1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Sierra Nevada Porter - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada PorterSierra Nevada Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

3,353 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,353
Reviews: 1,403
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.8%
Wants: 105
Gots: 319 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,353 | Reviews: 1,403 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jpro
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass. It's a nice, dark brown with some translucence around the edges; pours with a rocky, tan head (what is about the awesome head with SN beers?). Aroma is of roasted malts, with a touch of coffee and caramel - there's also a little earthiness from the hops. Taste is burned caramel up front with some slight roastiness, followed by a pleasant, low-key citrus hop bite. Mouthfeel is a shade under medium-bodied. A good porter, that I could enjoy a few of. Its almost like a little brother to Sierra's Stout (which I guess would be true to style) - a little less roasty / more sweet, with a lighter body.

Photo of BARFLYB
2.93/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a glass late at night at the compound, A single bottle purchase that i've been putting off for years. Fairly fresh.

Coco-Cola brownish/black with a dirty look within the liquid. Not the thickest looking porter, but this isnt the biggest beer. A off white to tannish marshmellow fluffy head stayed forever leaving significant clumps, all the way down. This looks like a dirty brown ale.

The smell does not quite pull it off, it's quite off putting actually, in short, this does not smell good. Smells like a musty barnyard or an old basement in the city. Besides that strange odor in the front, some nuts, grain and a small amount of chocolate sneak in. The roasted malt comes out only with significant warming.

The strange smell comes into the taste Dept. as well, but it does not ruin the beer, not totally at least. I was fearing a little metallic taste from the scent, but it does not show up. Perhaps the strange smell/taste are worn out hops as it comes off slightly vegetal. Otherwise this tastes like a standard porter with a light roast under a malty base with nuts and chocolate.

The feel is pretty spot on for a single porter. While the liquid looks semi thin and watery, the feel is lucious smooth medium, that goes down with ease. Just enough roast to stick it to the tastebuds, but not overly done. The carbonation is on the light side and it works for this particular porter's size and body. I don't think i'll go for this one again, the smell was yucky the taste was bearable, while the feel was the best part. Much more exciting porters out there in the market.

Photo of thain709
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a dark brown with nice ruby highlights around the edges...a one finger, light brown head formed and held its own for a little...finally became wispy and spotty...good lacing

S - Roasted malt aromas...dark chocolate bitterness with some caramel sweetness...a nice hop presence

T - The roasted flavors in this beer are really nice...the malts are full in flavor and never disappoint...the malts also provide an underlying sweetness...there is a dark chocolate flavor that is big and gets bigger when the beer warms...the hops at the end are typical of Sierra Nevada and they provide a nice compliment to the roasted coffee bean flavor

M - Medium bodied...smooth...a bit dry from the roastedness...but I enjoyed the lasting flavors on the palate

D - This has to be one of my favorite porters...Sierra Nevada never disappoints...I enjoyed this one more than their stout...looking forward to having this one around more often

Photo of tigg924
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark brown in color, 1/3 inch head, clear

Smell: toasted malt and caramel

Taste: toasted malt, chocolate, bit of nut, and caramel

Mouthfeel: smooth, medium to light body, moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A super sessionable and complex porter. This is a favorite in the style. One of my favorites from the brewery.

Photo of leokbelo
4.74/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a wonderful, almost black, dark brown, nice 2 inch head that lingered on. Delicious chocolate and coffe on the nose. Taste like a proper Porter (or American Porter) should taste: Rich roasted malt, bringing the chocolate and coffe in again.
HIGHLY drinkable!
An excellent Porter, one that everyone should try. One of my very favourites, if not THE one!

Photo of SAxDRC5
4.77/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark Brown, not quite opaque. small tan head, little to no lacing.

S: roasted cofee, malts and chocolate. slight pine hops scent

T: almost exactly the same as it smells. not as strong as i was expecting. very good though

M: good, but more carbonated than i would prefer.

D: finished one, could have a few more for sure.

Photo of biboergosum
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear dark mahogany hue, with red edges, and two fingers of foamy light beige head, which renders pretty consistent webbed lace around the chalice. It smells of very mild roasted malt, and earthy, weedy hops. The taste is lightly roasted, nutty malt, mild citrus, and earthy hops. The carbonation is moderate, the body medium-light, and it finishes clean, getting drier all the while.

An adequate porter, the initial hint of hops pretty much fizzles, leaving a straightforward rendition of the style.

Photo of glid02
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a dark brown color with a 1.5-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of good amounts of roasted malt with mild amounts of cocoa powder and milder amounts of pine hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Mildly roasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by unsweetened cocoa powder. Near the end of the sip a solid hop bite comes into play - pine with hints of citrus - before a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a solid thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another without a problem.

Overall this was a porter that was definitely on the lighter side of average. I thought SN's stout was a better representative of the style than the porter however both are above average and worth a shot.

Photo of Evocatus
4.55/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a dark, deep, opaque brown, like coffee. Head was a light tan, thick and foamy. Aroma was a mix of roasted malts, and bittersweet cocoa. The taste was the same mix as the aroma, but each flavor was distinct enough. Great thickness, ok carbonation. Great beer for any occasion, not too heavy, great taste, and relatively inexpensive.

Photo of ocelot2500
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany color with a frothy tan head that leaves little to no lacing.

Smells of toffee, caramel, and a touch of coffee.

Tastes of the toffee mostly with a layer of caramel sweetness. Roasted notes also bring out some coffee and bitter chocolate. A bit of musty, earthy hops are present, but subtle.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Photo of Brenden
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one's a deep, dark brown color. A nice brown head forms at about one finger with solid retention and leaves spotty lacing on the glass.
There's a malt with a roasted character straight on the nose with a light hops bitterness to it. Somewhat less strong than I'd expect from SN.
There's no lack of character or strength in the flavor. While not overly complex, there is a somewhat tangy addition to the flavor that adds something interesting. A little gently acidic coffee lingers. Hops are present throughout. The finish is dry and lingers well with a smokiness coming through.
The body is medium to full with a nice balance of moderate crispness and smoothness.
A solid brew and good interpretation of the style.

Photo of PintOHops
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Glass - Pint

A - Clear dark brown, you can nearly see through it when held to light with a ruby/brown glow. Produced a beautiful 2-3 head, decent retention and lacing was spotted.

S - Lots of semi robust coffee on the nose, lite roasted quality, a touch of spicy hops as well but soft. Some milk chocolate, more hops upon a vigorous swirl. Better than average aroma.

T - Nutty & biscuit like upfront, with unfolding semi robust notes of coffee, wonderful toffee/caramel combo follows, not too sweet at all really. Bright citric hop notes that really balance out the toffee/caramel flavors, finish this beer, very balancing, I really like the citric hops on the finish.

M - Lite-moderately crisp and very very smooth. Lite bodied and perfect for the style.

D - Wow, Sierra Nevada does a great job at the Porter style! This one has everything one would expect from the style with a wonderful citric hop note on the finish, very balanced & I definitely will buy this one again. I could easily drink 3 or more pints of this brew, highly drinkable. Recommended. Cheers!

Photo of OttoBomb
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass (March 5, 2010). Serial number on the label is "001312003" so it's bottled 8:03pm PST, January 13th, 2010 on bottling line #1, (see here: http://www.sierranevada.com/images/BottleCode2009.pdf).

Ahh the porter, one of my favorite styles. Sierra Nevada does such a good job on almost everything, and everything they make is widely accessible. I'm looking forward to their efforts here.

Eyes: Pours a very dark brown with a hint of red. No light passes through the liquid when held up to light. A heavy full two finger head rises up just above the rim and then dissipates over a minute down to the surface of the beer. Moderate to heavy lacing is left on the glass.

Nose: Smells very toasty, malty, earthiness with some coffee. I can also detect some faint hops, which is a bit surprising and a hint of the booze, which is more surprising considering it's only 5.6% ABV.

Tongue: Much more prominent malts, coffee and burnt caramel than the nose. A toasty nuttiness comes in after the first wave of flavor.

Mouth: Smooth and quite light. The carbonation is also light, but is more than enough for the thickness.

Libation: An interesting and complex porter, very satisfying and savory. There might be some room for improvement, but the drinkability, reasonable price and almost universal availability make this a solid offering.

Photo of herman77
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Back to back tasting with their Stout.

A: Dark, dark brown with a touch of ruby around the edges, especially when held up to a light. Rich tan head with good retention. Nice lacing

S: Sweet roasted malt with hints of toffee. Not getting much out of the nose here. Seems muted... maybe I cracked it a little too soon?

T: Sweet malt again, doesn't really taste roasted though, maybe just a hint of toasty-ness. A little bit of nuttiness. Its bittersweet all the way through with a slight bitter crisp finish from the hops. Definitely a more hoppier porter.

M/D: Medium body, lots of carbonation. A little surprised by how much actually. Very drinkable. Goes down really well.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured a dark brown with the slightest bit of translucence. Minor carbonation with a small amount of white head.

S - Roasted malts, chocolate and caramel. Some coffee too. A nice nose.

T - Roasted malts with slight amounts of coffee. A nice finish.

M - Somewhat light for a porter, but still light to medium-body. Good amount of carbonation.

D - An excellent porter. One of the better ones I've had.

Photo of jovy1097
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a nonic pint. Pours dark tea in color that isn't as dark as their stout. Makes a huge lacing head of cream color that leaves clouds on top throughout the drinking session.

Smell: Dark caramel, malt, and some earthiness. Maybe some dark fruit. Hops are noticeable.

Taste: Very balanced tasting brew that sits perfectly between sweet and bitter. Toasty brown bread, dark caramel, nuttiness with no coffee or burnt flavor. Some molasses comes out as you drink more of it. A little milder tasting than the stout.

Mouthfeel: Medium with quite noticeable carbonation. More crisp than creamy.

Drinkability: Not cloying and not overly bitter - just right. Definitely a guzzler. I like this better than their stout as an everyday beverage. A brew that I'd be happy to drink every day.


Photo of Arenbeer
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz into a snifter glass

A- Poured a good looking dark brown with a thinner 2 finger tan head that left little lacing on the way down.

S- Sweet roasted malts and toffee are most dominant with a faint chocolate backround.

T- I was very suprised by this beer, it was very light for a porter. Roasted malts blended with toffee, sweet dark chocolate, and an almost coffee finish.

M- Solid bodied with a pretty good amount of carbonation make this porter very smooth and almost suprisingly a session beer for me. Slight dry bitter finish that's faint at first but gets stronger as it warms.

Overall this is a pretty decent porter but not really anything to special.


Photo of Ryan011235
4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass on 12/9/09

A - Medium brown color; settles dark with some lighter hues around the edges. One finger head dissipates to a thin layer. Small bits of sediment floating about. Retention is ok. Very good lacing.

S - Smooth aroma that is full of roasted malts & sweetness. Toffee is most prominent with hints of caramel interspersed throughout. Subtle earthy hop notes. Undertones of dark sugars.

T - A restrained hop bite makes its way around the peripheries but ultimately concedes to the lofty malt profile (though the earthy hops make a valiant effort). Roasted & toasted malts of various ilk: toffee, cocoa, dark sugars, caramel & dark bread blend together well.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Residual bitterness & roasted malt linger.

D - No problems here; this is an easy beer to drink. It's pretty much standard fare, but there isn't much to fault with it. Definitely worth a shot.

Photo of dgilks
3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting aroma with sweet, chocolate malts, light American hops and moderate fruity esters all playing a role. Not as roasty as it should be for a Robust Porter.

Translucent brown colour with a rocky, tan head. Decent head retention.

Moderately strong malt flavour with a touch of roast, chocolate and coffee. The hops are present adding a nice bitterness and a touch of citrus. Slight minerality. Good.

Medium-light body with moderate carbonation. This is suitable. The finish is also nicely crisp and refreshing.

A quality drink which stands up to the strong reputation of Sierra Nevada. This bottle is right on its expiration date but still tastes great and except for the aroma ticks all the right boxes for the style

Photo of semibaked
3.19/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass

A - Dark brown with red highlights shining through, about a finger of head appears and dissapears.

S - Dark chocolate and some malty goodness, nothing else though.

T - A bit of bitter cocoa power, slight coffee, and some molasses, but lacking flavor was expecting a little more.

M - Watery and a tad oily, not a big fan.

D- Middle of the road porter, prolly won't buy it again.

Photo of stimulus
4.2/5  rDev +8%
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 +4.4%
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 +15.7%
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 +0.3%
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 -6.2%
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.

Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 3,353 ratings.