Aphotic Imperial Porter
High Water Brewing

Aphotic Imperial PorterAphotic Imperial Porter
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High Water Brewing
California, United States
Imperial Porter
Ranked #167
Ranked #12,836
3.98 | pDev: 6.53%
Jul 23, 2021
Mar 02, 2015
Very Good
Aphotic Imperial PorterAphotic Imperial Porter
Notes: Aphotic [ā-fō’-tic] Greek: without light.

Formally defined as the depths in water beyond which less than one percent of sunlight penetrates. Aphotic is a beer with a very dark side. Just one sip and you will understand the true depths of its darkness as the deep, luxurious layers of malt rich-ness tantalize and tease your taste buds.
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Photo of JamarcusMarinovich
Reviewed by JamarcusMarinovich from California

4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Pours a deep, dark brown...nearly black, with decent head. Malty and slight cocoa on the nose but not overwhelming. Little more hop bitterness than usual porters but that with the roasty malt, subtle cocoa, and 'maybe' a bit of darker fruit (?) combine to make this a fantastic beverage. Picking up just a hint of bourbon aging...maybe...but the 9+ ABV is not forward or harsh. Goes down smooth and lingers on the back of the tongue. Well balanced and full of flavor.
Jul 23, 2021
Rated: 4.27 by bigred89 from Maryland

Feb 13, 2021
Photo of unlikelyspiderperson
Reviewed by unlikelyspiderperson from California

4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Pours a thick, almost chunky black, with a thick and resilient cocoa colored head. Already suspecting that 'imperial porter' is code for stout.
Smell is lightly roasty and mildly bitter. coffee and light hop notes.
Taste is rich roasty malt up front. Surprisingly typically porter, roasty malts dominate without veering into coffee or chocolate flavors. Very subtle and well balanced.
Mouthfeel is also surprising in its porteriness, the body is quite light in spite of the robust flavor. This is way too drinkable for over 9%
Overall this is one I expected to be an unlabeled stout but no no no. These folks have put together a truly 'imperialized' porter. Rich and roasty malt flavor, light body, soo delish. If you like porters I think you'll like this, if you like stouts I think this will offer a nice 'lite' take on your style
Mar 23, 2019
Photo of beergoot
Reviewed by beergoot from Colorado

3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
Nearly opaque, dark brown body; thin yet lasting head; dense and foamy. Sweet, dark malt aroma; sweet chocolate; cocoa powder. Some milk chocolate flavor at the start; some alcohol notes; a bit phenolic and a tad bitter. Heavy body; smooth and velvety; luscious sweetness overall.

A nice imperial porter, perhaps a tad too boozy yet still delivering some rich dark grain and chocolate-like character.
Sep 16, 2018
Photo of EMV
Reviewed by EMV from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Poured from a bomber into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Inky black pour with 2 fingers of foamy tannish head. Great retention and outstanding lacing.

S: Rich and chocolatey. Roasted grains and burned sugars. Mild espresso.

T/F: Follows the nose. Rich roast... strong presence of cocoa... coffee underneath. Bitter roast mixing with sweet sugars. Vanilla notes. Medium to thick bodied. Creamy carbonation. The flavor gets more complex as it warms.

O: An outstanding Imperial Porter... great flavors and feel.... spot on for the style. I bet this would be badass after some time in a barrel.
May 27, 2018
Rated: 4.18 by Confieri from California

May 19, 2018
Rated: 4 by 1971bernat from Virginia

Jan 01, 2018
Rated: 4.02 by deereless from Colorado

Dec 16, 2017
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Reviewed by Vetbidder from Pennsylvania

4.21/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Dark colored with a receeding light chocolate head. Smells like an ice coffee from Wawa with some sweetness. I almost detect some cherries on the edge. Taste brings up the coffee with some bitter dark chocolate and roasted malts. Slight bitterness extends well through the finish. This brew hides the 9.3% pretty well. Somewhat less carbonation and a medium/thin feel. I'd call this one pretty decent !
Dec 03, 2017
Rated: 3.81 by WDJersey from Colorado

Oct 02, 2017
Photo of mactrail
Reviewed by mactrail from Washington

3.17/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3
Clear, very dark brew, with a ruby glint. Modest foam in the tall Maredsous goblet. Tastes of alcohol and blackened grapes, burnt blackberry pie. Not much aroma. Just a little funk and cedar.

Winey taste with a more acidic sensation than typical big dark brews. Not very rich for such a big beer. Deeply dark and a little charred in the malt department. Rather bitter with an astringent finsh. Quite sippable but on the harsh side. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Safeway.
Sep 16, 2017
Rated: 3.88 by travolta from California

Aug 08, 2017
Rated: 4.25 by Phoodcritic from Michigan

Jul 25, 2017
Rated: 4.13 by Trentt2 from Alaska

Jul 23, 2017
Photo of TX-Badger
Reviewed by TX-Badger from Texas

4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Pours a dark brown color, when poured you can see the haziness of the porter, not quite black, but dark chocolate brown with tan colored head. Roasted malt, cocoa, dark berries, and some light smoke on the nose; follows onto the palate. Full bodied. Finishes with more cocoa and roast, a light smoky note lingers.
Jul 04, 2017
Rated: 3.81 by christinelovesbeer from District of Columbia

Jun 11, 2017
Rated: 4.04 by rbrefbeerman from California

May 15, 2017
Photo of Rogerlb
Reviewed by Rogerlb from California

3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
A 22oz bomber, batch 2472, I believe bottled early in 2017. This is their new colorful Peter-Max-fish design. (See their site: http://www.highwaterbrewing.com/aphotic-imperial-porter/) A careful pour yields no head really at all. Black, not even a cola brown along the edges here in this light. Aroma is slight malt, a little chocolate. Not very strong.

Taste is much more present; bitter chocolate, roast, molasses. Slight black currant sneaking in (as another notes, that's interesting). A bit boozy and creamy and burnt stick in the finish. Bitter seems much higher than the 38 IBU they advertise. While it has the relative thinness of a porter, and that "soda" texture, the taste is quite big, a cross between an American Stout and dark ale. Wow. So Baltic, it's almost Russian?

It's a little aggressive but nothing's taking the whole thing hostage. 9.3% is not an issue. Very well hidden, it's not hot at all. They're telling me "Aphotic" means the part of the sea that doesn't get sunlight. Yes this is dark. Similar to Flying Dog's Gonzo Imperial Porter, with the roast that won't quit, but a little less nuanced. Very much a sipper.
Apr 26, 2017
Rated: 4.46 by ClavisAurea from New York

Feb 26, 2017
Rated: 4.05 by OldDirty from New York

Feb 10, 2017
Rated: 3.83 by Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

Jan 15, 2017
Rated: 3.84 by jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

Jan 15, 2017
Photo of Marius
Reviewed by Marius from Netherlands

4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Bottle at home. Very dark caramel-brown pour with a tall tan head with decent retention. Notes of roasted malts, lactose, caramelised sugar, smoke, dark cherries and dark chocolate. Some pine hops also present in the aroma and subtly in the taste. Medium body, high carbonation and a roasty bitter-sweet finish.
Nov 20, 2016
Photo of Jeffo
Reviewed by Jeffo from Netherlands

3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Got this one in Buffalo

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Clear dark brown pour yields a 2 finger, medium looking, creamy light tan head with very good retention. Head fades to a full wisp and clings to the sides of the glass as it recedes. Black body with no real carbonation evident. A splotchy wisp remains until the end leaving lots of lacing down the glass as it empties.

SMELL: Black malts with tobacco, dark chocolate, licorice notes and light creamy aromas. Pretty nice stuff.

TASTE: Roasted and burnt malts with tobacco notes up front. Some chocolate and licorice at the swallow, moving into a bolder and lingering finish of tobacco, burnt malts, light chocolate, sweet cream and a touch of alcohol as well. Enjoyable.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes a bit mouth coating. Creamy enough and enough weight as well.

OVERALL: Good stuff. This has a lot of the elements I really enjoy in a strong porter, including a creamy and heavier feel for the style. The two High Water brews we checked out were both of high quality, so I’ll definitely pick up more the next time I’m in Buffalo. Give this one a shot if you see it. Recommended.
Oct 30, 2016
Rated: 3.8 by Wontonst from California

Oct 25, 2016
Rated: 4.14 by Texasfan549 from Texas

Sep 15, 2016
Rated: 4.12 by 2GOOFY from California

Aug 15, 2016
Rated: 3.93 by smi69 from New York

Jun 02, 2016
Photo of vikinggary28
Reviewed by vikinggary28 from California

3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
Poured from 22 oz bottle into my trusty glass mug. Colour is almost black with a hint of light creeping through when held up to the window. Thin tan head and a little lacing. Smells like smoked malts and maybe licorice. Taste both malty and hoppy, a little to hoppy for porter sone might think. Goes down easy with a little bitter aftertaste. Pretty expensive but 9.3 abv may pack a punch. Prost!
Apr 14, 2016
Photo of Suds
Reviewed by Suds from Missouri

3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
This brew was an utterly dark brew, black with a tan head. The smell is of charcoal, toasted wood, and a hint of American hops. The taste is balanced, but seriously boozy, warm, and with a notable malt flavor. Not sweet, but also not bitter. Smoke is underneath the flavor, along with a bit of wood. Nice..
Apr 03, 2016
Rated: 3.91 by 22Blue from Kansas

Apr 02, 2016
Rated: 4.25 by jmccraney from Washington

Mar 28, 2016
Rated: 3.25 by JMFP from Delaware

Mar 07, 2016
Rated: 3.98 by BeerForMuscle from New Jersey

Mar 05, 2016
Photo of TheSixthRing
Reviewed by TheSixthRing from California

3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Appearance - Pours near black with cola brown edging. The head is cocoa powder colored and peaks at just under two fingers. Good retention, resulting in a thin, consistent layer of suds across the surface.

Smell - Chocolatey aroma; milk chocolate and cocoa. A hint of roast and smokiness.

Taste - Follows the nose. Milk chocolate hits the tongue first, and is quickly met by lesser coffee roast and a touch of smoke. Cream. Faint notes of dark berry and anise show up as the brew warms. Earthy notes hit near the finish, delivering a bittersweet aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - full-bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth, creamy texture. Slightly dry finish.

Overall - A solid all-around Impy porter. Nothing fancy, it just gets the job done.
Feb 22, 2016
Rated: 3.81 by ItsYourBoyBlue from Washington

Jan 27, 2016
Rated: 4.48 by stephenlee from England

Jan 01, 2016
Photo of LiquidAmber
Rated by LiquidAmber from Washington

3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Duplicate listing, I've had this and reviewed under an archived listing.
Dec 24, 2015
Photo of Jeffsta1
Reviewed by Jeffsta1 from Washington

3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
Pretty, dark black beer. Nice pale tan head.

Odd smell but not bad. Raisin? Currant? Licorice? Malt for sure.

Taste seems just... off. Licorice, malt, some kind of odd molasses.

Mouthfeel is nice. Pretty carbonation.

Long, bitter finish, roasted malt, more licorice.

Not disgusting but don't buy again.
Oct 22, 2015
Photo of ONUMello
Reviewed by ONUMello from Ohio

4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
22oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Dark brown, almost black with a one-finger mocha-colored head
S: Roasted malt, coffee, cocoa and a hint of molasses
T: Matches the nose
M: Full-bodied, warming from the alcohol but balanced
O: A solid porter, nice to sip as a rain storm brings a cold front through
Aug 26, 2015
Aphotic Imperial Porter from High Water Brewing
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 42 ratings