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Sierra Nevada Porter | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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1,425 Reviews
Sierra Nevada PorterSierra Nevada Porter

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

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-09-1999

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,425 | Ratings: 3,591
Photo of Chadbrew
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours really nice with a beautiful (and tasty) tannish head that evolves into a thin ring around the sides. It has a color kind of like maple syrup as I poured it out but when I hold the glass up to the light it looks like really ripe cherries, sort of deep ruby with subtle hint of reddish brown shading.
The smell is good. It's got all the smells a beer should have as well as a nice raisins with chocolate aroma.
Tastes like it smells with a real cool toasted flavor as well. Good hops but not overwhelming. It "feels" good to drink with enough carbonation to tickle my nose. I think for a porter the thickness is pretty good.
Overall I'll call this an above average, easily drinkable beer.

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Photo of Gavage
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Deep brown almost black in color with a nice 1" head. Some lacing develops. The aroma is of hops, caramel, coffee, and chocolate. The flavor has a slight roasted tone, with chocolate, coffee, caramel, prunes, and strong bitterness from the high hop level.

Mouthfeel is crisp at the start and finish. Extremely easy drinking for a porter. This remains as one of my favorite porters.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep black pour with some hints of brown on the edges and a nice bubbly off white head on top. Cocoa and coffee waft up into my nose along with a nice citrusy, grapefruity hop. Quite nice and a pleasure to smell.

Toasted, roasted, nutty chocolate maltiness intermingles with hints of bitter coffee and a nice citrusy, slightly piney hop background. A yummy, yummy porter.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with tight carbonation and a slight creamy character...fits the style perfectly. This is another easily sessionable SN brew....pick up a sixer and just enjoy it.

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Photo of mattcrill
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear dark chocolate brown with ruby edges. A beautiful tan head with carbonation bubbles clinging to the sides develops. It's a good looking porter.

Smell: Slightly smoky, maybe some bakers chocolate, and some bitter hops. Very subtle and nicely done.

Taste: A roasty chocolatey taste dominates with some bittering hops that balance this one out quite nicely. The hops really add a nice balance to this. I wouldn't look for this in a porter but the balance of roasted malt and hops is really working for me.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and crisp due to the carbonation. Very enjoyable.

Drinkability: I could drink these all the time. This hits the spot on a cool winter day.

I know everyone debates the merits of Sierra Nevada (not the same, recipes have change, etc) but score another victory for this one in my book!

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Photo of Luigi
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich dark brown. The head is big and tan.

Roasted malts, coffee, and a fruity hoppiness fill the aroma.

Dark malts, a little coffee, and citrus hop presence make a great balanced flavor.

Has a silky mouthfeel. Hands down one of my favorite porters. Always easy to find, taste great, and never disappoints!

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz., bottle conditioned with no freshness date. Pours into the imperial pint glass very dark brown with red shining through at the edges and a thin 1 finger head that leaves very little lacing. Smell is sweet with chocolate, coffee, raisins, some hops, and a wine character. Flavor is the same with a hint of alcohol and pine/citric hops that eventually make themselves known. Mouthfeel is medium with a crisp carbonation. This is the first time I've had their porter, but it seems like this bottle is past its prime. This store orders large quantities and the beer stays around for years sometimes - they still have cases of Brimstone's 1998 Big Ale....

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Photo of mentor
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz twist off bottle obtained from a local grocery store in Feb 2005. Pours a tan half-finger head over a dark liquid that is deep mohoganey held to the light and is almost crystal clear). Smells rich and chocolatey with some mild vienna malt character. Coffee roast is very faint and may simply be an effect created by the strong chocolate. Tastes sweet and chocolatey. Has a faint roughness on the tongue perhaps from the hops perhaps from roasted grains. Hop flavor can easily be tasted, but is well in balance with the sweet and chocolate. Medium thin mouthfeel with mild carbonation that fluffs nicely in the mouth. After the swallow, the flavors begin to subdue until chocolate re-emerges. Could use a twist of dark fruit near the end fill the gap between chocolate in the taste and chocolate in the aftertaste. Incredible lacing on the glass and the final gulp still has a thin layer of head. If I recall, this was just $5 per 6-pack...quite a deal for beer of such a high quality.

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Photo of ybnorml
3.26/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A dark brown beer with some ruby highlights. Has a big foamy light brown head that leaves some good lace. The aroma was light with a coffee note and some chocolate in the background. The flavor starts out with a strong push of roasted malt with a coffee like bitterness in the finish.

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Photo of clvand0
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one pours a dark brown color with a small head that doesn't stay long and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. The aroma is comprised of a coffee and chocolate malt with a bit of hops. The flavor has a bit more hops than I would like in this style. There are coffee and chocolate flavors in there. Medium mouthfeel, could use some more thickness. Drinkability is good.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One more step in the horizontal tasting of Sierra Nevada. This one pours a nice deep dark brown color with a finger of head that falls to coat the beer. The nose is nice and roasty, with some chocolate notes as well. The flavor is nice, with more of a coffe flavor coming through than the nose would tell me. This is a very nice beer. The feel is just a shade above moderate. I would like a little more creamyness. This is another good beer from Sierra Nevada. Smooth and easy drinking.

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Photo of Crotor
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours nearly-black with ruby windowpanes, two fingers of sculpted tan head (excellent retention). *Enticing.*

Nice roasty, nutty aroma

The roasted malts in this one are just subtle enough to make you wonder, but big enough to make the beer quite substantial. The nuttiness from the aroma follows through and becomes a major element of the taste. It's interesting that the roastiness manifests primarily as this nutty element, and not as coffee (the chocolate malt? lack of roasted barley?) The hops are all floral and nicely reserved, though sufficiently agressive to make this a decidedly American interpretation.

The body is medium, and the residual sugars and a hint of acridness from the roasted malts make for a very nice interplay in the mouth. Decidedly clean and straightforward, with definate Chico yeast characteristics.

Nicely done. A solid and definative beer.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

With so many beers to choose from, I often overlook breweries like SN or the BBC who, while both have become bigger in name and distribution, still make some kick-ass brews. The SN Porter is one of these brews.

It pours a nice dark brown colour with a big creamy sticky head that is off-white in colour and just very nice looking overall.

The smell is a nice balance of chocolate, caramel and earth with other hints of sweetness throughout.

The flavour is a nice rehash of the smell, starting with chocolate notes then moving into a bit of an earthy flavour with some caramel hints and finally finishing with a basic (but good) burnt malt flavour. There's a touch of coffee here and there as well throughout.

Mouthfeel is pretty much just right here as the body is medium and there's a bit of creaminess that's maybe a bit more than you'd expect from a porter but still keeps the body porter-esque. This one is a definitely an easy drinker overall and is low enough in it's ABV to make for a nice session brew.

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Photo of neonbrown82
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is not one of my favorites of the porter variety, but for what it is worth, I quite thoroughly enjoyed this beer. It pours to a dark brown, showing only the faintest of light through. The head is just off-white and barely present.

The smell doesn't particularly stand out in my mind; the nose was not unlike any other average porter I've tried, but it was enough to get me excited for the taste. It had kind of an aged smell to it, along with roasted malts and hops.

The taste was good, though not spectacular. It had kind of an ESB quality to it, but with a much more roasted character, even a hint of smoke in the aftertaste, but not enough to gag me like any real smoked ales I've tried. I had to do some editing to this review after quite a big session the previous night where I was in no place to write a proper review. Thus drinkability has been upped from 3.5 to 4.

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Photo of hero27
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an opaque dark brown with a beige head that clings to the glass as it recedes, leaving nice lacing.

Smell: hell, I can never tell porters apart very well..even if i try comparing two right next to one another.. Typical burnt malt aroma. Smells of sweet caramels and coffee.

Taste: I've never really been a fan of porters in general, but I'll give this one some credit..it does taste pretty damn good. Usual coffee & roasted malt flavor but with a twang of added hops. They are subtle, but present. Gives this porter some character and adds to the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and easy to drink. Slides down the hatch exceptionally well. Carbonation is near perfect but the mouthfeel may be a bit thin overall.

Drinkability: Simply put, the most drinkable porter I've had to date. I could see myself drinking a few of these on a given night. Not bad stuff at all.

Once again, Sierra Nevada comes through with a solid offering.

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Photo of mhowell
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a beautiful dark, almost black with copper edges. Maintained a thin head till the end. The initial smell was a combination of chocolate and smoke, not a bad combination. This combo carried over into the taste, with just a slight bitter bite at the end. Excellent body. Sampled at 55 degrees. Not my first SN Porter, and definately not my last.

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Photo of HochFliegen
3.52/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown with red highlights. Nice tan head that stayed till the last drop with nice lacing.
Robust smell of roasted malts, chocolate and smokey.
Taste was much the same with lots of roasted malt flavor and a smokey and dry aftertaste. A well balanced and tastefull porter.

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Photo of scottum
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Waiting Room in Burlington, VT.

Wow! I've never seen a keg of this in Vermont before so I had to check it out. Nice deep dark brown complex with slight tan head. Great mouthfeel. Taste is well rounded and complex. A very decent porter. Certainly the best beer available at this bar on this night.

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Photo of mobyfann
4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5


Paid $6.99 for a six pack...

This beer pours out a dark brown body with a medium sized, off-brownish head with very good retention and great lacing effects. The aroma is a bold shot of fresh roasted malt, this may be the best smelling porter I have ever had.

Don't let that great smell fool you, the taste of this is as good as the smell impeded... This roasted malt is a wonderful texture and it's not too heavy either. Good feeling in the mouth, not the best porter on the palette... pretty smooth and a little creamy. The drinkability is naturally up there as the 5.6% in not noticeable, the beer is an absolute pleasure from start to finish, an ideal session porter beer.

Final Thought: Wow, Sierra Nevada brews a mean porter that's as good as any other one out there.

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Photo of JackStraw22
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I love the Pale Ale and Celebration Ale, so I was looking forward to trying this. The beer is very dark, almost black, with a decent size tan head. At first all I could smell was chocolate, almost like a mocha. As the beer warmed, there was a lot more fruit present in the smell, berries? It felt quite smooth in the mouth, velvety. I guess I was a little dissapointed in the taste, not that it tasted bad, I just didn't seem very interesting. A little smokey and well balanced, but I couldn't get excited about it. It's definately above average, but I actually liked the Sam Adams Holiday Porter a little better.

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Photo of twelvsies
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours like a very standard porter. Nice dark brown color with a little layer of tannish head floating around. Laces pretty nicely, especially for a porter. Doesn't smell particularly interesting but a nice roasted malt scent is present, with a tiny bit of chocolate in the nose as well. Although this is a more malty beer than the widely available Pale Ale it is still very clear that you're drinking a Sierra just by the taste. I don't know they do it, but they definately have a signature taste. Nice malty body, and very well balanced with the citrusy hops. There's definately some flavor in there, chocolate, yeastiness, but this is a pretty mellow porter. None of that over powering "coffee" taste. Great smooth mouthfeel with a bitter kick to it. Surely one of the more drinkable porters out there. Cheers.

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Photo of apintofknowledge
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I must admit that I've unfairly tended to avoid Sierra Nevada since I have found a few of their beers (including their Pale Ale and Celebration Ale) too hoppy for my personal taste. But facing a rather uninteresting beer selection at a local restaurant last night, and being in the mood for a dark beer on a chilly November evening, I decided to give the Sierra Nevada Porter a try.

As I poured my glass, I noticed thin tan head (typical for the style) and a rich dark color. The aroma was nice and toasty, but I was still weary of the possibility of an overly hoppy taste. Well, I was in for a pleasant surprise. Lots of toasty, dark-brewed coffee, chocolate and caramel flavor with a noticeable but not overwhelming hops presence. What was really surprising was that the hops didn't linger alone as they often do. Instead, all the full rich flavors stayed in my mouth as an almost perfect balance.

I believe I have now found one of my all-time favorite porters. Let this be a lesson to myself and others not to be so quick to write-off (or at least generalize about) a particular brewery after only trying a couple of their offerings. I look forward to trying more Sierra Nevada offerings in the future with a more open mind and palate.

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Photo of brewQ
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's been a while since I had the Porter. The SNPA is a classic to me.

The Porter pours unmistakably black with roasted malt in the nose.
Taste is almost chewy and dare I say chalky, though this seems to be typical of the style.

My mouth is evenly coated by the sweet sugars. If I stuck with this for an evening it would be quite drinkable; however, I find it hard to mix this in with the Pale Ales and other styles I favor.

A quality brew befitting the folks from Chico.

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Photo of walleye
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from the bottle. poured dark brown with a creamy light tan head. flavor,dark chocolate. malts, roasted nuts, coffee,hint of hops. flavor coffee, chocolate the bitter sweet kind, roasted malts. nice smooth mouth feel enjoyed this one very drinkable will buy this one again

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Photo of KoG
3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I like Sierra Nevada products but im not a porter fan at all, but maybe this brew would change my mind.

Pours out a nice dark tone with redish highlights and a nice amount of light tan head.

Smell seems a bit sour. Citrus and malt are very noticeable with a touch of toast.

Taste seemed unbalanced to me. Too citric at first and finsihing extremely malty. No real off flavors, but a bit sour in the after taste.

Mouth was alright, not anything to rave about. Seemed to lean more toward the light end.

II don't see this as something I would drink especially with the other SN brews available. If this was the only decent selection available, I would probably go with it.

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Photo of mgdeth
4.11/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Dense, tan colored head formed on pouring. Color is dark brown. when held up to the light, you can see a beautiful deep reddish tint to the beer. Some lace clings to the side of the glass.

Smell - I detect a fairly strong malty smell, mixed with an earthy or smokey aroma. Hops linger in the background. Appealing.

Taste - Roasty foretaste, with hops breaking through in the aftertaste. This is a pretty strong flavored beer, given that it is "only" a porter. Malt-hop balance is good. The taste improves as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel - There is a nice thick feel to this beer. Almost gritty, the way a good porter ought to be.

Drinkability -This ain't yer (grand)father's lager! Filling, satisfying.

Comments - In all the years I've been drinking Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, I've always passed over their porter. No more. If you are in the mood for robust-tasting porter, I don't think you can miss with this beer!

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Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 3,591 ratings.
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