Sea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter | Sea Dog Brewing Company

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Sea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut PorterSea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter
339 Ratings
Sea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut PorterSea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter

Brewed by:
Sea Dog Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This beer is one of a kind! Four different malted barleys combine to create a distinctive, full-bodied beer with a roasted nuttiness, uniquely enhanced by a hint of hazelnuts. Smooth and creamy with the nose of the Willamette hop, this porter is a beer style unto itself.

Added by Dogbrick on 12-16-2002

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 339 |  Reviews: 181
Photo of jonathaniler
1/5  rDev -71.3%

Photo of andrewinski1
1.64/5  rDev -53%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Bottle just says "Hazelnut Porter." Poured into a pint glass. The color is dark brown/black with a small light tan head.

The aroma is dinstinctly Shipyard. Butterscotch and yeastyness dominates the aroma. Chocolatey porter aromas are hardly detectable. I'm bummed.

The taste starts out with bitter ash and char, with some sweet malt notes. This quickly turns into a bomb of Ringwood.

The body is light to medium, with lots of carbonation that compromises the drinkability.

This is too much Ringwood for me. I am dumping this and having a homebrew.

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Photo of Davd6310
1.86/5  rDev -46.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I had this on tap at Sea Dog in Orlando. I won't go into all the details except to state it is sickeningly sweet. I prefer Stouts and Porters but this was so sweet I asked the woman behind the bar if she poured a glass of something else by mistake. She insisted it was the Hazelnut Porter.

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Photo of jellis00
2/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Wow! What a terrible porter. I am a huge fan of dark beers, but I would rather go sober than drink this beer again.

A: It pours fine, nice dark head.

S: I think it is a pleasant smell, with a hint of vanilla.

T: Horrible! God awful idea to mix hazelnut + a dark beer! I think chocolate, coffee, malts are good enough. The hazelnut overpowers the dark beer aspect, and you get the sensation of a really bad starbucks drink.

M: Well, it is not great. It does not settle in the mouth like most dark beers.

D: I will never buy this beer again. Period. I think the concept was good, but the actual mixture is nasty. The after taste is also unpleasant, it sorta leaves a gummy feeling in the mouth.

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Photo of DogFood11
2.03/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

First time I've seen this in the LA area so it was a must pick up. Poured the 12 oz brown bottle into a stemmed tulip glass. It forms a tan head that falls to rings and leaves scattered lace. Ehh ok.

My first impression was this must be a milk stout? Ok so I'm tripping over mouse turds with the style but this is definitely milky in texture and flavor. Add in some slightly astringent roasted malts and you have it.

Notes: Far better porters on the market and readily available. Stick with the blueberry wheat from this brewer as its spot on.

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Photo of yankeeheel
2.18/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a dark brown with a nice two figer tan head. Nice bit of lacing that remains for the length of the brew.

Smells very, very weakly of coffee.

Tastes weak and washed out. Like drinking coffee that's watered out. No hazelnut to speak of. Minimal hop and a hint of burned aftertaste. Yum.

Way overbubbly and annoying in the mouth. Worsened by the weak taste.


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Photo of morebeergood
2.23/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Grabbed a pint last night at the Sports Depot in Allston. I have never seen this on tap before (that should have been a hint). Pours a light brown color. Thin head. Slight carbonation for the standard porter. Smell was super sweet, like a cappuccino. Taste was just downright gross. Reminded me of taking a huge gulp of some kind of grocery store hazelnut coffee creamer. No porter flavor at all. Just sticky hazelnut. No balance whatsoever. Very hard to drink. A mistake to order, and a struggle to drink. This beer should be poured into coffee, or poured down the drain.

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Photo of emakings
2.25/5  rDev -35.5%

Photo of witflee
2.29/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured with a relatively experienced hand into a clean beer glass, and GET OUT OF THE WAY, this grew the biggest, thickest head I've seen since high school. In fact, the head is still going strong twenty minutes later. Nice-looking shaving cream, I mean, beer foam, but I have never seen a porter produce a head that rivaled a pilsner's. Stick a nose in, hmmm, good chocolate milk aroma, and is that latex paint with isopropyl rubbing alcohol? I hope not. Mouth, whadda you say? Sipped a thick mouthful, there is a strong sizzle of medicine and alcohol, carbonated coffee, and a cruel aftertaste like sucking on a dirty zinc coin. But do I give up? No, I persevere, I am a fool for porters... and in the end I am unimpressed, and a little queasy, too. Sad, you can't trust a smiling dog wearing a fisherman's rain slicker.

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Photo of terrabyte
2.46/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours out dark brown. The head was a very short white foam that disappeared fast.

Smells a little bit floral and cherry. Although it also reminds me of some of the phenlys from bad malt liquors or the extra alcohol from Dog Head 120 Minute IPA. No nutmeg that I can tell.

Flavor was completely lacking of nutmeg. I'm a big fan of nutmeg coffee and I've also had good nutmeg flavored beers. So this either was a bad bottle, my tonuge is dead, or people are reading too much into their labels when reviewing this beer. Other than that, this taste like that last swallow of coffee at the bottom of the cup. Too cold, and weak.

Mouth has a tiny fizzy carbonation to it, affecting the front lips. (Nothing big like creamy foam in the middle, etc)

Front top to bottom, I didn't like this beer. I wouldn't seek it out, or try another.

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Photo of Zakk
2.5/5  rDev -28.4%

Photo of barleywinefiend
2.53/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

They must be recipe sharing with Kennebunkport Brewing because it tasted almost the same...not a good thing either. Poured dark brown in appearance with a decent head. Smell was unspectacular...some hazelnut presence with malty notes. Taste was only average with some undiffrentiated malt presence and a slight finishing bitterness. Roasted malts was there but that about it. Watery and thin. Mouthfeel was medium and unspectacular. Didint realy want to finish mine.

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Photo of Naes
2.54/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This porter pours almost black with brown highlights. It has a two inch tan head that retains and laces well.
The aroma is hazelnut upfront with some caramel malt in the background.
The flavor starts out with a strong hazelnut presence and is followed by a bit of roastiness and a slight vanilla flavor. Overall, it is just too sweet for my likings.
Mouth feel is medium in body and generously carbonated.

I think the hazelnut flavoring is just a bit over the top.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
2.55/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This is a light looking Porter, dark brown but a ruby red hue shines through too easily, giving a mahogony color. Well, carbonated with a thin, stagnant foamy cover.

Honestly, the added hazlebut ingredient really dominates the nose. There is still a decent malty scent with some oatie aroma's, very nutty, dark bitter chocolate and zesty-ish hops.

First off, the body is crisp and sharp feeling but very thin for the style. The first flavor that hits the buds is a chalky, baker's chocolate with oats and wheat. Then it all gets washed away by the hazlenut additive. It's a crazy, sweet nuttiness from then on. The additive flavor mutates into a lingering bitter, slightly metallic finish. The worst part is the lingering, bitter aftertaste.

There's too many really good Porter's out there for this too be chosen again.

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Photo of bthompuz
2.58/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A – very dark with some ruby highlights, not as dark as some porters, creamy head that lingers

S – hazelnut flavor, smells almost artificial or chemically, some roasted malt smell, but the hazelnut really dominates everything else

T – like the smell the hazelnut dominates, little to no hop flavor or bitterness, some bitterness from the roasted malt, only aftertaste is the hazelnut

M – medium mouthfeel, seems a little light for a porter, but fine

D – I wish they had dialed back a little bit on the hazelnut, it works well with this beer, but I would have preferred to taste something beside just that. I am glad I tried it, but cannot see having another.

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Photo of SierraFlight
2.6/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Pours opaque brown. Overwhelming hazelnut aroma with hints of caramel malt. Less malt on the tongue, representative of an English porter, with a clean finish. Just too much hazelnut!

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Photo of SilentSabre
2.62/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Wow. This began doing a wonderful job impressing me. It poured a very dark, deep reddish brown colour with nearly no head at all. It had decent lacing. It smelled largely of hazelnuts, and moderately of coffee with a tiny bit of smoke hiding in the back. "Positively delicious", I was thinking. What a rude surprise for me when I took a sip. Very bitter. Absolutely none of the hazelnut smell is present in the taste. No coffee. Nothing. It's just very bitter and bland and doesn't really taste like much of anything. The mouthfeel is very disappointing, as it is quite thin and lifeless. This is a terrible disappointment all together, actually, as the appearance and smell had me very excited indeed, and then culminated into this. Perhaps someone out there enjoys this, but as for me, I'll stay away from it in the future.
Blessed Be

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Photo of BrokenEdge
2.65/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I really like Sea Dog's blueberry beer, so was looking forward to this, but it was hugely disappointing. Had this on tap. Dark brown body with a thin head, a little like Coke. Smells faintly of hazelnut coffee. Tastes of big hazelnut and vanilla flavor, but it's a little off and artificial tasting. Stale, bitter, burnt coffee and more artificial tasting chocolate notes. A little more on the caramely sickeningly sweet side of things than nice roasted porter flavors, I'm not really sure what went wrong here. I couldn't finish it and passed it off to a friend who reported liking it (although admitted it did taste very fake). Feel is very carbonated and thin, a little watery for a porter. Unpleasant lingering artificial flavors after the finish. Overall, a below average porter. I'm going to stick with their blueberry wheat from now on, at least that one tastes and smells like real blueberry muffins.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
2.65/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Very dark ruby body with ruby highlights. Everything through the glass is only a rough outline. The tawny head is very fizzy and soft. It gets to about 1 finger and then breaks down quickly, lacing on the side of the glass is soapy and also has a problem sticking around.

Smell: It is a mix of bread malts and hazelnut flavor. There are some hints of brewed coffee. Also get the suggestion of milk and caramel malts. Not picking up any hop profiles.

I think this smell works out pretty well. It is really, really sweet. More like a hazelnut cappuccino really than a beer. It makes me wonder if this is going to translate well in the tasting.

Taste: Astringent. That is the first word that comes to mind. This is waaay too harsh. Honestly, if you’ve ever brewed coffee in a dirty coffee pot and thought it smelled all right, right up until that first sip, that is what this reminds me of. Dang.

Hazelnut in the flavor? No. There is a sort of hazelnut in the aftertaste. But it is backed up by and almost overwhelmed by an earthy and completely unappetizing burnt coffee flavor. There are also notes of alcohol in a 5.7% alcohol beer. What?

Absolutely everything that smells good on the nose is not in the drink.

Mouth feel: Watered down and way too bitter.

Overall: This is my first Sea Dog brew and I am not really happy. Very few things make me as grumpy as drinking a bad beer. This definitely counts. Look, the nose on the hazelnut porter is pretty good. It is sweet, there is hazelnut, and it makes you want to drink it, but once you do you almost immediately feel tricked.

This beer needs to be smoothed out, the malts need to be much more pronounced, and the hazelnut really needs to be there. And the smoky porter flavor they are going for just ends up tasting like a bad batch of coffee.

I really wish I was exaggerating, and I really wish Sea Dog had made this interesting sounding beer work.

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Photo of Jayli
2.68/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a a deep dark brown with a big brown/tannish colored head with moderate retention and wispy lacing kept on the sides. The nose is of slight hazlenut, not as much as one would expect, some malts, a bit of cream, and a bit bready. Taste is of hazlenut, bitter chocolate, and a touch of caramel. There is also something off in the taste - perhaps it's the way they were blended, but it leaves a lot to be desired. Mouthfeel was quite light almost watery, bitter sweet aftertaste to it. I have had better porters, and if you are looking to kick back with a good porter, I would suggest looking to a different option.

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Photo of malcontent
2.7/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

When poured, Riverdriver doesn't yield the opaque, black liquid that some others do, but rather a dark brown that has a reddish glow to it (because light is getting through, I assume). Decent head & overall a nice-looking beer.

Hazelnut & coffee dominate the nose but there are roasted malt & faint hop scents in there, too. Smells like what it says it is. So far so good.

Nope. Not doing it for me. This seems like a stab at the sweet-style porter that Anchor (who does a far superior job with it) makes but instead falls flat on its face. The tastes are clumsily packed in there like they had bottles of flavoring & just poured them in as if on a check list; "Coffee? Check. Roasted Malt? Check. Hazelnut? Oh, sh*t! I dropped the whole godamned bottle in!"

Too syrupy in consistency for me & after not digging the taste I couldn't see myself having more than one. In fact, I couldn't see myself having another one, period.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.71/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color with a large foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass. It looks good, but I think it all goes downhill from there.

S: The aroma is kind of faint but contains caramel, hazelnuts and coffee.

T: The taste is malty and smoky with flavors of coffee, caramel and hazelnuts but there's a metallic bite that throws it all off. It's not as sweet as I had expected, which is a good thing, but it does start to come on a bit as you continue to drink it. There's mild hops presence that is about at the level you would expect from a porter. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium-to-high carbonation, sticky finish.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, slightly filling, decent kick, not the best representation of style, the hazelnut flavor seems like a good idea, but it doesn't seem to do much for this particular beer. I didn't get anything out of this beer that would make me want to drink it again.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
2.72/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Dark brown colored with a thin beige head that quickly fades into an amoeba looking skim. Freshness dated, the bottle claims "porter with natural hazelnut flavor added."

Smell is of those single serving hazelnut flavored coffee creamers that one finds with gas station coffee. Light roasty malt in there too.

Taste is robust hazelnut roastyness up front, in the middle, and at the end...kind of a one trick pony. Flavor progressively dissapears as beer warms. Mouthfeel is thin and over carbonated.

When I think of Sea Dog I think of yellow fizzy fruit beer and this is a porter version of that.

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Photo of akajimmyd
2.72/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer has a big hazelnut aroma. Dark brown color and not much head. The taste is pretty bitter. Actually this tastes like a average porter with a shot of sweet hazelnut syrup dropped in it (like at starbucks.) The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a somewhat sticky aftertaste.

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Photo of Grundle20
2.74/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

*Note: I'm not somebody who likes to give a beer a bad review and I tried to keep this from being "Trollish" but I truly did not enjoy this beer.*

Pours a a deep dark brown in to a pint glass. There is a big brown eggshell colored head with moderate retention but no lacing to speak of.

I can't really candy coat for this brewery anymore despite my Portland roots. This smells like hazelnut yuck. I can't quite pin what the underlying scent is but my first thought is wet rotting wood but it isn't pleasant and its definitely trying to be hidden with a hazelnut scent. The hazelnut seems more like an afterthought then a carefully thought out flavor addittion.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
Again it tastes hazelnutty but it really seems like it's trying to hide something unimpressive. It seems like they finished the beer and didn't like the way it turned out so they dumped a bunch of hazelnut extract in to the bottling vat. The body is powdery and bitter with minor bittersweet chocolate in the finish leaving me with a truly less than delicious aftertaste of tree bark, and that's not a joke or a stab, it truly tastes like green woody foliage.

To me porter isn't one of the more drinkable styles of beer and the fact that I'm really not enjoying this beer makes it even that much more of a struggle. It's unbalanced and has a really awkward aftertaste to boot.

Bottom Line:
I thought after the wheat and the IPA that the porter had to be better, boy was I wrong. The whole drinking experience of this beer felt like a shoddy attempt at dolling up a less than stellar porter. I'm glad that I enjoy their blueberry wheat because I really don't like having to not like a small town brewery but this just isn't that great at all.

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Sea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter from Sea Dog Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.49 out of 5 with 339 ratings