Dark Horse Thirsty Trout Porter | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Dark Horse Thirsty Trout PorterDark Horse Thirsty Trout Porter

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-12-2003

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Reviews: 88 | Ratings: 412
Photo of KevChiTown
3.76/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

First Baltic Porter, so I'm not sure yet what I'm looking for in the style. I like cold black coffee flavor, but it doesn't hang around. Wouldn't mind a few more of these.

 171 characters

Photo of MorganStout
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

My first Baltic Porter and I must say I am quite impressed. Lots of different flavors and the coffee and chocolate really stand out. Wish this was a tad stronger (abv).

Dark Horse does it again. If you see it buy it!

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Photo of biegaman
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thirsty Trout Porter is by most accounts a thoroughly black beer, though even casual inspection to the light reveals a great deal of chestnut colour and even some clarity. We will call it opaque, though we wouldn't be entirely accurate. Its head is stained with an almost greyish tint. To my disappointment, none of it sticks to the glass.

Much in the same way that wines are often reviewed with tasting notes that say something along the lines of "lush berries, soft tannins, light oak" - observations that could describe countless numbers of styles - it's accurate, albeit not exactly useful for me to characterize this aroma as having "cold coffee, dark chocolate, and dried fruit" notes.

Truth is those features are or can be present in many types of dark beers, and they don't exactly help narrow down whether this is British, American, or even Belgian influenced. As it happens, this recipe is in fact styled as a Baltic porter, which, as it happens, has always been to my senses among the most distinct styles. How so? Good question...

What distinguishes a Baltic porter from other types? For one, it has a slightly 'stale' quality. This 'oxidative' element can be almost Port-like when combined with the vinous, dried fruit (cherry, currant, prune) flavors imparted by its esters and likely mimics how it used to have tasted after spending months in transit from England through the Baltic States.

There's also little actual roast considering all the dark, deep flavours. This is notable. Both coffee and chocolate flavours exist without the usual bitterness and, unlike a stout or some 'imperial' porters, there's nothing remotely ashy or smoky about it. It drinks with smooth, lush qualities and doesn't resemble anything close to its true strength (7%).

There's also two keystone flavours that are invariably present: unsweetened cocoa and black licorice. This one shares reserved yet noticeable amounts of those to accompany its prominent black coffee taste. There's even less molasses and nutty sweetness though, again, there is some. The finish, however, is bone-dry as the trout on its label.

The late Micheal Jackson, hailed as the original and still greatest beer writer of all time, said of the difference between stout and porter that it was "as unambiguous as a horoscope". Imagine then the difference amongst porters themselves! This review should have focused less on categorizing this beer and instead taking it at face value - Thirsty Trout is a nice offering, simple as that.

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Photo of dcmchew
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%

Pours black with a small tan head, quick to a modest lace.
Smells really tasty, with lots of milky chocolate, sweet coffee, faint dark cherries, rich caramel, cream and cinnamon, licorice, roasted malt.
Starts really juicy, like iced coffee-milk and cocoa mix, topped with cinnamon and a great refreshing dark fruity zing underneath that really fits. Gets a bit darker but also sweeter, with molasses, faint plum jam, dark roasted malts, extra coffee powder, faint herbal-kinda note (hinting coke, some licorice). Finishes with a bit of nut, a touch of ash and some burnt bread crust.
Rather light bodied, but not watery. Smooth, subtle carbonation, really easy to drink. Aftertaste is roasty, dark chocolatey with a bit of lingering coffee.
Really tasty, complex enough and extremely quaffable. One of the most thirst-quenching porters i've ever had, i wonder if there's any relation with the name in this matter.

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Photo of Guas11
4/5  rDev +4.2%

12oz bottle, poured into my favorite tulip. Nice black color with reddish hue when held to light. Aroma of chocolate, roast and coffee. Nice smooth porter that has a very nice mouthful and feels highly drinkable despite its 7.0% abv. Nice effort from Dark Horse yet again. Salute

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Photo of nodder
4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A- Dark brown to black with a thin tan head. Slight spotty lacing on the glass.

S- Sweet dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malts. Smells like a nice porter should.

T- Unsweetened dark chocolate and coffee flavors dominate. The dark maltyness is there but so are the hops to balance things out.

M- Smooth and somewhat creamy. Light to medium mouth is surprising in such a strong porter. Light carbonation.

O- A great strong porter at 7%. I would have this again.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%

This is the first and last time I've ever seen this beer around. I found a single, never have been able to find a six pack. So here goes the only Thirsty Trout in my area.

Serving style : 12 oz bottle, poured

Appearance (4) : Dark, coffee bean body with great opacity. Smallish 1 finger head that recedes into a ring of lacing within a minute or two.

Smell (4) : Chocolate, coffee bean, roasted caramel. Mocha and cocoa powder. Slight ale smell behind it but so so faint. Yummy.

Taste (4) : Roasted flavor, chock full of coffee bean, dark roast coffee, hints of dark chocolate, peppermint milk chocolate. A full body, slightly bitter finish. The bitter notes are tamed here, most likely due to cascade hops and the rich roasted malt. This is a delicious beer.

Mouthfeel (4.25) : Full bodied, creamy, rich, and smooth. Like a good chocolate shake.

Overall (4) : This beer is like what you'd get if you had an iced coffee with malts and alcohol - but done right. It's a total campfire, sit and roast marshmallows, cuddle up and read a book (I sound like a friggin' girl), or comfortably watch MacGuyver (there we go, that's more man-like) beer. It's very roasted, very chocolate-coffee, and very dark beer all at the same time. One of the better porters I've had.

 1,268 characters

Photo of kkleu357
4.3/5  rDev +12%

From notes on 11/15/13

Very malty smell. Dark dark black pour with little head. Mmm, nice smokey taste. Easy on the taste buds. Lots if roasty malts. I like it.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Pitch black with a one-finger tan head
S: Milk chocolate, cocoa powder, a bit of coffee and malt
T: Not as complex as the nose; mostly malt with some chocolate
M: Medium-bodied, smooth
O: A good porter, tasty but I wish the flavors were at the level of the nose

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Photo of barczar
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This one's at least a year old, probably 2.

Pours an opaque deep brown with a modest frothy mocha head that lingers as a thin layer of foam.

Deeply nutty, toasted malt, chocolate, and prunes form the initial aroma. There's a hint of roast, but chocolate dominates.

Flavor reveals underpinnings of raisins and prunes, which are met early by chocolate, becoming somewhat roasty and a touch bitter mid palate. The nutty malt backbone is present throughout.

Body is fairly full, with a slick mouthfeel and modest carbonation. Alcohol warmth is light.

Great malt character, with a nice balance between chocolate and roast, though chocolate outshines the roast. The nutty, toasted malt is a nice treat. The dark fruit adds interesting complexity. Becomes a touch metallic late.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.52/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I do not remember where this beer came from - whether I bought it at a local bottle shop or if tone77 brought it by in one of his in-person trades. Either is possible because I generally eschew buying bottles, I am a huge fan of Dark Horse B.C.'s beers and will buy them for myself.

A vigorous pour led to a pseudo-cascade which settled into a finger of frothy, deep-tan head with limited retention. Color was a deep, dark-brown (SRM = 44), allowing zero light penetration. Nose was very roasty with a deep charcoal aspect. Say, is the Trout a Stout? Hmmm. Mouthfeel was medium and the taste was very much of charcoal and dark chocolate. Finish was semi-dry with the roastiness leaving a bitter, smoky flavor as its aftertaste. This beer leaves me with a conundrum, since it is not really what I would consider a porter, but more towards a stout. I did not dislike it, but it was not really what I was expecting, either. I guess that you will have to try one and gauge it for yourself.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is medium to dark brown in color and slightly opaque.

Smells of caramel, chocolate, and roasted malts.

The roasted malts are most pronounced and the caramel and chocolate I got upfront are just a memory.

Too thin for a stout.

Overall, not the greatest Dark Horse offering, but good as a one off.

 310 characters

Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown - almost black - with a tan light brown head that leaves lacing.

The smell is of chocolate, coffee, some dark fruit and a touch of licorice.

The taste is of chocolate upfront soon backed by coffee and dark fruits coming in as it progresses. Finishes with roasted coffee with a touch of lingering chocolate and a hint of licorice.

Creamy and smooth, the abv is well-hidden.

This is a complex, rich, well-balanced porter. Easy to drink, especially for the abv. Well-made and certainly enjoyable!

 519 characters

Photo of MattyG85
4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice.

Appearance: Pours a dark brownish black with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of deep tan head which quickly fades away. Lacing is fairly light.

Smell: A rich, sweet, and roasty dark malt forward aroma with hints of chocolate, coffee, and subtle dark fruit. Dark roasted barley malts with sweet hints of chocolate, coffee beans, toast, biscuit, caramel, toffee, grains, nuts, yeast, oats, and slight smoke. Sweet scent of molasses sugar. Dark fruit hints of cherry, raisin, fig, and prune. Subtle hints of earthy hops in the background. A pretty solid stout like aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a sweet and roasty dark malt driven taste with notes of chocolate, coffee, and subtle fruit. Dark roasted barley malts with upfront notes of chocolate, coffee beans, sweet caramel, biscuit, toasted bread, toffee, yeast, oats, grains, nuts, and a little touch of smoke. Sweet taste of molasses and brown sugar. Dark fruit undertones with notes of cherry, fig, prune, and raisin. A pretty decent dark taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy, slick, and somewhat syrupy. Pretty smooth.

Overall: A solid take on a Baltic Porter. Good sweet chocolate and coffee taste.

 1,273 characters

Photo of barnzy78
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - dark brown with a creamy tan head that fades to a foam
S - chocolate, dark fruit, caramel
T - chocolate malt, caramel, nutty, earthy, fruity, faint spiciness; excellently balanced
M - full body, creamy and smooth
O - very good baltic porter. I'd definitely buy this one again, but a little more booze might have done it some good.

 334 characters

Photo of bnes09
2.78/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Dark brown, near black and mostly opaque. Weak head and minimal lacing.

Roasted aroma and tart berries, hint of black currants.

Toasty malt. Mild roasted flavor. Odd funk tastes like milk a day or two past expiration. Sour flavor overall.

Medium to full bodied. Grainy texture. Well carbonated.

I can see where they were going with this but the end result just didn't pan out. Either I just don't like this beer or I got an infected batch. Either way, I won't be visiting this one again.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

good complex porter as they go. this one features some vanilla and some spice in both the aroma and flavor, a nice twist on the classic style. its dark but still lets some light in to give it the faintest amber glow at the bottom of the glass. not much head on it, but its got a creamy enough mouthfeel and I don't wish for more carbonation at all. its only mildly bitter in the finish, with subtle spice wafting throughout. earthy malt vibe, not as dark as some, and certainly not as full bodied. I also get a lager yeast vibe, especially in the crisped up finish, but maybe my palate is playing tricks on me. a good porter overall, on par with the other quality dark horse brews, but this one didn't stand out to me the way some of the others did. maybe just a little light for the style in winter time.

 805 characters

Photo of Brenden
3.67/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A thick, almost heavy dark brown that allows very little light to pierce it, this beer certainly looks like a bigger sort of porter. The light brown head is compact and creamy, showing moderate retention and leaving moderate-to-strong patching on the glass.
It has the elements on the nose: strong malts, some roast, ground coffee, dark cocoa, and, interestingly a touch of something like licorice. Something like burnt nut sneaks out, too.
Roasty and a bit nutty with some esters giving off notes of dark fruits adding a little too much tang, espresso is fairly strong, as is some powdery bittersweet cocoa. Nut and charred woods finish it out with a hint of something soil-like but unoffensive.
It's a porter, but it doesn't have quite the heft or build a Baltic porter ought to. It's mildly dry off some char. Carbonation and crispness are kept in check and, while it could use a bit of a more well-rounded smoothness, it isn't lacking too much.

 948 characters

Photo of Ri0
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

poured 12oz bottle into snifter

A - Deep, dark brown cola colored with a 1.5 finger tan head. Leaves a thin ring around glass and some spots of lacing.

S - Roasted malts, dark sweet fruit, dark chocolate, hints of cola.

T - Roasted malt, dark bitter chocolate, cola, and sweet dark fruit.

M - Medium body with normal carbonation.

O - Easy drinking Baltic Porter. Nothing memorable about it.

 399 characters

Photo of Gmann
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chocolate brown color with a small dense tan head that settles into a sparse cap.

The aroma is of a deep rich pumpernickel bread. Deep caramel sweetness. A hint of dark berry and booze.

The taste is a smooth nutty bread flavor. Nice toasted malt and caramel. Perhaps some vanilla notes. Some tea flavors like a traditional porter. Deep woody flavors give the beer an earthy flavor.

Full feel with soft carbonation. Sweet on the palate slightly bitter in the finish. Almost sticky but holds the line.

Good porter. Big flavors.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A one finger tan head produced off the pour, not much going there, but settles quickly to a thin collar on top of a classic very dark brown nearly black body. Good hint of red hue to this as well.

Nose has some real nice chocolate angles, slightly milk but more bitter hinting towards dark, and bitter cocoa as well. Powdery, slightly dry, if a little chalky smelling. Quite nice if a bit straightforward.

Palate is very light but full of flavor that is a bit unexpected. Very nice controlled warmth with a dark berried fruit sense, more like a blackberry quality. Finishes with a good coating feel, hinting of a bit of baltic licorice like qualities, but very subtle. Controlled alcohol content on this without an overly boozy quality.

It's got some interesting qualities for a baltic porter, but even though this isn't a prefered style of mine, there are others that I would probably choose over it.

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Photo of 57md
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with ruby edges. The roast profile is solid with a touch of smoke upfront. Hearty for a basic porter but a touch light for a Baltic.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bro-in-law comes through with this brilliant porter from DH. The beer rated low on appearance because there wasn't a decent head present..nor did it lace. The smell and taste however were very good. The scent had dark roast chocolate. The taste was slightly sweet yet bitter....somewhat like the semi-sweet chocolates used for chocolate chip cookies. The mouthfeel was full body with smooth carbonation. Overall this is a great porter....sessionable for sure.

 459 characters

Photo of hackmann
3.3/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Appearance: black coffee body with a light beige ½ finger head

Aroma: typical porter; coffee, chocolate, and toasted grains; very light overall

Flavors: follows the nose and throw in a slight nutty note, dark caramel, toasted sugars, with a light hoppy finish

Mouthfeel: low carbonation, medium body feel, light flavors, a touch of hoppy spice on the finish, easy drinking porter, dry, balanced

To the Point: nothing special; a serviceable porter;

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.19/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark cola color. About one fingers of creamy mocha-colored head is formed with a creamy texture and mediocre retention. Good lacing is left on the glass, at least.

S: There's a definite vibe of stewed dark fruits. I also note chocolate (a good deal), brown sugar, and licorice. Definitely serviceable as far as the style goes; too bad my dislike towards licorice pulls the score down somewhat.

T: Yeah. It's definitely heavy on both dark fruits and licorice, especially on the opening. A definite roasted barley note creeps in on the back end, to pair with the crisp, dry finish. This doesn't excite me too much, plus its single-dimensional flavors don't help.

M: This is very light for a 7% porter. Combined with the crisp, clean finish, the drinkability is excellent. The crispness is replaced with a bit of sweetness after a few sips, but this could still be chugged regardless. A bit undercarbonated, too.

O: Any beer that I can pick up a lot of licorice flavors in is likely to get a big fat 'meh' from me - the only reason this doesn't is because of how damn drinkable it is. Even still, I wouldn't seek this one out in the future.

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Dark Horse Thirsty Trout Porter from Dark Horse Brewing Company
3.84 out of 5 based on 412 ratings.
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