Black Lightning Porter | Lightning Brewery

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Black Lightning PorterBlack Lightning Porter

Brewed by:
Lightning Brewery
California, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by dbalsock on 02-07-2007

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Reviews: 54 | Ratings: 76
Photo of chinchill
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, undated, served in a snifter at about 50-55F.

This porter pours nearly black with a small, dark tan head that has weak retention but leaves good lacing.

The complex aroma has an attractive mix of malted and dark roasted grains with hints of toffee and dark fruits.

Flavor: strong, complex and rich, with a load of dark roasted grains. Clear suggestions of both coffee and dark chocolate add to the flavor. Some burnt grain with a touch of smoke but in proportion to the other dark roasted grain flavors. Lightly acidic. Hops not obvious except in the mildly bitter balance of this bitter+sweet porter. (3.8+)

Feel: Soft, low carbonation. Full bodied. Creamy smooth.

O: an extreme porter with fairly well hidden alcohol.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.02/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with a half inch tan head that lingered around for a long time. There's also a good amount of lacing. The aroma is nice, the brew smells like roasted/burnt malt, coffee, chocolate and dark fruit. Taste is similar to the aroma, it tastes like roasted/burnt malt, dark fruit, bittersweet chocolate, molasses, coffee, and a bit of licorice. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's somewhat creamy and has moderate carbonation. I think it's a good, bitter roasty porter. $11.49 a bottle.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark brown-black color with a finger of frothy chocolate-khaki colored head. The head fades down fairly slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted dark chocolate malts, coffee, dark fruits, and a touch of vanilla.

T - Starts off with some roasted dark chocolate malts with some dark fruit sweetness and some vanilla. Through the middle, some roasted coffee comes through with some sweeter milk chocolate. The finish is a mix of roasted chocolate, coffee, and dark fruits.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth and a bit creamy with a sweet and roasted finish.

D - Very drinkable. Really nicely balanced Baltic Porter with a great mouthfeel.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.11/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smoky aroma has notes of coffee, malt and yeast. Pours an opaque warm sable with a thick, fluffy tan head. Very appetizing. Flavor is very satisfying - smoky and oily, good tones of coffee, molasses and licorice plus hints of yeast and apple. Texture is smooth and firm, but fizz is lacking. Overall, a darned good porter. Bolt to your package store if they have this one!

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Great Divide tulip glass. Pours an opaque black. Great three finger fine medium tan head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of roasted malt, some char and coffee. Flavor is very well integrated roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, slight char. Finishes with roasted malt and a nice hop bite. Somewhat subdured flavors, but so nicely blended that this was a pleasure to drink. Medium bodied with some creaminess. I liked this a lot and hope to try other styles from this brewery.

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Photo of PDXHops
2.97/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into a tall Ephemere tulip. One of those sneaky huge tan heads that suddenly erupts to 4 fingers. Pretty dense, plenty tenacious and leaves a ton of soapy lacing behind. Nice and dark down below.

The tangy roast in the nose veers slightly into sour territory, overwhelming the coffee and modest chocolate notes. In terms of variety, the flavor profile shows more promise, with dark chocolate and fruitiness in particular being more developed. Kind of a mishmash of flavors that doesn't entirely work, though. The combo of astringency, slight sourness, char and a pronounced earthy bite don't exactly jive. Aggressive carbonation blasts through an otherwise pleasantly smooth body. A middling take on the style fresh, although I wouldn't be too surprised if this was one of those beers that improved dramatically with age.

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Photo of avalon07
4.04/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a coal black color and a thick consistency. There was a big, foamy, tan-colored, long-lasting head. Excellent lacing. A great-looking beer.

S: A surprisingly underplayed aroma, with hints of coffee and malt in it.

T: Tasted of coffee, dark chocolate, malt, and some hops. There's a grassy tinge in the finish, but the other ingredients keep it in check. Flavor has more in common with a stout than a porter, but this isn't a bad thing.

M: An average amount of carbonation with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: A very enjoyable, well made beer.

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Photo of Bung
3.2/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz. Heavy black pour, bubbly tan head. Laces ok.

Aroma, Dark chocolate, roast malt, plum, port.

Taste, quite a husky roast to me. Overpowers it quite a bit, dark chocolate and malt and blasted away with ashy coffee and burnt toast. There were some dark red fruits in there as well, but again kind of overshadowed.

Solid medium body, carbonation was at a nice level. No real alcohol presence. Struggled to finish this though from the acridity.

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Photo of AmericanGothic
4.38/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Peace Tree pint.

A: Pours an opaque, very dark brown color with two fingers of billowy tan head. Good retention and excellent lace.

S: Roasted malt and chocolate. A little understated, but good.

T: Lots of chocolate up front, tapers off to bitter roast on the finish. Also some dark fruits in the background, plums and cherries. Full-flavored. As the beer warms, a bit of sweetness lingers on the aftertaste.

M: Full-bodied, very smooth and creamy.

O: This is a really good beer. Will definitely buy it again.

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Photo of mactrail
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very decent example of the style. It has that winey flavor along with a viscous, glass-coating body. More of a cocoa flavor than the Imperial Stouts. Plenty of charred barrel flavors over a caramel base and a robust bitterness. Nose of vanilla and resin. Dried cherries and chocolate come to mind in the aftertaste.

A different kind of stout. More acidity, but less actual sour taste. Spicy and hot with alcohol but also thick and rich in the mouth. Quite agreeable sipping beer.

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Photo of Retsinis
3.22/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes

A: Poured into a tulip glass, the beer pours black with a light tan head, that quickly settles to just a ring of bubbles.

S: Not too much here, but I mostly pick up scents of coffee, sweet malt, abd a light brown sugar note

T: Mostly mirrors the nose, mild roasted malts, some sprinkles of choclate, coffee, and an odd dark fruit note.

M: Light carb, light mouth, mildly sitcky

O: Above average, but not by much. Admitedly, my prefence to straight porters, over baltic porters is present here, but it is just my opinion.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of JohnCoctosin. Served in a Mikasa tulip.

Pours black with a thin mocha head that dissipates pretty quickly without leaving much behind. The nose carries some heavy roasted malt and espresso. Good amount of dark chocolate in the background and a fair amount of licorice as well. The flavor brings some heavy roast and bold coffee to the forefront. Anise/licorice is there as well. Body is medium and slightly harsh. Roasted dryness and a bit of an ashy character. Not a bad porter.

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Photo of flannelman808
4.32/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: toward the center this is "midnight" brown. It is very opaque and has a light golden hint around the edge. Topped with a tan head which has fairly weak to ok retention ... decent lacing.

S: Deep dark chocolate with a cookie like quality. Smells great though not very potent.

T: Loving this stuff. Everyone who spoke poorly about it must not have known what a Baltic porter can really be! First off this is shockingly bitter and does not finish sweet whatsoever. Charred dark dark chocolate. Burnt chrome in the best way. Subtle espresso/over roasted coffee bean qualities (like eating the bean not the brew). Certainly the most bitter most I think I've ever had. I wish more Double Ipa's had this quality. This is a beer to motivate the style. All that said its not quit in balance and Isn't a finished product.

M: very prickly due to bitterness and high carbonation.

O: Im loving that this is not a BS baltic porter and want to see more in its footsteps.

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Photo of portia99
3.01/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary snifter.

A - Pours an opaque black with a thick finger plus of cappuccino head with good staying power. As the foam dies, thick sheets of lacing are left all over the glass.

S - Prunes are heavy in the aroma. Boozy with noticeable alcohol and a light astringency/sourness. A bit unusual...

T - Caramel with sweet toffee...boozy with very noticeable alcohol in the flavor. As with the aroma, lots of prunes, some roast on the finish, a bit of burnt malt and roastiness.

M - Thinnish, medium body. Overwhelmed by prunes here...boozy prune juice is what I'm getting out of this one.

O - Not loving this. Boozy prune juice is all I can think with this one...aroma isn't great, taste isn't great - pretty much a miss for me.

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Photo of Dijeriduster
2.78/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Small Bar SD

A - Dark with a hint of brown and a nice thick and creamy head that was quite brown from the grains. Tender had a hell of a time pouring it but once the head settled it was nice.

S - Oddly sour with a hint of astringency. Some of the roasty flavours come thru too. More than a hint of booze.

T - Strange pucker taste happening. Not like a true sour beer, but like the astringency of the grain bill and a bit of their soury lager yeast. Tons of booze present that cuts right thru the roastiness.

M - Funny mouthfeel in that it was thick and fluffy on the tongue but finishes quite dry.

O - Interesting interpretation of a baltic porter. I like that the yeast character is present, but the astringency and heavy booze presence makes this much less drinkable. Good idea, not the best follow thru.

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Photo of sholland119
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to johndoe8 for the chance to try another Lightning beer.

A-Pours a deep, dark brown with a huge frothy, creamy mocha head. Great stickiness abounds.

S-Roasty, roasty, roasty. Rich, roasted coffee maybe a bit of dark chocolate. Nice.

T-Very bitter, not overly so, but be forewarned. Not really any noticeable sweetness at all. Burnt coffee, dark bitter chocolate, really nice flavors.

M-Medium bodied, silky, really nice.

D-I think one will probably do it due to the bitterness, but boy is this tasty.

Really glad to try this one.


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Photo of regspeir
2.87/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle courtesy of a trade) into a standard pint glass
Poured a dark brown, almost black with a huge mocha-colored head which settled to a 1/2 inch. Not much lacing throughout. Nose was roasted dark malts, coffee, some chocolate but a strange smell that was almost like spoiled milk. I am not fond of the latter. taste was consistent - bitter with sweet roasted malts, coffee, vanilla, chocolate, licorice and some dark fruit. FInish is dry and bitter but some sweetness remains to temper it. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with light carbonation. After each sip, there was a sticky feel as well. This isn't my favorite style but the problem I had with this beer is the sourness, especially the soured milk smell, although there was a kinda' sourness in the taste as well. I will pass on trying this again, even if it were distributed around here (which it is not).

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Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had at a small DC tasting thanks to nimbleprop.

a - Pours a dark black color with less than an inch of tan head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, vanilla, chocolate, and coffee.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and dark fruits.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A decent porter. Some nice roasted malts, would try again.

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Photo of brentk56
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with a mocha mattress atop the liquid that just sits and leaves sheets of lace

Smell: Prune, licorice and charcoal with undertones of dark chocolate

Taste: Starts out with a prune and licorice flavor that adds a bitter tinge that almost verges on sour, by mid-palate; some chocolate peeks through as well, but after the swallow, the licorice really pops, though the aftertaste has a medicinal character

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation

Drinkability: A really interesting Baltic Porter but I would like it much more if it didn't have some of the harsh qualities that linger on the finish

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Photo of riored4v
4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 5/20/10

Poured into a pint glass. Pitch black body with a 1 finger, dense, tan head. Good lacing. Had a nice velvety appearance to the head.

Smell was of burnt malt, licorice, molasses and chocolate. Some raisins, mellow bitterness. Slightly sweet.

Taste had lots of chocolate and molasses. Burnt malt bitterness in the finish. Seems to be a mild bitterness throughout the body of the beer, earthy in flavor. Good amount of chocolate. Slightly boozey. Hints of vanilla as well.

Mouthfeel was medium/heavy while the carbonation was medium/low. Sticky and slick mouthfeel.

Drinkability was good but the abv/booze shows a bit.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The pour is a deep dark one, black in color with a nice tan head on top.

S: The usual coffee and roast aromas as you would expect with a hint of licorice and some alcohol presence.

T: This one doesn't quite taste like any other porter that I've come across, but I cannot quite pinpoint the reason. Certainly some roasted malt, coffee, and dark chocolate. But there is also an almost tart character to it, yet it is not sour.

M: The body is medium with a fairly generous amount of carbonation for the style and ABV.

D: It would seem as though this beer might have been exhibiting some early stages of infection, but I cannot say for certain. There seemed to be some potential here, however.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood. Served in a generic wide-mouth tulip.

Bistre body with a dark chocolate finger of cream. Admirable retention as I stare at the beer waiting for it to warm a bit. Diving in, the lacing is a mi of solid sheets, whispy arcs, and a corner of big soapy bubbles. When the glass was nearly empty, a gentle swirl brought back the collar right away.

Earthy, malt ball, carob-tinged aroma - but very subdued overall. Even when it warmed up, everything was very neutral in the nose.

Roast malt, hazlenuts, and light duona on the palate. Faint caraway and pepper in the finish. Dry, almost woody throughout. While rich, the malt lacks the depth and potency of the best examples of the style. Very clean profile.

Smooth, medium-bodied, and very slightly sticky (a fine film seems to adhere to your teeth and gums).

A solid offering from this brewery, worth a try if you get the chance...

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Photo of GRG1313
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a nice tan head. Cooked pineapple and candy sugar nose with sweet light coffee undertones and sweet black licorice nose.

Very creamy, thick mouth feel with flavors of burnt sweet coffee/espresso with undertones and black licorice in the mid palate. A bit of grassy, light grapefruit hops but the "stout character" of this beer really overcomes any real hop character, although the hops are there; just subtle and really helping the balance.

Finishes with flavors of "chewed espresso beans." Really nice character, balance and flavors. Interesting, smells like Porter but tastes like a wonderful stout. The coffee finish goes on forever!

I'm a bit surprised that more people aren't talking about this beer. It's very rich and full and with lots of flavors. It might even do well with just a bit of age.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.26/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle thanks to Naven. Pours black with a thick tan head. Aroma is dominated by sour notes. Flavor is slightly roasted with some oak and bubblegum but sour notes crop up too. I would guess this is infected since I can taste some of backbone porter notes in the flavor. Still, seems like a common problem for this brewery? It's not bad but still would have liked to try this beer as *I think* it was intended.

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Photo of joepais
2.12/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thanks to a generous BA who sent me this interesting bottle no fault of his it was infected

Bottle poured into a snifter produced a ton of coco colored head that settled to a thick lace. The body of the brew was the obvious black in color.

Well another infected bottle comes my way. a Brett aroma and flavored porter a new one in my book. No freshness date on bottle so don't know the batch

I poured the glass and finished most of it but drain poured the rest of the bottle it got to be too much.

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Black Lightning Porter from Lightning Brewery
3.68 out of 5 based on 76 ratings.
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