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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

3,094 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,094
Reviews: 1,352
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 11.03%
Wants: 95
Gots: 208 | 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
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Ratings: 3,094 | Reviews: 1,352 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of axeman9182
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, poured into my Duvel tulip.

Sierra Nevada Porter pours a full black, with plentiful ruby highlights coming through when the beer is backlit. The bone colored head rises to three fingers in height, but doesn't hold up for very long. Several nice looking rings of lacing are left clinging to the side of the glass. The nose is fairly straightforward, lots of coffee and roasted malts. The beer could stand to be a little more aromatic though. There's a bit more to this beer though, as a hint of dark chocolate joins coffee in the intro. The dry roasted malt middle begins to come across as unpleasantly astringent to me. It's joined by a small but noticeable hop bitterness that leads into a very nice subtle orange-citrus close. The boy is somewhat light for the style, a reflection of just how dry it is. Given that, I think it's just a little overcarbonated for a relatively malt driven beer, the end result being the hops maybe elevated to too prominent a place (moreso in the bitterness fueling any sense of acridity mid palate). Overall Sierra Nevada Porter is a solid offering, but not my favorite American porter.

axeman9182, Jan 15, 2011
Photo of JT2875
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A black color and when held up to the light it reveals ruby edges. Poured a 2 finger head and great lacing.

S- Chocolate, toasted bread and earthy hop.

T- Roasted malt, mocha, toasted bread, and a note of citrus. Hop presence was a bit of a surprise but welcomed. Mild alcohol in the finish but the malt makes it disappear.

M- Velvety with perfect carbonation.

D- Very good. The hops made me nervous at first but a well balanced beer. Cheers!

JT2875, Jan 13, 2011
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #41 (Jun 2010):

Brilliant ruby edges painted on the nearly black beer; lacing is nothing less than superb. Chocolate, toasted bread and earthy hop in the aroma. Tight, crisp package. Dry malt palate for the most part; roasty, with mocha and over-toasted bread. Hops are there to balance, and that is what they do--of course, there is some flavor in tow with hints of earth, wood and citrus rind. Roasty malt finish; a note of alcohol makes its mark as well. This is definitely a go-to Porter.

BeerAdvocate, Jan 11, 2011
Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black slightly brown. Pretty much bottle color. Half finger foamy head leaves a thick lace.

Light toasty grains. Some chocolate and brown sugar notes as well.

Rich and toasted. Chocolate and sweet caramel malts. Some piney hops in the back with black malts. A resin bitterness at the end. A solid bite that leaves the mouth dry.

Velvety smooth body but doesn't drink too thick.

DrinkingDrake, Jan 10, 2011
Photo of gregshead
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a thin brownish color w/ a good finger & half of head.

S: Has the Sierra Nevada hops smell w/ a nice roasted grain smell.

T: Nice smooth roasted grains taste with more subtle hops than the nose led me to believe. Everything tastes right but its a little more hoppy than I prefer. Nothing pops out at me.

M: Nice thin feel with good carbonation.

D: A well made porter but it is missing the wow factor. Maybe a little more hopped than I prefer but it still is one worth trying.

gregshead, Jan 10, 2011
Photo of bfflo
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a deep translucent brown with a very compact, good-looking, fluffy egg-white head. Head retention is very strong; lacing is full and gorgeous. Smell is malty; chocolate-covered cherries, or raisins, and something mildly astringent in the background. Body is medium, a little lighter than some other porters I've had, and the journey across the palate is very smooth. Starts with a mild nettling, then blends over into a slick, easy-going charred chocolate middle, and a mild, but drying finish. A sort of burnt-cola aftertaste. It doesn't strike me as terribly complex, but everything here is very well balanced and this is extremely drinkable.

bfflo, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of BatDaddy
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a rich dark brown with a creamy light brown head that sticks around for a bit.

S - Roasted malts and the tiniest hint of chocolate. Some earthy notes and a good hint of citrusy hops.

T & M - Wow, nice. Good strong roasted malt backbone with a decent citrus hop kick. The hops compliment the beer near perfectly - not bitter at all but very flavorful. A bit of sweetness and mild roasted coffee. Mouthfeel is well carbonated but not harsh. Very smooth.

D - Really nice and certainly sessionable.

This really is a good, solid porter. Lots of flavor, well balanced, and easily drinkable. One of my favorite styles for this time of year - I'll probably pick up another sixer of this before they're gone.

BatDaddy, Jan 06, 2011
Photo of ElGrecoVerde
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a thick but bubble tan head.

Semisweet chocolate, roasted coffee, and a hints of bitterness.

Roasted coffee and toasted grains stand out. Undertones of chocolate, with a good balance of floral and citrus hops. Faint hints of buttery bread and mixed spices.

Medium bodied as promised by the label. A little flat.

Easy to drink and enjoyable. A solid porter, if not overly inventive.

ElGrecoVerde, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of modernartblues
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed While Drinking, poured into COAST imperial pint glass

A: black-brownish, with very faint hints of ruby red, decent head recedes to a thin top layer of whitish-brown foam, some lacing

N: great for a porter, plenty of roastiness back by a nice citrusy hop note, got to love Sierra Nevada's hop prone style

T: initially roasty, but moves to a light malt sugar sweetness, but backed up by a decent wallop of hops...very adequate carbonation

M: well carbonated, a touch lighter in the chewiness department than preferable for a porter, but overall it tickles my tongue time and time again

D: off the charts, what's the abv again? this beer is definitely one you can enjoy throughout the night

This might not match Smuttynose's Robust Porter, but its a very solid beer that is a mainstay in my fridge.

modernartblues, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of swede96
4.65/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours up a rich black body with a 1 finger tan color head. Only reason I do not give it a 5 is because of the thin head.

Smell: First thing I smell is a hint of hops with just a little coffee in the background.

Taste: To get the most flavor out of this beer do not drink ice cold. It must me around 45 degrees to get the full flavor of the malt and coffee with just a hint of hops..it is a wonderful flavor.

Mouthfeel: All I can say is it has a very balanced mouthfeel and flavor.

Drinkability: Is exceptional, the alcohol content not being too high, but again it is not the same beer ice cold as it is at about 45 degrees, this brew goes down very smooth with plenty of flavor. Great beer.

swede96, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of heebes
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

Pours a semi clear dark brown with huge off white foamy head. Leaves some nice lacing. Nose is roasted malts, burnt coffee. Taste is a smooth bitter dark toffee flavour with lots of malts throughout. Finishes dry and bitter. Medium bodied mouthfeel. A great tasting Porter, standard for the style, doesn't separate much from the crowd here.

heebes, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of JayS2629
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Cola colored with creamy tan head that dissipates quickly but leaves nice creamy walls of lace.

S- Roasted malts, hints of coffee and dark chocolate, tinges of caramel, and notes of earthy, floral hops

T- Follows the nose with roasted, sweet flavors, coffee and chocolate, caramel and earthy notes. Very well balanced flavors.

M- Slightly creamy, but thinner than most porters. High on carbonation but nothing offensive.

D- Very smooth and well balanced, goes down very easy.

JayS2629, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of Groomsy
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I figured I'd try this just to see how Sierra Nevada would interpret what is usually known as a more malty beer. Bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: I could tell as soon as I started pouring that this would be thinner than other porters I've tried (that's coming later in the review). It poured a dark brown, and when held to the light, had brown and red edges. There's some strong carbonation in this beer, but nothing over the top. At face value though, it looks jet black with a thin one-finger tan head which disappears rather quickly and leaves a nearly complete ring of foam on top. Big chunks of lacing adorn the glass during consumption.

Smell: On par for a porter - A mix of roasted malts and caramel with slight hints of coffee and a little bit of dark chocolate. Unlike other porters though, this porter has a pretty substantial hop presence which is on the "earthy" end of the spectrum. In fact the overall aroma is very earthy, but inviting. Not outstanding, but good for what it is.

Taste: Follows the smell closely. There are rather tangy and sharp notes of sweet caramel and roasted malts which hit the tongue at first, and the hop presence - earthy but clean - comes out in the middle. The beer finishes on an assertively bitter note of more hops, coffee, and dark chocolate. Nicely balanced flavors here, especially considering that SN are known for assertively hoppy beers.

Mouthfeel: About medium consistency. Thinner than other porters I've had, but it keeps in step with the flavors and aroma of the beer. Very creamy, although it's not super thick, probably due to the balanced carbonation at work here. Even with the lingering bitterness, the beer finishes fairly clean, but isn't dry.

Drinkability: With its wide availability and decent price, I could see myself getting a hold of this on a regular basis during the colder months. Very drinkable and inviting, almost sessionable.

While not a staple beer of SN, this is still solid and enjoyable. A standard but enjoyable American Porter, definitely worth trying time and time again.

Groomsy, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of Transatlantic
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a hefeweizen glass (sorry guys, no pint glasses clean...and I was lazy)

A - Poured a nearly black clear color. When held to light, you can tell it's very very dark burgundy in color. Nice thin bubbled head which dissipates over time, leaving beautiful chunks of lacing.

S - Straight up is a light coffee and chocolate smell. Behind the upfront smell, tucked away, is a very faint floral hop aroma. Overall, the smell of the beer is quite light and not overpowering.

T - First thing I notice is how chocolaty this beer is. I was thinking the coffee would strike in first, but it's the sweet and bitter taste of dark chocolate I get. Towards the aftertaste, you pick up on the roast coffee taste which eventually goes through your nose as well. Overall, very well balanced.

M - Medium bodied and creamy at that. A bit of carbonation, but I guess that's somewhat natural of a porter(?)

D - For the style, i'd say it's quite a drinkable beer. Nothing harsh about this beer at all.

Transatlantic, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of jrallen34
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle drank into a tulip...Dark brown beer with a light tan head that is big, but watery, just doesn't look stables or good. Ok lacing...Light aroma of roasted coffee and cocoa, too light and simple, boring...The taste is also way too light, nice cocoa notes that I like, just need more, coffee, but a weird bitter alcohol finish. The lightness of this makes it incredibly easy to drink, reminds me of an English style porter. Enough taste to not be bland and make it drinkable, but I wouldn't come back often for this.

jrallen34, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of tburus
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a 16oz Weizen glass.

Appearance: Dark, cola colored liquid. Only a trace amount of head or lacing. Moderate, still carbonation.

Smell: Very earthy. Slighty hoppy notes, but mostly a roasted, grainy, almost bark-like scent. Reminded me of the smell of moist dirt in the summer. Very nice while somewhat understated.

Taste: Roasted and sweet grain/malt flavor, pinch of lemon brightness on the front of the tongue, and slight carbonation.

Mouthfeel: Nothing all that strong lingers, though there is a gentle roasted aftertaste masking slight hoppy bitterness hanging in my mouth.

Drinkability: Incredibly drinkable beer. Delicious taste, low ABV, good price. I probably won't find myself buying this all the time, but for someone who prefers malt to hops this would be a nice staple to keep around for night when all I want is beer and not an adventure.

tburus, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of zhanson88
3.28/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Sierra Nevada Porter pours out a medium brown color with some ruby highlights. A couple fingers of very light tan head forms. Retention is pretty good, as is the lacing. This looks like a pretty thin porter from the start based on the pour.

Smell: Some dark and caramel malts, with a bit of hops and a very small amount of chocolate. It smells as weak as it looks.

Taste: Dark and caramel malts, but lacking the roasty taste of other outstanding porters I've had. A bit of bitter chocolate and hops on the back end. Overall a bit thin and lacking flavor.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Under medium bodied a bit watery for the style. It does drink pretty smoothly, however. This porter is definitely drinkable and is by no means a bad beer. It just doesn't measure up to others of the style that I've had.

zhanson88, Dec 22, 2010
Photo of Treyliff
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark murky brown with a fingertip tan head and good lacing. Smells of sweet roasted malts, caramel, semi-sweet chocolate with the bitterness of the hops slightly pulling through.

Taste- Roasted malts, toffee, semi-sweet chocolate; finishes with bitterness of hops, but everything balances well. Consistancy feels like a porter shouls, very smooth and creamy. Definitely a drinkable beer. Everything balances well which makes for a drinkable beer. Very Good.

Treyliff, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of tealeaf
4.55/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer pours a near black tint of dark red. when held up to light you can see the red shining through. While this may be a tad bit lighter, just a tad bit, than the other porters i have had, it is still very dark.

the smell was very nice, roasted malts as to be expected, hints of caramel and coffee, but also i picked up a quite noticeable hop aroma as well. it was faint to me but it was noticeably there.

the taste was not entirely what i expected. It had everything that i smelled but in different doses. there was roasted malt and caramel flavor, but the hops tasted much more heavily than i would have guessed. I mean this is not a totally hoppy beer, but for a porter the hops are defanatley more pronounced to me. This is a very balanced beer.

this beer is also very drinkable, and would make a could session brew

tealeaf, Dec 20, 2010
Photo of mikeg67
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle. Pours almost black with a thin tan head. Aroma of roasted malt and dark fruit, some coffee notes as well. Full body. Coffee, roasted malt, and some dark fruit on the palate. Finish is medium and bitter. I guess there can not be a bad beer from SN.

mikeg67, Dec 16, 2010
Photo of Genuine
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice deep black, with a dark tan head.

Smell - bittersweet chocolate, with some malty nuttiness to it. Almost reminded me of pecans.

Taste - Not as much flavor as I thought it was going to be, the nose kind of led me on a bit. Some chocolate, roasted maltiness...just a tad, not much, but enough to be noticed. hops rounding up the finish.

Mouthfeel - I felt this one was kind of light. Not as creamy as I'd like my porters/stouts. Carbonation was a bit more than what I would have liked but not bad for the style.

Drinkability - No doubt this is a very easy to drink beer, I could have a few in one sitting. Not a bad porter, but I thought it'd have more flavor.

Genuine, Dec 11, 2010
Photo of ztaylor1
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance- clear dark ruby colored with a one finger white head.

Smell- bitter chocolate and dark malts. Very pleasant without being overwhelming.

Taste- almost identical to the nose. But with a bitter chocolate finish.

Mouthfeel- creamy and chocolatey

Drinkability- can't stop won't stop!

ztaylor1, Dec 09, 2010
Photo of airheadmtrcycle
3.35/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big porter fan here, especially in the colder months. Don't know how I never tried this one before. Aggressive pour in a Sam Adams Perfect pint. Almost black with a quickly fading tan head that left some nice lacing.

Smell is smokey with roasted malts, but overall not too aromatic. The taste is slightly bittersweet with roasted malts. Lacks a bitter finish or much hop character that I was looking forward to.

The mouthfeel is really smooth with medium body. In fact this is a very smooth porter that should be popular with a lot of folks. The smoothness also makes it very drinkable.

Not quite what I was hoping for, but I definitely wouldn't turn one down. I like a little stronger flavor and more hoppy on the finish. But if you're looking for a smooth porter this may be your holy grail.

airheadmtrcycle, Dec 07, 2010
Photo of snaotheus
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Pours dark brown, passes a little light, medium dark beige head with a mixture of coarse and fine bubbles. No active carbonation that I can detect. Smell is mildly smokey, a little woody, a little lagery (yeasty maybe?).

Taste is sweet and smokey, I don't really taste that yeastiness that I smell. Some dark sweet fruits, maybe dates or something similar. Pretty mild, good but not that great.

Mouthfeel is light but slightly gritty. Smooth and drinkable beer, but like I said, not exceptional.

snaotheus, Dec 06, 2010
Photo of enfield249
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown with ruby highlights through out. Almost brown ale in color. Not much head to speak of, but what is there is off white to tan.

S - Not much, but mostly a little roast and some toffee.

T - Lots of roast, a decent amount of hop flavor, and some malty toffee flavor.

M - Medium, not to bitter, slightly cloying, and medium high carbonation.

D - Very drinkable. While the appearance suffers a little, the over all beer is very good, and exceedingly drinkable. I especially like the lower alcohol.

enfield249, Dec 04, 2010
Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 3,094 ratings.