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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 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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Photo of jeffjeff1
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this today at Russian River Brewery. It was part of the sampler.

Appearance- black color, nice head

Smell- roasted malt, coffee

Taste- roasted malt, coffee

Mouthfeel- full bodied

Drinkability- Excellent, I loved this porter. It was awesome.

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Photo of Chambic
3.53/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

01.28.10 at Pi Bar

A: deep, deep black; head dissipates quickly, with heavy lace

S: rich cocoa

T: less cocoa, more coffee, like a bitter dark roast that stays on the back of the mouth

M: fizz hangs out along the roof of the mouth

D: pretty damn good

I didn't even know this beer existed! It's not my favorite RR, but only because there are too many RRs I love.

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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 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 photomike
4.26/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a very deep clear ruby color with an incredible creamy head. Crazy thick head which never seems to dissipate. Tons of lacing. The perfect porter appearance.

Smell is really roasty with some woody smoke and stale coffee grounds. Biscuity and satisfying.

Taste is nice as well. Roasty, milky, and slightly smoky with a distinct but well-integrated hop presence, particularly in the finish.

Medium bodied, I expected a slightly richer experience based on reviews. Nice bright carbonation is a touch much, especially considering that I've had the growler for 4 days prior to opening, but overall, not bad at all; for the style, this is right on.

Insanely drinkable. I'm halfway through the growler by myself, and the last couple pints will be no sweat. Delicious and easy-drinking.

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

On tap at the RR brewpub on Dec. 18th. From notes.

A: Pours a dark, but ultimately clear, burnt brown color that leans toward black in the center of the glass where it is thickest. The server brings it with a finger of tan head that retains excellently while I work on something else. In all, probably about 10 minutes of retention, and it leaves suds down the glass to boot. Wow.

S: Roasted grain is very strong in the nose; it's chocolatey second, with a bitter earthiness that follows behind. Very pungent and bold.

T: Like the nose, it begins with a rich, roasted flavor that transitions beautifully into bittersweet cocoa and a not-insubstantial coffee element. The hops are well chosen here, and they close out the flavor with a dry bitterness that pulls into the finish to couple with more roast. Despite this, the overall impression is one of sweetness, and even the girlfriend enjoyed this very much.

M: Smooth and creamy. Fuller-bodied than medium, and a tad thicker than I was expecting. It finishes nicely and is easy on the aftertaste.

D: Very high. It's really damn tasty for a 6% porter. I always talk about the RR sours and IPAs; where the hell has this one been and why didn't anyone tell me about it?

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Photo of bulletrain76
3.88/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draught at the brewpub. Dark brown with a beige head. Creamy chocolate and roasted malt aroma. Lots of chocolatey and toasty malt flavors with a hoppy, bitter finish. Medium bodied with medium carbonation. A really tastey, hoppy take on porter, though it might be even better with a beefier malt profile.

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Photo of mjl21
4.36/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewpub. Poured into a pint glass. Comes in at 42 IBUs and 6.30%.

A-When presented, it is very dark. Due to the dim lighting in the brewpub, I could not tell if it was dark brown or black. Has a really nice fluffy one finger tan head that sticks around. Lacing covers a huge portion of the glass.

S-Lots of roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate are to be found. Being as it is from RR I also get some pine and citrus hops.

T-The hops present in the nose are upfront, but quickly give way to the malt. The sweet and roasted malt play very well off of each other. It is quite reminiscent of a good cup of coffee cut with some cream, sugar, and a tad bit of chocolate.

M-Full bodied and smooth from the nice amount of head that sticks around.

D-I put into my iPhone notes under this category that it is a damn good porter. I think that about sums it up.

I really dug this beer. You don't think of porters and stouts when you think of RR, but this one delivered. A growler of this will be picked up in the near future.

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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 dukedevil0
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Super thanks to Alex (masterski) for contributing the growler to my first new beer Sunday.

A: pours a dark brown with a nice khaki head and a little lacing in the glass.

S: smells surprisingly like some hops, some chocolate, roasted malts, slight coffee

T: tastes initially like chocolate, then some hop profile that is muted but bitter, slight coffee finish

M: pretty typical for a porter, creamy enough but not thick

D: easy to drink because there's zero alcohol flavor, it tastes solid enough to want to drink more

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

Big thanks to Adam for sending me a growler of this brew - it seems to have been on-tap for a while at Russian River, but there are very few reviews so far. Served in my Surly pint glass.

A - Two and a half fingers of frothy mocha foam that has excellent retention and nice lines of lacing. Transparent dark brown-black color with lovely ruby highlights when held up to the light.

S - Dark malt roastiness, bittersweet chocolate, coffee, but a surprisingly high-presence floral hop character that surpasses the listed 41 IBUS. Reminds me of the dark IPAs I've tried - Iniquity/SSR sort of thing. Really potent!

T - There's a citrus hoppiness that comes out here that isn't really present in the smell - some tangerine-like notes. There's also a healthy complement of baker's chocolate, maltiness, (although not quite as roasty as the smell), and just hint of the coffee flavor. Very nicely balanced - it isn't the richest flavor but it's highly satisfying for an American Porter.

M - The mouthfeel is probably the least satisfying part of the brew - I wish I'd gotten to try this one on cask. It's a little bit thin, but thankfully not overcarbonated. There's also a bit of grittiness that is reminiscent of drinking powdered cocoa.

D - This is incredibly drinkable stuff - one person could easily kill this growler. Not harsh bitterness, great flavor, low ABV, moderate carbonation - all the things I want from a session porter.

It's lovely to see Russian River doing something different in style, and kicking ass while doing so. Highly recommended.

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