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Zywiec Porter - Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)

Not Rated.
Zywiec PorterZywiec Porter

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BA SCORE
87
very good

649 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 649
Reviews: 371
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 13.62%
Wants: 21
Gots: 39 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-01-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 649 | Reviews: 371
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.

Photo of nlmartin
4.8/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer was purchased at the Foodery in Philly. The beer was served in a Imperial Nonic.

Appearance: The beer has a very pleasing dark brown coloration with ruby opaqueness to light. The head is a burnt tan coloration. Streaks of lacing remain behind on the glass.

Smell: The beer has a very good combination of dark burnt coffee and caramel. The beer has a plum fruityness. The beer has a very nice vinous smell.

Taste: The beer delivers on the smell and then some. The beer has a very vinous taste. The plums come forth bringing sweetness. The alcohol combines well in the taste bringing spicyness. The beer has nice hops bringing the taste away from cloying. This is the best tasting porter I have ever drank.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer is full bodied. The beer is a good blending of taste and smells. The alcohol is well incorporated in taste and smell. This beer is a very dangerously drinkable beer. I will definately seek this one out.

Photo of akahn
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown/black with garnet highlights. Bubbly burnt sugar-mocha head.

Big malty aroma -- dark fruit with roasted and chocolate notes.

Rich malty flavor with a good alcohol kick. Oddly tangy and burnt in the finish, not so good.

Rich mouthfeel, very full. Creamy at first, then a prickly carbonation. Very drinkable for its strength -- it made the voyage down my gullet well.

Photo of BDTyre
3.96/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice deep brown colour that is edging on black with a nice khaki head. The head is a little to aggressive, but that might be my fault.

Faint smell of roasted malts. Grape notes, very elusive hops bitterness. Musty port smell. Not as pleasant as Sinebrychoff or Okocim.

Good taste: chocolate, sweet port or sherry. Bitter hop traces. Yeast hints. Not the best baltic porter, but better than some...say OK Springs. Molasses, or maybe more blackstrap, essences.

Mouthfeel is good. Low carbonation suited to the style. Thick body, rich complex flavour. Drinkability is okay...I might have served this a bit too warm, but this is a stylen I generally enjoy and this particular beer is worth buying again.

Photo of wedge
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black with faint crimson highlights, the huge tan head extends a good half inch over the rim of the glass. Aroma is dry malts, coffee, vinous, faint berries some soy maybe (?), and estery alcohol. Deep, dark burntish malty flavor, soft sweetness. The dry fruity esters are possibly the showcase of the whole flavor. A bit warming in the throat but other than that, the alcohol is deviously concealed. Thick and sleek in the mouth with a brief bitterness and moderate carbonation.

I found this a little musty at first but, man is this stuff good. Under $2 for a 500mL bottle seems like quite the bargain. It does seem dry and I wouldn't really call it "rich" but its damn satisfying. This beer is HUGE and its kicking my ass...

Photo of polyester
4.77/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours dense and thick, with a hint of purplish-brown around the edges. Head is a lovely caramel brown, thick and aromatic. Lots of scents; earth, wood, butter, sourdough; very complex but in a nice "am I getting in over my head" way. Very addicting aroma.

Taste and mouth feel: This is what real porters should taste like. Thick and rich, dense, incredibly dark and complex. It'll warm you all the way down.

Overall a spectacular dark beer, and I haven't found anything quite like it. if you like porters give this a try - it seems to be distributed at least around the east cost of the States. I haven't felt the need to drink any other beers since I discovered this stuff - in fact I only buy other brands to distract guests from the Zywiec. :) It's way too dense and dark for most normal Bud-and-Coors people, but the few friends who have tried it and liked it can't get enough.

The high alcohol content is actually a mixed blessing - I could easily drink this stuff all night if I weren't plastered after two bottles. It's absolutely worth a try.

Photo of tastybeer
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is my first Baltic Porter...aside from samples maybe, and I must say I'm impressed by both the beer and the style. Looks purple + redish black with light barely discernable around the edges of the glass. Light tan head is giant, about 1/3 the glass after the pour and recedes to a nice little layer over the beer fairly quickly. Crazy aromas fill the nose- some blueberry mixes great with the roasted and toasted + burnt and smokey malts, earthy dank hops, cocoa, milk, a hint of peat, and a bit of alcohol that tingles the nose more than gives off an alcoholic odor. I can't stop taking in the variety of smells. Taste is great too. Nicely roasty with a lingering burnt malt and hop bitterness and to balance it a bittersweet berry toasted malt softness. More flowing than complex yet loaded with a varity of good things. Mouth is very soft and smooth, with a tingly bitter that warms the mouth. I find myself drinking this fairly slowly only because I keep distracting myself with the aromas, and of course it is 9.5%. For that though drinkability is great.

I'll have to try more of this style, and I'll definitely be picking this up again.

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

An excellent beer all around. Pours very dark brown with red tint when held to the light. Has a large fluffy tan head. This beer says "drink me" all over it. Smells of lots of roasted malts, coffee, some licorice, and alittle alcohol. Creamy goodness with lots of the roasted flavors comming through. Waming alcohol is noticable in feeling, but not so in flavor. Great representation of the style and a great beer, im happy i picked it up. Will be even better in the winter.

Photo of oberon
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Photo of wl0307
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Having asked my Polish friend to bring it from Poland and he couldn't find it, I was surprised to see it on the shelf at the Nelson Wines, an excellent offie in SW London. At first I thought the date printed on the label was the production date, as it's 26/12/2004 and I bought it in March 2006, but my Polish flatmate proves I was wrong big time--it's the expiry date!! I've never tried any beer which says it'd expired 1.5 years ago... (quite a few of them say they'd last forever though) I only hope the beer's high alc. content could save the day... Served in a broad-rimmed goblet.

A: ebony colour with ruby hints; the tan beer head comes thick and frothy, sustaining pretty well and leaving tight lacing.
S: the nose has very thick and mixed aroma: caramel, licorice, thick aroma of longan-fruit jam, malt syrup, creamy dairy, and a profound note of chewy crushed beans, like sweet miso(!!)... overall, the nose is dense and rich, but not particularly cloying. Quite nice!
T: slightly sharp upfront on the palate, turning immediately oily rich and lubricatingly malty... followed closely by chewy dark-fruit jam, a faint taste of chocolate-flavoured toffee and treacles. The maltiness has reasonable input of roastiness and a mildly sour edge to it, thus balancing out the sugary palate from the rich maltiness. The aftertaste has a slightly sharp yet warming texture like fortified wine, e.g. Ruby Port or medium-sweet Madeira, with but a touch of roasted+herbal bitterness lingering down the throat.
M&D: not the smoothest Baltic Porter I've tried, but it's really well-made, maintaining its soothing texture apart from the initial bite on the tongue. At 9.5%abv, this full-bodied beer tastes rather like 7%abv. as the alcohol hides all too well. Given the fact that it's past its expiry date by 1.5 years, I'd say I really feel lucky to find it at such great condition and it's perhaps more mellow than it should've tasted before the BB date. A delicious and satisfying Baltic Porter, with a reasonable balance.

Photo of jwc215
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours pitch black with a brownish/off-white creamy head that lingers. It has a complex, rich smell of coffee with hints of chocolate. It has a great, complex taste that fills the mouth. The only down-side is that some of the alcohol taste does come through, but considering the high abv it is not predominate. This is an excellent example of a good porter. It would have a higher drinkability if not for its high abv. I highly recommend this beer for lovers of porter. There is not much to not like about it!

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Zywiec Porter from Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)
87 out of 100 based on 649 ratings.