This style of beer gets many peoples mouths watering. A mocha porter. Yup, chocolate and coffee come together in a smooth and creamy beer known as porter. To be honest though, I am over the hype. I have had too many so called “mocha porters” that don’t taste like mocha that I am now skeptical at best. To me, if you are going to put a flavor directly in the name than it better taste like that flavor.
That being said, this is the Rogue Brewery we are talking about here, not one of a thousand small town craft breweries trying to make a name for themselves. Rogue is one of the founding craft brewers in North America, and this Mocha Porter has been one of their staples for years now. So I do have some faith in the brewer. The stats here are nothing crazy, it is 5.3% abv and comes in both 355 and 650ml bottles. But there is also now a Double Mocha Porter at 8.2% abv – you can look for that review soon enough.
But right now we are concerned with the regular Mocha Porter. It gets very high acclaim on most beer geek websites, and is highly rated as well on most all beer rating sites. I try not to take this into account when evaluating a beer, and really, to be the best judge I would enjoy it blind, not knowing who brewed the beer – even just knowing that it is from Rogue influences me. But taking my most unbiased approach, I went in and poured a glass anyways.
I opened the Mocha Porter cool around 10C (50F) and emptied it into a snifter goblet. The pour was aggressive to start, erupting a mountain of airy light brown foam. I slowed the pour and it revealed a smoother more silky texture of beer building a dense and powerful head; one that stood a good 2 or so inches above the beer. It was laced with a variance of tight and loose carbonation and was capped of by a creamy and pillowy mocha brown foam. Below was a black beer with glowing browns and garnet golds peering in the sides. It looks pretty magnificent standing there in my glass. It was a wonderful contrast between a near pitch beer and a foamy head.
The nose is classically Rogue bursting out at me first with fresh west coast hops, then the smoother and more gentle aromas of malts. It shows a balance of roasted and pale malts with hints of cocoa, chocolate, char and mellow caramel. It is lively and vibrant, but not overly powerful. The earthy hops aromas are noticeable throughout the entire nose.
The first sip was smooth and mellow showing a balance of caramel malt sweetness, gentle roast, soft cocoa and pale malts. A subtle sugary sweet malt backbone appears, but quickly fades away to earthy hops and crisp roast bitterness. It is pretty gentle, at 5.3% you shouldn’t expect anything to robust, but fresh hops certainly make their way in with light pine and herbal flavors.
The mouthfeel is gentle, and as the beer warms, even creamy. Now that it is warmer I am also getting smoother waves of cocoa and roast that glide in by way of your cheeks and finish off smoothly across the top of your mouth. Overall the Mocha Porter is pretty calm and gentle, but has clean and tasty notes of malt and hops. There are traces of coffee grinds and roast that mingle in with the malts, but I would still like to see a greater mocha character. I do expect that the Double Mocha Porter will provide that.
Nonetheless, as as a porter, this is a delicious beer. Soft, gentle roast with fresh herbal hops balance off clean malt sensations and a smooth body. I would suggest this beer with a meal and would go for roast beef, hamburgers, turkey dinner, chocolate cake, or soft elegant cheeses.