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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

2,811 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,811
Reviews: 1,321
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 11.03%
Wants: 85
Gots: 122 | 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: 2,811 | Reviews: 1,321 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of yemenmocha
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown to near-black with very light tan head. Nose is somewhat restrained with some chocolate and nougat. On the palate, a nice cafe mocha flavor comes through with hop bitterness near the end. Finish is medium and roasty. Rather drinkable for a porter, if you're looking for something lighter on the palate in the porter style.

yemenmocha, Jun 17, 2009
Photo of ibbjamin
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Readily available beer in the $7-8 range for a six pack of 12oz bottles. Poured into a standard pint glass to review.

Leaves a light yet frothy head of about an inch. Very dark brown in color, yet transparent with deep reddish tones when held to a light. Minimal head retention. and lacing.

Smells quite sweet and a little nutty. Caramel combined with sweet and biscuity malts. Balanced with earthy hops. Mild chocolate undertones and even some brown sugar. A mild porter.

The chocolate comes through more in the taste, still with biscuity sweet malts and some nuttiness.

Medium bodied and quite drinkable. Medium finish with a moderately watery mouthfeel.

A good porter for everyday drinking. Nothing too special, but no characteristics turn me off the beer.

ibbjamin, Jun 16, 2009
Photo of IMincedTheKing
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark brown with a lacy tan head.

I never get much from the nose of a porter. Roasted malts and hops. Toffee and chocolate maybe. I'm not excited, but I'm not disappointed.

Nice hop balance for the roasted malts. Bold coffee aftertaste. Definite hop flavor throughout.

The mouthfeel is quite rich, but I'd like it to be a tad creamier.

Dark, roasted malts, aren't my stlye at all, but this is quite tasty. Personal preference says it's not a first choice, but it's definitely a good porter, the hops adding an interesting component to the mix.

IMincedTheKing, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of dogfishhead1117
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, malted brown, pretty foamy head and a little bit of lingering but generally it's a nice brew if you're staring it down,

smells like a porter, rich and oily with hints of malt and what could best be described (if you generally don't drink porters) as an "olive-esque" aroma capped with bits of sweetness and some hops and it's not the most pleasant of smells but once you get used to it, it grows on you

tastes like a really well blended, west-coast porter. the hops are definately present but so is the great richness of the brew, it's pretty drinkable though i'm not gonna go and have a couple at a time, takes a while to drink but that's the beauty because every sip gives you a little more of its character and a little more depth to the hop,grain, malt sort of deal, and there are definately some chocolate chords

note: whenever i get a porter in the pubs out in Calgary, well if i get a pint, they serve it with a small piece of dark chocolate that really can bring out a richness you don't get without it, worth a try with this one too, overall a great brew

dogfishhead1117, Jun 12, 2009
Photo of MaxBrews
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz bottle poured in a pint glass.

Appearance: I've been reviewing al lot of porters lately and this one is on or above par. Pours an opaque brown with a thick and creamy slightly brown head. Head is very pleasing and takes a while to dissipate into a foamy lacing that clings to the glass for dear life. if you agitate it almost reappears into a head again. Excellent looking porter.

Smell: Caramel, chocolate, and a ton of floral hop aromas. Some citrus notes if you search really hard. A tiny bit of bitter bite towards the end and aftertaste.

Taste: Caramel, chocolate, coffee, good contrast of sweet and bitter, floral hops. Leaves the mouth with a fine charm of roasted malt taste.

Mouthfeel: moderately carbonated, a nice twang that leaves your mouth feeling great.

Drinkability: i've only had english and baltic porters before, this has a hoppier feel and is less bitter so it may be easier for some folk to drink, but I still agree sam smith and others are very drinkable but this has a different quality. Overall a great an inventive American interpretation of a porter. Will buy again.

MaxBrews, Jun 09, 2009
Photo of cbn
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown, nearly black with rusty accents when held to the light. Large foamy head dissipates leaving heavy lace and a thin cap.

Thin lemony aroma of hop, hint of molasses.

Sweet and roasted malt, light and clean with subtle complexity of espresso with a twist of lemon.

Smooth and creamy never heavy, never bitter. The body delivers a satisfying beverage.

Taste and mouthfeel add up to a very drinkable porter.

cbn, Jun 08, 2009
Photo of brandoneast
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A frothy, creamy mocha head rests on top of the opaque brew and when held to the light, showcases dark ruby edges. Intoxicating and almost primitive aroma of fresh dark bread, roasted grain, boiled porridge, chocolate, burnt popcorn kernels, and not so primitive smell of freshly baked ice cream cone. The deep flavors of chocolate and coffee are prominent while the soft hoppiness fades to a pleasant rounded bitterness and thin to medium mouthfeel. Forget the Guinness, pull up a Porter.

brandoneast, Jun 03, 2009
Photo of CHL
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with light birch sort of head. It's creamy and settles down into a puffy clouds before leaving lacing over the beer and glass.

Smells relatively hoppy for a porter, with dark malts, nicely roasted, and maybe a hint of coffee.

The taste is perfect. Bitter roasted dark malts mix with a bite of ale and hop fruitiness. It's very well-balanced if not particularly deep. Somewhat sweet overall, with a pleasant bittersweet chocolate aftertaste. I could certainly have several of these.

I can only fault this beer for being a little thin for a porter. I wish the malt was a bit thicker, but it's one of my favorites so far.

CHL, Jun 01, 2009
Photo of gatorbreath
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at Grocery store. 12 oz btls. poured into Chimay Goblet

Little bit thin of a beer for my tastes. Not too much complex of a taste, but filled a hole while my favorites were out of stock.

Would recommend above others, but would recommend other Sierra Nevada Brew's to others before this.

gatorbreath, May 31, 2009
Photo of jwhawkins81
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aroma - Malts but plenty of hops too. A lot of hops for a porter.

Appearance - Not completely dark but a dark amber. Light tan head a little carbonation.

Taste - A lot of roasted coffee and a good deal of bitterness too. Probably not a bad balance, but I love the roasted malt.

Notes - Good mouthfeel.

jwhawkins81, May 30, 2009
Photo of Ralphus
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Michael Jackson once rated Sierra Nevada's porter as one of the best in the world. However either things have drastically improved or this beer has changed, as today it is at best a decent example of the style.

It starts off with a very dark pour with an off white head that dissipates to a blanket of foam. Some lacing is evident as the beer level drops in the glass. The smell is of slightly burnt dark malts and coffee.

The taste is light initially but then transitions quickly through sweet malts and finishes with a chocolately dry coffee bitterness. There is some complexity but it's nothing intriguing.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are quite good though. The beer gets drained quickly and having multiples is an easy affair.

Ralphus, May 29, 2009
Photo of JamesS
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice dark brown/black color with very good head and some nice lacing. Good scent, bit of burnt grain aroma, but not very deep or strong. Nice taste, good thick burnt grain quality with some decent coffee aftertaste and just enough hops to keep the malt grounded. Goes down fantasticly smooth!

JamesS, May 18, 2009
Photo of StarlightSeraph
2.83/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Unlike the picture, mine came in a brown bottle.

Appearance: Pours brown, but is really seen to be a deep red when held up to the light. Three fingers of frothy white head, which stayed for quite awhile and left a good bit of lacing.

Smell: Surprisingly mind and watery. Some faint roasted and chocolate notes, some bitterness from the hops. About the only thing that differentiates this from SNPA is the hint of dark malt in the background. Blind, I never would have guessed this was a porter.

Taste: Much like the smell. Watery, with bare hints of coffee/chocolate/dark malt flavors in the background. Bitter and hoppy. Tastes more like a dark version of SNPA. Again, blind, there is no way I would have thought this was a porter.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, but very thin.

Drinkability: It went down easy, I'll give it that. This is the first SN offering I've been disappointed by. I never had their porter before this year, so I don't know if they've changed the recipe or something, but this was a disappointment. It wasn't really bad, per se, but was not a good representation of the style.

StarlightSeraph, May 14, 2009
Photo of showell
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one poured almost black, with an off white head. The head lasted a long time, and there was a nice lacing. The scent was heavenly. VERY nice scent of roasted chocolate and coffee. The taste is much like a roasted coffee bean with just a hint of malt thrown in. Nice carbonation. I could drink these all night if I let myself. The only problem is, I'm having an awful time finding any more of it. I found a couple of loose bottles at trader joe's and haven't seen it again...

showell, May 14, 2009
Photo of bunnyhustle
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark, dark mahogany with ruby highlights. Rocky off-white head with good retention and lacing. A very nice looking beer. Smell was rich of dark chocolate, toasted grain, caramel, and some raisin. Taste is of toasted and burnt grain, chocolate, some toffee, and dry malt. Low carbonation and a slightly thicker mouthfeel, almost chewy. Overall a good beer and easy drinker. I think this could almost pass for a stout as I think it has a fuller body than many other Porters.

bunnyhustle, May 11, 2009
Photo of ChugsMugs
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into standard pint glass

A-Dark brown to black. 1/4inch head. Holding it to the light barely lightens up its color.

S- A rich chocolate smell with mollasses and a nice sweetness.

T- Initial overflow of semi-sweet chocolate taste. Some zestiness to it. Not too rich or overwhelming, maybe a hint of fruit, red grapes perhaps?

M- lots of carbonation on the tounge. Easy to swallow and leaves behind that rich semi-sweet chocolate flavor.

D- pleasing to the mouth. Not too heavy or overwhelming with chocolate richness to make it a single pint beer. I say these can be enjoyed in good numbers.

ChugsMugs, May 06, 2009
Photo of Lerxst
4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a Sammy Smith Imperial Pint glass.

A-Beautiful dark, dark brown. A nice off white head with nice lacing.

S-chocolate, coffee, malts blend nicely together.

T-Hey, this stuff is tasty with some solid follow through on the nose. There is a nice blend of coffee, chocolate with delicious roasted malt. I know taste is a personal preference, but the quality and balance of flavors here is almost perfect.

M-A nice medium body. Not overly heavy. A bit too much carb for my taste, but I can handle that since the rest of this beer is simply amazing.

D-Very drinkable. A few of these in one setting is certainly possible since I've done it several times.

When you combine the factors of cost and quality, its hard to beat this one. This is a GREAT porter that I can pick up on sale for $5.99 a sixer. Makes me wish there was a "value" catagory for a review. I love this beer.

Lerxst, May 04, 2009
Photo of auxiliary
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance - Dark brown, back color. tan head with some lace.

smell - Mild hops and some cocoa, smoky.

taste - Has a cofeee taste and then finished off with a bitterness taste.

mouthfeel - Medium bodied.

drinkability - Even balance porter that wasnt that bad.

auxiliary, May 03, 2009
Photo of seand
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a mug.

A: Pours a very dark solid reddish brown, almost black. A little under a finger of creamy tan head. Some lacing.

S: Fairly strong smell, sweet milky coffee.

T: A bit more subtle than expected from the smell. Somewhat sweet, again with a coffee presence, with a light hint of hops.

M: Very nice carbonation. Medium to full bodied feel, slightly sticky.

D: Very drinkable. Would make a nice session beer.

seand, May 02, 2009
Photo of BeanBone
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A thick, rich mahogany body with ruby highlights and a solid finger of cream-colored head that leaves great lacing.

Aroma: All of the normal aromas for a Porter: roasted malt with lots of smoky, bittersweet chocolate and coffee notes.

Taste: Much the same profile as the nose; lots of roasty malt, rich chocolate, and coffee. But, now there's a subtle hoppiness in the end. Bitter, yet balanced. The aftertaste features dark chocolate and a decent dose of hoppiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and smooth with good carbonation.

Drinkability: Very drinkable for the style, without ever being too thin.

Verdict: Sierra Nevada Porter is just a solid, drinkable beer. It's uncomplicated, but never simple. Highly drinkable, but never boring. I've heard rumors that this beer might be taken out of my local market in order to make room for the new year-round Sierra Nevada beers. That would be quite a shame, here's hoping they can squeeze everyone in.

BeanBone, May 01, 2009
Photo of stephens101
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The in-laws left this one in the fridge after the weekend. I think they're catching on to how this family thing is supposed to work. A straight tan head sits on top of a coal black brew with no light shining through. Head recedes at a quickened pac. A few thing lines of lace are left. Aroma is subtle with sweet malts rising first, then some faint roasted nuts and maybe a splash of honey and pine. I'm going to stop there as not to try and seek something that is not there. All in all, its not as bold as expected. Let's move on. Tastes sweet and malty up front with a nice little hit of hops following up quickly. Some black coffee and a hint of pine finish it up. Carbonation is big, and keeps everything lighter than usual on the palate. Mouth-feel lies somewhere between medium and heavy, but it goes down pretty easy. Many porters tend to over do things in one area or the other, but this is a Well-made, well-balanced porter, which is not a surprise considering where it came from.

stephens101, Apr 30, 2009
Photo of adamette
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Live Review. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle that I bought as a single a while back. I cannot decifer the "best by" date but it is Z361W1844 I think. Poured into my clean, clear Cooperstown Beverage Trail pint glass.

A Very nice 2 to 3 inch head over a dark but not completely black body. In front of direct light I can see some dark burgundy colors.

S An unexpected nice sweet milk chocolate. Not dark chocolate like you might expect but a nice Hershey's Milk Chocolate. Quite a nice, inviting smell.

T The milk chocolate gives way to a nice roasted malt with the chocolate in the background. This could be a reference Porter for those interested in what a porter should taste like. Really nice.

M Suitably moderate to big but nothing extreme like an RIS. Actually a bit average for the style but that is just fine.

D One and done for me (I only had the one) but I could see drinking two to three of these in an evening.

Notes: As stated above, a possible reference beer for the style. Quite good.

adamette, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of ThatWineGuy
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One finger tan head with moderate retention and lace, under a bright light I can just barely make out the outline of my fingers on the other side of the glass. Low steady carbonation. Smells of roast malt, freshly ground coffee beans. Taste is impressive and delicious with an underlying nutty taste, roast malt, slight espresso, hops. Smooth mouthfeel despite a brazil nut dryness and moderate astringency. Finish is long and drawn out, again dry. This is a tasty porter that is more nutty than coffee-like, a real pleasure as are all SN brews I've been lucky enough to sample.

ThatWineGuy, Apr 20, 2009
Photo of washburnkid
4.53/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Three fingers of a huge, bulbous head that almost spills out of my stein. The brew is a dark brown with ruby hues. The rocky head sticks around for a while and leaves some sticky lacing.
S: Chocolate, coffee beans, and oatmeal. These are absolutely inviting aromas for me.
T/M: Big sweet malts of semi-burnt chocolate and roasted coffee. Rounds out to a citrus/tangy finish. A great bitter residue sticks around from this nearly medium-bodied brew. Roasted flavors really pull through as the beer warms.
D: This is exactly what a porter should be. Will it replace Black Butte as my go-to beer?

washburnkid, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of duffextracold
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark brown, almost black color. thin 1 finger head, dissipates quickly. Smells like roasted malt, with a subtle sweetness. Tastes like sweet crystal malts, balanced with slightly bitter roasted malts. Slight dried fruit in finish. some hints of chocolate. Light mouthfeel, but not watery at all. light to medium carbonation. overall very good, light, refreshing porter. I've seen this stuff a million times at the store, but just finally got around to trying it. another solid offering from S.N.

duffextracold, Apr 18, 2009
Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 2,811 ratings.