Bad Elmer's Porter | Upland Brewing Company

145 Reviews
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Bad Elmer's PorterBad Elmer's Porter

Brewed by:
Upland Brewing Company
Indiana, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by zerk on 05-26-2002

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Reviews: 145 | Ratings: 328
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
1.82/5  rDev -48.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Appearance - pours opaque black into a Belgian glass. Three fingers of light mocha foam shoot up quickly. Strings of lace stick to the sides as the head slowly melts down.

Aroma - a little. Some grain, some funk.

Taste - some base toasty grain here but the bottle has started to turn I think. There is a light sour bite here that I think doesn't belong. It's not overly nasty, just diminishes most of the beer's good flavor. There is no sweetness to the malt, and the sourness is covering any hop factor. I could finish this, but I'd rather not.

Mouthfeel - very bubbly, medium body.

Drinkability - I'll have to try and hunt down a fresher sample. This one is only 11 months old and should be fine, but caveat emptor on the room temp bottle storage, I think these need cold storage.

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Photo of chugalug06
1.94/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - Nice straw colored head with moderate lacing. Brew holds a nice black color with purple and brown hues. Rather basic looking brew.

S - Super homebrew esque funk... Very weird scent. Not much of anything other than chocolate funk. Smells almost like a Coca-Cola...

T - Taste is better than scent, just not by a lot... Taste is buttery chocolate with side of soy sauce. The flavor in this one struggles.

M - Overly carbonated with dry and distinct funk. Light bodied and underwhelming. Horribly out of balance.

O - Brew is smooth, but missing a lot!!! There's not to talk about with this one. I wouldn't go out of my way to find this one again. Thanks for the extra in a good trade!

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Photo of cnally
2.22/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This beer sure looks better than it tastes. Such a dark brown, with little visibility through the glass. A lot of head develops, looking like a root beer float. A whiff of it and it all goes downhill. There is rusty well water and sourness all over the smell. Tropical fruits & banana are hidden in the background. When you drink it, there is an immediate tangy flavor, and really smoky. Also, there is a little bit of bitterness that resembles the bitterness of an olive. This fades into a despicable aftertaste that makes me feel that I have licked a used ashtray. Lots of fizz and punch on the mouthfeel. Not enough malt for how dark it is. The aftertaste is so distracting, there is no reason I would ever have another.

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Photo of drseamus
2.49/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer was bottled in February '06.

A: I poured this beer into a 16oz tulip glass and the head was so large it took several minutes to get it all in there. The body of the beer is dark brown and when held the to light there are ruby highlights. The head is very frothy, massive, mocha colored, and lasts FOREVER. It shouldn't be this much trouble to pour a beer.

S: The aroma isn't great. There is a bit of roasted malt in there. I can't exactly place it up but it reminds me of soap.

T: The flavor has a ton of roasted malt in there but has a slightly sour taste. There is some chocolate in there as well but it leaves a fairly bad aftertaste.

M: This is a medium bodied beer and it fits the style nicely.

D: The sour taste really turns me off so I have to give this a pretty low score.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
2.71/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a beautiful coca-cola color with a small ½ finger caramel colored head that very quickly dissipates. Smells of raisins and dark fruits with a hint of brunt malts. First sip is those same dark fruits plus deep roasted malts, and an unwelcomed metallic presence. Very lightly bodied and lacking in carbonation. So far my least favorite brew from Upland. I am disappointed with this one

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Photo of PorterLambic
2.75/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 1 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

When I first started to crack the cap, so much gas rushed out, I had to stop opening the bottle, no easy feat there. Repeated this open/close procedure several times before I could even remove the cap. Bottled on date of 11/05, poured 4/06.

Poured a full Imperial pint glass of tan foam. After several minutes it became 1" of very dark brown beer. Repeated this annoying procedure over and over. After 20 minutes I actually had 12 ounces of beer in the glass. No lace at all.
Smell is heavily roasted malts, coffee, nuts, soy and smoke.
Taste is burnt malts, coffee, soy, hop bitterness w/o flavor, caramel (after further warming) and some alcohol.
Tingly on the tongue, very heavily carbonated. Aftertaste of coffee grounds and wet lettuce. Medium bodied. This beer is all over the place. I hope it's a bad bottle if only because I've got 5 more to drink.

OK. I've had 3 more of these bottles now. The "glass o' foam" is a certainty with every bottle. Thinking ahead, I used a trumpet-shaped pilsner glass this time. Foam to the rim and nothing else for several minutes. Only took about 10 minutes to pour it all this time.
The taste, mouthfeel & aftertaste are improved this time over previous quaffings and I have adjusted my ratings to reflect that. The wet lettuce in the aftertaste is much less noticeable since the first bottle. Perhaps this brew should have a "best AFTER" date instead of best before as I think it is actually improving with age.

If they can get a handle on this explosion of foam, I could actually recommend this beer to some degree but not as things stand now.

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Photo of weatherdog
2.77/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at the Bloomington brewpub. Served in a 16oz. shaker pint.

Pour is stand porter pour, deep nearly pitch black with a khaki colored head. Medium long retention with a healthy amount of lacing.

Aroma is very muted and light. Some mild coffee but overall seemingly watery.

Taste starts off with a little astringent roasted grain taste, then some dark fruit plumish esters finish off the taste. Mouthfeel is very thin and watery, nearly no body and a medium high carb level does not help it's cause. No glaring off flavors but it's just an average at best porter, just too watery tasting.

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Photo of fretlessman71
2.78/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pertinent preliminary comments: Much thanks to my friend Bruno_78 for sending this one along.

AROMA: Pretty high roasted malt content, a bit of fruit (plum?) and a fair amount of chocolate. Yep, it’s a porter, all right.

APPEARANCE: Jet black with only the faintest of mahogany coming through the edges when held to light. Beige head doesn’t get too big, but cap lasts. Light to moderate lacing.

FLAVOR: Very similar to the aroma; heavy on the roasted malt almost to the point of being too bitter. Mild to moderate acidity; not much chocolate. Almost getting cigarette smoke here. Hmmm… Carbonation okay; a little too “fizzy” on the palate. Finish is pretty dry, hops are coming through here, of all places. Picking up on some diacetyl – just got a mouthful of butter. Hmmm, indeed…

MOUTHFEEL: Decent; a little fizzy but well-weighted.

DRINKABILITY: Okay – I think I’d be bored of this one after one beer, though.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This beer is alright… if you’re a really big fan of the burnt character of black patent malt, you might really be able to appreciate it. Not really my thing, though. Maybe this one needs a little less time in primary and a smaller chocolate malt/black patent malt ratio.

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Photo of ncvbc
2.91/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A foamer with a head that keeps rising, lots of carbonation. Aside from that, very dark brown with ruby edges. Head finally settles after a few minutes and leaves spotty lacing down the glass. Smell is somewhat metallic and bitter chocolate. Smokey, charred scents. Kind of don't want to smell it too much. Taste brings some good chocolate up front and a healthy dose of caramel. Some toffee, coffee, and a nice bready malt in the background and again a little bitter with dryness. Mouthfeel is a tad distracting with carbonation. Wants to be creamy smooth but can't. Not a favorite but nothing horrible by any means. Just a little off for me.

Thanks to lightindarkness for this treat in the Ugly Duckling BIF...

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Photo of magictacosinus
2.94/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Second offering from Upland that I'm giving a try. Had for breakfast with cornbread, ham, and other stuff we eat out here in the Midwest on a daily basis when visiting. Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz bottle. Bottling date is listed as "April/2013." A bit old, but whatever.

Pours a brownish tinged blackened color with a head that resembles a mocha of sorts, bubbles and all. Lacing is actually pretty decent on this one, in spite of the fact that head retention is not at all. A ring struggles to stay around, and somehow it does. Bubbles are pretty non-present, but it's still got a strong color that makes it somewhat appealing. Looks thinned in nature. Not very different from your average run-of-the-mill American porters all of the country.

The flavors are mainly of roasted coffee notes, slight brown sugar, and... Not much else, to be exact. Some slight robust toasted maltiness creeps in, but it's really the coffee espresso bean flavors that fight for recognition here. Otherwise, there's a bit of graininess, maybe some bitterness from the light hops at hand, but it's not complex - only assertive on what it intends to be.

The flavor ends up being a one-note flavor of ground, fresh coffee extract, combined with toasted malts and light grains that provide a smidgen of bitterness and simultaneously some sweetness. I wish there was more beyond the coffee, but there really isn't - biscuits, light chocolate, faded caramel and citrus. I'm looking too much into this thing. It doesn't help that it's slightly watery as a cold (albeit refreshing) glass of coffee. However, it did pair well with the hearty, greasy food to avoid any discomfort from consuming it.

A very average porter that doesn't try to take any risks, but doesn't bring anything new to the table as a result. I could enjoy this on an evening sometime, but there are far, far better standard porters at the same price available that provide a hearty but super flavorful experience in the process. If more of Upland's beers are of this quality, call me excited enough to crave their highly acclaimed sour fruit beers more than ever before.

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Photo of cetherid
2.98/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

poured into a pint glass


very dark porter. pretty much black with a nice thick foamy tan head.


mainly roasted malts. not much else to the smell. trying to smell for chocolate or coffee but not really getting that.


a smokey/roasted type of flavor. like some roasted coffee beans...almost a burnt taste to it. a little tartness and a slight hop presence.


barely medium bodied. a little light for me, although it has a little creaminess feeling to it. low carbonation. would probably be better on tap


about 1 is all I could take. doubt I'd buy this again. if I'm ever at Upland taproom, i MAY try it on draft if available just to compare.

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Photo of TheDM
2.98/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This brew poured a medium head of fine to large sized light brown bubbles that left a fair lacing and an opaque black colored body. It has a mild malt aroma and a medium strength coffee flavor with a slightly fizzy start and a bitter finish. The best thing about this beer is its color.

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Photo of hotstuff
2.99/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a small tan head that did not last long and it contained fine-medium sized bubbles. The lacing was decent and the nose was that of chocolate. The hue of this beer was black.It had a decent smooth coffee taste to it with some bitterness observed.

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Photo of mdm46410
3.01/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. This porter pours a deep brown with a small, light brown head. The head is slightly lasting, leaving behind some light lace around the glass. The aroma is roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and cocoa. Flavor is roasted malts and light coffee with some hop notes at the finish. Decent balance. This beer is light to medium bodied, maybe a bit thin feeling in the mouth. It leaves a slight aftertaste of coffee. A decent porter from Upland.

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Photo of jale
3.01/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Had on tap at the tasting room in Indy.

A: Pours dark brown with 2 quarters of tan head.

S: Dark roasted malt, coffee and a bit of bitter cocoa.

T: Dark roasted malt followed by bitter coffee and bitter cocoa. Nice mild finish.

M: Medium body, yet thin for a porter.

O: Just an average porter.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.01/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this in Warsaw, IN in February, 2009

A - Pours a deep, dark brown with a light tan, 2-finger head.

S - Very little

T - Toasty grain, caramel and light bittersweet chocolate that lasts into the slightly sour aftertaste.

M - Medium mouthfeel and carbonation

D - Just OK. One was enough.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.01/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours black as night with a small head that sticks around a good while. Lacing is ok. Scent is faint but mostly burnt malts. Taste is all burnt malts and a hint of smokiness. Flavors are somewhat bitter, but not too bad. Drinks light and easy. Not very thick and fairly highly carbonated, this is just about your average porter. Had this one a bunch of times, finally put down my thoughts about it.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.03/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Big thanks to robwestcott for this as an extra in a past trade! Served from bottle into a Stone nonic. Poured red-brown with a two and a half finger light tan head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, and tobacco. The flavor was of sweet malt, slight roasted malt, sugar, and very light tobacco. It had a light feel on the palate with low carbonation. Overall this brew wasn't that bad, but it also wasn't that great either. For me, the flavor seemed a little watered-down. It also had a very light mouthfeel as well. The aroma wasn't that great either. Glad I got to try it, but doubt I will again.

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Photo of brew3crew
3.04/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to urbancaver on this wonderful spring afternoon.

A-dark amber with white head that disapates quickly
S-is there one? Can't really pick up anything
T-slight malt in the beginning. Get some choclate and coffee in the after taste.
M-medium body and smooth
D-moderatly drinkable but not anything special

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Photo of maximum12
3.05/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to MichaelinFishers who sent me coveted Dark Lord Beer (tm) & dropped in this little guy, lighter & slightly less dark, as an extra. My wife says it's good. She's at work. I'm home drinking. Poor girl.

Pours into my lovely Lost Abbey chalice like the blood of a gut-shot goblin, dark, darker, darkest. Smell is light creamy coffee set against sweet malts.

Bad Elmo's porter is heavy on the roasted malt, but feels a little thin for a porter. Roast lends an almost coffee bitterness, malts. The creaminess in the mouth is a bit jarring when set against the bite.

Not really much going on here. A simple, decent porter.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.07/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This poured out as a nice looking brown color with a tan colored head on top. The lacing was thin and the retention was too. The smell of the beer is earthy and lightly roasted. The taste of the beer has a subtle chocolate and earthy roasted malts. There is a very light bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is dry, light to medium bodied with a good carbonation. Overall it's a decent porter, I enjoyed trying this beer.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.07/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark brown body with a fizzy, huge tan head (and that's with an extremely careful pour).

Smell: Earthy aroma of stale chocolate, prunes, and what can only be described as licorice dust.

Taste: Sweet chocolate taste with hints of coffee and a dash of cola. Light herbal hop flavor on the dry, bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Overly fizzy carbonation.

Drinkability: It would be fine but for all that gosh darned foam. Ease up on that carbonation, Elmer!

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Photo of titosupertramp
3.1/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown with red highlights towards the edges and when held to light. Nice amount of head/carbonation..a little surprised that it's so close to being white.

S: Hard for me to pick up anything here. In fairness, my sinuses have been giving me a little trouble lately. Can smell a little roastiness. Not bad.

T: Nice roasty flavors. Slight coffee, chocolate.

M: Well carbonated, dry, smooth.

D: Could easily drink several of these. For a porter, it's fairly mild and light. Low ABV and nice mouthfeel makes this go quickly.

Certainly nothing groundbreaking. If Upland was a band, Bad Elmers would be a filler song for their album.

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Photo of Brent
3.11/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured with a gigantic mocha colored head, immediately filling a pub mug to overflowing. Once it finally settled down, the aroma was unusual for a porter with some sharp, fruity notes. The flavor profile was a bit unusual, as well, with some yeasty fruity notes and an unusual acidic sharpness that rode above the malt. Nice coffee notes in the malt, but there was also a bit of mustyness that I couldn't tell if it was some oxidation or just part of the malt flavor (no date on the bottle).

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.12/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Brought back a few Bad Elmers from a recent road trip to Louisville.

The beer pours a standard porter look: medium-dark brown with a lightly tanned head formation, average retention, and light hints of lacing on the glass. Viscocity seems a bit thin.

Aromas of dark grains, light coffee, and hints of bittersweet cocoa. Mild esters of plumbs, grapes and decorated with a yeasty anise note.

Flavors convey an initial coffee, grainy, cocoa character up front. Soon the beer's taste changes to an acidic flavor. A lot of mineral content makes the beer taste harsh. Could have a lot more malt flavor and sweetness to balance out.

Mouthfeel is where the beer hurts most. Quite bitter from cocoa and coffee notes. Acidity seems to rob the beer of creaminess and smoothness. Sharp and astringent to the entire mouth. Not a pleasant experience.

Ultimately the beer has some nice attributes but the lack of body and maltiness hurts, specifically in the texture and drinkability.

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Bad Elmer's Porter from Upland Brewing Company
3.56 out of 5 based on 328 ratings.
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