Monday, October 5, 2009

PorterPalooza #6 - Yuengling Porter

This beer isn't, technically, available here in Wisconsin. But, Yuengling is an interesting brewery. For whatever reason, despite the fact that Yuengling is a Pennsylvania brewery, I associate it with the South where it is also available.

Yuengling is a fairly large brewery, but it doesn't qualify as a "craft" according to the Brewer's Association because the flagship, Yuengling Lager, is not all-malt (it contains significant adjuncts like rice or corn).

Nonetheless, Yuengling is one of the largest regional breweries in the states and its beer is well-loved. The love derives mostly from the fact that, founded in 1829, it is the oldest brewery in the United States. This Porter was one of the original brands and Yuengling first brewed it in 1829.

Yuengling Porter
BeerAdvocate (B-). RateBeer (54).
Appearance: After twisting off the cap and pouring into my old-school Augsburger stemmed glassware, I got a thick tan head and a dark, classic-porter color with moderate carbonation
Aroma: roasted and bready, but a fairly light aroma; a faint caramel maybe?
Flavor: about all I have time for before the flavor is gone is some fairly strong roast with a tiny bit of residual sweetness; no hops
Body: medium-bodied, but the flavor is gone quickly
Drinkability: fine if nothing else - if this is what was offered I could probably drink 3 or 4 of them and not really complain a whole lot; but, I'm not sure I'd voluntarily drink it absent no other choice and an overwhelming urge for a porter
Summary: It's fine, but nothing that I'd go out of my way to track down. I'd compare it with Sand Creek's Badger Porter in that they are both fine beers, but won't be mistaken for the best beers you can get


  1. Over the weekend I had a chance to try the Badger Porter from Sand Creek at Quivey's Grove. I found it to be quite tasty as did my friends.

    Last week we also had a chance to try the Old English Porter. It was a bad porter, mediocre sour beer and two dimensional brew. The group who I tried it concurred with this assessment. Having dranken Rodenbach and even NG's Sour Brown, the Old English Porter was lacking. When we mixed 1/4 OEP with 3/4 of another porter, then it got better. This might be what porters of that era might have been. I recommend that you try the blend.

  2. Interesting, I wonder how NG gets on that list since it's "flagship" Spotted Cow contains corn? I'm not a fan of their lighter beers (Cow, Naked, Organic, Stone Soup, etc) but Spotted Cow is by far their biggest seller...

    Color me confused.

  3. It is my understanding the reason why breweries blended beer in those days was because a lot of beer went sour and if they dump all the sour beer they would go out of business. So blending the sour beer with the new beer was the norm until modern cleaning and refrigeration became the norm. Back then people ate rancid meat because it was all they had. I can not see your local butcher selling rancid meat these days and staying in business long.

  4. The Brewers Association probably categorizes Yuengling as "adding adjunct to cheapen" and New Glarus as "adding adjunct to improve flavor". It's a subjective distinction they make to circumvent their bad definition of 'craft brewery'. If their definition reflected its intent, it would say "craft breweries have flagship beers that don't resemble Budweiser". Despite its light body and low reputation among the beer elite (yes, I mean that negatively), I don't think Spotted Cow tastes anything like Budweiser.

  5. Anonymous:
    I think there is some truth to what you said, but it's more than simply using up bad beer. My understanding is before modern sanitation there were two ways to make a palitable beer: either a low alcohol beer that could be consumed quickly, or a high alcohol beer that would need to be aged a bit to mellow out. Before Pasteur, all beer would have had all sorts of funky bugs that would sour up an aged beer. Some people liked to drink the strong sour beer, some the mild, and those who wanted a stronger beer but weren't that into the sour would blend them. These beers were sometimes pre-blended by the brewery, or just blended at the pub. I think the rancid meat comparison is totally off base.
    I for one liked the Old English Porter quite a bit.
    As for Yuengling, I agree with Joe that the Brewers Association's definition is very subjective. The fact that a brewery's flagship beer can have adjunct if it "enhances flavor" is basically a way of saying that breweries like New Glarus, which make mad bank off of an adjunct beer yet make a bunch of other beers that are clearly craft beers, can be considered a craft brewery.


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