Porter | Port City Brewing

137 Reviews

Brewed by:
Port City Brewing
Virginia, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by AndrewNations on 02-12-2011

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Reviews: 137 | Ratings: 473
Photo of maximum12
2.42/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Thanks to Andrewnations for this 12 oz. bottle. Split with my wife.

Pour is black & lively. Smell is a sucker full of bitter coffee & dark chocolate. Rather potent.

Port City Porter kicks hard. The roast stumbles over the line of char & into an ash, which does it no favors. It's accompanied by a severe bitterness lined with a faint counter of chocolate. The aftertaste is hard water, like the well draws from my grandpa's place up near Bemidji, & lends itself to a sharp, metallic aftertaste. Blech.

This beer is all sharp elbows & fingers in the eye. Every component is rough-edged & unfinished, which might work, but they all seem to be shouting at cross-purposes rather than working to get Obama re-elected. Honestly, I'm not going to finish the 6 ounces in my glass. Disappointingly poor.

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Photo of jfmorey
3.26/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wanted to like this since the brewery is local.

Looked very good, with a deep almost black color and reasonable head.

Not much aroma, but good mouthfeel (thick). However the taste was disappointing. Roasted malts, a little coffee; but nothing very memorable. None of the complexity noted by others, did I get a bad bottle?

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Photo of KajII
3.32/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

[Suggested Glassware: Nonic Pint]

The pour was a very dark brown with a light ruby hue and an average (1-2 finger) cocoa brown creamy head that slowly receded, down to a semi-thick film and medium collar which allowed for some good streaky lacing.

The aroma was of a roasted stale bread malt, resin hops and an earthy yeast with notes of bitter dark chocolate, roasted coffee, dark fruit (prunes), a bit of smoke and a woody alcohol tinge.

The taste was very malty and extremely roasty with a touch of chocolate from the start, becoming rather bitter with a hint of overripe fruit and a bold alcohol presence at the end. The flavor lasted for what seemed like forever, with the roastiness fading away as a harsh alcohol bite hit you in the back of the throat.

Mouthfeel was medium in body and dry in texture with a bold lively carbonation.

Overall this was a very bitter and roasty brew with a big alcohol presence and a decent drinkability, although the overripe fruity taste it possessed was just a bit too much…


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Photo of Eriktheipaman
3.35/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a black with brown edge. Nice coffee looking head.

The smell is sweet and fairly hoppy. There is a slight cheese eliminate to the smell that isn't bad just not what I was expecting in a Porter. I also picked up some cocoa ad it warmed up a bit.

The taste is fairly bitter. On the front you some hop bitterness, then all the roasty chocolate on the middle of the tongue, with some more bitterness but this time from the roasted malts on the back. No alcohol to be detected for over 7% ABV.

Not my favorite Porter by any means but I like the hoppy bite.

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Photo of Trilogy31
3.47/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thick black with a touch of chestnut at the edges along with a thin head that dissipates quickly leaving decent lacing. Nose has coffee berries, smoky roasted malts and a touch of charred bbq, along with semi sweet chocolate as it warms. It is very drinkable with nice carbonationation. The flavor brings smooth roasted malts, a touch of dark slightly sour red fruit and a touch of very dry chocolate. Solid porter at a higher abv that is barely noticeable.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Think it was Andrew that sent this to me. Thanks.

A: The pour is almost black with a couple fingers of off-white/khaki head.

S: There is a surprising amount of smoke and wood aroma to this beer. Quite a bit of ash to it with a little bit of chocolate and plenty of roasted malts.

T: Dark chocolate and nut shells open up the flavor on this beer. Plenty of roasted malts with a light ash and a substantial oak flavor. A bit of a sawdust sort of flavor to it.

M: Medium in body and carbonation.

O: Really a weird flavor. If you like the smokier and heavily roasted beers, than perhaps you would enjoy this one.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured on tap at Stoney's Pizza in DC into a Nonic pint glass. Left me a good 10cm head, nice!

Leaves a simple dark walnut brown. Head is a nice tan cocoa light brown with very tiny soap like bubbles. There is minimal lacing on the glass.

Smell is very muted. A small roast sense with weak coffee. It's a good nose but real small and very closed though, nothing really jumps out here.

First taste and sensation is fizzy and prickly carbonation. Lucking some of the roast comes out in mid palate, even with some small mild chocolate notes. Some slight hop bitters too in the finish, but there's also a little bit of heat on this. The mouthfeell is also a bit wet and leaves a slightly cola like finish.

Well it's ok and good to drink I guess but probably not a personal favorite that I would jump back on and have again.

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Photo of largadeer
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Dyan for this one. Can't say I've heard of this brewery before.

Appearance: Black as pitch with a lasting brown head that leaves some lacing behind as it descends.

Smell: Pretty strong hard water character here, quite mineral. I'd guess English yeast, too. It's got a fruity, toasted bread quality that reminds me of fruitcake, along with molasses-like sweetness. Takes a while to open up, but it's pretty decent once it does.

Taste & mouthfeel: Very mineral again, with a nicely balanced malt character that's an even mix of toasted, bready flavors and rich roastiness. It's a sweeter porter, but fitting of the strength. There's some plum and date fruitiness in here too. The finish is solid, displaying some pleasant roasted bitterness along with more semi-metallic mineral flavor, and faint acidity from the dark malts.

Overall: Pretty solid stuff. The water profile is a bit too metallic for my liking, but otherwise it's a good beer.

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Photo of DaveBlack
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing from notes 2/6/2012

A: Dark brown, almost black, with a finger's width of brown head. After receding to a thin layer on top of the beer the head lasts forever, and leaves a good deal of lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Darkly roasted malts, coffee and molasses. Not a whole lot of complexity to the smell, and I wish there was more.

T: Lots of caramel and burnt sugar, and coffee. The dark roasted malts from the aroma bring a lot of malt bitterness. After the initial flavor from the malts the beer just sort of fades away. I wish there were more hops to combat the maltiness, because without them the beer seems disappointing.

M: Heavy body with moderate carbonation.

O: This beer seems to be straddling the line between a stout and a porter. The heavy malts are in the realm of stouts, but the hops and body are a lighter; more like a porter. I wish it would go one way or the other, because it is just slightly out of balance.

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Photo of Beejay
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Very dark black in the glass, the head is light and fluffy and a nice tan color.

S: Deep chocolate aroma. Like cocoa powder, with a hint of floury bread dough. Perhaps a hint of black licorice, or some roasted grain.

T: Yum, pretty good. Malty and roasty, with some nice coffee and chocolate notes.

M: Medium thick in body, the carbonation is fine in size and lends a bit to the creamy mouthfeel.

O: Overall a pretty nice brew. It's hitting the spot for a dark beer, although may be a touch on the cloying side.

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Photo of Rogerlb
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours quite dark with a thin head. There is evidence of carbonation bubbles running up the side, even in the dark pitch of the drink.

Aroma is of roast coffee and hops. Even a bitter citrus coming through. No chocolate, and this is not very roasty-smelling.

Taste is of a heavy-ish lager, yet feel is thin, almost like a Coke. I get a sharp clean fruit, and toast and coffee in small degrees. Malt but it's not burnt or overly creamy. Subtle. Not really any chocolate to speak of either. Drinks like a lager, clean, with some smoke and a hair of sour pumpernickel. It all feels lighter than it looks, and there's a sweet bitter in the aftertaste that's more oily than bread. Hoppy without being overboard on that.

The very subtle tastes were underwhelming and nothing quite resolved for me, although all was generally pleasant. The booze (7.2) is hidden but sneaks up on you. The warmer it is, the alcohol sweetness seems more pronounced. Easy to sip for sure.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: opaque; very dark brown in color; 1+ finger dark tan head that receded slowly to a thin cap; very nice lacing;

S: initially, roasted grains; after that, distinct milk chocolate;

T: for a moment, milk chcolate and roasted grains; then it's all roasted grains; mild bitterness on the finish;

M: medium bodied' moderate carbonation; moderately dry finish;

O: not very complex;

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Photo of chinchill
3.66/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Undated, recently purchased 12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Consumed immediately after, and compared to, a Mad River Steelhead Porter. [Revisited and revised with a bottle in Washington D.C. in June 2015.]

Pours a very dark reddish brown that is nearly black. Small tan head has very poor retention but some decent lacing is left behind.

Nose has chocolate and roasted malt with a significant bit of somewhat fruity and somewhat disagreeable alcohol esters. {not noticed at 2nd rating] The alcohol is much less noticeable in the flavor, which hits the tongue too sweet and stays that way until the lightly smoky aftertaste. Hints of brown sugar and over-ripe plums. Tastes way better than it smells.

Medium-full bodied with low-moderate carbonation. Smooth.

O: Darker, sweeter, softer, less smoky and less hoppy than the Mad River it is worth trying but certainly not as good as the Mad River.

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Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thin light brown head lays atop a dark body that looks black until held to the light.

Smoke, roast, toast, cherry, plum, and chocolate.

Medium body and carbonation.

Pretty solid porter.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.71/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

First had: on tap at the brewery

Easily my favorite beer that PC had to offer. Dark brown-black pour with a solid cap of foamy tan head that retained well and laced the glass. Dark malt sweetness in the aroma, notes of cocoa and ash. More dark roasty malts in the taste, nice semi-sweet chocolate profile, with a little coffee bitterness. Pretty good. Medium body, solid mouthfeel for the style, overall a good porter. If I had to revisit a PC brew, it would be this one.

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Photo of mactrail
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Some grainy aroma. A nice hint of dark caramel, but more of a dry porter. Nicely malty, fairly full body. Some bitterness rolls in, enough to provide balance with the roasted malt fullness.

Pleasant fizzy mouthfeel, almost creamy. Very pleasant overall. Dark brown, nearly black, in the glass. Attractive touch of foam. Sort of fruity and bitter, with quite a lot of flavor. A little salty on the tongue. Grainy taste to provide a little rustic touch. Carbonation is very nice. Great for sipping, with a little more complexity than you often find in a simple dark beer. Very clean and well made.

A really good example of an American Porter. From the 12 oz bottle bought at Food and Friends in Philadelphia.

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Photo of johnnyd10vt
3.74/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Interesting Porter out of Alexandria VA. Black with a nice thick tan head. Just a slight hint of dried/fermented fruit in the nose. The taste is well balanced between chocolate malt, mild hops, and just the slightest hint of that fermented fruit again, but not too much to handle. Drinkable like a Porter should be. Would definitely drink again.

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Photo of uvachief
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Solid porter. Roasted malts and chocolate. Not too much or overpowering. Very easy to drink. Felt like it had a higher ABV than listed. Dark almost black brown. Got head that lingers. 12oz bottle.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.76/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Thorpe429 for this one! 12oz brown glass pry-top bottle.

Pours a pretty viscous brown/black with thick creamy dark tan head that stands up stiffly. Nose smells like cocoa nibs and chocolate, a little earthiness too. Not really coffee though, more chocolate.

Palate is medium bodied and rich, but then that classic porter acidity note comes in to lighten things up. Chocolate continues on the palate with milk chocolate and hot cocoa powder, and maybe the suggestion of that gas-station coffee that's made from extract. Finish is long and lush.

A damn fine porter!

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Growler from Whole Foods in Charlottesville.

Pours with a finger of tan head on an opaque brown body. Solid lacing.

Roasty, slightly meaty nose with some nutty coffee.

Taste is oddly tart, there's citrus in here somehow, but a lot of dark, roasty malt as well. The citrus is really curious, but not objectionable. Not sure what to make of this, but it's a solid porter.

Mouthfeel is a bit foamy, but pretty standard.

It's a decent porter with some unexpected citrus. Not much more to say!

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Photo of BZero007
3.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Glad to have another local brewery pumping out some quality brews.

Pours a nice dark amber color with the head forming a light tan head. The aroma is sweet and inviting, very nice aroma. The sweetmalt is there in the front but a bold/robust roasty flavor powers through to the front of this brew. Body is a medium/light build with a good amoung of carbonation. I am a big porter fan and am glad I live in a area that makes quality porters. I liked this particular porter but feel it could use some tweaking.

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Photo of hooliganlife
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

thanks to Rhettroactive

pours a deep cola with a light creamy cocoa head that quickly disappears. very light retention.

a bit of booze, dark chocolate, sweet roasted malt

quite sweet with a very sweet roasted malt. bit of chocolate milk. hints of dark chocolate and coffee but very subtle.

medium body, drinks more like a 4.5-5% ABV which i like and dont like. drinks easy and is a bit light. i dig it.

this is a good porter, does not seem like a 7.5% ABV.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a mug.

A: Pours a very dark, almost black color. The head is a mocha shade, a little under 3 fingers, with average retention and lacing.

S: Has the usual roast, coffee, and chocolate, but this one seems to have an additional earthy/mineral note. Nice smell.

T: About the worst I can say is that it's really not that different than a lot of other porters I've had. Still, this one's executed impressively. It does feature a vaguely salty character to it (similar to soy sauce) that meshes well with the roasty base. Otherwise, the usual roast, coffee, and chocolate are the main basis of the flavors here. It's nature is easygoing rather than explosive.

M: Not the heaviest porter in the world, which is good. Drinks and finishes like a porter should, which means its medium bodied with a dry, bittersweet, slightly vegetal finish and lowish carbonation.

O: I enjoyed this. It measures up nicely to some of the better porters I've had (even if it doesn't quite outdo them), and it's well worth a purchase. Pair it with pulled pork/chicken BBQ.

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Photo of SlothB77
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Chocolate black with very light tan foamy top. Thumb and a half of foam.

S: Smell of raisins, honey, tea, currants, grapes.

T: Raisins, tea, toasted bonfire, milk chocolate and very dry finish of chocolate chip cookies/white bread/crackers.

M: Full- bodied, medium carbonated, slightly bitter and slightly acidic. Slick with no heat.

O: At first I thought the flavor was too subtle and the bite too dry. After a second bottle I no longer find the flavor lacking or without distinction. Definitely a good drinking man's porter with a flavor that one can adapt to without being overpowered.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.81/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce botte into a pint glass.

Pours dark black, very little brown, light brown foam. Some bubbles. Milk chocolate / caramel nose. Full rich taste, here the coffee comestrough. Smooth and creamy. Chocolate too. Rich mouthfeel. Quite good.

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Porter from Port City Brewing
4.04 out of 5 based on 473 ratings.
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