Short's Publican Porter (Imperial London Porter) - Short's Brewing Company

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Short's Publican Porter (Imperial London Porter)Short's Publican Porter (Imperial London Porter)

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290 Ratings
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Ratings: 290
Reviews: 84
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 8.53%
Wants: 81
Gots: 27 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Short's Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
English Porter |  9.15% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerBeing on 10-13-2007

A Robust Porter.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 290 | Reviews: 84
Reviews by decadance:
More User Reviews:
Photo of tectactoe
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a semi-thick black color with deep brown edges. A straight pour down the center causes almost no noise as a deep-tan colored head slowly starts forming seconds after I'm finished pouring. It goes quick and leaves no lacing behind.

The aroma is heavy and robust, even a little more so than I was expected. Some lightly sweet, roasted malts, lots of licorice, hints of anise, a good amount of chocolate. Plenty of deep and dark fruit notes floating around; plums, dates, prunes, raisins, almost with a wine-like essence to it. Warmth brings out some more chocolate, along with a sweet molasses. The alcohol itself shows a presence but doesn't sting the nostrils too much.

The taste, however, is a slightly different story. Up front, you get a hefty boozy flavor - mild fusel alcohol notes and a stingy warming effect that takes over your palate. Lots of flavors combine shortly thereafter; dark chocolate, fudge cake, lots of roasted malts, bitter and burnt coffee beans... The taste is definitely more roasty-bitter and less creamy-sweet than the aroma had lead on - not a bad thing, though. Nice hop profile squirts out about midway through; leafy, ashy hops with a heavy bitterness that hits the back of the palate - only coupling with the heavy roast to amplify the bitterness even more. The alcohol heat grows and is the heaviest at the end; aftertaste is a deeply pitted roast flavor with a huge backing of booze. Silky smooth mouth feel, low carbonation.

Wasn't expecting much out of this, but it turned out to be pretty good. I like things that are super-roasted, and that's exactly what this is. A little heavy on the alcohol character, though. This one is definitely a slower sipper than I pictured it would be.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. #155 of 672.

Pours into my glass a thick deep dark black that is impervious to light. An inch of creamy tan foam on top that leaves lacing all over the glass as it falls. Aromas start with dark malts along with a big blast of cocoa. Caramel accents meld with licorice notes. Somewhat sweet with bold molasses undertones.

First sip brings dark roasted malt upfront that carries some residual sweetness with it as well. Big cocoa flavors along with licorice and molasses flavors. A touch of coffee melds into the flavor. Flows down with some bitterness and a mellow hop tone. Baker's chocolate and a bit of alcohol on the finish. A big, robust porter.

Mouthfeel is smooth and had a good viscosity. Carbonation is on the more mellow side which works nice. Goes down almost too easily. Overall, a good imperial porter and it is holding up extremely well after two years in the bottle now. Very glad I had the chance to try this and I hope Short's brews it again.

Photo of warnerry
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz 2011 release

A - Pours pitch black with one finger of brown head. Head doesn't last long and leaves only small amounts of lacing.

S - Roasted malt, chocolate, coffee and a bit of vanilla and molasses. Very nice.

T - Follows the smell nicely. Roasted malts that are somewhat bitter, both bittersweet and a touch of milk chocolate, faint coffee and vanilla. A very faint sweet element. A bit of noticeable alcohol, but doesn't detract from the taste.

M - Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation and an earthy dry finish.

O - Between this and Black Cherry Porter, I really wish Short's would do a year-round porter, as they are both very good. Hope this becomes at least an annual release, if not more often.

Photo of pwoods
4.37/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml capped brown bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pitch black, medium viscosity. medium headwith decent retention and good lacing.

S: Deep roasted malts with some potent alcohol. Rich molasses.

T/M: Good alcohol mix with the roast. Pleasantly sweet malts. A touch of lactose mixed with the spent coffee grounds. Some aged hops. Body is full but not thick or cloying.

D: Damn tasty brew that is pretty drinkable.

Photo of Bcant
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a fine porter. From the bottle into a short mug. Two fingers of caramel colored head, near black body. Warm and rosty, hints of ripe fruit. This porter is strong but the alcohol is not prominent in mouth feel or taste. Perfect for a winter evening. Lovely with a rich stew.

Photo of Sammy
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you Derek for bringing. Very good roast aroma. A dark thick chocolate pour. A whote head with lots of bubbles. Thick and lacey down thye glass. A porter's imitation of an imperial stout. Roasted malt. Above average mouthfeel. Some sips, at the end of the bottle, contained some sourness. Recommended.

Photo of 33nickadams
3.87/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black, opaque and a slight tan head after a vigorous pour. Smells of coffee, chocolate, molasses and dark fruits. I taste big roasted malts and chocolate. Very robust. This is very much not unlike a Russian Imperial Stout. Finishes dry. Mouthfeel is heavy and lightly carbonated. Overall, I'm glad I tried it. But this is too much like an RIS to set it apart.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. Thanks to chpueblo22 for this one. I'm always excited to try new Short's brews.

Appearance - Dark brown, not quite black, as it pours. No head. Maybe a glimmer of some mocha bubbles.

Smell - A bit of roast, but it's remarkably nutty. Like sweet peanuts and malt. An interesting smell, for sure, and one I'm rather enjoying. Grainy and earthy at the same time.

Taste - Mimics the smell. A touch sweet and then a solid nutty and grainy malt backbone. The finish is of the darker persuasion. More roasty in the finish, but still quite earthy. Hardly bitter at all.

Mouthfeel - Lacking in carbonation. Nearly flat, in fact. As much as I enjoy drinking it, it could use a livelier body.

Overall - One of the best Short's beers I've had. Quite enjoyable. It gets better as I drink it, too.

Photo of Flopjack
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle into tulip

Appearance - Black with a caramel colored head about 1 finger.

Smell - Truly smells very much like a stout. Cacao, molasses, dark roasted coffee, roasted malts.

Taste - Smokyness right from the start much like a smoked porter, reminded me of German rauchbier. Underlying notes of bitter chocolate, slight coffee, roasted malts, slight floral like characteristic that is very hidden and contributes to the bitterness for me.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, light/medium carbonation, refreshing.

Overall - Good beer. Was not expecting such a smoky character like was experienced but in a good way. This beer does not drink like a 9% beer for me, it is smooth, smoky, alcohol is not overwhelming.

Photo of Bung
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. Was looking for this for so long in the old big bottle format, had basically given up until Christmas, when low and behold, there is was visiting home, though in this small bottle.

The standard near black pour, layer of cream head.

Aroma, roast malt, caramels, dark chocolate.

Taste, Roast malt, nearly burnt toffee, cocoa. Pleasant, but actually quite dry with the roast, light coffee and cocoa.

Solid medium body. Coating, nearly creamy. Drinks quite well. To be honest it doesn't feel nearly 9.15 big, I seriously wonder if this batch is less.

Straight forward, solid, but for some reason I was expecting even more. Well worth trying.

Photo of emerge077
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Generously hooked up by Frognutunl, thanks Wes!

Poured a dark brown in the light, and black in the glass. A crimson glint shone in it's meniscus. The creamy tan foam was tightly beaded, slowly drizzling down the sides like watching through soapy windows at the car wash.

Some vinous aged qualities in the nose, also tootsie roll, licorice, and sticky molasses. Roasty flavors of burnt toast, wood, and tobacco, underscored by a mild yet pleasant cranberry tartness. Full bodied and chocolatey, leaning into stout territory. Creamy feel with a dry finish. Easy drinking, and a good one to share. Although it's starting to show it's age a little, it was still a pleasure to drink. Thanks again Wes!

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Beer Exchange in Kalamazoo, MI.

A - Poured dark brown with a small amount of white head.

S - Big chocolate aroma up front with a big roasted malt profile and a slight bitterness present.

T - Roasted malts with a big chocolate prescence. A good bitterness, especially in the finish. There is also a nice sweetness present throughout that balances this one out very well.

M - Medium body. Light carbonation.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Curran, thanks man.

Pours a very dark black, with a small half inch head, and a good amount of lacing.

Smells like chocolate, roasted malt, and a little bit of espresso beans.

This one does not taste at all like its over 9% ABV, I honestly thought it was 5 or 6%. It is very full bodied, and full of flavors- lots of great chocolate flavors, almost like it is brewed with chocolate, when as far as I know it is not. There is also a nice creamy vanilla flavor, with a small amount of espresso bitterness, and moderate sweetness. Really, really nice.

This one has a medium sized body, as befits the unexpected ABV. There is a low amount of carbonation, with a very smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

This is probably the best English porter I've ever had, but it's probably not very traditional. It tastes awesome, and that's what it counts.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.7/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

dark brown, nice opagueness, but still some light through on the sides and bottom. Nice short lived off white head with decent lace and audible carbonation. Smell was a decent english average porter. Caramel sugar and roasted malts were really the most notable aromas. The taste was smooth, crisp, a tad watery with the caramel being mellowed somewhat by a nice albeit small hoppy back.

Photo of Emnmarko
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- Dark like a cup of black coffee. A nice creamy caramel colored head develops, then leaves a solid cap. Moderate lacing clings to the glass.

S- Roasted malts, cocoa, chocolate, coffee, toffee. Robust with a sweet center. Bitter hop aromas subtly announce their presence.

T- Wow, take the nose and multiply by ten. An explosion of bitter sweet chocolate covered coffee beans is followed with a warming dry bitterness in the middle of the tongue. The slow transition continues and finally finishes with a warm cocoa and bitter hop aftertaste.

M- Medium bodied and drinkable for a porter. Does down smooth without any problems.

O- I'm impressed with this one. A well put together porter with style. A smooth sweet and rich roasted malt flavor flawlessly balancing a bitter hop backbone. Rich chocolate warming the way to the gullet. This is one fine example of a porter. I acquired this bottle in a "pick yer six" at a local, well stocked beer store for my first try and I'm very pleased. I will definitely be picking up a sixer of these in the future.

Photo of metter98
4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a short tan head that died down, leaving delicate lacing covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of dark chocolate are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but the chocolate malts are much stronger and there also notes of coffee beans and hints of Oreo cookie wafers and roasted malts. Only slight bits of bitterness are noticeable.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is extremely flavorful, rivaling that of a Russian Imperial Stout, except there is no bitterness and is obviously lighter in body.

Photo of minterro
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Single from Spartan Spirits. Priced at 2.59 plus tax and deposit. Poured into a very small Batesina Academia mug.

A&S: very rich sweet milk chocolate smell, slight roasty characteristics. The roastyness comes out better when it warms more. Dark to medium tan head, good amount of lacing. Very dark black beer, it also looks pretty thick.

T&M: I thought at first it surprisingly different from the scent, but then as it warms the more of the smell is incorporated. More so bitter and roasty/toasty then the smell. Maybe a litter too bitter. One major beef with this beer is it’s not as smooth as it should. Its actually pretty coarse. The carbonation is pretty much what you would want from a porter.

O: At first I wasn’t the biggest fan, but as it warmed it grew on me. Pretty darn good, not the best porter I’ve ever had, but its is still quite good.

Photo of StoutHunter
4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a bottle of Short's Publican Porter last week for $2.09 at The Lager Mill. I was surprised to see this beer at the store the other day, I have never seen or tried this beer before so I thought I better buy a bottle and give it a try, so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date but I know it's fresh. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- I am not a big fan of the label on this beer, but that doesn't mean it's bad looking, I'm just not digging it. It poured a nice dark black color that didn't let any light come through and it had a nice three fingers worth of light mocha colored head that died down to a thin layer that stayed till the end and left some nice lacing. This was a good beer that looked really similar to a Stout and it had the best head that I have ever gotten from a Shorts beer.

S- The aroma of this beer is pretty straightforward, it is all about the roasted malts. It starts off with loads of dark roasted malts that have a medium amount of sweetness and impart some chocolate and some slight caramel and coffee aromas. I didn't pick up any hops in the aroma. This is a really robust smelling porter that blurs the line between stout and porter.

T- The taste follows the nose nicely. It starts off with lots of dark roasted malts that taste like they have a pretty heavy roast to them and they impart some nice coffee and bitter chocolate flavors along with a slight bit of caramel and vanilla. In the middle and towards the ends comes the sweetness which is on the high side of medium and it has slight dark fruit flavor to it. The finish is a little sweet with a low amount of medium bitterness and it had a roasted grain aftertaste. There was a slight presence of alcohol but it didn't stick out that much for a beer that comes in at 9.15%, it lets you know this is much bigger then your average porter. The flavors came together nicely to make for a big robust porter.

M- Pretty smooth, slightly dry, a little sweet, on the thick side of being medium bodied and it had a nice medium amount of carbonation that worked well with this beer. The mouthfeel fit this beer nicely and was much more Stout like the Porter Like.

Overall I thought that this was a pretty good beer, it's suppose to be a beefed up version of an English Porter but to me even though it is based off of an English Porter it has much more Baltic Porter and Imperial Stout quality's to it, so this is for sure not a traditional take on the style, but hey this beer is made by Short's and I always expect them to go outside the lines so this doesn't surprise me, but I still think this beer should be classified as a Baltic Porter. This beer had good drinkability, it went down smooth and faster then expected, I would drink another one if I had it. What I liked the most about this beer was pretty much everything, every aspect was pretty good and worked well together, I also thought that this beer looked damn good. What I liked least about this beer was the sweetness in the taste of this beer, it was just a little too sweet, but I got used to it and it didn't hurt the beer that much. I would buy this beer again if they release it next year, this makes for a good beer to drink on a cold winter night. This beer is worth giving a try if dark beers are your thing, it takes some aspects of a English Porter, Baltic Porter, and a Imperial Stout and mixes them all together for a dark beer trifecta. I was surprised with this beer, which is the case with most beers from Short's, it was much richer, bigger and more robust then I thought it would be, I have never seen Short's make an RIS, but this beer is pretty close to that style, I liked it, they don't make that many big beers but when they do they do it right. There was nothing odd or crazy about this beer and there doesn't need to be, it is one solid beer and one of my favorite big Porters, good job Short's this another good beer from the crew up north.
Edit1/19/13 this years is a little less sweet with a good aroma, I like this one a little more, Short's nailed this one.

Photo of zoso1967
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Publican Porter pours a deep dark brown and is one of the darkest porters I have ever seen. It has a nice cap of deep tan foam that looks thick and luscious as it melts into the nearly black liquid. Head retention is average but lacing is excellent.

The aroma is sweet and roasty. I am not sure if it is possible, but this beer SMELLS substantial. Caramel, molasses, bitter cocoa and pumpernickel bread meld with just a hint of vanilla.
The flavor is a bit drier than I had expected, but every bit as hearty. If I had to describe this beer to someone style wise I would say it is like a cross between a dry Irish stout and a porter. There is a good amount of molasses infused bready sweetness up front, but it quickly fades to a nicely dry and very roasty and bitter finish that has some great charred character. I suspect that they used a decent helping of black patent malt in this fella.

The mouthfeel is on the upper edge of medium and has a very nice smoothness to it. I have had this on tap at the pub and it was a bit more carbonated than this growler is currently, but even then it had a subdued carbonation that just added to the smooth and rich nature of the beer. The finish is long with plenty of roasty character lingering long after my greedy sips.

If you made it this far in the review I am sure you can tell that I really love this beer. It is one of my new Short’s favorites and I am pretty damn excited that they are going to bottle it. It is not perhaps the easiest drinking porter due to its size, but it should be a great fall/winter brew that will keep you full and warm as you throw a couple back with good friends.

Photo of Etan
3.85/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75


A: Pours thick and black with a dark tan head.

S: Deep roast and dark chocolate and cherry-like sweetness. Mocha, graham cracker, dark bread.

T: Dry, bitter roast, mild vinous quality, dusty cocoa, more slightly-astringent roast, alcohol warmth.

M: Thick-bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: Interesting. A bit too roasty and bitter to enjoy a lot of but pleasant in small quantities.

Photo of weeare138
4.44/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes. Thanks to hopdog for sharing this. Bottle #144/672.
A - First of all, I notice the bottle which has a "gay" label of a guy sporting a mullett while washing a glass. I don't get it. Appears a near black with deep crimson edges when held to the light. The small, off-white head slowly fades into a mild cap and collar. Scattered spots are left around the glass.
Smell is of plums, black gapes, bitter cocoa, mild anise, and black cherries.
Taste is of light smoke, brown sugar, freshly baked brownies, and ripe fruit.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, sweet, syrupy, with a semi-dry finish.
This would go great with BBQ.
I'm glad Steve scored this. I would've passed it up based on the label alone, note knowing that the bottle was a really nice beer. It's like meeting a woman in a dark room and after you hit it off with her, the lights come on and she's a winner when you were expecting the worst.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle acquired on a recent roadtrip to Michigan.
Pours a very dark brown, nearly black in color. A nice mocha colored head forms on the pour. A nice sheen of head stays the entirety.
Smell is heavily roasted malts, some molasses. Everything about this beer is screaming stout.
Flavor is more roasted malts and some molasses. This is very full and creamy on the mouthfeel. Just a hint of hops noticeable. Reminds me of a Expedition that is a year or two old. Very good beer. Very solid.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nothing bad about it's look. Solid black with no escape-able light and a 1/2 inch of deep tan head with excellent lacing.

S - Smells moderately roasty with slight licorice, cocoa powder, and coffee. Even get a bit of hard to distinguish dark fruit.

T - Mild roasts and slight chalky cocoa powder meets mild alcohol flavors and raisins.

M - Medium bodied and very balanced for the ABV.

Overall I didn't expect much after this disappointing "woodmaster" but this is a solid imperial Baltic porter as good as Flying Dog's Gonzo. Worth the high grade.

Photo of alcstradamus
3.91/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Received as a very generous extra in a trade. Thanks Derek!

Gave this one a standard pour into my glass and was immediately blown away by it's beauty. This is the best looking porter I have ever seen, and its overall look is rivaled only by the biggest of the best imperial stouts. Seriously, the cascading 2 finger head was darker than chocolate milk and left awesome lacing on top of a black body. Spectacular.

Smell is big toasted malts, floral hops, cocoa powder, and some marshmallow. Nice and inviting.

Toasted malts dominate the taste up front, while a little bit of sour/stale flavor drives the aftertaste. As I was first sipping this I was reading the English Porter style guidelines and I felt like it was describing this beer perfectly. If this were a BJCP exam I would probably rate the taste a 4.5 or 5, but if I were judging this against every other beer in the world I think I could only squeek out a 3.5 or 4. I'll settle on 4 as a compromise. This is nice but I wish the chocolate came through a bit more to help cover up the stale hop profile.

Nice body, on the full side of medium with soft carbonation

Drinkability was average for me. I really enjoyed this beer for what it tried to be (and accomplished quite well, I might add), but overall the flavor profile doesn't really mesh with my palate and I found myself wishing the rest of the bottle wasn't staring at me waiting to be consumed. Fans of Fuller's London Porter should seek this out at all costs though, as this seems to be like that beer on steroids.

Recommended for others, but not something I will want to track down again.

Photo of hopdog
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle acquired in trade with hoppymeal (thanks!). Brewed 6.01.06, bottled 2.5.07 and bottle 144 / 672.

Poured a dark black color with red edges and an averaged sized tan head. Aromas of roast, chococlate, dark fruits, licorice, and light coffee. Tastes of chocolate, dark cherries, roast, light coffee, and caramel. Yet another Shorts beer that does not dissappoint.

Notes from 8/29/08

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Short's Publican Porter (Imperial London Porter) from Short's Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 290 ratings.