Anchor Porter | Anchor Brewing Company

1,540 Reviews
Anchor PorterAnchor Porter

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

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: 1,540 | Ratings: 3,666
Photo of ArchimedesSox
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Huge, fluffy, khaki head, dark brown to black beer, nearly opaque, great lacing

S: Sweet maltiness almost like pastries, chocolate

T: Real sweet malts, once again like a chocolate donut or something to the like, little bitterness at the end of the taste, almost a dark chocolate bitter aftertaste that lingers

M: Medium

O: You can just tell this is a quality beer from all aspects. Really nice porter, one of my favorites of the style.

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Photo of Lingenbrau
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A little metallic, but right for traditional English style. Overall, smooth, sweet, yet balanced by roasty bitterness, and a great classic example of a well made Porter. Cheers!

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown, mostly opaque, with hints of red highlighting the only light getting through. Tan head, very fine bubbles, and a ton of lacing.

S - Roasted malts in the form of semi-sweet chocolate, a bit of molasses, alcohol when cold but this fades as it warms.

T - Toffee, caramel, chocolate and cocoa powder, molasses and freshly baked wheat bread. Close is a bit more bitter, with hints of coffee.

M - A touch sticky in the open, a bit drying in the close.

O - A well-crafted porter, with lots of good stuff. Not particularly complex, but tasty.

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Photo of rex_4539
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Now that is a world-class American porter.

Flavorfull aroma and great taste, amazing aftertaste.

Very drinkable beer. A must-have for porter lovers!

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Photo of Beginner2
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Released first in 1972, this may be the Daddy of all American porters.
And it is still the standard to beat. What other beer has been chased for 44 years ?
With 1510 reviews, I am not going to tell you anything new in Anchor's Porter. But I will say that its taste is among the most balanced. And in the mouth, this high carbonation ale (which usually bothers me) somehow emerges smooth.

However if you want to consider a far, far more respected opinion, MJ's 1999 "Guide" gave this Porter 2.5 stars of 4 and called it "rich, creamy, faintly herbal that might be described better as a bottom-fermenting medium stout."
Reviewed in the "1001", Anchor Porter still deserves unquestionably to be on the list.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
1.98/5  rDev -51.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 1.5

Update 9/10/16 : I'm editing this review as the last 3 six packs I've had of Anchor have been extremely hit or miss. Deny my claims if you will, but certain bottles taste off, metallic, or even infected. I cannot place a finger on it. Some taste like straight coffee, others like straight fig, and some just taste like old rotten fruit drizzled in chocolate. I have tons of stand-bys, none of them have had this swing in quality. So it's not just my taste buds. Sorry anchor, you've gone from my favorite porter, to one of my least favorites. I never know what I'm gonna get when I pop that cap. 3.15 overall, sunk from 4.39. The Overall score is reduced considerably because it's a mystery in that bottle.


I contacted Anchor, they confirmed it was an infected batch. Popped my last three in a row. Tasted each one. Sour, smoked, gross. My whole six pack went down the drain. Just disgusting and sour. They sent me a shirt, pin, bottle opener, and sew-on patch for my troubles. No check for free beer though. Anyways, I won't be revisiting this one, ever, and may only choose to buy their Old Foghorn from now on. Sorry Anchor. I'm glad you took care of me but you still lost a customer for the most part. Regardless, still better than some beers even when

This review is from a decent one I had awhile back :

The pour is magnificent in the tall pilsner glass. Dark chocolate brown with no light escaping; the head is gigantic taking up most of the glass and providing a beautiful chocolate-beige shade. Each "top off" looks like a science experiment as the head forms bulbous and almost overflows. I love it.

Aromas of hot cocoa mix, coconut, Christmas-like aromas of warm fire; porterhouse steak aromas, dates, chocolate-black licorice. I wish it were louder but this is quite amazing as is.

And the flavor brings it around full swing. Oh my goodness. It's very bitter - but let me explain. It's got lots of coffee, smoked meats, peppermint, hot chocolate, with a distinct hop bitterness that stays throughout the taste pulling up acidity from the coffee notes to accentuate the bitterness. This is not for the light hearted. It is, however, for porter lovers and I'm gladly part of that circle.

Feel is super creamy, with a mild dazzle of carbonation underneath to keep it pumped. The finish dries and leaves a coating on the tongue.

Overall, while it's a sipper, it's not limited to that. It drinks easy but to really enjoy it you'll want to sip this slowly, preferably in front of a fire or around good conversation with family and friends. (Compared to other porters : Black Butte is more sessionable and easier drinking with a lighter mouthfeel; Founders has more chocolate flavor and less bitterness but less dispersion of flavors across the whole tongue; Mudpuppy Porter is a malt lovers heaven and continues to be my favorite, but still does not hold a candle to the complexity represented here...)

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Photo of headlessparrot
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours cola with a few-fingers of latte-foam head that recede to a finger but persist. Lots of lacing.

An interesting almost brown-bread or brown rice smell and flavour. Lots of bitter caramel, bitter chocolate. Quite hop-forward and herbal, doughy, yeasty. And yet it's also surprisingly drinkable, going down quickly and cleanly. Balanced, moderate body and carbonation. The whole affair is quite nice--I'm a fan, though I'm not sure we're in "world class" territory, here.

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Photo of brap
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I remember when Anchor Steam was probably my favorite domestic way back in the day, it was one of those revelation beers you try as a kid after endless cheapo lagers and say "Holy crap, beer can actually have some character and taste good.".

My tastes changed a bit but I can't believe I somehow managed to not have the Anchor Steam Porter until recently.

This was a great porter. Chocolate and fruti undertones and was a bit more bitter (in a good way) and had more complexity than other porters I've had recently, which really appealed to me. Will most definately drink again.

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Photo of 911CROFT
3.55/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

355ml bottle into a conical 2/3 pint glass. Paid £2.19 for a single bottle.

Pours an opaque, dark brown, almost black body, that when held to the light displays dark plum tinges against the edges of the glass. A one-finger in height, tan coloured, bubbly head reduces quickly to a patchy film, leaving thin streaks of modest lacing.

Dark roasted malts and lightly roasted coffee beans lead the relatively subtle nose. A small amount of woody hops become more noticeable in the background as the beer warms. Similar to the aroma, dry, dark malts lead the taste upfront, while touches of slightly sweeter toasted grain and vague dark fruits follow shortly after. Towards the middle, lightly roasted coffee enters, along with mildly bitter, herbal, earthy, and woody hops that last through to the finish. In the mouth, a light to medium body and excellent carbonation give an enjoyably slick and smooth feel, drying out just a little towards the end as dark roasted malts linger on the palate.

Overall this is a good but unremarkable beer, nicely balanced, easy drinking and reasonable value for money. Its mild flavour profile and general inoffensiveness probably make it an excellent accompaniment to a meal, but I can’t see myself picking up another bottle to drink again on its own. For this purpose, given the choice, I’d much prefer a Founders’ Porter.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a dark brown with ruby colored edges, creamy, fluffy, frothy, tan colored head, got lots of lacing, head dissipated into a mocha colored soapy film, great head retention, this looks really good.

A: Roasted malts, chocolate, some coffee, dark fruits, lot of aroma coming off this beer.

T: First impression, this is very drinkable and smooth, light on the palate, roasted malts, barley, hint of chocolate, slight coffee, dark fruits come through a little stronger than the aroma, hit of moderate bitterness in the middle, finishes dry with an aftertaste of coffee and chocolate, very tasty.

M: Medium to light bodied, doesn't really fall into either category, dry finish, very drinkable.

O: Very impressed, what a great tasting porter, very balanced, flavorful, light enough to have a few, a new go to cooler weather beer for me.

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Photo of PhillyB
4.11/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I tried this beer among others during New Year's Eve 2015-16.

Appearance: It's dark, the head is tan. What I expect from a porter. The head is a little bubbly, not quite as solid as I'd like. Still a fine looking beer.

Scent: Dark chocolate, bitter coffee. A slightly more bitter than typical porter in my opinion.

Taste: Dark chocolate, slightly over-strong dark roast coffee. The bitterness I got from the scent wasn't as prominent in drinking but is still there.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, but slightly chalky. Nowhere near enough to be off-putting, but something to consider.

Overall I liked this beer. It has a more complex profile than some other porters I've had, but that slight bitterness knocks it down a peg.

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Photo of SaltofOH
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle 5S8. Pokal (re-reviewed in DFH tulip).

Appearance: Pours a dark, opaque brown/black with ruby highlights at the edge. 2 fingers frothy tan head, retains well. No visible carb.

Smell: bittersweet chocolate coated sour cherries. Slight toasty sweetness. Hop presence and roasted barley are notable. Even the econd time around, it's really Michigan or Wisconsin dark tart cherries.

Taste: slightly off-sweet arrival, turns tart and kind of hoppy. Bitterness in the finish is all roast, not hop. Fruity sourness lingers.

Mouthfeel: more carbonated than the appearance lets on. Very smooth. Slightly slick.

Overall: nice porter, but a little sour/fruity and not very sweet to my taste. Would have again, very interesting, but not six pack worthy. I should note that the Anchor Winter Wheat had a similar fruit/roast combo that was really interesting, but not something I would want to have more than one of in a night.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown to black beer with a one finger high beigebrown, creamy head. The lacing stays on the glass in large chunks.

Nose: Dark fruit, chocolate, whipped cream, vanilla, coffee beans, roasted malt, dark bread and molasses.
Taste: Molasses. Very malty (roasted), cocoa, cold brew coffe, coffe grind, licorice and caramel.
Mouth: Creamy mouthfeel. Low carbonation. Sweet in the middle with a dry, bitter ending.

Beatiful porter!

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Photo of Phil-Fresh
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Malt aroma is reminiscent of molasses and coffee with mild estery fruity note.

A: Black color with a brown hue, pretty opaque with a moderately thick off-white head. The beer’s head provides ample lacing in the glass.

T: Malt flavors provide molasses, coffee, baked fruit with a slight malt sweetness. The beer finishes dry and has a light hop bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The beer is a little chewy and a slightly sticky.

O: Pretty solid porter; the beer’s malts provide interesting and complex aroma and flavors.

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Photo of beercam
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A rival of the most immaculate. One of the legendary Anchor's strongest productions. Also a clear (pardon the irony) inspiration of many flagship and sub-flagship beers of the most successful microbrews, and entire microbrew identities, of the modern age (2000-2015). A harbinger of tradition and respect for the brewing (and consumption!) process and movement.

L: Jet-black, rimmed with translucent hazelnut (in a standard 16 oz pint glass)
S: Tar. Cinder. Molasses.. Unspeakably vague, exotic, unique aromatics.
T: Woodstove-burnt applewood. Toffee. Coffee. Interactions with caramel and a rustic, smokey ash. A vague presence/sensation of eastern spices. A mellow, distant, distorted brown sugar.
F: A superbly fine robe of even, fuzzy carbonation, which plays extensively with the caramel taste.

Powerful and delicious. An exquisite beer. Liquid art? Maybe. Keep an eye out for one and decide for yourself!

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Photo of devo1980
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I can see why people love this beer. It is very unique. I was expecting a smoother pour and this beer had a lot of bite. For the IPA lover who rarely branches into Porters, this is the beer for you.
For me, I prefer my dark beers to be a bit more like Sam Smiths.

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

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter.

a: Black body with brown edges, like a dark rum, when held to the light. 1 1/2 finger beige head with sticky lacing.

s: Faint fresh coffee backed by molasses and malts. Undertones of currants.

t: Big, chewy malts up front carry with them coffee, figs,molasses. Hints of both unsweetened chocolate and burned toast show themselves before the bitter and herbal hop finish. Slightly astrigent after taste.

mf: Medium full body with medium carbonation. Chewy and a little sticky. Leaves a slight but pleasant sweetness on the lips. Super drinkable and satifying. Like a beer.

o: To think of all the times I passed by this favorite so I could tick something else...shame on me.

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Photo of janubio
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Black colour, off white head that last forever, great lace. Smell of dark fruits, chocolate, coffee, roasted malts. Medium body ( I miss some more here), good carbonation. Taste of chocolate, dark fruits, coffee, licorice, caramel.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Straight across the board with a easy "4.5". Sampled yesterday on 11/22/15. Comes in a 12-ounce bottle. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a 10 ounce snifter glass.

Brew pours a pitch-black in color with a good 1-2-finger creamy beige head. A decent amount of lacing is seen with each sip. Aroma is of roasted malts more the most part. Bit more going on with the taste as their is a very light hint of baker's licorice and hint of toffee. Very smooth with a very mild hop finish that isn't even a big deal. A very tasty Porter!

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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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Anchor Porter from Anchor Brewing Company
4.1 out of 5 based on 3,666 ratings.
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