Sierra Nevada Porter - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada PorterSierra Nevada Porter

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very good

3,231 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,231
Reviews: 1,371
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 11.03%
Wants: 100
Gots: 260 | 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: 3,231 | Reviews: 1,371 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

Photo of supercolter
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Alrighty so had this poured from bottle to glass at Old Chicago. Decent appearance, an off black color almost more deep brown than anything. Smell and taste pick up with some slight hints of dark chocolate and toffee, a mild undertone of nops. Mouthfeel is on par the style lower carbonation and medium in body. Quite pleasant to sip on.

Photo of jkbusman
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Dark brown, but not opaque with a short tan head that sticks around for the duration

S - a full sweet malty aroma with some hints of earthiness

T - sweet malty flavor right of the bat that slower rounds out into a full earthiness with hints of hoppy bitterness

M - medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation

D - the only porter I religiously stock in my fridge; great for those nights when a dark beer is needed but a liquid meal is not

Photo of Andreji
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another very very plausible beer by Sierra Nevada.

Pour is profound dark brown almost fully black with a dark tan head that sits atop a fairly long time- maybe moreso than their stout.

smell is of roasted malts and coffee, very strong but not overwhelming. well balanced with a sort of veggie hoppy feel. taste is a very nice sweet roasted feel which makes it a typical but delicious porter in any case. plus the body is quite thick but- again- not overwhelming and well carbonated (doesn't seem nitro and shouldn't be).

classy beer, another hit by the folks at SN.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Dark brown, but a good bit of light still makes it through. Tan, 2-3 fingered head rises. Moderate retention and minimal lacing.

S - Big roasty aroma with a touch of sweetness. Some leafy/grassy hops linger in the corners.

T - Roasted malt is at the forefront. Burnt toast comes to mind and goes into a mild but noticable sweetness. Mid to late palate is dominated by a crescendo of roasty flavors, touching on burnt whole wheat bread, hints of coffee, and some earthy flavors. Bitterness is mild to moderate with an acrid quality akin to a dry stout. Aftertaste is filled with more bitterness, a little grassy and earthy with a nod to the hops.

M - Medium bodied leaning towards the ligher side. Moderate carbonation. Quite a bit thinner than I'd prefer.

D - An above average, solid porter. A little too roasty without characteristic fruity/sweet/slighty sour notes of a porter. More stout-ish than porter, but at least it's unoffensive.

Photo of drink1121
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my first Porter. I know, took me long enough, but I am fairly new to BA, so give me a break.

I have a few sips left. Its taking me about 20 minutes to drink this beer.

A- It looked great right after the pour with good three finger head. I thought at first that there was going to be some nice lacing, but I was wrong. Pretty much no lacing down the glass. No I take that back, no lacing at all.

S - Coffee malts along with other malts, pipe tobacco, some caramel towards the end.

T - Same as the smell with def. coffee after taste. I feel like I just had some starbucks.

D - I could drink a few of these in a row. Not bad at all for the first time.

Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 3,231 ratings.