State Pen Imperial Porter | Santa Fe Brewing Company

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State Pen Imperial PorterState Pen Imperial Porter
36 Ratings
State Pen Imperial PorterState Pen Imperial Porter

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

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by walshclimb on 04-26-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 36 |  Reviews: 30
Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of drummermattie02
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing, Tim.

The pour is dark brown in color with an off-white head. A strong roasted malt aroma along with a nice bit of dark chocolate. There’s some sweet dark fruit aroma and a hint of wood and bourbon. The flavor isn’t quite as good as the aroma, but still enjoyable. Mild to moderate barrel character with roasted malt, dark chocolate, and dark fruits. A touch of vanilla and molasses type sweetness, too.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Shared by Tim at Kill the Cellar day, thanks!

A: Near black with an enormous beige head. Great retention.

S: Lightly smoky with a savory presence. Some metallic notes blend with earth and oxidation. Cocoa is pervasive. Lots of oak.

T: Soft cocoa and dark chocolate notes meet subtle roast and a graceful level of oxidation. Light bitterness and evident oak.

M: Upper medium body with high carbonation.

Overall: Much better than Bourbon Barrel Aged State Pen.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Drew for sharing this bottle at last night's tasting. Served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours near black with a small tan head and some sparse lacing on the way down. The nose brings some heavy chocolate and roasted malt. The flavor has that nice chocolate presence as well, with a bit more balance between that and the backing malt. Medium body with a bit boozy with average carbonation. Worth a try.

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Photo of TasteTester
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of Hojaminbag
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

GabrielM sent me this bottle in the 2010 Secret Santa BIF. Thanks Gabe.

State Pen Imperial Porter has a dark brown body that is mostly opaque, with a light brown head that is big and rocky. Both retention and lacing are impressive.

The aroma kind of caught me off guard, it smells more like a dessert wine like port or bordeaux than beer until a large roasted malt scent comes through in the finish.

After trying the normal state pen porter, I did not think the imperial version, which is two years old, would be any good. I was wrong, because this beer is excellent. Up front the vinous qualities that I noticed in the aroma return, bringing dark fruit, grape, some sweetness and a good bit of wood. A little bit of tobacco and smoke linger in the background also. My first impression is that these are port flavors, but I realize now that this beer was aged in Bordeaux barrels, which accounts for the wine flavors. Regardless of exactly where these flavors come from, they are great, especially when paired with the huge roasted malt profile that follows them, balancing the beer out and making sure that it is not too sweet. A little bit of dry chocolate and coffee team up with the roasted malt. The finish has a bit of faded hops in it.

Good mouthfeel, full body and the carbonation has stayed strong over the last two years.

This is a great beer. The balance between the wine barrel characteristics and the porter flavors is fantastic, and I wish I had more of this to drink. It would have been nice to try a fresh bottle also, but something tells me this one got better with age.

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Photo of DaveMarner
4.92/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured into a tulip glass

A - Dark as night with a good half inch brownish head.

S - Very nice. Chocolate, espresso, and some smokeyness to it.

T - Amazing. It still has a touch of hops initially and then evens out to a lot of chocolate and some espresso.

M - A very pleasant amount of carbonation. It feels like a cool shot of creamy espresso rolling through my mouth.

D - Very easy drinker. Let's just say it left me wanting more.

It's been a while since the last time I had this and it really seems to be aging really well. I will definitely be having this again soon.

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Photo of amcmaho1
4.77/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The main reason i'm reviewing this beer is because it was subjected to a refrigerator that was far too cold, resulting in this thing literally blowing it's top (a year too soon, but i'm not really complaining). The bottle was #814 0f 3708, and held onto by myself since early July. To get to drink it now is a real treat...

Appearance: There is no real head on this porter (possibly due to the carbonation loss from it's getting too cold in the fridge and 'popping'). No lacing in the snifter, only a small amount of very small carbonation bubbles. A beautiful dark brown to crimson coloration, letting very little light permeate.

Smell: The immediate smell is definitely of chocolate. There is a beautifully delicate sweetness which gives the aroma great body, without being too overpowering. The malt backing helps in bringing a roasted character, subduing some of the sweetness; though this beer is strongly favoring the darker fruit and chocolate taste.

Taste: Initially, the taste reminds me of a bittersweet chocolate covered raisin; in that there is an initial tartness, as well as a slight bittering. Still though, the chocolate dominates the palette in a very pleasing way; leading me to believe that this beer would be exceptional in pairing with a dessert; or simply as dessert.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is a bit hard to pin down exactly. I'd have to say that it's rather on the thin side, which would make sense with the ABV%, although there is a slight chewiness which is exciting and intriguing.

Drinkability: In being somewhat overzealous, i'll have to say that the drinkability is high. Although, i feel it is a beer to be celebrated, and shared amongst close friends (i had hoped to save it until christmas,but i'm actually quite glad i was "forced" to enjoy it sooner).

Congrats to the Santa Fe Brewing Company on a great Imperial Porter!

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Photo of GabrielM
4.7/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this brew many times, so I figured it was appropriate to review it. Poured into a tulip.

A - pitch black with a nice brown head on top that lasted a good couple of minutes.

S - really awesome! Chocolate is the first to hit the nose, followed by coffee, then some brown sugar, vanilla and maltiness.

T - even better than expected! The first to hit the palate is slightly bitter espresso, which leads to semi-sweet chocolate, a lot of roasted malts and an oaky vanilla finish.

M - perfect carbonation, creamy sweetness and nicely balanced flavors make this a real treat.

D - I could sip this all night, but slowly so the 10% ABV doesn't sneak up too quickly. There aren't many left unfortunately, so I'll have to keep it to special occasions with the closest of friends.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue V:

Brewed as a part of their "The Big Beer Series" dedicated
to their 20th Anniversary. Hand printed bottle # 1215 of 3708.

Sooty black color, one of the slowest dissipating heads we've ever experienced, with some sporadic sticky lacing on the glass. Smells of light fusel alcohol, clean oak, brown sugar, Griotte chocolates and lastly, an unwavering neutral yeasty note. Creamy almost viscous full body with a lush smoothness. Estery from the alcohol which comes across with mellow banana and dark cherries. Sweet maltiness has a long drawn out flavor with levels of cake, wet charcoal, toasted bread, mild coffee and chocolate. Minimal hop bitterness aims to balance, the oak jumps in to help with a fresh oaked character that feigns a slight tobacco flavor. Bone dry finish with some lingering alcohol and oak.

Let this beer warm up to cellar temp if not a cool room temp to drink, letting all of the flavors blossom. A sipping beer, and very sippable at that, a perfect beer to end a long night off with. Happy 20th anniversary Santa Fe Brewing Co.!

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Photo of twiggamortis420
2.81/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

750 mL bottle #881/3708, 2008 was the year brewed, for their 20th Anniversary. Pours a jet black color with a thick and dense cap of light brown foam. Lacing is nice and plentiful. Good looker.

Nose is thick and chocolaty with a hefty dose of fruit - both light and dark. Touch of smoke, first thing that came to mind was Duck-Rabbit with the thick smell and heavy fruit.

Taste is out there, thats for sure. Rich chocolate is thick and creamy with cedar wood notes and burnt BBQ ribs. Roast is a little bitter without much help from the faded hops. It's a big, big beer with the ABV still noticeably hot. This one is interesting, but not quite to my liking - too much fruit, very alcoholic and the roast is bordering on being acrid. I could see this being good to some out there, but I am not really digging it, glad I shared the 750. The age of the beer might be starting to get to it as well.

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Photo of jbsteiny
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thank you to the staff of Telluride Bottleworks for recommending this -- they only had two bottles left -- wish I'd bought both of them. This one was numbered 3672 out 3708, and I feel honored to have been able to try it. Split with two friends while we brewed an Imperial Porter, so that was pretty perfect too -- gave our beer something to aspire to.

Dark chocolate color with a thick, almost milk chocolate-colored head. Good retention. Aromas of chocolate, coffee, smoke, and anise, maybe somewhat tempered by the cold temperature of the beer -- it never got a chance to warm up :) Tastes much the same, but richer. Every sip was so good. Very smooth, well carbonated (actually a little too bubbly for me, but I guess you need it for such a big beer), and the alcohol was totally hidden. As I said, I wish I had another right after it. Excellent work, Santa Fe. Happy 20th!

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Photo of Flashsp2
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Santa Fe Imperial Porter into Stone IRS glass (2008 vintage, sampled
March 2010).

Deeply dense black body with a thick mocha brown head. Nice retention
and lacing.

Anise, licorice, dark fruit, alcohol, roasted coffee, pine, chocolate, tobacco.

Oh that's good. Oak, tobacco, dark chocolate, licorice, apricot,
softly sweet with a mild piney bitterness that provides a perfect

A medium heavy creamy body with a low level tiny bubbled carbonation.

Easy drinking and greatly softened with age. I'ma clear out the store
next time I'm in Albuquerque.

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Photo of caresville
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

received this awesome brew from twiggamortis420 in a recent BIF, big thanks!! very impressive beer, easily one of the best porters i have ever had the opportunity to try.

a- as close to all black as possible with a nice sized fluffy mocha head, great lacing and even some carbonation in there.

s- roasted malts, light coffee, lots of chocolate and some dried fruits in there.

t&m- beautiful on the palate, silky and easy on the tastebuds. moderate and mellow doses of milk chocolate, licorice, coffee beans, and just the right amount of roasted malts.

d- its a heavy hitter for sure and catches up quick, easy on the boozyness for 10% and heavy on tastebuds. easy to fall in love with this one for sure.

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Photo of taxguyjase
4.46/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - A rich, smooth black brew. A mocha colored, foamy head tops the beer, which also has a really appealing, rich "bubbly" look. The head doesn't dissipate and is just pretty to look at- 5.0/5.0

Smell - Lots of coffee and dark cocoa in the nose. Enough aroma to enjoy, but not too much to overpower. 4.0/5.0

Taste - Wow! Rich, powerful flavor. Coffee, dark chocolate, some alcohol, woody flavors. Some bitterness too, but enjoyable 4.5/5.0

Feel - Thick and coats the mouth. 4.0/5.0

Drinkability - Well, let's put it this way - we went out and bought another one. 5.0/5.0

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Photo of koopa
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle was left at beerloco's place so I don't recall the number.

Appearance: Pours a nice chocolate brown with a 2 finger mocha crown that shows some retention and loads of lace.

Smell: Lots of chocolate, some coffee, a hint of vanilla, and prunes.

Taste: Again its very chocolate dominant but shows a well restricted amount of raisin and possibly fig or prune. The dark fruits help cut the edge from the slight coffee presence too.

Mouthfeel: Lush creamy full body with slightly less than moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: At 10% abv you can't have too much, but the flavor profile beckons you to. Well put together and drinking very well right now (with about 1.5 years on it) IMHO.

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Photo of brentk56
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle 2325 of 3708

Appearance: Pours a double fudge brown color with a huge mocha head; excellent retention and a plethora of lace

Smell: Fudge and caramel are most prominent, but the patient sniffer can detect vanilla, coffee and dates, as well

Taste: Milk chocolate fudge, up front, with increasingly sweet brown sugar tendencies through mid-palate, when the complex dark fruit and oaky vanilla flavors arrive; there is also some roasty bitterness that attempts, ultimately without success to offset the sweetness; after the swallow, the alcohol becomes apparent, as well; licorice and a hint of molasses in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, verging on syrupy, with moderate to low carbonation

Drinkability: Very good but not great as I would prefer a bit more balance and perhaps a slightly less syrupy mouthfeel; still, quite impressive

Thanks, iasanlee, for the opportunity

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Photo of hopdog
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle acquired in trade with FlacoAlto (thanks!). Bottle # 2175 of 3708.

Poured a dark, dark brown color with a large sized off white head. Aromas of chocolate, roast, light smoke, light woodiness, and caramel. Tastes of chocolate, very light dark fruitiness (raisins and plums), caramel, smoke, and some coffee. Alcohol content well hidden.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This hand-numbered bottle, #1306 of 3708, was brought to Vermont by me and my then-girlfriend. She hated beer and eventually hated me, so I drank it and enjoyed it alone. Snap! Out of the magnum this brew was an opaque black color with a brown head of foam. The retention was decent, the lacing in fishnets solid. The aroma was of toasted malt, ripened fruit and some sweet alcohol esters. The flavors were dominated by roasted malt, toasted malt and mocha-like coffee with milk and dark chocolate being secondary along with hints of wood, smoke and vanilla lastly. Rich and robust, it concealed its alcohol pretty well. I thought the sweet/bitter balance was excellent. The body was medium/full, the carbonation medium, the mouthfeel smooth. I admit I was a little biased towards this one but I really was proud to find it a great example of the style.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle, 3573/3708, tried 11 Oct 2008.

Poured in a shaker pint. Large very dark brown head. Pitch black color. Smells roasty, sweet vanilla, some oak and ethanol. Starts with lots of coffee and bitter dark chocolate. Some smokiness. Finish is very warming. Aftertaste of prunes, dried fruit, whiff of cigarettes.

Overall the flavors seemed just a little on the light side for an imperial label.

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Photo of Tolnik
3.82/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this beer into a pint glass. It first appeared with a ample head that reduced to a lingering lacing. The ruby toned black beer was aromatic. The aromas of chocolate, carmel, and malt greets the nose. The taste followed suit closely with the hints at the alcohol that it contained. Very well put together and will have this one again given the option.

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State Pen Imperial Porter from Santa Fe Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.04 out of 5 with 36 ratings