1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Sea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter - Sea Dog Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut PorterSea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
80
good

279 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 279
Reviews: 170
rAvg: 3.49
pDev: 15.47%
Wants: 3
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sea Dog Brewing Company visit their website
Maine, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.60% ABV

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.

(Beer added by: Dogbrick on 12-16-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 279 | Reviews: 170 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of theopholis
3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Very dark black with a hint of red. When held up to the light, you get a deep ruby. A fairly small off-white head has a little staying power (not much), and leaves behind no lacing.

Aroma- Nice Lots of roasted malts give this beer a nice coffee-mocha nose with some hazelnut thrown in. Nice malt sweetness through-out, with a judicious amount of bittering hops..

Taste- Again, well done. Starts out with a hint of malt sweetness and a strong maltiness with a decent level of bittering hops. The taste of hazelnut is not as pronounced as the aroma was, but it's definitely there. The 3 main tastes blend well together, with no clashing and no single flavor overpowering the others.

Mouthfeel- Medium body. CO2 level is just about right. It brings out the hazelnut quite nicely.

Drinkability- It is quite nice. Not real sessionable, but well worth picking up a sixer for you and your buddies to try out.

Edit: I tried this beer again, and it has a VERY strong buttery/butterscotch taste. I don't know if they have quality control issues or what.

theopholis, Jul 02, 2007
Photo of DogFood11
2.03/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

First time I've seen this in the LA area so it was a must pick up. Poured the 12 oz brown bottle into a stemmed tulip glass. It forms a tan head that falls to rings and leaves scattered lace. Ehh ok.

My first impression was this must be a milk stout? Ok so I'm tripping over mouse turds with the style but this is definitely milky in texture and flavor. Add in some slightly astringent roasted malts and you have it.

Notes: Far better porters on the market and readily available. Stick with the blueberry wheat from this brewer as its spot on.

DogFood11, Jun 17, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.93/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark hazelnut with bright orange peel highlights... that is revealed to be bloody crimson with backlighting. The toasted oatmeal cap is frothysoft and has such slowly popping bubbles that it hangs around for a spell. A smattering of lace is the extent of the glass coverage. Not bad, not bad.

The nose is a good one. Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter smells like what it's purported to be; that is, a hazelnut-accented porter. Well done on both counts. The toasted nuttiness smells 100% natural to me, unlike other so-called 'natural' flavorings that are used in beer.

I'm pretty happy with the way it tastes too. There's a reasonably solid chocolate maltiness that would be just fine on its own. However, with the inspired addition of what tastes like oven-toasted hazelnuts, the flavor profile goes into another gear. The most commendable thing is the perfect balance between the two flavors. Too much nuttiness wouldn't have worked as well.

I'm also happy to report that the beer isn't overly sweet. The malt sugars do their thing on the bottom end, while the Willamette hops do their thing on the top end. And the earthy nuttiness occupies the middle. It all adds up to a balanced, tasty, nicely drinkable beer that stands out in a crowd.

The body/mouthfeel is decent enough. If it was a wee bit more full and if there were fewer bubbles, it'd be even better. Those minor faults aren't enough to dim my enthusiasm however.

Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter is my fifth Sea Dog beer and is my favorite by far. I've never been a fan of their fruit beers and their IPA was unspectacular. This one, though, is well worth a purchase for those who are looking for a slightly different take on the American porter style.

BuckeyeNation, Mar 08, 2007
Photo of auntfloyd
3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 12oz bottle into a US pint glass.

Poured a dark reddish-brown with ruby highlights, and a big two fingers of tan head that stuck around for quite a while.

The smell is not terribly strong, and is faintly reminiscent of roasted malt, coffee, and hazelnut.

The flavor is good: roasted malt and hazelnut are the most prevalent, with a lesser amount of bitter hops/coffee flavor at the finish. Overall, quite nice, and sufficiently hazelnutty for this hazelnut fan.

The mouthfeel is solid and well-carbonated, and drinkability is high.

Overall, this is a good porter for hazelnut fans, and for porter fans in general. Definitely stronger on the nutty flavors than the roasted malt, but good enough to satisfy even the connoisseurs.

auntfloyd, Feb 19, 2007
Photo of xgrafcorex
3.55/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

roasted hazelnut...the first two words that will come to your mind when you smell and taste this porter. in a blind smell test you might even be able to trick people into thinking its some coffee with hazelnut syrup in it. tastes a little malty too. not really much head at all and the beer is pretty dark. not black, but not amber. more to the black side of the scale between the two.

i think its pretty good. not my favorite porter, but definitely not one of my least favorites. the hazelnut is very front and center, so if you don't like hazelnut, i would avoid this beer like the plague. not to say its overpowering..but its the key flavor in this beer. not very heavy compared to many porters. easy to drink, not too expensive (not bud cheap though), and a decent porter. after having this, i'll be sure to try some of their other beers.

xgrafcorex, Feb 16, 2007
Photo of akajimmyd
2.7/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer has a big hazelnut aroma. Dark brown color and not much head. The taste is pretty bitter. Actually this tastes like a average porter with a shot of sweet hazelnut syrup dropped in it (like at starbucks.) The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a somewhat sticky aftertaste.

akajimmyd, Feb 02, 2007
Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown with about an inch tan head. The beer smells mostly like hazelnut, with some coffee and roasted malt in there too. It tastes the same way that it smells, mostly like hazelnut and malt. It's mostly sweet, but there's a slight bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is light/medium, also a bit slick. Drinkability is good, but I don't know if I could drink more than 3-4 of these at a time. With that being said, I thought it was good and I would drink it again.

bluejacket74, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of tgbljb
3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep reddish-brown color with chunky tabbis head.
Smell is much lighter than would be expected, but a light nuttiness is present.
Taste is significant for roasted malt with more of the nutty taste also present.
Nice full rich mouth feel with a pleasant drying finish.
Nothing great, but easy to drink.

tgbljb, Dec 16, 2006
Photo of Grundle20
2.73/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

*Note: I'm not somebody who likes to give a beer a bad review and I tried to keep this from being "Trollish" but I truly did not enjoy this beer.*

Appearance:
Pours a a deep dark brown in to a pint glass. There is a big brown eggshell colored head with moderate retention but no lacing to speak of.

Smell:
I can't really candy coat for this brewery anymore despite my Portland roots. This smells like hazelnut yuck. I can't quite pin what the underlying scent is but my first thought is wet rotting wood but it isn't pleasant and its definitely trying to be hidden with a hazelnut scent. The hazelnut seems more like an afterthought then a carefully thought out flavor addittion.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
Again it tastes hazelnutty but it really seems like it's trying to hide something unimpressive. It seems like they finished the beer and didn't like the way it turned out so they dumped a bunch of hazelnut extract in to the bottling vat. The body is powdery and bitter with minor bittersweet chocolate in the finish leaving me with a truly less than delicious aftertaste of tree bark, and that's not a joke or a stab, it truly tastes like green woody foliage.

Drinkability:
To me porter isn't one of the more drinkable styles of beer and the fact that I'm really not enjoying this beer makes it even that much more of a struggle. It's unbalanced and has a really awkward aftertaste to boot.

Bottom Line:
I thought after the wheat and the IPA that the porter had to be better, boy was I wrong. The whole drinking experience of this beer felt like a shoddy attempt at dolling up a less than stellar porter. I'm glad that I enjoy their blueberry wheat because I really don't like having to not like a small town brewery but this just isn't that great at all.

Grundle20, Dec 13, 2006
Photo of Drew966
3.15/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter pours a dark brown with a tan head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. There's a malty aroma and the hazelnut is noticeable. Flavorwise, it seems as though the hazelnut is really predominant, and it's quite a bitter hazelnut flavor. I'm not saying it's bad, but definitely more bitter than I expected. I think the bitterness has effected my enjoyment of this one, a little less bitter and this would be a better beer.

Drew966, Dec 08, 2006
Photo of bthompuz
2.58/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A – very dark with some ruby highlights, not as dark as some porters, creamy head that lingers

S – hazelnut flavor, smells almost artificial or chemically, some roasted malt smell, but the hazelnut really dominates everything else

T – like the smell the hazelnut dominates, little to no hop flavor or bitterness, some bitterness from the roasted malt, only aftertaste is the hazelnut

M – medium mouthfeel, seems a little light for a porter, but fine

D – I wish they had dialed back a little bit on the hazelnut, it works well with this beer, but I would have preferred to taste something beside just that. I am glad I tried it, but cannot see having another.

bthompuz, Nov 05, 2006
Photo of abcsofbeer
3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle is dated for Feb '07 drink by date. This brew pours out a black color with rosy red edges. The head is thick at about two fingers high and light brown in color. Ths leaves very decent lacing and very good head retention.

The smell is darkly roasted maltiness and some biscuit aroma wafting through. The taste is nicely malted with very light hops. There is a small hint of sweetness followed by some coffee flavors.

The mouthfeel is not thick or chewy, but, medium bodied.

Overall, I think this is a decent porter and an easy drinker.

abcsofbeer, Oct 30, 2006
Photo of terrabyte
2.48/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours out dark brown. The head was a very short white foam that disappeared fast.

Smells a little bit floral and cherry. Although it also reminds me of some of the phenlys from bad malt liquors or the extra alcohol from Dog Head 120 Minute IPA. No nutmeg that I can tell.

Flavor was completely lacking of nutmeg. I'm a big fan of nutmeg coffee and I've also had good nutmeg flavored beers. So this either was a bad bottle, my tonuge is dead, or people are reading too much into their labels when reviewing this beer. Other than that, this taste like that last swallow of coffee at the bottom of the cup. Too cold, and weak.

Mouth has a tiny fizzy carbonation to it, affecting the front lips. (Nothing big like creamy foam in the middle, etc)

Front top to bottom, I didn't like this beer. I wouldn't seek it out, or try another.

terrabyte, Oct 16, 2006
Photo of scott
3.58/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks good with the pour - nice fluffy head over a dark brown body.
Huge hazelnut, and almost smoky afternote.
Momma hazelnut, with some caramel and weak coffee notes.
Very good appeal to tongue and cheeks.
One goes down quickly, but the sweet body doesn't call me in for another.

scott, Oct 12, 2006
Photo of malcontent
2.6/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

When poured, Riverdriver doesn't yield the opaque, black liquid that some others do, but rather a dark brown that has a reddish glow to it (because light is getting through, I assume). Decent head & overall a nice-looking beer.

Hazelnut & coffee dominate the nose but there are roasted malt & faint hop scents in there, too. Smells like what it says it is. So far so good.

Nope. Not doing it for me. This seems like a stab at the sweet-style porter that Anchor (who does a far superior job with it) makes but instead falls flat on its face. The tastes are clumsily packed in there like they had bottles of flavoring & just poured them in as if on a check list; "Coffee? Check. Roasted Malt? Check. Hazelnut? Oh, sh*t! I dropped the whole godamned bottle in!"

Too syrupy in consistency for me & after not digging the taste I couldn't see myself having more than one. In fact, I couldn't see myself having another one, period.

malcontent, Sep 26, 2006
Photo of NEhophead
3.9/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle.
No best before date notched.

Pours a toffee, deep maple in color. One inch, creamy lightly tannned head with solid retention. Condensed lacing with a decent cling.

Roasted malts: dark chocolate, mocha. Intensely nutty aromas: hazlenut and lightly toasted almond. A dried richness that isn't the least bit sweet.

Caramel and unsweetened molasses engulffed by dried nuts: almond, hazlenut, etc. A touch of sweetness prior to a mouthful of earthen hops. A heavy diacetyl flavor that works well with the nutty flavors aided by a soft bitterness. The aftertaste is toasted, dried nuts.

Almost full in body; dry and earthen, almost gritty. The mouthfeel holds up the dryness of flavor rather nicely.

A pretty flavorful and unique Porter, though I couldn't see having more than a few in a sitting as the flavors do linger.

NEhophead, Aug 27, 2006
Photo of TastyTaste
3.73/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Clear brown cole, with a nie off-white creamy head.

Smell: Hazelnuts as advertised with cocoa, smells much like frosting.

Taste: Lots of hazelnut and roasted malt, a nice combination. The best beer marketed at Trader Joe's that I have tried, although the hazelnut tastes somewhat tacked on and leaves a little waxy mouthfeel. Still, on of the better finds for $.80 a bottle.

TastyTaste, Aug 21, 2006
Photo of Phatz
3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer seems like it should almost be in a hybrid style. It is not a flavor found naturally in beer. Despite the odd artificial flavoring it is not a bad taste.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown but as a came up stairs it looked black with red hue in this light. Small light brown head fades fast.

Smell: Artificial hazelnut. Molasses caramel malt and a burnt campfire come to mind in the aroma. plenty of nuts.

Taste: The taste is extremely nutty. More so than I think I have tasted before. It is odd though. Like an artificial intensity. It has a strange, woody, ashy, earthy tobacco flavor. There are hints of sweet molasses and caramel. Then there bit of a harsh tobacco bitter swallow with a coffee burnt aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel was a bit like a flat soda cola, with tiny little prickles here and there but mostly smooth water.

Drinkability: It is hard to say with these unique types of beers. This is one I finished but certainly don't need a case of it. I probably won't get it again but it was worth trying once.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

Phatz, Aug 04, 2006
Photo of oberon
3.95/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep chesnut brown with reddish highlights thruout with a thinner but very well retained almond colored head.The hazelnut is really prevelant in the nose somewhat buttery with some caramel as well.Not as sweet as I thought it would be judging from others reviews and Iam happy about that,big roasted buttery hazelnut flavor with a touch of caramel but it dries out pretty well with a pretty raw earthy finish.A little pickly in the mouth but all in all I would say its a pretty flavorful easy drinking porter,I would buy again.

oberon, Jul 27, 2006
Photo of semihobo
2.7/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz best by Jan 07. Okay, "natural flavor" added, but I'm open to these sorts of things.

Okay tan head. Dark chocolate mahogany, adequate retention, looks a little thin and clear but otherwise solid.

Smell is mostly hazelnut, with some chocolate, and a touch of some sort of cigarette, I think a menthol (I swear it's the first description that came to mind and the most accurate), but in a pleasant way. Not too sweet, the nuttiness is true. Put my nose in the beer trying to get the subtleties and sniffled beer onto my new khakis. Damn. Oh sweet, they are the liquid resistant kind.... oh life is good.

Not as dominantly sweet or nutty as I expected. The roasted malts and respectable hop presence give it a little edge complicated by a slightly chemical twinge. Definitely tastes like hazelnuts, although they aren't really special; the flavor probably works better than brewing with real nuts. Very slightly sweet but avoided the sugarbomb trap to which many flavored beers fall prey, could maybe use a little more sweetness though. Watery. Really, a lot like black hazelnut coffee -- too bad for me I take my coffee with sugar and cream, but for the people out there who drink nutty coffee, you could drink this before work!

Thin, watery mouthfeel with some gas to it. Off-taste on the finish.

Eh I thought it was okay at first but it got old fast. I'm waiting for a beer with natural flavor added to really punch through, it's tricky but I think it can be done. This would make a go-to nutty porter ... if you're into that sort of niche. Worth trying though.

semihobo, Jun 21, 2006
Photo of WesWes
3.63/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a dry, roasted malt scent that boasts of crystal malts and roasted barley. It is sweet with a nice hazelnut aroma. The taste is decent. It has a smooth roasted and crystal malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry and sweet. It has a lighter feel that most porters. The hazelnut flavor also seems a bit artificial. The mouthfeel is decent also. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a pretty good drinking beer for most, but for those who enjoy Rogue's Hazelnut Brown Nectar, this is a far cry from that.

WesWes, Jun 15, 2006
Photo of witflee
2.25/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured with a relatively experienced hand into a clean beer glass, and GET OUT OF THE WAY, this grew the biggest, thickest head I've seen since high school. In fact, the head is still going strong twenty minutes later. Nice-looking shaving cream, I mean, beer foam, but I have never seen a porter produce a head that rivaled a pilsner's. Stick a nose in, hmmm, good chocolate milk aroma, and is that latex paint with isopropyl rubbing alcohol? I hope not. Mouth, whadda you say? Sipped a thick mouthful, there is a strong sizzle of medicine and alcohol, carbonated coffee, and a cruel aftertaste like sucking on a dirty zinc coin. But do I give up? No, I persevere, I am a fool for porters... and in the end I am unimpressed, and a little queasy, too. Sad, you can't trust a smiling dog wearing a fisherman's rain slicker.

witflee, Apr 26, 2006
Photo of Stubbie1
3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A dark brown brew with hints of red when held in the light. A tan head met the top of the glass and slowly faded away to a thick lace. Aroma is of malt and nuts, a hint of coffee and caramel maybe mixed in. Taste is a bitter up front with the coffee/nut flavor then going to a tad sweet from the malt and leaving a bitter dry but crisp finish.
This is one (imho) of those “transitional brews to start someone on. It is good enough to drink all night but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it again.

Stubbie1, Apr 02, 2006
Photo of riversider76
3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark brown with a slight redish hue. One finger plus head,and averge lace. Smell is of hazelnut,but is not very strong. Body is thin and flat. Taste is smokey, with a smooth hazelnut flavor from start to finish.Not a bad beer, but on the light side.

riversider76, Mar 31, 2006
Photo of SilentSabre
2.5/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Wow. This began doing a wonderful job impressing me. It poured a very dark, deep reddish brown colour with nearly no head at all. It had decent lacing. It smelled largely of hazelnuts, and moderately of coffee with a tiny bit of smoke hiding in the back. "Positively delicious", I was thinking. What a rude surprise for me when I took a sip. Very bitter. Absolutely none of the hazelnut smell is present in the taste. No coffee. Nothing. It's just very bitter and bland and doesn't really taste like much of anything. The mouthfeel is very disappointing, as it is quite thin and lifeless. This is a terrible disappointment all together, actually, as the appearance and smell had me very excited indeed, and then culminated into this. Perhaps someone out there enjoys this, but as for me, I'll stay away from it in the future.
Blessed Be
-SS

SilentSabre, Mar 26, 2006
Sea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter from Sea Dog Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 279 ratings.