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Zywiec Porter - Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)

Not Rated.
Zywiec PorterZywiec Porter

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very good

634 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 634
Reviews: 370
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 13.37%
Wants: 21
Gots: 35 | 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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 634 | Reviews: 370 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of mostpoetsdo
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark opaque brown. Very small tan head. Not much lacing.

S: A smokey coffee scent.

T: Dark and smokey malt flavor mostly. Backed up by a burnt coffee and chocolate aftertaste. Not at all boozy tasting.

M: Pretty light, considering it being 9.5%. But it does have a creamy quality to it, in addition to a heavier than expected carbonation.

D: There is not a strong alcohol taste, and it is incredibly tasty. Can put down several of these.

Photo of keithmurray
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - beer pours a murky ruby brown colour, half inch of tan head

Aroma is of burnt coffee grinds, chocolate and malts.

Taste - flavour of coffee, chocolate, toffee and malts, aftertaste is a pleasant coffee flavor

this beer is quite smooth, very drinkable and enjoyable. I paid $1.79 for a 500ML bottle of this and it turned out to be a good investment. This is a porter I would gladly drink again

Photo of darklordlager
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown/black, with a good 1" light brown head that sits royally on top.

Smell is clean--Dark malt, and some roasted in there. Hop backing (or at least a noticeable bitterness--hops or dark malt?) is evident as well. Smells quenching, for how dark it is.

Taste is immediately fruity! Darker malts work their way in later, but the mildly bitter fruitness is the dominating aspect, with some roasty/bitter character coming in again near the end.

Mouthfeel is MUCH lighter/drier than the Espresso Oak Aged Yeti enjoyed earlier. If you took an Irish Dry Stout and made it quite a bit more syrupy, with a clean finish--this would be it. Kind of creamy, but with a slick element. Much cleaner than most Russian Imperials/American Doubles.

D- So good. Great depth of flavours, yet so clean! The price point won't hurt the wallet either--great.

Photo of jkdrummer
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours more like a stout than a porter. Wonderful thick creamy head. Very very creamy mouth feel, something I usually don't pay attention to, but this one is good. Roasty flavor and chocolate bitterness and balanced with sweetness. Alcohol bite and not a session beer what so ever. Recommended if you can find it. Very affordable, I paid $2.19 a bottle.

Photo of ibbjamin
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 500ml bottle from Healthy Spirits a few months back. Bottle has an older looking more classic label which normally would not draw much attention. I was asking the store's buyer what he'd recommend for a porter and this is what he pointed me to. I believe the beer was only $2.19 and he mentioned it being probably the best value beer he had in the store. I pour into a large snifter to review.

An aggressive pour yields a half inch tan head that is consistent of very small bubbles. Opaque black in color. Decent retention, good lacing.

Nose is a blend of sweet roasted malts and heavy creme. Earthy hops and cocoa balance this one out nicely.

Coffee and cocoa come more to the foreground in taste. The malts are over-roasted taking on a taste bordering burnt. Alcohol very well hidden.

Full bodied and nicely carbonated, this one goes down thick and creamy. Overall a nice mouthfeel that leads to a relatively long malty finish.

The mediocre coffee hints and over-roasted malts could be improved upon, but it is amazing to me how a 9.5% ABV import of this caliber can be at this price point.

Photo of BevMoAndrew
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a standard pint glass at about 40 degrees.

Pours a deep mahogany (almost black in color, but when held to the light, there is a clear ruby tint) with a creamy tan froth. Characteristics of Molasses, Dark berries, Chocolate, Coffee, Raisins, Roasted Malts, Caramel, & a bit of Alcohol show on the nose. The beer definitely has a weigh to it, but dry crispness (classic baltic porter). Great flavors with a bit of alcohol sweetness and tingle. A great beer (especially for only $2) and one that every dark beer fan should try!

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

500 ml bottle poured into an ordinary pint glass.

Thick pour kicks up a decent 1-finger head of cocoa brown head. Beer is cloudy and more brown than black.

Deep, earthy malt aroma. A bit lacking here. Some fusels start to dominate.

Taste is big and robust, with lots of roasty toastiness. Molasses like sweetness gets slapped down before it can even raise its head. Burnt bread, coffee beans, bittersweet chocolate, and licorice. Prune, fig preserves contribute a deep, dark fruitiness. Dark bread bordering on chocolate cookie keeps the strong flavors from overwhelming. Rum-soaked raisins and a bit too much licorice as it warms.

Smooth going in, with a firm bitterness in the finish that seems to come mostly from the roasted malts. Alcohol warmth rises up late and leaves a bit of burn in the throat, but not overly hot. Full-bodied and viscous, it clings to the palate like a big bear hug.

Drinkability is great at first, inviting big sips, not dainty ones. Starts kickin' like a Polish draft horse as it warms, though. I can imagine a bar full of Eastern European dockworkers getting pretty rowdy on this stuff on a winter night. Great stuff. Really like an imperial brown ale with its big body and earthy malts.

Photo of Mitchster
4.6/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I swear to god, I am not getting senile. My reviews are disappearing. At any rate, this beauty pours out to a clear dark brown, forming a tall light tan head with excellent retention and lacing. 9.5% ABV. $2.19 for a 500ml bottle. Medium carbonation. The aroma is heavenly with sorghum molasses, raisins, and prunes. The taste is wonderful. Full bodied, creamy, with a big molasses kick, followed by dark fruits, mild bitterness in the aftertaste, and a clean ferment.

Everything that a baltic porter should be,this is up near Okocim and Synebrychoff. Excellent buy, consistently excellent quality. Very highly recommended.

Photo of bum732
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black with some ruby tints, nice creamy head with great retention leaving amazing lacing. Smells of mostly dark fruits, prunes and raisins, molasses, some chocolate. Tastes of dark fruity malt with a nice wave of chocolate. Fairly sweet with a nice backbone of chocolate and plums, hops almost non-existent. Roastiness comes through in the finish ending slightly sweet with some roastiness on a mostly clean palate. Alcohol very well hidden, nice creamy mouthfeel, fairly low carbonation.

A really nice baltic porter, not usually a fan, but this was a winner. Dark fruits weren't too overwhelming up front with the chocolate and roastiness taking the foreground near the finish. Very complex with every component working, fantastic!

Photo of flagmantho
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 16.9 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: extremely dark with a dark ruby tinge when held up to the light. One-finger dark tan head with nice persistence.

Smell: nose is comprised mostly of fruity esters. Pretty nice.

Taste: coffee hits me right away, then the estery flavors take over. Coffee fades back in and the flavor finishes with a nice bitterness. Rich malt flavor pervades throughout. This is a damn delicious beer.

Mouthfeel: medium body with nice carbonation that yields a pretty good mouthfeel.

Drinkability: this would be a great session beer. At 9.5%, it would have to be a pretty short session. This stuff is great.

Photo of Darkhorse09
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle into a goblet.

Dark brown, near black. slightly red when held to light. Smallish head bubbles to top, swirls down to a small cap. I mightve poured this a little too cold. Whoops. High abv cuts the head a bit, but a really nice looking brew.

Rich, semi sweet aroma. Obvious malt, chocolate and molasses are the most clear to me. Some dark fruits as well.

Surprisingly complex, especially as you drink it as it warms. Rich malt, some coffee and chcoclate mixed with molasses. I think this beer would pair nicely with sausages and cheese. Nice dark, crushed fruits on the finish, with emphasis from the alcohol.

Warming. Slightly lighter body than I expected. Coats the mouth nicely, but finishs crisp.

Drinkability isnt too high, as the abv is prominent. Not a sipper but FAR from a session brew. Nice example of a baltic porter however. I will buy this one again.

Photo of augustgarage
4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500mL bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass. Best before 6/28/2010.

Liquid is a ruddy seal brown/tarnished bronze, nearly opaque, with carmine and copper highlights. A large rocky fallow head builds quickly and then recedes to a thin collar and small island of foam. Adequate retention for the ABV; messy lacing and thin legs.

Very bready aroma, with prominent malt, mild dark fruit esters (raisins), and licorice. Simple, but nice. Maybe the slightest trace of diacetyl.

Fairly light on the palate - subtle yet deep roast, and rich malt - almost like a heavier version of a dark lager. Toasted brown bread crust, light roast coffee, becoming stronger and dryer in the finish. Coriander, pumpernickel, poppy seeds - a nice mix of flavors - would be great with havarti, perogis, etc.

Solid medium body, a little warming, decent carbonation.

Could go for a little more complexity, but a really satisfying baltic porter, and a very welcome alternative to the parade of lagers from the region.

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 WYVYRN527
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours almost black, as very little light shines through. Head is thin, but carbonation and decent lacing show.

S: Slight coffee tones and a bit of caramel are present, with almost no hop aromas. Smells sweet, yet balanced.

T: There is alot to this beer. Raisiny character with chocolate, coffee, and fig. The finish is somewhat dry, with subtle hop characters. The aroma is almost identical to the flavors of this brew.

M: Thin for the style, but it has enough to make it's mark on the palate.

D: Not a beer to have more than one in a given night. It's good, but the alcohol is definitely there on the palate. This is what I would call a Nightcap beer.

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

Consumed 8/15/2009- from notes.

Brown dated bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Almost pitch black, little tiny ruby hints along the edges. About a two and a half finger brown head that settled quickly to a thin skim. Fantastic lacing throughout.

S- Dark fuit, strong coffee, some chocolate hints. Smelled a little sweeter than I expected.

T- Caramel, chocolate, dark fuits again, some smoky hints. The alchohol starts to sneak in a little at the end.

M- Medium bodied, a little sticky but still pretty smooth, the carbination isnt really noticable.

D- Surprisingly easy to drink, not as much of a sipper as I had thought. My favorite baltic porter so far.

Zywiec Porter from Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)
87 out of 100 based on 634 ratings.