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Zywiec Porter - Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)

Not Rated.
Zywiec PorterZywiec Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

607 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 607
Reviews: 364
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 13.59%
Wants: 21
Gots: 23 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken) visit their website
Poland

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-01-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 607 | Reviews: 364 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

full mouthfeel, not very thick , nice head, fresh bottle. In a sentence, an expresso winter warmer. Coffee, chocolate, roasted fabulously, cocoa and a tad graininess. Low in yeast and carbonation. Somewhat bitter towards finish then malty aftertaste. Second bottle, fresher, even less malt at room temperature .

Shared a bottle at room temp 1.5 years later and it was good, but clearly not up to the top stouts around.

Sammy, Oct 23, 2005
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +2.6%

t0rin0, Mar 07, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.9/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an almost opaque super dark crimson brown with a 2 inch khaki head that stays at a 1 inch puffy cap. Thick foamy rings of lace stick to the sides of the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, dark fruits, caramel, and some chocolate aromas. Taste is of dark roasted malt, dark fruits, cocoa powder, and an off metallic taste. The metallic taste pretty much kills this one for me. Mild roasty bitterness on the palate after each sip. A low level of carbonation with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Ovearall, this would be a pretty good baltic porter if the metallic taste wasn't so overwhelming. As it is, I couldn't even finish a bottle of this one.

UCLABrewN84, Aug 25, 2011
Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +2.6%

spycow, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

djrn2, Jul 13, 2013
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

zestar, Aug 22, 2014
Photo of acurtis
3/5  rDev -23.1%

acurtis, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is close to being near black—amber is visible near the bottom of the glass when it is held up to the light. It has a moderate amount of visible carbonation and poured with a thin yet dense tan head that consistently covered the surface and left a coating of bubbles down the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of brown sugar, roasted malts and molasses in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has a light amount of bitterness and some hints of dark fruits and licorice. No sweetness is detectable.
M: It feels medium-bodied and rather smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a bit of dryness towards the finish.
O: This beer is very drinkable compared to other beers in the style because its alcohol is well hidden from the taste and it seems to be a little lighter-bodied.

metter98, May 23, 2012
Photo of brentk56
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out a dark brown, but clear body with a tan head that leaves considerable lacing

Smell: Solid aromas of bitter chocolate, prunes and hazelnuts

Taste: Opens with rum-soaked dark fruit and hazelnut flavors, adding a hint of bitter chocolate by mid-palate; after the swallow, there is a fruity sweet undertone that that lingers

Mouthfeel: Medium/heavy bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation; some warmth in the gullet from the 9.5% ABV

Drinkability: A solid example of the Baltic Porter style, this brew is one to savor and drink slowly, being mindful of the high abv

brentk56, Jul 16, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Barely opaque charred pecan with highlights of red, orange and amber along the bottom edge of the glass. The cap is golden brown sugar in color and is nicely tight-bubbled. It looks as if it'll last forever, as does the thick band of lace that's being laid down just below the lip of the glass. Outstanding and classic for the style.

The nose is also right on the money, even though it could stand be more aromatic and more complex. I have a feeling that warming will improve things, as it almost always does with high ABV beer. What greets my nose is more roasted malty and less dark fruity than I remember for the style. Good, not great.

Like all good Baltic porters, Zywiec Porter is absolutely filled to the brim with flavor. My only complaint, and it isn't a trivial one, is that there isn't a great deal of depth and complexity to be had. It isn't a deal-breaker, though, because my taste buds are ecstatically happy... as is my rapidly blurring brain. The 9.5% ABV may be hard to appreciate on the palate, but it's definitely working its magic in more central locations.

I love how anise-like the flavor profile is. Another highlight is the contrast between sweet and bitter, such as one might experience when eating a high-quality bittersweet chocolate. The finishing, lingering bitterness is especially impressive and even scratches my ever-present hophead itch. I don't remember the other world-class Baltics being quite this aggressively bitter.

I had a feeling that warming would work its usual magic. At this point I wonder how I could have granted a flavor score other than the one I've ended up on. I don't care so much about a hundred and one contrasting flavors when the beer floods my mouth with such intense flavor and is this amazingly delicious.

The mouthfeel is a shade lighter than I would like. Once I remind myself that I'm drinking a big lager rather than a big ale, and that it shouldn't be comparable to a Russian Imperial stout, I'm fine. It's wonderfully silky smooth and has just enough carbonation to keep things moving smartly along.

Prior to cracking the crown, I doubted whether this beer could equal the brilliance of my favorite Baltic porters. Poland's own Okocim Porter and Finland's Sinebrychoff are some of the best beers of any style that I've ever had. I'm pleased to report that Zywiec is in their league and is an immensely enjoyable experience. Why can't all Polish beer be this good?

BuckeyeNation, Feb 15, 2007
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of secret santa: Poured a deep red color ale with a light pink color head with average retention and minimal lacing. Aroma consists of syrupy cherry with too much of sweet cloying notes. Taste is also dominated by the extremely sweet cherry syrup with some very light malt notes. Full cloying sweet body with some average carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Too sweet for my taste buds and too much of the fake cherry syrup comes out for me to enjoy this beer.

Phyl21ca, Jul 29, 2008
Photo of mikesgroove
3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

nice dark brown with a light ruby tint to it. Some light could be seen on the sides and bottom of the glass. Nice big head with good retention and a slow fade,

laced with caramel and definite hints of alcohol. As it warmed some nice flavors of roasted malts and a robust grain and bread like flavor with just a touch of chocolate started to come through. The alcohol was the biggest factor here and needed to be reigned in a tad. A bit of a thin feel for something that I thought would be so big, almost had an ale like quality to it. Nice caramel malt sweetness could be detected under the alcohol with an ever so slight hoppy presence in the back. Very smooth and great carbonation led to a nice frothy feel

mikesgroove, Jul 18, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
3.2/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The beer pours a very dark brown color with some reddish/amber notes to it and a finger of off-white head.

S: Initial aromas are booze and metal, one might say pennies. A lot of dark roasted malts and a touch of dark, bitter chocolate. There are some dark fruit notes to the beer as it warms up, particularly prunes and raisins.

T: The flavor is fairly harsh. Lots of bitterness and lots of roasted malts. A rather intense metallic flavor to the beer with a hint of cocoa powder and dark chocolate. Not much in the way of the dark fruits that were present on the nose. Alcohol comes through quite strongly as well.

M: Medium in both body and carbonation.

O: Too boozy and harsh to be all that enjoyable. The metal wasn't doing much for me either.

womencantsail, May 18, 2011
Photo of oberon
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

oberon, Jun 05, 2006
Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

largadeer, Mar 24, 2010
Photo of TMoney2591
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Walter Payton shaker pint glass.

No matter what, I don't think I could ever turn down a new Baltic porter...like this one. It pours a very dark ruby-brown topped by over a finger of dusty dark tan foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, molasses, spruce tips, dark chocolate powder, and dense, resinous pine in the background, melding with the darker notes, yet still expressing itself pretty strongly. The taste emphasizes the dark chocolate and pine, with the roast and molasses pulling up in a joint backup session. Some balsa makes its way in there as well. Combined, it almost comes across as too roasty, too charred even, for its own good. The body is a solid medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta dry finish. Overall, a pretty nice BP, but things seem to have been taken to excess when moderation would have been the proper path. Had they toned this down slightly, it would probably have turned out very well.

TMoney2591, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of emerge077
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

BBD: 03.21.2009

Dark chestnut color, black in the Duvel tulip glass. Three fingers of puffy, creamy foam. A convex dome rises over the rim, with an egg cream surface texture. There's a slight cascade as the head forms itself.

Earthy chicory, roasty with a hint of caramel sweetness. Once it warms up, the aroma opens up more.

Big roast malt flavor, bordering on char but not quite. Bittersweet bakers chocolate, earthy tobacco, dry on the finish with a hint of apple. Wow. This really seems like the quintessential Baltic Porter to me. The body is moderate, not super huge, but appropriate for the style. Extremely tasty and drinkable. Balanced and not too sweet as some can be.

The only contender to this one is Killer Kowalski from Flossmoor Station. Bottle from Sal's Elmhurst.

emerge077, Jul 01, 2008
Photo of zeff80
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

zeff80, Jan 05, 2010
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Zywiec's Porter pours a crystal-clear deep-mahogany (almost black) body with gleeming dark-chestnut and 'burning-ember' orange highlights. It's topped by a full head of creamy, dark tan froth. Unfortunately, the head retention doesn't quite hold up to the bar set by it's color and clarity. The lacing is, however oddly, a bit better, and it leaves wide rings of thin lace at the outset of the glass, and then some pretty nice runs of spots and splashes. The nose is moderately roasty and chocolatey with some yeasty, berry-like fruit, and an edge of alcohol... perhaps even a touch of minty hops. In the mouth it's medium bodied and creamy smooth. The flavor is surprisingly rich, and it hits you immediately with dark malt acidity, low-notes of roastiness, and alcohol. Chocolate appears next, alongside some yeasty fruitiness; but as you progress through the tasting the darker flavors build and the fruitiness gets covered over. Deep, scorched caramel sneaks in here and there! A bold bitterness backs it, and it finishes dry and brash due to the acidity and alcohol. Some cereal grain maltiness, a touch of cocoa, and a wash of alcohol linger. It makes a great companion on a chilly night in front of the fire, with a book, or just settling in watching TV. Worth trying.

NeroFiddled, Dec 14, 2006
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.14/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

this porter is world class, no bones about it. surprised and not surprised at all that this is now a Heineken brand, but whatever, that's business and this beer is outstanding regardless of corporate ties. matte black in color, thick and sturdy, not a pure white head, but light for a dark beer, and lasting with ring lacing as it sips. nose of cocoa powder, roasted barley, char, and lager yeast of all things. its dusty and European in origin, that classic old world malt vibe, and the chocolate is rich in the taste. drinkable, cold fermented (I have to imagine), and really heavy roast character, pushing burnt. its bitter and well hopped for the style too. the alcohol is invisible, which is maybe most impressive. super drinkable and it feels right at holiday time in cold weather. it also pairs wonderfully with a range of eastern European food, and can theoretically age fairly well. one of the better porters ive ever had really, distinct from the pack, and clean and simple. high quality brew right here.

StonedTrippin, Dec 20, 2013
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brownish black color, with a thin tan head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The smell contains dark fruit, dark chocolate, roasted malt and a little smokiness.

T: The taste has elements of dark chocolate, roasted coffee and dark fruits. Although it’s quite malty, it’s not overly sweet. There’s a little bit of alcohol sting, but at 9.50% ABV, it’s not as strong as you would expect.

M: Very smooth with some crispness to it, medium carbonation, medium-to-heavy carbonation, clean finish without the stickiness that the style usually shades toward.

D: Tasty, easy-to-drink, not as filling as most beers in the style, I found this one to be more of a sipper, but on the right night, I could see myself knocking back a few of these pretty quickly.

TheManiacalOne, Oct 22, 2006
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a basically opaque black with a tan head. Nose is distinct with chocolate. I like! Flavor is just as good. Mature and robust with a smooth and not too harsh profile. Chocolate and mature malt tomes. Feel is thick with carbonation and smooth with ingredients. Extremely drinkable. After sampling several porters from the region over the past few weeks, this is by far one of the top ones...if not THE top one. Very worth trying,

RblWthACoz, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of jlindros
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Someone recommended this to me, so figured I'd give it a try.

pours a darker colored thick creamy 2 finger head that doesn't really fade, although leaves some nice lacing when it does, very dark brown beer with faintest hint of ruby light sneaking through.

Nose brings some of those Baltic region, like Polish style dark malts, a little roasty, very syrupy almost straight malt extract syrup or cola syrup, little molasses like sweet syrupy, light earthy root based aromas, faint hints of cocoa and vanilla.

Taste starts with more dark malts, again that similar Baltic region dark roasty kinda malts not the roasted malts you get in U.S. at least. Wants to be sweet flavors but doesn't get too sweet, cola syrup again, a similar to molasses kinda sugar extract but not the same, like another root or stalk based syrup extract. Cocoa comes out a bit more, little chocolate malt flavor, again with faint hint of vanilla somehow. Biscuity caramel malts in there, with a bit of a coppery malt flavor, and just a touch metallic possibly from slightly burnt malts, or possibly a yeast thing, as well as fluffy nougat and black malt. A bit of a spicy earthy hop presence, with some decent chewy bitterness. Light booze flavor coming through like a very light fusel alcohol. Finish is drier but sticky and syrupy, still a bit sweet, more warming slightly tingly booze, more nougat, caramel, cocoa powder, light roast all lingering, and a hint of a fruity flavor probably from the yeast, and plenty of bitterness lingering.

Mouth is a bit fuller bodied, fluffy carbonation, some warming slightly tingly booze.

Overall not bad, a decent true Baltic region Baltic Porter, not quite up to what some of the clean and full flavored beers that are made these days, but this is from 1881 so a great beer for that time I would guess. Still tasty and drinkable, I was expected extract skunky crappy beer so this was a pleasant surprise.

jlindros, Mar 29, 2013
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.75/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark as possible, ith a huge head, rich, cocoa-hued and creamy.
Aroma: intense, amazing, dark, twisted, dripping with espresso tinges, thick and redolent with flavors of molasses, dark rum, and hints of anise. This declares itself immediately, and as a dedicated fan of Baltic porter, I'm ready for some fun, here! I had to sit with this smell some, and put off the tasting while I revelled in it!
Taste, deep, heavy, dark, but still creamy and fully palatable. Fierce flavor, rich and cavernous, with a long, lasting finish. A bit soft in places, but never does it falter. Alcohol is felt prdigiously, too, at hefty 9.1% (that's what the label of this one says), and is enjoyed! Dark and bitter, nearly motor-oily in viscosity, with lush malt, toasty, roasty, and ever-so-good.
On my first sampling, this automatically goes to the top, to the utmost peak of the Porter Hall of Fame.
This was not the first beer of my evening, but it was the last! I shuffled off to Slumberland, and left some beer in the glass. Next morning, that aroma was still there, and I couldn't bear to pour the remnants out, even felt tempted to toss it in my coffee!

feloniousmonk, Oct 24, 2003
Photo of mactrail
3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This has that distinct licorice flavor I haven't had in a long time. Very dark velvety red brown in the tall Pilsner glass. The off-white foam is long lasting. Nicely carbonated and bubbles up with every pour.

An interesting woody, bitter edge creeps in. There is definitely some charred grain and burnt sugar in the flavors. Malty and a little winey.

Strong but without any unpleasant alcohol taste. The fruity, licorice taste is a little weird, so I guess it won't take over Green Flash Double Stout among my favorite darks. From the 500 ml bottle bought at AJ's Fine Foods in Phoenix.

mactrail, Jul 01, 2013
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Zywiec Porter from Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)
86 out of 100 based on 607 ratings.