Porter | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Very Good
3,682 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,682 |  Reviews: 1,454
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.

 565 characters

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.

 935 characters

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.

 604 characters

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.

 2,194 characters

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.

 1,140 characters

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.

 923 characters

Photo of sethmeister
3.43/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

 531 characters

Photo of sixthglass
2.88/5  rDev -26%
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.

 478 characters

Photo of Jenkster4
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

 776 characters

Photo of LittleCreature
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

 549 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

 787 characters

Photo of DavidST
4.2/5  rDev +8%
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.

 424 characters

Photo of Star80
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

 902 characters

Photo of HalfFull
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

 545 characters

Photo of whitenickcannon
4.16/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

 434 characters

Photo of ericj551
4.53/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I won this beer as part of a scavenger hunt at a CAMRA event. It pours a clear deep red brown with a nice offwhite head that lingers as a thin bubbly layer. The aroma is sweet, chocolatey caramel, with hints of damp, earthy hops and just a touch of toasty, roasted malt. The flavor is a delicious mix of toasted bready malt, sweet caramel and a hint of dark malt, with nice herbal hop undertones that really balance the beer. The sweetness fades really nicely with the mild bitterness. A slight roasted astringency lingers in the finish.

I am embarrassed to say this is my first Sierra Nevada Porter, but it won't be my last. I'll be seeking this one out in the future.

 671 characters

Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer is brown to black with a thin tan head, small bubbles, some lacing low carbonation.

Aroma is roasty like weak coffee and a little sweet.

Beer is medium in body and overall nice. It is an interesting and pleasantly sweet beer with a mild roast at the end. Overall easy drinking and a fine beer. I'd have it again and I have had it on several occasions.

 358 characters

Photo of doughanson78
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Very dark brown, still lets light through. Three finger light tan head with decent retention and less than stellar lacing.

S: Big coffee aroma. A roasted, almost burnt malt aroma, that is fairly pleasing. Very light chocolate notes.

T: The malts have a much more pronounced burnt flavor. It almost covers up the coffee notes but not quite. The chocolate is barely perceptible, but still there. A light sweetness lingers on the tongue with the deep roastiness in the throat and nasal passage.

M: Very light bodied for a porter, but definitely not watery. A medium carbonation and pleasant aftertaste make up for the body.

O: A decent porter. Given the availability and price you really can't go wrong. Expected more from Sierra Nevada but they definitely didn't disappoint.

 817 characters

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

August is here, and it’s the perfect time for porters. That thick-but-not-too-thick palate is just what I’m looking for to balance out all the IPA’s I’ve had this past summer. To satiate my first darker cravings, I ‘m starting with a brand I know and love. Sierra Nevada produces some of the most enjoyable and reasonably-priced beers out there, and I’ve come to know quite a few of them; in fact, Torpedo is my first and only “go-to” beer right now. It’s just the consistent, drinkable quality that keeps me coming back to these guys. Here’s hoping this one won’t break the streak:

A: The awesome porter head is what I notice first on this one. It’s beige and bubbly, and it shows some great lacing over time. It’s not the thickest head I’ve ever seen, but it’s superbly foamy and inviting. The body is a deep chestnut color, showing hints of red every once in a while when I bring it to the light. Now, while it’s not completely clear, it does let some light through – maybe about 20%. Looks hardy, yet refreshing, like a porter should.

S: These roasts are awesome! Chocolaty richness boasts big from the roasted malts, which also supply a toffee scent underneath. It’s a caramel malt explosion, for sure, but it’s not without a touch a bitters. Sierra Nevada does this well – flowery and earthy hops that come in with just enough aroma to balance the malts. So far, an excellent porter character!

T: Porters are supposed to be bittersweet; this one pulls that off in a unique way. The sweets are apparent first, with a mocha sugariness backed up by some fruits. The kicker, though, is the transition between sweets and bitters. In between, there is a lacing of acidic fruitiness that hits you in the back of the throat like lemon juice. It’s a distinct flavor, and it ties into the breads and bitters quite nicely. Hops are earthy, once again, leading this palate to the finish with a crisp, leafy flavor. The aftertaste is bready and smooth, detailed by some grassy dryness on the very back end. Drinkability is the word, it seems; at least with this porter.

M: Thin and only slightly bubbly, this is no surprise for the style. I wish it had just a tad more thickness, or a tad more carb, though. It seems to be hanging in between two completely different mouthfeels right now. If I had to pick, I’d go with more fizz; that’s just what I expect from Sierra Nevada, and I think the palate’s too thin to handle a super-thick feel.

O: Sierra Nevada has come to the dark side, and I like it. I don’t know if this will ever be a regular purchase for me, as Flying Dog Gonzo and ol’ Sam Smith remain my first choice when it comes to porters. I can see myself getting a six-pack some time down the road, though; for $9, how could I not?

 2,790 characters

Photo of tewaris
3.16/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sierra Nevada Porter
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
5.6% ABV
32 IBUs
OG 13.8 Plato
FG 3.5 Plato

12 oz poured into a shaker pint.

Coffee colored, and noticeably lighter than other examples, but with a beautiful frothy coffee head. Good head retention too and excellent lacing. Smells very generic, and closer to a nut brown or dark ale than a porter: the roast is really not there.

Clean, slightly sweet with a lightly roasty finish. Medium body and medium carbonation. Easy drinking beer, but nothing too great.

Appearance 4/5; Aroma 3/5; Taste 3/5; Mouthfeel 4/5; Overall 3/5

 584 characters

Photo of beerandcycling88
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass

A Pours a dark brown almost black color with a thick head that leaves a lot of lacing.

S Notes of coffee and chocolate with a slight fruity undertone possibly cherries or a fruit like that.

T A very roasty flavor up front with lots of chocolate, caramel and a bit of coffee following. Then just a small bit of citrus to balance things out.

M Medium bodied, but nothing special for the style.

This is quite an excellent porter. It is well balanced between malt and hops with neither being overpowering. A great example of the style, would make an excellent introduction to the style for beginners.

 646 characters

Photo of avaldivia
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a Pint glass.

A: Dark brown with a very nice inch thick chocolate colored head.

S: Roasted smell is upfront but that gives way to a sweet caramel finish. Makes ms think or brown sugar or molasses.

T: Same as smell, but with an additional hop presence. Very nice and full flavored.

M: Medium bodied. Excellent carbonation.very easy to drink.

O: This is the first Porter I ever had and I can see after trying a few, that I was lucky to start off with such a good example of the style.

 516 characters

Photo of BigCheese
4.11/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass

Huge Sandy colored tan head, left solid lacing, really impressive for a brewer as big as SN to put something out that looks like this. THe beer itself resembled a rootbeer or cocacola, opaque.

I do have a bit of a cold, but scent was rather subdued, some rich biscuity malts, molasses, picked up some booziness as well from scent.

Upon drinking imminently get hit with chocolate, coffee, toffee, the classic porter flavors with that hint of hops to balance it out and separate it from a stout. I made the mistake of starting out with beverage to cold, towards end of glass after warming flavors really flourished, learn from my errors.

Moutfeel was creamy, sliighty chewy, yet not all that thick, solid carbonation.

Sierra Nevada continues to impress. I dont think any brewer can match them for combo of quantity and quality of total beer yielded. My 2nd favorite SN offering (celebration first). This is what porters are suppose to be.

 966 characters

Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a brown color with ruby tints and a slightly cloudy consistency. There was a big, fluffy, creamy, tan-colored, long-lasting head. Pretty good lacing.

S: A nice malty smell, with hints of caramel in it as well.

T: Tasted of roasted malt, more than anything, with some chocolate and caramel. This is a good, well-balanced flavor. Basically, it's what you expect an American Porter to taste like.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a very smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is a well made and generally tasty porter. Worth a shot.

 575 characters

Photo of Francepants06
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured a 2 yrs old expired porter into a young's glass. I was testing to see if it would hold out. This is what happened It appeared dark brown to light black in color. It smelled like roasted coffee. It tasted creamy, espresso coffee. it was easy going down. I'm definitely surprise how well it held. This beer was very nice but i think I need to drink a fresh one to give a real review.

 390 characters

Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 3,682 ratings