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Highland Thunderstruck Coffee Porter - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Thunderstruck Coffee PorterHighland Thunderstruck Coffee Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

107 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 107
Hads: 499
Avg: 3.89
pDev: 23.91%
Wants: 24
Gots: 86 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Highland Brewing visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: hippityhophead24 on 11-10-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 107 | Hads: 499
Photo of pimpinmidget
3.89/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Fox and Hound Winston-Salem

A: Dark brown almost black pour. Nice finger and a half tan head that sticks around and laces the glass nicely.

S: All about the coffee. There is a slight chocolate aroma that is burried down deep.

T: Coffee. A bit of the chocolate at the very end and a slight hop bitterness in the finish that complements the bitterness of the coffee.

M: Medium to full body. Nice amount of carbonation. Has a very nice drinkability to it.

O: Very nice coffee porter. Very drinkable. Delivers on what it advertises - coffee. Will have this one again.

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Photo of barczar
3.74/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours an opaque onyx with a billowing frothy mocha head that slowly displays, leaving sheets of lacing.

Coffee is evident when the bottle opens, accompanied by nutty malt.deeply roasted, fruity notes are accented by a hint of chocolate and char.

Flavor follows suit, with deeply roasted malt, almost burnt, and coffee beans dominating. There's a subtle toasted and nutty character, almost toffee-like, in the aftertaste. Chocolate is subdued.

Body is fairly full and lush, with moderate to low carbonation, and light alcohol warmth.

Glad I had this in the early afternoon, as it's a great replacement for coffee. I'm not a huge coffee fan, but the underlying toffee character keeps me going back for more. Slightly acrid, but not as bad as some.

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Photo of Jacurdy60
4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A-Pours a pitch black viscous liquid with a pretty thick, coffee colored head with decent retention. Foam leaves a fair amount of lacing

S-Roasted coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, slightly wheaty, subtle hops

T-Bitter, roasted coffee precedes the semi-sweet chocolate and finishes with a slightly bitter hop taste. Coffee is overarching and makes its presence throughout the entire palate.

MF-A little too crisp and dry for a porter. Medium bodied and not too robust

O-A tasty porter. Well-balanced, nuanced, and none of the notes are too overpowering.

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Photo of csparace
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Smell (3.75) - holy Moses. It's like someone hit me in the head with a bag of coffee. It's really interesting how prevalent and accurate it is. Unfortunately it smells like cheap coffee.... Over roasted and plain

Appearance (3.75) - medium thin pour. Pitch black color. Small head that fades fast. No visible carbonation.

Taste (4.25) - the coffee is not nearly as overpowering as I feared it would be. Is give it a 3/5 in intensity. You do get a little bit of that over roasted flavor I picked up on in the smell. A milky chocolate flavor is also pretty big.

Mouthfeel (4.25) - generally refreshing and sessionable. Alcohol is undetectable and there is an overall smooth feeling. Bitterness is not high which I think adds to the drinkability.

Overall (4.00) - I think this is a pretty awesome beer. The coffee flavor is spot on enough that I feel I can think about that flavor by itself and it's quality. It's not overly complex so I appreciate it's drinkability.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an snifter on 4/30/13

Dark brown with a leaning toward black once in the glass. 1/4th inch tan foam. Soapy skim and some bubbles remain. A few trails of drippy lace.

The aroma is quite nice, actually. Roasted coffee, chocolate, coffee beans blend together with a hint of peanut butter. The wheat adds a subtle grainy layer. Very smooth. The taste is not as smooth though, nor the feel. At least initially, the medium body is shaken with harsh carbonation though it is able to be swirled out over time. The coffee is pretty strong but not overly bitter. It's plenty roasty but in a tangy, rough manner. Undertones of chocolate. Modest hop notion.

It seems like a pedestrian porter but the coffee addition makes for a more interesting beer. I enjoyed both bottles I had.

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Photo of Mojo
4.14/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle -> snifter

There is nothing I don't love about this. Sure there are better beers, but this one is just right for me tonight. <ha ha> It pours a deep obsidian with a big two finger caramel colored head, average retention, and average lacing. The nose is coffee, chocolate, molasses, toffee, and caramel. Taste follows the nose. Mouthfeel is okay, but nothing too special. Try it, you'll like it as the old commercial goes.

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Photo of blackie
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

have had this in a couple formats since release, rating a single bottle picked up at bruisin'

a: served from 12 ounce bottle into a wide snifter, this anticipated coffee porter produces a brief flash of mocha head that falls back to a thin ring, the beer itself a deep brown-to-black in color

s: awesome medium roast coffee nose - smooth barley roasts and roasted wheat mingle in, combining to produce dark fruit and chocolate aromas, mild hop aroma with some slight grassiness, some other presence here - vanilla, toffee, cocoa - but it all comes back around to that lovely, pure coffee aroma - not at the top, but up there with the best coffee aromas I’ve found - rich with a clean, cold-steeped character

m: carbonation on the lower side of the moderate range, body a fuller medium, smooth

t: fresh, rich medium-roast coffee flavors underscored by notes of toffee and semisweet chocolate, not too heavy and in keeping with the porter style, some sugars on the front and middle with a delicate, cleanly flavored hop bitter lingering with strong coffee

o: really like the combination of porter and coffee - provides the nice roasted barley and sugars that you’d find in a stout, while allowing more of the bean to shine through, and the coffee character, of course - it’s fantastic, nice use of Midnight wheat as well (a new variety to me) - helping to keep things clean and balanced while contributing its own roasted character, easy drinking and very enjoyable

beans roasted by Dynamite Roasters in Black Mountain - they produce some quality beans and have a really nice shop in town

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Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Very dark, reddish brown, but clear. The head looked like the foam on a cup of espresso, although it was thin and faded with hardly any lacing.

S: Rather tame in the aroma department. I detected toasted malt, of course, and some orange rind, and a faint hint of coffee, but nothing robust.

T: Acrid, heavily-toasted grain is the first flavor, followed by acidic coffee. I caught just a hint of tart fruit before a mixture of bitter coffee and bitter hops take over in the end, lingering well although turning a little harsh toward the end.

M: Well carbonated, and initially moist; fairly thin; the finish is dry, just short of astringent

O: Decent, but the finish (both flavor and feel) detracted somewhat from the experience. It seems like they almost got it, but need to tweak the recipe/process just a touch.

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Photo of BlackBelt5112203
4.34/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a mug at cellar temperature.

L – Deep brown-to-black color with a nice 3-finger frothy, bubbly, tan head. Really nice retention and some great lacing.

S – Amazing roasted malt aromas with coffee, chocolate, and some molasses. There’s a touch of lighter dark fruit aromas such as figs and cherries, too. Again, just a touch of those – the big roasted malts and coffee are front and center.

T – It starts off sweet with chocolate, molasses, some vanilla, and some dark fruit flavors. As the taste progresses, the fruits become more prominent until spicy and earthy bitter noble hops appear and build toward the finish. At the finish, as the hops start to fade, the big roasted coffee bitterness comes in. This is a tasty beer.

F – Medium-to-full-bodied with great carbonation, a creamy and smooth mouthfeel, and a bittersweet and slightly spicy finish. Roasted coffee bitterness lingers at the back of the throat for a really nice amount of time.

O – This is a great porter. It’s full of both sweet and bitter roasted flavors and aromas and has a fantastic mouthfeel. This is one of the fullest-bodied porters that I’ve ever had; most that I’ve had are usually lacking in this category. Highland really impressed me with this one. Cheers!

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

dark brown pour, half a finger of head quickly diminished. smells of milk chocolate and light coffee roast notes. kind of a watered don coffee taste, dark roast bitterness, a bit of a "bean" taste. a lighter medium body with high carbonation.
nothing too impressive from this one, but i also feel like i'm not being fair rating anything after having just drank CBS. again, nothing impressive, but it is a decent tasty treat.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.13/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body with a moderate cream head. Transparent at the edges. Thick collar of foam around the surface.

Smell - Strong coffee aroma. Some chocolate comes through from the beer, but it's mostly coffee.

Taste - Really strong coffee flavor. The beer is mostly lost back there, but some bitter chocolate comes through as well as some hop bite. The combination of coffee, chocolate, and hop bitterness becomes abrasive in the finish.

Mouthfeel - High carbonation, thin body, bitter finish. None too pleasing to consume, although it could be worse, I guess.

Overall - Some sips are decent, others are harsh. Coffee just seems to overwhelm everything in this.

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

My first Highland beer in quite some time.

Pours out black with about 2 fingers of a mocha/tan head.

The aroma has a decent amount of coffee in it along with bittersweet chocolate, some subtle caramel sweetness and a little bit of hops.

The taste is also mainly dominated by coffee and then that fades to some milk and dark chocolate notes. There is a little bit of caramel sweetness and a touch of grassy hop notes. This is pretty bitter, with not only coffee and dark chocolate bitterness, but some hop bitterness too.

This is full bodied and has a nice, rich and creamy mouthfeel.

Very tasty, very easy to drink, but could be a little more balanced. Definitely try if you enjoy the style.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A quite nice porter with noticeable, but not too heavy coffee accent. Pleasant overall. Pours fairly inky black, but with a quite light viscosity. Only a short head, and that does fade somewhat quickly, but still, a fairly pretty beer. Very nice, and noticeable, black coffee aroma. Nutty, somewhat roasty, and with a slight molasses note. Dryer on the palate, with nicely balanced roastiness, coffee notes, and a light maltiness and lightly bitter finish. A little slick in the mouth, but overall quite nice.

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Photo of devilben02
3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black from the bottle, with a foamy, mocha-brown head. The aroma is distinctly reminiscent of coffee and milk, with a bit of milk chocolate and some kind of dry mineral character beneath. The flavor is pleasantly mild, with a light coffee bitterness and lactose sweetness predominating, although some herbal hops and bittersweet chocolate are also present. Overall, although the flavor is a bit dominated by the coffee character, it doesn't change the impression of this beer as a pleasant, drinkable porter.

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

Poured bottle into pint glass.

Appearance- very, very dark, nearly black. Little visible carbonation, thin head that generally lasts for the entire glass (currently drinking #6 of the six-pack, all of them had the same head for the entire glass).

Smell- A little coffee, hint of caramel, but mostly the earthy smell of a dark ale or porter. Definite hints of the bitterness in the smell

Taste- Lovin' it! Enough coffee to warrant the name without overwhelming the porter flavors. Taste changes through the sip from earthy to chocolate to a slightly bitter coffee aftertaste. Very pleased that Highland didn't try to sweeten their coffee brew, and allow it to remain very much a porter. I drink my coffee black, so this is hitting all the rights notes for me. Not a big hop flavor- the hops seem to add a bit of richness rather than much overt flavor of their own.

Mouthfeel- good but not as creamy and smooth as some porters. However, the feel seems just right for this combination of flavors.

Overall- as a dark-ale loving, black-coffee drinking fan of bitter beers, this one is making me quite happy!

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Highland Thunderstruck Coffee Porter

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a snifter.

(Appearance) Pours a medium fizzy brown head with poor retention. Very dark body, near black aside from the edges. Decent appearance overall. 3.5

(Smell) Balanced chocolate, black malt and hints of nutty toffee. Coffee aromas are warm and toasty albeit mild, Malt presence is slightly sweet. Earthy bitter aromas suggest mild low-alpha hop presence. Medium potency. 3.5

(Taste) Thorough bitter earthy hop introduction follows through with a sweet milky chocolate midsection and finally reaches a mild, balanced coffee finish. Malt body balances well with the bitterness from the hops and coffee. Not particularly coffee heavy, but I like the stages this beer takes and the diversity of flavor it provides. 4

(Mouthfeel) Largely smooth with a bit of creaminess aside from some air on the tongue. Could be slightly more viscous to better counter the bitterness of the coffee flavor. 3

(Overall) This coffee porter focuses more on bitterness than the flavors of coffee, complimenting other porter characters that would otherwise be overshadowed. Chocolate and toffee are easier to find as a result and this coffee porter dives a touch deeper than alternative beers in its particular style. Bitterness keeps it from being overly quaffable but it is enjoyable in small sips. 4

Vintage Reviews:

Fall/Winter 2011. Initial release. (1+ year aged)

Similar head quality and equally dark in appearance. Toasty, crisp coffee aromas are gone and a very faint trace of cold coffee lingers amongst a prevailing toasted malt background with faint chocolate and nutty malt background. The malt profile as a whole is more thoroughly exposed than in the fresh batch, likely due to the lacking coffee profile. Some faint sourness has come into play by this r a. The hop profile has broken down and the stages of flavor have mellowed out significantly, with little hop or coffee flavor to be individually discerned. The finish has a slightly acidic tartness to it. This beer, like most mild-bodied coffee porters and stouts hasn’t aged particularly well, and while it’s a slightly better example than Kona’s Pipeline, it is still far superior when fresh.

Recommended Vintage: Fresh

Highland Brewing Company's
Thunderstruck Coffee Porter

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

Into a pint.

A - A black hue with a massive, thin-bubbled, tan head. Retention and lacing are both fantastic.

S - Sweet cocoa powder with a thin amount of coffee behind it.

T - Mild Roasted coffee paired with a fair amount of chocolate. Little bit of caramel and molasses to speak to of. Finishes with a roasted dryness infused with dark chocolate. I like it.

M - A rather thin medium body that has a creaminess to it. Touch of bitterness on the finish I could go without.

O - This is the best brew I have had from Highland. I found one offering at $7.99 for a sixer. That is a mind boggling great deal.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a TBBC pint glass.

A: Very dark brown, somewhat opaque, with a one-finger medium tan head and good visible carbonation.

S: Coffee (shocker here), and some sweet malt aroma. Maybe a bit of dark spices. Really, not a particularly big beer on the nose.

T: Bigger coffee flavor than the aroma would imply, with some notes of chocolate. Finishes with just a hint of metallic, but this is subtle and not terribly off-putting. Less sweet overall than most coffee porters but this isn't an unwelcome deviation.

M: Medium body for a coffee porter. Good carbonation sensation, minimal alcohol presence.

O: This was a good beer, but nothing outstanding in a sea of coffee porters. Still, one that I would gladly have again if available at a restaurant or bar, and I was in the mood for a coffee porter.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

May have just found my go to cold weather porter (locally brewed). Dark brown color that light can barely pierce. Mocha head. Bittersweet nose that comes out nicely as it warms. Dark chocolate tones in the flavor with bitter coffe flavors. Bittersweet malts. Medium body. This wod be excellent if aged in a bourbon barrel.

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Photo of birchstick
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours an opaque black color with a chocolaty head that disappears rather quickly

S - nose consists of heaps and heaps of roasted, nutty coffee with dark chocolates also in the mix

T - opens up with bitter, chocolaty, burnt coffee notes. From there, these flavors separate and take turns being the dominant flavor on the palate. Kind of crazy how the flavors begin together, separate, and then come back together before ultimately giving way to roasted coffee.

M - mouthfeel is full and complements the beer well

D - overall, this is a really nice coffee porter. To me, this is one of the better ones out there, especially at the price point and availability (if you live in the distribution area). If you like coffee and like stouts, this is a perfect marriage of the two beverages.

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

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a snifter. Nice tan head, moderate retention on a dark ruby, almost black body. Nice lacing leaving behind clear film. Aroma of roasted malt and coffee with a mild sweetness (like coffee cake) in there somewhere. Taste includes a nice roast, mild sweetness with coffee in the aftertaste. Very easy to drink, quite sessionable and tasty.

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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a pitch black color and leaves a thin, very creamy, tan layer of head. Excellent retention and lacing all the way to the end. Smells very roasted, chocolate and coffee, with a slight earthiness. Taste is amazing, dark full roasted coffee notes right away that fades to a bittersweet chocolate flavor. The mouthfeel is wonderfully creamy and smooth. Medium carbonation and full bodied. Overall this beer is excellent, it was hard finding anything wrong with it. One of the best coffee porters I've tried. The taste and feel really just put it over the top. Excellent.

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.11/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a medium brown with a nice frothy tan head of small and midsized bubbles.

S: Aroma of burnt coffee, toasted malts and brown ashy mocha. Slight hints of chocolate also peek through.

T: The flavor is mostly roasted malt, some bakers chocolate and some bittering hops. Some slightly vegetal flavors also mixing with the acridness of the coffee flavors. The finish is rather flat..

M: Mouthfeel is light for a porter with a mild carbonation. It is however very smooth for a coffee porter, and not as bitter as some others which make them less appealing to me.

O: Overall this isnt bad. I probably wouldnt seek it out but it is relatively drinkable for what it is worth.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Somewhat aggressively poured into a standard pint glass. A seriously big, fluffy head of dark tan develops over the opaque and deeply brown liquid. Retention is good after it setlles to a very thick film. Good lacing.
Smell is burnt malt, wet cardboard and coffee grounds. All balanced but....
Taste is toasted, no burnt, malts, coffee, cardboard and not much else.
Medium bodied, medium effervescence. Drying somewhat. Aftertaste is slightly ashy from the burnt malt. A good beer but not a great one.

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Photo of jucifer1818
4.69/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this one at brewfest, and it was also the first one I had.

an what a beer to start with! this is by far the best coffee beer I've ever had.

You can actually taste the coffee, and it feels like a cup of cold black coffee, which if that's what you want....this is the perfect brew for you

Its body Still felt a little too light for my taste, but its strong coffee flavors really make up for this.
my only retreat was not having a scoop of vanilla ice cream to add to it!

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Highland Thunderstruck Coffee Porter from Highland Brewing
87 out of 100 based on 107 ratings.