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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

3,313 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,313
Reviews: 1,396
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10.77%
Wants: 102
Gots: 294 | 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: 3,313 | Reviews: 1,396 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of parkeak0
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
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
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
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
4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
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
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
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
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
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
3.54/5  rDev -9.2%
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
3.64/5  rDev -6.7%
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
4.48/5  rDev +14.9%
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

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

A- Very dark, almost opaque black. Merlot highlights when held up to a light. Smallish tan head with decent retention/lacing.

S- A little bit of coffee and chocolate with some big bready, pretzel-like malts. Something nutty there too. Not too big on the nose, but smells good.

T- Follows the nose, but adds in some hops too. A hint of chocolate, some coffee, and then some citrus hops on the finish. Some pretzel-like malt plays a supporting role. This is good stuff... nothing too robust, but very well-balanced/put-together.

M- Not too heavy, but pretty smooth. Somewhat dry finish.

D- The taste with medium body and ABV make this one a great session beer. More good stuff from SN.

Photo of PaleAlien2
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown--almost black--with a nice two-finger tan head. Great head retention. Keeps a nice biscuit of foam floating on the surface.

Smells delicious--like chocolate malt. Nice roastiness in the nose.

Creamy, malty. A little bitter in the finish. The roasted flavors are not overpowering thought. Very good, drinkable beer.

Photo of jdklks
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

im not a big porter fan (besides black butte xx, alaskan smoked, and stone smoked), but this one is fantastic. rich and smooth all the way through. one of the best porters out there. smells of roasted coffee and hops. tastes the same, with a bit of chocolate and a dry bitterness to the end. Thick on the palate (for a regular porter), and outstanding going down. drinkability is fantastic, given its great flavor combined with its relative lightness.

Photo of demuzik
4.63/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the most enjoyable, drinkable porters I've had in a long time. The intense dark colour may scare off a few onlookers - or, may have you thinking "guinness" - but is actually one fine brew that stands on its own. Its neither too smokey, bitter, or foul - its not soulless and bland - its a wonderful blend of hops and dark malts. Smooth yet ballsy.

Highly recommended.

Photo of biggred1
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown with ruby red highlights and an airy tan head that leaves some lace behind. Coffee, cocoa, roasted malt and mild leafy hops make up the nose on this one. Rich roasty malts, toasted oak and honey come to mind, all balanced by a nice charred bitterness and a touch of bitter hops in the finish. Medium bodied with crisp carbonation. A tasty porter indeed.

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

12 oz poured into an imperial pint glass.

Black. A finger of tan head. The head sticks around in a thin layer.

Light, roasted coffee and smoke in the nose. No hops. There is a 'tinny', carbonated, slightly plastic smell ... I don't know how to describe it any better. I've smelled it many times before. It's not strong, but present.

Hints of chocolate and then a light smack of toasted bitterness wash over the tongue. Well balanced and subtle.

Solidly medium mouthfeel. Light-Medium Carbonation. Just a hint of malty, stickiness.

A well balanced, clean example of an American Porter. Mildly complex, roasted malts and grains with enough bitterness to give it a backbone.

Photo of donmonkey1
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours black with a tan head. The head recedes too quickly but laces nicely.

Smell: Mainly cocoa, but sweet molasses also.

Taste: Very much like unsweetened cocoa, but there's a sweetness anyway.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a nice mild bite.

Photo of BirdFlu
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cola-like dark brown with lighter hints of amber light coming through and a nice off-white frothy head. Smell is quite subdued, a little bit roasty but not much to pick out. Flavor is fairly light, a pinch of dry bitterness as well as a bit of raosty malt presence. Mouth is light and a bit creamy if you get some of the head. Its extremely sessionable.. though it could serve to have a slightly more robust flavor, the light presence of flavor lends itself to a very high drinkability. You could easily put several down in a sitting. As it warms slightly the flavor becomes a little more apparent. Upon first sips it might seem a bit unimpressive but its certainly a great sessionable beer.

Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 3,313 ratings.