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Elemental | Renaissance Brewing

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very good
52 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Renaissance Brewing
New Zealand (Aotearoa)

Style: English Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by belgbeerdrinker on 01-03-2008

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Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 102
Photo of eric5bellies
3.25/5  rDev -18.3%

Drank from my Mane Liquor Tulip
A - Classic deep ebony colour with a tanned head that retains and laces.

S - Molasses, caramel and roasted malts

T - Up front some nice spicy balanced toffee and fig. After that the sweetness just takes over.

M - Light to medium body with low carbonation. Too thin

O - Not a great example of a Porter

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.46/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark murky brown, cabernet-coloured tinge when held up to the light. Nice frothy beige head, quite dense webs but sinks to a 3cm crown, leaving some nice ebbs of foam lace on the glass. Seems to be fairly bubbly, certainly a decent-looking dark beer.

Nose is fairly astringent. Certain quantity of charcoal on that as well as some damp coffee grinds, red bean and brown sugar. Slight meaty undertone adds to that sour character, bit of bacon to it and some saltiness, like a curing agent smell. Pretty good nose but not extremely enticing as a drink.

Taste is far more interesting, with a more pronounced dark malt character. Starts out slightly bitter and ashy and gathers speed as it plunges into the murky burnt blackness. Never reaches the depths though, there's a shallowness to the flavour, like the burnt flavour is there but not in great abundance. Fair amount of smoke and dark cocoa, some milkiness in there and burnt toffee. Hint of boot polish and leather as well on the mid, but finishes more sweet than bitter, with a nice dark spice that adds piquancy. A decent dark beer for my taste, not sensational though.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin and watery in the mouth. Improves as it goes down, but the lack of body contributes to the shallow flavour sensation.

Decent drinking, certainly sessionable as far as dark beers go.

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Photo of MrKennedy
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle from Beermasons, into a Kent Old Brown handle.

Starts to gush and foams out of the bottle a bit. Pours a deep brown to black with a light tan foam on top. The head was more than half and it gradually dissipated.

Smells very roasted. Almost acrid to start with. Roasted malt and roasted chocolate plus licorice. A little off putting to begin with but these subside and a nice chocolate aroma comes through to work with the licorice.

Rich flavour of roasted malt, chocolate and licorice. The latter only there early. Plenty of intensity on the flavour scale.

High carbonation doesn't compliment the rich flavours. If it was a lot lower, this would really shine. Still some softness early and roast bitterness late that gives it a nice feel.

Good beer, shame about the carbonation. Plenty there, a shame the carbonation didn't help it be the beer it could and should be.

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Photo of belgbeerdrinker
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: dark color with brown highlights, medium head settles to a veil, carbonated trickles evident
s: mix of crisp (carbonated) and roasted malts
t: roasted malts throughout tempered with a softness, subtle bitter coffee finish
m: nice balance of roasted malts and carbonation make for a smooth, medium to heavy body
d: enjoyed this brew because of its balance and coffee taste wasn't overpowering. recommended

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Photo of TerryW
3.56/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is one of those impossible to pour beers with an insanely out of control head. Probably took me longer to get it out of the bottle tan to drink it.

Walnut black with a big head that settles to a substantial cap. Some lace, not a lot.

Chocolatey nose, noticeable sweetness. Charcoal.

Chalky and dry on the palate. Sweet malts, followed by sourness. Lots of chocolate and charcoal. Ultimately finishes quite dry. Thin-bodied.

Decent, but the sourness is a little odd.

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Photo of Macca
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours dark brown with a solid tan head.

Aromas of milk and dark chocolate. Some dark sugar. A touch of coffee.

Quite astringent on the palate. Burnt malt dominates for me in the beginning. It seems to mellow as my palate gets used to it. Chocolate starts to pokes its head through the burnt characteristics and it all rounds out nicely.

Medium bodied at best. High carbonation.

A good porter but not awesome. I think it would be a good food beer.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.66/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a traditional looking dark brown color with a tan colored head on top. The retention was decent but not much lacing at all. The smell of the beer gives off some big roasted notes as well as some hops too. The taste is bitter, more of a hop bitterness than a roasted one. There are flavors of chocolate in there as well. The mouthfeel was a little bit too carbonated in my opinion for the style. Overall it's a decent porter, not one I'd have to seek out again but it was nice to try.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Sampled this brew along with Renaissance's Scotch ale, thanks to a generous donor to the great beer cause here in sleepy Silver Springs, Calgary. This beer certainly looks the part of a so-called robust porter (as per the fine print on the label), a murky dark brown to almost black, although was noticeably lacking the red highlights you often get with a well-crafted porter from the Old World. Perhaps I just failed to see this but I still must rate accordingly. Fairly aggressive carbonation in terms of the billowing tan head as well as on the palate later. Too fizzy for me and for the style more generally. Aroma was pleasant enough, coffee and caramel, chocolate, considerable fruity sweetness like dried currants and raisins, a little fresh citrus rind from NZ hops. Standard high-end porter stuff but as was the case for the Scotch ale from this brewery, weighted towards the sweet rather than the bitter roasted elements. Palate yields a nice chocolate-covered raisins effect, a very smooth and refined roasted character, mellow smoke, some diacetyl butter that stays right where it needs to be, namely noticeable but not aggressive, and some interesting herbal flavors, including a pronounced mint note that strangely enough works quite well in such a dark beer and a smooth licorice drop style floral spice. Semi-chewy and of moderately thick body, with a little dry wood char in the reasonably dry finish. The final verdict? I tend to use many qualifiers in my reviews at the best of times, but this review is particularly tempered ("mellow", "a little", "refined", "not aggressive", etc. etc.). The beer comes off more as a brown porter than a robust one if you want to nitpick about style, which can be kinda fun. Everything is classy, unassuming, and downplayed, with the exception of the carbonation, although the beer is well-balanced and still flavorful.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.74/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500ml bottle. Weirdly difficult to read name, with an obscured main title. Only a sign of the weak sauce to come...

This beer pours very dark brown, verging on black hue, with bright reddish highlights, and one of those stupidly overwrought, immediately rising and overflowing at every juncture towers of thin, yet powerfully foamy beige head, which sets in for a serious spell, before eventually settling, to reveal some strangely sparse blobs of cloud form lace around the glass.

It smells of roasted chocolate malt, a bit of caramel/toffee sweetness, some creamy milkiness, sugar cookies, and ashy, earthy hops. The taste is grainy, toasted bready malt, caramel biscuits, semi-sweet cocoa powder, oily bar nuts, a bit of black licorice, a slightly off milkiness, and earthy, crackling leaf hops.

The carbonation is, as already noted, way the fuck out of control, still burbling up out of a half-empty bottle at this point in the game. Really, Renaissance? I know the first thing to check for in a non-bottle conditioned scenario (as far as I can tell here) is for infection, but the flavour is actually quite all right, so no problem there. Aside from this distraction, the bubbles are normative enough, the body a decent medium weight, and so-so smooth, a hoppy edginess taking its pound of flesh. It finishes on the drying side, the roasted character starting to fully assert itself, the chocolate notes aiding and abetting, and the hops looking the other way.

Once past the presentation chaos, this turns out to be a generally agreeable old-world porter, with the roasted, multi-pronged sweetness, subtle dairy notes, and nudging alcohol all making for an enjoyable tipple, once, well, you know...

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.76/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - black with just a hint of light peaking through the edges, half finger of head dissipated to a few random islands
S - chocolate and roastiness, hints of cream, burnt sugars, and mild leafs
T - bitter bakers chocolate with burnt coffee and dark toffee maltiness, touch of creamy dairy, finishes slightly musty and earthy
M - medium body with a prominent cocoa chalkiness, yet still relatively rich and somewhat sweet, finishes with just a touch of bitterness
O - has an old timey label and a flavour to match which I enjoyed, its rich and bold while maintaining its relatively light porter character, worth seeking out

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Photo of DaveBar
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Re-review with original Oct.2014..... Heat is gone. Wonderful beer. Zero chalkiness. No head after 10sec. Different beer altogether. Found this baby in the cellar. Me likie now! Age helped this girl out a lot! Buy buy buy!!!

Purchased at the LCBO for around $4.00 for a 500ml bottle. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- 4.0- Opens well and pours a TON of dark head that lasts

S- 3.75- Lots of roasted malt and nutty smell.

T- 3.0- Not so good. Very hot. WAY too much roast and smoke. Overpowering.

M- 3.25- Not bad. Dry

O- 3.33- This is the highest I can go. Will not buy again. Cut down on the malt guys.

Food Paring

This ok beer went well with..... Beef Stew


 680 characters

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours black with a large, tan head.
Nose shows dark chocolate, peppery hops, roasted coffee beans and roasted malt.
Equally roasty flavours, focussing of coffee and roasted malt rather than chocolate though. Very smooth stuff, but becomes a little more bold in the dry finish.
Could use a richer body.

 301 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep black color porter with a small dark brown foamy head with average retention and some light lacing. Aroma of black chocolate and cocoa is pretty intense and enjoyable with some dry light bitter roasted malt notes also perceptible. Taste is also dominated by rich smooth dark chocolate notes with quite a bit of cocoa and dry roasted malt notes with subtle hints of coffee. Hops are very neutral. Body is full with nice smooth texture and medium carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Very well brewed.

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Photo of ADZA
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a jet black coca cola colour that lets no light thru at all it has average carbonation which leaves a nice creamy one finger head that leaves spontanious lacing down the glass,it has nice aromas of chocolate,coffee,blackberries and roasty malts,it tastes pretty much the same with some nice chocolate,coffee notes coming thru quite prominently and it leaves you with a nice full roasty maltish mouthfeel quite pleasant indeed and would put this porter up there with the best ones.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Black that goes purple-garnet in light with absurd piles of pocked burnt umber foam.
Oily coffee, treacle, charcoal on the nose - sweet.
Big coffee grounds hit with licorice, dried blackberries, and char and branchy and evergreen hops to end.
Malted milk ball finish and lingering roasty bitterness.
Medium, fizzy, dry.

Sweet malts and OTT roastiness battle it out. A medium-at-most body lightened by the ridiculous carb is the only thing that makes this a porter. It's got layers, but best beer in NZ?

Above average porter with too much fuss.

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Photo of brendan13
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very dark brown, verging on black with close to an inch of dense light tan head that slowly falls away. A fair bit of lacing is left down the glass.
S - Cocoa powder & roasty coffee aroma initially. With a swirl and deep inhalation some vauge fruity & floral notes come through.
T - Much like the smell - full of cocoa and roasted coffee with subtle fruit and floral hints,
M - Medium bodied, lowish carbonation and quite a dry finish.
D - A very tasty porter. Something I'd drink again.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16.9 oz bottle at 42 degrees into a hand washed and dried JK snifter; allowed to warm to 50 degrees
Aroma – begins with some roasted malt and light coffee and toffee; weakens but remains entire glass
Head small (< one cm, aggressive pour), light brown, creamy/fizzy, diminishing to irregular two to six mm ring and partial layer
Lacing good – curtains of tiny bubbles with large openings
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor light coffee and roasted malt; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, watery, soft carbonation

Appearance 3.75, Aroma 4, Flavor 4, Palate 3.75, Overall 4

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle served fairly cold into a Murphy's pint glass. Purchased for about $6 CDN.

Appearance - Very black, so black that all light is eradicated. A small thin layer of brown head rests on top visible reducing down to small wisps of foam. Imposing.

Smell - Plenty of coffee, some peat and a hint of black licorice. Also traces of vanilla soaked coffee bean and a trace of maple syrup.

Taste - Not really like the nose, as there's a touch of dark chocolate, big roasty coffee flavor and transitions to a leather like flavor and even a bit of smoke. The vanilla picked up on the nose, didn't translate in flavor.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, slick, low carbonation, good feel for a porter.

Overall - Very well crafted toasty and earthy porter with plenty of coffee roastiness and a bunch of other subtleties that an experienced beer connoisseur may be able to pick up.

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Photo of JonCorbett
3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured in to a chalice. Cola black. Carbonation consists of medium to large bubbles that develop a loose, frothy, and rather small head even with a fairly aggressive pouring. The head is a medium tan colour and retention is low - (rapid dissipation). Even after swirling it doesn’t stick to the glass and settles smoothly back into the ring.

Aromatics: Nose is full of dark fruits - dates/plums, with hints of vanilla and caramelized brown sugar, and mellow roasted coffee.

Taste: Starts somewhat fruity, and is quickly replaced with a grassy and slight alcohol punch, but finishes with a very impressionable cacao/espresso flavour. I’ve never tried to roast wheat grass, but if I had to describe the bitter - that’s what I would say is it tastes like toasted wheat grass. Rich bitter with a slight tang at the edges of the palate when it finishes.

Feel: A very robust character; medium weight and the lack of carbonation gives it a smooth and dry coffee texture.

Overall: A rich bitter nature so similar to coffee I would use it as an after dinner digestif, especially with a simple dessert like a fruit tart or pie and vanilla ice cream.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ML bottle poured into a Shiner Bock Pint Glass

A-- Poured black, with just a bit of red on the sides of the glass. Got a huge head from the pour and looks to have at least medium carbonation. Head is a Brown Sugar color, very well constructed and held a 2 finger head for quite a while. Looks more like a root beer float.

S-- Fresh Licorice is the dominant smell, followed by coffee and dark sweet berry chocolate.Very big smell and quite earthy and a bit of a pungent smell.

T-- Still get a bit of the licorice but strong roasted coffee is very prevalent, more like overdrawn cold espresso. Quite bitter and still earthy. Very rich dark chocolate is also there, as well as blackberries and raspberries

M-- Coffee taste sticks around for a while but the rest of the flavor is a little flat and disappears very quickly, a little bit thin. Needs more hops. The coffee and chocolate flavor hides it well and in some ways overdo the hop presence. Could use a bit less carbonation.

D-- ABV, 6%, is very well hidden. Very easy to drink and the 500 ML bottle is a good idea. Australian brewers should do more of this bottling size. One in a sitting is enough for me. Well made beer and a good take on an English Porter.

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Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a mostly opaque texture. There was an inch of tan-colored, foamy fairly long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A robust aroma of chocolate, malt, and a hint of coffee.

T: Tasted basically like it smelled: Chocolate, roasted malt, and some coffee in the finish. There's a slight hoppy bitterness, but nothing overwhelming. A nice flavor.

M: A solid amount of carbonation with a smooth, if slightly thin, finish. Medium-bodied.

D: A well made, enjoyable, drinkable beer.

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Photo of peensteen
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nearly jet black, 1.5 fingers of tan coloured head, good lace on the glass as well. Smell is full of chocolate and roast, coffee with earthy hops and a bit of black liquorice here as well. Taste is also well roasted with chocolate, coffee flavour and bitterness, some earthy floral hop is present but light, medium bitterness, faint black liquorice and finishes lightly hoppy. Lightly carbonated, light-medium body, drying feel. Really solid stuff here, solid porter and something that was really drinkable, another above average offering from Renaissance.

 556 characters

Photo of andrenaline
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours pitch black, finger of head with solid retention and solid sheeting lacing.

S - Rich cocoa, dark chocolate, hints of vanilla, and leafy green hop notes.

T - The chocolate notes dominate, dark cocoa, vanilla and leafy green notes, much like the nose. Chalky cocoa lingers alongside hints of leather and toffee.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and a touch of dryness.

O - A tasty brew that is full flavoured and fits the basics of the style. Well worth seeking out and glad the LCBO included this in their release.

 520 characters

Photo of Sammy
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Absolutely terrific porter. Black with record lasting head. The pleasant roast yields to a rich roasted flavour that seems to get better with each sip. Full mouthfeel, bittersweet chocolate, a substitute for after dinner coffee. Try this for transitioning your buddies from Bud. marvelous craftmanship.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle no date

black, opaque, tan head. good head retention. aroma of milk chocolate and a little coffee. taste is slightly roasty, good balance of sweetness. slightly dry finish. nice thick silky mouthfeel.

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Elemental from Renaissance Brewing
3.98 out of 5 based on 102 ratings.
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