Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)

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Baltic Porter
Ranked #118
Ranked #10,793
3.93 | pDev: 12.72%
Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)
Very Good
Notes: Dark, porter-type beer was brewed in Żywiec as early as 1881. It owes its intense color and clear flavor to four types of malt.
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Reviews: 450 | Ratings: 892 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by FBarber:
Photo of FBarber
3.81/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours matte black, opaque, and viscous for a porter. Thick frothy tan head dissipates somewhat but leaves a one finger tan head on the top of the beer.

Smell is rather subdued. Some roasted malts, mild chocolate, and an earthy nutty aroma with a touch of coffee.

Taste has notes of roasted malts, coffee, roasted nuts, and a hint of chocolate. A mild hoppy bitterness is noticeable on the finish. The flavors are much more pronounced and noticeable as the beer warms.

Feel is appropriate for the style. Mild carbonation, smooth, and silky.

Overall a solid baltic porter.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of doktorhops
3.76/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is what happens when you fall in love with stouts, it leads you to try darker and darker beers, recklessly seeking that next roasted thrill until your bank account is a mere husk of binary code and you’ve become addicted to priceless Faberge eggs... at least that specific example has happened to someone, somewhere. Anyway the point I was getting at is that Plonk! (BBITU: Best Bottleshop In The Universe) is out of FBS (Founders Breakfast Stout) and I’ve been recommended the two closest things to FBS in the meanwhile: Zywiec and Rasputin - yes, that’s right - we’ve got a full blown Stout-off on our hands!

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Deep, deep, dark, cavernous, cola brown body that says “I will own you mere mortal!” with a foamy inch tall khaki head that slowly dissipates to a spiders lace. The whole thing is ominous. I like my Porters ominous. 9/10.

S: A roasted coffee/chicory combo that screams “I will own you mere mortal!”... again it is an ominous brew here. There are notes of dark fruit as well, hints of black cherry and prune. 7/10.

T: The flavour is a real surprise - sets you up for a huge challenging Stout/Porter (whatever, they’re the same thing) and delivers a mild mannered reporter, like if Clark Kent was the alter-ego to Lex Luthor. Flavours are roast coffee with brown sugar and prune. Finishes with an espresso bitterness and an unwanted metallic twang (loses 1 point for this, sorry unpronounceable brewer from Poland). 7/10.

M: Hits the register well here with a medium, rich body and a dense, creamy carbonation. 9/10.

D: It’s no FBS. That is certain. However at $4 a 330ml bottle it is FBS’s cheaper, slightly weird Polish cousin that likes to tip cows, farm potatoes whilst making bootleg vodka, and is “New to this country you call A-Merica”. The fact that it tastes half decent at that price (and kicks its own Lager in the soft-fleshy-dangly-male-bits between the legs) is enough for me to rate it decently. Decently indeed. I have spoken! 8/10. Total: 7.5/10.

Food match: Chocolate roasted rib eye steaks with au gratin potato and roasted pumpkin, with a rich dark gravy simmering away all over that shit.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I'd only drank this beer once or twice when I went to Poland in September of 2009 to visit family there. I remember liking it so much at that time that I got a few bottles to bring back home with me, and they made it from Warsaw to Chicago, but the line to get through security in Chicago coming through customs, etc. was quite long and slow moving and my dad and I were worried about missing our connecting flight back home to Cleveland and we were worried that we wouldn't have to check our bags due to buying liquid. So I had to ditch these beers I'd bought in Poland :( And of course our flight back home from Chicago ended up being delayed by about an hour anyways due to weather, so I totally could have checked a bag and brought this beer back! So I've kind of been keeping an eye out for it since September 2009. I'd never seen it on the shelf at any store. I'd see one or two other beers from Zywiec, but never this one. Until today. I stopped in an ACME grocery store when I was driving around for work today and I decided to peak at their beers, and boy was I pleasantly surprised to see this beer on the shelf. This beer that had eluded me for years was now reunited with me at long last! Oh happy day! What a bargain too, at $1.93 per a 19.9 oz bottle tax included. Poured into my beer mug that I got when I went to Poland, this beer pours a very dark brown color that is not interested in letting any light whatsoever with a nice, creamy, frothy looking tan head that is well over an inch thick when first poured. Head has good retention, only eventually settling to a good solid 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch thick. Aromas of loads of roasted malts, definite cocoa, and hints of black coffee here. Very nice indeed. The taste is even better, as the roasted caramel malts give way ever so nicely to sweet cocoa that is rounded out with roasted black coffee bitterness. The cocoa notes really linger on the tongue after each sip. Has a dry finish. Also has a slightly crisp, but mainly smooth, frothy, creamy, medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Very easy to drink indeed, almost too easy for a beer that has 9.5% ABV. Glad I finally managed to find this!


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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.75/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Zywiec Porter has a fairly thick, foamy, beige head, a dark brown appearance, and some lacing left behind. The aroma is of dark-roasted, but not burnt, malt and coffee, and the flavor is of the same, with sweetness, chocolate, chicory, coffee, and a trace of hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy and velvety, and Zywiec Porter finishes semi-dry and very drinkable for such a high-alcohol beer.


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Photo of TonyLema1
3.51/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L:deep black with a thick rich head
S: metallic, not appealing or inviting
T: Cocoa and cream, with a bitter, boozy finish
F: medium body, with a dry, hot finish
O: great ABV to price ratio, and a pretty solid beer

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Photo of gregmoscetti
3.1/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

As a porter, the Zywiec is not too shabby. As an imperial/Baltic... I was not at all impressed.
The taste was boring, the look was not in the least way impressive, and the very crux of the beer lacked complexity; the drinkability for a 9.5% beer was impressive.

Maybe I was hoping for those chocolaty, coffee-ey notes in craft baltics, but this beer was worth not a cent more than its 1.99

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Photo of cratez
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Zywiec Porter – 9.5% ABV Baltic Porter – Bottle shared with hopsolutely and NRMan.

A: Jet black in colour with a thick ring of tan foam and strands of lacing on the sample glass. Stellar appearance.

S: Rich pruney-plummy notes, slight nuttiness, black cherry (almost medicinal in character), roasted malt, dark chocolate, and mocha. A truly outstanding nose.

T: Roasted malt, chocolate, vinous dark fruit sweetness (pruney-plummy), mocha coffee, and black cherry. Balanced bitterness precedes a dry, roasty finish. Excellent flavours.

M: Medium-full body, creamy carbonation, sweet middle transitions to a mild bitterness and roasted, drying finish. A great palate.

O: An exemplary Baltic Porter with big aromatics, bold flavours, and a very smooth palate. Definitely lives up to its first-class reputation.

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Photo of blackcompg
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

Appearance - Pours two quick fingers of creamy lite brown head, color is an almost opaque deep reddish brown, with garnet edges when held up to a light. Nice rings of thick lace left after each sip.

Smell - Dark roasted malt, dark fruits and fig, hints of rich sweet smoke and molasses, and a little bit of well done fruit cake.

Taste - Whoa... there is an initial explosion of dark roastiness and light smoke, molasses, and black licorice, dark roasted malt and unsweetened coffee gently enter the ppicture, with a nice slightly dry bite of toasty pumpernickel and lite caraway longer into the finish. Occasionally I get hints of burnt molasses and little bits of sour plumskin. No alcohol presence whatsoever at 9.5%!

Mouthfeel - Dangerously smooth, medium mouthfeel, carb is spot on and foams smoothly across the tongue, and surprises with a few nice edges at the back of the tongue.

Overall - A shockingly good porter. Full mouth flavors, great balance and complexity as this is more of a symphony vs. a few hard punches. What makes this really nice is the price of $1.99 a bottle at my local Garden Fresh. I will pick up a few of these every time I shop - pick up a few for yourself if you come across them, highly recommend! *Please note, I've updated this review, as my first bottle of this was 9 months past the best by date - it was pretty good, but was overwhelmed with astringent dark fruit flavors, and a slight balsamic-like vinegariness. A fresh bottle is a real treat, and an excellent representative of the style. I would even call it "imperial", as the flavors are bold and mouth filling.

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Photo of TH28
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle. 11/24/17 BB date. Appearance: Deep dark brown, almost black, opaque, and a low lying dark khaki head that dissipates quickly. Aroma: Rich bready, toasted crust, and dark fruit of plum and raisin. A touch of molasses and sherry. Taste: Rich deep toasted bread, chocolate, and sticky molasses up front, then a distinct dark fruitiness of raisin and cherry witha touch of spice. Just enough perceived bitterness to prevent the sweetness from being cloying. A touch of wood as well. Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy bodied with some stickiness and light carbonation. A slight of alcohol warmth hits on the swallow. Finish: All malt. Strong toasted bread is dominant on the finish, with a light nutty character. Overall: Outstanding beer, with a complex rich bread maltiness and dark fruit character reminiscent of a doppelbock. A touch of wood and chocolate as well, with an alcohol warmth in the backside to remind you this is a monster beer. Perfect for cool night out by the fire

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Photo of SilentSabre
4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This looked absolutely beautiful. Poured black with a big light brown foamy cap, much like Coca-Cola. Thick webs of sticky lacing pasted themselves to the sides of the glass. Even held directly to a light bulb, while light passed through, it was very very little.
Smell was burnt coffee beans and roasted malt. Not bad, but about what I was expecting. Taste was burnt coffee, as well, with bitter chocolate and some bourbon whiskey-like alcohol notes on the finish. The coffee and malt notes, while there, are a bit muted, and not as robust as I think they should be, which is why I gave this a 3,5. The finish is quite lovely with the whiskey alcohol thing going on, and yet the alcohol is still not overpowering.
Mouthfeel is god-like. Very, very heavy. Almost oily. Definately chewy. This is the best mouthfeel I have experienced in a brew in a very long time.
Overall, I enjoyed this quite alot, but the lightness in flavours disappointed me a bit. This is still an amazing brew. Many, many thanks to Mark (TheManiacalOne) for sending me this on a trade.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.79/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours near jet black with a bit of brown peeking through around the edges. Head is light tan and 2 fingers thick with decent retention. Resulting lace looks silky, and is thick and sticky.

Smell - Really subtle aroma. Hints at cocoa and a bit of earthiness.

Taste - Starts with some bitter baker's chocolate, backed by some deep roasted malts. Midtaste comes through with a bit of sugary sweetness, subtle heat and a bit of smoke before finishing with a zing of acidity and a waning bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied. Somewhat syrupy. Low level carbonation; somewhat silky.

Overall - I'm not too familiar with the Baltic Porter style, having only one previously, but this one seems like a good one. As a basic porter, it's certainly strong. For the price I paid, it's a definite future buy, and it's peaked my interest in this specific style.

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Photo of Julian4077
1.5/5  rDev -61.8%

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

Photo of indiapaleale
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another of my Baltic Porter kick beers...gad, I am ignoring the word "Heineken" in parantheses next do to brewery name in the description. So sad.

Wow, pours a silky smooth super black velvet with a half finger of thick off-white head. The viscosity of this beer really tells its potency. A very nice looking pour.

Smell is sweet dark fruit, burnt sweet coffee, bubblegum? and some caramel/molasses/brown sugar. Its reminiscent of some of the other Eastern European Baltic Porters I've tried recently but somehow it seems to come across as a little cleaner in the nose.

Taste is very smooth, much smoother than expected. Some licorice and coffee bitterness comes out along with bitter chocolate, molasses and possibly a little hop bitterness?.

Mouthfeel is very sweet and carbonation is not all that high, which I find a good thing for a beer this strong. Very drinkable! A very solid Baltic Porter from Poland.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500ml bottle served in a large snifter. 22.01.2019 -- I assume this is the best by date.

Pours black with a decent ring of pale head. Smell is porter -- roast, coffee, some yeast.

Taste is strangely roasted coffee and strong anise.

Mouthfeel is medium, not sticky, a little gritty. It's a solid, but not exceptional beer.

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Photo of FBGordon
3.54/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.81/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a 500ml bottle.

Pours a flat black with mahogany highlights. 1/4 inch tan head that dissipates to nearly nothing. No lacing either. First thing I get is faint herbal hops in the nose. Lightly metallic. I have to search hard for the faint roasty malt of a porter.

Taste is sweet dark malt. Rich, far more rich that the nose suggested. Black fruit, tart currant and plum. Noticeable warming alcohol in this one, faint roastiness way back behind the fruit. This is a thick brew in the mouth. Doesn't look or smell like it should be but it is. A little hot but a nice drinker. I can't decide if this will excel or fall apart in the cellar. I'm gong to get a couple more and find out.

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Photo of emsroth
2.8/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Pint bottle

App: deep black with a frothy tan head with great lace

Smell: chocolate and raisins balanced by herbal hops. Exactly what the style should smell like.

Taste: here the beer fails. The body is really thin. The flavor strongly bitter and rough from dark roasted malt and.hops. ends with strong mineral flavored hops. As it warms it gets better, but never good.

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Photo of staticmaneuver
3/5  rDev -23.7%

Photo of Duff_Light
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've enjoyed this one for some time now. The price can't be beat for those who likes thick and creamy porters/stouts (1.69 for the 1pt.09 bottle).
Pours thick and creamy with a tan/beige head.
Aromas of malt, touch of coffee, chocolate, fruit
Taste of malt, coffee, fruit with touch of the chocolate and a litte alcohol. Very smooth but a touch thin given how it pour.
A pleasant, but medium aftertaste.

Do be careful, as noted this comes in at a deceiving 9.5% abv so it can sneak up on you if you're not aware.

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Photo of Pmicdee
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a bottle in Poland
Rated on November 4 2019

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Photo of HonestWeightBeer
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep black with ruby or rosewood notes thoughout. Nearly opaque black. Nice yellow tan head with old newspaper gold. Roasted malt, sweetly bitter nose, baker's chocolate and roasted coffee. Did I say roasted? Alcoholic flavor not too apparent for the ABV, under control and smooth.
Mouthfeel is very full, rich and smoky, this beers got real teeth. Drinkability is what you'd expect for a strong porter, I dont think I could have another tonight, and if I tried this beer would probably assert itself even more strongly, i.e. kick my *ss.
Overall, a very good porter, with a real kick. I'm glad I found this, as it is quite good and reasonably priced in Beantown. Cheers to Poland!!

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Photo of Bilco
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of mixed_master7
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Porter from Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 892 ratings