Sierra Nevada Porter - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada PorterSierra Nevada Porter

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very good

3,246 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,246
Reviews: 1,373
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 11.03%
Wants: 99
Gots: 267 | 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: 3,246 | Reviews: 1,373 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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.


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.

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.

Photo of Foxtrot
4.33/5  rDev +11%
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!

Photo of BigJim5021
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

Photo of joozyboozy
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
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

Photo of mdwalsh
4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
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.

Photo of parkeak0
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of sweetbrew82
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
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

Photo of burnerfinger
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Photo of nickfl
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

Photo of RyanC84
3.03/5  rDev -22.3%
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.

Photo of david18
4.65/5  rDev +19.2%
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.

Photo of rfgetz
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Photo of jkrich
4.33/5  rDev +11%
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.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.9/5  rDev 0%
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.


Photo of SurlyDuff
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Photo of cpmau11
4/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

Photo of Gish
3.55/5  rDev -9%
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.

Photo of DerBayer
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
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

Photo of sisuspeed
4/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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

A: Pours a deep rich scarlet color that produces a huuge three finger eggshell color head. The head retains nicely, leaving a thin layer of foam along the glass.

S: Roasted malts, nice toasty aromas, bread, sweet chocolate, lactose, coffee, espresso

T: Very similar to the nose. Nice and toasty off the bat. Chocolate is a little subdued but present, also the hops make a nice appearance to give this a slightly tart/citrusy flavor. Bready finish

MF/D: Nice medium body, long bready finish, opposite of dry, definitely a session beer, perhaps my favorite

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

A-Dark brown bordering on black...perfect creamy tan head of about 1/4 inch that rims the glass.

S-Great smell...a lot going on....roasted malts, mild coffee beans, dark chocolate, a little caramel,mild burnt black malt...

T-Starts with more of the dark chocolate, burnt malt notes....then the caramel seeps in along with mild coffee...finishes with an enjoyable little bite from the burnt malt and perhaps a little hoppiness as well.

M-Creamy texture...medium to full bodied...has character

D-Excellent example of an American Porter. Very enjoyable. I think this once won a big 12 beer double blind taste test my brother and I did about five years ago...

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

A: Pours a rich ruby-mahogany with a thich tan head. The head dissipates to a solid lace.

S: This porter smells raw roasted malt. It's like the fresh cracked grain was just taken out of the smoker and poured into the glass. Very little hop in the nose.

T: Roasted chocolate, toffee, and malt are dominant. A little smoke on the finish. This would be perfect with any desert or fruit.

M/D: Delightfully smooth in the mouth, the body is not overwhelming but has a presence. You can detect the alcohol in this porter which would make it perfect for a cool evening sipper.


Brews Brother

Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 3,246 ratings.