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Sierra Nevada Porter - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Sierra Nevada PorterSierra Nevada Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,565 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2565
Reviews: 1310
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.74%

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-09-1999)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,565 | Reviews: 1,310 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of eanmcnulty


4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A nice thick head that stayed with the glass. Black and brown

S- Malty sweet, chocolate, coffee.

T- Sweet malts with some chocolate, coffee. Bitter good.

M- Has a thick mouth feels that dries out as it goes down.

This is one of Sierra Nevada's staples.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2014 14:41:34 | More by eanmcnulty
Photo of Stickydates


3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Quite a fan.

Colour is a rich dark brown with dark honey edges.
Aroma isn't too strong, but what is there is pleasant.
Taste is much better than expected following the aroma. Nice light coffee and chocolate flavours with some malt at the end. A bit of carbonation.

I like this beer. After trying the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and being a little underwhelmed (though I must admit dark ales are my preferred beverage) I'm very pleased with this porter. Definitely one of the best offerings I've had from the US of A thus far. Perfect for a couple of cleansing ales on a rainy autumn night.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2014 08:09:21 | More by Stickydates
Photo of far333


3.43/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Brown with ruby highlights and a light brown head of foam that lingers long, sending up streams of fine bubbles. Low aroma of toffee, cocoa and raisin.

Flavors of cocoa and coffee, notes of leather, some caramel. Biscuity malt, dark and toasted, no roastiness. Moderate bitterness, no hop flavors. Slight yeast note, a bit of root beer lingers.

Thin body, slightly metallic, almost a Baltic kind of thing going on.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2014 15:37:39 | More by far333
Photo of abeeronthebeach


3.84/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - The pour is of a rich dark brown, topped with light tan foam.

S - Sweet malt as well as dark-roasted coffee and earthy aromas. Marmite twiglets.

T - Quite mellow on the palate. The roasted malt flavours are quite delicate and mix nicely with the caramel sweetness from the nose. A lightly hopped finish with a slightly metallic sheen.

M - Medium-bodied, smooth, easy-drinking. Balanced carbonation. Well-rounded

O - A solid session porter, but not as powerful and tasty as my favoured go-to porter; black butte.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2014 05:17:38 | More by abeeronthebeach
Photo of theteleman


4.75/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

6 pack purchased at Vons in Scripps Ranch CA. Pours dark brown with a big fluffy brownish tinged head. A very nice looking beer. Down to the last third now and lacing is very nice, retaining all the way from the top of the glass down to the liquid itself. An earthy, malty smell. Mouthfeel is very smooth, similar to a brown ale, some smokey flavors coming through on the taste as well as some chocolate and coffee. Excellent beer, very pleasent to sip on during those winter nights.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2014 08:06:51 | More by theteleman
Photo of Grugalug

New York

3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.
A- Pours a very dark brown. Enormous head, well over three fingers, and lingers for quite some time. Lacing is really impressive.

S- A caramel and toffee sweetness, with a slight amount of roasted malt. Maybe just a tad of coffee aroma.

T- The caramel and toffee sweetness are present, but the roasted malt plays a bigger role here. A bit more coffee as well. Complex and not too bitter at all.

M- Medium-full body with a pleasant chewiness. Just a bit of carbonation, but it's certainly not flat. Pretty easy to drink.

O- Really nice beer. A great beer for a cold night or day. Complex yet very approachable and thoroughly enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2014 04:19:21 | More by Grugalug
Photo of Catracho5


3.71/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Presentation: short neck brown bottle, could not tell if their was any sediment on the bottom.

Appearance: dark, not as dark as a stout, when held up to light could see the edges of the beer.

Smell: not much, but smelled some roast, caramel, and a little coffee.

Taste: malt upfront, then a minor roasted coffee on the back.

Mouthfeel: the carbonation that hits up front surprised me. I was expecting less carbonation. It was light not heavy

Overall: a good beer, not one I would drink everyday but better than I expected. As a stout lover, this is the second porter I have tasted, and I would have to say this has been the best of the two. A good beer to have with dinner.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2014 00:53:23 | More by Catracho5
Photo of scotorum


3.99/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled April 13th 2012. This got some age.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams nonick.

a: Clear dark ruby/copper with a finger thick tan head which dissipated slowly to even surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Caramel malt.

t: Slightly smoky caramel malt. Sweet finish. Really pleasant.

m: Light to moderate, good enough body.

o: A fine porter, excellent dinner drink, but also sippable. Dunno if the almost two years of age on this helped it, but it surely could not have hurt it much.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2014 03:16:47 | More by scotorum
Photo of ONovoMexicano

New Mexico

3.96/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from the 12 ounce bottle.

A- A two-finger head, frothy and persistent and chewy-looking with sticky lacing. The liquid is dark black with brown hues.

S- Not a ton going on here, sweet malt, chocolate and coffee.

T- Dark and sweet malts mesh here, some chocolate, and a slight bitterness and hint of hops at the finish. I also eventually detect some coffee flavor in there.

M- The beer starts creamy and thick and finishes dry and slightly bitter. It's a pleasant journey.

A solid brewski and an affordable one, thus one I could easily drink regularly.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2014 16:46:23 | More by ONovoMexicano
Photo of brutusmuktuk


3.25/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brown color with a foamy off-white head. Smells of coffee and malts. Taste is sweet roasted malts with some hints of chocolate. There’s a fair amount of carbonation. Has a medium body feel. I feel like it's lacking something, though I can't quite put my finger on it. Still a pretty good porter.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2014 19:51:21 | More by brutusmuktuk
Photo of Retroman40


3.71/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours out a dark copper color with a strong, lasting head. It really looks good in the glass.

S - Roasted grains with some hops.

T - Good malty flavor with excellent hop balance and a neutral finish. Hints of coffee and chocolate.

M - Very rich and thick.

O - One of the better porters around.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2014 10:52:12 | More by Retroman40
Photo of chefhatt


3.69/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I poured this beer into a glass, it has a brackish color body with a small tan head. The aroma is of roasted malt. The taste has a roasted flavor and a hint of chocolate on the back of the tongue. The mouthfeel is smooth and overall a really good, easy drinking and enjoyable porter.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2014 01:48:50 | More by chefhatt
Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ


3.51/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Deep dark brown, small light tan head, minimal-moderate lacing
Malt and perhaps a little chocolate? Roasted and inviting
Roasted malt flavor, not too heavy, a very drinkable porter. Decent amount of carbonation
I really enjoyed this poter. It’s not too heavy and is easily something that could be drank with some frequency if you so wished. It’s not too strong, reasonably priced and packs a lot of flavor.


Serving type: bottle

02-03-2014 17:43:36 | More by BeerandWhiskeyHQ


4.43/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle. Shaker glass enjoyed @ Freiburg (Barcelona). Pours dark amber in color & dark ruby to the light. Off-white froth creates a creamy & lasting crown. Toasted & sweet malt aromas, fudge chocolate notes & hints of licorice candy to the nose. Creamy toasted maltiness rounded by pleasant underliying bitterness. Medium to full body. Moderate carbonation. Licorice hues in the middle linger into a long bitter/sweet finish. Fudge chocolate on the aftertaste. No doubt: One of my favourite American Porters.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2014 01:29:35 | More by GONZALOYANNA
Photo of Stranger5582

New York

4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deeply brown, not entirely black; surprising for a porter.

S: Moderate burned smell.

T: Bitter and burned, but with slight sweetness.

M: Not light, but not too heavy.

O: Well-balance porter that isn't too heavy. Might be a nice test-drink for someone just beginning with porters.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2014 04:10:19 | More by Stranger5582
Photo of Premo88


3.39/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz. bottle poured into nonic
(Sept. 13, 2013 born-on date ... drinking it right now, Jan. 18, 2014)

L: dark brown and while it's almost black (with no light on it), you can tell it's not full-on opaque motor oil; up to the light, sure enough, it's quite clear, a brown with some amberish/orange highlights; the 1/4- to 1/3-inch head took a hard pour to get -- this beer just doesn't push up much head -- and the tan foam dissipates quickly; there *is* a bit of stick and the tiniest hints of lacing on the way down, but even looking at the collar, you can see this beer doesn't have that typical Sierra Nevada pop

S: very grain when cold, almost adjunct-lager like; as it warms, the roasted malt notes start to show with some sweet toasted grain; hints of chocolate and coffee, but only hints

T: coffee in the first swig, even as cold as I've got it; also a bit of chocolate in that first taste, but as I work through it, there is no big malt taste here -- tastes more like a local brown ale I know well than a porter, albeit, a brown ale with some burnt malt thrown in. the toasted grain/barley here does give a coffee aftertaste that's solid.

F: strong contender for perfect ... lots of carbonation (despite the lackluster pour) and just enough weight to keep it full. about as drinkable as a beer gets.

O: a gateway beer to stout; it's not heavy or boozy, and the malt here is on the lighter side overall -- though there is a distinct "burnt" note in the taste.

Sierra Nevada is clearly distinguishing "porter" from "stout", for this brew feels much closer to an amber ale or amber lager than an imperial stout. kudos to Sierra Nevada for giving us options. The drinkability here is off the charts, too -- seriously, my rating numbers on this one will suggest I'm not a big fan, but I drank half a six-pack the first night I tried it, and I RARELY do that with a new beer.

a simple beer that has its place

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2014 07:37:54 | More by Premo88
Photo of ThomasMetal75


4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark, ruby, mahogony color. Lots of dark red coming out of this. Not black at all. About a 3 finger head. Head was creamy looking. Rocky, with lots of large and small bubbles.

S- Bittersweet. Roasted malts, with a coffee and cream note. Maybe some toffee as well. Really outstanding and quite inviting.

T- You really notice this is more of a bitter porter/dark beer than most. It has a piney, earthy, hop bitterness. But in general it is bittersweet, with that roasted coffee and cream taste. Head is extremely creamy. It reminds me a lot of a Guinness head you get from the tap or a nitro-widget can.

*-The base flavors are more pronounced closer to room temperature. I even detect a slight toffeeness. That head is so creamy and the beer is just so damn smooth! It's heaven in a glass. I just think the bitterness is a little off point for the style, not that I'm disliking the hop flavor at all.

M- The beer starts out as medium, but as it warms it goes to more of the light side of medium. The finish is pretty dry, but slightly sticky. Finish rounds out with a bittersweet toffee in the back of the mouth before it dries after a few 10+ seconds I'd guess.

Overall this is a beer that is all good and no bad really. Just go get some!

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2014 03:16:23 | More by ThomasMetal75
Photo of sommersb


3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 12-28-2013
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Tulip pint
Purchased: 6-pack from Kroger

A: Huge tan head on a beer that is dark brown and nearly black. Head shows super retention and very nice lace on the glass.

S: Smells have a brown bread malty quality, plus chocolate aromas.

T: The toasted malts give the taste a bitterness similar to coffee. Other flavors include bittersweet/dark chocolate. Tastes like a brown ale that has been turned up a notch.

M: Medium-bodied and an average carbonation make up the mouthfeel. The aftertaste is of roasted/burnt grains you get in a deep roasted coffee.

O: Porter is one of my least favorite styles, but I was duly impressed with this one. Nice, simple and solid.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2013 05:39:27 | More by sommersb
Photo of ONUMello


3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass; brewed on 10/11/13 per the stamp on the bottle
A: Dark brown with a one-finger head that lingers forever
S: Some cocoa, coffee beans, malt but somewhat generic
T: Matches the nose with cocoa/coffee/malt but each is distinct and flavorful
M: Medium-bodied, smooth
O: Nothing extraordinary but a solid beer with good typicality for the stype

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 01:06:05 | More by ONUMello
Photo of Stevedore


3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, bottle date 2 May 2013. Poured into a Darkness goblet today, 12/3/2013.

Pours a nice dark brown body, with a creamy tan head about 2cm that retains very well. Spotty lacing. Looks like a porter, but with a rather nice head.

Smells very nice and sweet roasty chocolate flavours come out quite well. A nice hint of chico yeast flavour comes out also. A bit of coffee, some roast and earthiness.

Flavour profile is quite nice- very smooth and roasty with some earthy coffee bitterness on the back end. Not a complex nor intense beer, but it is quite well executed. It has the characteristics I expect from a good porter.

A bit on the watery side, thinner bodied but drinkable, sufficient carbonation. A nice blend of earthy chico yeast and black coffee rounds out the aftertaste.

Solid porter, doesn't hold a candle to Edmund Fitzgerald which is available next to it on the shelf. Still, if offered one of these I would happily drink it.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2013 04:09:36 | More by Stevedore
Photo of Caj1


4.58/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Porter is a pretty serviceable, though a tad overrated, dark brown ale that is perfect for both the warm and cold months. It's pretty flavorful and complex though not quite as dark and heavy as I first imagined it would be.

The beer pours quite nicely and leaves about two fingers of creamy tan head that dissipates at a moderate pace. The lacing that clings to the side of the glass is somewhat sparse, though the last remnants of the head take a long, long time to disappear. The beer is rather dark, though not quite as murky and opaque as I had hoped -- it is about the same color as coffee or dark cola, and it's relatively clear and transparent. Carbonation is excellent.

The flavor is really the best part of this beer. The smell is somewhat subdued in comparison to the actual taste (my subpar smelling ability may be partly to blame for this) but what scents I do get are hints of dark chocolate, coffee, a lot of malt and yeast and more than a little hops. The taste is rounded, full-bodied and complex, with creamy texture and a very earthy aroma. The flavor comes in two parts -- first a bit of chocolate-malt sweetness that is accentuated by the hops, which help add to the earth aspect. The astringency and slight piney bite then give way to pure roasted coffee and barley flavors. Damn good flavor. Mouthfeel is cool and crisp but not quite as heavy as it really should be. It's a minor complaint, though it is taken into consideration.

This is a great beer and really represents the style well. If you're just looking into porters and stouts, you cannot go wrong with this beer, and it should be high on any brown ale fan's list.

To good health and good beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2013 01:25:19 | More by Caj1
Photo of ThePaintedGrey


3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a regular pub pint glass.

A: Pours a pristine dark brown, with rich mahogany highlights shining through as its held to the light. A fluffy beige head, about two fingers thick, forms as you pour. The head loses a bit of its luster as the beer sits, but it leaves a wonderful amount of lacing down the glass, as well as a respectable silky cap on top.

S: Rich and lots roasted malts (as to be expected), with strong toffee notes coming through. A bit of lightly burnt caramel seeps through as well. Much to my surprise, there's a slight presence of hop bitterness underneath it all, which is a very interesting and refreshing touch to a porter. There's little-to-no trace of alcohol to be found here. This smells more like a dessert than a beer—not that it's anything to complain about.

T: Very full-flavored and malty with tons of toffee, caramel, and roasted black coffee notes that just dominate your palate. It starts out with a wave of candy-like flavor that actually takes me back to my childhood, stealing toffee and caramel sweets from my parents. Immediately following is a rush of roasted coffee that reminds me that I'm a grown man, drinking a beer, and not having dessert. There's a little tingle of the alcohol on the back of my tongue as it makes its way down, as well as a short-lived appearance of cascade hops.

M: This one packs a moderately full body with a bit of creaminess that makes this one really easy to drink. I was hoping for a bit more from this one in the texture department because it does feel a bit fizzy at time, but it's by no means disappointing or off-putting; it's enjoyable, but not as noteworthy as I was expecting.

O: Sierra Nevada Porter packs a lot of complexity and some really great flavors. At only 5.6% ABV, it makes this brew VERY sessionable. This is a go-to Porter for fans of the style and newcomers alike. Definitely going to be picking up a six-pack of this again in the future.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2013 23:16:39 | More by ThePaintedGrey
Photo of mverity


4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Damn this thing has some head retention! Deep deep brown but not opaque. Great sticky lacing. Interestingly sweet aroma, like brown sugar or molasses. Taste has a nice medium to rich malt character with some of that sweetness coming through too. Aftertaste is malty and a touch of coffee and stays for minutes. Great creamy mouthfeel too!

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2013 19:55:23 | More by mverity
Photo of ThisWangsChung


3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark brown color - it's probably the lightest porter I've seen in a while. There's a creamy one-finger head with an off-white shade. Fluffy and thick, it has decent retention and leaves behind good lacing on the glass.

S: The aroma is primarily nutty and lightly roasted, with a subtle backing of piny hops. Though they're a bit lighter than I'd like, there are chocolate and coffee notes on the nose. There's even some brown sugar and caramel buried beneath it all. This is a surprisingly deep aroma.

T: It's opening flavor is hoppy and very typically Sierra Nevada (read: Cascade). The excellent finish helps to calm down some of the hop bitterness, supplanting it with decent notes of roasted nuts and chocolate. The robustness is balanced nicely within the sweetness, even if the portery qualities are a bit downplayed.

M: This beer is almost as crisp as SNPA, with an upsurge of sweetness to help iron out any overt finishing bitterness. While the body is somewhat thin, it's so drinkable I don't really care. It's well carbonated, too.

O: Delicious. It's not as rich as some porters I've had - rather, the easy drinking nature is what gives it its wings. This could make a reliable go-to beer when nothing else is available.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2013 19:51:24 | More by ThisWangsChung
Photo of -MK-

New York

4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is an extremely solid beer, just like most of what Sierra Nevada puts out. Slight chocolate, big on smokiness, this dark beer is very satisfying. The color is a near pitch black, but not much of a head. The mouthfeel left something to be desired, but that was made up for with sheer, clean, flavor. I will definitely be buying this again, and I could see it becoming a "go to" choice for a dark drink.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2013 14:02:48 | More by -MK-
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Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 2,565 ratings.