Publican Porter (Imperial London Porter)
Short's Brewing Company

Publican Porter (Imperial London Porter)Publican Porter (Imperial London Porter)
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Porter - English
Ranked #3
Ranked #1,867
4.22 | pDev: 8.53%
Short's Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Publican Porter (Imperial London Porter)Publican Porter (Imperial London Porter)
Notes: A Robust Porter.
Reviews: 89 | Ratings: 313 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of stortore
stortore from Illinois

4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle into a snifter. Bottled 2/14/17, had 9/11/17.

Pours a very dark brown, opaque, with a half inch head and a decent amount of soapy lacing. Aromas of roasted malt, dark chocolate, molasses, caramel, light vanilla and coffee, a little smoke. Smells great. The taste also starts with roasted malt, then dark, bitter chocolate, vanilla, caramel, molasses, coffee, light cocoa and fudge. Has a good amount of bitterness. Smooth, well carbonated, a good medium body.

This is a terrific porter. Roasty but not heavy, bursting with flavor and aroma. Wish I would have bought more than one bottle. Definitely well worth a purchase.

Mar 04, 2018
Photo of kevanb
kevanb from Illinois

3.92/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, undated but know to be fresh, poured into a 14oz snifter glass.

The beer pours a deep and dark brown color, nearly black with a thick finger of caramel head, good retention that yields loads of soapy lace. The aroma is nice, lots of roast, very robust with plenty of malted barley, dark grain, very bready, a bit of nuttiness, light dark chocolate and a touch of piney hop, solid for the style. The flavors are good, a bit thinner and not as well developed, strong roasted grain, nice dark brown bread toast, lightly nutty with a slight acidity akin to coffee with smooth but bitter dark chocolate and a light piney hop profile. The mouthfeel is good, lively medium body, delicate texture despite the heftiness that coats well and finishes dryly and with a crisp bite.

Verdict: A good porter from Short's. Very traditional and fairly spot on for the style, the ABV is hidden well but I wish it had just a bit more body and less carbonation. A very good representation of the style.

Nov 08, 2017
Photo of oberon
oberon from North Carolina

4.04/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark chocolate fudge color with a thick deep beige head that is quick to fade.Dark roast coffee and bitter chocolate really stand out in the nose.Dark roast coffee and some earth upfront on the palate with unsweetened chocolate and faint brown sugar round out a pretty dry flavor profile.The alcohol is pretty well hidden and the body is a little slick,pretty damn good.

May 11, 2017
Photo of Tripel_Threat
Tripel_Threat from Michigan

4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One of my favorite porters, so glad it came back after so long. The pour is rich and dark, with a few fingers of creamy, mocha colored head. Big roasty aromas of burnt coffee and cocoa powder, which follows through to the taste,along woh biscuit malt and subtle dark fruit flavors. Smooth, rich, and full feel.

May 02, 2017
Photo of WesMantooth
WesMantooth from Ohio

3.72/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark black and viscous. Huge dark tan head that is frothy.

Smells like bakers chocolate and slightly smoky roasted barley. Very robust.l with some licorice bitterness.

It tastes like bitter chocolate and charred grains. I get a lot of licorice and some coffee grounds. Starting to taste like a RIS to me.

Very full, heavy, creamy body.

Let's not kid ourselves. This is a stout, if not an imperial one. Very good with an intense flavor and thick body. I scored it according to style one way and my enjoyment overall.

Mar 28, 2017
Photo of GreesyFizeek
GreesyFizeek from New York

4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Curran, thanks man.

Pours a very dark black, with a small half inch head, and a good amount of lacing.

Smells like chocolate, roasted malt, and a little bit of espresso beans.

This one does not taste at all like its over 9% ABV, I honestly thought it was 5 or 6%. It is very full bodied, and full of flavors- lots of great chocolate flavors, almost like it is brewed with chocolate, when as far as I know it is not. There is also a nice creamy vanilla flavor, with a small amount of espresso bitterness, and moderate sweetness. Really, really nice.

This one has a medium sized body, as befits the unexpected ABV. There is a low amount of carbonation, with a very smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

This is probably the best English porter I've ever had, but it's probably not very traditional. It tastes awesome, and that's what it counts.

Jul 25, 2014
Photo of metter98
metter98 from New York

4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a short tan head that died down, leaving delicate lacing covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of dark chocolate are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but the chocolate malts are much stronger and there also notes of coffee beans and hints of Oreo cookie wafers and roasted malts. Only slight bits of bitterness are noticeable.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is extremely flavorful, rivaling that of a Russian Imperial Stout, except there is no bitterness and is obviously lighter in body.

Jun 28, 2014
Photo of lochef81
lochef81 from Michigan

4.04/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

My love-hate relationship with Shorts Brewing is being won over today by my second excellent offering from their brewery. This porter pours a deep almost black mahogany with a nice tan head and substantial tan lacing. The aroma is overwhelmed by rich chocolate, sweet malt, and a touch of hops. The mouth is smooth and creamy. Fairly heavy for a porter but strictly in the best of ways. The flavor adds a significant amount of coffee and roast to the notes found in the nose. Their is surprisingly little alcohol bite given the abv. It is very drinkable and enjoyable. Shorts is still the quintessential hit or miss brewery for me but this is definitely a hit.

Mar 31, 2014
Photo of Stevedore
Stevedore from Oregon

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, no bottling date. Generously extra'd by Kevin, thanks man! Poured into a Bell's snifter today, 3/18/2014.

App- Pitch black, opaque body that does not illuminate to light at all. One finger dark mocha head with good retention, eventually drops into a thick brown collar. Nice lacing. Beautiful porter.

Smell- A ton of roast malt, milk chocolate, a bit of smoke, earthy hops. Very complex and screams "porter".

Flavour- Very complex. A lot of roast malt, milk chocolate sweetness and an interesting faint bubble-gum like finish that is barely covered up by an earthy bitterness which could be from the hops or roasted malts.

Mouthfeel- Fantastic full bodied, creamy feel on the palate. Finish is a bit astringent and bitter earthiness that makes this a bit harder to drink than a typical pub porter would be. Still, I'm impressed by how full bodied this porter is.

Overall- Excellent example of a porter that I enjoyed very much. It rivals Edmund Fitzgerald and Black Butte, and is somewhere in between those and Everett Porter, which still reigns supreme in the Porter category. Anyway, this is probably the one Short's beer that I'm most impressed with so far.

Mar 19, 2014
Photo of TreyIsWilson
TreyIsWilson from Michigan

4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a coffee like black with a two-finger foamy tan head. Head dissapates slowly leaving heavy lacing.

S - Dark aroma - dark chocolate, bitter coffee, and roasted malts.

T - Follows the nose only more intense. Big flavors of dark chocolate and dark roasted coffee. The flavors mellow with sweet dark fruits and bitter coffee finish. ABV is very well hidden.

M - Medium bodied with low carbonation. Dry finish.

O - Very impressed by this beer. One of the best beers I've had by Short's.

Mar 15, 2014
Photo of beergoot
beergoot from Colorado

3.75/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Another bottle was given to me by @alexanf: thanks! I owe you!!

Deep brown, nearly black body with a thin, light tan head; small amounts of lacing. Coffee grounds and light cocoa smell. Chocolate notes upfront with a bold bitterness and astringency dancing around with a mild malt sweetness; coffee grounds. Medium-heavy bodied; semi-dry feel to the beer.

Overall, this porter is interesting and intriguing. You can't miss the sweet malt backbone, yet it's the bitterness and husk astringency that probably will strike most drinkers. There's a subtle alcohol warmth throughout that gives an added dimension to things.

Mar 14, 2014
Photo of brutusmuktuk
brutusmuktuk from Michigan

3.98/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle a jet black color with a light off-white head. Has a chocolate and malty aroma. Taste is sweet dark chocolate with a touch of bitterness in the finish. I also get some malts and coffee. Has a medium to full body feel and goes down smooth. A very tasty porter.

Mar 06, 2014
Photo of Emnmarko
Emnmarko from Michigan

4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- Dark like a cup of black coffee. A nice creamy caramel colored head develops, then leaves a solid cap. Moderate lacing clings to the glass.

S- Roasted malts, cocoa, chocolate, coffee, toffee. Robust with a sweet center. Bitter hop aromas subtly announce their presence.

T- Wow, take the nose and multiply by ten. An explosion of bitter sweet chocolate covered coffee beans is followed with a warming dry bitterness in the middle of the tongue. The slow transition continues and finally finishes with a warm cocoa and bitter hop aftertaste.

M- Medium bodied and drinkable for a porter. Does down smooth without any problems.

O- I'm impressed with this one. A well put together porter with style. A smooth sweet and rich roasted malt flavor flawlessly balancing a bitter hop backbone. Rich chocolate warming the way to the gullet. This is one fine example of a porter. I acquired this bottle in a "pick yer six" at a local, well stocked beer store for my first try and I'm very pleased. I will definitely be picking up a sixer of these in the future.

Feb 19, 2014
Photo of Flopjack
Flopjack from Michigan

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle into tulip

Appearance - Black with a caramel colored head about 1 finger.

Smell - Truly smells very much like a stout. Cacao, molasses, dark roasted coffee, roasted malts.

Taste - Smokyness right from the start much like a smoked porter, reminded me of German rauchbier. Underlying notes of bitter chocolate, slight coffee, roasted malts, slight floral like characteristic that is very hidden and contributes to the bitterness for me.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, light/medium carbonation, refreshing.

Overall - Good beer. Was not expecting such a smoky character like was experienced but in a good way. This beer does not drink like a 9% beer for me, it is smooth, smoky, alcohol is not overwhelming.

Feb 15, 2014
Photo of SerialTicker
SerialTicker from Michigan

4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottling date's disappeared. $2 single poured into a Perfect Pint.

Appearance: Pitch black. Looks more like a stout than a porter. Brown head leaving very good lacing. Nice pour.

Smell: Very dark. It just smells bitter. Black coffee/roast, dark chocolate, a char sort of aroma as well. Good stuff.

Taste/feel: 9.15% is something that really surprises me about this beer. It drinks like it'd be 6.5-7%. A robust flavor that's not typically seen in a porter. Heavy dark chocolate and roast like the aroma would suggest, with a sort of char-like finish with a lingering bitterness. There's a bit of sweetness in the sip, almost one that seems to be offered up by a dark fruit kind of flavor. The aftertaste is roasty and a bit smokey even. Lingers a good while. The body is great. Medium mouthfeel with a medium/high carbonation, so it really is more like a porter than a stout in my mind.

I had to bump up the taste and overall rating of this brew a tick for the simple fact that it (somehow) only costs $2 for a single. This is a big, big, delicious porter that's dangerously drinkable. It's big on flavor, but never too rich, and an absolute delight to drink.

I honestly feel like this is Short's best beer, and I doubt they could top this one. Brilliant brew.

Feb 02, 2014
Photo of joe1510
joe1510 from Illinois

4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5


Brewed 6/1/06
Bottled 2/5/07

Bottle #150 of 672

I have here yet another great Short's beer from the man himself, hoppymeal. Thanks again Derek! Publican Porter is a monster that gurgles like motor oil out of its bottle and into my snifter. A dense head slowly rises to a fingers worth of height before just as slowly receding to a thin cap and thick collar. The head is so dark brown that it actually has that purple hue to it and ends up leaving many small spots of foam behind after each tip of the glass. The body? Well it's deep, dark, and completely black.

This beer smells amazing! Dark chocolate and cocoa leap from the bottle directly up and into my nose. Oats and moderately roasted barley all fit right into place and ratchet up the aroma even higher. Behind all these robust aromas there's layer upon layer of brown sugar, blackstrap molasses, anise, fudge, bitter roastiness, heavy cream and spent coffee grounds all in that order. This is a porter that's complex like no porter I've yet come across.

Everything I described in that paragraph above applies to the flavor. The roastiness and chocolate own this beer with all the other aspects swirling around and constantly changing. This beer is a piece of work in the bets way possible. A porter unlike any I've sampled in the past. The long finish leaves candied plum fruitiness behind. There isn't a hint of the 9.5% abv noticeable throughout the entire drink. I'm really digging Publican Porter.

The mouthfeel is as good as it gets and actually unexpected. Each sip is heavy on the tongue but perfectly velvety without a hint of stick. The mellow carbonation lets this brew glide right through the mouth.

I hate to sound cliché but there's no other way to describe this one. Publican Porter is dangerously drinkable. The big abv is nowhere to be found and this beer drinks like a dream.

I would love to get my hands on a couple more bottles of this nectar. I can't see it getting a whole lot better with age but I can see it staying at its peak awhile longer. Thanks for the treat Derek, again, a big thank you!

Reviewed: 1/5/09

Aug 18, 2013
Photo of Etan
Etan from Wisconsin

3.85/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75


A: Pours thick and black with a dark tan head.

S: Deep roast and dark chocolate and cherry-like sweetness. Mocha, graham cracker, dark bread.

T: Dry, bitter roast, mild vinous quality, dusty cocoa, more slightly-astringent roast, alcohol warmth.

M: Thick-bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: Interesting. A bit too roasty and bitter to enjoy a lot of but pleasant in small quantities.

Jun 29, 2013
Photo of chugalug06
chugalug06 from Colorado

4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Kick ass, dark and deep. But it is a Porter? Lacing is solid and thick.

Smokey, roasty, chocolate, molasses, Oceanic.

Creamy, way smokey, lots of Oak and BBQ chips, meaty, thin, watery, drinkable, chalky, molasses, dark chocolate. Medium carbonation, moderate sweetness, no bitterness, just dry... Decently salty. Smokey, yet not overly smoked to the point of distraction.

Highly recommended. A great brew, thanks abanton for sharing yet another great brew!!!

Jun 18, 2013
Photo of WillCarrera
WillCarrera from Ohio

4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On-tap at Churchkey, served in a snifter.

A- Pours nearly black with an inch of creamy, thick brown head.

S- Really interesting aroma, has a unique fruity aroma, lots of dark fruit, some molasses, milk chocolate, a bit of roastiness.

T- Similar to the aroma, nice dark fruit flavor, molasses, milk chocolate, nice subtle char.

M- Medium to full-bodied, carbonation is low with a really smooth, creamy feel.

O- A really tasty beer, great mix of chocolate and fruit.

Apr 24, 2013
Photo of MDDMD
MDDMD from Pennsylvania

4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-dark black brown color with a light tan head and good lacing

S-coffee, chocolate, brown sugar, dark roasted malt, slight smoky character

T-dark roasted malt, chocolate, coffee,dark brown sugar, slight bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy

O-nice porter with good labor and balance, really enjoyable

Mar 22, 2013
Photo of czfreeman
czfreeman from California

4.46/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice deep black tone. Pretty rich khaki head rises to the top of the glass. Very good looking Porter.
Smells like an amazing Porter should, Cocoa,prunes,bourbon raisins, candy malts, brown sugar, light warmness in the finish. Molasses, coffee, and fig come into play intermingled with a nice body in the background.
Taste is exceptionally good. I imagine Porters in the old days, that Joe Short was aiming were sweeter and stronger than today..and this fits it to a tee.
Prunes,molasses, coffee, vanilla, nice warming boozy touch.
Cocoa, fig, deeply roasted malt, dark breads.
Mouth feel is near perfect. This balances the higher abv perfectly and masks it wonderfully.
This is a great porter. Very glad to try it and will buy again in the future.

Mar 18, 2013
Photo of tectactoe
tectactoe from Michigan

4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a semi-thick black color with deep brown edges. A straight pour down the center causes almost no noise as a deep-tan colored head slowly starts forming seconds after I'm finished pouring. It goes quick and leaves no lacing behind.

The aroma is heavy and robust, even a little more so than I was expected. Some lightly sweet, roasted malts, lots of licorice, hints of anise, a good amount of chocolate. Plenty of deep and dark fruit notes floating around; plums, dates, prunes, raisins, almost with a wine-like essence to it. Warmth brings out some more chocolate, along with a sweet molasses. The alcohol itself shows a presence but doesn't sting the nostrils too much.

The taste, however, is a slightly different story. Up front, you get a hefty boozy flavor - mild fusel alcohol notes and a stingy warming effect that takes over your palate. Lots of flavors combine shortly thereafter; dark chocolate, fudge cake, lots of roasted malts, bitter and burnt coffee beans... The taste is definitely more roasty-bitter and less creamy-sweet than the aroma had lead on - not a bad thing, though. Nice hop profile squirts out about midway through; leafy, ashy hops with a heavy bitterness that hits the back of the palate - only coupling with the heavy roast to amplify the bitterness even more. The alcohol heat grows and is the heaviest at the end; aftertaste is a deeply pitted roast flavor with a huge backing of booze. Silky smooth mouth feel, low carbonation.

Wasn't expecting much out of this, but it turned out to be pretty good. I like things that are super-roasted, and that's exactly what this is. A little heavy on the alcohol character, though. This one is definitely a slower sipper than I pictured it would be.

Mar 16, 2013
Photo of Shibbykaiyai
Shibbykaiyai from Michigan

4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

To start off, I do not like very many porters. Prior to having this one, I tried the Short's Cup of Joe and only made it two sips into it.

I was saddened to read that this beer is no longer being brewed as I finally found one I like.

It was a nice dark brown color when being poured into a pint class with a nice coffee aroma. It went down easy for a porter, an enjoyable brew. My liver is happy that I only had one and that it is discontinued because I could definitely drink more of these.

Feb 10, 2013
Photo of divineaudio
divineaudio from Michigan

3.39/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz, bottled 12/18/12, poured into a nonic.

a - pours a viscous dark brown, nearly black. gave me a finger or so of dense, creamy, light brown head that took some time calming down. what i'm left with is a thin film and a few thick rings of lacing in the glass.

s - roasted malt, tart dark cherry, cola, hint of marshmallow, and that weird earthiness that all short's beers have.

t - heavy on the roasted malt character with some burnt malt in the background. notes of chocolate and spice. has the short's signature earthy bitterness and finishes a little on the boozy side.

m - full bodied and quite sticky. medium carbonation with a medium co2 profile.

o - interesting beer and enjoyable, but not what i look for in an english porter (or any other porter for that matter). too much focus on the roasted flavors not enough else going on for depth. also, the higher abv makes this a one and done for the night beer.

Jan 25, 2013
Photo of JohnnyHopps
JohnnyHopps from Indiana

4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Having had many of Shorts Brews over the years, I believe this is one of the best. Certainly among the more traditional non-experimental beers, this may be the best.

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, the beer was a dark murky brown color with an off-white lacing coating the glass. A beautiful sweet dark coffee aroma exploded from the glass. A $4 coffee rarely smells this exciting. The initial taste was sweet dark chocolate blending nicely with the sour notes. A traditional English Porter should have sour aspects to it, but should not overwhelm the rest of the beer. Despite being an imperial, the sourness is well balance with other aspects of the beer. Notes of molasses and burnt sugar were also detectable. The dark chocolate and sour notes continue into the aftertaste but begin to evolve. The 9.15 ABV is well masked until the warming sensation in the aftertaste, lingering nicely. Being a porter, the beer is on the thicker side while still being an easy drinker. No aspect of the beer overwhelms, allowing everything to be well balance. Well Done!

Nov 21, 2012
Publican Porter (Imperial London Porter) from Short's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 313 ratings