Smog City Groundwork Coffee Porter | Smog City Brewing

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Smog City Groundwork Coffee PorterSmog City Groundwork Coffee Porter

Brewed by:
Smog City Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Blurring the line between coffee and beer, our Coffee Porter treats the taste buds to a decadent romp in chocolate-covered espresso beans. Through careful selection and much experimentation, we synced up with local coffee roasters to create this exceptional brew.

Each barrel of beer is loaded with over five pounds of fresh coffee, enhancing the notes of dark chocolate, roasted malt and its native coffee character. This unexpectedly crisp and refreshing dark porter is equally satisfying on a bold winter night or a lazy summer day.

Indulge in the rich duality of Coffee Porter and let Smog City stir up your perception of "dark" beers.

Added by womencantsail on 12-31-2011

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Reviews: 25 | Ratings: 244
Photo of nick_perry
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Aromas and taste of roasted malt and coffee. Creamy, smooth texture. Frothy white head but it goes away quickly. Nice counter-balance to spicy Asian food.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.42/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared yesterday at the Christmas party, thanks,
Dark brown with a small tan head. Huge coffee aroma and flavor with faint chocolate to counter, Decent brew, but a bit too much coffee for me.

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Photo of rudzud
2.15/5  rDev -47.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Received as an extra in a trade. Bottle was a slow gusher.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a dark dark brown almost black with a MASSIVE four finger mocha head that faded slowly, addition of more beer only made the head billow up again. That's never a good thing.

S - Aromas of coffee, roast malts, metallic notes, acrid, light chocolate. The metallic twinge really overpowers everything.

T - Taste is...infection. Yeah, pretty much figured this what with how the bottle acted. Very, very odd and very unfortunate. Sour cherry notes, super acrid, metallic twinge. Almost coppery. Yikes.

M - Mouthfeel is sharply carbonated with a metallic, grimacing finish.

O - Overall, I was REALLY looking forward to this one based off of the reviews. I know I realistically simply got a bad bottle as no one else has mentioned these notes or given a category a number (or even rated) anywhere near like this. Incredibly unfortunate and a shame really. This would be a beer I would like to revisit.

Serving Type: Bottle

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle. Poured clear dark brown color with an average tan head that lasted with excellent lacing. Moderate to heavy roasted coffee and toasted malt aroma. Medium to abundant body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Heavy dark sweet flavor with heavy sweet finish of moderate to long duration. Standout complex beer.

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Photo of Damian
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Drank on tap at Venice Ale House, Venice, CA
Served in a pint glass

Nearly opaque, burnt umber appearance. The beer was topped by a tight, creamy, two-finger tall cap of mocha colored froth that quickly fell to a thin thin. Copious amounts of streaky lacing coated the glass.

Freshly ground espresso beans dominated in the nose. Moderate amount of roast. Some vanilla and sweet cream came through as well. Hint of dark chocolate in the background. Very solid overall.

The flavor profile was roaster than the aroma but still very coffee forward. Like the nose, the coffee had a deep, dark, espresso-like note to it. Slightly sweet. Touch of vanilla and dark chocolate. Bit of smokiness. The beer finished more roasty with a subtle bitter quality and a hint of earthy hops.

Excellent mouthfeel. The beer was medium bodied and contained a fine, moderate effervescence. Creamy and slick. The liquid turned soft and supple on the palate.

This was my first time trying a beer by Smog City and I was quite impressed. Most coffee-forward beers tend to be heavier, high ABV stouts, but I really appreciate a lighter bodied porter or stout that still has a lot of coffee character.

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Photo of popery
3.91/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The beer is very dark brown to black with a beige head. Nice mix of roast and light sweetness in the aroma. Vanilla, some caramel. Tasty bright coffee bring some fruitiness. Taste is fairly dry and coffee forward. Some nutty, toasty malt flavors. It’s very coffee-focused, though. Medium body. Smooth carbonation.

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Photo of d3brewing
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

You know how a ton of coffee beers taste like cold day old coffee, this one does not and it is good.
A: deep brown almost black with deep ruby edges against it,
A: it's all coffee and a hint of chocolate. My biggest point drop on this one, it's a porter, where's the specialty malts? Where's the sweet malty backbone?
T: I absolutely love how they brought out the coffee with this beer. This is a huge porter bordering on richness and flavor of a stout. Finishes with chocolate almost milk shake aftertaste.
M: you would think by the look and tastes that this would be thick but it's a nice medium bodied porter.
O: another killer beer from smog city. Will be drinking these instead of having dessert and coffee from now on.

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Photo of Reema
4.72/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Updated review 7/25/15

Serving type: On tap at the brewery

Pours a dark brown, almost black color. It is a very pretty beer. It smells like like a cup of coffee, along with a slight maltiness. Taste is superior to the smell, strong roasted coffee flavors along with slight malt and chocolatey sweetness. The only downside to this great tasting beer is the slightly watery mouthfeel. It doesn't exactly match the flavors of the porter and I feel as though the beer itself could be a little bit thicker, don't let that dissuade you though.

Smog City has something special here. An excellent brew.

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Photo of deford
4.15/5  rDev +1%

From a bottle into a Bruery Snifter.

A- Two inch solid caramel colored head with a semi hard pour. Beautiful deep dark brown with a red tint in the light, like a brandy.

S- Coffee, coffee, coffee...Wow. Roasted chocolate covered espresso beans...makes me want to take a bite of it! It smells just like an iced coffee tastes.

T- Exactly the same...roast coffee and just a hint of cocoa....perfect really. Just a slight bitter coffee on the finish.

M - Very low carbonation.

O- This is undoubtedly the best coffee porter I've ever had. Definitely recommended if you like coffee.

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Photo of raynmoon
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

This is really quite good. It runs a little thin on the mouthfeel, making me wish the abv was bumped up or perhaps some lactose or a higher mash temp, but the flavor of the coffee is exceptional. Very good beer.

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Photo of jrnyc
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I had this on tap at a mexican restaurant, definitely a surprise to see this. This is a nice looking beer as most porters are. Coffee, coffee, coffee and more coffee. If you like coffee you will love this. A bit on the thin tasting side though. Nice beer though.

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Photo of JayPeso
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Taster pour at the brewery.

Looks like a glass of medium roast coffee in appearance. Dark, but not motor oil thick.
Coffee/espresso on the aroma but not overwhelming at all.
Tons of coffee in the taste with a bit of chocolate as well. Really didn't pick up much of the alcohol at all either. Tasted more like a had a glass of coffee mixed amongst the taster pours of the other beers I was sampling. Had it immediately following the Bloody Knuckle (base beer) and could pick up the noticeable differences with this one being a standout of the two. No real coffee bitterness in the aftertaste at all with a smooth finish.
Light to medium mouthfeel.
Overall I can say this is the best coffee porter I've had. As an everyday coffee drinker, I would love to have a glass of this every morning before work instead. Looking forward to trying the bottles I picked up as well.

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Photo of IKR
3.72/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Very dark brown with a modest-sized medium beige head. This Porter is blacker than many a RIS. Good looking beer.

Smell: Coffee dominates, some roast malts with some faint bready notes.

Taste: Coffee notes hit hard initially. The beer finishes with the cofee and moderate roasted malt notes. The coffee notes are the star of the show as the name suggests.

Mouth-feel: On the light side of medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. spot on for a regular strength Porter.

Overall: Good coffee porter. the coffee isn't as overt as some coffee beers which to me as a coffee addict is a mild let down. The coffee is nicely integrated.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.46/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Received as an extra in trade with BA Black_Rider. Enjoyed out of a brown 500 mL bottle with no dating that I can find anywhere. Poured into a 50 cL glass stein with a textured exterior.

Appearance - Wonderfully rich-looking consistency the color of brown so dark that it might as well be black. Brown like charred wood is "brown". No translucency or light coming through the body whatsoever. Atop the body sits a finger of dense mocha-tan head that retains for quite awhile before finally shrinking down to leave a healthy film across the top of the liquid. Lacing is sparse, but there are traces of residue intermittently along the sides of the glass.

Smell - Oh man. Such an amazing roasted coffee bean aroma that for a second my brain questions whether my eyes saw me actually pour a beer into this glass instead of a cold-pressed coffee, because the signals it's getting from my nose suggest otherwise. Rich french roast and espresso notes come wafting out of the glass, complimented by just a hint of bittersweet chocolate and a nice roasted malt character reminiscent of burnt toast. If you like coffee, then you will like how this beer smells.

Taste - Happily, the smell is a perfect precursor to the taste, which is also exploding with roasty goodness and that pungent coffee bean bitterness that those who like their coffee black will identify with. It's that kind of coffee characteristic you get from espresso--rich and overwhelming in a completely good way. Again, there are nice subtle dark chocolate notes and cocoa nib impressions to give it a little more depth of flavor than just coffee overload. The roasted malts are a little harder to detect here, but suffice it to say that the subtle sweetness is coming from the grain, and not the loads of coffee beans that were surely added to this beer.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied and moderate carbonation. Just viscous enough to prevent that thin, watery mouthfeel you might get from coffee that's been sitting in the warmer for too long, but not so thick and suffocating that it has to be consumed on a cold night. Pretty nice balance of carbonation and viscosity.

Overall, I'm lucky to have gotten to try this wonderful beer. My only regret is that I'm not likely to be having it again anytime soon. Perhaps it's reason enough for a beercation to the LA area. I've never had anything else from Smog City, but they hit all the right notes on this beer, and it makes me exceedingly curious to try more. It honestly could be one of the best coffee-based beers I've ever had.

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Photo of Keananmichael5
4.73/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

So gooooood!!!! Smells like a fresh pot of coffee and tastes like the most coffee flavored beer I have ever had. Even better on tap but still outstanding in the bottle. I recommended this beer to everyone. I would drink it for breakfast it is so coffeeey

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Photo of JerseyHopHead
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I've been waiting to try this one for awhile and I finally found a place that still had it on tap.

Pours a very dark brown with minimal head retention. The nose is quite nice with a distinctive roast coffee bean scent. Overall this beer favors the coffee flavors but it's really solid and still has the presence of a porter. The mouthfeel is full-bodied but smooth. Pretty minimal carbonation. Finishes with the coffee notes and a slight kick.
This is an all around good beer and one of the best porters I've had. I found myself thinking, "If coffee tasted this good, I'd have a hell of a lot more coffee," and I'm not a big porter drinker.

Definitely worth trying if you find it.

Served on tap in a pint glass.

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Photo of lazy8
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

on tap - 10 oz pour in snifter glass from Ave A Bar & Grill

A: Black color with thin tan head. Head disappears after about 5 min
S: Black coffee. This is a coffee porter and the coffee aroma overpowers any whiff of malt or hops
T: Coffee 1st and porter next. The chocolate malt flavor is present but secondary to the coffee flavor
M: Medium body
O: I don't drink coffee regularly, but I like to try all kinds of beer, so I've sampled coffee beer before. This had the strongest coffee flavor and aroma of all I've tried. Tasy beer with a coffee and malt aftertaste. Recommended for those that like coffee.

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Photo of vince4953529
4.89/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is as much as a coffee-beer as a beer can be.

I drink coffee occasionally, always pitch black with the austere pure coffee taste without the cream & sugar. This brew reminds me drinking a glass of black coffee with a trace of alcohol with minimal sweetness. So good and so enlightening this brew is. A growler of this is impending even though I am not that close to this brewery.

What an excellent coffee beer. The coffee flavor is so overwhelming but it complimented the beer element so exquisitely. Very Very enjoyable, downright near-perfect.

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Photo of BucBasil
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the tap into a standard pint glass at Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks.

A: Very black with a light tan head that sticks around for just a bit.

S: Very roasty with mocha and black coffee character throughout. Some smoke.

T: Black coffee is dominant of course. underneath is some baker's chocolate, a light roasted character, and a good mocha note. Very thick and coating. Rich espresso notes and a big roasty smack.

My mom doesn't like beer at all, but she likes coffee, and she thought this one was pretty good. That's strong praise in my opinion. I liked this one. Good dessert beer.

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Photo of grilledsquid
4.39/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sampled on tap at Smog City Tasting Room.

This poured a deep brown with a light tan head. The aroma was wonderful with strong coffee at the forefront and noticeable while holding the glass a foot away. There's not mistaking what's at play here--it was like concentrated amounts of freshly brewed medium roasted coffee was added. No astringent qualities or harsh bitterness at all, just pure coffee goodness blended perfectly with the roasted malt from the base beer.

I feel as if Smog City really hit the nail on the head with this beer. Often times, coffee beers can smell and taste like stale coffee grounds and this beer did not yield any such characteristics. The choice of using a lighter base beer like a porter was a wise one as the experience was never so intense that I could only stomach a couple of ounces, which is the case with some of the more recent imperial coffee stouts. I hope Smog City cans this one day.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ, let's do one more from Smog City. On to the beer:

I generally like these coffee infused dark beers, and Smog City fortified that. As you could imagine, this beer is black. And there are lots of lots of rings of lace that want to stick around the glass. A mere tease for things to come. IF you love the smell of roasted coffee in the raw, you've come to the right pint. Fully roasted coffee and a litle coffee berry. There's atouch of fruitness too. Coffee dominate in the taste as well, where a strong note of chalky, roasted artisan coffee rules. The beer portions seems like a mere backdrop. Despite the richness of the adjunct, this beer's medium body is easy going down, overall helping to creat this very good creation.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.34/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Beer Belly in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a murky, turbid light brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is pretty incredible with lots of roasted coffee bean, coffee grounds, brewed coffee, and cocoa aromas. Taste is exactly the same with a medium level of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a great coffee presence that is almost like drinking straight coffee.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood I,

A: Pours a super dark brown with a medium off-white head, leaves solid lace.

S: Coffee heavy, it really dominates the nose, but it's quite enjoyable.

T: One of the biggest coffee flavours I've had in a beer, with a nice jolt of dark chocolate, this will wake you up.

M: Creamy, medium-bodied, frothy, long aftertaste.

O: A unique full taste of coffee which is hard to find even in a lot of so-called coffee beers. Very enjoyable. The good porter beer certainly underlies this brew, it's not all coffee.

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Photo of LAWonders
3.82/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A finger of a creamy beige head. very short retention and minimal lacing. very dark almost opaque.

S Intense coffee smell, almost like slightly roasted espresso beans with a hint of chocolate.

T Taste does not compliment the smell very well. Much more thin than anticipated. I would prefer it in an 8oz pour rather than a pint.

M Feels very thin because the head dissipates so quick. besides the rich coffee flavor, it feels very hollow on the tongue.

O It is a good beer, but wouldn't get a 16oz again. For a coffee beer, its good. For an overall beer its lacking a bit.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Tustin Brewing

Pours a very dark brown color with a finger of tan head. Smells strongly of coffee, especially like espresso and coffee grounds. A bit of roast, maybe some toffee sweetness. The flavor is also rather intense on the coffee, but I suppose that’s the point. Lots of roasted coffee notes, a bit of coffee grounds, perhaps some roasted malt and dark chocolate, too. Medium bodied with low to medium carbonation.

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Smog City Groundwork Coffee Porter from Smog City Brewing
4.11 out of 5 based on 244 ratings.
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