Imperial Smoked Porter - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial Smoked PorterImperial Smoked Porter

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

55 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 55
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 7.64%
Wants: 12
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: flexabull on 01-20-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 55 | Reviews: 37
Photo of illidurit
3.23/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Red in Santa Cruz. Pours clear ruby brown with a nice lasting ecru head. Smells like an Irish Car Bomb tastes. Light roast, cream, caramel. Barely any smoke. Tastes like a mediocre porter, nothing close to an 'imperial smoked' porter. Expected sour mash black malt with some acidity but also a watery chocolate sweetness. Not getting any smoke here. Too thin in body, carbonation is low but that's not a problem. I made a mistake when ordering; I asked for a Sam Adams Imperial Smoked Porter and when confronted by a puzzled bartender, quickly corrected myself. But upon drinking it, this really tastes more like Sam Adams made it. Watery, thinnish, aromas and flavors aren't really all there. Had higher hopes for this one.

Photo of jethrodium
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Beer Revolution. Pours a dark brown with a small light tan head that settles to a ring and leaves light lacing on the glass. The aroma is roasted malt, coffee, and light smoked meat. The taste has a bit of initial sweetness with some coffee roastiness and a light smokiness. The finish has a little bitterness and a lingering, drying smokiness. Light body. Medium carbonation. Not quite as smoky as I was expecting.

Photo of kylehay2004
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: excellent head and decent lacing on a jet black body.

S: chocolate, licorice, dark fruit mostly red grapes and cherry. Nothing all that smokey about the aroma though.

T: smokiness is more prevalent and well applied mostly in the finish with accompanied wood notes. Chocolate, roasted malts and some dark fruits upfront.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: this was a vintage keg from 2009 I think so te smokiness may be lessened or changed in this one. Not very porter like although the flavoring is nice, just not memorable.

Photo of tattooedtolley
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on cask at Pizza Port, Carlsbad. Was super excited to see it, as here in VA we don't see these special SN brews. Pitch black, not a ton of head but left great lacing, easy on the carb and super huge on the smoke. I'd have to say it was a bit too smokey for me, or maybe it was just the type of smoke it was. It was almost a grill smoke, like a liquid smoke flavor. It wasn't off putting necessarily but it took a few sips to get my head around it.

Photo of jsanford
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Brewvival 2012

Poured a dark black with a dense khaki head. Aromas of sweet malt, chocolate, and a touch of mild smoke. Taste is definitely smokier then the nose suggests, lots of bacon, with more roasted malt and chocolate. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with a medium-full body and good carbonation. A nice beer, overall. I'd like to see a bottle of this.

Photo of Brad007
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Farmhouse Tap and Grill.

Pours a pitch black color with a brown head into my glass.

The aroma is bursting with a mix of roasted and smoked malt.

Taste is full of chewy smoked malt that co-exists with roasted malt.

Slight coffee aftertaste. Otherwise, smoky and chewy. Not much else to note.

An interesting take on the style. Can't say it's the best but if it's SN, it's usually worth trying at least once.

Photo of dogfishandi
3.81/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

had this on tap at cole's in buffalo ny. it was served in a pint glass, appears to be opaque black with maybe a little bit of a brown rubiness showing through the light. very creamy silky looking head (may have even been a nitrotap, not sure, didnt ask) with amazing retention and lots of good lacing.

the smell was roasty, dark fruits, and maybe a touch of hops.

nice roasted malty taste, with a little bit of hops in the finish, nice thick chewy body, minimal carbonation, great beer, i really wish they would start putting these beers in bottles.

Photo of williamjbauer
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap served in a pint glass

A - Ruby brown with 1 finger ecru head with minimal lacing and moderate head retention.

S - Caramel, chocolate, light roasted, no smoke

T - Very chocolaty sweet with light caramel and roasted coffee and a little hops bitterness and alcohol, but not quite as bold as I would expect out of an Imperial porter.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation

O - A pretty good imperial porter but nothing mind blowing. I'd get it if I was in the mood for this style

Photo of Gmann
3.86/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Out of a growler which was poured today. Pours the darkest of dark browns with a semi-tight tan colored head that left some sick lacing on the glass. The aroma is quite disappointing, only really pick up some milk stout aromas. A nice rich roasted malt flavor with some smoked peat and wet bark. Not nearly as smokey as the Stone Smoked Porter (on tap) but has a nice balance. From the side to side to SN's regular porter, the ISP is clearly darker and much thicker, less sweet and has the obvious smoke flavor. The feel is thick and very chewy, soft carbonation leads to a silky feel. Very nice porter, quite thick. I would like to see more of a smokey flavor.

Photo of scottfrie
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint glass.

A: Served a very dark raisin brown with almost no head. Spotty lace.
S: Sweeter than I was expecting with slightly fruity notes. The smoke is light but noticeable and unoffensive. It's more of a sweet roasted, woody smokiness than it is a raunchy char or burnt smell.
T: Again, sweet flavor with caramel, vinous red grapes and raisins coming through. The finish is where the smoke comes in, and again it is light and woody tasting. The aftertaste is smokey and lingering as well. Not super complex overall, but very clean and good.
M: Medium body, very creamy and soft carbonation with a full soft body.
O: A great porter that was smooth and extremely easy to drink. It maybe could have used a bit more smoke, but what was there was integrated very well.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16 oz. pint - $4.75 at Taco Mac in Canton, Georgia.

Appearance: Black body, not quite opaque, with a lean, beige-colored head.

Smell: Aroma of roasted maltiness mingled with notes of chocolate and industrial-grade smoke.

Taste: Roasty, blackened malts with a charry smoke component and taste of unsweetened chocolate stirred up with licorice root. Nominal sweetness throughout. Small hint of fruit. Negligible but noticeable alcohol presence. Medium-low bitterness builds as you near the drying, smoky, roasty finish.

Mouthfeel: SNISP is a bit above medium, both in terms of body and carbonation.

Drinkability: It's likable. Mostly, it's just nice to see Sierra Nevada releasing a new beer that isn't just another pale ale of IPA.

Photo of soulgrowl
3.99/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bold, orange-highlighted coffee/cola brown with a thin, spotty head. Massively nutty aroma, packed with roasted peanut butter, walnut brownies, and Nuttella - very inviting. Not terribly smoky (more roasty), just a mild edge of charcoal that also lends a hint of toasted marshmallow. Plenty of coffee notes as well - this is just about perfect, exactly what I want in the style. Tastes less complex and rich than it smells, but it's still tasty, with nuances of licorice and toast under a sheet of nutty, roasty mocha goodness. Not a lot of smoke going on, but enough to make an impression. There is a firm poke of spicy/citric hops, but this is decidedly a malty brew. A bit syrupy, but that's to be expected from cask. Strangely, there is not a hint of alcohol in this beer - which makes this dangerously drinkable, but still, not exactly a lawnmower beer!

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours a clear dark brown color with a two-finger light brown head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of roasted malts with smoky undertones. Every now and then I'll get whiffs of chocolate.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Big hits of roasted malts with a smokiness that comes out midway through the sip. Unsweetened chocolate comes out a bit in the bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. I like the thickness and the carbonation, but it's slightly astringent due to all of the roasted malts.

Drinkability is good. I had no problem downing 20 oz. of this, but I think one is enough.

Overall this was a good representation of a smoked porter. The apparent 7.5% ABV was hidden well, but it certainly wasn't a "storter" that I normally associate with Imperial Porters. Still, if you're a fan of smoky beers be sure to give this one a shot.

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

reviewed from notes from a beer festival (wasn't expecting this one! pleasant surprise of the night)

this beer gets all 4s. "good", but not great. 7.5 abv is what the stat sheet in front of the tap said.

it pours a see-through brown-black with a brown-tan head.

smells of smoke, malt. a wood mixed with coffee smell.

tastes just like it smells, except there is perhaps some chocolate.

it is medium bodied (in relation to the porter/stout category). not really an "imperial" but more like an "extra" porter.

it drinks well, but not too well. could have a few of them, but wouldn't want to overdue the smoky sweetness. not as good as the alaskan smoked porter, about the same or maybe a little better than the stone smoked porter.

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

Sampled 1702, March 2009
This arrives from the tap with a solid one finger thick, nicely browned, dark tan colored head that is quite nice for a tap beer. The beer is a dark color, approaching black that shows some clear ruby highlights around the edges of my glass. The aroma has a nice smokiness to it that is just what I was looking for. There is a touch of roast character here as well that adds a nice edge to the nose and a bit of coffee aromatics come out after a bit of time.

My first sip sees me noticing the roast flavors up front; notes of roasted grain and coffee like notes add some acidity, but then a solid smoky back-note comes into play here. This has a rich, malt-driven mouthfeel that provides a velvety texture that coats and envelopes the palate. The only downside it that a roasted edge adds a bit of sharp, burnt, acrid, acid character towards the finish that tends to cut into the lushness towards the finish. The roast character is still soft enough though that it does not overwhelm things overall. In fact, as the beer warms it starts to lose that acrid sharpness quite a bit. A really nice, significant chocolate like flavor starts to come out at this time that just adds to the richness of this beer and pairs really quite nicely with the nice smokiness.

While I like a lot of smoke in a beer, I like that this beer only has enough to contribute significantly, but still play a equal / supporting role to the rest of this beers character. This was done quite nicely, and I am especially enjoying this beer after it has warmed up and softened up a bit.

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

Growler from Big Z. Pours black with a small chocolate colored head. Aroma of light smoke, smoked meats, rich roasted malt, and some bitter chocolate and toffee. Flavor is sweet smoked meats with roasted malt in the background. Slightly sweet, but very rich too. Nice bodied. Ok, it's not my favorite smoked, but it's pretty damn good.
8/4/8/4/16 (4.0/5)

Photo of Sammy
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Mr. Goodbar. Opaque black with off-white head.Lots of georgious lace. Smoke aroma, yes this is what I want. Creamy smoke flavour yet balanced with bitterness. Some chocolate and mollasses. Above average mouthfeel. Superior good drinking porter.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Blind Tiger yesterday.

This beer pours a gorgeous black with a dark brown head capping it. Reddish brown highlights are visible only towards the end of my glass, as the head retention is great, and the lacework is pretty too.On the nose, this beer is great. Rather clean smoke aromas, with some mild meaty character, along with dark chocolate and coffee. On the palate, these flavors are replicated, with the smoke bookending the great coffee and chocolate flavors. This medium bodied beer finishes bitter and smoked, with soft carbonation. Very drinkable, I thoroughly enjoyed my glass.

Photo of bennetj17
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ 1702. Color is jet black, head is thin and tan, leaving a fomay ring behind. The first whiff yields a strong smokey scent. Very nice. Subsequent inhalations show that it smells quite sweet also, with a chocolate malt intensity.

The taste is not as smoke dominant as expected, although the smoke is still quite present. It is more outweighed by the sweetness of the malt, which is heavy, but thankfully I didn't find find it to be too cloying. The mouthfeel is suprisingly smooth and light for a strong dark brew. It almost feels like it is on nitrogen though it's not. It goes down easily and is not chewy.

A nice and drinkable Porter, although I didn't find anything too impressive or unique about it. It wasn't really for me though as it was more on the sweet chocolate side. The smokiness was decent, but I would have preferred it to be some what drier and more roasty. Worth a try...

Photo of NJpadreFan
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada- Imp. Smoked Porter

A- Deep dark brown with a good thick tight bubbled tan head.
S- Smokey oak, ash, BBQ sauce, and cocoa.
T- Thick sweet, slightly tangy, BBQ sauce with a nice creamy chocolate and burnt marshmellow vanilla flavor.
M- Thick with a smokey creamy feel. Slight dry bitter dark chocolate end.

Overall- Very smooth, very creamy, and quite smoky! Hides the alc. well. Worthy of a second and third pint!

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

4oz sample on tap at a SN tasting.

L - black color with a short beige head.

S - roasted coffee beans and cocoa aroma.

T - roasty taste, esspresso coffee taste on the finish.

F - medium bodied and smooth.

D - I enjoyed this sample but held back on buying a growler of it.

Photo of BretSikkink
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown beer with just a few reddish highlights. Head is pretty nice looking, tanned and tight.

The nose is obviously malty, with some chocolate wafting up between wisps of smoke.

Malt component is just thick enough to make a full-bodied beer. I could use a little more. The body is pretty sweet, with a nice touch of alcohol that's not too in your face. Finish is smoky with a lingering roasted bitterness.

A nice change-up for Sierra Nevada. I love their bigger, more adventurous beers; this is moving that direction. Firm it up a bit and it's a real winner.

Photo of Deuane
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Deep, dark brownish black with a fluffy, medium tan head that held on strong and left nice lace.

S-Light hickory smoke, dark chocolate, lighter coffee notes and ends with a bit of oak astringency. All of this present but light.

T-Much of the same in the taste profile as in the aroma. Noyes of light smoke, bitter dark chocolate, espresso and a bit of oak. Some sweetness creeps in towards the end with an oak/spicy bitterness finishing things off.

M-Medium body with light but long lasting flavours.

D-A well done smoked beer will always score high with me. This one is no exception. Nice, light smokiness combined with plenty of flavours that goes down oh so easy. Nicely done brew by SN that shows they can domore than just make hoppy beers!

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at the Brick Store Pub, and a pleasant surprise it was. Much better than I expected, and quite well crafted. Poured a very dark brown with some ruby highlights and with a nice head that fades to a thin cap and leaves some excellent lacing. Smells lightly toasty and roasty, but lacks some depth of aroma. Tastes very nice. Rich and smokey with dark fruit, charred malt, roasted grain, black licorice, caraway, and toffee in the main body. Nicely restrained sweetness and a nice lingering citrus and pine bitterness on the finish. Very well integrated with the smoke restrained enough to accent everything instead of dominating. Pretty big in the mouth, and with just enough bitterness to refresh. Quite nice.

Photo of flexabull
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm not sure how limited this one is, it was new to me at the brewery the other night though.

The bartender said this was 7.5% ABV, I would have never guessed, this went down super easy.

Pours a deep dark brown color with a big rocky tan head.

Aromas were on the lighter side, but still pleasant. Light smoke, oak, cocoa, and light coffee.

Taste is similar to the smells. Light smoke, some wood, oak, and nice porter flavors of bitter bakers chocolate and light espresso coffee. Finish is a little sweet, smokey, and with a hint of hop bitterness. A little lighter flavors for a big porter, but with quite tasty flavors.

Mouthfeel is good, nice full flavors, with well done carbonation.

Drinkability is quite high. This was a very nice smoked porter, not too heavy or overpowering. Just a tasty big porter that went down super easy.

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Imperial Smoked Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.