1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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

290 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 290
Reviews: 170
rAvg: 3.49
pDev: 15.47%
Wants: 4
Gots: 9 | 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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 290 | Reviews: 170 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Photo of jdhilt
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a three-finger light brown head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Nice deep amber color. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Sweet hazelnut nose. Starts sweet, chocolate/hazelnut flavor is right up front but not overbearing - hops are balancing, finish is clean. $1.25 for a 12 oz bottle from Capital Convenience Concord, NH.

Photo of Naes
2.53/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This porter pours almost black with brown highlights. It has a two inch tan head that retains and laces well.
The aroma is hazelnut upfront with some caramel malt in the background.
The flavor starts out with a strong hazelnut presence and is followed by a bit of roastiness and a slight vanilla flavor. Overall, it is just too sweet for my likings.
Mouth feel is medium in body and generously carbonated.

I think the hazelnut flavoring is just a bit over the top.

Photo of beals
3/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle from Trader Joe's in Cambridge.

Solid pour, but a little too much carbonation. 3" tan-colored creamy head, some lacing. Dark brown, barely translucent. Initial aroma is a little metallic, but that's the only thing I found wrong with this beer. Smooth mouthfeel. Big hazelnut presence -- in contrast to the very small "with natural hazelnut flavor added" print on the label. It's a welcome flavor, though, and not overbearing. A strictly malty brew, undetectable hops. As a result, it's a one-dimensional beer ... could use a hop presence or some coffee/smoky flavor.

Photo of zeff80
3.83/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle purchased from a Trader Joe's. It has a very nice color, a rich dark brown. The taste and smell are both quite good. The hazelnut flavor does not over power the roasted, malt taste. To top it all off, the dog logo on the label is so cool.

Photo of Jredner
3.55/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mildly roasty aroma, but dominated by the hazlenut aroma. Dark brown with a MASSIVE three finger thick tan head. Fore is big on the hazlenut flavor followed by mild roasty notes hints of vanilla and almond and a smooth clean finish that leaves a tasty lingering flavor of hazlenuts. Easy drinking brew that can get a bit too sweet after more than one or two.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My bottle does not have the Hazelnut part, so perhaps this is a different beer, but perhaps not.

This beer is incredibly carbonated, no make that over carbonated; it pours with a light brown, large bubbled, four-finger thick head. The beer is a deep brown, mostly black colored beer. The aroma is dry and toasty with a roasted grain note, yet it is also a bit sweet and fruity. Something seems a bit off as well, perhaps a bit of a vegetal note, but I could be imagining it.

The beer is light and frothy when it first hits my tongue. There is a light malt sweetness that intermingles quite well with a roasted grain note. There are ample notes of dark chocolate and some roasted coffee notes. The taste is quite nice; lots of rich flavors yet still light and drinkable, just like a good porter should be. Despite my misgivings with the carbonation and the aroma, I am quite pleased by this tasty beer.

Photo of aforbes10
3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

my wife bought me a bottle from a Trader Joes in Chicago.

I was a little concerned about what this would be like considering the "hazlenut" in the name. i mean, what is this, starbucks? Poured out with a big head that turned nice and creamy. Some lacing. Smelled mostly of hazlenut, which is i assume what they were going for, as well as some roasted malt odor. Taste was toffee and hazlenut at first sip, but then i never really tasted either of those again. Malty mostly after that with a weird buttery aftertaste. Sweeter than most porters ive had. Thick mouthfeel, some bubbles. Not great drinkability...too much of a gimmick thing with the hazlenut.

Photo of scruffwhor
3.28/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Poured a nice 2 finger head that lasted a decent minute or two. The color was that of a nut brown with garnet hints. Head eventually went down to nothing towards the end of the beer.

Smell- First starts off as overwhelmingly buttered popcorn. Very nutty butter scent, this then morphs into just a creamy hazelnut aroma. Too much nuts for my taste.

Taste- A grainy malt with some melted butter sprinkled on top, slightly sweet. Overla a popcorn start. This lead into a manufactured hazelnut flavor. A little too much, only some nuances of hops.

Mouthfeel- Somewhat syrupy with an overall hazelnutty palate. This flavor stays with the drinker for quite somtime afterwards.

Seems like a beer replacement to Frangelica.

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.63/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first beer from Pugsley Brewing. Poured out to a very dark brown color with a pleasing 1/4 inch head. Some lacing is noted in the glass. Aromas of hazelnut and coffee are present, as is an overall scent of toastiness that permeates the nose. Nice. Flavor was very unique; coffee and hazelnut run abound. I really thought for a moment that I had iced coffee in my mouth. Damn. Minor hints of malt and hop are shadowed by an overtone of chocolate. Not bad. Mouthfeel was decent, but would have benefited greatly from more consistancy and a thickening element. Drinkability is pretty good, as this beer could be a nice place for one to experience a beer with a good aroma, when looking for a beer that possesses this quality. Worth a try.

Photo of RBorsato
3.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown to black with a full dark tan head and very active carbonation (overcarbonated due to age?). Chocolate malt and hazelnut aromas. Prominent hazelnut flavors dominate overa roasty malt character; maybe a bit much hazelnut. Light-medium bodied with a dry roasty finish.

Interesting to try but not a session brew.

Label states: "Natural Hazelnut Flavor Added"

Per SDBC website: Four different malted barleys, enhanced by a hint of hazelnuts. Willamette hops. 5.6% ABV.

Best Before: June '05 (notched on side)
Tasted: 08/04/05

($4.99 / 6-pack)

Photo of meathookjones
2.85/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Very dark brown in appearance with a tall tan head that leaves sheets of lace around the glass. Head seemed to stick around for awhile. Cocoa puff aroma, and that’s about all I could pull out of this. Taste is the same cocoa chocolate powder with a dash of sweet caramel. Really not much going on in the taste or smell but a cocoa powder nesquick smell. Body is about average. Drinkability depends solely on how much you like cocoa. Boring stuff. Best by date of June 05.

Photo of GeoffRizzo
3.05/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Rugged dark brown in color, cap sized tan head, still and quiet. A buttery aroma, some malts and chestnuts detectable. Medium bodied with a sweet-sour thing going on up front. A bit off style perhaps, some light coffee beans and chocolate detected. Carbonated and creamy; beer nuts and espresso round out the flavorings. Thins out a bit towards the finish; nothing I’d go back to.

Photo of ppoitras
3.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12ozer bottle bought as part of a six pack from North End Superette, Manchester, NH.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1 1/2" tan head above the clear deep mahogany brew. Frothy head lasts well, with good foamy lacing. Aroma is sweet, somewhat buttery, dark malts. Taste is sweet grains upfront, followed with a somewhat artificial flavoring style buttery flavor, possibly their "natural hazelnut flavor added", as noted on the bottle? Mouthfeel is kind of thin, but perhaps they're striving to be true to style? We'll give them the benefit of the doubt this time. Drinkability is reasonable as well. Not a bad product, but not sure I needed a sixer of this either...

Photo of mntlover
3.3/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours dark but red brown when held to the light small tan head falls to cap of foam some spotty lace.
Aroma is roasted chocolate malt with a definate nut presence malty lightly roasted not much in the way of hops.
Taste is intense carbonation to start the bubbles overpower the flavor to start but when they mellow taste is nutty with coffee chocolate hints combined to leave a light bitter flavor. Overall average tasting porter to fizzy tasting and nutty for my palette.
Mouthfeel is little light and the fizzy feeling just doesn't cut it, not really over carbonated just tastes that way kind of strange but thats the way it seems to me.
Drinkability is well average wouldn't want to try again much better porters out there looks good and smells good but what follow's is not very good. Thanks go to merlin48 and his neighbor for this sample

Sea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter from Sea Dog Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 290 ratings.