Orkney Porter | Swannay Brewery

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Orkney PorterOrkney Porter
22 Ratings
Orkney PorterOrkney Porter

Brewed by:
Swannay Brewery
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: English Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mdagnew on 07-21-2010

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Ratings: 22 |  Reviews: 10
Photo of k3ve
3.38/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of kojevergas
3.49/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

BOTTLE: 330ml. Brown glass. Unbranded black pry-off crown cap. Appealing understated black & white label design. Acquired at Appellation Wines in Edinburgh. Vintage 2013 (per the neck).

9% ABV.Reviewed live as a porter per the label and name. Expectations are fairly high given this beer's reputation. Served cold into a pilsner glass and allowed to warm over the course of consumption.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Khaki. Soft-looking, creamy, smooth, and even, with a nice consistency and complexion. Retention is above average for the high ABV - ~3 minutes. Leaves no lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: Predictably, it's an opaque black. Dark, though not a jet or ink black. No yeast is visible within.

Appears aptly carbonated. Looks like a nice porter. I'm looking forward to drinking it. :)

AROMA: Lovely. It's a soft marshmallowy aroma comprised of chocolate malts, dark malts, mellow dark bread, cream, seemingly lactose sugar, and a subtle edge of faint roast that sets off the sweetness brilliantly.

Sweetness seems perfectly dialed in. This aroma suggests an impeccably balanced classic porter. Aromatic intensity is above average.

TASTE: There's a blip of an earthy undertone up front, which isn't ideal, but it does hint at a coffee presence that never materializes. Roasted barley is downplayed to its detriment. But the mellow chocolate malt and dark malt backbone is nothing short of perfect for a porter, and the cream plays into that nicely. Hints of an almost dunkel lager-esque brown bread character lend it an interesting characteristic, though I'm not sure it quite fits. Subtle fig and plum notes are as faint as ever, but play well with the chocolate without dragging the porter down into overcaramelized territory.

Certainly, more of a coffee roast would help improve this, as would more complexity (e.g. in the form of vanilla bean, coconut, cacao nibs, et al.). But the beer is balanced overall, and the marshmallow sets off the whole flavour profile in an interesting way. In any case, it's a well built beer in its style, and is impressively approachable for its high ABV. I rather like it.

TEXTURE: Aptly medium-bodied with a luscious soft feel on the palate and a subtle coarseness and dryness to it that flirts with more of a stout-like texture. Aptly thick and never too syrupy. Unfortunately, it is a bit overcarbonated, but that will benefit it for cellaring.

This texture does accentuate some of the better notes from the flavour profile, but it fails to really elevate the beer as a whole. An even softer more delicate feel coupled with a silky velvety texture would improve this mouthfeel. Well-executed in general terms, though.

OVERALL: While there's not a marriage of texture and taste and the build never seems truly gestalt, this is a cohesive balanced porter that improves on the classic chocolate and dark malt flavour of the style with nuanced notes of dark fruit and breadiness. Well worth trying, and a beer that gets me excited to try the rest of Highland Brewing's line - especially the barrel aged variant of this. Damn drinkable for 9% ABV, and one of the finer widely available Scottish porters I've come across in Edinburgh. Recommended.

High B- (3.49)

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Photo of patrykfus
4.31/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of hansavijaticar
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of Stoutlad
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of Drknight
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of CwrwAmByth
3.75/5  rDev -9%

Photo of mick303
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

bottle into a tulip glass. Pour is dark balck with a nice tan head, slow dissipation and a wonderful lacing, good film as well, looks great.

S - rich dark malt and liquorice notes, mildly earthy and woody as well, some subtle balancing bitterness, dark roasted coffee beans. Plummy and fruity, rich dark malts with a mild roasty character, some apple, really solid.

T - is semisweet chocolate, very creamy, with a subtle caramel orange coming after, dry finish, mild earthy spice, slight cocoa. Very full. Dark roast coffee and chocolate sweetness but balance is perfect, some subtle lemon and even plummy notes, figs just a excellent tasty brew that has a great flavour. Dry and fully malty finish.

M - is big and creamy, rich maltiness, moderate soft carbonation and very little perceptible alcohol which makes for a luscious rich beer. Lovely.

Really nice and surprisingly easy-drinking. This makes a strong case for the amped up porter, with a seriously rich but balanced flavour, hard to find faults here, very tasty beer with a mild phenolic kick on the finish, nice sipper that s pleasing, worth trying for sure.

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Photo of Hanglow
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of flyingpig
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

330ml bottle from Peckhams, Aberdeen (£3.35):
Dark ruby, almost pitch black with a pinky sized, bubbly, tan head that slowly reduces in size to a thick looking lacing. A nice appearance and a better head than I was expecting.

Strong with rich and alcohol laced aroma that is a combination of rich, dark malts and some dark chocolate with an almost red wine like smell following this. There is some raisin, cranberry and plums with a nice alcohol kick and perhaps some dates and figs too.

Boozy, warming alcohol taste to begin that is backed up with a lot of sweetness and darker fruits, notably it is the figs and plums that seem to come through the most here. There is also a very rich, dark, roasted malt taste and some sweet caramel malts and a hint of cherry.

Sweet & rich with a nice boozy feel to the beer and a smooth, full bodied mouthfeel. This one is probably these easiest going 9% beer you will find, the alcohol is noticeable but not overdone & the balance is good.

One of the best I have ever tried. Dangerously easy to drink, considering it is a 9% abv. it goes down an absolute treat. I could drink this one all night although the alcohol content tells me that might not be the best ideas.

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Photo of Matagal
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of mmapes
3.99/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks much to Craig for the trade. Opened in celebration of the completion of a long weekend and an improved sense of smell. Bottle says vintage 2011.

Poured into a snifter and a tulip glass from bottle. Fizzy head. Dark reddish brown color.

Smell is beery, grainy, toasty. Molasses. Maybe a little hint of anise.

First sip is much sweeter than I expected, then finishes dry and astringent. There is a tart fruit component -- like tart dry cherries. Sometimes we expect a porter to be smoky, but this one isn't at all. Medium bodied, like a brown ale with a surprisingly acidic finish.

Not what I expect from something called "porter" -- this is more medium than dark. Very good though. Would buy again (if we could).

 725 characters

Photo of fmeerkoetter
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of bsuedekum
3.25/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of BDTyre
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2010 according to the bottle. Coffee black in appearance with a really thin, creamy head.

Roasted malts, coffee, chocolate and wine scent. This honestly smells more like a Baltic than an English porter. Raisin, plum scents hidden in the background.

Rich, boozy taste. Chocolate, coffee, raisin, plums, wine, brown sugar. Nice rich, dessert-like flavour. Noticeable bitterness.

Thick body; carbonation could stand to be a bit less. Great after dinner beer.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very, very dark in color-slightly bordering on black but not quite there. No real carbonation apparent but it is definately not flat. Very smooth, roasted aromas. Great flavor of dark chocolate, dried fruit and a mellow roastedness. Touch of sweetness. Nice mouthfeel-was expecting it to be more "syrupy" but it doesn't detract from the beer at all. A great, great beer all in. very drinkable. Serving size of the bottle is a bit small. Bartender in the Orkneys turned me on to this and the Orkney Blast from the same brewery-said he couldnt abide the high abv in either beer. Great to see the Brits do a big beer and do it right. Please send some to the US!

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.87/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 275mL bottle into a Cervoise glass. Vintage 2009.

A: The beer comes in just below the half-pint line, with a fine white-tan head rising briefly before settling in just on the surface. Pitch black at first glance, it is tinged deep brown at the edges, and I can just make out my fingers on the other side of the glass if held in direct light.

S: Simply incredible. Big boozy flavours of raisins, port, blackcurrant or cranberry, and heavy malts. Only a slight edge of bitterness can be detected, similar to bitter-sweet chocolate or bourbon-soaked coffee beans.

T: Heartwrenchingly, it isn't great. Don't get me wrong, it's a fine porter, but nothing special. Thin fruity-sweet flavours hark back to olfactory promises without really delivering on them. A touch of unexpected, but pleasant, tartness precedes some chocolatey tones. The aftertaste, at least, is completely satisfactory -- lightly bitter, dark chocolate tones, and an the same enjoyable tartness.

M: Shockingly light after such a thick smell. Drying. Good but not great.

D: A great porter, perhaps one of my favourites. Definitely recommended, but not as wonderful as I had been told it was. I probably wouldn't get another one anytime soon though.

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Photo of Zimbo
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Initially pours a big head which eventually decreases in size. Very dark, very deep with a reddy cherry hue throughout. Nice. Very big for a porter with a slight currants on cake quality. Mouthfeel gives the impression as if it was cut from one full creamy dark bitter block.
Very well integrated, the 9% ABV is exceptionally well hidden. A very nice start to an 18 year old Highland Park.

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Photo of exlex
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

After first tasting this amazing porter from the bottle I was recently lucky enough to enjoy a fresh half pint served on tap, around cellar temperature, at the Bow bar in Edinburgh.

Colour: Deep mahogany, almost black with hints of ruby showing around the edges when held up to the light. Served with a tight tan head that lasts throughout with great lacing.

Aroma: A mixture of dark bittersweet chocolate, roasted malt, and the finest itallian espresso.

Taste: Rich and full bodied with plenty of roasted malt providing fantastic cocoa and mocha characters reminiscent of warm chocolate pudding. The underlying alcohol brings out characteristics similar to coffee liqueur and helps the richness carry through to a long and very more-ish, lingering finish that coats the mouth and keeps you coming back for more.

Overall this is a fantastic porter that promises greatness and delivers with every sip. It could only be enhanced with some great food matches like bittersweet chocolate tart and tiramisu.

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Photo of mdagnew
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

275ml "nip" bottle bought from Beerritz.co.uk... 2009 vintage

Poured a deep dark brown / almost black colour. Burnt brown head poured pretty thick, foamy and meringue like then faded to light covering with thick edging... some light lines of lacing cling to the glass...

Aroma - Toasted bread and lightly roasted malts, black coffee, some dark brown sugar sweetness, roasted nuttiness, some blackcurrant, raisin and black grape fruitiness, very light oatiness, some faint smokiness coming through, leathery hints, faint whiff of alcohol...

Taste - Nice lightly roasted dark chocolate maltiness mixed with molasses sweetness, toasted malt loaf, definite coffee notes, caramel sweetness, again some dark fruits (prunes, plums), light nutmeg traces, quite a lot of sweet nutty hints, some pepperiness...

Feel - Smooth initially then a little sharpness comes through... pretty full bodied... dangerously drinkable as the alcohol is pretty well hidden...

Overall - A very enjoyable porter - perfect for a cold evening. May be a little sweet for some though ... recommended...

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Orkney Porter from Swannay Brewery
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 22 ratings