Benchwarmer Porter | Cooperstown Brewing Company

very good
207 Ratings

Brewed by:
Cooperstown Brewing Company
New York, United States

Style: English Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by OldFrothingSlosh on 09-24-2001

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 207 |  Reviews: 134
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with basically no head. Nose is like roasted qualities. Flavor is roasted and just an old coffee bean kinda flavor profile. Feel is standard. Just feels a touch light. Lots of carbonation. Overall this is an odd porter. I can't really put it up against others I have had as far as similarities go. The body seems lighter for a porter. Overall though it is pretty drinkable. I would just never go back to it.

 426 characters

Photo of Jp7010
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Went to the brewery as part of a Cooperstown Beverage Trail run with some family. On the way out, picked up a mixed 12-pack of all of Cooperstown's offerings.

Served in a nonic, as with all my brews. Poured out coffee brown with a half inch of light tan foam. The aroma was everything you'd expect from a porter, roasted coffee. The taste was sweeter than I was expecting, leaving only a light bitter aftertaste. It went down smooth, with a light fizz. All in all, I was surprised. After so much diacetyl in all of their lighter beers, I wasn't expecting such a good porter.

 575 characters

Photo of williamherbert
4.3/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The look is glassy dark brown, almost purple in the darkest spot. Large cardboard brown head. Some light comes through at the edges. Big milky swath of film/lace.

Smell is coffee with just a bit of mustiness. Some sweet, dark caramel. Hint of bitter dark chocolate. Malt is only lightly roasted. Nice dry, bitter character to the aroma.

The taste is a bitter coffee blast to start off. Second flavor is sweeter, though the bitter aftertaste remains. It's a really nice balance. Roasted and also smoky.

The feel is extremely dry, with a bitter afterbite and film. A tad milky even. Hefty, and not at all watery. This is a smooth-sipping beer. A nice, sturdy porter. Really really enjoyable.

 692 characters

Photo of TheTrevor
3.33/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark brown with reddish purplish highlights and a two-finger tan head. The smell is a is a little malty with subtle coffee hints. The taste is very distinctive of a porter, with some coffee and chocolate hints and large amount of roasted maltiness. This is a very drinkable porter, and a nice one to reach for if you're looking for something a little less intense that's still a porter.

 405 characters

Photo of iceball585
3.97/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark black, non-transparent, one finger thick lacy head that lowered to a thin cover, a little sediment floating throughout

S- Dark chocolate, creamy, vanilla, dark malts

T- Caramel, dark chocolate, vanilla, creamy, roasted coffee beans, malts, a bit bitter

M- Medium body, medium/heavy carbonation, smooth but slightly fizzy

D- Decent session beer

This beer has great flavors but is slightly too carbonated. It almost gets a little fizzy near the end.

 460 characters

Photo of funkengruven
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beauty poured a nice dark brown, almost black, with a frothy tan head, leaving lots of lacing. Smell is quite nice, roasted malts and coffee aromas in there. These are very apparent in the flavor as well, coffee and roasted malts, going down nice and thick. Very tasty, really smooth, easy to drink. This is a really good example of what a porter should be like, I really like this beer.

 392 characters

Photo of RocPorterFanatic
4.23/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Benchwarmer has a very dark appearance, more so than most of the other porters I've tried, and there have been numerous. The most distinguishable feature I notice is the pungent coffee flavor. Not overpowering but very prevalent. It makes this beer unique and the reason its constantly in my collection. It does seem to be very foamy, but still not in a bad way. It adds to its character. It has a bit of a bitter start, but has very sweet undertones and finishes so. This is a great beer for a fall day. I will definitely be partaking in more.

 544 characters

Photo of kmpitz2
2.74/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle. This pours a ruby hued brown color with a 3 finger light tan head over top that falls to a full coat over top. Clarity is very good and there is little to no carbonation. The aroma is lightly caramel sweet and moderately nutty, but over-run with diacetyl butteryness that borders on offensive to me. I recall that they use ringwood years here, so this is not a big surprise. The flavor is a little better. There is a solid roasted character that moves to a more mild sweet caramel and finishes with a mild earthy hop and bitter. This is much better than the aroma. Mouthfeel is moderate with a moderate carbonation. I am really not able to move past the aroma on this one. It just rubs me wrong to have that much diacetly. It is nice that the roast malt helps to cover this in the flavor, but it doesn't save this one for me.

 839 characters

Photo of SixpointJMH
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark brown colour that approaches black. Head is of the thick creamy tan variety with a fair amount of retention time and stickiness to it.

The aroma is a mix of rugged malt, some chocolate, a bit of nut and a touch of coffee.

Flavour is more of the same: There's a nice balance here between chocolate sweetness, rugged roasted malt and the harshness of the coffee, although the latter is the least noticeable of the three, mostly toward the finish of each sip. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and right about where it should be for a porter.

I liked this one. Probably one of the better Cooperstown brews. It's simple and it gets the style right. No complaints here, and one I'd be happy to have again.

 714 characters

Photo of Durge
3.94/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark root beer color with a modest and fizzy head but decent lacing. The aroma is a nutty sweet coffee blend that is pretty alluring. The taste brings out charcoal and chocolate but has a strong sour mash background. It is fairly acqueous and very fizzy but drinkable enough. The sour quality gets kind of prominent during the first half but mellows by the second half so it grows on you as it warms and sits a little bit. I liked it and would definitely welcome this at future sittings. Pretty refreshing for a porter, too.

 526 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark bronze with orange highlights on the coaster... bloody crimson when backlit. The light brown sugar colored cap is a thing of beauty and tells me that Cooperstown knows how to brew. It's milkshake-like and has all sorts of geographical features that look good immediately after the pour and even better over time. An inherent stickiness leads to quite a bit of glass coverage.

The nose smells like cocoa butter or maybe chocolate-covered butterscotch candies. That's no surprise since the ingredients include chocolate malt and Ringwood yeast. I don't like to see Ringwood used in all styles, and I don't like when it overpowers the rest of the aromas and flavors, but it works out well here.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work out quite as well on the taste buds. This would be better beer (yes, in my opinion) if it was more dark malty, less hoppy and less Ringwood yeasty. It's an interesting take on the English porter style, I'm just not sure it's a classically accurate one.

At least as prominent as chocolate-cocoa is tangy fruit reminiscent of Granny Smith apples and lemon peel. I don't mind a little sourness in my porters, but Benchwarmer puts its toe over the line. A little more malty sweetness is sorely needed. Although the Ringwood butteriness clashes just a bit, I wouldn't remove it entirely.

In spite of how the previous paragraph reads, this is actually pretty good beer that simply needs a few tweaks and a flavor focus. A little viscosity should be a given in a 6.3% porter. That said, the mouthfeel comes in on the lighter end of acceptable. The carbonation is busy without being hectic.

After the pour and the sniff test, I was all set for a full, rich, malty, buttery porter. What I got was something less than that, but I'm not too disappointed. I look forward to seeing what else Cooperstown brings to the plate. Bigger wood, I hope. Thanks BeerTruth.

 1,894 characters

Photo of cbreitro
4.02/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I tried the Benchwarmer Porter at the Cooperstown Brewery (where I recommend taking the tour). I do not usually go out of my way for porters, but I liked this one.
The beer was quite dark, but not as dark as some. Kind of a reddish brown. The smell was very pleasant, a bit nutty and plenty malty. I enjoyed the taste very much. It is not as sweet as some porters, and had a nice earthy aftertastes.
Drinkable, but I would not sit down for a long session just with the Benchwarmer.

 484 characters

Photo of jamie2dope
3.76/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hadn't had this brew in a long time, and for some reason I was just in one of those porter moods. Poured into an Old Rasputin mini pint glass a a dark brown, with shreds of light pulling through. A nice white head sat on top with good retention. Sort of musty in the smell, but with a little spin some fruit aromas came through...roasted apples come to mind. Taste had a lot of coffee molasses going on. The overall character of the beer was roasty, with charred smoke. Mouthfeel was probably my favorite part of this brew in that it is pretty well carbonated. It gives the beer a bitter ending, while also giving it a crisp and refreshing personality. I will have no problems polishing off the six pack of this beer. It is nice to see a porter with some character. Most of the examples I have had lately have been a bit on the boring side. Now if only I could find some of their stout.

 886 characters

Photo of jbsteiny
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

At first I wasn't sure whether the gi-normous head on this was a fluke, but I now see it's in accord with all of the other reviewers. Tan & very sticky, I could hear it sizzle as the bubbles burst. It settled down to a manageable size and left inner-tubes of foam on the inside of the glass -- wow! The beer itself is a dark, nearly opaque brown with rosewood highlights.

It had been out of the fridge for a little while before I poured it, so this may have enhanced it, but I got all kinds of aromas out of this, not all of which I could identify -- dark chocolate for sure, burnt coffee, cream, brown sugar, berries, grassy hops. Very nice. The taste was similarly complex; depending on what you focused on, each sip could be different. Very much the English style malts -- I've only tried this and the Slugger, but this is has got to be the most English-style American brewery I know!

A perfect mouthfeel for an English porter -- the roasted malts fill the mouth with a good body and coat everything with sweets, but the relentless fine carbonation and the delicate hop finish keeps it from weighing you down. That said, this is more of a nightcap than a session beer, but I'm going to get a six to have on hand, asap.

By the way, I guess this is my 100th review -- thanks BA for changing the way I taste things and for vastly increasing my understanding of all things brewed! Long live yeast cultures!

 1,414 characters

Photo of alexskovan
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep clear brown with a big sturdy tan head. Aroma of dark chocolate and toasted nuts. Taste of crystal malt and chocolate, with a good bit of hop bitterness. This is a sturdy porter, with a lot of flavor. A sipping brew, and probably not what you would want on a hot day.

Solid and warming. A nice porter.

 319 characters

Photo of JohnnyM2002
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 12 oz bottle, poured into a chalice at 50 degrees. Picked up in a trade from tempest - thanks!

A - Super-aggressive, tan head exploded into the chalice, taking it's good old time to simmer down to a beige lacing that left its sticky remains along the glass. Deep brown color with a faint hint of red towards the bottom.

S - A little difficult to obtain a good whiff, but picked up some smokey, roasted scents. Not really sure why aroma was masked...maybe a little too aged?

T - All worries of over-cellaring dissipated as a roasted coffee/caramel flowed from the glass. Much more caramel than I was expecting, as it represented the frontrunner to the complex tastes that followed.

It took awhile to absorb all this porter had to offer, as I observed many flavors. At first, it tastes almost stale, but then a mix of dry malt and roasted coffee enhance the flavors. Then a hoppy bitterness breaks into the scene, until it is finally finished off with a creamy chocolate. A warming alcohol sensation lasts for a little while, rounding out the many flavors. At first, I wasn't too sure, but I ended up thoroughly enjoying this wasn't until I was about halfway through it that I fully appreciated all of the tastes and flavor combinations.

M - Medium, bubbly body with a very creamy finish. Nice warming sensation followed.

D - I'm very glad I hid this one for a few months...I was looking for a good nightcap and it definitely fit. This is one that I wouldn't have appreciated anywhere near as much if I had it last year (or even a few months ago). I'd definitely include this in a style sampling.

 1,638 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A serviceable porter. Black with tons of foam that was a delight on the palate. Nearly burnt coffee ground tarish aroma, sounds worse than it was. Average taste with significant burnt coffee bitter sediment, perhaps as it approached March expiration.

 250 characters

Photo of MmmIPA
3.05/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Real thick head and almost black body and some nice retention.
Mabey dark fruit and some nuts in the smell.The taste is smokey and quite pleasent with some nut taste.The lacing looks nice on my glass.This isnt as cloying as some porters ive had and they got me sick.I think I taste chocolate in there,its very tasty.This almost reminds me of a stout.I like how it goes down smooth and isnt gagging and very pleasnt on the carbonation.I could drink a couple of these.My taste for stouts is growing as it is for porters.Thanks to my boss for this beer.


 565 characters

Photo of EvilKeith
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Benchwarmer Porter poured into the glass with unexpectedly good clarity and a smoky brown color with ruby highlights. The head was creamy and dense tan foam. The lace was a thick and sticky coating around the glass.
The smell was somewhat smokey with caramel and faint hints of dark roasted coffee beans. The taste was smokey and roasted with sweet caramel malts playing off of the coffee-like and grassy hop bitterness, nicely balanced.
The body was medium-light with a crisp moderately active carbonation leading to a crisp mouthfeel.
Initially the clarity and lighter than expected body threw me off, but this is a solid example of an English Porter. This could easily be used as a session beer.

 705 characters

Photo of rarevos
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass.

A: Pours a deep brown with ruby highlights, two fingers of light tan, creamy head to fill the glass. Terrific staying power, loads of sticky trails.

S: Roasted grain aroma up front, hint of coffee and a touch of cocoa.

T/M: Roastiness up front with a bit of bitterness already. Bit of coffee and chocolate, nicely bitter finish with a long, burned tail. A bit high in carbonation, but otherwise spot-on here. Full-flavored beer.

D: This is a pretty fine beer. Not of the "watery porter" variety. Nice balanced flavors and a good bitterness to round it out. I'll be going back to this one for sure. My new favorite from this place. Well done.

 681 characters

Photo of smcolw
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Extraordinary beige head. Lots of sticky lace. Dark mahogany brown color. Closer to a stout in color.

Strong caramel aroma--like melted brown sugar--quite sweet.

Some black patent malt in the flavor. Lots of dark chocolate notes. A touch of coffee. The bitterness comes mostly from the coffee flavors but there's a touch of hop as well. Exceptionally full flavored taste. Great body with high carbonation.

An exceptional porter, particularly on the taste.

 464 characters

Photo of RonfromJersey
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown body topped by a fairly massive and creamy tan head.

Inviting aroma, heavy on the chocolate, a bit lighter on the coffee.

Sweet chocolatey taste upfront, and with a strong dash of hops, some nicely bitter coffee in the finish.

Good "porterish" mouthfeel - thinner than a stout, thicker than a bitter.

Very good drinkability.I could have a couple more of these tonight.

Another solid offering from a too often overlooked brewery.

 454 characters

Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a 12 oz bottle of Benchwarmer Porter, purchased at the brewery following Belgium Comes to Cooperstow 2006. I am drinking the beer from an Ommegang Witte glass and it is served cold.

Appearance: The ale is a deep black color with ruby hints at the sides. There is a small cappucino colored head that laces well.

Smell: The ale has a slight roasted malt nose.

Taste: The roasted malt notes here are fantastic. They provide a hint of chocolate and a lush full flavor that finishes long. This beer has broken the ringwood curse at CBC and tastes quite good.

Mouthfeel: The roasted chocolate notes and hint of sourness are a very pleasant combination.

Drinkability: My last review crowned Back Yard IPA as the best from CBC. This beer takes that title hands down. The flavors are full and unambiguous, giving the beer a real body. This is hereby crowned the best beer at CBC.

 893 characters

Photo of Crosling
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draught @ Spuyten Duyvil, Brooklyn. Ruby brown color. Hints of raisins and black currant, with a very light coffee aspect, chocolate and milky cream in the nose. Very low aroma hops. Flavor is malt accented, fruity, with dried chocolate and hints of grapes perhaps. Not a lot of hops at all. True to style and traditional.

 322 characters

Photo of bjohnson
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep dark brown with slight hues of red at the top and bottom. Frothy white head with not much retention. Good lace.
S: Smokey wheat and burnt coffee malt aromas hit the nose strong. Very fresh smelling. Slightly sweet also.
T/M: Smokey and dry coffee flavors up front with a smei sweet hop profile also. Milky smooth initial mouthfeel that follows up an extra dryness. The dryness lingers in the mouth for awhile and takes on a slight bitterness. Smokeyness stays in the mouth and just parks itself. Good level of carbonation at first. The character of this beer enhances as it warms.
D: Good drinkability on this offering from Cooperstown. I like this porter as its quite smooth and refreshing with a good abv. Definately a recommended one if you can find it.

 775 characters

Benchwarmer Porter from Cooperstown Brewing Company
3.76 out of 5 based on 207 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.