Zywiec Porter - Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)

Not Rated.
Zywiec PorterZywiec Porter

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very good

629 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 629
Reviews: 368
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 13.59%
Wants: 21
Gots: 29 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken) visit their website

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: 629 | Reviews: 368 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of tayner
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle with a 3-10-08, bought at Sun Devil Liquors for $2.19 adn has been in my DBF since December.

Poured into my Anchor steam shaker pint and it yielded a dark, nearly black beer with just some ruby edges when held to light. the head is thick, thick, thick mocha colored that laced the glass almost to the point you couldnt see through it.

Smell is of a roasted malt, and the typical "grape koolaid" smell i get from all baltic porters. This usually turns me off right away.

I didnt expect much from this, but i am pleasantly surprised. I get roasted malts up front, but not burnt malts. There is a chocolate bitterness and some almost toffee notes from the sweetness. There are not alot of hop flavors to speak of, but the alcohol is present enough to dry the palate. The standard "grape koolaid" flavor that i usually get in the baltic porters is barely, if at all, present, and well balanced by the roastiness of the malts. The only thing i can say bad about the taste is the end has an ever-so-slight metallic finish, but not a turn off type of bad.

Mouthfeel is very, very creamy and smooth. This one would be easy to drink faster than reasonable. It would make a perfect bbq beer on a cool spring or fall day when cooking red meats, or at the same time would stand up to a good, hearty pot roast dinner.

This has great drinkability. I docked it only slight because the 9.5% would sneak up on you fast, but for $2.19 for 500 ml you cant go wrong with this one. I will have to get a few more of these, a hidden gem IMO

Photo of sulldaddy
2.65/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This was one of several brews farrardc and stopper and I split during a baltic porter blind tasting.
Pouring at cellar temp in a snifter.
The color is dark cocoa brown with some ruby highlights beige head that fades slowly to a surface layer leaving clingy tight lattice. Aroma is dark fruit and some diacetyl giving a bit of a toffee effect. Slightly roasty on the nose.
First sip reveals a fizzy tingly carbonation. Flavor starts with some sweet molasses but rolls to a harsh astringent flavor with some chemically flavors not overly pleasant. The finish is bitey and it could be from booze, this beer wasnt one of the better ones of the nite.

Photo of PlaywrightSam
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up on my way home from the subway. I usually stop at Superior Market in Sunnyside, Queens for a nice beer, but they were closed so I checked the the beer cooler in my local deli. I didn't expect much from this beer but was pleasantly surprised.

Pours very dark brown, nearly black, very thick. Moderate to minimal head, decent amount of lacing. Aroma doesn't have much to say for itself, some roasted malts, vaguely metallic. The taste is very surprising, a very nice roasted malt character with a pretty nicely balanced dry finish. Earthy hops. It goes a tad stale toward the finish, the alcohol becoming apparent, but nothing all too unpleasant. Mouthfeel is fairly thick, and suprisingly, the abv is pretty well hidden.

Very decent all-together beer. Really surprised with this one.

Photo of 86sportster883
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A friend of mine left me a bottle of the Zywiec Porter a few weeks back, and I'll have to remember to thank him once again. This is a truly enjoyable Baltic porter that is easy to get excited about. I've always been a fan of the darker brews, but this big dark lager seems to excel at everything I like about the Baltic porter style. It looks great, leaves a distinct lacing, has a top end abv, and a superior complex blending of smells and tastes. The aroma itself is sweetly intoxicating, while the flavor melds a rich caramel malt base with alcohol and aggressive bitterness that really leaves you wanting for more. Incredibly smooth, with low carbonation this dark amber ale will give you both a kick in the taste buds, as well as, a kick in the head. I'm going to have to find a case of this to use as the perfect, erase the rest of the day, elixer .

Photo of Reanimator
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a big 3 fingers of latte foam colored head, with some laces still stuck my glass by the end. Very deep chocolate colored porter, almost stoutlike in appearance.

S: Big roasted malts and sweetness jump out at you.

T: Complex roasted flavor with burnt sugar and molasses as others have noted. Also quite hoppy on the finish before being rounded out by awesomely pleasant warming alcohol. The interaction between the flavors is heavenly.

M: Dense and creamy, nearly perfect.

D: Hugely drinkable for a 9.5% beer. Being one of the only porters available locally I am thankful that it is also one of the best I've had. Definitely pick this up if you find it in the states!

Photo of dedrinker
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Mostly black with lighter edges and a pancake batter tan head. Aromas of coffee, roasted malt, molasses and burnt sugar. Sweet and roasty dark malt flavor with a doppelbock-like caramel fruitiness. Full body with a deep malt finish - more caramel doppelbock notes with alcohol fairly well hidden. Baltic Porters are fun because the bottom fermentation totally throws you for a loop when you first taste the almost imperial stout-like character that suddenly swerves into doppelbock character. It's the beer that starts out as an ale but finishes like a lager.

Photo of dsa7783
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ML bottle purchased singly from Super Saver in Somerville...
Heard a lot of positive things about this brew, so I was eager to give it a try...
An aggressive pour yielded a jet-black, ebony hue, dark as midnight with a reddish, tan, frothy head that exhibited adequate staying power before slowly dissipating and leaving a minimal amount of lacing...
Strong, cocoa, dark, burnt chocolate taste with a strong whiff of alcohol evident in the nose...
Taste strongly mimicked the aroma, with powerful alcohol present along with burnt chocolate, mocha, cocoa powder, dark latte, and dark candied sugars...
Decent mouthfeel full of roasted, chocolate malts and sugars...
Drinkability took a slight hit due to the hefty ABV...
Overall, a good sample, sweet, rich, full-of-flavor, but with noticeable alcohol...

Photo of DHGranstrand
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Special thanks to RblWthACoz for sending me this along with several others I will be reviewing at a later date.

Pours reddish dark brown with very nice creamy, thick head. Excellent head retention with good lacing.

Lots of alcohol up front, malt and a little bit of molasses.

Great balance! Nice flavors of molasses, malt and a great kick of alcohol. Very warming. Nice hoppy finish.

Good mouthfeel. Very smooth and velvety for a porter.

I wish I had more than one of these!! I could drink this all night long.

Photo of Hoagie1973
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought one of these on a whim. I figured I couldn't go wrong at just over $2.00 for a big 1 pint 0.9 oz bottle of 9.5% porter.

Pours black, but when held to a strong light source it's clear and deep red/brown. Thick rocky coffee colored head. dissipates into a froth leaving excellent gobs of lace.

Roasty malt aroma with hints of mocha and a hoppy twang.

Flavor is big and malty, but with a definite balancing hop presence. Also a wood-fire char character that lends to the bitterness. Finishes semi-sweet with an alcohol warming all the way down.

Mouthfeel is smooth. Medium body, maybe even a touch lighter than expected.

Overall flavorful and enjoyable. I return to this one frequently because of the value.

Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown almost pitch black pour from a ½ liter bottle with 1/8 inch tan head. Aroma of rich malts, toffee and bitter hops. Tastes light in flavor for a 9.5%'er - Strong bitter aftertaste. Slightly under carbonated.

As it warms up, more complexity appears. I start to enjoy and appreciate this fine showing from Poland.

Photo of charlzm
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle labeled "best by 11-10-2007", consumed 02/15/08.

Pours an intensely dark brown. Low carbonation. Tiny head forms and dissipates fast. Aroma is toasted caramel malt and a little dish soap. Mouthfeel is smooth (dare I call it silky?) and a little tingly on the tongue. Flavor is full and rich; a big, toasted, slightly sweet caramel that quickly segues into salty bitterness. Well-hidden alcohol can still be tasted. The tiniest hint of sourness as well, which is not at all a flaw. Very clean finish with only some sweet fruit lingering behind (cherries?).

This is a great Baltic porter with the odd aroma and uninspiring appearance the only downsides.

Photo of asabreed
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16.9 ounce bottle into a pint glass. Clear freshness date on the back of the label: best by 4.14.08 --

Appearance: A nice very dark brown or amber depending on the light, with an off-white head that looks fairly creamy and almost like hot chocolate, leaving light clumps of lacing.

Smell: A mix of cocoa, semi-sweet chocolate, vanilla, day-old bitter coffee, and a hint of mocha. Not as aromatic as I wish it were, but still nice and gains more complexity, of course, as it warms.

Taste: A roasted nuttiness at first with rich chocolate and bitter coffee, a twinge of mocha, vanilla, and molasses. The finish is semi-dry and slightly bitter, but long and interesting, with a bit of bitter coffee sourness mixing with the sweeter and roasted side of the malt characteristics.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and fairly creamy yet not chewy, and thankfully not cloying.

Drinkability: This was less than $3 for the bottle, which really surprised me. I was pleasantly surprised by this. Sure, I've had better of the style, but this was fairly singular, and astoundingly easy to drink and seemingly light for the ABV and the style. I'll be buying this again, and it was a nice first beer from the brewery.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.43/5  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 phisig137
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep black, letting no light through, with a fluffy two finger head. Nice retention, but fantastic lace, all the way to the bottom of the glass.

S- Slightly sweet malt aromas, with a hefty dose of yeast esters. Sweet milk chocolate truffles round out the back side.

F- Surprising amount of fruity esters, especially for a baltic porter. Fairly sweet from front to back, but more so on the finish. A bit of roasted malt acridness is present up front. It's not bursting with flavor, but whats there is nicely crafted and well rounded.

M- A bit thin and slightly disappointing.

D- Dangerously high considering the ABV... this can disappear pretty quickly if you aren't paying attention.

Overall, a damn fine beer that I'd happily buy again. I would like a bit thicker mouthfeel, especially considering the gravity and style. Other than that, its quite nice.

Zywiec Porter from Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)
88 out of 100 based on 629 ratings.