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Zywiec Porter - Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)

Not Rated.
Zywiec PorterZywiec Porter

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very good

649 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 649
Reviews: 371
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 13.62%
Wants: 21
Gots: 39 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 649 | Reviews: 371
Photo of bs870621345
2.49/5  rDev -36%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

pours black with a ruby color around the edges. Thin tan head with no lacing down the side.

Smell is of coffee, chocolate, and a strange burnt scent.

Taste is chocolatey and burnt. nothing appealing, but not a drainpour.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, little oily.

Drinkablility is moderate. Drank 500ml with a friend, and wasn't horrid.

Not an impressive brew at all, tastes burnt to a crisp.

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

Pours opaque black with a cloudy 1 inch tan head which stuck around and left great lacing that lasted a while.

Smells of roasted malt, coffee, grains, light chocolate and light caramel; overall nice nose of coffee and roasted malt.

Tastes of roasted malt, coffee, toffee, grains, light chocolate, light vanilla, toast, caramel, hints of dark fruits, burnt wood, faint hops and lemon. Pretty tasty stout that has a nice toasty flavor and some nice citrus and sweet vanilla notes.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, with a medium body and a light and crisp overall that goes down very easy.

A very enjoyable porter that goes down easy and hides the alcohol well. A very nice beer.

Photo of bgildea
4.52/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Very nice dark black color. Little bit of nice brown head that faded quickly with some lacing.

S: Great smell, nice roasted malts with hints of chocolate and carmel.

T: The taste is amazing. It tastes just like it smells. You get a nice flavor of roasted malts, chocolate, and carmel. Not too much hops, so a great overall balance of flavors. Very enjoyable.

M: Thin for a porter, little chew. But still nice.

D: This beer is EXTREMELY drinkable. The taste is top notch and the price for 16 oz at 9.5 ABV is amazing. Whenever I go out to the beer store, I always pick up one or two of these cause they are amazing and a great deal.

Overall: Overall, if you like a good porter, this will not disappoint you. Great flavor, great smell, and a great deal. I highly recommend this beer.

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

Pours a deep, warm, opaque sable with a thick and fairly persistent light tan head. Aroma is rich, oily and smoky with an overtone of molasses and a hint of miso. Smoky flavor is oily with hints of molasses and just a touch of sweetness, as well as a bit of hop bitterness. Texture is quite fizzy, leaving behind a nice tingle.

Photo of scruffwhor
2.36/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Super dark brown color with cola and ruby highlights. Pretty quick tn head and ver hard t see, if any, bubbling.

Light roasted malts mixed with molasses and sasparilla. When I say "light roasted malts" its because thisbeer is dark, the expected, abundant roasted aromas for a Baltic Porter aren't there.

Syrupy cola and coffee malts, with maybe a touch of brown sugar hit the palate first. The middle has cola nuts and some molasses. The finish is roastd blood and tin. The finish on this beers taste and palate kills any hopes of me buying this beer again. All metal and blood. Sounds like an 80's thrash metal album title.

Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a small glass on a dreary day in April. Best by date clearly printed on label.

A: Very dark smoked ruby body under a finger of tan head that laces well and retains for as long as this beer sits around.

S: Dark fruits and sweet darkly roasted malts rise from the glass with potency. Dried currants and smoke are especially notable.

T: This Baltic porter is bursting with flavors. The most distinguishable are licorice, smoky dried dark berries, chocolate, slight black coffee, and deeply roasted malts. Hops are here but minimal, and don't take the front seat at any time, which is right for this style. Some alcohol burn is either pleasant or distracting, depending on your opinion.

M: Full body with a pleasing carbonation bite. Not the perfect balance, but a good example of the style. Mouth coating is very pleasant and better than average.

D: Good drinkability, but not the best. This beer could be smoother and slightly creamier to achieve its full potential here.

Overall: A Wonderful beer on a cold day, and an excellent example of this style. At less than $4.00 per bottle, it is also one of the best values I know of for this level of ale. Try this if you haven't!

Photo of DmanGTR
2.85/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Review from notes on 7/19/09

A - dark brown, almost black, with tan head of 2". Garnet hues in the light. Lacks lacing. 3.0

S - Sweet caramel, hint of coffee, touch of fruity esters, bubblegum, and alcohol. Not very complex and maybe a bit too fruit IMO. 3.0

T - Lots of sweet malt, hint of roasted barley, lots of fruitiness and a bit of sourness as well. Very hot finish. 3.0

M - Medium bodied, doesn't coat the palate but isn't exactly thin either. A bit slick. Well carbonated, prickles the tongue. Very hot. 2.5

D - Not bad but the alcohol is so intense that I'll have to knock it back a point. 2.5

Overall - No wonder it was only $0.97 for a bottle. Won't get this again.

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

500ml bottle purchased at Whole Foods for 2 bucks and some change. Impenetrable black in the glass with a thin tan head atop. Smells of raisins and chocolate. A bit prune-like, even. Oatmeal with dried fruit. The taste is roasty with an acidic twang, like French roast coffee. Dried fruit flavors reveal themselves mid-palate, along with substantial roasty bitterness. There's a touch of alcohol too, but it's surprisingly well-hidden. Medium-bodied, rather dry and bitter on the whole, this is fairly easy to drink despite the intense flavor. The finish is sharply bitter and roasty, leaving a note of anise on the tongue between sips. Drinkability is marred slightly by the intense roasted bitterness, but it's a great beer overall.

Photo of mfunk9786
4.89/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First off, this is my first review on BeerAdvocate after lurking and reading reviews forever. I figured I'd reserve it for what I consider the best 'bang for your buck' beer on the planet (as far as I'm concerned). Let's get it going:

A: Standard one-finger head for a high alcohol porter. Doesn't pour as motor oil-dark as most Baltic porters I've had, but it certainly looks far from offensive sitting there, fitting perfectly in my Piraat glass.

S: Smell is of dark fruits and a little touch of smokiness. There's that little tobacco and chocolate smell that makes a Baltic porter so appealing after a long day, but the smell has a perfect balance that few porters have.

T: Here's where things get interesting. The most prominent flavor is that of overcooked oatmeal and lactose - it's like an oatmeal stout and a milk stout defied all odds and had a Baltic porter baby. As a huge oatmeal stout fan, this little oat touch makes me smile. There's a faint taste of chocolate, but not nearly as much as usual for this style. Dark fruit flavors craft a wonderful aftertaste that lingers long after you finish your glass.

M: The mouthfeel is a bit thin for this style, but is smooth and refreshingly carbonated for the level of alcohol.

D: Shockingly drinkable for the style, if pressed, I could guzzle this like it were spring water.

I resent Heineken for wasting a lot of my beer-drinking time and the beer-drinking time of my friends, but how could I live without their importing this amazing brew?

Oh - and as for 'bang for your buck' - a 500 ml bottle is only just over $2 at [the best beer store in the US] State Line Liquors in Elkton, MD. Why is this notable? Because this beer is a) a European import and b) better than most Baltic porters that come in 22 oz. bombers for $8-10 a pop. Dig out some change from your car's ashtray and pick up a few bottles of this, you won't regret it!

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

Zywiec Porter is brewed by Heineken, but it is nothing like a Heineken lager. This is a robust Porter, and one that I have aged in my cellar for a year.

Pours dark brown with a good tan head that thins a to a fine layer of foamy bubbles, leaving some lacing on the glass.

Delicious aromas of raisins/prunes, dark chocolate, brown sugar, overlaid on toasted malt.

This beer is tasting very smooth, and after a year, still has some tartness, giving it a little bite at the start, which resolves into a delicious long aftertaste of dark chocolate ice cream with a little extra hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy, with a nice amount of carbonation.

I am impressed by how it is presenting after a year. At only slightly over $2 for a 500 ml bottle, you can't go wrong with this--it is I think one of the best beer bargains around for the taste it delivers.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured a very dark brown with tannosh bubbles.
Nose is malt with a burnt caramel, cocoa or burnt molasses overtone. Taste was nice with some coffee, chocolate, mainly dark and a roastiness. Mouthfeel was average, no let down. It did have a bit of an aftertaste that annoyed me.Drinkability was average.

Photo of jbertsch
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a small chalice - it's black with a small-ish head light brown in color. Great lacing, though.

The aroma is old and historic - a big and smokey aroma with strong malts. I also smell that extra something that I often sense in eastern European brews - it's almost like I smell the establishment it was brewed in. But I believe what I smell are the Polish hills that grow the hops used in this brew.

The taste is burly and meaty. In addition to the malt and mocha flavors, hops come through even more than they did in the aroma. Don't get me wrong, the thick smokey malts dominate here, but the hops are surprising because they offer a great bitter contrast. They're oily hops, and fairly bitter given that they can still poke their head through the bold malt here.

Mouthfeel is smooth and bold. Slight carbonation gives it just enough life.

Drinkability is quite good for something that's sporting 9.5 abv. The alcohol is barely noticeable.

Nicely done. It's like a grittier version of the Sam Smith's Taddy porter, meant to be enjoyed by someone who likes to work with their hands. This would go well with strong, sharp cheddar and bold meats.

Photo of mrmanning
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Baltic Porter experience, thanks to MDS. Thanks a bunch Mike. My first impression of this beer was a good one. The pour was like motor oil, opaque, almost black, with just the smallest amount of light visible. The head was mocha, and was thick, with good retention. In the nose, lots was going on. Huge roasty notes filled the room. I could litetrally smell them while standing away from the glass. Upon further examination, coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, toffee and tobacco were all screaming at me. Very appealing. Silky coffee and chocolate filled my mouth, leaving tingling sensation. Burnt tobacco and roasted malt also very enjoyable. Bitter hops chocolate finish, and the alcohol was noticable as it warmed, but it was good. Definitely a sipper, and certainly worth of the average rating it has received. A very good porter, probably the best one I have had to date. This is a style I will definitely keep an eye out for . Thanks for sharing Mike!

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

500 mL bottle, best by 5/31/09; sampled 5/13/09. It pours damn near totally black, topped with two inches of thick brown froth that leaves nice lacing. Gentle and aromatic, with clean roastiness, blue and blackberry, licorice, mild hops, milk chocolate and a light fruitiness. Roasted and chocolate malts on the palate, with licorice, dark berries, coffee, malt sweetness, nuttiness, sturdy bitterness and a gentle warmth. The body is light and smooth, with low carbonation and a nice, dry finish. This is a great brew - so completely balanced all around and quite cheap to boot. Definitely one to revisit.

Photo of Gehrig
4.53/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had never seen this around before yesterday, when JD the great Neil St. Piccadilly manager informed me that it had been unavailable in central IL for the longest time. It made its return in the last month or so, and a triumphant one as far as I'm concerned.

Three fat fingers of tan froth top a rich ruby body with deep brown trim. The head retention was fabulously durable, and the Duvel tulip needed an extra rinse from the sheet of lacing gracing it; stellar. Big sweet and sour porter nose, with lots of berry with dark chocolate and minty overtones.

The taste confirms this and more. Zywiec is a tremendous example of complexity in balance, with sweet berry and chocolate blending with anise, hazelnut, and a dash of roasted coffee. It astutely moves between sweet and sour, and at its best negotiates both in a mouthful. Smooth texture with a sour hint in the finish leaves me totally impressed.

Zywiec has easily catapulted itself into my top five porters around, just an outstanding example of Baltic Porter--smooth, rich, fruity but with a sour-bitter element that is not just most welcome, but surprisingly accessible and enjoyable. Brilliant beer, neck-and-neck with Okocim for the best Poland has to offer the beer world.


Photo of blackie
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: snifter serving, topped with a good inch of mocha foam atop the deep brown porter, retention is good

s: layers of black malt, heavily caramelized sugars, black fig paste and licorice, iced coffee, mild hop presence almost minty, rich and complex aroma

m: carbonation on the low end, smooth with just a touch of spritz, creamy body on the heavier side of medium

t: smooth black malt body with layers of sweet, burnt toffee sugars, licorice in the middle moving into some roast well through the finish, high cacao chocolate, a mild noble hop adds a moderate and persistent bitterness, full of flavor but with that crisp finish characteristic of lager yeast

d: great - abv deceptively hidden

500 ml from Whole Foods, Arlington - a deal at $2.99

Photo of Vancer
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Holy moly, looked at the label and see this big boy weighs in at 10% ish. Heckava pour of black with brown edges into the Maredsous tulip, big ol' frothy tan head lathers up and leaves a sheet of lace.

The aroma is thick with sweet malt, chocolate, and even a hit of coffee. The quaff bites with the hop backbone and woody resins dipped in fig, balancing out the initial sweet chocolate shake. Finished dry and crisp, surprising for such a big malt brew.

Very tasty brew, and at $3 a 500ml (ie a pint), a good buy for a hammerhead beverage.

Photo of robobor
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, root-beer brown. It's quite dark, but without the opacity of some stronger stouts I've tried. It smells dry fruit sweet and (skeptical as I was when reading this in other reviews) soy sauce-y. Tastes really nice, there's a perfectly roasted flavor, not too burnt-bitter. The body is smooth and slightly carbonated, and the alcohol content is well hidden. Keep that alcohol content in mind and designate this as a sipper, you'll be just fine.

Photo of Strawbs
4.16/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark, with a full head. Thick, chewy, but not overly sweet. You would never know this is 9.5% The alcohol is well integrated & the brew slides down easy. Not a favorite of mine, but a very good beer & when taking into account it's modest price- a real bargain.

Photo of prsguitarsr4me
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow I was not expecting this to be any good! To my surprise this is an awesome porter -- really smooth roasted malty flavors with not-too-dark coffee, sweet bourbon underneath, and the alcohol content is a joke --- you'd never guess it from tasting it. Very thick and creamy but not syrupy. I love being surprised. DeCicco's had this for $1.50 a bottle and I'll be getting more for sure!

Photo of sunrisesolara
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

.5L emptied into a pint glass.

A: Poured a rich, lusty black with a huge 3 finger head that took quite a while to receed. Lacing was thick.

S: Raptuous, strong hints of roasted nuts and coffee loaded with the unmistakable twang of booze.

M: Nicely balanced, full bodied with no real carbonation.

T: The alcohol doesn't overwhelm. Dark molasses comes to mind here. Very rich with intense flavors.

D: This is a very drinkable Baltic Porter, even more so because of its conventional price and availability.

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

A - Thick black brew with an almost gelatinous viscosity. The tan head is massively mountainous, but quickly recedes to a very manageable level. Maybe I poured this one a bit to aggressively.

S - Ah, bourbon-esque booziness and that mildly soy-sauce tinted smokiness that I always detect in Baltic porters. Wet firewood the morning after a night of camping (doused for safety's sake).

T - Solid smoke and savory meaty notes with a very noticeable coffee liquor note... not milky sweet coffee flavors like Kaluha.... this is more like bitter black chicory. Soy sauce also shows up... not in a bad way, I happen to like soy sauce.

M - THICK. This is full bodied like half-n-half with a big time booze kick. The heat doesn't distract from the flavors at all, but is actually a very integral part of the character of this beer.

D - Despite the noticeably high alcohol level, this is not necessarily relegated to sipping status. I drank this more quickly than I intended to (and got a bit light headed in the process) but I didn't regret the 30-40 minutes that I spent with this one, although I did find my self shaking my head and thinking "holy crap! That one really kicked my ass!" Good beer! And for the $1.95 that I picked the bottle up for, I'll be coming back for more!

Photo of Augustiner719
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into an english pint glass

Appearance: Deep dark viscous black brown color. Huge 3 finger head that takes forever to recede. Still lingers on through the session. Incredible lacing, absolutley amazing.

Smell: Smell is muted a bit. roasted coffee beans and warm cream. toasted hazlenuts and butter come to mind. Dark malty aroma but not overpowering.

Taste: Coffee, toffee and bitter chocolate explosion. The alcohol comes through quite a bit despite the huge malt profile. Somewhat balanced, but the alcohol comes through too much despite the huge amounts of malt. Aging this would be tremendous.

Mouthfeel: Overcarbonated. If this was poured and left out for say an hour at a controlled temp it would be amazing. This might be one of those "decant" beers that would highly benifit. Medium weight on the palate, but dry lingering alcohol leaves the mouth needing something creamier.

Drinkability: This is your go to baltic porter. As i find myself getting into the porters, this seems to make the mold for what baltic porters should be like. Big bottle and high abv means 2 of these per session max. Still great and definately worth the $1.69 for the 500ml bottle!! See out now!

Photo of zeff80
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a two-finger, caramel-colored head of thick, firm foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of coffee, malt and boozy alcohol.

T - It tasted of roasted malt with bitter, spicy, sharp hops. It almost had a soy sauce-like taste.

M - It was soft, smooth and had a slightly sticky mouthfeel. A full-bodied beer that is almost too heavy.

D - This is a great example of a Baltic Porter. It tastes great and looks good, too.

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Zywiec Porter from Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)
87 out of 100 based on 649 ratings.