Hot Rocks Lager | Port Brewing

very good
183 Reviews
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Hot Rocks LagerHot Rocks Lager

Brewed by:
Port Brewing
California, United States

Style: Euro Dark Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Kegatron on 03-17-2009

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Reviews: 183 | Ratings: 365
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.2/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Comes out brown with a ruby dark red to the edge of the glass making a soft off white head 2/3" deep. Aroma didn't drop much on me.

Taste was a smoky malt lager, brown malt, hot rocks make a sticky viscosity and coating when you drink it. I don't see myself going back to this one beyond this one tick, but its a decently priced bomber and unique beer.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

Pours three fingers of tan head on a dark brown-red colored body.
The aroma has roasted malt and a little cocoa power. Nice.
The taste is dark roasted malt, bitter chocolate and a little cream.
The texture is soft and fizzy.
Excellent flavors and smell.

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Photo of Samp01
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. Pours a dark rusty brown with a medium lasting beige head. Aroma and taste is sweet dark caramel malt and grains, some mild dark fruit notes and yeast with light bitterness. Palate is a medium body, smooth with good carbonation. The finish is dark malted grains and caramel, some toasted malt and yeast, with mild dark fruit flavor and soft bitterness on the end for balance. A very good caramel malt character. Overall this is a well balanced, tasty and enjoyable brew any time, very good brew.

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Photo of Furlinator
3.94/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours opaque dark cola brown. The one inch khaki head remains as a thick cap on top that leaves thick curtains of shimmering lace.

The smell is of biscuit bread, grains, faint citrus and the earthy hint of freshly cut grass.

The taste is of roasted caramel malt with faint hop bitterness and citrus accents.

The texture is medium bodied with high carbonation.

Grainy and earthy enough to satisfy the lager drinkers with caramel and molasses notes that will please brown ale fans and enough hop bitterness to keep the IPA lovers happy. Easy drinking and accessible to fans of any beer style.

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Photo of SeanPFarley
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite the surprise, this one. I work at Bevmo (this is either a 'hate me' or 'love me' job, I know) and we had a rep from Pizza Port come in and sample some of his wares. This was one of them. On initial taste I was pleased. It was one of the darker lagers I've had. I enjoyed it and thought I'd get a couple bottles.

When I got home I was unbelievably impressed. Great pour, great smell, amazing head (how many times are we actually able to say that in our lives?). It was rich, malty, hoppy, and dark. Honey, dark caramel, chocolate, fall leaves and burnt hay. Just fantastic.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.81/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in a pint glass at Estelle's.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger mocha head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a dark brown black color with no vision of anything. Spotty lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Toffee, caramel, chocolate, lager yeast, and grassy hops.

Taste: Same as above with mild bitterness in the rear.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, light to medium bodied, and low to medium carbonation.

Overall: For a EDL, I enjoyed it. I'll revisit thus again.

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Photo of DaveAnderson
4.46/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

One of the best lagers I have ever tasted, I only sought this after seeing it being made on the Beer Geeks TV show. Great on tap at the brewery, where I was told I would not be able to find it in bottle shops. Heh - that may have been true in SD, but in LA, I tracked a couple down. Still tasty as hell.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
2.93/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

this beer is disgusting. i love the idea, but the execution is appalling really. granted, my bottle had a little date on it, and may have deteriorated some, but i cannot imagine a great beer ever lived in here. sticky brown caramel color with some tan suds. the nose is sweet malt, but not fresh and harvest grainy, but more a euro extract thing, like a home brewers extract. no hops at all in nose or taste, but thats there least of the worries here. the flavor is an acrid funk that turns into unfermented sweetness. old taffy and gum and gross fair candy come to the forefront, behind stale grain and other off flavors. hard to believe this is rated as high as it is. thick and textured for a lager, although carbonation is fine. the price is right on some of these port bombers, but as much as midnight expression made my day for being so awesome and cheap, this one turned me right back off. if you can make older viscosity, you can do better than this.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pokal glass. Bottled March or August? 13th 2013.

A nice dark walnut brown body, capped with a good tall four finger and very even soapy head. Lots of retention and a big creamy tan cap of foam in there on top, with some clumpy lacing to match. Some clarity from the head below but pretty dark and somewhat opaque. Very nice looker.

Some interesting qualities. Some tannic nut and spicy hop. A little bit of caraway rye like bread and spicy character too. Sort of almost reminds me of a brown 'ale' in a way. Some milk chocolate to match also. Interesting combination.

Interesting palate. Very nicely carbonated, some mineral earth Perrier hinting like water fizz but not with a water body, as it seems chocolate malt mixes in and coats nicely. Very clean finish, but also incredibly fleeting, with a very forward front tasting palate. Hints at schwarzbier coffee a bit but more chocolate than roasting bean. Light mouthfeel makes for easy drinkability also.

A real interesting refreshing take on a lager, and quite fun too. Very nice.

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Photo of asaharyev
3.37/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour: Dark red-brown, moderately clear, with a nice, fluffy, off-white head.

Aroma: Toasted malts, sweet with hints of molasses, caramel, and rye bread. No real hop presence in the aroma.

Taste: Crisp, prickly mouthfeel. Soft notes of chocolate, lots of toasted toffee with a hint of alcohol. I still get no hop presence in this beer. Long, sweet finish. I also don’t detect anything from the granite, but perhaps I would with a similar recipe traditionally brewed.

Overall: A decent lager, worth trying, maybe you’ll like it a lot more than I did. It also wasn’t terribly expensive, so a worthwhile experiment.

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Photo of Drunkenass
3.27/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up in LA on a recent trip.

This beer was not what I expected it to be. It is well hopped but a little too malty for me.

Appearance: dark and malty with a good head.

Smell: malty with a hoppy note

Taste: not like a lager I wanted it to be. Heavy malt and tropical fruit.

Mouthfeel: Heavier than it looks with a hoppy aftertaste.

Overall: I'm into trying new brews, but this one was a disappointment. I'm a big fan of west coast IPA and this lager didn't do it for me.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into lager glass, bottled on 3/13/2013. Pours lightly hazy deep reddish brown color with a 1 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings down the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of caramel, chocolate, toast, cocoa, brown sugar, pear, apple, roasted malt, light coffee, light smoke, floral, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of roasted malt notes with light-moderate yeast esters; and good strength. Taste of caramel, chocolate, toast, brown sugar, cocoa, roasted malt, pear, apple, light smoke, light coffee, floral, and roasted earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, chocolate, toast, cocoa, brown sugar, light fruits, smoke, light coffee, floral, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of dark malt flavors with light yeast ester fruitiness; and a nice amount of flavor robustness with no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy, slick, and crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent "Stein beer" dark lager. All around nice balance, complexity, and robustness of flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of pkalix
4.36/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

this was a great brew. actually, it still is... on the 2nd half of the bottle now....
very dark brown with some red in it- kind of like how your hair reddens in the summer.... beautiful foamy head, volume according to the vigor with which it is poured. super nice holding on to the side of the glass as it's tilted. i like that property....
smell is interesting. light, grain-y, nothing special, and smells like a very UN-extraordinary brew of which i was expecting to be disappointed.
taste, however, is very good. not spectacular, but very good. sweet and malty, with traditional bitterness, reminds me of a european commercial style, but with some substance. again, surpassed the expectations formed during the sniff...
it is an interesting note about dropping the glowing 'hot rocks' into the boil, but i wonder how much that contributes overall to the flavor. this is just a great 'standard' beer with some great properties. i like the way it laces on the sides. i like the semi-chocolate-y taste. i like the 6.5 % abv. it's not a super awesome brew, but a great standard which is very easy to drink and with a respectable abv.

 1,132 characters

Photo of ocelot2500
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, rich caramel color with a tight, tan head that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells of toasted malt notes mostly with some nuttiness and caramel.

Tastes of rich toasted malt notes. Malts are a big component with toasted bread and nutty notes coming through. This then leads to a bit of caramel sweetness. Touches of earthy bitterness comes on the end and rounds everything out.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is pretty good. It won't knock anybody socks off, but it doesn't do anything wrong.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Type: Draft
Glass: 16-oz. pint glass
From: Polite Provisions in University Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $6
Purchased: May 8, 2013
Consumed: May 8, 2013
Misc.: N/A

Poured a brownish black color with two fingers of khaki tan frothy head. Lots of sporadic khaki lacing on the sides. Good retention all the way down.

Smelled roasty malts up front. Also chocolate, caramel, toffee and nuts. Reminded me a bit of a Newcastle.

Tasted similar to the nose with roasty malts and nutty malts coming through the most. Also caramel, toffee and chocolate with some bitterness on the tongue after.

Medium body. Creamy-to-sticky texture. Average carbonation. Bitter finish.

I probably gave this beer a bit better rating than I should have. It definitely had its moments.

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Photo of Lledd
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark brown with a tint of red. No visible carbonation. Small head receding over a few minutes.

S: Nice light caramel malt . Mild hops. Im expecting a balanced brew.

T: It is balanced. It's very refreshing as well. Theres a smoky earthiness, maybe from the brewing process? Its a tad sweet too. yum.

M: Refreshing. Clean and crisp (which i great with the malt). Soft, moderate carbonation.

O: Delicious. Refreshing, gulpable, sweet, balanced, earthy, Good price point ($5.15). Ill buy again.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled on 04/06/12

A: Pours a clear dark amber in color with some light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation and some moderate garnet red highlights. The beer has a three finger tall dense foamy light tan head that reduces to a large patch of thick film covering about 85% of the surface of the beer and thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of toasted and roasted dark malts.

T: Moderate flavors of toasted dark malts with some light amounts of sweetness and just a touch of nuttiness. Lighter notes of dark chocolate and earthy hops. Light amounts of lingering bitterness.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation.

O: Interesting and not exactly what I was expecting when I opened this one - the hot volcanic lava rocks must have made the brewing experience interesting. Very malty but pretty easy to drink. Reminds me a bit of a schwartzbier.

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Photo of metter98
3.74/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is jet black in color and has bits of carbonation visible near the edges of the glass. It poured with a two finger high off white head that gradually died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of dark and roasted malts in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of dark and roasted malts in the nose along with notes of chocolate and hints of sweetness.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and a little watery and airy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is easy to drink and seems a little reminiscent of a schwartzbier and a porter.

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Photo of Offa
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Almost black, this has a big tan head slowly shrinking to thin foamy top.

Aroma is nice caramelly chocolate, hint of coffee toffee and bread, hint of licorice. It is a nice dark lager quality.

Taste is nice zesty toasty caramelly dark chocolate, dry woody-toasty licorice finish with light bitterness after being sweeter up front. Feel is good. However, it does not pack much character for the abv.

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Photo of Ego
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

"merry new year"
"it's happy, in our country we say Happy new year pal"

hot rocks ? way #1,000,2000,022323,2302k3203,2 discovered to make beer... I think we need a moondust brew, eh, sam over @ dogfish probably already has booked a flight on space x...

dark brown with a ton of geysers of carbonation streaming up the glass, 2 full fingers O fluff, a bit craggy and a bit off white, pretty standard to slightly above average looking

malty with a euro hop smell, musty and earthy, slight citrus notes hanging around for the party.

taste etc...
much livelier than a typical lager... the carbonation is a bit bright for the style (I happen to like it this snazzy though), this really drinks like a red ale... sort of APA thing.. but subdued... but tasty. I think the carbonation might be a bit much in the long haul but for one glass it is fine. this drinks medium in the mouth and rather smooth. the flavors are pretty mellow, sort of a slightly souped up euro ale, it doesn't have the depth of flavor of those however but it is more "american" which might not be bad based on your personal tastes, there is no sense of the alcohol here (not that 6.5 is huge)

an interesting brew that really has some euro flavor with an american slant, that makes it interesting, but not great. Definitely worth a try if you see it on tap, I don't think many will dislike this beer but of course not many may fall head over heals for it either.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Capitol Beer an Tap Room in Sacramento, CA.

Appearance - Pours a semi-hazy, dark rusty amber. The head is off-white and a finger thick with good retention. Lacing is spotty with almost no stick.

Smell - Hits on bread and a piney hop aroma.

Taste - Hits on a lot of mild piney hop bitterness. Malts are moderate, coming across as bready with faint hints of caramel. Finishes much in the way it starts, with a lot of piney hop bitterness. Very little depth.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium body with fair, lively carbonation. Finish is fairly dry.

Overall - Good, but not impressive. Comes across as fairly generic. Lots of simple hop character, with a basic malt character. Based on the flavor profile, I'd have never guessed this to be a pale ale or a light IPA, not a lager.

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Photo of Jemonster
4.54/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: This beer "(malt beverage?)" is my first dark lager. Honestly, I didn't even know that this style existed until now. Compared to other offerings, this is a lager in name only. According to the bottle, the wort is boiled by dropping hot granite into it. It has a dark chocolate brown body with a creamy coffee colored head. Opaque.

S: Faint and simple, even when warmer. Straightforward roasted malt smell. I could try to make up a bunch of other stuff, but that would be pushing it here.

T: Very good. Smooth malt flavor, balanced hop bitterness that is more forward that typical lagers. Some coffee notes and moderate acidic tang. Basic and tasty. Less is more.

M: Refreshing and crisp. Thin bodied but fits the flavor very well. Quenching. Perfect mouthfeel for what is presented here.

O: I've gotta get this again. This beer impressed me with its quirky character and refreshing flavor and body. I'll see if my lighter beer drinking friends might like this.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

Dark Cola-colored brown with red highlights. Has 3 fingers of tan head with great retention.

Chocolate, caramel drizzle, charcoal, Cola and light floral hop aromas.

Caramel, Cola, dark candy syrup and notes of semi-sweet chocolates. There is some bitter charcoal flavors assumed to be from the black granite and some light floral hops.

Medium bodied, crisp and clean.

Very easy drinking and packed with flavor. A very nicely done Dark Lager.

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

Had this on tap at the Lost Abbey/Port brewery a few days ago. I was really interested to try an actual Steinbier for the first time. This is from notes.

Pours a dark ruddy brown with a foamy, cappuccino colored head. Interestingly this color all comes from the caramelization from the hot rocks added to the boil - no specialty malts are used according to the guy behind the counter. The aroma is light and sweet with some plum notes and some caramel. The taste is very malty with just a bit of herbal hop presence. Plum and cherry notes lead way to some caramel in the background. The mouthfeel is watery with a sparse carbonation for a lager. Mild bitterness and stone fruits in the finish.

This was a good beer, sweeter than I expected, with no roastyness to speak of. Still worth a try.

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Photo of iD9
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a straight pint at Original Gravity in San Jose, Ca.

Appearance: Chestnut brown, nearly opaque through the very center of the glass. Lacing is minimal and the head quickly thins. That being said, it leaves a very pleasant (and persistent) layer of even, off white, foam.

Smell: Mild malty tone, with roasty-toasty (possibly biscuity) notes on it. Definitely has the the distinct smell of lagered beers: A sort of "lightness" in the aroma, don't know of a great way to smell it. Doesn't smell bad, but not remarkable.

Taste: Definite face-forward on the malt, with a coating of roasty grains on the back. Maybe a hint of malty sweetness with a clean finish. Dunkel lagers always throw me off, they end up tasting like a watered-down porter. Easy drinking, but the roasty profile tends to dominate and I find that detracts from the overall experience.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied, definitely a dunkel. Fairs better than most in this category, I'm pleasantly surprised. Has a bit of viscosity (the malty sweetness seems to stick a bit on the middle of the tongue) without throwing the beer into "sipping" territory.

Overall: Okay by all standards. If you like this style you will most likely enjoy this brew. Port does a good job with their Hot Rocks Lager but it misses the mark for me. The combination of malty sweetness and roasty grains coats the tongue in a manner which I don't much care for. In any event, a solid brew but one I won't be revisiting any time soon.

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Hot Rocks Lager from Port Brewing
3.77 out of 5 based on 365 ratings.
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