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Anchor Porter | Anchor Brewing Company

1,521 Reviews
Anchor PorterAnchor Porter

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
With deep black color, a thick, creamy head, rich chocolate, toffee and coffee flavors, and full-bodied smoothness, Anchor Porter® is the epitome of a handcrafted dark beer.

A blend of specially roasted pale, caramel, chocolate, and black malts, along with our top-fermenting yeast, creates complexity without bitterness. The brew is hopped at a high rate, and naturally carbonated. The result is dark in the glass, but surprisingly light on the palate.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-01-2001

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Reviews: 1,521 | Ratings: 3,595
Photo of puck1225
4.56/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint jar. Very dark brown color with a nice creamy light brown head and great curtain lacing. The smell was like a dark red wine with a bit of smokiness. The taste was very smooth. Smokey, chocolate, red wine. I enjoyed this beer very much!

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark ruby-brown-black, tan rocky creamy head, spots of lace. Fantastic aromas of sweet cream, roasted barley, milk chocolate, and a bit of umami soy sauce. Taste is wonderful: roast that gives off a bit of bitterness which is aided by mild hop resins, chocolate, stone, and faint sweetness. Everything is deep, and it has a good long finish. Creamy, smooth mouthfeel, medium-full body.
I'm gonna say it and I don't care who knows: I love this beer. Fantastic balance of all the flavors, which were rich and satisfying. Inviting from the initial glance, delicious through the smell and taste and feel, and satisfying on the long rich finish. My new favorite porter.

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Photo of kidgloves2
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've tried countless porters. I keep coming back to Anchor and compare all other porters to it. I think this is a perfect beer IMO. My local beer store keeps it stocked for me.

I compare it to Guinness Extra Stout, but better.

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Photo of HPinSoCal
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Very dark, reddish edge through light. 1/2" tan head dissipates quickly. Thin / light lace.

S: Very light to the nose. Dominated by licorice. Mild hop. Smoaky vibe.

T: Very mellow taste. Bitter and dry. Not bad, but not great either.

F: Mainly light to medium body at best. On the thin and watery side. Feels overly carbonated.

O: Had high expectations based on ratings. Not my taste. Won't buy it again. Would not recommend it. If you like this beer, try Black Butte Porter. Very similar feel.

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Photo of cb500rider
1.62/5  rDev -60.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

God! This is awful. I used to love Anchor Porter with its subtle, slightly sweet flavor. But it's changed. Picked up my first six-pack of Anchor Porter in about three years; what happened?! What used to be a nice, sweet porter has turned into a bottle of liquid smoke. Maybe my six was bottled during one of those well-known California brush fires, but I doubt it. Shame on you Anchor for changing one of the best Porters into something that tastes like a charcoal briquette. Now I'm stuck with the other five!!!

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Photo of rawfish
3.39/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Beautiful opaque brown color, practically a stout with a finger high head of tight bubbles leaving mocha flecks of lacing on the glass.

Not much sweetness, heavy roasted malt, purple dried fruit, rhubarb and burdock, uh oh.

The taste follows the nose quite closely, I get quite a bit of earthy, root vegetables, licorice, anise, and roasted malt. As the beer warms there is some sweetness rising accompanied by dark fruit and wintergreen to finish. Interesting but not my cup of tea.

Lush coating mouthfeel to this, silky smooth with appreciable bitterness. Just a hint of stickiness at the end and well hidden alcohol.

A well crafted beer overall and rather complex but just too many flavors that don't gel with my palate. There's little sweetness and lacks the coffee and chocolate that I like in my dark beers.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.37/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: dark brown with ruby accents; crystal clear when held to the light; 1 finger medium tan head that receded to a thin cap; OK lacing;

S: roasted grains; sweet malt;

T: roasted grains, fresh wort, a lot of toffee; mild bitterness on the finish;

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

O: good, but not very interesting or complex;

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Photo of ludachris
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Its body is black at all angles, even at its edges. Two inches of a chunky, tan foam collar resides on top. Lace is left in chunky legs and patches.

Dry cocoa and cake-like dark chocolate come with a hefty weight to them. There's a pleasing sticky toffee and raisin quality that becomes more apparent as it warms. A bit ashy and a bit roasty on its edges.

Its sticky raisin character is fleshed out in the taste with some dates and plumes added. Cocoa and bakers chocolate are layered on top. Toffee bread eases its way into its dry ashy finish.

There's a bready fullness to its medium body. Its soft and delicate level of carbonation compliments its richness and weight.

I found its dark fruit character to be its most pronounced and unique feature as well as its highlight. Keeping it naturally carbonated works in its favor, allowing for its sticky, sweet, rich qualities to really pull through.

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Photo of dbl_delta
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Undated bottle into pint glass. Pours a deep, oily black with a persistent tan head. Initial impression is chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and just enough hops to keep things interesting. Rich, creamy body; slightly bitter finish. Excellent porter.

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Photo of jwhancher
4.51/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Brought home a 22-oz bottle from Anchor in San Francisco a few weeks back. Bought from the source right after the official Anchor brewery tour. Can't get any fresher than this! Code on back label reads "6YD", whatever that means. Poured into my favorite glass one cold & rainy night.

Pours dark brown which appears black. Head is massive and tan. And sticks around quite a long while. Leaves a wonderful lacing on the glass sides.

Smells of dark roast, cocoa, caramel, chocolate, some slightly ash like roast that is not harsh, seems to have some classic Hop character seems earthy & woody but very subtle but blends well with the upfront malt character.

Tastes chocolately and caramel with light roast and coffee, a nice bitterness towards the end. Feels medium and very drinkable. No noticeable alcohols or harshness from the dark malts.

Really a well rounded and superb beer. This is truly an American Classic. Can't believe I've never drank this before. I could seriously drink this buy the keg in my homemade keezer.

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Photo of Arthuros
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This classic porter Sans Francisco delivers!

Deep black color, tiny head and medium carbonation. Great feel, as a porter should have, rich and creamy.

Taste is crisp, black and burnt chocolate is very present, as well as in the nose.

I like it.

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Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with khaki colored head. Roasted malt, coffee, and raw cocoa on the nose; follows onto the palate. Full bodied porter, nice smooth mouthfeel. Finishes with a nice roasty character.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.43/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Porting anchors may not be the best thing for your lower back, regardless of your age. But, hey, what do I know? Anyway, this stuff pours a matte black-brown topped by over a finger of light sandstone foam. The nose comprises mild cola, light molasses, cocoa powder, and a bit of vague fruitiness pervading the background. The taste brings in more of the same, along with some mildly earthy hops coming through in the finish. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a thin, fluid feel. Overall, a decent porter, but the lack of body and middle-of-the-road flavor combination keep this porter from achieving memorability.

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Photo of T_Hass
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Lost Abbey taku glass from the bottle. Pours a beautiful dark leathery brown with a thick khaki head comprised of small fine bubbles that linger. The beer smells of caramel malt and brown sugar and taste is much of the same. I get a nice carmel start with a nice raosty finish. a very nice full beer to have at the start of fall. The only thing lacking is the mouth feel. Slightly thin for my liking but highly carbonated. Overall this is a bit of a surprise. Its a constant on all the shelves I might have to pick this one up bit more frequently.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.25/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Anchor Porter, the latest on my ever-slowly-growing Christmas list of Anchor beers is (as will be the next beer I review) an anomaly - a blip stylistically - from a brewer better known for another beer type (in this case their patented “Steam Beer”). With the trepidation of a beer explorer going into the jungles of Porter from a brewer that is knowingly focused on another style, and armed with terribly conjured metaphors, I ventured forth... will I ever see my loved ones again? Perhaps I shall write them a letter.

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Dark, hazed cola body with a massive 1 inch tan head that slowly settles down to a centimetre, in the process confusing my American readers by mixing Imperial and metric measurements - bad beer! 8/10.

S: Unroasted coffee beans, chocolate and dark fruits give this Porter a touch of English Strong Ale, hint of molasses brings us back to the US of A. Further whiffs (and as is trademark to my reviews: taking too long in writing my thoughts and letting the beer warm considerably) releases a lot more molasses, to the point that you would think this beer was a Southern gentleman who enjoys repeating the word “molasses” with an added grunt ad nauseam. 8/10.

T: Flavour is molasses up front with dark fruits, some nuttiness (interesting) and earthy/herbal hop bitterness in the finish. Overall flavour is more like a Strong or Brown Ale than a Porter, and as such creates a distraction for a well-versed Stout drinker like myself. Where are the heavier/darker flavours of coffee/chocolate characters I wonder? Aftertaste is a bitter herbal note. Not a fan of this Porter. 6/10.

M: Watery, mid to light bodied with a wafer-thin carbonation... it is indeed lacking here over other Porters I’ve had. 5/10.

D: Don’t get me wrong, I do like a good English Strong Ale (I regularly keep Hook Norton’s Twelve Days in my fridge) but this Porter is so far off style it’s difficult to recommend it over other Porters like: Founders, Harviestoun, Samuel Smith’s or Fuller’s London Porter... I can easily keep naming decent Porters et al. - all of which have the classic Porter flavour profile that I know and love, trust me on this reader - I know a good Porter when I taste one, I have the same ability with Dalmatians (knowing them when tasting them). 6/10.

Food match: The overt (unroasted!) maltiness of this brew would suit game bird.

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Photo of mmmbeer89
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

very dark in appearance, it has a sweet carmely smell to it which is very enjoyable. the taste is similar to the smell except it has a metallic aftertaste which brought the score down.

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Photo of GuitarIPA
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle
L - black with thick, fluffy tan head
S - coffee, cherry, tobacco
T - chocolate, cherry/tobacco, coffee,
F - rich, very well carbonated - tingles
Very enjoyable - ranking with my favorite stouts

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Photo of PhillyRiver
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into clean porter glass.
L- Pours dark brown, black in glass. Barely a glint of light getting through narrow bottom of glass, unlike several other porters I've tried in this glass. The head is gorgeous, thick and fluffy, about two fingers, makes soft lace rows on the glass as you drink, like a parfait. Quite beautiful.
S- best smell of a porter I've had. Molasses is strongest.
T- more bitter than I like, touch of earwax. Complex and interesting all the way, though. Lively natural carbonation.
F- rich and smooth.
Surprised at difference between smell and taste. Possibly my newbie palate is not developed enough, as I see this beer is rated very highly. I would have it again another day, though I don't want to drink two of them in a row today. And now, back to golf. Go Jordan and Jason.

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Photo of Taybeh
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

from a single into a Bell's snifter
a: dark brown/black with a 2 finger khaki tight bubbly head that leaves nice lacing
s: mainly sweet toffee and toast, with something else in there that is pretty sweet...licorice? Raisin? Maybe molasses. Just a hint of chocolate. Not very roasty and not at all bitter, though the more I inhale, the more I get a faint wisp of coffee that tries to come through.
t & m: nice, substantial, and smooth body, medium to low carbonation, fairly light. Good integration of flavors but not much roasty warmth and not much from the hops...no tingle on the tongue and no edge to the flavors. Lots of molasses and a little cold-press coffee.

Not at the top, but still very good

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Photo of frozyn
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This pour very dark black with a thick, creamy tan head that reduces to a ring around the edge. The smell is intensely malty, with molasses and a slight ripe plum aroma.

The taste is very malty, with molasses and slight caramel/chocolate notes. The fruity plum aroma comes through as well, though not so clearly plum-like to me. Warmth brings an earthy/woody note to the back end that is strongest when the carbonation ramps up on the tongue. There's a distinct burnt/roasted edge to the maltiness that adds to a quite complex taste profile that I find fantastic.

The carbonation level keeps this at more of a medium body: without it, the creaminess and smoothness of the beer would take it up that notch to full. I think I would have preferred it with a little less carbonation, but at the same time find it nice and refreshing.

A great porter and a wonderful introduction to a classic American brewery. Time to find more from them!

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Photo of Treyliff
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- pours a deep black, nearly opaque, with a creamy two-finger khaki colored head that retains long after the pour, leaving some lacing behind

S- caramel/toffee forward aroma with undertones of chocolate & dark fruit. Light roasty malt

T- sweet caramel/toffee malt flavor up front follows the aroma, followed by notes of chocolate, fig & raisin. Light roast on the finish with a hint of coffee

M- medium body with moderate-low carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel & a silky finish, high drinkability

O- full flavored, yet easy drinking creamy porter

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Photo of rockinbrewer17
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The smell and taste of this beer are slightly above average in my opinion. The alcohol stands out big time compared to most porters I've had. The saving grace of this beer is the creamy texture. I'd buy this again, but wouldn't call it a "go to" porter.

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Photo of tazzman
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

malt has an acidic burnt taste which over-rides the smoothness, I love a rich roast taste of toasted bread, but this roast went just a tad to far giving it a burnt taste

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Photo of SomethingClever
3.64/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into snifter

A: brackish and very dark brown but not quite pitch black nice off white light tan inch head on the pour settles down to a quarter. Beer laces nicely as i drink it.

S: light licorice roasted malts slight toffee with some coffee roast

T: slight corn grain taste some of that roastiness surprising lack of sweetness but the end finish with a little bit of sugar lots of carmel and corn grain taste again

M: fairly thin lots of carbonation interesting on a porter finishes on the dryer side

O: I'm not that taken with this beer. I'd be hard pressed to identify it as a porter if it were a blind taste testing the malts are strong on it but more like lageresk in taste rather than roasty.

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Photo of everyman
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

"Anchor Porter® became the first modern American porter style beer when it was introduced in 1972." This beer is still the benchmark. I try just about every porter and stout I can find, and Anchor's porter has become the favorite when talking basics--sessionable and lower abv. This beer anchors on the malty side. Its mouthfeel is creamy and it's even a tad sticky. I like that the foam blooms beautifully and rises as high as can be desired. Let it set and that foamy head will settle thick and cream-like. There's a simplicity to the flavor. I really don't detect coffee or caramel straight forward. Instead, the taste is more of a medium roastiness. There's a tinge of hop as well in the flavor, albeit its supposedly hopped at a high rate. If there's something more to know, I would say that this beer is more old school ale than the American ingredient bombs that have dominated the craft scene in recent years.

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Anchor Porter from Anchor Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,521 ratings.
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