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Wachusett Black Shack Porter | Wachusett Brewing Company

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very good
84 Reviews
Wachusett Black Shack PorterWachusett Black Shack Porter

Brewed by:
Wachusett Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Chocolate, coffee, and oatmeal flake undertones give this porter its delicious flavor. Its dark complextion and bitter hops give it character.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-29-2001

For Trade:
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Reviews: 84 | Ratings: 149
Photo of Gatch
4.19/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a really solid porter! Great roasted malt character with a bit of sweetness and coffee in the finish. Some chocolate. Smooth and easy drinking. Surprising!

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Photo of CHickman
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours chestnut brown color, looking reddish near the edges as the light hits it; 1-2 finger foamy tan head that was full of popping bubbles, fading on the slow side, leaving decent lacing and a creamy layer on top.

Smells of roasted grains, caramel, toffee, chicory, chocolate milk, charred wood and earthy notes like peat moss and/or smoked malts. It's a cross between a milk stout and a porter as the roasted notes drag it closer to the porter side for a nice aroma.

Tastes of roasted grains, toffee, cocoa powder, chicory, chocolate milk, maple syrup, piney hops, charred wood and earthy notes like peat moss, coffee grinds and tree bark. Seems like some mild spices kick in after the swallow, but they don't derail the cocoa and grainy sweetness, which leaves a little bitterness with the charred flavors.

Mouthfeel is thin and almost watery, with a smooth feel, a light to medium body, mild carbonation and a slightly bitter finish complete with roasted notes and sweet chocolate malts. Overall a nice enjoyable, easy drinking beer.

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Photo of predikit
3.37/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours brown, settles in the glass dark brown, Leaves a frothy off-white heat that leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell is almost non-existent, which is a shame.

Suprisingly hop-forward, a bitter character gives way to coffee and chocolate notes, bitter aftertaste which clings to the mouth for awhile.

Medium bodied, little light for a porter I would say, leaves an oily residue behind, a bit chewy, not a clean finish at all really, but doesn't take away too much from the experience.

A decent porter but doesn't really shine in any particular area.

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Photo of chefhatt
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this beer into a glass, it has a rich black body with a small thick tan head.
The aroma has a nice roast, chocolate smell to it.
The taste is rich with chocolate and roasted malt with a touch of bitter hops. As it warms up the choclate comes out and so does a little oat also.
Mouthfeel is nice and overall a really good porter.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: very dark brown, almost black. Rocky tan head retains very well. Foamy patches of lacing remain in its wake.

S: Traces of molasses, soot and char, thin caramel, a touch nutty. Tight blackberry ester nestled within.

T: Bread and crust, toast, char and charcoal. Cola. Subtle caramel. Chcolate truffles. Dak berry esters. Modest hop bitterness with an earthy piney flavor. Long lingering finish is earhty, nutty, and full of char and smoke.

M: Lightish medium body. Slight creaminess, but a touch thin and watery. Blast of strong, scrubbing carbonation helps a bit, but doesn't totally make up for the lack of body.

O: Not a bad porter by any stretch, it's actually a pleasant enough drink. A little more body and texture would really help to take it to the next level.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.13/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Almost black in color with an off-white head. A mild roastiness with some coffee and a hint of chocolate. The nose is just a bit simple and bland. The flavor offers up some roasted malt and maybe a bit of coffee. There’s not much sweetness to it other than a touch of chocolate. Kind of thin as well.

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Photo of farrago
2.65/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Close to two fingers of very loose and airy microfoam, surface loses its evenness as it dissolves, not a lot of retention, the lacing wispy and randomly spread out. Light brown color with a strong orange to yellow cast around the rims and glass bottom, transparent for its type with a fair amount of visible bubbles. Cocoa, cola bean, butterscotch, brown sugar sweeten up the nose somewhat but more toasty than sugary, bready with a metallic ring to it, hoppiness puts some spring in it yet without many distinct qualities. Light-bodied, perhaps on the dilute side, lacks enough flavor vibrancy to make up for the lack of palate heft. Coffee, mocha, cocoa and malt powder more roasted than anything else. Spring water, quinine and a certain stoniness to it, no real suggestion of fruit or citrus. Does keep that cola thing. The carbonation is hard-edged and churns more than smoothes. Not a lot left through the finish, dry and dusty in texture, simple in character.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap and served in a tumbler pint, the beer is almost jet black in its depths, with a ruby highlight around the edges. A solid, dense, chunky head of beige coloring sits atop the brew showing no intentions of going anywhere. Aromas of mocha and cream, both subtle and smooth. Very inviting. Flavors are heavy coffee and roast, with a solid chocolate blend throughout that gives you a mocha/cafe latte type feel. Definite roast/smoke character, which balances the sweet and bitter character from the coffee and dark chocolate profiles. The aftertaste is dark roasted coffee grounds, with a kiss of dark chocolate. The finish is slightly dry, with a rich, roasty kick at the end. Solid brew.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep clear coppery amber, with 2 fingers of frothy light mocha head. This retains with a smooth and creamy looking ½ finger of foam, leaving back some sudsy lacing that sticks. The aroma smells of molasses and coffee, with a touch of cocoa powder mixed in and then some leafy smelling accents that hang on the edges. This also has a bit of a mineral edge to the nose but it eventually dissipates for the most part. The stickiness of this is what sticks out the most.

The taste features much more of that hop profile here, with a green citric bite that sends a leafy bitterness out into the mouth. This is surrounded by more of that molasses-like sticky sweetness and roasted coffee notes that mix in but the hops return in the finish, leaving this dry and bitter. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a bit of a prickle to it but majority of the carbonation has more of a firm creaminess to it that fills out the edges of the mouth.

Beyond some minor issues with the nose, this was a pretty darn solid American Porter, with that combination of molasses and coffee really taking to this a good place. A solid hop profile lends this some crispness on the palate, while the creamy body on this helped everything go down smooth. This was good.

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Photo of rjplumer
3.33/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Mild mocha and hop aroma. Pours a deep dark brown that can be seen through if held up to the light with a mild tan head. Bitter with a chalky mouth feel. Feels quite carbonated for a Porter. Finish is on the sour side. Not a bad brew but it just seems a bit plain. I would drink it again but wouldn’t go out of my way for it.

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Photo of Brad007
4.16/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish brown color with a two-finger head into my glass.

Roasted malt and coffee/dark fruit flavors greet the nose like a long-lost friend might.

Not roasty like a stout but it's still there. Very clean. Simple. Like a porter should be?

Lingering light roastiness with a hint of dark fruit, etc. The fancy, schmancy language doesn't quite capture the essence.

This is a porter, my friend. Drink up and enjoy. In the age of double this and imperial that, you just can't go wrong with a simple porter. I know that I enjoy a few beers similar to this and for that, I give it a good effort for drinkability and versatility!

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.72/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

dark, but obviously clear brown, almost black. Very large tan head graced the top, eventually faded down to just a slight ring around the outside of the glass. No glass lace and little carbonation,.Smell very sweet, lots of caramel and roasted coffee, a touch of chocolate perhaps. Very nice light feel. Good carbonation kept it feeling alive and allowed the flavors to really pop. Nice burnt caramel sugar and a touch of chocolate. Very nice dry piney hopped finish

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Photo of Jayli
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 11/7
Poured in to a pint glass

A: This beer pours a somewhat thin, deep, dark brown that has chestnut and mahogany hues when held to the light. A two finger of foamy light brown head. Head recedes at a moderate pace and leaves wispy lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is roasted malts, toffee, and a hint of hazelnut.

T: Taste is roasted notes at the forefront. Chocolate and toffee come through in the middle with some lighter toasted notes. FInish has some hazelnut, grain and charred notes.

M: Lighter side of medium body, medium carbonation, thin but crisp.

O: Goes down easily, ok tasting, not filling, not much of a kick, overall a decent beer worth drinking for a while but isn't one that will blow you away.

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Photo of GRG1313
2.48/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours black/dark brown with a tan head.

Nose is salty carmel in character.

Mouthfeel is thin and watery with no character whatsoever.

Flavors are weak and thin and of green bitter coffee with a weak herbaceous character that is unpleasant and vegetal.

Finish is green vegetables and herbs. Not one to try again for me.

Nothing redeeming. Went back to another bottle with same result.

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Photo of Genuine
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured black with a 3 finger tan head with awesome retention and lacing down the glass, very beautiful.

smell - smells just like I thought it would...smokey, maybe a hint of chocolate, some earthyness.

Taste - this one follows the nose as well, very nice malts and earthy tones that meet up with with coffee and chocolate.

Mouthfeel - I felt as if this one was on the lighter side. Definitely not what i was expecting, I thought it was going to be much heavier/thicker but i was wrong...but it's easy to drink.

drinkability - having a few of these with friend would be no problem whatsoever. Very nice sessionable porter for sure.

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Photo of aepb1
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark brown with a tan head and phenomenal retention

S- Roasty malts and some hops too

T- Roasted malts up front and a smokey bitterness finish

M- Smooth medium bodied with good carbonation

D- Very complex flavors and the smoothness combine to make this quite drinkable

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Photo of jdhilt
3.41/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three finger light tan head that fades quickly to a thin layer, leaving some lace. Deep brown color with some mahogany highlights. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Light chocolate nose. Flavor is unsweetened baked chocolate. $1.85 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma. Best by Jun 2010.

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Photo of colts9016
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this bottle from TheManiacalOne, thank you very much for it. I poured into a plain glass at 40 degrees.

Appearance: A solid one finger creamy tan head that has retention. The color of the beer is a dark, dark, brown near opaque with garnet brown highlights. The clarity is opaque. The head leaves a little lacing on the glass.

Nose: A rich roasted malt with toffee, vanilla, mocha, chocolate, coffee, a hint of phenols, and a subtle sweetness.

Taste: A rich roasted malt with slight burnt character, toffee, bittersweet chocolate, roasted dark coffee, vanilla, some phenols, and a hint of molasses.

The mouth feel of the beer is medium and the finish is medium. This is a good porter overall but nothing really stands out in it! I am glad that got to try it!

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Photo of jmerloni
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - Creamy dark brown with huge tan head that has great retention and laces quite well.

S - Toffee and chocolate and dirt. Smells robust.

T - Chocolate and toffee with some coffee and nut flavors with a mild bitterness on the end. This is pretty good but a bit dull. A little grittiness in the texture.

M - A little weird and overcarbonated for a porter. Not totally balanced and surprisingly light. It would be better off less carbonated and as creamy as it appears.

D - Very drinkable. I don't know the ABV but I don't feel much of anything after one and that taste was pretty good. I will be getting this brew again. One of the better beers I've had from Wachusett from the 4 I've tried from them. Great.

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Photo of steve8robin
3.25/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sounded good, so I purchased...

A: Looks very good. Dark with ruby highlights. Thick off-white head that fades medium.

S: Get coffee upfront with dark fruit. Slight oaks in the middle. Not much going on in the scent.

T: Very smoky flavor with a hint of licorice upfront. Tastes like coffee and breakfast in the middle with water drowning every part of this one. Ok. Like a poor man's Ten Fidy.

M: Not a bad balance of cabonation and water on this one. A hint too much water, but not too bad.

D: Goes down decent. Not much special here.

All in all, this brew is ok. Probably good to try once if you like Ten Fidy or breakfast stouts, but don't expect it to be the same caliber as Ten Fidy. Just a poor man's version.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12oz bottle, part of a 12pack sampler. In a pint glass the beer was a dark reddish brown with a thick tan head. What I perceived in the aroma was roasted malt, nothing else. Taste was an improvement, bitter coffee, chocolate. Still, I thought this was a bit on the tepid side, and would probably look for other porters first.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a BBC pint glass.

A: Poured a dark amber color with reddish-brown highlights and a one-finger head of tan foam which retained nicely but left little lacing. Good clarity and carbonation as well.

S: Smells slightly sour and fruity at first, with herbal hops and roasted chocolate malt aromas following closely after.

T: Flavor is bitter and basic roasted malt at first, semisweet with mild, earthy flavors of coffee and cocoa. This gives way to a bit of slightly watered down sweetness around mid palate before washing down bittersweet and clingy with a hint of mocha flavoring.

M: Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with a little creaminess mid-palate, but enough clarity and assertive herbal hops to wash through the slight dextrose stickiness.

D: At 5.3% ABV and with 45 IBUs, this porter is a good pick for a mildly cold weather session brew. Enough malt and flavor to satisfy with hop assertiveness to not only balance the sweetness but add a warming factor as well. Not the best porter I've had, but a pretty good option and certainly worth a try.

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Photo of tigg924
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark brown in color, 1 inch head, clear

Smell: roasted malt

Taste: roasted malt and dark coffee

Mouthfeel: light bodied, smooth, minimal carbonation

Drinkability: This one drinks like a dry Irish Stout, more than a porter. This separates it from other American Porters I have had. It is very good and I could have two or three.

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Photo of jdrury245
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours thin with a nice thin to medium off white head. The color is dark brown.

S - Roasted malts with coffee and coco notes. Inviting...

T - Not an over powering taste of roasted malts. But just enough to give this beer a nice roasted malt coffee/toffee character.

M - Thin and silky. I also notice the carbonation

D - Great winter beer. It is a good beer to sit by the fire in a ski lodge after a whole day of skiing.

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Photo of albern
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is an okay to good porter but not brilliant by any stretch. It pours a very dark brown with some ruby notes when held up to light. The beer laces well and has an off white creamy head. The nose on the beer is charred malts, some roasted grain, a little bit of mocha as well.

The beer is quite watery and more light bodied than medium bodied. The beer has some hop balance, there is some cocoa powder and semi-dark chocolate notes to the beer. There is a pronounced roasted ground coffee flavor. The beer is quite smooth, a touch oily, there isn't much sweetness to the beer, but it isn't an overly dry beer either. The watery consistency detracts a bit from the beer because with more substance and thickness, the beer would have been more interesting. The watery coffee flavors are just not doing all that much for me. There is a roasted nutty flavor on the very back end, and there are some charred flavors in the aftertaste. This isn't a bad porter, but it isn't great either.

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Wachusett Black Shack Porter from Wachusett Brewing Company
3.76 out of 5 based on 149 ratings.
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