Review: Sea Dog Hazelnut Porter

Review of Sea Dog Hazelnut Porter from Sea Dog Brewing in Bangor, ME.

Beer Type: Porter  ABV: 5.6%  Tried on draught.

Their Description: “This beer is one of a kind! Four different malted barleys combine to create a distinctive, full-bodied beer with roasted nuttiness, uniquely enhanced by a hint of hazelnuts. Smooth and creamy with the nose of the Willamette hop, this porter is a beer style unto itself.”

The Reality: This beer has a mild roasted malt scent and expectedly dark color. It has traditional porter flavors (roasted malt, hints of coffee, etc.) but all on a watered-down level. The body is thin and weak. It does have a hazelnut flavoring in the background, but it doesn’t taste entirely natural. Finishes like water with very little aftertaste except a mild reminder of the hazelnut.

Final Verdict: The image on the label makes a lot of sense, because this beer tastes like it got some water splashed into it before it was bottled. It is certainly drinkable, because it is so weak. If I wanted to say something nice I would say, “It goes down easy”, but unfortunately while it is going down easy it’s not leaving much flavor in your mouth. The flavor that it does leave, which is the “roasted nuttiness” that they mention in their description tastes like someone put a few drops of hazelnut extract in at the end of the brewing process, rather than a flavor achieved during the brewing process. At least they kept it subtle, because it could’ve easily overwhelmed the wimpy porter flavors that do exist. This beer isn’t for me, but maybe it would be a good gateway beer for someone that normally drinks light beers and wants to try something darker, but is worried about overloading their tastebuds. Much like “walking” is a good gateway exercise for people who normally don’t exercise and are worried about overexerting themselves.