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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Kegatron
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ the Great Dane (Madison, WI) on 8/8/09. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a pitch black, with a finger of rich dark mocha colored head. Retains with a rigid half finger of smooth and creamy foam, that leaves some thick patchy lace back. Rich look to this. The aroma is just loaded with robust coffee and roast, and much sweeter notes of chocolate and toffee. Fresh, green floral tones punch up the back of this. Wow, this is a nice smelling Porter!

The taste is hugely rich, with coffee being even stronger this time around, mixing in with roast and hops to form a strong bitter backbone. Assertive notes of sweet chocolate and caramel malts add some good balance to this. There is also a well done earthy and citrus component to the hops, that ends this dry and spicy. I love it! The mouthfeel is medium bodied in the mouth, but man, this is smooth and easy in the mouth! Very drinkable, but still emits a good bit of presence in the mouth.

A beer that truly earns it's name, packing some dark & crunchy American Porter character, while still retaining that earthy hop profile from the English style. Full and robust, with a hugely quaffable nature to it, I could drink this all night long. Great stuff!

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Photo of mklinger
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a cask-conditioned pint at the Hillsdale Great Dane location.

A: Beautiful, black porter, little light shone through. Nice head and great lacing for a cask conditioned ale.

S: Lots of coffee, chocolate, and citrusy hops. Whets the appetite.

T: Tasted just like it smelled. Would have sworn this was a coffee porter, but the manager said nope, just great roasted grain flavor.

M: Every so slightly "thin".

D: Wished I could have stayed and had many more. Very nice beer.

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Photo of Derek
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Brown-black with a tan head, not much retention, but leaves a nice lace.

S: This is a roasty, robust porter, with plenty of chocolate, mocha & coffee aroma's. Slightly bready with some subtle ale esters.

T: Awesome roasted flavour, without any unpleasant burntness. Mocha, dark chocolate and dark caramel with a good bitterness to back it up.

M: Moderate to full body is very smooth.

D: Very drinkable.

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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 DaPeculierDane
4.72/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My standby brew at the Dane when none of the specials attract me. Often served on nitro, and sometimes on cask, this is a fine porter. Appearance is a very dark brown mahogany, very close to black with a thick and lasting dark khaki head. Rich and full aroma of intense roasted malt, dark chocolate cocoa, whole milk, espresso, and dark fruit. Taste is large. Tons of well roasted coffee and chocolate milk flavors. Bakers chocolate. Caramel, raison, and blackberry too but it all comes back to a huge roastiness. Smooth, easy drinking, medium bodied beer with faint lactic qualities. Sessionable.

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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 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 terrabyte
4.74/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

At first I thought this was poured from a nitrous pump. It look and tasted just like it. After asking the barkeeper about it, he explained that it was actually a hand pump for carbonation.

Very dark black pour with a tall nitrous looking head.

Smells just like roasted chocolate. There is no mistaking or missing the aroma, it's huge.

Flavor was thick on chocolate and roasted coffee. There was a hint of black licorice. Aftertaste was creamy with chocolate milk, a slightly harsh astringency. It was sweet, but nothing I'd complain as too sweet. If someone told me this was an oatmeal or milk stout I would have believed them. Naming this beer "Black Earth" was a great idea. There are many earthy flavors complexing the flavor of this beer.

Mouthful was nice and thick. I know I'm in the minority here when I say I had those nitrous widgets in Guiness cans. I hate Guinness poured from a nitrous tap. So, I found this carbonation a little distracting.

This was my favorite beer at The Great Dane. The aroma and flavor was big and enjoyable.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

imperial pint, on cask at the downtown dane

appearance: very dark body, bordering on black...huge creamy chocolatey head with fantastic chocolate lacing. wonderful appearance

smell: big and roasty just the way I demand my porters to be...bittersweet dark chocolate, char, medium roast coffee, roasted malt/barley...delightful

taste: The great dane makes a living by providing a thorough list of regular beers combined with a constantly changing menu of bizzarre seasonals that is more intensive than any other brewpub I have ever heard of. Of the everyday beers, this is BY FAR the most impressive and it rivals any porter I have ever consumed. It's big and robust, huge roasted malt/barley body, creamy dark chocolate, wonderful coffee flavour, light licorice, with a very nice mild hopping to provide some contrast. nice dark fruits present as well, a true gem

mouthfeel: perfect on cask, creamy and rich, nothing left to be desired

drinkability: through the damn roof

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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 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 rhoadsrage
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a jet black body with a thick tan head that last and last.

S- The smell of dark roasted malt has notes of earthiness and coffee beans that give it a nice depth and good complexity.

T- This beer has a great dark malt flavor with notes of earth and coffee and a light cream flavor at the dry finish. The taste is crisp and clean with more notes of tobacco and crystal malt as it warms.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with an almost slippery texture. No alcohol warmth or astringency.

D- This beer has big complex flavors of malt and they all work together but it is still a wonderful session beer as the palate doesn't get exhausted from the flavors.

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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 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.