Java Sutra Coffee Porter | Three Heads Brewing

very good
63 Reviews
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Java Sutra Coffee PorterJava Sutra Coffee Porter

Brewed by:
Three Heads Brewing
New York, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
The perfect marriage between hops, malted barley and espresso. Java Sutra exudes a aroma coffee drinkers will love, while the caramel and roasted malts present a flavor everyone can enjoy. This amazing beer is brewed with Tap & Mallet House Roast coffee beans provided by Boulder Coffee. Position yourself for the taste explosion.
6.5% Alc/vol. 55 IBUs.

Added by John on 12-05-2010

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Reviews: 63 | Ratings: 149
Photo of doucmehu
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bomber courtesy of mjtiernan, thanks! Shared with friends after dinner.

A: Pours a ruddy deep brown, with hints of burgundy. Head is moderate and mocha in color, leaves some nice lacing.

S: Burnt espresso beans dominate, though not as robust and rich as they are a bit forced and bitter. Some slight sweetness tried to cut the bitterness. An earthy pine hop aroma makes an appearance here as well, though it subsides as the beer warms.

T: The coffee flavor is intense, though not as robust and smooth as I would like, especially when it is so dominant. This reminds me of eating an espresso bean whole - it tastes like coffee, but it's pretty sharp and in your face, lacking some balance. There is a definite bitterness with the coffee as well as some cocoa. The hops are again present but subdued, lacking much depth.

M: The mouthfeel was just about on par with the rest of the beer, being a bit jagged and thin. Carbonation was strong and fizzy, which is fine but for a porter and a coffee beer it would have done nicer with a smoother, creamier finish.

O: I noticed the review contained a lot of "just missed" aspects, which is a good indication of my overall take. It was a decent example, certainly not unenjoyable, but just a little too harsh to really leave drinkability above average.

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Photo of Suds
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Strong, dark, coffee beers seem to be a fad recently. This one stands out as one of the better variants. It's a very dark, nearly black beer with reddish highlights and a firm tan head. The aroma is really smells like the combination of a strong espresso and a robust porter. It's a strong, bitter, roasty, intense, smokey, enjoyable smell. The taste is not as astringent as expected, based on the smell. Malt flavor, some sweetness, coffee and grain, with some hop bitterness. The beer is flavorful, robust, and enjoyable. Full in body and lots of genuine coffee flavor.

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Photo of biegaman
3.87/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Despite the addition of espresso, Java Sutra remains what I like to call a “beefstake porter”: brown with black streaks on the outside, but still a little red in the middle. Transparency is a far cry although I believe you could technically still consider the beer clear. Head is patchy but for the most part stays in good overall condition.

The aroma smells less of roasty, rich espresso than it does a simple, smooth arabica blend. While it's far from sweet it does contain a fragrant nuttiness that replicates vanilla and toasted hazelnut in a remarkable way; it smells like a hazelnut latte. Swirling, however, does bring about more smoky roast character from both the coffee and the malts.

Funny how some things can taste much differently than they smell; coffee carries onto the palate without as much nuttiness and instead cranks up the astringency and smokiness of roasted espresso beans. Gone is the flavour shot of vanilla-hazelnut but introduced is the taste of biscuity wafer covered in dark baker's chocolate.

If this were supposed to be a stout I'd knock it for not having enough malt, but as a porter the medium mouthfeel will make do. While we're making comparisons, this has about the same level of drying, lightly-astringent roast found in most stouts. A spattering of hoppiness finds its way into the finish, where it compliments the coffee.

Coffee porters tend to go either one of two ways: either the coffee obliterates the porter flavours, or the coffee plays nice and blends graciously into the beer. This is the latter, which I much prefer. Three Heads Brewing make a mean 'Caffè Americano', but it's definitely one to be enjoyed by the pint glass and not those dinky little cups.

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Photo of cavedave
4.22/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Live review. Hung with these guys at TAP last year, cool cats. Gonna review this as if there was a cat. for Coffee Porter, as I believe this category is too broad.

A finger of light brown foam quickly disappears and leaves not much more than floating amoebae and a thin ring to top this reddish brown brew.

Coffee and caramel the main aromas, with some spicy alcohol hints and light tart yeasty going on as well. Not a strong smell, but pleasant.

Blessedly, the taste is much stronger and livelier. Coffee and a little bit of chocolate start things, with a touch of tart and some righteous dark caramel joining the party. Herbal bitter hop and roasty goodness are the supporting cast, wonderfully. The sip ends with the sweet hanging in but the more bitter notes keeping things interesting. Delicious.

Well attenuated, easy drinking, very low carb., a clean flavor profile, with an excellent finish. Some might say this is a bit thin, but for these flavors the lightness of this is perfect.

Quite a wonderful beer from three quite wonderful guys who brew some fantastic stuff right here in NYState. It's been my pleasure sending their beers all over this country. Try this, you'll love it.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this beer was great from the label on out. classic artwork with a hop nugget in bed with an espressi bean. genious. the beer pours black as can be with a small mocha colored head on it. smells more like a cup of joe than a beer, totally overpowered by a dark roast coffee. the flavor is very strong coffee as well, high quality coffee from boulder is used apparently, and there is a strong sweet hop characteristic, like a good pale ale. usually these beers dont feature the hops too, but this one does, and its fantastic i think. mouthfeel is pretty average for a big porter, fuller bodied and moderately carbonated. am now curious to try more three heads brews

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Photo of jlindros
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light fizzy bubbly head that reaches about 1 finger before it quickly subdues to a light head covering, over dark cola brown color with hints of ruby light coming through the edges.

Nose brings some nice fresh espresso aroma, freshly ground coffee beans, brewed coffee. Also some roasted malt aroma but not a lot, and some darker malts, caramel, light toffee, hint of burnt malt, and just a touch of baker's chocolate.

Taste comes on with more of the same but not as strong, coffee is there but more subdued, some fresh brewed coffee and hints of coffee grinds, a little bit of acrid burnt coffee but not much. Bitterness kicks in quickly with an earthy hop, little spicy hop as well, with oils from both hops and coffee, and bitterness from roasted malts and hops. The malts bring a light roasty flavor, then some caramel, hint of chocolate and black patent malt I think. A bit of an earthy grainy like malt flavor, and lots of earthiness from the coffee. A light charred salty briny flavor comes out a bit more on the finish thanks mostly to the coffee and roasted malts, but a bit from the hops I think. As it finishes it dries but gets a bit sticky, long bitter but salty finish with some more coffee beans and light roast, light earthy hops as well.

mouth is med bodied, lighter than I expected, decent carb.

Overall not bad, nice coffee addition that gets a bit too burnt/salty/earthy towards the finish, but not too much burnt or acrid flavors, the hops seem to accentuate the briny earthy flavors and don't seem to play well with the coffee IMO, but otherwise a tasty beer.

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Photo of akorsak
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 650 mL bottle from Finger Lakes. In a tumbler.

A: The porter is dark, a brown-red mix that verges on black. Only up close do the ruby and brown notes become more apparent. Lacing circles the glass, the effect of a two finger tan head.

S: I smelled the coffee immediately after opening the bottle, a sweet, lactic java aroma. Closer inspection brings darker malts, well-roasted, and more, much more, coffee sweetness and even a bit of metallic zing.

T: Dark porter, well roasted with chocolate (baker's primarily) driving an acrid bitterness. Coffee adds a bit of flavor, enough to remind you of its presence but not enough to overcome porter side. Citrus hops linger around the periphery, aiding the porter more than the coffee. The burnt porter flavors are all that are strong enough to survive.

M: More porter than coffee, the burnt flavors last. More coffee, please.

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Photo of rudzud
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Julio's.

A - Poured into a Duvel tulip a deep dark roast brownish black. Atop as a nice mocha creamy head that hung around for a good long while.

S - Smell is of nice roasted malts, light chocolate and some nice coffee notes. Coffee bitterness too.

T - Kinda average here. Nothing super special. A bit too heavy on the coffee flavours, its roast with the malts, but alot of coffee. Rather one dimensional. Too light hint of vanilla and chocolate.

M - A bit on the thin side for a porter. Would like it to be thicker. Still nice in the mouth, but, a bit too thin.

O - Overall this was a nice offering of a porter. A bit too strong on the coffee to let other aspects shine though. Have yet to be blown away by this brewery.

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Photo of bobhits
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour is dark brown with a bit of head. There's some lacing but nothing special. Seems a bit weak in that department for a porter. Color and density kinda suck.

I hate saying this but I really can't smell this beer. Yeah, there's some malt and a hint of coffee but it is SO subtle I can't make out much at all.

Opens with some crystal malt, then chocolate malt and finally coffee. The finish has some hops the quickly fade to coffee bean bitterness that lingers and lingers.

An easy to sip or drink beer. A really nicely put together porter.

I'm not a huge coffee fan, but darn if coffee beer wasn't just made for me. Coffee adds a nice bittering and the balance is great. I would like more carbonation to smooth this out but darn good coffee porter. Every bit as good as Left Hands weak sauce.

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Photo of Daktyls
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark coffee color with a mocha head about a finger high which recedes to a fine lacing around the edge of the glass and a splotch in the middle.

S: Coffee initially, followed by some roasted malts and a hint of cocoa. Sweetness is also present in notes of vanilla.

T: Pretty overwhelmingly coffee here, after the finish, there's a little bit of cocoa and some vanilla laced in there, but the taste is mostly coffee.

M: Somewhat medium bodied brew with a light amount of carbonation.

O: Overall, decent, again, the coffee is pretty overwhelming, it's almost difficult to pick up on anything else. Fairly good

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Photo of SpdKilz
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Given to me as an extra in a trade. I’m sorry but I forgot who sent this to me but thanks and cheers!

Appearance – Pours into a tulip with a dark chocolate color though when held up to the light a reddish hue can be seen. About a finger of light brown head is achieved that dissipates at a moderate pace leaving less lacing than expected.

Smell – Per the name, the initial blast of aromas I get is coffee and chocolate. I was expecting a bit more hop aroma due to the name also, however, I mainly get the aforementioned smells.

Taste – I will say, the taste threw me a bit. The aroma, to be perfectly honest, was much more appealing. The initial flavor is distantly reminiscent of stale, low grade coffee. In addition there is an uncanny flavor of ash (burnt flavor).

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, carbonation on par with the style.

Overall – A bit harsh. Not my favorite coffee brew, especially seeing as I have a FBS waiting for me later on.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

We pour a brew the deep and dark colors of a cola. It holds a two and a half finger head of mocha colored bubbles, showing glorious retention. These bubbles are foamy and soft, with batter thickness. The lace eventually left is patterned. No sediment or haze is observed, and carbonation is moderate. The aroma explodes with huge coffee bean and a steely baker’s yeast. Behind these are chocolate and roasty malts, which feel sweaty, wet, and salty. There is white sugar sweetness to cut through the darkness and charcoal smoke of the malts. Hops are minimal. As we sip, bitter and metallic espresso bean hit the palate hard. Malts aid this, with furthering flecks of metal and a cool vanilla. The middle shows more wet maltiness, with continue significance of roast. There are also Band-Aid phenols, cooling the palate down a bit. We conclude on notes of sugary sweetness, with more bittering raw coffee bean, roasted grain, and toasty hops, for a darker finish. The aftertaste breathes sourly of more coffee, and thick malts, with the smokiness finally making an appearance. The body is medium and the carbonation is lighter. Each sip is with extreme smoothness, with a thick slurp and froth. The beer is drying, but with steely and oily slickness left to the tongue. The abv is appropriate, and this one drinks on the slow side.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was how it went all out with the coffee. Drinking this brew was like drinking iced coffee, with supreme raw bitterness. Hops took the back seat, despite their strong advertisement by the bottle. This is a nice porter and a great local brew, but this one didn’t taste as nice as it smelled, and was ultimately a little hard to put away with the last few sips.

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Photo of Ungertaker
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into New Belgium Globe

A- black with little light penetration, what little light does come through reveals a deep red. A foamy, tan, one-finger head slowly fades leaving a sticky lacing in its path.

S- coffee, toasted malts, vanilla, dark chocolate and a hint of hazelnuts

T- espresso and dried cherries up front, dark chocolate aftertaste with a malty sweetness throughout.

M-light to medium with a lot of carbonation for a porter. The carbonation leaves a tingle after the sip is gone.

O- I had no clue what to expect from this beer. I can't say I was blown away by it, but I was definitely not left unsatisfied. The body was a little on the thin side for what I like in a porter. However, that made it quite refreshing. I would be willing to try this again, if the price was right.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Look: Almost black in color with dark brown streaks at the bottom of the glass. 1/2 inch head and good retention some spotty lacing

Smell: Dark roasted coffee beans. The nose is very potent and if you love coffee you will love this one however for me I am not a fan of the beans they used

Taste: It follows the nose almost to a T. However, that is not a good thing the coffee beans used to make this do not have that great of a flavor. It kind of taste like coffee that has been sitting cold in the pot for a few house

Mouthfeel: Is a tad bit and ok amount of carbonation

Overall: Not really all that impressed by this beer

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Photo of projectflam86
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber.

A- Pours a medium brown color with a thick foam head that leaves some good lace.

S- Very sweet malty nose with some light coffee and chocolate aromas.

T- Much more coffee bitterness in the favor than the nose. Bittersweet dark chocolate, coffee, and smoke initially with a sweet caramel malt flavor in the finish.

M- Medium bodied with medium low carbonation that feels right for the style. Smooth.

O- A very nice brew that I'd gladly drink again.

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Photo of oberon
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep chocolate brown with a thinner light tan colored head that held well leaving a broken ring lace behind as it settled.Dark roast coffee and molasses-like sweetness overtop of a whiff of leafy hop in the nose,a nice mix.A tad watery in the feel,if a little fuller this beer would be fantastic.French roast coffee with a little bitter chocolate on the palate,again molasses notes give off a little sweetness,its quite dry and leafy in an ubrupt finish.A pretty good coffee infused porter,again add a little to the body and its top notch.

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Photo of ottovon
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours out a dark brown, with a huge light brown head. the head lingered.

S: i get roasted malt, dark chocolate, toffee, and coffee. i also get some sweetness in the aroma, with hints of vanilla. there is a very nice coffee and chocolate aroma in this beer.

T: it starts out with a little sweetness, and finishes bitter. the bitterness reminds me of dark chocolate and roasted malt. there is a bit of coffee in the taste, as well as some chocolate and toffee.

M: medium-thin with a bit of carb. it tingles on the tongue.

O: pretty good beer. the aroma is definitely better than the taste. i would drink this again, but the taste didnt come through like i was hoping it would.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a solid black color with a frothy tan head. Smells of milk chocolate, coffee and roasted grains. Not much in the way od hops in the aroma but lots of coffee. Taste is a rich thick creamy roasted grain and coffee mixed with milk and dark chocolate. Medium to thick body, light to medium level of carbonation. I tasted this first and while its not earth shattering in it's complexity it is very tasty.

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Photo of nhindian
4.47/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint.

A - Pours fairly faithful to the style with a dark chocolate body with a touch of black in the middle. A frothy, khaki-colored, two-fingered head appears on top like the creme on a freshly pressed coffee. Retention of the head is a few minutes, before relaxing into a half-finger cap. Lacing is pretty good, with a majority of the head latching onto the glass for good.

S - The smell on this is more like something I would drink in the morning to perk up rather than something I would relax with after a long day! Tons of coffee beans in this one, it just permeates throughout the air. Outside of that, there's lots of cacao and flaked dark chocolate. It is decadent and almost seems like an after dinner dessert. There is also some caramel as well, but not tons; It's all about the coffee and chocolate here. Despite the label, I'm not getting a whole lot of hops in here... perhaps a little in the back-end, but not positive.

T - Thankfully, the taste is faithful to the nose and brings wave after wave of espresso. It reminds me of a cup of coffee with dark chocolate creamer to it, and all the while being exceptionally smooth. While the coffee lasts throughout the whole taste, the chocolate and caramel tease from beneath, sparring to make an appearance. It's not incredibly complex, and again, the hops are almost a non-factor, but what it does it does great. A bare-bones coffee beer in the flesh, with almost no bitterness or acridity.

M - The mouthfeel is suprisingly heavy-bodied for a porter. That's not to say it's chewy or thick, but it does have more body to it than a typical porter, which meshes well with the flavors. If it were too watery, I could definitely see the flavors being too strong for it (which I have had in coffee beers previously). Smooth all the way while delivering a big shot of flavor.

D/O - Drinkability is high. I had no problem drinking the whole bomber of this over a session. The alcohol is nonexistent and it goes down like a morning cup of coffee. I could see people who aren't big on coffee not really digging this beer, but as someone who drinks coffee for the flavor rather than a caffeine fix, I am loving the roast in this. If only it were local to me!

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown bordering on black with tan head.

Smells of coffee and dark fruit with some nut aromas.

Taste is definitely coffee up front giving way to dark fruit - raisin, then coats the mouth with a creamy, caramel, chocolate dryness on the finishes. This is a very good porter, but was a little low on carbonation for me (a litlle astringent as well) - solid not great.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #50 (March 2011):

Porter appearance, as we suspected, with more brown than black, but the tan head does not shy away. Freshly used coffee grounds, cocoa powder and a fruity, nutty yeast in the back while we sniff away. Smooth, slick and creamy ... a Porter with some body. Highly roasted grain meets spent coffee grounds. The palate almost says astringent, but the freshness is much too forward to really let any kind of bitterness takeover. Modest hopping, hints of burnt raisin and mild nutty yeast hit close to the dry finish. Bold comes to mind, as the coffee comes off forceful to start, but in the end, this Porter lands solid for the most part.

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Photo of jgirotto
4.71/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I love this selection

A: Pours almost black with a thin head that clears quickly. The extreme darkness is compelling

S: Coffee and chocolate here. No surprise.

T: This beer is very smooth and the coffee tastes are not overpowering. Even my wife liked it!

O: Overall, I enjoy this very much. It is a type of porter that I was introduced to last year at a regional tasting, and the 3 Heads offering beat out every other "coffee porter" int eh show.

Not for a summer day at the pool - but simply Outstanding.

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Photo of Sammy
3.57/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A cup of coffee pure and simple.Big coffee taste. If you like coffee, you get the beer. Above average mouthfeel.Very brown with some lace and small head. Somewhat drinkable.Coffee grounds , mild roast aroma.Slightly bitter, tad acidic in the finish. Coffee fans will rate this a lot higher.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.23/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to mjtiernan for sending me this one!

Pours an almost opaque dark brown with a 1 inch tan head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Random spots of lace dot the glass on the drink down. Smells of dark malts, slight cocoa powder, and watered down coffee. Taste is of burnt coffee, roasted malts, bitter chocolate, and some citrus zest hops. There is a bitter burnt taste on the palate after each sip. The mouthfeel is somewhat watery and thin for a porter. Overall, this is a pretty average porter that walks a line between good and bad.

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Photo of generallee
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 1pt. 6oz bottle into a pint glass. The label lists the abv (6.5%) and the IBUs (55). There is no freshness date however.

Appearance: It pours dark brown and looks nearly black in the glass with some reddish brown highlight. This is topped by and small but long lasting tan foam head. As I drink it slowly settles to a thin film covering and on the way down the glass it makes some nice spotty lace with a few rings of lacing at the top.

Smell: There is a good deep roasted bready maltiness in the nose which is complemented with big coffee and chocolate notes.

Taste/Palate: The body is right on for a big Porter. It brings deep roasted maltiness with loads of coffee notes, as well as dark and milk chocolate notes to the tongue. Hop flavor also adds some decent bitterness. On the plate it feels smooth and little creamy but on heavy at all. It is still well carbonated and very drinkable.

Notes: This is a very well made Porter with good balance all around.

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Java Sutra Coffee Porter from Three Heads Brewing
3.75 out of 5 based on 149 ratings.
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