December 6th, 1855 EIP (East India Porter)
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

December 6th, 1855 EIP (East India Porter)December 6th, 1855 EIP (East India Porter)
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English Porter
4.14 | pDev: 9.66%
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
December 6th, 1855 EIP (East India Porter)December 6th, 1855 EIP (East India Porter)
Notes: According to Dann Paquette (the Brewer), this beer is a Porter, not an American Black Ale. It was brewed in London in 1855, so it is an English Porter.
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Reviews: 108 | Ratings: 183 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of dar482
4.14/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

The beer comes in a Coca Cola dark brown with a bit of reddish brown coming through in the light.

The aroma has a nutty toasty/roasty porter quality. Not huge of the aroma, but a familiar porter aroma.

The flavor follows with that gently roasted malt character, a bit of bready and caramel sweetness. However, the beer is quite vibrant hoppiness. It’s woody, herbal, and decently bitter. However, it’s not too overpowering. The beer is extremely drinkable with this good balancing of sweetness and bitterness.

A wonderful take on the style with its bitterness.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4.19/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

$9.29 for a 22 oz bomber from Blanchards in Boston.

A: deep dark copper color, beautiful creamy head
S: full, intense nose, deep roasted malt with creamy qualities, almost no hops noticeable
T: wow!, the taste is not represented by the nose, extreme hops but malt is definitely there too, for a 6.0 ABV/93 IBU beer it's surprising how much the malt is present, deep roasted/dry malt with strong slight astringent bitterness, a bit more bitterness than I usually like but I like the beer overall
M: chewy, roasted malt up front with definite back-of-the-tongue sharp bitterness
O: a very interesting style and I'm glad Dann and Ron brought it back

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a dark, hazy, chestnut highlighted brown-to-black coloring with a thin, frothy, foamy, off-white head. Aromas of heavy roasted coffee, both bitter and a bit smoky. Flavors are very heavily roasted, with a solid profile of coffee, both bitter and rich. Very heavy coffee profile. The aftertaste is bitter and roast, with a hint of bittersweet chocolate note. Dry, bitter, mid-lingering finish. Solid brew, and fun to see what brews used to be like back in the day, as they say.

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Photo of hreb
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

This is a 22oz bottle in what seem to be the newer packaging, bottled in November 2012, reading simply "Once Upon A Time 1855 East India Porter". Beer pours *super* weird -- I was expecting a porter of some sort, but this is almost golden in color. Well, it's a brownish red, but super hazy (and I have not been unkind to the bottle since I purchased it a few days ago). If I was grading this against typical standards for either a porter or an IPA it'd definitely get dinged for appearance, but who knows what 1855-era East India Porter is supposed to look like.

Aroma is much more typical for a porter, with standard roasty notes up front in a big way, and a much subtler suggestion of citrusy hop goodness. Flavor wise, however, East India Porter is the perfect label. It's super roasty in the mouth, as much as any traditional porter, or maybe a dry stout, though mouthfeel is more carbonation-heavy like an ale (I suspect the original 1855 version would not have been gassed and bottled). And then there's a hoppiness which is almost on par with an East Coast American IPA (I wouldn't call it an English IPA, though). It just lacks the citrusy brightness and any of the floral quality of an IPA. I thought it might compare to a CDA/American Black Ale, but no, the extra roast and nuttiness changes the equation qualitatively.

An interesting treat and I don't mind drinking it one bit.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.7/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Aaron for sharing. The beer is cola brown with a thin, broken, beige head. The aroma offers coffee, roast, brown sugar. Ok flavor. A tad harsh. Coffee bitterness with lingering charred roast. Moderately low carbonation. Pretty good. ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

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Photo of Rifugium
3.77/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

First had: bottle from Craft Beer Cellar, Belmont, MA

Poured into a Pretty Things wine-style stem glass. Deep dark brown color with a small but lasting beige head. Dark roasty malts in the nose, coffee, piney hops. Notably bitter in the taste, roasty dark malts, a generous dose of piney hops, coffee beans, solid earthiness, ash, with a bitter and almost harsh aftertaste. Body was about medium, actually quite robust compared to other beers of the style. Good overall, but for me, just a little too bitter for a porter.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.81/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From 02/09/13 notes. Bottled shared by nimbleprop; thanks Mac.

a - Pours a very dark brown mahogany color with one finger of medium tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Looks pretty nice.

s - Smells of roasted malts, coffee, milk cholxate, light floral hops, light pine hops, and some cream. Hops aren't too strong but overall, a pretty nice nose.

t - Tastes of of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, cream, toasted malts, burnt malts, and some light pine hops. Less hops than the nose; I like the taste a touch better.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth and creamy, and pretty easy to drink beer.

o - Overall a pretty nice English porter. Normal chocolate and roasted characteristics with a little bit of a twist with the hops. Easy to drink, would have it again.

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Photo of Scotchboy
4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Awesome bomber sent to me from dope (thanks!) split with my bro with my portion going into a New Belgium Globe.

A: Dark brown/tawny pour with ample light tan head and lacing.

S: Strikes me as 'English' and unique at the same time; toasted caramel and toffee for sure. Big bready notes, with a hefty hop backbone thats more earthy than I'm used to.

T: This beer SHINES here; more malt-driven on the palate, with notes of chocolate, toffee, toasted sugars, darker caramel, bread and toast. There are some roasted notes too, and grainy coffee emerges as it warms. Hop bitterness on the finish reminds you that this thing is still hopped-up; earthy and herbal. Really unique, but enjoyable.

MF: Medium mouthfeel and moderate carbonation.

O: Really pleasant and unique. My first offering from Pretty Things as well. Cool beer with a cool back story.

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Photo of brureview
4.48/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I drank it at a slightly higher temp( from the cellar) at about 56F. A little cooler- about 54 gives a better( and recommended temp) tasting.

Poured a deep dark chocolate color with a three finger head. First sampling in a tulip, good, but a pint glass is best for this style.

Aroma: lemon vanilla, chocolate and coffee.- not strong but pleasant.

The mouth feel is tangy, and not too carbonated. It is smoother at the lower serving temp.

This is a solid porter. It tastes like a classic porter-rich, malty, chocolate, lemon, and coffee.

A very drinkable and classic porter. Highly recommended. It may be my one of my favorite porters.

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Photo of Gatch
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear, translucent, ruby brown with a big, fluffy, pillowy, light brown head and

S: Coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, charred wood, nutty.

T: Wow that's nice. Super toasty and nutty. An interesting hop presence. Smoky and woody. A bit cloying close to room temperature.

M: Big flavor and super smooth. The body is perfect for this style. Thick and creamy with decent carbonation.

O: If this is what was drunk in the 19th Century they had it good. And now that most are drinking the corporate swill it seems we are going backwards as a human race as far as beer is concerned. This is a great beer.

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Photo of PeterIngemi
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pretty things stemmed beer glass.

A: a murky nutty brown with deep ruby highlights. A finger if toasted head after a regular pour, dissapates nicley, with nice lacing... Looks yummy.

S: earthy toasty grain, brown bread, earthy hop, an almost coffe light roasty toasty note. Smells hearty and warm.

T: light note of chocolate along with some seriously roasty and toasty grain notes which remind me almost of coffee. A nice earthy hop right in there with that toast as well, very tasty, with some very nice balance and complexity.

M: medium body with lush carbonation, grainy and dry, with a bitter finish.

O: this is a very interesting brew, and one that i really enjoy, both because of the taste and as well because of the story and history behind it. Unique and intriguing a great porter to keep you warm on a cold night.

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4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber to snifter. $13 for the single. Sampled 11/11/11.

A: Pours with a beautiful, 3 finger khaki-colored head, thick, mousse-y, & compact. The head throws a seriously thick web of lace across the glass, while the dark brown body adds torn sheets.

S: Huge roasted notes of chocolate and coffee with lightly toasted toffee and caramel to add depth and complexity. Hop character is big as well, imparting aromas of dank pine resin and herbs. There is an earthiness about this beer as well plus a little green leaf. Fantastic.

T: Every bit as good as the nose suggested. The bitter chocolate flavor is layered and there is a light acridness courtesy of the intensely roasted coffee. Huge hop presence keeps the finish very bitter. With very little sweetness, this beer is dry the entire way through. There is a hint of paper that comes across more as old wood than in an oxidized way.

M: The mouthfeel was let down considering everything else about this beer is incredible. The body is a bit light; the texture a bit thin. And with only a gentle amount of carbonation, the texture is also slick. Ideally, the beer would hang onto the tongue a little longer and not [kind of] glide over it.

O: Mouthfeel aside, this beer is a winner. Over the last 2 years, I've come to trust that Pretty Things will deliver a quality brew. And if this beer is an accurate recreation, as the label suggests, then them soldiers were drinking pretty damn good.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this at O'Reilly's served in a pint on tap.

The color is deep brown, almost black like cola with translucent clarity at the base. The thick tan cap holds well and leaves a thick lace pattern with ultra fine bead. The smell is great with a very expressive dark chocolate nose and slight bitter roastiness which reminds me of dark bread and has a slight coffee-like nuttiness in the aroma. There is a hint of pine from the hops which is pleasant.

The feel is good with plenty of deep roasted and mild bitterness with slight caramel sweetness accenting with an almost creamy body and slightly dry finish without much in the way of alcohol presence. I love the taste - it has woody and slight nutty grain which comes off like a high cocoa content dark chocolate taste with subtle earthy elements and hint of hops giving balance but the balance does seem to be more dry than sweet and bitter with slight pine flavor and gentle dark sugar notes. I recommend this to anyone who likes a nice balanced porter which is not heavy on the sweetness. This is an excellent beer!

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Photo of angrybabboon
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this

Review adapted from notes taken 9/18/11

Appearance: A rich, dark brown - beige head, good lacing

Smell: Well, it's definitely an English Porter - toasted malts, some burnt, some roasted - some herbal, leafy English hops - a lot of minerality - some chocolate and cocoa powder

Taste: Chocolate, burnt, and rocks - seriously - chocolate malts, dry baker's chocolate, light cocoa - minerality is quite high, and this kind of tastes like licking a rock - bitter, English hops, slightly herbal

Mouthfeel: Medium body, nicely carbonated, dry

Overall: Good, and so English

This is remarkably English-tasting considering it was brewed by Pretty Things. This is interesting, and I am glad I had the opportunity to try it.

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Photo of jsanford
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From THE CPJ. 22oz bottle poured into a Pint Glass.

A - Pours a dark mahogany with an ivory colored head that settles to a thin haze and creamy ring, leaving some spotty lacing clinging to the glass.
S - Nice "roasty" aromas of baking chocolate, coffee beans, and dark malt with a touch of sweet cream. If I was blindfolded I'd say this was a Milk Stout.
T - Robust flavors of bitter chocolate, coffee, and dark malt with a touch of caramel and cream. Finish is long and intensely bitter, like accidentally eating a piece of baking chocolate, but in a good way.
M - Very smooth and a bit creamy, with a medium body and good carbonation. Surprisingly drinkable despite the bitterness, this is going down easy.
O - A memorable beer in a style category that is usually underwhelming to me, I'm stoked I got to try this!

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Photo of RyanLigeia
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance- Extremely dark brown that lets zero light through. Creamy off white head that disappears fast. It almost looks solid unless you look very closely and can see some carbination.

Smell- A faint roasty coffee smell mixed with something unique that I cant quite figure out.

Taste- The taste delivers way more than I expected after smelling it. Very robust. A HINT of some dark chocolate, some more mellow roasted coffee notes, maybe a little smokyness and lots of malty sweetness. Theres also some bitterness in the after taste that gives it a nice twist. The flavor lingers and does NOT dissapoint.

Mouthfeel- A little warmth from the alchohol, plenty of body with some detectable carbination, matches the flavors real well.

Overall- Awesome porter. I'll definitely go back and buy another to share with a friend.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into snifter. Thanks for this one wyllder!

A: Pours a very dark chocolate brown with a finger of soft dark tan head that quickly faded into a thin fuzzy film that left a ton of tiny spots of lacing down the glass.
S: Light notes of roasted malts, coffee and chocolate. The chocolate really comes through nicely.
T: Follows the nose with rich and smooth notes of roasted malts, toasted grains, light roast coffee and a hint of dark chocolate. The finish has good bitterness to it, and the aftertaste is roasted and lasts forever.
M: Smooth and fluffy carbonation, soft and full mouthfeel with a medium-full body. Very creamy and smooth.
O: One of the best in style that I’ve had, and a great beer at that. Smooth mouthfeel, rich flavors, easy to drink. Thanks again, Eric.

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Photo of natescape
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark, almost black, but with an interesting lightness on the edges (when held up to the light)

S - Smells like a decent stout. Think Sam Smith's Oatmeal.

T - Wonderful. Complex. Leaves a long roasted chocolate flavor.

M - Just a bit of an alcohol taste on the fringe of the tongue. Yummy.

O - Fantastic. Really complex with lots of flavors. Leaves a great smoked flavor that's both intriguing and delicious. Highly recommended.

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Photo of nickfl
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - The beer pours with a small head of light tan foam on top of an opaque, dark brown body. The head settles slowly and leaves nice rings of lace on the glass.

S - Dark, malty notes of licorice and brown sugar with some spicy hops.

T - Dark bread and brown sugar up front with some spicy hops. More dark sugar character comes out in the middle with notes of molasses and caramel. The beer comes to a finish with spicy hops, licorice and caramel malts as a touch of smoke.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a fairly sweet finish.

D - It is an interesting opportunity to try a beer recreated from the mid 19th century. I am used to historical beers coming from ancient recipes and coming with a rather loose interpretation of the original (ahem, DFH), but this seems to be quite authentic. The dark character is quite different from what one typically gets in a modern porter as this beer is all about dark sugar rather than roasted grain.

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Photo of KarlosT
3.86/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

interesting beer. different.

East Indian Style Porter, historically designed/brewed to mimic the beers from 1885 London. Apparently, porters from England were sent to the troops, whereas the IPA's were reserved for Officers (also brewed in England).

brown, muted. something between a brown ale and a stout. little to no head. little carbonation.

it smells great. fresh, crisp, hints of the hoppiness of an IPA. The smell/aroma set my expectation high for the taste, which fell short (sigh)

complex taste. very sharp, tangy (not just from the bitterness of the IPA). sometimes I think I taste notes of burnt coffee.

very interesting and different. it evervesces on the tongue ... somewhat like an over carbonated beer.

Overall: very interesting and complex beer. suspect for many folks (with a better pallette) than moi would appreciate it. Perhaps w/ time I would like it more.

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Photo of Florida9
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This beer has a bit of an odd look to it. The color is brown, dark brown really, but it still has a good bit of translucency left to it. Held up to the light, it actually appears a dark pastel brown. Forms a moderate sized, creamy, deep tan colored head that slowly reduces to a slight surface coating and a thick ring around the edge. Some moderate lacing.

S: Smell is of roasted malts, cheap coffee, and chocolate. And a little bit of smoke.

T: The taste is assertive and complex. Starts off with a mild malty sweetness. Deeply roasted malts mix with an almost burnt flavor. Coffee, cocoa, brown sugar, burnt caramel. Then a little bit of citrus and pine from the hops - not enough to dominate, but enough to make its presence known.

M: On the heavier side of medium. Smooth, creamy. Appropriate carbonation. Mild bitterness.

O: A quite enjoyable and rather complex beer. Loads of flavor without being overpowering, cloying, or tiring. Very nice.

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Photo of chugalug06
1.87/5  rDev -54.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A - Big creme brulee colored head. Head is 1/2 foam and 1/2 soapy.

S - A mild home brew scent... not the best. Perhaps this one isn't as fresh as one would wish...??? oups. there's some chocolate lots of caramel.

T - Quite bitter. not too much flavor. Kinda bland.

M - Overly carbonated. Bitter, very bitter.

O - This one could end up in the drain.... :( I wanted to enjoy this one!!! This is hard to drink, it's much like a bad homebrew. What happened to this brew????

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Photo of glib
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I loved everything about this beer. Packed with all the flavors mentioned by every other review, yet imminently drinkable with no overpowering. Despite the complexity, it is surprisingly light for as dark as it is.

If I had to choose one beer to drink for the rest of my life, this one might just be it.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Solid brown. Black at edges. Head is tan, bubbly, and lingers. carbonation looks solid. A good swirl rejuvenates the head time and again. Pours on the heavier side for the style. This bodes well.

Smell: Minerals. Rocks, loads of baker's chocolate. Big dry cocoa. Touches of roasted coffee and chocolate malts. Faintly sweet. Char and smoke as well. Lots of malt complexity. Toasted and roasted malts. Burnt crusty meat edges.

Taste: You can dunk a rock in it. Roasted, burnt malts carry a touch of caramelized sugar and a ton of straight cocoa. Coffee adds a nice burst on the back, but it's almost unrelenting on the minerality. As it warms, the malts jump up a bit and some real chocolate, as in milk chocolate, comes out. Big roasted profile. Some char on the back as well. Super complex for the style.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Slightly dry. Carbonation is on the high side, but it works with the deep mineral flavor and sweet malts. Almost creamy, but never quite makes it.

Overall: Damn fine take on the style. It's scary how well they copied British water. Tons of flavor and complexity for days. This would probably stand up to some aging, maybe a year.

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Photo of axeman9182
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, allowed to warm for a few minutes before being poured into my Duvel tulip.

Pretty Things December 6th, 1855 East India Porter pours almost entirely black. There's a little bit of cherry shining through at the bottom of the glass, and that's it. There are about three fingers of light caramel head sitting atop the beer. Retention is outstanding, the head's creep down the side of the glass is a slow one. There's a solid ring of lace marking the apex of the head, but below that it's little too spotty. The nose is predominantly roasted coffee, with solid support from dark chocolate aromas. A nice herbal note lies far in the background, but keeps things interesting. The malt profile of the flavor is very similar to that of the aroma, with coffee being the primary note. Chocolate is a little bit more present here though. The bitterness of the coffee melds into bitterness from the hops, before closing with a subdued herbal noble hop flourish. The body is is a serious letdown, nowhere near rich/full enough and it crosses the line into watery. The carbonation is appropriately subdued, and doesn't overtake the lackluster body. I enjoyed this most recent entry in the Once Upon A Time series when it was fresh, but thought a little bit of time would improve it some. I think I was right, but held on to this bottle a month or two too long.

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December 6th, 1855 EIP (East India Porter) from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 183 ratings