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Pig Iron Porter | Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

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very good
69 Reviews
no score
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Brewed by:
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A classic porter, dark and full of roasted malt flavor. Chocolate notes are well balanced by a slight bitterness.

37 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-20-2002

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Reviews: 69 | Ratings: 193
Photo of garuda
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap, dispensed into a pint glass, dark ruby brown, almost black with a finger thick, creamy, off-white head with good retention and some lacing. Smell is a little faint, but is mostly roasted malts, and maybe some coffee. Mouthfeel is pleasant with a medium to full body, and low carbonation. Very smooth across the palate with just a hint of hops in the finish. Lots of roasted/ sweeter malts, dark chocolate, and some coffee in the taste. Overall a beer thats true to style, nothing special, but delightful to drink on a cold night.

 541 characters

Photo of bgildea
4.67/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Great looking dark beer, with slight brownish head.

S: Smell great, nice dark roast smell.

T: AMAZING, perfect balance. Great dark beer with hints of coffee, nuts, and a tasty finish.

M: Great hearty feel in the mouth, but lighter than you might expect.

D: Extremely drinkable, I could drink this beer all night... and I have.

Overall: Best beer that Iron Hill serves on a regular basis. Best microbrew porter I've ever had. This beer keeps me going back to Iron Hill whenever I'm in Media.

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Photo of prodgerm
3.3/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Good basic porter had both regular tap and cask conditioned. Rich color with low carbonation, especially the cask condition. Both a bit thin bodied. Roasted smell and flavor comes through but not over powering. The 5% alcohol makes this a good session beer. (Also had Baltic Porter see review)

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Photo of lionking
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft in Newark, DE.

Draft beer in the glass with a suprisingly weak half finger head. Nice pitch black body.

Smell and taste are of chocalate and roasted malt.

Mouthfeel was a little lighter than I was expecting given the appearance and smell. As for drinkability, i would rate it favorably. A little higher alochol content than what you taste when you drink it.

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

A: Poured a flat black in the glass with a 2 finger sandstone/tan colored head that was creamy and well lasting while leaving a thick, sticky full sheet coating.

S: The nose was lighter then expected with soft roasted barley, black coffee with a light presence of burnt pine woodiness.

T: The flavor was bittering with dark roasted malt, black coffee with hints of dried creamer. A very earthy minerality (wet charred wood) with a exceptionally smooth roasted bitterness that is quick off the tongue. The finishing fade finds a bitterness of freshly brewed black coffee.

M: silky smooth, with a good amount of carbonation giving this a fine tuned texture and a good lively tingle on the tip of the tongue.

D: good with a smooth roasted bitterness that never overwhelms making this a silky smooth downer. Good drink, good enjoyment and growler approved.

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Photo of ffejherb
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On cask at Iron Hill Lancaster on 10/16/09.

A - Deep brown body with ruby highlights and one-finger creamy tan head that retained quite well and produced thick, foamy lace that slowly slid down the sides of the glass.

S - Subtle roasty aroma with hints of chocolate/cocoa, coffee and toasted nuts. Slight lactic notes (similar to those that would appear in a milk stout) are also present. Aroma is rather muted overall.

T - Roasty and dry flavor with sweet lactic notes and hints of chocolate and coffee. Some nutty astringent notes emerge in the middle and extend into the backend. While hop bitterness and sweetness are minimal, there is plenty of roasty malt character. Finishes with just a touch of leafy, earthy bitterness.

M - Medium bodied with a smooth, fairly robust mouthfeel, though just a tad watery due to the cask conditioning. Finish is dry with light bitterness on the palate.

D - Very drinkable cask conditioned porter. While I found this to be a bit light on the aroma, Pig Iron has lots of dry, roasty flavor that struck me as a cross between a dry Irish stout and a milk stout.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On nitro-tap, served in a pint

Arrived at my seat a near pitch black in the center with ruby red highlights throughout. A creamy tan head sits like a dollop of cream and never truly recedes. Scattered lines of lace.

Deep roasted malt and bittersweet chocolate dominate the nose. Really not much else going on, but that's ok in my book.

The flavor really opens up a bit as it warms. Dark fruits (raisins and cherries), pine, dark chocolate, and some licorice. Roasted malts are the dominant force, but the rest of the flavors poke in and out.

The nitro makes this super creamy and thick. A really soft carbonation lets this guy shine.

There are some borderline robust flavors with a good amount of thickness that prevent this from being super drinkable. With that said, I could easily have a couple of these in a sitting, but not a porter for all night consumption.

 869 characters

Photo of mempath
4.8/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

had a sample while waiting for my pint of something else.

wow. dark, coffee black-hole color...smells of nuts...has a nice roasty, nutty flavor. maybe the best porter i've had. maybe i got lucky.

thick mouthfeel, but not in a chewy sense. which makes the flavor spread evenly with the low carbonation held at bay.

very drinkable. challenging and not bitter in the least. what a balance. glad i live 1.2 miles away!

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Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a dark, but translucent brown color and a modest head that leaves a few splashes of foam against the pint glass

Smell: Fudgy chocolate with hints of berry fruit

Taste: Rich chocolate flavor, up front, with a burgeoning raspberry fruit flavor arriving by mid-palate, along with a touch of bitterness; after the swallow, the chocolate returns to the forefront but the raspberry re-appears in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A supurb porter - love the fruity character and thick body

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very dark brown body with just a hint of ruby hues around the edges. Small, tan head that leaves a bit of lacing behind. Decent retention.

A bit of malty sweetness, some coffee and a bitter roasted aroma.

Up front a pretty strong coffee flavor comes through, followed by some malty sweetness that reminds me of toffee and molasses. The finish has a touch more coffee, some bitterness, and a good roasted flavor. Coffee and roast flavors stay with you in the aftertaste with just a hint of sweetness. This Is a great tasting porter.

Mouthfeel is between medium and full for the style with moderate carbonation; very well done.

Goo drinakability for sure. This is a great porter.

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Photo of akorsak
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on cask with coffee infused at the Lancaster brewpub.

A: The porter is a mahogany red color, full enough to be brown/black. The hand-pulled brew has the cascading head that is rather stunning while it lasts.

S: The nose is mostly coffee with light chocolate below the surface. The coffee is not in-your-face, just generally present throughout.

T: The coffee isn't as dominant as you'd expect. This isn't a coffee bomb, rather it is the porter with a nice twist. Coffee is mild, with a full flavor that doesn't overtake the porter. The handpull has created a smooth, creamy body that seems best for the pig iron (I am not a fan generally). Porter flavors are chocolatey with a toasted finish.

M: The mouthfeel is smooth, aided immensely by the cask conditioning. Coffee isn't the dominant aspect, willing to share the spotlight with the porter.

D: A decent ale, not quite like the imperial coffee of a few months back, but drinkable enough.

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Photo of TheFightfan1
3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

So many to try here. I ended up getting a 16oz glass. Poured a cloudy brown color with a caramel heading. Smell was very faint nice easy smell of dark malts. Taste of chocolate and a nice blend of malts nothing too crazy but an excellent brew for a brewpub.

 257 characters

Photo of rawhydes1
3.46/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Characteristic dark-brown. No head when it arrived at my table, so, cannot evaluate.

Mild smokiness to the nose.

Average complexity of flavor for this porter. Subtle molasses, coffee, malt, and smoke flavorings.

Goes down VERY EASY. Maybe a good choice for a session, for the porter drinker. Very drinkable.

Overally, a moderately flavorful, very drinkable porter.

 368 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

How I Amuse Myself, Third Iteration.

Now what? Let me guess. Handpump, right? You know, you can be a real pest, Woody! Hmmm. I've heard that somewhere.

This was such a rare opportunity (to have one beer three different ways) that I could not pass it up. It was presented with easily two fingers' worth of thick, foamy, deep-tan head with excellent retention. For a cask beer, I do not know if it was her expertise in pouring (pulling, actually) or Paul's brilliance as a brewer, but this was fantastic! The color became darker and denser with each pour. On this one, I noted some ruby highlights at the bottom of the glass, along the rim, but otherwise it was straight out of The Creature From the Black Lagoon. Even the white bits were black. The nose was MUCH more muted. It was slightly malty, but beyond that, it was anyone's guess. Here, the mouthfeel was medium-to (dare I say it about a cask beer?) thick with a much smokier taste than I had experienced on the previous two pours. The finish continued with a lightly smoky flavor. IMHO, this was the best of the lot, although none of the different pours were any slouches.

 1,132 characters

Photo of Tucquan
3.31/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The porter arrived at my table with a tan, 3/4" head floating on a dark chocolate brown liquid. It's very attractive.

The nose is mild with hints of coffee and malt. The taste is also coffee and nuts with a bit of chocolate. It's very creamy served this way.

An enjoyable porter but not a session beer. I followed it with their IPA.

 336 characters

Photo of AltBock
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Media, PA was serving up this one on 5/17/2008 during their beer festival. They served it to me in a standard pint glass.

At first, I thought it had poured a solid black color, but a closer inspection lead me to believe that this was actually a dark mahagony brown color. On top of this beer was an off white colored 1/2 inch head of foam. I thought it had decent retention that left behind a skim of foam and some foamy rings along the edge. It did manage to leave behind a spot or two of lace. The aroma was nice and roasty with bitter dark chocolate, dark roasted malts, a hint of smoke, and a some dark fruits hiding in the background. The taste was roasted too, but it loved the bitter dark chocolate. That was the main flavor in this one. Behind the dark chocolate was roasted coffee beans, roasted malts, subtle caramel, and a hint of roasted bitter hops at the finish. The mouthfeel was dark and roasted with chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and a touch of roasted hops. The chocolate aftertaste will linger on while the other flavors will fade away. If you like your chocolate with plenty of roasted flavors backing it up, you will like this one. I know I did! This is another Iron Hill beer that I could easily enjoy again.

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Photo of Foxman
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a deep, rich mahogany with alluringly clear ruby margins. A finger of fluffy light tan head sustains nicely. Twisty ropes of lacing knot the inside of the glass.

The aroma is damned near blissful, rich with the earthiness of roasted malt, and dense with chocolate, coffee, dark caramel, and tease of hop pepper. And it blossoms more as it warms.

Upon tasting, the roasted malt carries a pleasing sweetness of dark chocolate and dark berry fruit. Also, caramel is earthy but less sweet, and a lightly charred dark coffee bitterness carries through. A combo of roasted nut and biscuit drop away slightly as the hops assert mildly and leave a spicy crispness in their wake. The finish is presaged by a bit more well-baked biscuit, and then pulls along with a dry glow that lingers nicely. It's a classy version of the style.

Medium bodied, it comes off as even fuller, feeling foamy and creamy and cottony on the palate, though the final drop is a very little bit abrupt, and so not quite perfect.

Yes, it's a little sweeter than I expected, but it's a strength, because it's not often you get a well made, sweet-ish porter that comes in at a session level ABV. This, and the fact that it's complex without being busy, help make it nicely drinkable. The only nick is a quick fade in the mouth. This is the kind of beer that makes me mourn the loss of Iron Hill in NJ, and hope for its eventual arrival.

 1,415 characters

Photo of Biscuit033
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown but full ruby when held up to the light with a frothy tan head. It has great retension and lacing as well.

S: Chocolate and smoke dominate.

T: Very dark chocolate with some crisp smokey flavors and some bitter coffee as well.

M: Smooth and creamy with a crisp bitter finish.

D: Goes down easy from the cask. A favorite of mine but there are a few others that are more quaffable.

 396 characters

Photo of tempest
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the brewpub.

Comes off like a tasty American brown porter in that it's on the lighter side and has clean flavors. The taste has a nice brown sugar undertone with cocoa and dark grains. It felt maybe a little undercarbonated, but was very drinkable and seemed like a great session beer.

 296 characters

Photo of tgbljb
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sevred as a deep brown, almost black colored beer with moderate off-white head.
Smell shows strong notes of roasted amlt, coffe, and chocolate.
Taste follows throught with the coffe and chocolate flavors, but is a bit too sweet.
Finishes with more of the sweetness, which becomes a bit overpowering.
A nice beer, but one is enough.

 331 characters

Photo of RiekerStarBrew
3.57/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was served this beer from a nitrous system. Compared to the CO2 version, the nitro is definitely creamier. The color was a dull, dark brown. In the aroma, I smelled sweet, roasted grains giving it a chocolate scent. There was also a slight hint of raisins. In the flavor, there is an upfront dark chocolate note. While this was good, it hid some of the hop qualities I look for in a porter. The beer is generally malty or bready, coupled with the roasted grains, it gives a dark toast finish which distracted me from the overall beer and made it a little less drinkable than expected. All in all, I found it to be an average porter.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On the night I visited the new brewery they had two versions of Pig Iron: the co2 and Nitro versions. I tasted a sample of the first, but opted for a pint of the second.

A - Appears like Bailey's it has so much gas making it appear like creamy coffee, but the slow cascade brings an off white head to the surface. It reminds me of a milkshade it is so smooth and it measures about 2 fingers atop the dark brown liquid.

S - Big fresh roasted coffee and roasted barley notes w/ a full nutty dry scent in the aroma. Rich toasted notes and light yeasty scents dominate the nose.

M - Smooth, full and creamy as expected in this nitro version. A gentle nutty roasted aspect appears w/ low carbonation in overall texture. Slightly dry in the finish w/ a gentle spiced quality.

T - Rich, sweet malt swirls 'round the tongue w/ a light chalky dry element as it warms w/ a very roasted flavor. Subtle full malty essence w/ a rich overoasteed quality that hints at a nut shop in the midst of roasting action. The flavor has plenty or malt and a bit of hops to keep it balanced. A basic porter w/ subtle boost of smoothness w/ the nitrogen.

D - I could probably drink several, but consider it an average porter in the scheme of things. Not highly drinkable, but better than average and I appreciate the chance to taste it in the nitro version. I suppose a fan of Guinness might like the mouthfeel, but it has more roasted character than sweetness. Not one I would return to often most likely.

 1,485 characters

Photo of MmmIPA
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Now this is my favorite IH beer.I think they made a great beer when they brewed this and it really shows.

Brown body with a tan head.Nice lacing on the glass.Coffee and chocolate smells and with the taste paired along with some hoppy goodness to balance it out.Thick body and easy going down and a really good drinker.I wanna try the bourben barrel version of this asap.I would drink this beer all day and all night.Great job IH and for making my day.

 452 characters

Photo of Imstillthegman
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my usual go-to beer when it's just the normal offerings on-tap. Had it again last night. Pours a dark, opaque black with a tan head that leaves good lacing. Aroma has roasted coffee, caramel, and some dark fruit. The flavor profile is the same, with everything sharing almost equal space. Nothing really overpowers the others. Fuller bodied, nicely carbonated. Very easy drinking porter and easily one of my favorites from IH.

 434 characters

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this as my second beer. This should be the nitro tap beer!!!!

A - Almost pitch black with a nice short dark tan head
S - roasted grains, chocolate, sweet malts and coffee
T - incredibly well balanced mix of sweet and bitter roasted flavors. Follows the aroma but in a much more satisfying way.
M - medium bodied, creamy smooth and nicely carbonated
D - Low enough ABV to be sessionable. Tasty enough to not care about the ABV. Paired incredibly well with the catfish dinner.

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Pig Iron Porter from Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
3.92 out of 5 based on 193 ratings.
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