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Sierra Nevada Porter - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada PorterSierra Nevada Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

3,308 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,308
Reviews: 1,396
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10.77%
Wants: 102
Gots: 292 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-09-1999

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,308 | Reviews: 1,396 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of stimulus
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into an 8 oz flute. (This is what it was served in at the restaurant.)

A: Pours a dark brown, leaving quite a bit of lacing down the glass. Very small cream colored head.

S: I can smell mostly coffee, with a little bit of chocolate at the end.

T: Delicious. I have also tried their stout, and while this is a bit lighter, it is just as good. Very prominent java and cocoa flavors prevail in this brew. Especially the cocoa. A bit of roasted malt at the end as well.

M: Smooth in the beginning with a bit of carbonation hitting on the way down.

D: I could session this any day. There is little bitterness towards the end as the beer starts to warm up, and the chocolate and coffee flavors are even more prevalent.

Photo of jminsc76
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Into a pint glass, pours an espresso-colored head, slightly creamy, atop a nearly impenetrable body. Upon holding it up to the light, a red tinge is revealed (typical of many porters). Excellent lacing down the side.

Aromas include coffee, some cocoa, and some berries. It's not highly intense, leaving very little of a mark.

Flavors include roasted malts, some coffee, darker fruits, and some mild hop bite. Exhibits a nicely refined taste on the palate, great flavors, but not a lot of oomph! Now, I did indulge in Meantime's Coffee Porter beforehand, which is very rich, and that may be sapping the intensity of the flavor profile. (Note: I have drank this repeatedly since writing my initial notes, and the flavors are indeed a little more intense; ultimately the strength is in the balance).

Overall, this is a highly drinkable, highly refined porter. While I would not rank it in my top five, it is something I would return to again and again.

One more note: I paired this with some Gruyere, and the nuttiness of the cheese with the roast-iness of the porter dovetailed the flavors perfectly.

Photo of bbeerman
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A..Beautiful extremely dark brown color. Could be called black very easily as well. Not much head, but not much was expected from a porter.

S..Roasted malt, cocoa, smokey woods perhaps. Very inviting, just smells of flavor.

T..This is an amazing porter. There may have been a scent of cocoa, but the taste seems almost purely chocolate. This is by no means a chocolate beer, but wow, the taste blends perfectly with the malt(s). I cannot think of another porter I have had that tastes this good.

M..Mouthfeel is very good for a porter - just what you would expect. A bit heavy, a (very) little dry.

I had this pint with a bowl of exceptionally spicy chili. Since water is bad with spicy foods, I was not sure how the porter would sit. It helped cool the heat from the chili very well.

D..Yup, I could drink these all day. An easy session porter if ever there was one. I look forward to this beer again.

Photo of turnstile
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brown (almost black) with a one-inch, fluffy tan head. The heads sticks around for a while after the initial pour and leaves a decent sticky lacing.

Smell: Coffee and sweet, roasted malt aromas. Cocoa notes become much more apparent after more sniffs, and even become dominant as the beer warms. So much so that I think you could call this a chocolate porter.

Taste: Sweet chocolate and roasted malts. Burnt sugar/caramel with dark-roasted coffee in the finish. A great take on an American porter.

Mouthfeel: Mild carbonation. A nice, medium-bodied brew with a great smooth character. Not too chewy and doesn't finish as syrupy as others in this style.

Drinkability: Well-suited as a year-round beer. The ABV is about average and hidden well. Not too bitter with the right amount of sweetness for a malty brew. Smooth and not so heavy in its body that I could drink more than one, but probably best suited on its own with a desert pairing.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a verydark deep brown with a nice fluffy 1 finger head. Nose is sweet, a bit smokey and has a bit of a molasses hint.

Taste is very smokey and sharp for a porter, almost like a stout to me. It's quite sweet without being overwhelming. Mouthfeel fairly full and crisp, heavier than the pale ale, overall very good.

Photo of acelin
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love knowing that SN's brews are so widely available. I see them wherever I go!

Poured a deep nut brown that was wholly translucent. A deep brown in the pint glass with a creamy one finger head that looked so so so good. Head left plenty of lacing throughout.

Smells like slightly roasted coffee, with little hints of hoppy resin. Unusual for a Porter.

This beer delivered in the taste department. Beautiful notes of roasted barley that are not too thick and burnt deliver up front, with a little hoppy resin bitterness hitting from behind.

Mouthfeel is good, not as thick as a stout - just what I wanted.

Photo of MOB210SA
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2 finger brownish tan/khaki semi-sluffy head. Dark black in color but light can be seen through not to difficult. Cherry brownish accents. Looks real nice, some lacing.

Very nice dark roasted malitness, coffee, and sweet chocolate. Smokey roasted, some kind of coffee drizzled chocolate desert. Smells pretty good.

Taste is mostly a big bouquet of roasted maltiness that finishes with a delicious coffee finish, and a little alcohol.

Medium/full bodied and silky smooth with a nice bubbly carbonation makes it just super smooth and very drinkable.

Porters arent my favorite style but as always Sierra Nevada does a great job on their version.

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sierra Nevada Porter has a brown body that is translucent all of the way through, revealing some ruby highlights when held up to the light. At least two fingers of off-white head have ok retention and coat the glass very well.

The aroma is bursting with toffee sweetness and roasted malts.

The flavor has lots of toffee and roasted malts; I would say that the toffee dominates, but the roasted malts are pretty flavorful too. Bitter hops are pretty powerful in the background.

The mouthfeel is a little light a pretty highly carbonated.

Sierra Nevada Porter is a drinkable beer that is good, but on the light side as far as malt goes; I don't mean light as in lacking malt, but I mean light in the color/flavor of the malt.

Photo of berley31
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured with an average-sized, light-brown head that diminished to 1/2-finger. Body is dark black and completely opaque due to the color.

S: Nice aroma of bittersweet chocolate and roasted malt.

T: Very well-balanced and drinkable porter. The dark chocolate is quite apparent, with a slightly dry and bitter finish from the roastiness. Moderate duration.

M: A little thin-bodied on the palate, but still manages to come across as quite creamy, with average-to-lively carbonation.

D: Quite drinkable, and a very enjoyable porter.

Photo of theghost3
4.01/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown, almost black with a 3-finger beige head. A 1/2 finger head stays throughout & there's lots of lacing.

Smell is subtle--toasty malts, caramel and some citrusy hops. Taste is toasty, somewhat burnt malts with some caramel, cocoa, and just a hint of earthy hops. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a fair amount of carbonation.

This is a drinkable porter. Quite sessionable.
This would go great with any beef dish.

Photo of tippebrewcrew2
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra nevada is proving to be a good everyday brewery. They make some stellar beers (bigfoot) and some ok beers (pale ale). This happens to be a good beer of theirs.

A=4.0 Creamy medium lasting head

S=3.5 Coffee and dark chocolate but the flavors are light on the nose

T=4.0 This beer has a good taste. The flavors from the nose carry over to the palate with a little more flavor.

M=4.0 Creamy! it has a creamy body when you chew it. This is the major feel. it also has a lively medium body.

D=4.5 Its a very smooth beer with around high 5 to low 6 percent alcohol. Worth trying if you find it. It's a good beer in the spring and fall, winter as well

Photo of CHADMC3
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The body pours a dark brown with dark ruby hues as a huge creamy tan head floats atop and slowly dissipates to display a dense, sticky lacing.

Big roasted malt highlights the aroma also including toffee and dry earthy hops.

The flavor consists of roasted and chocolate malt, as well as coffee with a faint hop finish making for quite a pleasant brew.

Medium in body and carbonation, this porter is slightly creamy and very smooth.

Quite a good porter, easy to drink, plenty of character, and overall does not disappoint.

Photo of haddon
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- pours very dark, almost black with a light mocha brown head. nice lacing all the way down the glass

S- molasses, roasted malts, coffee & chocolate. well-balanced sweet smell

T- unique taste for a porter...starts as expected: malts, roasted notes & chocolate. but then there are actually hoppy notes evident. I really like the bitter aftertaste coming from a porter

M- medium body with a nice amount of carbonation

D- for such an easily found beer this could be a great session porter. impressive

Photo of JEdmund
4.68/5  rDev +20%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nearly black though with a little light it reveals it's truly a deep brown. Head settles to a creamy cap that almost looks nitrogen-produced--impressive. 

Smells of oats, biscuits, and roasted coffee

Exceptionally smooth texture and a full body (though not thick or syrupy). 

Taste is basically spot-on to the aroma. Full flavored yet not as assertive as their stout. The bitterness is really kept in balance as is the malty sweetness. Overall it finishes pretty dry, making for a drinkable beer. Not even picking up on any yeast-derived fruitiness.

Just a clean porter! I'd have a hard time picking a winner between this and Anchor's porter. Excellent beer.

Photo of zackcg
3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(12oz bottle poured into pint glass)

A - smokey dark brown with some crimson streaks. The head was tan and frothy, but didnt last long. Didnt dissipate completely and I enjoyed come nice fluffy lacing.

S - There wasnt a lot here for me. I was detecting mostly roasted malts and a bit of yeast character. There were also some pleasant burnt-chocolate undertones.

T - Rich as can be. Toffee-malt ensemble were the forefront with a slightly hopped ring.

M - smooth and carbonated. Not chalky though, texture was silky. Very easy to drink.

Great example of a basic porter. Though I tend to graviate towards harpoon leviathan or flying dog for my porter needs.

Photo of Mistofminn
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark dark brown, nearly black color with a thin tan head that has excellent retention for the amount that is there. Leaves some spotty lacing.

The nose is malty up front, with a light roasted character and a hint of coffee.

Taste is a nice light roasted malt character, with a hint of coffee beans. A bitter hop taste finishes it out.

Light to medium in body, with a low carbonation. Smooth and slightly creamy. Pretty much what you would expect from a Porter. Drinkability is great.

Overall, for a sessionable Porter, this is a pretty good one. Not my favorite in the world, but definitely up there towards the top.

Photo of drumrboy22
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass. Beer was a reddish brown color, with a three-finger, foamy head. Light carbonation and moderate lacing around the glass.

Aroma was caramel, pine hops, malt, chocolate and a bit earthy.

Taste was chocolate, toffee, roasted grains and malt, lightly bitter hops, smokey/burnt finish.

Very smooth and easy drinking. Goes down easy.

Photo of jhtipton
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice 1.5 inch head into a glass. Dissipated quickly leaving some brownish lacing. Nice dark brown nectar. Smells a little chocolaty and is a little tart. Lightly carbonated. Medium bodied, not like eating a loaf of bread. I like this beer but maybe not as much as a Bock or IPA. Good enough to drink year round. Probably would only want to drink one or two at a sitting due to the body. Would like a hunk of cheddar to make it better.

Photo of Jwale73
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served in a standard pint glass. Poured a deep brown with ruby highlights around the base. 1.5 inch, creamy, off-white head reduced its volume by half in under a minute before settling into a consistent, quarter inch cap. A thick band of lacing is exposed during the session. Nose is somewhat mild - just a hint of chocolate malt and roast. Taste follows nose - really mild flavors, somewhat watery while also expressing some cereal grains and a kiss of hops. Mouthfeel is light-medium and lightly carbonated, with a clean finish. A little lacking in the flavor profile, but fairly easy drinking; just not what I usually look for in a porter.

Photo of bsp77
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into tall glass.

Appearance: Dark chocolate brown with light tan head and nice lacing lines.

Smell: Dry, almost tart, roasted malts with chocolate and licorice.

Taste: Chocolate, sour roasted malts, light coffee and a nice mild bitter finish. Very well balanced.

Feel: Low to moderate carbonation, medium body, fairly smooth, dry finish.

Drinkability: On-the-nose example of a Robust Porter. While not my favorite, it is certainly an archetype.

Photo of realbama
3.51/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

porters are my favorite style of beer. having said that, this particular beer has long been a "fallback staple" for my palate when i was low on funds and wanted a brew, or if my choices were limited. when it comes to american porters, i strongly recommend anchor's version over this one. but, its not bad.

it pours very dark with an inch thick creamy head. looks like any porter should. smells chocolaty, malty, roasty. like any porter should. but here is where the love affair ends. it is watery and just doesnt taste as strong as i think a porter should. you taste what you smell, but the mouthfeel always leaves me thinking, "why did i buy this again"? overall, give it a spin.

i'll tell you this. if you like the TASTE of porters but do not like the thickness and wish it felt more like a light beer, this is for you! you'll love it! so, its not my favorite, but like i said, i still buy it.

Photo of Chronofied
3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Rather chilled at first, poured in a pint glass.

Appearance - Very dark but not murky; when held to the light, it is a sublime wood brown, shot through with reds.

Smell - A musty, almost earthy smell, with chocolate and very light coffee. Malt is apparent.

Taste - Definitely malt, chocolate and coffee, though the coffee is sweeter than expected... maybe that's the "toffee" that the label touts. The roasted malt is strong and welcome, and the aftertaste is a bit burnt.

Mouthfeel - Light, sparkling carbonation, easily moving. Thick, but thinner than expected for a porter. Doesn't stick to everything on the way down.

Drinkability - Totally drinkable. Not much burn, and the slenderness of it makes it less heavy... though a bit more of a toffee flavor would definitely be enticing.

Photo of elgiacomo
2.49/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottled Aug 20, 2010.

Pours thin brown with a huge foamy light tan head.

Aroma is an odd sweet and grainy/herbal, grassy, lemony concoction with a bit of caramel malt, chocolate and coffee. Moderate strength.

Flavor features some sweet malt, chocolate and caramel? Aroma and flavor is kinda odd on this one...particularly for a Porter.

Mouthfeel is thin to medium bodied, low to medium carbonation.

Maybe I got a bad bottle, but this is a pretty weak Porter. Relatively fresh, purchased and kept refrigerated so I don't think it was mishandled. An oddball for sure. Stick with the hoppy stuff, Sierra Nevada...

Photo of wordemupg
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into pint glass jan7 2010

A dark brown with a big mocha head that falls to a 1/4inch film after a few minuets leaving a couple patches of lace

S dark malts with some unexpected hops coming through

T chocolate and mild coffee with a little earthy flavor, some very faint smoke and just a bit of hops

M a little lighter then expected but its not a bad thing

D a very well rounded beer and lots of flavor for a session beer, I would drink this often if I could get it where I live

with out doubt a lovely porter and I'm glad I got to try it through a trade (thanks adil) my first beer from this brewer and I can't wait to try more, unfortunately I can't get it in these parts so I have no choice but to wait

Photo of mostpoetsdo
3.48/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: A great opaque brown with a booming tan head that stays for a good time. Great lacing.

S: Roasted malts and coffee.

T: Solid taste of roasted flavor and malt, coffee, just like the smell would let on. A burnt and hoppy aftertaste.

M: Way thinner than I though, but creamy. Not too carbonated.

D: It's good enough to drink for a while, not as flavorful as I expected.

Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 3,308 ratings.