Zywiec Porter | Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)

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Zywiec PorterZywiec Porter

Brewed by:
Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-01-2001

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Reviews: 409 | Ratings: 770
Photo of BlakeDaSnake
5/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Darkest beer I ever consumed as of date....with a light brown rim to the head :-)

S: Smells mocha -like almost pick up espresso bean in the nose but i could of been fooled I did just enjoy a dark roast coffee

T: a little fruitful, black cherry, and malty

M: more then full bodied

O: This is the best Porter I've yet to consume!!! it has the aroma i want in a dark, the taste i enjoy sipping on!! high octane in certain aspects....overall I would enjoy this again when i'm in the mood to go to the dark side!!

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Photo of John
5/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Oh my. Um...OK, need to compose myself. Where to start...this is a beer that requires your full attention. Color is black as night. Remarkable dark tan head. Fabulous cascading effect after pouring from the 11.2oz. bottle. Big dark roasted malt, espresso aroma. Alcohol smell is pronounced. More big burnt, dark roasty complex flavors. Full body. Satisfying alcohol warming. Amazing brew. Looking forward to my next. This is one to savour for sure.

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Photo of crayolahalls
5/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am having a hard time writing this since I feel no matter what I say I can not do this superb porter justice. I will dispense with a breakdown of my rating:

Appearance: The bottle is classy and hearkens to lodges filled with happy country people and refined gentlemen coming to fill their bellies and hearts with merriment. When poured, there is a great amount of control over being able to either full-pour a thick tan head or side-pour no head. The manna in the glass is a luxurious deep black.

Smell: Slightly alcohol. Heavily nuanced with exotic spice. This smell brings to mind lavish palace gardens with ripe herb gardens and exotic apothecaries lined with medicines worth their weight in gold.

Taste: Rich malt and fine hops are immediate. A myriad of subtle spices unfurls almost too quick to pick them all, but not so quick that you miss coffees, dark fruits, and other gifts from heaven.

Mouthfeel: Medium thickness. Gives plenty of room for the taste to take precedence over the alcohol.

Drinkability: If I could, I would forgo drinking water in order to consume this at every meal. It is an experience that I can not wait to repeat over and over.

Next time I should drink this with a blind fold or in the dark. The taste and smell will surely transport me to fantastic places far and wide: places full of fellowship, exotic women, warm sunsets, and hearty living. The hefty level of alcohol will doubtlessly help speed that journey!

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Photo of mfunk9786
4.89/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First off, this is my first review on BeerAdvocate after lurking and reading reviews forever. I figured I'd reserve it for what I consider the best 'bang for your buck' beer on the planet (as far as I'm concerned). Let's get it going:

A: Standard one-finger head for a high alcohol porter. Doesn't pour as motor oil-dark as most Baltic porters I've had, but it certainly looks far from offensive sitting there, fitting perfectly in my Piraat glass.

S: Smell is of dark fruits and a little touch of smokiness. There's that little tobacco and chocolate smell that makes a Baltic porter so appealing after a long day, but the smell has a perfect balance that few porters have.

T: Here's where things get interesting. The most prominent flavor is that of overcooked oatmeal and lactose - it's like an oatmeal stout and a milk stout defied all odds and had a Baltic porter baby. As a huge oatmeal stout fan, this little oat touch makes me smile. There's a faint taste of chocolate, but not nearly as much as usual for this style. Dark fruit flavors craft a wonderful aftertaste that lingers long after you finish your glass.

M: The mouthfeel is a bit thin for this style, but is smooth and refreshingly carbonated for the level of alcohol.

D: Shockingly drinkable for the style, if pressed, I could guzzle this like it were spring water.

I resent Heineken for wasting a lot of my beer-drinking time and the beer-drinking time of my friends, but how could I live without their importing this amazing brew?

Oh - and as for 'bang for your buck' - a 500 ml bottle is only just over $2 at [the best beer store in the US] State Line Liquors in Elkton, MD. Why is this notable? Because this beer is a) a European import and b) better than most Baltic porters that come in 22 oz. bombers for $8-10 a pop. Dig out some change from your car's ashtray and pick up a few bottles of this, you won't regret it!

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Photo of inebrius
4.89/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Profound nose of chocolate, ripe cherries, mild gingerbread and myriad other fruits and spices. Absolutely no hint of over 9% ABV other than a finish warming. Awesome! A draught is simultaneously subdued and complex, fruity, roasty, a crafted blend of flavors. Better than a Packzi on Fat Tuesday, this brew makes me want to learn the pronunciation of the brewery's name. Choice!

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Photo of obrendano
4.87/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Lucky enough to find this for $2 at Wine World in Abingdon

from a nicely labeled 500ml bottle to a pint glass

A - thick and deeep brown, almost black, cocoa-ish head

S - one of the best smelling beers I've had, caramel, some alcohol, some fruit notes, but mainly smells like a damn good porter

T - rich dark malt taste, very negligible alcohol taste despite the 9.5 abv

M - slightly watery but still makes up for it in flavor

D - I could easily go through another one of these if I was ready to stay in for the night. this is a fantastic beer at a shockingly cheap price

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Photo of UnionMade
4.85/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12ozer courtesy of Francisweizen, a bottle from the first time this one was imported to the states. Probably 2002-2003, as it's not yet bottle dated. Sat in the cellar ever since it arrived in the mail.
Deep, dark brown, topped with a thick mass of light taupe head. Great head retention, maintaining through the glass. It takes a while to get a beer like this to settle. Splotchy lacing. Impenetrable to light, even at the edges of the glass. A thin layer of sediment dropped out to the bottom of the bottle, despite this most likely being filtered. That's what happens with age. Rich aroma of licorice and roasty, lagery malt. The hops have completely dropped out of the picture. Smooth lagery aroma is intensified with the last year sitting in the back of the beer fridge. A study in aged lager roastiness. Excellent. Full lagery, roasty flavor. So amazingly smooth. Medium bodied, with soft, sparkly carbonation. Fig and raisin, moving into a clean, aged hop finish. Vestiges of noble hop flavor, mostly a floral tang with some soapy, eastern european spiciness. Finishes so clean, drying off the palate with negligible flavor. Incredible. How they make beer like this, i don't know.

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Photo of Cthulhusquid
4.83/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: Poured into a Propolis tulip. Two finger chocolate head which lasted awhile, pitch black body.

Smell: Chocolate covered dark fruits, banana bread.

Taste: Dark fruits, chocolate, coffee, and a hint of molasses.

Feel: Full body, medium-high carbonation. Upfront sweetness is immediately swapped for mild roasty bitterness, slight alcohol bite.

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Photo of ADR
4.82/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hard pour releases a big brown creamy head with good retention. Almost black with ruby light transmission on the bottom. Nice aroma, a slight sense of berry, mostly sweetened blueberry. Excellent deep malt, stops short of java but with lots of unsweetened baking chocolate properties. Bitter quality on the roof of the mouth. As dense as a turkish coffee with considerable aftertaste. Powerful brew here, I'd love for more folks in the industry to do Baltic-style Porters...LOVE this stuff...

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Photo of BeerBuilder
4.82/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours almost black with a light brown head. The aroma is malty, bready, chocolatey, with dark fruits, such as raisins and dates. It has a strong alcoholic aroma as well. The flavor is malty, with the dark fruits and raisin taste. It has a creamy mouthfeel that flows to an alcoholic, bitter finish. An excellent full bodied, warming beer. I am a big fan of Porters, and this one is toward the top, if not at the top of my list for Porters.

Sampled 10/7/03

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Photo of nlmartin
4.8/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer was purchased at the Foodery in Philly. The beer was served in a Imperial Nonic.

Appearance: The beer has a very pleasing dark brown coloration with ruby opaqueness to light. The head is a burnt tan coloration. Streaks of lacing remain behind on the glass.

Smell: The beer has a very good combination of dark burnt coffee and caramel. The beer has a plum fruityness. The beer has a very nice vinous smell.

Taste: The beer delivers on the smell and then some. The beer has a very vinous taste. The plums come forth bringing sweetness. The alcohol combines well in the taste bringing spicyness. The beer has nice hops bringing the taste away from cloying. This is the best tasting porter I have ever drank.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer is full bodied. The beer is a good blending of taste and smells. The alcohol is well incorporated in taste and smell. This beer is a very dangerously drinkable beer. I will definately seek this one out.

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Photo of DIM
4.8/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a: This was a dark chestnut brown, almost completely opaque. It poured with a large, sticky, tan colored head.

s: Rich chocolate syrup and some malty, coffee bitterness in the backround.

t: Wow, this is just spectacular! Starts off with a big hit of Hershey's syrup that is soon joined by acidic coffee. There is a lingering, bitter, roasty chocolate aftertaste.

m: Long lived creamy carbonation and a pretty decent body for a porter.

d: Split with my dad and we both loved this one! Definitely one we will revisit. Thanks Scott!

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Photo of polyester
4.77/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours dense and thick, with a hint of purplish-brown around the edges. Head is a lovely caramel brown, thick and aromatic. Lots of scents; earth, wood, butter, sourdough; very complex but in a nice "am I getting in over my head" way. Very addicting aroma.

Taste and mouth feel: This is what real porters should taste like. Thick and rich, dense, incredibly dark and complex. It'll warm you all the way down.

Overall a spectacular dark beer, and I haven't found anything quite like it. if you like porters give this a try - it seems to be distributed at least around the east cost of the States. I haven't felt the need to drink any other beers since I discovered this stuff - in fact I only buy other brands to distract guests from the Zywiec. :) It's way too dense and dark for most normal Bud-and-Coors people, but the few friends who have tried it and liked it can't get enough.

The high alcohol content is actually a mixed blessing - I could easily drink this stuff all night if I weren't plastered after two bottles. It's absolutely worth a try.

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Photo of merlin48
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle pours an essentially opaque, with some garnet fringes apparent when held to the light. A healthy tan head has good retention and leaves chains of sheet lacing all over the glass. Aroma is very robust, with lots of chocolate and fresh brewed coffee, on a background of dark fruits and a hint of smoke. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, satiny and slightly creamy. Taste is as delicious as its complexity, with dark fruity raisins and figs complimenting the expected roast coffee, chocolate, and smoke. There is ample hops bitterness, as well as a vague spiciness that serves up an exotic sweet/sour bittering.

This is a benchmark Baltic Porter, and is exceptional in taste, aroma, and drinkability. Truly a classic.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%
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 mattmaples
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I have to agree with Venom on this one. Had one for the first time last night. Huge raosted flavor with tons of caramel malt. Although I did get the plummy nose I didn't get and vinious aroma off of mine. As of right now I am switching Zywiec to the number one slot for Baltic Porters (sorry Okocim). It's listed at 9.5% but it is damn smooth.

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Photo of Saisons-of-the-Abyss
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%

Deep, practically black color. Fruity and sweet aroma, like prunes and molasses. Similar taste; fruity and roasted. Smokey coffee and cocoa. Bittersweet finish. Full bodied and heavy with a fairly low carbonation. You can't really taste the high alcohol content, but you'll certainly know it's there by the time you finish this great porter.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark as possible, ith a huge head, rich, cocoa-hued and creamy.
Aroma: intense, amazing, dark, twisted, dripping with espresso tinges, thick and redolent with flavors of molasses, dark rum, and hints of anise. This declares itself immediately, and as a dedicated fan of Baltic porter, I'm ready for some fun, here! I had to sit with this smell some, and put off the tasting while I revelled in it!
Taste, deep, heavy, dark, but still creamy and fully palatable. Fierce flavor, rich and cavernous, with a long, lasting finish. A bit soft in places, but never does it falter. Alcohol is felt prdigiously, too, at hefty 9.1% (that's what the label of this one says), and is enjoyed! Dark and bitter, nearly motor-oily in viscosity, with lush malt, toasty, roasty, and ever-so-good.
On my first sampling, this automatically goes to the top, to the utmost peak of the Porter Hall of Fame.
This was not the first beer of my evening, but it was the last! I shuffled off to Slumberland, and left some beer in the glass. Next morning, that aroma was still there, and I couldn't bear to pour the remnants out, even felt tempted to toss it in my coffee!

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Photo of rallison
4.73/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dear lord, this is good. Let's start off by saying my girlfriend is not a fan of porters and stouts, yet she loved this one.

Gorgeous dark black pour with a nice 1 finger tan head that both sticks around and leaves some nice lacing. Smell is intoxicating. Yeasty, chocolaty with some dark fruits.

Taste follows suit, and quite nicely. Sweet chocolate. Dark fruits. Slight roastiness. Touch of hops (barely). More sweet, dark, rich fruits. Some espresso. Amazing balance. Amazing. Some yeastiness. Some earthiness. Like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale crossed with a porter. Man. This is perfection here. I would not change a thing. In fact, doing so would be sacrilege.

Mouthfeel is excellent. A nice touch of carbonation to make it lively. Rich mouthfeel, without ever being syrupy. Stays both rich and light. Absolutely no alcohol is evident. None. Tastes like 7%, not 9.5%.

D: Insanely high.

Highly recommended. One of the top beers of the year, I must say.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.72/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ok last beer of the night ..bought this in then11.2 oz brown bottle..nice label with two Poles , male and female in the traditional costume...says same recipe since 1881.
Good pour..nice deep dark brown almost black ( this looks like a stout)..small head which lingers long,.
ahhhhhh i love the aroma of this beer very very malty sweet fruity berry scents assault my nasal passages..great
This beer has a great creamy taste ..lots of flavours up front i get coconut then sweet chocolate..black coffee..hoppy bitterness at the end.
Feels good on the tongue very smooth
drinkable for a beere this damned strong..cant really feel the alcohol until it reaches the belly then it's a delicious warmth..this is truelly a great beer, nice just before retiring to a crisp clean and warm bed.
Never knew a Polish beer would be so great!

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Photo of proc
4.7/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent. This is a porter? I kept thinking full-blown stout. Color is extremely dark. with an aroma that invites you to take that first sip. Taste is outstanding. Coffee, molasses, and a tartness that I can't quite describe. The 9+% abv gets you going pretty quick. This would be a fine, sitting by the fire on a cold night type of beer. I paired it up with a medium-rare New York strip steak hot off the grill.

I would recommend this beer highly.

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Photo of cokes
4.69/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big roasted action going on here.
Nice dark, dark brown in color (black if not held to light).
Big roasted malts on the nose....dark fruit too (plums, slight raisins), maybe a little straight-up grape as well (wine-like).
Taste manifests these traits. Also with some carmel and faint toffee. Slightly buttery and nutty too. Decent amount of hops attempt to even things out towards the finish, but the malts end up dominating. Works fine here.
Alcohol is not even vaguely perceived (execpt in the last sip or two...and very faintly then). Bodily perceptions (such as: drooling and unconsciousness) are the only clues that this is as strong as it is.
So fun to drink. Coats the mouth, without being cloying in the least. Body is solid.
I am very glad that I have been turned on to Baltic Porters. They are quickly becoming a favorite of mine.

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Photo of jmalex
4.64/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tonight's beer is the one that opened my eyes to Baltic porters. There's always room in my fridge for one of these.

APPEARANCE: Pours out tremendously black with a 2-finger tan head. The head is tightly bubbled and has great staying power. Lacing comes in sheets all over the glass. Looks awesome!

SMELL: Underwhelming intensity but some nice aromas. Bittersweet chocolate and dark fruits are most prominent. Aromas become more intense as it warms, and some bitter roasted malts begin to come out. Overall, nice, but a bit empty.

TASTE: Absolutely perfect! Everything a Baltic porter should be and more! Chocolate, caramel, coffee, and a big presence of dark fruits. Even a slight hop bitterness shows itself. The finish lingers long and flavorful. It just what I'm looking for!

MOUTHFEEL: Another slam dunk! Thick, chewy, creamy, and soooo smooth. Carbonation is medium and right on.

DRINKABILITY: Can you tell I love this beer? I could drink this every single day. It's absolutely everything a Baltic porter should be.

It's very strange that the smell was underwhelming to me. Everything else about this beer is exactly what I would want. It's incredible. I'll be buying these as long as I can get them.

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Photo of joshk
4.63/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was watching a review of this, and the guy said it was pronounced "Zee-Vee-Etch"

Appeared dark and awesome, poured into a small glass (shared this one with a friend). Had it pretty close to room temperature.

Smelled like a stout almost. Roasty malt scent, I think.

Taste- this is why I love porters; smokey, not overbearing with the roasted malt bitterness, vanilla on the sides of the tongue, not grainy at all. Mildly sweet, an almost undetectable hop bitterness, but this beer was definitely crafted with malt flavor in mind. The only reason I cannot give a perfect 5 because I've only tasted like 2 or 3 porters, and I can't say "this beer is perfect" with such a small basis for comparison.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability- I know this is said by a lot of people, but "this beer does not taste like ___ % alcohol". The alcohol is there, but it's not in your face. Thats the best I can describe it. It was easy to drink, I had both large and small sips.

Notes: $1.80 a bottle? What the hell. You could easily pay $6 for a beer this size that doesn't even taste as good. This one tastes great, will get you drunk fast (if you want), and its from Poland. What more could you want?

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Photo of Kubishark
4.62/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Picked up a few 500ml bottles of this for $1.99 each. This has got to be one of the best deals in all of beer as far as I'm concerned.

It's dark and has a cola look to it. Smells like chocolate and roasted malts. The taste is big and boozier than I remember it being the first time I had it. A very bold beer, it's also well-balanced and has a variety of subtle flavors that aren't always present in more coffee-like beers. There's bitterness but also a cola-like sweetness.

This is one of my favorite beers ever, regardless of the price point. This could cost two or three times what it is now and I'd still buy just as much of it. (But I'd like it to stay as cheap as it is, please.)

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Zywiec Porter from Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)
3.94 out of 5 based on 770 ratings.
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