Sierra Nevada Porter | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada PorterSierra Nevada Porter
Very Good
3,671 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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,671 |  Reviews: 1,452
Photo of Haybeerman
4.21/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep, dark chestnut color. Poured a 2 finger tan head with good retention. Laced in thin, even rings.

S: Bitter coffee and mocha. Citrus and orange rind.

T: Chocolate and bitter roasted coffee. Citrus and grassy hops for a nice balance.

M: Light body. Low carbonation. Smooth, creamy and rich up to a bitter finish.

D: Good flavor, good balance. Very drinkabled straight forward, nothing earth shattering, just a very well balanced rich beer that is easy to drink.

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

Single bottle (no date anywhere on bottle) poured into a Shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Brown-black on the table with a 1/4" persistent light tan head. Thick strands, islands, and sheets of lacing noted. Held up to the light the beer is a clear (clear in that there is no haze, but not a lot of light gets through this beer) dark ruby red color - perhaps more garnet red than ruby red.

Smell: Roasted malts with chocolate and dark fruits and burnt sugars at the end. As the beer warms up more the dark fruits are replaced with a more grain-like smell.

Taste: Chocolate and bitter coffee notes along with a mild hoppy finish. While the beer is skewed in the bitter side of things, it's a nice interesting bitterness - there is malt to balance it out, but the balance is on the side of bitterness and the hops at the end are a nice touch.

Mouthfeel: Plenty of carbonation on the tongue - but it's there and then gone (not palate cleansing). Slick, maybe a bit oily. Clings to the teeth a little bit.

Drinkability: The beer changes a lot in character when it's first warming up, but once fully warmed up it's a nice one. While porters do go well with beef, I think it clashes a tad with a Burger that has a lot of ketchup and mustard on it. I think it would be better with a steak and potatoes - nothing else to get in the way. So good with a meal, and I think I could have this alone as well. An all around good beer.

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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown, nearly black, with ruby red highlights. Has a huge 4 finger tan foamy head which lingers nicely. Very good lacing throughout.

Smell: Roasted malt, coffee and burnt bread.

Taste: Sweet roasted malt and coffee up front followed by a touch of sweet citrus in the middle and a little hoppy bitterness at the finish. Aftertaste is bitter and a little smoky.

Mouthfeel: Light-to-medium-bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. A little lighter than I would prefer.

Drinkability: High drinkability. You could knock back a few without much trouble.

Overall: Very solid porter. This is a good beer from late autumn through winter.

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

Medium bodied at best with some head retention. This has a gorgeous feel on the tongue. There's an almost smoothly truffly chocolate wrapped in velvet and silk texture and taste here. Real finesse to adding to the exceptional balance. Delicious. A perfect example of how tasty and beautiful a well made beer of average weight and alcohol can be.

Surely one of the best standard porters I have ever had. And I have had quite a few.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Pours black with ruby highlights and an off-white head.
Nose shows bold milk chocolate by the truckload along with cocoa and some soft roasted malt. Some spicy hops are evident in the background - just. That chocolate is awesome!
Flavours include more of a roasty character but still show a lot of dark chocolate. These two flavours linger on well past the soft bitterness.
Carbonation is the main flaw, it's too high to accompany these rich flavours. Otherwise very impressive.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a dark brown cola colored liquied with a light brown creamy and bubbly head.

S-the nose is actually hoppier than malty, there is some rich mocha, hint of bitter coffee, citric hops take over, almost tangerine like, with an herbal leafy aroma in the back.

T-the flavor brings a rich chocolate malt black, milky and creamy, just a touch of fresh roasted coffee as the hops come in to play in the finish, citric and slightly grassy hops enriching and balancing that nice rich malt flavor.

M-this is ever so soft and creamy with a light body making it very easy to drink and a nice clean finish.

D-this has a great balance, extremely simple and straight forward, nothing earth shattering, just a very well balanced rich beer that is easy to drink.

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

This beer pours a dark mahogany brown that you can see through when holding up to the light and a dark kaki to tan head.

I smell some chocolate and raisony caramel but not much else...not that that is bad.

The flavor is a sweet dark caramel flavor some note of chocolate and a somewhat fruitiness. It also has that house Sierra Nevada flavor that seems to work its way into all thier beers.

The mouthfeel is a little sharp at first with the acidity of the dark grains but then it rounds out and the sweetness sticks on your tongue telling you to take another drink.

Great drinkability. Nice smooth consistant porter.

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

Sierra Nevada Porter is a very nice porter, it pours the color of black coffee with a finely meshed head that sustains and clings to the side of the glass. The aroma is strong coffee with dark chocolate and a bit of herbal hops. The taste is pleasantly roasted like espresso, bitter northwestern hops and a round malt sweetness. The carbonation is very smooth and accentuates the softness of the beer.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving type - Bottle

Appearance - Black and very dark brown

Smell - Coffee , molasses, malts and dark chocolate

Taste - A smokey Coffee bitter bite hits you first, mixed with some sugar and chocolate. Very tastey and smooth

Mouthfeel - A real treat, almost a dessert beer, the coffee mixed with mollasses and chocolate flavor lets your tastebuds go wild. The warmer this beer got, the sweeter it got.

Drinkabilty - One of my favorite porters. Great beer for the cold nights, or after a sweet dessert. I drink this year round since its so smooth and tastey. Only think about this beer that some porter fans may frown upon is its not very highly smoked flavor, its more sweet.

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Photo of morimech
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown color with a small head that hangs on for a long time before settling to a thin cap. A lot of lacing is left on the glass. The aroma is more hoppy than what is typical of a porter. Underneath the earthy hops there is some roasted and chocolate malt hints. The flavor also has a lot of earthy hop flavor that dominates upfront. The malt lacks the punch to compete but there is some chocolate and roasted bitterness near the finish. Slightly astringent and that hurts the flavor. Medium body but just slightly overcarbonated. This beer does not quite reach the upper echelon of American Porters but is still a nice beer at a good price.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
2.98/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown, almost black color, not much head at all and no lacing.

Smell is mostly roasted malt with a bit of an off-aroma, like the wort got a bit burnt.

Taste is surprisingly thin for something Sierra Nevada would put out, the carbonation is muted but still present, the burnt aroma is certainly present in the taste and does not work at all, slight slickness in the mouth that borders on buttery.

Quite disappointed by this porter, maybe my expectations were too high.

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Photo of dsartwell72
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark dark brown to black color with 1 finger of light brown colored head.

S- Coffee is the most prominent smell, with some chocolate tones in the background.

T- Creamy, chocolaty, coffee flavors.

M- Moderately full mouthfeel.

D- Definitely drinkable. Very tasty brew all around.

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Photo of AEK
2.83/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

355ml brown bottle poured into a Hobgoblin pint pot.

A. A clear brown beer that some may well call red. The tanned head quickly diminished to a very thin foam on top of the beer.

S. Some fruity mlat, burnt malt and coffee tones. Smells dryish.

T. Some coffee and raisins, dry finish.

M. Surprisingly very thin for a beer of this strength.

D. Not one of the better porters out there and definitely not one that I could/would have on a regular basis. Too thin a body and a clear lack of complexity on the palate and nose makes me give this one a real thumbs down. A BIG letdown after all my praise for the Sierra Nevada Stout I had a few weeks back.

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Photo of Anthony1
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Smells of chocolate malts with notes of caramel and toffee. Taste is a little roastier with more coffee and chocolate coming out. Pretty complex taste for a porter. It really hits all the flavor bases for a porter at some point. Bitter chocolate finish to it makes it especially tasty. The mouthfeel is a little lighter that I like for an American Porter, but its still good. Very drinkable

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Photo of FernMaster
4.09/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter because life is always better with a snifter.

The appearance of Sierra Nevada reminds me a lot of a fizzless Pepsi. There was maybe a finger worth of head that resided quicker than it took to play the opening sequence to "Burn Notice." There was some lacing that stayed around during the entire consumption.

This beer smells wonderful. It reminds me a lot of walking into a coffee shop, there's that roasted coffee quality present but it's not overwhelming. There's some caramel in here too. I could see myself really enjoying this during the winter or with some bbq. Mmm....bbq.

The taste is great as all the components present in the nose come through in the flavor. I, however, picked up my beer and read the label to make sure I was right, there's a mild hop presence in this that truly rounds out the flavor of the beer and makes it very enjoyable. The coffee, caramel and malt combine splendidly with the hops to make this probably a routine purchase of mine. The mouthfeel is also robust and not watery. This reminds me of Boulevard's Bully! Porter, but I like the mouthfeel on this a lot more. It's very easy to drink with it's lower abv (5.6) and I can see sessioning this very easily.

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Photo of boss302
3.41/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sierra Nevada Porter, 12oz bottle, robust porter.

A Dark in color, but appears red with some backlighting, no haze. Thick fine bubbled tan head that lasted the entire glass with good lacing.

S Roasty hoppy aroma. Hops are more apparent than malt in the aroma. Faint estery aroma also. The aroma in general is light, nothing really standing out.

T Deep roasty malt flavor. Roasted malt lasts throughout and into the finish. Hops are present, but the malt is primary with coffee and bitter chocolate flavors.

M Medium body and high carbonation.

D A very nice porter and a good example of the style.

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Photo of Reaper16
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle served into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Pours a nice, warm brown with plenty of translucence. The body reminds me a bit of unflavored Robitussin in its shiny brownness. The just-off-white head was a fluffy, cloudy two fingers. Nominal lacing. Really nice looking beer.

This is on the hoppy side of the American Porter style, though not in the same degree as Boulevard Bully! Porter, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald or Avery New World Porter. This falls somewhere near Anchor's porter. An herby, grassy hop presence with occasional flicks of generic citrus lives up the light chocolate, assertive Maxwell House grounds and a splash of toffee that come out of the malts.

Taste follows the nose. Mostly coffee and toffee with a firm (but not "strong") hop presence. Very smooth, agreeable, classic flavors. More hops on the finish than malt flavors.

The body is pretty light, which works for a session beer like this. It comes close to feeling like a brown ale, but more disconcerting is the tendency for each drink to become watery at the back end. It neutralizes the flavors for a brief moment. So there's good and there's bad with this porter's mouthfeel. Drinkability though is stupendous. There is nothing harsh or abrasive about this beer and it is interesting enough to drink on for an extended session.

Very solid porter. Probably a classic by now. This is one of those beers that always gets passed up for other, newer, shinier things. It is nice to revisit old friends from time to time.

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

Poured into pint glass - pours dark brown, almost black with a caramel outline, about 2fingers tan head with little but lasting lacing.
S-Strong toffee presence, subtle hops,
T- obvious toffee but not overwhelming, complimented well with the hops - great balance of flavors!
M- Medium body, perfect carbonation
D- Overall, perfect balance of flavors which present not overwhelming. Enjoyed by itself, very drinkable!

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

It does not pour pitch black; it allows a deep reddish brown to barely shine through. It had a nice foamy light tan head that slowly dissipated leaving a strong lace and a surface riddled with small foamy hills. (Poured at temp 41 in Sam Adams pint)

Smelled like cherry cobbler mixed with toasty malts

At first it had a bitter hops taste combined with roasted malts. However, at temps near 50 the malts took the foreground, while the hops took a backseat. This had a "freshly ground" black coffee quality. It also had "earthy" characteristics that I thought made this porter distinct from the rest. The taste was reminiscence of the smell after a thunder shower.

Overall I thought it had a rustic earthy quality. I very much enjoyed this one and would defiantly have it again. It was very easy to drink. This would make a great spring porter.

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Photo of SirSmokeALot
4.6/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Brewed and bottled on July 14th, 2010. Poured into my trusty guiness mug with a huge 2 inch light mahogany head that dissipated extremely slowly.

Smells of toffee and roasted barley along with some chocolate and coffee coming through.

It tastes almost exactly as it smells, except with an added hops presence which is neither overpowering nor too light. Nice light sweetness balanced by some hops, along with a light roast. Nice yeast at the bottom which is expected with sierra nevada.

Not too thin or thick, just right. It feels like smooth coffee on the tongue, but carbonated. With chocolate chalkiness that adds some depth to the mouthfeel.

For a porter, or any other style, it doesn't get any more drinkable than this. Very light yet extremely robust and flavorful. A hard combination to pull off like this.

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

355ml bottle poured in a chalice.

Delicious Porter. What expect from a Sierra Nevada anyway? Sepcial thanks to "Au Grain D'Orge" (Crissier) to start giving attention to Sierra Nevada.

A: Beautiful deep brown color with a huge beige head which dissipates leaving a thin and bubbled beige layer and many lacings around the glass
S: Delicious. Caramel and smoked malts are a must. Some vanilla and yeasts can be felt in the end
T: Delicious too. Light sweet up front. Caramel and smoked malts are a must again. Nice bitter "hoppy" end as a good American craft should be...
M: Medium body and carbonation. Delicious bitterness
D: High

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

Poured from the bottle into a Surly pint glass

A: like all SN beers I've had, it pours with a nice head. it's color is dark brown with a little red hints when held up to the light.

S: Big nose on this one: Chocolate, Coffee, Toffee and Hops.

T: Deep Chocolate and Coffee flavors, there are hops present, but this beer has a sweetness present.

M/D: Lots of carbonation here, thats a big plus for me. You could have quite a few of these in a night without problem.

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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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Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 3,671 ratings