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Pig Iron Porter - Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

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Pig Iron Porter
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very good

155 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 155
Reviews: 65
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 11.86%
Wants: 1
Gots: 10 | 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:
A classic porter, dark and full of roasted malt flavor. Chocolate notes are well balanced by a slight bitterness.

37 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-20-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 155 | Reviews: 65 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Tucquan
3.33/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The porter arrived at my table with a tan, 3/4" head floating on a dark chocolate brown liquid. It's very attractive.

The nose is mild with hints of coffee and malt. The taste is also coffee and nuts with a bit of chocolate. It's very creamy served this way.

An enjoyable porter but not a session beer. I followed it with their IPA.

Tucquan, Jun 05, 2008
Photo of AltBock
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Media, PA was serving up this one on 5/17/2008 during their beer festival. They served it to me in a standard pint glass.

At first, I thought it had poured a solid black color, but a closer inspection lead me to believe that this was actually a dark mahagony brown color. On top of this beer was an off white colored 1/2 inch head of foam. I thought it had decent retention that left behind a skim of foam and some foamy rings along the edge. It did manage to leave behind a spot or two of lace. The aroma was nice and roasty with bitter dark chocolate, dark roasted malts, a hint of smoke, and a some dark fruits hiding in the background. The taste was roasted too, but it loved the bitter dark chocolate. That was the main flavor in this one. Behind the dark chocolate was roasted coffee beans, roasted malts, subtle caramel, and a hint of roasted bitter hops at the finish. The mouthfeel was dark and roasted with chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and a touch of roasted hops. The chocolate aftertaste will linger on while the other flavors will fade away. If you like your chocolate with plenty of roasted flavors backing it up, you will like this one. I know I did! This is another Iron Hill beer that I could easily enjoy again.

AltBock, May 18, 2008
Photo of Foxman
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a deep, rich mahogany with alluringly clear ruby margins. A finger of fluffy light tan head sustains nicely. Twisty ropes of lacing knot the inside of the glass.

The aroma is damned near blissful, rich with the earthiness of roasted malt, and dense with chocolate, coffee, dark caramel, and tease of hop pepper. And it blossoms more as it warms.

Upon tasting, the roasted malt carries a pleasing sweetness of dark chocolate and dark berry fruit. Also, caramel is earthy but less sweet, and a lightly charred dark coffee bitterness carries through. A combo of roasted nut and biscuit drop away slightly as the hops assert mildly and leave a spicy crispness in their wake. The finish is presaged by a bit more well-baked biscuit, and then pulls along with a dry glow that lingers nicely. It's a classy version of the style.

Medium bodied, it comes off as even fuller, feeling foamy and creamy and cottony on the palate, though the final drop is a very little bit abrupt, and so not quite perfect.

Yes, it's a little sweeter than I expected, but it's a strength, because it's not often you get a well made, sweet-ish porter that comes in at a session level ABV. This, and the fact that it's complex without being busy, help make it nicely drinkable. The only nick is a quick fade in the mouth. This is the kind of beer that makes me mourn the loss of Iron Hill in NJ, and hope for its eventual arrival.

Foxman, Mar 04, 2008
Photo of Biscuit033
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown but full ruby when held up to the light with a frothy tan head. It has great retension and lacing as well.

S: Chocolate and smoke dominate.

T: Very dark chocolate with some crisp smokey flavors and some bitter coffee as well.

M: Smooth and creamy with a crisp bitter finish.

D: Goes down easy from the cask. A favorite of mine but there are a few others that are more quaffable.

Biscuit033, Feb 26, 2008
Photo of tempest
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

tempest, Jan 25, 2008
Photo of tgbljb
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sevred as a deep brown, almost black colored beer with moderate off-white head.
Smell shows strong notes of roasted amlt, coffe, and chocolate.
Taste follows throught with the coffe and chocolate flavors, but is a bit too sweet.
Finishes with more of the sweetness, which becomes a bit overpowering.
A nice beer, but one is enough.

tgbljb, Jan 19, 2008
Photo of RiekerStarBrew
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was served this beer from a nitrous system. Compared to the CO2 version, the nitro is definitely creamier. The color was a dull, dark brown. In the aroma, I smelled sweet, roasted grains giving it a chocolate scent. There was also a slight hint of raisins. In the flavor, there is an upfront dark chocolate note. While this was good, it hid some of the hop qualities I look for in a porter. The beer is generally malty or bready, coupled with the roasted grains, it gives a dark toast finish which distracted me from the overall beer and made it a little less drinkable than expected. All in all, I found it to be an average porter.

RiekerStarBrew, Dec 03, 2007
Photo of Slatetank
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On the night I visited the new brewery they had two versions of Pig Iron: the co2 and Nitro versions. I tasted a sample of the first, but opted for a pint of the second.

A - Appears like Bailey's it has so much gas making it appear like creamy coffee, but the slow cascade brings an off white head to the surface. It reminds me of a milkshade it is so smooth and it measures about 2 fingers atop the dark brown liquid.

S - Big fresh roasted coffee and roasted barley notes w/ a full nutty dry scent in the aroma. Rich toasted notes and light yeasty scents dominate the nose.

M - Smooth, full and creamy as expected in this nitro version. A gentle nutty roasted aspect appears w/ low carbonation in overall texture. Slightly dry in the finish w/ a gentle spiced quality.

T - Rich, sweet malt swirls 'round the tongue w/ a light chalky dry element as it warms w/ a very roasted flavor. Subtle full malty essence w/ a rich overoasteed quality that hints at a nut shop in the midst of roasting action. The flavor has plenty or malt and a bit of hops to keep it balanced. A basic porter w/ subtle boost of smoothness w/ the nitrogen.

D - I could probably drink several, but consider it an average porter in the scheme of things. Not highly drinkable, but better than average and I appreciate the chance to taste it in the nitro version. I suppose a fan of Guinness might like the mouthfeel, but it has more roasted character than sweetness. Not one I would return to often most likely.

Slatetank, Dec 02, 2007
Photo of MmmIPA
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

MmmIPA, Sep 09, 2007
Photo of Imstillthegman
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my usual go-to beer when it's just the normal offerings on-tap. Had it again last night. Pours a dark, opaque black with a tan head that leaves good lacing. Aroma has roasted coffee, caramel, and some dark fruit. The flavor profile is the same, with everything sharing almost equal space. Nothing really overpowers the others. Fuller bodied, nicely carbonated. Very easy drinking porter and easily one of my favorites from IH.

Imstillthegman, Aug 10, 2007
Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

barleywinebrewer, Jul 25, 2007
Photo of rodrot
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured nearly black with a solid 3/4 inch tan head that left a good layer of lace behind. I could just barely see the faintest light shining through the glass. Aroma was roasty with a hint of smoke in the nose. Taste was a nice combination of roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate and licorice. The finish was dry with just a touch of bitter hops. Mouthfeel was light to medium in the palate. This is a very tasty porter that is well balanced and easy to drink. Anyone who likes dark, roasty brews needs to seek this one out.

rodrot, Jul 21, 2007
Photo of boelker62
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

boelker62, Jun 04, 2007
Photo of kernalklink
4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

kernalklink, Nov 11, 2006
Photo of DrJay
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very dark brown with ruby highlights and a dense head. Thick tan lace was left on the glass. Good head retention. Plenty of roast/burnt/coffee aromas (with an emphasis on burnt) with malty cocoa and light, citrusy hops. Burnt, bitter chocolate maltiness with sweetness well balanced against a mild hop bitterness. Hop flavour grew towards the end. The carbonation was a little on the high side to really showcase the style, but the texture remained creamy. Medium bodied to start, but this lightened a bit towards the end. A satisfying porter that hits all the right notes.

DrJay, Jun 27, 2006
Photo of GnomeKing
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The roasted flavors come through strongest in this highly-drinkable porter, from the instant it hits your tongue to the aftertaste following the last sip from your glass. A nutty flavor plays a supporting role. The mouthfeel is a little thin for the style, and the brew is only moderately complex relative to other members of this category, but the trade-off is that the flavor is smooth and consistent, and the ABV allows you to drink more than one in a sitting. Overall, it's a really nice brew--well-made and well-balanced. I love easy drinking porters.

GnomeKing, Mar 08, 2006
Photo of Jredner
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Jredner, Jan 20, 2006
Photo of BillyB
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

BillyB, Jan 03, 2006
Photo of whartontallboy
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a dark brown with a thin tan head, which may have been more a function of the conservative pour than anything else. Some light coming through lighter-brown parts at the edges.

The smell is pretty workmanlike for a porter, but with lots more chocolate and roastiness in it. A light hoppiness is there as well, but it's got a little caramel in it, too.

The flavor is quite sweet, even by porter standards, with a plum-like quality on top of lots of caramel and cocoa chocolate. It's a lot of fruity sweetness as it hits your tongue, but it mellows out a bit and lets some roastiness in before finishing with a big roasted barley and chocolate flavor. Mouthfeel is creamy and medium.

Overall: A great brewpub porter. Seek this one out!

whartontallboy, Oct 18, 2005
Photo of kaszeta
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Iron Hill brewpub in Newark.

Pours as a dark brown slightly muddy beer with a thin frothy head. The smell is mostly toasted malt, with some chocolate notes. Taste was a bit more bitter than you'd expect, similar to dark chocolate, with a malty finish. A bit light on the mouthfeel, however, and a bit dry. Not bad, and definitely drinkable, but not overly remarkable, either.

kaszeta, Aug 19, 2005
Photo of BuckSpin
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

BuckSpin, May 28, 2005
Photo of maek228
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I got this brew cask conditioned which was quite a treat. I wasn't sure what cask conditioned was but now I have a good idea. Having had the regular pig iron porter and the cask conditioned version I am going to venture to say that cask conditioning accentuates the flavors and gives it more creaminess...kind of like a nitro tap. I'm not sure though

Appearance: A subdued black with jaw-dropping brown and white head that looked so creamy and frothy.

Smell: Not much here, smelled like your average porter. Weak coffee scents were all I got.

Taste: Like Guinness draught with some balls. Creamy as hell with expresso and arabian coffee as the upfront tastes. This then drifts into roasted malts and a modest hop kick. Awesome taste that easily deserves a "4"...I wanted to give it higher but it lacked the complexity to earn a 4.5 or 5 in taste.

Mouthfeel: Unbelievable. It just flats in your mouth....it is rich, medium bodied, and lusciously creamy.

Drinkability: It's ABV isn't that high and it goes down mad smooth.

maek228, May 25, 2005
Photo of scottbrew4u
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

scottbrew4u, Feb 02, 2005
Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A damn nice porter from the folks at Iron Hill. Dark chocolate brown in colour with a small espresso head of foam that lasts long enough. The aromas of this brew are pure porter. Coffee, chocolate, caramel, roasted malts, and subdued hops. The taste follows suit. This is a very nice beer that is coffee-like up front, roasty in the middle, and chocolatey in the finish with a twinge of near-green hops in there as well. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and nice for a porter, and the drinkability is good as well.

francisweizen, Nov 15, 2004
Photo of tomthumbsblues
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I sampled this brew on tap at their North Wales location. This beer is a deep, dark brown color. It is hard to see light coming through the glass. It had a good creamy head that lasted. The smell was roasted malt. The taste upfront is very chocolately. Upon further sips a pleasant black coffee sensation surrounds the palate. This beer was balanced and satisfying. Definitely one I'd have again!

tomthumbsblues, Oct 19, 2004
Pig Iron Porter from Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
87 out of 100 based on 155 ratings.