Porter | Eel River Brewing Co.

264 Ratings
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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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 264 |  Reviews: 169
Photo of drpimento
4.35/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the easiest drinking beers ah eber did hav. Poured with a nice foamy, frothy, off white to light tan head and good lace. Aroma is straightforward and so easy. And good. Great body and carbonation. Not too deep or anything. Jus good beer. And finish.

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Photo of WJVII
3.27/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass this brew is a dark chocolate/cola color. It has a thin light brown head (even with an aggressive pour) that fizzled away to nothing. The aroma is a little sweet with coco, coffee, and some burnt malt notes. The taste was a little flat and had a mossy taste to it. There was some coffee and bitter hops in the front, but the finish was off still. This is an average porter and I really enjoy the style and seek it out so this was a little disappointing.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.82/5  rDev -21%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap at the Trappist in Oakland.

A: Pours a lightly translucent dark brown that seems black until the drink is finished enough to show its ruby-tinged clarity. Small cream-colored head; short retention, no lacing.

S: Typical porter smell: coffee-forward with chocolate, and roasted malts coming in last. Nothing too pungent or unique, but perfectly serviceable.

T: Same in the taste. Again, coffee-forward, but it is well supported by dark chocolate to produce a likeable first impression. The finish is roasty.

M: Medium-full bodied. Low carbonation. Watery in the finish.

D: I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. I can think of a few other options I'd prefer over this one.

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Photo of 1759Girl
3.61/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this at the new Hubert Keller Burger Bar in San Francisco. Served too cold, but once it warmed up the aroma was quite appealing.
Appearance> no head, no lacing, so dark you can hardly see its lackluster liveliness. Looks a lot like a glass of CocaCola which has been sitting on the table a while.
Smell> tootsie roll with hints of campfire smoke
Taste>tangy, smoky, bitter then sweet. Dark chocolate notes. Quite delicious.
Mouf> nice and easy.
Drinkability> I could stand another few.

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

Smells of roasted malts, semi-sweet chocolate and earthy hops. Pours to a barely translucent dark brown with no head! Strange! Mouthfeel is thick, with very light carbonation. Taste is roasted malts, slightly bitter throughout, with a more scotch ale type finish than a porter. No real aftertaste, but for some lingering bitterness that fades fast. For the smell and weight of this beer, the flavor kind of blows by without even saying hello! A good example of the style but not a standout by any means.

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Photo of Bung
3.28/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. Dark brown pour, nearly black. Limited cream head. Very chocolately aroma with some malt sweetness. Quite a bit of carbonation up front. Pretty mild in all aspects of flavor. Some chocolate, malt and earthyness, peat, grass. Finish is a bit light non-descript bitter, watery. The carbonation takes away from an already pretty weak pallete. Drinkability is good, but there isn't much going on here to make me want to drink many. More to the norm with organic brews, just pretty meh.

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Photo of sweetbrew82
2.22/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass/ no freshness date

P: Coca-cola brown with 3 fingers of tan foam that forms a pretty nice crown on top. The foam is thick and creamy, dense and firm, and shows good retention before it dissipates to form a thin skin on the surface. This looks pretty good.

A: Unfortunately, the nose lowers my expectations considerably. Lightly roasted malts, fudge, and coffee are there, but the aroma is pitifully weak. Even more concerning is that same weird sourness/funkiness that I first smelled in Bayhawk Ales Chocolate Porter (see review) that is not at all pleasant.

T: Well thankfully, it's nowhere near as bad as Bayhawk Ales' porter, but it ain't very good either. The fudge chocolate is there along with coffee, vanilla, and a slight hops presence, but it's so woefully under-malted that the roasted/burnt charcoal-like malts that are there seem really thin and flimsy. Lots of mineral notes underneath with a bit of a spicy hop kick on the finish. Just like the nose promised, the flavors are really weak, uninteresting, and very underwhelming. But at least the sour/funkiness is muted more than it was in the aroma. Not very good.

M: Eel River Organic Porter is medium-bodied, but with a smooth, kind of watery thin feel along with a moderate amount of carbonation. Furthermore, it has no creamy underbelly or even a slight amount of chewiness to speak of. Exactly the opposite of how I like my porters!

Notes: Well seeing as how this is my first brew from Eel River, I have no idea if this was a bad bottle, off batch, or if the brewery just simply makes beers that aren't to my liking. Whatever the case is, this beer sitting before me is a sad excuse for an American Porter. Now I'm feeling a bit apprehensive about trying the rest of their line.

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Photo of Inflames
4.13/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

So does organic make a difference? Yes and No. Yes because some will appreciate your effort and reward you by drinking your beverage. No because the beer is still the same flavor as non-organic. I like this brew because it is true to it's style with a little variance in the flavor. The color is a deep brown almost black. Aroma is is semi sweet bitter chocolate, coffee. It is light in weight but lingers long enough to get the full flavor. Tasty coffee flavored porter with a slight bitter from the hops. Very enjoyable especailly in this climate.

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Photo of mountdew1
4.22/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a dark coffee/cola color, with a light brown head. Head was foamy, but thin. Aroma was a slightly burnt mocha with a small bit of dark chocolate. Taste was burnt, very slightly oily. Brown sugar and cocoa sweet, with a bit of cola in the back end. A smidgen thin in the mouth, but not bad. Pleasant to drink, we down very well.

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Photo of CheapHysterics
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark brown, cola-colored, with a finger of nice off-white head that disappears rather quickly leaving minimal lacing.

S - Smell is pleasant but very basic, roasty malts with a hint of cocoa and a hint of hops.

T - sweet roasted malts, a little coffee, and a little hop bitterness on the finish. Simple, but very pleasing.

M - up front it's surprisingly crisp, with sharp carbonation, followed by a smooth finish. At first this was actually a little off-putting, but it became increasingly pleasant as I drank it.

D - I could gladly drink a few these in a sitting.

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Photo of russpowell
3.87/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours mahogany with 1 finger of tan head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Coffee, toasted malt & not much else

T: Cocoa, roasted grains, coffee & bit of herbal hops up front. Roasted grain, coffee & dryness are there as this warms, plus a hint of vanilla. Finishes dry, toasty & with more coffee

MF: Pretty creamy, medium bodied & smooth

Pretty easy drinking porter, not great but solid & sessionable enough

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Photo of dennarb
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I just had my first Eel River Porter tonight and I really enjoyed it. A tan three quarter inch head atop a dark brown body suggested a Storm King with a lower alcohol level. The aroma is not very pronounced but it has a nice fresh nutty quality. The taste is really balanced, not very hoppy, not a trace of esters but really satisfying in its semi-dry, decidedly malty quality with a bit of espresso thrown in for depth. This is a convivial beer that went well with mussels and steak and fries. But there doesn't seem any reason why two or three wouldn't taste fine on their own.

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Photo of TexIndy
3.03/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. No dating info. It was a dark brown with ruby highlights. A few stray carb streams and no lacing. It had an average sized light tan head that quickly settled into a partial barely there collar.

The aroma started out good while being poured with coffee, chocolate and some sweet malt. But within a couple minutes, the aroma was completely gone. Even a good swirl barely brought up any smell. Odd. The taste was muted as well. Starts off weak and stays there while drinking and then several seconds after swallowing you get some flavor in the aftertaste. The base taste was good but you really had to concentrate to taste it. If they could amp it up multiple times it could be really good. With no dating info, I don't know if it's just the way it is or if this one is really old.

Overall, a major disappointment. The initial aroma promised great things but it and the flavor soon departed. Don't recommend. One and done unless I find a free/easy resample.


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Photo of albern
3.96/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a really fine porter. The ABV on the bottle lists this as 5.8% ABV, so the BA number is off. The beer pours a very nice dark, slightly dull brown, touch mahogany colored. The head is tan, not prodigious but good, with minimal lacing. The nose is cocoa powder, some leafy hop presence, some cardboard as well. The nose is okay.

The taste is really creamy and there is a significantly oily residue in the mouth with this beer. The beer is very nicely balanced, there are some drying and slightly bittering oily hop throughout the mid section of the beer. There is a cocoa flavor to the beer, a slightly dry semi sweet chocolateness, some mocha hints in there as well. There is a slight floral sweetness hidden underneath and it interacts very nicely with the oily hop bitterness. The beer is reasonably complex, very nicely put together, well balanced, and nice and creamy. The beer is medium bodied and I appreciated the oily mouthfeel. This is a good find. L'Chaim.

Update Oct. 2009: The latest bottle had significantly more lacing, actually it laces really well. There is a very drying cocoa powder taste to the beer, some balancing hops, but not as much sweetness underneath. I think I'm tasting a fresher bottle this time around. This is a really nice porter, less sweet than I remember it, more of the chalky cocoa powder, with a nice oily mouthfeel. I'm adding points.

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Photo of mdwalsh
2.9/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A: The dark tan head on this beer got up to about 2 fingers, then quickly subsided to less than one and is holding. The beer is black with a red core when held up to light. It's too dark to tell anything about active carbonation or anything like that.

S: Not much going on here, some hops, some malt, sort of smells like saltwater though, not sure what that is all about. All in all, nothing really to talk about here

T: Black patent malt maybe? Roasted for sure, perhaps roasted unmalted. Sort of acidic, comparable to a watered down RIS than a porter with color achieved through lots of more subtle things.

M: Not to thick, not to thin, the right amount of carbonation as well. Probably the best part of this beer

D: The more I drink it the more it makes me think of old coffee, I will not be getting this beer again.

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Photo of Risser09
3.69/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a goblet - fridge - 2008

Appearance: A pitch black beer that has no other highlights. The head is tan in color and reaches 2.5" at it's peak. It shows decent retention and leaves lots of lace on the glass.

Smell: Some chocolate, coffee and sweet malt. This aroma isn't very strong.

Taste: Robust with coffee, chocolate and toasted malt. Lots of cereal grain flavor, almost like an oatmeal stout that gives a lot of mouthfeel.

Mouthfeel: Very sweet and smooth. Probably one of the best mouthfeels for a beer that I've had this year. Silky smooth. No noticeable alcohol. Mildly carbonated.

Drinkability: Quite nice. A great porter that you could drink a lot of. I'm glad I got a chance to try this beer. I would session with this lovely brew. Recommended.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.62/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, dark brown with deep garnet highlights. Not much of a head at all. The aroma Medium roasted malts, light coffee and even lighter cocoa. Taste starts creamy then roasted malts. Creamy coffee in the middle and some powdery feeling chocolate powder in the middle. This beer is easy to drink, but a little watery, and somewhat unbecoming.

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Photo of webbcreative
3.63/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured Brown with tan head. Aroma is nutty, and of dark coffee.
Taste is the same, nutty and a bit high on the coffee profile, but good. Hops are not noticeable. Mouthfeel is med, and really smooth!

Overall this is a really good porter, not great, but good.

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

Eel River makes an astonishing number of brews. They are a solid brewery with a good reputation, and for good reason: they make good beers. This porter is no exception. The aroma is very pleasant, with a nuttiness lingering behind the roasted grain that greets you first. The hop aroma is not noticeable. the flavor has a nice roasted and caramel taste. again, hops not noticeable in the flavor. astringent mouthfeel, with high carbonation. i'm glad i poured this one tonight!


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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

A: The beer is a dark brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of roasted coffee beans, dark malts, chocolate and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty and creamy up front with flavors of black coffee, milk chocolate and a touch of dark fruit. There's a mild hops presence that brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, I was expecting a lot from this beer but was nicely surprised to find it to be a solid beer worth drinking for a while.

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

Moderate head with staying power. Decent sticky lace on the glass. Color is dark brown with the smallest amount of light to pass and still be noticeable.

Mild dried cocoa powder aroma. Some chalk. Notes of (hazel)nuts and vanilla.

A tasty and drinkable porter. The body is thinner than most porters. The nuttiness and cocoa prevail. I don't detect any hop bitterness, so this is a malty porter. Good to style.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown color with a real-deal Holyfield cap of tanned bubbles. Tall and strong. Decent retention and pretty nice lacing.

The nose is overpowered by a sour, funky aroma. Patent and roasted malt also check in. The flavor is similarly laden with chocolate, hints of coffee and even vanilla bean noes. A little bit of hoppy bitterness towards the end keeps it from being one-dimensional.

The mouthfeel is thin and a little astringent. Okay smoothness, carbonation is on point, but that sourness factor is still there. Not too big on Eel River's brews right now, but if organic's a requirement, this gives you a little boost from the dark side.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.78/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a clear but quite dark brown. Thin tan head. Nose is malty sweet. Kind of a caramel tone on there too. Flavor is interesting. I like it. Nice caramel tones. Minimal roasted qualities. Also minimal chocolate tones as well. Feel is good. The carbonation bites a bit, but who cares. I like this porter. Could go for more than one of these.

Edit: And just like the IPA, really gets nicer as it warms. The chocolate tones really start to show more and more.

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Photo of mjl21
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. No bottling info is given. Comes in at 5.8%.

A-Pours a dark brown with some red when pressed to the light. A darker version of Coke. Has a nice one finger off white head that sticks around.

S-Lightly roasted malts with some caramale sweetness.

T-Has a surprisingly sweet taste upfront and in the finish. In some ways it reminds me of a milk stout but not as creamy. Definite tastes of chocolate and roast malt.

M-Medium bodied. Sweet and does not dry out the tongue.

D-Very good drinking beer. Won't leave you feeling stuffed.

I always order this at my favorite Indian food place. Works very well with the spicy curries that I tend to order. It's also organic.

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Photo of nsmartell
3.59/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. From the 12oz bottle to an imperial pint glass.

Appearance: A dark brownish/red color with no head at all.

Smell: Roasted malt with a hint of coffee.

Taste: More roasted malt, coffee, and bread.

Mouthfeel: Thin to medium-bodied, but went down with a nice coating. Was looking for a bit more body here.

Drinkability: The best organic beer I have tried yet. Would definitely try again.

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