Chief BlackHawk Porter
Tyranena Brewing Company

Chief BlackHawk PorterChief BlackHawk Porter
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Porter - Robust
Ranked #52
Ranked #23,446
3.84 | pDev: 11.2%
Tyranena Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States
Very Good
Chief BlackHawk PorterChief BlackHawk Porter
Notes: Chief BlackHawk Porter is a robust black and sharply bittersweet ale. This style was traditionally the session beer consumed by the porters in London.

Hold your glass to the light and you may glimpse dashes of garnet dancing through this dark, black ale. Count on a dense and creamy mocha head to rise a few inches and leave a sticky, lacy trail down the sides of your glass as it slowly settles.

The aroma of coffee beans and bittersweet chocolate will water your mouth. Visions of sticking your finger in a bowl of thick, fudgey batter or stealing a darkened and decadent
chocolate chip cookie might creep into your thoughts. A variety of dark, roasted malts…Brown, Chocolate, Black…lend rich flavors and deep colors to this ale.
Reviews: 176 | Ratings: 369 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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German-Helles from Wisconsin

3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I poured this 12oz. bottle into a Tyranena pint glass. I got one finger of beautiful dark tan foam. After several minutes the foam settled to a thin cap with very nice lacing left behind. The beer is very dark, when held up to the light I can see red.
I like the smell of this beer, the malt and the sweetness.
There is a lot going on with the flavor, every sip you can pick a little something different out. The coffee nibs, a bit of chocolate, some sweetness, and a very pleasant mildly bitter finish.
To me this beer feels slightly creamy.
This is an easy Porter to drink, bitter, sweet, and creamy. These can be easy to sip to fast and too many, very easy to enjoy.

Oct 31, 2019
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DoubleJ from Wisconsin

3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I'm taking a little tour in the world of Wisconsin beer. From a 12 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

Opaque colored with a tint of ruby brown and a semi-creamy head which retains itself into a lace. Smells of classic American robust porter; unsweetened chocolate, smokey malt, vague fruitiness. Not too far from the more famous Black Butte Porter so far.

I like a robust porter and I'm not disappointed. Drinks easy which also having a flavorful bittersweet taste. If I'm nitpicking, the carbonation is a hair higher to my preference. That's not going to keep me away from a second glass when I get the chance.

Oct 26, 2019
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KingTen144 from Illinois

3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark with a chocolate-brown head. Caramel notes in the smell. Satisfying taste with caramel, oat, and chocolate flavors. Texture is a little bit wispy. Overall a solid beer. Glad to have had it, but wouldn't go crazy looking for it again.

Feb 01, 2018
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Unknown vintage; drank October 2014 @ the Yarchives.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Brown/black hue.

Hot chocolate head; strong lace.

Chocolate syrup & fresh earth nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Fresh earth & chocolate syrup up front with a mild hop bite on the finish; not overly memorable but a fine session porter.

Dec 30, 2016
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MacMalt from New Jersey

3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 12/18/2015. Poured from bottle into tulip glass. It pours almost opaque black with dark walnut hues when held to the light, and two fingers of foamy khaki-colored head and lacing. The initial head quickly dissipated but the lacing had good retention. It smells of roasted malt, burnt coffee, graham cracker, and toffee. The taste is pleasant with burnt coffee grounds, nuts, baker's chocolate, vanilla, lactose, and some wood smoke. As the glass warmed, the sweetness was more evident. There is a touch of bitterness throughout but particularly at the finish. It features a nice mouth feel - fairly creamy for a porter, with mild carbonation. With a moderate ABV of 5.6% it is easy to drink. This is a well-crafted and tasty Porter - it's not at the same level as Founders, VAS or Edmund Fitzgerald but it's worth a try. The bottle I had was approximately a year old. It would be interesting to try Chief Black Hawk fresher and on draught.

Dec 04, 2016
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hoptheology from South Dakota

3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Dark bean black, with a 1 finger frothy head of beige color. Lace is nice, with walls/soapy suds on the sides.

Some coffee, with lots and lots of bitter roast malts, light lactose.

Foldgers out front, followed by lots of lactose, roast malts, and cacao nibs. More lactose on the finish.

Feel is acidic, very acidic, and roasty. Semi-dry all the way through and to the finish. More acid, rusting away my teeth on the finish.

A touch better than other Wisconsin-local porters, but only marginally. I have no idea why they all smell like brown ales and taste like coffee and roasted malts. No sweetness, no balance.

Nov 19, 2016
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Beginner2 from Illinois

4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I have Had Tyranena several times times a year for several years. I like them. I like their sense of local history. And I like many of their beers.
And I always come back to Chief BlackHawk. One sip of this porter distinguishes itself. A second confirms that the first taste was true: this is a great porter.
A key test of a porter is how well it bitters the beer by blending (and toasting) the malts... without having to rely on hops.

BlackHark Porter uses malts splendidly; filling the mouth with coffee and bittersweet chocolate.
I rarely drink the same beer twice in an evening. If I had a second BlackHawk Porter, it would have disappeared tonight.

Jun 01, 2016
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matjack85 from Illinois

4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up at the Binny's store in Bloomingdale, IL as part of a build-your-own six pack for $9.99, making this single 12oz bottle $1.67. No freshness date. There is no alcohol percentage listed on the bottle, but the company website lists it as 5.75%, not the 5.6% that BA gives it.

The beer poured a dark brown color, almost black, and made a 1-finger light brown head that lasted over 2 minutes. Lacing was decent.

The beer had a heavy roasted malt aroma to it along with a yeatsy smell.

Lots of roasted malt and coffee flavor with a hint of caramel sweetness and a bit of chocolate. Hop bitterness was mild.

While not watery at all, the body was still on the thin side with medium carbonation.

I liked this beer a lot.

Apr 09, 2016
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bwood06 from Wisconsin

3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass

A - Beer pours a pitch black color with ever so slight red coloring around parts of the edges of the glass. Head rises very quickly even with a slow, light pour. Head is tan in color and very frothy/foamy. Head reminds me of a milk froth made from skim milk. Head dissipates rather slowly. Light to moderate carbonation is visible around the edges of the glass with bubbles rising at a slow to moderate pace. 4.25/5

S - Aroma is very heavy on espresso, dark chocolate, and a very dark maltiness. Char and roasted malt are predominant as well. In terms of hops there seems to be herbal hops present but this acts as an undertone to the malt. 4/5

T - Sweet up front reminiscent of toffee. This leads to a caramelized malt along with a bit of roasted malt. There is a dark chocolatiness that makes up the middle of the tasting along with a bit of tobacco with this transitioning to a bitter espresso and herbal hops that make up the back end. Slight bitterness lingers on the palate upon swallowing. 4/5

M - Medium heavy body with a bit of a carbonation tickle but not a full burn. Somewhat drying during the 2nd half of the tasting with a slight lingering dryness but nothing unpleasant. Slight creaminess but dryness keeps this in check. 3.75/5

O - Versatile porter than can be a sipping beer or a food pairing beer due to the medium heavy body and slight dryness and sweetness. Well balanced between sweet and bitter. Very good porter offering here. 4/5

Dec 30, 2015
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ordybill from Georgia

4.85/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. Pours pitch black color with red highlights in the light with a small tan head. The aroma is roasted malt and coffee with a little chocolate. The taste is roasted malt with coffee. An outstanding porter.

Dec 23, 2015
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Franziskaner from Missouri

3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Black in color with no light getting through. A fingernail of khaki head rests on top. Brussels lacing. Aroma of dark malt,coffee,and tobacco is detectable. The flavor is plenty of bitter, dark malt with a hint of smokiness. The mouth is silky and creamy.

Feb 28, 2015
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PorterLambic from Florida

3.07/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Pours nearly black with a big, poofy head of darker tan. Retention is not it's strength though as it drops to a wee, thin film in just a few minutes. Decent lace is left behind.
Smell is heavily toasted malts, coffee and cardboard. Not a great balance but not heavily weighted to one aspect either.
Taste is strong on burnt malts and coffee (not my favorite flavors) with nothing else really coming to the party to balance them out. Aftertaste gets quite ashy.
Body is medium at best, effervescence is mild. Slightly warming especially after some temperature rise. Drying finish. All told, not a great porter for me. I like them sweeter - and I hate coffee - but if there had been something to balance the coffee and toasted malt notes this could have been quite good. If you're buying, I accept one, otherwise, no.

Feb 19, 2015
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mazo from Illinois

4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very nice beer. Would drink anytime. It cranks the bitterness in your mouth then when swallowed the bitterness disappears instantly instead of lingering, making you want more! So drinkable it's laughable!

Dec 28, 2014
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champ103 from Texas

3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown, nearly black color. A two finger tan head rises with good retention, and rings of sticky lace.
S: Roasted malts up front. Bakers chocolate, coffee. A fairly simple malt character, which is nice. Then a green tea, leafy hop aroma lingers.
T: Like the nose, up front is roasted malt, bitter chocolate, and coffee. Then a piny, green leafy hop flavor lingers.
M/D: A medium to full body. Moderate carbonation with a crisp smoothness. Easy and enjoyable to drink. The six pack will be gone in no time.

I think the roasted malts and leafy hop finish work at odds a bit, though this is still very enjoyable. A nice American example that I will return to if I get another chance.

Dec 26, 2014
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GoBearsWalter34 from Illinois

3.2/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours black with a thin frothy head. Smell mainly chocolate with coffee hint. Coffee really comes out in taste with a piney hop finish. The bite gets big in the end and prevents smoothness and bite lingere. This is a busy porter but takes away from some things I drink a porter for.

Dec 20, 2014
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Tone from Missouri

3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

Pours a dark brown. 1/4 inch of a tan color. Decent retention and good lacing. Smells of a strong sweet malt, nuts, yeast, pale malt, slight hops, hint of roasted malt, and a hint of pine. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. There is also a noticeable dryness and slight bitterness. Tastes of strong roasted malt, sweet malt, hops, pine, yeast, and a hint of pale malt. Overall, good blend, aroma, body, and mouth feel.

Aug 17, 2014
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Honisbygonis from North Carolina

3.26/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appetizer: did not have glass to pour, so color / carbonation was indiscernible in the brown bottle; "nice porter" sweet smell

Entree: nice initial hit taste, but aftertaste mildly harsh; mid-way thru the bottle, after taste subsides from a about a 3 on bad scale to about 1.5 (the more u drink theory as to improving taste or the so-called killing of your taste buds)

Dessert: per label a "bitttersweet ale / session beer consumed by Porters in London"; gotta admit improves towards the emptying of the bottle; I'd compare this to (in my book) an overrated Founders Porter (not impressed as you can imagine given the hype); all in all, not the worst of the style so give it a try (or re-try)

Ch33rs !!!

Jul 24, 2014
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

3.57/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Discount Liquors in Milwaukee, WI. What a great store.

The beer is dark brown, approaching black, nearly opaque with a small beige cap. Aromas include the expected roasted malt, chocolate. Light char and coffee notes in the flavor. The body is perhaps a tad thin. Overall, pretty good, but perhaps a little weak in body and potency.

Jun 26, 2014
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KFBR392 from Illinois

3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Poured vigorously to produce a dense head of a finger and a half. Sits black in the glass with above average active carbonation for the style. Some random lacing left behind with each drink.

Smell: Sweet lactose and oats greet the drinker. Dark roasted coffee grounds are very clean and deliver a concise aroma. Vanilla and molasses picked up on the back end. Great balance of sweet tones with solid roasted malt body.

Taste: subtle oats and creamy malt hits on the front. After that, the beer sort of just lulls its way into the body with no significant taste additions. Some very light roasted malt and dry almost burnt coffee grounds are picked up on the back end. The finish is lingering bitter chocolate and dry coffee.

Mouthfeel: Full range run here with this brew. The front is sweet, creamy, and airy while the finish is filled with roasted malt and coffee leaving a very dry palate behind.

Overall: Loved the aroma but was let down with the taste. The front is enticing but nothing notable happens until the finish. I porter I would recommend trying but nothing to seek out.

Apr 23, 2014
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buschbeer from Ohio

3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 fl. Ounce bottle
Served in a perfect pint glass

A - This beer is dark brown. Just the fainest of light gets through this thing. The mocha head was generous.

S - I smell some roasted malt and dark chocolate.

T - The taste is sweeter than I expected. I get some milk chocolate. The finish has some dark and unsweetened chocolate.

M - Medium

O - This is a chocolaty porter. It is easy enough to drink. I could see drinking this often if it was distributed in Ohio.

Feb 14, 2014
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jwc215 from Arizona

3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours very dark brown with a tan head that soon becomes patchy. Thin lacing sticks.

The smell is of roasted coffee, chocolate, chicory. Pretty robust!

The taste is of deep roasted coffee, charcoal, chicory, hint of anise and some chocolate. Roasted finish.

Medium body with lingering roast and touch of alcohol.

Overall, it's a nice, roasty, fairly robust, porter!

Feb 04, 2014
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Hammer35 from Illinois

3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pitch black color with tan head and small beading. Decent head retention, but beautiful lacing.

Smell: Big, bold notes of coffee with subtle hints of cinnamon. I wish there was more than a hint of cinnamon.

Taste: Coffee. Black, roasted coffee. The cinnamon (and any other flavor) disappears against the huge coffee flavor. Bitter, dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Not thin, but lighter than I expected. Heavily carbonated.

Overall: Not a bad porter, but it seemed to me to be nothing but bitter, dark coffee flavors. I would have appreciated more depth of flavor. The mouthfeel was also a bit of a throw-off, being lighter and much more carbonated than expected.

Dec 11, 2013
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jayhass from Illinois

3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Color is almost dark black with a little amber light coming through the edge. Tan head is thick but fades to a spotted lace.
Smell- Roasted character stands out with light bitter chocolate and charcoal. Some light grain and bread from the malt.
Taste- Light sweet bitter chocolate with roasted malt giving a good coffee note. Light ash charcoal and tobacco. Some bitterness from hops but roasted malt dominates.

Sep 01, 2013
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RickS95 from Indiana

4.09/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very dark black pour with some lighter red hues around the edges. Even though it's very dark, it's got a clearishness to it, despite being completely opaque. The head is just over a finger thick, full of camel-colored bubbles. Very foamy looking head. Gives the premonition it's going to be creamy. Decent retention and a thin lace.

Very malty, particularly chocolate and caramel malts. Chocolate is always there, but the caramel comes wafting up from the glass as the beer warms. Little hop presence in the nose.

A bit of chocolate in the taste and the caramel malts are noticeable. While I've never had cold coffee, this taste is what I imagine it tastes like. Very caramelly, like a soda.

The mouthfeel lacks the creamy smoothness I expected from the look and smell. It starts off sweet before bitterness starts to take over, but it's never too bitter, just enough to balance the malt bomb. Slight watery feel with a fairly carbonated, cleansing finish.

Another good beer from Tyranena. Not sure I've had a bad one yet and this is a good one. ABV is shown as 5.75% on their website, so it's almost a session beer. Feel free and don't worry about needing to sip, just go at it.

Jul 29, 2013
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mfnmbvp from Illinois

3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, no bottled on date present. Acquired as part of Tyranena's The Legendary Collection mixed twelve pack. Twelve pack says Packaged 04/02/2013.

Poured into a Firestone Walker pint glass.

A - Gentle pour yields half a finger of khaki colored froth on top of a mostly opaque black body. Some ruby hues shining through when held to the light, and some carbonation bubbles visible rising to the top. No lacing.

S - Big bitter coffee bean roast. Smells smooth, creamy, & inviting.

T - Taste follows the nose. Bitter dark roasted coffee bean flavor, toasted malts, and some underlying hoppiness.

M - Light to medium bodied, smooth, creamy, slight carbonation, and some lingering hop / coffee bean roast.

Overall, an effectively well-made porter. Porters aren't typically my favorite style, but I do like finding one I enjoy. Reminded me a bit of Founders Porter, which I also remember enjoying. Smooth, creamy, delicious. Another beer from Tyranena that I would be happy to revisit.

Tyranena Chief BlackHawk Porter ---4/5.

May 14, 2013
Chief BlackHawk Porter from Tyranena Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 369 ratings