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Hale's Troll Porter - Hale's Ales Brewery & Pub

Not Rated.
Hale's Troll PorterHale's Troll Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

35 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 35
Hads: 67
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 7.63%
Wants: 6
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hale's Ales Brewery & Pub visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: drewbage on 06-13-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 35 | Hads: 67
Photo of brentk56
3.61/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a pretty dark chocolate with ruby highlights and a forthy mocha head; nice retention and lace patterns

Smell: For all the malt that is in this brew, it is very hard to discern it in the aroma, which is more herbaciously hoppy than anything else

Taste: I'm not surprised, therefore, that the hops in the aroma immediately jump into the flavor profile, with just a little hint of roast and chocolate underneath; by mid-palate, the brew turns a bit phenolic, with an odd plastic flavor; after the swallow, the roast finally arrives, and the finish has a coffee ground bitterness

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: While this beer has its merits, I cannot say that I am too crazy about the flavor profile

Thanks, cannabanaceae, for the opportunity (795 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.86/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Opaque onyx with cranberry accents along the bottom edge of the glass. A vigorous pour netted no more than a two finger cap of mochachino colored foam that is beginning to coat the glass with an almost unbroken sheet of lace. This is one beast of an American porter if the appearance is any guide.

Unfortunately, the aroma is nowhere near beast-like. It's so short on power that a detailed description is all but impossible. I can't be any more specific than roasted, chocolate-like malt with a whiff of American hops. For the record, the malt bill is comprised of pale, carastan, caramel, chocolate, black and special roasted. So why can't I smell them? Warming opens things up a little, keeping the score from being an embarrassment.

Thankfully, the flavor profile has no such shortcoming. There's no question that Troll Porter is a beer brewed in the Pacific NW. It's almost a requirement in that area of the country to hop the living hell out your beer, no matter the style (maybe that's why I like it so much). This one tastes like a black and tan created from the mixing of a porter and an IPA.

Each mouthful brings to mind two rivers coming together to form one. The first river contains melted chocolate bars, black coffee and small amount of blackstrap molasses. The second river contains white grapefruit juice mixed with the zest of a few thousand lemons (these are big rivers). The result is a delicious third river that is as sweet as it is bitter. Hopheads are going to love this Troll.

The mouthfeel falls short of what I would consider optimal for what (I assume) is meant to be a big American porter. It's smooth enough, but lacks a little sticktoitiveness on the swallow. Hale's Ales estimates the ABV at 6.8%. Yeah, that's about right.

Troll Porter is named for one of Seattle's most famous sculptures, The Fremont Troll, who has been 'lurking under the Aurora Street bridge since 1990'. First of all, it isn't retired. Second of all, it's an easy recommendation for those who like malty beer, but who love hoppy beer. (2,052 characters)

Photo of Gavage
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: clear black in color with a nice 1" tan colored head. Some nice lacing developed.

Smell: the nose easily detected roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate.

Taste: the tastebuds followed the nose as the roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate dominted, while some soft breadiness and hint of alcohol rounded it out. The definition of a liquid meal.

Mouthfeel: lightly dry and smooth throughout. Medium-heavy in body. Finish is long on the roasted and coffee tones.

Drinkability: great. Several of these can be quaffed in a session. This beer is not a one time brew, as this was available in June 2006. If you see it on tap try it. (646 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Probably shouldn't be retired as this beer has just recently started being distributed in Arizona.

Pours with a fat, one-finger thick, light brown colored head that sits on top of an opaque, almost black colored beer. The aroma smells oddly of a light oxidation; which is odd because this bottle is fairly new. Malt notes of roast coffee, deeply toasted grain, dark chocolate, blackened raisins and even some rum like notes are also noticeable in the aroma.

Thick and chewy, much more so than I was expecting. The beer does seem to taste lightly oxidized, but it is rich enough that this actually adds to the flavor & complexity of this brew. Sweet notes of darkly caramelized sugar and burnt fruit are offset by a bitterness born of burnt grain and hops. Chewy chocolate notes joint dusty cocoa flavors as well as some solid black coffee notes. At times this tastes like a combination of chocolate and coffee liquors, though it definitely leans towards the coffee side of the flavor spectrum. There is some alcohol presence here, which leads to a soft warming sensation as the beer slides down your throat; in fact this lingers on in the throat after the beer is gone. The roast malt character is quite pronounced here; at times it is a nice balancing note to the malt sweetness and chewy body, but at other times it can lean towards an acrid bitterness and acidity.

Quite a tasty brew, I certainly was not expecting something with quite such a pronounced flavor profile. This is definitely on the rich, chewy side of the Porter spectrum. (1,548 characters)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.03/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tried on-tap at the brewery in Seattle.

Pours a deep brown colour, with flashes of red to it. Body is opaque and solid, with a fluid aspect to it. Head is a pocked solid film of mocha-off-white. Some solid lace. Looks pretty decent.

Some roast on the nose, a little nutty grain characters and some mild malt sweetness. Overall, it's pretty dull, and very generic.

Light roast on the front palate, but very little body or sweetness to back it up—it leaves the mid-palate feeling rather weak and empty with some mild carbonic characters. Slightly grainy roasted characters on the back. It just underlies how generic it feels.

Mouthfeel lingers a little, but it's still exceptionally light.

This is very average, and not very exciting. It reminds me of a "dark ale" brewed by a mass-producing brewery, only paying lip-service to what makes the style good. (859 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown, samall tannish head. Nose was good, not to heavy and not to telling but I got some cocoa and coffee beans, roasted malts. Tasted of chocolate, coffee beans and it was pretty smooth. Well balanced beer and smooth on mouthfeel. Really good in my opinion. (273 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a one finger light tan head that fades slowly to a ring leaving a good lace. Deep mahogany color. Light carbonation and heavy bodied. Roasted/burnt coffee nose. Flavor is roasted/burnt coffee, a little sweetness, smooth. Bakers chocolate aftertaste. $3.99 for a 22oz bottle from John's Marketplace Portland, OR.
This is their Troll Porter. (345 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.76/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz picked up at the Coop today.. for about $4.50.. enjoyed from my New Belgium snifter.

Fairly aggressive pour left big bubble tan head that didn't stick around for that long and left zero lacing. Brew is very dark brown.. very very dark brown.. only reveals crystal deep ruby highlites when held close to a light... sticky lacing appears as I start actually drinking this one.

Aroma is light for sure.. only whiffs of chocolate and dark malts.. some grassy hop notes.

Flavor is much better than the nose on the porter front. Quite a bit of chocolate malt and sorta nutty/coffee component... touches of caramel.. Significant fruitiness.. I am having a hard time picking out the hop flavors... I know they are there.. Nice fluid body.. Citrus and pine hops emerge alot more as it warms.. Glad I have a second glass.

Hale's is a really good brewery ... the "Troll" on the label is something that must be experienced in person. Today I was looking at the label trying to figure out WTF it was. I did a little research and found out it was the Fremont Overpass Troll... I haven't seen/paid attention to it in years. I remember the first time though (fond memories), Brenda and I got lost in Seattle and parked .... and after a short walk stumbled upon the troll.. very cool public art.. sorta sad though that a VW Beetle paid with its life to make it. :) (1,356 characters)

Photo of flagmantho
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap in an imperial pint glass at Elephant & Castle in Seattle.

Appearance: rich dark brown hue with a finger of creamy tan foam. There's a very attractive lace left on the glass, too.

Smell: light roastiness with a simple malt character. Not bad, but not at all complex.

Taste: rich roasty flavor with elements of chocolate and toffee, but mostly a dry, slightly ashy black malt character. It actually appeals to me quite a lot.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a rough carbonation. Not super creamy but interesting enough.

Overall: this beer has its imperfections in aroma and texture, but the flavor is good and drinkability is high. I'm a fan. (661 characters)

Photo of Gusler
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Upon its release from the 22 ounce brown bottle, it resides in the glass a deep brown with hints of ruby at the edges, the head is a couple or three fingers in size, creamy dark tan and after it's demise leaves a surrounding coat of lace upon the glass. Nose is steeped with roasted grain, somewhat sweet and a nice hint of the hops, delightful I’d say. Start has a good malt presence, sweet with a hint of bitterness and a pleasing to the palate wheat toast flavor. Finish is nicely hopped, moderately acidic with the sweetness and the touch of bitterness to the end, somewhat dry, and a fine porter in its own right. (619 characters)

Photo of ccrida
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On draught served in a footed tulip pint, Troll Porter is dark, ruddy brown with a tight off-white head leaving scattered lace.

Smell is muted, a little roast, more caramel, especially as it warms.

Taste is a little roasty, lots of coffee, a touch nutty, and mild acidity. A touch of minty fuggles as well, which is welcome.

Mouthfeel is pretty soft, smooth, slick. The nitro lightens the body.

Drinkability is fine, it's a decent porter, but not particularly notable. Average. (484 characters)

Photo of RoyalT
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This one came out of the tap a dark ruby in color. It was quite pretty and almost dark purple when held up to the sunlight. The head came up nicely as well and pooled on top of the liquid.

Smell – The roasted malts and big liqueur-style sweetness are about evenly balanced in this porter. The nose though is really light and hard to pick apart.

Taste – The roasty malts are light at the tongue but very pleasing. The sweets really pick things up. It’s a natural kind of sweetness almost like a malt syrup.

Mouthfeel – This is somewhere between light and medium-bodied and very creamy and smooth in the mouth. There’s a touch of bitterness at the finish that nicely rounds out the mouthfeel.

Drinkability – This was a bit light but otherwise went down nicely. (790 characters)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue III:

The moderate level of carbonation pushes up enough lacing to stay presentable, nearly pitch black with some dark brown hues on the edges. Aromas of dark chocolate, burnt caramel and minty hops are in the forefront, faint smoky charred grain in the back. Creamy mouthfeel with a small but refreshing smoothness, medium-bodied. Roasted flavors come in bold but there is no sign of massive bitter or acrid flavors, just a mellow balance which is very welcoming. Small pocket of dark berry fruitiness, hint of yeast. A little complex in the middle with suggestions of burnt sugar, ghost-like vanilla, dark milk chocolate and a modest minty citric hop flavor. Speaking of hops, the bitterness does come through, but again, there's balance. Finishes on the sweet side with some roasted choco-goodness.

Its funny, on the bottle it reads, "So good, it's scary ..." Hale's is right about the good part, perhaps great, and the scary part is that our pints are now empty and there is no more Troll Porter in front of us. (1,060 characters)

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

This is hell of a hoppy porter which really endears me to it. Big and bold with a full body that carries the finish. Nice brown head with a nice solid heady nose, this beer shows PNW muscle to old style.This beer is not retired and is now available in bottles. (260 characters)

Photo of RedDiamond
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm a big fan of the Fremont Troll. As I recall, my band took some promo shots with the Troll back in... what was it?... '91? That troll sure lasted longer than my band.

In any event, I imagine the mighty Troll might prefer a porter with a bit more attitude than this one. This is a brown porter, not brewed to the robust style more common to our region. So roasted qualities are in short supply and the taste tips more to the sweet. The beer is not flawed in any way, but neither does it command much enthusiasm. The Troll shows a casual chocolate sweetness with enough bittering to grab your attention and tastes like the 1980's-style recipe we've mostly outgrown. Not bad, but better beers await you. (706 characters)

Photo of yemenmocha
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque/black. Almost no head, and what was there to begin with dissipated within moments.

Nose is dissapointingly faint but cocoa/chocolatey.

Palate is a blast of roasted malt, dark chocolate, and coffee. Simply amazing combination here. Worth it!

Finish is medium long and roasty. (290 characters)

Photo of harrymel
2.58/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap at post St ale house.

A: dark, dark beer with mocha foam atop which is persistent. Rings of lace.
S: nutty with slightly too much toasted character making it a little too dry.
T: malts are coffee like with a tad more bitter than I would prefer in this brew. A slightly astringent and almost sour character here.
M: full bodied with light carb and a semi slick finish.
O:. Not particularly enjoyable. (412 characters)

Photo of Metalmonk
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a pitch-black color with a toasted brown head. The head is thin and quickly diminishes to a skim. With a swirl all kinds of tiny lace dots stick to the glass, and there seems to be an oiliness to the liquid. Very Russian Imperial Stout in appearance.

The RIS likeness also moves into the aroma. Gobs of gooey chocolate, sugar-glazed fig and high-powered graham cracker permeate the nose, while the roasty/smoky traits of your average porter lag far behind.

There's a good bit of roasted grain in the flavor, bordering on burnt, although balance is achieved through deep dark chocolate tones, a creamy sweetness, succulent grape flavor, and a considerable but controlled hop bitterness. Everything is evened out well along the flavor chain, plenty of balance, but ultimately the chocolate takes the lead and that works very well for this beer.

The mouthfeel is probably the most obvious resemblance to a traditional porter, having some creamy slickness but with carbonation sizzle overtaking that. Just a hair thin for my liking. The slightly tart finish creates the mildest of puckers inside the mouth.

Very obviously an Americanized porter, and that's fine by me as the flavor profile is colorful and busy--though not at all messy. "So good, it's scary..." says the label, and I agree. My third Hale's and their third winner from where I'm drinking. (1,362 characters)

Photo of BretSikkink
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown but not quite black, plenty of reddish accenting around the edges. Head is short, dark tan color. Retains mainly a collar and a thin film on top, although lacing is pretty badass.

Some roasted barley notes, a tiny hint of chocolate, and some Goji berry-like fruitiness. Should be significantly stronger for this style.

Lots of hops that show up in the flavor, plenty of bitterness and a lemon Pine Sol presence that's trying to sneak through the heavily roasted malt. Not quite coffee-strength and bitterness in the malt, but definitely dark chocolate.

Medium porter, definitely not much bigger than normal. Fairly creamy in the mouth, but loses a little something in the finish. Just a bit underwhelming; nothing off or wrong about it.

Not bad in a pinch. Pretty decent price for a pretty decent porter. (822 characters)

Photo of inlimbo77
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz, tap in Bainbridge Harbour

A: Deep dark opaque brown. There is some reddish hues around the bottom. Fluffy slightly off white nitro blanket head. Leaving tons of lacing on the glass.

S: Mild roast. Milk chocolate. Some slightly piney hops as well.

T: A little bit of bitterness up front. In the middle of the sip you get that roast and chocolate character. The nitro makes this nice and smooth.

M: Medium bodies

O: B- (427 characters)

Photo of woemad
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at The Elk Public House for $4.00. This is named for the infamous Troll statue/sculpture located under the Aurora Street Bridge near Seattle's Fremont district, which depicts a large troll devouring an actual Volkswagen Beetle.

This was a dark brown in color, with a good sized tan head. Mild amount of lace – it was there, but it wasn’t terribly noteworthy.

Smell was of roasted malt and brown sugar. I thought this, while tasty smelling, could use a little bit less sweetness in the nose.

This was pretty much the same as the nose. It starts out with a nicely roasted character. Then there’s a sweet brown sugar taste. This didn’t taste bad at all, but I thought it could have been better if it was more toned down. Still, a fine porter to quaff.

This was somewhere between medium and full-bodied. Acceptable level of carbonation for a porter.

This was a little too sweet to be considered an outstanding porter, but it was still quite good. The sweetness wasn’t to an unpleasant, cloying degree, so I think I could have had several of these if time (I had to be at work in an hour) and finances (I’m currently a broke-ass poor grad student) permitted. (1,220 characters)

Photo of Proteus93
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A deep brown with ruby highlights... close to black. Head picks up late, but ends up a bubbly creamy light tan and sticks around for a while.

S: Smoky or toasty malts... a little bigger than some I've had? Coffee-like, and mildly chocolate aromas, almost stouty.

T: A pretty big porter, very malty... a little tinny or acedic - can't quite put a finger on it. Some deep, dark fruits, a touch of coffee, and a sweet edge post-finish.

M + D: Calm, smooth, and a pretty hefty aftertaste. Makes for a little slower drinker, but quite good if taken that way. A lot of burnt notes through it all... maybe like burnt rubber in some ways? Just a little though... it's decent, and I'd give it another shot... a bomber purchase at a time, probably. (747 characters)

Photo of Braz
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at Safeway. Deep brown in color with a light tan head. Aromas are kind of a sweet, just a hint of a root beer like scent. Smooth taste, creamy. LIght coffee bitterness and a light malt sweetness. Nicely balanced. Very creamy body and heavy mouthfeel. Pretty good offering. Would have again for sure. (309 characters)

Photo of LampertLand
3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hale's Ales 'Troll Porter' @ 7.0% , served from a 650 ml bottle purchased for $6
A-pour is cola brown from the bottle to a near black in the glass with a hint of ruby red peeking thru a medium size tan head leaving a streaky lace along the pint
S-weak smelling
T-crisp & clean tasting porter
MF-ok/decent carbonation , full body
Ov-ok/good beer , decent porter
prost LampertLand (379 characters)

Photo of dnichols
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was served a pint from the tap in a chilled glass at Uncle Sam's Saloon in Kennewick, Washington.

A: It poured dark ruddy body with a tall caramel head that hung in there for quite some time before falling to a thin layer over the liquid.

S: It had a sweet roasted malt profile with hints of chocolate and spices.

T: The sweet and biting roasted malts dominated before a tangy biting bitterness from the hops coated the back of my tongue. The alcohol was well hidden.

M: It was light to medium bodied with plenty of carbonation and a somewhat watery presence. It started sweet and ended bitter.

D: It was a fine brew with a nice balance of flavors, light body and pleasant appearance. (694 characters)

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Hale's Troll Porter from Hale's Ales Brewery & Pub
85 out of 100 based on 35 ratings.