Epic / Dogfish Head Portamarillo | Epic Brewing Company

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Epic / Dogfish Head PortamarilloEpic / Dogfish Head Portamarillo
64 Ratings
Epic / Dogfish Head PortamarilloEpic / Dogfish Head Portamarillo

Brewed by:
Epic Brewing Company
New Zealand (Aotearoa)

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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).

Added by trappistlover on 06-26-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 64 |  Reviews: 42
Reviews by negroobserver:
Photo of negroobserver
3.36/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

color... dark brown/black in color. Very little light gets through the glass. Pours with about 1/2 inch of cream/beige colored head.

smell... nothing special here. I got some herbal/grassy notes. some fruity notes, can't really identify any specifics here.

taste... bitter. some fruity characteristics. has a nutty/earthy flavor. Flat flavors in the middle with some carbonation tingling. the bitterness definitely dominate this one. it lingers in the back for a few seconds because it coats the mouth.

mouthfeel... the carbonation is good. well balanced (mostly). I generally like bitter beers, but the facts that the bitterness in this beer lingers and coats the mouth is not a positive in my book. It kind of spoils the experience for me.

OVERALL: I was expecting much more from this one than I got. Having seen the last episode of BrewMasters, this was one of the most anticipated beers on my list and I'm a little disappointed. At $12 a bottle for a 500ml, I feel like this was a waste of my money. I expect better from DFH.


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More User Reviews:
Photo of megamass
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of mdaschaf
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes 3/11/11. Huge thanks to THECPJ for sharing this bottle with me.

A: Pours a very dark brown, held up to the light there is a slight ruby color. A nice mocha colored head formed of very fine bubbles, nice retention and lacing for style.

S: Nice smoky aroma, lots of roasted malt, and a sweetness that I assume is from the tamarillos.

T: Roasted malt, some chocolate, and a nice woody flavor. There is a sweet flavor, which I again attribute to the tamarillos (something I have never had). There is a slightly oxidized taste too.

M/D: Slightly higher than medium bodied with good carbonation. Certainly very interesting, but overall enjoyable. I liked the roasted malt playing with the sweetness. The smoke is a bit on the heavy side.

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Photo of AlexChillton
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Photo of augustgarage
3.71/5  rDev -0.8%
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 nickhiller
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
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 trappistlover
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
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 dgfishhead36
3/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of n2185
3.17/5  rDev -15.2%
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 jlb502
3/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of hoppymcgee
4/5  rDev +7%

Photo of EgadBananas
3.48/5  rDev -7%
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 jmilo64
2.75/5  rDev -26.5%

Photo of afrokaze
3.59/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle poured into tulip.

Pours a dark brown with 3 fingers of light tan foamy head that dies cleanly. Smell is roasted malt, slightly nutty but also plenty of smokiness from the tamarillos that are also noticably vegetal & slightly sweet. Some heat in the nose also. Taste is dominated by roasted malt sweetness that plays off the tamarillo, which is an interesting element. Tomato hints come through cleaenly but not overpowering. Charred/roasted flavor mixes well with typical porter notes of coffee & dark grains, but overwhelms some of the other flavors. Slightly thin for a porter but has a nice creamy finish that coats the palate, drinks at it's ABV. Definitely worth the one shot but at $12 bucks I'm glad I only bought two.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

550 ml bottled, generously shared by THECPJ when my girlfriend and I took our most recent trip to Rehoboth. Consumed at the Dogfish Head pub with mdaschaf and company, as well. Poured into a taster glass.

A: Rather dark brown, not completely opaque in the light, beige colored head that was rather dismal, perhaps to the fact this glass is not intended for massive retention. The head settled into almost nothing, except a very thin ring of bubbles along the edge of the glass.

S: My senses may have been a tad bit off but this beer certainly had a few qualities to announce to the drinker. A very indicative aroma of smoked peat, roasted malt grains and some extremely bitter dark chocolate (85% cacao or more). A slight sweetness is present here, could from from the chocolately notes or perhaps, and I'd like to think so, the tamarillos used in the brewing.

T: The wood seems to come through immediately, coupled nicely with a smokiness in the flavor. Nothing seems to jump out flavor-wise, all flavors seem toned down and blended almost too well. For me, I didn't get much of a tamarillo flavor, though if I'm being honest, I've never had one before so I'm not sure exactly what to look for.

M: For a Porter, yea it's a bit thin still, a bit too carbonated and almost watery. Not bad, but not ideal.

It was seriously wonderful to get to finally sample this beer and I cannot thank THECPJ enough for breaking this out and mdaschaf for telling him about my desire to try this! A very good collaboration beer brewed with some signature off-the-wall ingredients, true to Dogfish Head.

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Photo of joecast
3.61/5  rDev -3.5%
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 Rhettroactive
2.94/5  rDev -21.4%
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 clarkm04
3.57/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- light black appearance, tannish medium head retention

S - I get a slight smoke smell from the beer along with what seems to be chocolate

T- This beer has a smokey and wood foretaste then descends to hit more of the traditional porter notes such as light coffee and chocolate. It has a sweet smokey aftertaste.

M- Pretty thin and light for a porter

O- I found this beer to be just decent. As always I appreciate how DFH strives to produce something different. I like the smokey notes it's a good touch but not overwhelming or overdone. I think this beer would be good to make with BBQ sauce or drink it with BBQ

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Photo of Lantern
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of jlindros
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
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 mulder1010
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
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 DruRho
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of davey101
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
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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Photo of FosterJM
3.41/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

873rd Review on BA
Bottle to Mug

Best by: 19.10.11

Bought from Aloha liquors, Carson City, NV

App- A great mix of browns and reds and ambers. A big puffy two finger medium receding head with with a little bit of a pond layer. Maybe a few whisps of cling.

Smell- Very much like a Rauchbier with the the smoky flavors from the wood chips. A little bit of the porter aromas from the malts remain but seemingly one sided.

Taste- Its very one sided from the smokiness but its still good. The profile is very porter like. A bit thin. A little malty but this one has a kick with the tamarillos and roasty.

Mouth- A nice porter like thiness with a good bit of malt and roasty. Light/medium bodied and a medium carbonated.

Drink- I had been wanting to try this one since I saw it on the show and just could never find it in So. Cal. Go fiqure I find it in a tiny little liquor store in Carson City, NV. Nice flavor profile. Unique and tasty, just a new profile for me.

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Epic / Dogfish Head Portamarillo from Epic Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.74 out of 5 with 64 ratings