Zywiec Porter - Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)

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Zywiec PorterZywiec Porter

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very good

669 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 669
Reviews: 381
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 13.37%
Wants: 24
Gots: 46 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken) visit their website

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-01-2001

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 669 | Reviews: 381
Reviews by busterthecat:
Photo of busterthecat
3.91/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 500mL bottle for $3. Poured into an oversized stemmed tulip glass.

A- Pours a clearish brown color from bottle with some red hue. A nice dense khaki head forms. Small bubbles rise up the sides of the glass and tightly group together. Sits almost black in glass. Great sticky lacing.

S- Aroma is pretty mellow while chilled. Sweet chocolate notes are noticed. Almost a lactose milk stout aroma can be detected. Aroma does become bolder as warms, but not much.

T- Semi-sweet chocolate, roasted malts, marshmallow, some bitter burnt/ astringent notes. Reminds me slightly of a chocolate malt. Flavors are well balanced and complement each other. Good but nothing special. could be more robust and less watery.

M- Medium bodied. Wet and coating on palate, yet quickly settles before it fades. There is a bit of a slight chewy feel that really makes the body seem more robust. The sweeter and light astringent notes lingers on tongue well. A bit on the lighter side for the style.

O- A well done baltic porter. On the lighter side for the style, but very easy to drink. The 9.5% abv is not detected at all, just 30 min into this beer. A great buy for $3. Simple but worth a try.

More User Reviews:
Photo of doktorhops
3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is what happens when you fall in love with stouts, it leads you to try darker and darker beers, recklessly seeking that next roasted thrill until your bank account is a mere husk of binary code and you’ve become addicted to priceless Faberge eggs... at least that specific example has happened to someone, somewhere. Anyway the point I was getting at is that Plonk! (BBITU: Best Bottleshop In The Universe) is out of FBS (Founders Breakfast Stout) and I’ve been recommended the two closest things to FBS in the meanwhile: Zywiec and Rasputin - yes, that’s right - we’ve got a full blown Stout-off on our hands!

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Deep, deep, dark, cavernous, cola brown body that says “I will own you mere mortal!” with a foamy inch tall khaki head that slowly dissipates to a spiders lace. The whole thing is ominous. I like my Porters ominous. 9/10.

S: A roasted coffee/chicory combo that screams “I will own you mere mortal!”... again it is an ominous brew here. There are notes of dark fruit as well, hints of black cherry and prune. 7/10.

T: The flavour is a real surprise - sets you up for a huge challenging Stout/Porter (whatever, they’re the same thing) and delivers a mild mannered reporter, like if Clark Kent was the alter-ego to Lex Luthor. Flavours are roast coffee with brown sugar and prune. Finishes with an espresso bitterness and an unwanted metallic twang (loses 1 point for this, sorry unpronounceable brewer from Poland). 7/10.

M: Hits the register well here with a medium, rich body and a dense, creamy carbonation. 9/10.

D: It’s no FBS. That is certain. However at $4 a 330ml bottle it is FBS’s cheaper, slightly weird Polish cousin that likes to tip cows, farm potatoes whilst making bootleg vodka, and is “New to this country you call A-Merica”. The fact that it tastes half decent at that price (and kicks its own Lager in the soft-fleshy-dangly-male-bits between the legs) is enough for me to rate it decently. Decently indeed. I have spoken! 8/10. Total: 7.5/10.

Food match: Chocolate roasted rib eye steaks with au gratin potato and roasted pumpkin, with a rich dark gravy simmering away all over that shit.

Photo of neenerzig
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I'd only drank this beer once or twice when I went to Poland in September of 2009 to visit family there. I remember liking it so much at that time that I got a few bottles to bring back home with me, and they made it from Warsaw to Chicago, but the line to get through security in Chicago coming through customs, etc. was quite long and slow moving and my dad and I were worried about missing our connecting flight back home to Cleveland and we were worried that we wouldn't have to check our bags due to buying liquid. So I had to ditch these beers I'd bought in Poland :( And of course our flight back home from Chicago ended up being delayed by about an hour anyways due to weather, so I totally could have checked a bag and brought this beer back! So I've kind of been keeping an eye out for it since September 2009. I'd never seen it on the shelf at any store. I'd see one or two other beers from Zywiec, but never this one. Until today. I stopped in an ACME grocery store when I was driving around for work today and I decided to peak at their beers, and boy was I pleasantly surprised to see this beer on the shelf. This beer that had eluded me for years was now reunited with me at long last! Oh happy day! What a bargain too, at $1.93 per a 19.9 oz bottle tax included. Poured into my beer mug that I got when I went to Poland, this beer pours a very dark brown color that is not interested in letting any light whatsoever with a nice, creamy, frothy looking tan head that is well over an inch thick when first poured. Head has good retention, only eventually settling to a good solid 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch thick. Aromas of loads of roasted malts, definite cocoa, and hints of black coffee here. Very nice indeed. The taste is even better, as the roasted caramel malts give way ever so nicely to sweet cocoa that is rounded out with roasted black coffee bitterness. The cocoa notes really linger on the tongue after each sip. Has a dry finish. Also has a slightly crisp, but mainly smooth, frothy, creamy, medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Very easy to drink indeed, almost too easy for a beer that has 9.5% ABV. Glad I finally managed to find this!


Photo of blackcompg
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

Appearance - Pours two quick fingers of creamy lite brown head, color is an almost opaque deep reddish brown, with garnet edges when held up to a light. Nice rings of thick lace left after each sip.

Smell - Dark roasted malt, dark fruits and fig, hints of rich sweet smoke and molasses, and a little bit of well done fruit cake.

Taste - Whoa... there is an initial explosion of dark roastiness and light smoke, molasses, and black licorice, dark roasted malt and unsweetened coffee gently enter the ppicture, with a nice slightly dry bite of toasty pumpernickel and lite caraway longer into the finish. Occasionally I get hints of burnt molasses and little bits of sour plumskin. No alcohol presence whatsoever at 9.5%!

Mouthfeel - Dangerously smooth, medium mouthfeel, carb is spot on and foams smoothly across the tongue, and surprises with a few nice edges at the back of the tongue.

Overall - A shockingly good porter. Full mouth flavors, great balance and complexity as this is more of a symphony vs. a few hard punches. What makes this really nice is the price of $1.99 a bottle at my local Garden Fresh. I will pick up a few of these every time I shop - pick up a few for yourself if you come across them, highly recommend! *Please note, I've updated this review, as my first bottle of this was 9 months past the best by date - it was pretty good, but was overwhelmed with astringent dark fruit flavors, and a slight balsamic-like vinegariness. A fresh bottle is a real treat, and an excellent representative of the style. I would even call it "imperial", as the flavors are bold and mouth filling.

Photo of cratez
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Zywiec Porter – 9.5% ABV Baltic Porter – Bottle shared with hopsolutely and NRMan.

A: Jet black in colour with a thick ring of tan foam and strands of lacing on the sample glass. Stellar appearance.

S: Rich pruney-plummy notes, slight nuttiness, black cherry (almost medicinal in character), roasted malt, dark chocolate, and mocha. A truly outstanding nose.

T: Roasted malt, chocolate, vinous dark fruit sweetness (pruney-plummy), mocha coffee, and black cherry. Balanced bitterness precedes a dry, roasty finish. Excellent flavours.

M: Medium-full body, creamy carbonation, sweet middle transitions to a mild bitterness and roasted, drying finish. A great palate.

O: An exemplary Baltic Porter with big aromatics, bold flavours, and a very smooth palate. Definitely lives up to its first-class reputation.

Photo of oberon
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep deep dark brown with ruby hue thru out when held up to the sun with a big fluffy almond colored head that left copius amounts of lace behind as it settled slowly.Awesome aromas raisin,green apple which I found suprising but very appetizing with notes of star anice and wood as well,flavors start out sweet and rummy with raisin and prune notes a slight drying cedar,raw earthy profile shows thru keeping it in balance.Awesome beer a style I should seek out more often,I love to find some decent Polish offerings being of Polish stock myself.

Photo of imperialstout27
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip.

A: Pours an extremely dark reddish brown. Light brown head that subsides to a foamy tan layer.

S: Rich, sweet malt. Candied figs. Roasty character supporting fruity esters. Notes of toffee and caramel overlayed with cocoa powder. Hints of bittersweet chocolate, lightly milked chocolate, and hot cocoa.

T: Opens very vinous with dark fruity flavors, then roasty/char notes coming on the midpalate. Rich, creamy, but not overly thick. Notes of burnt bittersweet chocolate. It's quite bitter, and the bitterness provides good balance with the sweetness never getting out of hand. The bitter and alcohol notes combine to add a nice mild bite to the flavor. Dark fruity esters. Finishes with a dark toasted flavor and lingering bitterness and char. Big, bold, tasty, and pretty badass.

M: Nice full-bodied feel. Good, relatively strong carbonation. Somehow pulls off the perception of being creamy and vinous simultaneously on my palate. That's a trick I haven't seen before.

D: It's 9.5% and a sipper so you're not likely to drink large amounts. But this is a very good Baltic Porter, and for the style it's at least average.

Overall, this is a badass beer. And the price is right, so I'll be buying this often. There are some definite treasures and bargains to be found among Eastern European beers.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle pours a deep dark brown that borders on black with a light tan head that slowly falls atop the brew. Aromas are dense, rich malts upfront with notes of fudge, dark fruits, raisins and molasses. Somewhat roasted and quite inviting.

First sip brings a wash of rich, creamy malt upfront with a mix of roast, molasses, raisins, dark fruit and an underlying fudge note. Smooth with a kiss of bitterness on the back end and a whiff of alcohol as it flows down. Solid brew.

Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and robust. Makes itself known while still being quite drinkable for the ABV. Overall, a top notch Polish brew. This and the Okocim porter make for a good one two punch!

Photo of gregmoscetti
3.1/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

As a porter, the Zywiec is not too shabby. As an imperial/Baltic... I was not at all impressed.
The taste was boring, the look was not in the least way impressive, and the very crux of the beer lacked complexity; the drinkability for a 9.5% beer was impressive.

Maybe I was hoping for those chocolaty, coffee-ey notes in craft baltics, but this beer was worth not a cent more than its 1.99

Photo of merlin48
4.75/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle pours an essentially opaque, with some garnet fringes apparent when held to the light. A healthy tan head has good retention and leaves chains of sheet lacing all over the glass. Aroma is very robust, with lots of chocolate and fresh brewed coffee, on a background of dark fruits and a hint of smoke. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, satiny and slightly creamy. Taste is as delicious as its complexity, with dark fruity raisins and figs complimenting the expected roast coffee, chocolate, and smoke. There is ample hops bitterness, as well as a vague spiciness that serves up an exotic sweet/sour bittering.

This is a benchmark Baltic Porter, and is exceptional in taste, aroma, and drinkability. Truly a classic.

Photo of tigg924
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: black, 1/4 inch head

Smell: burnt malt, sugar, and dark chocolate

Taste: chocolate syrup, burnt malt, and some cream on the finish

Mouthfeel: sweet start and end--semi bitter middle, full bodied, heavy

Drinkability: Very very good--perhaps my favorite in the style. I have not had this for a while and it is still a delicious favorite. The alcohol is fairly well masked, but because of the high ABV, two is my limit.

Photo of magictrokini
4.36/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow. Brown, nearly black pour, with a squatty brown head that quickly dissipates. Rich aroma of coffee, roasted malt, licorice, and alcohol. Dense, roasted malt up front with cocoa and cognac flavors. Moves into cream, coffee and anise, which is swept up with an alcohol warmer.

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Deep dark brown to black under a ½” sudsy foam collar that hugs the side of the glass.
S: The aromas are not big but there whiffs of coffee and chocolate with traces of sweetness.
T: A creamy entrance gives way to coffee, chocolate, moca with some alcohol on the end. Everything is well rounded with no burnt or harsh roast flavors.
F: Has an outrageously good texture that is very creamy and soft in the mouth. Medium full body and medium low carbonation.
O: A delightful, well made porter that is deceptively easy to drink despite its level of alcohol.

Photo of far333
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Darkest chestnut colored, with garnet highlights down the sides of the glass and a one-inch high head of light brown frothy foam that lingers very long.

Light aroma of roasted malt, coffee, and grassy hops.

Flavor is initially roasty and toasty, sweet and bitter all at once. Dark malts with hints of coffee and chocolate, with smokey charred bark and espresso and hops bitters. Notes of dark plum and ripe prune. Good balance all around. A piney bitter lingers, and the hops stick around for the whole ride.

ABV flies under the radar. Very drinkable, great after dinner with a dark maduro cigar.

Photo of monkeybeer
3.11/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours bark brown with a slight red highlight, nice tan head and good lacing

S- Roasted malts and chocolate

T/M- Can really tatse the roasted malt almost to the point that they taste burnt(bitter). Chocolate is defiantly there also

D- Not bad as far as drink ability goes, defiantly got better the longer it sat and it warmed up a little. The burnt taste was somewhat distracting in it and for me caused it to not be super high on the drink ability scale.

Photo of ADR
4.82/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hard pour releases a big brown creamy head with good retention. Almost black with ruby light transmission on the bottom. Nice aroma, a slight sense of berry, mostly sweetened blueberry. Excellent deep malt, stops short of java but with lots of unsweetened baking chocolate properties. Bitter quality on the roof of the mouth. As dense as a turkish coffee with considerable aftertaste. Powerful brew here, I'd love for more folks in the industry to do Baltic-style Porters...LOVE this stuff...

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

500ml bottle served in a Unibroue snifter.

Pours a very dark brown with a nice tan head. The head is not very durable, but does leave decent lacing.

Aroma: sweet; faintly boozy; prunes and other dark fruits with baked bread.

T: Plenty of dark fruits and light alcohol esters. Excellent finish and aftertaste, where the generous dose of dark malt comes out in a flush at the end and lingers nicely afterwards. High ABV is partly hidden. A bit sweet.

M: Medium body; smooth yet some liveliness from the moderate carbonation.

O: this beer has a boozy character I often notice in Eastern European beers, at least with higher ABVs; this is usually a weakness but it fits in well with the flavor profile in this nice Baltic Porter. Improved with warming. Well worth seeking out.

Photo of glid02
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from Decatur Wine and Spirits in Decatur, GA.

Pours black with dark brown highlights and a two-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of roasted malts and dark chocolate with hints of dark fruits. As it warms the roasted malt aromas fade a bit leaving more dark chocolate and dark fruits.

Tastes simlar to how it smells. The roasted malt flavors that are present up front are quickly overtaken by dark chocolate flavors with dark fruit undertones - mostly raisins. The dark chocolate flavors are more intense than the smell would let on and the dark fruit flavors are right on par. The ending is mildly bitter.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a solid thickness with moderate carbonoation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished the bottle quickly and could have another.

Overall I was very impressed with this beer. Be sure to give it a chance to warm as the flavors really come into their own and the complexity mounts. Worth a shot.

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

Rich roasted mouthfeel, with a long bittering finish, some caramel, chocolate and soy, warming finish, with some alcohol, but really well balanced, especially considering the high ABV. It's also intersting to note that the bottle i had was passed its use by date by about 3 months.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.34/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in a dimple mug)
Best before 2.15.2014
A- This beer pours a jet black body with a thick creamy deep tan head that is pitted and sticks to the glass with some nice lace. There are a few random bubbles that pop out of the body toward the surface.

S- The mellow inky black malt aroma is some and seems somewhat lagered.

T- The slightly chalky yeast flavor has some hints of dry prunes as it opens up with some clean lagered taste to the soft chocolate black malt notes. There is an acrid burnt black malt flavor in the finish that grows a bit as it opens.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has no alcohol heat to it.

O- There are hints of Baltic porter in there but it is very clean and light in flavor and aroma with mostly a bitter black char and iodine quality as it opens up, but it is probably the best Baltic porter for under $1.50 you can find. That doesn’t mean I will drink another one though.

Photo of 05Harley
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoy by 1/21/12
Lot# L1021616B1218

Purchased through West Lakeview Liquors, Chicago Il

Price - $4.99/bomber

Brewed with a traditional recipe dating back to 1881.

Appearance is deep dark brown with a full creamy tan head. Heavy lacing stains the glass. This beer looks fresh and inviting.

The nose is roasted malts, caramel, licorice and smoke draped across a sweet backround.

Dark fruit, mocha, bitter chocolate and a layer of sweetness hit the taste buds after each sip. A metallic aftertaste poisons the overall flavor in the finish which is disappointing.

Medium to heavy mouthfeel with a warming sensation over time. Ends slitely tart with a dry bitter finish.

The beer starts out great with appearance and smell but falls short in every other category after that. What needs to be addressed first is the metallic aftertaste.

Photo of FleeVT
4.11/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml brown bottle with a "Best Before" date on the back label.

A: An extremely dark, almost black, beer that pours true with a nice fluffy tan head that sticks around.

S: Sweet roasted malts and fruits dominate the nose. Lots of raisin esters backed by roasted nuts. A an ever so slight hint of chocolate finishes the nose. Overall subdued.

T/M: A wonderfully complex palate which delicately balances its roasted malts with a raisin sweetness. A bit of hops provide some bitterness to the finish, followed by a warming alcohol sensation. Body is smooth with light to medium viscosity. Carbonation is present and does a nice job of waking up the palate.

D: A great example of the style. This is a great brew for slow drinking on a chilly night watching some hockey. I, being in Florida, will settle for a hot night watching hockey in an air conditioned house.

Photo of SetarconeX
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black as night with a nicely lingering lace that doesn't foam too terribly. I think this is the sort of thing people used to dip their quills in before composing thousand page books. Smell is slightly sweet and quite malty. Can't beat it.

Tastes like nothing else. A bit of malt, a lot of hops (more than I would have expected off the nose,) and charcoal. This entire beer tastes like it was filtered through the remains of a forest fire.

Quite the beer, complex flavors, but not something you could drink in quantity (it's 9.5% ABV after all), but it's most definitely something you should try.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.42/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A beautiful pour almost jet black with a half finger of tan bubbles that melt to thin lace on the glass.

Aroma is mostly chocolate malt to my nose. Very little else other than some alcohol as it warms.

Taste is burnt chocolate malt, burnt sugars, light hops on the end. All of the flavors are subdued but do finish with a nice crisp bite.

There is something strange in the aftertaste that I can neither identify nor decide whether I like or not. It's sort of like a salt finish. (I know...strange). Hmmm....salted chocolate coffee. That is what I seem to taste.

This is an unusual Baltic Porter...it's missing something but I can't say what it really is. It's an enjoyable brew, but there are others in the same low price range that I enjoy more. Baltika for one.

Photo of tastybeer
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is my first Baltic Porter...aside from samples maybe, and I must say I'm impressed by both the beer and the style. Looks purple + redish black with light barely discernable around the edges of the glass. Light tan head is giant, about 1/3 the glass after the pour and recedes to a nice little layer over the beer fairly quickly. Crazy aromas fill the nose- some blueberry mixes great with the roasted and toasted + burnt and smokey malts, earthy dank hops, cocoa, milk, a hint of peat, and a bit of alcohol that tingles the nose more than gives off an alcoholic odor. I can't stop taking in the variety of smells. Taste is great too. Nicely roasty with a lingering burnt malt and hop bitterness and to balance it a bittersweet berry toasted malt softness. More flowing than complex yet loaded with a varity of good things. Mouth is very soft and smooth, with a tingly bitter that warms the mouth. I find myself drinking this fairly slowly only because I keep distracting myself with the aromas, and of course it is 9.5%. For that though drinkability is great.

I'll have to try more of this style, and I'll definitely be picking this up again.

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Zywiec Porter from Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)
87 out of 100 based on 669 ratings.