Shadow Of A Doubt
Russian River Brewing Company

Shadow Of A DoubtShadow Of A Doubt
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Porter - Imperial
Ranked #72
Ranked #3,489
4.13 | pDev: 7.26%
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
Shadow Of A DoubtShadow Of A Doubt
Notes: Named after the great Hitchcock movie filmed in Santa Rosa in 1943. This This imperial porter packs a rich chocolate and light smoked malt character with a very soft, dry finish.

Original Gravity: 1.082
Alcohol by Volume: 9.86%
Color: Black
Bitterness: Mild
Reviews: 62 | Ratings: 379 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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simonrgilbert57 from California

4.04/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

It is super opaque and dark with a smallish head. Looks kinda cool still. Not much going for smell. The taste is nice and strong with a good malty taste you want from a porter. It has a sweet finish with a bit of a booze in it. It's super light for a high alcohol porter. Overall I'd recommend it but maybe choose something else from Russian River.

Jan 13, 2021
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zeff80 from Missouri

4.16/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9oz bottle. Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a small, light brown head of foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass. It smelled of dark chocolate, toffee, caramel and subtle coffee notes. Sweet chocolate, toffee and toasted caramel taste with roasted coffee and touches of bitterness.

Jul 08, 2020
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives espresso colored with a one finger beige head; decent retention and a few streaks

Smell: Roasty with chocolate, coffee and a hint of smoke

Taste: Roast forward with chocolate and coffee flavors building; the smoke emerges after the swallow though the finish has some sweetness in it

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Well balanced and easy to drink

Apr 21, 2020
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neenerzig from Ohio

4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

My best friend Jon Passow brought back a bottle of this with him from northern, CA when he recently moved back here to Cleveland, OH. We split this tonight. Poured into a snifter, this beer pours a dark brown, practically black color with a slightly tan, off-white head that's over an inch thick when first poured that settles to a thick, creamy ring lining the inside of the glass nice big cluster swirls of surface foam and excellent lacing. Aromas of big roasted malts with some really nice cocoa that gives way to hints of spice and some dark fruits such as plums and dates. This is all rounded out with some earthy, slightly piney hop notes. A very similar flavor profile, with big roasted malts with a bit of caramel sweetness and a good dose of cocoa that compliments the malts so nicely for just the right amount of sweetness. The there is a bit of spice that tastes like chili peppers that is subtle but is certainly there, along with the aforementioned dark fruits notes of plums and dates. The earthy, slightly piney hop notes are also perfectly utilized here I feel. Has a mainly smooth, slightly crisp, creamy, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Has a nice roasted, slightly spicy, and fairly sweet aftertaste. An excellent beer I am very happy I got the chance to try.


Mar 03, 2020
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Korbynlehr from Kentucky

4.26/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This is a good porter, seemed more like a stout to me though. Cocoa nibs seem present and also maybe a bit of vanilla. Head was like espresso and nose was very cafe chocolate. Good stuff

Feb 28, 2020
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 mL bottle. Pours near black. Smells of roasted malt, milk chocolate, a little bit of grassy hops. Tastes of milk chocolate, roast, and an herbal and grassy back end. Medium body. Fairly sweet. Good, but not quite standout, which I expected from Russian River. Does not taste "imperial" at all.

Feb 22, 2020
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augustgarage from California

4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 10/21/19, consumed on 12/18/2019 - poured from a 500mL bottle into a 10oz nonic.

Clear, dark sepia/bottle brown liquid with a small stand of wheat up top. Delicate soapy lacing, glassy tears; good retention.

Dark chocolate, pipe tobacco, stewed fruit, and low spice notes in the nose. Well balanced characterful malt bill is evident even when the ale is well chilled.

Very similar flavors as are present in the nose with the addition of dates/raisins/plums, some dark roast coffee, and more potent barley. Muscular and potent. Long, not-quite-smokey, earth and river stone laden, medium-dry finish. Earthy, low bitterness from hops is the cherry on top.

Slightly tannic (Ceylon tea like), warming without being hot, medium-bodied, with good carbonation.

With some elements of Baltic as well as English porters, this is a distinctive and extremely flavorful example of the style - really pleased to have this in bottles!

Dec 18, 2019
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entheos from California

4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A delicious syrup that has a stinging dark chocolate taste. This was my favorite on tap at the Windsor brewery, but not in the bottle. It’s still a great beer, but it needs to be sipped, not gulped.

Nov 16, 2019
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REVZEB from Illinois

3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Light black body with a fluffy mocha head. Robust roasted malt, raisin, date, bitter chocolate, lighter roast coffee, and char aroma bouquet. Taste follows nose with more smoke and less chocolate and fruit, gets thin in the middle before a roasty finish. Feel is thin, light, roasted, dark, and smooth.

Nov 07, 2019
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TH28 from Florida

4.31/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle. 12/5/18 bottle date. Appearance: Black, opaque, with a fluffy khaki head and nice lacing.
Aroma: Dark cherry, chocolate, and dry roast. All well balanced.
Taste: Rich malt sweetness, with some dark fruit, chocolate, and a soft roastiness that isn’t harsh. Moderate bitterness just right to balance the rich maltiness.
Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy bodied with some light viscosity and a low carbonation.
Finish: Dry roasted malt stands out after the swallow, but isn’t harsh or astringent.
Overall: What a porter. Rich, robust maltiness that is never harsh, and complemented with some dark fruit notes. Surprisingly easy drinking for a beer if this intensity and strength

Jul 14, 2019
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TheDoctor from Canada (QC)

4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Serving: Bottle
Bottled: Dec-5-2018

It pours a clear-but-opaque pitch black with an ample, rocky tan head. Very good retention; concentric rings of lacing. (4.5)

Molasses, dark fruits, caramel, black bread. (4.25)

Smooth sweet and rich, following the nose. Big dried fig, molasses, maple, cherry sweetness with light chocolate roast. (4.5)

Smooth, silky with light carbonation and a lingering finish, alcohol well-hidden, easy drinking. (4.25)

Lordy. It pours looking just about as pretty as could be. Big head you can eat like an apple, nice lacing. The aroma immediately gives me an old-school American RIS vibe, Big molasses, dark fruit, maple-espresso sweetness. The flavor follows suit but is exquisitely melded together into one smooth, rich, layered whole. Caramelized sugar, fatty nuts, figs, raisins, chocolate.
There is barely any alcohol presence and a velvety feel that makes it drink itself. This is a delight. Why in God's name did I only buy one bottle?!?! (4.5)

Mar 31, 2019
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TryThemAllOnce from California

4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled Dec 5, 2018 (17.25oz)
Poured into a snifter glass, and at half fill went for a paper towel, because you just KNOW this one's going to rise over the rim. That fluffy espresso looking head sits proudly at 3 fingers for a good while, and leaves plenty of lingering lace. Liquid is black coffee in color.

Aroma is rich with coffee, chocolate and slight bubble gum notes. Hint of booze.

Taste follows smell mostly but detecting that dark fruit (raisin/prune) which resembles a classic doppel it! ABV is hiding well, but don't kid yourself, it's there!

Carbonation is subtle and appropriate, taking nothing away from other impressive features this brew offers.

This one is really enjoyable, a reminder to not forget this great style amidst the rising tide of IPA choices that seem to be taking much of the space in stores.
Feel is

Mar 22, 2019
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TrojanRB from California

4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep midnight black with two fingers of khaki head that has awesome retention....5 minutes after pouring, it’s still just sitting there large and in charge

Smells of cocoa and bitter coffee

Taste has bitter chocolate, coffee, smokey

Decadent and full bodied, but drinks surprisingly easy for a 9.6% ABV

Awesome beer.

Mar 03, 2019
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patre_tim from Thailand

4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a hair of ruby tinge when held to the light. Topped with 3 fingers of deep beige head.

Smells of chocolate, Coke, tannins, and hints of tobacco.

Tastes of chocolate, tobacco, and leather.

Medium body with moderate carbonation.

I got this at the new Russian River brewery a couple weeks ago, and am drinking it in Redding, Feb 28th, 2019. Well done Imperial Porter.

Mar 01, 2019
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ManapuaMan from Massachusetts

4.14/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Delightful porter. Big, robust flavors without turning into anything heavy-handed.

Coal black with shades of brown at the edges. Khaki had that lasts and lasts.

Aroma of dark roast coffee, bitter chocolate, smoked malt, char. Taste is right there. Coffee is roasty without being acidic, chocolate is slightly sweet without being cloying.

Moderate thickness feels almost light for the ABV. Dry finish.

Feb 19, 2019
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TheBrewsky from California

3.87/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 12/5/18
L: Pours coffee black in color. 3 fingers of espresso foam-colored head formed from a straight-centered pour. Heaps of residual soapy lacing clings to the glass.
S: Tons of coffee up front, with nice amounts of roasted malts and bitter chocolate and caramel.
T: Follows the nose. Coffee flavor throughout. Chocolate malt flavor is underlying the entire flavor profile. Finish is bready malt, dark fruits, molasses and chocolate with a slight bitterness.
F: Medium in body and light in weight. Creamy texture, just wish a tad thicker on the feel.
O: An enjoyable porter. Makes me want to revisit more in the style, or more so, realize the lack of porters on the market. I am very grateful to have tried. Cheers!

Feb 12, 2019
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beergoot from Colorado

4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Jet black body with a long lasting, thin yet dense and creamy khaki colored head. A fine and subtle roasted grain scent. The taste has a heavy and dark grained sweetness to it; a bit of chocolate, a bit of char; some subtle bitterness towards the finish. Heavy body; smooth and velvety on the palate; semi-sweet throughout.

A well-rounded and very approachable imperial porter, emphasizing the semi-sweet and dark grain maltiness more than anything else. It's ABV is well-hidden. Fine and tasty.

Feb 12, 2019
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Buck89 from Tennessee

4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter. Dark brown color with a fluffy tan head that lingered throughout the drink - impressive. The aroma was fruitier than expected, with grapefruit and pine in addition to roasted grain - almost like a black IPA. The taste had more chocolate but also the citrus/pine bitterness. As billed, a very soft and dry finish with a lingering bitterness. No detectable booziness. Overall this was outstanding - in my mind more of a hybrid CDA/porter

Feb 09, 2019
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iebforever from California

4.69/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer blows me away! The roast is perfect. The balance between roast and residual sweetness is extremely well done. It hides the alcohol well. Highly recommended.

Jan 20, 2019
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Vicktory from California

4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

O - YUM. Best example of the style I've had in recent memory. Exactly what I would expect from the masters at Russian River.
L - This is a pretty beer! The head is so darn fluffy, looks like a pillow. I wish I could pour it forever. Head dissipates appropriately quickly (per style) to leave a nice amount of lacing on my glass.
S - CLASSIC. PORTER. Well done!
T - A little cloying for my taste, but that's so tough to avoid with a beer this big and malty.
F - Related to the slightly cloying flavor, I found it a touch syrupy. I prefer my porters (even Imperials) to have a nice light body. Given the gravity of the beer, RR did a great job of keeping the carbonation high to offset this as much as possible though.

Jan 18, 2019
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sjrider from California

4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark like molasses with bubbly chocolate milk head leaving sporadic lacing. Nose is mildly sweet and slightly smoky. Taste follows with more baked flavors -cocoa,dried stone fruit ,coffee. Well hidden abv , smooth and almost creamy.

Jan 13, 2019
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Zorro from California

4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear brown ale with a tall brown colored head.

Smells sweet even from a distance. Strong smell of caramel candy. Scent of chocolate and strong smoke scent. Smell is a lot like burned chocolate cake. Toasted grain the smell of medicine.

Starts out sweet and tasting of an over cooked brownie. Mild chocolate taste. It isn't as sweet as the smell would promise. Something in this is actually numbing my mouth. I suspect there is some sort of phenol at work here.

Mouthfeel is on the thick side.

Overall this OK, but it isn't the tastiest beer Russian River makes.

Dec 25, 2018
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KKeeler from California

4.57/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Extremely smooth, doesn't taste or feel like a 9.8% ABV at all. Slightly sweet, with a taste of chocolate and notes of coffee, a very good porter, it surpasses Deschutes as my new favorite!

Dec 07, 2018
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RyanK252 from California

4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Growler poured into a snifter

A: Pours nearly black with a frothy khaki head that settles to a light layer and leaves a little nice lacing.

S: Roasty, faintly smokey, coffee, dark chocolate, big dark fruit, with burnt sugar and toffee sweetness.

T: Roasted malt, dark dried fruit, plum, dark cherry, rich dark chocolate, a little coffee, earthy, a little molasses, and toffee boarder line burnt sugar sweetness.

M: Full body, somewhat mild carbonation, silky smooth, holds it's% like a champ with only the slightest hint of warmth as it goes down.

O: I'm not usually big on the heavy dark fruit notes, but this beer just ties everything together so well. Outstanding brew.

Feb 23, 2018
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stevoj from Idaho

3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at brewery. Dark brown with small skin of head, tons of lacing. Roasty aroma, kind of mellow. Taste is much fuller, chocolate, roasty, bitter. 9.8%? Hard to believe. Smooth AF. Really nice.

Feb 20, 2018
Shadow Of A Doubt from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 379 ratings