Porter | Eel River Brewing Co.

168 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 168 | Ratings: 261
Photo of rickyleepotts
2.5/5  rDev -29.8%
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 -14.9%
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 -0.8%
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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Photo of sulldaddy
3.33/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Cellar temp bottle poured into a pint glass.
The beer pours a cola brown hue with fizzy tan head foaming up .5 cm and fading rapidly to a thin edge layer. There are some deep garnet tints on the glass when held up to the light.
Aroma is mild with some roasted malt and a bit of brown sugar. I dont get any hops or really too much of anything, a little disappointed with the nose.
First sip reveals an average to light body with fine and gentle carbonation that rolls across my palate. Texture is smooth and easy to drink.
Flavor dark roasted malt with some mild coffee and brown sugar. Again I dont get any hops nor alcohol hints on this beer. Pretty straightforward brew without too much umph on nose or flavor.
Decent and no flaws but wish it had a little more going for it.

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Photo of chinchill
4.07/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from undated 12oz bottle into snifter.

A: dark reddish mahogany with a short-lived and thin tan head that fades quickly to a small ring.

S: roasted malts with hints of chocolate, brown sugar, maple syrup, toffee and raisins. Very pleasant!

T: Richly flavored; qualitylargely follows the smell. The downside is that this is a tad sweeter than ideal. But it is well balanced by the finish.

M: good carbonation; light/medium body -- a bit lighter than ideal. Slightly dry and astringent finish.

O: A pleasant surprise, especially the great aroma. Recommended. After I figure out where I bought this, I'll be buying more.

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Photo of beergoot
3.2/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The body is a dark, mahogany red; very clear. Head is thin but thick and off-white.

Aroma hints at lightly toasted malts and grains. No real hop presence.

The body is light-medium in mouthfeel yet doesn't feel to thin. Taste is of slightly burnt toast and some roasted grains. Noting too predominant. Bitterness is slight. Finishes clean and dry.

A so-so porter. Not robust in character, but acceptable for someone looking for a light-weight porter.

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Photo of tvv375ia
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A-dark brown/mahogany with about a finger of tan head that fades quickly to a small ring

S-roasted malts with a hint of chocolate and some sweet brown sugar

T-much like the smell all of those flavors come out with some warm oak on the finish

M-good carbonation light to medium body

O-solid overall beer with some good flavor

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Photo of jeranbrews
3.7/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours a delightful burgundy reddish brown. A mix of Dr. Pepper and brandy with just a drop of blood. Head faded quickly but was a khaki brown. Body is dark near opaque but with fairly high clarity... I think. Not too thick or dense. Despite the weak looking head, lacing remained stubbornly after the beer was gone.

S - Fresh chocolate cookies rolled in tobacco and gently dipped in scotch from some small village on the Islay side of Scotland. Complex smells but not for someone faint of heart or low on chest hair.

T - Initial tastes are mellow and mildly hoppy. Aftertaste however, is of oak and or hickory firewood freshly split. That wood comes complete with bark, lichen, and mushrooms.

M - A bit thin and watery as evidenced by the too whispy head. A beer this color and this strongly fragranced seems like it should require chewing. But this one goes down slightly acidic and loose.

D - Overall lots of interesting things to say about this. Comment worthy but not quite worth going out of your way for next time.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.92/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tried the Eel River Porter tonight. The beer poured an opaque dark with very slim tan head, which left spotty lacing. The smell included chocolate, peat, and some hints of roast. The taste was good, sweet malts (chocolate & caramel) are present along with a touch of coffee/espresso and peat. Mouthfeel was a medium to light body, with low carbonation. Overall it was an ok porter.

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Photo of kemoarps
3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I hadn't had great experiences with 'organic' beers in the past, so I went in to this one with lowered expectations.
The beer poured a cola-esque black/brown with hints of ruby as it is held up to the light. The light tan head did not maintain, nor did it lace up.

The smell is sweet, with hints of espresso and almost a buttery smoothness.
Sipping here, you get some of that dry cacao intermingled with a black coffee, with a surprising sweetness to the end that I can't quite place.
Drinks relatively smoothly, has a creamy backbone to it that lets it just slide right down. definitely something you could drink several of. As I said, my prior experiences with 'organic' beers seemed to sacrifice some of the taste for the labeling, but this is a quality beer, that happens to also be organically produced. As I saw another reviewer say, it's a good beer, and the organic-ness is just icing on the cake. Check it out. It was actually priced lower than many of the other craft brewed porters at my local store, and is a tasty concoction, so there is really not much of a reason not to try it and judge it for yourself.

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Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
3.77/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first truly Organic beer. I know Stone and some other breweries use mainly organic and local ingredients but this one actually has the seal on the cap. I imagine that this beer is very appealing to Berkeley types who lean towards this direction in their food choices but I am just interested in good beer. The organic is the icing on the cake of a fine brew.

It pours a dark brown with ruby undertones. The head is weak. I expected a little more but the tan color is nice. The beer has a medium opacity with some co2.

The malts have a heavy black malt aroma. I smell dark chocolate and sugar. The backing malts are of toast and marshmallow. I let my beer warm slightly out of the fridge and I think that gave it character.

The flavor is dark malts, bitter chocolate, light smokiness and s'mores. It reminds me of camping with children. I want to pull out an acoustic guitar and wail campfire songs around a blazing fire as this warming beer delights my senses. The profile is simple but it pleases. There are no bitter hops. The beer is slightly dry with a quick sweet finish.

Medium bodied and balanced. This Porter is smooth and silky. It is very drinkable. This is highly sessionable.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.17/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 22ox bomber into a pink glass with a half inch cream head and a nice deep amber color. smells like white tictacs, this sort of marshmallowy luster and sweet chocolate malts. taste is awesome, and new for a porter. honestly just like golden toasted marshmallows, with just a touch of woody smoke. real creamy mouthfeel compared to the look, a fluffy but textured medium body that goes down light and has a magnificent aftertaste. the longer this one sits the more i like it. will drink more eel river, what else do they make?

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Photo of BilbosNuts
3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark brown but clear color with amber colored hues. It had a big mocha colored head initially, but it dissipated quickly into a thin film across the top. It appears fairly lively with a decent amount of carbonation.

S: Sweet chocolatey and burnt/smokey malts are the main players here along with a rich coffee aroma. Dark fruits and some grains take a back seat but provide some nice hints.

T: Similar to the aroma with the chocolate and roasted smokey malts. There is also a small hop profile noticeable.

M: This is very clean and smooth to drink. It is light and crisp from the carbonation. Very nice.

O: I haven't tried many organic beers, but this is by far my favorite of those I have tried. Overall, it is a solid porter and one I am sure I will revisit on occasion.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.48/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish brown colour, with a very pleasantly thick head of jaundiced beige. Body is very light, and there's not a lot of visible carbonation. In some sense, it looks a little insipid, but the colour and the head are wonderful.

Mild roasted characters on the nose, with a hint of thin seltzer character. Minimal sweetness, although the toasty character evokes characters of bittersweet chocolate and mild roasted coffee. A hint of salt, or sea to it as well, which is a little unfortunate. It's mild overall, but not unpleasant.

Taste is very similar. Thin roasty characters, which give the impression of watered down iced coffee. Minimal sweetness, minimal body, and everything piles on at the start, leaving the back very flat and empty. Feel is particularly weak.

Pleasant enough in its way, albeit a rather bland and insipid way. It's drinkable, and relatively light. There are far better out there though.

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Photo of ferrari29
3.38/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured from bottle into a Nonic shaped pint glass

A - Beer pours with a rocky espresso/beige colored head; 2 fingers in height; dark brown, clear colored body; leaves behind a nice layer of thick lacing; appears thin for a porter

S - Roasted malt nose; chocolate; some hops, but very faint; touch of vanilla; coffee; licorice

T - Nice vanilla and chocolate blend; roasted malt flavor; finishes off with a dry roasted coffee bean taste; licorice

M - Kind of thick at the beginning and turns watery; leaves behind a roasted malt/coffee flavor; fades pretty quickly

D - Not a bad drink; kind of thin for a porter, but easy to drink and might be a good starter beer for those interested in drinking more of the dark stuff

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Photo of Rayek
3/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Organic Porter pours into my nonic a deep chestnut brown. A soapy tan head quickly vanishes. The beer leaves no lace.

Espresso flavors and aromas dominate. There's a little bit of chocolate too. Bitterness is burnt and highly acidic. The flavors linger after the beer goes down. A light and overly fizzy body masks the flavors a bit too much.

Overall, this beer did very little for me. It's too fizzy and acidic for me to enjoy it.

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Photo of maximum12
3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up on sale at a fine local shop to the tune of $2.99 for the 22 oz. bomber, & just couldn't pass it up...if it's good I'll go back for a few more! Split with the wife, my half going into my New Holland flute.

It's black. Bare deep red color change around the periphery only when held directly in the light. Smell is roasted malt with an underlying sweetness. Light but nice.

Eel River porter is as simple as my sister; the taste is a doppleganger of the smell. Roasted malts ascendant, sweet malts, barest hint of chocolate, with a satisfyingly bitter finish to it. Good example of the style & sometimes you're just in the mood for straightforward, right?

Very good beer that's crafted right. There's nowhere to hide when you make a beer with no sleight of hand, dandelion petals, or hair of newt, & Eel River pulls this one off nicely.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3.46/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 2" light mocha colored head. Clear but deep dark burnt umber brown body. Hardly any smell in this one, even after it warmed up. Delightful light enjoyable flavor of mainly chocolate but some roasted malt and maybe a hint of coffee. A very easy drinking porter but with a simpler profile than power-porters. Good but not outstanding.

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Photo of seans86
3.65/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with tan head, pretty opaque in the center with more light showing through towards the sides of the glass. Allowed to warm up to around 50 degrees. Aroma of toffee, slight chocolate, burnt sugar, and caramel, fairly sweet. Taste is heavily toffee and caramel with chocolate coming in second. The chocolate notes remind me of chocolate syrup, a bit sweeter. Little roast to speak of, though there are very faint coffee notes that show up towards the end. Carbonation was a bit high for the style, and the mouthfeel was a little thin, though not terribly thin. A decent porter, I would most likely revisit this if I saw it on draft.

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Photo of jlb502
3.38/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad porter. Milder than the best in pretty much every way, but not watery so I can't complain. Kind of reminds me of Coca-Cola.

Pour is dark brown with a hint of amber. Head is fine but recedes quickly and doesn't leave much lacing.

Smell is a little bit of bread, roasted malt, faint dark fruits, yogurt. Signature porter smell but on the milder side.

Taste is sweet malt with some roasted characteristics, but not overly sweet and not overly roasted. A little chalk, coffee, maybe a hint of chocolate. Not particularly deep.

Mouthfeel is soda-like. Plenty of carbonation. A touch less viscous than I'd like but it doesn't feel thin or watery.

Overall, it's not a bad beer. If you've always wanted porter soda, this is the beer for you.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.25/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark brown, nearly black, with a one-finger medium-tan head that recedes fairly quickly to a ring of foam around the edges of the glass. Leaves decent lacing.

Smell is heavy on the chocolate. Slightly smoky roasted malts predominate, with a bit of bitterness in the background, and a very subtle light fruity freshness. Rather shallow, though, lacking the robustness and variety I'd like to get from a porter.

Taste is sweeter than I expected, with not as much of the roast coming through in the flavor as does in the smell. A bit of chocolate and a touch of coffee from the malts. And that's about it. No bitterness, and no alcohol. As with the smell, it lacks depth, and the flavors are gone rather quickly.

Mouthfeel is average in just about every way - average body, average carbonation, average retention of flavors.

This beer is okay. There's nothing really remarkable about it on the positive or the negative. Right around average in every way. Ho-hum.

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Photo of robbrandes
3.33/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber, into a wine glass (fundraiser dinner, no choice on glassware!)

Pours an extremely dark brown, good carbonation and head retention. Nutty aroma, hints of chocolate, maybe a bit of molasses.

Fairly well-rounded taste. Earthy notes, still picking up the chocolate and caramel. Definitely on the sweet side. This is the beer you give your buddy who 'doesn't like darker beers'. It's not a bad beer, but there's nothing truly noteworthy here.

As Eel River goes, this was a marked step-up from the others I've tried. Not blown away, but I wouldn't turn down a pint...

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.97/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a glass beer mug.

L - dark brown with a beige head that thinned to a ring.

S - roasted malt and chocolate aroma.

T - sweet chocolate and roasty flavors with a little hint of earthy bitterness towards the finish.

F - medium bodied, smooth and creamy feel.

O - a good tasting porter and it's all organic!

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Photo of flexabull
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a decent head.

Aromas are of chocolate, nuts and cream.

Taste is chocolately up front, with roasted malts, and sweet creaminess. Finish has a nice earthy and mineral hops.

Mouthfeel is good, full and crisp.

Overall this is a very nice porter, I'd happily get this one again. Very drinkable.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.35/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours almost black with a small head without leaving any lace.
Smell is light chocolate & coffee, wet cardboard and vanilla.
Taste is leaning towards rich, smooth, coffee, chocolate, malty, nicely complex.
Very little effervescence, smooth. Well balanced. Medium bodied. A bit watery throughout sadly.
Very drinkable, organic or no, this is a decent porter. Could use a bit more bouquet and body though.

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Porter from Eel River Brewing Co.
3.56 out of 5 based on 261 ratings.
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