Old Viscosity | Port Brewing

884 Reviews
Old ViscosityOld Viscosity

Brewed by:
Port Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by drewbage on 08-11-2004

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Reviews: 884 | Ratings: 1,977
Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.92/5  rDev -5.3%

Picked this up quite a few months back, having never had this before. I don't normally drink beers like this during the warmer months but I had off this week and finally wanted to give it a go. While not a bad beer, this was too burnt and weak when it came to the alcohol. Stouts tend to be a pretty competitive category and this one fell just a bit short compared to the ones I've had that I truly enjoyed from start to finish.

The pour was pretty much what I expected - dark, thick, but not quite "motor oil" because this wasn't black and there wasn't any "sludge" left in the bottle once I poured this out. The head was quite frothy and I had to let it settle before I could get my first sip in. Mostly burnt coffee in the nose, which was also the predominant flavor when I finally got this up to my lips. Brown sugar, molasses, cocoa nibs, and espresso all mixed in well here with a good amount of carbonation and nice lacing on the back side of my pint glass. This almost had the feel of a Coffee Porter as the booze and licorice that I was hoping for were nowhere to be found.

Maybe this was more like a Smoked Porter? Regardless of the stylistic leanings of this beer, the booze was recessed enough that it wasn't that part to polish off this bomber. With a name like "Old Viscosity", I was hoping that this would be jet black and trigger my olfactory senses from across the room. While not quite on the level, this was a sold Stout that nearly anyone could enjoy, especially with some biscotti or coffee cake. A bit thicker and bolder and this could have been something really special.

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Photo of RPH2327
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

A- brilliant, dark, deep brown with long-standing tan/cofee head

S- coffee, toffee, licorice

T- smoked figs, carmel, burnt-coffee, booze.

M- medium/heavy body coats the mouth with a boozy, silky presence.

O- Not a ton of barrel- might be good or bad depending on the person. For me, this is a delicious Imperial Stout. Sip on this while by the fire, or after a long day at the beach.

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Photo of larryarms847
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark brown with a delicious looking caramel/off-white three finger head.

The aroma of toasted malts is very nice with slight chocolate and coffee, smells very smooth for a 10%er.

Very malt forward. Toasted caramel malts, coffee, and dark chocolate are perfectly blended.

Mouthfeel is smooth as butter.

Overall this is a serious brew that deserves respect!

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Photo of mabermud
4/5  rDev -3.4%

The 22 was poured into a brandy snifter. The body is super dark brown and the head is a fluffy beige. The froth and legs are slick along the sides of the glass. The aroma of burnt malts are heavy alongside the coffee, and background sweetness. The taste comes at me like this - roasted malts, coffee, bitter chocolate, and sweetness. The mouthfeel is somewhat smooth, but not too smooth. Carbonation in the mouth is almost chewy and dense.

Overall, this is a solid stout. It is readily available and not pricey. Would I drink this again? With the price point and availability, there is a high probability I would drink this again.

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Photo of Catracho5
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Serving type: 22 ounce bomber poured into a belgian style tulip glass.

Appearance: Looks great in the glass, pitch black with a tan coffee colored two finger head. Loads of tiny bubbles in the head and sticking to the side.

Smell: Faint aromas, coffee, malts, not a lot on the aroma. No alcohol on the nose.

Taste: There is a coffee, roasted malt flavor up front, some bitterness, some dark fruits that linger on the palate. There is no alcohol on the flavor. Finishes dry.

Mouthfeel: Has a great mouthfeel, viscous, smooth, lots of carbonation, coats the palate really well. Great mouthfeel.

Overall: I have some mixed resolutions about this beer, I was expecting more but I am not disappointed. My overall impression is that this is more than a stout but not quite reaching the imperial stout level. It lacks that kick an imperial stout has but has more than a regular stout. It is a very well made beer, smooth, and for 10% ABV I got no alcohol on the nose or palate.

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Photo of Dave1999
3.72/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This beer is pitch black with a really foamy tan head.

The smell is sweet malts and dark fruits.

The taste is burnt coffee, bitter, not sweet at all. There's a little sherry fruitiness in the finish.

The mouthfeel is light and smooth.

This beer was ok, I was expecting more flavor and body. I thought it would have some sweetness and a fuller body.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 11/14/12, poured into a snifter

A- pours a thick and viscous pitch black color with a two-finger thick and creamy dark tan head that has good retention, eventually leaving some sticky lace behind, thick and creamy

S- creamy dark chocolate with cocoa powder mix with molasses and brown sugar, smoky malt gives it a smoked meaty aroma, closes out with some woodsy oak

T- dark chocolate and molasses with a hint of dark roast coffee up front, hints of figs & dates, with flavors reminiscent of port wine. The finish is slightly smoky and dry with lingers of smoked, charred meat

M- thick and creamy body with moderate carbonation leads to a thick, creamy and silky mouthfeel, eventually finishing velvety smooth, with just a bit of warmth on the linger

O- absolutely loved the mouthfeel on this one, and it matched nicely with such a big stout

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Photo of Furlinator
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours opaque black with cola edges. The big one and a half inch tan head remains as a cap on top that leaves thick curtains of lace.

The smell is of spent coffee grounds, dark chocolate, sweet vanilla and faint black licorice.

The taste is of dark chocolate, black coffee, vanilla, molasses and a hint of dark stone fruit.

The texture is heavy bodied with medium carbonation.

This is a very good example of a classic imperial stout. Big coffee and dark chocolate aroma and flavor. I've passed this one up dozens of times...I was wrong.

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Photo of chinchill
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the brewery in San Marcos.

Pours black with a beige head that soon reduces to a ring but leaves a little lacing.

Aroma: enticing aroma with a good malt base; hints of white wine.

Flavor: rich but not particularly complex dark malts. No burnt elements.

Feel: medium-full body; medium carbonation.

O: recommended

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Photo of RickS95
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's a beauty. Pours (barely) a thick black ale, looks like spent oil. Very black. The head is two fingers of light brown bubbles. Foamy, good retention, and a chewy lace left behind.

Malty nose. You can smell both caramel and old barrels. Vague licorice scent. Almost smells sweet.

Flavor mimics the nose with caramel and licorice, only now a certain boozy flavor emerges. It only takes a swig (don't chug this) to know this came from oak barrels. No hop presence, the alcohol destroyed them.

Needless to say, but I'll do it anyway, it's full-bodied and chewy. Very earthy feel from the oak. Alcohol esters work their way from the palate up through the nose. A grainy bitterness comes alive as the beer reaches the back of the tongue. Plenty of heat. Some sweetness, but only for an attempt at balance.

Overall, this is pretty damned good. It's manly, but never over the top. Will sleep well tonight after I finish the bomber.

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Photo of MjBrewhouse
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber.

Dark black with two inch head, nice lacing.
Smell is of dark chocolate, smokey, earthy and oak.

Taste is very much like smell, oak up front with slight earthy and smokey finish.
Mouth feel is a little lite for the style but is still very pleasant.
Overall nice beer, one of the better oak aged brews I've had.
One final note, these oaked and barrel aged stouts are meant to be drank at cellar temp not fridge temp. Took a little time for me to figure this out.

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Photo of timontheroad
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter, huge fluffy brown head that just stayed around for a loooong time. Almost pitch-black color. Aroma had a lot of chocolate with a bit of coffe and a slight aroma of dark roast malt. The flavor was big coffee up front, with a lot of vanilla and caramel and just a hint of dark chocolate. The mouthfeel was medium to thick with a nice carbonation bite. Overall, I really like this beer, it just hits a sweet spot for me!

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Photo of ptykozoon
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A dense liquid crawls from the bottle. Pours black, head is massive and frothtastic.

Fudge, dark chocolate, smoke, maple syrup, fresh roasted coffee.

Taste mirrors the nose. Hops.

Mouthfeel is dense. (I'd prefer a bit denser).

A good beer to age - let the hops die down a bit.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to jfam for this - 2011 vintage

Appearance - Dark brown colour with an average size frothy head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for around 3-4minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, grains, coffee, smoke

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and coffee. There is also some dark fruit, a smokiness and some hops. There isn't much barrel/wood coming through.

Overall - A solid RIS. Seems to be regularly available and reasonably priced. Not something that blew my mind, but still very above average for the style. Also good for those who don't like a whole lot of barrel presence.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.82/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle into a tulip. From notes.

A: Pours a pitch black color with notable sediment near the bottom of the glass. The head is damn impressive - four fingers high, tan shade, and insane/annoying retention. There are also nice rings of lacing left behind. Sediment aside, this one looks fantastic.

S: Very chocolaty at first. Once it warms up, more dark fruits come out. There are supplementary notes of roast, licorice, and maybe even oak. Make no mistake, the aroma is nicely rich and decadent.

T: Chocolate and dark fruit hit the palate immediately, with some cola flavors appearing in the middle. The finish is gently roasted - at first - and oaky. Near the bottom of the glass, it starts getting really charry tasting. Really close to a 4, but the flavors don't seem perfectly balanced and cohesive.

M: Along with the sweeter flavors, the slick (perhaps even slimy at times) palate make me think 'porter' instead of 'stout'. Oak tannins give it a bit of dryness. As such, it goes down fairly easily for a big, sweet, 10% beer; unfortunately, it becomes tiring after a while. Low carbonation.

O: This is really nice sto...por...whatever it is (called a strong ale on the other site), it just lacks the finesse and cohesion to be world class. Still, a very solid dessert beer.

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Photo of TruePerception
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Port Brewing's Old Viscosity, ale aged in oak barrels. 10% ABV

A: Pours a ridiculously dark brown, with a frothy, fluffy brown head. Deep black in the glass. The slightest bit of deep red-brown in the dimple. Some slight lacing.

S: Very dark powdered cocoa in the front. Roasty coffee. Malt powder. Some dark caramel in the background. Slight woodiness, like in a Bourbon barrel-aged beer (though, I think they use untouched oak).

T/MF: Mmm. It's got a creamy thickness to it. Fair amount of sweetness to it! Vanilla and oak pop out, but rich coffee flavor dominates. As I continue to sip, bitter char becomes apparent around the edges. Has some crisp to the mouthfeel. Almost like a stout, but not quite. Some kind of very dark fruit backing, as well.

Not up to a proper BBA beer, but a pretty damn good dark beer.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

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Photo of JCarey
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Attractive, simple bottle labeling and no mention of style. Simply Ale Aged in Oak Barrels. I'll be reviewing based on it being an Imperial Stout.

Pours a deep, dark, midnight black like motor oil, reminiscent of the labeling. A generous amount of head forms from the bottom to the top of the glass and invades a good 2 inches of space to the brim. Head is a large-bubbled, dark brown to the outsides and frothy tan in the middle.

Distinctly stout on the nose with a clean alcoholic aroma. Very, very slight hints of Oak aging, but this was bottled 7/19/13 so I'm sure it has mellowed quite a bit in those 9 months.

Again, distinctly Stout in flavor. Strong coffee and dark chocolate mix with some burnt toffee and caramel. Slightly acidic and a tiny bit oxidized. Stronger oak than on the nose but still doesn't pull too much char or vanilla flavors out. I think the vanilla would come out more underneath the hot alcohol. Very pleasing, in all.

Mouthfeel is exactly what you'd think of from a beer named old viscosity. This isn't your daddy's Beast ICE. Super smooth and perfectly carbonated even after 9 months.

Overall, I feel like this beer suffered from being held too long, but is still a worthy candidate for your collection. Being my first experience with the brewery I will definitely pick up some other offerings.

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Photo of auee92
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Aroma: light hints of chocolate, oily coffee and alcohol

Appearance: black, frothy luxurious head, fine and rich tan foam

Taste: medium sweetness up front, giving way to a medium bitterness, lightly sour on the finish

Palate: medium body, creamy, slick mouth feel, softly carbonated, long and bitter finish

Overall: While the lack of pronounced aroma is a little disappointing, the absolutely brilliant appearance makes up: this beer is a work of art in the glass. A very satisfying Porter-like stout that presents boozy chocolate and coffee up front and finishes with long, sour bitter hops.

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Photo of Radome
4.31/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber bottle into a goblet.

A - When the first few drops hit the glass they look dark brown, but as soon as there is a significant amount it appears not-quite jet black. No light gets through when you hold it up to a light bulb. The head is dark brown, smooth, creamy and huge. After a few minutes it recedes to a thick island of bubbles in the center of the glass, a sheen of tiny bubbles over the remainder, and thick lacing. Beautiful.

S - Aromas of molasses and brown sugar from the malt, some roast, but no much. Only a small hint of spicy hops (I may have an older bottle that doesn't show the typical hops nose). through it all is a strong oak barrel note and a rum-like aroma of strong alcohol. It reminds me very much of DFH Palo Santo Maron, which is a very good thing.

T - The flavors are not as layered and complex as the aromas. I get brown malt with slight roast, like a brown porter or old ale. The hops flavors do not come out, although there is a medium bitterness that dries out the finish. The oak is there, but not as much as in the nose. Surprisingly littel alcohol flavor.

M - Thick body with a velvety feel. Smooth, creamy carbonation. Little hops or alcohol burn.

O - This is a great looking beer with a wonderful, layered nose. I was a bit disappointed with the taste, but only because it was not as complex as I was hoping. There are no flaws here, but it is not as wonderful as the aromas led me to hope.

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Photo of alex11ibanez
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: bottle is a growler with freshness date and a little info. wow, pours thick, dark, with a thick head of chocolate-brownie frothiness… I hope that makes sense, I can’t even see through it except for a eclipsing sense of cacao goodness.
Smell: I can really smell the dark malt, light chocolate and fresh bread… Nutella? Sweet woody smells, most definitely from the oak barrel.
Feel: surprisingly dry and bubbly for such a thick beer, which I like, but still maintains a heavy syrup density that just slowly moves down the palate and lingers around the tongue like oil on a bar of soap.
Taste: at first sip has is a rich dark chocolate notes that crumble into bready loafs of black coffee. But there is also some hints spice hops. Interestingly I can feel the alcohol before I could even taste it, so for a strong ale/stout I can barely taste it.
Overall: Though this beer says ale, it tastes more like a dry imperial stout. It just crumbles like a brownie that I almost wish I could dip it in milk, and yet it is so seductive with every poor, just like motor oil, which is oddly appealing. This is a fun and tasteful beer that will get you going.

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Photo of ssteakley
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

See KYgunner, no reason to state the same. I bought this cause it was on sale and BA rated it high. I only drink Stouts a few times a year. This one took me about 3/4 glass to get right Into it. I'm hooked, I am convinced this brewery knows beer! See if you can get your girlfriend to drink it?

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Photo of KYGunner
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This had a deep ebony appearance with a small cap of dense tan foam.

Lots of dry chocolate on the nose, with notes of char and roasted coffee but the chocolate is very prominent.

The flavor is chocolatey as well with a full but dry cocoa nib taste. There's hints of roast and coffee but the chocolate is again prominent.

The feel was a bit too carbonated and bubbly for the style but it failed to detract from the experience.

For this of you who like a stout with lots of chocolate properties this is right up your alley.

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Photo of Ieatlambfries
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured an opaque black. Fluffy mocha colored head. Sticky lace.

Dark chocolate smell, followed by roasted malt, and a hint of oak.

Tastes of roasted malts, dry baking coco, with a slight lactic sweetness. Good hop presence that works well with the deep oak flavors in the finish.

Slick oily mouthfeel, but much thinner than expected.

Overall a nice double stout. Excellent use of barrel aging. I was however disappointed with the mouthfeel. Though my expectations may have been tainted being I've had Older Viscosity a few times prior to trying Old Viscosity.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.19/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Black with a foamy brown head.

S: Oaky, coffee, roasted malt, floral and citric hops in the nose.

T: Coffee, roasted malt, floral hops. Floral hops and a bit of orange citrus. A touch of oak as well.

M: Full bodied and smooth. Very nice and complimentary for the style.

O: This is a really good imperial stout. Hops are present, which is nice, though I prefer Older Viscosity.

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Photo of pknyc
3.74/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle dated 11/14/12. Bottle opened 01/30/14.

A: A big hiss upon opening. Lots of carbonation with a semi-aggressive pour. There was a huge mocha colored head. Some very large bubbles, however they recede into a small film. Weird head for an imperial stout. Nice lacing. Color is opaque black.

S: Big dark chocolate. Lots of alcohol. I figured after a year and change the alcohol wouldn't be so prominent, but I was wrong. A bit of oak and espresso. A hint of smoke.

T: Surprising. I was thinking there would be more. Mostly alcohol, some chocolate and coffee. Real alcohol bite. Bitter.

M: Thin, but coating. Too much carbonation for the style, which really affects the mouthfeel.

O: I was very excited for this one. The Old Viscosity is only my second Port Brewing beer and I'm not sure if there was an issue with this bottle. It was good, but I feel it didn't live up to the general consensus.

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Old Viscosity from Port Brewing
4.14 out of 5 based on 1,977 ratings.
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