State Pen Porter | Santa Fe Brewing Company

very good
138 Reviews
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State Pen PorterState Pen Porter

Brewed by:
Santa Fe Brewing Company
New Mexico, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A trademark beer of the Santa Fe Brewing Company’s master brewer, Ty Levis, the State Pen Porter has every reason to be one of his favorites. It is flavorful, swimming with notes of nuts and chocolate; it is drinkable, so drinkable that it is almost as if pint after pint were drinking itself.

Added by UberWasser on 04-14-2007

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Reviews: 138 | Ratings: 336
Photo of greybeardloon
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

No date.

A: Dark brown with light brown head.

S: Roasty dark chocolate with some dark fruit. Smells good.

T: More roasty chocolate with some dark fruit ant a hint of vanilla. There is a tickle of hops at the end, and the hops linger nicely after the finish. There is only the slightest touch of char.

M: Feels about right.

O: This is a tasty beer that goes down really easily. If the abv were lower, this would be a great "session" porter. I would probably have this regularly if it were readily available to me.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark brown that just about obscured all light from the glass. A nice three inch head of off white foam that came up the side of the glass and hung around for a good bit before finally settling down into the glass and leaving behind tons of side glass lace.

The smell was loaded with chocolate. Rich notes of sweet chocolate that were blended in with a touch of burnt coffee grinds balanced throughout the profile. Really nice profile here, with the dark yeast strain that really showed off some nice fruit and cocoa notes, especially as it warms. The flavor was more of the same, rich, with a health does of chocolate

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thank you n8dietz for the pick-up.

Very darl cola brown color with a one finger head and an almost uniform film of foam after numerous sips.

Great roasty malt raomas of light coffee bean, cocoa powder, and what seem to be some yeasty roasted fruits as well.

LOve the upfront roasty malt kick in the mouth that follws through to the finish with velvety smoothness. The roasted mlats have you standard coffee and chocolate flavors, but that creamy texture just melds everything together so well. This would be my choice for a session porter, if the abv. was as a little lower.

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Photo of biggmike
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very attractive dark brown color with a nice off-white head that hung around a while. The aroma was roasty with some dark fruit undertones. Roasted malts and coffee come through on the palate. Mouthfeel was nice and it left nice lacing around the glass. I really enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of chocosushi
3.15/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz->Oktoberfest Mug

A ~ Pours dark brown with a great cap of brown head that's gone in 60 after leaving globs of foamy lacing about the glass that is on par for the style.

S ~ Vanilla extract, weak coffee, dark malts

T ~ Starts a little too sweet. Reminiscent of Diner Coffee with too much french vanilla added to it...Herbal/Earthy hop flavors in the midst of the sweet flavors. Malt & lactose sweetness make up the bulk of the body.

M ~ Finish is nice. Too effervescent, which doesn't play well with the sweetness. Needs more dry roasty bitterness.

D ~ Wouldn't revisit, but not a drain pour by any means. Worth a shot, but maybe get a single to try.

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Photo of Bockrules
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from the bottle into a pint glass

A - Pours a motor oil black with a nice, dense off-white head. Head falls apart halfway down the glass, leaves behind a wall of tan lacing.

S - A good dose of chocolate and crystal (?) malt with a hint of plum and earthy hops.

T - Sweet chocolate upfront. The body is malt driven with plenty of chocolate and dark fruit flavors (plum, date, etc) balanced by a sufficient amount of earthy hops. This flavor profile is really just cranked up a notch as the beer passes over the back of the tongue with perhaps a touch more chocolate. Leaves a date dipped in chocolate finish.

M - Full bodied with a good dose of carbonation, but only moderate creamyness.

State Pen is a damn good porter and redeems Santa Fe brewery in my eyes after their somewhat awkward and lackluster brown. Though a little spendy at around $8.50 a six, it is a good change of pace (although certainly not better) from my standby - Black Butte.

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Photo of Coplains
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours black with amber around the rim. Minimal head that dissipates with no lacing on the glass. Smells like dark roasted malt, almost of dry coffee bean. Taste is pretty smooth, coffee dark chocolate. A solid porter, wish it was sold in my area, bit will pick up on my next visit to Santa Fe.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to coldmeat23 for this awesome NM bottle! Have had it on my wants for awhile. Glad to finally give it a try.

12oz bottle, poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark black with light garnet on the edges. Small tan head. No lace. The nose is pretty basic: faint coffee aromas, roasted malts, mild leafy hops on the finish.

Good moderate body. Carbonation level melds with a creamy feel to liven it up a bit. This beer starts out with a bounty of roasted goodness. Some coffee, mild nuttiness, dark bitter chocolate. But on the finish there's a really flavorful hop presence that caused me to double-take. Wasn't expecting that, but it is much appreciated. This wouldn't be confused with a Black IPA, but it's close. Nice juicy hops that jive well with the roasted aspect. I dig this. I'd love the chance to try it again.

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

State pen is a tasty porter, displaying a nose with bits of coffee, strong sweet roasted malts and slight fruit notes. The taste is textured with hops that bitter the sweeter roasted malts, and some nice black coffee/dark chocolate type bitterness. As I sip this it becomes evident that it is heavier on the hops than other examples of the style, which may be positive or negative depending on your opinions of hop levels in American Porters. To me, this is a plus as the hops meld in nicely with the chocolate and roasted barley notes. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side with high carbonation (in part due to the lower temperature at which I am drinking this).

Conclusion: This is a very nice porter, and in my experience it scores in the top 20% easily. Great work Santa Fe! I wish there was more beer of this quality coming from New Mexico.

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Photo of JoeAmerican77
2.73/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

First off I'm wondering if something was wrong with mine because my grade is dramatically lower than most. I guess thats the beauty of personal palate though.

Pours out the expected pitch black, with some cherry hues where light dared penetrate. Two fingers tanhead.

Smells of base malts and cocoa puffs, kinda nice childhood flashback.

Slight tin flavor at the offset, then roasted malts cocoa and thats it. Very simple, and honestly not that impressive.

Feels like a porter very creamy with some nice medium carbonation to it.

I do not know if I could recommend this to someone. In the state of CO you really could have a much better porter without looking too hard. But then again, you will never know until you try it.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black ruby with brown highlights around the edge. Not very thick looking as the head seems to break up after a 3 finger presence.

Aroma is slightly burnt toast, chocolate, black instant coffee and some dark fruit without much sweetness.

Flavors go from more chocolate favored to coffee to dark fruit. Nothing really stands out and the move across flavors is seamless and quick. A dark toast malt background really plays nicely with the dark fruit finish.

Easy drinking, fine porter

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Photo of Beaver13
3.67/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Pours a medium brown with a small fluffy light tan head that quickly goes to a thin film that leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is roasted chocolate malts with some acidic coffee notes.

The flavor is roasted grains with some sweet chocolate and coffee notes and some smoky peat. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with some slightly sharp carbonation.

Overall, a solid porter with nice notes of roasted malts, chocolate and coffee.

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Photo of katan
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz into a pint. bottle indicated higher ABV at 6.4

A - Pours a fairly deep black with only amber highlights around the edges. Head formation is strong, 1/2" at its peak, down to a well retained 1/8" . Lacing is light. Mocha color.

S - A malty nose, lots of chocolate, a little bit of yeast breadiness and just the lightest hint of some roast.

T - Starts off smooth and malty, lots of chocolate, even a hint of nut. Mid-stream the bitterness shows and a fair amount of complimentary hops. Not enough to move the beer from its malty base. Yeast is present as it rolls into a smooth sweet finish.

M - Moderate beer body, moderate to higher carbonation. Creates a light mouthfeel. Very clean, no alcohol warmth, stickiness, or retained bitterness.

D - Easy drinking porter. Very smooth. ABV is higher than stated, but low end of sessioning. Moderately filling, reflecting some of the carbonation. Goes well as a cooler weather beer.

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Photo of jbphoto88
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours dark and bleak like it's namesake. Almost completely black with yellowish red highlights. The head is soft and quick to form but the tan bubbly lace fades too soon for my taste.

Nose hits me with some coffee right away and then moves into some dark chocolate roastiness. I can tell by the scent that this is going to be a beer that tastes like a glass of charred and roasted grains... That's a good thing.

Bold grain body that really uses roasting to make it's point. The taste starts out in coffee town and slowly moves into bittersweet chocolate village. After those two tongue punching flavors I get a hint of dark candied fruit that makes me think more imperial porter or stout then just regular old porter. Well done!

Love the flavors but the feel of this beer slips a little for me. I'm not a coffee or chocolate eater so the dominating flavors also have a dominating bitterness. To me it's like sipping cold, old black coffee. The finish is really abrupt too. It starts to develop a sweet grain vibe but it never materializes which is truly a shame. That's not a deal breaker in my book. This is a great beefy porter chock full of big flavor so I can overlook the poorer finish.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
2.6/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Thanks go out to Santa 2010 GabrielM for this beer.

State Pen Porter has a dark brown to black body with a substantial brown head and decent retention and lacing.

The aroma has mostly dark malts with roasted, coffee and chocolate scents. There is also a hint of sourness lurking in the background.

The beer opens up with loads of roasted malt, a slight dark bread flavor, and then transitions into a little bit of chocolate and good bit of coffee. Next comes a flash of sourness, and at this point I'm really digging this porter. The finish, however, has something strange going on. I can't put my finger on the flavor, but it reminds me of over-ripe fruit without a specific fruit characteristic to it. With every sip I like the beginning, but notice the finish even more.

Mouthfeel is nice; creamy with a moderate amount of carbonation.

State Pen has the making of a great porter, but it is held back by an unpleasant flavor that is just off.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass

A: Pours a deep cola, almost black, with a nice light tan head that fades to a ring and leaves a tiny bit of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is full of roasty coffee and cocoa smells. Very nice aromas come from the glass everytime I put my nose up to it.

T: The taste is full on roasted coffee with chocolate and a bit of vanilla on the finish. This is up there with some of the better porters I've ever tasted.

M: The feel is medium bodied and creamy. The carbonation leaves bigger bubbles in the mouth...if this has smaller bubbles it would have scored a bit higher.

D: Very tasty and I was surprised I liked it so much. Great porter that I would buy all the time if it was available.

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Photo of SamN
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours very dark brown, nearly black. Dirty tan head is thick and sticks around. Smells of roasted coffee, dark earthen tones. Very good porter aromas, if not a little faint. Taste is a gritty coffee and bitter chocolate taste. Less sweet, more grainy and roasted, nice mellow bitter malt finish. Not too heavy, not too bitter, not too sweet. Rides a nice mellow line. Feels a little thick, somewhat gritty. Great porter mouthfeel.

Delicious and wonderfully crafted. An easy 'A' for Santa Fe.

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Photo of DaveMarner
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a rich dark choclate color. Medium amount of a light brown head.

S - Some chocolate and sweet molasses.

T - Just a touch of hops initially. Then a bit of sweetness. It finishes with a hearty maltyness of barley.

M - Smooth feeling as it rolls over the tongue. A good amount of carbonation, definitely not lacking.

D - A very solid porter. Easy to have several of these. I will be drinking this again.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Probably one of the best NM beers and also easily found on tap and most supermarkets in NM. Pours black and has a nice tan head. This is great example of a lowish ABV beer that is full of flavour and has a great mouthfeel. The roasted notes are not overbearing but assert theirselves enough to make this beer interesting. I love the finish as the chocolate flavours came together with the hops and the malt to create a beer worth drinking

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Photo of deereless
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Thick and creamy head with decent retention, dark brown to light black in color, good lacing - 4.00, S: Dry chalk and chocolate milk on the nose, I also pick up what smells like milk duds, faint ash in the depths of the nose, some caramel sweetness - more sweetness than I'd generally expect from a Porter - 3.75, T: Coffee and toasted grains are quite noticeable on the palate, subtle sweetness like aged raisins - 3.50, M: Thinner mouth feel than I generally expect from a porter though it is a bit creamy, slight grittiness - 3.00, D: A decent porter, quite drinkable - 3.50

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Photo of Rayek
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a perfect pint glass.

A: Deep mahogany with great clarity for a bottle conditioned beer. A Small but firm cream tinted cap slowly falls to a thin film. Leaves some lace behind.

S: Lots of molasses and chocolate in the nose, plus just a bit of espresso.

T: On the sweet side, but not overly so. The molasses and chocolate from the nose come through strong, especially the molasses. The bitterness is slightly burnt and just high enough to offset the sweetness. Gets a little acidic in the finish.

M: The medium body has a heft that makes the beer feel stronger than it is. The carbonation could stand being toned down.

D: This is a nice porter. It's sweeter than most American Porters and made me quite happy. I'll be picking it up again.

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Photo of SPThirtyThree
1.93/5  rDev -49.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

Back when I lived in Austin, a guy from work brought a sixer of these in, and I remember it being tasty and delicious, so it will be nice to try it again and give it a proper review...

A: State Pen Porter pours deep, dark brown with a creamy, one-finger, beige head. The cap contains big bubbles interspersed in a thick cream.

S: Maybe my snifter is dirty, but the most noticeable odor is bandaids. Very little else is apparent.

T: More band-aid tastes. Mostly phenolic. WTF?!

M: Slightly creamy, but the mouthfeel is overshadowed by the awful flavor.

d: Low: see below.

I was excited to retry this beer with a computer in front of me for review; however, this time around, this bottle has gone awry. It tastes very medicine-y and slightly like vinegar. The roasty character and mouthfeel are good, but this bottle has obviously become infected... :( Most aspects of the beer are fine, so I suspect that the failure happened during bottling, when the beer had already developed most of its character.

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Photo of beeragent
3.76/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours a dark brown, forming a 1/2 inch mocha head, with medium spots of lace on the glass.

S - Light aroma of roasted malts and coffee. Nothing new or exciting here.

T - Roasted malt, coffee, some bitter cocoa, and a hint of metal in the finish. Not as robust as I expected. The roasted malts and coffee dominate the flavor, but not so overpowering as to hide the complexity of flavors. The flavor is smooth and enjoyable. Very low hop presence, may a bit flowery in the finish.

M - Medium bodied just as a porter should be. Good amount of carbonation.

D - Good flavor and a bit more complex than a usual porter IMO, or maybe its that the flavors blend a little better and compliment eachother rather than cover. As far as the metallic taste I detected at the beginning, it should be noted this beer was transported in a car from New Mexico to Texas, so I'm almost thinking a little oxidation may have occurred from the heat. I also wish the aroma could have been a bit stronger. This beer is still a great example of a porter!

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Photo of John_M
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a fairly dark cola color with pretty decent head retention and good lacing. The nose isn't bad, showcasing a lot of roasty malt, dry hazelnut, coffee and considerable licorise. The flavor profile generally replicates the nose, but I have to say this beer is pretty well crafted for a 5% abv. beer. By that I mean there's a considerable amount of flavor, and what I get is interesting and complex. The beer starts off with some light, sweet licorise, but I then get some light coffee, dark (dry) chocolate and a touch of hoppy bitterness in the finish. In fact, the finish is actually pretty dry and fairly fulll. The mouthfeel is a bit thin I guess, but that's hard to avoid in a 5% abv. porter. Drinkability is quite good. Not only does the beer have a fairly low amount of alcohol, but there's enough flavor to keep me interested.

While hardly anything mind blowing, I was nevertheless quite impressed with this porter. Really wish this beer was available in my neck of the woods... I'd be buying this by the 6 pack and 12 pack during the winter holiday months. Impressive.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Big thanks to papollo for this bottle!

The first chip in my recently-acquired New Mexico iceberg. It pours a nearly opaque, very dark brown, highlighted in deep garnet, topped by a finger or so of light tan foam. The nose comprises oats, roasted malts, puffed rice, and a very light twinge of coffee. The taste is very similar, with a very wheaty/grainy gelatin suspending a decent amount of light roasted malts. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly dry finish. Overall, a decent porter, but not one to write home about, due to the somewhat tame flavoring and overall dull experience.

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State Pen Porter from Santa Fe Brewing Company
3.82 out of 5 based on 336 ratings.
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