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Sierra Nevada Porter | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada PorterSierra Nevada Porter
Very Good
3,660 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: 3,660 |  Reviews: 1,447
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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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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Sierra Nevada Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 3,660 ratings
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