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Sierra Nevada Porter - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada PorterSierra Nevada Porter

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

2,674 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,674
Reviews: 1,313
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11%
Wants: 82
Gots: 82 | FT: 1
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: 2,674 | Reviews: 1,313 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KrisPaulk77


4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into my Lazy Magnolia pint glass. It poured a deep, deep brown, with garnet edges, with a huge tan head of foam. Good lacing noticed.
The aroma is roast malt and citrus, maybe a little bitter chocolate, and sweet malts.
Taste is an initial rush of malt sweetness, cut immediately by a combo of hop citrus and roast malt astringincy. It finishes with a good roasty flavor. The body is medium and carbonation is good.
A good all around beer from Sierra Nevada. I could probably drink several of these in a sitting and be quite content.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2009 03:38:19 | More by KrisPaulk77
Photo of donniecuffs

New Jersey

4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was exceptionally surprised to see that Sierra made a porter that rivaled if not surpassed the quality of its flagship pale ale. From the getgo, the cask pour was a perfect deep brown color, with a thick tan head, that laced perfectly. The smell was malty; not too much individual chocolate or roasted aromas, but it did have a subtle pine/citrus note (possibly from dry-hopping with Cascade?). The flavor was outstanding...roasted malt, subtle cocoa, and a subtle pine finish. Creamy mouthfeel, but not overbearing and quite drinkable, which is very rare for a porter. Again, I was very, very surprised by this result. Well done, Sierra.

Serving type: cask

10-06-2009 18:16:02 | More by donniecuffs
Photo of SamN


5/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Purchased a sixer of this at Campus West liquors in the Fort, poured into a stein.

A- Perfect dark brown beer, very dark, can barely see any light pass through this big, dark beer. A soft bed of foam sits on top, thick and bubbly, and very appetizing.

S- Sweet roasted malt and grains in the nose, but backed with coffee, bread, vanilla and a nice smokiness.

T- Again, strong sweet malts, balanced completely with SN's trademark hops character. An absolutely amazing beer; this is THE American porter, perfectly crafted to make a terrific session brew that is complex without becoming overbearing and overwrought. Perfect taste, perfect balance, perfect perfect perfect.

M- A big mouthful of a beer, but without being heavy, and the bold mouthfeel quickly subsides to a silky smooth finish that makes you want to take a big gulp and do it all over again. Medium carbonation, paired with a full body make for one amazing beer.

D- Again, perfection in a glass. This is one of a very few porters that I could keep drinking after the first. Not that I don't like porters, but this one is exceptionally drinkable.

*My first perfect score! And this after I thought I'd never find a Sierra Nevada beer that I liked. I am blown away by this, and this will be one of my new regulars in my fridge. Welcome home, boys.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2009 01:37:25 | More by SamN
Photo of BeerCon5


4.7/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown, almost black color with a good amount of tan creamy head.

The scent is of coffee and chocolate.

Roasted malts are most apparent in the taste, as well as, the tast of coffee, some chocolate and bitter hops.

Medium bodied and smooth, good carbonation.

Very tasty porter with lots of flavor, if this was available in my area I would definately buy again.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2009 13:27:31 | More by BeerCon5
Photo of Jmoore50


4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The appearance is a dark dark amber. Light comes through. The head poured one finger and went down to nothing. Light lacing on sides of the glass.

The smell is not very strong. Smells like black patent, but I know that cannot be right. Some roasted malt and chocolates.

The taste is good, especially once it starts to warm up a bit. Not so much of a coca cola flavor, but a soda carbonation. Light roasted malt taste with a chocolate malt beginning. Almost over carbonated, weird me writing that since I love strong carbonation. The flavors are faint, but this is no Imperial Porter or Stout. Great session brew, could drink the shit out of this all day long.


Serving type: bottle

10-02-2009 05:01:18 | More by Jmoore50
Photo of projectflam86


4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a nice dark brown color with a thick foamy crème colored head that leaves some scattered lacing.

S- Roasted malt and coffee aroma with chocolate and toasted notes. Hops are surprisingly apparent for a porter (although not as surprising considering that this is brewed by sierra nevada).

T- Short burst of hop bitterness followed by a deeply roasted dark malt flavor. Waves of espresso and chocolate bombard the taste buds with a nice smoky finish.

M- Medium bodied with nice carbonation.

D- A really nice porter with a great flavor and cheap price tag.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2009 03:33:48 | More by projectflam86
Photo of GilGarp


4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served cold from a 12oz. brown bottle into a pint glass. It pours a coca-cola brown color with good clarity, from what I can tell. Thick creamy/rocky head forms on top and stays for ages. It look like it was poured from a nitro tap, such is the velvety head. Lacing left behind as well. Can't ask for much more in appearance.

Aroma is sweet and roasty with a good dose of hops for the style. Some caramel and coffee on the nose as well.

Flavors are well balanced with nice sweet dark malts, toffee and coffee, caramel and nuts. On the bitter side, some is coming from the dark roasted grain but a fair amount is hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. From appearances, I would've guessed less bubbly in the mouth, but it's not bad.

Balanced yet intense, complex yet totally drinkable. This is a great American porter.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2009 17:36:15 | More by GilGarp
Photo of Foxtrot


4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been looking around for a sixer of SN Porter and have never found one. Finally found someone who carries this gem in my town.

Pours a very dark ruby brown with light highlights around the edges of the glass. This sucker poured with monster head, moderate retention and sticky lacing.

Roasted malts, caramel, and hops are the big aroma's that standout the most, but a subtle amount of burnt roasts and light charcoal are present however slight.

This is a very good Porter. Chocolate and bitter coffee sting the tongue up front, but meld easily with the big hop bill mid palate and finally following up with a rolling hop finish.

Mouthfeel is superb. For this style I like a light-medium feel. Sometimes I tend to forget that these are not Stouts, and need to judge them as such.

Drinkability is fantastic and solid. Its complexity and availability make it a great session brew. Thanks again Sierra Nevada!

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2009 06:21:05 | More by Foxtrot
Photo of BigJim5021


3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark brown with a nice beige head. Plenty of lacing to be found.

The aroma is -- uncharacteristically -- a little more hops than malts. Somewhat meager, though.

The flavor is really unique as far as porters go. I've never had a porter with this big of a hop profile. Yeah, the roasted malts are the star of the show, but the lemony hops are not shy either. The two combine for a very tasty, one-of-a-kind flavor.

Mouthfeel is more crisp than your usual porter as well. I certainly don't expect a stout-like thickness out of a porter, but this feels like an IPA. Not that it's a bad thing -- mind you -- it's just different.

Drinkability is good. As far as porters go, this shit is off-the-wall. I'll be coming back to it from time to time while the weather is cold.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2009 04:43:39 | More by BigJim5021
Photo of joozyboozy


3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle in a 16 oz mug

the appearance is almost black but clear with a bit of light coming through. good thick head with plenty of lacing all the way down.

smell is just roasted malts plane and simple but good.

it has a great malty taste, a very balanced hop aftertaste. smooth and delicious.

average body and average carbonation.

smooth taste, not too thick and 5% abv. i could drink plenty of this beer

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2009 18:21:32 | More by joozyboozy
Photo of mdwalsh


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

A: Even with a rather delicate pour, this gave me a four finger head. This may be do to a coworker accidentally shaking it up, but that was almost two hours ago. The head is light tan with biggish bubbles. The body is a brownish black, clean with pretty good active carbonation. I wish it was darker, and I have to take off a little for the head. A porter shouldn't have that much potential to get so much head on it in the first place.

S: Hmm, pretty weak. But a mild malty roast is what I get. No hops. Maybe a touch of roasted barley. It smells like it should, it just doesn't smell very much.

T: A very full but mild taste. I could use more, but I think it works very well for people who aren't used to porters. A great intro beer. The taste is spot on, it's just not very strong. There is some roasted flavor, both malt and barley. Very similar to the nose. No hops. Not stellar, just definitive.

M: Perfect, to me, dark and full without being heavy. Good carbonation. Actually feels like a pop.

D: Great, just great.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2009 02:01:04 | More by mdwalsh
Photo of parkeak0

District of Columbia

3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was pleasantly surprised to find this at a gas station in town a few miles away from my college in south-middle Tennessee. Seems as though SN's distribution network is damn near that of BMC these days!

A - Pours a dark, black-brown. A one finger head quickly dissipates into a very thin lace. A bit less lace than I might have expected.

S - Coffee and very dark roasted barley dominate. Hops, however, are definitely detectable.

T - Strong, bitter roasted barley, plenty of coffee, baker's chocolate. This is a dry beer. Plenty of hops, particularly for the style. Wouldn't expect anything else from our friends out in Chico.

M - Rich, but not too rich. Somewhat creamy... appropriate for the style... exactly what I would want in a porter.

D - This is definitely a sessionable beer. Rich in flavor, but not so overwhelming as to fry the palate/overload the stomach after only one.

An solid offering from Sierra Nevada. A caveat: the beer I reviewed came from a blue bottle. As I understand it, Sierra Nevada changed the label from blue to brown some five months ago, so this is likely an older beer. I would imagine that the hops would be even more pungent were this fresh.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2009 04:57:23 | More by parkeak0
Photo of sweetbrew82


3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. into a pint glass/ no freshness date

P: Deep rosy brown with a thick and creamy tan head that gets kind of frothy as it sinks. Showed good retention before it deflated to a thick cap on top. Tons of lace left behind that looks quite impressive on the sides of my glass.

A: Lightly roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, caramel, and citrusy hops. It's not as aromatic as I would have liked, but what's there is promising.

T: Opens up with roasted malts oozing flavors of chocolate and coffee with a bit of roasted bitterness to counter the caramel sweetness that stays pretty subtle. Citrusy hops are much more pronounced than I expected, and they provide a nice little herbal undercurrent as well. Finishes semi-dry and leaves a long aftertaste.

M: The Sierra Nevada Porter is a medium-bodied brew with a smooth feel that is slightly hindered by the more-than-moderate amount of carbonation. The prickly bubbles keep it from achieving that slightly creamy, chewy feel that I really love in my porters.

Notes: This is a pretty solid example of an American Porter. I've had better ones for sure, but this one will stand out in my memory because it's a hoppier take on the style than most of the others. Nicely balanced and is quite drinkable if a porter session is what you're looking for. Solid

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2009 22:55:25 | More by sweetbrew82
Photo of burnerfinger


3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

right off the bat: this one makes me think of Youngs double chocolate stout. I know that's not the target Sierra Nevada was aiming for, but that's how it hits me:

A: Poured from the 12 oz bottle into my tumbler. About one finger of a nice light brown head
This is as dark as cola, a bit more carmelly in color.

S: nice sweet aroma of malty chocolate. inviting for sure.

T: As often, taste follows the aroma. Sweet chocolate maltiness here. As it warms that changes to a more bitter chocolate - compare to dark chocolate. a real delicacy.

M: fairly heavy (as appropriate for the sytle) nicely carbonated. Silky smooth.
really lingers on the palate. This one is to be enjoyed SLOWLY IMHO.

D: I might term this a dessert beer. I love it but woulnt think it a session beer at all.
not so hi on the drinkability scale.
BTW the 5.6 ABV is completly masked by the maltiness.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2009 01:47:27 | More by burnerfinger
Photo of nickfl


3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - One and a half fingers of tan foam on an opaque black body. The head settles slowly and leaves a nice pattern of lace on the glass.

S - Sweet and malty, caramel and toffee with a hint of chocolate. Little to no hop aroma.

T - Brown, malty flavor up front with caramel and light coffee flavors. Some chocolate comes out in the middle and is replaced by stronger, but still somewhat mild coffee in the finish along with mild hop flavor and some malt bitterness. Mocha and a cola-like flavor linger on the palate.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Quite drinkable with a nicely balanced malt profile that walks that thin line between brown and black that we often call porter.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2009 05:13:20 | More by nickfl
Photo of RyanC84

South Carolina

3.03/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Much love to oobawa for hooking me up with a bottle.

A: Pours a light brown with a decent off-white head. Not an awe inspiring beginning to this one.

S: Very limited in this department. Faint aromas of roasted malt, a little chocolate. Seems a little watered down.

T: Roasted malt with a little chocolate sweetness, followed by an astringent bitter finish. Love me a nice hoppy porter, but this one doesn't do it for me. Not very complex and not pleasant to drink either.

M & D: Very light for a porter. The carbonation is right but the rest of the beer feels watered down and a tad thin. I'd try it again, but only if someone else is willing to share.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2009 04:32:30 | More by RyanC84
Photo of david18

New York

4.65/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of my favorite Porters, the Sierra Nevada Porter and Stouts are what really got me interested in the style. Both are very dry and aromatic with great hop bitterness. The porter is a very dark brown and is not so strong that you can't drink a bunch of it in the right season. I think one of the best in the category.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2009 22:19:19 | More by david18
Photo of rfgetz

New Jersey

4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with red hues. Nice khaki head, with good retention and lacing.

S: Roasted coffe and nuts. Semi-sweet chocolate. Earth.

T: Semi sweet, roasted coffe and nuts, hints of cocoa. Little hop presence.

M: Medium-Full bodied. Ample carbonation. Slightly sticky.

D: Excellent, classic porter. Nothing overpowers like todays big beers.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2009 13:42:04 | More by rfgetz
Photo of jkrich


4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured a very dark to almost black with a tight, short-lived tan head. There are faint ruby highlights.

Strong tangy, sweet roasted malt aroma escaped the bottle and dissipated slightly after the pour in the shaker pint glass.

The taste was pleasantly sweet with faint coffee like flavors; surprisingly subdued hops. Hints of chocolate and licorice coat the tongue. Everything comes together as this never becomes cloying as the porter warmed in the glass.

Medium bodied with more carbonation than I expected for a porter. An excellent malty aftertaste coats the tongue.

One of my favorite porters; very refreshing and light for the style. If there is a session porter, this is it.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2009 22:42:47 | More by jkrich
Photo of ThreeWiseMen


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

Poured into a New Belgium globe. (I'm marooned in Chico for the summer, and the only two glasses I have are a New Belgium globe and a Chimay goblet.)

Appearance: Dark - pitch black, in fact - body with a one quarter inch, khaki-colored head. Head retention is pretty damn good, while the lacing... well... isn't. That's okay. The thing that gets me is the opacity of this beer. I can't believe it's so dark! I can only see very faint shades of deep reddish-brown when I hold it directly to light. Maybe it's just because it's sitting in such a wide glass? I don't know, but I'm impressed.

Smell: I smelled the dark chocolate, roasted malts, and black coffee as soon as I began the pour. As I dig my nose into the globe, I still get those three. Strong, roasty, bitterness. I don't think there's anymore to be said.

Taste: Strong chocolate and cola flavors right off the bat. As the initial blow wears off, the chocolate flavor becomes more bitter. Roasted malt and bitter oily hops emerge from the woodwork. Cola flavor, oddly, still remains. As with the smell, the taste is bold, bitter, and roasty. This is a big boy's porter. Aftertaste is bitter and piney, but still shows a lot of roasted malt. This porter teeters on the edge of stout - a serious and big stout at that. I like.

Mouthfeel: Full in body, even for a porter. Thick and creamy, yet dry and crisp. Strong flavor profile. This porter fires on all cylinders.

Drinkability: While I'm really enjoying this one, I think it's just a bit too strong for a porter. Lots of flavor, lots of body, lots to handle. I had to check the bottle again to make sure I didn't open the SN Stout. I would definitely recommend this porter to a lot of people, but for those newbies out there: brace yourself! This is a big-time porter that's not the easiest thing to get down.


Serving type: bottle

08-17-2009 16:19:06 | More by ThreeWiseMen
Photo of SurlyDuff


3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The porter from Sierra is rather unremarkable, but it was across the board good. Well balanced and flawless. It doesn't have anything in here that makes it stand out from other porters.
Dark brown mahogony, not black. It's got a sweet dry earthiness.
Slight burnt smokey coffee and cocoa. Light nutty flavors in here too.
Rather thin mouthfeel in here, especially for a porter. It's not dissapointing, just a bit syrupy and thin.

Serving type: on-tap

08-11-2009 22:27:13 | More by SurlyDuff
Photo of cpmau11


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

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance is nearly pitch black. Off-white head, about 2 fingers in height. Nice lacing and head retention. Aroma smells of coffee, roasted malts, and a hint of chocolate. Taste is great, robust roasty flavor with a slight bitterness at the end. Very smooth drinkable.

Overall, this is a great tasting porter, another hit for SN. I kinda knew I was going to like this before I even picked it up.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2009 03:11:42 | More by cpmau11
Photo of Gish

South Carolina

3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

Pours a very dark brown with a beautiful lingering head and good lacing as well. I can smell slight roasted notes with herbal hop undertones. A bit underwhelming from an olfactory standpoint.

The taste picks it up a bit. Bitter coffee with a strong hop presence. It's tasty but a bit one dimensional and the malts are too subdued for a porter.

Very carbonated and a little too thin. However, it is enjoyable and I can (and will) enjoy a few in one sitting.

I like this beer, however, I look for a maltier presence in a porter. As usual, you can't go wrong with Sierra Nevada though.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2009 01:43:07 | More by Gish
Photo of DerBayer


3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice solid tar with brownishhead

Smell is its best asset - dried cranberries and christmaspudding strike me

Taste falls short of this with some dark fruit and some bitterness

Creamy and smooth mouthfeel with low carbonation

Drinkability is good but taste not complex enough and leaves a slight coating

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2009 20:57:34 | More by DerBayer
Photo of sisuspeed

New Hampshire

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

Poured this beer into a duck-rabbit snifter and produced a thin head that slowly dissipated, leaving only a trace of foam around the sides of the glass. A quick swirling of the glass allowed the aroma of earthy, roasted malts to escape, which was pleasant and complimented the dark brown color of the beer nicely.

The taste of this porter was much like the smell. Roasted, earthy malts mixed with some subtle smokiness and well balanced. The smoothness of this beer and the robustness of the flavor improved as the beer warmed. Small traces of lacing slowly floated down the sides of the glass while consuming and added to the overall appearance of the beer.

Sierra Nevada makes quality beers and this porter is no exception. I will be picking up more of this in the future. Especially when I am in the mood for a porter that is not of imperial strength.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2009 03:13:20 | More by sisuspeed
Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 2,674 ratings.