Epic / Dogfish Head Portamarillo
Epic Brewing Company

Epic / Dogfish Head PortamarilloEpic / Dogfish Head Portamarillo
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American Porter
3.76 | pDev: 9.04%
Epic Brewing Company
New Zealand
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Epic / Dogfish Head PortamarilloEpic / Dogfish Head Portamarillo
Notes: A collaboration, a Festive brew and the world's first tree tomato beer. A sorta-Porter fermented with New Zealand grown Tamarillos, which were smoked using wood chips from the sacred Pohutukawa tree (also know as the NZ Christmas tree).
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Reviews: 42 | Ratings: 64
Reviews by Brew33:
Photo of Brew33
4/5  rDev +6.4%

More User Reviews:
Photo of joecast
3.61/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

**moved from the dogfish head listing**

Enthusiastic pour creates a massive tan head. This settles to a nice foamy cap leaving a bit of lace. Quite dark without being black. Low carbonation.

Slight smoke wafts from the glass. Not like a true smoked porter, but noticeable. Behind that is well, it's hard to pick out any one thing that stands out.

Taste is interesting. A bit of porter character; not too much roast or heavy malts, not too much hops. Some hearty bitterness but a bit different to the standard hop variety. Perhaps some extraction from the tamarillos? Some acidic character, not too sharp but it fills out the flavor.

Nice mouthfeel, easily drinkable for 7%.

Interesting collaboration. While it's not your typical porter, you wouldn't expect that from DFH, and certainly not in a collab. The addition I can't say makes a better porter as the base beer would probably be damn good, this certainly gives you something else to think about.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 03-06-2011 09:47:24

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Photo of rab53
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An interesting beer concept here.

A very dark brown pour, thick cola looking. Off brown head.

Smoky aroma, some wet peat or mossiness. Coffee and a bit medicinal throughout.

The smoke is a bit sharp and 'green'. Roasted pepper is coming through a bit. Reminds me a bit of liquid smoke, but not all that potent. Umami plays a bit of a role here. Baked caramel and molasses provide faint whiffs. Medicinal finish on the end if I think about it. The smoke is there throughout yet never dominates like, say, Alaskan Smoked Porter. This is a bit lighter and the carbonation pulls a lot of that away.

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Photo of trappistlover
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

(Generously shared by some friends who picked this up in NZ). Pours a dark cola color with a tan head. Aroma has beef jerkey, savory smoke, caramel and some vanilla. Taste is sweet, but not cloying whatsoever and follows suit of the aroma. Thin to medium bodied with an oily texture. The finish was a bit dry. This was a neat beer and pretty good as well. I’m very glad I got to try this!!

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Photo of gford217
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle.

Pours a deep mahogany that shows only a little of light through the edges. There is big creamy beige head that sticks to the glass aggressively.

Aroma has chocolate malts, coffee beans and an interesting spiciness that I would attribute to the tamarillos. There is a nice smoked character to the nose, almost like a lightly smoked porter.

Taste matches the aroma with a little less smokiness. The first taste is roasted malts and chocolate with that same tomato-like spiciness, which is very subtle. The finish is where the smoked malts show up, though they are very faint compared to the more prominent nose.

The mouthfeel is great, extremely creamy with good carbonation.

I enjoyed this beer though the spiciness from the tomatoes is something I'm not used to. One of the better experiments from DFH lately.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.71/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a cool long-neck 500mL bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Bistre body, opaque with a lasting fat finger of dense creamy light khaki foam. Superior retention, even lacing, no legs.

Roasted barley, faint oats, and vague aromas of woodworking in the nose.

A bit of tartness is married to a mild astringency on the palate which fades slowly into an extended lingering finish suffused with low smokey notes like the smoldering embers of a freshly doused fire. The tamarillo comes out in the aftertaste with it's signature tomato/kiwi flavors. Very low bitterness, pleasant roast elements, with hints of basil and fresh nuts as well.

Medium-bodied, creamy, and well carbonated.

A distinctively tart/savory take on a porter, without much emphasis on the malt - I think it could have stood a bit more depth to balance the fleeting yet strong "experimental" elements. A good "porter" for hot weather with some strange similarity to gazpacho.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Moving this to the appropriate listing,

500 mL bottle, saw this on Brewmasters and never thought I'd get to try it, purchased at Provisions,

A: Pours a very deep brown with a creamy tan head, good retention, leaving nice lace.

S: Malt heavy, savory with some interesting notes of fudge and nuts. Has an herbal quality (tamarillos?) that reminds me of Anchor OSA.

T: Has a clear spice component that I believe has to be from the tamarillos, somewhat like chiles, but more savory and meaty. Lightly smoked malt with some wood and dark chocolate in the finish. Very much like a spiced winter warmer especially at times, with a somewhat tannic and bitter roasty finish.

M: Medium-bodied, seems thin for the most part though for the flavours I'm experiencing.

O: An interesting beer overall, it has a unique flavour that is simply hard to describe, but certainly enjoyable. Glad to try this effort.

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Photo of jlindros
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours larger 2 finger head that fades at a med pace with a bit of lacing over very dark brown colored beer, with hints of ruby light streaming through.

Nose has some interesting porter aromas, some darker malts with hints of roast, some crystal malts, and other dark malts. Plenty of smoke, light campfire and almost peat like smoke, a light hickory like smoke as well. Some very light peppery aroma, and light sweet molasses or caramel, and hint of creamy dark malts.

Taste brings more smoke to start, light campfire, some hickory smoke, and light peat. Then more malts, darker malts, dark crystal malts, just a hint of roasted malts, etc. Also some light pepper like flavors, and hint of fruity earthy taste that I can't really describe well that I assume is from the tamarillo. It also has a drier smoked and cured like meat flavor (not the meat, just the dried cured flavor). Some bitterness cuts through, a light earthy hop maybe, but mostly from the smoke flavors and tamarillo. A light fluffy malt flavor too. Finishes dry, very dry, with some light spicy pepper, lighter smoked flavors, and some light darker malts all lingering, and a bit more bitterness. It starts to get slightly briny and salty from the smoke very late on the finish.

Mouth is med to slightly bigger bodied, slightly fluffy, decent carbonation.

Overall interesting, a few different smoke flavors, some interesting tamarillo flavors, light pepper, nice malts, a decent bitterness, but a light briny taste at the finish deducts a bit.

Initially reviewed on: 08-09-2011 20:00:30

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.35/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Given a few years to age since its discovery on Brewmasters, Portamarillo is a different take on a porter. I get a smokey and date-like flavor, and it doesn't have any stale or obvious oxidized flavors, so it looks like this beer has aged fine. Too bad it's not a standout beer.

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Photo of beer2day
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown pour with ruddy hints of red along the edges. Really looks like port, except for the 1-finger medium cream head. Retention is ok, lace is marginal.

Nose is that of a strong smoked porter. Very strong. Woody with lots of smoke.

Taste is smoked porter up front and lightly spiced bloody mary in the finish. Front side is very nice, back end is just a bit off - but I'm sure the taste is accurate for what they had in mind. Not terribly off-putting, but just different. A bit of vegetable at the end of the glass. Even the celery comes in a bit, or that could just be my imagination.

Feel is about right for a porter. Not too thick or oily. Medium-to-slightly heavy body.

Overall, worth a shot if you are a smoke fan.

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Photo of BirdsandHops
3.17/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours black with slight ruby light around the edges and two fingers of beige head that recedes into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: Some roasted malts at first with a bit of a sweet chocolate aroma and a touch of citrus from the hops. Smoke aromas come in on the finish.

T: Roasted malts up front with a touch of bitter chocolate followed by a strong smoke flavor. The finish is dry and lightly bitter with a slight alcohol warmth.

M: Medium body and carbonation, this beer has a very dry, smoky feel.

O: While I like the concept and the story of this beer, unfortunately it isn't that great of a beer and definitely isn't worth the hefty price ($13 for the 500mL bottle here). It tastes like an average smoked porter to me and lacks much depth. Still, it's not a bad beer, but for the price I feel a bit ripped off.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tried a bottle of this at Max's Taphouse in Baltimore. Saw this on the Brewmaster's Show, pretty curious to try it. Interesting beer to say the least, not too much for aroma but taste is very present. My first thought was a "chocolately tomato", but it somehow works and goes together well with a smooth finish. Not one of the best DFH beers I've had, but unique and definitely something you haven't had before.

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Photo of julian
3.71/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with slight amber highlights. Very clear with a nice foamy layer of almond colored head. Little to no lacing.

S: Dark fruits, raisins (special b), smokey, caramel malt, some dark roasted malt bitterness and a hint of alcohol

T: Pretty much follows the nose though with the smoked Tamarillos taking more of a front seat. Some roasted malt flavors come through in the mid palate which lead way to a nice smooth caramel malt biscuity flavor in the finish.

M: Well carbonated, smooth, some alcohol warmth on the finish.

O: Not bad. Smokiness isn't overwhelming, general porter flavor comes through nicely. If you like a little (or a lot of smoke) then this is a nice deviation from your standard porter.

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Photo of dgilks
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown colour verging on black with a small, tan head. Fair head retention.

Robust smokey aroma with clear and distinct dark malts. Mild fruit in the background with a hint of sweetness. Nothing special but still good.

Dry, roasty, chocolatey and smokey. There's a nice fruitiness here with a touch of sticky, yet drying sweetness.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Good.

A solid beer with a nice combination of flavours. I don't really get the tamarillo here but I like the beer and on the whole I approve.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500 ML bottle poured into a globe glass (moved to correct Epic entry)

A-- Poured a dark cola color and settled black with tints of red. One finger light brown head that held up nicely and reformed well with swirling. No real lacing at all.

S-- First thing that stood out was the smokiness of it. Fairly big and rich but dropped off sharply a bit after opening. Smoked or stewed Tamarillo also in the nose (far closer to smoked/ stewed tomato but who is counting). A little bit spicy and a little bit sweet in the nose as well.

T-- Whole bunch of smoke in the taste. More like a big sip of liquid smoke.

M-- Front is mostly sour acidic smoke and then that drops off to the classic porter taste. A little thin at times in the middle but a little bit of coffee in this. Back end, or finish is also a lot of peat like smoke with a sweet acidic finish. Think the fruit picks up the back end of this decently. Just not really that well developed yet. The smoke and wood is very obvious in the front and finish. Tamarillos add an odd taste to this. At times pleasant and other times not. Medium body and medium feel.

D-- Think this needs to develop more. The smoke is good at times and at others a bit overpowering. One is good for now but will get a couple to cellar and see what happens in a year or so. Very different porter with some good things about it but think smoked porters are much better with age on it.

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Photo of goblue3509
4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brown to dark brown color with visible light along the edges. There is a one finger off white head which quickly recedes to skim and leaves a little bit of lace. The aroma has a caramel malt start but then a big smokey aroma comes through. The smoke comes rising out of the glass. The taste starts with a little thin caramel malt before giving way to a slight bitterness, but then comes a very enjoyable roasty and smokey backbone. The smoke taste is very pleasing. The mouthfeel is lowly carbonated and a little bit thin. Overall this was a good beer, the taste made me want more while having nothing offensive. The taste is the star of the show with the rest slightly lagging behind.

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Photo of megamass
4.25/5  rDev +13%

Photo of jlb502
3/5  rDev -20.2%

Photo of nickhiller
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: dark coffee with a soapy head and lace.

S: pumpkin-y, spicy, meaty char and smoked pepper.

T: basically a standard porter that packs a little salami and too bitterness.

M: high carbonation and the roast don't work well together, making it bitter in an acrid way.

O: all the makings of a good porter with all the makings of a bad one.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.48/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a near black. Edges reveal dark garnet colors. Head was tanned, creamy, and chock full of lacing power. The aroma was a little earthy, with a subtle spicy fruit note, but predominantly roasted, with a dash of chocolate and light smokiness. Up front, the taste hits you with a spicy, acidic fruitiness, moving to a more roasted, toasted malt character, and then finishing slightly sweet with a mild smoked wood flavor. The body was medium, and creamy on the palate. Smooth, with a clean finish. Carbonation was light.

Overall, this is a good porter. I can appreciate the uniqueness of this brew, and I'm very glad I could give this a try. Is the Tamarillo the next big brewing ingredient? Nah. Definitely worth trying if you can.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
2.94/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From 500mL bottle to tasting glass at a NoVA Beer Tasting on 10/23/11
*From notes

-- I picked this up at the Bowery St. Whole Foods NYC in late July --

A: Chestnut brown. A slightly drunken pour yields a 1.25 finger head. Minimal retention and some mediocre lacing.

S: Fake liquid smoke.

T: More liquid smoke. I get some faint hints of coffee, or maybe dark chocolate, but it's not enough to off-set the undesired smokiness. Luckily, the finish is a bit malty and somewhat saves what's otherwise a train wreck of a porter.

M: Overcarbed for a 7% ABV porter. This lacks the find of feel needed to carry the bloated smoke on the palate.

O: Epic/DFH's Portamarillo is another in a running line of unbalanced DFH brews. The more my palate evolves, the more I seem to be dissapointed in the majority of Señor Calagione's one-offs and specialty brews. This, of course, not being an exception. With a bit more focus, attention and TLC, this could be something worth taking note of. As it is, this is sadly forgettable.

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Photo of muchloveforhops3
4.25/5  rDev +13%

Photo of JizackFH
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours a real dark brown color. It has about a finger and a half of tan head on it. The head has good retention, and it leaves some lace behind on the glass.

S - The smell starts off with some caramel maltiness and a pretty big smoke character. It smells of smoked ham and light camp fire-like smells.

T - There are bready and caramel malt flavors right away. There is a nice smokiness that is there, but doesn't take over the flavor. There is some roasted bitterness, as well as some hop presence. Also, I am getting some fruitiness on the back end of it. The finish has some dryness to it, and leaves a bit of lingering roasted flavor and fruitiness. This has a pretty complex taste. Not sure I am getting it all.

M - This has a medium body and good carbonation. It goes down easy and has a nice smooth feel to it. There is some roasted bitterness and a little bit of dryness.

O - This has good drinkability. I could easily drink a few glasses of this. I thought the aroma and flavor were really nice. I really enjoyed the smokiness of it. It didn't dominate the flavor, but it definitely stood out. Definitely and interesting and complex beer. I recommend trying it out if you come across it.

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Photo of davey101
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best by 10/19/2011. 500ml bottle into a DFH signature glass. Huge thanks to boobypaulson for the awesome extra!

A - Dark black/brown body with a frothy tan head. Really great lacing and retention.

S - Roasted malts and some light smoke. Not sure what a tamarillo smells like, but I'm not detecting anything really tomato like or savory.

T - Rich smokey body with some nice malty sweetness. Fairly bitter and I'm getting some of the savory flavors which have to be tamarillo. Its not over the top though...very balanced and light. Faint coffee and chocolate lingering in the aftertaste. Mouth feel is a bit on the thin side but it has some nice carbonation.

O - A really unique idea, however I fail to recognize the tamarillo as an ingredient. It really works as a lightly smoked porter though. Really delicious, wish this was easier to find.

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Epic / Dogfish Head Portamarillo from Epic Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 64 ratings