1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Shadow Of A Doubt - Russian River Brewing Company

Shadow Of A DoubtShadow Of A Doubt

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

166 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 166
Reviews: 25
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 7.8%

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  9.86% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: litheum94 on 03-13-2013)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 166 | Reviews: 25 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ArrogantB


4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle courtesy of drunkensloth, thanks a lot man. Appearance is dark black, standard porter, healthy head. Aroma is sort of yeasty and roasted malts, definitely won't be mistaken for an imperial stout. Flavor is again yeaty, roasted malts tastes very much like a porter and not an imperial stout, slight touch of chocolate. This was a very solid beer and the alcohol was well hidden. Nice to have a non-Belgian, non-IPA from Russian River.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2014 17:10:36 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of Goalcam


4.89/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I have never been a fan of porter style beers. They typically remind me of the beers you'd have a the pub after work in England... no frills just something to get a buzz from. This one is exceptional It has a very good smooth flavor to it. It didn't have the typical aftertaste that darks usually have. If you like Porters you'll love this one.

Serving type: on-tap

03-24-2014 19:20:04 | More by Goalcam
Photo of NCalement

North Carolina

4.36/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Duvel globe.

A- Black, with a mocha color head that holds nicely. Strong lacing.

S- Chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, milk chocolate and slight vanilla.

T- Lots of roast and chocolate. Slightly bitter crisp finish. Dark chocolate up front followed milk chocolate and roasted malts. Semisweet bakers coco finish. Wow this is good.

M- Perfect. Medium carbonation, thick body, viscus, no sign of ABV, dry finish and refreshing.

O- What a great porter. This might be the first dark non-Belgian style beer that I've tried from Russian River and it's spot on. But what do you suspect from a world class brewery.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2014 15:41:13 | More by NCalement
Photo of BMMillsy


3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

As a sampler from the source, pours dark brown, opaque, with a half finger super creamy looking khaki head. Roasty with a big part chocolate covered raisins on the aroma. The flavor is full of big chocolate notes, has some dark fruit finish, and just a hint of roast or smoke on the palate. Medium creamy mouthfeel, low to medium carbonation that drinks easy for the ABV. Not bad at all, but probably not worth going out of your way for.

Serving type: on-tap

03-05-2014 05:23:56 | More by BMMillsy
Photo of johnmichaelsen


4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub last night.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with very good head retention and considerable sticky lacing. The nose is impressive, showcasing considerable licorice, vanilla and dark chocolate. As the beer warmed, I picked up a considerable roasty quality as well, along with some noticeable dry citrus and light tobacco. The flavor profile replicated the nose pretty closely, but the sweet licorice and vanilla seemed to dominate, with less of the roasty qualities I picked up on the nose. Mouthfeel is fairly full, with the alcohol well integrated into the flavor profile. The finish was long and sweet, with the vanilla and licorice dominating, but with some hoppy goodness/bitterness there as well. Drinkability is pretty good, though the licorice and vanilla flavor, coupled with the high abv., wore on me after a while. Still a pretty impressive, very solid beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-26-2014 18:15:04 | More by johnmichaelsen
Photo of rlee1390


4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Clear brown when pouring, black in the glass with a one finger almost tan head. That lingers and leaves great lacing.

S-Coffee, vanilla, roasted malt, some chocolate, some burnt notes.

T-Starts with a mix of coffee, vanilla, roasted malt. Rather sweet. Some burnt notes. Maybe some dark fruits as well. But it is a tad too sweet.

M-Lighter for the style, nice carbonation, it is almost creamy but not quite.

O-A good beer, no where near RR's sours or IPA. but a good porter. And the fact it is named after a movie, makes it even better.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2014 00:46:05 | More by rlee1390
Photo of MDDMD


4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-dark brown black color with a nice tan head and good lacing

S-dark malt, bitter chocolate, coffee,hint of brown sugar

T-dark roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, molasses, hint of dark fruit, light char, mild to moderate bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy,alcohol well-integrated

O-enjoyed sipping this one, especially as it warmed, smooth and tasty

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2013 01:29:17 | More by MDDMD
Photo of BarrytheBear


3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Blind pour courtesy of Kyle. Blind is the tits.

Looks the part of a nice porter.

Smells of big fudge. Happy kid, summer Michigan vacationing, cavity inducing, wide eyed stupidy, eat-that-shit-all-in-one sitting fudge. A nice roast and hops combo rounds things out.

When on the slightly colder side, the taste pretty much follows the nose. Double digit abv is mostly well masked, with only a knowing bite on the finish to indicate her true colors. Upon warming, however, the flavors become a bit harsh and very drying baker's chocolate and ashy finish shows itself.

A pretty good Imperial Porter that surprisingly became less enjoyable the deeper I dove and the warmer it became. Never-the-less, thanks Kyle for the opportunity to try this beer that seemingly made no noise upon release.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2013 18:04:21 | More by BarrytheBear
Photo of MasterSki


4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Sean. Thanks bro! Served in a snifter.

A - Tan foam settles to a thick collar, leaving behind wisps on top and specks of lacing on the sides of the glass. Dark brown body with some transparency at the edges of the glass.

S - Char, molasses, roasted malts, with fainter notes of caramel, dark chocolate, and toasted grain. Sweetness increases over time, as does a corresponding note of alcohol.

T - The taste is a similar mix of roast and char flavors with lighter touches of dark chocolate, molasses, and perhaps a hint of black cherry and other dark fruits.

M - Medium-full body, with a roasted grain texture to it. Pleasant, medium-low carbonation, with some definite alcohol warming going on. Light stickiness lingers through the finish.

D - I always find these 'Imperial Porters' amusing, as I'm not sure what differentiates them from Imperial Stouts; perhaps it's Russian River's cheeky way of defusing the hype train for their own beers. In any case, a solid high-ABV beer that verges a bit too much towards the roasty side for my tastes; would probably heavily appeal to the Danes.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2013 12:56:52 | More by MasterSki
Photo of AgentMunky


4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in a half-pint glass at the brewery.

A: Dark; light head fizzles fast. Opaque cola.

S: Strong vanilla, chocolate, hint of iced coffee. Just a hint of meh I associate with nitro tap.

T/M: Concentrated Guinness. Bittersweet chocolate; roasted malt; bitter clean finish.

Serving type: nitro-tap

11-19-2013 06:40:52 | More by AgentMunky
Photo of Offa


4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a phenomenal baltic porter/imperial stout -type beer, rich, balanced, characterful and in my opinion is definitely Russian River's best foray into the stout/porter world.

Very dark brown, essentially black, it has a medium-small tan head steadily shrinking to lasting rich foamy ring, lots of wisps, nice lace.

Aroma is dried figs, prunes, charcoal.

Taste is more complex, luscious dried frigs, dark toast, hints of dark rum, prunes, molasses, charcoal, with more dark toastiness in the finish. It is just slightly on the sweet side, with silky rummy-dried fig sweetness balanced with spicy-roasty-peppery bitterness that just barely lets the sweetness dominate, as I think is right in this type of beer. Feel is silky, full yet lively, luscious yet not oily.

This is one that they should have all the time here, both because of the the beer itself and for the name - Shadow of a Doubt being the classic Hitchcock film (his own stated favourite) set and filmed in Santa Rosa in 1943.

Serving type: on-tap

10-14-2013 20:35:15 | More by Offa
Photo of Fatehunter


3.81/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

From a growler filled the day before and kept refrigerated.
Poured a half finger of head on a black body. The head was quickly gone but left some nice lacing.
The aroma is burnt and roasted malt, coffee and chocolate. Very nice.
The taste follows the aroma: roasted malt, burnt wood, black coffee and dark chocolate. Really good.
The texture is a little creamy, but too fizzy.
While the fizziness pushed the rating down, it is still an enjoyable drink.

Serving type: growler

09-19-2013 00:43:41 | More by Fatehunter
Photo of Philousa


4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this on tap at RRBC a week ago, but reviewing from the bottle since I didn't take notes in Santa Rosa.

Pours an inky black with a brown tinge. When held to the light, thin parts of the glass make it look like cola. The tanned head looks silky and is uneven across the surface in a thin layer. The head also streaks the glass and laces very well for the style. Aroma is very roasty. Burnt toast, dark chocolate, charred tortilla, overcooked rye bread, you get the idea. This also smells creamy, lactic, even. I can get a very faint hint of the alcohol, but that may just be because I saw the ABV before I popped it open. I don't remember smelling any hotness while at RRBC. Flavor starts with some roastiness, with chocolate following soon after. It's like milky dark chocolate. The creaminess does indeed transfer to the flavor and feel. The burnt bread comes across too, just before the alcohol flavor kicks in. It's short, but it's there. The bitterness lingers, earthy and ashy. The feels is slightly viscous and finish slightly dry.

This is one memorable beer. It's intensely roasty and burnt, which can grate on you a bit. It's a 10% beer, so what do you expect? It's a sipper of a Porter. One of the few non Belgian RRBC beers that doesn't really factor in hops, it's one to try again when it comes up. Better on tap, I think it is also great in a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2013 04:19:21 | More by Philousa
Photo of EgadBananas


4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: nearly black, light brown head, very light lacing.

Aroma: roast, slight coffee, cocoa powder, slight minerals.

Taste: quite strong on the chocolate, sweet, roasted, mild coffee roast, vanilla.

Mouthfeel: near full bodied, creamy, filling.

Overall: good drinkability, alcohol quite hidden, great chocolaty taste, but other flavors and aromas beyond that are quite mild, so its not wildly complex. Doesn't mean its not quite enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2013 18:16:14 | More by EgadBananas
Photo of impending


4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


510ml into a tumbler. Pours deep dark walnut, opaque in the glass with cola highlights.

The flavor is exactly as advertised, "Rich, dark, and chocolatey with a
smooth dry finish. . . " < exactly this
Incredibly smooth rich mouthfeel
coats without the cloy
wonderful with warmth
the abv is not in question but not hot in any way, smooth. Minimal but long echoing bitter

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2013 05:22:44 | More by impending
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.54/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Wowcoolman for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours an almost opaque super dark crimson-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and char aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and char flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but there is an acrid char presence that takes away from the drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2013 20:51:06 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of aasher


4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I just received this in a box earlier this week courtesy of brewerb, thanks Brian!

This Russian River porter pours a lighter bodied cola brown in color with a very soft and creamy light beige head. It looks great in Russian River proper glassware. The nose is rich and roasty with a tough of iced coffee, bitter baking chocolate, and a touch of dark chocolate. The flavors are smooth and chocolaty with moderate bitterness, light roast, and a touch of alcohol. It drinks and medium in body but you'd never know that this beer is approaching 10%. The alcohol content is definitely well hidden. Overall this is a really nice, well balanced imperial porter. I've been hearing that Russian River had great porters on draft for years now so it is nice to finally try one.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2013 19:02:30 | More by aasher
Photo of thedankness


4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

pitch black. you are not seeing any light through this bad boy

roasted malts, chocolate, hints of coffee

smooth roasted dark malts, chocolate, a bit smokey and a bit of coffee on the back end. a good amount of bitterness to balance everything out perfectly

it was silky smooth but it was much thinner than I was expecting, not that that is a bad thing if you are looking for an imperial porter that you can drink more than one of in a sitting (I know I could definitely have drank another if I hadn't promised most of them to friends)

This beer is the Pliny the Elder of Imperial Porters. I'm amazed that this is such an easy drinking 10% abv beer. I'm sure it would mellow out even more nicely with a bit of age as well. I think Russian River is going for an imperial porter that you can drink more than one pint of in a sitting and they have nailed it right on the head. This beer is not too extreme in any single direction, not overly chocolatey, vanilla-y, smokey, etc. I'm very glad I picked up as many bottles as I could and hope that they decide to possibly bottle some more in the future. It is a shame that they only bottled 100 cases.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2013 04:25:51 | More by thedankness
Photo of elNopalero


4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This pours a cola coffee color, with light foaming. There’s an aroma of coffee & some caramel, complimented by a roasty chocolate with tobacco leaf undertones. The flavor has a tobacco note with some roast & a bitter sweetness. The alcohol is present but not dominant. I found the tobacco notes to be intriguing and unexpected but overall this didn’t scratch the itch I had for an imperial porter. We’ll see how it fares when I get another chance to revisit.

Serving type: on-tap

04-19-2013 07:51:52 | More by elNopalero
Photo of TheSixthRing


4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Out of a growler filled on 4/6 at the RR Pub, opened today.

Appearance - Pours opaque black with a tan, rocky 3 finger head. Great retention, leaving a fair layer of microbubbles to coat the surface. Nice, sticky lacing that thoroughly coats the glass.

Smell - Strong chocolate character, ranging from bitter baker's to sweet milk. Moderate astringency.

Taste - A lot more bitter than the aroma leads on - strong baker's chocolate from start to finish. A touch of milk chocolate sweetness. Astringency hits mid-taste. Coffee ground bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Full body with soft carbonation. Creamy. Goes down easy, despite the astringent bite.

Overall - A strong, commendable porter. Is this a Baltic? This isn't bottled so far as I know, so if you're ever at the pub and like a strong, sharp porter, give this one a go.

Serving type: growler

04-10-2013 03:16:24 | More by TheSixthRing
Photo of scottfrie


4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Growler purchased at the brewpub, poured into snifter.

A: Pours a black coffee brown with a thick, dense, soft looking, light brown head that faded into a lasting film leaving a soft clinging network of lace down the glass.
S: Scents of coffee, pine hops, roast, and a touch of chocolate.
T: More coffee alongside bitter bakers chocolate, pine hops, leafy bitterness, creamy roast, slight dark fruit, and slight caramel (but not sugary or sweet). Dry flavors, roasted and clean. Hint of vanilla in the finish with a solid bitter aftertaste containing a touch of mint hoppiness.
M: Medium body, lighter and more drinkable that I anticipated, with a drying mouthfeel,well hidden alcohol content and velvet carbonation.
O: An amazing porter. I was blown away how drinkable this was despite being nearly 10%. Reminds me of their other porter only stronger. Here's hoping for some bottles. Cheers.

Serving type: growler

04-06-2013 17:05:27 | More by scottfrie
Photo of kevanb


4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

64oz growler poured into a Russian River pint glass.

The beer pours a nice dark cola brown color with a thick, billowy, caramel colored head, about 2 fingers high that leaves a small amount of spotted lace behind. The aroma is fairly innocuous, dark chocolate, slight roast and toasted dark grain with some astringent alcohol that lingers. The flavors are right in line with the nose, soft yet bitter dark chocolate, light roast character with some underlying smokiness and an almost salinous character that finishes with a nice richness from the grain bill and just a touch of sweet alcohol. The body is awesome, rich, thick, full bodied that has just enough lively carbonation to dance around the tongue and has a silky smooth finish.

Verdict: A pleasant Porter from Russian River but nothing mind blowing. It's well made, simplistic and very quaffable. I do prefer their regular porter to this beer, but both are still enjoyable.

Serving type: growler

03-30-2013 01:05:14 | More by kevanb
Photo of brotherloco


4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Growler picked up at the brewpub. Served in my Eclipse snifter.

Pours mostly opaque very dark brown with about a finger of creamy mocha foam. Settles fairly quickly to a ring of loose bubbles. Moderate amounts of webby lacing left in the glass.

Aroma of caramel and dark toffee, some burnt sugar. Hops are there, more than your average porter. A hint of alcohol. Light overall.

Flavor starts with a rather dry roasty malt. Sweetens up slightly in the middle with caramel notes emerging. Bitterness from the roast, but a significant hop bitterness is present as well, especially in the finish. A little more alcohol slips through the finish than the average high ABV RR beer, but it's pleasantly warming. Aftertaste of roasted coffee.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation. A biggish feel in the middle but the dry finish makes it quite drinkable.

This beer seemed kind of mild on the first few sips, partially from the light aroma, but by the bottom of the snifter I'm enjoying the flavor more and more, and feeling the heat. Going for my second glass. Cheers Vinnie!

Serving type: growler

03-16-2013 03:38:34 | More by brotherloco
Photo of flayedandskinned


4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 7/31/13
Poured into a standard tulip glass.

Appearance: (4.5)
Pours an ominous pitch black with a nice, thick, 3 fingers tall khaki head quickly forming. The head has some nice retention and leaves some lacing behind as it slowly recedes. There are some light alcohol legs.

Aroma: (4.25)
Herbal, lightly floral hops greet your nostrils first with some rich dark chocolate in tow. The chocolate-y malt backbone is bitter sweet with it's powdered cocoa notes being off set by some light espresso astringencies. As the beer warms, the dark chocolates notes seem to soften, taking on a more milk chocolate tone. Definitely smells like a Porter on steroids.

Taste (4.5)
Similar to the nose, you're palate is immediately struck by a charge of lightly citrusy, herbal hops. Behind these hops is a balancing, slightly nutty malt backbone; notes of
bitter sweet baker's chocolate, powdered cocoa, subtle vanilla and a resounding espresso character. The beer finishes dry and bitter with a subtle, creamy coating of malt left on your tongue. Long lingering notes of herbal, citrusy hops, chocolate, a distinct nuttiness as well as some coffee. For 10%, the alcohol is hidden extraordinarily well, with alone a slight warm sensation as it goes down.

Mouthfeel: (4.75)
Robust and creamy medium body with moderate to high carbonation. Definitely drinks like a great porter.

Overall (4.5)
Yet again, Russian River impresses. Unlike a lot of imperial porters, this is definitely differentiates itself from being confused with an imperial stout with it's assertive herbal hops in front of the silky, yet bracing chocolate and coffee backbone. The body is very light for it's ABV, just as a porter should be. Not too often you find an imperial porter that clearly is what it says it is. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2013 08:25:20 | More by flayedandskinned
Photo of litheum94


3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coal black body, presented with very little head except for a khaki ring around the glass. Some lacing on the sides of the glass.

The nose is very, very muted. I don't really get much. There is some marshmallows, char and lightly roasted coffee.

The flavors are definitely not muted. Lots of toasted marshmallow flavors with some vanilla. Smoke and some woody tones. Dry, black malts with flavors of coffee and chocolate. Very dry on the finish, with a little bit of alcohol burn.

A very good imperial porter, though I think their standard porter is better. A nice change from the normal Russian River beer.

Serving type: on-tap

03-13-2013 15:39:47 | More by litheum94
Shadow Of A Doubt from Russian River Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 166 ratings.