Shadow Of A Doubt | Russian River Brewing Company

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Shadow Of A DoubtShadow Of A Doubt
Shadow Of A DoubtShadow Of A Doubt

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Imperial Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.60%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 338
Photo of Goalcam
4.88/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I have never been a fan of porter style beers. They typically remind me of the beers you'd have a the pub after work in England... no frills just something to get a buzz from. This one is exceptional It has a very good smooth flavor to it. It didn't have the typical aftertaste that darks usually have. If you like Porters you'll love this one.

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Photo of iebforever
4.69/5  rDev +14.1%
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.

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Photo of Biggiekrock627
4.57/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap at RRBC into a belgian goblet with a dark chocolate color with a thin fluffy head. Toffee, coco nibs and burnt caramel notes are very well balanced and the beer is very amooth for almost 10 ABV......but the alcohol does sneak up on the back of your palette. Excellent well rounded beer.

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Photo of KKeeler
4.57/5  rDev +11.2%
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!

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Photo of Offa
4.54/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a phenomenal baltic porter/imperial stout -type beer, rich, balanced, characterful and in my opinion is definitely Russian River's best foray into the stout/porter world.

Very dark brown, essentially black, it has a medium-small tan head steadily shrinking to lasting rich foamy ring, lots of wisps, nice lace.

Aroma is dried figs, prunes, charcoal.

Taste is more complex, luscious dried frigs, dark toast, hints of dark rum, prunes, molasses, charcoal, with more dark toastiness in the finish. It is just slightly on the sweet side, with silky rummy-dried fig sweetness balanced with spicy-roasty-peppery bitterness that just barely lets the sweetness dominate, as I think is right in this type of beer. Feel is silky, full yet lively, luscious yet not oily.

This is one that they should have all the time here, both because of the the beer itself and for the name - Shadow of a Doubt being the classic Hitchcock film (his own stated favourite) set and filmed in Santa Rosa in 1943.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Growler purchased at the brewpub, poured into snifter.

A: Pours a black coffee brown with a thick, dense, soft looking, light brown head that faded into a lasting film leaving a soft clinging network of lace down the glass.
S: Scents of coffee, pine hops, roast, and a touch of chocolate.
T: More coffee alongside bitter bakers chocolate, pine hops, leafy bitterness, creamy roast, slight dark fruit, and slight caramel (but not sugary or sweet). Dry flavors, roasted and clean. Hint of vanilla in the finish with a solid bitter aftertaste containing a touch of mint hoppiness.
M: Medium body, lighter and more drinkable that I anticipated, with a drying mouthfeel,well hidden alcohol content and velvet carbonation.
O: An amazing porter. I was blown away how drinkable this was despite being nearly 10%. Reminds me of their other porter only stronger. Here's hoping for some bottles. Cheers.

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Photo of flayedandskinned
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 7/31/13
Poured into a standard tulip glass.

Appearance: (4.5)
Pours an ominous pitch black with a nice, thick, 3 fingers tall khaki head quickly forming. The head has some nice retention and leaves some lacing behind as it slowly recedes. There are some light alcohol legs.

Aroma: (4.25)
Herbal, lightly floral hops greet your nostrils first with some rich dark chocolate in tow. The chocolate-y malt backbone is bitter sweet with it's powdered cocoa notes being off set by some light espresso astringencies. As the beer warms, the dark chocolates notes seem to soften, taking on a more milk chocolate tone. Definitely smells like a Porter on steroids.

Taste (4.5)
Similar to the nose, you're palate is immediately struck by a charge of lightly citrusy, herbal hops. Behind these hops is a balancing, slightly nutty malt backbone; notes of
bitter sweet baker's chocolate, powdered cocoa, subtle vanilla and a resounding espresso character. The beer finishes dry and bitter with a subtle, creamy coating of malt left on your tongue. Long lingering notes of herbal, citrusy hops, chocolate, a distinct nuttiness as well as some coffee. For 10%, the alcohol is hidden extraordinarily well, with alone a slight warm sensation as it goes down.

Mouthfeel: (4.75)
Robust and creamy medium body with moderate to high carbonation. Definitely drinks like a great porter.

Overall (4.5)
Yet again, Russian River impresses. Unlike a lot of imperial porters, this is definitely differentiates itself from being confused with an imperial stout with it's assertive herbal hops in front of the silky, yet bracing chocolate and coffee backbone. The body is very light for it's ABV, just as a porter should be. Not too often you find an imperial porter that clearly is what it says it is. Highly recommended.

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Photo of TheDoctor
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
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)

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jet black with a creamy head. Good retention and the surface carbonation is long lasting.

Hoppy and chocolatey aroma. Pine, fudge, coffee.

Flavor is layered. Lots of fudge and bakers chocolate, coffee, pine, anise, and dark berries.

Smooth, moderate carbonation. Full bodied.

Fantastic hoppy porter and is pretty smooth for 10% abv.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very enticing appearance. The head is a creamy cocoa tan color that is really nice and appealing. The beer itself is a nice milk chocolate black that borders on a very dark chocolate brown.

Smell is very good. Light hop bitterness covered by a strong sweet milk chocolate with a light roasted bitterness to it. There is also a good cream and vanilla note.

The taste contains the same notes as the smell. It has a strong milk chocolate note with light hop bitterness and light roast that lasts into the aftertaste.

The feel is pretty good. Heavy body but smooth and a little creamy. Tiny carbonation but enough to give it some texture.

Overall, very good for desert.

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Photo of NCalement
4.34/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Duvel globe.

A- Black, with a mocha color head that holds nicely. Strong lacing.

S- Chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, milk chocolate and slight vanilla.

T- Lots of roast and chocolate. Slightly bitter crisp finish. Dark chocolate up front followed milk chocolate and roasted malts. Semisweet bakers coco finish. Wow this is good.

M- Perfect. Medium carbonation, thick body, viscus, no sign of ABV, dry finish and refreshing.

O- What a great porter. This might be the first dark non-Belgian style beer that I've tried from Russian River and it's spot on. But what do you suspect from a world class brewery.

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Photo of stakem
4.31/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Many thanks to BA AnotherJoe for gifting me with this among several other brews nearly 2 years ago when my son was born. From a 500ml bottle into a snifter, the brew appears black with a tan cap that fades leaving patchy lace.

This smells roasty with chocolate, coffee and a contrasting sweetness that almost seems fudgy. The taste is roasty with some citrus, earthy char, tobacco and a hint that comes across almost smoked.

This is medium to fuller bodied with modest carbonation. Somewhat hoppy and bitter but mostly from the char of the roast. Solid brew, would definitely revisit.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This pours a cola coffee color, with light foaming. There’s an aroma of coffee & some caramel, complimented by a roasty chocolate with tobacco leaf undertones. The flavor has a tobacco note with some roast & a bitter sweetness. The alcohol is present but not dominant. I found the tobacco notes to be intriguing and unexpected but overall this didn’t scratch the itch I had for an imperial porter. We’ll see how it fares when I get another chance to revisit.

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Photo of impending
4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


510ml into a tumbler. Pours deep dark walnut, opaque in the glass with cola highlights.

The flavor is exactly as advertised, "Rich, dark, and chocolatey with a
smooth dry finish. . . " < exactly this
Incredibly smooth rich mouthfeel
coats without the cloy
wonderful with warmth
the abv is not in question but not hot in any way, smooth. Minimal but long echoing bitter

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Photo of TrojanRB
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of RyanK252
4.24/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of corby112
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black and opaque with a two finger beige head that slowly settles into a thick, lasting cap. Very good retention, lingering for the duration with streaks of soapy lacing left behind.

Smokey dark malt aroma with subtle charcoal and smoked meat followed by roasted, almost burnt, dark malt notes. Hints of toast espresso bean and bitter dark cocoa along with campfire and butane. Subtle lactic cream and sweeter dark chocolate malts.

The body is surprisingly full and chewy with a decent amount of roast yet it doesn't taste burnt or acrid. Lots of chocolate dessert-like sweetness balancing things out on the back end. Subtle smoke with charcoal and barbecued meat followed by faint hop bitterness, bittersweet dark chocolate, gourmet espresso bean and toast. Slight lactic cream and silky chocolate sweetness along with caramel, flourless cake and bakers chocolate. Very well balanced and easy to drink especially at 10%. Nice bitterness and roast but not overpowering. Drinks alike a slightly smokey stout.

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Photo of Buck89
4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
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

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Photo of aasher
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I just received this in a box earlier this week courtesy of brewerb, thanks Brian!

This Russian River porter pours a lighter bodied cola brown in color with a very soft and creamy light beige head. It looks great in Russian River proper glassware. The nose is rich and roasty with a tough of iced coffee, bitter baking chocolate, and a touch of dark chocolate. The flavors are smooth and chocolaty with moderate bitterness, light roast, and a touch of alcohol. It drinks and medium in body but you'd never know that this beer is approaching 10%. The alcohol content is definitely well hidden. Overall this is a really nice, well balanced imperial porter. I've been hearing that Russian River had great porters on draft for years now so it is nice to finally try one.

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Photo of Vicktory
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to brack for this extra!

510ml bottle sealed with a russian river "logoed" pressure cap; poured into SP wine stem.

bottled on date of 03/03/2014.

Appearance: black bodied beer with 3 finger tall khaki colored head. The head has alot of staying power and leaves behind alot of thick lacing on the side of the glass. Really great looking porter!

Smell: First whiff of this beer immediately reminds me of everett porter! What a pleasant surprise! Milk chocolates and roasty malts with a light smoked malts presence. Hints of earthy hops.

Taste: The flavor of this beer is much different that the aroma. The nose makes you think this will be a smooth balanced porter with that perfect combo of roast and sweetness with a hint of earthiness. This beer is a little sharper than was expected from the nose. It starts off first with slightly sweet milk chocolates. Next an ashen/chared roastiness that is kind of distracting, but nothing that is out of line. In the middle of the beer, I get molasses, hints of black licorice, and even some black olive notes surprisingly enough. There might even be some black pepper and yeastiness that is hiding in background. The molasses, black licorice, a light char note, and a hint of dark fruits all found in the finish. All these flavors provide a mild almost moderate lingering bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with low end of moderate carbonation levels. Drinks like its a 6% porter even though the label lists the abv at 10%. Slightly creamy and fairly smooth mouthfeel. The mouthfeel makes me think that RR used some oats to brew this porter. The beer feels thinner on the palate once it warms up to room temperature.

Overall: Everything was really nice about this beer, but the taste just didnt fit in with the crowd. I think that dialing down the ashen/char flavor of this beer and the addition of more chocolate malts would make a huge difference in the flavor profile of this beer. That is really my only minor complaint with this beer. If this beer tasted as good as it smelled, this beer would give HF Everett a run for its money... Everett is the undisputed champ when it comes to the best porter out there. Russian River really did brew a nice porter here that is worth a try. Its nice to see Russian River make a nice American Porter. Glad that I got to try it out. Thanks again Paul!

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Photo of ManapuaMan
4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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Photo of beergoot
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-dark brown black color with a nice tan head and good lacing

S-dark malt, bitter chocolate, coffee,hint of brown sugar

T-dark roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, molasses, hint of dark fruit, light char, mild to moderate bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy,alcohol well-integrated

O-enjoyed sipping this one, especially as it warmed, smooth and tasty

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Photo of TryThemAllOnce
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

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Shadow Of A Doubt from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 338 ratings