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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: 165
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 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 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 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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Photo of AgentZero
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown beer with a tan head that left some nice lace on the side.

S - Great roasted malts with some cocoa and coffee. Little bit of vanilla in there, this smells very nice.

T - The taste does not disappoint. Coffee and roasted malt with a little bit of cocoa. Slight bit of smoke and a little bite on the finish. Goes down easy.

M - Medium bodied, fairly creamy, softer carbonation.

O - The first dark beer by Russian River I've had and it lived up to the reputation of the brewery. Easy to drink, and to drink a lot of. Would gladly have this again.

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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 portia99
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler received in a great trade with Arbitrator. Thanks a ton for this one! Poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A - Pours an extremely dark brown color, almost black with a thick finger of dense dark tan head that lasts for a couple of minutes before falling to a skim coat with a thick collar and leaving behind some spiderwebs of lacing on the glass. Body of the beer is dark but quite clear when held to the light.

S - Fruity hops, roasted malt, a bit of coffee, toasty malt.

T - Nice hoppy presence - fruity and grassy mainly. Good, medium level hop bitterness...just enough bite to them. Roasted and toasted malts, coffee, a hint of sugary sweetness. Bitter hops in the swallow.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation that gives a somewhat creamy feel with a light tingle added in. Bitter roasted malts and hoppiness linger after the swallow. Nice and roasty.

D - Going excellent as a post coffee brunch drink in our post BBF tasting. Shared among several BA's that universally thought this was outstanding. Great drinker, could easily have a lot more of this.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I like how there's a picture of a bottle of this beer and one review for a bottle, the rest are growlers and on tap. Apparently one bottle of this beer was made.

Beer is on tap, half pint at the brewpub. Beer is dark brown to black with a thin tan head that breaks and leaves some lacing on the glass. Carbonation appears to be low to moderate.

The aroma is malty with roast and a little bit of hops. Smells really nice.

Beer is light to moderate in body and creamy with some ashy bitterness at the back of the mouth, not in a bad way. Its relatively smooth with some sweetness up front, not much happening in the midpalate, overall its a decent porter. I'd have it again for sure.

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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 littlesgtpepper
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Had on tap at the Russian River Brewery in a 10oz glass.

Black as the hell gates of doom, this beer has no head and I couldn't see through the beer when I held it to the light.

The smell is intense, with strong espresso, bitter chocolate, and heavy roasty malt. A tiny hoppy smell but faint.

This beer actually matches pretty close to the aroma, which is strange, but with a heavy dose of nuts, like cashews and walnuts. I've never tasted this strong of a nut flavor, not even in any browns I've had. A wonderful flavor!

This porter will shoot up near the top of my list as a near-perfect porter. The only problems with this beer is the mouthfeel, which is so heavy it's like drinking milkshake and the drinkability. One 10oz glass of this is more than enough.

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Photo of berkey
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

64 oz Russian River growler filled 09/19/10 consumed and reviewed 09/20/10. Poured into an RR branded glass of course.

Aroma is roasty with an unexpected slight floral character. Sweet underpinnings of chocolate do a much better job keeping the roast from dominating than I remember from previous tastings.

Flavor is very consistent with the aroma. Chocolate is still subtle and relegated to the background allowing the roasty but not necessarily coffee-like characteristics shine without dominating. Aftertaste on this beer is fairly astringent but less so than many familiar American Porters.

I've had this numerous times at the pub but this is much better than I remember. Always thought this was a solid porter but not as great as some other versions I had tried. Possibly because this is the first time I've had this as my only beer of the night and not after one of my favorite Russian River palate destroyers. Whatever the reason, this was among the most enjoyable porters I've had. Nearly finished the growler myself in one day.

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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 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 hooliganlife
3.63/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at RR

Pour was a dark cola with a nice creamy head that lingered, even leaving some lacing. Great retention.

Lots of roasted malts and dark fruit with a light coffee.

Very dry, lots of roasted flavor with a very light smokiness. No real hop flavors stood out. This was all roasted flavors. Light coffee hidden through out.

Light body, a bit thin, very porter like. Nice mild carbonation.

This struck me more as a stout and not a porter. I was expecting a sweetness but this lacked that. It was ok, I doubt I try it any time soon.

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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 djmichaelk
4.39/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery, served in a pint glass.

A - Very dark brown, nearly black. Small one-finger head, the color of mocha. Doesn't stick around too long. Some bits of patchy lacing on the glass.

S - Roasty toastiness. Lots of sweet milk chocolate and dark roasted coffee, with hints of earthiness in the back. It's a little muted but otherwise smells great.

T - More bitter than sweet, but I love the way that the sweetness of the chocolate flavor contrasts with the bitterness of the roasted coffee flavor, with vanilla somewhere in between. The earthy notes contribute to the dryness. This is maybe the best non-BA porter I've had to date.

M - Thick and creamy at first, then it dries up in the finish. Although it makes it almost chalky at times, for some reason it's not unpleasant.

D - Just about off the charts. With the low abv and big flavor, I could sit and drink this all day. The only thing preventing me from doing that is it being tap-only at the brewpub, and there's just too many other quality choices to work my way through.

O - A great porter. I'd love to bring a growler of this home with me next time I'm here. I hope they decide to bottle this soon.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap @ the brewpub - served in a 10oz nonic.

Clear dark auburn body suffused with ruby highlights. Small beige head dissipates to a creamy uniform collar. Nice pasty lacing.

Roast malt, peach pits, and faint tobacco in the nose.

A touch of coffee, black bread, and hazlenuts on the palate. Faint cocoa in the finish. Fruity, malty, and straight-forward with a medium-dry finish.

Very slightly astringent, moderately carbonated, and medium-bodied.

Better paired with food, but still a decent example of the style on its own. I prefer a bit more roast and depth of malt complexity, but others might find this less drinkable if the flavor profile were to move more in that direction.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz tap pour into a nonic. 5.70% ABV, 41 IBUs, On-tap at Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa, CA.

A - RR Porter arrives at my table with a totally black body and a thick tan head. It left fantastic lace all over the glass! Sexy.

S - The overarching toastyness keeps it's presence even through the chocolate roasted malts and low dry cocoa dustiness. Minute hops appear on the finish.

T - This porter tastes delicious with a deeply roasted coffee and chocolate malt with a dry cocoa finish that fades to an earthly hoppy flavor.

M - Porter is medium-bodied with a smooth texture leading into a dry hop/roasted bitter finish. Great feel to compliment the flavor.

D - I think the hops come out a bit more than I'd like in this beer but it's a fantastic porter with good drinkability nonetheless.

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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 Thorpe429
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler courtesy of wavers1. Opened and shared at Dark Lord Day 2010.

A: Pours a very dark brown with a nice tan head.

S: Plenty of roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate. Nothing too complex, but very well done.

T: Similar to the nose in characteristics. Nice depth of the present flavors. Nothing earth-shattering, but at the same time very nice for the style.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

D: Quite drinkable, especially for the style. Thanks again to wavers1 for getting this out to me, as this is one I had been waiting to try for a long time.

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Photo of kkipple
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Swank Russian River swingtop growler thanks to WesPatrick down here in Cola-town. Split two ways - hmm!

A. Big head (for a porter) rises up then falls fast to just cover the surface of this clear, deep tobacco brown ale. Pretty, nothing special.

S. Cool, clean, roasty. Well balanced and full of cocoa, roasted grain and earthy notes. Reminds me of Foothills Peoples Porter. Grows as it warms. Quite solid - no flaws.

T. Flirts with being English, lightly hopped, very harmonious flavors intertwine in this softly delicious porter - you have medium amounts of cocoa, a bit of licorice, a dash of sourness (interesting), some char-roast, brown nutty malt, extremely flavorful. Reserved, avoids being too roasty or hoppy like many US porters are wont to do. Very nice example of a US brewer flexing his muscles.

M / D. Very smooth and easy to drink, low to middling carbonation. No surprises, classic Porter stuff here.

Russian River has made a very good porter here, but to be honest it's not worth making a big effort to obtain. This isn't any better than say, Founder's offering, but that itself is high praise. If I lived out in Vinne's territory I'd drink this often.

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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 John_M
3.88/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a growler at Dyan's the other night.

The beer pours a very dark brown color with very good head retention and decent lacing. The nose is attractive in this beer, though I thought it a bit light. I got some noticeable coffee, coupled with some light, peppery bitterness, but not much else. The beer has a bit more flavor on the palate, and there is a roasty quality to it that I like. The flavor profile otherwise replicates the nose, and the beer is on the dry side as porters go. Mouthfeel is light, though still pretty full, with a good finish. I am assuming the alcohol is pretty low in this beer (now confirmed) and drinkability is pretty good.

A nice enough beer, but one easy to overlook, I think, in the impressive stable of beers from Russian River. Judging from other reviews, I have to wonder if the beer had deteriorated just a bit when I sampled it the other night.

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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 barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at RR for PtY Release 2010
Poured a dark brown with good carbonation and a nice tannish head. Nose is chcololate and roasted malt. Taste is lots of chocolate, some coffee, roasted malts well balanced. It is medium bodied, creamy, dry finish. Drinkability is good, very good. Just a good balance of booze, malts and flavor.

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