1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Sierra Nevada Porter - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada PorterSierra Nevada Porter

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

2,817 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,817
Reviews: 1,321
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 11.03%
Wants: 85
Gots: 123 | FT: 0
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,817 | Reviews: 1,321 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of noslenwerd
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark, with little to no light shining through the glass

Very sweet smelling but not overpowering.

This beer was the perfect mix of chocolate, a bit of coffee, and finished of with just the right amount of bitterness...

I will without a doubt drink this beer again

noslenwerd, Nov 11, 2009
Photo of ZorPrime
4.72/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Adil for sending me this one. I was looking forward to tasting this Porter.

Dark black color with some red on the edges. The head is brown, dense and made of little, very fine (small), bubbles. As always from Sierra Nevada, the head sticks well to the glass. The aroma is malty, grilled (roasted) malts more precisely. Notes of coffee but not overwhelming, just enough to make it smell very good. I get some chocolate notes too. Wow, very nice aroma. The taste is mainly roasted malts with some light notes of coffee. At the end, I get some smokiness... awesome. Exceptional taste. I wish I could get this one all year here...

Mouthfeel is creamy and the finish is dry with a bitterness just well balanced. Excellent beer! Thanks Adil and Cheers to that!

ZorPrime, Nov 10, 2009
Photo of Mosstrooper
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into Roanoke College branded American pint glass.

Appearance: Pours black with some amber showing through the edges. Large, foamy, tan head that stays for a while.

Smell: Sweet roasted chocolate malt.

Taste: Begins with lots of chocolatey sweetness, and finishes with coffee-like bitterness and a toffee aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium body with only a bit of carbonation. Sticky finish.

Drinkability: Not the best, but a very pleasant porter.

Mosstrooper, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of porterwoobie
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, poured into a standard pint glass.

A: darm brown color, clear, huge tan head that hangs around for awhile, some lacing.

S: roasted grains, some dark chocolate. the hop aroma has a fair contribution. it has a good aroma, could be a little bolder.

T: chocolate and roasted grains. it has a light coffee (breakfast blend instead of espresso) character. bitter, dry finish.

MF: medium bodied, medium-light carbonation. cream-like aspect to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: this is a porter that other porters should be judged against. excellent beer.

porterwoobie, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of wahhmaster
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark cola color with a thick foamy head that dissipates slowly leaving nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet roasted malts with strong hints of chocolate.

Taste: Heavy on the roasted malts with a nice bittersweet chocolate flavor as well (reminds me of dark chocolate). Leaves kind of a roasted coffee aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Pretty full-bodied with a bit of a sticky finish that leaves a nice aftertaste in your mouth.

Drinkability: A good porter and another excellent beer from Sierra Nevada. They have yet to disappoint me.

wahhmaster, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of Rayek
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep walnut brown with a dense cream cap. Head retention is good, but little lace is left behind. Nice clarity.

S: A nice floral aroma from the hops mixes with a molasses, chocolate and toffee sweetness.

T: Very complex. Lots of malt up front. Nice molasses and caramel flavors. Balanced hops come on in the middle. They have a mostly woodsy quality with a touch of citrus. Finishes with lingering floral bitterness and molasses sweetness.

M: Oily and slightly syrupy. Good carbonation.

D: A great session beer. I could drink this all night.

Rayek, Nov 07, 2009
Photo of gloobygloob
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours pretty thick and dark brown, with a creamy tan head with last for a minute.

smells big, with yeast, chocolate, and coffee bitterness. some sugar and sweetness in the back.

tastes big and sweet initially, finishes with the roasted coffee and lingers long and smokey. this beer really smells and tastes more like a stout than a porter as it lacks usually porter bitterness.

mouth is calm and smooth but it really lights up in the after taste, really smokey. pretty heavy dont think i could drink more than a few but it is a delight.

gloobygloob, Nov 07, 2009
Photo of flagmantho
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: very dark brown with a ruby tinge when held up to the light. Head was large upon pour but settled down to a white pillowy froth.

Smell: notes of toastiness and chocolate. Pretty nice.

Taste: malty with chocolate notes. There is also a little roastiness with tartness on the side. Hops come through a little and, what few there are, are pretty earthy. A pretty good porter.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation.

Drinkability: pretty good. This would make a solid session porter.

flagmantho, Nov 06, 2009
Photo of CampusCrew
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: loaded head and creamy froth deep dark brown, not nearly ebony

smell: subtle dark roasted coffee and dark chocolate. a little disapointing

taste: coffee flavor and slight chocolate, slightly weak porter but a great session one

mouthfeel: medium to full bodied

drinkability: a nice beer and SN usually is right on style.

CampusCrew, Nov 03, 2009
Photo of mjw06
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

dark brown to black, barely lets any light through. medium to dark tan thumb sized, frothy head with a few big bubbles dotted here and there. good retention and lace.

a slight chocolate, cascady smell. i guess that is to be expected from a sierra nevada porter.

i dunno, maybe im just not feeling the cascade-porter deal. a florally, perfume astringent that is likely to take a way from the taste of a porter. descent roasted residual on the finish.

i really enjoyed the mouthfeel on this beer. very comfortable body and carbonation in seemingly perfect harmony.

over all a drinkable brew, but what am i to take from it? i'm just not sure. i cant see myself running to grab another one of these to satisfy any of my beer related cravings. this selection departs from the traditional porter, but with no destination in mind other than being labeled a sierra nevada brew.

mjw06, Nov 02, 2009
Photo of brewerburgundy
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Porter tasting notes from 9/15/09
12oz bottle into weizen glass

A: Poured quite black but looking through the glass at light it is ruby, dark ruby. Nice finger of tan head which settled to 5mms then to a ring which leaves continental lacing.

N: Roasted malts, wet dirt, dark fruit, molasses, sweet. Just a lovely smell on a rainy, beginning of fall day. At least when first poured, a biting, spice like citrus.

T: It isn't too sweet, but sweet enough with toasty leather. A bitterness that really seems to be Cascades is evident and it lingers in the back of the throat. The hop aroma is reserved and works with the bitterness of the dark malts to balance it.

M: Without being sticky it coats with medium active bubbles and a lovely bitter element. Isn't achieving thick, quite.

O: Nobody but Sierra Nevada could have made this. The signature West Coast, Cascade hopping scheme gives them away. I did decide to have another.

Note: I checked, and no Cascades in this beer. I admit I sometimes try too hard.

brewerburgundy, Oct 22, 2009
Photo of TheJollyHop
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Whoa, did somebody pour a cup of coffee! Intense aroma of roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate. Two fingers worth of foamy goodness that maintains its character well. Tastes of nuts, smoke, molasses, and of course coffee! A nice hop bite follows the initial roasted flavors. As this deliciously medium carbonated, slightly oily porter was drunk, great lacing was left inside the glass. This porter is very well constructed, and it would serve as a perfect pairing choice with some grilled meats and chocolate.

TheJollyHop, Oct 18, 2009
Photo of mempath
4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

deep dark color...held to light, an intensely deep red-orange. ok lacing and a decent head that settles fairly fast

nose is smokey malt.

a full-bodied but not thick mouthfeel reveals a nice flavor balance of that smokiness and some toasted malts.

i actually prefer Yuengling's Porter for balance and subtlety, but this is drinkable and would be great with cheese and other pub fare.

edit: another revisit. about the same, but a little more enjoyable except for the appearance. would love more lacing and a sustained head. o well. it tastes great. and it's quite drinkable.

mempath, Oct 17, 2009
Photo of zoso493
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a straight-sided pint glass

Appearance: Pours a deep brown with some garnet on the sides where the light hits it, with a two-finger head that dies down to a ring around the glass, leaving some faint lacing.

Smell: Roasted malts, sweet malts, some citrusy hops and even some chocolate.

Taste: Follows the smell with some roasted malts and just a hint of coffee and chocolate. Fairly bitter but has a sweet aftertaste This is a pretty smooth porter.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and probably not as think as you'd expect, but still very crisp and refreshing.

Drinkability: This is definitely a real drinkable beer. It's so easy going, you want to drink a few of these, kick back, and watch some football.

Overall, this is a great session beer, in my opinion. It's got enough complexity to be interesting, but it's light enough to drink a few of. Really good porter.

zoso493, Oct 16, 2009
Photo of feelmefoam
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-oz bottle into a glass mug.

Poured a thick brown color with not a lot of carbonation and a finger of cream colored head that dissipated fairly quickly. Leaves a little lacing around the glass, not a whole lot.

Smells of caramel/toffee malt, chocolate, and black coffee. Smells good and sweet.

Tastes like it smells. First comes the coffee flavor, a little smoky and burnt, followed by some malts, then ended with some bitter chocolate.

The mouthfeel isn't as heavy as I expected. It's not heavy, just medium-bodied with more carbonation than I expected. The carbonation and alcohol sit on your tongue when it hits your mouth, but then the beer smooths itself out. Very nice.

Not a huge ABV, not very heavy, and also pretty tasty. I could drink a few in a row. I'll buy this porter again, it's a solid beer.

feelmefoam, Oct 16, 2009
Photo of vdread
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Porter pours a dark brown color with some red highlights and a rocky little tan head that left a thin little ring of spotty lacing. smells like roasted malts and coffee. The taste was of rich burnt malts, good porter flavor with a strong citrus hop taste. moderate bitterness. very solid in every respect. on the hoppy side of balanced. creamy with enough carb to make it smooth. excellent all around. i could put this into regular rotation.

+ though it's one of the hoppiest porters i've had, it's not overwhelming.

vdread, Oct 16, 2009
Photo of biegaman
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Porter is a dried, shriveled cherry - well, actually, it just shares the colour of one. Although it might appear black at first glance any movement will unhinge stripe after stripe of sangria red accenting. Its opacity proves too weak against the light. There is no head but in its place instead is a thin string that entwines the outside.

Sometimes the aromas in a beer can be so elaborate that the multitude of scents all become a harmony of finely interwoven notes that knot together to create an ambrosia so intricate, so splendid that it renders the use of words futile. And other times it's simple, like in this instance. Roast malts, coffee, bakers chocolate - simple, wholesome, sumptuous.

And those three words are fit to describe the flavour, too. The trio of roasted malts, coffee and chocolate carry over into the flavour where, after so much sniffing, it is most gratifying to finally get a taste of them. There is a tinge of smoke, a drop of dark caramel and maybe a pinch of dark fruit, but that's about where the nuances end.

This porter could pass for your morning coffee (if you take it black) or it might go just as well with a late night dessert. It is substantially malty, enough so that it seems strangely nourishing, even strengthening. It's well carbonated and amply bittersweet. It is hearty and a well-suited companion for cold, dreary, rainy weather.

Sierra Nevada labels boasts claims of "purest ingredients" and "finest quality". You can rest assured those are not deceptive statements. In fact, they could add a few more - "balanced and flavorful", "endlessly quaffable", "beer as it's meant to be" - and still not even begin to touch on the reasons for their success over the last few decades.

biegaman, Oct 15, 2009
Photo of BDJake
4.58/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was the Porter that got me into dark beer. Also the finest selection from Sierra Nevada, and I'll even go out on a limb to say that this trumps even their Pale Ale, although I'll receive a lot of flack for that. Pours a rich dark brown, with a tan head and lacing visible even inside of the bottle. The smell was the highest point here, full of roasted malts and bitter chocolate, and even tones of burnt hops with a slight tinge to it. The flavor was an intense mix of roasted malts, coffee and chocolate notes, with a slightly smoky bitter and rich coffee-like aftertaste. Warming, moderate body with just the right amount of carbonation, and it goes down extremely well, making for an excellent beer that can be enjoyed in all seasons, whether grilling in the summer or in front of a fireplace at the holidays. One of my all-time favorites.

BDJake, Oct 15, 2009
Photo of KrisPaulk77
4.33/5  rDev +11%
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.

KrisPaulk77, Oct 14, 2009
Photo of donniecuffs
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

donniecuffs, Oct 06, 2009
Photo of SamN
5/5  rDev +28.2%
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.

SamN, Oct 06, 2009
Photo of BeerCon5
4.7/5  rDev +20.5%
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.

BeerCon5, Oct 05, 2009
Photo of Jmoore50
4/5  rDev +2.6%
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.


Jmoore50, Oct 02, 2009
Photo of projectflam86
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

projectflam86, Oct 01, 2009
Photo of GilGarp
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

GilGarp, Sep 30, 2009
Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 2,817 ratings.