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Port Brewing

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American Brown Ale
Ranked #11
Ranked #2,138
4.17 | pDev: 8.15%
Port Brewing
California, United States
Board MeetingBoard Meeting
Notes: An amplified brown ale, the beer is brewed with liberal additions of coffee from local San Diego roasters, Ryan Brothers, and cocoa nibs sourced from famed San Francisco chocolate maker TCHO.
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Reviews: 119 | Ratings: 657
Photo of HoppyHomo
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I'm not usually a huge fan of brown ale's but I have to say this one molested my palate; and in a good way. Beer pours a good amt of foam and leaves a nice lacing around the glass. You can really smell the espresso and roasted nuts ( i love nuts). For a brown ale its real smooth and uncut; ok i made up the uncut part.

Overall its a very good tasting beer.

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Photo of mscudder
4.39/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Bottle served in a snifter.

A - Pours an opaque black with a large tan head. Looks more like a thin stout than a brown. Above average retention and lacing.

S - Getting lots of cocoa from the nose, smooth coffee behind it. I detect a reasonable malt presence with some nuts mixed in. Sticks to what it says on the bottle!

T - Smooth roasted malts, cocoa sweetness and soft coffee compose the primary elements. Some earthy notes, nuts and mild vanilla round it out.

M - Nice medium+ body with smooth, non-overbearing, carbonation.

O - This is a really, really good brown. Balance is off the charts and can easily see myself buying these in bulk for around $5 a bomber.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle from Sprayberry Bottle Shoppe (Marietta, GA). 6.49. Bottled 2/10/13. Served in a Terrapin snifter.

Pours dark brown with almost three fingers of foamy, full tan head. Small patches of lace.

The nose seems slightly subdued. Scents of creamed coffee, mild cocoa and a hint of toffee.

Taste is a mix of strong persistent coffee, malty grains, cocoa, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla and a hint of earthy hops. Nice blend that goes down very easy despite the fairly high abv.

Nice creamy, medium full body with mild carbonation that suits it well. The creamed and sugared coffee flavor lingers for a pleasant finish.

I'm not really a fan of brown ales but this is one of the few that I'd drink again any time. A rich, creamy, malty treat.

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Photo of Jonada
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber bottled on 2/4/13. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Dark brown in color with 2 fingers of a creamy looking tan head. Great retention and lacing

Smell: Big roasted coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malt, caramelized sugar, with some earthy hops

Taste: Follows the nose pretty closely. Again the coffee is at the forefront with some additional flavors of roasted malt, earth, bittersweet chocolate, and some faint hints of vanilla and nuts.

Mouthfeel: Body is on the fuller side of medium, which gives is a soft, creamy mouthfeel despite the moderate to high levels of carbonation.

Overall: I was impressed by this one, though I would say it drinks more like a porter than a brown ale. The coffee is definitely the star of this beer, so if you're not a fan of coffee forward beers you may want to stay away. Otherwise I'd definitely recommend picking up a bottle.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.49/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle - $5.99 at Bullock's Wine & Spirits in Marietta, Georgia..

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown body with a sufficiently-sized, light beige head. Shows good viscosity when rolled around in the ole Duvel glass. A fair amount of lace deposited on the way down.

Smell: Strong note that signals not just coffee-scented malts but coffee-scented coffee was used here, with a sturdy backdrop of chocolate and other darkish malts giving additional roastiness as well as some toasty, nutty notes.

Taste: Smooth roasted malts, sweetish chocolate tones, and a full, sustained coffee bean note. A few, small clumps of brown sugar, maybe a drop of molasses. Slightly charred toast. Pleasant coffee character ramps up as it warms. A little dark fruitiness. Some hoppiness, but, it seems to be a basic bitterness to accentuate the roasty, coffee bitterness and not turn this into "The Hop Show". Smooth, coffee-toned finish that still displays a little crispness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Overall: Smooth, creamy, yet the carbonation was right where I wanted it to be. I've encountered many, many brown ales where the motivation behind it and final delivery were zero-minus, but, not here. I quite liked it; a top-notch brown ale.

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Photo of Treb0R
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cafe ole colored 3 finger tall lingering head. Dark dark brown body. A lot of sticky lacing hangs around for the duration of the experience.

Smells of toasted malt, coffee, a dash of roastiness and cocoa.

Some vanilla and toasty malts pop on the taste. More coffee and some added cocoa obviously join the party. A very rich, complex brown ale. I would love a coconut version of this for my go-to brown ale.

Mouthfeel is lush and inviting. Not too thin, not too thick. Quenching but rich at the same time.

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Photo of evanforbeer
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nose: roasty notes, chocolate, grain
Taste: starts with some nice hopiness, subtle citrus with a wave of roasty goodness (subtle chocolate) with some black cherry. Fresh coffee bean and vanilla, real lush and warm. Leaves a smooth chocolatiness and roasty bitterness on the palate
Feel: perfect carbo, medium-full bodied, pretty big for a brown, but perfect if you want a big beer without a stout or heavy porter. Was surprised to find this was 8.5%, very drinkable

Fantastic brown ale and all around beer. I love that the coffee and chocolate are there but are not dominating of the beer. The roasty goodness of some of the great coffee stouts/porters in a more light-bodied (still hefty) ale

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Haven Gastropub in Pasadena, CA.

Pours an almost opaque crimson-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. A foamy latticework of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, roasted malt, and lots of coffee bean aromas. Taste is much the same with huge coffee flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with some great coffee aromas and flavors.

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Photo of magictacosinus
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Thanks for sharing, Erik. Poured into a tulip glass from a 22oz bomber. I was excited to try this, as it's made with TCHO chocolate, which is arguably my favorite chocolate maker in the country! Yum!

Even when properly poured, this thing produces a massive 5-finger head atop a deepened, oily brown-blackness unlike pretty much any brown ale I've ever seen before. There's an off-khaki color in the head, and the liquid its self isn't necessarily black (although no light shines through it), and despite the addition of coffee and cocoa, it doesn't quite look like a fresh espresso or anything. It's almost as if they got a nut brown ale and mixed it with freshly ground chocolate and coffee in the bottle. Lots of bubbles on this one, providing extra creaminess. Looks marvelously decadent.

The aroma came as a surprise, as the amount of coffee and cocoa in this thing is more than I expected. So much, in fact, that there's barely any aspects that resemble beer at the nose, as the malts and hops are pretty much subdued under coffee bean bitterness and chocolate roasted characters. In fact, at this point the coffee is pretty much serving as the bitter backdrop of the beer over the hops. There's some graininess at back, perhaps a little bit of dark breadiness, but this smells a lot more like freshly boiled chocolate than an actual brown ale, let alone a beer for that matter. I have no idea how to rate this based on this, but it doesn't smell bad by any means. It smells delicious, in fact. But those other ingredients are undeniably hard to find.

The flavor definitely continues what the aroma was doing, but does reveal more aspects that make this a beer after all. Huge espresso bean notes, kona coffee, and wonderful freshly cracked cocoa bean astringency at the finish that I love TCHO's products for. A bit of graininess soon follows that adds some bready characteristics with the malts, as well as vanilla, sweetened blackberries, and lots of creaminess. In a way, this resembles a liquefied chocolate pudding! There's definitely some aspects that open up down the road, including toasted malts becoming a bit clearer. This thing is ridiculously thick, and the alcohol is WAY too concealed underneath all the sugary hedonism for this to be a safe drink to wade through.

When I thought I had already had the ultimate chocolate/coffee beers... This comes along. What a wonderful, yet hearty experience this is to drink. It totally shows what a beer can become depending on the quality of ingredients added to it. I still can't get any classic brown ale characteristics here, but it is pretty delicious overall. It makes a great dessert beer for sure, and pairing it with TCHO chocolate could be even better. It's not the most balanced beer in displaying all of its ingredients, but it still was easy and pleasurable to drink. Recommended.

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Photo of Zorro
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Clear dark brown colored beer with a medium sized brown colored head.

Smells of toasted grain and chocolate with a mild sweetness and a herbal hop aroma. faint molasses and brown sugar and a little coffee.

Starts out mild and a little sweet with a mild chocolate flavor. Mild and tasty small bits of caramel and molasses and some toasted grain. only strike against this is that it isn't super complex. Absolutely no perception of alcohol at all, by taste you would never know that this is 8.5%

Mouthfeel is good and full.

Overall this one is better than the sum of the parts. Super smooth and tasty ale.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours dark brown with crimson edges/highlights under a frothy, fine 1-finger thick mocha head which leaves rings and spots of lace before fading slowly to a thin cap.

N: Lucious and bright creamy, roast coffee with dark chocolate and a hint of vanilla along with some nice fruity notes.

T: Mellow (non-astringent or acidic) coffee, earthy grains and midly bitter with faint char. Well balanced.

M: Semi-full body and moderate carbonation. Creamy and smooth with a lingering coffee finish.

O: Really enjoyed this and easy drinking. ABV well hidden. Would have again.

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Photo of lsummers
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a super dark mahogany black. Thin tan head that stays for a while. Looks fantastic.

Smell hits you with the coffee and cocoa with some dark fruity sweetness mixed in. Smells like I could be taking a bite of dessert with coffee brewing in the background.

Taste hits with a touch of the bite from carbonation and malty coffee/chocolate notes. Aftertaste is a little sweet, burnt and dry.

Mouthfeel starts with a bite and smooths to a dryer end. It's overall a creamy, thicker beer.

Overall, what a fantastic brown ale. It's a great example of a brewery doing something different yet successful with a style.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown/black with a thick, full, rich and long lasting khaki head. This is one of the nicet looking beers I've seen in a long time. If the head stayed as poured for longer than the minute it took to shrink, I'd have given it a 5.

Nose is assertive plum roasted coffee and black chocolate with lovely ester fruit tones. More and more chocolate notes as you continue to smell it.

Mouthfeel is lovely with small elegant bubbles and a somewhat light (but very drinkable) carbonation. One of the strongest positives of this beer is that it is wonderfully balanced which makes it a very drinkable and inviting beer.

Flavors are assertive black chocolate, roasted dark grains and roasted fruity coffee. Drinks wonderfully and while called a "brown ale" it is a big flavorful brown ale and almost more of a "light very well balanced stout."

Finish is all big rich bitter black chocolate and bitter black coffee. This is a delightful and most drinkable effort from Lost Abbey.

(I have to think that Gwen had her hand in this beer! I've never met anyone who knows more about flavor profiles and the science behind them. I'm guessing on this but I wouldn't be surprised if she helped "push the envelope" a bit on this one). Nice drink!

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Photo of srandycarter
3.92/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Dark cola brown, small mocha/tan head that leaves pretty quick. Lots spotty lace.

S - Best part of this beer. Coffee, then malt, then cocoa way in the back.

T - Big brown flavor, coffee and cocoa are present but not in near the intensity of the smell.

M - Medium to full body, creamy, good carb and balance. Just a little thinner than I had hoped.

D - All in all a tasty beer.

NOTE: In growler 9.1.13. Much richer. Would have rated it higher.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber, Review No. 2800 -

A: Pours a nice mahogany with a medium off-white head, with some good spotty lace.

S: Rich brown malt with a nice mix of chocolate and coffee.

T: Lots of dark bread and brown sugar with good secondary flavours - coffee upfront which melds to dark chocolate in the mid-palate which comes back to heavy coffee in the finish.

M: Medium to full-bodied, rich and creamy with a long aftertaste. Well structured.

O: This is a very good big brown ale with a lot of flavour, just wish it didn't cost more than a bomber of Old Viscosity.

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber to my FW snifter glass
– bottled 02/01/13

A: Board Meeting pours a dark mahogany body that looks near black in the glass. A thick persistent whip of dark khaki cream builds up to the brim leaving behind some scattered tracks and dots of lace.

S: Smells of freshly brewed premium roast coffee with toasty malts bringing about some nutty grain character. There is a subdued milk chocolate aroma and a nice pleasant earthiness to the nose. Great infusion of coffee here.

T: Rich and intense roast coffee flavor with a light brown sugar sweetness. Coffee is fresh, bold, and pervasive. Brown malts compliment with roasted grain and toasted pine nut. Light chocolates coming through with a subtle approach much like malted milk balls on the backend. There is a moderately low amount of earthy bitterness to the beer and alcohol is barely noticeable. I get some faint herbal greens that seem to accentuate the delicious coffee flavors. Great java taste with nice balance overall.

M: Smooth and lush consistency on the palate with a soft lifting carbonation. Moderate to light in body with a minor alcohol warmth and a finish that lands slightly on the wet side.

D: Drinks more like a rich coffee porter. Has that intense fresh coffee flavor but without the heavy malt bill that a stout would carry. Coffee is forward and tends to drown out the characteristic brown ale qualities but really nice balance overall with good session ability. A nice offering if one is into coffee beers. Works well for me. I would take this over Surly Coffee Bender.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on-tap, brouwers

Nice looking beer - nice chocolate body, sticky layered mocha lace. The ingredients list namedrops some pretty impressive purveyors of beans and nibs from SoCal - the beer showcases them nicely. Nice and rich - layers of well integrated coffee, creamy chocolate, roasted malt. A really nice coffee brown - roasty, lower bitterness, creamy and rich. Would definitely grab more of this.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.68/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served on-draught at Lost Abbey's tasting room into a taster glass. Cost was $1.00. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a one finger khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, and fair retention. Body colour is a dark black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Coffee and cocoa. Dark malts. Roast. Caramel. Chocolate malt. Very enjoyable. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Cocoa, coffee, a hint of chili pepper, and dark malts. Fantastic balance. Very enjoyable, with impressive complexity. The chili pepper subtlety is divine.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Excellent carbonation. Complements the flavour profile well.

Dr: Very drinkable and enjoyable for the style. I really like it. I'd definitely get it again. Another solid beer from Port.

High B

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Photo of skunk242
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fantastic beer. Very excited about this being year-round now. I got a growler filled and openned it about 2 hours later. Very dark brown with no light getting through. Very little head despite being very well carbonated and the head dissipated quickly. The smell is all coffee. The taste is mostly coffee, very roasty, just a little bit of dry cocoa bitterness and just a little nutty sweetness in the mix, which is the only thing reminding me that it's a brown ale other than color. The mouthfeel is somwewhat thinner than I expected based on the look of it.

Overall, I'm very pleased. I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys coffee stouts and porters but wants a seemingly lighter and easier to drink beer.

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Board Meeting from Port Brewing
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 657 ratings