Sierra Nevada Porter | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

very good
3,624 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:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-09-1999

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,624 |  Reviews: 1,434
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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Photo of Jinholic
2.88/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance - Dark brown/ruby red color with 1 finger tan head, okay lacing.

Smell - Nose is weak on this one getting some chocolate/coffee with caramel and something else (trying to dig for it but its weak).

Taste - Roasted malts and chocolate very bitter clean finish.

Mouthfeel - Light body and smooth.

Overall - Was hoping for more robust brew here with a thicker body. First Sierra Nevada beer I didn't fall for right off the bat, go try one and see for yourself.

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Photo of beerinmorning
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

When it comes to darer beers, I tend to prefer stouts to the closely-related porter. That's until I had this porter. Simply... wow.

To put it in context, I had this Sierra Nevada Porter after finishing a very enjoyable Sierra Nevada Stout. While I applauded the stout for its drinkability, this porter's flavor is incredible.

I'm different. I prefer a little alcohol taste in my beer. Rather than accompany that taste, however, this porter's rich roasted flavor complements that alcohol flavor in a way that is both rich and tastefully bitter.

The head and lacing are both full and clinging, with a property that really adds to the smell when you drink. And that's a good thing.

I think I may have just found my new porter of choice.

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Photo of Knapp85
2.95/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Tasted a lot like any other Porter I've had in the past. At least this is a slightly different change of pace for Sierra Nevada. This brew shows that there is more to SN than just Pale Ales and IPA's. This beer pour a rich dark brown with a foamy light brown head. The roasted malts are nicely balanced in this with the hops used in the brew.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Still haven't figured out how these date codes work...but I think this bottle is from January 2011

A - clouded but clear dark brown/red body, loose and fading light tan head.

S - sweet roasted malts, bit of chocolate. None of the hops the bottle tells me about, just sweet malts with a hint of roast.

T - Nicely balanced sweetness with roasted malts and a touch of coffee bitterness on the back. A bit sweeter than I'd like, but it's good.

M - Smooth, medium-full body, not very thick. A surprisingly big mouthfeel, which, in this case, is a good thing

O (D) - Not bad by any means, but this isn't quite what I think of as the quintessential porter. It's a bit too sweet.

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Photo of BBP
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark cherry chestnut color with a thin head and slight lacing. Decent carbonation.

S- Slight dark and roasted malts, hints of molasses. Perhaps a smidge of coffee. Fairly weak but pleasant aroma.

T- Good amounts of hop bitterness and some nice subtle roasted malt to work with it. There's a bit more dark malts to the top of the flavor. There's also a more significant molasses flavor than the aroma would suggest as well as more potent coffee. Leaning towards the bitter side, but the sweetness is there too.

M- Medium body, and a bit too much carbonation. Fairly creamy. Slightly dry, sticky finish.

D- Drinks like you'd expect an American Porter to. The character of it seems almost stout-like, but I'm not going to argue with something that's clearly written on the table.

It's a pretty tradition AP, and in that regard it does a hell of a job representing the style. It may not bring much new to the table, but it does what it sets out to do.

Interestingly enough, I found a 2 year old bottle of this and it completely matches my review of the fresh version. The stuff holds up pretty well for a 5.6% beer.

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Photo of Jesse13713
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%

Appearance - Pours very light for a porter, but soon settles into an almost transparent cola-like brown. About two and a half fingers of hear are noticeable when poured into my Weyerbacher pint glass. A pretty impressive looking porter that appears on the verge of light and dark. The head is fluffy and creamy.

Smell - Smells like your traditional porter. Strong hints of chocolate hit me right up front. Slight toasty malts are noticeable as well, but are not prevalent. Hints of oak and very distant chocolate are there; but well hidden.

Taste - A very light porter. I would almost even call this a chocolatized pale ale. Fairly bland in taste besides the chocolate and slight malts. While not the most complex taste; it definitely does something for me. Slightly toasted and dashed with caramel and toffee throughout.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability - As stated; not complex but executed well. The most light bodied and downable porter I've ever come across. I don't think this classifies as a sipper; but definitely more of an easy-drinker. I enjoyed this one a lot despite it being so average in taste. Not getting many notes of hops throughout this beer; although they seem more noticeable on the crisp, dry finish.

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Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle at 45 degrees into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint.

A: It pours black with red highlights and two fingers of tan head that recedes into a 1/8 inch layer with great lacing.

S: Light chocolate, mild roastiness, and lots of fresh hoppiness.

T: Citrusy hoppiness, chocolate, caramel, nuttiness, and a dry, bitter finish. The strong hoppiness was a bit of a surprise.

M: It has a medium-light body with lively carbonation and a little creaminess.

O: It is very drinkable but too citrusy to enjoy as a porter. I liken it more to a Black IPA (or whatever it's called).

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Photo of goldbot
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solidly dark brown with maybe the slightest amber hint. Thick and fluffy off-white head.Good head retention and lacing. Plenty of carbonation. Roasty malt aroma but not much else. A good malt flavor with just a hint of crisp, floral hops. A bit nutty or bready with roasted character. Medium dry with a crisp but smooth mouthfeel. Overall a nice porter, good with a hearty meal as any porter should be.

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Photo of Snow81
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Reddish Brown Haze, looking rich

Smell: Sweet malts, caramel, little nutty

Head: color is a dark tan that sticks around for almost the life of the beer

Taste: A little roosted toffee, malty sweetness

Weight: Light body and it drops out fast, medium carbonation

Finish: Roosted malts, small amount of a bitter hop

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Photo of Jimmys
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: medium dark brown, almost ruby red when holding it up to the light, with a light coffee hued bubbly head. good retention and leaves behind some nice lacing.

S: a rich and refreshing roast that has a little astringent bitterness. little bit of coffee.

T: starts with roast. not coffee or an acidic roast. a little touch of chocolate. some nuttiness as well. finishes extremely dry.

M: medium body with significantly hard carbonation. just a little too hard in my opinion.

D: pretty roasty. my only real complaint is how dry the finish is. i would love the roast to stick around a little longer.

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

Deep, dark brown upon pour, with a huge head of tan foam. Extensive and impressive lacing. Wow.

Nose is chocolate, cocoa, nutty.

Flavor is rich and coffee-ish, with a hint of hops (to balance the sweetness) lingering in the finish. Superbly balanced brew, and a perfect example of a porter done right.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my dad for picking this up at International Beverage Selections in Grand Rapids. Served in a Hill Farmstead Wine Glass.

Pours dark brown with very little head or lacing and a good swirl doesn't bring anything up. The nose is very mild chocolate and roast plus some residual sweetness. The taste is quite bland. THere is some mild chocolate up front followed by light sweetness and a bit of roast. Body is medium with a fairly-full finish. Not quite enough carbonation, however. A bit disappointing, but this finishes up the "Top Beers - Beers of Fame" for me. Would like to try every beer on the site with at least 1000 reviews.

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Photo of SisuPride
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours dark brown with a great thick caramel colored head.

S - Gentle roasty aroma of dark malt, caramel, chocolate, and coffee. Very subtle and mellow.

T - Much like the smell - it is very subtle and mellow. A great introductory beer into the world of porters.

M - Smooth and creamy with scant carbonation - which I like.

D - Best part of the beer - you could drink 5 of these before you realized it.

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Photo of shand
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep brown with garnet highlights. Head is full and sticky. The smell is roasted malts and subtle hoppiness, with some chocolate present. Smells great, and also tastes great. The taste is fairly standard for a porter, malt roastiness up front with some coffee and chocolate. This differs from other porters by having a very solid current of hops flowing through it. They're never distracting, but don't shy away from making their presence known. Excellently balanced.

The mouthfeel is a nice, full porter body, and the drinkability is quite good, even if it drinks a bit stronger than it's ABV would indicate. I really like Sierra Nevada Porter. It's just a well-crafted, easy drinking porter that's available at a great price. Don't overlook it.

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Photo of magnj
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

a - wonderful clear but deep brown body, 1 finger tan head.

s - nice nose. dark malts, specifically chocolate are aromatic but subtle.

t - slight fruity character up front from what I assume is the yeast. This is quickly met by the dark malts, again chocolate is present, somewhat nutty, vaguely sweet at the end.

m/d - thin body is a slight contrast to the 5.6% alcohol but makes for easy drinking. flavor lingers. Easy to drink, very solid brew by SN that probably gets overlooked by a lot of people (including myself up till now!)

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Photo of KajII
3.3/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in an English pint]

Poured a clear dark brown with a large light brown creamy head that was mostly diminishing with some really nice lacing.

The aroma was of a moderate dose of dark roasted malts and a strong leathery yeast with notes of roasted coffee, a touch toffee and molasses.

It tasted lightly bitter-sweet with hints of molasses in the beginning and finished about the same but had a nice coffee presence at the end with flavor lasting only a short time after the swallow.

Mouthfeel was dry in texture and medium in body with a nice soft carbonation.

Overall a nice porter with the flavors one would expect form a brew of this style. Definitely a classic brew here...

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Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 3,624 ratings.
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