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

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Black Earth Porter
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BA SCORE
92
outstanding

35 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 35
Hads: 75
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 8.1%
Wants: 5
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.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 35 | Hads: 75
Photo of Sammy
3.67/5  rDev -12.6%
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. (297 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
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. (539 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
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! (1,214 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
3.76/5  rDev -10.5%
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. (1,327 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
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. (728 characters)

Photo of Derek
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
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. (409 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opaque. A semi-circle of bubbly brown head. It fades to a collar quickly. Lacing is minimal. Aromas of cocoa, coffee bean, chocolate and black barley bless my nose. The taste is more of the same. And some lactic sweetness thrown in for a kicker. Nice lingering roasted malt bitterness. And some West Coast hop bitterness as well. The mouthfeel is smooth. Easy drinking. Medium body. I could drink more than one growler of this tasty beverage. But a growler will do.

Thanks for keeping me grounded cokes. Nice porter. (520 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
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. (526 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
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 (985 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
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. (905 characters)

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.11/5  rDev -2.1%
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! (841 characters)

Photo of cokes
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
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. (796 characters)

Photo of Deuane
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
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! (487 characters)

Photo of CRJMellor
4/5  rDev -4.8%
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. (638 characters)

Photo of kmpitz2
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled while at the source over the weekend. It came off the hand-pump a nice flat black color with a one finger tan head that stuck around quite a while. The nose was what struck me the most. Lots of creamy chocolate, a hint of lacto, roasted malts. I could easily have sat and smelled this brew all day long. The flavor was just as great. A sweet and creamy lacto blast hit me first, followed by intense dark roasted malts, giving it a very minimal harshness like coffee, but this moved almost like magic to a sweet chocolate finish that lingered and lingered. This may be the best porter I have ever had. What a divine treat. The feel was velvety smooth and thick, letting me know I was drinking a nice brew. This could easily have been an all day beer, but with so many others sitting there waiting to be tasted, I had to move on. This will definately be a staple next time I am in Madison. (895 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev -4.8%
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! (520 characters)

Photo of bditty187
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
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. (510 characters)

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.41/5  rDev +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. (858 characters)

Photo of granger10
4.37/5  rDev +4%
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. (583 characters)

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
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. (597 characters)

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
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. (548 characters)

Photo of BeerBuilder
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
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. (491 characters)

Photo of kkleu357
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
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. (182 characters)

Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first review here and why not start out on top. Had the privelage of enjoying this great beer at the Great Dane Pub this evening with a good 1/2 lb bacon cheeseburger and fries celebrating a 3-month anniversary with the Mrs. (as good an excuse as any to try some good beer I thought). My first trip to the Great Dane was certainly not a disappointment.

As a self-proclaimed new-commer to the world of fine beers, this was also my first porter. It wont be my last...

Appearance: Served in a big nonic pint glass, this porter was jet black with a beautiful 3/4 inch or so tan, creamy head. Looks delicious...

Smell: Chocolate! Roasted coffee. Sweet malts. I'm in heaven. My mouth is watering. Also detected some roasted bitter hoppiness. I wanted to dunk my nose in it it smelled so good. Smells delicious...

Taste: Creamy dark chocolate and coffee. Sweet but not too sweet. Just a hint of bitter to give it bite. Truly amazing. Best truly dark beer I've ever had. Joins brown ales as my favorite genres. As the beer warmed through the course of the meal, the alcohol taste was more pronounced, but nothing overwhelming or off-putting, just more noticeable. Tastes DELICIOUS.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, velvety, smooth. Heavy-bodied, but still went down easy. Carbonation was light, but just right for the style. Felt delicious.

Drinkabilty: Certainly could have gone for a few more if I hadn't have been so full from the 1/2 lb burger. Saw on the menu that they had a "Mocha Milkshake" that was actually flavored with the beer. Man did I wish I had room for that. Sounded amazing. Overall, I was blown away by this impressive porter and will certainly be back for more. I wish I would have brought a growler of it back home with me....next time for sure. Just an amazing brew. HIGHLY recommended to anyone in the Madtown area who enjoys a good, dark, chocolatey and just downright delicious beer. Wow. (1,913 characters)

Photo of Erdinger2003
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
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!! (518 characters)

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