Payback Porter
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Payback PorterPayback Porter
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Robust Porter
Ranked #21
Ranked #11,721
3.93 | pDev: 9.41%
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
California, United States
Very Good
Payback PorterPayback Porter
Notes: American hops provide a smooth distraction for Payback Porter’s robust strength, which is concealed within the shadows of dark imported malts. Brewed with English chocolate malts and rolled oats, this Robust Porter pours a deep chocolate brown and is rich in roasted malt aromas and coffee flavors. With notes of espresso, baker’s cocoa, and sweet, toasted maltiness, Payback finishes with a creamy mouthfeel.
Reviews: 94 | Ratings: 288 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GarrettB
3.14/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

July 28th, 2015 - The Payback Porter comes in a taster glass that looks like the outward end of a recorder, which affords me almost no opportunity to smell it. But the flavor is there, and quite awkward at first. It's brusque and sudden and a bit sharp with roasted notes, and offers a long aftertaste of chocolate milk. Mediocre, it's got some darkness and helps to signal the end of a long day of drinking beer.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This was poured into a pint glass. The appearance was a dark brown color with a one finger off white to tan head that held around for a good minute and a half before gently dissipating. Subtle sticky lacing slides into the beer. The smell takes roasty coffee beans subtly blending with a light licorice/star anise sort of spicy sweetness. The taste was mildly sweet with an adequate back up by the spice of the licorice/star anise. Mildly sweet to spicy licorice aftertaste runs into the finish. On the palate, this one sat about a light to medium on the body with a sly sessionable sweet creamy feel moves in a nice wet feel on my tongue, almost slick. Overall, an American Porter with an almost slick sort of wet feel, hey, I like it. Feels great, I’d have this again.

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Photo of nick_perry
3.79/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Almost a reddish hue to the color, especially in the head. Surprisingly hoppy for a porter, which affords a nice balance with the malts and an overall unexpected complexity. Thick & creamy mouthfeel.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Deep and robust dark brown color, 1/2" lesser brown head. Aroma went with chocolate, coffee, hop bitterness, roast, i was impressed.

Taste was a very hoppy porter. This went in the Sierra Nevada and Deschutes hoppy porter tradition. The malt was far from insubstantial. The bomber format makes it unnecessarily more expensive than had they put it in 4 or 6 packs, but I dunno, I guess if you can get that $ why not from their perspective. Respectable beer for sure.

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Photo of hman43
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: It pours dark brown, almost black, with a moderately brown head that does have a bit of lacing.

Smell: It has aromas of chocolate, dark fruits, coffee, and citrus.

Taste: There are sweet flavors from the beginning from the chocolate. There are also flavors of coffee, citrus, plums, and toast.

Feel: It has a moderate feel that is smooth and creamy. It finishes moderately bitter.

Overall this is a chocolate ale from the initial flavors that turns into a complex blend of malts and hops that is easy to drink.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This pours a cola coffee with cocoa foam. There's a decent roasty note on it, followed by a hint of cocoa nibs. The flavor has a roasty bite. Lots of chocolate and coffee, with just the right amount of heft.

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Photo of Bunman3
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Damn. I'm not sure why I was hesitant about this brewery, but I'm glad I put in my big boy undies. This is a rich and balanced coffee Porter - dark roast, chocolate and overall tasty smoothness prevail. I really enjoy the coffee exclamation point as it disappears down your throat. Wonderful!

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Photo of smcolw
4.11/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep brown color. Light only passes on the very edge of the glass. Extensive lace on the glass from the modest beige head.

Dark, Baker's chocolate is the initial aroma. I then pick up vanilla and light chalk.

Interesting beginning of milk chocolate which transforms into darker and more bitter chocolate as the taste continues. There's also a distinctly hop bitterness in the swallow. It hits all the right notes and yet remains wonderfully complex. The body and carbonation are quite normal for the style.

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Photo of JackieKu
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.

A: Opaque deep brown. Poured 2 fingers high of head but sank soon.
S: Medium roasted coffee aroma. Slightly citrus. Slightly cocoa.
T: Intense roasted flavor. Coffee, nuts, and coconut. Dry. Moderate bitterness. Long and citrus finish.
M: Medium high body. Medium high carbonation.
O: Nice roasted characters, strong but not overdo.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a pint glass.

A: Black in color with a billowing light brown head that forms from cascading bubbles. Retention is awesome. Webby and chunky lacing. Looks great.

S: Malted milk balls, caramel, bakers chocolate, Coffee grounds, and woody roast. Earthy hops balance nicely and bring whiffs of earthy pine and bark.

T: Roasted flavors hit harder than the nose suggested. Ashy and woody roast opens things. Bitter dark chocolate, black coffee, char. Bakers chocolate. Earthy and piney hops balance. Earthy hops and roasty char on the long finish.

M: Medium-thick body. Rolled oats lend a full, silky, and sexy mouthfeel. The weight of it presses gently into the tongue. Carbonation has a sharp tingle around the tongue.

O: A great Porter all around. Classic American Porter flavors and aromas, but the body is where it really shines. Oats are used to their full potential there. This was a very easy bomber for me to put down.

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Photo of Beertsipper
4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown color with a small light brown head that dissipates quickly. The nose is chocolate and nuts, like walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts. Faint coffee and roasted malt as well. Taste is mixed nuts, cocoa, some chocolate that did not live up to the smell. a faint hop presence on the finish. Overall, this is my favorite offering from Speakeasy. I would definitely buy again.

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Photo of TruePerception
3.42/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Speakeasy's Payback Porter. 7.5% ABV.

A: A little over a finger of chocolate milk colored head. Black in the glass; very dark brown in the dimple. Thin lacing. Decent sheeting.

S: Roasted coffee, with a touch of dark cocoa. Slight char note.

T/MF: Taste is more of the same, with the coffee coming forward even more. Slightly more char in the mouth.

It's alright. Nothing special.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

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Photo of Urk1127
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark oily black. Dark tan head.
Smell is chocolate, sugar, slight coffee, cream. Taste is the same. Very very smooty, slick feel. A good beer. Would buy again.

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Photo of preago
4.16/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Pretty robust, lots of dark roast coffee & chocolate, the chinook hops really stand out at the end. $5 bomber makes for a great value...doesn't stare back at you.

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Photo of FLima
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Deepest black color blocking light with a thick caramel head with good retention and leaving laces.
Nice and bold aroma with notes of cocoa and coffee.
Flavor with notes of espresso coffee, dark fruits, licorice, oatmeal, mild pecan, roasted malts, chocolate cake, some smoke and a citrus hint. Dry and bitter aftertaste with a long lasting roasted note.
Full body with appropriate carbonation. Very smooth and creamy. Alcohol of 7.5% is simply not there.
Excellent Porter, though it felt to me like a bold stout. Very flavorful.

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Photo of seedyone
2.5/5  rDev -36.4%

12/19/13 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Not very impressed. More aroma than flavor. Not much body but experience dictates that can be the nature of porters. With all the choices in front of me this doesn't make the cut.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Having been watching House of Cards of late, this brewery's period piece labels resonate all the more with me, even despite the obvious temporal incongruity.

This beer pours a solid abyssal black, with slight basal cherry cola highlights, and a teeming tower of puffy, rocky, shiny, and tightly foamy beige head, which leaves some random splattered and streaky lace around the glass as it duly recedes.

It smells of gritty roasted pale and caramel malt, wet ash, bitter day-old coffee grounds, bittersweet chocolate, reduced brown sugar, besotted raisins, and a soft metallic booze warming. The taste is more cocoa-heavy up front, the toasted malt ceding the driver's seat early on here, as that ashy character from the nose slowly wafts off, the coffee staying put in yesterday's news, a bit of black licorice rising up, and some vegetal hop notes combining with an edgy alcohol warmth to round things out.

The carbonation is fairly average, just a trilling frothiness for the most part, the body a sturdy medium weight, and perhaps a tad pithy in its otherwise agreeable smoothness. It finishes off-dry, the cocoa and neutered caramel malt still holding tough, the anise flavours niggly in their persistence, and that vegetal hoppiness starting to gnaw at my thus far forgiving good graces.

A pleasant enough new-world porter, overall, though the Americanisms here are limited to a certain cutting of corners sentiment - the hops just seem so plain and even off-putting, but not really to any large degree. Anyways, the other prominent flavours surely make up for it - the chocolate, coffee, and toasted malt providing adequate roughage to dissuade this drinker of any notion of that dreaded misinterpretation of English heritage.

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Photo of arizcards
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a bomber from BevMo in early November for $4.99. No bottling date.

Beer pouted cola brown with a decent tan head that dissipated quickly.

Nose is light roast and some cocoa.

Taste is roasted malts, dark cocoa, hints of dark fruits. There is enough hopping to balance out the sweetness.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied and not overly smooth.

Overall this is a pretty tasty brew that has some good and average characteristics. Give it a shot as it is reasonably priced.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.94/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

To start the color is a deep rusty ruby copper as one peers through it but in general looks brown. A medium to small head formed. It was beige with dense bubbles leaving spotty lacing around the glass. The head maintain throughout my drinking experience.

In the nose there was a roasted malt scent with subtle nuiances of chocolate and coffee. Also, one could smell molasses or dark fruits at the very end.

Roasted malts were the dominate flavor on the palate and quite nearly burnt. I like that.
Like in the nose coffee and chocolate were quite subtle and enhanced the roasted malts.
Label suggests that I might taste some bright hops, well guess what, I didn't. You could taste a low level of hops but at this level why advertise it.

The feel across my palate was smooth and velvetty but also with a fair amount of charcoal ash.

This beer is very easy to drink and has a nice flavor from the roasted malts.
Speakeasy makes some good beers.

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Photo of Celtics17
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a solid porter, and it played well with a lot of milk chocolate notes.

Appearance: Thick brown, almost opaque unless you look at how it pours. Head is light tan just about a one finger's length with a hard vigorous pour.

Smell: Chocolate scent, comes off slightly roasted with hints of espresso.

Taste: This porter has a lot of stout feels in the mouthfeel. Slight coffee, but not a lot coming through. This porter has slight Smokey flavoring, but this porter is full of chocolate notes.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on-tap in a pint glass at Special Brews in Lynnwood, WA.

Appearance: nearly black hue with a thick head of frothy tan foam. Head dissipated slowly leaving a nice lace on the glass; quite attractive.

Smell: very light malty aroma with a little caramel character. Almost too light, really.

Taste: kind of on the rough side; coffee and roasted malts along with some vegetal hops and a fair amount of astringency. Not bad, but a little rough.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a nice, well-integrated carbonation. Quite creamy, which is an interesting juxtaposition to the rough-and-ready flavor. I like it.

Overall: being on the rough side affects drinkability. This isn't a bad beer, but it just isn't my speed.

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Photo of corby112
4.19/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark chestnut brown color that appears pitch black and opaque in the glass with a two finger tan head that slowly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Very good retention with rings and streaks of soapy lacing left behind.

Robust aroma with a nice balance of roasted dark malt and earthy, resinous hops. Slightly smokey with hints of burnt toast, oatmeal, espresso bean and dark chocolate countered by sweeter malt notes and dank grassy, piny hops. I'm really surprised how well balanced the nose is with a very inviting floral hop bouquet. I wish that more black IPAs/Cascadian dark ales smelled like this.

Full bodied with an earthy, resinous hop bite up front that provides some dry bitterness that lingers over the complex malt bill into a dry finish. Dry and sticky with grassy pine, dank buds and spruce tip but the hop flavors aren't overpowering with plenty of roasted and sweet dark malts coming through. Subtle smoke character with hints of burnt toast, oatmeal, bittersweet dark chocolate and gourmet coffee with caramel and dessert-like chocolate cake sweetness balancing things out in the finish. I usually do not like darker beers, especially stouts and porters, to have any hop character but I really enjoyed those flavors in this beer. Great balance with interesting flavors bouncing off of each other and the ABV is excellently masked making this beer very easy to drink. This beer was a pleasant surprise and ill definitely be buying more bottles, especially at $6 a bomber.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, milk chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, coffee, toast, caramel, toffee, floral, light char, light nuttiness, light pine, and roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great complexity and balance of roasted malt notes with a fair amount of hop presence; and good strength. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, milk chocolate, roasted malt, toast, toffee, caramel, coffee, light char, light nuttiness, floral, light pine, and roasted earthiness. Slight coffee bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, toast, caramel, toffee, coffee, light char, floral, light pine, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance, complexity, and robustness of roasted and dark malt flavors; with a light amount of hop balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very creamy, smooth, and slightly chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a really excellent porter style. Great robustness and balance of roasted flavors; and very smooth to sip on. Really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint.

Appearance: Thick brown, almost opaque unless you look at how it pours. Head is light tan just about a one finger's length with a hard vigorous pour.

Smell: Heavy dark chocolate scent, comes off slightly roasted with hints of espresso. Has a bbq feel to the scent makes you want to eat the beer.

Taste: This is defintely your after dinner porter....I don't think I would have it all night long because of the heavy smoked bbq feel, complimented with a coffee and chocolate combo that is surreal.

Mouth: Medium body with nice even texture. Stickiness is well above average.

Overall: Straight up good beer, perfectly paired with steak and potatos. You can do whatever you want to do with it but best way I can explain it's complex taste is a rauch meetsyour traditional porter. A glass is all you need. Salud!

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Photo of flydudehsv
5/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bomber from bevmo. Pours a dark brown color with a good inch of thick cappuccino like head. Pleasant aroma of roast malt, coffee and cocoa powder. The taste kicks off with a strong roasted malt flavor backed by citrusy hops and bittersweet chocolate. Also some light roast coffee and orange peel in the mix. There’s a surprisingly strong citrus presence that nearly overpowers the dark, roasty flavors. The alcohol is also much more subtle than I was expecting. Definitely not your run-of-the-mill Porter.

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Payback Porter from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 288 ratings