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Porter - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

75 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 75
Hads: 285
Avg: 4.26
pDev: 18.31%
Wants: 163
Gots: 22 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  6.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: xlperro on 06-14-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 75 | Hads: 285
Photo of Dobby
4.85/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is truly a hidden gem at RR. Everybody comes for the IPA's and AWA's but this is right up there with the elite brews they offer.

A: Dark brown with a little light peeking through.

S: roasty goodness along with some chocolate notes

T: Pretty sweet imho for a porter but not in a bad way. Definetly some chocolate in there, but overall just some great malty goodness that leads to one decadent beer.

M: Smooth and creamy, spot on for a porter

O: You wont mistake this porter for a stout, its made perfectly to fit the style. A hidden gem for sure at RR and one I always bring a growler of home when its on tap.

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Photo of cbutova
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap at the Russian River brewery. Notes from SF trip.

A- Pitch black with a small light tan head. Creamy ring leaves tons of fine lace rings.

S- A nice blend of roast malt and cocoa powder up front. Smoke and some dark fruit give it a nice complexity.

T- A phenomenal blend of roast malts, decadent cocoa powder, and smoked malt. Dark fruit notes round off the flavor.

MF- Creamy rich feel with silky carbonation. Roast acrid bitterness feels nice with the flavors.

Flavor is out of this world. A rich, dessert type Porter that is also dangerously drinkable. This beer is a world-class example of the style.

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Photo of BrewerB
4.78/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Triple Rock in Berkeley, CA.

Appeared a night black color with a light tan head. Great foam retention.

Aroma included hints of coffee, light smoky/charcoal, chocolate, and plenty of roast. Mild hop presence but I couldn't pick out the nuances.

Deliciously roasty and robust with loads of coffee and chocolate flavor. Moderate level of bitterness paired nicely with the malt backbone.

Medium/medium-full body, moderate carbonation, smooth.

Were my brother and I not on a time crunch, I'd have loved a couple more pints. Easily one of the better robust porters I've sampled.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First off a big thanks to Adam for sending this one my way, and a big thanks to Masterski for telling me I needed to track this one down! Served cold and poured into a pint glass, I enjoy this one as I type on 06/24/2009.

Fantastic pour here. Perfect in every way for the style. Deep, dark brow, which is essentially black with only the slightest bit of dark chocolate highlights peaking through. A huge head of tan forms on top and only slightly settles into a thick cushion with soo much side glass lacing, it is literally absurd. Rich aroma of cocoa, light notes of coffee and a touch of molasses. As it warms some light tobacco, and peat notes start to perk out, roasted malts at their finest, but no sign of the hops as of yet. As I go in for a sip the smooth, creamy, rich feel of this one really starts to bowl me over. Stuck somewhere between a porter and a mil stout, it is sublime. Rich cocoa just spreads over the tongue from the very first sip. Light touches of vanilla, molasses and a touch of roast coming through nicely. Then it hits, a smack of of piney hops as the flavor fades. Long notes of dark chocolate linger long after the last sip.

Hot damn I am glad I got ahold of this one. One of the best, most easily sessionable and richest tasting porters I have ever come across! Go get this one

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Have had this a few times at the brewpub, the most recent being last Saturday. From notes:

a - pours a deep brown only a few shades short of black with a creamy, one-inch tan head, nice retention and excellent lacing

s - big notes of deeply roasted malt, dark chocolate and cream/vanilla, hints of smokiness and earth, really jumps out of the glass

t - much like the aroma, big roasted malt and dark chocolate and cream up front with a bit of bittersweet chocolate on the mid-palate, some bitter coffee notes mixed with a vanilla creaminess trail into the finish, very complex and well-integrated flavors all the way through, alcohol not that noticeable

m - medium-to-full bodied, moderate carbonation, pretty smooth on the palate though, not a whole lot of alcohol warming

d - very drinkable porter, pretty easy and well-balanced on the palate, flavors are very complex and interesting without tiring out the palate

Easily one of the best porters I've ever tasted. Really incredible stuff that I hope more people get the chance to try.

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Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review #250, thanks to Chris for the growler! From notes during a double brewday.

Great appearance, nice pop when we opened the growler, great sign for heat this was shipped in. Pours black into tulip with huge beige head composed of tiny bubbles, great retention and impeccable lacing.

This beer is really kind of interesting. It's not particularly dominant in any one way that you might find a porter- it has a subtle hop character in the nose, delicate roasted note with chocolate and malty base in the taste. Low level of bitterness, but just enough to balance. Somewhat creamy in mouthfeel, but still somehow remains light on the palate. Supremely drinkable, I think we killed this growler in less than a half hour while eating some steaks. Nearly textbook porter in my book, though not necessarily striking or overly assertive in any certain way. But how can I fault it for that? Another amazing brew by Russian River.

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Photo of corby112
4.61/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark chestnut brown with deep mahogany edges when held to a light source. Completely opaque with a two finger frothy, soapy light beige head with excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap that streaks the glass with sheets of soapy lacing.

This beer has a wonderful nose. The perfect amount of roasted malt balanced out by lots of chocolate, caramel, toffee, hazelnut and slightly burnt bread. Smokey enough without dominating the aroma.

Slightly smokey medium body with the perfect balance of sweet chocolate, caramel and toffee and slightly bitter roastiness, bitter hops and lactic creaminess. Very complex, extremely well balanced and insanely quaffable. One of the best examples of the style I've ever had. Not to extreme yet not to light bodied. I could session this beer all night. Highly recommended!

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Photo of antilogic
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served on tap at O'brien's TION night in a 10oz taster.

One of the few RR beers with a very generic name, but don't let that fool you. The beer is a standout for its style, a very drinkable porter. Aromas of roasted malts, dark chocolate. Head was light tan, creamy, surprisingly thick body. Good stuff.

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Photo of macktbone
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This was a last minute decision at the brew pub and I'm glad I chose this style. Not something I normally get into but this is such a great standard.

A- beautiful milky head. Dark with slight red hue at the top.

S- Smokey malt and raisins. Smells like the ocean and drift wood.

T- BBQ smoke, hoppy middle with a very woody end.

M- good balance of cosistant head with thick body.

D- the lace on the glass and aroma keep you returning to search for more and more. 42 ABU's gives you the hoppy edge I appreciate and the 6.35% ABV allows for the ability to have more than one.

Enjoy this while it still lasts. Even for those not normally attracted to the breed may want to give this one try.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to Alex for shipping this from RR and Sean sharing it with us yesterday.

The perfect porter session beer, makes me think this is what a good small pub English beer tastes like.

A dark brown pour, tons of carbonation in a light tan head, good retention and lacing...Aroma and taste are similar and awesome. Light coffee, nice roastyness, super tastey and super easy to drink. Kept coming back to this growler throughout the night.

Get some of this right away.

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Photo of Overlord
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Holy shit, how do I get more of this beer! On-tap at Toronado currently. Perhaps my new favorite porter, and a complete standout.

Pours an awesome black color with a dark tan head. This is a porter? Obsidian black.

Stouty, cocoa-esque chocolate, coffee roastiness ... great creamy mouthfeel, one of the best for the style I've ever had (it's not a thick, chewy stout, but for a porter, it's robust, creamy, and smooth) ... mmmm.... The flavor is great, and while it smells good, the aroma definitely doesn't clue you in on the robust taste you're about to enjoy.

Surprisingly thick. Really more stout than porter.

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Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Notes from a couple weekends back, enjoyed on tap at the brewpub.

Appearance: Dark brown/black, no transparency I could see. 1/2 inch of creamy white head that left wisps of lace.

Smell: Roasted grain and cacao, dry and bitter, earthy. Bold for a porter.

Taste & mouthfeel: Rich, earthy and dry. Roasted barley meets coffee and baker's chocolate. Not terribly sweet, and full on the palate for the style. Bittersweet earthy finish with lingering roastiness. Very good stuff, one of the best American porters I've tried.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 2/5/10 at the brewpub.

A: The pour is a deep, dark brown color with a finger's worth of tan foam.

S: Great notes of coffee, roasted malt, and chocolate. There is a slight smokiness and even a touch of vanilla.

T: The flavor is a bit more heavy on the coffee and roasted malt with less of a chocolate presence. The smokiness is there as well, but once again just provides a bit of complexity. There's also a slight bitterness on the finish.

M: The body is on the full side of medium with a moderate level of creamy carbonation.

D: Quite a complex and delicious porter. I have been looking forward to trying this one for some time and it did not disappoint.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was on tap at RRBC the last time I was there. However, they also had Sanctification and Consecration at the time (right after they debuted Consecration), and so, I wasn't interested in anything else, not even Pliny the Elder. Watching the reviews slowly come in, I realized I'd made quite the blunder by passing on it. And then, a growler shows up on my doorstep, quite unexpectedly from the ever generous largadeer who tossed this in as an extra in a recent trade. Thanks, Chris!

The pour is quite gorgeous, dark brown with reddish highlights and a dense light brown head capping it. Retention is excellent, as is the lacing.

This is everything I want a porter to be. Rich with a blend of coffee grounds, dark chocolate bitterness, a delicate creamy character, there's also a light, minty hop character in the back along with a little vanilla. Top notch stuff.
The palate opens with a fabulous blend of smooth coffee, a nice cocoa bitterness, both countered by a mellow caramel-like sweetness. Creamy with a mellow earthy character mid-palate, this beer finishes dry with a lasting chocolate-like bitterness. While just a touch sweeter than most porters out there, this is beautifully executed. Medium in body with a moderate level of carbonation, despite being poured 18 days back, this is a top notch porter, probably my favorite along with the Edmund Fitzgerald. Outstanding drinkability, I could quaff this entire growler with no issues.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler purchased at the brewery. Poured into 25oz snifter.

A: Pours a very dark brown, almost black, with a creamy chocolate-brown head that slowly faded into a wispy film. Great spots of bubbly lacing were left down the whole glass.
S: I get light smoky and roasted notes with a hint of coffee and dark chocolate. Once this beer hit room temperature I got a few notes of herbal hops.
T: Follows the nose with very creamy yet roasted flavors of chocolate a just a hint of coffee. There is a sweetness to this brew as well, and I also get a hint of vanilla. The finish has a very nice hoppy bitterness to it, and the aftertaste is roasted and lingers long after the swallow.
M: Exceptionally smooth and creamy mouthfeel, low soft carbonation, and a good chewy viscosity to the body that makes this a pleasure to drink.
O: A very smoky, creamy, smooth and roasted porter, and definitely in my top 3 for the style. It’s a shame this is not regularly bottled as one could drink this all day.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Two pints consumed on tap at O'Brien's Russian River night. It's black with a creamy light brown head. The nose is roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee with a subtle astringency. The flavor is equally impressive, displaying a perfect balance between roasted mal, chocolate, and coffee, with a light bitterness. The finish is roasted, earthy, and bitter chocolate with a dash of coffee. The mouthfeel is full and creamy. Excellent.

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Photo of willjschmidt
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap in a pint glass at the Toronado in SF.

A: Black as night with an excellent head.

S: Burnt coffee with a hint of chocolate.

T: A very, very good porter. Roasted coffee, smokiness, a bit of chocolate with a bitter finish.

M: Creamy, smooth, medium-bodied.

D: A great porter, I'd like to see this around more often.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Alex for shipping this and Hopfather to me to open up on a random Sunday with some friends. Cool RR growler into various tasting glasses.

A - Pours black, off-white head, good retention on top as the cap and some slight lacing here and there along the sides.

S - Roasted malts, woody notes, some coffee, some smoke in there as well.

T - Basically what is smells like. Roasted malts character, some smoke, oak, very slight coffee. Not hoppy at all, which is awesome but then again, not too malty. Pretty much, right down the middle of awesome.

M - Light to medium, yet rich and smooth with light carbonation, perfect for the style.

D - Very solid and I just kept drinking glass after glass. I have always wanted to try this one and I think I liked it better then I thought I would. RR is basically the best brewery out there. The make awesome sours, hoppy IPA/DIPAs, and this masterpiece. Excellent.

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Photo of glid02
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Toronado San Diego.

Pours one shade from black with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of rich roasted malts with good amounts of dark and milk chocolate aromas backing things up. As it warms very mild amounts of vanilla make an appearance.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Smooth roasted malt flavors with almost no char kick things off. Joining in shortly thereafter are good amounts of dark chocolate with sweeter and smoother milk chocolate flavors not far behind. Midway through the sip hints of earthy hops and vanilla flavors make an appearance, carrying through to a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a smooth thickness with soft carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall this proves that RR isn't all hop bombs and wild ales. A very well done and very drinkable porter, well worth a shot if you can get your hands on it.

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Photo of nataku00
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

On tap poured into a pint glass. Beer poured dark brown, almost black, with half a finger of tan colored creamy head. Nice lacing as you drink from the glass. A few bubbles visible at the edge of the glass.

Nose is pungent, nicely roasty, with roasted coffee, malts, but not very darkly roasted as there is no astringency. Light bittersweet chocolate and grassy hops helps to balance the roast.

Taste like the aroma, roasted coffee and malt, creating some slight dark fruit flavors. Light grassy hop bittering as well before the sweeter roasted malt brings some bittersweet chocolate flavors. Finishes dry with lingering light roasted and grassy hop bitterness.

Light to medium body with good fine carbonation creating a creamy mouthfeel. Very nice porter.

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Photo of bkrueger
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at the brewery on 11/15, poured into a pint glass. Notes written on a coaster.

Appearance - Dark black, quarter of an inch of creamy espresso colored head which dissipated quickly.

Smell - Espresso roast, burnt malts, chocolate.

Taste - Espresso, carbonated bubbles of burnt malts, lots of slightly hoppy espresso with a bite. Finishes creamy but with a ton of hoppy bite.

Mouthfeel - More carbonation and less of a chalky feel that many porters have. It has a very full mouthfeel that is almost creamy lactic but still has the slightly hoppy mouthfeel which is coming through from the taste.

Overall - Very good. I love getting something here that never makes it into bottles for distribution, especially when it is delicious. If you see this beer give it a try because it is a very good porter.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Russian River.

A - Served a dark brown with lighter edges. Dark tan head.

S - Strong coffee and chocolate. Nice aromas.

T - Spot on same as the smell, which a good thing.

D - Average body and carbonatin for a porter. Slight hint of bitterness.

O - Maybe the surprise of the day for me.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was so disappointed I didn't try this beer the first time I visited this first-class brewery, so it's only natural I try it my second time I'm in Santa Rosa. This beer pours a dark brown, almost black with a nice tan head. The scent is so wonderfully sweet with hints of burnt almonds and peanuts. I also get some nice espresso and chocolate notes. Very aromatic porter. The taste is just what I was hoping for. Very full-flavored and complex. Nice nuttiness with sweet chocolate and espresso. A bit of bitterness as well which adds to the well-roundedness of this brew. Mouthfeel is not too watery (like the OVL Stout...want to give that beer one more chance before I review it...wasn't too impressed). The mouthfeel is almost perfect with a creamy finish. Great drinkability. Possibly the best Porter I've had...along with Founders Porter.

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Photo of popery
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tap, City Beer Store. Very good porter. This beer pours dark brown, black in the shade, with a nice tan head. The aroma is mostly chocolate, roast and coffee. It's a nearly ideal balance for a standard porter. The flavor is balanced, not too sweet, not too dry. The hops are relatively light, allowing the malt to take center stage. It's just an easy drinking, well-made beer, the kind of porter that every brewpub tries to make but rarely gets just right. This is a good beer and I'd love to have it again sometime.

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Photo of nickd717
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review dated 1/13/2009.

On tap at Toronado in SF. Nicely done porter, one I could drink all night. Dark brown, nearly black in color with tan head. Coffee, bitter cocoa, and roastiness on the aroma. Same on the flavor, lots of coffee and some licorice. Smooth mouthfeel.

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Porter from Russian River Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 75 ratings.