1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Zywiec Porter - Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)

Not Rated.
Zywiec PorterZywiec Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

618 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 618
Reviews: 367
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 618 | Reviews: 367 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of currysage1
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 16.9 oz into Imperial Pint

Look is a very healthy deep brown center with mahogany edging, topped with a 3 finger creamy beige head, great lacing.

Smell is deep dark fruits, chocolate vodka, alcohol shiver from a deep nose full. Very medicinal, some herbal qualities.

Taste is coffee, good and strong, brown bread with molasses, raisins, baking chocolate.

Very silky smooth, awesome all around. Honestly this may be my new favorite beer for this price. Hopefully I can get a case price.

currysage1, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of Proteus93
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly froze this one... oops!

A: Pretty much black... a deep coloured brown, with a lighter tannish head. It's a little on the slushy side, but that's my own fault.

S: Nice maltiness, some anise aromas. A hint of chocolate or toffee.

T: A rich malt flavour, some anise noted, and molasses. Pretty good stuff.

M + D: A nice, soft creaminess to it which does it justice. Not as much of a 'thin' feeling. The alcohol is very well hidden, and it's hard to believe it could possible by 9.5%.

Proteus93, Nov 03, 2008
Photo of Skidz
4.53/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep cocoa-amber and sits near-black in the glass with just a slight dark mahogany around the edges of the glass. Large, frothy tan head with good staying power. Good amounts of lacings around the glass.

Aromas of raw cane sugar and molasses are supported by a light base of chocolaty roasted malts and hints of floral and grassy hops.

Mildly sweet and malty up front. Huge doses of roasted, cocoa-centric malts with just the slightest hints of charred woods. Alcoholic twang in the background, producing just the slightest amount of heat which is entwined with a moderate hop bitterness near the finish.

Ever so smooth, rich and creamy right down to the bone. Light and fine carbonation provides a good reminder that this is not liquid candy, though it feels and tasted like it is just so. This is absolutely silky.

Very appealing. One of the best I've had of this type. Affordability is also a huge plus, as this runs only about $2 a bottle. Score.

Skidz, Oct 25, 2008
Photo of kosmoraios
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, opaque black with a 1-finger brown head that lasts and lasts, lacing the entirety of the glass with thick sheets and gobs.

Banana bread is strong in the nose, with caramel and dark fruit underneath. Enticing.

Hot, dark banana bread. Dark fruit: overripe plum, fig, raisin. Anise and coriander on top of an herbal/pine hop character. Very nice. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel while still managing to tingle and finish spicy. Well done BP. Dangerously sessionable.

kosmoraios, Oct 20, 2008
Photo of mgp80
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours black with a thin very lightly tanned head. I have to sniff at this thing like a bloodhound to get much aroma out of it, and this is even after allowing it to warm up a bit. What I do get is a hint of the rum raisiny quality that I was hoping for with this.

Taste is a very smooth progression from sweet, alcohol-soaked fruit to roasted malt. Sweetness and bitterness are balanced pretty well throughout. Unfortunately there is also some sort of stale, medicinal component to the bitterness - possibly related to fusel flavors combining with the rest of what's going on. I get this in homebrew when I ferment too hot, and I'm not a fan. It's very muted here, though.

Overall my impression is positive. I enjoy drinking this beer and the alcohol is generally hidden well. If you can't find Okocim porter, this is definitely an acceptable substitute.

mgp80, Sep 12, 2008
Photo of biggmike
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another beer provided courtesy of my brother (pojo41). Poured almost completely black with small off-white head/tan that dissipated quickly. Aroma was of roasted malt and coffee. Flavor was also of roasted malt, coffee, and also chocolate. Nice mouthfeel. Coudnt believe this was 9.5% abv as it was hidden well. Dangerously drinkable.

biggmike, Sep 09, 2008
Photo of drpimento
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now here we have a remarkable beer. Abundance of character. all of the clasic baltic porter hallmarks coupled with individualistics such as roastiness, darker grains and perhaps a special yeastoid. Poured with a tan head, lots of lace and pitch black color. Opaque. perfect balance between bitter and sweet, with enough body to compliment the works. Bravo. almost robust enough to be too much of a beer for the session lablel. tough it out bro.

drpimento, Sep 03, 2008
Photo of BretSikkink
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Opaque and very near to black, some highlighting around the bottom that ruby-red and even a bit lighter into the orange range. Fairly brown color foam that recedes rather quickly and leaves that classically spotty porter scum on top. Tight ring of bubbles that I'm sure will leave some good lacing.

The aroma is just a hair weak. That's the bad side. The good is that what's there is spot-on and very enticing. It should open up as it warms; what's here is a prick of alcohol, lots of roasted malt, some dark fruit, and a little star anise.

Massive flavor, that's a plus. There's a lot of roasted character here, with a hint of a metallic finish, which is a bummer, but everything else is so spot on. The licorice takes a star spot which I love, and the alcohol is a strong component as well. Pretty good dollops of bittersweet chocolate, even a hint of coffee-like darkness and strength.

The back end is quite bitter - another personal taste Plus for me. The mouthfeel is just a little shy of perfect - call it medium for style. It's just one of those Lager v. Ale questions, and I tend to prefer the creaminess and depth of the ales, but hell yes to Zywiec Porter.

BretSikkink, Aug 25, 2008
Photo of JEdmund
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance
Black with brown-tinted edges; big creamy tan head; thick rings of lace left

Smell
Molasses, anise--pretty strong, much like an RIS

Taste & Mouthfeel
Huge flavor with an assertive character; a bit boozy with its warming after effect; somewhat cola sweet, notes of tobacco; creamy mouth feel and a medium body

Overall
I was about halfway through this Polish beer before I realized it had 9.5% ABV...I kept wondering why it was so robust! Overall it was a big, full flavored beer with little to knock.

JEdmund, Aug 13, 2008
Photo of rye726
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice dark ruby brown color with a creamy tan head. The nose is very roasty with soem chocolate and dried fruits. The taste also has roasted malts, chocolate and figs. Nice full body goes down well. A nice example of a Baltric Porter. Drinks well for a 9.5% beer.

rye726, Aug 09, 2008
Photo of jwinship83
4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- dark dark brown, almost black with a head that quickly becomes little more than a crown.

S- very dark and roasted with some hints of toffee and caramel.

T- very similar to how it smells with an added hint of alcohol. mild considering its near 9% ABV. more toffee than i could smell, very nice.

M- full bodied, thick, creamy, and smooth.

D- very drinkable for how potent it is. they did a great job of hiding it. also, very cheap. definitely something ill be picking up again, probably not untill it gets a little colder

jwinship83, Aug 06, 2008
Photo of roadhouse
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16.9 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appears nearly black, with some red highlights. Tan one finger head sinks to a thin coating and leaves a bit of spotty lacing.

Aroma is actually pretty faint but with some vigorous sniffing I am detecting dark fruit and roasted malts.

Taste is intitally sweet with notes of dark fruit and chocolate. After the swallow some earthy hops make an appearance and the roasted malt flavors favor coffee over chocolate.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, very smooth and creamy.

This is definitely one of the better Baltic Porters I have tasted. Not quite as good as Okocim, but its up there.

roadhouse, Aug 05, 2008
Photo of spointon
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this one from a brown bottle into a pint glass.

A= This beer poured a very dark brownish-black color. Seriously, only the faintest bit of light penetrated this brew! The head poured two fingers of deep tan goodness. Tons of sticky lace down the glass.

S= This ale gave a alot of dark, roasted and sweet caramel malty aromas. Alcohol scent when swirled.

T= This is one of those "wow" porters, showing flavors of heavy malts, mild earthy hop notes, and alcohol in the long finish.

MF= Medium-heavy body with a chewy mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation.

D= This is another great Polish baltic porter that I might consider the best if it were not for the Okocim Baltic Porter. Definitely worth your time!

spointon, Aug 02, 2008
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 jamiejohnson
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The great Michael Jackson's teachings steered me towards this special brew way back, but it took me several years to sample it. I finally found it one late evening in Poland, but regretably I was in an unreviewable state. Back in the US I've found it again. It's one of a kind - a boozy (nearly 10%) Eastern European Porter that's chocked-full of quality ingrediants. I've always liked Zywiec's lager, this Porter just adds to the brewery's respectability. I like the touch of harshness done smooth - if that makes any sense.

Drink'n Polish,
This one's black.
Sends me there
Sends me back.

jamiejohnson, Jul 12, 2008
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 Black7Blue
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I enjoyed the color of this porter. It had a heavy black with a light head after the pour that resembled a coffee with cream only. The high ABV overwhelms teh nose, bearing the scent of a pure porter overa light proter. The mouthfeel is a little tingly, but still heavy on the pallet and leaves very cleanly. Chocolate tones emaerge over the tounge. It's a heavier porter than normal. If tasting your porters, this is a nice beer to throw into the mix. For an all night affair, like most porters, this may not bee your choice. It's a great beer for a rookie taster's "want" list.

Black7Blue, Jun 30, 2008
Photo of ommegoose
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Found this 500 ml bottle at a local 7 Eleven for $1.99. Looked like it was worth a try even though late June is not exactly Baltic Porter season.

Pours out a very dark brown, basically black in the glass. Some reddish hues around the edges. Pretty good sized head initially, at about 2 inches, and a fair amount of retention. Another reviewer described the head color as cookie dough - yes. Lacing is nice too, leaving a thick tan ring. Surprising considering the high abv. Well done.

It doesn't smell too boozy, which is good start. Dark burnt malts start things off, before giving way to some molasses sweetness. Some hints of sherry, maybe from a little oxidation. Sugary alcohol becomes more apparent as the beer warms, and molasses dominates. Chocolate, coffee, or caramel are far less present than in a typical porter or Baltic porter. I wish this was close to as nice as the Okocim Porter. Smells a little rummy if you want to get creative. There's room for a lot more complexity in this style, but this is not bad.

Not so sure what to make of the flavor. It has the elements I'd expect to find, mostly, but it's just not all that tasty. It's pretty hot going down, and it tastes pretty boozy. I served this around cellar temperature to bring out the nose more, but this would probably taste better at fridge temperature. The malt has some smoky character, but mostly on the finish. I don't find this excessively sweet, but it almost made my teeth hurt. Molasses sweetness plays a big role though. I would have liked some more complexity. I'm not getting much coffee, caramel or chocolate. It's vaguely fruity, but only if the fruits were candied and stewed to the point that you could barely tell which ones they are. The smoky malt is probably the best thing going on here, with some charcoal hints. Not much bitterness to be found. Does deserve credit for being very potent.

I was worried this would be too slick or syrupy, but the carbonation breaks it up and gives it some creaminess. Not bad. Unfortunately the alcohol is hard on the tongue. At around halfway through I feel like I've been drinking bourbon for the last half hour. Finishes sticky.

Not an easily drinkable beer for me. Just does not mask the alcohol well enough, and I'm not finding a ton of things to like about the flavor. In addition, the sweetness becomes increasingly grating. Okocim Porter was a sweet beer too, but there were some great chocolate and liquor flavors that I really enjoyed. I liked the smoky malt here, but if that was going to be the focus, the beer should have been drier and less boozy.

I kind of liked the last few ounces better. Maybe this is a enjoyed a little more after greasing the wheels with a lager or two. If the problems I had with the boozy qualities went away, this would score better for sure. Still a beer worth trying, but not tops in this style in my book.

ommegoose, Jun 29, 2008
Photo of aubuc1
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ML bottle in to goblet.

Black with a tan head slow to dissapear. The roasted malts create a smell that is a balance between chocolate and coffee (with a little plum in the back). Tastes like roasted malts, and mysteriously some banana. Very good beer- my first baltic/ polish. I am glad I found this.

aubuc1, Jun 13, 2008
Photo of Crosling
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours light brown from the bottle and appear very dark brown in the glass. Light aromatics. Brown malt, caramel, light chocolate and espresso, banana peel arrive on the front palate, with a lovely backround of ripe sugar glazed fruits. Flavor is truly astoudingly complex, clearly a great recipe, yet I can't say I'd want to drink it again. The beer tastes too dead.

Crosling, Jun 09, 2008
Photo of goschool
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: The pour is black with cola-brown highlights topped by a tan head that builds up and out through the lip of the glass and eventually fades to a ring of lace and a small peninsula in the middle.

Smell: The nose is wonderful. Imagine how a candy bar with semi-sweet chocolate, nuts, toffee, and a hint of caramel would smell like if you spilled a drop of coffee on it.

Taste: The flavor profile is much more focused on roasted malt than most Baltic porters. Anise, toffee and a slight hint of alcohol provide the sweet accents to go along with chocolate, coffee, and burnt caramel.

Mouthfeel: The body is medium to full. The texture is oily and slightly sticky with soft carbonation.

Drinkability: This is probably my new favorite Baltic porter. I don't think it's sweet enough to be a textbook example of the style though. It's far more quaffable than a 9.5% beer should be.

goschool, Jun 01, 2008
Photo of rajendra82
4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

For some reason we've had the Zywiec lager beer available around here for quite a while, but even after the ABV limit was lifter the Porter was nowhere to be found. But today I found it at Windward Beverage Mart of all places. When poured the body looked dark brown to black in color, and the carbonation did a nice cascading trick until settling into a head that was tw fingers thick. The smell was nice and mellow with mostly a dark fruit character showing up with very little chocolate. The taste followed the lead of the smell with berries, cherries, prunes, and a little hint of chocolate and coffee. Astringency and roast was notable in their absence. Very Baltic in overall presentation, which made it an easy drinking beer. The alcohol was completely hidden, and this drank more like a 5% beer than something nearly twice as strong. Perhaps a little thin in the mouth, but that is forgivable considering all its other virtues. Well done.

rajendra82, May 31, 2008
Photo of FleeVT
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

FleeVT, May 22, 2008
Photo of sbe1
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An excellent example of the Baltic Porter style.

Appearance: dark, muddy, near black, with a brown foamy head the color and consistency of cappuccino that lasts a good while.

Smell: Sweet caramel, roasted malt, coffee, fig.

Taste: Smooth and rich with sweet caramel, a hint of maple syrup, creamy with a light bitterness from the roasted malts at the finish.

Mouthfeel: Excellent, full bodied, light carbonation.

Drinkability: Excellent, makes a great porter-lover's session beer.

sbe1, May 22, 2008
Photo of smilingPolitely
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'll be the odd man out on this one and admit I was pretty excited when I poured this into my pseudo stein and it resembled motor oil. Seriously - excited for thick, black, syrupy, viscous motor oil. Fortunately it smelled vaguely of roasted hops, and tasted like a strongly bitter chocolate with more of the alcohol flavor showing through in the end. The feel was thick but not too heavy, and light carbonation. Not sure how many of these I could put down in one sitting since they settle rather heavily, but they taste damn good regardless.

smilingPolitely, May 16, 2008
Zywiec Porter from Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)
88 out of 100 based on 618 ratings.