Highland Thunderstruck Coffee Porter | Highland Brewing

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very good
116 Reviews
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Highland Thunderstruck Coffee PorterHighland Thunderstruck Coffee Porter
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Highland Brewing
North Carolina, United States | website

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by hippityhophead24 on 11-10-2011

BEER STATS
Reviews:
116
Ratings:
539
Avg:
3.89
pDev:
23.39%
 
 
Wants:
27
Gots:
103
For Trade:
2
User Reviews
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Reviews: 116 | Ratings: 539
Photo of KYGunner
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Deepest and darkest of browns, this Porter pours with a bubbly fleeting head that had a short life and frothy thickness.

Mmmmm, roasted coffee. The aroma is roasted whole bean coffee with hints of chocolate malt and smoke.

The flavors hold true to the nose with fine roast of coffee beans and an under current of chocolate malt and smoky char. The smokiness really comes out more prevalent in the taste.

The feel quite thin almost to a watery character. There is a nifty warmth, despite the lower ABV, and a spiciness.

Overall, I'm very impressed with Highlands rendition of this Porter. It holds more qualities of a coffee stout but who cares when it's good.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a mug, the beer is a very dark, brown-to-black coloring with a wispy, filmy, light tan surface head. Aromas of rich, dark roasted coffee, with a hint of nut sweetness. Simple nose, but very inviting. Flavors are heavily bitter and roast forward, with a blast of coffee, dark and rich like coffee grounds. Very bitter towards the back end of the palate, with subtle hints of chocolate becoming present into the aftertaste. Dry, mid-bodied, with a bitter roast linger into the smooth finish, slightly dry finish. Solid beer with heavy, robust flavors, but remaining very drinkable.

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Photo of Omnium
4.09/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Pours out black with two fingers of fluffy tan head that fades fast, no lacing.
S - Big roasts of dark chocolate, coffee, and toffee malt. Some light undertones of a earthy type.
T - Lots of big roasted malt with coffee beans, toasted caramel, some baking chocolate, slight earthy hop underneath.
M - Decent feel, a tad dry and bitter at t e end.
O - Excellent coffee based beer. Tons of good roasted flavor and aroma.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Dogfish Head traditional oversized snifter. Base of bottle says Filled 09/15/15.

A- Pours a mostly opaque black color with a 1/2 inch dark tan head that retains decently before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a half sheet of surface foam. Resilient lacing leaves a solid ring behind.

S- Great mocha aroma that's moderately sweet, has solid dark roast coffee presence and includes notes of chocolate, caramel and vanilla.

T- Big coffee flavor that's only lightly sweet and works well with the roasted malt. Somewhat bitter hop/roast quality. Dark roast coffee aftertaste.

M- Slightly creamy with medium carbonation and a fullish body.

O- I think they might've put more coffee in this beer this year because it's even better than previous years' batches.

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Photo of delta490
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A- poured a deep clear brown with a thick creamy tan head. Head has great retention and leaves big lacing

S- deep roasted malt and robust coffee

T- Lighter than the aroma would indicate. But it has a nice rich coffee flavor blended with the tasty porter

M- lighter again, but still pleasant. There's a little fizzy quality to it

O- a really good coffee porter. Not quite the best I've ever had but a good one nonetheless.

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Photo of austin_page
4.73/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- Very nice dark inky color, a little bit of brownish hue, brown head, nice lacing and retention. I could tell I was going to enjoy it just by the sheer darkness.

S- Smells really good, you smell the coffee right off the bat, smells a bit roasty, mild malts.

T- There's kind of a hoppy pinch when it first hits the tongue, roasted/ almost caramel/ nutty malt kind of taste, you can definitely taste the rich coffee and malt, they blend very well, this can be compared to Terrapin's Wake-n-Bake stout, since a porter with coffee is essentially a stout.

M- Slight carbonation, smooth, goes down just like coffee, coffee after taste, leaves you wanting another after another if you're a die hard coffee fan and beer nut.

O- Overall a very nice stout since Highlands Mocha stout tastes mostly of cocoa powder and has plenty of room for improvement, I couldn't come up with a decision at Whole Foods as usual, but I saw the last sixer and know I know why, its simply delicious and I know it won't be around long.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear but opaque very dark brown bordering on jet black with some light amounts of gentle carbonation along the edges of the glass and some dark cola brown + garnet red highlights. The beer has a half finger tall sudsy foamy tan head that reduces to a few small to medium sized patches of thick film surrounded by a thin film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of freshly ground espresso/french roast coffee with some lighter aromas of roasted malts and chocolate.

T: Upfront there is a light to moderate flavor of roasted malts with a touch of molasses sweetness and a hint of vanilla. That is followed by moderate to strong flavors of espresso/french roast coffee and some light flavors of bittersweet chocolate. Overall there is a light amount of bitterness that lingers for a short amount of time.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: As an avid coffee drinker, this beer really spoke to me...wonderful coffee aromas and flavors dominate this beer. I would definitely recommend this one and will likely grab a couple more of these while it is available (since it is a seasonal).

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Simply put, you don't get robust-er without going "stout", this dark ale borrows toasted elements from a lot of different angles to reinforce its toast character and without going all roast. Its a very bold beer that's certainly got me thunderstruck.

Opening with the darkest of brown but not black, the ale quickly separates from its froathly whipped top. Seemingly opaque from darkness alone, its mocha-stained head is like meringue as it builds its creamy density, shows long staying power, and laces the glass with well-defined collaring.

Bold french roast-type coffee is roasty, nutty and rich with scorched earth- its coffee aroma is joined by dark chocolate, seared toffee and charred toast to follow. Roasted walnuts, campfire char and woodish hops weave into a scent that's sharp and toasty-acidic heading into taste.

Silky malted milk joins with the char for a boisterous but gentle taste. Its coffee taste is light and smooth even with its earthy and light espresso taste. But the beer's backbone of caramel, toffee, burnt toast and natural coffee flavor perfectly supports the coffee aditions with its own darkness and mysterious tendencies. As the beer finishes, its dry malt taste is cut short with woody hop notes that are easily mistaken for coffee bitterness and charred bite.

Just as silky in texture as it is in taste, the sweetness wraps around the tongue with gentle seduction. As the char wants to pang away at the soft tissues of the mouth, its acrid sharpness is buffered to perfection, even as the sweetness and carbonation trails off. In finish, is almost as if the malts gently lay the taste buds down to rest for the night. However, its caffeinated kick and its alcohol spice says, "the party's on!"

Though its quality is high and its taste is masculine- the beer has a humble understated demeanor likely because its a porter and not a stout. This really allows the finesse of the coffee to stand out beautifully.

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: on tap into a liter mug, dark brown with a nice tan head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: heavy on the roasted coffee, big malty espresso, light bitter hops

T: toasted malt, coffee, quite light flavors, finish dries with a light hop flavor, coffee bean bitter flavors

M: medium bodied with good carbonation

O: nice coffee porter, flavors are balanced and not overpowering

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Photo of pimpinmidget
3.89/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Fox and Hound Winston-Salem

A: Dark brown almost black pour. Nice finger and a half tan head that sticks around and laces the glass nicely.

S: All about the coffee. There is a slight chocolate aroma that is burried down deep.

T: Coffee. A bit of the chocolate at the very end and a slight hop bitterness in the finish that complements the bitterness of the coffee.

M: Medium to full body. Nice amount of carbonation. Has a very nice drinkability to it.

O: Very nice coffee porter. Very drinkable. Delivers on what it advertises - coffee. Will have this one again.

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Photo of barczar
3.74/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours an opaque onyx with a billowing frothy mocha head that slowly displays, leaving sheets of lacing.

Coffee is evident when the bottle opens, accompanied by nutty malt.deeply roasted, fruity notes are accented by a hint of chocolate and char.

Flavor follows suit, with deeply roasted malt, almost burnt, and coffee beans dominating. There's a subtle toasted and nutty character, almost toffee-like, in the aftertaste. Chocolate is subdued.

Body is fairly full and lush, with moderate to low carbonation, and light alcohol warmth.

Glad I had this in the early afternoon, as it's a great replacement for coffee. I'm not a huge coffee fan, but the underlying toffee character keeps me going back for more. Slightly acrid, but not as bad as some.

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Photo of Jacurdy60
4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A-Pours a pitch black viscous liquid with a pretty thick, coffee colored head with decent retention. Foam leaves a fair amount of lacing

S-Roasted coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, slightly wheaty, subtle hops

T-Bitter, roasted coffee precedes the semi-sweet chocolate and finishes with a slightly bitter hop taste. Coffee is overarching and makes its presence throughout the entire palate.

MF-A little too crisp and dry for a porter. Medium bodied and not too robust

O-A tasty porter. Well-balanced, nuanced, and none of the notes are too overpowering.

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Photo of csparace
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Smell (3.75) - holy Moses. It's like someone hit me in the head with a bag of coffee. It's really interesting how prevalent and accurate it is. Unfortunately it smells like cheap coffee.... Over roasted and plain

Appearance (3.75) - medium thin pour. Pitch black color. Small head that fades fast. No visible carbonation.

Taste (4.25) - the coffee is not nearly as overpowering as I feared it would be. Is give it a 3/5 in intensity. You do get a little bit of that over roasted flavor I picked up on in the smell. A milky chocolate flavor is also pretty big.

Mouthfeel (4.25) - generally refreshing and sessionable. Alcohol is undetectable and there is an overall smooth feeling. Bitterness is not high which I think adds to the drinkability.

Overall (4.00) - I think this is a pretty awesome beer. The coffee flavor is spot on enough that I feel I can think about that flavor by itself and it's quality. It's not overly complex so I appreciate it's drinkability.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an snifter on 4/30/13

Dark brown with a leaning toward black once in the glass. 1/4th inch tan foam. Soapy skim and some bubbles remain. A few trails of drippy lace.

The aroma is quite nice, actually. Roasted coffee, chocolate, coffee beans blend together with a hint of peanut butter. The wheat adds a subtle grainy layer. Very smooth. The taste is not as smooth though, nor the feel. At least initially, the medium body is shaken with harsh carbonation though it is able to be swirled out over time. The coffee is pretty strong but not overly bitter. It's plenty roasty but in a tangy, rough manner. Undertones of chocolate. Modest hop notion.

It seems like a pedestrian porter but the coffee addition makes for a more interesting beer. I enjoyed both bottles I had.

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Photo of Mojo
4.14/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle -> snifter

There is nothing I don't love about this. Sure there are better beers, but this one is just right for me tonight. <ha ha> It pours a deep obsidian with a big two finger caramel colored head, average retention, and average lacing. The nose is coffee, chocolate, molasses, toffee, and caramel. Taste follows the nose. Mouthfeel is okay, but nothing too special. Try it, you'll like it as the old commercial goes.

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Photo of blackie
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

have had this in a couple formats since release, rating a single bottle picked up at bruisin'

a: served from 12 ounce bottle into a wide snifter, this anticipated coffee porter produces a brief flash of mocha head that falls back to a thin ring, the beer itself a deep brown-to-black in color

s: awesome medium roast coffee nose - smooth barley roasts and roasted wheat mingle in, combining to produce dark fruit and chocolate aromas, mild hop aroma with some slight grassiness, some other presence here - vanilla, toffee, cocoa - but it all comes back around to that lovely, pure coffee aroma - not at the top, but up there with the best coffee aromas I’ve found - rich with a clean, cold-steeped character

m: carbonation on the lower side of the moderate range, body a fuller medium, smooth

t: fresh, rich medium-roast coffee flavors underscored by notes of toffee and semisweet chocolate, not too heavy and in keeping with the porter style, some sugars on the front and middle with a delicate, cleanly flavored hop bitter lingering with strong coffee

o: really like the combination of porter and coffee - provides the nice roasted barley and sugars that you’d find in a stout, while allowing more of the bean to shine through, and the coffee character, of course - it’s fantastic, nice use of Midnight wheat as well (a new variety to me) - helping to keep things clean and balanced while contributing its own roasted character, easy drinking and very enjoyable

beans roasted by Dynamite Roasters in Black Mountain - they produce some quality beans and have a really nice shop in town

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Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Very dark, reddish brown, but clear. The head looked like the foam on a cup of espresso, although it was thin and faded with hardly any lacing.

S: Rather tame in the aroma department. I detected toasted malt, of course, and some orange rind, and a faint hint of coffee, but nothing robust.

T: Acrid, heavily-toasted grain is the first flavor, followed by acidic coffee. I caught just a hint of tart fruit before a mixture of bitter coffee and bitter hops take over in the end, lingering well although turning a little harsh toward the end.

M: Well carbonated, and initially moist; fairly thin; the finish is dry, just short of astringent

O: Decent, but the finish (both flavor and feel) detracted somewhat from the experience. It seems like they almost got it, but need to tweak the recipe/process just a touch.

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Photo of BlackBelt5112203
4.34/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a mug at cellar temperature.

L – Deep brown-to-black color with a nice 3-finger frothy, bubbly, tan head. Really nice retention and some great lacing.

S – Amazing roasted malt aromas with coffee, chocolate, and some molasses. There’s a touch of lighter dark fruit aromas such as figs and cherries, too. Again, just a touch of those – the big roasted malts and coffee are front and center.

T – It starts off sweet with chocolate, molasses, some vanilla, and some dark fruit flavors. As the taste progresses, the fruits become more prominent until spicy and earthy bitter noble hops appear and build toward the finish. At the finish, as the hops start to fade, the big roasted coffee bitterness comes in. This is a tasty beer.

F – Medium-to-full-bodied with great carbonation, a creamy and smooth mouthfeel, and a bittersweet and slightly spicy finish. Roasted coffee bitterness lingers at the back of the throat for a really nice amount of time.

O – This is a great porter. It’s full of both sweet and bitter roasted flavors and aromas and has a fantastic mouthfeel. This is one of the fullest-bodied porters that I’ve ever had; most that I’ve had are usually lacking in this category. Highland really impressed me with this one. Cheers!

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

dark brown pour, half a finger of head quickly diminished. smells of milk chocolate and light coffee roast notes. kind of a watered don coffee taste, dark roast bitterness, a bit of a "bean" taste. a lighter medium body with high carbonation.
nothing too impressive from this one, but i also feel like i'm not being fair rating anything after having just drank CBS. again, nothing impressive, but it is a decent tasty treat.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.13/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body with a moderate cream head. Transparent at the edges. Thick collar of foam around the surface.

Smell - Strong coffee aroma. Some chocolate comes through from the beer, but it's mostly coffee.

Taste - Really strong coffee flavor. The beer is mostly lost back there, but some bitter chocolate comes through as well as some hop bite. The combination of coffee, chocolate, and hop bitterness becomes abrasive in the finish.

Mouthfeel - High carbonation, thin body, bitter finish. None too pleasing to consume, although it could be worse, I guess.

Overall - Some sips are decent, others are harsh. Coffee just seems to overwhelm everything in this.

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Photo of JohnnyMc
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Highland beer in quite some time.

Pours out black with about 2 fingers of a mocha/tan head.

The aroma has a decent amount of coffee in it along with bittersweet chocolate, some subtle caramel sweetness and a little bit of hops.

The taste is also mainly dominated by coffee and then that fades to some milk and dark chocolate notes. There is a little bit of caramel sweetness and a touch of grassy hop notes. This is pretty bitter, with not only coffee and dark chocolate bitterness, but some hop bitterness too.

This is full bodied and has a nice, rich and creamy mouthfeel.

Very tasty, very easy to drink, but could be a little more balanced. Definitely try if you enjoy the style.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A quite nice porter with noticeable, but not too heavy coffee accent. Pleasant overall. Pours fairly inky black, but with a quite light viscosity. Only a short head, and that does fade somewhat quickly, but still, a fairly pretty beer. Very nice, and noticeable, black coffee aroma. Nutty, somewhat roasty, and with a slight molasses note. Dryer on the palate, with nicely balanced roastiness, coffee notes, and a light maltiness and lightly bitter finish. A little slick in the mouth, but overall quite nice.

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Photo of devilben02
3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black from the bottle, with a foamy, mocha-brown head. The aroma is distinctly reminiscent of coffee and milk, with a bit of milk chocolate and some kind of dry mineral character beneath. The flavor is pleasantly mild, with a light coffee bitterness and lactose sweetness predominating, although some herbal hops and bittersweet chocolate are also present. Overall, although the flavor is a bit dominated by the coffee character, it doesn't change the impression of this beer as a pleasant, drinkable porter.

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Photo of TWM
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured bottle into pint glass.

Appearance- very, very dark, nearly black. Little visible carbonation, thin head that generally lasts for the entire glass (currently drinking #6 of the six-pack, all of them had the same head for the entire glass).

Smell- A little coffee, hint of caramel, but mostly the earthy smell of a dark ale or porter. Definite hints of the bitterness in the smell

Taste- Lovin' it! Enough coffee to warrant the name without overwhelming the porter flavors. Taste changes through the sip from earthy to chocolate to a slightly bitter coffee aftertaste. Very pleased that Highland didn't try to sweeten their coffee brew, and allow it to remain very much a porter. I drink my coffee black, so this is hitting all the rights notes for me. Not a big hop flavor- the hops seem to add a bit of richness rather than much overt flavor of their own.

Mouthfeel- good but not as creamy and smooth as some porters. However, the feel seems just right for this combination of flavors.

Overall- as a dark-ale loving, black-coffee drinking fan of bitter beers, this one is making me quite happy!

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Highland Thunderstruck Coffee Porter

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a snifter.

(Appearance) Pours a medium fizzy brown head with poor retention. Very dark body, near black aside from the edges. Decent appearance overall. 3.5

(Smell) Balanced chocolate, black malt and hints of nutty toffee. Coffee aromas are warm and toasty albeit mild, Malt presence is slightly sweet. Earthy bitter aromas suggest mild low-alpha hop presence. Medium potency. 3.5

(Taste) Thorough bitter earthy hop introduction follows through with a sweet milky chocolate midsection and finally reaches a mild, balanced coffee finish. Malt body balances well with the bitterness from the hops and coffee. Not particularly coffee heavy, but I like the stages this beer takes and the diversity of flavor it provides. 4

(Mouthfeel) Largely smooth with a bit of creaminess aside from some air on the tongue. Could be slightly more viscous to better counter the bitterness of the coffee flavor. 3

(Overall) This coffee porter focuses more on bitterness than the flavors of coffee, complimenting other porter characters that would otherwise be overshadowed. Chocolate and toffee are easier to find as a result and this coffee porter dives a touch deeper than alternative beers in its particular style. Bitterness keeps it from being overly quaffable but it is enjoyable in small sips. 4

Vintage Reviews:

Fall/Winter 2011. Initial release. (1+ year aged)

Similar head quality and equally dark in appearance. Toasty, crisp coffee aromas are gone and a very faint trace of cold coffee lingers amongst a prevailing toasted malt background with faint chocolate and nutty malt background. The malt profile as a whole is more thoroughly exposed than in the fresh batch, likely due to the lacking coffee profile. Some faint sourness has come into play by this r a. The hop profile has broken down and the stages of flavor have mellowed out significantly, with little hop or coffee flavor to be individually discerned. The finish has a slightly acidic tartness to it. This beer, like most mild-bodied coffee porters and stouts hasn’t aged particularly well, and while it’s a slightly better example than Kona’s Pipeline, it is still far superior when fresh.

Recommended Vintage: Fresh

Highland Brewing Company's
Thunderstruck Coffee Porter
3.78/5.00

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Highland Thunderstruck Coffee Porter from Highland Brewing
3.89 out of 5 based on 539 ratings.
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