Porter | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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3,680 Ratings

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: 3,680 |  Reviews: 1,454
Photo of bum732
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S: Coffee, fruity esters, apples and rasberries in particular, some milk chocolate, slight citrus.

L: Light tan creamy head, great lacing and good retention.

T: Fruity semi-sweet malt with a milk coffee backbone. Fruity citrus hops leads to some charred roastiness with just a touch of chocolate. Fairly dry finish with hints of fruity esters.

M: Medium bodied, medium carbonation.

A very good porter, not as good as i remembered, i thought the fruitiness distracted some of the maltiness, but i suppose its to the style.

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Photo of billshmeinke
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic.

Pours a deep dark brown with lighter hues on the edges. A creamy off white head from a hard pour goes from about an inch to a couple centimeter cap after a few minutes. Retention is superb and lacing is superb as well.

The nose has some roast and coffee notes with a trace of dark fruits, and a surprising whiff of alcohol.

The taste follows smell with some dark fruits up front (sort of grape like), then subtle roast and coffee. A twang of citrusy hops clean out the back end. The citrusy hops don't mesh well with the rest of the beer, and seem a bit distracting. A roasty and hoppy bitterness lingers.

The mouthfeel is well carbonated and crisp. Medium bodied. It makes for a quite refreshing porter.

A good porter if you want a dark beer on a hot day. It seemed like SN took the hop bill of their pale ale and put it with the malt bill of a porter. Not saying that's necessarily a bad thing, but it seemed a little confused.

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Photo of king75
3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

appearance is dark brown, creamy head that quickly dissipates.

Smell- can smell the chocolate for sure, hint of toffee, and can smell the alcohol.

Taste- starts out a little bitter, than becomes almost obnoxiously sweet. Has an alcohol tangy flavor to it, almost taste a little watery.

May drink it again to see if I had a bad bottle. Was not blown away by this beer, I have had many porters that blow this one away. Not the worst thing I've ever had, but is far from being the best.

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

Consumed September 19th, 2010.

Beer pours a VERY clear dark brown; quite transparent when held to light. A light tan, one finger head of tiny bubbles forms immediately and takes its time to dissipate.

Aromas of roasted, chocolate malt and a light metallic note.

Flavor is mainly chocolate malt with a roasted edge to it. Moderate bitterness on the finish. Simple, straightforward porter.

Smooth mouthfeel, ever so slightly chewy. Slightly dry finish.

While this is not an exciting beer to drink, its almost flawless execution is notable.

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Photo of u2carew
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz stubby.
A) Pours with a two finger head. Tan in color, creamy and sticky. Dark mahogany in color. Some light gets through, but only to show the clarity of the body.
S) Chocolate. Bread. Subtle caramel.
T) Roasted malt sweetness. Smoky. Some hints of black pepper in the finish. The taste is not too complex, but above the average porter.
M) Some fizz. Dry. Full bodied. A bit chewy in the finish.
D) A balanced porter that is easy to drink, yet quite filling. If I have room, I'll drink another.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 0z. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Nearly opaque black. Some ruby hues show up around the edges of the glass. Creamy two finger tan head leaves some moderate lacing.

S: Some caramel and toffee, a good amount of roastiness, and citric hops.

T: Caramel and toffee flavors hit first, followed by a substantial bite of pine and citric hops. Dark chocolate flavors and a good deep roastiness round out the flavor profile of this beer.

M: Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D: High. I could put back a few of these without a problem.

Notes: A bit hoppier and more carbonated than I'm used to in a porter, but not enough to turn me off. I certainly wouldn't mind drinking it again. Solid offering, good but not great.

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Photo of azorie
4.48/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: poured into mug, has a big old tan 2 inch head. Black beer its a porter baby! excellent lacing, that lasts a good 2 minutes. Clear body.

S: Dark roasted chocolate malts, toasted toffee, some slight hops detected its SN after all. Nutty, burnt coffee.

T: Tastes like it smells mainly. great stuff. Rich dark toffee, blended with chocolate roasted malts. Some hops detected. But very light.

M: medium body, creamy oily and sticky Texture, carbonation is soft, finish is slightly bitter.

D: easy to have 3 or more, I did.

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Photo of velosuds
3.56/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a clear pint glass. Paid $1.59 for a single at John's Market.

A-Pours a dark brown almost black hue with a full two finger, creamy tan and foamy head that recedes into a nice, even lace.

S-Bittersweet chocolate and coffee malts and a hint of mildly fruity hops. Aroma is disappointingly faint for style.

T-Chocolate roasted malts, slight hop bitterness, and toffee. Taste is not robust enough either.

M-Smooth, but a little thin and not enough carbonation or texture.

D-This is not on par with other Sierra Nevada beers I have enjoyed or with better American Porters from Anchor and Deschutes.

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

a muddy brown that light can't penetrate, but it shows some purple highlights at the edge of the glass when held up to a light. a nice sized sandy head is produced which retains and laces well.

aroma of some burnt and dark roasted malts reminiscent of coffee, toffee, and chocolate. some grassy, piney hops remind you that this is a sierra nevada brew.

taste is of bitter burnt coffee, bittersweet chocolate, grassy and citrus hops. nothing out of the ordinary, but definitely heavily hopped which gives it an almost acidic quality.

medium bodied with standard carbonation and a charred finish.

goes down ok. no alcohol burn with some bitterness and char on the finish.

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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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Porter from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 3,680 ratings