Eel River Brewing Co.

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American Porter
Ranked #1,076
Ranked #41,676
3.6 | pDev: 13.06%
Eel River Brewing Co.
California, United States
Notes: Six malts perfectly blend in this rich, smooth beer. A deep, malty body dominates this Porter with notes of baking chocolate and dark caramel backed by a subtle hint of domestic organic hops.
Reviews: 170 | Ratings: 277 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of unlikelyspiderperson
4.2/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out a 12 oz bottle into an widemout mason jar. Pours a very dark copper, clarity comes through when held up to the light. Nice head with a beige color that leaves a nice lacing on the sides of the glass. The smell is pleasantly malty, sweet and roasty. Taste is rich and roasty, hints of roasted nuts balanced by a mild bitterness. This beer hints and the thick and heavy stouts but plays lightly on the tongue. The maltiness of the front end is cleaned up nicely by the crisp back end. I never know what to expect from a porter, some seem like light stouts and others like brown ales. This one definitely drinks like a crisp brown. I tend towards the heavier when drinking dark beers but this is a very pleasantly crisp beer.

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Photo of nick_perry
3.7/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aroma notes of coffee, although I don’t taste it. Malty, carbonated, and a bit dry. Bit of a chocolate aftertaste. Good representation of the porter style. All of Eel River’s beers are USDA Certified Organic, and they claim to be the 1st brewery in the US of this distinction.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.14/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Comes in a relatively thin brown color and an even more thin head 1/5", lighter brown in color and small bubbled in texture. Usual suspects of chocolate and coffee from the malt roasting. Roast more than coffee and chocolate perceptible.

Taste hits those usual notes and a small amount of licorice/dark fruit bitterness. Has a red wine edge to it. Could use more two row, thicken this guy up. Hops discernable, cascade probably. Call this an equal parts blend between porter and imperial brown ale.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.97/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This nice porter pours a medium dark mahogany with a modest head of off white foam that settles to a thin ring and spotty lacing. Nose of dark sweet cocoa, coffee notes galore, and subtle dark sugars with some light fruit notes. Flavors follow the nose with cocoa and cream laden coffee on the front and middle, dark roasted malts hit nicely on the sides, and blend in on the rear with some light banana notes from the yeast which is a pleasant surprise that mixes nicely with a touch of cream. Very nice mouth feel, medium high carbonation is lively and crisp cutting through the dark libation making it highly quaff-able with a lightly bitter malt finish and a touch of herbal hops. Overall an excellent brew that exceeds most of the organic brews out there.


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Photo of gandres
3.16/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

12 ounce bottle to wine glass
A: black(dark brown if against the light) liquid brown foam that disappears quickly
A: no aroma on the nose, drink:licorice grains
T: lightly bitter
MF: creamy, lively carbonation, long nice finish
OA: good beer, ok to repeat, not to look for
Drank: April 23, 2016

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Photo of Nehal
4.27/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very good porter with slightly muted smell. Poured 1 inch head. It opens up more when you let it rest and warm up a bit. Very malty with hints of toffee and peatiness. This can go great with steak or even jambalaya.

Definitely will look for it again.

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Photo of Auraan
3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a gorgeous black with reddish brown highlights and one finger of bubbly tan head. Overall impression of appearance is of a classic porter, well done. Scents of iron, hard water, caramel, light roasted malt, light fruity esters, moderate notes of dark chocolate and coffee with cream. Overall impression of aroma is of a nice brown Porter, a bit sweeter than a standard Porter. Quite nice. Flavor begins modestly sweet with notes of caramel blending with notes of roasted malt, nutty malt and coffee with cream. Middle opens up notes of toffee and more abundant roasted malt. Finish is looking gently dry with notes of caramel mingling with toffee, nutty malt, roast malt and dark chocolate. Aftertaste is roast malt. Overall impression of flavor is of a true to style brown Porter, more sweet malt balancing roast than in a standard Porter, not bad. Mouthfeel is light bodied with high carbonation and a chalky feel. Overall impression of mouthfeel is of a nice Porter, quite good. Overall this is a fine Porter. It hits the style for a brown Porter nicely and is quite pleasant to drink. Nicely sessionable, quite flavorful and wonderfully aromatic. Well worth trying.

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Photo of Jeffsta1
3.8/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a pretty darn good porter.

Dark black/brown color, usual tan head.

The smell is the only thing that isn't good about this beer: stale, stinky, unwholesome. Just not good.

Taste is mild, wholesome, malty, not oversweet, hints of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is fine. Just like a porter should be.

Overall I like this porter, I'd drink it again. I wouldn't serve it to people who have a keen sense of smell, because yuck. But once you get past that, this is a nice, sessionable porter.

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Photo of Mike_Aguirre
4.14/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice american porter, looks, smells and tastes according to style, easy to drink and enjoyable. Organic characteristic of this beer makes it very expensive in Mexico.

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Photo of Furlinator
3.6/5  rDev 0%

Pours opaque dark brown with cola edges. The 1/2 inch khaki head fades to a thin cap and ring on top and leaves strands of lace.

The smell is rather muted and consists of cocoa, faint vanilla and dark malt.

The taste is of malt, coffee, cocoa and toffee.

The texture is medium bodied with medium carbonation.

A solid (if not exceptional) example of an American porter.

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.83/5  rDev +6.4%

The beer pours, from the bottle, a very dark, essentially black, liquid with decent dishwater foam. The aroma is railed with with darkly roasted malt--cocoa and chocolate--but there is some dark fruit which sweetens the scent. Surprisingly light on the palate. The organic malt doesn't weigh this thing down, nor does alcohol which is quite low. No strong flavors on the palate, but you know your drinking a porter as the rivulets quickly move toward the gullet.

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Cola brown with a tan half finger head that dissipates to a foam ring. Ample lacing.

S: Cocoa nibs, malts, chocolate.

T: Espresso combines with chocolate and cocoa. Smooth and robust. Sweet. A well rounded porter.

M: medium with medium carbonation. Foamy.

O: I wasn't really expecting much from this one, but Eel River really delivers a nice porter. Lush, rich, satisfying.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.64/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a quickly fading head.
Nose shows some chocolate, a little roasted malt, some faint coffee. Appetizing.
Relatively subtle flavours, some roast and soft liquorice but little else. A bit of acidity from the roast.
Nice moderate carbonation.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.78/5  rDev +5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Eel River Certified Organic Porter has an extremely thin, beige, cola-type, fizzy head, an opaque, dark, red-brown appearance, some visible bubbles, and suspended particulate matter, and no lacing left behind. The aroma is of sweet, chocolatey, dark-roasted barley malt, with a touch of coffee. Taste is of all that, with a slight vegetable note. Mouthfeel is light to medium and a bit powdery, and Eel River Porter finishes dry, powdery, rich, and mellow. Overall, this is quite good.


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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.56/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Tiny streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt, cocoa, and cookie dough aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and slight char flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast 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 with a solid roasty presence all around.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.74/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a thin tan head on a light brown body. Almost no head retention.
The aroma is roasted malt. Mild, but nice.
The taste is well balanced, roasted malt, lemon bitterness and chocolate roll around together.
The texture is pretty smooth with low to moderate carbonation.
Aside from the initial poor appearance, this is a good porter.

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Photo of hayesjw
3.92/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The season of porters must have began here in San Francisco.

Winter of 2013-2014 appears to have an abundance of porters to select from.
Brewers and serving establishments are embracing this ale and its Baltic origin with robust and spirituos creations. This Eel River Porter is available year round.

A - served draft in a pint glass. Lacing present throughout embibement. Color is a rich opaque brown with flitered clarity.

S - caramel and vanilla.

T - balance of malt and hops with caramalized mocha taste.

M - full sensorary mouth coating experience.

O - easy to consume porter with moderate APV compared to its imperal cousins. Well done Eel River.

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Photo of mactrail
2.7/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Color is kind of an amberish brown in the wine glass. I can't fault the nice head and fizzy mouthfeel.

Hoping for some malt flavors but this is quite thin and on the harsh side. Watery body. Some roasted malt flavors but more of a dishwater taste. A hint of winey feeling. Bitterish aftertaste without any hoppy pleasures. Odd dirty aftertaste.

This doesn't taste like a Porter to me, and it seems like a low-hop amber with a murky flavor. From the 22 oz bottle bought at the market in Trinidad, California.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.67/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

5.8% ABV confirmed. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with decent label art and "USDA Organic" branded pry-off cap acquired at a bottle shop in Santa Monica for $1.69 and served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I can't remember being blown away by the brewery but I'm in the mood for a porter.

Served cold, straight from the fridge, and allowed to warm somewhat over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a two finger head of light khaki colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Pretty good (~3-4 minute) retention. No bubble show. Little lacing. No "legs."

Body colour is a very dark ruby-brown; it might appear black to some, but look closer. Opaque, but quasitranslucent; it glows somewhat at the right angle of observation. No yeast particles are visible.

A bit off for a porter, but ultimately pretty standard. Not unique or special. No overt flaws. The colour is a bit weird.

Sm: Chocolate malt is dominant. Oats, light cream, dark malts. Buried unevocative roast. No yeast or alcohol is detectable. Maybe some stale coffee? A mild strength aroma for the style. Not very impressive, but passable. It's a biteen suspect, but I'm optimistic.

T: Chocolate malts, oats, stale coffee, dark malts. Light cream. No real roast. No hop profile is noticeable. No yeast or alcohol comes through. Quite simple; lacks complexity and subtlety. Balance is okay, but leaves a lot to be desired. I'm underwhelmed. There's just not much happening here. Why brew this? Subpar flavour intensity and flavour duration. Not much depth of flavour. Meh.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Decent carbonation. Okay presence on the palate. Okay thickness. Doesn't really suit the flavour profile all that well, but it's passable. Not great at facilitating flavour delivery.

Dr: The organic beer gimmick seems to be supporting this brewery. It's quite an underwhelming beer. I certainly wouldn't get it again, though in its defense it isn't that egregiously overpriced. A disappointment from Eel River. Wouldn't recommend it to friends. Meh.

High C-

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Photo of The_Blind_Commissioner
3.96/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A high quality, toasty porter. I taste licorice, which I do not usually like, but when it is combined with the malty, roasted taste, it all comes together very well. I can see why this beer is award winning; it is definitely one of the greater porters I have had.

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Photo of Ford
3.83/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a regular pint glass.

This has all the flavors I expect form a porter... because it's a porter.

This is a really easy to drink beer. I don't think of Porter being session type beers, but this one almost seems like it could be. Nothing is overpowering anything else.

I think it's really good and I'm going to be looking to pick up a six pack of this soon.

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Photo of Lawl3ss
3.15/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Lightly chilled 22 oz. bomber into a 12 oz stemless tulip. No visible bottling date.

Look- Brown-ruby brown, transparent. Three fingers of loose head, dissipates after a minute or so.

Smell- Nougaty, intensely malty, sweet. Smells like malta or similar.

Taste- What do you know, it tastes like malta as well. Not as sweet as expected, maple, toasty, nutty, cola-like. Mild hop bitterness, leafy character comes out towards the end. Light roasty finish, almost charred, aftertaste is mineral but subtle.

Mouthfeel- Prickly carbonation despite a vigorous pour, still comes off as fairly smooth. Body average for the style.

Overall- Well executed but nothing special. I could take it or leave it.

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Photo of rickyleepotts
2.5/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I had this beer a few months ago… and I don't remember much about it. I had a long day today, and I am sore, so regardless what it tastes like, a beer is needed tonight. When I first tried this, I did know it was organic… but I didn't realize that Eel River was the first certified organic brewery in the United States. Learn something new every day. Now, let's drink.

In the Glass: For a porter, it's not as dark as I expected. It has a tan head, a light tan head, and a weak lace. Now that I think about it… I don't really know what makes a beer organic. Anyway, the beer doesn't look like a porter in the glass.

Nose: It smells like a porter! Man, that smells good. I am getting some dark chocolate notes, and am really digging the aroma. A second sniff, while it still smells like a porter, is changing a little bit in the nose. It is a complex aroma, and while not overpowering, it's nice and malty.

Flavor: The flavor is just OK. Actually, it's not even OK. It's pretty bad. It tastes like rusty copper. Imagine a dirty penny you find on the ground… put that in your mouth. That's what this beer tastes like. I am going to blame that on the fact it's organic… and while that might not have anything to do with it, I haven't had an organic beer that I like. The burp isn't much better. This beer smells a LOT better than it tastes.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is that of a typical porter… thin, and moving quickly across the palate. I just heard Sheryl say, "I kind of like it." Not sure why… because I can't dig anything but the aroma… and that's decent at best. I really don't want to dog a beer like this, especially coming from such a historic brewery.

Aftertaste: There isn't much of an aftertaste. With a porter, I expect that smoky… somewhat chocolatey aftertaste, and why those chocolate notes stick around for a little while… they are quickly gone again.

Hey, it's cool that this is the first certified organic brewery in the United States. But this beer just doesn't do it for me. I have been getting into bigger more malty beers lately, and I expected this to impress me… it didn't. Oh well, they can't all be good!

Eel River Organic Porter - The bottle says: "NA"

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Photo of azorie
3.03/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a: did a hard 45 degree angle pour, got a decent 1.5 inches of dark brown head. the body of the beer is a dark cola color.

s: nice chocolate nose, and some decent malt, no yeast much hit me. about it.

Taste: slightly chalk, bitter after taste. the beer is ok, a tad more hoppy than i like. You get some dark malt and chocolate, maple like favors. it is ok beer.

m: light to medium body, after taste not to my likely. semi flat carbonation on some bottles:

O: well nothing to write home about, at 9 bucks a sixer, its a the high end of my price range. Nothing I would buy again for that price tbh. and certified organic means nothing to me. I brew beer all the time my all grain porter recipes and I can beat this beer in my sleep.

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Photo of williamjbauer
3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at the Eel River brewery

A - Nice dark black with a bit of ruby tint with a 2 finger ecru foamy head with good retention and moderate lacing.

S - Faint chocolate and roasted barley.

T - Weak start but big roasted barley, choc and espresso followed by a moderately bitter finish.

M - Medium body, moderate-low carbonation, smooth.

O - Not a bad effort, one of their better organics.

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Porter from Eel River Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 277 ratings