Spy Porter | Tree Brewing

very good
30 Reviews
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Spy PorterSpy Porter

Brewed by:
Tree Brewing
British Columbia, Canada

Style: English Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by canucklehead on 11-29-2004

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Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 37
Photo of leaddog
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650ml bottle

Appearance- Pours a dark cola brown with a finger of frothy creamy head.

Smell- roasted malts, hazelnut, cocoa

Taste- Warm roasted malts, hazelnut, and cocoa flavours. Excellent roasted profile that lingers on the palate.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with light-to-moderate carbonation. Dry finish. Smooth body.

Overall - An enjoyable English porter by Tree Brewing. Great display of roasted flavours in regards to malts and hazelnuts. They tell the truth on their bottle ("a smooth dark English style ale").

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.71/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pitch black with a thick tan head that retained extremely well with a lot of lacing
S - roasty with a dark rum like molasses aroma, mild coffee
T - strong roasty malt, rich cold pressed coffee, cola and light molasses
M - smooth and medium to light, roasty bitter finish
O - flavourful and smooth, an easy sipper, not a top shelf porter but definitely worthy

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Photo of biboergosum
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

341ml bottle.

This beer pours a clear dark reddish brown hue, with two fingers of creamy, rocky ecru head, which leaves a thin, but consistent paint job of lace around the glass in its slow retreat. It smells of lightly roasted biscuit malt, chocolate milk powder, and a bit of butterscotch. The taste is toasty chocolate malt, mild office kitchen coffee, and a subtle vegetal sourness. The carbonation is moderate, the body on the lighter side of medium weight, and generally smooth. It finishes fairly dry, biscuity cocoa, and cold coffee playing things out.

The label proclaims "A Smooth Dark English Style Ale". That about nails it, straight off the top. A little bread, a little chocolate, a little balancing astringency. Sure goes down with ease.

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Photo of kwjd
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with small tan head and some lacing down the glass. Smells of dried fruit with roasted malt. Flavour has quite a bit of sweetness that almost approaches the flavour of an English brown ale instead of a porter, but it is still tasty. A little bit thin in the body. A good porter.

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Photo of maniacalmikal
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

not a thirst quencher, but more of a great beverage with snacks or meals when left to warm up to about 10-13C (50-55f) - has a mild sweetness with a slight chocolately taste and that wonderful taste of malt - drunk from a 750 ml. tulip glass, this 341 ml. dark glass bottle of porter is a real treat.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another Tree success!

A- Poured a thin layer of head with no real lacing. Dark brown, almost reminiscent of Coca-Cola without all the carbonation.

S- Light coffee/malt scent, with a bit of a toffee finish.

T- A smokey cocoa taste off the top, with a finish that lingers of roasted malts and coffee.

M- A little more carbonation than what I would consider a traditional porter, but by no means do I mean that negatively. The lighter feel makes this porter very drinkable.

D- As mentioned above, the lighter feel, combined with the mellow flavour make this a great porter.

If you're in the mood for a porter which is light, boasts a noticeable yet not overpowering malt flavour, and is drinkable (i.e. more than one or two), this one is highly recommended!

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Photo of Grunewald
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - poured from a 341ml bottle can into a pint glass. It pours semi-clear ruddy black. The head is brown and laces decently.

S - leather, coffee, salty toffee

T - lightly brewed black, roasted malt

M - low carbonation, medium-thin body, slightly creamy with a neutral finish

D - easy drinking with good flavors

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Photo of chickenm
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with some red visible around the edges. Thin tan head. Aroma of malt, chocolate, and coffee. Taste is similar. Gets better as the beer warms up. Medium bodied and a little over-carbonated. Overall this is a pretty good porter.

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Photo of wordemupg
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle poured into pint glass dec1 2009

A the darkest brown with a giant mocha head that has excellent retention and leaves lace only for the first inch of its existence.

S fresh grind and some semi sweet chocolate that just gets stronger as it warms

T coffee comes out a little stronger and I like the mellow sweetness that this beer has going for it

M not bad at all for a porter, not overly thick by any means but far from water and well carbonated to give it a light feel from all the bubbles

D this is a straight across the board good beer, nothing world class but far from anything to be ashamed of. I could drink this all day without any issues

perhaps one of Trees best brews, I would choose Hop Head over this most of the time but this is a solid porter that's worth trying with out doubt

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Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with retaining moderate white head. First smell is licoricey, then chocolate big-time, vanilla and a bit of coffee in the secondary. Above average mouthfeel, a good drinking chocolate porter. Suitable carbonation. Nice at 5% abv.You will like.

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Photo of biegaman
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark top soil black with an immaculate pearl white trim that heavily contrasts. The beer has a kind of chalky complexion, far from the inky jet black tone of some; in fact it warms with shades of light auburn when held directly under the light. The head is a bubbly lather that thins out over the center but drapes the sides with lasting prints of lace.

The aroma is a tad conservative, granted English style porters are by nature more reserved. I'm speaking solely about the roast, which is relatively moderate when held in comparison to other New World offerings. That said, it really works to its favour - there's not that harsh notion of charred malts burnt to the bottom of an ashtray common to less balanced examples.

Tree offers plenty more to your sense of smell than just the toasty biscuits. Very pleasant is a subtle, almost tart, note of dried cherries. This hint of fruit is blended amongst a shelf's worth of bittersweet bakers chocolate and vanilla beans. My nostrils have become a packed house.

The flavour doesn't quite showcase all the attributes its aroma might have you presume it posses. There's a nice roast biscuity base with an ounce of sooty smoke. What there isn't, and what I would have liked, is a bit more caramelization and perhaps a few pinches more of chocolate, too. The taste is good, don't get me wrong, but it's mild and a little too ordinary.

It also failed to keep pace with the aroma as it acclimatized to room temperature. While warming seemed to accentuate and fine-tune the bouquet, it did little to remodel the taste except maybe accent the chocolate. There was no complaints with the mouthfeel. The beer kept itself enjoyable with great balance; I see no end to the drinkability of this porter.

In the end, this drank like the prototypical English porter - and one of the best examples that will come to mind from here on in. This brewery got it right. I've yet to try many of the other Tree Brewing beers but if I can expect them all to be as well crafted, high quality and true to style as the Spy Porter then I'm going to get right on it!

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Photo of bobsy
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Midnight black pour with a copious tan head, which faded to a film, but left some lace. Nice roasty aroma with some chocolate and iced coffee of all things. Nice, smooth, creamy roasted malt flavour. Good doses of chocolate, caramel and berries (especially in the finish). Creamy coffee and smoke. Medium -light body and medium carbonation. Excellent drinkablity for a porter, and a great example of the style. Tree should be proud of this offering.

Thanks to BigBry for being a standup trader - your selections are spot on!

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Photo of Proteus93
3.62/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A deep, rusty amber... slightly red. Semi-creamy head leaves a full sheet and a thin trim of lace after receding.

S: Malts, caramel/light chocolate, some vanilla bean, something almost woody, though it is not wood aged to my knowledge.

T: Moderately roasted malts... some light and subtle chocolate, but vanilla makes a presence in its place. Slightly ashy flavours - like a mild charcoal.

M + D: A little on the lighter and more carbonated side. Maybe a little unusual for the style, but not too bad overall. Not a bad take on it, and something I'd gladly have again if the opportunity arose.

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

A - Pitch black with a good head of creamy foam.

S - Very toasty with notes of molasses and caramel and fruity.

T - Coffee comes on strong in this, with rich dark fruit and burnt sugars. A bit on the sweet side and a bit of tartness as well

M - Fairly light in body, with a spritzy carbonation.

D - Pretty drinkable and less astringent than expected. Sessionable porter.

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Photo of Graham5161986
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a dark, cola-like colour with a 1 finger dart-tan head that has excellent retention and leaves a gorgeous sticky lace.

S: nice chocolate and coffee malts, nutty and a slight brown sugar sweetness.

T: beautiful coffee and chocolate malts fill your mouth with a touch of hops in the middle and an incredibly smooth, creamy, nutty finish. The head is so nice and creamy!

M: full bodied and creamy, nice amount of carbonation and a smooth, creamy-dry finish.

D: This is a great porter - nice chocaolate and coffee malts, a perfect amount of hops and a creamy-smooth finish that calls for sip, after sip, after sip! It's so nice and easy to drink, I could probably put down 2 or 3 of these - but it's a big beer and it's definitely an excellent sipping beer too.

Well done Tree brewing!

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- This brew definitely has a cola color to it, but against the light a slight reddish hue pokes through. I was impressed initially with the 4 inch head but unfortunately it was 90% gone in less than 2 minutes.

S- I was impressed with the different aromas coming through in this. I picked up deep nutty smells and toasty malts, but not to the point of burnt. I also enjoyed the initial bitter hops that graduate into some slightly sweet caramel notes.

T- This tastes similar to how it smells, but with a more cocoa and bittersweet chocolate notes. I really enjoyed the finish of this beer as it contains a distinguished hoppy bitterness, but not overbearing, that hits the back of the tongue and throat nicely.

M- I was expecting something a little thicker, but the body resembled something more like skim milk to me, or something just a little more, but not a creamy texture really. I really liked the mild carbonation, which really allowed me to let the beer sit in my mouth and take in.

D- This is a nice smooth, easy drinking beer, packed with flavor. I probably wouldn't have more than 2 of these in a sitting before feeling the need to move on to something a little more thirst quenching. I would definitely recommend this for anybody to try.

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Photo of MAB
3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Excellent example of the style. The bottle is a 750 ml size and you get two large glasses from one bottle- a nice serving size for this since you can share it with a friend.
Nice brown head, hints of the chocolate malt coming through in the taste, not too sweet (well balanced).
Available for sure in many beer stores in Calgary, and probably in most of Alberta, as well as all of the lower part of B.C. It is made in Kelowna but I had a hard time finding it (or any of Tree's products) in bottles in private or gov't. beer stores when I was there earlier this year. I did find their "Thirsty Beaver" amber ale on tap at many pubs though. However the Spy porter is better.
Definitely worth seeking out if you're in Western Canada.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.42/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Just barely letting any light in, Spy Porter has an ultra-dark brown color that shoots some ruby through when held up to light. Lots of bubbles and a modest but good-looking head.

Malty toffee notes prevail in the aroma. Buoyant fruitiness adds to the mellow and enjoyable aroma.

There appears to be some oxidization and some unwanted (I guess) sourness, which interrupts the flavors trying to get through. Adds light chocolate elements to the toffee and dark fruits noticed in the aroma. A bitter, piquant, raisin-y finish.

Tastes a little off to me. Maybe I need to try another bottle. Right now it's not knocking my socks off, but it's certainly not going down the sink either.

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Photo of fisherman34
3.07/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown in colour with medium carbonation. Powdered milk chocolate aromas mixed with a bit of light fruit and toasted malt. Malt forward flavors, with elements of toffee, nuts, and chocolate. Fairly light bodied for the style, with a finish that is both drying and metallic. Pretty basic stuff, but not bad.

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Photo of vanrassel
3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a servicable porter, even if it didn't knock my socks off.

It poured from a 650 mL bomber with a cola-like colour and effervescence. It sat in my pint glass with a dense tan head capping a nearly opaque body with ruby highlights. The head dwindled to an enduring ring that left nice lace on my glass. It offered my nose an equal amount to take in: a slight whiff of cocoa mingled with subtle roasted barley and some fruity esters.

The taste definitely leans toward the brown ale element in porters: an easy-drinking nutty/grainy combination. A sour, yeasty taste up front, however, plants it firmly in porter territory.

All in all, it's an OK choice even on a warm summer night, when I'd normally shy away from something like, say, a baltic porter. Abrasive carbonation undercut the smooth taste a bit, knocking down its drinkability in my mind.

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Photo of Viggo
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Orrshow! From BIF Canada 2006.

Pours a clear brown/red, big off white head forms, some lace and good retention. Smell is sweet, chocolate and coffee, roast, little bit of caramel. Taste is sweet toffee, roasted dry grains, chocolate, and citrus/floral in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium to light bodied, with medium to low carbonation, nice a smooth. Little bit weak on flavour but a nice porter.

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Photo of BigBry
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Have tried Spy Porter a few times at different tastings and always liked it. Tonight was time to crack the bottle I have been keeping chilled in my fridge.
650 ml brown bottle, with a picture of London Bridge in the back of the logo. Pours into my Tree Brewing glass a black color, with brown thick foam. Hold it up to the light and you can see a deep red shine through. The foamy head that settles down, but never disappears, and leaves nice lacing right to the bottom of the glass.after a short while to a thick ring around the glass. Smells of roasted malt and dark chocolate, full of deep dark smells, no real malt sweetness. Lots of flavor too. Roasted malt, and dark friut - raisins and dates. Just a touch of smokiness too. Creamy and full bodied without being heavy or sticky make it very drinkable. I am sensing a new personal favorite...

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Photo of Orrshow
3.56/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Pours a dark cola like color with a generous amount of light tan frothy head. Head dissipates over time into a good size cap. As the beer went down there was small amounts of lacing left on my glass.

Smell – Smells of roasted malts with hints of chocolate. I can also smell very slight touch of hops. Good effect but overall the aroma was weak…made things hard to pick out.

Taste – This beer tastes prevalently of coffee and dark roasted malts. There is a very minor sour tang to it with a bitter burnt feeling in the end. After taste left on the tongue lasts a while and is of burnt wood. Not bad.

Mouthfeel – This beer has a decent creaminess to it. I like the body. The carbonation is also good…nice and low. Very good in this category.

Drinkablity – Quite good. This beer goes down easily as it tastes reasonably good and has no unpleasant features. I like something a little stronger but that’s me.

I think this would make a good introductory Porter. Its overall feel is good and right for the style…just not quite what I’m personally looking for.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.32/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

02/29/06- On tap at Tree Brewery.

Presentation- Via the tap into 4oz tasters.

Appearance- More opaque brown, in fact light brown that black. Quick dying foamy 1/2 inch head and flakes of lace.

Smell- Bits and pieces of chocolate, coffee and dark malt.

Taste- Very cola like. Good chocolate taste with a tiny coffee buzz and some malt that wasn't as dark as expected.

Mouthfeel- Over carbonated.

Drinkability- Not impressed with this one. Wasn't up to snuff on the appearance and had more soda like qualities than beer. Not bad tasting, just not up to par overall.

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Photo of elricorico
3.46/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've been looking forward to my chance to try this beer for a while now, so I was very pleased to find it this afternoon. This porter is very dark, as close to black in the glass as they come. The head started thick and creamy with a tan colour. Now about 4 minutes later it has faded to a thin cap, but has left sticky lacing all around. Looks good to me.

The smell brings to mind roasted malt, almost a toasted caramel and faint coffee. The smell is not big at the moment, but I'll keep on it as the beer warms.

A mouthfull of this beer gives a mix of malt, dryness and sourness. There are flavours of burnt toast, faint coffee, sour ale and a touch of bitterness. The finish is a little bitter and a little sour, and has some staying power. Overall effect is good, but I not exceptional.

The beer has a creamy weight to it and light carbonation. This is pretty much want I want a porter to feel like.

Overall this isn't a bad porter. However I think I had my hopes a little high. This isn't one to replace London Porter or Taddy Porter for me. Good but not great.

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Spy Porter from Tree Brewing
3.82 out of 5 based on 37 ratings.
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