Zywiec Porter | Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)

Zywiec PorterZywiec Porter
Liked This Beer
3.9 w/ 807 ratings
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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Ratings: 807 |  Reviews: 423
Photo of rsgcwhite
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In the world of beer styles, there is a persistent bias to consider the spectrum of dark beer to be fairly linear - you enter with your porters, bolder than porters are stouts, and the Russian Imperial stouts are the crowning achievement in stronger dark beer. This belies the complexity and nature of these individual styles; frequently, lost in the philosophical
hubbub of what a good 'porter' is, 'big porters' throw many a beer drinker off as surprising an unsettling. This should not be so; from Zywiec, we have a Baltic Porter that I would argue is a testament to the bigger, badder Baltic style. Full of flavor, unique, beautiful, and a wholly different entity from its imperialized dark beer colleagues.

The bottle poured beautifully dark, the color of fine chocolate with amber tinges and a lingering head.

The aroma is yeasty, black licorice and roasted malts intermingle with cherries and plums. There is complexity, but not overly so; this beer wins no hearts for its aroma.

The flavor is what you come for with this beer; and what a flavor! If you ever feel drowned in apathy in humdrum living, a sip of this will bring you back to glorious consciousness. The first word here is chocolate - not too sweet, tends to be on the darker side. The roasted malts give way to a surprisingly potent hop finish, that doesn't overly dry the mouth. I would say balanced, but the flavor is simply too strong to measure in such subtleties. Fantastic.

The mouthfeel is on the thick end of moderate, but gloriously smoothed without being syrupy. The bigness of this beer - this is 9.5% ABV, actually surprised me; I thought it a tremendous advantage they drowned out the sheer alcohol flavor with, well, everything else.

This was probably my new 'key beer' of the Baltic Style- the specific beer you remember when recollecting a particular style. Glorious.

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Photo of MNJR
3.03/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown, medium head that really sticks around for a while. Lacing is thin, but it clings OK. The smell is somewhat bitter roasted coffee, malt, prune and raisin. Taste is powerful and I wasn't too sold on it at first. Bitter tannin flavors are very sharp behind the wallop of roasted malt. The overall effect is, well, bitter. Bitter and then dry. There is also a "burnt" taste. Not smoky, burnt. But it has redeeming qualities. There are good flavors lurking around: cocoa, coffee, caramelized dark brown sugar and the dark fruits mentioned above. This is not an easy drinking brew for the timid drinker. This would have to be an acquired taste, much drier and more bitter than countless other porters I've guzzled over the years. The ABV is obviously staggering, though the booze is almost completely hidden in the powerful flavor.

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Photo of GallowsThief
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 1 pt. 9 oz. bottle into my Duvel.

A - Pours a nice deep brown. Think Coke. Great creamy brown head. Sticky lacing.

S - Roasty malt smell with hints of chocolate. Also comes across with somee very ligh fruit smell.

T - Strong malted taste. Good bit of roastiness. Little bit of the ABV comes through with a nice warming feeling at the end.

M - Medium bodied with a average amount of carbonation.

D - It's a fairly drinkable porter for its ABV. Go for it.

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Photo of StonyB
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sometimes you want to kick it old school. A quick buzz. Sucking down a 40 of your favorite malt liquor. Cheap, effective.

But hey, you're a BA now. You've outgrown that. You want some taste and complexity out of your beer.

Well if you want the perfect compromise, snag yourself some Zywiec Porter. It combines the depth and flavor of a well-made craft beer with the kick in the teeth of a potent malt liquor...

16.9 ounce brown bottle. "Recipe Since 1801" says the label. Best before date lasered on the back.

Not quite black, hint of light. Plenty of carbonation initially, settles into a mocha colored cap.

Aroma of dark chocolate, roasted malt, a little tar.

The taste is more complex than you'd expect. Espresso, dark and bitter chocolate, dark fruit, lactose, a little bit o' that tar. Quite the potpourri going on here, and yet quite tasty.

Creamy, somewhat thick mouthfeel. Moderately acidic.

Zywiec Porter is a little bit too drinkable for the 9.5% ABV, much more so than your typical brown bag 40. This one will sneak up on you in a hurry.

In short, don't settle for the bumps and bruises of malt liquor. Find some Zywiec Porter, and enjoy the ride...

Recommended, but not if you have to wake up early the next day.

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Photo of Laddyboy
4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I call this the Polish version of Guiness. It's not as creamy as Guiness, but it's got a better psychoactive effect, shall we say.

IGA sells it three for five dollars. It's worth the price. I'm glad it's not that well known yet. except in ethnic neighborhoods. I can always find it when needed.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: dark brown, blackish hue. big fluffy oatmeal colored head. solid lacing.

S: toffee, roasted nuts, cocoa, slight burnt aroma.

T: sweet, smooth, nutty chocolate slight bitterness on the finish

M: velvet, med-heavy body. solid carbonation balance, not too bubbly.

D-Very easy to drink a few of these, the alcohol will creep up on you. Nice change of pace from American versions. At under $3 a bottle at my local store, not a bad deal.

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Photo of emsroth
2.8/5  rDev -28.2%
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 gfsufb
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark black, with a lingering tan head. Beer smells great, can smell all the basics of a good porter. Fits the baltic porter category well. THe high alcohol content is not terribly noticeable and doesn't distract from a very smooth porter taste. Received this as a free sample and would gladly search it out again in the future.

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Photo of curasowa
2.46/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a dark, dark red color with a thin cap of tan head. A strong medicinal/alcohol aroma dominates with notes of roasted malt and caramel. The taste is syrup-sweet, lots of caramel malt flavor and a LOT of alcohol. I know it's 9.5%, but I've had big beers that hide it better. The finish is lingering and astringent and kinda harsh. Drinkability is so-so. Looking at the other reviews, I think I'm in the minority here, but I really didn't care for this beer.

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Photo of 100floods
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a nice creamy black. Some light bronze/mocha head. Smells of roasted malt, coco and some sweet nutty/cola thing, too. Rich smoke/burnt malt flavor and some dry chocolate powder, like Ghirardelli chocolate. Hint of wine-like acidity and very faint hints of malt sweetness. The taste of this beer is amazing, the mouth feel leaves me a little dry, but the carbonation levels are just right. The texture is light-medium. Definitely some malt and booze notes come to light once this warms up a bit. This is a pretty damn enjoyable beer, and the price ain't too shabby either. beats the hell out of a 22oz of Pabts. I imagine stocking up on this beer when going to a cabin in the winter. This beer gets straight to the point. This is the kind of beer I imagine when people say, "It'll put hair on your knuckles."

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For the price, this is a wonderful strong Euro porter. Nice enough head to start, but settling a bit flat, the beer pours nearly jet black and leaves no lacing. Gritty, soft roasty aroma. Starts off with bitter chocolate flavors, giving way to subtle coffee liqueur, slight molasses, and smooth roasty, charcoal flavors. Bordering stout character, but decidedly porter. Not the least bit bite from carbonation or sour/acidity. The alcohol is certainly felt but its presence otherwise is wonderfully woven into the taste - okay, a little bit of its warmth rises up in the aftertaste. Great beer all things considered. Will buy again for sure.

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Photo of dgilks
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a great dark, brown black colour with a fluffy, creamy tan head. Decent head retention and nice lacing. Very pretty.

The aroma is fruity and slightly chocolatey. The alcohol is well hidden.

The flavour is well balanced with nice dark fruits, bitter chocolate and a moderate bitterness. A touch of roast rounds it all out. Good.

Medium-full body with moderate but unintegrated carbonation.

A tasty beer that certainly doesn't feel like 9%. Well flavoured.

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Photo of silentjay
3.66/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

dark brown, almost black, with a huge chunky sand colored head that retains well and laces in chunks.

soy sauce and molasses, dark roasted coffee, unsweetened chocolate, toffee, and caramel.

maple syrup, molasses, soy sauce, coffee, caramel, toffee, a touch of unsweetened chocolate and vanilla extract. a bit metallic at times and some dark fruits make an appearance as it warms.

a bit lighter bodied than its stateside robust porter relatives, but still a nice medium body with plenty of carbonation and a bit of sticky sweetness left behind after the swallow.

alcohol is integrated very well. a bit of a metallic flavor and light body hinder its score here, but its tremendous value and above average scores make this a great buy any time.

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Photo of JVEyck309
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Found this on a recent trip to Albany, NY.

Poured into a pint glass, pitch black, mocha colored one finger head, smells typical of baltic porter - coffee, dark chocolate, roasted, mouthfeel a little bit thick but creamy. High ABV is well hidden. Bittersweet smokey and rich.
This is a great porter which I don't see around too often.
Definitely will be picking up more next time I see it.

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Photo of Adamthome1
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best by 3/23/11....Served from 500 mL bottle into a pint sized snifter glass...Pronounced; zhiv-yets

-At 45 degrees F, it smells roasty, appears very thick, with a nice 2 fingered head, head remains sticks on side of glass to last drop.

Smell is largely of liquorish and roasty. Taste is dominated by a smoked nutty flavor. Coffee and caramel roast come to mind. Average carbonation. Pretty noticeable metallic-like taste and aftertaste (maybe hard water or the tun used)

....Pair this beer with milk chocolate to really get the roasty flavor to come out. It's a very deceptive 9.5% alcohol, I would have guessed 6% by flavor.

-As it warms to 65 degrees F, the smokey flavor comes out a bit more as does the alcohol on the mouth. Add more milk chocolate to the palate at this point.

Overall very happy with the beer, it costs less than half of other 500mL options in it's class ($2.09 at Hy Vee Spirit Shop)...really want to call this an Imperial Porter, it could be labeled as one in my opinion.... very good value...Try this one

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Photo of DaveHS
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best before 09/12/10

A-Pours deep dark brown, almost black, with almost 2 inches of milk chocolate colored pillowy head. Leaves thin rings of lacing.

S-This bottle is a little over a year old
(I think) and smells really different from fresh bottles. Aromas of toffee, caramel, lactic sweetness, like condensed milk.

T/M-Pretty different with some time in the bottle. Very smooth and silky body, medium to full bodied. The roasty dark malts are still present, but subdued. What stands out is a pleasant, condensed milk sweetness, and some subtle toffee notes. A great version of the style! I wonder how old this one is, and how long a bottle of this would continue to improve with cellaring...

D-At $2.99 a bottle, this is a steal.

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Photo of comfortablynumb1
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Ballast Point Brewery pint glass. Bottle reads best before 03.23.2011.

A - Pours dark brown with a one finger light tan head. Has decent head retention, and lacing...

S - Pick up notes of dark chocolate along with a sweeter fruity scent...

T - Chocolate, roasted malts, and coffee with maybe a hint of licorice. Ends with a slight metallic taste that I am not to fond of. Abv is very well hidden. Besides the matallic taste, this one is very smooth...

M - Medium bodied. A little watered down for my tastes. Tend to like my porters a little more thick and creamy...

D - Can't beat the price on this one. Goes down pretty smooth for the abv. Definitely something I will be buying again...


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Photo of milkbaby9
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle (best by 9-12-2010, drank 9-16-2010) into Dartington ultimate beer glass. Nice 2 finger tan head, dark brown color though looks clear but dark. Head reduces to a small cap of bubbles with nice lacing left behind. Spiderwebs and sheets of foam left as the beer is drunk down.

Aroma of chocolate, burnt malts, overripe dark fruit, grape jelly. Taste an initial syrupy sweetness then a sour bitterness of burnt toast and coffee, touch of sweet grape juice, and a roasty bitterness tries to dry up the finish. Other than the tiniest hint of alcohol coming up through the back end and some warming in the throat, the 9.5% alcohol is well hidden.

Feels relatively carbonated and when the carbonation passes on the tongue the mouthfeel is medium to full bodied.

I bought this on accident thinking it was some other beer I'd read a good review about, but it turned out to be a nice surprise. Enjoyable and tasty, but one bottle is enough for me, especially since I drank this during the summer.

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Photo of argock
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 16.9oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. No freshness date. Single purchased at Beer Run for $2.59.

A: Very dark brown with 1-2 finger off-white head with short retention and a fine wavy line of lace.

S: Roasted malt with licorice-molasses and cocoa mixed with earthy, tobaccoish hops

T: Extremely full-flavored with strong roated malt and licorice flavor, cocoa, black coffee grounds and finished with earthy hops.

M: Full-bodied with low carbonation and strong roasted malt aftertaste with a touch of acrid burnt flavor.

D: A really good porter that I wish I'd tried sooner. High ABV hurts drinkability a little, but this is a very nice porter that goes light on sweetness and big on roast.

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Photo of dfernandez77
1.62/5  rDev -58.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

First; rich malty caramel, big bananas up front. Next; solvent, metallic, unappealing oxidized metal machine shop smell.

All good; warm deep brown color, very clear, tan big bubble head. Good head retention - moderate lace. I'd estimate SRM at 24.

Malty, sweet balanced, with a bit of roastiness, initially pleasant until the back flavors come through. Then it's just strange; a strong dirty metallic flavor, plus a tinny sharp metallic flavor that just doesn't seem like something you should drink.

Medium body, slightly slick - but less substance than most porters I have sampled.

Overall Impression:
Completely breaks the promise of the appearance and the up front aroma. It just doesn't taste like something that should be consumed. I threw it out.

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Photo of DrJay
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best before 3.31.2011.
Very dark brown, but with faint, clear, ruby edges. A soft pour produced 3/4 inch of thick, tan foam that stuck around for quite a while. Clumpy sheets of lace at first, followed by spottier stickage. Fruity nose, plums and raisins, backed up by grainy malt, chocolate and roast, slight alcohol, anise and a hint of mint. Full bodied, but not heavy, with soft carbonation and creamy texture. Very light astringency, plus some alcohol flavour and warmth. Nice flavour profile, with plenty of dried fruits (figs, raisins, and the like) along with dark, roasted grains that provide notes of chocolate, toffee, and a bit of coffee. Bitterness seemed to originate partially from the dark malts, providing some depth to this characteristic that isn't present when hops are the only source. It's balanced towards sweetness, but isn't cloying at all. Based on the mouthfeel and alcohol content, I'd be surprised if there weren't adjunct sugars present -- but this only makes the beer more drinkable, similar to some higher abv Belgians that retain some lightness of texture. Highly recommended.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle pours a deep dark brown that borders on black with a light tan head that slowly falls atop the brew. Aromas are dense, rich malts upfront with notes of fudge, dark fruits, raisins and molasses. Somewhat roasted and quite inviting.

First sip brings a wash of rich, creamy malt upfront with a mix of roast, molasses, raisins, dark fruit and an underlying fudge note. Smooth with a kiss of bitterness on the back end and a whiff of alcohol as it flows down. Solid brew.

Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and robust. Makes itself known while still being quite drinkable for the ABV. Overall, a top notch Polish brew. This and the Okocim porter make for a good one two punch!

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 500ml brown pop top w/classy label; drink by 9-12-2010

Appearance: Dark brown beer w/garnet hints when held up to the light; big light sandy cap of large bubbles w/good retention.

Smell: Tons of juicy dark fruits, earthy dark malts, dark (almost bitter) chocolate...fairly straightforward, but quite pleasant.

Taste: Lots of burnt malts up front along with some almost sweet red fruit (cherries, maybe?). Definitely a kick of bitter chocolate going on here too. Medium burnt bitterness on the finish. Lightly earthy dark malts. This is warming, and there's just a little bit of fruity alcohol in the background, but this doesn't taste like 9.5% abv.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy and fairly slick/smooth

Drinkability: Medium high

Conclusion: We're drinking this fairly close to the "best by" date, so this may have faded a little. That's my only real complaint here. It feels just a bit muted. Otherwise, good flavors, and this hides the alcohol well. Would try again.

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Photo of tjd112
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured this into a Southampton pint glass. The colour is a deep black body, off-white head with some good lacing and decent retention. Smell is chocolate-coffee, and taste and mouthfeel is a velvety milkiness with some hoppiness interspersed within. Decent drinkability and a solid entry from Poland.

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Photo of obrendano
4.87/5  rDev +24.9%
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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Zywiec Porter from Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)
Beer rating: 74.8% out of 100 with 807 ratings
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