Porter | Eel River Brewing Co.

167 Reviews
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 Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 167 | Ratings: 260
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

 369 characters

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.

 1,029 characters

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.

 381 characters

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.

 1,121 characters

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.

 1,195 characters

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?

 538 characters

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.

 833 characters

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.

 920 characters

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

 727 characters

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.

 433 characters

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.

 854 characters

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.

 341 characters

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.

 655 characters

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.

 750 characters

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.

 974 characters

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...

 592 characters

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!

 329 characters

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.

 324 characters

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.

 404 characters

Photo of metter98
3.57/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very dark amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a two-finger high beige colored head that died down leaving a thick ring of bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderate aromas of malted milk in the nose along with notes of chocolate syrup.
T: The overall taste has flavors of malted milk and chocolate syrup.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied, slightly creamy and a bit thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is easy to drink but doesn't quite match up with other beers in the style.

 600 characters

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a New Belgium snifter.

A - Two finger head of loose, pillowy khaki foam that falls quickly to a solid layer across the surface that lingers before slowly dissolving to very thin lace. Color is coffee black. Held to a light, it's a really deep mahogany with deep ruby red on the edges and clear.

S - Well-toasted malts, coffee, hint of licorice, molasses, and smokey burnt bacon. Very interesting nose that offers a variety of subtle components to pick out.

T - Almost-burnt caramel, roasted malt, lightly roasted South American coffee with chocolate notes. Dark creamy caramel lingers on the finish along with just enough hops for balance that keeps the palate free from cloying sweetness.

M - Nice carbonation. A bit creamy, but definitely not thick. Decent body that's on the thin side with a respectable structure. Short finish.

O - A solid porter. Leans a tad toward the smokey/well-roasted side vs. dark sugars, but definitely not into stout territory. Would be an excellent beverage with a big plate of bacon & eggs or pancakes and sausage with real maple syrup.

 1,099 characters

Photo of Dijeriduster
1.94/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Had this at happy hour at West Coast Tavern for only $3. Great deal but the beer was off for sure.

A - Served in a regular pint glass with about 2 fingers of foamy head. Not very much lacing

S - Buttery. Very little in the way of adjunct malts here. Just a little bit of sweet maltiness coming thru.

T - Diacetyl. Kind of a shocker as I've had other Eel Rivers that were great. Honestly I got about 1/3 of the way in and had the bar keep dump it.

M - It was thinish which does fit the style, but combined with the butter taste it felt gross.

D - Low. Diacetyl at this level in a commerical brew is unacceptable.

Note: The gf thought this was dirty lines. While she may have had a point (this was not a direct draw system) I can't really believe this level of butter would come from dirty lines. Our subsequent Lost Abbey Devotion didn't have line issues so I tend to steer toward a bad beer and or keg.

 911 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.35/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer pours black, with nut brown highlights around the edges when held up to the light. Very thin, filmy head. Very rich smells of butter and toffee, with slight hints of chocolate that make it smell like a Butterfinger. The initial taste is of malted mocha. The beer also has crisp syrup flavors under the overtones of nut and coffee. The beer is very sharp and carbonated in mouth, but that does a decent job balancing the heavy flavors and body. Although balanced, it still rides a bit too light for a porter for me. Nutty sweet aftertaste, with a bit of caramel, too. Creamy finish. A little rich to drink a lot of.

 663 characters

Photo of engisch
3.31/5  rDev -7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a gift. I typically don't get Organic beers. Not because I don't like them, but I just don't usually see them. And the few that seem to be widespread usually are nothing exceptional. It would be nice to see a truly worthy organic beer.

Pours brown with a quickly dissipating head. Seems a bit light in color compared to most porters. Head retention also seems rather poor. Smells sweet like fruit and roasted malts.

Flavor is malty sweet. Tangy/tart taste from slight roastiness. For a porter, this seems to be light or lacking of roasty and chocolatey flavors.

Not bad, not exceptional. I would not search for this one.

 633 characters

Photo of scottakelly
2.64/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a medium brown with ruby tinges on the outside of the glass. Medium head dissipates quickly. Aroma is of roasted grains and fruit. The flavor is very light for a porter. Some minimal chocolate and roast. Some caramel sweetness. There is also a faint tartness to this beer that, while not necessarily bad, is unique. Overall, not a very good porter.

 354 characters

Porter from Eel River Brewing Co.
3.56 out of 5 based on 260 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.