Smog City Groundwork Coffee Porter
Smog City Brewing

Smog City Groundwork Coffee PorterSmog City Groundwork Coffee Porter
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American Porter
Ranked #14
Ranked #2,236
4.18 | pDev: 10.29%
Smog City Brewing
California, United States
Smog City Groundwork Coffee PorterSmog City Groundwork Coffee Porter
Notes: 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.
Reviews: 49 | Ratings: 400 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of ELS
2.78/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

I had this beer on tap at the brewery. It looks pretty good with a nice medium brown color. It smells a little burnt with an underwhelming aroma. Taste is just average for a coffee porter. The coffee is a bit astringent and bitter. Was this cold pressed? Tastes like they didn’t brew the coffee properly for an adjunct to the beer. The mouthfeel is where this beer is truly lacking. Yes, a porter should be thinner than a stout but this beer is watery and it really kills it in a bad way. I don’t see how this beer can be rated so high? Maybe this was a really bad batch? I had an excellent stout while at the brewery so I know Smog City is more than capable.

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Photo of antonyliu
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tumbler glass


Poured a black coffee color with a creamy, mocha head. Very turbid and inviting.

Smell is espresso bean, milk chocolate, vanilla, very nutty.

Taste is same as smell. Compared to similar styles of beers, this one is very well balanced. Finishes espresso vanilla.

Velvety, carbonated, heavy body.

I consider this beer in the upper echelon of the style. Wonderfully balanced. It’s got the coffee ground and cocoa flavor, without the malty and acidic bite other beers in the family do. When in the mood for this taste, I would ABSOLUTELY get this again.

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Photo of Goneflying87
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The best porters I ever had!!!! I always get growlers of these! Pretty great taste to it; nice coffee taste with a bit of bitterness. Taste like a cold coffee just better! Not too much foam; perfectly balance with the aroma and taste not over powering of coffee taste!

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Photo of ScioRevo
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am no connoisseur but I love tasting beer. Dark beers are generally my favorite category and this one is a genuine pleasure, a real coffee-lover's dark beer, so full of flavors that my mouth was endlessly entertained. At one time I was a purist who insisted that the flavors of coffee and chocolate (or fruit or whatever) be coaxed from the natural ingredients, not added. But there is something wonderful about coffee, chocolate and some other flavors combined with dark beer that a little human engineering can be forgiven, if not by the intellect certainly by the taste buds.

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Photo of michiganmatt
3.84/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Deep brown/black with a lot of dark tan head which lasts a decent amount of time
S: Strong coffee and chocolate aromas
T: This definitely is a COFFEE beer, as the bottle says. The dark coffee flavor is very strong, to the point of being unpleasant (I feel like I'm putting coffee grounds into my mouth). There are notes of chocolate as well. Slightly sweet.
F: medium bodied. moderately bitter. in between creamy and crisp.
O: I think they went a bit too far on the coffee with this beer. I love coffee, but I feel like I'm drinking coffee grounds with this beer. I'm being generous with the rating nevertheless as there are many who no doubt will love the intensity of the coffee flavor.

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Photo of Ahypercube
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Holy shit. Talk about fresh. This was bottled 5 days ago! Been hearing whispers about this brewery through the grapevine, particularly about this brew, but I hadn't seen it anywhere yet. Picked up this and their IPA, both are fantastic.

L: Poured into a glass, Smog City's coffee porter is the color and consistency of black coffee. Light can penetrate through about half an inch of liquid. An inch of mocha brown head is released from the pour, leaving light lacing, but retention is excellent for the visibly thin body.

S: Pure coffee. If you gave someone this and told them it was a nitro cold brew, they would believe you. I've never smelled a beer over 5% that I couldn't detect alcohol in, but I could miss it in this one. There's more of a physical sensation in the nose that gives it away than an aroma. Everything this beer smells like could be described by a really good dark roast. Cacao, smoke, oak, a touch of molasses, tobacco, leather, pretzels, raisins and sourdough bread with coffee acidity lingering on the finish.

T: Incredible. The cleanest, most perfect coffee flavor. Dark chocolate and a mellow whole grain bread presence pool into a black hole of bitter and delicious dark roast coffee. The sweetness is so light. By the way, I had one cold (~45°F) yesterday and am drinking this one at room temp. I swear on my life: Equally. Delicious.

F: From the Look, I did not expect to rank Feel a five, as thin usually equates to lame in my opinion. Not the case with this. This mouthfeel is soft, light, and delicate. It made me question my knowledge of what kind of texture beer should have.

O: Easily the most coffee flavor I have found in a non-imperial porter; I would say it's probably around how much Founders adds to Breakfast Stout, pint for pint. If you take your coffee black, I guarantee you will LOVE this brew.

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Photo of superspak
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got as a gift from RaulMondesi. 500 ml bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a 2 finger fairly dense and rocky khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Thick soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big nutty dark roast coffee, milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, and toasted dark bread; with lighter notes of vanilla, cream, smoke, charcoal, dark fruit, herbal, grass, and roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt, coffee, and light-moderate earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big nutty dark roast coffee, milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, and toasted dark bread; with lighter notes of vanilla, cream, smoke, charcoal, dark fruit, herbal, grass, and roast/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate roast/char and herbal/grassy hop bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of nutty coffee, milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, toasted dark bread, vanilla, smoke, char, herbal, grass, and roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, coffee, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; with a great roast/hop bitter/sweet balance; and zero acrid/astringent flavors after the finish. Moderate increasing dryness from hop/char bitterness and carbonation. Medium-high carbonation and medium body; with a very smooth and moderately creamy/bready/sticky/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Zero warming alcohol as expected of 6%. Overall this is an excellent coffee porter. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, coffee, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; very smooth and easy to drink, despite the highly carbonated/drying finish. Other than the carbonation, this was very impressive. Huge amounts of fruity/nutty coffee complexity, with a spot on American porter malt profile and hop balance. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16.9 oz. bottle

Pours dark maroon red brown black with a giant dark tan foam head. Smells like bold chocolate covered espresso beans, roasted coffee, slight lactic cream, dark fruit, toasted bready caramel malts, caramelized brown sugar, sweet molasses, some dried fruit, with floral earthy herbal grassy pine. Tastes like slightly acidic roasted coffee, dark chocolate, espresso beans, slight creamy tang, dark fruit, toasted bready caramel malts, roasty brown sugar, sweet molasses, dried fruit, with floral earthy herbal grassy pine. Feels medium-light bodied, slick with moderate carbonation. Overall a nice coffee porter.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Is there a delicate dream? One that does not have violent shocks? One that does not wake you with an abrupt jolt? If there is, it is Smog City Coffee Porter. It is light and airy; thin and grace-like - like an Angelino ballerina to be. And when I say 'thin,' I don't mean 'thin thin.' I mean fragile, like one of your grandma's doilies. The beer is nice, light, airy, fragile, beautiful, graceful... There is this beautiful aroma with an abundance of coffee flavor that hits your pallet like a Van Gogh paint stroke. This is the real deal and Raul recommended.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I scored this in the UFC ppv betting league BIF. Inaugural champ suckaz. 500ml bottle, pours a substantially dark brown, average viscosity for a porter, its genuinely a porter and not an imperial porter/double stout gigantour kind of pour, lighter brown head on the top 1/4". How bout dat coffee? Man this smells amazing, just an absolute coffee bomb. Very good, its a dark coffee smell for sure.

Taste, look this is just romping with coffee and its that kind of beer. There isn't much nuance, its not a hoppy porter, there is no barrel aging, there isn't a bunch of pastry shit in it. Its just coffee in massive proportions. The body is average otherwise, no off flavors, just the right heft and roasted malt to be supportive and relatively easy drinking. Great stuff if you like coffee beer and one that I never hear anyone talk about.

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Photo of Antg8989
3.89/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Coffee aroma. Other than that I thought everything about this was a little bit thin - the flavor, the feel...but makes sense for a 6% abv. WOuldn't seek out, but wouldn't turn down either.

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Photo of Parmesan
4.16/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours a murky pitch black color with a large creamy khaki tan head that dissipates fairly quickly and leaves no lacing on the glass.

S: Earthy dark coffee, mixed with a strong luscious chocolate.

T: Earthy dark coffee, mixed with a rich sweet and slightly bitter chocolate, some acidity from the coffee. The coffee and chocolate meld together very well.

F: Medium to full body, creamy smooth.

O: The chocolate and coffee meld together very well in this beer. When it is colder the coffee is a little acidic but as it warms up that fades to a nice manageable level.

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Photo of jakecattleco
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle of unknown age into a tulip glass. Beer lives up to its name, lots of dark roasted coffee on the nose, and on the taste. Coffee really does dominate, with perhaps a hint of roasted malt for my palate. Medium bodied and carbonation, and finishes with plenty of lingering coffee on the palate. A nice final beer to the day.

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Photo of nick_perry
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
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 Brolo75
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

500 ml bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours black with a mocha colored head, really dark for a porter some ruby edges when held up to the light, good amount of carbonation streaming up the sides, I can't see the middle too dark, very nice creamy looking head with some great retention, slight lacing.

A: The aroma is popping with coffee, espresso, cocoa, smoky, roasted malts, no alcohol on the nose, smells really nice.

T: Follows the nose with lots of coffee, dry dark roasted coffee, slight touch of cocoa and roasted malts, the coffee lingers and finishes old, the aftertaste is like day old coffee, not good.

M: Very dry finish, not as smooth as I was hoping.

O: Big hopes from the appearance and aroma, however the beer is really not balanced with the coffee, coffee dominates then the other notes just fall off, strange, overwhelmingly dry bitter stale coffee like finish.

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Photo of fredmugs
3.37/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

500ml bottle poured into a snifter. This is my first smog city beer and the aroma is simply fantastic. Huge amount of coffee on the nose. The taste did not match the smell as it was very thin tasting. To my surprise and great disappointment there was a fairly substantial smokeyness that killed the mouthfeel.

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Photo of tedvr
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a thin caramel head. Strong coffee, espresso smell, mild carbonation. Strong coffee taste, espresso style. Overall a well balanced beer with a lot of flavor.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.42/5  rDev -18.2%
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 GregJ
3.79/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Really disappointed with the body on this one. Real strong coffee flavor with cocoa nibs and a bit of syrup but the body needed to be heavier to back up the bold flavors. Still a good beer but it had the potential to be great.

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Photo of rudzud
2.15/5  rDev -48.6%
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 +1.9%
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 +3.6%
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 NolaHopHead
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500 ml bottle. Jet black with thick tan head that disappears quickly. Aroma is ridiculous coffee, delish. Sweet coffee follows into the taste. A little dark chocolate and bitterness balance well. Exceptionally smooth and easy drinking. Overall tasty porter, thicker and smoother than most. Liked it a lot.

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Photo of popery
3.91/5  rDev -6.5%
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 LADaveBN
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I love coffee beers. Huge fan of Modern Times Black House. This, however, is better. Perhaps the base porter is better suited to the coffee than the oatmeal stout of Black House? Regardless, if you love coffee beers, this one is outstanding. Like a cold pressed coffee. It's scary to think I could really enjoy drinking this first thing in the morning.

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Smog City Groundwork Coffee Porter from Smog City Brewing
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 400 ratings