Heavy Seas - Letter Of Marque 2010 (Rye Porter) | Heavy Seas Beer

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Heavy Seas - Letter Of Marque 2010 (Rye Porter)Heavy Seas - Letter Of Marque 2010 (Rye Porter)

Brewed by:
Heavy Seas Beer
Maryland, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
"Winners from our 2009 Letter of Marque Homebrew Competition will work along side our brewers to create this one time special release. Letter of Marque will feature a different beer every year selected from our national homebrew competition. Historically, a Letter of Marque was a document that made a Pyrate a legitimate professional. Hence, our Letter of Marque makes a home brewer a legitimate professional as well!"

This year's recipe is from Frank Butt and Neil Heinlein. ABV is 7.8%.

Added by Kegatron on 04-20-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 93
Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A hearty and hoppy Porter with the unmistakable underlying spicy, earthy, pungent rye rawness.

The Rye Porter pours a creamy, froathy, and malty looking deep brown color with complete darkness and opaqness. A dense tan head forms on the beer and holds very firm while retaining throughout the session and lacing as the beer falls.

Deep bitter chocolate, medium coffee, and deep caramel/toffee aromas abound, but with the spicy and earthy notes of freshly uncovered soil and a pungent/sharp grain (not unlike the carroway seeds of pumpernickle rye breads). Citrusy/piney hops compliment and blend the rye into the beer with ease.

Deeply rich flavors of toffee, chocolate, coffee, and the earthy rye flavors that remind me a bit of peated malt of Scottish Ales. Delicious and characterful in the complex malt make up. Balanced by resiny, piney, and grassy hops, the cones also contribute the citrus mix of grapefruit piths and rinds. Any fruitiness or phenolic character is too light to detect.

Rich and malty body also reminds me of Scottish Ales but with a heavier finish. Full and creamy, the inital sips go from robust to a fleeting malty mouthfeel but never reaches dryness. Alcoholic dryness, hop spiciness, and the acrid rye help to give the impression of drinkability late, but with a long cocoa and coffee linger and aftertaste.

As expected, this Porter is bold and robust but I can see where the rye wouldn't be well recieved although it adds a lot of layers of intrigue and variance. It's just a bit dirty in the end.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown with a little bit of a garnet tint to it.

S: Roasted malt, some spicy rye, and a bit of citrus hops. Very nice combination.

T: A good amount of hops with roasted malt and spicy rye coming through. Somewhat dry with a bit of chocolate.

M: Medium body with good carbonation and a nice zest to it.

D: Very nice all around. The new Heavy Seas lineup continues to impress.

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Photo of jlindros
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A nice fluffy 1.5 finger head rises up and leaves a small lacing as it fades semi slowly. The beer is a very dark brownish maroon color with hints of light coming through.

N: Ooh, some really nice hop aromas hit. A nice spicy and slightly earthy as well as grassy and noble hop aromas. There is a slight spicy and fruity rye aroma in the background. Then some very light dark malts and porter aromas, light roast, little chocolate, slight creamy aroma.

T: Starts with some dark malts, porter flavors, chewy malts a little caramel, some roast and very light creamy chocolate. Some light rye in the background brings some spicy flavors. Then more hops, some bitterness, mostly fresh hops, a little grassy and noble hop flavors. There's also a little coffee with the roast. An interesting blend of all the flavors, but perhaps too many complex flavors.

M: Medium body, slightly creamy, and good carbonation.

F: Finishes slightly sweet and a little creamy still. Quite a bit of bitterness, now even a little earthy charred malt bitterness from the roast and coffee flavors comes through, combining with the earthy, grassy, and noble hop flavors and bitterness of the hops. The coffee really comes through all over the mouth as I breath in. More slight rye flavors, as well as more roasted malt, slight chocolate, and little caramel malts. The bitterness haunts the mouth for a while on the finish with more fresh hop pellets, and almost gives the feel like when I just chewed on a hop pellet to taste the hop. After a few seconds it dries quite a bit.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.38/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours what looks like a ruddy amber brown at first but holding it up to direct light reveals a deep translucent ruby hue instead. This is topped with about 1 ½ fingers of tight off-white (that's bordering on light tan) head, which retains with a good bit of richness to it, staying very frothy and leaving a pretty heavy amount of sticky lacing down the sides of the glass. The rye makes itself known in the aroma right off the bat, with a ton of earth, spice, and bread immediately filling the nostrils. Gentle floral hops help accentuate the spicy textures in the nose and some roast and sweetness shows itself a bit underneath but man, the rye is VERY deep here. I could smell it as soon as I popped the cap on the bomber.

The rye in the taste is somehow even stronger; with gritty grains, earth, bitterness, and spice just being off the charts. Aggressive piney hops and roast run through the middle of the profile and some sweeter malty accents of chocolate and toffee hang on the outer edges but the rye just overly dominates here. To be fair this does start to balance out just a bit as the liquid is hitting room temp but the spiciness of that finish is really hard to take at times. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a rather forceful sharpness to the carbonation and then an oily slickness that runs underneath. I think the body is telling in just how hoppy this is; which the strength of the rye kind of covers up some. Not a whole lot of alcohol is present for almost 8% ABV. Just some warmth in the chest after each sip and some added intensity to that already out-of-control spicy finish.

I like the effort here for the most part (and I LOVE the concept of this new Heavy Seas series) but I got a WHOLE lot of rye and hops here but with not nearly enough of that Porter character coming through. This almost came off like a heavy Black Rye IPA at times. Dial things down a couple of notches and this would have been really nice. In this case, all of that spiciness just wasn't my thing.

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

"To write a good love letter, you ought to begin without knowing what you mean to say, and to finish without knowing what you have written."

--Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Coca-Cola brown with generous burnt orange borders and a lack of opacity when backlit with overcast morning sunlight. A thick and chunky slice of sandstone colored cream was produced on the pour and seems to have no interest in shrinking. Finely dotted... then tattered... sheets of lace help the cause.

The aroma is an aromatic mixture of roasted malt, earthy rye and spicy hops. A Spring release means that abundant hops would be a wonderful surprise at this stage of the game. Looking good and smelling good. Now let's see about tasting good.

Letter Of Marque 2010 checks that box with ease. Kudos to the two homebrewers (see above) who designed this tasty brew. And kudos to Clipper City for acknowledging their efforts and for allowing the rest of us to taste the result... even if it's only a one-off. Might want to reconsider that, guys.

When used correctly, rye malt adds an interesting flavor facet to most styles of beer. A generous amount of little green cones doesn't hurt either. The intriguing combination of sweet, bitter, earthy, spicy and citrusy is pleasing my taste buds to no end. Wonderful balance all around.

Even though the mouthfeel could be a mite more fully and creamy, it matches the flavor profile well and allows the beer to be even more easily drinkable than it already is. Sure, an ABV of 7.8% is hardly stratospheric, but the alcohol is buried without a trace.

Clipper City Heavy Seas Letter Of Marque 2010 Rye Porter is a fine opening salvo in what is scheduled to be a yearly 'homebrew competition winner' release. Here's hoping they're all this good. Or better yet... better. Aargh!

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Photo of billab914
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Portsmouth snifter. Poured brown in color with a thick creamy one inch head. The head settled to leave a thin covering, but left some very nice lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The rye is the first thing that I notice in the aroma. It has a bit of a spicy but yet chocolaty and roasty aroma to it. It also has some citrus hops coming through in the nose as well. Pretty nice aroma, I liked the rye flavor and it didn't overpower the porter flavors.

The rye is also the first flavor that I notice in the taste, which I like. It also has a good amount of chocolate and citrus coming through in the flavor as well. The chocolate flavor is particularly nice in it.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with slightly below average carbonation. Drinkability is good, I really liked this beer. It had some very nice flavors to it and was a pleasure drinking this afternoon. Probably one of the better Clipper City or Heavy Seas beers that I remember having in a while.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.96/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

really not sure what to make of this one, but i was surprised lets put it that way. served chilled in ,y trusty white birch glass, this one was consumed on 10/08/2010.

with a huge pour that thick black beer pours into the glass and leaves a huge head of tan that totally covers the top of the glass with a thick head of lacing that is simply immaculate. really just a tremendously good looking beer.

but the aroma threw me for a loop, was expecting some sort of barrel aged porter but i get the bright floral hops with a touch of roasted malts, but the profile here screams of ipa, what is this. as i take the sip i do notice it is coming off a touch light for my tastes, but the flavor is there. a black ipa, not a porter this should have been billed as. rich pineapple and orange with hints of grapefruit dominate and only slightly get balanced out by a touch of smokey malts. really an off mix of flavors here as the finish is light, crisp and definitly bitter with a touch of roasted coffee cutting through the hops.

overall not sure at all what to make of this one, not a porter i can tell you that, so not really sure what to make if it, but it was tasty.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip.

a - Pours a very dark brown, almost black, with one finger of light tan head that has nice lacing and retention. Light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, some pine and citrus hops maybe, sweet caramel malts, and some rye.

t - Tastes of chocolate, citrus hops, rooasted malts, and rye/wheat. Very interesting but mixes well.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Pretty smooth.

d - A pretty good beer. I thought it was very interesting but that everything worked well together. Very easy to drink as well. Would definitely try again.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.33/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

Porter + rye = my piqued interest. The pour results in a very dark garnet-brown with a rather tall, dirt-grey/ecru foamy head, which leaves some nice lacing behind as it sinks to Davy Jones's locker. It makes me wonder: What about Mickey Dolenz's locker? Anyway, my nose is downright smacked by rye spice, with some pepper, greens, and light citrus hops mixed in there as well. The rye then lands a devestating haymaker on my tongue, following up with a harsh peppery jab. Some bitter chocolate powder and some faint coffee are also involved, but the rye really overpowers things. It's like a rye Tyson against Michael Spinks: no contest, just the fury of Tyson's rye savagery. Bottom line: too much rye. The body is medium, with a moderately active carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, something that could have been great, but instead OD'ed on rye. Shame, really.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pitch black pour forms nicely with a big light beige tan head. Lacing is fine and even don't ask don't tell like the military. Aroma has a nice piney chocolate covered minty note that I haven't quite smelled in a beer before. Flavor is more of the same, straight up mint/pine covered in dark roasted malts more than anything else. I give it up to th hops first, Mouthfee is even to medium bodied carbonation flows nicely can't get enough of this brew. Drinkability is more of the same strong herbal piney minty accent wrapped in dark chocolate, god love the American beer scene.

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Photo of stakem
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken on 12/15/10.

From a bomber into a pint glass, this brew appears dark brown in color with some lighter brown around the edges and reddish clarity through the body. Two fingers of fluffy head appear and hold strong. As it recedes, it leaves spotty lacing about the glass.

The aroma includes a bold hop character smelling of herbal hops with some fruity citrus notes, pine and slightly mineral-like. There is a fresh grain quality, slightly sweet with a touch of chocolate. Alcohol fills the back of the nose bringing it all together.

The taste upfront includes fruity alcohol and a display of hops including citrus, herbs and pine. A light dark grainy chocolate taste fills out the mid palate. A lingering spiciness and bitter hops coupled with the bitterness of burnt grain resides inside the mouth along with an indication of warming alcohol.

This is a medium bodied brew with a smooth feel and moderate amount of carbonation. Well rounded overall. It has a lingering flavor of coffee that comes out as it warms that is enjoyable.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer is dark brown and clear. Lacing is low and the carbonation is moderate.

Aroma is surprisingly hoppy with nice piny and earthy notes to the whole thing.

Beer is sweet but has the hop profile of an IPA not (what is this suppose to be? A rye porter? What does that mean?). Beer ultimately is just too sweet if you are trying to showcase the hop profile or too hoppy if you are trying to show case an interesting malt profile. It tastes fine I just don't get it.

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Photo of Gavage
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark brown color with a 1/2" tan colored head. A thick surface foam lasts after the head falls.

Smell: roasted malt, some bitterness, and a hint of dark chocolate comes through to the nose.

Taste: roasted malt, some ripe fruity sweetness lingers in the background, a hint of chocolate, and loads of citrus hop bitterness. The rye brings out some dryness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp throughout. Aftertaste is short lived.

Drinkability: this one went down quickly despite the higher alcohol level. The bottle provided a perfect match to a big medium rare rib eye on the grill.

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Photo of tempest
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Stephan for bringing this back from Baltimore and sharing. The porter part was good, but not great, with a simple smoky chocolate malt character. What makes this beer really worth trying is the bitter and spicy mix of rye and hops. The rye doesn't stand out so much as it just nicely blends into the finish of the beer.

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Photo of John_M
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a fairly dark brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is surprising (in a good way), and shows considerable hoppy perfume interwoven around the noticeable rye. In combination I thought it made for a very impressive aroma profile. Flavors replicate the nose, and I'm impressed by the amount of flavor I get in this excellent beer. The hoppy bitterness marries well with the rye, and I appreciate the minimal sweetness and long, drawn out, dry, bitter finish. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, but there's no denying the impressive amount of flavor this beer delivers. Drinkability is quite good in this 8% beer.

Absolutely delicious... well done Clipper City!

Completely agree with Scott (Sholland199) on this; this really is more like a black IPA.... but who cares, it's delicious whatever style you want to call it.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.98/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a nonic. Warning, I'm not reviewing this to style since even disregarding the rye presence I would never guess that this is supposed to be a porter in appearance, smell, taste or mouthfeel (aka everything).

Pours a thin, clear chestnut with a initially large small-bubbled light tan head that fades to a thin layer, but never dissipates and leaves moderate strands of lacing. Aroma is dry, grainy, slightly bready and rye, light cat piss, and mild sweetness in the finish. Again, nothing like expected for a porter. Mouthfeel medium light with moderate carbonation, very IPA like in body, nothing resembling a porter. Flavor is very earthy and dry with a strong hop presence in the finish and mild rye flavor in the body. Full bodied, but the malt presence is very subdued and other than a mild smokiness in the finish, not much to suggest this a porter. Ok, I won't say it again, but overall a very nice flavorful and balanced beer, but if this were scored by expected style it would be very low.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.43/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours a dark red with an average off-white head, solid retention.

S: Bitter melon, but fairly limited.

T: Definite rye type spice notes, some dark malt, tastes a lot like a hypothetical Dark RyePA more than a porter.

M: Medium-bodied, well structured, smooth and creamy.

D: A solid effort, just not complex at all. Pretty much a standard release.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A cola pour yielded a dark merlot red in the glass against lighting, while a khaki colored head spawned upwards 3 fingers with a rigid, foamy structure that decidedly stuck around for awhile. Within lied a strong sense of carbonation while wavy splashes were left for a lacing.

S: A nice show of citrusy hops appear on the nose with light perfumy notes of fresh pine and grapefruit, which reminded me a bit of Chinook. The hops seem to be the showcase here along with some dried cola sweetness while the rye was hard to pick up on as well any chocolate or roastediness usually associated per style.

T: Spicy citrus notes of grapefruit and pine, moderately bitter and dry are quick to be reckoned with on the taste buds. Spicy cola and rye are evident providing some peppery notes and dried bread crust hints along with a gentle alcohol touch. Dry rye and a bitter show of pungent grapefruit hops (which im almost sure is Chinook now) coats the tongue for a finale.

M: A good crisp hold, with a full body that was thick and viscose as well dry and bitter. A warming sensation of alcohol and citrus lines the tongue as well as lingering notes of rye.

D: A big and bitter dry hopped rye which drank similar to an arrogant bastard more so then an american porter in my opinion, not that there's anything wrong with that.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours a dark reddish/brown with about an inch light tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. From the aroma you can definitely tell this beer has rye in it! The spicy rye aroma is strong, with some earthy hops and caramel and bready malt also noticable. Taste is similar to the aroma, the rye and earthy/pine hop flavors dominate, with some hints of roasted malt and chocolate in there, too. There's also a nice lingering bitter hoppy finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick and coating and is well carbonated. Drinkability is pretty good, it's smooth and very easy and enjoyable to drink. I think this brew is more a Black IPA than it is a Porter, but I'm not complaining. It's a good overall beer, too bad it's only brewed once. I'd like to see this brew become a regular offering.

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Photo of tigg924
4.18/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark brown in color, 1 inch head, clear

Smell: coffee, rye, and roasted malt

Taste: roasted malt and chocolate at the start to a bit of citrus hops in the middle, to a big rye and cream finish

Mouthfeel: smooth, sweet start with bitter middle to end, moderate body and carbonation

Drinkability: Love the rye in this beer. Very complex from start to finish--especially for this style. Could be my favorite brew from this brewery. One per sitting but well worth seeking out again.

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Photo of avalon07
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured to a pint glass from draught. Had a dark brown/black color and a mostly thick texture. There was a half inch of foamy/creamy head and excellent lacing.

S: Smelled of coffee, chocolate, malt and some hops. Very aromatic.

T: Tasted of chocolate, malt, coffee, and a surprisingly high hops content. Complex and flavorful. Almost closer in character to a stout, but still very tasty.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: Drinkable. One of Clipper City's best efforts.

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

For $5, I couldn't pass up on this. Thanks, Jamie.

A dark, reddish brown with a dense, creamy, light brown head with good retention and lacing, this is a good looking porter. Maybe a shade lighter than I expected, but it's still fine.

The beer's been around for almost 8 months and it's still hoppy as hell. Plenty of pine is present, moderately resiny with some spruce and fir. A little chocolate and cocoa are also present. Roast character is moderate, and there isn't much bitter/burnt malt character. For the most part, the rye's overshadowed here, though there is a touch of it present on the nose, along with some spicy alcohol. As it warms up, the chocolate really grows, improving quite dramatically.

The malt character that I found lacking on the nose is present on the palate. A nice level of roasted malt, a little bit of burnt malt bitterness and some caramel sweetness are all present. While I typically don't care for hopped-up porters, this is actually quite nice. The pine/fir/spruce in combination with the light chocolate is quite fitting for the season. Rye is moderate, lending a light spice character. This works especially well with the pine hops, and the juicy, hoppy finish is pretty enjoyable. Medium in body with moderate carbonation, this feels pretty good on the palate. The finish has a nice blend of hops, chocolate, a little caramel and a spicy, rye character. Very, very enjoyable.

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Photo of maximum12
4.01/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to billab914 for sending me this 22 oz. bottle in a recent trade. Been on a rye kick so this one fits right into the wheelhouse. Split with my wife upon returning from six splendid days in the Canadian wilderness.

Placed under the interrogation lamp, this porter gives up a surprising amount of amber around a dark, but not black, body. Smell has been cowed already, faint rye, malts, not much happening.

Letter of Marque hides behind a bland nose but packs a nice kick of taste. In another twist of the plot, the rye is the defining characteristic of the brew. It lends a wry, knowing wink of gentle spice & warming caraway kink. Following is a dirty hop buzz, & a sliver of roasted malts. The base porter is swarmed over by the rye & disappears under the pile. No matter. I like the rye, which gives this a unique profile & makes the summertime drinkin' easy. Dry, lively, & earty in the mouth.

Excellent beer. Great interpretation of a solid if unexciting style that's pulled off. Well done.

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Photo of Bung
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Fidlers Hearth in South Bend IN.
Very dark brown pour, one finger of cream foam. Head disappates to a thin layer, but sticks to the glass ok.

Aroma was fairly mild, roast malt, peat light chocolate and some spicey pine. Served in a snifter, but I still wasn't getting much out of the aroma.

Taste was surprisingly hoppy. Roat malt, with some chocolate and caramel then rye spice and hops through the finish. Hops mellowed some after warming a bit. More chocolate and earthiness comes through then.

Pretty lively medium bodied brew. The carbonation is not overdone though and keeps it drinkable.

Wouldn't turn it down, but probably wouldn't seek out either.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasting with AgentZero, 22oz bottle into a Narke tulip.

Pours a dark brown with a light tan head, not much here...The aroma and taste are all rye from start to finish. Its an ok rye, but a little boring after awhile. The taste has a light coffee finish. Ok feel, a little tough to drink.

If you love rye give this a try, but not much of a porter taste, otherwise skip it.

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Heavy Seas - Letter Of Marque 2010 (Rye Porter) from Heavy Seas Beer
3.94 out of 5 based on 93 ratings.
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