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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

3,372 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,372
Reviews: 1,408
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.8%
Wants: 108
Gots: 330 | 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: 3,372 | Reviews: 1,408
Photo of marcpal
3.47/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up in a mixed six at Trader Joes and while not being the biggest porter fan, recently found a few I liked and always a fan of Sierra Nevada.

12oz bottle poured into a Tremens snifter.
Bottle Graphics: 5/10.

A: Oak brown with a boulder-like foam head that started out large and fell off. Great lacing.

S: The smell is terrific, but it didn't carry to the taste. The balance of hops, bittersweet chocolate, and roastiness was attractive.

T: Roasted burnt chocolate flavors. Mildest of hops add a bitter texture but this is completely dominated by chocolate. Bittersweet chocolate with roasted cocoa and coffee beans.

M: Very flighty for a porter and heavily carbonated. Throughout the beer, the puffiness left you thinking you were drinking foam.

D: To date, this is the weakest offering from the great folks at Sierra Nevada. I am willing to give it another chance but this seems to be lacking what a solid standard of a porter has. Strongly would choose Anchor over this.

I do think it could be one that would be worthwhile in cooking into sauces and when I do give it another try and but more, I think one will be dedicated to that.

Photo of Magpie14
3.91/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: opaque and very dark for a porter, slight clouded brown hues...otherwise just darkness. Great head retention and creamed mocha color. Lace is wonderfully thick and chunky

S: roasted malts, chocolate, and woody-earthiness

T: malts are bustling and roasted, slight hop bitterness that is tandem with earthy characteristic. A hint of dark chocolate sweetness. A lingering citrus bite in the mix

M: rather bubbly and yet very drinkable. Nice feel overall and touch past medium in body weight

D: nice drinking beer and a great go to porter. Another great brew from Sierra Nevada

Photo of bmwats
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint.

A: Pours black. Light carbonation pours into a very slight foam, which settles into a thin layer of bubbly foam on the surface. Pretty heavy lacing.

S: Dark roasted chocolaty malt. Coffee and a hint of hops.

T: Strong malt. Light hoppiness. Coffee and peat.

M: Hoppy initially. Rich malt and hops make up the aftertaste. Finishes a little dry. Feels a little diluted.

D: Malty goodness. Good to sip.

Robust, malty brew. Good nose and appearance. Not a strong alcohol taste makes it very drinkable. Good flavorful porter with a nice finish. Good porter.

Photo of kflorence
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown, almost black color with a half inch thick head that lasts quite awhile and leaves lacing around the glass.

S: Smells smokey with some malts, hops, dark chocolate and perhaps some very subtle deep fruits present. The aroma has a sweet caramel and toffee undertone, but is dominantly more on the semi-sweet and bitter side. It's not an overly strong aroma, but it's pleasant and seems to get a little more bold as the beer warms up.

T: The taste is similar to the smell; the smokey, roasted malt character and dark chocolate come through, but I'm tasting a bit more hops than I picked up in the smell. It's pretty balanced between the malts and hops, and has an overall semi-sweet character. A slight alcohol tinge comes through at the end, as well as some hop bitterness. The lingering taste in the mouth is caramelized malts, smoked wood and dark chocolate.

M: This beer feels great on the tongue. It has a medium body with some substance. The frothy head adds some extra thickness to the mix. Overall mouthfeel is neither watery nor syrupy but a nice blend of the two that falls somewhere in between (though I would say more on the syrupy side than the watery side).

D: This dark beer sits pretty heavy in the stomach, but its medium body makes it pretty drinkable. I don't think I could have more than a few of these before getting full, but it's definitely an enjoyable beer to drink.

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into the glass. About a one finger head with some moderate lacing on the glass.

Appearance. Dark brown cola color.

Smell. Toasted malt smell with strong hop presence.

Taste. Again strong hop taste.

Mouthfeel.A little lighter than i was expecting but solid mouthfeel with solid carbonation.

Drinkability. Overall, solid but not as good as Anchor Porter. Would drink again.

Photo of yesyouam
4.58/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This Porter is a deep reddish brown with a small, creamy off-white head that sticks around. The aroma is a strong dark malt with molasses, coffee, toffee, vanilla, licorice-- it's complex! The flavor seems lightly sweet and lightly bitter. The body is creamy and chewy. It has a little alcohol in the aftertaste. Love it.
(rated Feb 8, 2007)

Photo of DoctorDog
3.71/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into a nonic glass.

A- Extremely dark brown with slight ruby highlights. Too hard of a pour unleashes a massively thick, tan head. Head dwindles slowly to a thin cap, leaving ample lacing.

S- A bit earthy, with some slightly metallic, slightly nutty hints.

T- Smoky roastiness and some slight earthiness. Finishes with a slightly acidic, burnt coffee bitterness. Nothing exotic or surprising, but the flavors all balance quite nicely.

M- Medium carbonation. Smooth, yet slightly watery.

D- Quite good. Would be a nice session porter.

Future outlook: Solid in all areas. Repeat business likely.

Photo of AgingWarrior
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured black as coal into my Duvel tulip glass. I held it up to the light and nothing came through. About a finger of foamy tan head that provided some nice lace and decent retention.

Smells great! Roasted malts and some coffee and chocolate hints. Smell gets even better as the beer warms up a bit.

Taste is like the smell, roasty, toasty with coffee and chocolate. Just a hint of alcohol burn at the finish.

Smooth and creamy all the way from the beginning to the swallow.

Very easy to drink, tasty, smooth and satisfying.

Photo of drnknmnky
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark brown what I i expect of a porter, a tan head that disspates as you drink up this beverage

S - roasted malts, hoppy

TM - tangy, bitter sweet and taste like roasted malts. not too dark not just enough to make think of brewery tours where you get to taste the malts.

Great porter something to have around, definately try great dinner or lunch or, hell, fer breakfast if one were so inclined

Photo of Dirty1
2.79/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I bought a six pack of this tonight. I had never had it before and wanted to try it because I like other SN beers. I poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A- It poured a deep mahogany color, almost brown with a deep amber tint. When held to the light you can just see through it. It had a nice 2" light tan head that hung around a little while. Nice heavy laceing around the glass.

S- At first whiff roasted malts and chocolate dominated. On the second smell I picked up a funny almost sour apple smell that got stronger as it warmed a bit.

T- Started with dadk chocolate, roasted grains, and very slight hops and charred wood. It finished with a slight bitter taste and that funny sour taste. I thought it was a little astringent and that weird taste got stronger the more you drink. It reminded me of sour fruits and became the dominate over powering taste!

M- Fairly light body with a good amount of carbonation.

D- I'm not sure if I got an old six pack or what. I didn't really care for it that much, that sour flavor overpowered what balance it seemed to have at first. I will try another in the future just to see if its the same. Cheers!

Photo of colts9016
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour was a deep mahogany brownish red a two finger tan head with lacing.
The nose is chocolate roasted malt, oats hops and molasses.
Taste is chocolate molasses nice malt back bone. The hops is there to give it a nice kick.
The finish is acidic on the front with a burnt sugar looming on the end. Overall it is a good American Porter.

Photo of katan
3.09/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12 oz undated bottle

A - Pours a not completely opaque black to almost browish red color. Head is brown in color as well, which is quick to dissipate and form a small film. Little lacing.

S - Roasted malts dominate the smell - there is another almost off flavor in the background that I can't discern. Biting to the nose, almost acidic.

T - Starts off with a rather flat profile, with only a light amount of malt and a touch of bitterness. Finishes with a stronger toffee and roasted malt flavor. Much more assertive than the early flavors. Aftertaste reveals a little more of that smell I detected, which unfortunately isn't all that pleasant.

M - Watery on the tongue, full of carbonation.

D - Lightly filling and easy to session the flavors. I think that is an inverse relationship with the mouthfeel. ABV is within reach.

I like SN beers, but this one by far won't be making it back into the rotation. I have to wonder if I have a bad one here - seems like I'm the outlier on not liking this beer.

Photo of TheycallmeTim
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an American pint glass.

A--Dense, rich two finger foam head that's a little darker than white (tons lighter than the cap on, say, Smutty's Robust Porter, which is like chocolate milk). Body is deep, deep, pretty much black, and opaque even when held up to light. If looks don't lie this promises to be a substantial example of a porter.

S--Really interesting mix of normal roasted malt combined with something sweetish and faintly floral, like apricots I wanna say. There's something going on with Sierra Nevada's hops because they don't seem to taste or smell like anyone else's, and that's a good thing. Results in a standout nose.

T--Everything but the backend is impressive. Lots of coffee ground bitterness and plenty of chocolate malt punch up front that glides through, but then the hops seem almost stale. Instead of a fresh mild chapping I got an old, husk-like flavor that wasn't real pleasant. I don't think this was an old bottle, but who knows...

M&D--Very creamy, very smooth--smooth enough to be mistaken for an oatmeal stout--this beer shines in both these categories. Easy going down and a classic example of the style in terms of body, carbonation, alcohol content, the whole package.

Wanted to like this beer more because the brewery is so legendary. Oh well--guess I'll have to pick up some more and re-review!

Photo of kickapoodude
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a pitch black like ever porter should. Sierra Nevada d does not release anything that is not worth while. The head seems to come off quick and the body is a little lighter than I would have thought, but that makes it easier to have a few in one sitting. Most porters are like digging into a big steak and taters dinner, which is great, but sometimes it nice to enjoy a few without taking a nap. And non of the sweetness that ruins 90 percent of porters. As far as porters go, this is second only to Central Waters.

Photo of eporter66
4.21/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My second beer from the Sierra Nevada brewery, and again they come up with a winner.

A - Poured dark black with some red highlights when in the light. 2 fingered foamy head on pour, just around the edges by end. Mild lacing

S - Roasted coffee/chocolate smell, and a good rich malty aroma

T - Really good tasting beer, a bit sweet with the burnt roasted malt flavor hitting in the back of the mouth. Also carries a little bite and aftertaste in the back of throat.

M - Carbonation hits tip of the tongue early, medium bodied beer. I was expecting it to be a bit heavier, but still a good body

D - A smooth and tasty Porter, I can see having a few of these in one sitting. I will make sure to have a few on hand at all times this winter.

Photo of Brianmerrilyn
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I jumped at this one at the Gingerman the other day when I heard it was on cask. Back in the late 80's and early 90's when I could not find Guinness or Murphy's, it seemed good ole Sierra Nevada Porter was on sale at my local stores. As my tastes matured, I normally would pass over this one in my desire to expand my overall pallet. Needless to say, I was more than happy to return to this gem in it's truest form and in a different form as well.

A: Poured into a pint glass to show off a heavy brownish black with a one finger creamy tan head that settled down to a minor cap.

S: Nose gets a generous portion of damp terra firma and cereals. Hops come afterward as is the case with those masterful West Coast brewers. A malt sweetness starts off small but grows and maintains in the nose with dark chocolate and raisins coming to mind.

T: A interesting shuffle of sweet to bitter taste exchange. I got more of the chocolate when swirling but then a citrus section coming on to maintain a masterful balance if there ever was one.

M: The smoothes beer I've had since the Shakespeare stout on cask. The cask takes this beer and porters into a different level of excellence.

D: This was a true delight to put down. I thought I was drinking a stout towards the end. I reckon due to the cask, this was much smoother than other porters or even Sierra Nevada in a bottle or keg. Less bitter, slicky smooth and lip smacking delicious.

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours deep brown/black with ruby highlights when held up to the light. Nice thick light brown head and good lacing.

Smells of coffee and some citrus. Aroma is moderate.

Great flavors here. Has french roast coffee elements, some bitter chocolate, and then the citric/acid hop bite that puts the porter in a whole different direction. Great twist.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and coats your mouth. A very enjoyable porter, one you can easily have more than one of. Citric note note might not be for everyone, but it sure worked for me.

Photo of luvbeer
4.48/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorite American porters. It is readily available and not too expensive. The head pours about 2.5 fingers, it's thick ,rich and lasts a long time. I will buy a six pack whenever it is available when buying beer from now on. If you like dark, thick, slightly sweet and very tasty beer, do yourself a favor and try some soon, you will not be disappointed.

Photo of cvfish
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - poured a dark brown color that produced a tan head that laced the glass very nicely

S - a smoked quality comes to mind, accompanied by coffee hints

T - brown sugar, coffee and dark chocolate blended together, very bold, and long lasting finish that is pleasing

M - medium bodied, light carbonation, and long lasting

D - very drinkable, a great porter. will enjoy many more

Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.48/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a stubby 12-ounce bottle into a Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale pint glass.

A: Poured a lavish, dark brown color which appeared nearly black, yet revelaved ruby highlights when shown to the light. A perfect, two-finger head of dense, sticky tan foam left great rings of lace the entire brew through.

S: Smells slightly spicy, with a hop twang in the nose, coupled with a burnt, earthen cocoa and coal aroma.

T: Taste is sweet and acidic up front, with a thin, bittersweet cocoa flavor which gave way to a creamier layer of burnt chocolate and hop layers. The flavors are smooth and balanced, leading from sweet, to bitter, to creamy to thin ending in a resinous bittersweet aftertaste.

M: Mouthfeel is complex, beginning thin and acidic, mellowing a bit around mid palate and finishing with a slightly fuller, sticky mouthfeel.

D: The drinkability on this American porter is through the roof. Hovering right around that sessionable ABV and with a smooth, complex blend of pleasing aromas and flavors, this porter is almost too good to put down.

Sierra Nevada has another home run here, and this porter can go the distance in nearly every department. If you find yourself settled indoors with good company on a chilly, late autumn evening and have Sierra Nevada porter in your hand, you'll need for no other beer.

Photo of TangTKE402
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this beer from a bottle into a pint glass.

The head was perfect with a .5-1 inch thick cream colored head that stuck around for the first creamy sip, then left a thin film for the rest of the beer.

My first impression of the taste was that it had a slightly burnt, herbal note with a nice crisp, caramel-bitterness on the finish. Unlike most Porters I've had, this one has a perfect balance of malts and hops, with a slight weight towards the latter. Its robust feel and strong taste are great for colder months.

This beer tastes like an ice-fishing cabin amongst a small pine pond after a fresh snow. Probably my new favorite widely-distributed porter.

Photo of dfolmste
3.23/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Head forms in a theatrical fashion, deciding to stop at 2 inches. Beer is extremely dark and trying to look through it yields nothing. Head is bubbly and thick; suds like. Tan color and overall really good.

Smell: Smokey smell. Molasses and coffee come to mind. Not overpowering.

Taste: Very rich taste. Coffee, sugar and chocolate taste reminding me of Kahlua. Standard taste for a beer this dark, but nothing really blows me away.

Mouthfeel: Heavy feeling. Carbonation is minimal. Tough to tell whether it is the carbonation or alcohol that causes the tongue tingle. Little aftertaste but coating sticks around.

Drinkability: Haven't fallen in love with beer this dark yet, but it is a beer to be sipped rather than drank. I would drink it if I was in the mood for a really dark beer or if I was eating a meal. A one and done.

Photo of RickS95
4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What a great beer this was. My tastes have recently shifted from girly fruity wheat beers to porters, and this beer is exactly why.

Poured a thick, light brown head. Color was dark cola, or even coffee. Heavy malt smell.

Such a creamy mouthfeel, makes you really want to have another. Great lacing, all the way down the glass.

Complex finish...almost sweet, with a hint of chocolate to start before the bitterness kicks in to balance.

Very easy to drink.

Photo of racer2k
4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Black colored pour with a small two finger cake batter head. Good retention and lacing to boot.

S: Roasted malt and bitter smell with a hint of semi-sweet chocolate notes.

T: Toasted malt and a bitter almost bitter chocolate finish. Moderate on the malt flavor. Very smooth porter.

M: Thin, moderate carbonation and very pleasant.

D: Excellent porter. Another fine offering from Sierra Nevada. This is a great session beer!

Photo of Spidey13
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Porter pours a very dark brown which shows some beautful, deep garnet highlights when held to the light. A small, light tan head rests on top.

The nose is very nice, with sweet chocolate and ark fruit, along with hints of citrus from the hops. The flavor is similar, with sweet chocolate and some roastiness up front. Maybe a hint of Tootsie Roll. Some nice bread notes show up and there is a nice amount of hop bitterness on the back along with some distinct hop flavor. The mouthfeel is good and decently full with a medium amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a very nice American porter.

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Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 3,372 ratings.