Sea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter | Sea Dog Brewing Company

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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

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Ratings: 336 |  Reviews: 181
Photo of Durge
3.85/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A black brown color, thick and covered with a modest light tan head and showing fair lacing. The aroma is as advertised, hazelnut, along with some buttery malt, very nice, not overwhelming at all. The taste brings more of a lemon hop along with a more subtle hazelnut tone at the back of your mouth, not dominating. It's bitter and sweet at the same time and a bit cloying. There's some grassy coffee going on here, not at all a typical porter by my experience but a nice version none the less. The dryness hangs on your tongue. Carbonation is very fine and tingly, a little thin, fair drinkability but no classic session brew. Sweet malt becomes more evident as it warms, the hazelnut is subtle throughout. Very interesting, recommended for a try.

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Photo of IBUnit63
3.85/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Sea Dog in Topsham. Served in a standard pint glass.

Pours a good, dark brown that's a bit opaque. Head has a quality similar to root beer but surprisingly thicker and with a maple walnut ice cream quality. Decent lacing.

Scent has clean, tannic-free dark malts with a hit of caramel. Hops are of the nobler English variety - maybe a little grassy. Slight hint of chocolate and roasted hazelnut is a nice kicker. Velvety on the nose.

A pleasant surprise - this doesn't have that tinny, metallic, thin after taste that some light porters do. Malts are prevalent, fresh and very smooth with a hint of dry slate. Grassy hoppiness is balanced nicely with the hazelnuttiness. Slight caramel and molasses - maybe minimal mocha texture. Finishes full yet clean.

This has a nice body for a porter but after about 1/2 a pint it does get a little on the weighty side. The flavor profile is solid but just a little behind its weight class. Still, surprisingly creamy.

For some reason I liked this a lot more than I expected to. It had many of the favorable elements of a straightforward Porter and the nuttiness helps. Still a little heavy towards the bottom of the glass but a very good option at the old favorite from the late 1990s, the Sea Dog.

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Photo of auxiliary
3.96/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - black color nice large mocha head that settled to a ring. Little specks of lace.

Smell - lots of hazlenut smell here. Some roasted malt and chocolate.

Taste - roasted malt and hazlenut taste here

Mouthfeel - medium body

Drinkability -interesting porter. Not that bad,I love hazelnut so I am a fan here.

1st review on my ipod .not bad!

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Photo of Boppar
3.23/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at the Sea Dog in Brunswick. Served in a pint glass.

A: It's a pretty porter. Looks like molasses. Has half a finger of tan head on it.

S: Smells like roasted malt, some molasses, and a faint hint of hazelnuts.

T: The taste was actually a little disappointing. While I really like that the hazelnut taste does not completely dominate this beer, I was not pleased with how late in the game the hazelnut arrives, or the seemingly artificial taste it has, or the slight tang it leaves in your mouth after the finish. Certainly not a bad porter.

M: A touch too carbonated, but other than that it seemed about right for the style.

D: The hazelnut taste prevented me from getting more of these, but overall it drinks like a porter.

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Photo of Yeastcakes
3.93/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Serving notes - shaker glass, room temp, hand pumped cask ale.
A - Nutty with a hint of chocolate.
A - two fingers of thick (small bubble) head, opaque body with ruby on the edges. Head lingers nicely.
M - thin body and light carbonation. Nice creaminess from the head.
T - nuttiness on the front of the tongue followed by chocolate then light roast and sweetness near the back. A bit of taste of the foam lingers on the roof of the mouth.
D - Cask conditioning gives a wonderful creaminess and drinkability to this beer. I could have several of these.

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Photo of morebeergood
2.23/5  rDev -35.5%
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 katan
3.34/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint

A - Holy smokes head formation here. Megafoam - almost 3 inches before I gave up. The beer itself is quite black in color. The had is mocha. Little carbonation obvious.

S - A hair of hazelnut scent. Beyond that there isn't much I can detect - perhaps a bit of the roasted malts.

T - Starts off with a light amount of malt sweetness. Bitterness forms with a nutty balance. Finishes with a very potent hazelnut hit. Mellows into a sweet aftertaste.

M - Carbonation bite is strong - stings the tongue big time. The beer itself does have a strong body of unfermentables.

D - THe hazelnut flavors become a bit monotonous towards the bottom of the bottle. Carbonation makes the beer more filling than I would like. ABV is not off the charts, but a session of it might sneak up on you.

Not sure how I got on the kick of hazelnut porters, but 2 in a weekend is a trend.

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Photo of Jayli
2.68/5  rDev -22.5%
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 CrellMoset
2.91/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of dkachur - thanks!!

Appearance: Pours a transparent, cherry mahogany body with a huge, three-finger fluffy head that fades slowly and leaves huge, sticky, glittery, pearl-like clumps of lace strewn all over the sides of the tasting glass. I thought this one was infected at first, given the huge eruption of head, though the aroma told me otherwise. A decent start, though it's tough to rate.

Aroma: This beer smells like hazelnuts. In fact, the hazelnut aroma is so overwhelming, it actually burns my nostrils. This beer hurts. It smells like liqueur, or hazelnut extract, or like Christmas gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Taste: I want to review this off of as few sips as possible given the nose. Actually, it's not too bad. The "porter" proper comes through strong, slight alternative nuttiness, faint cocoa and toast. Of course, the hazelnut is - again - very strong, though perhaps slightly more authentic. It's not anything amazing, but it's at least drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Uneven, bubbly, with a thin body, probably cut even more by the addition of the extract. Oh, excuse me, the "natural flavor."

Drinkability: Another not too hot brew from Sea Dog, though better than the Raspberry wheat. The hazelnut in this one is just overboard, and I have to imagine that it's strong to cover up the underlying brew, which - from what I can tell - is also not too hot. Alas.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dark brown color with some highlighting; large bubbled head is quite soft with some okay lacing on the glass. The nose is fairly muted although it hits all the right notes: some roast, some lightly sweet hazelnut. A little toasty.

The flavor is pretty run of the mill, although there is enough chocolate to back up the roasted notes, and the hazelnut is neither up front nor completely overpowered. Great balance, although the hops don't do much except a bit of bitterness at the tail end.

Mouthfeel is okay, could definitely be bigger, but clearly we were going for a drinkable brew here. Lots of carbonation. Not a bad little porter but nothing to write home about.

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Photo of bsend
4.27/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this from a 12 oz. bottle straight to a Guinness glass.

Upon pouring this beer looked to have a complex, darker brown color. Small amounts of head.

Smelling this beer, I really noticed the blatant, yet controlled hazelnut and some lighter elements of coffee and toffee. Overall really pleasant.

The first sip reinforced the smell. Mellow, soothing hazelnut can be tasted. The hazelnut mixes really well with the porter, providing an excellent matrimony between the two flavors. Reminded me of having Sunday morning coffee with the family.

The mouthfeel was also quite well balanced. It wasn't viscous and sludge-like nor was it too watery. An excellent mix.

I loved this brew quite a bit. There is no problem with enjoying a six pack of this. It lets you know you had a solid beer without completely filling you up. Unfortunately my main source for this beer no longer carries it. Definitely a shame as it was a wonderful addition from Sea Dog.

Final Thoughts - Definitely give this beer a try. It is a well balanced beer, and an excellent addition in the porter department.

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Photo of albern
3.18/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a very dry and nutty porter that lacks some of the caremel sweetness characteristic of the style. It pours a ruby brown color with a nice creamy off white head that retains for awhile and laces just a bit. The hazelnut really comes through in the nose. There is a very dry roasted nuttiness and a strong dark roasted coffee aroma as well.

The taste is even drier than the nose. The hazelnut is not as present, but the dry roasted coffee flavors are very present. There is some overall nuttiness, but nothing that points specifically to hazelnut, until the beer settles a bit, and then the hazelnut is a bit more pronounced. There is a slight hop bittering presence, somewhat like dark very unsweetened cooking chocolate, but this is more in the finish. I can't get much beyond the dry roasted coffee and the slighly cardboard like dryness. This is just an adequate porter and not much more.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
2.72/5  rDev -21.4%
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 GratefulBeerGuy
2.55/5  rDev -26.3%
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 TheTrevor
3.22/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark brown with a huge head. The smell is very nutty, with some slightly toasted malt. The taste starts off with a big dose of nuttiness that is followed by a little chocolate flavor and a fair amount of bitterness in the finish. Pretty one note, but it definitely tastes like hazelnuts. The mouthfeel is slightly thick with some pretty tame carbonation. This beer isn't anything special, but it's pretty drinkable and probably worth seeking out if you're a big nut fan.

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Photo of RickS95
3.55/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Huge, thick, foamy, tan head...looks like a could. Color is cross between dark brown and burgundy.

Earthy, woody, hazelnut in the nose; smells like nothing I've had before...very rustic. Very carbonated mouthfeel. No lacing

Very complex taste. Not sure what tree bark tastes like, but it has to be similar to this. Like the smell, the taste is eartyh, woody.

Bitter from the carbonation and from the hazelnut; but there is a mild sweetness in the finish-licorice maybe. Also, a bit of warming in the aftertaste.

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Photo of philipquarles
3.29/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark mahogany with a billowing tan head that has the look of meringue. Might actually be a bit overdone, as it's taking me quite a while to (carefully) pour. The foam is fairly long-lived, eventually simmering down to leave a small creamy cap and thick lacing. The aroma is strongly nutty--they aren't joking about the hazelnuts here. Surprised the brewery isn't Starbucks. It's so strong in fact that it seems fake. Not fake in the artificial flavoring kind of way, but in the "nut extract added after fermentation" kind of way. It smells pleasant in the same way that Lindeman's products do. Some very slight toffee aromas in the background and not much else. The taste brings the focus to dark-roasted malt; apparently very well attenuated, as there's almost no residual sweetness. Hints of slightly metallic phenols lead to a dry, nutty, finish. Not offensive, but I think it would be a much more solid offering without the hazelnut gimmick.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
3.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Off the tap this beer was a deep chestnut color, the head was two fingers of tan foam and the retention was good as a collar and thin skim. The lacing, however, was thin. The aroma was also on the weak side, lightly nutty with a dark malt backbone. The flavors, however, were enjoyable. At first I got milk chocolate followed by the hazelnuts and some almonds all in a rather sweet way. The malt was toasty but slightly sour, especially towards the finish. Hints of wood and bark. The mouthfeel was watery for the style but the carbonation soft so it was sessionable. The body was medium. I enjoyed this beer with dinner but kept thinking it needed more weight and complexity.

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Photo of tigg924
4.3/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark brown with medium head that disappates

Smell: like hazelnut--truth in advertising

Taste: I taste hazelnut, burnt caramel, and dark cocoa

Mouthfeel: light and smooth for a porter with a sweet finish

Drinkability: I think this is one of Sea Dog's better offerings. I could drink this all night. There is the sweet pronounced hazelnut taste but the flavor of a porter is not lost here. i could see how not everyone would like this, but I enjoyed it a lot.

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Photo of smcolw
3.38/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Mahogany brown in color. Good head and lace.

Lots of hazelnut aroma. The dark malt smells are present but quite subdued.

The hazelnut continues in the flavor, perhaps too much so. This one doesn't have much of the porter style. With so much hazelnut, it's hard to detect the dark malts. The nuttiness gives a sweetness to the beer that I wasn't expecting. There is a brief hop flavor in the swallow but not in the aftertaste which reverts to the hazelnut. If you like Frangelico, you'll likely love this beer.

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Photo of bataround
3.36/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown. Small light brown head fades fast.

Artificial hazelnut. Molasses caramel malt. Plenty of nuts.

The taste is extremely nutty. There are hints of sweet molasses and caramel. Then there bit of a harsh tobacco bitter swallow with a coffee burnt aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel was a bit like a flat cola.

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Photo of yesyouam
4.38/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter is a dark brown to black ale with a creamy, blotchy, mossy beige head. It leaves great lacing. The aroma is of chocolate, hazelnut, vanilla, biscuits and crackers. It is roasty and slightly sweet. The hops smell a little medicinal. It is medium-bodied and pretty smooth. It's a little chewy and a little slick. It has a full dark roasty flavor. It starts with hazelnut and maybe vanilla, then it turns a bit salty and then bitter, like juniper. The flavor elements are all pretty independent. This is much better than the first time I rated it. That last bottle must've been skunked!
(rated Jan 8, 2008)

[First rating: 7 Aug /2007] Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter is a deep solid brown ale with a hue that's leaning toward aubergine. The head is tan in color, splotchy and lively. The retention is great. The aroma is very hard to miss: hazelnut and coffee with maybe something minty in there. It has a medium-light body with a dry, slightly numbing, finish. The flavor is not focused like the aroma. The coffee aroma doesn't translate to a roasty flavor here. Diacetyl is present. The flavor is a little... barfy. There is a chemical off-flavor here that I can't place, but can smell after I've tasted it. Is it skunked? A bad bottle? I've had this before and it was good. [Aroma: 7; Appearance: 4; Flavor: 4; Palate: 3; Overall: 9]

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Photo of TrevorGW
3.3/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this on-tap. Was shocked to see it on tap where I found it, so I figured I'd give it a try.

The body is fairly thin for a Porter. Not much follow-through from the grain bill. The Hazelnut flavor tastes authentic but it dominates too much. No hop detection.

I'm not sure that I would have this again. It is not a bad beer at all. The main problem is that you won't be able to stop feeling like you are drinking a stale iced coffee. It's a relative problem, but it will affect many drinkers.

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Photo of BDIMike
3.32/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a jet black color with no shades of any other color. There is very little carbonation that creates a bairly existent thin tan head, with a fair amount of retention.
Smell is slightly toned down. There is a good amount of hazelnut to the nose. The incredibly nutty smell dominates anything else in the smell.
Taste is also dominated by the hazelnut. I am not a big nut guy, but there is enough chocolate malt and slight hop to give a little more to this taste.
Mouthfeel is slightly thin for a porter. There is a bit of chewiness to it, making it not as smooth as I would like.
Drinkability is average. There is a good hazelnut taste to this beer. I do not like hazelnut too much, but if I were a fan I could see myself really enjoying this beer.

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Photo of stockingcpl
3.48/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This brew pours with a very thick head that sustains for quite a while. Extensice lacings. The color is a deep chocolate, almost ebony, and is semi-translucent. Excellent so far.

Smell: The aroma is sweet chocolate. Toasted malt is also present.

Taste: Amazingly deep roasted chocolate taste. Turing the sustain the hazelnut comes out. Really, quite an interesting porter flavor. Very well done.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation rolls well on the tongue and mixes with the chocolate to give quite a fonderful feel. By the time the carbonation tapers, the hazelnut kicks in. I was impressed. This is not so stout a porter as to be opressive.

Drinkability: The drinkability on this selection is quite high because the brew does not sit heavy on the stomache. The alcohol is fairly low, so the drinker is left wanting another. That in itself is good enough to rate this brew highly.


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Sea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter from Sea Dog Brewing Company
3.46 out of 5 based on 336 ratings.
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