Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company - Sierra Nevada Porter

Over the past two months, I have had to endure what I feel is the most arduous beer season, Fall and Pumpkin beers (I have excluded Marzens and Oktoberfest). These beers are spiced in such a manner that I find them most unpalatable leading to contorted facial expressions and a longing for a delicious dark beer or an aggressively hopped IPA. This longing lead me to Sierra Nevada's American Porter an offering that I overlooked for far too long.
Sierra Nevada Porter pours a very dark brown (not black) with lighter mahogany hues near the side of the glass. A creamy, one-finger head conjured up images deliciously brewed lattes. There was very little lacing, which was somewhat puzzling due to the structure and retention of the head. I think the lack of lacing is attributable to either temperature or cleanliness of the glass. Due to Hurricane Sandy, my wife and I dropped the temperature in our fridge to protect food if we lost power, but inadvertently caused the temperature of the beer to be too low for ideal consumption. As for the glassware, there could have been soap residue left from cleaning inhibiting the formation of lacing.
The malts provide a roasted coffee aroma that is not overwhelming, but compliments the subtle hints of chocolate very well. As the beer warmed (over 30ish mins), the roasted coffee quality of the beer weakened allowing the chocolate to become more prominent. With the chocolate becoming more prominent, this porter began to resemble the aroma of mocha.
The taste of this porter was in direct contrast to the aroma. The taste contained much less coffee but a substantial increase in chocolate. These two components delivered a quick burst of flavor that didn't linger for very long. Not being a coffee drinker, this quick burst of flavor didn't provide any astringency, but a nicely balanced dark beer. At the end of the taste, this porter's 32 IBUs entered rounding out the profile nicely. As the beer warmed and the roasted character of the beer subsided, the hops began to dominate the finish of the beer, which I really enjoyed.
The light to medium body of this porter enhanced its drinkability because it didn't feel heavy or oily on my palate. Along with a nice amount of carbonation, this porter was somewhat crisp and surprisingly refreshing. At 5.6%ABV and brewed with great restraint with dark malts, Sierra Nevada's robust porter is excellently crafted and deserves to be mentioned alongside the great porters brewed both in American and across the atlantic. 



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