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Sea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter | Sea Dog Brewing Company

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Sea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut PorterSea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter

Brewed by:
Sea Dog Brewing Company
Maine, United States | website

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This beer is one of a kind! Four different malted barleys combine to create a distinctive, full-bodied beer with a roasted nuttiness, uniquely enhanced by a hint of hazelnuts. Smooth and creamy with the nose of the Willamette hop, this porter is a beer style unto itself.

Added by Dogbrick on 12-16-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 176 | Ratings: 325
Photo of lwillitz
3.3/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12-oz bottle into porter/stout glass

A - huge bubbly head of medium tan over a dark mahogany (ruby when backlit) body, high visible carbonation

S - coffee, caramel corn (sweet & buttery), nuts

T - roast coffee notes, caramel sweetness, generic nutty flavor with a hint of hazel, metallic and earthy finish

M- highly-carbonated medium body; unimpressive

O - an ok beer; too light for the style; something out of balance in the flavor department; you'll find lots of superior porters

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Photo of ScaryEd
2.76/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.75

Had on tap at the North Conway location.

Pours a dark brown color, with a bubbly off-white head. Some decent retention and lacing.

The aroma is very faint and slightly more roasted than expected. Some coffee with a hint of nutty caramel. Not picking up a lot of hazelnut.

The flavor brings out a lot more of the "hazelnut" in the beer, but it just tastes artificial to me, with a slight metallic aftertaste. Some sweet caramel malt flavors can be detected.

The mouthfeel is where the beer completely fell apart for me. It was thin and watery yet very highly carbonated. All flavors just kind of pass through and I was left to remember what the previous sip tasted like.

Overall, a very weak representation of a porter. It drinks more like a mediocre brown ale than anything, and the flavors and aromas just don't do it for me. I enjoy hazelnut but to me it just didn't work well here.

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Photo of BrokenEdge
2.65/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I really like Sea Dog's blueberry beer, so was looking forward to this, but it was hugely disappointing. Had this on tap. Dark brown body with a thin head, a little like Coke. Smells faintly of hazelnut coffee. Tastes of big hazelnut and vanilla flavor, but it's a little off and artificial tasting. Stale, bitter, burnt coffee and more artificial tasting chocolate notes. A little more on the caramely sickeningly sweet side of things than nice roasted porter flavors, I'm not really sure what went wrong here. I couldn't finish it and passed it off to a friend who reported liking it (although admitted it did taste very fake). Feel is very carbonated and thin, a little watery for a porter. Unpleasant lingering artificial flavors after the finish. Overall, a below average porter. I'm going to stick with their blueberry wheat from now on, at least that one tastes and smells like real blueberry muffins.

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Photo of MacMalt
3.56/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into snifter. It pours a deep mahogany with reddish hues , and a thick, frothy tan colored head and thick lacing that did not dissipate. It smells strongly of hazelnut with hints of coffee and chocolate. It tastes strongly of burnt coffee grinds, very bitter, and hazelnut. There is also a very faint taste of vanilla. This porter is quite light in body and with a ABV of 5.6%, there is little noticeable taste of alcohol. Overall, the taste is pleasant but the feel is a little thin for my liking.

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Photo of Sabre311
3.37/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Ok it's one of the best smelling beers I've ever had. It was thinner porter and it for some reason was very carbonated it seemed like (I had a bottle) I am still burping. I wouldn't drink this beer again.

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Photo of SierraFlight
2.6/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Pours opaque brown. Overwhelming hazelnut aroma with hints of caramel malt. Less malt on the tongue, representative of an English porter, with a clean finish. Just too much hazelnut!

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Photo of WesMantooth
3.82/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottom line, smells f'in fantastic. My score will probably be higher than average because I am a sucker for anything hazelnut or maple. While very enjoyable, it does not live up to expectations though. A little thin on body, and weaker flavored than I expected.

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Photo of silverking
3.63/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A-- it pours a cola color with ruby highlights. Thin tan head that fades quickly.

S- hazelnut, and it smells a little buttery. Its not a bad thing, but weird.

T- rich creamy hazelnut, coffee. Not terribly complex.

M- light/medium bodied. Gentle carbonation.

O- a little one dimensional, but it's not bad. I'll buy this again.

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Photo of FLima
4.03/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black reddish color with a one finger head with short retention, but with a constant plate and leaving some laces.
What a delicious and unexpected aroma. Hazelnut is quite predominant here, also it has strong notes of biscuit, grains, wood chips and vanilla.
Bold flavor of roasted malts, lots of hazelnuts, spices, herbal and earthy hops, charred wood, chocolate, ashes, yeast and roasted coffee beans. Dry aftertaste with a long lasting bitter roasted note.
Light body with appropriate carbonation and a creamy sensation.
Definitely a nutty Porter. Bold aroma and flavor with tons of hazelnut that feels natural. This was a nice pleasant surprise which is underrated in my opinion. I was under the impression that they did enhanced the formula, this one has a more similar profile to Rogue John John Hazelnut.

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Photo of illpass78
3.71/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a glass tankard.

Appearance: Good looking beer. Deep, dark brown with an off-tan head that settles at about an inch and a half. Pretty strong carbonation. Leaves a pretty heavy amount of lacing on the way down. Looks like a good, full-bodied porter.

Aroma: The nose isn't as strong as I'd hoped. Some faint coffee notes, but it's doesn't have a very powerful aroma. Doesn't smell much like hazelnut at all. I expected to be hit hard by coffee and hazelnut aromas, but got very little of that.

Taste: This is a pleasure to drink. Some bitterness up front, but by the middle it's full of smooth, full-bodied coffee flavor. Some burnt notes. The aftertaste is pleasant, so much so that I have a brownie in the other room and don't want to eat it. Finishes strong. The alcohol is unnoticeable and it leaves you wanting another.

Mouthfeel: Pretty good body. Waterier up front than in the middle. Very easy to drink. Nothing off-putting about it.

Overall: In this age of hyper-specialization, I can't blame these guys for calling their beer "hazelnut" in attempt to stand out from the crowd of other porters and stouts on the shelf. But this honestly doesn't taste like hazelnut at all. It tastes like a straight porter or a coffee porter. And it's a fine one for sure. I got this in a mixed six and would definitely pop one in there again; if you're a big porter/stout fan, I'd do the same.

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Photo of Omnium
3.7/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle > Sensory Pils glass

A - Ruby brown with just under a finger of thin fizzy tan head, a few spots of small lacing.
S - Really nice roasted malts and toasted hazelnut, a little smoke and chocolate. Overall very nutty.
T - Nice rich roasted hazelnut flavor up front and stays with you, a good mild hop bite, some cream, dark baking chocolate.
M - Thin and kinda metallic, fades fast.
O - Surprisingly good hazelnut flavor and aroma, lacks in feel, but I'd definitely get this again.

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Photo of schoolboy
3.58/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

OK, I bought a bunch of Sea Dogs and it took me a while to get to them all. I think there is one still left. I thought this one might be the least odd, and that seems to be somewhat accurate. Thankfully, the hazelnut flavor is way low, but the rest of the brew is somewhat lacking too.

It looks nice enough, dark, with a thin head and some nice lace. The aroma is slightly like an hazelnut coffee plus a sweet alcoholic ale odor.

The taste is fortunately not dominated by that hazelnut, but it is not anything to write home about either. It is also a bit harsh. Nicely somewhat bitter, but harsh, and not at all creamy.

I think I will stay away from these dogs in the future.

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Photo of bmwats
3.46/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a footed tulip.

A: Dark brown. Pours about a 1 finger, bubbly, brown-white head. Settles quickly. Pockets of effervescence apparent throughout the body of the brew. A ring remains throughout. No real lacing.

S: Nutty malt, milk chocolate, caramel.

T: Bitter malt flavor with very faint hints of indistinct sweetness.

M: Light body, earthy character, and a lightly bitter finish.

D: Drink session style, although the bitter finish will slow the pace a bit.

Atmosphere is good enough. Decent appearance including a fair head, but no real lacing. Nose is strong candy sweet notes, well-balanced with a nutty malt character. Bitter, earthy malt with a touch of sweetness. Overall, this is a pretty good quaff.

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Photo of kneeland
3.87/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I great blend of hazelnut flavor and porter taste. Sometimes porters aren't very proportioned, but this works great. The hazelnut is better than other "hazelnut" beers I've tried. There's a roasted almond, toasted coffee, malty taste. And there's no bad aftertaste.

It pours pretty dark, almost stouty. It doesn't taste nearly as heavy as it looks. Not much of a head.

I got this in my beer of the month pack. I would definitely try it again if I ever see it.

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Photo of mjpolzin
3.6/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Part of the first shipment of a beer club a business client of mine signed me up for. The smell is of a very rich porter with some excellent hazelnut mixed in. The taste doesn't quite live up to the smell and the carbonation was lacking a bit but nonetheless this was a solid winter session beer.

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Photo of dtivp
3.16/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear amber brown with a a thin mocha colored head that fades quickly, light lacing.

Aroma of roasted malt and nuts, light coffee and chocolate.

Taste starts slightly sweet with hazelnut flavored coffee, chocolate with a slight mild hop bitterness.

Mouth Feel is medium leaning light body, moderate carbonation, crisp, smooth and nutty.

Overall an average porter.

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Photo of Gavage
3.44/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a dark brown color with a 1/2" head that slowly falls. Some lace develops during the session.

Smell: a nutty aroma is mild but pleasant overall.

Taste: mild grainy malt profile with some caramel, toasted hazelnut, and a mild bitterness. There is some earthy and buttery qualities about the beer too, but it is focused on the nuttiness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp throughout with a long toasted nut aftertaste.

Overall: an easy to consume porter that would go well with some nut-heavy desserts.

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Photo of barczar
3.51/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aggressive pour yields a clear deep brown color with amber highlights and a dense 2" khaki head that slowly dissipates, leaving sticky lacing.

Chocolate, coffee, nutty roast malt, and dark fruit form the aroma, with a floral hop character at the finish.

Roast malt, diacetyl, and sherry notes begin the flavor profile, finishing with coffee and a slightly acrid taste. Nuttiness and floral hop flavor emerge as it warms. The finish is slightly bitter.

Body is fairly creamy and moderately full, with carbonation toward the high side. Alcohol warmth is felt.

Overall, a bit to roasty for a porter and lacking in chocolate flavor. The sherry undertones are somewhat offputting. Good nutty character, though. Carbonation is too high.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.71/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours dark chestnut color with a super pillowy tan head that retains nicely with good lace.

S- straight hazelnut, but bit artificial like a lot of ones I've tried, a bit if roasted malt as well.

T- very nutty hazelnut flavor, roasted malts, molasses, a bit of coffee, with a good hoppy bitterness on the back end. Finishes dry.

M- medium body, low carbonation, foamy mouthfeel.

O- like liquid Ferrero Rocher, lots of hazelnut, balanced by a hoppy profile, pleasant linger. I was looking for a little more malt, but pretty good overall.

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Photo of Tschnab
3.4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A mahogany brown pour with a light brown head that dissipates quickly. The nose is rich toasty caramel with some brown sugar and a buttery butterscotch aroma. The taste is pretty much the same thing, a nice nuttiness and toasty flavor followed by a buttery toast finish. The body is a little thin for a porter. The best offering from sea dog I've had, I've enjoyed everything I've ever had with hazelnuts and this is no exception albeit a middling representation of the lot.

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Photo of ThePaleRider
4.2/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my friend, Scott, for hooking me up with this brew.

A - Dark like a rich coffee. Very nice looking beer with a very light tan head.

S - Hazelnuts up front with rich malts lingering around.

T - Very nice flavor. First time I've had a nutty porter, and I'm a big fan. Really love the way the hazelnut blends with the dark porter. Very similar to the Rogue Hazelnut, but much smoother, and the hazelnut doesn't seem to linger as long.

M - Smooth going down with a decent amount of carbonation.

O - Went into this tasting not expecting much and was really shocked at how good this beer is. Not sure the availability of this in Southern CA so I'm glad I was able to get my hands on it. Leaves me really curious to try their other beers.

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Photo of chinchill
3.85/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle dated BB May/June 2012 served in a pint glass.

Pours a very dark brown; dark enough to be nearly opaque. Medium size tan head is creamy and has decent retention.

Rather subdued aroma, especially in comparison to the bold flavor. The aroma features sweet caramel malts whereas the taste (3.75) has plenty of dark malt and a nice bit of spicy hops. Plenty of hazelnut in both the aroma and flavor, but not overdone. Has a big transformation from sweet upon hitting the tongue to moderately bitter in the aftertaste.

M: Creamy smooth; full body; well-chosen medium carbonation.

O: Having had the excellent Rogue Hazelnut Brown just last evening, I expected this brew to compare poorly. While it is not up to the Rogue overall, it is a fine brew; one of the best I've had from this innovative brewery. The mouthfeel is exceptional.

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Photo of CopperBrewer
4.18/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Beautiful dark brown color, with a nice low head that lingers at the edges. Nice clarity but the color is so dark that you can barely tell.

Aroma: Roasted nut aroma with strong notes of hazelnut. The roasted notes commonly found in a porter are also clearly noticeable.

Flavor: Great hazelnut presence that, even though it is naturally flavored, doesn't taste artificial or fake at all. The hazelnut flavor blends very nicely with the roasted malts as well. It is a very nice pairing.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with a nice carbonation level. Has the feel of a robust porter, not a brown porter. Very easy to drink.

Overall: I really enjoyed this beer. I was afraid that it would end up being very artificial due to the flavoring but instead it tasted just what I expected it should taste like. A great accompaniment to beef and ice cream, quite the versatile beer!

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Photo of The_Hucklebuck
3.97/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer has a clear dark brown look, and a super Hazelnut flavor and smell! Also tastes like Roasted Coffee!

It's a good beer but I wouldn't want more than one or two. I got it in a mixed six pack, and even though I'm a big fan of there Blueberry Wheat Beer, I think it's been there done that on this one!

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Photo of silentjay
2.98/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

seems like they got rid of the "riverdriver" moniker.

pours a deep brown with a thin and quick-lasting khaki head that leaves behind decent lacing.

wow... nutty. smells like a nut brown ale kicked up a few notches. Rogue's hazelnut brown nectar comes to mind, but this seems like cheap hazelnut extract added. very sweet smelling. like the fake hazelnut syrups used by cheap coffee places to make regular coffee into hazelnut coffee. However, it is very aromatic as I can smell it from feet away. the sweetness and artificial aromas hinder it quite a bit.

roasted nuts. week old hazelnut coffee with hazelnut flavored coffee-mate and tons of sugar. a bit of burnt and astringent flavors come through and linger well after the swallow.

thin for a porter with little to no carbonation and a watery finish.

I think it would be a good gimmick for someone who is not a fan of beers, but it lacks in complexity relying on the artificial hazelnut extract flavors to really carry this beer. I'd drink again if this was offered for free and nothing else was available.

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Sea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter from Sea Dog Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 176 ratings.