Epic / Dogfish Head Portamarillo | Epic Brewing Company

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Epic / Dogfish Head PortamarilloEpic / Dogfish Head Portamarillo
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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).

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 42 | Ratings: 64
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 afrokaze
3.59/5  rDev -4.5%
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 UCLABrewN84
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was excited to see this in CA after watching this beer being made on Brewmasters. This is the Epic version direct from New Zealand.

Pours an almost opaque dark crimson brown with a 1 inch beige head that fades to a thin cap. Nice thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt and some campfire scents. A slight grilled vegetable scent as well. Taste is of roasted malt, campfire smoke, and some fruity flavors. A slight band-aid flavor as well. A mild roasty bitterness on the palate after each sip. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a lower level of carbonation. Overall, this is a good porter with an interesting set of ingredients. Not as awesome as I was expecting but not too shabby either.

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Photo of Bobheed
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 500mL bottle

A: Looks like a basic porter, very dark with about a finger head that sticks around for a while. When held up to light, you can distinguish a bit of a red/orange hue

S: Smells pretty burnt, get a little spicyness/fruitiness, other than that quite malty and a lot of alcohol on the nose

T: Surprisingly no alcohol presence even though it was very detectable in the smell. Has a very roasty/burnt taste and transitions into a remarkable salsa-esque aftertaste

M: Smooth overall, fairly thin. Get a nice tingly sensation I think from the slight spiciness

Overall this was a solid beer. I had to pick up a bottle because I was just shocked to see it in my local store, which apparently now carries lot's of Epic beer. Unique twist on a porter, but maybe not worth the $11 price tag.

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Photo of negroobserver
3.36/5  rDev -10.6%
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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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 DCon
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a 1PT .9 FL OZ bottle from Lukas Liquor in Ellisville, MO for $9.99. ANYTIME I see a Dogfish Head Beer, I buy it! Poured from the Bright Blue & Maroon bottle into my Stone Brewing Pint Glass. Has an EPIC bottle cap but no Freshness Date (like a lot of times from DogFish Head).

Aroma- Smells roasty, very burnt, and malty. A bit of fruit and hop at the end of the smell. Good stuff.

Appearance- Pours a 1.5 finger of off white head (decent retention) and has a Dark Black and hint of red body color that looks like it would be clear if a different color. The lacing is HUGE with it covering the entire class.

Flavor- Starts with a dark toffee, candy flavor but still burnt and light coffee like. Strong malts and even sweet at times, but not overpowering. Medium bitterness and good finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium-Full Bodied, Medium Carbonation, Roasted grains are noticeable, and leaves a burnt like finish but then an alcohol warming attribute is present? Guess this is appropriate.

Overall Impression- While watching Brew Masters on the Discovery Channel, I HAD to get this beer and it was a limited beer sold at Lukas. It was very good but nothing to brag about. If I see again, I would definitely buy! Haven't heard of anyone close to me having this beer, so it seems like I'm very lucky.

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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 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 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 ShanePB
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
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 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 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 mdaschaf
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
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 THECPJ
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes on 3/11/2011
another thank you is in order to brendan13 for shipping this one half way around the country.

appearance: dark brown with a 1 finger off white head

smell: roast, smoke, wood, tamarillo

taste: roasted malts, little smoke, tamarillos

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

drinkability: had this one on draft at dogfish when they were working on this recipe. and now having it in the bottle. I think the guys at EPIC did an outstanding job.

I would definitely give this beer another go round if it ever shows up in the United States.


the CPJ

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Photo of Yagman3000
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 ounce bomber brought over to NYC as part of the special Rattle and Hum DFH event.

Appears a maroon brown. A very interesting color.

Smells of smokiness and a touch of vegetal. Almost porter type smell. Intriguing.

Tastes of tomato and bacon. I never thought I'd say that before... :)

Mouthfeel is crisp and smoky. Doesn't linger too much. Low effervescence.

Overall an interesting beer and I'm happy that I tried it. Wouldn't run for a second though...

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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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Epic / Dogfish Head Portamarillo from Epic Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.76 out of 5 with 64 ratings