Zywiec Porter | Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)

very good
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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: 412 | Ratings: 781
Photo of Gear54
4.44/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

A: Dark black with 1/2 inch of thick head. It failed down the glass without and lace.

S: Faint licorice aroma

T: Wonderful full coffee and chocolate noted. Long lasting and no bitterness

M: Does well to coat the mouth

O: This is a good porter. I was surprised for the price how well it performed.

 340 characters

Photo of MarkBlackout
4.43/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Amazing beer. I can't believe its from a company now run by Heineken! Must have had different ppl boiling the wort with this stuff. or whatever. ;)

Pours dark brown, but fairly transparent. I was a little disappointed by this at first, but was rewarded for my patience with an awesome rocky fluffy pocked head. Things are looking up!

Doesn't smell that much, at least at this fairly cool temperature.

First sip is pleasantly *firm* alcoholic mouthfeel that is great, because there is an element of creaminess that is pretty undeniable. Roasty! There's a similarity with this to something else I had.. hmmm.. tastes like grilled fruit in a way. Can't place the other beer I had that was similar. NOT a baltic porter.. kinda has a barleywine edge to it. Rich malts.

A total steal, I will get these every single time I go to the store I got these. I want a case.

 864 characters

Photo of DaveHS
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
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 jwinship83
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- dark dark brown, almost black with a head that quickly becomes little more than a crown.

S- very dark and roasted with some hints of toffee and caramel.

T- very similar to how it smells with an added hint of alcohol. mild considering its near 9% ABV. more toffee than i could smell, very nice.

M- full bodied, thick, creamy, and smooth.

D- very drinkable for how potent it is. they did a great job of hiding it. also, very cheap. definitely something ill be picking up again, probably not untill it gets a little colder

 529 characters

Photo of Globetrotter
4.41/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hand-delivered from Warsaw to Moscow (thanks, Arlene!), this specimin comes in a brown 33cl bottle with a place and red label featuring what look like a couple of Cossack dancers holding a shield. The label is all in Polish, and while I found the ingredients list, I didn't understand enough to know about allegiance to the purity law. Best before 8/26/05 (although I'll bet it cellars quite well), I opened it on 4/17/05.

Luscious pour: dark but clear burgundy under a two finger beige head that lingers forever and leaves very nice lacing. This is what a porter should look like. The nose is a bit faint, but the feature tone is sweet malt on top of an underlying floral hops aroma. The mouth is exquisite, well but not excessively carbonated, with enough body to coat the mouth without being sticky. The taste? There's lots of it. Sweet caramel, a touch of chocolate, significant espresso tones, a bit of plum. The alcohol is also noticeable, but in a smooth, pleasant way that warms the stomach and mellows the rest of the senses. The finish is significantly dry and bitter, leading into a good crisp aftertaste of coffee beans and fruit. Very, very nice experience.

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Photo of tastybeer
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is my first Baltic Porter...aside from samples maybe, and I must say I'm impressed by both the beer and the style. Looks purple + redish black with light barely discernable around the edges of the glass. Light tan head is giant, about 1/3 the glass after the pour and recedes to a nice little layer over the beer fairly quickly. Crazy aromas fill the nose- some blueberry mixes great with the roasted and toasted + burnt and smokey malts, earthy dank hops, cocoa, milk, a hint of peat, and a bit of alcohol that tingles the nose more than gives off an alcoholic odor. I can't stop taking in the variety of smells. Taste is great too. Nicely roasty with a lingering burnt malt and hop bitterness and to balance it a bittersweet berry toasted malt softness. More flowing than complex yet loaded with a varity of good things. Mouth is very soft and smooth, with a tingly bitter that warms the mouth. I find myself drinking this fairly slowly only because I keep distracting myself with the aromas, and of course it is 9.5%. For that though drinkability is great.

I'll have to try more of this style, and I'll definitely be picking this up again.

 1,150 characters

Photo of wedge
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black with faint crimson highlights, the huge tan head extends a good half inch over the rim of the glass. Aroma is dry malts, coffee, vinous, faint berries some soy maybe (?), and estery alcohol. Deep, dark burntish malty flavor, soft sweetness. The dry fruity esters are possibly the showcase of the whole flavor. A bit warming in the throat but other than that, the alcohol is deviously concealed. Thick and sleek in the mouth with a brief bitterness and moderate carbonation.

I found this a little musty at first but, man is this stuff good. Under $2 for a 500mL bottle seems like quite the bargain. It does seem dry and I wouldn't really call it "rich" but its damn satisfying. This beer is HUGE and its kicking my ass...

 729 characters

Photo of lehows
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Brought some bottles back from Poland over the summer, just finished the last one. I was hoarding them because this is so good! Pours a nearly black body with a small attractive tan head with unbelievable retention. Strong nose of roasted barley and malt. Some light licorice and coffee scents too. Taste is simply divine. Its so rich and complex, there is a lot going on in this brew. Strong alcohol flavor as well. Creamy and very full mouthfeel, very stout-like. Because of its complexity and fullness, I didnt find its drinkabilty too high. But that certainly isnt a bad thing, some beers should be like that. If you can get your hands on this at your local distro, go for it.

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Photo of Sixpoint
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Fantastic beer. I just can't believe the strength of this beer; it's so drinkable.

My sample poured with a lovely head that lasted a long time. The aroma was of esters and chocolate and patent malts, not too much hops.

The flavor matched the aroma. Just in the aftertaste do I get the slightest twinge of alcohol.

I drank this beer at the table of my corner deli, and I plan on doing so again.

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Photo of JVEyck309
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%
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 mmmbeer
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle, best by 5/31/09; sampled 5/13/09. It pours damn near totally black, topped with two inches of thick brown froth that leaves nice lacing. Gentle and aromatic, with clean roastiness, blue and blackberry, licorice, mild hops, milk chocolate and a light fruitiness. Roasted and chocolate malts on the palate, with licorice, dark berries, coffee, malt sweetness, nuttiness, sturdy bitterness and a gentle warmth. The body is light and smooth, with low carbonation and a nice, dry finish. This is a great brew - so completely balanced all around and quite cheap to boot. Definitely one to revisit.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

For some reason we've had the Zywiec lager beer available around here for quite a while, but even after the ABV limit was lifter the Porter was nowhere to be found. But today I found it at Windward Beverage Mart of all places. When poured the body looked dark brown to black in color, and the carbonation did a nice cascading trick until settling into a head that was tw fingers thick. The smell was nice and mellow with mostly a dark fruit character showing up with very little chocolate. The taste followed the lead of the smell with berries, cherries, prunes, and a little hint of chocolate and coffee. Astringency and roast was notable in their absence. Very Baltic in overall presentation, which made it an easy drinking beer. The alcohol was completely hidden, and this drank more like a 5% beer than something nearly twice as strong. Perhaps a little thin in the mouth, but that is forgivable considering all its other virtues. Well done.

 945 characters

Photo of drunkenmess
4.39/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poors very thick and heavy. Gorgeous tan head at least 2 fingers. Awesome lacing thru out. Smells very rich and dark chocolate with a sweetness. Tastes strong, no doubt about that. Has a very bittersweet after taste. Delicious and thick not for the wee lads. I frequent this beer from time to time. For something different.

 323 characters

Photo of jwc215
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours pitch black with a brownish/off-white creamy head that lingers. It has a complex, rich smell of coffee with hints of chocolate. It has a great, complex taste that fills the mouth. The only down-side is that some of the alcohol taste does come through, but considering the high abv it is not predominate. This is an excellent example of a good porter. It would have a higher drinkability if not for its high abv. I highly recommend this beer for lovers of porter. There is not much to not like about it!

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Photo of keithmurray
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - beer pours a murky ruby brown colour, half inch of tan head

Aroma is of burnt coffee grinds, chocolate and malts.

Taste - flavour of coffee, chocolate, toffee and malts, aftertaste is a pleasant coffee flavor

this beer is quite smooth, very drinkable and enjoyable. I paid $1.79 for a 500ML bottle of this and it turned out to be a good investment. This is a porter I would gladly drink again

 408 characters

Photo of Bighuge
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark clear ruby and is topped by a thin brown head that lasts. Some nice caramel tones and sweet toffee on the nose. This beer is incredibly smooth for one that is close to 10% a/v. I only get the faintest hint of alcohol. There are some nice burnt tones here. Black Patent I'm thinking. Good roasted character. Nice bitterness. But also an underlying sweet malt characteristic. Long lasting bitter aftertaste. Reminiscent of a good Imperial Stout. (The taste itself isn't quite as thick and heavy as a good IS.) This is impressive. Probably the best "Imperial Porter" I've had so far. I am proud to say I'm Polish after drinking this great Polish brew.

Many thanks to cokes for the fine brew.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Barely opaque charred pecan with highlights of red, orange and amber along the bottom edge of the glass. The cap is golden brown sugar in color and is nicely tight-bubbled. It looks as if it'll last forever, as does the thick band of lace that's being laid down just below the lip of the glass. Outstanding and classic for the style.

The nose is also right on the money, even though it could stand be more aromatic and more complex. I have a feeling that warming will improve things, as it almost always does with high ABV beer. What greets my nose is more roasted malty and less dark fruity than I remember for the style. Good, not great.

Like all good Baltic porters, Zywiec Porter is absolutely filled to the brim with flavor. My only complaint, and it isn't a trivial one, is that there isn't a great deal of depth and complexity to be had. It isn't a deal-breaker, though, because my taste buds are ecstatically happy... as is my rapidly blurring brain. The 9.5% ABV may be hard to appreciate on the palate, but it's definitely working its magic in more central locations.

I love how anise-like the flavor profile is. Another highlight is the contrast between sweet and bitter, such as one might experience when eating a high-quality bittersweet chocolate. The finishing, lingering bitterness is especially impressive and even scratches my ever-present hophead itch. I don't remember the other world-class Baltics being quite this aggressively bitter.

I had a feeling that warming would work its usual magic. At this point I wonder how I could have granted a flavor score other than the one I've ended up on. I don't care so much about a hundred and one contrasting flavors when the beer floods my mouth with such intense flavor and is this amazingly delicious.

The mouthfeel is a shade lighter than I would like. Once I remind myself that I'm drinking a big lager rather than a big ale, and that it shouldn't be comparable to a Russian Imperial stout, I'm fine. It's wonderfully silky smooth and has just enough carbonation to keep things moving smartly along.

Prior to cracking the crown, I doubted whether this beer could equal the brilliance of my favorite Baltic porters. Poland's own Okocim Porter and Finland's Sinebrychoff are some of the best beers of any style that I've ever had. I'm pleased to report that Zywiec is in their league and is an immensely enjoyable experience. Why can't all Polish beer be this good?

 2,448 characters

Photo of magictrokini
4.36/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow. Brown, nearly black pour, with a squatty brown head that quickly dissipates. Rich aroma of coffee, roasted malt, licorice, and alcohol. Dense, roasted malt up front with cocoa and cognac flavors. Moves into cream, coffee and anise, which is swept up with an alcohol warmer.

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Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours back with a pretty brown head. It looks like a chocolate truffle poured into my glass.

Smells of sweet grain, chocolate, cream, and light bananas.

Bananas lead the way followed by creamy coffee, chocolate, mocha, and finishing with more mocha.

this is a very creamy and luxurious beer. I really enjoy the way this feels. Great body and carbonation.

Overall this is a pretty damn tasty brew. I would happily drink this again. I wonder if this is distributed down here.

 477 characters

Photo of weeare138
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears an opaque, near black, with deep crimson notes. An off white head slowly fades into a mild cap and heavy collar. Scattered lacing and spots of webbing are left around the entire glass.
Smell is of smooth vanilla, cocoa, espresso, cream, and dark fruits.
Taste is fruity, with notes of cocoa, vanilla, dark chocolate, and caramel.
Mouthfeel is medium full bodied with bittersweet cocoa flavors clinging to the palate.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
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 auntfloyd
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 500 ml bottle into an imperial pint glass.

Pours a very dark brown, almost black, with ruby highlights, and about one finger of dark tan head.

The smell is of roast malts, coffee, hints of dark fruit and chocolate. Rather rich and inviting.

The taste is full of coffee and chocolate notes upfront, with a definite bitter espresso finish. Hops can be detected slightly, but all in all, very nice.

The mouthfeel is very full and rich, but quite creamy. Definitely stout-like, as Polish porters are. Drinkability is good, surprisingly so.

What more can I say? A great Baltic porter, and something all porter fans should try. It also tends be to very cheap, much more so than domestic offerings of similar quality.

 739 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ampzilla for the brew.

Pours a deep black color, nice carbonation, there's a nice small creamy tannish one-finger head, some nice islands and sticky lacing to follow. The nose is malty, but slightly roasted, lots of toffee/caramel. The taste is malty, creamy, slightly roasted, with a nice touch of toffee/caramel. There's a slight chewyness to this brew. Also, no trace of the ABV, amazing. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is an awesome Baltic Porter, would love to try again someday.

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Photo of darklordlager
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown/black, with a good 1" light brown head that sits royally on top.

Smell is clean--Dark malt, and some roasted in there. Hop backing (or at least a noticeable bitterness--hops or dark malt?) is evident as well. Smells quenching, for how dark it is.

Taste is immediately fruity! Darker malts work their way in later, but the mildly bitter fruitness is the dominating aspect, with some roasty/bitter character coming in again near the end.

Mouthfeel is MUCH lighter/drier than the Espresso Oak Aged Yeti enjoyed earlier. If you took an Irish Dry Stout and made it quite a bit more syrupy, with a clean finish--this would be it. Kind of creamy, but with a slick element. Much cleaner than most Russian Imperials/American Doubles.

D- So good. Great depth of flavours, yet so clean! The price point won't hurt the wallet either--great.

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Photo of Reanimator
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a big 3 fingers of latte foam colored head, with some laces still stuck my glass by the end. Very deep chocolate colored porter, almost stoutlike in appearance.

S: Big roasted malts and sweetness jump out at you.

T: Complex roasted flavor with burnt sugar and molasses as others have noted. Also quite hoppy on the finish before being rounded out by awesomely pleasant warming alcohol. The interaction between the flavors is heavenly.

M: Dense and creamy, nearly perfect.

D: Hugely drinkable for a 9.5% beer. Being one of the only porters available locally I am thankful that it is also one of the best I've had. Definitely pick this up if you find it in the states!

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Zywiec Porter from Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken)
3.94 out of 5 based on 781 ratings.
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