Anchor Porter VS Sierra Nevada Porter

So I was recently listening the robust porter episode of the Jamil Show on the Brewing Network because robust porter is my new favorite style of beer. A few weeks ago I randomly grabbed a bottle of Black Robusto from Drakes and was blow away by it’s awesomeness.  I might have to write an entire post on it one day.

During the episode I was surprised to learn that a another awesome brewery was brewing up an great example of a robust porter as well. So I went to Bevmo to buy a 6 pack. Then I forgot if it was Sierra Nevada or Anchor that brewed it! Luckily, they had both.

Both Sierra Nevada and Anchor brew these beers year round, so you can usually find them in bigger beer stores. They didn’t have them at my local Save Mart, but did at Bevmo.

Which One Is Robust?

After tasting both, it was quite obvious to me that the Sierra Nevada was the robust. However, a few places on the internet say it was the Anchor! Neither website actually lists their beers as a robust porter.

*Upon multiple tastings, pint for pint, I think the Anchor probably Robust. I’ll reassess after a 6 pack or two 🙂

Similarities

In both beers it was easy to detect coffee and chocolate flavors as you would expect from this type of beer. Apparently they both contain toffee notes, but I couldn’t taste any. Both are 5.6{a60bef903c54612bed20edb95d22500dcc3da56ac2b90be5eb4391998d03cdd5} ABV.

Differences

Sierra Nevada Porter

  • 5.6{a60bef903c54612bed20edb95d22500dcc3da56ac2b90be5eb4391998d03cdd5}
  • 32 IBU

Ingredients

  • YEAST Ale yeast
  • BITTERING HOPS Aurora
  • FINISHING HOPS Yakima Golding
  • MALTS Two-row Pale, Munich, Chocolate, Caramel, Black & Carafa

This beer had a much fuller body, was sweeter, and had more chocolate flavor. This is why I thought it was robust! Though I could taste chocolate in both, I felt like this was more of a cocoa kind of chocolate. There was also more roasty aroma here (still very subtle)

*2nd Tasting: Pours a much thicker, creamier, more aromatic head. Roastiness is more pronounced.


 

Anchor Porter

  • 5.6{a60bef903c54612bed20edb95d22500dcc3da56ac2b90be5eb4391998d03cdd5}abv
  • IBU Unknown (somewhere between 20 – 60)

Ingredients

  • Malt: Blend of 2-Row Pale, Caramel, Black & Chocolate
  • Hops: Northern Brewer

The Anchor version had a much longer lasting head, and the biggest difference to me was the that it had a lighter body. It felt much more like a session beer. Actually, as I was drinking, I kept going back to the Anchor. That doesn’t mean it was better, but it meant I just wanted to drink more, and in big gulps!

It was less sweet, and I could detect much more hop flavor and bitterness. I don’t know if they have similar IBUs and I was just detecting more hops because of the lack of sweetness or if it was actually more bitter.

I felt it was also more acidic, and more effervescent. These are possibly related, as sharp bubbles can be perceived as tartness. It was also more dry, contributing to the sessionable-ness of it.

*Upon 2nd tasting, I noticed coffee flavor right out of the fridge.

Conclusion

You can see now why I thought Anchor was a regular porter and Sierra Nevada was robust. Compared side by side, I felt like the latter was a thicker, sweeter, bigger beer. In the end, I was very surprised to find out that both of them were only 5.6{a60bef903c54612bed20edb95d22500dcc3da56ac2b90be5eb4391998d03cdd5}.

Drakes is 6.3{a60bef903c54612bed20edb95d22500dcc3da56ac2b90be5eb4391998d03cdd5}

Both are awesome beers, and I would buy both again. Which one did I like better? During the side by side tasting I was convinced Sierra Nevada was better. Upon second tasting (full pints, one after the other), I think Anchor scored better.  Now I’m not so sure!

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About Nate

I created this website almost two years ago when I first started homebrewing. Like my brewing, it's been through many changes over the years.

I'm a full time online marketer and brewing beer is my hobby. You'll find a mix of all topics related to craft beer and homebrewing at xBREWx!

Comments

  1. I’d just like to thank you. I think you should continue to do beer vs beer of similar tastes and styles. I just tried a Sierra Nevada porter 20 min ago and I’m halfway through the anchor. The Sierra is much more robust. You’re right about the ” acidic”taste of the anchor porter. On the whole I really can’t tell which one I’d prefer. On a hot summer night with a fire, I’d choose the Sierra, but, during the day, at maybe a festival, I’d choose the anchor. Great review!

    • Glad you like the post Tyty. I just saw Sierra Nevada’s stout in the store for the first time, and I know that Anchor is coming out with their San Francisco stout pretty soon. Would be great to revisit these two companies that are doing a lot to bring craft into the mainstream.

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