Porter | Eel River Brewing Co.

264 Ratings
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
Eel River Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Certified Organic

Added by Reidrover on 07-12-2003

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 264 |  Reviews: 169
Photo of wcross
1.8/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This is really, really, weak porter, and is consistently bad. I keep buying it thinking that it will get better, but it always seems to disappoint. Sorry Eel River, but I'm over it. Weak head, watery mouthfeel, slightly roasty, off flavors in the aftertaste. Peace out - lots of other fish in the sea.

 301 characters

Photo of oberon
3.72/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass a deep cola color with a thinner almond colored head,it held well but there wasnt much to it.Aromas are quited roasted with some earth and bitter chocolate,the roast is well defined.Somewhat prickly and a little thin in the feel department,flavors are dominated by roast,not much sweetness just a light molasses note in the finish.Eh,its pretty ho hum,not much complity but with good roast,not something to search out but not bad.

 464 characters

Photo of alleykatking
2.03/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from 12oz bottle. Review from notes...

A- Pours a reddish brown color. The red hues show up a lot when held up to the light. One finger tan head dies down rather quickly. Some light soapy like lacing that falls into the glass.

S- Light roasted malts. Some coffee and light chocolate...not much else to be honest. This porter seems to be a baby porter at best.

T- Metallic bite from the get go that lasts through and through. Some light roasted malts in the front. A chocoalte sweetness hits the middle but even this is faint..could be the metallic taste I have on my palate. Watered down coffee flavor in the backing.

M- Light mouthfeel. Cabonation is good for the style. Flavors were watered down it felt like. Metallic flavors left on the palate and long into the aftertaste. Alcohol not drying at all on the palate. Just watered down and muddled in the aftertaste.

D- This beer is lacking most of the things I think it would take to be a porter. Could this be because it's organic? Who knows for sure...don't really care to drink this one ever again though.

 1,075 characters

Photo of beertunes
3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a translucent brown, with slight reddish tint, with about 1/4 inch of tan head that had a moderate rate of dissipation and left just light lacing.

The aroma was fairly typical, nice roast and malt scents. The flavor was similar but had surprising little hop tang on the finish. The body was nice, a bit thinner than some, a bit fuller than others. Drinkability was good, smooth, clean and easy.

Overall, this is a nice little beer, worth trying if you see it. The fact that it's organic is a nice bonus.

 536 characters

Photo of mytireisfat
4.32/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P: Came in a 22 oz bomber. Bottle had no best by date. It also lets you know its Organic about 5 different times on the bottle and cap. in case i guess you have your doubts. Ingredients: Water, Organic malted barley, Organic hops, Yeast.

A: Little head, which was a brown color head. dissipates quick also. little lacing. Brew was a dark brown color.

S: Lots of Coffee and roasted malts there. and i was picking up a bit of a sour smell too.

T: Strong coffee, and roasted malt. didn't get much else out of it.

M: Medium body. High carbonation.

D: Easy to drink, great organic beer. ill buy again!

 601 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Eel River Organic Porter

Be Natural, reads the pint glass, Drink Naked. Sorry, I'm keeping all my clothes on for this one.

Clear, reddish brown...not quite dark enough when up to the light, for the porter lover.

Cocoa/tan head, slim to none, goes down to a thin ring in no time.

Aroma: light cocoa, hints of coffee, not bad, of course, but nothing much to talk about...

Taste: medium-bodied, with a thin finish. Small bitterness, intangible sweetness, just a bit of cocoa in the malt, tiniest hop presence. Strange mineral-y, metallic flavor hangs on the palate, and won't be shook.

This actually feels better in the mouth the more I drink. Gets rounder, a little fuller, and tastier, too. Odd mineral-y, metallic flavor gets more minor, but remains. Feels almost too clean, seems to be the case with many organic beers, they're just missing something.

Not a bad beer, definitely drinkable, but doesn't deliver all that I desire or demand in a porter. Passable, but I wouldn't pick this up again.

 1,006 characters

Photo of LXIXME
4.11/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, clean dark brown with a big rich light brown head, looks very enticing. The aroma is weak but still a very nice roasted chocolaty maltiness to it.

The taste comes through similar to the aroma with a nice roasted chocolaty malt taste, but the taste has more to it than the aroma does, very pleasing, after an initial weak nose I was afraid it was going to be lacking in taste but it redeems itself nicely, even leaves a light chocolaty dry aftertaste.

I think it would be quite easy to knock back a 6'er of these.

 530 characters

Photo of Parrotbeak
3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Mahogany with a thin, tan head that fades rather quickly, becoming patchy.
Smell is light, chocolatey malts with some cocoa up front. Faint coffee and milk chocolate. A tiny bit of hops present as well.
Taste is malts and slightly bitter chocolate up front. More faint coffee and cocoa, along with some more mild chocolate come in after. Tiny bit of hops come in a tad near the middle. Some faint caramel tones at the finish.
Mouthfeel is fairly crisp, with a moderate level of carbonation. A bit watery.
While overall it's a lackluster beer, it's an easy enough beer to drink. Just nothing too enticing with this one to make me want to go for another.

 652 characters

Photo of biglite351
3.72/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - a bit of light around the edges. Tight foam but it vanished rather quickly.

S - a nice full scent that makes you want to take a sip.

T - full and warm, but a little light. Slight bitterness in the after taste.

M - not thin but not quite creamy, somewhere in the middle. Mild alcohol like tingle in the after taste.

D - its overall mildness but decent flavor make this quite drinkable over a full night. However, if I was just having one brew I would probably go with something a bit stronger.

 500 characters

Photo of hosehead83
3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass
Cola-brown in color, with a decent, off-white/tan head of foam
Aroma-Faint coffee and chocolate
Taste-Quick burst of roasted coffee, hints of chocolate, roasted malts linger in the background
Overall, a decent, average porter. Would be an affordable entry-level porter for newbies

 334 characters

Photo of Golden
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured this into wide mouthed glass

Appearance: Not as dark as a usual porter.

Smell: coffee, but very weak

Taste: wee biter with nice roasted taste

Mouthfeel: good carbonation but would enjoy more viscosity

Drinkability: light and drinkable porter

 253 characters

Photo of bcm119
3.22/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown, minimal tan lace. Roasty aroma with a bit of wood smoke and char. Simple roasted malt flavor, on a thinnish body with some prickly carbonation and minerals. Hops are mild and barely support the roasted malt, but come through in the finish just enough to taste a little leafy greenery. Overall its a little one-sided, watery, and unremarkable.

 359 characters

Photo of SLeffler27
3.18/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The pint glass pairs well with the big mocha froth, as it turns rocky and slowly drops patchy sticky lace over the dark brown, almost black porter with ample carbonation.

Eel River has captured the expected molasses and chocolate syrup, but missed the deep roasted aromas. There is some orange, and unfortunately Band-Aid in here too. This one starts nicely, but loses its appeal before finishing the glass.

There is more coffee here than chocolate, and it lacks the complexity of layers that I prefer in this style. The finish does bring out some roasted bitterness from the malt, as it lingers in the back of the throat.

As expected, this has a light to medium body. The soft carbonation is in contrast with the appearance, but in line with the style, and there are some metallic notes, alone with a watery texture.

While this is relatively easy to drink, right after pouring, oxygen and temperature make a mess of it before I can finish the glass. I suppose if one were looking for something to drink in quick gulps, this would rate better, but for me it misses the mark.

I don't understand why organic beers tend to be less enjoyable, especially when most organic foods are superior. Perhaps brewers need more time to work-out the intricacies of these ingredients, perhaps the cost of acquiring a consistent quality of ingredients is holding them back, but it will be nice when a broader selection meets my expectations.

 1,429 characters

Photo of Ricochet
2.52/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Black, no head , no lace, no carbonation that was noticed

S: Black licorice, more candy like burnt grain and chocolate with a fruity note

M: Thick and creamy at the top. Burnt toast aftertaste going down. Slight bitter.

T: Burnt toast, musty old fruitiness, slight celery remainder. Waxy chocolate flavor and very acidic.

These are not the flavors I like in a good porter. Second Eel River beer I've tried where bread is a strong flavor. It's odd. One and done for me.

 477 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.28/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a thin dark brown, minimal head. Aroma imparts chocolate/coffee.

Taste is choco/coffee/licorice, is that . . . grape? Or is the alcohol making me think wine? Not the thickest porter by any means. Kind of thin. Hoppy though. Drinkability, eh, it kind of sits on the fence. Strong for a brown, not as strong for a porter.

 327 characters

Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A straight pour produced two and a half fingers of a foamy, light tan head. The color is almost black, but is probably closer to ruby brown (like the brewer website says).

Smell: A little weak, but it has a nice scent of coffee that balances well with cocoa. There are also hints of vanilla and caramel.

Taste: The taste is surprisingly faint, like it's reaching from the back, but it's still there and tasty enough. Another reviewer said it tasted like cola, and I think it has that cola taste experience. It matches the smell: dominant coffee with hints of cocoa, and vanilla. There's not much caramel, though.

Drinkability: It's really watered down, but it's still an OK beer. There are definitely better porters and stouts out there.

 752 characters

Photo of OldSchoolGamer
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is my second Eel River brew. I was impressed with their Akai Berry, so I have pretty high hopes for their Porter. Here is my review:

A: Pours a dark brown, ruby red. Not opaque or thick like a Stout. Head is nice and creamy with a long duration.

S/T: I get primarily coffee and roasted malts in the aroma. Flavor follows suit. Decent amount of roasted malts and coffee along with a caramel and toffee character. Very tame flavor. Nothing too intense or complex.

M/D: Very light bodied for a Porter. Slightly creamy in the mouth. Drinkability is very good due to the moderate alcohol and lighter body.

This is a decent Porter. Nothing outstanding, but it gets the job done. Worth checking out if you like Porters. Plus its Organic.

 740 characters

Photo of mgbickel
3.2/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a standard pint glass. Formed a thin 1/2 finger tan head that receded quickly leaving no signs of life behind. The body is very dark brown with amber edges when backlit.

The nose has chocolate and molasses up front with vanilla and creamy coffee in the background. This all sits on a sweet and toasty malt backbone.

Taste: Sweet malts up front give way to a molasses middle. Finishes with a (very) tiny bitter pinch. The aftertaste has roasted malts and coffee flavors. Note: this beer seemed to get "weaker" tasting as it warmed...odd...

The mouth feel is medium and creamy with mild carbonation.

This is drinkable, but not my favorite offering of the style.

 675 characters

Photo of Pahn
3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

Appearance: 1/3 inch off-white head, dissipates quickly into a fluffy ring around the glass. Pours very dark opaque brown, just a shade under black, with the edges a more translucent and slightly lighter brown. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Licorice, cola, some sweet coffee and chocolate. Blends well.

Taste: Starts with a sharp, cola flavor tempered by smoke (I say 'tempered' because I hate cola and like this), ending with a nice, sticky roasted malt. As it warms, some sweet coffee and chocolate come out, as well as the smallest hint of grape. I love the subtle roasted flavor in the finish. No element of the flavor is aggressive, and the taste isn't very complex. However, each one of the understated flavors (especially the malt at the end) is good.

Mouthfeel: Too thin and carbonated for me, but decent.

Drinkability: Good. The flavors are solid and the 5.8% ABV is not very noticeable.

I don't know how thick or thin the line between bland and pleasantly subtle is, but for me this beer lands squarely on the side of the latter. An enjoyable porter.

 1,092 characters

Photo of Bulkman
3.36/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a goblet with minimal head, no lacing. Dark brown in color.

Strong aroma of roasted malt, with some coffee.

Tastes of coffee & dark chocolate with moderate bitter flavor. Lacks complexity.

Just below medium in body, with moderate carbonation.

Easy to drink only because there is no alcohol presense & flavor is lacking somewhat. I would deem this a very average beer.

 397 characters

Photo of rtratzlaff
3.62/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a pitch black body with ruby highlights and a tan one finger head that sticks around well leaving minimal lacing

Aromas are of dark chocolate, coffee, and loads of dark malts. Not much going on in the hops department.

Initial flavors are sweet chocolate upfront with a roast coffee finish. Some licorice notes show up as well.

The mouthfeel is rather creamy with low carbonation. I allowed this to warm quite a bit and the mouthfeel is rather chewy even with the first sip.

For a porter at 5.8 abv this is a decent choice. It is a bit sweet for my liking, but others would love that quality.

 611 characters

Photo of WesWes
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark brown color with a 1/2" tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a stiff roasted malt scent along with a nice chocolate malt aroma. The taste is decent. It has a thin roasted malt flavor that almost tastes burnt. There is a nice caramel sweetness as well as a bone dry finish. The mouthfeel is average. It is a medium/full bodied beer with way too much carbonation. This is an above average porter. The mouthfeel is horrible and it's a bit thinner than I prefer.

 507 characters

Photo of popery
4.08/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

An enjoyable if not memorable porter. This beer pours a brownish mahogany with a nice beige head. The aroma is a bit muted, in my opinion. There are notes of sugar cane, chocolate and some light hops. The flavor is a tad too sweet but quite satisfying. The mouthfeel is creamy and rich. It's a very easy beer to drink. There's quite a bit of flavor for the size of the beer.

 374 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.04/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Porters just don't get more aromatic than this. A huge burst of cocoa, malted milk, heavy roast coffee, nuttiness, vanilla, and not much else. The quality of the roast make me think more Stout than Porter.

Flavor on the other hand, definately balance better between the roasted and chocolate character. Intensity of flavor also regresses from the aggressive notes found in the nose. While there are no off flavors to note with the beer, the beer takes on a simplified profile that exempts esters or abundance of hops. As the beer warms, a pleasant roundness of sherry comes into play, speaking of the aged character of the beer that helps instead of hurts.

Creamy and full up front but the carbonation disipates soon enough and leaves the beer a bit thinner and lighter than I wanted. Still, a good beer. For an American Porter, I need a more assertive hop character but the beer suits me well with its large aroma and creamy character at least for the first half of the glass.

 979 characters

Photo of Magpie14
3.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: the body has some heavy darkness that melds brown and umber with a tangerine hue. It looks fairly dark from the distance and maybe even a touch murky as pockets of lethargic bubbles move upwards. A short lived blob of mocha foam came to fruition with soapy bubbles mixed throughout, that is about it. Nothing is adhering to the glass, pretty standard look

S: dry chocolate, earthy 'n' woody, vanilla, and decent malts. What is most notable is a very light tangy doughiness gracing every whiff I take

T: this is a good porter. The headliners are the malts, roasted cocoa seeds, and pinch of vanilla. Malts even tackle a faint charred and blackened profile that is held in check by chocolate drizzled coffee grounds and a few flaked oats on a piece of toast. As noted earlier, my nose detected a tangy whiff, it is no where to be found on the palate. However, I might include this mystery tanginess to permeate in the form of a lightly dry and bitter finish

M: medium body and good carbonation levels. A close relative to Mr. Creamy in the Feel family. The "toast" character has me thinking more of an English type of porter, I like this beer

D: a fine and dandy porter. Very drinkable and I am happy with my selection and sampling of this Eel River brew

 1,259 characters

Porter from Eel River Brewing Co.
3.57 out of 5 based on 264 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.