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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 yourefragile
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at the brewpub.

Pours a dark brown with a creamy light tan head. Roasty aroma with caramel malt, bitter chocolate, coffee and light vanilla. Coffee and roast malt with light smoke and licorice in the flavor. Creamy, medium body with light carbonation. Starts sweet and finishes mildly bitter. An above average porter, but nothing too remarkable. Prefer Edmund or Everrett much more than this.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at the brew pub. What a great porter! Just a near perfect blend of roastiness, hoppy bite, solid malts, and smoothness. Not over the top, not extreme, just very well balanced with nice depth. Dry, but not hollow. No grainy sourness at all, and the grain is not over roasted and bitter, but deep in flavor while still imparting a mellowness. Judicious use of hops ensure a nice bitter backbone that isn't overdone, and a slightly piney juiciness that is quite appetizing. I've always resisted ordering this when at the pub, just because there are so many other "more interesting" options, but this is another great beer from probably my favorite brewery, and I'm glad I ordered it.

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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 lacqueredmouse
4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Russian River in Santa Rosa, CA.

Pours a really nice amber-brown hue, with a touch of red when held to the light. Body is relatively light. Head is amazing, a solid firm but clear, persistent beige. Lace is incredibly solid. It's a pretty amazing looking porter.

Nose is something of a disappointment, truth be told. There's some mild grain notes with a touch of sweetish biscuit or graham cracker. There's an odd hint of savoury fruit, a little like stewed tomatoes.

But it's uphill from there (and how). Mild, smooth chocolate entry on the palate leads to a gorgeous, roasty warmth on the mid, giving smooth hazelnut overtones. Finish has a slight bite of subtly bitter roast along with more cleansing, mellow nuttiness. Finish is capped with a clean bite of roast. Awesome stuff.

Feel is surprisingly light, but with a slight tingle to energise the palate.

Lovely. Just lovely stuff. Smooth and drinkable but with stacks of complexity and richness. Love it.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 Gusler
4.36/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draught @ O’Brien’s San Diego
The beer in its comforting pint glass appears black as midnight, the head a soft chocolate crown, the lace a concealing curtain to drape the glass. Nose is sweetly malt, nicely toasted grain, fresh and inviting with the start sweet and malty, top is moderate in feel. Finnish is benign in its acidity, the hops delectable, dry and somewhat sweet aftertaste, a damn good porter in my book, and had to have three or four pints as it’s just too good to pass up.

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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 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 williamjbauer
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap served in a pint glass

A - Slightly clear dark black with a ruby tint. One finger ecru head with moderate head retention and moderate lacing.

S - Faint nose of dark chocolate, malt.

T - Amazingly deep and complex stout with heavy dark chocolate, coffee, malt, roasted espresso with a nice bitter finish. Just a touch of booze. Don't let the nose fool you this is a monster of flavor.

M - Full body, moderate carbonation.

O - Amazing, one of the best porters and quite a surprise when you smell it. Tastes so fricken good and looks like the belle of the ball.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in half-pint glass at the brewery. From notes. Reviewed 14 April 2012.

A: Creamy, off-white head. Nice tracing on the surface. Opaque, Coca-Cola brown.

S: Roasted chocolate malt. Soft and sweet, but pretty typical for a porter. Nice.

T/M: Damn good! Chocolate malt is slight chalky, with an excellent aftertaste of light coffee and dark chocolate. Roasted and pleasant. Lingering aftertaste; very drinkable.

O: Great porter, lightly hoppy, but still not my favourite. I would definitely have again, and recommend it to anyone who wants an excellent example of a benchmark 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 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 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 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 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 ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Served a dark brown black with a bit of red coming through around the edges and a finger of frothy chocolate head atop. Head fades at a normal pace leaving some nice lacing behind.

S - Aroma is full of roasted caramel malts and coffee. Touch of chocolate as well with a bit of earthy hop.

T - Starts off with a mix of some roasted sweet caramel malt and a touch of coffee flavor. Through the middle some chocolate malt and a touch of earthy hop comes through. Finish is a mix of lots of roasted malts with a bit of chocolate and coffee lingering.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Very smooth with a toasty and dry mouthfeel.

D - Very drinkable. Really nicely balanced and smooth porter. The flavors are a good mix of rich and very sessionable.

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

This pours a coca-colored dark brown color with a lot of foam sitting atop. It has a big roasty aroma—very roast-forward—and the flavor follows suit with a defining roast and some unexpected chalk. I found this rough around the edges, surprisingly, and it didn’t work for me. A rare disappointment from Russian River.

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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 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 Offa
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a characteful, very solid, well-rounded porter that is fairly standard yet very well made.

Black, it has a medium-small tan head slowly shrinking to a wispy ring and leaving a little lace.

The aroma is dark toast, roasted coffee, prunes. It's good but pretty simple and standard.

The taste is fuller and more interesting, sweet and bitter in good balance, with both dark and milk chocolate, toasty character, light prune elements, hints of spice, licorice and pepper. It is not very complex, but has good complexity and the overall character is assertive while still being restrained, holds up well, and is well-integrated and balanced. It is very drinkable.

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