Old Chico Brand™ Crystal Wheat
Big, rich, and bold.
Before Sierra Nevada was a reality, our founders brewed beer at home and dreamed of building a brewery one day. Back then, they brewed the beers they wanted to drink—bold and full of flavor. Stouts had always been a favorite, so when we needed a big and rich beer to test out the brewing system at our fledgling brewery, stout was the obvious choice. Thirty years later, not much has changed. We’re still brewing the beers we want to drink and our classic Stout is the same as it’s ever been—big, rich, bold, black as night and filled with the wild-eyed passion of which dreams are made.
Stout versus Porter
While the exact origins of porter are hazy, the development of stout is more straightforward. By the 1700s, bolder, high-alcohol versions of any style of beer were referred to as “stout” or strong. By then, porter was far and away the most popular beer style in the British Isles, and clever breweries began advertising the stronger versions of their beers as “stout porter.” By the late 1800s, regular porters had fallen out of favor and stout porter, or simply stout, took their place. There are many different varieties of stout ranging from the light-bodied, low-alcohol Dry Irish Stout to the viscous, rich and strong Imperial Stout.
Malted barley generally falls into two camps: base malt and specialty malt. Base malt is highly modified malt that is responsible for producing the bulk of the fermentable sugars in the beer. Specialty malt is malt added for its flavor, color or effect on the body and mouthfeel of the finished beer. Specialty malts are typically produced by kilning and/or roasting barley. Caramel malt is made by placing germinated barley with a high moisture content directly into a roaster. The resulting malt produces unfermentable sugars during the mashing process, adding sweetness and body to finished beer. Roasted malt is base malt that has been placed in a roaster similar to a coffee roaster to produce deeper, darker, baker’s cocoa and espresso flavors like those common in a porter or a stout.
The American Style
Worldwide, Americans have something of an outsized reputation. Bold, brash and brazen. To some, that boldness is perceived as arrogance, but for us it’s just daring spirit and a thirst for adventure. The term “American” in brewing is not necessarily a sign of origin, but rather a brewing ethos and homage to that daring nature we love so much. In the early days of the craft brewing movement, there were far fewer beer styles and what was on record largely comprised the historical ales of the UK and the lagers of Germany. As American brewers began experimenting with homegrown ingredients and their own techniques, they inadvertently created beer so unique it defied conventional categories. Instead of a traditional pale ale, there all of a sudden was American pale ale—a new, rowdy hybrid of the older beer, intense with hop flavor and aroma. American-style beer is shorthand for the kind of brewing we do at Sierra Nevada—a reference to the use of a clean, crisp and neutral yeast, and a healthy dose of hops quite appropriate for the adventurer in us all.
Brewing is as much art as science, and all beer specifications and raw materials are subject to change
at our brewers' creative discretion.
5.8% by volume
Cascade, Yakima Golding
Two-row Pale, Munich, Caramel, Carafa, Black, Chocolate & Roasted Barley
Mexican Mole, Oysters, Italian Salumi, Ginger Snaps