Sierra Nevada Stout | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

1,423 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,423 | Ratings: 3,357
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.41/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours an opaque black with a deep tan thick creamy head.

S- This beer smells pretty clean with hints of chocolate and deep roasted malt.

T- This beer has nice roasted barley notes and a gentle bitter hop finish. The hops are a nice pine note with some earthiness perhaps from the malt and a bit of sourness in the finish.

M-medium body but a bit water. No astringency or alcohol warmth.

D-This has a nice hop flavor but doesn’t really have the stout characters under it. It is missing a good malt profile or sweetness that I would expect from a good stout.

 624 characters

Photo of DrJay
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very, very dark brown, very close to opaque, with ruby/mahogany highlights. Generous, rocky, light brown head with good retention and lacing. Roasted malts, licorice, chocolate, and earthy hops combine very well in the aroma. That all carries over into the flavour, but there's more. Moderate bitterness provides some balance to the malts, roasted barley adds some dryness towards the finish, and milk chocolate is more prominent. Super creamy, almost chewy texture is an absolute joy and melds with the light dryness at the end. Full body with medium/light carbonation. Certainly one of the most enjoyable stouts I've had from the U.S.

 636 characters

Photo of stcules
3.4/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Beautiful black color. Scarce head, brownish, not persistent.
The smell is definitely more bitter than a classic stout, with grapefruit notes. The back is roasted, but the hop hides the stout-ness of this beer.
The taste is maybe more classic, but the hop, even if a bit less strong, deosn't left room to the perception of the other stout aromas.
Probably the grapefruity hops doesn't fit with the stout characteristic, in my opinion.
Bitternes in the aftertaste too. But the chocolate? The coffe?
That said, it is a good beer anyway, quite drinkable, but far from a stout style.

 584 characters

Photo of whartontallboy
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours out black with a thin brown head. Leaves quite a bit of lace in a pint glass as it goes down.

Smell is smoky roasted malt, quite a bit of hoppiness, and a nice balance.

Taste is roasted malt with a good dose of hoppiness that keeps it interesting. It's not hopped as heavily as something like Storm King, but the bitterness comes through very nicely. There's a very faint chocolate flavor in there as well.

Only complaint is that the mouthfeel was a bit thin for me. Other than that, a nice readily available stout with a great roasty flavor.

 558 characters

Photo of kingjames1
4.01/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured jet black from a bottle - no head to speak of, but nice brown lacing the whole way down. This is blacker than a moonless, starless night. Held it up to the light - dark ruby lights up around the 'core' of the beer.

Smell - I can't smell much at all! But then, it could be allegeries...not sure. What I do smell faintly is what I'll call a hoppy AND coffee bitterness, with some sweetness - chocolate perhaps.

Taste - great! This is definitely a Sierra stout. Though it has the classic stout/porter roasted malts and coffee flavors, it also has a unique, strong citrusy bitterness - grapefruit, I think. This, IMHO, is a rather complex stout. I don't know what else to call it but 'Sierra Nevada hops'. I taste the same thing in their Pale Ale, Bigfoot, and Celebration Ale (all of which I really like).

The carbonation is perfect for a stout - not too high, but not so low as to be too heavy and syrupy. Very nice.

This is one of the more unique stouts I've had. Very different than the creamier if less flavorful Guinness. And I really enjoy it. Generally, I do not find stouts to be the most drinkable beers (Guinness may be the exception)...and this is definitely a sipping beer that improves as it warms. But, as such, it is very drinkable. I think I like it better than the Sierra porter.

 1,314 characters

Photo of Shultzerdugen
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. brown bottle.

Black in color with a clingy dark tan head.

Dark roasted coffee and a faint caramel sweetness in the nose, with a grace note of pungent hops.

Rich and creamy with a mellow roasted malt taste not unlike mocha. Caramel tastes as well. Carbonation level is perfect, providing a refreshing lightness and a great bite in the back that leaves me wanting more. Hops become more assertive with warming; a nice sharpness in the finish.

A damn solid stout that would rank pretty high for the style in my book.

 532 characters

Photo of TastyTaste
4.8/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Nice jet black opaque body, with a nice large head, even when poured into a chalice. Smell is very chocolaty, like frosting, with coffee tones also present, and a little acidity. Taste is full and sharp, acidic coffee tones, dark chocolate and pleasantly bitter hops. A beer that demands to be sipped, and will reward you with even more flavor the warmer it gets. A great stout, which I expected from one of the most consistent micro brewers in the world.

 455 characters

Photo of beersarang
3.91/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a near black with tiny bits of ruby showing at the bottom of the glass. Big frothy tan head that left huge sheets of explosive lace down the glass. I think this is a sexy beer.

Smells a bit faint of chocolate and roasty coffee, pleasant, but weak.

Good strong malt presence, toasted, coffee chocolate flavors are weaker than the grapefruity floral hops. Finishes a touch sweet after the assertive bitterness. Smoky flavor in the exhale. Overall very pleasant.

Good carbonation, medium bodied, and drinkable.

A very solid American Stout that is easily available. Sierra Nevada seems to make the benchmark beers that set the standards for everything else.

 671 characters

Photo of jp32
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark oily brown color from the bottle into a glass. There is practically no head retention to speak of, very minimal anyway. The nose is pleasing, smelling highly of roasted malts. It has a somewhat sweet scent to it... maple syrup maybe?

The taste is ferocious. Damn, this is one mean beer. It first tastes of strong roasted malts, followed by many other flavors. Pecans and other assorted nuts, bitter chocolate, hops, and something else that comes off a little sour all take there turn respectively.

The mouthfeel is not quite as heavy and thick as I had expected. Its probably medium to heavy bodied, but I have tasted thicker beers. It seems to also have a slight oily presentation on the way down

Overall, pretty darn good beer here. I've also noticed it goes excellent with these sunflower seeds I've been munching on.

 848 characters

Photo of tpet96
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What can I say. Sierra Nevada has done another fine job. First time drinking this stout this morning, and I must admit it is a decent one at that. Not the best I've had, but still very good.

Pours a dark black / brown. Held up to the light, it is thick and 0 light penetration. Pours a thick tan head that holds up for a decent amt. of time. Some mild lacing.

Upon first taste, it throws your taste buds for a trip. But the second taste, you definately notice the burnt undertones to the black coffee, hint of chocolate, and possibly toffee? Can't really pinpoint that one for sure.

This brew became better once it reached 58-60 F. My first pour, let the bottle warm to 58, then pour into room temp glass. Would go great with smoked pulled pork.

 770 characters

Photo of Toddv29424
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very solid stout. Pours very dark with no smell at all. The first thing you notice is the burnt flavor, and out of that emerges a chocolaty taste. It is much smoother than many other beers, and its thickness almost coats your throat. There is no aftertaste as well. Overall there is more taste in this that most stouts out there--a welcomed change.

 350 characters

Photo of maek228
4.19/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On the label it says "This Stout is entirely handmade in the "old world" tradition, using only the finest barley malts, whole hops, brewer's yeast, and water."

Appearance: Standard pitch black stout. One impressive trait of this beer that I noted is the cling of the foam to the glass. It clings in thick web-like chunks to the glass, which is hot-shit to say the least.

Smell: The smell of this beer sent me to a stout heaven. It had an aggressive scent that spoke of dark chocolate, chocolate covered rasperries, cooking chocolate, and expresso.

Taste: Solid. No frills, just a straight up solid stout, reminiscent of Guiness Extra Stout. It comes on full and chewy with a cooking chocolate, expresso, and mild fruit taste. Underneath, there is a firm prescence of rich roasted barley malts. This lingers along with the earthy hop injection that finishes this masterful stout off. Straight solid effort from Sierra Nevada.

Mouthfeel: Thick with a roasted coating that hangs around on your palate.

Drinkability: As good as this is, it isn't the most drinkable stout. Not to say that it isn't drinkable...but stouts like heart of darkness (magic hat) and old heathen (weyerbacher) go down easier.

 1,213 characters

Photo of SupaCelt
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This Old Stout pours out a very luxurious dark purple that it is almost black but closer to dark brown. A beige head rises in salute, but is not planning on sticking around or growing to a height of more than one metric inch ( one centimeter : ) Lacings are strewn at the very onset of imbibement but fail to persist as I type my reactions. I have hope.

The smell is of chocolate and coffee with cream. The smell is really not commandeering, in fact it is a bit subdued. It smells like a frozen coffee. I have never tried a frozen cappucino or coffee drink, but I bet this is what one would smell like. Key word being: subdued.

The first taste was fabulous. By the second swallow, I am already immune to this brew's powers. Really mysterious. The sweet, chocolate foundation that normally supports the coffee overtones has been replaced by hop bitterness. Seems almost a bit too light in body as well. Almost watered down in fact. "Trying to be efficient" comes to mind as a possible motive for the lack of balls manifested by this one. Dilute. This is a sessioner for sure. It doesn't taste bad. It really is quite alright. It just seems like a hybrid style at this point in my research. This is definitely not a one hitter quitter. I think we are meant to dispatch with the entire sixer on this one. Nonetheless, it is close to good. A serial drinkable beer. Okay.

 1,372 characters

Photo of Vancer
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Started out great, nice blackish pour with smallish tan head. Excellent aroma or roasted barley, malts, chocolate and coffee. Nice chewy first drink, very malty with a dry finish. Only bummer part, was a bit too thin and carbonated. The more I drank, the weaker tasting it became. Still, a good middle of the road stout, but not overly impressive.

 347 characters

Photo of BigRedN
3.41/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark black color into the pint glass. When held to the light a little bit of dark red can be seen. Decent tan head (about 1/2-inch) faded to fairly thick covering on the liquid which lasted to the end. Good lacing to the finish.

Smell: First noticed roasted malt with a scent of burnt chocolate and coffee. This gave way to a fairly thick aroma of hops. Piney scent, which showed up rather prominately.

Taste: Starts off malty, (roasted malt) in the middle turns bitter and finishes hoppy, which I find to be somewhat typical for SN products. While not bad, I do tend to like more malty stouts, with not as much hops, just my personal preference.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with some bite. The bitterness and hoppyness are something that I find somewhat unwelcome in a stout.

Drinkability: My personal preference is for stouts that are more malty to a balance between malt and hops. I found this one to be a bit strong to the hops side, which I like in a APA or IPA but I don't necessary like in a stout. While many find this good, I don't really go for, just my preference. If you like a hoppier stout then this is your beer, I just couldn't get into it and will have trouble finishing the rest of the six pack.

 1,242 characters

Photo of cncbofh
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black brew with a half-finger tan head.

Smells of roasted almost burnt malts. Smells almost like black pavement on a hot summer day - very tarry. Piney hops also present in the nose.

Taste is slightly astringent roasted malts with a very strong presence of piney hops. Slight cocoa and salt flavors with a bitter and dry finish.

A pretty good stout but it is rough around the edges. Would prefer a little less alcohol to show through, a little less astringency, and the hops a little more balanced with the malts.

 522 characters

Photo of blitheringidiot
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Neck label reads "Old world." 5.8% ABV.

Black murky solid tan khaki brown spotty head as light escapes through the sides. This just looks thick.

Heavy scents of toasted caramel and malts. A few swirls opens up a coating and detectable awl-kee-hawl.

First swigs: Black coffee & rosted malts standard front blends into dark chocolate and cocoa. Short quick berry and toasted malt finish.

Full bodied feel that is thick and well carbonated. Hidden 5.8% ABV lends to a well drinkable stout.

Last swigs: Slightly detectable SN house flavors. Chico? Under 6% ABV and good.

*** My 500th review ... With respect to Fritz ***

 635 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.55/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled January 2010
A decent pour into my New Belgium Globe glass produces a three-finger thick, lightly brown colored head. The beer is a rich, dark, concentrated, chocolate brown colored beer. The aroma smells quite toasted, with lots of whole grain aromatics to it; it smells like a richly toasted, whole grain bread crust. Underneath the toasted malt there is a soft, lightly sweet, rich chocolate note. As the beer warms more of the roasted notes start to come out; it is a bit like a city roast coffee. The aroma is more savory than sweet or roasted, which wasn't what I was expecting.

Lightly sweet tasting, but not rich feeling, in fact it seems like it is a bit light bodied. The beer finishes with a bit of roast acidity, bitter burnt malt, and some astringency. Some dark chocolate flavors (which comes out more as the beer warms) subtly cut the edge of the roasted malt that dominates the flavor profile. This has quite a bit of hop bitterness to it as well. Up front there is a nice, richly toasted, whole grain character, but this quickly gets drowned out by the sharp finish (that is even a bit acrid at times).

I remember this being a bit of a let down the last time I reviewed this beer, but I was hoping that was just an off night. Unfortunately, this is one offering from Sierra Nevada that I can live without. It is just a bit too acrid, bitter and sharp in the flavor.

Sampled March 2005
4.15 Total
This beer pours a full black color and is topped by a frothy three-finger thick, brown colored head. The aroma is dry and roasty. I gets notes of coffee and smoke, as well as a certain woodiness that I can't quite place. In fact the aroma almost has a certain saltiness to it, but the dry roasted/ burnt grain notes certainly dominate.

This beer is definitely chewy with a full bodied character that coats my tongue. It is quite dry, despite the fullness, because of the roasted character of this brew. There is a certain fresh hop character here that peeks above the roasted notes, I get hints of pine and a certain herbal character. Flavors of coffee and burnt toffee dominate the flavor throughout, and this finishes quite dry with a solid bitterness that begs you to take another sip. The salty character is in the flavor as well, it is quite intriguing and adds a certain extra fullness to this beer.

This beer is most definitely a classic, when I first had it back in the early 90s I could not believe how much flavor was packed into this beer. The only complaint may be that this beer is a little too heavy on the roast malts, or at least the American ones, as it is a bit astringent in the finish. This is a minor complaint though, and it just makes you want to take another sip of this beer.

 2,742 characters

Photo of tgbljb
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured a beautiful dark color, great stout taste with a nice hop taste at the end. I have recently become a fan of stouts and this has to be one the best I've tried. Nice deep coffee flavor with hints of burnt chocolate flavor. Hops add character without overpowering

 267 characters

Photo of BeerFink
4.21/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with no visible highlights. A healthy amount of khaki colored head crops up to top off the pint glass. Some nice sticky lacing is left on the glass as this stout is consumed. Smells of coffee, roasted malt, and alcohol, with a slight bitter chocolate note. Also present is that dry, Guinness-like aroma. The taste is a long on the roasted barley and backed by coffee and chocolate. Some burnt black patent taste, which surrenders to an earthy taste. Hops are present, lending the slightest of citrous finishes. The roasted malt then proceeds to kick the hops' ass and dominate the aftertaste, which is pleasantly long-winded. A nice subtle dryness adds to the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is a little more than medium, not heavy or oily but slightly creamy. Too bad no bars around here carry this stout - I wouldn't mind downing pint after pint of this.

 862 characters

Photo of allengarvin
4.01/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark ruby-tinted black, with a very large initial head of tan foam.

Aroma: Bitter, roasted chocolate.

Taste: Lots of roasted barley flavor, almost burnt, together with an earthy bitterness.

Body: Sharp, oily at first, but some chewiness at the end.

A very good dry stout, a bit more bitter than Irish examples but still quite balanced.

 360 characters

Photo of stjarnflikka
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an all black beer with a real thick chocolatecoloured foam on top that sticks around for quite some time. Some visible carbonation along the edges of the glass, a nice looking brew ;)

Smell comes on malty, bitter and somewhat burned. Some citric hops in there to my surprise. Bitter chocolate lingers in there as well, somewhat faint smell sadly.

Taste comes on bitter and burned. Somewhat sour with harsh and nocely burned flavours. Big malty head with a nice long bitterness thats lifted by sweet and chocolatey flavours. Finishes sweet and smooth, with a roasted bitterness thats enhaced by the dry finish.

Nice "american stout" thats not too sweet and milky, surprisingly malty though. Gets better a little warmer with a bit more round flavour.

 763 characters

Photo of fretlessman71
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

AROMA: The classic stout “roastiness” comes to the forefront right off the bat. Not a huge aroma, but certainly enough to be unmistakable. Some malt, less hops. As with all of the SN beers, the yeast is unmistakable.

APPEARANCE: Jet black, with only the faintest of ruby coming through at the bottom of the glass. Thick firm tan head which ain’t going away. Lace left at the top of the glass from where the head reached to , then fell away. Perfect.

FLAVOR: An acrid but pleasant bitterness greets the tip of my tongue. Must be the hops! Pretty heavy on the roasty side, but in a very good way. As it warms the malt flavor comes out, albeit with a bit of a burnt toast quality to it. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the malt is there right away, but the bitterness of the black patent shows up long before I get any sweetness at all. OTOH, stouts aren’t really supposed to be sweet… this could be the result of my palate being off since I haven’t had any beer for 3 days before this. :rolleyes: Medium dry finish; there’s a little bit of that “sticky” feeling left over.

MOUTHFEEL: Creamy but fizzy, almost as if I ought to have poured it a little harder and get some of the extra carbonation out. If I “chew” the beer the fizziness comes back even harder (of course).

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This has Sierra Nevada written all over it. A good medium strength stout, pleasingly bitter, pleasure to look at, nothing wrong with it at all. But I have to say I prefer the Deschutes Obsidian to this one.

 1,526 characters

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

pours a deep brown, with barely discernable red highlights through light. a great tan head puffs up and keeps a cap on the beer the whole way down, as rings of lace descend with each sip.

aroma is deep roasted malts, milk and bitter chocolate, some black cherry like Dr. Brown's when you give it a good swirl. the nose gets sweet and almost bubble-gum like at warmer temperatures and lots of swirling and sniffing.

smooth roasted malt, with a great chocolate backing and just a hint of the black cherry on the sides of the tongue. some coffee comes through at the end with the hops. nicely bitter, with a hint of sweetness in the finish, like the malt doesn't want to let the hops get the last lick in. Very well balanced with a good interplay between roast, hops and sweeter malt.

relatively creamy, but with enough carbonation to really get the hop bitterness going. easy to quaff, tho perhaps a bit strong at 5.8% for a session drink. nice and complex, this stout seems very versatile, and is a good mark for what defines a stout.

 1,043 characters

Photo of Litterbean
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a great stout.

Pours extremely black, with an off-white head. Lace clings to the glass.

Smells like roasted malts, with a sweet sugary creamy flavor.

Tastes amazing. Delicious. Hints of chocolate and coffee as it finishes. Very smooth, like a damn cappucino but better. Delicious aftertaste and mouthfeel.

One of the best stouts in the world. Such a great, smooth, drinkable beer.

 398 characters

Sierra Nevada Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.07 out of 5 based on 3,357 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.