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Blacksmith Smoked Porter | Highlander Brew Co.

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Blacksmith Smoked PorterBlacksmith Smoked Porter
Very Good
46 Ratings
Blacksmith Smoked PorterBlacksmith Smoked Porter

Brewed by:
Highlander Brew Co.
Ontario, Canada

Style: English Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by andrenaline on 11-28-2013

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 46 |  Reviews: 11
Reviews by ThinkAgain:
Photo of ThinkAgain
4.25/5  rDev +11%

More User Reviews:
Photo of ConnorG
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of biboergosum
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

650ml bottle. The first beer that I've had from these guys, where the only thing green in the brew is the hops.

This beer pours a pretty solid black, with murky cola edges, and three fingers of puffy, finely foamy, and a little bit creamy beige head, which leaves some random splattered dried sudsy lace around the glass as it quickly blows off.

It smells of roasted, somewhat meaty caramel malt, bittersweet cocoa, sour milk, wet ash, weak coffee grounds, and earthy, mildly leafy hops. The taste is all about the chocolate - toasted, and blended into the caramel malt, coffee, milk, black licorice, and sweet dark fruit (plums, dates, and raisins) - before it skids to a stop before the admittedly tame earthy, musty hops. I mean, who ever heard of a chocolate-covered hop cone?

The carbonation is quite subtle, barely manifesting in anything more than a sedate trembling, the body a sturdy medium weight, and quite smooth, with a minor dose of creaminess. It finishes still sweet from the chocolate and its aforementioned cohorts, the well-faded roast and equally subdued hops having little say at this point.

A tasty enough porter, but I would have guessed, if pressed, that this was a chocolate porter, and not, as advertised, one of the smoked persuasion. That essence shows up, collects its pay stub, and begs off for the day, leaving its capable co-workers to carry the load, and carry it they do. Full, rounded, and not a whisper from the 13-proof alcohol - good, but forget that you ever saw the label.

 1,516 characters

Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of StormAles
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of WillAndSarah
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of ikidunot
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of RedAleMan
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of liamt07
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of thehyperduck
4.01/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

650 mL bottle pulled from an LCBO fridge; best before Feb. 15 2014 and served slightly chilled. I've got to say, I'm really enjoying this new OCB trend of releasing more and more stouts and porters - finding a sessionable one wasn't always easy until recently. This smoked porter is one of the more recent examples of this trend to hit the local shelves.

Pours a deep cola colour, mostly black but with some deep tinges of brown under the light. Two fingers of puffy, frothy, tan-coloured head erupts at the surface, wilting slowly over the next five minutes or so, leaving behind a dense cap and collar with some great lacing. Enticing aroma, and spot-on for the style - lots of roasted malts, molasses and even some honey, with added vibes of coffee, raisins and light smoke.

Very tasty stuff, and nicely balanced. Cocoa powder and dark chocolate are the first flavours I detect, followed by roasted malts, honey and molasses sweetness. A light coffee bean flavour comes through toward the finish, which offers a mixture of roast and light smokiness, both lingering into the aftertaste and fading slowly. Medium-bodied, with a soft, smooth, somewhat slick feel on the palate. I didn't like it at first (I thought it was too flat), but it really grew on me. The alcohol is nowhere to be seen, so at 6.5% this is a deceptively drinkable porter.

[Updated Mar 14 2016]

Blacksmith Smoked Porter is an exquisitely-crafted dark ale that I really should return to more often. The smoke is noticeable, but not overplayed. I would probably call this Highlander's best brew, although I really like their Scottish Ale as well - either way, that's two great offerings from this tiny operation, which is pretty impressive. This brewery isn't much of an innovator, but their core brands like this one remain respectable, and the bombers are reasonably priced. Worth a look if you spot it locally.

Final Grade: 4.01, an A-.

 1,914 characters

Photo of The-Jolly-Imbiber
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of byronic
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%

Photo of portwood
3.76/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Smell: chocolate, coffee, sweet smoke.
Taste: roasted grains, molasses, smooth carbonation.
Finish: bittersweet, caramel, subtle smoke, semi-sweet chocolate.
(bottle bb 06/26/16)

 178 characters

Photo of Jotora
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of monticristo23
3.37/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

While it is an enjoyable 1 time drink, I'm not sure whether I'd buy it again very soon. Every aspect about this Porter screams average to me.

141 characters

Photo of taxandbeerguy
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

650 ml bottle served cool into a Samuel Smith's pint glass. Purchased from LCBO for about $6 CDN.

Appearance - Dark hazy brown color with an impressive two fingers of tan head. Great retention and nice trail of sticky lacing is left behind. Exactly how a porter should look.

Smell - Coffee and chocolate with a faint hint of smokiness. Better when warmer than when served cold.

Taste - Chocolate, mild bitterness, roasted grain, then some earthy beat and smoke comes through. Lots of subtle flavors going on make a nice and very solid blend, but nothing that makes me go "wow". Still very solid.

Mouthfeel - Full and decadent, decent carbonation but it is a nice slick oily beer. Great texture as there a certain chewy characteristic reminiscent of a bigger stout.

Overall - A solid, dependable and consistent porter, there's nothing wrong with it but it just seems to be missing something from making this an absolute top notch porter with the Sam Smith's And London Porters of the world. One of the best by this brewery and not a terrible deal as far as bombers go.

 1,074 characters

Photo of polloenfuego
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a 650 ml bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A: deep dark brown almost black, with a small one finger root beer colored head, which breaks quickly to leave a decent film of foam but no lacing.

S: anise/licorice comes first. Roasted malts, molasses and some dark fruits are also present.

T: licorice and molasses come to the forefront, but there are notes of smoke and dark fruits as well. Sweet to start with a bitter coffee finish.

M: medium carbonation and body. Mouth feel was a little slick, or oily.

O: not a bad porter, and a good offering from Highlander. I enjoyed this beer, though I had hoped the smoke would be a bit more prominent, and would have preferred a little less anise flavor. I am hopeful that this is a good sign of things to come from this brewer.

 780 characters

Photo of andrenaline
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of timmy2b
4.25/5  rDev +11%

Photo of leaddog
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours a dark cola brown with a finger of bubbly tan head that quickly dissipates.

Smell - hint of smoke, hint of smoked meat (bacon), coffee, roasted grains, hint of cocoa, earthy hops, and dark fruits (plum, raisin).

Taste - Hint of smoke followed by the hint of smoked meat (bacon), followed by the coffee, roasted grains, hint of cocoa, earthy hops, and dark fruits (plum, raisin).

Mouthfeel - Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes with a hint of the smoke and smoked meat (bacon) alongside the bitterness from the roasted grains.

Overall - A porter with a good flavour profile. The hint of smoke and smoked meat adds a pleasant complexity to this porter. Nice to see another offering from Ontario make its way to Alberta.

 762 characters

Photo of Lennco
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Pmicdee
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Cramshawbar
3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

An awfully weak attempt at this style.
Lava by Ölvisholt Brugghús is so much more superior that the difference is almost embarrassing. Very disappointing.

 156 characters

Photo of Jeffo
2.46/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

From a bottle into a snifter
Best before 15 October 2014

APPEARANCE: Clear brown pour yields a 2+ finger, medium looking, creamy, light tan head with very good retention. Head slowly fades to a nice cap and sticks to the sides of the glass. Transparent bistre brown in color, almost black, with medium levels of carbonation. A faint wisp remains with some dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Some dark malts, toffee, a hint of smoke and some leather aromas on the nose.

TASTE: Milder in flavor, unfortunately. A bit of roast up front with some bitter chocolate, burnt notes and some leather lingering in the medium aftertaste. Some decent flavor is there, but it’s rather mute and somewhat dull overall. Nothing off per se.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly mouth-coating. A touch lighter than some, but plenty creamy and smooth.

OVERALL: This was consumed a few months before the best by date, and there was no real sign of staleness or excessive age or anything, so I can assume this brew, or at least this batch, is just a little too mild and dull in the aroma and flavor department. The smoke character is almost non-existent as well. Not memorable.

 1,253 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Each word in the name 'Blacksmith Smoked Porter' implies darkness so, indeed, drinkers shouldn't be surprised to find an opaque, almost entirely black beer in front of them (allowing for the odd splinter of ruby highlighting). Its head may be sparse but the glass afterwords looks as though it were crawling white leaches.

Blacksmith has hints of bacon and campfire but too much chocolate and dark fruity undertones to be mistaken for a traditional Rauchbier. It teeters on the sweet side and has a surprising absence of ashtray-like smoke and burnt grain qualities. Notes of coffee and raw cocoa spring up in both aroma and taste with very little astringency or bitterness accompanying them.

It'd be smooth enough to pass for a lager if not for the fact that its maltiness is ample and broad as the shoulders of the burly man on its label. Make no mistake, however, this is not the kind of dark beer that'll put hair on your chest - it's far too approachable for that. Drinkers of Guinness and other commercial stouts will have no problem making the switch.

The smoke in this "smoked porter" is too important to be called incidental but not obvious enough to be called inevitable; it adds depth and compliments the roasted grain and dark chocolate flavours, but one might not necessarily know of its inclusion without reading it on the label first. That's not a problem, mind you, especially as mainstream appeal is concerned...

Highlander has crafted a beer as likely to appeal to the masses as it is craft beer geeks. This is not an easy feat by any means; generally speaking, beers are either aimed at commercial or niche markets but Blacksmith Porter can compete in both. I'm happy to learn this brewery can do justice to dark beers just as well as pale ones - looks like the sky's the limit for them.

 1,813 characters

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Blacksmith Smoked Porter from Highlander Brew Co.
Beer rating: 3.83 out of 5 with 46 ratings
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