Sierra Nevada Porter | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Sierra Nevada PorterSierra Nevada Porter
3,651 Ratings
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:
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,651 |  Reviews: 1,445
Photo of tobelerone
3.12/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've been on a bit of a porter kick and surprisingly this is easily the least flavorful and interesting example of the style I've had in recent memory. Sierra Nevada is obviously quite reliable. I'm surprised at the description of this beer's appearance by others because my bottle poured a dark brown with reddish highlights and I could clearly see my fingers on the other side of the glass. Little head falls quick and not much lace.

Aroma is very mild, faintly toasty and roasty; hints of toffee and coffee....taste is very much the same, with a very modest roasted character and restrained bitterness. Not much in the way of chocolate or coffee flavors; certainly not bad but very much on the lighter side of the ledger. Finish is nice enough, medium carbonation; fairly dry.

This is a highly drinkable lightweight porter but it fails to deliver on the roasted malty taste I look for in this style. Perhaps a good introductory selection to porters but will fail to excite more adventurous drinkers.

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Photo of kdawg105
4.97/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excellent beer! It is very stout like with lots of malts. It has a very dark appearance which fits well with this style of beer. It has a very nice smell of sweet coffee like malts wit a finish of hops. It taste great almost as if you were eating candy. It has a light mouthfeel which makes this an all around good beer!

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Photo of ZenAgnostic
3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into Duvel tulip. No obvious date.

Appearance - Very dark brown/black body. Tan billowing pancake batter head with sticky lace.

Smell - Roasted malty sweetness. Faint, almost-not-there coffee. Faint butterscotch. Pretty mild.

Taste - Toasty grain. Almost burnt. Stale bitterness. Pretty mild. Nice toasty malt aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium body. Slight bite. Kinda watery.

Overall Drinkability - Decent.

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Photo of bennetj17
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Suprised I haven't reviewed this before. Deep brown with amber hues, has a high clarity in the light. Decent tan foam with good retention. Lightly roasty aroma with toffee, very clean for Porter.

Lightly sweetened toffee malt with faint suggestions of bitter chocolate. Moderate bitterness at the back, with a bit of dryness. Alcohol is not noticible. The mouthfeel is solid, medium bodied, with hearty carbonation. Definitely not heavy or too thick.

This is a very drinkable, well-balanced Porter that is often overlooked. Perhaps a little too strong for a session, but I could enjoy a few of these. Recommended.

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Photo of perrymarcus
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a pint glass.

pours a dark, cola-like brown while yielding a 3/4" light tan head. average to slightly below-average lacing and lacing in patches.

nose is a bit on the subtle side, offering roasty notes first and foremost, followed by some coffee and a hint of chocolate. also pick up on a slight hoppy presence.

flavor follows the aroma with roastiness, coffee, dark chocolate, and a touch of hops. medium-light bodied mouthfeel - a bit thin - with average carbonation.

overall i find this one to be a relatively tasty, above average porter. nothing crazy delicious.

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Photo of JednoPivoProsim
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 fl oz bottle into a pint glass. Bottled on day 221 of 2011 (August 9).

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with a healthy, toffee-colored head.

Smell: Smells of roasted, toasty malts and dark chocolate.

Taste: Tastes of rich, roasted malts. A slight bitter bite - not so much from the advertised "American hops," but rather from the coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel: Nice and smooth, yet full and rich. Perfect for the cold, rainy weather. Slightly bitter aftertaste, but nothing offensive.

Overall: Another solid offering from SN!

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Photo of depechemode1983
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours out dark brown in color with deep red hues. The head is khaki colored and foamy. Retention is superb and leaves uneven streaks of sticky lacing.

S - Upfront there is a nice balance between hops and toasted malts. Light coffee and semi sweet chocolate and grains with a citrus bite. Neither one over powers the other.

T - Very coffee like in taste. You also get your bitter/sweet chocolate. There toasted grains in the middle with a coffee and hops bitterness that stays through finish and lingers for awhile.

M - Very soft on the palate. Carbonation is played well. Just enough to keep it interesting but toned down enough to keep the smoothness.

O - Lots of coffee and chocolate in this one. Sure you get your roasted grain profile but when it comes down to it the coffee is dominant with a chocolate side kick. Hops is integrated well. Just enough to keep the coffee in its place and give a little balance.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poursa deep, dark brown. Can't see through it. Big frothy head that is tannish/brown in color. Good lacing.

S- This smells delicious. Definitely notes of coffee and chocolate on the nose. Mainly coffee with the chocolate just a hint afterwards. There is also a little bit of malts in there.

T- Very prominent coffee and burnt malt flavors. Comes right at you with those flavors, followed closely by the hops. The bitterness is decently strong, but cuts the burnt and coffee flavors and gives it a nice crisp finish with little after taste.

M- Somewhere between an IPA and a stout in weight. The frothy head adds a nice balance to the somewhat light body, but the overall affect on mouthfeel complimentary.

Overall, this is a solid example of the American Porter style. It's an above average brew that doesn't try to do too much. It is what it is, and I like when they keep it simple.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally had a chance to pick this up and give it a go - from Totowa, of course. I wasn't sure how well Sierra Nevada would tackle a style like this but this was a very enjoyable beer and as several other reviewers have mentioned, this is great example of what a Porter should be.

The pour was nice and dark to this - brown with garnet edges. I had to stop with just a bit left in the bottle as the head filled up quite a bit of my pint glass and there was a bit of sediment at the bottom too. Not a big deal but I'm guessing that it had to do with the age of the beer. Anyways, this had quite a malty feel to it and the first thing I felt was chocolate. More milk than dark but both were certainly there. This was not as full as I thought it would be and it wasn't as roasted as other Porters that I've had, either. It was only in the aftertaste that the earthy hops faintly emerged and even so, they didn't last for very long.

Even though I only bought one bottle, it would be easy to down quite a few in a sitting. Now that the weather is cooling off, I may give this a go again. It's mellow and the alcohol was barely discernible - good signs that this Porter, like a lot of SN's other offerings, has a lot going for it!

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Photo of dansmcd
3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Very coke-like in appearance. A very thin head, molasses coloured body, no lace.

S - Heavy roasted malt, coffee and dark chocolate.

T - Follows the nose. Sweet caramel balanced by a sharp hop bite at the end.

M - Thin, fizzy and crisp.

O - Nicely balanced Porter with all the characteristics typical of the style.

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Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz brown SN style bottle with a great SN label(all their labels are fabulous). Poured into a standard pint glass.

A - very rich dark brown that's nearly black. Stunning ruby red outlines most of this porter. Nice fluffy tan head that holds it's own in beauty along with thick and creamy Sierra Nevada style lace.

S - earthy aroma with wonderful roasted malts all over. A touch of coffee and sweet chocolate hints along side some toasted bread. Small whiffs of fresh like hops.

T - very roasty flavor that's very good. A good portion of roasted malts from start to finish. Well placed hints of chocolate and black coffee. Everything about this porter is earthy and woody with roasted malts in taste. Somewhat of a spicey hop presense that adds to a near perfect balance.

M - smooth medium body with a just right carbonation. Texture and feel going down reminds me of thick chocolate milk. Very easy to drink.

O - have always enjoyed this American porter. But hadn't had it for a while. I walked away from this last one wanting more. Just seemed even better this time around. You won't be disappointed at all from this porter. Every part of the SN porter is extremely good and enjoyable. An underrated Am. Porter IMO. It's easy going, but still offers unbelievable flavor. Have never had any complaints with This brew or Sierra Nevada and that holds true still to this day. One of my favorite American porters.

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Photo of baos
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Twelve ounce bottle into Barilla jar.

Very dark with 2 finger head that dwindles down to a nice ring around my jar. The lacing is very good on this brew. Deep dark malt with hoppy earth notes as well. Maybe a hint of alcohol? Big maltiness up front. A walnut shell bitterness that melds into a dry mildly hop laden finish. Porter isn't one of my favorite styles, but I like this one.

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.61/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ba Review #67
Served On: 9/21/2011
Glassware: Pint Glass

Again with the dark beers here. Must be the cooler weather setting in that makes me gravitate towards the heavier styles. This was from a 6 pack from the Ye Old Spirit Shop in Frederick, MD. (Unreal selection there by the way).

Look: Very dark caramel brown with some red tinges along the edges of the glass. A thin tan head formed with real tight bubbles. No real carbonation on this one.

Smell: A roasted nutty character – like roasted peanuts. Some maple notes. Also a faint hop freshness that’s typical of most Sierra Nevada offerings.

Taste: First on the palate was a roasted quality that quickly transitioned into a spicy herbal note – almost like juniper berries. In fact this beer is like a toned-down version of the 2011 Beer Camp Juniper Black Ale.

This is a great porter if you’re looking for a brew that goes beyond the typical roasted malts and dark fruits. Yet another great offering from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of jbakajust1
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from Growler filled @ 16 Tons for $8 into a SN Imperial Pint

A - Pours a dark brown w/ ruby highlights under a quickly fading 1/2 finger beige head. Decent carbonation, great lacing, dark but clear.

S - Smells of chocolate, lightly roasted coffee, biscuits, earthy hops, light floral note, subtle fruits.

T - Tastes much like the nose, dark chocolate, coffee, light toffee note, biscuits, more subtle fruits and earthy hops

M - Roasty dry finish w/ a light astringency, light body borders on thin, but very smooth and velvety w/ a decent bitterness to balance.

O - Very enjoyable beer, very drinkable. Tends to border on Dry Stout territory. I will still seek this one out when ever I can.

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Photo of blackcompg
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from their 12oz bottle into my 12oz glass -

Appearance - Poured a quick 2 fingers of tan head, color is a transparent copper brown color.

Smell - Roasted grains, some black coffee, and slight minerals.

Taste - Roasted grains, touch of dark chocolate, and some black coffee. Very slight malt sweetness throughout. I get some minerals and more black coffee in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium carb, very smooth, finishes somewhat on the dry side.

Overall - A good solid porter. No wow factor, but nothing bad at all either, another good style representative from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of tdm168
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark blackish brown with 1/2 inch of off white head. Great retention. Smells of caramel, toffee, and roasted malt. Roasted malt up front with a hint of coffee; a little sweet with just enough hops for balance. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth. Decent carbonation.

This is solid, balanced, drinkable porter. One of my favorites in the style.

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

A- It's a light brown black color. A cocoa powder colored head and fantastic lacing

S- Smells like chocolate and coffee followed by a nutty smell. A spicy hop aroma is noticeable.

T- Tastes great. It has a coffee flavor followed by a subtle chocolate taste. There is a bit of barley in this taste. The hops are peppery.

M- It's a little thin, but makes it a little bit easier to drink multiples of

O- Pretty solid. I haven't had a bad beer from this company and I don't think I ever will

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Photo of Hoptometrist
4.16/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from the bottle into a nonic glass

A- Poured a dark brown with a three finger semi-fluffy head that left great chunky lace all over the glass

S- Mostly toffee and some light roasted coffee notes

T- Big toasted toffee presence, bready quality, chocolate, some roasted coffee notes, big mineral tasting presence on the finish

M- Very creamy, some good carbonation, medium body for a porter

O- A very solid porter with nice roasty accents and a bold toffee taste. Sierra Nevada's lineup of year round beers is outstanding with their stout, kellerweis, pale ale, and now this one.

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Photo of CaptJackHarkness
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown body with a thick beige head that lingers a goodly amount of time, then sublimely laces the glass. Nutty/sweet taste with hoppy aftertaste, the label describes it as 'bittersweet", and I have to agree completely!

This is a good all around choice for a Porter.

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Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with ruby hues and a 1 finger tan head. Moderate retention while lace is still sticking to the top of the tulip glass.

Roasty sweet nose of mocha, toasted bread crust with that woodsy-stemmy earthy SN hoppiness. Maybe a touch of spiced orange peel.

The palate is less bready and more purely malty- nice and dark with a solid level of bitterness and more of that woody stemminess. A faint bit of espresso sits in the background. The brew ends roasty with a sharp and crisp dryness.

Overall, a great Porter. Greater when you're sitting by the fire too.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
3.66/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a mug

A: pours positively perfect, a solid finger of foamy light tan head that lingers for a long time. Pours perfectly clear with a small amount of carbonation bubbles and comes out a medium brown color that is very enticing. Leaves a ton of lacing
S: First scent is of coffee malts followed by a nice sweetness from chocolate malts and a slight roasted smell like coffee beans
T: nice roasted taste, i cant decide if it is more chocolate or coffee malts that hit but it is very nice and finishes with a nice sweetness that has a certain bite to it
M: a bit light and thin for what I like to see out of porters but has a slight carbonation tingle and does not linger on the palate in the least bit
O: a very nice, easy drinking, smooth porter. i would have liked to see a bit more depth to it as well as a little bit more thickness, I like porters to be heavier than this but it is still a very good, highly drinkable brew.

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Photo of metter98
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is clear yet very dark amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige head that died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of roasted malts in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of roasted malts and some hints of toffee and burnt malts. There are some hints of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels on the light side of medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer goes down very easily and is quite sessionable.

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Photo of mayorwalda
3.15/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Time for a nice porter.

Pouring Sierra Nevada's Porter I got a touch ahead of myself. The head on this beer grew quite a bit more than I expected it would for a typical dark brew. Eventually I got the whole bottle in my glass and I watched the head for a bit, it was at first thick but pretty quickly died off and left only scraps of lace tattered along the edge of my glass. Sadly, while the head was still sitting atop my beer, it really didn't do much to show off the beer’s bouquet, simply, this beer isn’t very fragrant.

Sniffing about there's all your typical aromas for a dark beer, surely the dark malts, some smokey, roasty aromas, and as described on the bottle some toffee aromas. If I'm to be honest, though, all I can really say I smelled was the dark malts, and hints, very slight hints of the toffee and coffee aromas.

So, after not having much luck with smelling this brew, I put my lips to the glass for my first sip. Well, I sipped, and after not knowing quite what to think I sipped again and again and now here I am. I've taken a good many sips and I can't say this brew has blown me away or really let me down in any way. In a sad way this brew is everything I expected and nothing more.

In lieu of not being blown away and not having much of anything to say about this beer I guess I’ll keep it simple:

Appearance: This beer is dark but less dense than most beers that use dark malts. Perhaps they used some lighter malts as well?

Smell: The aroma is roasty and formulaic, but also notably weak.

Taste: The taste of this brew is the taste of your typical porter, bittersweet and earthy.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel of this beer is almost average but seems to be a bit more carbonated than your typical porter. I feel like this allows for a somewhat—though admittedly not very—unique porter experience, and I’ll give Sierra Nevada points where I can.

Overall: Overall this brew is middle of the road. It’s nothing out of the ordinary and is pretty drinkable, but when it comes to craft beer I’m looking for something a little more interesting and for that reason I might advise folks to spend your hard earned cash on a more prominent porter or stout.

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Photo of azdback
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass. Medium dark brown color. Edges are quite light permitting and a much fainter brown. Large carbonation bubbles gather up top to create a small two finger tan colored head. The head retention is great and lacing looks to be nice, but ends up not "sticking" around.

Smell is of medium roasted malts. Faint roasted coffee. There is a bit of earthy yeast smells. Maybe sourdough toast dipped in coffee.

Taste is about the same. Mild roasted coffee and maybe a touch of sweet milk chocolate. There is some mild tartness and maybe just a bit of hop bitterness.

Mouth is standard for the style. The roasted flavors along with the tart and bitter leave the tongue a bit dry in the end, but I don't think it is out of place.

Overall I think this is what we all should be looking for in a standard, off the shelf Porter. I generally drink these out of the bottle and that is what makes this so great. No reason to get fancy shmancy. This is also a great beer to take to a get together. You can drink it out of the bottle and leave the rest of the six pack in the fridge and none of the BMC people will bother it.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark brown with some amber orange coming through when held to light. Lots of bubbles and a solid three finger lightly tan head with good retention and sticky lacing.

Smell: Aroma of dark roasted and bready malts with strong hints of chocolate and coffee. Also some caramel and toffee. Light hints of earthy and grassy hops and a bit of smoke. Roasted malts stand out.

Taste: Big flavor of sweet roasted malts with caramel and toffee. Chocolate and coffee are noticeable but fairly subdued compared to the dark malt sweetness. Finishes with a noticeable presence of grassy hops with a mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Very creamy and smooth.

Overall: This a a nice American Porter that is tasty and easy drinking but it could of been a little more bold with the chocolate and coffee taste.

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Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 3,651 ratings
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