Old Viscosity
Port Brewing

Old ViscosityOld Viscosity
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
American Imperial Stout
Ranked #817
Ranked #2,098
4.16 | pDev: 8.89%
Port Brewing
California, United States
Old ViscosityOld Viscosity
Notes: This is definitely not your Dad’s 30 weight!

An enormously rich and satisfying beer, Old Viscosity begins with a malty nose with caramel and chocolate overtones. An incredibly rich beer with substantial malty notes, Old Viscosity finishes with a dry, sweet Dark Chocolate bitterness.

HopsGerman Magnum

Original Gravity1.091

AvailabilityYear Round
firstprev| 826-850 | 851-875 | 876-900  | next → last
Reviews: 896 | Ratings: 1,998
Photo of orfeu
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received today in a trade from Intriqken -- maximum respect, Ken!
As deep and thick a black as I've ever seen on any Imperial Stout with a thin, dense burnt orange head. Big aromas of black and roasted malts, with coffee, molassess, and prune notes. Some alcohol vapors are present, too. Damn, I just can't stop sniffing this one! The nose is truly amazing in its complexity. Okay, finally, a taste: dark fruits of unending variety (black cherry, dried Black Mission figs, raisins, and many more), scorched coffee, composted earth, and a gigantic -- and I mean big -- alcohol flavor. The booziness is kind of jarring at first, but with each sip it becomes more and more integrated to the entire flavor profile, without, however, getting lost in the shuffle. Spruce essence in the burps. Chewy barley malt and piney coffee-ground sandwich. Dense, slick, and utterly full in the mouth. Increasingly milder but ever-present alcohol burn. One of the most amazing things about this beer is the way this alcohol characteristic is always obvious but never harsh or distracting. It's actually pretty mind-boggling. A very difficult beer to pigeonhole: in my estimation, it's by almost all observations an enormous Russian Imperial Stout, but the ostentatious alcohol presence takes it a step or eight beyond that more or less traditional style. It's also a little bit chewier and less vinous than most big stouts... Ridiculously fascinating, all told. It's so huge, I can't say I'd crave one of these more than once a month, but its sheer complexity, originality, and straight-up tastiness makes me wish I had much easier access to this than I do. This one's staying on the "Want" list. Thanks again for the opportunity, Ken!

 1,718 characters

Photo of clickpush
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pour: 22oz bottle to tulip glass. A half inch of heavy dark brown head sinks quickly to luscious lacings and a big halo over an extremely dark brown beer. No visible bubbles due to the opaque nature of the beer.

Nose: Everything delicious of dark malt characters - chocolate, caramel, burnt toast, and coffee. Smells sweet and smooth.

Mouth: First impression is sweet milk chocolate with fruit filling. The sweet flavors continue all the way through to the swallow, which is when the roast & burnt flavor creeps back into the mouth, going from back to front with burnt toast. Mouthfeel is great: tiny sparkling bubbles tickle all over my mouth; thick and chewy. More flavors of alcohol, whiskey barrels, cherry and bananas, and a spicy heat in the exhale.

This beer is so amazingly complex that it's hard to explain. Drinkability is lower because it is what it says - extremely viscous! Really heavy - should be saved for colder weather.

 946 characters

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is one crazy beer, like no other American Strong Ale I've ever had. Pours black, period, stout black, like I said, crazy. Slightly off on the nose compared to the rest of the beer-crispy, moody, much like a winters morning.

This is a BIG tasting beer. Infact, moreso than any beer I've had this year. It's late in the year too. Big malty alcohol presence, dark fruits, with a sugary aftertaste. Meyer's Rum inspired. Serious stuff.

One of the best beers I've had this year. My first Pizza Port, or whatever this is is not disappointing at all. Awesome!!!!

 567 characters

Photo of dogfooddog
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

first beer I have tried from Port Brewing. Pours pitch black with a small 3/4" head into a pint glass, served 50f.

Nose is of a stout (whatever the style says on BA), mildly roasted malt creating a cappuccino-like aroma. I believe this is a stout or stout-like beer from the nose.

Taste is a bit more ambiguous. In part it greatly seems like a sweet stout, with the burnt malt character, but there is something of barleywine in it, of ale that is too strong to suppress in character, presumably there are hops doing this, as the malt and roasted malt is almost the only other thing in the taste.

That said, I never imagined this was 10%. Further into the bottle, the ABV does begin to feel heavier.

Very complex and unusual beer. Worth trying, and worth buying more than one to be able to try at a second sitting to re-evaluate all the taste hitting the palate. My second sitting (a month later) found this beer to be simply excellent, and I am ordering more.

 973 characters

Photo of
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Papago in Phoenix, 11/1/06.

Pretty much opaque, ruby/brown around edges when held up against light. Small light brown head. Legs aplenty when swirled.

Aroma pretty mild, but smoke in bar was making it hard to get a good whiff. What I could pick up was port like, mainly raisins, some spices and alcohol.

Taste was confusing at first, had I gotten a stout or a barleywine? Turns out, neither, but I didn't know that at the time. Roast flavors combined with a dark fruit, port like sweetness. Raisins again. Alcohol was evident, but worked well overall. Hops were pretty mild, a little bite at the finish along with some pepper. Very complex.

Very full bodied, with what seemed like medium + carbonation. Chewy and slick. If flawed, it would be that the carbonation seemed a bit high for the style.

Overall, quite a ride. I would happily drink again, but I think there are better barleywines/strong ales out there such as Old Ruffian and Arrogant Bastard.

 978 characters

Photo of neonbrown82
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first Pizza Port beer, and I absolutely love it. Thanks to dogfooddog for the offering. Pours very dark and viscous (imagine that!). Nice mocha colored head with a very good retention and lacing.

The nose has a lot of molasses and brown sugar, accompanied by a hint of smoke and gently roasted malts. Only a hint of a light flowery hop in the nose, but since it can be detected over the huge sugary/malty profile, I am sure that this beer is quite well hopped.

The taste is mindblowing. Along the same lines as the nose, though it has more of a oaky vanilla whiskey flavor that adds further complexity. Has a lingering brown sugar and molasses flavor.

The body is very thick, as one would imagine from the name of this brew. Coats the mouth with residual sugars. This is quite a treat. I hope to age the other bottle untill next winter ('07).

 854 characters

Photo of Truh
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had to check the oil gauge with this one on 11/1/2006. 1 pt. 6 fl. oz. bomber poured twice in a Northampton Brewery shaker glass.

Nice, arterial spray of initial thin head spreads further down to just a light covering. Fair amount of lacing, a gauzy spider web. Pitch black hue, with not a whole lot more to say about it, other than inviting. Syrupy treacle on the nose, with licorice, root beer float, and some light pine sap all jabbing around too. On the mouth, a quick hit of juniper, with some roasty tenderloin char, black pepper, and almost a graham cracker sweetness that follows through at the end. Medium body allows for quick and dangerous quaffing.

Happy this has hit New England. Bring on more Port Brewing Company/The Lost Abbey wares.

 755 characters

Photo of SwillinBrew
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this at Hi-Times after Iflesh beermailed me that there were bombers there. Damn this stuff is good. Before now, i've only had it at Pizza Port festivals. The bottle's right, this isnt your dad's 30 weight, it's the nectar from the ashes of Mt St Helens!!!

This pup poured a deep space black with no light penetration what so ever... the head was nonexistent except for a few tan bubbles crying on the side of the glass. The inky blackness was rich and had an ink hue to it.

Aromas of coffee, bread pudding and burnt toast fill your nose like a vicks vapor inhaler. Some faint figs and maybe dates on the end. Very solid and just a wall of aroma. Quite penetrating and enjoyable. Portends of lip smacking tastiness to follow.

Bitch slap me upside the head. This elixer is amazing and instantly cured my rickets. Flavors of sumatran coffee grown on the banks of the river styx, cocoa, liquor filled chocolate confections and sweet roasted malt envelope my palate like Marines storming Iwo Jima. The flavor is lasting and arrogant.

Quite viscous on the mouth and chewy. While there was no head, the carbonation was present and overall warmth is the feeling i get. You'll want to be sipping this one in front of a fire place during hurricane big fuck... it's not for the everyday quaff. I'm going to cellar a few bottles of this. Hell, maybe i wont. It's too good.

 1,378 characters

Photo of fartingdog
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had one before this and knew I needed to take notes as I have quite a few I am cellaring.

Pours thick like oil, with a small, and quickly receeding head. Smell is hard to pinpoint, but it is rich as an old ale should be - slight hints of mollasses? rum?
First taste is of malt - just a little bit too much (reminds me of some of the homebrewed stouts I used to do) this will mellow in age I am expecting - followed by a rich, rummy flavor with only the faintest hint of sweetness, then followed by a slight bitternes and bite on the tongue. Alcohol warming is there on the swallow, but well hidden up front.

This is a pretty fine brew- I'll have to post an update as I think this will greatly benefit from some age.

 723 characters

Photo of IceAce
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Stumbled across this on draught at Port Clemente as it was the #4 marker in this lineup of tap handles:

#1 Pliney the Elder
#2 Lost Abbey Avant Guarde
#3 Lost Abbey Lost & Found
#4 Port Brewing Old Viscosity

Short of immediately calling in a favor for a designated driver, I figured two today and two next visit.

This baby sported a black body unpenetrated by the Left Coast sun. The nose eschews coffee and chocolate for sweet figgy esters backed by sweet toffee and dark, fruit-soaked rum.

Entry is smooth but alcoholic with a palate-broadening mouthfeel. Midtaste is warm and spicy with rum-soaked cherries married to deeply roasted malt. The finish is a beautiful concoction of warming alcohol, toffee, sweet chocolate, and a dry coffee bean fade.

Simply fantastic no matter which style this will get pigeonholed into...

 842 characters

Photo of lou91
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

AL-co-hol! Damn this smelled powerful of sweet booze but not much else on the pour. Good looking like an imperial stout should look. Damn this is serious stuff. Big alcohol with rum cake, chocolate and molasses on the aftertaste. This is one that will spark much debate about the style and whether to drink now or later. I would wait another six months before I drink it again. Serious big boy beer here.

 404 characters

Photo of Westsidethreat
4.61/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Wow, thick is really thick. Too much of a cliche to say it pours like motor oil...but it does. Not jet black but very dark and murky. Very low carbonation, no real head to speak of ever. Some stray swashes of foam decorate the top of the body and guard the sides of the glass.

S: Pungent molasses, dark cherries, touch of soy, espresso press, roasted dark malts and bakers chocolate. This is great.

T: The bitterest chocolate..we're talking 90% cocoa here. Add a splash of molasses, sweet espresso mousse and a fileted vanilla bean..oh, and CLOBBER it with some heavy hitting bittering hops...that comes close. Finishes with radically roasted coffee and lingering dried cocoa.

M: Full, thick but not too syrupy.

D: This is one of the most aggresive dark beers on the market. Thick, bitter, sweet, rich...this is the real deal. Pulled off with out being cloying as well. The only thing that could have made this beer better would be a head like on the Speedway or Rasputin. Great beer none the less.

 1,014 characters

Photo of BlindPig
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was from first batch so it didn't have any oak aged beer in it (in 2nd and up batches they put 20% of oak aged beer in each bottle)
A- Thin tan head, basically none and no lacing. A very black color also. The 2nd pour looked like a melted chocolate bar. Very brown and muddy looking.
S- Toffee, big malts, alcohol, carmel, and you can almost smell bitterness.
T- Some coffee notes but mostly chocolate. Alcohol hints with a bit of warming from it also. Not much hops. Almost a underlying bitterness. After taste is light coffee mixed with chocolate. Nice complex brew.
M-Medium body maybe a bit on thinner side, and very low carbonation. Oily.
D- Way prefered the 2nd batch I got to have a taster of. I think it made it a bit more complex and gave it almost a new feel to it.

 786 characters

Photo of DogFood11
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

True to the name it pours a ruddy oil slick black with the syrupy texture to boot. Loose chocolate head fades to a thin cover that lasts throughout. No lace and none expected.

The malt bill is thick and rich with melted chocolate with Toffee and Coffee on the backside. Licorice sneeks into the picure. Alcohol slapper is very aggressive and welcomed. Malts dip into the charred range but moslty end up being chocolate with a wooded backer. There is quite a bit of bitterness from the charred malts that is also welcomed, Hops must have contributed but it leans on the charred bitterness. Bottled for a reasonable price? yes, keept it coming.

Notes: Initially this brew comes across as an American Double Stout. I can see how this could be classified in lots of different category but my take is double stout.

 816 characters

Photo of IntriqKen
4.97/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours like used motor oil...deep black with a half finger tan head that melts to a capping thin sticky lacing.
Aromas are wonderfully typical....dark fruits, sweet malts, raisins, plums, prunes...nice. As it warms, very strong coffee notes. Delicious.
Ahhh...sweet malts and dark candied fruits fill the mouth with wonderful desert flavors. Nice alcohol burn follows it all as you swallow.
After taste is surprisingly clean but reminiscent of the sweet candied dark fruits and warming alcohol.
This is much more like an old ale to me than merely an American Strong Ale.
I absolutely LOVE this!!!!

 601 characters

Photo of bradford
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from Monument Wine and Liquor in Concord, CA
Looked good out of the bottle, inky black with a large tan head that dissapates slowly
Smells very good, roasty malts and burnt coffee
Taste was good. Many different flavors coming through the entire experience
Mouthfeel was good, nit great, but pretty close. If this brew was slightly thicker, it would be phenomenal
Drinkability was very good, dangerously so. At 10%, it is easy to let this beer get the best of you. Highly recommended

 499 characters

Photo of RoyalT
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This is a deadly brown in color with some light ruby hues around the edges. The booze killed the head, but there’s still lacing on the glass because the thick malty liquid coats it like grease in a pot.

Smell – This is fine malt in its purest form. It’s made up of some light baker’s chocolate, very light coffee bean, a hint of vanilla, and raw burnt grain. The sugars are mostly raw brown but they are mild. The alcohol is elegant and light, like the kind you get from a Godiva liqueur.

Taste – The blackened grain comes out wonderfully at the taste. It leads the way for the other characteristics from the nose. The booze is a little stiffer but not harsh; again like a fine chocolate liquer. The chocolate itself turns super-dark.

Mouthfeel – This is bigger than medium-bodied but not full and the alcohol is slightly stinging but not harsh. The beauty here is its namesake – the viscosity. It is so slick and greasy in the cheeks you get the feeling of what an engine experiences after a can of Slick 50.

Drinkability – Are you kidding me? This is one of the best ASAs on the market and certainly one of the most drinkable big beers that I’ve ever had.

 1,192 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Snapped up for #3.99 whilst stopping off at the Pizza Port San Clemente location for an IPA charge after the Stone 10th Anniversary and Celebration Party weekend. 22 ounce Bomber has a pale gray label with the words “Port Brewing Old Viscosity Ale” in blue text around a black & white picture of an old 1930’s style truck which is having its oil drained by a chap laid underneath it. The label looks like the original (750ml) one pictured on BA from the time this was brewed in Solana Beach, but it has a more colorful look to it on the Bomber. This is one of a handful of brews to be released from the newly named/located Port Brewing Company (a.k.a. Lost Abbey) in San Marcos. All this goodness is sealed off with a shiny silver crown cap which has a black PP logo on it.

Described as “Not your Dad’s wimpy 30 weight! An enormous & luscious dark ale that’s as opaque and dark as the most well used motor oils”.

Listed at 10% “acl.” by vol. (….yeah, the original was boasted at 12%, but look carefully and you’ll note that they spelled ‘alc.’ wrong!!!! Hahahaha, sack the label proof reader!)

Appearance: The thick black oozing mass gloops into the glass, it does indeed look like used motor oil, not least because of the fact that its surface is utterly devoid of any agitated foam and offers no respite to the look of a stagnant molasses pond. Minimal carbonation, actually none that I could detect with even a vigorous swirl. Despite this it has a look that begs closer examination and just “looks like the business”.

Nose: Mmmmm, lovely, rich dark exotic and intense, yeah intense, a word I keep returning to when I think of this brew. Bonfire toffee, smoked peaty malts, burnt barley. Big bold aromas that are not scared to take you on. Dark fruits, figs and dates tend to emerge as this warms.

Taste: Intense liquorice and a prevalent aniseed soaked in black treacle (Lyon’s that is) and a darker toffee middle. Swathes of bitter roasted coffee also angle the latter third, the sharp cutting bitterness is actually quite attractive. Finish is as intense as the start was - lots of liquorice in this one.

Mouthfeel: A molasses thickness supported by a distilled Marmite body runs with a syrup-like yeast extract texture. Vegemite pops up here and there, has a very Russian Imperial Stout feel throughout

Drinkability: Yeah baby, it quickly slipped my mind and I readily forgot that this was 10%. The intense (what’s that now? Four or five times I used the term??)

Overall: Lots of potential to be a Classic…..but what style is it??…..I love the dilemma created by not listing one on the label, interesting to see how the style geeks struggle with that…..Russian Imperial Stout, American Double Stout, American Barleywine or an American Strong Dark Ale…..well thinking for myself I’ll settle with a…..aaarghh who cares what I think, just get some!!!

 2,920 characters

Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Have had this on tap each time I make it into the Pizza Port in San Clemente.
Very dark beer upon pouring. 2-3cm light brown head. Smells delicious; carmels abound. Tastes fantastic, more carmel. Barely any trace of alcohol in the taste, I would not have guessed it a 10% beer unless I had seen it on the bottles they sell. Since I am new to reviewing (as well as beeradvocacy), I don't know what else to say. I do know that I typically enjoy darker beers, and I absolutely adore this beer. It is listed as a "RIS" on BA, but on the bottle I have, it just says "ale." But either way it's really a great beer. If you are ever in a Port Brewing location, i highly recommend at least getting a taster. Fabulous fabulous beer.

 723 characters

Photo of scottoale
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A very special cask of a very special favorite of mine...three words that best describe the difference between this and the standard OV : smoother, mellower and boozier.

Served in a pint glass, thick, blacker than molassas with a film of cocoa- brown cream head and no visable carbonation...it looks like a sipper.

Sweet dark roasted malt, rich dark fruit undertones compliment chocolate, coffee and licorice that just reel you in for the taste.

The taste...incredible! This is a gourmet meal and dessert in a glass. It tastes just like the smell, only better. I can't get enough of this stuff even though it took 45 minutes to finish one pint!

Big body with big ABV and a smoother than silk mouthfeel, I can't recommend this one enough...Cheers!

 758 characters

Photo of DrewBeechum
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled from a limited edition (2002) vintage bottle in 2004

Pours a deep black with a lnted brown head that drops quickly away.

Aroma is of dark ripe figs that have begun to dry mixed with espresso and a burnt caramel syrup

Flavor is of a really dark stout like barleywine with some of the roasted figgy flavors of an imperial stout, but softer on the roast and with more of the caramel hop approach of an American barleywine.

 436 characters

firstprev| 826-850 | 851-875 | 876-900  | next → last
Old Viscosity from Port Brewing
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 1998 ratings