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
Reviews by Flashsp2:
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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More User Reviews:
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.!

 1,101 characters

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of bditty187
3.99/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 2572 of 3708

Black. Very Black. Impressive. I can't get light to penetrate it, even when backlit. Lovely brunette head, tightly compacted bubbles, at the apex the foam was a healthy two fingers tall. Head retention was excellent, the head slowly faded to a thin cap. Subsequent lacing was very impressive. Damn near solid sheets of lacing coated my glass. This is a great looking beer, rich color, healthy head and great lacing. This is everything I am looking for and more in a beer.

The nose is not as robust as I was expecting or hoping. I detect some roasted maltines, cookie dough, light spiciness, oak, smoke, coffee, chocolate, and some dried dark fruit notes. I do have to work at it a bit to pick up these aromas but it was rewarding looking for them. Low potency, not so chatty... the aromas I can pick up are lovely. However, what do I compare this to? Gonzo? Nøgne Ø Porter? Alpha Klaus? This beer doesn't need to be the same as one of the aforementioned but I think those beers (which are similar style and ABV) have a better aroma. That was my only point.

I love the long roasted, coffee-charred-chocolate maltiness. Upfront, there is a soft, sweet, chocolate milk vibe which morphs into a fig, raisin, cookie dough, spicy, woody taste. The finish is drier, more mocha coffee like with some warm alcohol notes. The total package is excellent, it is robust with and edge and yet not overdone. It is quite complex and enjoyable; great aftertaste, big maltiness with wonderful alcohol heat. My only knock is I wish the maltiness was fuller, richer, and "fatter" if you will. Maybe I am asking too much, I often do. When I taste really good beers I think of a similar beer with an attribute that would make the current beer I am drinking even that much better. For State Pen Imperial Porter I can't help but envision a Dark Lord-like malt fullness. I talk crazy talk.

Slightly fuller then medium in body, smooth and fairly rich mouthfeel; low but natural carbonation. I like the mouthfeel, it would be even better if it was fuller in body but by no mean is it thin or lacking.

For a beer this robust and high in alcohol I am impressed at the drinkability. It isn't easy to drink, per se. I am sipping and savoring but it is so tasty (and not too sluggish) I keep going back for more. Damn good. I was hoping beyond hope that this was a "hidden" world class beer. It isn't. But very, very few beers are. I think this is an excellent beer and as good as many higher echelon beers. I am very happy this beer is available in Nebraska. Thank you Brian for the bottle.

 2,588 characters

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 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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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 Zorro
3.54/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ML bottle #2754 of 3708.

Essentially this is a black colored beer that doesn't pass light with a tall brown colored head.

Smell is sweet and strongly of cocoa powder and patent malt. Slightly spicy with a trace of ethanol and lemon.

The taste starts out thick and chocolate with a slight licorice flavor. Creamy texture but not real complex flavored. Chocolate and patent malt, and that is it.

Ultra smooth mouthfeel.

OK drinkable but I really would have no reason to drink this ever again if I can get something like Stone Bitter Chocolate Stout instead.

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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 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.

 350 characters

Photo of TasteTester
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 RedHaze
3.31/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle 2298 of 3708.

Pours a deep black, with some faint tinges of crimson around the edges. The head peaks at about two fingers and fades very slowly to a thick cap. The lacing is thick, leaving a nice webbing of lace behind. Looks great, but looks aren't everything.

Smell; very roasty up front, with roasted malts and coffee with a bread dough quality to it. Some mild dark fruits, and a touch of dark chocolate come through a bit just before I get overwhelmed with alcohol. Overall, the aromas are a little on the mellow side, wit a couple of them being a touch hard to pick out (aside from the alcohol).

Taste; alcohol, with a little coffee, chocolate, roasted malts and hops. After a little bit some more alcohol comes through with a touch of some dried fruits, followed by some hints of alcohol. There is a little bit of a cookie dough flavor going on, as well as a touch of some figs, but for some reason I'm having a hard time getting past the alcohol. Given some time this may be a really good beer.

Moutheel/drinkability; moutfeel is just short of full bodied, and very smooth, but the drinkablity is definitely hurt by the strong alcohol presence.

I might buy another bottle just to see how it does with a year on it.

 1,235 characters

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!

 1,863 characters

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 swanmann
3.96/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch number 3495 of 3708. It pours viscous, nearly black with ruby tones fighting for light through the ample, sticky pale brown foam. The head lasted at least 5 minutes before settling into a nice sheet on top. Earthy aromas of milk chocolate, wet grains, and alcoholic notes. The flavor is chocolatey with mild bitterness and syrupy sweetness, alcohol fairly well hidden, soft carbonation with a slightly sour finish. It holds up fairly well to warming, but the complexity is the same. It's a delicious high gravity porter.

 526 characters

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 walshclimb
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is Santa Fe Brewing Company's 20th Anniversary Beer. It is hand numbered on the bottle. Special Batch: 399 of 3708. 750 ML bottle. It is labeledy 100% bottle conditioned. We left a little in the bottom after pouring, but the beer is too dark to see any yeast.

Pours thick and pitch black with a 3/4" head that is composed of uniform tiny bubbles and slightly rocky top that leaves an intermitten bubbly lace. Complex smell of roasted malt, coffee and maybe a hint of bread or cookies. The IF is warm roasted malt with some heat that transitions to a mildly bitter aftertaste and a hint of chocolate. Full bodied and a little creamy witha dry finish, this is pretty close to what I would call a stout.

Very appealing appearance, smell and flavor. This is one of my favorite American porters that I have had. Very drinkable, and I almost wish I hadn't shared it, though as I have said before, sharing is good karma. Get one while they last, and share it with a friend.

 975 characters

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 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.

 1,592 characters

Photo of wisrarebeer
3.79/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 1531/3708

A: Opaque black color with nice light brown head.
S: Alcohol with deep burnt licorice.
T: Definite alcohol with grainy black patent malt qualities. Not an extremely noticeable barrel flavor. Good hop bitter balance.
M: Smooth
D: Very drinkable for its strength. A bit overpowering on the hops but with 10% ABV that's understandable. Probably would be better to age for a few years to let the flavors mellow.

 426 characters

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 zestar
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 750ml bottle 2184 of 3708 - Pours dark pitch black with small quickly dissipating head. Average carbonation. Smells super sweet with roasted malts, vanilla, and some smoke notes. First sip is nice with coffee, chocolate, and some smoke notes are present. Very nice. The 11% ABV is nicely hidden.

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