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Black Earth Porter - Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown)

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Black Earth Porter
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35 Reviews
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Reviews: 35
Hads: 76
Avg: 4.14
pDev: 9.42%
Wants: 6
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown) visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  ABV ?

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-20-2002

Dark and full-bodied, this is our interpretation of the classic English Porter style. Made with nine varieties of malt and assertively hopped, our porter is packed with flavor. Strong coffee and chocolate tones create a special brew for those advancing on the path of fine beer appreciation.
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Reviews: 35 | Hads: 76
Photo of blackearth
3.47/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at the Great Dane from the beer engine. Poured a black body with a fluffy, light tan head. Not much in the aroma department, a bit of faint roasted malt. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with low carbonation. Lots of roasted malt flavor, no hops, a little watery, but overly sweet with chocolate bitterness in the finish.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.63/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Great Dane on Doty. I thought this beer had an impressive array of flavors in it for a porter - it was roasty, buttery, and a bit sour. More complexity than I've become accustomed to from a porter.

This beer poured a thin opaque black. Aroma was pleasantly malty and roasted, with some fairly subtle burned notes. Flavors were roasty at first, with a full-mouth butteriness I usually associate with some red wines. Later, as it warmed, I got a bit of sourness also. Mouthfeel was a bit flat and thin. All-in-all, I would recommend.

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Photo of Sammy
3.67/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap at the downtown brewpub. One of the better beers here, coffee grounds and coffee more than chocolate, 35 IBu and 6.25% abv. Black with some head. a little acidic. Coffee in the nose. Above average mouthfeel.Good for its style. Decent drinkability if you overlook the bias to coffee.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brew pub...Pours a medium brown with lots of ruby on the sides. I'm flummoxed here because its called Black Earth, this beer should be super dark, disappointing. A light tan head with good retention but poor lacing...A medium aroma that is sweet with a little roasted coffee on the back, not at all bitter which is surprising but the taste is really bitter from start to finish. Coffee, almost too much with a butterscotch finish.

A decently average porter, try if you there but that's about as far as I can go.

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Photo of kkleu357
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

On cask at the Great Dane. I’m not really a fan of there beer, but this one is ok. Very smooth mouthfeel. Good coffee and chocolate taste. Aroma was a similar coffee and chocolate.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.76/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Has a 12oz pour in a pokal-esque glass. This was hand-pull, but they do also have firkins for other cask brews at Great Dane. Sampled at our first stop on the way to Darkness Day 2010.

A - Good looking brew here. Persistent tan foam, plenty of lace, and a black body that reveals ruby transparency when held to the light.

S - Loads of sweet butterscotch - this is very sweet, and I'm curious if there is lactose sugar in use. There are complementary notes of roasted grains, milk chocolate, vanilla, nuts, and light smoke. Slight diacetyl too.

T - Taste features far more roast and fair less of the buttery sweetness found in the nose. This is a slight step up for sure, but the beer finishes with a slightly astringent bitterness that seems way out of character. Is this an American Porter? An English Porter? And Irish Dry Stout?

M - It's a good candidate for cask treatment for sure. Smooth medium body, a light kiss of bubbles and carbonation tingle. Finishes dry.

D - This is a porter you could slam all night for sure, especially with the creamy and smooth texture. However I found the lactic/buttery character a bit puzzling and the astringent finish annoying. My experiences seem to be in line with BeerBelcher and quite different from Kegatron or Derek. Perhaps this varies by batch or manifests different on-tap.

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Photo of beerphilosopher
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled last time I was in Madison on business. I always try to stop in the Great Dane when I'm there ... nice place. Anyway ... poured an opaque black with a nice, thick brown head that lasts. Tons of sticky lacing in the pint. Nose is of dark chocolate, carameled malts, espresso, and nice fragrant hops. Palate is definitely strong of mocha coffee, baker's chocolate, and a good hop presence to offset what could be a cloying palate. Finishes dry with a great hop bitterness in the mouth. Body is medium. A really good porter in every respect. Truly enjoyable.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - A nice reddish black beer with a nice tan head that left a good amount of lacing on the sides. I wouldn't call it an intimidating looking porter, but it is a solid looking beer.

S - Interesting smell, huge butterscotch notes off of this one. It's a sweet buttery smell, with some complimentary roasted malts and burnt cocoa. Good smelling, not what I was expecting.

T - I get a very roasty porter taste on this, with a nice butterscotch compliment. This was not what I was thinking about when I saw the name "Black Earth", but it is good. The roasty qualities help to balance out the butter taste.

M - A little flat, but it is on cask, I'm not a huge fan of most beers on cask. Medium/full bodied.

D - Pretty drinkable, although my big concern would be the sweetness would start to get overbearing, and the flatness makes it not as light feeling as it could be. A good porter that is worth trying.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a depp black with abosolutely no light penetration at all. Deep sort of tan and auburn head develops and leads all kinds of spots of lace on the pint.
Aroma has a deep roasted nut noe as well as chocolate and caramel with dextrose and lactic qualities also present.
Flavor has some bitter chocolate and definite roasted nuttiness. Light coffee appears as it warms a bit.
Mouthfeel is sweet, roasted and bitter in that order. Solid transition to each and none dominates the other. Would call it medium-bodied. Not powerful but pleasantly seductive.
Drinkability is very solid. Very mellow for style but smooth and easy drinking.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on draught at the downtown Madison, Wisconsin brewpub. Pours an opaque dark brown brew with a light tan head that slowly dissipates to a tan ring. Aroma of toasted and smoked black malt, some light chocolate, coffee and a hint of roasted nuts. Taste is medium bodied, lightly carbonated with flavors of toasted/smoked dark malt, some chocolate, coffee and some floral hops. Finish has a mild toasted dark malt and chocolate aftertaste that slowly disappears. One of the better Porters I've had especially on tap!

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Photo of bditty187
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown, blackish at spots, ruby highlights around the edges. Long lasting creamy, pocked, brunette head, loads of lace too. Gentle nose yet aromatic… mild coffee/espresso upfront with hints of toasty malt for support. Lovely palate, softly bitter like sweetened coffee mixed with a light espresso; then add in some toasty notes for complexity. Awfully enjoyable. Light body for the style, somewhat thin. With more bulk in the body this brew would be a knockout but, as is, I’d gladly recommended it.

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Photo of dhannes
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a growler from a nitro-tap at the new location and poured into a stemmed parfait glass (that was, apparently, washed last with soap versus detergent).

A=Nice rich brown...very little head, however, probably due to the glass.

S=Light, but sweet.

T=Sweeter than other porters that I have tried...perhaps a bit lighter than others, i.e. not very thick.

M=Good...again, a bit watery compared to other porters.

D=The lightness and sweetness make this very drinkable.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.11/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had on draft yesterday while eating lunch at the great dane brewpub in downtown Madison, WI. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance: medium black bodied beer with reddish highlight. medium tan head that is about 1 fingers of head and it sticks everywhere on the glass. Fantastic looking porter!

Smell: Chocolate and coffee.

Taste: Nice chocolatey notes and a mildly bitter coffee bite. The chocolate is neverending and I can get lost in this beer its an awesome porter. Just a small hinting of smokiness that lends good complexity to the porter.

Mouthfeel: Like a thin milkshake! Medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation.

Overall: This is my favorite beer at the Great Dane! Way better than the Emerald Island Stout. I think that next visit I am bring 3 growlers to fill with this beer to take home. I wish all porters were this awesome!

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a shaker pint glass at the Madison brewpub.

Another entry in my pre-interview extravaganza. It pours a dark ruby-tinted onyx topped by a finger of tan froth. The nose comprises coffee, maple syrup, molasses, and roasted malts. The taste runs along similar lines, with more coffee and roasted malt flavors and the addition of some sweet chocolate and some light vanilla. The body is a light medium, with a light carbonation and a velvety smooth feel. Overall, a very nice porter; great-tasting, but a bit on the light side to me.

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Photo of expatsteve
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Jet black, with a large 1/2 inch cappucino headhead that lasted halfway into the beer. Medium viscosity.

Aroma: Chocolate malts and some espresso notes, with a little lactic sourness as it warms up.

Taste: Definitely a beer to have from the cask. Nice chocolate, toffee and cocoa malts, with a middle palate burst of espresso sours and bitters. Nice roasted malt blasts throughout add highlights without being distracting. A little cream development as it warms, but for the most part a fairly consistent flavor throughout. Nice crisp astringent finish.

Mouthfeel: Cask adds a lot of creamy smoothness, which Golden2wenty1 suggested gave the sort of finish that nitro Guinness longs for. Soft cask carbonation, with a crisp coffee finish.

Drinkability: Definitely a solid porter, which will please dark beer fans. More similar in finish to an oatmeal stout than sweeter versions of the style (think Edmund Fitzgerald), but refreshing nonetheless. I'll definitely be drinking a lot more of this while the Dane has it on cask.

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Photo of cretemixer
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Plain brown bottle, no label, "Port" written on cap in magic marker. I was told the brewers from Great Dane had stopped in at my local brewer and dropped these off for them to sample and a couple made their way into my possesion. A quick email to Great Dane confirmed this as their Black Earth Porter.

Appears pitch black in the glass with a dense, caramel colored head. A solid lace is left in its wake.
The aroma is nutty with a creamy, lactic quality. Deep roasted coffee beans and toasted biscuit notes too.
Creamed coffee taste with a solid bitter chocolate character. There's an alcohol warmth that comes across mid-glass. Finishes a bit dry with a lingering hop bitterness.
A well done porter with a medium body and soft carbonation. I hope this bottling experiment pays off and becomes part of their lineup. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of brakspear
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Wow! Does this porter live up to its name. Its body is pitch black topped by an extremely creamy tan head that absolutely clings to the sides of glass. It looks almost like a glass of Guinness and I wonder if it is nitro-poured or from a real ale beer engine. It is served at cellar temperature so both the aroma and taste are not overwhelmed by the cold. The malt aroma dominates with slight chocolate and roast barley scents. The taste is sweet and full, black patent malt bitterness with chocolate malt faintly in background. Hop bitterness is subdued but balances the malt well. The mouth feel is a bit too light, but overall this is a great session beer and immensely drinkable...pint after pint...after pint.....

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Photo of Erdinger2003
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this with a salad with grilled chicken and it was fantastic! I got the beer and there was a good head, but it dissapated right away. It had a great black color to it. The smell was smooth light coffee and a few chocolate tones. The taste was a lighter black porter, and was great!! I loved it and it got even better the more I had my salad. The mouthfeel was smooth and nice, a little more towads smoother water. Overall if I lived in Madison I would drink that porter with every meal at the Great Dane, awsome!!

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Photo of cokes
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark mahogany brown, about two shades away from black. Milky beige foam clings all the way to the bottom.
Roasty malty aroma with strong notes of both chocolate and coffee. Sweetness lurks below.
Taste starts strongly and bitterly roasted. Big expresso and baker's chocolate. Then some dark fruit sweetness begins to squeeze through the cracks. Raisin, faint carmel, and some vinous qualities. Sort of like a Baltic Porter light. Stays heavily roasted throughout, hops are barely a factor, but anchor the finish appropriately.
Smooth and velvety in the mouth, but definately on the thin side. On the thin side of medium -bodied. A little more heft and this would be classic.
Hugely drinkable as it is. A nice session, with plenty of interesting nuances to keep one's attention.

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Photo of Benish
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had this at the Grumpy Troll in Fitchburg today. A friend recommended this. It was jet black and was served at almost room temperature (they know what they're doing). It had a white head that retained for 5 minutes or so. My spouse reported that I had a "mustache."

I smelled both coffee and some dark chocolate. I believe no coffee is added to this but this almost surprises me considering that I think the coffee overpowers the chocolate.

Taste wise, it's excellent. It had that rich creamy mouthfeel. Very smooth and easy to drink. Tasted roasted malt plus more dark chocolate. In a way, it's a relaxing beer to drink, not overwhelming.
Be sure to order this!

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Photo of BeerBuilder
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It wasn't on their list of current cask beers, but to my enjoyment I was served this deep brown almost black hand pulled brew. She brang it over and it was still cascading. At this point I was really anticipating this one. It has a deep roast and coffee aroma, with hints of chocolate. The flavor is roasty and coffee-like with a roasty bitterness in the finish. It was very easy drinking for a full-bodied brew. I just loved this one. I will definitely have to return to try this one again.

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Photo of Deuane
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Black with deep brown highlights. Medium tan head that reduced t leave heavy lace. Mighty fine looking brew.

S-Nice, full roasty malt nose. A bit of smoke aroma comes through in the background.

T-Full frontal attack of roasted malt. Almost a burnt quality leading to a bit of smokiness. Whoa...this is a big boy porter, nice!

M-Medium-heavy body with a pleasant dry finish.

D-A solid roasty, robust porter. Full of body and assertiveness. A winner from TGD, best brew of the night!

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Photo of granger10
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pure black color with a cocoa colored head that did not hold up too long. Solid lacing around the glass. Aroma is strong of roasted coffee and smoke. Some bittersweet chocolate underneath. Taste begins with that intense roasted espresso. Charcoal is in there too. Cocoa powder is in there. Slight bourbony kick towards the middle. Nice earthiness in there. Slight vanilla and cherry liquer in the finish. I liked this a lot but maybe it could have had more hops to lend a counterbalance to the other flavors. I'm a sucker for that burnt, smoky flavor though and this has a lot of it.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.41/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled 4-30-05. Arrives in a Great Dane nonic pint a dark black with a big two finger creamy head on top. Awesome lacing sticks all over the side of the glass...wow. A work of art in a glass. Roasty chocolate nose with a hint of lactic milk and just a slight background of coffee. The burnt roastiness and the cholocate here are lush and mouthwaterng. Makes me want to dive right in.

A smooth milk chocolate roasty flavor leads the way with big maltiness and a hint of milkiness and some coffee. The chocolate flavor is rich and tasty without being overpowering. Wow...just an awesome porter here.

Smooth, creamy mouthfeel with mellow carbonation that goes down like silk. A damn good porter that is phenomenally drinkable. A great session brew hands down..I would have been content drinking these all night. A must try if you stop at the Great Dane.

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Photo of battlekow
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Came up to Madison to have a going away party for my girlfriend, who is going to the UK for three weeks. I'm going to miss her, but I might miss this beer even more when I go back to Milwaukee. It's a thick, dark brown, as you'd expect from a porter, with a nice tan head and great lacing. Smells roasted and chocolatey and delicious. The taste--wow, this is right up there with the Edmund Fitzgerald. Given that this was on-tap and the Fitz was bottled, I have to think the Fitz gets the edge, but this is close. It's creamy, chocolatey, roasty, and just a hint of a bitter finish. Could be a little more bitter, I suppose, but that's nitpicking. This is a truly great porter, and a great beer period.

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Black Earth Porter from Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company (Downtown)
90 out of 100 based on 35 ratings.