Provisions Series: The Workman's Friend | The Bruery

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Provisions Series: The Workman's FriendProvisions Series: The Workman's Friend

Brewed by:
The Bruery
California, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
The Workman's Friend is our take on a classic imperial porter. One of the more classic and "to style" beers we've brewed around here, it's a rich and creamy strong porter with a big malty backbone. Roasty and with a hint of smoke in the finish, a fantastic beer to get you through the foggy months of winter.

ABV: 8%, IBU: 20, SRM: 50, Release: One time only

Added by womencantsail on 11-12-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 39 | Ratings: 84
Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle opened on 11.1.13

A - Pours a dark brown with a foamy and active brown head that fades fast.

S - Nutty, roasted malt, smokey.

T - Smoke, nutty and roasted malts.

D - Decent carbonation with a lighter than expected body.

O - Lots of roasted and smokey layers.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a few glasses. Pours black with a smooth mocha head. Rich and sudsy look. Smells of citrus, dark fruit, roast cocoa and touch of tobacco. Tastes of dark fruit, ripe citrus, cocoa powder and burnt roast. Pretty tight profile. Fuller bodied with a sharp and crisp feel. Barely any alcohol. Great Porter here with full flavors and a smooth body for the higher ABV. Great dark beer fix.

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Photo of stakem
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks go to Kegatron for sharing this one during a recent gathering. Poured into a Bruery snifter, the brew appears black in color with a finger of mocha head sitting atop. Some stringy to patchy lace sticks to the glass and the cap displays solid retaining powers. A swirl effortlessly revives a finger back to the surface. When held to the light, some lighter brown shines through the edges.

The smell is roast with a fruity depth like raisins mixing with notes of chocolate from the roast of the grain. There is a mild citrus hop component also present that blends into a bit of floral to fruity alcohol ester.

The taste is roasted from the grain that inmediately transitions to some dark fruit elements like raisin and/or plum. Chocolate grain is present throughout with a mild note of alcohol tang before transitioning back to a bit of cocoa quality. Faint notes of citrus hops are still present mixing with some vinous alcohol. The favors mingle together nicely.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is smooth and enjoyable and a bit different considering the advertisement as an imperial porter. Obviously stronger than your staple porter but not quite into the stout realm of roast. It was a pleasant experience with my only gripe being a bit of mineral inclusion. If you get a chance, this is worth checking out. Thanks again Heath!

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Photo of drabmuh
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Matt, beer served in a Bruery tulip because I'm the man. Beer is black, dark, with a nice brown head of small bubbles, some lacing, moderate to low carobnaiton. Looks good.

Aroma is sweet, chocolate, a little mild roast, nice.

Beer is sweet and bitter with chocolate and has a medium body, a nice wonderful little porter, very enjoyable. I really like it and I'd have it again.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An unexpected gift from Richard. Thank you so much.

The beer is near black with an inch of thick, tan head. The aroma offers roast, chocolate, a hint of vanilla, anise. The flavor brings a nice blend of vanilla and roast flavors. Slightly sweet with a touch of bitterness in the finish. Medium bodied with present carbonation. Overall, pretty tasty.

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Photo of sergeantstogie
4.73/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

BLUF: This is easily the most perfect porter I've had.

Almost black with hints of brown and ruby creeping in around the edges. The smell is very subdued. Only a hint at what goodness is waiting for you. I had no idea it was smoked but after the first couple of sips it goes from being strong to a very well crafted complement to the rest of the malt backbone. It tastes like smoked chocolate with a slight twang. Perfect. If the smell was stronger this would have been damn close to all 5's. It says to enjoy in the winter but this is the hottest day I've had this year and it is absolutely perfect as I am prepping my grill for steaks. Beers this good need to be year round.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark black color with a touch of brown mixed in and a finger of frothy chocolate colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lace.

S - Aroma is a mix of strong roasted bakers chocolate with some dark chocolate, coffee, some smoke, roasted malts, and a bit of sweetness.

T - Starts off with some roasted chocolate malts with some bitter baker’s chocolate and some light smoke and coffee. Through the middle, some vanilla comes through with some stronger smoke. The finish is a mix of roasted coffee and chocolate, smoke, and vanilla that linger.

M - Medium-plus bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth and coats the tongue with a smoky, dry, and chocolatey finish.

D - Very drinkable. Really nice balance of flavors with the coffee, chocolate, and smoke really coming together nicely.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Bruery tulip glass, yes I love mine

A - Nicely carbonation head rise. Head is nice light brown foamy bubbles. Brew is very thin and roasty brown. Looks more like a brown then a Iporter. no lacing.

S - Heavy smoke, but not overwhelming, it's done right. Decent amount of chocolate and coffee too. Well caramelized. Hops have long faded, but sweetness still remains. Slightly watery smell.

T/M - Very smooth and silky, even with the smokeyness. Very earthy and well rounded. Malt heavy, but not sugary. Just a touch too much carbonation, but zero heat. Body is a bit thin too, for style.

O - Awesome brew! Slightly rough, but mostly amazing!!! I'm not a fan of smoked brews, but this one is superb! Highly recommended! A fantastic extra from an awesome trader! Great 1st trade, cheers!

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.59/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a black and opaque with a finger of tan head that recedes immediately.

Smells of some semi-sweet chocolate, roasted malt with a little touch of smoke. Some dark fruit as well. Something weirdly sweet (maybe banana) I can't quite put my finger on.

Starts off with a bit of roasted malt. Notes of leather, molasses stone fruits and licorice come through. A bit of smoke comes out towards he end, increasing as it warms. The weird banana flavor is there again.

Creamy mouthfeel with maybe a touch too much carbonation.

Overall not bad. There are some good flavors here, but he weird banana like flavor knocks it down a few pegs for me. Still pretty easy drinking. Roasted malts are featured heavily and sweetness is kept in check.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 750ml bottle on a cold and snowy afternoon.

Pours a nice dark brown almost pure black color. There is a nice 1 inch frothy dense head that is nice and tan. There are some bigger bubbles that from a nice rocky head. It receds pretty slowly and leaves some slight sticky notes.

The aromas are pure roasted and dark malts. Even during the pour I could smell some nice roasted malts. Upon further inspection this is confirmed. Tons of roasted malt notes. Tons of cereal grain notes and some toasty bread. Chocolate is present as well, nice milk chocolate to boot. There is some mild vanilla notes on the back end as well as some more earthy grain.

Starts off with tons of roasted malt as expected. There is some nice smoke notes and burnt toasty bread. There is some nice earthy grain notes and all this comes up in the first few seconds. Then a nice chocolate sweetness creeps up with some slight milk chocolate notes and a slight dark chocolate bitterness. The middle is dominated by this slight chocolate sweetness with some brown sugar notes as well. Not too sweet. The finish is slightly sweet and chocolaty with some nice burnt malt notes and some mild bitterness. Very delicious. Mouthfeel could be a bit thicker but still pretty good. Smooth.

Very good Porter. Impressed by the chocolate notes and the roast. Well crafted with tons of great flavor.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to mlaroche for this one.

Pours a dark brown, practically pitch black color, good sized tan head, fades at a moderate rate with only a few spots of lacing.

Smell is primarily roasted malt, picking up a bit of smoke and tobacco aroma, very earthy with a dash of wood, the smokiness actually becomes more prominent as it warms.

Taste starts out with a roasty toasty malt flavor, bit of bittersweet chocolate, smoky tobacco seeks in and lingers just long enough and leaves before it becomes a distraction, a nice nuttiness in the aftertaste, carbonation is moderate yet soft and lends a decent creaminess to it.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Black with a big creamy light brown head.

S: Dark chocolate and cocoa with molasses and a faint smokiness that's redolent of beechwood and bacon. This smells damn good. Malt is moderately roasted and there's a dash of earth with nuts. A touch of coffee is evident.

T: Rich dark chocolate with a lower moderate earthy bitterness. The chocolate profile is stellar, fading in and out the entire time. Beechwood smoke is light, blending with a hint of tobacco. There's a lower moderate roasted malt profile. Finishes rich and complex with a little nuttiness and coffee.

M: Lower full in body with upper moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is thick, sticky, and chewy.

Overall: This is really impressive. This is my last bottle and it's been sitting in my fridge for quite a while, but I have no idea why it took me so long to open it. This is one of the best Provisions Series beers I've had, if not the best. They should remake this.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to StarRaptor for plucking this off my wants!

Pours black as night. Looks very stout-like. Mocha colored head of about a finger adorns, leaving nice lacing.

Aroma is ripe with dark and milk chocolate, BIG roast character, also an espresso quality with some faint smokiness in the back.

Initially, there's nice espresso flavors up front, with a rolling chocolate note and big roasted malts. Slight smokiness and dry cocoa powdery finish. Surprisingly thought for me, as it warmed up, the flavors became a bit dull from freshly poured.

Medium to full in body, definitely creamy. Carbonation is good. Drinkability is great.

Overall, very good. I think this will stay on my wants. More chances at trying this is a good thing.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this beer.

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a tan head. The aroma has a lot of roasted malt as well as some nice meaty smoke notes. The flavor is more of the same. The meaty BBQ notes dominate the flavor but there are also components of roasted malt, chocolate and coffee in the background. Medium to thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very nice, complex smoke beer that didn't disappoint.

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Photo of AgentZero
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jason for sharing this one.

A - Dark brown, almost black beer with a tan head that left some moderate lacing on the sides.

S - Nice roasted malt malts with a little bit of sweetness, slight notes of sourness make me think lactic in nature.

T - Taste is in line with the smell. Roasted malts, slightly sweet, little bit of coffee, and just a tiny bit bitter.

M - Medium bodied, creamy, moderate to low carbonation.

O - I found this beer solid and really enjoyed it. Good flavor and it's pretty spot-on for the style. Would gladly drink this again.

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Photo of beerman33
3.81/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml into my Hangar 24 2nd Anniv. tulip glass.

A- Dark brown with fine sediment. Tan head fades quickly.

S - Coffee, roasted malt, and some booze.

T - The dark roast dominates, though smooth and creamy.

M - Tad thin, but solid cabonation, with lingering roast notes.

D - Well done for a standard Imperial Porter. It grew on me as I finished the bottle, though I could have no more of this style at that point, I will have it again when the right moment presents itself.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - The blackest of brown. Tan head stays for some time, levels off to disk. Not much cling lace.

S - Coffee is the strongest note. Roasted malt would be second.

T - Taste matches smell.

M - Not as full bodied as I had hoped. A little thin and tinny on finish.

D - One is more than enough.

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Photo of Verecund
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opened on March 31, 2011.

Pours a dark brown with a tan, foamy head. Thick lacing.

Smells milky, with a belly of dark fruit and roasted malts, milk chocolate, and the tiniest acidity. Straightforward, but nice for the style.

Sweet and earthy dark chocolate and soft vanilla complemented by the roast, which brings dark fruit with it. The roast element is really well integrated, featuring: black coffee, light smoke, and the tiniest bit of ash on the tail end. Just a hint of bitterness on the finish following the slightly acidic fruit and sweet chocolate syrup mid-palate.

Medium-bodied, with low-medium carbonation. Creamy. Clean finish.

I had heard this was one of the better Provisions beers to date, and I'm glad I sought it out on a whim. This drinks well under the 8% - I'm not sure how I'm going to nurse this through the night; it might barely make it through the gloaming. A success, and a pity this is a Provisions beer and not a regular offering.

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Photo of Bung
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml. Blackish brown pour, a ton of tan head. Normal for the Bruery brews I've had and quite annoying to me. No matter how careful I pour, this overly large head is present, like many "Belgian" inspired brews. Annoys the crap out of me, but I'm probably in the minority here.
Obviously, this retains and sticks quite well.

Earthy aroma, toasted malt, some chocolate, chocolate covered banana.

Taste is some malt and molasses and a bunch of fruit, especially banana. Some pumpkin ale spices? The spiciness catches me by surprise and I'm not sure if its good or bad. Cocoa, some red fruits and more of a plantain like flavor in the finish.

The carbonation is gentle, but there is more than I would prefer. Keeps it just a bit too active in the mouth, and to me keeps the body a bit thinner than it should be. Just a slight warming and goes down easy aside from the carb.

The only dark brew done with Belgian strains I've really enjoyed is Black Ops. I just don't enjoy the amount of fruit they empart.
Expecting more as I always seem to be with the Bruery, I'll leave it at that.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another beer from the Bruery that hides the alcohol well.

Pours a dark black with  a dark tan head. Decent lacing.

Aroma is sort of sweet with roasted grains. Can't put my finger on why this beer smells so great compared to some other imperial porters I have had.

Taste is solid. Roasty and smooth. Slightly sweet with a dry finish. Tasty.

Mouthfeel I think could use a bit more body but it's not bad. Great carb.

Overall another awesome provision series beer. Glad I got some on tap at the provisions store and grabbed some bottles.

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Photo of Phelps
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed from the tap at the 2011 Reserve Society party.

Dark, dark, dark brown. No highlights. A tiny, brown sugar-colored head becomes a thick, lingering ring.

In the nose: tons of coffee, smoky bacon and buttered toast. Great porter aroma.

The flavor: coffee again, heavily roasted. Smoky pork roast and cocoa nibs also emerge before a slightly dry finish. Very nice balance.

Prickly medium carbonation amidst a medium-light body that's smooth and rather crisp, for a porter.

When the time came to scramble for beer pours before the Reserve Society party ended, I found myself going back to this one again and again, and not just because it had the shortest line. The Workman's Friend has great porter flavors and is fairly perfect in style.

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Photo of alpinebryant
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank this immediately following a Victory at Sea and have to say while I was not blown away, it was definitely true to the style and very good. Adding to that, it was not using a belgian yeast strain and made by the Bruery, which is a rarity as well.

Poured a dark brown at the edges and black in the middle where no light could get through. Cocoa colored head

Smell of lightly smoked malts, bakers chocolate, roasted malts and some sweetness.

Taste of a lightly smoke first and foremost, followed by some dark chocolate, and a tiny hint of coffee. Having had a Victory at sea right before this, the coffee was probably there, but hardly detectable vs the more highly beaned [email protected] . No astringency here, and finishes with a little bit of ash. Medium mouthfeel and a medium carbonation. A highly drinkable American Porter.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared by Jason (jrallen34) at a little dinner/tasting this week, much appreciated! This 750mL held its own surprisingly well, even in this small group of cynics.

It poured a dark brown, with a thick tan foam, and I had several of those pours as it ended up being so damn good. Porters aren't among my favorite styles but beers like this can change things for me. A nose of toasty malts and chocolate, with a malty sweetness that I found very appealing.

Very tasty, possibly my favorite American porter to date. There are very mild esters behind the roast, delicious. Good carbonation, very fast drinking, I'd take this again any time. Way to go Bruery!

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Photo of gford217
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle.

Pours dark, dark chocolate brown with an enormous tan head that shows excellent retention and lacing.

Aroma is dominated by heavily roasted chocolate malts and sweet vanilla. Espresso notes as well.

The taste is sweet as well with vanilla, cocoa powder and milk chocolate. There is also a heavily roasted malt backbone that still doesn't dominate or overpower the sweetness. Really well balanced flavors.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with solid carbonation and on the lighter side of things with a dry and roasty finish.

This is an excellent porter, bigger and more flavorful than most standard porters but a little light to be an imperial porter. Nonetheless, a really solid effort from the Bruery. What I really like is that this is a straight forward take on the style without anything crazy or exotic going on. It's just a damn good porter.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a wide stemmed DFH snifter. Extra special thanks to Ineedabeerhere for this from our most recent trade!

A: Pours dark brown, just a shade lighter than pure black. A wonderful, whipped mocha meringue head grows to about three fingers thick before falling off to a thin skim with a smooth, unbroken collar. Sadly, hardly any lace was left behind.

S: The first thing I picked up from this vanilla. Fresh vanilla. Fresh vanilla drizzled with fudge and mixed with dark chocolate covered espresso beans. Some heavy roast is present, as well.

T: Tons of fudge, espresso, dark chocolate, vanilla bean, brownies, scorched malt, molassas, dark fruit, and a bit of piney hops.

M: Pretty damn near perfect. Smooth and full at first but then the door swings the other way and it gains a bunch of dry roast, spicy hops, sweet booze drenched raisins, fruity tang, and bitter coffee. Finishes with the full compliment of sweet, sticky, dry, and spicy, with loads of prickle. Excellent.

D: Fantastic! The Bruery needs something like this in their year-round portfolio...or at least a (semi) seasonal that isn't "for sale in CA only". C'mon, guys!

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Provisions Series: The Workman's Friend from The Bruery
4.15 out of 5 based on 84 ratings.
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