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

very good
76 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 93
Photo of aerozeppl
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really love the different things that you can do with rye and this is a great example.

A: Poured a dark brown with only a little bit of slightly brownish head. Dead on for a porter.

SL The rye was right up front. A little bit of spiciness with a touch of breadiness. After that the chocolate was there and the two worked quite well together. The hops did shine through but perhaps a little bit too much.

T: They just let the rye shine. The malty chocolatey backbone and the spiciness and earthiness of the rye was a nice touch. The porter is there but it is more rye than porter.

M: Good carbonation. Solid body.

D: I really liked this beer. It drank like a champ and had quite a bit of taste. They had me at rye to be fair though.

 738 characters

Photo of Burl41
4.24/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Dark for a porter, mostly black with a slight ruby tint, able to peer through if held up to light. Wonderfully thick head with great retention.

Smell- Good level of citrus hops, possibly centennial? Rye, and caramel.

Taste- Hops upfront. Classic American hop character, citrus floral with a earthiness from the Rye, some roasted feel toward the end. I must say very tasty.

Mouthfeel- Decent without being heavy. Some beers with this flavor profile tend to be a meal in themselves however this is quite pleaseant and clear and crispt.

Drinkability- Quite above what I expected from Heavy Seas. At 7.8% I would say it's right at that level of dangerous. Drinkable and strong. I would say this could make year round or seasonal easily.

 750 characters

Photo of RDHerm
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark coffee brown with deep ruby highlights. Has a thick tan head that thins out quickly, but holds throughout.

Strong aroma of rye, malts and hops, with a certain sweet fruitiness. There are also hints of coffee and cocoa.

Taste is bittersweet. Heavy flavors of rye and malt, followed with a distinct hoppy bitterness. There are hints of coffee and nuts, and a slight, but long lasting, bitter aftertaste.

A good heavy body to it, but a little more carbonation than you might expect from a porter. It leaves your mouth feeling dry and sticky.

Definitely a beer to sit and take your time with, and probably not something you would drink more than one of.

 671 characters

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.

 1,007 characters

Photo of luvND
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown, light will penetrate if you hold it up to light, really nice thick head
S: toffee, caramel, vanilla
T: Some nice rye and malt but quickly hammered back by a strong hop presence that lingers
M: Thick but appropriate for style
D: Due to the bitter aftertaste and the heaviness of the brew, a 22 oz bomber is about right
Notes: This is a really good brew from Clipper City. Their Loose Cannon is also an excellent DIPA. This brewery is really coming on lately IMO after an average start.

 499 characters

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.

 1,554 characters

Photo of SluggerOToole
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a Prague style pilsner glass. Color is very dark coffee brown and there is a substantial lingering head.

On the nose you get the rye spice immediately, along with the dark malt sweetness typical of a porter and more citrusy hops than I would have expected.

Sipping, you get the pop of malty sweetness and rye warmth right away which transitions through a bitter chocolate midpoint to finish in a very strong, dry hop bitterness. You get a lot of different aspects that round out a very complex whole. The texture is a bit chewy, and it coats your mouth with a little more stickiness than I would like.

The hops become more apparent as I near the bottom of the bottle - this is a good deal more bitter than I would expect from a porter style and while the flavors are good, I'm afraid much of the rye is lost beneath the pithy hops.

In the end this is quite good, but almost more of a black IIPA than a true porter. Interesting, delicious, and worthy of its special release status.

 1,011 characters

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

Very nicely rounded brew, and "rye porter" is a great definition for they experience ahead.

Presentation: 22 oz brown bottle. Perfunctory pirate skull themed label on this occasion with a predictable badly designed reproduction of the standard logo repeated over itself on the hat and the center of an old pirate letter. Already part of the branding overhaul, of which these big bottles have changed the least. Side narrative goes over the intent of the brewing series, pirated themed inspiration, main description of the brew, and recognition of brewer's recipe from Frank Butt and Neik Heinlein. Notes vintage date (2010) Shows Alc. by Vol. (7.8%) Served in a tulip glass.

A - Black pour with dark brown edges, generous head with good retention and lacing.

S - Noticeable rye nose, with a hoppy touch behind it and pushed away by some roasted notes.

T - Taste follows with a rich rye profile riding rich roasted notes with hints of coffee and chocolate. A resinous hoppy touch lingers close to the rye but plays second fiddle to it. Spicy touch as it weaves itself back to the roasted rye.

M - Medium body and carbonation, with a rye gritty, grainy texture. Quite distinct and with a nice rhythm throughout.

D - How it all comes together is quite remarkable. Very quaffable and rich.

Notes: While some may like to label it differently this feels right at home under the name of a rye porter. The rye characteristic is prominently crafted with dexterity over a roasted range that makes it quite a delight. Granted, I'm quite keen on the rye range presented here but the way it is offered around the malt character gives it a nice range. I wish this were not a one off and could become at least a seasonal offer... This is one of the better offerings from Clipper City.

 1,778 characters

Photo of WakeandBake
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brown color pour with a two finger frothy off white head , good retention and lacing , medium carbonation . Aroma of roasty malt , spicy hops, rye , coffee and a faint note of cherry pipe tobacco . Flavor is full of rye , earthy spicy hops , coco, caramel and coffee , nice balance , long dry spicy rye finish , full body , very drinkable and one of the better offerings I have had from this brewer , nice work , great ale .

 431 characters

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.

 373 characters

Photo of AgentZero
3.48/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Drank at another session with jrallen34.

A - Very dark mohagany color that looks a beautiful deep, ruby read in the light. Head dissipates to a tiny ring, with some chunks left on the side.

S - Smells like a porter, with a decent amount of coffee and some decent roasty characters, and then heaped with a ton of rye on top of it. It definately does what it says.

T - Powerful rye taste, little soy sauce, over a fairly roasty porter taste. The rye taste gets weaker as you go bringing out the porter. Roasted malts, bit of coffee in there, porter is the backbone. Not bad, above average.

M - Feels nice and smooth, proper carbonation, full bodied.

D - Rye is so strong, it's only average, given the ABV. Could split the bomber, but not a ton more.

 752 characters

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.

 495 characters

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.

 611 characters

Photo of farrago
3.81/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Over two fingers of eggshell white, mostly denser foam with larger bubbles here and there, very good retention with some dimpling, high degree of lacing stickiness too. Deep brown color with sufficient amber orange tinge to avoid complete opacity, handsome appearance. The nose is not overly aggressive but still gets on you quickly featuring roasted coffee, mocha, malt as well as rye and pumpernickel bread, seems to consciously avoid sweetness, offers more by way of white grapefruit citrus and pine, grassy matter. Medium-bodied, the carbonation has a tight weave, good punch, that said, after the initial impression it starts to press down on the tongue, losing mobility. Heavier on the roast, close to bitter, espresso bean, cocoa bean, dark chocolate, no caramel or similar sweet elements. The white grapefruit, pine fits the roast well, thankfully the grassiness lowered some. Hard to pick out any fruit flavors. Drier at the finish, crafted to make an impression, succeeds at that, not sure it is more than a curiosity in the end, though.

 1,047 characters

Photo of sholland119
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Drafting Room,6/29/10

A-Dark brown with ruby highlights and a creamy sticky off white head. Great sheets of lacing.

S-Heavy aroma of roasted malts with an equal helping of bitter hops.

T-Rich, roasted dark malt, almost burnt. Finishes with a bit of sweetness, followed by a blast of bitter hops. This beer is not for the faint of roasted flavor.

M-Medium bodied with a bit of creaminess.

D-I really enjoyed this one in both bottle and tap


 457 characters

Photo of Daktyls
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep brown with a hint of ruby red. Head is minimal but leaves a fine lacing on the surface of the beer.

S: Most predominant was the smell of citrus-y hops. Smelled very much like mild grapefruit. Also present were some hints of coffee and toffee.

T: Started of similar to the nose, with an initial spiciness giving way to a taste of citrus. This was followed by roasted grains and finishing with a slight hint of cocoa.

M: Lightly carbonated but a nice crisp feel when drank, finishes somewhat like a mild IPA, with a hoppy overtone and some hints of alcohol.

D: Overall a very interesting beer tough not particularly exotic. Rather drinkable though one will probably be enough for this session. It's not the type of beer I'd have more than one of in a sitting.

 777 characters

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.

 910 characters

Photo of atsprings
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a Duvel snifter pours a deep brown almost black with a thin light khaki head that lasts as a thin layer and leaves nice rings of lacing on the glass. Aroma is a nice blend of chocolate malt and rye with slight coffee and a nice hop backbone. The taste is a nice amount of smoky coffee, rye spice and cocoa balanced nicely with a decent amount of hop bitterness rounding things out. The beer is medium bodied but surprisingly smooth and easy drinking, even for a dark beer this time of year. This one really did pleasantly surprise me, its one I'd certainly have again.

 585 characters

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

A: This poured clear dark ruby with moderate tan head.
S: It smelled like orange hops with roasted barley and rye, and a little raisin and dark chocolate and bready yeast.
T: It tasted like orange hops and roasted barley and rye, followed by subtle dark chocolate and dark fruits. It had a moderate bitter aftertaste.
M: It was fairly thick and lush, with mild carbonation.
D: This was a nice beer that is surprisingly hoppy like a black IPA. Reminiscent of Hop Rod, but more porter-ish, which ended up being clean and tasty. It had a bit of alcohol noticeable, but it was still pretty easy to drink. Definitely enjoyable, even if it wasn't what I expected (anticipating something dry and roasty, rather than hoppy).

 716 characters

Photo of jampics2
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Brew Kettle. This went well with my BBQ ribs, but wasn't quite the crazy experience I was looking for.

Black with little head. No lacing. Weird looking, almost like a flat Pepsi.

Slight spicyness starts off the nose. Almost a touch smokey. Rye, I'm assuming. Roasted malt is blanketed by citrus hops, giving huge orange and pine notes.

Taste was just not balanced enough. Pine and orange mix with really spicy rye. Chocolate and even some black licorice lurk underneath. Not well integrated, very flavorful though.

Mouthfeel also felt off. Low carb, but not creamy. The waitress asked me how I liked it and I said it was OK but asked about the carb. She said it's been like that from day one and it's on the same CO2 system as the rest of the beers, so I really think it was just the way this one presented itself.

OK beer, a nice experiment, but I'd like to see a bit more cohesive flow in the flavors. It can be done, so don't abandon this idea!!

 968 characters

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.

 1,325 characters

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

Pours a brownish black with a surprisingly robust head. In fact, everything about this beer is surprising, starting with the fact that there is almost nothing porterish about it. It is more an entry into the trendy "black ipa" substyle, which - disapprove of but still enjoy drinking. The aroma is assertive and hoppy and the flavor follows through, with crisp roasted malt and citrusy hops. This is better than your average black ipa. The mouthfeel is creamy and there is a woody bitterness on the finish.

 506 characters

Photo of Katahdin
3.16/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark, murky black in color with a nice head of about 2 inches. The initial smell was all floral hops, no rye smell at all which was surprising. Taste was quite betraying, reminded me more of an IPA than a Porter with a rather grassy flavor likely from the hops. No porter or rye taste to it. If it is what you are looking for then it is quite drinkable but as an interpretation of a rye porter I'd have to give it a thumbs down for the style.

 456 characters

Photo of blackie
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: deep brown in color, average retention of a light mocha head

s: big aroma - lots of toffee and coffee roasted barley, full spicy rye, pungent hops bring an earthy citrus side

m: carbonation moderate, body medium but tilting towards the full end

t: slightly sweet toffee quickly dries into dark barley roast, big rye hit, dry cocoa, full earthy hop flavors precede a full bitterness with lingering barley char, a big and flavorful version of the sub-style

d: no problems here, my favorite of the line thus far, missed the bottles but glad to find it on tap at the hut

draft at Galaxy Hut, Arlington

 605 characters

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.

 466 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.