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Pilot Rock Porter | Caldera Brewing Company

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very good
52 Reviews
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Pilot Rock PorterPilot Rock Porter

Brewed by:
Caldera Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 11-18-2004

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 153
Photo of RedDiamond
2.73/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pilot Rock is brown with ruby highlights and sports a thin head with no lace. It started with a nice roasted aroma and flavor. But these initial selling points lacked sustain. Most dimensions are otherwise customary with a slightly thin body.

Served on tap at the Siskiyou Pub, Ashland, OR.

 294 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.12/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear brown colored beer with a medium sized brown colored head.

Smells of roasted malt and coffee with a faint carrot scent. Not super aromatic though.

Starts out semi sweet with a strong coffee flavor. Noticeable hops mostly citrus. Faint sourness but it isn't much. Moderate bitterness. Mostly this is a coffee flavored beer.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall a mild coffee tasting porter.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Pours a chocolate chestnut colored body, with a very large (and overflowing) mocha colored head. Lace is left in waves and explosions.

Smells like an IPA... it's full of hop and light roast coffee and chocolate faintly trail. Some cured meat from a meat locker as well.

Mostly charred and baked malts with a hint of cocoa, and a citrus hop finish and notes of cocoa.

Feel is right for the porter style, it's got proper creaminess and depth. Dryness is sorely lacking however.

I didn't feel this porter was balanced. I pulled it out of the fridge after being there and cold for weeks, and I still feel I'd need to stick this in the freezer to chill the off-flavors here. A major hop bomb that should have been more focused on chocolate and malts.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.23/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

COD 9/9/15. Pours very dark brown but not quite black. World class head volume and retention, poor lacing.

Very good nose of chocolate, light roast and caramel.

Light medium body that is smooth, yet a bit thin. Light carbonation that is lacking and well below normal.

The flavor profile is good. The taste follows the nose in terms of flavors, but lacks intensity and separation. Bitterness is very light as is the sweetness provided for balance. This is an average porter at best.

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Photo of Thrasher
3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pilot Rock Porter was served on tap at the Night Light Lounge in Southeast Portland. This is a great neighborhood bar, with a fine, if not huge selection of beer, and deserves some spillover beer geek traffic once the Clinton Street Theater's brewpub opens down the street. Anyway, the porter is lighter than your typical porter black, more of a transparent ginger brown. The head is small but the lacing is determined. The aroma is mild rainy day, and the flavor profile contains deep caramel, light smokiness, cured meat, cola, and a tart herbal quality that masks the malt sweetness. It is not an exceptional beer but it satisfies and provides a lighter counterpoint to Caldera's rich coffee/Cauldron stouts.

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Photo of Redneckwine
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz can into tulip (ABV is actually 6%)

Appearance - Black in the glass, but shows signs of dark brown hues with clarity on the edges. One finger head dissipates fast and doesn't retain at all, but somehow manages to leave a bit of lacing.

Smell - Earthy, raw, roasty graininess mostly with some sweet cocoa notes. A bit smoky. Very timid nose overall, probably thanks to near complete lack of head.

Taste - Like nose, an earthy, roasty grain character is most prevalent, some cocoa, slight smoke, damp soil, cola-like sweetness, grassy/herbal hops pop vaguely for balance. Finishes off dry with a mild, roasty, coffee-like flavor and bitterness.

Feel - Smooth and creamy, but almost to a fault: medium body feels a bit heavy and round due to a lack of carbonation.

Overall - Should have been named "Pedestrian Porter", that's just how it feels to me: drinkable, but quite average. The taste is pretty good, but it could use a touch more hopping in my opinion. The body and feel is where this brew falls short for me - there's no snap to it... It's kind of "blah".

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Photo of hophugger
3.47/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Great color, deep chocolate brown. Head is average, disappating fast but leaving very nice lacing. First aroma as I opened the can was a little skunkiness but that quickly left and I had a great aroma of sweet malts and definitely chocolate. Nice creaminess/bitterness blend in the taste. Cocoa leads the way with a touch of milky creaminess following close behind. Also, tastes a little like hot chocolate but not quite as rich. Overall, a decent porter...

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Photo of Karibourgeois
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear dark brown pour with a tan one-finger head. Aroma of roasted malt. Taste has a strong hoppy and roasted bitterness upfront. Roasted flavor becomes stronger as the beer warms.

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Photo of cbutova
3.51/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Can pours into a tulip with a black body and a tall off-white head rising to just about two fingers high. Good head retention to a cap of thick frothy texture. Thick lacing webs immediately with more outstretched ones below.

S- Aromas on the medium browned to dark side of the malt spectrum with toastiness and roastiness off the top. Toasted nuts, charred barley, medium Crystal grain sweets, raisin and a hint of coffee and chocolate come to mind. Fades out a lot with time.

T- For whatever reason the flavor shifts a bit further into the blackened end of the spectrum with bitter dark chocolate, burnt grains, coffee and roast barley a bit more prominent here. Beyond those are notes of molasses, medium caramelized sugars, toasted almonds/nuts, browned bread, cherry and raisins. Touch of earthy hops to balance.

MF- Light-medium overall body thickness for the style with a medium-high level of carbonation creating a slight lack of support for the roasty flavors. Texture is slightly fizzy and frothy adding to the previous point. Ends with a cocoa bitterness.

Easy-drinking American Porter which brings on the toasty to dark burnt malts but leaves something to be desired thanks to a body that comes off as somewhat thin.

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Photo of Kaiyotee
3.52/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Look: Dark brown/black; foamy; large head
Smell: Roasty; hints of sweet cocoa
Taste: Strong roasted flavor with coffee and chocolate
Feel: Foamy; medium carbonation

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Photo of slaintemhor
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap last in August of 2009 at Bailey's Taproom in Portland, Oregon. The colour was a very dark brown with a garnet base and a thin tan head. The aroma was full of coffee, roasted malt and chocolate. On the palate, there was light CO2, day old coffee, some dark chocolate and more roasted malt.

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Photo of nmann08
3.56/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From a can, pours a dark cola brown with a light tan head.

The nose is roasted malt, chocolate, caramel, just a faint hint of coffee. The flavor is mostly dark malt, chocolate, a little burnt coffee. The finish has a hop bitterness to it, a bit thin. Overall, this is very basic and non-offensive. A good beer.

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Photo of Zraly
3.59/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Opaque dark brown with a shortly lived, two-finger, light tan head. Aroma of roasted malts and char.

Front loaded with roasted and slightly charred malts. Cocoa and a hint of coffee compliments a licorice note. Molasses-like flavors poke through with a faint hint of smoke and char. A slight chew. Carbonation is a bit more than I'd like for style; it takes away from the overall body and potential. Finish is dry. Medium bodied.

A decent porter that finishes clean. The taste is very good but the body is lacking a touch. Still a good "tried and true" porter that should satisfy. I could go either way in pairing this with something smoky off of the grill to bring out the roasted malts or something sweet and simple, like a white chocolate truffle, to subdue but compliment the overall taste. The creaminess of white chocolate would round out the mouthfeel, too.

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Photo of avalon07
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Poured from a can to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick texture. There was a quarter inch of creamy, off white head that quickly dissipated. Almost no lacing to speak of.

S: A very underplayed aroma of malt, chocolate, and coffee.

T: Tasted of chocolate, roasted malt, light hops, and some coffee. The overall flavor is a bit on the thin side, with none of the ingredients really shining through.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a very thin, watery finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This feels like a half finished beer. It's not necessarily bad, but could have been better.

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Photo of tone77
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%

A big thanks to the creator of the canquest, woodychandler, for this beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of chocolate, roasted malts. Taste is the same, chocolate, roasted malts, a touch of coffee, very easy drinking. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a satisfying beer.

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Photo of OldeSchool
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Very dark brown, almost black. A big, frothy, bubbly head sticks around for a bit; no lacing to speak of.

S: Roasted malt and cocoa / bittersweet chocolate. Smells like I expect a porter to smell.

T: Flavor more or less follows the nose, and there's a bit of sweetness there as well. No bitterness; clean finish. Easy to drink, but unremarkable in any characteristic.

M: Seems a bit thin to me; not exactly watery, but I would have preferred a bit more body from a porter.

O: A decent porter; very drinkable, but it didn't impress me enough to seek it the next time I'm in Caldera's distribution area.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the can into a nonic pint glass.

A great classic look in the glass. Creamy capped light mocha head, big and three to four fingers tall with a flat top and thin bubbled complexion. Excellent red hued mahogany body, dark but with some clarity held up to the light with these gorgeous red edges and hues. Pretty much a great looking porter.

Great hints of chocolate milk on the nose at first. Some good grain and milky sweetness, a bit toned down on the charring but really impressive, with a hint of simplicity on the aroma, perhaps a little clove in there too. Excellent.

Palate comes out a little minor acrid in flavor, but plenty of classic chocolate notes. Body is more milky and lactose like sweet. This really reminds and tastes more like a milk stout. Slightly big sour acidic and very wet palate but not a total loss. Excellent aftertaste that really opens up slowly after awhile though.

Not really what I expecting in a porter. An ok beer, but not what I had in mind.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours near black with cola brown edging where light can penetrate. The head is light tan in color and peaks at about a finger's width before dying down in fair time to a broken layer of surface suds and a small ring around the edge. Small, spotty lacing with little stick.

Smell - Mild aroma that consists of milk chocolate with lesser notes of coffee grounds, cocao nibs and with a light earthy hop character.

Taste - Follows the nose. Smooth, moderate flavor that's quite chocolate-centric. Milk chocolate is the predominant character, then lesser notes of cocao and coffee hit mid-taste to bring a touch of bitterness and balance. Earthy, leafy notes hit in the finish along with a touch of smoke to give this one a nice, interesting aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full body with low carbonation. Smooth, silky texture. Falls a tad flat in the finish.

Overall - Despite this porter's flaws, it's got a nice chocolate-driven flavor that's just complex enough to keep it fresh sip after sip. Price dependent, I'd buy a sixer to give it another go.

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Photo of GentleKnight1
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Purchased at the Saloon in Amersfoort for 6 euros. Head dissipates quickly. Color is very good. Taste is good but could be thicker. Good caramel, low carbonation.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Canned on 12/3/13.

Pours an opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, toasted nut, and cocoa aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, coffee, and nut flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with nice roasted malt and toasted nut qualities all around.

Serving type: can.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a thin head on a black body.
The aroma is excellent. Roasted malt and vanilla.
The taste is also roasted malt with some mild coffee notes and a little bitterness to round it out.
The texture is smooth with moderate carbonation.
A "go-to" porter.

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Photo of MaltsOfGlory
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz can

I bought this about a month and a half ago, strait from the brewery. I’m assuming it should still be fine.

A smooth pour yields a very small film of head. I’ll admit I didn’t give a lot of effort during the pour to get head, but it was such a smooth pour. Regardless, there should be more than this. I have a feeling it was more the beer anyways, I could hear the head fizzing, and within seconds it was gone. The beer looks like soda now. The body is an extremely dark brown, almost black. Visibility is zero. So far not a good looking beer.

The smell is nice, but faint. Slight roastyness, with a nice subtle chocolate presence. I mean, I really hesitate to give this beer a 4 for smell, because the smell is just so damn small. But it smells good, and it makes me want to drink it.

The taste is good, but very standard. Very similar to the flavor, chocolate, and a small roasty flavor hit first. Followed by a sweetness. Finishing with a nice dry bitterness, that is very small, but lingers for a second. I will say this, for being simple, the flavors do a nice job of hitting you all the way through the beer. Again, I hate to give this beer a 4 for flavor, because it's just not very exciting, but it's a good beer, so what the heck.

The mouthfeel is ok, it's not thin, but definitely not thick. It's probably about right for a porter, but I'd like something a little bit thicker, I'm not drinking a black lager here. Carbonation is medium-low.

The drinkability is through the roof. This beer is damn crushable. 6% isn't huge, but still.

The appearance turned out pretty darn bad. Zero lacing. 1.5 cause it isn't see through?

Overall this is a good beer. It's very safe, and borderline boring. But it hits the right notes, and is in no way bad. Nothing wrong with having a sessionable porter. I should add that I would definitely consider this beer fresh.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12 FL OZ can
Served in a snifter

This beer pours very dark brown in color with ruby highlights. It is topped with two inches of tan head that leaves little lacing.

It has a nice aroma of chocolate and roasted malt.

It has chocolate flavor and some cocoa flavor. There is some unsweetened chocolate bitterness in the finish.

It has a rich, full, creamy mouthfeel.

This is a solid porter. It has a great mouthfeel, and the taste is good enough to have another.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz can into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich, dark amber-brown with ruby highlights. Body is haze-free with a pretty strong effervescence and a thick finger of creamy tan foam. I think it's quite attractive.

Smell: nice and malty with a sweet chocolate element and a light roastiness. Not especially complex, but well-crafted I think.

Taste: toffee, caramel and chocolate start out the flavor, which is followed up by a roastier, ashier element. I actually quite like it -- I could find myself drinking a lot of this.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good carbonation and a pretty good creaminess. I can dig it!

Overall: this is a pretty great porter. It's quite different from its Oregon cousin, Black Butte, but it shines almost as bright in its own way. Good stuff.

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Photo of Kendo
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottom of the can says it was canned on 2/10/14; consumed on 4/26/14.

A: Poured into a pint glass. Body is very dark brown, bordering on black, but when backlit it's clearly brown with ruby-ish hues on the edges. A half-finger of tan head sits on top and leaves behind a little bit of lace.

S: Mainly roasty but with some underlying sweetness as well. Roasted coffee beans and molasses comes to mind. Some chocolate malt as well. Good porter nose.

T: Unfortunately, the thin, watery body doesn't live up to the nose. Tastes of roasted barley, coffee and some modest chocolate malt, but the overall impression is one of weakness/thinness. Finishes with a modest roasted char taste lingering in the aftertaste.

M: Thin, even for a porter. Gives the impression of being watered-down.

O: I bought this to bring to an outdoor, multi-day music festival, wanting some variety in cans. This will fit the bill for that, as I expect to be drinking all day and the lighter heft of this won't slow me down. But the overall impression is hurt by the watery/thin feel.

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Pilot Rock Porter from Caldera Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 153 ratings.
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