Porter | Eel River Brewing Co.

169 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: 169 | Ratings: 263
Photo of engisch
3.31/5  rDev -7.3%
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 -26.1%
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

Photo of BigDRS
3.12/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle into a mug. Bottle had no freshness date.

Appearance - Poured with a quickly dissipating head and left very small amounts of lace. Beer is dark brown in color.

Smell - Strong scent of chocolate on the nose, hints of coffee.

Taste - Thin and somewhat dull. Has a roast like finish as it goes down.

Mouthfeel - Beer feels mid bodied with an adequate amount of carbonation.

Drinkability - Pretty low. There are quite a few porters that I would order or drink before this one.

 498 characters

Photo of SpdKilz
3.1/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Pours a hazelnut color into my SA Perfect Pint. About a finger of quickly dissipating head is achieved that leaves little lacing.

Smell - Syrupy sweet chocolate, roasted malts, slight coffee, and molasses.

Taste - Similar to the nose. I have an instant repugnant reaction to the taste. Heavy mineral presence, cold, stale coffee grounds, and odd bitter syrupy chocolate. I am not enjoying this in the least.

Mouthfeel - Medium to light bodied. Prickly carbonation.

Drinkability - This is disgusting to me. I don't know if I got a bad one (it sure isn't infected) but man, this just has something majorly off to it. This was actually a drain pour for me.

 671 characters

Photo of Fezfreak
4.77/5  rDev +33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

All of us love a beer with a good head on it. And granted, Eel River Organic Porter does not give good....well, you know where I'm going. Many folks complain about this beer's authenticity.

But when it comes to beer, sometimes looks CAN fool you. I thought this beer looked, smelled, tasted (including mouthfeel) just terrific. A nice, dark roasted malt backbone against chocolaty flavor notes, balanced by medium hoppiness.

I believe any defects in head retention must have something to do with their bottling process, if not something else entirely unrelated. I dig it, folks.

I am fairly certain that in the past I have had at least one of these retain the head and lace down the glass in "proper" fashion. AND, I have managed a couple of good pours out if this sixer in my fridge. The trick was to "upright the glass" sooner than you normally would. Doing this will serve to illustrate the potential this brew has.

As I write this, I have indeed watched that beautiful head shrivel to nothing. But the carbonation is still there, as are the taste and smell. I keep visualizing what Michael Jackson's perspective would be, and so I'm going with that.

If not the best example of the porter style, it is certainly, another example of what a porter CAN be. And that is what makes this a beer that is worthy of production - as well as enjoyment.

Sorry beer geeks!

 1,371 characters

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

Porter from Eel River Brewing Co.
3.57 out of 5 based on 263 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

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