Beer Reviews

Panther (Robust Porter)

Reviews are done by Jim Matt, our Chief Science Officer, who is also a veteran FoBAB judge, GABF judge, and BJCP Master judge.

Panther (5.8% | 28 IBU), a super smooth Robust Porter, is our midnight malt whisperer, resonating with notes of toffee, bread, chocolate, coffee and dark fruit.

Malts: Pale Ale, Maris Otter, Munich, Dark Crystal, Flaked Barley, Chocolate, Black

Hops: Bravo, Glacier

Talk about the origins of the porter style.

This is one of those styles that is filled with myths/urban legends. We believe the porter originated in London, was a blend of beers, and was consumed by the common/working man, hence the name, “porter.” More modern English versions are brewed with brown malt, English pale malt and a hint of black malt for color.

Panther is a Robust Porter. What’s the significance of “robust?”

Robust Porters are distinguished from their English brethren as generally being darker, hoppier, and higher in alcohol.

What are the notable characteristics of this beer?

Dark without being too dark, smooth, relatively low in hop bitterness and actually quite easy-drinking for the style.

What makes this beer unique?

Several years back I judged porters at a beer competition, and learned a lot from that exercise. The best porters that day had a perfect black malt/crystal malt balance. The eventual winner had some intriguing secondary malt character that I guess was due to an addition of Munich malt to the grist bill. I formulated a Robust Porter recipe myself that eventually won a Bronze at the National Homebrew Competition in 2009. Panther's recipe was influenced and inspired by that homebrew recipe.

What are your go-to porters?

Anchor Porter, Deschutes Black Butte Porter and Founders Porter.

Appearance: Dark brown, not quite black. Fairly opaque. Medium tan head with excellent head retention.

Aroma: Complex malty aroma with notes of toffee, coffee, dark fruit, bread crusts. Low fruity esters. Low earthy hop aroma.

Taste: Medium high malt flavor. Chocolatey, bready, slight coffee notes, with some supporting dark fruit notes. Medium-low fruity esters. Medium-low bitterness, low earthy hop flavor. Slight residual sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, slightly creamy, low astringency, medium carbonation.

Overall: A balanced, medium alcohol version of the Robust Porter style. A combination of restraint with the malts and water chemistry adjustments take away the acrid “bite” that is seen in other examples of this style.

What foods would pair well with Panther?

Beef stew or add a scoop of ice cream to the beer to make a porter float!

Ideal glassware for Panther?

I prefer the Imperial pint glass for this one.