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 | website

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

A: A thin layer of creamy head that sticks around for most of the tasting, noticeable lacing, very dark brown with only a hint of light passing at the edge of the glass - 4.25, S: Noteworthy hop aromas - quite citrusy, subtle spicy to sourness, dark molasses-like sweetness, minor notes of alcohol, nose is quite enticing - 4.50, T: Lots of roasted grains, slight smokiness and baker's chocolate, noticeable hop bitterness that stays on the tongue long after the sip, nice citrusy bite, alcohol is evident but not overpowering - 4.25, M: Medium bodied - 4.00, D: A very nice and drinkable beer, I particularly enjoy the hop profile - 4.00

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Photo of BMoney575
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 6-5-10

Pours an extremely dark, almost opaque brown color. A filmy off-white head leaves bubbles of lacing on the glass.

Smell is all bright hops, floral and sweet, with a malty kick at the back. Very light, if not overly complex.

Taste is very subtle, almost boring. Very light maltiness at first and then a hoppy kick. The finish is sweet and sharply bitter, with an earthy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is a little on the thin side, which doesn't suit the malt or hop flavors.

Drinkability is decent, but the flavors are nothing special.

Overall, worth trying.

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Photo of mgbickel
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Perfect Pint glass. My aggressive pour porduced a massive, thick, 3 finger butterscotch head that slowly thinned out and dissipated, leaving behind massive amounts of lace. The body is a clear mahogany color with ruby edges.

Hmmm...not the nose I was expecting...floral hops, caramel, roasted malts and grains (rye?)...in order of strength.

Man...I am not sure how this can be considered a porter! I decided to rate this as an unknown, not against a style. The taste has a bitter hop presence from start to finish...intensifing at the end. The middle finds some sweet malts and a little of the caramel from the nose. A little alcohol burn meets the hop oils in the aftertaste.

This is a noteworthy mouthfeel. The creaminess make is feel thicker than what it actually is. Well carbonated, but buffered...

This one threw me for a loop. Is it drinkable?...hell yes! Would I buy it again?...hell yes...again!

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Photo of FickleBeast
4.57/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at churchkey in DC. Reviewed on my droid.

Comes with one finger of foam on a near pitch black beer. Lacing coats the glass. Wonderful hop aroma... this beer truly smells amazing.

Wow. I'm really digging this beer. Hops shine through and impart a grassy hop flavor. The roasted malts round out the beer nicely, but the hops are what make this beer great.

Mouthfeel is smooth with light carbonation, and drinkability is high due to the great hop and malt interplay. Highly recommended!

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Photo of SummitVA
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours jet black with about half inch head that disappears fairly quickly.

S - Spice from the rye is foremost in the nose, along with a chocolate and a bit of heat from the alcohol.

T - Three separate flavors mingle without much unity: spice from the rye, chocolate, and roast character--a lot more roast character than I was expecting, actually. A bit of oxidation/old hops flavor.

M - Smooth, creamy mouth-feel upfront. A bit of dryness in the finish that I always get with rye beers.

D - To be honest, I had trouble getting through the bomber.

Overall: An interesting idea that just really didn't come together for me. Still, I think it's interesting enough to try, and I'll definitely keep checking out the new HS offerings.

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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 silentjay
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

almost black, but light makes it through to show a mahogany brown. a huge light khaki head rises up and leaves an intricate film on the side. the head is a bit of a lighter color than I anticipated.

aroma is very hoppy for a porter. plenty of pine hops mix with some roasted malt, peppery spice, and dark rye.

taste, again, is hoppier than I expected. grassy, piney hops. some chocolate and roasted malt is there, as well as plenty of spice from the rye. odd, but not bad. kinda like a 25% porter, 75% Rye PA mix. or maybe even less porter.

medium bodied, a bit watery going down, with a bit of rye spiciness lingering along with the grassy hops.

Goes down ok. not very boozy, rather refreshing. If it didn't say Porter on the bottle, not many people would classify it as such, but its an ok beer.

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

A: an opaque chestnut/koa wood color, almost the color of young rottweiler eyes with a light chocolate, bevarian cream colored head that was extremely well lofted. the head floated above the rim about a half finger without a single bead sweating down the edge.

S: very earthy, with a strong polyphenol aroma, probably the heavy tannins or flavonoids. reminded me a lot of a jay kasbohm robust porter--incidentally, his very first homebrew.

T: in the best possible way, i felt like i took a bite out of my lawn, dirt and all, but more like a lawn turned with garam masala, dark malts and chocolate. tannins really came through and gave me the remnants of a dank ipa. this tasting was preceded by two other tastings, so my girlfriend/sampling partner and i tackled the garden only to return to a coffee-like, cask-like experience--i would repeat this method. nonetheless, it didn't taste like what i would consider to be a traditional/rye porter. the polyphenols really mask the malts.

M: smooth astringency, didn't coat my mouth. still has the essence of french kissing my lawn--which i kinda love.

D: very good, not for the faint of hop. the porter label might be a little misleading.

spoke with hugh sisson at a tasting last week at nikki's liquor. really personable guy, really into beer. of course, he revealed the letter of marque trivia to us which is actually a pretty funny and clever way to go about saluting home brewers; however, i was kinda saddened when hugh started knocking on home brewing. though, i suppose he does have good reason to promote his babies. overall, good interaction with him and his beers. also, go to a heavy seas tasting with huge. he gives out bumper stickers and "pyrate" eye patches which say, "heavy seas" when worn in the traditional fashion, and, "Aargh!" when flipped above the eye. silly and sassy.

note: when doing tasting in RI ask for half samples because i was told the law permits a maximum of 6 samples per person. not sure if that applies only to liquor stores, or if it's based on volume, or just strictly quantitative. either way, we were able to sample all they had to offer using this method.

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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 argock
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. No freshness date. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $5.29.

A: Chestnut brown with solid 1-2 finger beige head with decent retention and a few spittles of lace.

S: Spicy, grassy rye aromas are strongest and hard to separate from the earthy but floral hops.
Dark malts are there but the overall profile barely fits a "robust" porter.

T: The flavor is more along the lines of a black IPA or Indian brown ale with dense spicy, grassy-herbal rye and hops flavors predominating with some dark maltiness losing out. Chocolate and coffee flavors come through with warming.

M: Solid medium feel with active carbonation and long, grassy rye aftertaste.

D: A good brew that doesn't really fit any style well, but porter would be one of the last I would assign this to. Very hoppy and grassy with more dark maltiness needed to fit the porter. Still a nice American strong ale.

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

Very nice looking beer-deep deep ruby/chestnut color with a huge head that receedes to about 1/8" of foam. Fruity, somewhat floral and hoppy aroma. Malt and crisp rye flavors dominate. Fairly heavy hop bitterness. Roasted dryness in the finish. Slick and velvety mouthfeel. Very drinkable and enjoyable-the dry finish might become a bit much after a few but that would not prevent me from making an evening of this.

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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 tmgiddings
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Bottle from Crown Liquors #6 - This is not a porter- not even close. It pours a clear, dark brown with a thin wispy head that fades away quickly. The aroma is big resin and pine with a little caramel. Taste is piny with a thin caramel malt backbone. Mouthfeel is light with minimal hop oil.

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

Pours a very dark brown that is almost black with about an inch of head. There is a tremendous amount of lacing at the top of the glass as I start to drink it down. The aroma is tremendously hoppy. The hops tend towards a steely sharp flavor that is still very pleasant. The amount of hop flavor makes for a long lasting aftertaste that is a little more pronounced than I'd like. This is one of the best beers I've had from Heavy Seas and the best I've ever had from one of their large format bottles.

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Photo of mwa423
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a beautiful black with two fingers of tan head that left a nice lacing.

S - Mix of strong hoppy aroma with rye spiciness, very nice.

T - Taste is complex mix of rye spiciness chased by lots of hop flavor. I don't get how this is a porter at all, because I really don't get any porter flavors from this. I would call this closer to a Rye Pale Ale. That detail aside, the mix of rye and hops is killer.

M/D - Mouthfeel is very even with accents from the rye spiciness and the strong hops. This is really a sipping beer which is better colder than warmer. This is something I am very glad to have tried, and I'm glad I have a local beer very similar to this available year round.

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

A - DEEP Ruby in the light, dark brown in my hand. Dense tan head with tons of little bubbles and a few big ones. Slight sheen to the foam.

S - Sweet citrusy hops, hint of alcohol, some dark fruits and a touch of the Rye.

T - Piny hops, mild citrus, a bit of caramely sweetness, touch of roastiness. Rye comes across smoothly and reminds you it's there. Bitterness at the back end sneaks up after the sip.

M - Medium body, slight carbonation tingle on the tongue, a bit slick and the beer coats your mouth nicely.

D - Good carbonation, solid hop profile and the Rye was pleasant but not overpower. I had this in a pint glass poured from a 22oz bomber, I had no problem drinking the entire bottle. Solid, drinkable brew.

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Photo of biggred1
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruby amber with a fluffy, red tinted tan head that leaves some blobs of lace on the glass. Spicy hop aromas dominate the nose with a solid rye aroma in the background. I don't know if I would call this beer a porter but it is delicious. The flavors are more in line with a black rye IPA than a porter but who cares? Huge spicy hop flavor with plenty of rye and just enough roasty malt to almost balance. Medium bodied with smooth carbonation. I think this has to be the hoppiest beer Clipper City(Heavy Seas now, I guess) has ever made and one of the better deals out there too at $6.50 a bomber.

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Photo of movingtrain
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle sampled from a standard pint glass.

With a rather aggressive pour, this one has a three finger, spongy head on top. As the beer settles, so does the head, descending to less than a finger with good lacing. The color is reddish-brown, and slightly opaque.

The first aroma I'm getting from this is floral...very floral...fresh blossoms in the Spring. There is some rye in the nose, backed by a little hops and some fruited notes.

The taste is hoppy, with try serving as the backbone. There is a little chocolate in there, too, followed by some floral notes and citrus. There is also a sort of graham cracker quality to the flavor, as well. I like the rye here, and the hoppiness of this porter. Not traditional, but pretty delicious. The bitterness of the hops sticks around for a while, and leaves an astringent film on the tongue.

Overall, this is interesting...chewy, hoppy, very floral, and good. I like the idea of getting homebrewers involved in the brewing process on a larger scale, but I always wonder how it translates. This beer is good, however, and one worth giving a shot.

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

A- Poured from the bottle with a substantial, retained, semi-rocky, light-khaki-colored head. Some very nice lacing throughout. The body is a very dark garnet color. No visible carbonation... although any carbonation could be easily obscured by the dark color...

S- Wow. The nose is jam-packed with spicy rye and substantial herbal hop aroma... medium to high alpha acid. There is a faint undercurrent of roasted/candy malt there, but it is certainly rye- and hop-forward. Overall a very rich nose.

T- It is delicious in the mouth as well. First, you get a brief flash of stewed malts, which is IMMEDIATELY overtaken by some spicy rye... the very next instant, these hops kick-in full-force. The malt and rye are just a relative flash in the pan, and then this hop bitterness comes rushing-in midway; intense hoppiness, but not overpowering. The hop bitterness just lasts on the tongue throughout the dry finish. A bucketload of hops without making you pucker your face from any harsh astringency...

M- A solid medium-plus body with a decent texture from presumed unattenuated sugar or particulate from dry hopping. A nice soft carbonation throughout and surprisingly no astringency!

D- This is a very quaffable beer with the alcohol very well hidden throughout. One of my favorite Heavy Seas brews to-date.

Note: Kegatron points out this this seems to be missing some elements of a classic American porter... likening it more to a Black Rye IPA. I would agree with him that this strays a bit from the classic style. But overall, I find this to be a wonderfully rich beer that showcases the skillful use of Hops and Rye. Accordingly, my review is conducted to assess overall likability, rather than "to-style".

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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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