Sierra Nevada Stout | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

1,421 Reviews
Sierra Nevada StoutSierra Nevada Stout

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2000

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Reviews: 1,421 | Ratings: 3,352
Photo of HappyBivouac
4.78/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a mug from a 12 oz. bottle.

a- Pours an absolutely beautiful dark brown with mahogany notes up to the light. Very solid 2-3 finger head that is wonderfully smooth and creamy and retains well.

s- Well balanced hops and malts here, and an underlying bitterness from roasted coffee/malt and maybe some chocolate, giving the scent a deep and hearty feeling. Fruity notes hit the nose hinting at raisin, apple, cherries, pears with plenty of fruity sweetness. Enticing.

t- Wow. At first drink it's a bit overwhelming. Take a step back and try to figure this out again, slowly. This is not your ordinary stout flavor. Malts are dominant but not overhwhelmingly so. The hops make themselves known and fit in perfectly. At first it's all malts and hops and a bitter chocolate that stays. Then the fuity notes hit. As from the scent, at the very least raisins apples and tangy cherries, maybe even a slight citrus. Leaves behind bisuit malts and chocolate covered cherries, slightly sweet, mostly bitter and tangy. Very well balanced flavor with a fullness and complexity to it.

m- thick and chewy but not overhwhelminly so, and goes down real smooth after you let it linger for a few seconds (which you will do with every drink you take). Carbonation is light to medium. It should be also noted that the head has a very nice creamy feel.

d- Like pretty much any stout this is thick and hearty, but it doesn't have a dominant single flavor that I'd get sick of. I could have several of these and completely mellow out for the evening.

This turned out to be just about the most delicious and interesting stout I've had to date. I've always been a stouts and porters guy, but I think I've just found my new go-to stout, especially at the incredibly reasonable price of $8.50 a 6 pack. Overall completely awesome and worth a try to anyone and everyone.

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Photo of grindcore666
4.6/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very black with a dark cherry shine on the bottom. Colossal light tan foam. Really good lacing, also
Smells of sweet chocolate with a bitter, maybe even sour, edge.
Wow this thing really melts. Chunky but fizzy, carbonated chocolate to start. Then it just melts into an aura of bitter coffee. Finish is soapy and not thick. Aftertaste is shy and well-mannered - doesn't persist like other stouts, which makes this one of the most accessible of the style. Great landmark stout with the drinkability of a Guinness. If I were to buy a keg of any stout this would be the one.

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Photo of CaptYellow
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Cream coloured head on jet black. Whispy till the end. Leaves lacing rings around the glass.

T: Tastes of coffee and chocolate.

M: Medium.

D: High. Tasty. Great stout. Balanced. Not overly sweet or bitter.

O: Yum! A buy again; a recommend; a search out.

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Photo of joshlara
4.73/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Prologue: I was very interested in trying this beer again as it gets very good reviews. My first experience with this beer was three years ago when I bought a single bottle at a local six pack shop. I wasn't too impressed at the time. Let me tell you, I was totally wrong.

Appearance: This baby pours a very dark almost black color, only hints of dark crimson peak through at the bottom of the glass. It is accompanied by a beautiful off white dolloped lace that is sticky throughout.

Smell: Aroma is dominated by mocha with hints of burnt malt, caramel, chocolate, and roasted grains.

Taste: The flavor starts out with bitter chocolate and coffee flavors transitioning into sweet caramel and toffee finishing with bitter hops, burnt malt, and roasted grains. You can tell this stout is hopped more than most with chinook hops lending to the bitter finish. There is also a definate tangy note in the finish most likely stemming from the cascade hops. Beautifully crafted, well balanced, and a treat to consume.

Overall: This beer is outstanding. Probably the best stout, outside of imperials, I have had the pleasure of trying and I am going to make sure it is always a part of my beer inventory.

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Photo of silks636
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle. No freshness date indicated. Served at cellar temp.

Thick opaque black with a decent frothy tan head. Good retention and nice lacing. Aroma of burnt malt and light fruity alcohol esters. Flavors begin deep and earthy with notes of roasted barley, chocolate, and plum. These gradually give way to a nice Cascade hop bitterness that provides a wonderful balance. Finishes pleasantly dry. Long lingering bitter leafy hop aftertaste. Full bodied with vigorous carbonation.

A damn good session stout. Another solid offering from SN.

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Photo of Illtryit
3.33/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours black as night with a one finger tan head. Thin ring left with average lacing.

Smell - complex mix of burnt toast, sweetness, and some kind of mellow flavoring....possibly anise...I cant tell for sure though.

Taste - this one has a mild flavor. A little sweetness from either licorice or anise. Nice roasty follow up. Bitters towards aftertaste.

MF - pretty normal stout feel to this. Rich and smooth. Silky.

Overall this is a great value. At $7.50 per sixer, I 'll drink this again, but I think i'll wait til winter.

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Photo of Rosanne
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

taster: easy to drink, tasty, smooth, sweetness not overpowering. Need more to work out rating.
1/2 pint: sweet beginning, bitter linger, no molasses taste, again rated it a 4.5. Too watery to make it a 4.75

Shared a taster on-tap as part of four flights at the brewery; Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, Chico, USA. Then ordered a half pint later. Yum! As part of a six-week West Coast beer tour. I rate to taste, not to style. See my blog for more details:

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Photo of thetachibro
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - In my Nonic Pint glass it pours a dark brown with a nice tan two finger head that shrinks down to one leaving a fair amount of lacing down the glass.

S - A coffee and chocolate smell with a nice hint of hops

T - the taste is smiliar to a lot of stouts that i have tried. a very nice roasted\chocolaty taste with some slight bitterniss...very pleasing

M - a medium to full bodied mouthfeel however just a little watery but not too much

D - i can see myself sitting down and enjoying a nice six pack of these

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Photo of heath1agnew
4.65/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

appearance- nice dark brown to black color. i wasn't able to get a very long lasting head out of this but the beer did show signs of lacing.

smell- roasted malts and barley.

taste and mouthfeel- wow. this is the best tasting stout i've had so far. nice roasted flavors with a touch of dark chocolate in the finish. mouthfeel was creamy with a nice balance of carbonation.

drinkability- great easy drinking stout.

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Photo of storksonm
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pint Glass

Its a nice dark stout. Pours a nice tan head that stayed the whole drink. Smells like hops and sweet roasted barley. A very smooth stout. Great mouthfeel and light coffee tastes. Creamy. Really the whole time I was drinking this beer I thought, "This is what a stout should be if you were explaining a straight up stout to someone." Nothing way out there and not nasty, just a very nice stout that really shows you that brewing is a finely balanced craft.

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Photo of AlesRTasty
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - creamy tan head with nice retention. Dark brown colored and fairly opaque.
S - full of roasted malt aromas with some hints of hops
T - delicious coffee and chocolate roasted malt goodness with nice crisp hop flavors (it's my first 5)
M - if it wasn't for the perfect amount of carbonation I would think this was cold coffee.
D - another fine brew from SN. Damn, I need to buy this more often.

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Photo of assmasterson
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black as night. Absolutely no light passes through this one. Frothy foam covers the glass and sticks.

S: Light aroma of hops, dark chocolate with a hint of fruit in the background.

T: As dark as it looks. Hoppy, bitter chocolate up front with a touch of citrus.

M: Nice and thick, coats the mouth and leaves a strong aftertaste.

D: A knockout. A highly drinkable stout that will leave you wanting more.

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Photo of Ochsenblut
3.76/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A jet black body sits beneath a tan head with good head retention/lacing.

The only discernible smell is of bitter-sweet chocolate.

The beer is semi-sweet with chocolate notes, mitigated by a bitter coffee/burnt malt character. Cascade hops(?) punctuate. The carbonation reminds me of root beer and the mouthfeel is slick and buttery. The aftertaste is a chalky and slightly astringent.

This is a very balanced stout and dry enough to be sessionable.

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Photo of BrewStoutMagic
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Definitely a great stout unique in its own way. THe color is black.Low carbonation and head.The taste is hoppy pine, chocolate,slightly burnt malt,but is still easy to drink.It has great flavor combination going on. I could drink this anytime of the year or day. haha. Try it!

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Photo of Folderol
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I pretty much knew what I was getting into with this brew: a solid stout with a bit more hop kick than normal. So it goes without saying that it's a proper stout black color. I didn't pour all that well so I can't knock it for head, but when I swirled the glass I got a nice foam out of it which settled to a decent sheet. Smell is a comforting, familiar malt/black malt roastiness, reminds me of Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout without the winey aromas. Great mouthfeel, smooth and medium-bodied with just the right about of carbonation. Taste starts with sweet malts, then turns to black malt/molasses, but just when I should be catching some roasted malt astringency the west coast hops kick it to the curb. That hop bitterness sticks all over my palate for a long time afterward, making me hesitant to take another sip. I must admit I'm a malt fan, not a hop fan. I wouldn't buy this again, but if a hoppy stout is your thing, go for it.

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Photo of AshevilleSippin
3.77/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Short Version:
Tasty stout with off-the chart appearance. Taste was biased toward dry and bitter.

This thing looked about as good as it gets. 5.0 on appearance. They head was off the charts. Deep khaki overflowing with authority. Moon craters speckled the top while large stone quarry off-shapen depressions slowly sunk deep throughout the middle. Like a new neighborhood where only the basements have been dug. This head had serious staying power and strong splotchy lacing.

It was deep black and opaque as tar. Held up to the light this monster reflected blood red highlights around the bottom and edges of the pint glass. A three sided event horizon of horror.

Overall a little mild on the nose. I let it sit for several minutes to warm up some more (thus my notes on the head staying power). Finally I picked up some dull burnt tartness in the smell.

First sip revealed some bitter hops. More in the form of bitter coffee though. A little smoky. Not getting much sweet chocolate. If anything it's more like the dark bitter unsweetened baker's cocoa.

Drinkability is pretty good. Dryer and tarter than I expected. Seems to be missing something in the middle. A little spice or stronger malt presence perhaps. Excellent stout but not off the charts.

Finish was dry and bitter and pleasant.

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Photo of Young_John
3.55/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looking back, I had to bump up my ratings on this one a bit. A very solid stout that fires on all cylinders and washes down most meals very well. At the time of my first rating I think I was measuring it against my own system which inappropriately ranked it against imperial stouts.

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4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from tasting notes from May '10

Beautiful dark dark brown with ruby highlights around the edge. Nice big beautiful creamy head. I love the look of this beer. The aroma was fairly weak to me. Faint dark chocolate and some coffee beans. No booziness or funk, so that's good. The flavor is a very nice blend of dark and amber flavors. Dark chocolate comes through very strong. Not picking up much of that coffee from the smell, but there's a fair amount of caramel malt and toastiness, giving a nice and fairly unique sweet stout taste. Nice and thick, it goes down nicely. A great stout for the price, I recommend it highly

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Photo of dizknee24
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a Dark but not jet black like some other stouts of note. Head was quite bubbly. Actually this beer was quite carbonated for a stout. Smelled of roast nuts and maybe a hint of dark chocolate. Taste matched the smell to a T. I liked this allot. I like the fact that they didnt care to think of a name so they named it stout. oh well lots of potential to add a great name to this so it gets more recognition maybe. I liked it will be getting more of it.

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Photo of geographie
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

let this one warm to before enjoying. pours a dark caramel brown, with bronze head that dissipates quickly leaving lacing on the side of the glass. Plump raisins, brown sugar, and roasted coffee notes - very sweet, full nose.

Sweet & sour front and roasted the whole way through. Light syrupy texture, great mouthfeel, amply carbonated. Bitterness is only a smooth aftertaste, nothing aggressive.

Awesome drinkability. This is one of those beers that can really encourage a 'newbie' to like good beer. It has real malt flavors, not excessively bitter, and goes down incredibly easily. An overall winner

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Photo of BrewsCrewSA
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had a run of Sierra Nevadas recently, all have been outstanding.

A - Poured from bottle into a pint glass. Poured syrupy and black with not even the slightest notion of light coming through the glass. A tan, foamy, creamy head that retained even throughout the beer. Sipping left plenty of rings spaced evenly about half an inch apart all the way down - only one of a few beers I've seen do this so clear.

S - Like sour milk, which I've always thought was indicative of a good stout. Strong malty aroma.

T - Exceptional. The very first impression that struck me was a lack of that fake/smokey taste some popular stouts carry these days. This is solidly a creamy, bitter stout that allows you to enjoy the true characteristics of the style. Even the aftertaste lingers a sweetness that stays with you.

M - Creamy and smooth. Looks like it has quite a viscosity but it actually feels great. Even friends who weren't fans of great beer noted that it had a good mouthfeel.

D - Same friends noted superior drinkability. Just a great beer overall.

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Photo of optimistictour
3.59/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Having always associated Sierra Nevada with their famous IPA offering I was pleasantly surprised to find both this and their porter on sale in individual bottles and eagerly snagged 'em.

A mention of bias: I love stouts. Porters too but that's not what we're talking about here. I love my stouts big and dark and complex, and usually strong - not for the getting-drunk factor but because a truly great strong beer is usually exceptionally nuanced in its flavor and always worth tackling. This one has a low-average abv yet achieves a swim with the big boys because of one thing: balance.

So this looks really damn good. Jet black, billowy dense head, it practically dances in the glass as it pours. This looks exactly how a stout should aspire to.

It smells like a stout should too, albeit a tad weakly. I really had to shove my nose into the glass to get a feel for this one which is unfortunate because the actual aroma is pleasant as you'd like.

Tastes smokey with less coffee or chocolate or any of the familiar notes stouts often hit. It's almost touching that upright porter feel while firmly in stout territory. This thing plants itself in a safe zone while tentatively hinting at larger issues. It's good but could certainly use some personality, some balls to stand out. I'd imagine this makes it more palatable to a wider audience though...

In the mouth Sierra Nevada really comes through. (I did not intend any double entendre here) Full bodied yet with the larger carbonation feel that a lesser abv affords, it's rich and hearty without any lingering alcohol taste or too-chewy texture.

Which of course means that it's easy to down this one. Drinkability matches the mouthfeel step for step. I'd easily offer this to, say, my girlfriend, who shies away from some of the massive stouts which often warm the cockles of my heart.

It's inviting and simple and probably makes a great gateway drug to the stout world. It surely beats the pants off Guinness by any measure.

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Photo of BikingDutchman
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer appears mostly opaque with some dark brown on the edges. The head was very full and tan colored.

Roasted smells are dominant, but the hops aren't far behind. The hops smell citrusy, almost similar to something I'd expect from an American IPA.

Defenitely an American hop-forward stout. Very well balanced between a nice roasted flavor from the malts and citrus flavors from the hops. Bitterness is also pronounced. There is a lot of flavors here, and they compliment themselves nicely.

Full bodied with a smooth and thick feeling. Definitely compliments the big roasted flavors.

This is one of my favorite stouts to date, and I will no doubt be coming back to revisit it.

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Photo of andyo
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice brown/ruby/black color, with a nice tan; frothy head. Tastes of coffee, nuts, and cocoa come through, followed by a roasted and subtle burnt flavor. The malts overpower the hop presence, although the hops are still distinctly present. Very balanced, not over-complex...very tasty. This is a good sipping beer, though after 2 or 3 I'd be done!

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Photo of chrisms86
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a thick creamy head characteristic of this style. Strong black color which is bareely opaque, also expected with any stout. The mouthfeel is thick but not as much as I would like.. a world class stout should leave a film on your tongue and this one doesn't. What the beer gains by being a tad thinner is that it is very drinkable. Nothing stands out about the taste, this beer is basically the foundation of any stout. While others have coffee, chocolate, or sour flavors to compliment the dark taste, Sierra Nevada's stout is a great introduction to what the style is about at its core.

A great brew, not in spite of the fact that nothing stands out about it, but because nothing stands out about it. If you've got a craving for stout this will not disappoint.

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Sierra Nevada Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.07 out of 5 based on 3,352 ratings.
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