Thunderhead Cream Stout | Portland Brewing Company

Thunderhead Cream StoutThunderhead Cream Stout
39 Ratings
Thunderhead Cream StoutThunderhead Cream Stout

Brewed by:
Portland Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: Milk / Sweet Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by UncleJimbo on 02-23-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 39 |  Reviews: 38
Reviews by Elemental:
Photo of Elemental
3.76/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

not a bad stout. very nice appearance, dark and thick looking with a slight brownish hew. faomed up on poor but dissapates quickly. the smell is typical for a stout, a heavy aroma with a slight hop hint to it. the taste is tart and malty but smooth with a slight hint of chocolate and finishes slightly bitter. overall a good stout.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
3.21/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance – Very dark, almost black in color with an absolutely gorgeous head that rose up mightily and went down slowly. The head also left a little lacing, making this one a sight to behold.

Smell – The aroma is not very strong, but it consists mostly of roasted malts and coffee with a hint of chocolate.

Taste – The roasted malts and coffee come out at the taste, but they are diluted with a big surge of white milk. There’s a touch of bitterness at the end, but this really is a Stout, Milk bottle.

Mouthfeel – Very smooth but somewhat thin. This stout had the consistency of a glass of milk.

Drinkability – I didn’t care much for this take on the Stout style, but that doesn’t mean that others won’t.

Comments – My bottle simply said, “Thunderhead Stout,” without the “cream” in it, but clearly this is not a standard take on the Stout style.

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Photo of Thrasher
3.77/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The name has dropped "cream." I don't know if the recipe has been changed as well, but it is not out of the realm of possibility that this stout could be considered a cream stout. Pours coal black with twinges of tan at the edges. The head forms reasonably well, then drops, leaving ample wisps of lace. The aroma is predominantly chocolate, with some hint of milk. The taste is initially quite large and sweet, with a big herbal bitter finish. Chocolate shines through, as well as a strong twinge of doppel-ish caramel. This is certainly not as sweet as something like Mackeson XXX, but it's in the same general ball park. The beer grows better as it warms, which is not surprising, but it never fully evolves into a truly delectable treat. For me, the herbal hoppiness gets in the way and never fully meshes with the flavors. I like a lot of what is going on here, particularly the sweet molasses attack, but it doesn't quite jel. However, I got this for a very good price and am satisfied with the purchase; it makes for a better session beer than many larger stouts. Like many of MacTarnahan's beers, it's a pleasant and drinkable underacheiver.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice black pour, thin beige head. All the usual suspects in the nose, chocolate and coffee with some burnt malt vibe going on.

Smooth taste, fits the bill of a milk stout, as the smoothness is accompanied by a rather dry lactose presence. Smattering of bitterness. Viscosity isn't huge, but this is a milk stout, meant for more sessionable qualities than braggadocio about its thickness.

More chocolate than anything in the mouthfeel, stays away from the coffee, frequently I'll smell coffee as a olefactory assimilation when theres a deep roast stout like this.

A pleasant beer, suitable for aging up to 3 years I would say, in terms of its premium quality. Sure it would and has survived longer than 5, but I've noticed a dropoff after a few.

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Photo of cokes
3.16/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Mostly black, trimmed peripherally with dark maroon.
Cigarette ash nose. And potently so. As it warms, it gains a caramel-oat sweetness, but the butts are still there.
Begins with a slick burnt cola notion. This migrates towards caramel later on. Burnt breads and those cigs again. Still, though, the cola remains. Ends with a meager yet drying, fruited hop burst.
Thin, but drinkable. Flawed, but it has its moments...and that's a good thing, because even as-is, this is average at best.

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Photo of ElGordo
3.95/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one arrived in the March BOTM shipment, which was kind of disappointing since I used to be able to just drive over to the brewery and pick up a case or keg whenever I felt like it. Oh well.
Pours a pitch black with almost no head (got it a bit too cold, I guess). Deep, malty nose with hints of coffee, molasses, and concord grapes. Rich, creamy body yields to a foamy finish. Palate begins slightly sweet, with molasses and toffee notes, transitioning to a dark fruitiness (plum, dark grapes), then finishing with a toasty coffee bitterness. Goes very well with chocolate-covered strawberries.

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Photo of bditty187
3.56/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black, basically opaque, only when held to a light did ruby highlights show around the edges. A russet colored head of a finger and a half rested firmly above the black body. The head retention was very good, if not great, as it sat motionless for a few moments before slowly fading away to a tight cap. The subsequent lacing was unorganized but prevalent. This is an ideal looking stout. The nose doesn’t have a very big or bold blast of roasted aromas, there is a sweetness to it, kind of milky but faint, at the back of the bouquet I found a suggestion of dry, coffee beans. The nose is ordinary and small for a Stout. My bottle doesn’t mention the word “Cream” on it but the aromas vaguely suggests that is a Sweet Stout of sorts. The potency is too small for the invitation to be clear. The palate has a fair amount of astringent flavors upfront from the roast, the acidity isn’t too loud but it is very vocal upfront. There is some mild hop bitterness in the middle, this works in harmony with the roast. I don’t find a lot of subtle complexities in this Stout until the finish; this is when notes of caramel, milk, and coffee briefly make an appearance. However by the aftertaste these flavors have faded away and all that is left is a boring roasty flavor. The palate is not bold nor is it complex. This is a Stout with training wheels on. There is a good dry sensation, similar to an Irish Stout, which I believe this beer actually is. But the 6% abv is, IMO, too high for the style. Maybe this is just an ordinary Stout. All right, stop thinking and more drinking. This is a decent Stout, how’s that? It is a bit fuller than medium in body, there is creamy, sugary notion to the mouthfeel, this is pleasant enough, and the carbonation is modest. There is nothing really bad or flawed with this Stout. It is ordinary. Simple as that, I mean there is nothing wrong with being typical. I guess if this was available locally and reasonably priced I’d drink it on occasion. As is, my lone sample purchased in Iowa City will suffice.

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Photo of bashiba
3.74/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The appearance is a nice black color with some burgundy hints, with a nice inch of tan head that leaves slowly.

Smell is great, Dark roasted malts, coffee flavors, some butterscotch, with a slight sweetness to it, very impressed with the smell.

The Taste is a very much dominated by the burnt coffee flavors, but with a nice creamy sweetness coming through with some bitterness on the finish. Not to bad

The mouthfeel is very creamy but a little lighter than I would expect. Not to bad though.

The drinkablitlity is good, the creamyness and slight thinness of this stout helps it go down nice an easy. I eagerly went back for a second.

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Photo of trumick
3.48/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown no head nice lacing.
Smell roasted malts, coffee, nutty.
Taste is a little weak for a stout but roasty, nice dry finish, slight hops.
Mouthfeel medium bodied, but is too lively. Too much carbination for the style nothing I didn't like just something I am not used to from a stout.
Drinkability is ok I could drink more than two at a time.

This is different for the style, but a nice beer overall.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.85/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Obsidian in color with a small tan head, actually quite large for the style, and thick lacing. The head retains fairly well. Prominent streams of carbonation are visible when tipping the glass.

Aroma: The sweet aroma quite clearly reveals this as milk stout. The lactose adds a cream aroma, which plays off well against the smoky black malt. There is a quite faint hop note as well.

Taste: Begins with a smoky, roasted black malt note and a slight nuttiness, soon followed by a surging coffee and bitter chocolate wave. These carry through to the end of the taste, where mild hop bitterness appears.

Mouth feel: Perhaps a bit thin for the style, but still smooth and quite pleasant. The carbonation seems a touch lively on the tongue.

Drinkability/notes: A very pleasant example of the style, and surely an excellent fall and winter beer. Tasted in a standard pint tap glass.

Presentation: Package reviewed was a 12 ounce brown glass pop top longneck with a label reading "Thunderhead Stout". This variance in labeling may be due to Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission rules.

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Photo of Zorro
3.76/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black beer with a good brown head. I can not pass light through this beer.

Smell is chocolate and smoke with a hint of acid sharpness. Hint of sweetness and vanilla too.

Taste is sweet chocolate milk at first. The tasty chocolate flavor lasts all the way through and a nice bitter finish. Not real complex but a tasty brew anyway.

Mouthfeel is a little light.

Very pleasant draught here that I can see buying again.

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Photo of marc77
3.48/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Virtually black with a deep burgundy fringe when held to light. Head settles into a dense, pitted one fingered bister layer. Foamy, sparse lace remains. Sweet milk chocolate with a cola like caramel twang upfront in aroma. Sugared, milky mocha hints surface as the beer warms. Clean and stately aromawise. In flavor, the incipient snap of dark caramel sweetness yields to a bittersweet combination of mellow roasted barley and sweet cocoa and lactose. Mild in hop bitterness, with roasted grain carbonaceous bitterness doing to bulk of balancing residual sweetness. Very clean in yeast profile, with only trace prune like notes arising as the brew warms to near room temp. Lightly bodied, with a lightly dextrinous mouthfeel that could use a notch more viscosity. Finishes mostly clean, with fading hints of singed brownie and light roast coffee. An understated, but well rounded stout. Intermediate in character between a true sweet stout and a west coast version. Tasty.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.06/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ok hadnt seen this MacTarnahan brew for bought a sixer today.
Very nice looking stout..dark dark brown just a shade away from pure black..great frothy and thick tan coloured head.
Aroma is a let down..its sort of one dimensional sourish milk..some hops.
Taste too is one dimensional..dark chocolate bitterness..with some acidic hints.
Very thin for a stout on the palate.
Not very drinkable..I'm very dissapointed with this after the good looks.

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Photo of aracauna
3.61/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice appearance. The dark copper-brown body is black until closer inspection and the head is sandy and healthy. It lasts nicely and leaves behind a fine lace. The aroma has a nice bit of roast to it, but the body is a bit weak. The roast is still there, but more chocolate and oak. Slight lingering bitterness in the finish. Very easy drinking, but leaves you wanting more.

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Photo of granger10
2.68/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer poured a dark brown, almost black color with a creamy tan head that faded quickly. Smell was of a typical stoutish smell which consisted of roasted barley and some chocolate notes. Taste was quite unusual and not really in a good way. Lots of burnt malt flavors upfront mixed with a strong roasted coffee precense. But soon the creamy part of the stout takes over and becomes almost too much. The cream seems to be a little sour in taste. The finish is very acidic which is something that doesnt work with this beer. Not the worst beer I have had but there were too many astringencys and it was simply too rough to fully enjoy.

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Photo of moulefrite
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Even with a hard pour the brews head emerges and quickly retreats, contrary to the picture on the label-take a look at that ominous headage! The result is a beer with a nice creamy cap and quite adequate lace. Aromas are redolent of an espresso crunch bar-medium bodied with a smooth, creamy texture, yet light on the palate. Flavors are nice, yet lean. Good roasted coffee bean, chocolate, etc, but on the very light end of stout. The finish is nicely bitter and long.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Another black beer, this was uber black for the 90s. Heavy roasted notes, and just the slightest sweetened back end.

Taste was more roasty than milk stout lactose-y. Chocolate malt with that lactose was nice. One of the few examples of such a style 25 years ago. Maybe 20. Anyways, the mouthfeel is where it hits its sweet spot, which actually isn't all that sweet but allows for a pretty thick by those times standard to be of easier and better drinking.

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Photo of TPoling
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a dense tan head. Dark coffee malt nose with hops underlying. Dark roasted coffee, ripe fruit and some spicy hop notes. There is a long bitter finish from both the malt and the hops. A smooth and velvety mouthfeel also adds extra character to this beer that often is not present in many American stouts

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
2.93/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: 12 fluid ounce (355ml) brown glass bottle. The front label has a purple & white colored picture of storm clouds, with the word “Thunderhead Stout” in a two-tone colored font, the ‘Thunderhead’ in yellow/red and the ‘Stout’ in blue/white. Listed in the bottom left hand corner as 6.0% ABV. A small purple and white neck label has a picture of very Guinness looking Thunderhead Stout with a large white strike of lightning running through it.

Appearance: Incredibly dark body, it pours with little opacity and not much light gets through the edges never mind the bulk of the beers body. During the pour, the head struggles to form, when it does come out of solution, it is a very thin light brown affair that soon breaks up into a halo like covering. A quick swirl helps the carbonation replenish a decent looking collar like head, but that too does not last too long. A subsequent top-up pour helped to form a much better looking head, more in line with what I would expect, it even left some light lacing.

Nose: Dark roasted malts with a little smidgeon of chocolate and some coffee beans, but it is low in strength.

Taste: Bitter start with roasted malts. Coffee and dark chocolate come through in the latter third, but it soon finishes with a bitter, somewhat dry finish. The flavors are never high profile, or strong, but they are detectable. Pretty average, but the roast flavors are raw, and the bitterness dominates a tad too much for me.

Mouthfeel: A rather thin body that has some medium traits once in a while which allows the roast flavors to reveal themselves too much, and contributes the to strong bitterness I feel.

Drinkability: Thanks to its thin body it is relatively easy to quaff, yet the raw roast flavors and unbalanced bitterness detract from this Stout in the long run. Way too thin with little smoothness, and absolutely no “cream” qualities at all. There are much better examples for the price ($1.60 bottle) out there.

Overall: Not bad, but a little harsh for my liking, it lacks a creamy-smoothness which I typically like in my Stouts, which is ironic given the fact that I never saw the word ‘Cream’ in the title, or even listed anywhere on the bottle, unlike the name listed in the BA Database!!

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Photo of Naes
3.86/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is jet black with a large brown head that disappears quickly.

It has a sweet aroma with hints of roasted malt and chocolate and coffee.

Flavor is roasty followed by a burnt coffee taste.

The mouth feel is light for a stout and is generously carbonated. Despite its light body, a small film is left in the mouth.

Easily consumable.

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Photo of hobbes2112
4.07/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle that is labeled as "Thunderhead Stout" not "Thunderhead Cream Stout"

Pours blacker than black, only holding it up to a bright light lets you see any of the deep red/brown color. Head is a creamy brown that goes down quickly.

Smell is sweet and chocolate malt, hint of roast/smoke.

Taste is bitter roasted malt, woody tartness, and long lasting coffeelike finish.

Mouth feel is decent, though a little bit sharp at some points. Not quite as much body as I would like either, but it is mostly right.

As far as drinkability goes I think this is up there, I found this easy and enjoyable to drink and will likely purchase this in the future.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.66/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Eclipse black color. Medium tannish foamy head. Aroma is chocolate and mocha. A medium bodied Stout. Soft mocha flavor, roasted malts some hoppyness. Mouthfeel is full. Nice finish, some maltyness, no residual sweetness. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

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Photo of mschofield
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown/black with a three finger dark chocolate-tan head, leaves bits of lacing.
Roasted malt, cream, coffee, earthy aroma.
Charcoal and herb notes in the taste, slightly sour, sweetened and lightened coffee, a bit of wood tannins, herbal.
Full bodied.

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Photo of harpus
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of WetCoaster
3.93/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nice looking stout. Pours a nearly black, deep mahogany with a coffee brown head. Head is a medium, chunky variety that lasts for a little while, with decent lacing clinging to the glass throughout.

Smell: Green apple yeast tops a nice body of smoked malt, mild hops and hints of coffee. Not as bold as some stouts, but quite good.

Taste/Mouthfeel: I don't know, it's got everything I look for in stout. Starts with mild hop, which is quickly overtaken by a terrifically smoky malt with hints of coffee and bittersweet chocolate. Finishes with a cigar smoke bitterness--but that's a good thing. Mouthfeel is pretty thin, particularly for a stout, but it's smooth and nicely carbonated.

Drinkability: Pretty good, light body and nice, big flavor.

I haven't been a huge fan of this brewery, and this beer has gotten midland reviews, but I really dig it. It's not a huge stout, but it's quite tasty and very easy to drink. I'll be back.

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Thunderhead Cream Stout from Portland Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.53 out of 5 with 39 ratings
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