undercarbonated, but was very drinkable and seemed like a great session beer.

Photo of Kegatron
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ Iron Hill West Chester on 11/20/11. Served in a goblet.

Pours a near black, with a ½ finger of off-white froth. This maintains a creamy richness, which soaps the sides of the glass with heavy swathes of lace. The aroma smells of chocolate and roasted coffee, along with some green leafy citrus notes and even a touch of spice.

The taste is cocoa and caramel up front, which is quickly cut off wall of green feeling hop bitterness. The malts return in the finish with a dry, burnt, and roasty finish, which really gives this some character that hangs on the palate for a while. Those fresh citric hops really drive this for the most part though. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a firm and prickly feel up front that lays some sharpness down on the tongue, but then works itself into more of a crisp smoothness as this rides along the back of the throat. This is easy enough feeling.

This is definitely my favorite of the staple beers from the Iron Hill chain and is honestly one that I should be drinking more of. This glass today wasn’t the best that I’ve had from the different locations but it was certainly good enough. A fine American Porter.

Photo of beerthulhu
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a flat black in the glass with a 2 finger sandstone/tan colored head that was creamy and well lasting while leaving a thick, sticky full sheet coating.

S: The nose was lighter then expected with soft roasted barley, black coffee with a light presence of burnt pine woodiness.

T: The flavor was bittering with dark roasted malt, black coffee with hints of dried creamer. A very earthy minerality (wet charred wood) with a exceptionally smooth roasted bitterness that is quick off the tongue. The finishing fade finds a bitterness of freshly brewed black coffee.

M: silky smooth, with a good amount of carbonation giving this a fine tuned texture and a good lively tingle on the tip of the tongue.

D: good with a smooth roasted bitterness that never overwhelms making this a silky smooth downer. Good drink, good enjoyment and growler approved.

Photo of akorsak
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on cask with coffee infused at the Lancaster brewpub.

A: The porter is a mahogany red color, full enough to be brown/black. The hand-pulled brew has the cascading head that is rather stunning while it lasts.

S: The nose is mostly coffee with light chocolate below the surface. The coffee is not in-your-face, just generally present throughout.

T: The coffee isn't as dominant as you'd expect. This isn't a coffee bomb, rather it is the porter with a nice twist. Coffee is mild, with a full flavor that doesn't overtake the porter. The handpull has created a smooth, creamy body that seems best for the pig iron (I am not a fan generally). Porter flavors are chocolatey with a toasted finish.

M: The mouthfeel is smooth, aided immensely by the cask conditioning. Coffee isn't the dominant aspect, willing to share the spotlight with the porter.

D: A decent ale, not quite like the imperial coffee of a few months back, but drinkable enough.

Photo of Jredner
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Muted roastiness and chocolate malt notes. Deep black body with a decently firm and lasting thumb thick head. Roasted coffee beans int he fore followed by toasted and burnt bread and some mild chocolate notes int he finish. Finish is dry and coffee tinged Great classic porter.

Photo of MmmIPA
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Now this is my favorite IH beer.I think they made a great beer when they brewed this and it really shows.

Brown body with a tan head.Nice lacing on the glass.Coffee and chocolate smells and with the taste paired along with some hoppy goodness to balance it out.Thick body and easy going down and a really good drinker.I wanna try the bourben barrel version of this asap.I would drink this beer all day and all night.Great job IH and for making my day.

Photo of boelker62
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a virtually diminishing, off-white head with almost no lacing throughout. The body is a deeply red-backed brown to almost black body.

S - absolutely delightful. A moderately malty brew with hints of molassess and STRONG bitter coffee. There is alight hoppiness to balance it out, without being strong enough to pull varietal nnuances from it, but nevertheless there.

T - there is a brilliantly clean, smoky toasted cramell and coffee taste to this traditional brew. Really, quite full in palate and works differently all over your mouth. t starts sweet, then the bitter coffee hits you, and a SUPER long finish is a very intersting addition, cigars. (being a cigar smoker, I can appeciate this taste)

M - the soft carbonation and medium to full body, and just right wetness, lets you...

D - ...keep drinking this all day and night if you'd like.

No wonder why this is one of IH's year long brews, but I do wonder why it is not more celebrated.

Photo of BuckSpin
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of IHBC more well known offerings. Its almost opaque, with a deep cherry amber-ebony hue. Amazing how the darkness reveals such secrets. The tan head was slow, clingy, thick & foamy, lacing beautifully.

Nose was nice (as a good porter should). Hints of semi-sweet chocolates were the predominate aroma, with some light hints of hops.

Its rich on the tongue, with strong malt and chocolate-coffee undertones that played with a surprising sharp up front hoppiness. All of these swirled and blended into a nicely bitter finish that reminded me of that last sip of coffee. An excellent porter, well worth a try.

Photo of rawhydes1
3.46/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Characteristic dark-brown. No head when it arrived at my table, so, cannot evaluate.

Mild smokiness to the nose.

Average complexity of flavor for this porter. Subtle molasses, coffee, malt, and smoke flavorings.

Goes down VERY EASY. Maybe a good choice for a session, for the porter drinker. Very drinkable.

Overally, a moderately flavorful, very drinkable porter.

Photo of zoso1967
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark reddish brown that light hardly penetrates. Beer has a nice tan head that has average retention and lacing. The aroma is malty and roasty with some nice caramel coffee notes. Very nice full porter aroma. The taste follows suit with a great balance of both roasted malts and caramel malt character. I also am picking up some molasses, cocoa, and an astringency that is not at all unpleasant or out of place. Not much bitterness or hop character, but they are detectable in the background. I tend to prefer a little bit less coffee/roasted malt character in my porters, but this one is well put together and I do not mind it so much. Medium bodied with a slightly sticky finish. Quite drinkable and still my favorite offering from this chain pub.

Photo of kernalklink
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this brew at their Newark location- poured dark with a thick head and lasting lacing. Aroma was dried fruits and roasted malt, with a hint of hops. Very refreshing coffee and chocolate flavor, with a mouthfeel that was light, though balanced and substantial enough for a porter. A light hop finish just as the sweetness of the brew fades. Very drinkable, and pairs well with most of their food.

Photo of drtth
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a standard shaker pint glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a dark brown, almost black, with a ½” head of light tan foam. The lacing coats the side of the glass and sipping leaves some lacing for much of the beer.

Smell: The aroma is full of chocolate with traces of coffee and a hint of some sort of dark fruitiness.

Taste: Flavor lightly sweet chocolate or cocoa with touch of dark fruitiness. The hops are mostly citric and provide a nice light counterbalance to the sweetness.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and has some enjoyable prickly carbonation. The finish is medium to long and starts with a touch of the chocolate sweetness that slides into a crisp, almost citric bitterness that spreads throughout the mouth and complements the faint taste of roast to the end.

Drinkability and Overall Impression: Definitely a beer for repeated sipping as one chats with friends. In addition the 2nd went very well with the salad and soup chosen for dinner. My overall impression is that this is an excellent, well made porter well suited to be one of the house standards for the chain. I’ll certainly be revisiting this one again and can see why it has won a few medals.

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this as my second beer. This should be the nitro tap beer!!!!

A - Almost pitch black with a nice short dark tan head
S - roasted grains, chocolate, sweet malts and coffee
T - incredibly well balanced mix of sweet and bitter roasted flavors. Follows the aroma but in a much more satisfying way.
M - medium bodied, creamy smooth and nicely carbonated
D - Low enough ABV to be sessionable. Tasty enough to not care about the ABV. Paired incredibly well with the catfish dinner.

Photo of TheFightfan1
3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

So many to try here. I ended up getting a 16oz glass. Poured a cloudy brown color with a caramel heading. Smell was very faint nice easy smell of dark malts. Taste of chocolate and a nice blend of malts nothing too crazy but an excellent brew for a brewpub.

Photo of scottbrew4u
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nice roasted malt aroma jumped out first but a canned vegetable aroma followed that was unpleasant.
The beer had a wonderful deep mahogany appearance and good head quality.
Nice rich malt flavors come through with some bittersweet chocolate notes adding just the right amount of balanced bitterness. Just a hint of alcohol warmth to entice you to have another pint.
Overall a very smooth and enjoyable robust porter. Good with a meal or to have on it's own.

Photo of jlindros
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brew pub.

Dark molasses brown color little head.

Nose has sweet dark malts, chocolate, coffee, light roast, creamy caramel porter aromas.

Taste has more sweet roasty malts, chocolate, dark chocolate, light coffee and toffee, caramel, nice bitter spicy hop bitterness, creamy mocha like taste.

Med body with decent carb.

Overall nice, good flavors, nice malt profile, bit of earthy hops, a bit light on the body though for the taste and malt profile.

Photo of woodychandler
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

How I Amuse Myself, Third Iteration.

Now what? Let me guess. Handpump, right? You know, you can be a real pest, Woody! Hmmm. I've heard that somewhere.

This was such a rare opportunity (to have one beer three different ways) that I could not pass it up. It was presented with easily two fingers' worth of thick, foamy, deep-tan head with excellent retention. For a cask beer, I do not know if it was her expertise in pouring (pulling, actually) or Paul's brilliance as a brewer, but this was fantastic! The color became darker and denser with each pour. On this one, I noted some ruby highlights at the bottom of the glass, along the rim, but otherwise it was straight out of The Creature From the Black Lagoon. Even the white bits were black. The nose was MUCH more muted. It was slightly malty, but beyond that, it was anyone's guess. Here, the mouthfeel was medium-to (dare I say it about a cask beer?) thick with a much smokier taste than I had experienced on the previous two pours. The finish continued with a lightly smoky flavor. IMHO, this was the best of the lot, although none of the different pours were any slouches.

Photo of Rifugium
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Iron Hill, Media, PA

A tasty porter. Poured dark brown to black with a finger of off-white head. Aroma of coffee, chocolate, and roasty malts, just the way a porter should be. Similar in the taste; malts came across a bit smokey almost, smooth chocolate and coffee notes retained. Medium bodied and drinkable.

Photo of mikeg67
4.16/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Iron Hill Phoenixville. Pours black hue with a thick, tanned head. Aroma is of roasted malt, coffee and hints of dark fruit. Medium, smooth body. Coffee, chocolate, dark fruit, roasted malt and molasses fill the mouth. Long, bitter-sweet finish. Everything what should be in a good Porter is present in this brew.

Photo of Gavage
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark brown almost black in color with a 1" head that slowly falls to a thick surface foam.

Smell: easy to detect the roasted malts and chocolate tones by the nose.

Taste: roasted malts, dark chocolates, prunes, and a mild bitterness make up a straight forward porter.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Smooth throughout. Aftertaste is long lived as the flavors linger in the mouth a while.

Drinkability: this beer hits the spot when you want a porter. You won't be drinking this beer fast, but it isn't a slow sipper either. Nice flavor profile will have you looking for another pint.

Photo of prodgerm
3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Good basic porter had both regular tap and cask conditioned. Rich color with low carbonation, especially the cask condition. Both a bit thin bodied. Roasted smell and flavor comes through but not over powering. The 5% alcohol makes this a good session beer. (Also had Baltic Porter see review)

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Pig Iron Porter from Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
87 out of 100 based on 173 ratings.