Sierra Nevada Porter | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

very good
3,640 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: 3,640 |  Reviews: 1,442
Photo of CrookedStill
2.9/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

*from notes 05/25/11*

Dark brown with a then tan head that quickly falls.

Lots of chocolate upfront with hints of roasted coffee.

Much like the nose there's lots of chocolate first with a coffee taste in the background.

Medium bodied with moderate amount of carbonation.

There really isn't much wrong with this beer. A good aroma, nice flavors and easy to drink. It really is a textbook porter. And that may be the one that's off with it, it's just your standard porter with nothing really jumping out to make it memorable or unique. I've had it dozens of times and I don't think I'd be able to pick it out in a blind taste test. Don't get me wrong, it's easily enjoyable, just not anything to go out of your way for.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Pours a very dark brown, almost black color with an inch of white head. Tons of lacing. Aroma is of roasted malts, hints of chocolate, and a bit earthy. Taste is mostly the roasted malts. Earthy and chocolate as well as some breadiness. Medium bodied and pretty easy to drink. Overall, its a decent Porter. Sierra Nevada doesn't put out many bad beers, if any. This one is worth grabbing again.

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Photo of imbibehour
2.94/5  rDev -25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured on tap in a shaker pint at Meridian Pint DC.

Appearance is a very nice off brown to mild tan head, and slightly creamy looking. Body has a very nice red/brown hue on the bottom bot a very dark brown clear impressible looking body. Puck remains throughout drinking, this is quite good looking indeed.

Bouquet is small, missing, and unfortunatly predominantly sour. I was hoping for some malt, chocolate, coffee, roast, anything but there is nothing going on here, very neutral.

Taste is immediately sour, with a mild dark malt mid palate taste but very small. I wish I could say more but honestly, there is NOTHING going on here. Mouthfeel has a strange hop finish but with a light bodied wet feeling and fizzy carbonation. Finish is jerky meats and salts.

Seriously, I have lately had some fantastic American porters and after drinking this... this is just barely average. Sierra Nevada makes some great beers but this is not one of them, I'll pass.

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

Poured in to a pint glass

A; This beer pours a nice deep brown with chestnut brown hues along the edges when held to the light. One finger of khaki colored, sudsy head that retains nicely leaving nice spotted lacing along the glass.

S: Nose is mostly caramel malt based with a nice roastiness and hints of chocolate.

T: Taste starts with a boat load of sweet malts - caramel and toffee really dominate but well balanced and not cloying. Toffee holds through as the milk chocolate notes begin to take over. Finish has a bit of roasted malt, coffee, and a hint of bitter chocolate.

M: Medium body, medium to slightly high carbonation, crisp and dry at the beginning but has a slightly oily, sticky finish.

O: Goes down easily, very tasty, not too filling, mild kick, solid representation of style. This isn't a blow your mind away porter... but it's one that is definitely a go to beer. It is very easy to sit with for an evening (and a hockey playoff game).

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Photo of thegodfather1076
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served out of a 12oz. bottle dispensed into a glass....

Presentation - Love the classy SN label and the short bottle.

Appearance - Pours out a deep brown with a 1.5 finger thick light brown head the sticks around for a while before finally dissipating into a nice foam ring. A nice lacing left on the glass the whole way down.

Smell - Smells of toasted coffee been with a hint of chocolate. Toasty malts with a hint of faint hop aroma.

Taste - Tastes of dark chocolate and roasted coffee with a slightly nutty hint. A nice mixture of black coffe bitterness and hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation.

Drinkability - Very smooth. Not as thick as some porters I have tried. This fact combined with the flavor make this very drinkable.

I have yet to be let down by any SN offering and this one is no exception. I enjoyed this very much and would reccomend this all day long.

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Photo of isaacpopp
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a snifter. Pours a very deep red with maybe some more dark purple hues. One to two finger head that settles into a film on top of the beer and leaves a nice amount of lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - Some coffee, some roasty and sweet malt notes, but also a bit of citrus and fruitiness.

T - Bitter, but not overpowering. Some dark fruit flavors along with a definite roasty flavor. A bit more malt than in the nose but it is well balanced by the bitter and roasty finish.

M - This beer has a good body to it. Perfect carbonation.

O - A good beer from a great brewery. No real complaints with this porter. A solid base for the style. It goes really nicely with nutty foods, such as peanuts or mushrooms, or a roast.

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Photo of DovaliHops
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a medium, light-tan head that disappears quickly. Scent is very chocolate forward with a light hint of black licorice. A bit of roasted malt aromas as well. Taste is initially coffee with some roasted flavors. Then I get chocolate with burnt malt and a tiny bit of toffee and vanilla. Finishes with a lot of maltiness. Mouthfeel is a bit on the light side...would like to see this more full-bodied. Drinkability is high, as this is a tasty porter. Overall, this is not the best porter, but it is very good.

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Photo of jamescain
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into my (512) tumbler.

Appearance: Dark Black with red hues when held into the light. It poured with a fingers worth of head that fades into a thin lacing over the top of the beer.

Aroma: Roasted barley, hints of chocolate and toffee.

Taste: Roasted barley and hints of chocolate, again. Basically like the aroma, not too much depth.

Mouthfeel: A little light bodied for what I like and medium carbonation, easy to drink.

Overall: Pretty standard run of the mill porter. Not great but not bad, a nice standard porter.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.41/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I can't believe I haven't reviewed this before.

A: Pours a clear cola brown that seems opaque in the center of the glass. Capped with 2 fingers of tan head that retains well and leaves some lace down the sides.

S: The aroma isn't all that pungent, but it delivers notes of chocolate, some roasted grain, and earth (hops).

T: The taste is better than the unremarkable nose led me to expect. Flavors of semisweet chocolate, roasted grain, and a touch of caramel come to the forefront. It's lightly bitter, but the real hop contribution seems to be a mild citric component in the background.

M: It's fairly dry, resulting in a light-medium body that, coupled with the medium carbonation, makes it extremely drinkable. The flavor is a bit simple, but there are no flaws per se.

O: This doesn't stack up to some of my other gold standards of the style: Founders Porter, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Anchor Porter. Not that it's a bad beer, but it's certainly a step below.

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Photo of vkv822
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into tulip snifter.

Pours a dark dark, with deep mahogany hues around the edges with a frothy tan head that leaves a web of lacing.

The aroma is a basic roasty malt with some light citric hop backing.

The taste seems a bit opposite of the aroma, with some brief hop notes upfront followed quickly by roasty malts.

It has a light to medium body with fairly active carbonation.

The mouthfeel touches on being a bit too cola-like at times, but overall maintains a nice easy and enjoyable drinkability and is a decent porter.

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Photo of DeltaGolfSierra
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color is a very dark brown to almost black. Its cream-colored head is thick and long lasting, a nice looking beer. Scent is roasted malts and a hint of citrus. The taste follows the smell, which is quite good - roasted malts up front, with a touch of grapefruity bitterness in the finish. A nicely balanced beer.

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

A - Dark brown ale that is light for a porter. Okay head that holds only for a bit.

S - Quintessential roasted malt smell.

T - Taste is almost that of a dark nut brown ale. Nutty / cereal taste caught me little of guard. Little bit of toasted sweetness.

M - thin mouthfeel for a porter, but still pretty good .

D - Very easy drinking porter. Session porter.

O - this is a great introductory porter. If you want to introduce someone to porters this would be a great start. I am moving on to something a little more substantial.

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


As I'm desperately trying to widen my horizons when it comes to Porters and Stouts, I have been increasingly worried that they're just not for me.

Today, that all changed. I got a single bottle at Wegman's and gave 'er a go today. It poured a dark, almost opaque brown to black. Head, for me anyway, was small, fizzy and dissapated quickly.

The smell was pleasant, malty and not overpowering. My mood was bouyed, but I wasn't optimistic....but I should have been.

Taste was verry good. While I'm not one to pull out all the different characteristics, I could detect a mild roasted malt, and slight coffee flavour. But what I enjoyed most, was that it truly was a balanced beer. The malts didn't overpower, and the added kick of the hops was nice and not too bitter.

I'm guessing that Porter/Stout fans would be looking for something a bit stronger, but I loved the beer. I'll most definitely be buying more next fall and winter. Totally drinkable and a nice treat.

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Photo of webbcreative
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours dark dark brown with mahogany color shown through when
Held to the light. Nice big frothy off white head. That left nice lacing.

S=light roasted malt and that typical Sierra Nevada yeast smell.

T=nice solid porter, light roast flavor, light toffee flavor, and again the same yeast profile as all their other beers that
I have had.

M= nice medium moutfeel on this one.

O= really good solid porter here, I would drink this regularly. Beer is just what I expected from SN.

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Photo of KTCamm
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Classic SNBC stubby bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours jet black with touches of foam. What you expect to see from a porter.

Roasted coff smell, medium notes of chocolate. Subtle hop taste with rich roasting. Smooth...Tasty and full of flavor. Modest carbonation.

Overall very good - certainly another win for Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.76/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep brown that looks ruby/brown when held up to the light. A slightly off-white, two finger head forms (vigorous pour), and reduces to one finger. A good bit of foam on top lasts for the rest of the time. Left some very nice lacing behind.

A: Lightly roasted malts, some coffee, and some grassy hops. Pretty simple.

T: Roasted malt upfront, with some coffee in the midpalate. The finish leaves a chocolaty aftertaste. Not as much hops as expected based on the aroma, but they are slightly present.

M: Slightly lighter than medium bodied. Pretty smooth with medium carbonation. Has a slightly sticky finish.

O: Pretty good, solid representation of the style. Easy drinking. Nothing about it stands out, but there is nothing wrong with it either.

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Photo of Brunite
2.97/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Thin looking. Mahogany color but semi-transparent.

S: Very faint aroma. Some aroma....roasted....sweetish.

T: Similar to smell....average.

M: Light to medium.

O: OK....but not spectacular. Wanted to make this a regular at it's price and availability. I'll spend a few bucks more for more taste.

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Photo of jjboesen
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Brewing is the brewer that began my journey into craft beer. This is their decent porter; it opens with a gush of spongy froth, one that slowly sinks into a vanilla pillow resting atop a deep, dark, ruby body spreckled with a few spatterings of light droplets. The glass is gummed with crusty lacing.

The nose receives faint whiffs of toffee - as if a Heath Bar farted into your nose. The restive palate picks up a thin coat of toasted malt. Overall, there is a crispiness to it all, this porter from Sierra Nevada. A nice finish supplemented by a none to aggressive body.

I love porters; accordingly, I embrace and adore the exceptional ones. Yet, I still reach out to those porters that are just basic - but damn fine ones endowed with an unpretentious decency. This little gem from Sierra Nevada is that.

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Photo of Mancer
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle poured out a cloudy dark brown body with a half finger high light brown head. The head dissipated to a thick and sticky lace. The initial aromas were of roasted coffee, light caramel, toffee, and roasted grains. The flavors were of roasted coffee, super light caramel and a light dose of hops. There was a roasty finish that rounded out the flavors quite nicely. The brew had a light to medium body with medium carbonation.

Overall, this was a nice porter. Not heavy in comparison to most and not watery. This is great if you want a dark beer that isnt going to fill you up.

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

A&S - Deep brown, two finger tan head, no lacing, very bubbly, with the slightest bit of light coming through. Smells of mostly Munich, some coffee, a little yeast.

T&M - Very crisp, lots of that roasted Munich mostly, some chocolate more than the coffee, very well balance, the hop bite and Munich work very well together.

O - Not my favorite, but I wouldn't mind another Sixer of this.

I really like a more coffee porter than chocolate, but the way everything came together in this one was great, the wheat and chocolate with just a gentle hop bite...Lets go with a hop kiss because its not to much or not enough its just right. I prefer Anchors porter when it comes to APs, but I have to take this one seriously, its too good to look over. I gave it a 3.5 on A&S, I felt the nose and look were not that impressive, I've seen that bubbly brown too much which is kind of rude considering this has a "True Porter Color," also the nose was very unimpressive. Pick this one up, there's a lot of reasons you should, especially the smokey aftertaste, very very pleasant beer. Also i'm super excited to try the SN Stout. Stay thirsty my friends.

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Photo of gonzogrover
3.12/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into a standard pint glass.

A - Very dark brown, not quite black with a decent head. No lacing as drinking.

S - Roasted malt and more roasted malt. Other reviews have mentioned chocolate and/or caramel but I don't get much of that in the smell.

T - Quite sweet at first turning into a bitter porter in the end. A clear hop presence in this porter.

M - Not as full as I expect from a porter. Medium bodied but nothing huge.

Overall I'd say it's a decent beer but nothing that I'll reach for in a hurry. Meh.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

387th review on BA
bottle to pint
12 oz

Cornhusker Marriot

App- Caramel brown with some dark amber highlights. Nice two finger head and a very good cling.

Smell- I get a TON of roasted malts, not too much else but for the style I bump the points and have to say it smelled great.

Taste- A big ale taste with well balanced flavors. Big malts and a small hop backend with a small chocolate note. Not as full as I was hoping.

Mouth- Medium bodied and medium carbed and a bit nutty on the backend.

Drink- A great intro porter for anyone looking for one. I can't believe I never had this before. Learn something new everyday.

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.46/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a dark brown mahogany with tan, 3 finger head that leaves a lot of lacing.

S - A bit weak, picking up mostly some roasted malt and a faint hint of chocolate, perhaps some caramel, but very muted.

T - Taste up front is rather sweet, fades into a good amount of roasted malts and some toffee flavor. Some bitterness on the end.

M - Full bodied mouth feel, but refreshingly crisp. Incredibly drinkable as well.

Overall - I thought it was decent. Nothing to write home about. Honestly, for a porter, I found it a bit weak, both in smell and flavor. The roasted malt seemed to drown out any other discernible scent or taste. Best thing about this was how drinkable it was.

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Photo of veinless
3.18/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours a noticeable clear and lighter shade of reddish brown than usual for the style. I guess I've had too many big porters lately that are basically stouts. Head is ample, very light tan, frothy, and has a milky look to it. Leaves lace and retains for a long time.

Woody, soft roasted malt is up front in the nose. Some watery hops lay behind it. Not too much going on here, perhaps a touch of vanilla but that might be from the cake I'm eating.

Taste is ok...but definitely not as good as I remembered it being about two years ago. Watery character is really noticeable from the get-go, but fortunately the roasted, slightly sweet malt is strong enough to cloak it a little bit. Citrus comes out a bit at the end, leaving a candied fruit sensation under the tongue during the pleasantly dry and softly bitter finish.

If this beer had some sort of a body to it it would be so much better. As it is I just can't get over how thin the body is compared to the flavors. Carbonation is good at least. Drinkability is good thanks to the finish, but not great thanks to the mouthfeel. I guess being thin and watery could help drinkability for some, but I prefer malt-forward beers to have bodies to match.

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Photo of brewballer
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a solid porter from a very good brewery. I'm not much for porters usually, but I liked this one. It had a nice roasted malt flavor to it. Mouthfeel was good and the carbonation seemed right on. I felt it finished a little on the bitter side for my taste, but overall was a very solid beer.

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Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 3,640 ratings.
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