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Zywiec Porter - Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)

Not Rated.
Zywiec PorterZywiec Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

634 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 634
Reviews: 370
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 13.37%
Wants: 22
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 Georgiabeer
4.27/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown to black with a healthy initial head that fades to a thin cap. Some spotty lacing. Smells of chocolate, prunes,brandy, and some bitter hops. Very dry and bitter taste,with noticeable alcohol. Much dryer than most in the style and delicious. The fruit and semisweet chocolate come through here as well. The mouthfee could be a little bigger, and the carbonation is a little high. Very nice Baltic porter.

Photo of kimcgolf
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours to a coal black with good tan head that lingers through most of the glass and leaves lacing from top to bottom. A very unique arona, in that it was a pleasant mixture of chocolate, coffe, licorice and alcohol. The good nice thick body was slightly carbonated, and the mouthfeel somewaht tingly.

Flavor was mostly the chocolate-coffe to begin with, and as the beer warmed, the 9.5% alcohol became more noticeable, though never overwhelming.
Likewise, the finish, which was at first a little watery and short, became long and pleasant as the beer warmed at mid-glass.

This beer was a pleasant surprise and most enjoyable.

Photo of jeffjfindley
3.22/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black as the Baltic, but with a waaaayyy better head. The smell is of a rusty bumper, totally unbecoming of the fine taste of this beer. I was mystified by this at first, as the smell caused dread. The overwhelmingly metallic nose was not represented by the smooth, coffee/mocha flavor until the back end. Mouthfeel is smooth, not remarkable, but satisfying. The drinkability of an otherwise fine beer suffers considerably because of the fact that I breathe through my nose.

Photo of SetarconeX
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black as night with a nicely lingering lace that doesn't foam too terribly. I think this is the sort of thing people used to dip their quills in before composing thousand page books. Smell is slightly sweet and quite malty. Can't beat it.

Tastes like nothing else. A bit of malt, a lot of hops (more than I would have expected off the nose,) and charcoal. This entire beer tastes like it was filtered through the remains of a forest fire.

Quite the beer, complex flavors, but not something you could drink in quantity (it's 9.5% ABV after all), but it's most definitely something you should try.

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

Poured out a near black color with a luscious creamy tan head that slowly settled into a thin fiolm. The nose had soem light coffee and good malt character. The taste had some bitterness to it before giving way to bitter coffee, a tiny amount of dark chocolate, some tannin, and a bit o cherry. The mouthfeel is creamy, long finish settling into some coffee bitterness. Good and drinkable, but take it slow and enjoy.

Photo of Zorro
3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled through the Secret Bunny 2007 BIF and sinstaineddemon.

This is a clear very deeply brown colored beer with a tall brown head. Nice ruby highlight when held up to strong light.

The smell sweet and chocolate with a fairly strong coffee aroma. There is an earth aroma here that I can best describe as mushroom. There is a bit too much patent malt added that gives this a bit of a scorch odor.

The taste starts sweet and very strongly tasting of chocolate with a minor amount of coffee in the finish. As I drink this the patent malt taste becomes stronger and over takes the chocolate flavor. There is a strong caramel and toffee flavor to this beer that is pleasant. This is not a bitter beer and I really can't taste any hops.

The mouthfeel is good and quite thick.

This is pretty drinkable but I have had better Baltic Porters though. This is OK don't get me wrong but I really have other beers in this style I like better and one of them is made by Baltika and is VERY affordable.

Photo of gonzo138
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a deep black color with a coffee colored head that both laced nicely and retained well

S- not as strong of a smell as i would have thought, sweet malts, and a little bit of anise/liquorice aroma

T- very heavy malt sweetness, a little bit chocolatey, and a very a light hop bitterness at the end

M- thick, coats mouth, moderate carbonation

D- couldnt have more than one or two of these, a good beer, i should take advantage of my stores large eastern european beer selection more often, good price too

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

Picked up on a whim as it was of some interest to me.

Pours a very dark brown, almost deep black except for the red tints at the bottom of the glass, with a one finger silky looking cream colored head. Nice thin retention on top. Sweet lacing. Roasted malt notes with a good backbone of sugary caramel and molasses sweetness--very subtle though as the roasted malt is the biggest player. Hops can also be detected.

Roasted malt flavors coupled with sweet caramel and molasses notes. Thick with a heavy body that sports a very smooth creaminess. Hop profile flexes its muscles with a pretty hefty bitterness that has legs into the finish. Molasses notes stick to the taste buds and can be picked up again in the aftertaste. Earthy with a nice full body. A very night porter from Poland. Spots a pretty high abv, which warms the body. It's cold in Poland...

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

01/23/07- Purcahsed at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 16.9oz bottle with some kind of code on the back label. Poured into my imperial pint glass.

Appearance- Off black color with some dark auburn highlights. Medium sized and creamy tiny bubbled brown head. Leaves behind light lace trails.

Smell- Not a huge scented brew which you would think when you saw the abv. Some mid range dark chocolate and some darker roasted malts. Overall pretty nice, but a sniffer.

Taste- The truth is in the nose. More milky or bittersweet chocolate than dark. Maybe a light touch of burnt coffee plus a good amount of licorice flavor.

Mouthfeel- Pretty smooth, lightly creamy with a medium carbonation level. A little more cask like and this baby would be dangerous.

Drinkability- Overall a really good top 10 baltic for me. Not quite up there with the big boys, but I can definitely see myself buying this again in the future.

Photo of far333
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Darkest chestnut colored, with garnet highlights down the sides of the glass and a one-inch high head of light brown frothy foam that lingers very long.

Light aroma of roasted malt, coffee, and grassy hops.

Flavor is initially roasty and toasty, sweet and bitter all at once. Dark malts with hints of coffee and chocolate, with smokey charred bark and espresso and hops bitters. Notes of dark plum and ripe prune. Good balance all around. A piney bitter lingers, and the hops stick around for the whole ride.

ABV flies under the radar. Very drinkable, great after dinner with a dark maduro cigar.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
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?

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

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

Pours a very dark brown, almost black, with ruby highlights, and about one finger of dark tan head.

The smell is of roast malts, coffee, hints of dark fruit and chocolate. Rather rich and inviting.

The taste is full of coffee and chocolate notes upfront, with a definite bitter espresso finish. Hops can be detected slightly, but all in all, very nice.

The mouthfeel is very full and rich, but quite creamy. Definitely stout-like, as Polish porters are. Drinkability is good, surprisingly so.

What more can I say? A great Baltic porter, and something all porter fans should try. It also tends be to very cheap, much more so than domestic offerings of similar quality.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

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

Pours thick and opaque black producing a dense, tight, long lasting tan head. Luscious aromas of dark chocolate, figs, raisins, molasses, roasted malts, along with some faint espresso coffee beans and smokiness. Mouthfeel is creamy smooth and full yet shows a moderate level of crisp carbonation which allows the flavors to explode on the tongue. Initial flavor leans toward the sweet side showing off notes of dried dark fruits, licorice, molasses, dark rum and burnt caramel. Mid to late palate transcends into a moderate roasted malt/charcoal, dark chocolate, espresso bean bitterness with just the slightest hint of alcohol. It’ll sneak up on you quick since it is well hidden. Probably the best Baltic Porter on the market here in the U.S.

Photo of lehows
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Brought some bottles back from Poland over the summer, just finished the last one. I was hoarding them because this is so good! Pours a nearly black body with a small attractive tan head with unbelievable retention. Strong nose of roasted barley and malt. Some light licorice and coffee scents too. Taste is simply divine. Its so rich and complex, there is a lot going on in this brew. Strong alcohol flavor as well. Creamy and very full mouthfeel, very stout-like. Because of its complexity and fullness, I didnt find its drinkabilty too high. But that certainly isnt a bad thing, some beers should be like that. If you can get your hands on this at your local distro, go for it.

Photo of dhilltop2000
4.55/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours syrupy black with ruby undertones. Head forms nicely and continues to grow for an unusually long time. Smells of alcohol, fig, toffee, coffee beans and chocolate. Smell is nicely complex. Taste is nice and warming. Moderately strong alcohol warm and nicely balanced. Taste is more reminiscent of an Imperial Stout but none the less a great beer.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

Photo of pgenius
4.26/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a damn good porter! My Polish friend introduced me to this marvelous beverage the other day. This stuff has a really creamy mouthfeel with low carbonation, nice malt flavor, and you can barely tell that its a 9.5% ABV. Awesome beer, picking some up real soon, you should too.

Photo of SilentSabre
4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This looked absolutely beautiful. Poured black with a big light brown foamy cap, much like Coca-Cola. Thick webs of sticky lacing pasted themselves to the sides of the glass. Even held directly to a light bulb, while light passed through, it was very very little.
Smell was burnt coffee beans and roasted malt. Not bad, but about what I was expecting. Taste was burnt coffee, as well, with bitter chocolate and some bourbon whiskey-like alcohol notes on the finish. The coffee and malt notes, while there, are a bit muted, and not as robust as I think they should be, which is why I gave this a 3,5. The finish is quite lovely with the whiskey alcohol thing going on, and yet the alcohol is still not overpowering.
Mouthfeel is god-like. Very, very heavy. Almost oily. Definately chewy. This is the best mouthfeel I have experienced in a brew in a very long time.
Overall, I enjoyed this quite alot, but the lightness in flavours disappointed me a bit. This is still an amazing brew. Many, many thanks to Mark (TheManiacalOne) for sending me this on a trade.

Photo of UnionMade
4.85/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12ozer courtesy of Francisweizen, a bottle from the first time this one was imported to the states. Probably 2002-2003, as it's not yet bottle dated. Sat in the cellar ever since it arrived in the mail.
Deep, dark brown, topped with a thick mass of light taupe head. Great head retention, maintaining through the glass. It takes a while to get a beer like this to settle. Splotchy lacing. Impenetrable to light, even at the edges of the glass. A thin layer of sediment dropped out to the bottom of the bottle, despite this most likely being filtered. That's what happens with age. Rich aroma of licorice and roasty, lagery malt. The hops have completely dropped out of the picture. Smooth lagery aroma is intensified with the last year sitting in the back of the beer fridge. A study in aged lager roastiness. Excellent. Full lagery, roasty flavor. So amazingly smooth. Medium bodied, with soft, sparkly carbonation. Fig and raisin, moving into a clean, aged hop finish. Vestiges of noble hop flavor, mostly a floral tang with some soapy, eastern european spiciness. Finishes so clean, drying off the palate with negligible flavor. Incredible. How they make beer like this, i don't know.

Photo of Freshie
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Awesome pour. Dark, Rich, Black. Tan head.

The Aroma is molasses and and sweet brwon sugar.

The taste reflects the aroma with rich molasses and brown sugar. Also, a very smooth smokiness with some coffee, and caramel. The carbonation adds a nice bite.

A bit oily in the mouth, but the smokiness stays with you and is nice.

Very nice and well made.

Photo of Suds
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My wife and I recently enjoyed some of this brew. We’re both fans of Polish Porters, and hoped that this would be as good as some of the other’s that we’ve sampled. It pours a deep, solid black color (maybe hints of crimson along the edge). The head is tan and small, but quite dense. It has a fair amount of lasting-power, and leaves a nice lace on the glass. The aroma is a sweet mix of chocolate, roasted malts, burnt grain, and a whole lot of fruit. There are so many fruity and estery smells that it sometimes distracts from the underlying grains. Almost no hop aroma. The taste is sweet and warming. You can certainly feel the alcohol in your mouth. Molasses, brown sugar, and raisins come out in the taste. They’re a little jumbled, though, and I think that the beer could have had more malt flavor. This is a rich and tick beer, with a fleetingly chalky mouthfeel. All in all we thought it was very good, although nowhere near a best of class.

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a 500ml bottle.

Pours a flat black with mahogany highlights. 1/4 inch tan head that dissipates to nearly nothing. No lacing either. First thing I get is faint herbal hops in the nose. Lightly metallic. I have to search hard for the faint roasty malt of a porter.

Taste is sweet dark malt. Rich, far more rich that the nose suggested. Black fruit, tart currant and plum. Noticeable warming alcohol in this one, faint roastiness way back behind the fruit. This is a thick brew in the mouth. Doesn't look or smell like it should be but it is. A little hot but a nice drinker. I can't decide if this will excel or fall apart in the cellar. I'm gong to get a couple more and find out.

Photo of ernie
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Probably the strongest of Baltic Porters. What's important, high alcohol content doesn't insult one's palate.

Color deep ruby, with dark mahogany streak. Carbonation low, bubbles minuscule. Head medium, of creamy texture, cappuccino-colored, long-lasting.

Aroma sweet and complex: well-roasted malts, black coffee, dry fruit plus a grape note, just like some wine was added.

Start malty, warming, alcohol well-mixed with malts, strong spicey accent, pleasant smoky finish and long warm roasted-sweet aftertaste.

A Port among Porters. Great beer!

Photo of biegaman
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured brown, only slightly deeper in colour than that of the bottle. That similar 'tapioca' coloured head - though not much of it. A bready, macro malt aroma - wow, disapointing! What little taste is there falls apart quickly. Other than the hiding the alcohol this one fails to hold its own like other Baltic Porters (I'd suggest the Okocim as better example)
Simply, very meak in the flavour department. Carbonation seems a little high for the style; I think a little ageing might smooth that out. Chocolat (or is it plain, brown) malt lingers on the toungue for a nice mouthfeel. Aroma though still fails to captivate the interests even as it warmed. Doesnt show a hint of the 9.5% at least either. I found the smell more and more that of a stale pils but with the brown malt added.
I sampled this a couple times while in Poland and it simply didn't seem to me to have the great character of some other Baltics.

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