Sierra Nevada Porter | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Sierra Nevada PorterSierra Nevada Porter
Liked This Beer
3.89 w/ 3,649 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,649 |  Reviews: 1,443
Photo of DanOLeary
3.61/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Vegetal? Yup just the slightest hint right away off the top of the glass. It fades quickly as you breath in, but I certainly catch a quick whiff of it. It's not over powering or even prominent, but it's there. Prominent aromas are what you'd expect with a slight roast, balanced nearly equally with sweet chocolate and light toffee. It's hard to pick out the hops in this porter, but you can pull out some floral character if you're patient.

Appearance: Deep brown to mahogany red with good clarity. At first glance you may think this porter is pure black, but against the light it is anything but. Head retention is solid with nut brown bubbles holding well. Light lacing.

Flavor: Sweet chocolate at first which holds nicely into the middle. Then the hops finally shine through with herbal and light citrus spice. Hop bitterness and roasted character blend nicely through the middle. Flavors drop out toward the end where the beer moves toward watery for a moment, then finishes with just a touch more hop bitterness before fading out clean.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with medium carbonation. Roasted flavors and hops will tingle the palate for a moment through the middle. If you hold the beer in your mouth just slightly longer than normal the hops will bite the back of your throat nicely before it goes down with a subtle sting.

Overall: Despite my descriptions of the specific aroma and flavors, don't expect this porter to blow your palate away. This is a very easy drinking porter with an even blend of hop bitterness and roast. Both qualities offset malt and chocolate sweetness well. I believe Sierra Nevada intended for nice quaffer here, and that's what they got. The vegetal aroma may not be detectable to some. I seem to have this issue with Porters specifically, where I'll pick up on vegetal pretty easily. I can look past it, but it doesn't mean it's not there.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark mahogany color with ruby highlights. Pillowy tan head settles into consistent retention. Throws up a few lacey splashes.

Aroma is light and bright coffee, sweet toffee malt and chocolate muffin.

Rich toffee blends superbly with bittersweet roast malt. Woody undertone. Neutral hops add a touch of flavor and accentuate malt.

Not that roasty, almost like a dark brown ale. I like it.

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

A: Beautiful finger worth of head and already starting some lacing. Dark rich porter color, black with a brownish-reddish hue.

S: Roasted malts? Absolutely! Nothing overpowering and nothing missing. All the hints of a dark malt, and rich hops.

T: Roasted malt comes out here as well. The flavor is without any disguise. Direct and lingering in the mouth until the finish. Slight bitterness from the finish.

M: Soft, slightly dry. There are no changes in taste when sitting on the palette.

D: Great beer! I really enjoyed this one. The demonstration of an American Porter is well presented. I recommend this beer to someone that would like to enjoy a pure porter with no adjuncts.

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Photo of tbizzle0
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle, nice solid black with a very (surprisingly) creamy, off white head.

Lots of chocolate and coffee on the nose, with a bit of sweetness.

Taste followed suit, nice chocolate and coffee flavors with that sweet, creamy flavor on the finish that reminded me of their stout. Definitely a good beer

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Photo of DerekP
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Porter pours a damn near black beer. I see shadows of dark mahogany running down the bottom half of my nonic pint glass.

I've never smelled a porter quite like this. It smells of cascade hops, rendering citrusy tones. But, something is different about the smell. It's not exactly IPA'ish, despite the discerned presence of the cascade variety. Here it goes...

My god what a mild taste. So soft, like Smithick's, yet a burnt toast/to dark roasted coffee shows itself in the aftertaste. The taste from the aforementioned hops finds its way to the quarters of ones taste buds as well.

I can't even say anything more. I want to go and enjoy this one. It just might be the greatest beer I've ever had. Sierra Nevada's Porter definitely prides itself in balance. There, that's it. Cheers!

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Photo of Hoagie1973
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep brown wih a huge fluffy head. Great retention and sticky lacing.
Smells a little roasty and chocolatey. Hops are mild and stay in the background (a unique quality for this brewery).
Flavor is robust and malty with a nice chocolate and molasses undertone. Just a slight portery twang in the finish. Hops lend balance and that's about it. Surprisingly mild as I already mentioned.
Mouthfeel is a touch thin, but not watery.
This is a pretty good, flavorful and definitely drinkable porter. I don't think you'll find a better one for the price.

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Photo of Sudsy89
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I think this is a very good porter, the best I've tried so far. It has a pleasant dark color, nice chocolatey-malt, sweet aroma, brownish thick head. The taste is not too sweet, has just the right amount of hoppy bitterness in the finish. I think it has a nice thick feel to it, but since it's filling, I'd be done after two, not that there is a lot of alcohol in them.
I've had better porters but there are definitely worse ones out there too, so this makes a great intro to craft beer and porters in general, it's affordable and easy for me to find.

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Photo of irishtimepiece
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark brown. When held to the light it is a rich mahogany, crystal clear. 1 finger of light brown head settles slowly to a cap and leaves more than a fair amount of lacing.

Aroma is semi sweet and earthy. Light roasted aromas evident. Slight hop presence is floral.

Taste is on the sweeter side of things. Still earthy with chocolate, a bit of a tang, and something like roasted pecans there in the back.

Mouthfeel is par for the course.

Drinkability? I don't see any reason why I couldn't drink more than one of these at a time. Maybe three, but certainly two.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark chocolate-brown, with some faint red on the edges. A thick beige head rests on top, but disappears quickly. Some light lace lingers behind. Scents of roasted malts and nuts, some chocolate powder. Pretty average Porter-scent.

The mouth has ample carbonation, almost bordering on spritzy. Retains the creamy quality that I look for in the style. Not bad. Pretty average flavors to mirror the average scent. Some roasted malts, dark chocolate, and light breadiness. I was expecting more of a hop-profile, since this is a SN beer, but thankfully this was more "Porter" than anticipated. Not bad, but there's better out there.

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Photo of optiontwo
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I always love Sierra Nevada and I can't believe I haven't tried this one yet.

A: Pours a chocolate brown from the bottle and settles a shade darker in the glass with beautiful ruby hues. A semi-agressive pour left me with an inch tall white head that went away in about thirty seconds leaving some nice bits of lacing on the glass.

S: The aroma is definitely chocolate and coffee oriented but not huge. The chocolate smells dark and bitter (if you can smell bitter) and the coffee smells lighter as opposed to a darker roast. There's also somewhat of a metallic or soapy smell, but the glass I'm drinking out of might be the culprit.

T: It takes a moment for the complexity to register. The bitterness is actually the first thing that hits me and then comes a wave of semi-sweet chocolate, then a wave of roasted coffee beans and finally finishes slightly dry with a blend of the two with a roasted barley aftertaste. The finish is almost cracker like.

M: No complaints here. Feels great.

D: Average ABV, nice mouthfeel, and full flavor definitely give this one a high drinkability in my book.

O: Another solid brew from Sierra Nevada. I gotta say that I am so glad that they have gotten as big as they are and still produce quality products through and through. I've never had a Sierra Nevada brew and regretted ordering/buying it. Love.

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Photo of mralphabet
3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Pint Glass.

A: Pours reddish brown with a good finger and a 1/2 of head that settles to a nice layer of foam. Very nice lacing.

S: First thing I'm getting roasted malt, followed by a nice mix dark chocolate, coffee and light earthy hops.

T: Just like the smell.... Malt up front with a little coffee mix with some dark chocolate. The hops I'm getting tastes a little grassy. Finishes with a coffee bitterness. Pretty balanced.

M: Little thinner than most Porters I've had, plus the carbonation is a little sharper than most Porters.

D: Pretty good overall. Flavors are nicely balanced. Low ABV so it is pretty sessionable. Not a bad little Porter, just a little different than most I've had.

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Photo of crossovert
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.

Pours a dark, dark brown with a red hue when held to light. The head is foamy and off-white/tan. It doesn't leave much lacing though.

The smell isn't too robust. It has a nice brownie scent along with some roasty malt. There is also some mild dark fruit in there.

It is fruitier than a normal porter. It also has some nice bittersweet chocolate and toffee in the flavor. There is an underlying of mineral water.

The mouthfeel is nice and full bodied.

It's a decent porter.

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

Pours a beautiful deep, deep brown. Faint sweet aroma. Chocolate dominates the flavor profile. Roasted malts are also present. Finishes with coffee/toffee tones and a little dry, but not as dry as most of its kind. Very drinkable and well done. Sierra Nevada does a great job of balancing their flavors while creating a beer that's not too flashy, but enjoyable, drinkable and keeps you coming back for more. This porter is a great example of that.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Expecting more hops throughout, but I was instead treated to a surprisingly straight-up porter from SN.

Lame head. No lacing. Deep red-brown cola color.

There IS a mild hop character to go along with the subtle roasty/toasty notes in the nose.

Flavor is mildly roasty and goes away real quick. Mellow bitterness. Bit of a toffee sweetness follows in the immediate finish, washing away dry. Lively carbonation.

Despite my expectations of more hop presence, I felt this was a solid drink. Nothing fancy. But solid and quite enjoyable.

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Photo of Gosox8787
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz. stubby bottle poured directly into a snifter glass.

Appearance: Dark brown to black in color. One finger beige head with almost no retention.

Aroma: Milk chocolate and smoke notes are the two things that stick out in the aroma. Nothing too strong, but there is a nice sweetness to this.

Taste: The milk chocolate from the aroma takes center stage here. There is also the smoke notes and some astrigency on the back end. A bit watery overall though.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a nice creaminess.

Drinkability: The ABV feels nonexistent in this brew and the flavors are solid and by no means overpowering making this very drinkable, almost sessionable.

Overall, a solid interpretation of a porter that is deftly executed. A tad watery for my tastes, but definitely has a nice flavor profile and excellent full bodied creaminess.

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Photo of ryno09
2.96/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours as a porter should, dark brown with a creamy light brown head. The head soon faded as it gave off a very pleasant roasty aroma with a touch of chocolate.

On the palate is where this one disappoints. I think it's over carbonated for a porter. At first I got an almost coca-cola taste due to overwhelming carbonation and caramel notes. There is some nice roastyness at the end but it doesn't finish as smooth as it should.

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Photo of gordavidson
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A deep, ruby red/ leather brown with quite a bit of light coming through at the edges. The thin, light brown head is rather creamy and has good retention.

S- Caramel, sweet coffee, and a touch of earthiness.

T- Sweet coffee, dark chocolate, and caramel. Roasty, but not very extreme. The sweetness is nice.

M- Smooth with spot on carbonation. A little on the thin side, but it doesn't bother me.

D- A tasty but not necessarily a unique take on the style. Just what I look for in an American Porter.

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Photo of Bizz88
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a really dark mahogany with red tones on the edges with a nice two fingered creamy tan head, nice sticky lacing throughout the glass. Aromas of smokey malts and expresso coffee. Thought it was a little watery for a porter but that was made up with a nice burnt carmel flavor. Medium weight with nice carbonation. Very drinkable.

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Photo of scarletfire79
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a nutty brown/black. nice head that leaves soft lacing. a roasted hoppy aroma with a touch of sweetness. the taste is really balanced. nothing jumps outs at you but everything is in its right place. very sessionable, very good. all in all one porter that could stay in my fridge all the time.

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Photo of baseballrock
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - dark brown almost black with a deep ruby hue. pours a half in head.

s - umm, toasty malts. some espresso notes are detected that make the aroma very pleasing.

t - a very well balanced porter. big roasted malt flavor with super sweet dark chocolate cocoa flaver. it finishes with a hop linger that pairs well with the malt flavor.

m - a stated before very balance and very delicious.

d - SN porter, its good to drink a few with dinner or one after dinner. either way it will be enjoyable for all.

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Photo of kiddynamite920
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a very deep brown, near black color. Had about a fingers worth of lightly tanned head. Classic porter appearance.

S: Big roasty aroma, dark chocolate malts and some coffee. A hint of toffee and caramel, but the roast quality is the winner here. Deep and dark and inviting.

T: Bitter roastiness on the tongue, with some dry cocoa and black coffee. Has a bit of a coffee grind flavor. Good bite from the hops as well.

M: A bit drying as it hits the tongue and roof of the mouth. The roast tends to bring a bit of astringency.

D: A very easy drinking porter that is brimming with flavor. Solid porter from SN, just like every other beer they make.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Sierra Nevada shaker pint glass.

And, thanks to the greatness of ChurchKey, I got to take the glass home with me. Yay! Anyway... This guy pours a translucent amber brown with about a finger and a half of ecru froth on top. Imagine a very dark (...and headless...) mad dog. ...Something like that. The nose is composed of roasted, toasted malts, caramel, puffed rice, and a tiny bit o' funk. Bootsy would be proud, but only a li'l bit. Oh well. The roasted malt aspects come through on the tongue as well, along with some walnut, toffee, and a very slight stripe of floral bitterness. It all makes for some very tasty porter-y goodness. With a medium body and very low carbonation, everything goes down all silky smooth. Mmm-hmm. And, with the free glass, things seem even better. I reiterate: Yay! Get some!

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Photo of mytireisfat
3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass..

A: 3 finger head that retains well. black color with red tent. little to medium lacing.

S: Sweet and dark malty flavor.

T: Same as smell with a nice roasted malt finish. you can also taste hops and a bit of a coffee note.

M: Picking up more hops flavor. well carbonated. medium body.

D: Real easy to drink. i would drink again. seems a bit light for a porter.

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Photo of bnes09
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Midnight black brew and completely opaque. Nice light tan head with sticky, creamy lacing.

Aromas of dark fruit, molasses and roasted malt rise up from the brew.

Roasted flavor is bold with lots of rich dark chocolate and a hint of coffee. I can also taste some raisins near the end. Finish is very smooth and the roasted flavor never lets up.

Medium bodied with ample bubbles to bring the flavors to the palate. Very smooth texture throughout the experience.

Drinkability is extremely high thanks to the rich flavors and smooth feel. Very satisfying, even on a summer day. Lots of bold flavors and another masterpiece from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of SteveS1
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look: Very dark brown, nearly black, light tan foamy head.

Smell: Faint chocolate, bitter dark malts

Taste: Heavy roasted/burnt malts all throughout. Spicy hops follow as it goes down. Aftertaste is roasted bitterness. I would liken this to a straight piece of baker's chocolate, flavored with the slightest bit of citrus.

Feel: A bit creamy, plenty of carbonation

Drink: It's easy to drink and not nearly as rich and malty as some porters.

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Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 76.1% out of 100 with 3,649 ratings
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