Porter - Eel River Brewing Co.

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PorterPorter

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BA SCORE
81
good

164 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 164
Hads: 251
rAvg: 3.55
pDev: 11.55%
Wants: 4
Gots: 11 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Eel River Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Reidrover on 07-12-2003

Certified Organic
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 164 | Hads: 251
Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
3.77/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first truly Organic beer. I know Stone and some other breweries use mainly organic and local ingredients but this one actually has the seal on the cap. I imagine that this beer is very appealing to Berkeley types who lean towards this direction in their food choices but I am just interested in good beer. The organic is the icing on the cake of a fine brew.

It pours a dark brown with ruby undertones. The head is weak. I expected a little more but the tan color is nice. The beer has a medium opacity with some co2.

The malts have a heavy black malt aroma. I smell dark chocolate and sugar. The backing malts are of toast and marshmallow. I let my beer warm slightly out of the fridge and I think that gave it character.

The flavor is dark malts, bitter chocolate, light smokiness and s'mores. It reminds me of camping with children. I want to pull out an acoustic guitar and wail campfire songs around a blazing fire as this warming beer delights my senses. The profile is simple but it pleases. There are no bitter hops. The beer is slightly dry with a quick sweet finish.

Medium bodied and balanced. This Porter is smooth and silky. It is very drinkable. This is highly sessionable. (1,195 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.17/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 22ox bomber into a pink glass with a half inch cream head and a nice deep amber color. smells like white tictacs, this sort of marshmallowy luster and sweet chocolate malts. taste is awesome, and new for a porter. honestly just like golden toasted marshmallows, with just a touch of woody smoke. real creamy mouthfeel compared to the look, a fluffy but textured medium body that goes down light and has a magnificent aftertaste. the longer this one sits the more i like it. will drink more eel river, what else do they make? (538 characters)

Photo of BilbosNuts
3.8/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark brown but clear color with amber colored hues. It had a big mocha colored head initially, but it dissipated quickly into a thin film across the top. It appears fairly lively with a decent amount of carbonation.

S: Sweet chocolatey and burnt/smokey malts are the main players here along with a rich coffee aroma. Dark fruits and some grains take a back seat but provide some nice hints.

T: Similar to the aroma with the chocolate and roasted smokey malts. There is also a small hop profile noticeable.

M: This is very clean and smooth to drink. It is light and crisp from the carbonation. Very nice.

O: I haven't tried many organic beers, but this is by far my favorite of those I have tried. Overall, it is a solid porter and one I am sure I will revisit on occasion. (833 characters)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.48/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish brown colour, with a very pleasantly thick head of jaundiced beige. Body is very light, and there's not a lot of visible carbonation. In some sense, it looks a little insipid, but the colour and the head are wonderful.

Mild roasted characters on the nose, with a hint of thin seltzer character. Minimal sweetness, although the toasty character evokes characters of bittersweet chocolate and mild roasted coffee. A hint of salt, or sea to it as well, which is a little unfortunate. It's mild overall, but not unpleasant.

Taste is very similar. Thin roasty characters, which give the impression of watered down iced coffee. Minimal sweetness, minimal body, and everything piles on at the start, leaving the back very flat and empty. Feel is particularly weak.

Pleasant enough in its way, albeit a rather bland and insipid way. It's drinkable, and relatively light. There are far better out there though. (920 characters)

Photo of ferrari29
3.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured from bottle into a Nonic shaped pint glass

A - Beer pours with a rocky espresso/beige colored head; 2 fingers in height; dark brown, clear colored body; leaves behind a nice layer of thick lacing; appears thin for a porter

S - Roasted malt nose; chocolate; some hops, but very faint; touch of vanilla; coffee; licorice

T - Nice vanilla and chocolate blend; roasted malt flavor; finishes off with a dry roasted coffee bean taste; licorice

M - Kind of thick at the beginning and turns watery; leaves behind a roasted malt/coffee flavor; fades pretty quickly

D - Not a bad drink; kind of thin for a porter, but easy to drink and might be a good starter beer for those interested in drinking more of the dark stuff (727 characters)

Photo of Rayek
3/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Organic Porter pours into my nonic a deep chestnut brown. A soapy tan head quickly vanishes. The beer leaves no lace.

Espresso flavors and aromas dominate. There's a little bit of chocolate too. Bitterness is burnt and highly acidic. The flavors linger after the beer goes down. A light and overly fizzy body masks the flavors a bit too much.

Overall, this beer did very little for me. It's too fizzy and acidic for me to enjoy it. (433 characters)

Photo of maximum12
3.68/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up on sale at a fine local shop to the tune of $2.99 for the 22 oz. bomber, & just couldn't pass it up...if it's good I'll go back for a few more! Split with the wife, my half going into my New Holland flute.

It's black. Bare deep red color change around the periphery only when held directly in the light. Smell is roasted malt with an underlying sweetness. Light but nice.

Eel River porter is as simple as my sister; the taste is a doppleganger of the smell. Roasted malts ascendant, sweet malts, barest hint of chocolate, with a satisfyingly bitter finish to it. Good example of the style & sometimes you're just in the mood for straightforward, right?

Very good beer that's crafted right. There's nowhere to hide when you make a beer with no sleight of hand, dandelion petals, or hair of newt, & Eel River pulls this one off nicely. (854 characters)

Photo of MoreThanWine
3.46/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 2" light mocha colored head. Clear but deep dark burnt umber brown body. Hardly any smell in this one, even after it warmed up. Delightful light enjoyable flavor of mainly chocolate but some roasted malt and maybe a hint of coffee. A very easy drinking porter but with a simpler profile than power-porters. Good but not outstanding. (341 characters)

Photo of seans86
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with tan head, pretty opaque in the center with more light showing through towards the sides of the glass. Allowed to warm up to around 50 degrees. Aroma of toffee, slight chocolate, burnt sugar, and caramel, fairly sweet. Taste is heavily toffee and caramel with chocolate coming in second. The chocolate notes remind me of chocolate syrup, a bit sweeter. Little roast to speak of, though there are very faint coffee notes that show up towards the end. Carbonation was a bit high for the style, and the mouthfeel was a little thin, though not terribly thin. A decent porter, I would most likely revisit this if I saw it on draft. (655 characters)

Photo of jlb502
3.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad porter. Milder than the best in pretty much every way, but not watery so I can't complain. Kind of reminds me of Coca-Cola.

Pour is dark brown with a hint of amber. Head is fine but recedes quickly and doesn't leave much lacing.

Smell is a little bit of bread, roasted malt, faint dark fruits, yogurt. Signature porter smell but on the milder side.

Taste is sweet malt with some roasted characteristics, but not overly sweet and not overly roasted. A little chalk, coffee, maybe a hint of chocolate. Not particularly deep.

Mouthfeel is soda-like. Plenty of carbonation. A touch less viscous than I'd like but it doesn't feel thin or watery.

Overall, it's not a bad beer. If you've always wanted porter soda, this is the beer for you. (750 characters)

Photo of zeledonia
3.25/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark brown, nearly black, with a one-finger medium-tan head that recedes fairly quickly to a ring of foam around the edges of the glass. Leaves decent lacing.

Smell is heavy on the chocolate. Slightly smoky roasted malts predominate, with a bit of bitterness in the background, and a very subtle light fruity freshness. Rather shallow, though, lacking the robustness and variety I'd like to get from a porter.

Taste is sweeter than I expected, with not as much of the roast coming through in the flavor as does in the smell. A bit of chocolate and a touch of coffee from the malts. And that's about it. No bitterness, and no alcohol. As with the smell, it lacks depth, and the flavors are gone rather quickly.

Mouthfeel is average in just about every way - average body, average carbonation, average retention of flavors.

This beer is okay. There's nothing really remarkable about it on the positive or the negative. Right around average in every way. Ho-hum. (974 characters)

Photo of robbrandes
3.33/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber, into a wine glass (fundraiser dinner, no choice on glassware!)

Pours an extremely dark brown, good carbonation and head retention. Nutty aroma, hints of chocolate, maybe a bit of molasses.

Fairly well-rounded taste. Earthy notes, still picking up the chocolate and caramel. Definitely on the sweet side. This is the beer you give your buddy who 'doesn't like darker beers'. It's not a bad beer, but there's nothing truly noteworthy here.

As Eel River goes, this was a marked step-up from the others I've tried. Not blown away, but I wouldn't turn down a pint... (592 characters)

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.97/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a glass beer mug.

L - dark brown with a beige head that thinned to a ring.

S - roasted malt and chocolate aroma.

T - sweet chocolate and roasty flavors with a little hint of earthy bitterness towards the finish.

F - medium bodied, smooth and creamy feel.

O - a good tasting porter and it's all organic! (329 characters)

Photo of flexabull
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a decent head.

Aromas are of chocolate, nuts and cream.

Taste is chocolately up front, with roasted malts, and sweet creaminess. Finish has a nice earthy and mineral hops.

Mouthfeel is good, full and crisp.

Overall this is a very nice porter, I'd happily get this one again. Very drinkable. (324 characters)

Photo of PorterLambic
3.35/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours almost black with a small head without leaving any lace.
Smell is light chocolate & coffee, wet cardboard and vanilla.
Taste is leaning towards rich, smooth, coffee, chocolate, malty, nicely complex.
Very little effervescence, smooth. Well balanced. Medium bodied. A bit watery throughout sadly.
Very drinkable, organic or no, this is a decent porter. Could use a bit more bouquet and body though. (404 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.57/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very dark amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a two-finger high beige colored head that died down leaving a thick ring of bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderate aromas of malted milk in the nose along with notes of chocolate syrup.
T: The overall taste has flavors of malted milk and chocolate syrup.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied, slightly creamy and a bit thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is easy to drink but doesn't quite match up with other beers in the style. (600 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4.1/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a New Belgium snifter.

A - Two finger head of loose, pillowy khaki foam that falls quickly to a solid layer across the surface that lingers before slowly dissolving to very thin lace. Color is coffee black. Held to a light, it's a really deep mahogany with deep ruby red on the edges and clear.

S - Well-toasted malts, coffee, hint of licorice, molasses, and smokey burnt bacon. Very interesting nose that offers a variety of subtle components to pick out.

T - Almost-burnt caramel, roasted malt, lightly roasted South American coffee with chocolate notes. Dark creamy caramel lingers on the finish along with just enough hops for balance that keeps the palate free from cloying sweetness.

M - Nice carbonation. A bit creamy, but definitely not thick. Decent body that's on the thin side with a respectable structure. Short finish.

O - A solid porter. Leans a tad toward the smokey/well-roasted side vs. dark sugars, but definitely not into stout territory. Would be an excellent beverage with a big plate of bacon & eggs or pancakes and sausage with real maple syrup. (1,099 characters)

Photo of Dijeriduster
1.94/5  rDev -45.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Had this at happy hour at West Coast Tavern for only $3. Great deal but the beer was off for sure.

A - Served in a regular pint glass with about 2 fingers of foamy head. Not very much lacing

S - Buttery. Very little in the way of adjunct malts here. Just a little bit of sweet maltiness coming thru.

T - Diacetyl. Kind of a shocker as I've had other Eel Rivers that were great. Honestly I got about 1/3 of the way in and had the bar keep dump it.

M - It was thinish which does fit the style, but combined with the butter taste it felt gross.

D - Low. Diacetyl at this level in a commerical brew is unacceptable.

Note: The gf thought this was dirty lines. While she may have had a point (this was not a direct draw system) I can't really believe this level of butter would come from dirty lines. Our subsequent Lost Abbey Devotion didn't have line issues so I tend to steer toward a bad beer and or keg. (911 characters)

Photo of AwYeh
1.79/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Thanks to... my dad for picking this up for me around Christmas. Acknowledging my interests in organic farming and beer, even if they don't always overlap so well.

A: A clear reddish dark-brown, with two fingers of tan head and decent lacing.

S: Some very specific comparisons here, but this smells like 40% Midwest house basement after it floods and 60% syrup on McDonalds' McGriddle sandwiches (do they even still make those?). Too sweet with no distinct flavors backing that up (aside from a seemingly out-of-place maple aroma), and the must is simply undesirable.

T: Dark fruit malts open the taste, which is a surprise following the smell, but they oddly dip out almost immediately after becoming perceptible, leaving me with an almost surreal flavorless beer in the middle. I have never encountered anything like this before, and I have no idea what could be causing it. On the finish, a bit of the fruit flavor returns, along with an unfortunate metallic taste that persists throughout the glass (and, unfortunately, seems to be a trademark of Eel River brews).

M: Very thin body; only the moderate carbonation provides it any distinction from water. Thus, it's left with a texture with no real attributes other than foaminess.

D: I started drinking this around 55*F so it went down easily, but the smell and finish both got in my way throughout the glass. Won't be picking this one up again, although I do appreciate Eel River for providing a reasonably available, moderately priced organic porter. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that some of the other porters out there constitute some of the best beers on the market at the moment, and thus this particular beer only fills a niche for those who heavily prioritize drinking organically over having a truly enjoyable beer. (1,787 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.35/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer pours black, with nut brown highlights around the edges when held up to the light. Very thin, filmy head. Very rich smells of butter and toffee, with slight hints of chocolate that make it smell like a Butterfinger. The initial taste is of malted mocha. The beer also has crisp syrup flavors under the overtones of nut and coffee. The beer is very sharp and carbonated in mouth, but that does a decent job balancing the heavy flavors and body. Although balanced, it still rides a bit too light for a porter for me. Nutty sweet aftertaste, with a bit of caramel, too. Creamy finish. A little rich to drink a lot of. (663 characters)

Photo of engisch
3.31/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a gift. I typically don't get Organic beers. Not because I don't like them, but I just don't usually see them. And the few that seem to be widespread usually are nothing exceptional. It would be nice to see a truly worthy organic beer.

Pours brown with a quickly dissipating head. Seems a bit light in color compared to most porters. Head retention also seems rather poor. Smells sweet like fruit and roasted malts.

Flavor is malty sweet. Tangy/tart taste from slight roastiness. For a porter, this seems to be light or lacking of roasty and chocolatey flavors.

Not bad, not exceptional. I would not search for this one. (633 characters)

Photo of kellyst
2.64/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a medium brown with ruby tinges on the outside of the glass. Medium head dissipates quickly. Aroma is of roasted grains and fruit. The flavor is very light for a porter. Some minimal chocolate and roast. Some caramel sweetness. There is also a faint tartness to this beer that, while not necessarily bad, is unique. Overall, not a very good porter. (354 characters)

Photo of BigDRS
3.12/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle into a mug. Bottle had no freshness date.

Appearance - Poured with a quickly dissipating head and left very small amounts of lace. Beer is dark brown in color.

Smell - Strong scent of chocolate on the nose, hints of coffee.

Taste - Thin and somewhat dull. Has a roast like finish as it goes down.

Mouthfeel - Beer feels mid bodied with an adequate amount of carbonation.

Drinkability - Pretty low. There are quite a few porters that I would order or drink before this one. (498 characters)

Photo of SpdKilz
3.1/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Pours a hazelnut color into my SA Perfect Pint. About a finger of quickly dissipating head is achieved that leaves little lacing.

Smell - Syrupy sweet chocolate, roasted malts, slight coffee, and molasses.

Taste - Similar to the nose. I have an instant repugnant reaction to the taste. Heavy mineral presence, cold, stale coffee grounds, and odd bitter syrupy chocolate. I am not enjoying this in the least.

Mouthfeel - Medium to light bodied. Prickly carbonation.

Drinkability - This is disgusting to me. I don't know if I got a bad one (it sure isn't infected) but man, this just has something majorly off to it. This was actually a drain pour for me. (671 characters)

Photo of Fezfreak
4.77/5  rDev +34.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

All of us love a beer with a good head on it. And granted, Eel River Organic Porter does not give good....well, you know where I'm going. Many folks complain about this beer's authenticity.

But when it comes to beer, sometimes looks CAN fool you. I thought this beer looked, smelled, tasted (including mouthfeel) just terrific. A nice, dark roasted malt backbone against chocolaty flavor notes, balanced by medium hoppiness.

I believe any defects in head retention must have something to do with their bottling process, if not something else entirely unrelated. I dig it, folks.

I am fairly certain that in the past I have had at least one of these retain the head and lace down the glass in "proper" fashion. AND, I have managed a couple of good pours out if this sixer in my fridge. The trick was to "upright the glass" sooner than you normally would. Doing this will serve to illustrate the potential this brew has.

As I write this, I have indeed watched that beautiful head shrivel to nothing. But the carbonation is still there, as are the taste and smell. I keep visualizing what Michael Jackson's perspective would be, and so I'm going with that.

If not the best example of the porter style, it is certainly, another example of what a porter CAN be. And that is what makes this a beer that is worthy of production - as well as enjoyment.

Sorry beer geeks! (1,371 characters)

Porter from Eel River Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 164 ratings.