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Shadow Of A Doubt - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Shadow Of A DoubtShadow Of A Doubt

Educational use only; do not reuse.

31 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 31
Hads: 269
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 23.17%
Wants: 31
Gots: 19 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  9.86% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: litheum94 on 03-13-2013

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 31 | Hads: 269
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.

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Photo of charlzm
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Consumed May 21st, 2014. Poured into a tulip.

Beer is a deep, deep mahogany brown. Two finger tan head provides lacing and sticks around for quite a while.

Aroma is charcoal and unsweetened chocolate.

Flavor is slightly ashy with rich milk chocolate notes. A touch of oatmeal, maybe? Bitter and a little boozy on the finish. Nothing too special here.

Mouthfeel is velvety thick and smooth, almost like a milkshake. By far the best thing about this beer. Also some alcohol heat.

I still don't get the love for Russian River, but this beer is certainly not an embarrassment.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.76/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

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Photo of litheum94
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep brown color with a one finger light brown head. Nice streaks of lace down the glass with each sip.

S: Very soft aroma of toasted malt, light roasted coffee and a little bit of oatmeal. Inviting, but not overwhelming.

T: Roasted malt with a hint of smoke, bittersweet chocolate and a bit of espresso. Maybe just a hint of tobacco hidden in there as well. Finish has some fudge and lingering dark chocolate. Mouthfeel is medium with just a prickle of carbonation. Not mindblowing, but a really solid porter.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

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Photo of maximum12
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hefman for sending me this bottle, I’ve been wanting something malty from RR for a long time. 500 ML bottle dated 7/31/13, so I guess this one’s been waiting around for a while. Split with my wife as an opening Saturday night salvo.

The pour is dark black with a hearty helping of carbonation that dissipates quickly. The nose is smooth, if that makes sense. No roast, no hard assedness, just sweetness & chocolate & a gentle peck on the cheek. Silky. And I haven’t even tasted it yet.

Shadow of a Doubt is smoother a baby’s fresh-born ass. Rich chocolate & sweet malts dominate, & only after does a bit of roast creep in, but it too is acting every inch the gentleman, all smiles & tipped hats. Finishes with a surprising bit of light bittering & flecks of molasses soaked black licorice. Honestly, the more I sip, the more levels I unlock (hey, there’s the Sword of Eternal Reckoning!). Just a velvety on the throat as in the nose; this is a deceptive beer at almost double-digit ABV, it drinks like a porter half its size.

I was looking for a good black beer out in Cali & mostly came up dry: but I never found this on tap. The rare straight-up porter that can give the Midwest examples of the style a good run. Very good, right on the tip of excellent.

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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.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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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.

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Photo of aleigator
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

@ Quintessence - pours brown black, with a decent head.

Toffee, sweet malts, along with hints of smoke and salt, preventing the beer from becoming too sweet. Fantastic smell of burned malts, toffee, chocolate, wood, brownies and leather.

Tastes grainy and roasty, bitter chocolate, sweet malts, bread and fluffy marshmellows. Salt adds an unexpected, pleasant punch to the beer, staying in contrast to raisins and sugary sweetness. Convincing finish, sweetness vanishes in favour of a smooth earthiness.

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Photo of brotherloco
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
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!

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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.

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Photo of Philousa
4.06/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of John_M
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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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.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
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

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to brack for this extra!

510ml bottle sealed with a russian river "logoed" pressure cap; poured into SP wine stem.

bottled on date of 03/03/2014.

Appearance: black bodied beer with 3 finger tall khaki colored head. The head has alot of staying power and leaves behind alot of thick lacing on the side of the glass. Really great looking porter!

Smell: First whiff of this beer immediately reminds me of everett porter! What a pleasant surprise! Milk chocolates and roasty malts with a light smoked malts presence. Hints of earthy hops.

Taste: The flavor of this beer is much different that the aroma. The nose makes you think this will be a smooth balanced porter with that perfect combo of roast and sweetness with a hint of earthiness. This beer is a little sharper than was expected from the nose. It starts off first with slightly sweet milk chocolates. Next an ashen/chared roastiness that is kind of distracting, but nothing that is out of line. In the middle of the beer, I get molasses, hints of black licorice, and even some black olive notes surprisingly enough. There might even be some black pepper and yeastiness that is hiding in background. The molasses, black licorice, a light char note, and a hint of dark fruits all found in the finish. All these flavors provide a mild almost moderate lingering bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with low end of moderate carbonation levels. Drinks like its a 6% porter even though the label lists the abv at 10%. Slightly creamy and fairly smooth mouthfeel. The mouthfeel makes me think that RR used some oats to brew this porter. The beer feels thinner on the palate once it warms up to room temperature.

Overall: Everything was really nice about this beer, but the taste just didnt fit in with the crowd. I think that dialing down the ashen/char flavor of this beer and the addition of more chocolate malts would make a huge difference in the flavor profile of this beer. That is really my only minor complaint with this beer. If this beer tasted as good as it smelled, this beer would give HF Everett a run for its money... Everett is the undisputed champ when it comes to the best porter out there. Russian River really did brew a nice porter here that is worth a try. Its nice to see Russian River make a nice American Porter. Glad that I got to try it out. Thanks again Paul!

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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.

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Photo of impending
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
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

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Photo of elNopalero
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Shadow Of A Doubt from Russian River Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 31 ratings.