Sierra Nevada Porter | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

very good
3,642 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

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Ratings: 3,642 |  Reviews: 1,443
Photo of dansmcd
3.76/5  rDev -4.1%
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 +2.8%
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 -4.3%
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 -7.9%
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 +0.8%
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 -10.7%
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 +4.1%
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 tykees88
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
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 +6.1%
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 +11.7%
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 -4.3%
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 -6.6%
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 +0.3%
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 -19.6%
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 -3.1%
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 +2.8%
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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Photo of sethmeister
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

dense creamy khaki colored head atop a dark brown body which is translucent red when held to the light. small amounts of soapy lace.

scent is fresh bread, roasted grain and a hint of leafy hops

taste is molasses, roasted and toasty notes. dark fruit. a hint of leafy hop flavor and a slight bitterness. toffee and a hint of bittersweet chocolate.

mouth could be thicker - a little light

drinkability very high

a well crafted ale as expected from sierra nevada but not among my favorite porters. i like a bolder thicker porter.

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Photo of sixthglass
2.88/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Deep brown in color, with a nice head that fades and leaves lovely lacing.

Aroma: Rich aroma of toasted malts, coco, hint of coffee.

Taste: Very flavorful with a toasty dark malt opening, coco, coffee, and something bitter.

Mouth feel: Thin, with a good amount of carbonation, doesn't coat the mouth very well.

Drinkability: This is a good session brew to have in the fall sitting around a campfire. Just reminds you of a nice fall evening with good friends.

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Photo of Jenkster4
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a very deep mahogany color, almost a finger on the head, and a nice creamy lacing.

Nose: You get a good amount of toffee, nice roasted malt backbone, some fruity along with some sort of grainy/spicy- yeast aroma. Is started off grainy but as it warmed up it was more of a fruity smell. Also getting slight chocolate, and a very slight hop presence.

Taste: Bittersweet. Toffee is definitely there along with a very slight chocolate backdrop. Roasted and sweet malts really play a big role.

Mouth: Medium...smooth...pretty good tangy/bitter aftertaste & decent carbonation.

Overall: This is a very respectable beer. I have a lot of respect for Sierra Nevada due them pretty much getting me into the craft beer world. A sold porter that I see myself revisiting again.

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Photo of LittleCreature
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - 4.5
Pours an inch of dense beige head over a clear body of dark reddish brown.

Smell - 4.0
Dark chocolate, cocoa, burnt toffee, toast and a little roastiness.

Taste - 3.5
As per the aroma, plus earthy hops and moderate bitterness. Balance is tipped in favour of dryness and bitterness, finishes very crisp.

Mouthfeel - 3.5
Light to medium bodied with persistent, fine carbonation.

Overall - 3.5
On the lighter side of robust porter, very drinkable but lighter than I like my porters. More malt and more body would be an improvement.

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

12oz undated but very recently purchased brown bottle served n a Sierra Nevada pint glass.

A: very dark reddish brown; nearly opaque but allowing enough light to pass through to create nice deep red-orange highlights. Fine tan head with good duration.

Aroma; roasted malt with some spicy hops and a hint of smoke.

T: A rich, dark-roasted malt flavor with a clear addition of spicy hops; hints of smoke, charcoal and coffee, especially in the finish. Excellent use of hops IMO.

M - Excellent carbonation. Medium body.

O - Porter is a style I usually find unappealing, but there are exceptions (e.g., Rogue Mocha Porter; Sam Adams Holiday Porter) that I like alot. This beer is not among those at the top of my list, but is a very good porter that I would be happy to have again.

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Photo of DavidST
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass, bottled date of 0357 so December of 2010.

This pours a dark brown with a mocha head. I get lots of coffee and roasted malts and some other sweet malts. The body is medium. The taste is pretty good, I get a light taste at first semi sweet followed by lots of roasted malts and coffee. Overall this is a pretty good beer, but most of the time I just go for the SN Stout over this.

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Photo of Star80
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Some of these rolled into the liquor store at Mairiano's grocery store, so I tried these again. Pours out a dark brown color, very rich mahogany but not black. Beer has a nice sticky brown head. The smell is rich chocolate malt, with some dark toffee. No detectible hops in the nose but all roasty malt. The taste is more roasty malts, and lots of chocolate malts. Not as hoppy as I would expect from a SN brew, would think there would be a bigger Cascade presence but that's okay...I actually feel this is a more authentic interpretation of the style. The taste brings more sweet chocolate malts too; probably because there is no big bitter hop aftertaste. Anyway, the mouthfeel is full and rich. Overall this is a somewhat unique offering from SN in that the chocolate malts really shine through. Although I look forward to trying their other darker beers again, i.e Tumbler, and their hoppier Stout.

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

12 oz. bottle served in a pint glass. This offering from Sierra Nevada pours a medium brown in color with an inch of creamy tan foam. Clear and ruby in the light and showing good retention.

Aroma offers a touch of chocolate and subdued caramel along with a clean and fruity yeast presence, rather English in character and with a touch of roast.

Taste is smooth and creamy, with a subtle chocolate flavor. Carbonation is light but fitting and offers a light to moderate body and with a spicy hop enabled finish.

Nice brew yet nothing special.

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Photo of whitenickcannon
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite that I can find on a regular basis here in Alabama. The pour is a deep brown with slight reddish tints. A one finger head that is cream colored shortly gives way to some nice lacing.

The smell is a little sweet with a dark chocolate coffee undertone.

The taste is malty sweet with a slight bitter follow-up.

Feel is of average carbonation.

Overall this is one of my go to beers that never lets me down.

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Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 3,642 ratings.
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