Monday, November 12, 2012

Fuller's London Porter (2012 original review)

I often mock the British beer scene for being too boring and archaic, but sometimes a traditional British brew really hits the spot. Case in point: Fuller’s London Porter. While not the most robust or complex beer ever made, it definitely is impressive for its ability to be so tasty and so smooth for an old world style brew.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (755) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 12, 2012
I poured an 11.2oz bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance: Deep dark ruby red that’s seemingly opaque black. Forms a huge, tan, frothy head which lingers and leaves gorgeous lacing on the glass.

Smell: Classic porter aroma of black licorice, milk chocolate and dark malts.

Taste: There actually isn’t a lot happening with the palate to Fuller’s London Porter, but what’s here is just so good. A blend of slight confectionery sweetness, a hint of coffee bitterness and a lingering chocolate candy aftertaste are the three main components to this brew. It’s simple, yes, but they’re so enjoyable for their distinctiveness and the way they all transition together. Not quite as sickly sweet as many stouts, and has less bitterness as well. I think this may be the absolute best beer to give to someone to show that "dark beers" can be flavorful but not intimidating. Light sweetness and light bitterness create for a perfectly balanced, delectable body.

Drinkability: As satisfying as the palate is, I think what really makes this such a good beer is just how easily drinkable it is. The body is on the thinner side (for a "dark beer"), but it’s not thin or watery per se. It’s velvety smooth across the tongue and might even be considered refreshing for a moment there. The aftertaste isn’t completely clean, but just enough to leave a pleasing taste that doesn’t dry out the mouth. At 5.4% Fuller’s London Porter is dangerously drinkable because it could easily be sessioned all day, even though it’s a tad too big to technically be a session beer.
 Grade: 8/10

NOTE: Read my 2018 re-review to BJCP specs here: