Porter | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Very Good
3,705 Ratings

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Porter is a testament to roasted malts which give it a rich, bittersweet and roasted coffee-like flavor that's a perfect complement to a variety of foods.

Before Sierra Nevada was a reality, our nights were spent perfecting homebrews and dreaming of starting a brewery. Back then, one of our favorites was a porter made with homemade malt roasted in our kitchen. Decades later, we still love the rich, bittersweet and roasted malt flavors of that original brew.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-09-1999

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,705 |  Reviews: 1,463
Reviews by manahansf:
Photo of manahansf
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear, hearty brown in color with a light and creamy, tan head. The glass is overflowing with sweeth roasted grain aromas. The body is mildly heavy with moderate carbonation to make the flavor of robust roasted malts and chocolate dance around the palate. The brew then flows into a graceful malty finish where the coffee and chocolate fade away gently.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of CIBoy10
2.88/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Look - 12 oz. bottle into a chalice. Pour yields a nice off-white head that dissipates rapidly. Not much lacing. Opaque black coloring.

Smell - Loads of coffee. Smells bitter if that's possible.

Taste - Heavy on the coffee tasting hop bitterness. That's about all I get. Not much chocolate or anything else you'd expect. Maybe a little cocoa. The bitter finish lasts and sits on the tongue.

Feel - Feels very carbonated and crisp. Not necessarily a good thing for me. I like this style to be silky.

Overall - Not to my liking compared to many other widely distributed porters. Not terrible though. I probably wouldn't get it again.

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Photo of youngs11
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. bottle into snifter.

Appears dark, dark auburn. Mostly opaque with ring of coffee foam and spots lacing glass.

Smells of coffee, dark fruit, molasses.

Initially bitter, taste becomes more complex towards finish. Leaves with notes of walnut, sunflower seed, toasted wheat. Great balance of bitter and malt with a diverse profile that improves as it warms.

Slightly sticky, medium-heavy with a little chewiness, smooth with a subtle prickle.

This is a great porter. While coffee is expected and noticeable in aroma and taste, there is an exciting malt profile that was unexpected from aroma alone. Rather filling, great in the winter. Recommend

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Photo of HorseheadsHophead
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: Black with a big off white head. Excellent retention and lacing.

S: A little bit of roasted grains, malted milk balls, caramel, milk chocolate and almond milk.

T: A little bit of cacao, milk chocolate, roasted grains, and milk. Lightly bitter with some lingering coffee notes.

F: Medium-minus, well-carbonated, light but smooth.

O: A decent porter. Worth trying!

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Photo of illpass78
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a stout glass.

Appearance: Pours a thick near-black with a one-finger tan-ish head that sticks around a long time. Pretty heavy carbonation.

Aroma: Nice bouquet of aromas here. Coffee, dark malt, roastiness, tiny touch of floral hops. Touch of smoke, too. Some mocha in the background.

Taste: Follows the nose with black coffee leading the way.

Mouthfeel: Nice, sturdy body. Good fall/winter depth.

Overall: Really good porter from one of the brewers that repopularized the style in the United States. Hits all the right notes, and can pair with a meal or stand up on its own.

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Photo of Redneckwine
4.19/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Fresh 12oz bottle into tulip

Appearance - Black and opaque with edges showing dark, ruby brown tones, 2 finger tan head recedes into a wispy cap, leaves good lacing. Looks like a porter should.

Smell - Roasty, toasty grain mingling with an earthy cocoa sweetness

Taste - Roasty grain is nice and earthy, cocoa sweetness and coffee notes hit the right spot, very subtle grassy/floral hop presence only really helps balance, a touch of estery fruitiness, a bit of a spicy sourness complexity shows mid-palate, finishes fairly dry with some mild roasty bitterness.

Feel - Creamy and smooth medium body with easy-going carb suits this brew perfectly: not too heavy feeling. Extremely drinkable.

Overall - An outstanding porter; this one seems more balanced than a lot of other porters out there, which makes for a really sessionable brew. I'd have liked to see a tad more hop presence in this, but that is just a personal preference. This is right up there with the best American porters in my book.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

I have really come to enjoy Sierra Nevada's offerings. I haven't tried their Porter yet, but I'm about to cross that bridge!

Appearance : top notch, chocolate brown in the glass and beautiful cranberry red held up to the light. The head is thick and juicy, khaki colored and leaving tons of webbed lacing behind. Just awesome.

Aroma : roasted barley, chocolate malts, honey, stiff hop, cocoa powder, plant.

Taste : very heavy hop presence, followed by cocoa and roasted malts. The hop is dominant throughout the tasting. The finish is dry roasted Cocoa malts and more hop. The more I drink it the more I enjoy it.

Mouthfeel : extremely zippy yet smooth. Medium to medium-light bodied. Ends dry.

Overall : a fine offering but way too much hop for my preference. It borders on Odell's Cutthroat, with its hop presence - but it is leagues better in my opinion. Nice cocoa and roasted notes, but lots of hop within a light to medium body.

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Photo of McAfee85
2.97/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Maybe I expected more based on the previous ratings. I prefer porters, to me this one seemed just average as nothing really stands out as exceptional with this beer.

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Photo of JaimeLondon
3.07/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

It pours an extremely dark amber color and a small cream-colored foam with some bubbles.
Smell is poor, somethink like a decaf (mild coffe and some roasted malt)
Tastes like malts and coke, it's actually ok, but not very pleasant.
Feel is only good thing here; the beer is somewhat balanced and have a nice bitter end.

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Photo of Kubishark
3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This isn't trying to do anything other than be a good, simple, satisfying porter. And it succeeds. Looks almost black, smells like roasted malt, tastes the same but with a slight bitterness that balances well, feels medium bodied. It's not so heavy so that I'm full after just one. For me this is a really stellar porter at a good price to enjoy on a chilly evening.

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass. Bottled on 'PKGD 03/28/17 0543'.
Clear, ruby brown colored body. One finger beige head settles to bubbly, thick cap. Scattered areas of lacing.
Aroma of dark roasted malt and sweet chocolate.
Taste is that of a classic dark roast beer, darker roasted malts combined with coffee, with supporting hops. Bittersweet overall.
Medium mouth feel. More to the dry side.
Excellent beer for pairing with a wide range of food, including savory meat and cheeses.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.37/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Perhaps the last piece in the Porter puzzle comes from Sierra Nevada, a brewer I have long admired from afar in my home country of Oz-stralia. We know upfront that Sierra Nevada is well known for any beer with the words “pale” and “ale” in them, but how well do they approach the Porter style - with a slam-dunk like the equally-impressive-at-brewing-pale-ales Founders, or with a beer that is barely recognisable as a Porter like the example I just tried by Anchor? I suspect they’ll fall in between those two, but there is only one way to find out (aka ‘the fun part!’).

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Quite light, more like a hazed darkened Amber than the usual black/browns you would get from a Porter - that in itself is a worrying sign of things to come - with a 2 cm wispy off-white head that sticks around well. Way too light is the final verdict here. 6/10.

S: Aroma is definitely more in the Porter ball-park than Anchor’s offering - with a dusty chocolate, earthy coffee aroma, and some lingering coffee cherry notes. I scored the Anchor higher because I like molasses, and that had bags of it, whereas this aroma is more in the right direction it definitely is lacking some heft. 7/10.

T: The above aromas are present in the flavour (with some added camp-fire smokiness) however it never really lifts the game from the aroma and is most certainly lacking in the flavour department. To wit - I’ve had better Australian Porters/Stouts than this, and Australia is hardly a Mecca for Porters. 7/10.

M: Body is much better than the Anchor lot - with a mid to light, borderline medium body, light carbonation, eminently drinkable but not Founders smooth (not many beers are Founders smooth). 7/10.

D: Sierra Nevada’s least impressive beer? I can safely say “umm, sure, why not” I may be assassinated (beerlitically) for saying this but this is by far the worst SN brew I’ve had so far, however that isn’t saying too much as all their other brews have been so bloody brilliant, they just dropped the ball on this one as far as I’m concerned. I’m not overly disappointed though, there are plenty of awesome Porters out there and there’s little need for SN to fill this niche for me, as long as they keep up the standard they’ve been keeping with their Pale Ales and IPAs I will continue to be a happy man. 6/10.

Food match: Despite (or due to) being a watered-down version of a Porter this brew would work well at that most classic of backyard functions - the BBQ.

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Photo of spectru
3.87/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very dark beer with a creamy head, lacy; Rich malty aroma, dark smelling; Decidedly coffee or mocha flavor, tasty; mouthfeel is foamy, creamy, smooth; A good, rich beer.

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Photo of PhillyRiver
2.86/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Poured from bottle into porter glass. First beer of evening.
This is the second Sierra Nevada beer I thought was overrated. (The other was an IPA.) Doesn't pour as dark as some other porters, head doesn't linger (lacy though), prominent cardboard taste. Meh, sorry.

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

Pours a nice deep brown with some red highlights witha nice creamy tan head.The aroma was chocolaty and a little nuttyThis porter has definant hoppiness in the finish thats for sure,but it has the roasted nutty malt character to begin with.A pretty good balanced porter,maybe one of the hoppiest I have had and I really liked it..

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Photo of RoyalT
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – Dark ruby brown, almost black, with a decent head.

Smell – Burnt malt with a lot of sweetness – caramel mostly.

Taste – Classic porter taste. The body is chewy with lots of caramel and molasses. There’s also some espresso bean mixed in with the malt and some cocoa powder. All the traditional porter flavors - an excellent offering.

Mouthfeel – Some carbonation is present. The smoothness is out of this world.

Drinkability – I would liked to have seen a little more depth to this porter, but for the price this was a good brew. It went down smooth.

Comments - I tasted this alongside the SN stout for comparison purposes. I thought this one was a little more complex, and I enjoyed the various flavors that I experienced along the way. The stout is amazing, though, and I would recommend both.

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Photo of aszatk01
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of beerhunter13
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of tectactoe
3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep ruby red, nearly black in the middle, with a light tan colored head giving mild retention and minimal lacing. Nose is full of what you'd expect from a basic porter - handfuls of roasted malts and barley. Nutty, woody, and toasty. The biggest flavor coming through on the first sip is coffee beans. Rich, roasted, and flavorful coffee beans. Toasted malts follow up along with a touch of cocoa powder that becomes more noticeable once you try to focus on it. Midway through, a nice shot of floralness appears in the form of hops providing a nice bitterness offset to the slight sweetness of the malt. The carbonation snap lines up well with the bitterness spike, providing an effective and notable bite on the tongue. Medium body, relatively high carbonation.

Across the board, Sierra Nevada brews are SOLID. This is a great, basic porter and a nice example of the style. There are many porters I prefer to this one, and I would also take SN's stout over this, however it is still a great beer and something that I would by occasionally, especially with it's low price point.

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Photo of OhioBobcat
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Tiernan
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Spaten454
3.96/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Josh_ew_uh
4.56/5  rDev +17.2%

Photo of tbryan5
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of SteadySippin
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to chilled glass.

Appearance - Very dark brown, near black body. Light tan head. Head went from about two fingers thick to half finger. Some lacing on the glass. Quite good looking brew.

Smell - Malts. Hints of chocolate and coffee beans. Subtle but clean aroma.

Taste - There are some great, complex flavors in this porter. After my first sip I immediately tasted coffee, but soon after the other flavors come out nicely. You get some chocolate, malt, and toffee in the aftertaste. Its pleasantly rich, but balanced nicely. Flavors linger on the tongue nicely.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied. Not as thick as the beer looks. Carbonation is definitely there, but not overdone. Quite smooth and easy going down.

Overall - I'm not a big porter or stout guy, but I enjoyed this beer a lot. A nice rich brew with chocolate and coffee hints that goes down nice and smooth. Great job by Sierra Nevada on this one. If you're not a huge fan of porters, still give this one a shot.

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Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 3,705 ratings