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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,863 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,863
Hads: 10,440
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 22.22%
Wants: 237
Gots: 2,299 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 07-05-2001

Generous quantities of premium Cascade hops give the Pale Ale its fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor.

37 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,863 | Hads: 10,440
Photo of mattcrill
3.61/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber orange color with a nice white head and good lacings throughout. Smells light, fresh, and a little hoppy. A hint of alcohol of you really get your schnozz in there and sniff. Pretty bland tasting I think but it has a nice mix of hops and a touch of citrusy sweetness. It's definitely a drinkable brew. Great for a cookout and a good representation of the style. A good session beer but I'm just not a big fan of pale ales unless they punch me in the face (which I guess is NOT the definition of pale ales). I would definitely recommend this brew to all.

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Photo of boatshoes
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer at the Jersey shore after dinner to spend a relaxing evening. Not my first experience with this beer but my first time intent upon a review.

Appearance- Two and a half fingers of orange tinted head that is puffy and pillowly with big bubbles off of a not particularly aggressive pour. About a fourth finger of head retains as I drink, with a small amount of lacing down the side of the glass as well. The beer itself is a very nice copper orange with a solid amount of carbonation that beads up the side of the glass. Very solid looking pale ale.

Smell- A fairly simple but pleasurabe nose of citrusy hops in foreground. Lots of lemon zest and grapefruit/orange peel coming through with the hops. A bit of graininess/malt backbone detectable as well but not nearly as present as the hop profile.

Taste- Very mild beer with lemony, citrusy hops up front and a nice malt backbone to balance out the bitterness. Not terribly complex but a solid balance of bittering hops and malt backbone that makes this a very flavorful and easy drinking beer. Ends with a bit of a hop punch at the end that is nice and crisp and leaves you going back for more.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- A solidly balanced level of carbonation and body for a pale ale. Fairly heavily carbonated but not offensively so. The hop punch and dryness of the beer keeps you coming back and leaves this beer gone before you know it. Very sessionable.

Overall, a great beer to use to introduce your macro friends to craft and a solid staple to fall back on if you need a relatively cheap and sessionable craft brew. Unlikely I'll keep this a staple in the fridge, but certainly wouldn't pass it up if offered.

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Photo of jackndan
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Sierra Pale Ale: Good looking beer, cloudy caramel, had a big white head that disappeared in a few minutes. Wonderful aroma, sweet, with a little hoppiness. Hits the tongue with a little sweetness, and then a nice bitter hop bite. Several sips later, it seems the hops dominate. I can tell this is a fine beer, but the bitterness is a touch to much for me.

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Photo of mcnut
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sierra Nevada makes a good beer, sometimes the problem is that all of their beers taste remarkably similar.

Now its not fair for me to say all of them, as I've only tried their porter and the pale ale. Other than color, the taste was shockingly similar, well lets get to that.

The pale ale is just that, a pale golden beer with a soft lacing of head. The smell of hops and some citrusy notes comes out in the first whafting, with more hops to follow.

The taste is very strong of hops and a mild alchohol aftertaste. Not a beer I could personally session, your mileage may vary, especially if you like a very hopped beer.

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Photo of WaltTrombone
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

It pours a dark gold, with a tan head and medium lace. The aroma was faint, mostly hops. The taste was HOPS- the typical SN Hops Madness. Somewhere underneath all the hops were faint malt and citrus peel notes. The mouthfeel was smooth, but not as oily as you might expect from all the HOPS! The finish, need I even mention it, was HOPS, of the bitter and tangy variety.

Maybe in another few years I'll be able to appreciate the Sierra Nevada over-the-top approach to hops, but right now? Nope...

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Photo of TheElectricOne
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can into a tulip.

Looks pretty, with an amber-copper color with a thick, bubbly head and carbonation bubbles continuously rising from the bottom of the glass. Unfortunately, not much in the way of an aroma, mostly just yeastiness. Smells like a lager. The taste makes up for it though, with nice piney and citrusy flavors for a cheap, canned pale ale. It's always been one of the most accessible and cheap beers that actually tastes good. The feel is crisp and smooth. Overall, a nice solid beer for anytime drinking. Not much fanfare or excitement, but a solid drink.

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Photo of Jangles
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 24 oz. bottle into a Guinness Imperial pint glass (anything else is such a travesty).

A: Golden amber color, very clear. Minimal head that disappears pretty quickly

S: Strong hop profile. Very "herbal".

T: Initially very heavy on the hops, butts right up against being too bitter and piney, but backs off, well, tapers off, at the finish without going too far. Just barely.

M: Crisp and consistent, start to finish.

D: Quite drinkable, but I feel like it needs food to accompany it. I just cannot see myself putting these away without a meal or a snack.

Overall, I would drink it if it was there, or in the absence of one of my favorites, but I am not going to seek it out. I suppose I am not quite as impressed as I should be, given its reputation.

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Photo of stakem
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into a sierra nevada snifter. The brew pours a clear copper color with a rich white froth that fades to a thin film supported by rising bubbles. Overall a solid looking pale ale.

The aroma includes a faint floral to fruity hop quality with a caramel to toffee and biscuit-like grain presence that has a soft touch of butter towards the back end. Not the most vibrant bouquet but enjoyable and easily approachable.

The flavor is clean and crisp with a hoppy bitterness that is somewhat herbal and floral to fruity. Just like the aroma suggested, plenty of caramel malt that blends into the finish and is a bit buttery.

This is a light bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. Overall this is solid and very easy drinking. It is a well made brew that sometimes I have admittedly overlooked in lieu of less familiar faces and/or seasonal offerings that are not always available. This is a very good standby.

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Photo of wvu9787
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my 22oz Fear and Loathing beer mug, bought at local beer store a 24oz. bottle at $2.69, 5.6 ABv.

A: Dark yellow, maybe a bright gold color, Very carbonated, bubbles rising off the off white head.

S: Hops, pine with a citrus smell, very little smell overall,but then again my nose is a little stoped up.

T: Citrus, very grapefruit to me, lemon/lime, not really too hoppy for a pale ale but is there, it does taste good and is very refreshing, makes me think of summer, a good beer to drink when riding the ol' lawn mower.

M: Carbonated, however very thirst quenching, somewhat dry in the finish over all not bad and is a little bitter.

D: Very drinkable, i am not a "Hop Head" by any means and dont usualy drink PA/IPAs but i do enjoy this one its not over the top with hops and is very refreshing, love the grapefruit taste to it.

I do enjoy this beer, its a ideal summer beer IMO
even though is pretty cold out and is in mid OCT. its still a good choice if your looking for a light tasting pale ale, not bad at all.

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Photo of sopor
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear golden-amber with lots of quickly rising bubbles. Thick slightly rock head dissipates evenly leaving some nice lace on the glass. Smells of slight biscuity malt and citrusy hops.

BIscuit maltyness lead by just a hint of sweetness are quickly joined by an assertive but not overly powerful hops. Hops taste slightly citrus, slightly herbal. Biscuity bready flavors last for the after taste.

A refreshing brew with light body and light carbonation. Very drinkable, not outstanding for any reason, but good.

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Photo of scoobybrew
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was poured from the bottle into a pint glass. It has a light, clear, copper color with nice head and decent retention. The aroma is primarily a citrus like hop scent with malty notes in the background. The flavor is dominantly hops, but it has a tasty malt backing it up. The body is medium with moderately high carbonation.

Overall, this is a good APA. It defined the style way back when and is still an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of winomark
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Light copper color with a thin white head and lots of streaming bubbles.

Aroma: Good hops and malt on the nose, nicely balanced.

Taste: Again, nice balance of malt and hops throughout the palate. Hops take over in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and refreshing. Somewhat tannic on the finish.

Drinkability: One of my favorite "go-to" beers. A classic American Pale Ale.

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Photo of steelcutoats
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I bought a six pack of this at Dawg's in Greensburg last night and figured I'd wait until today to write my review. I must say this is one of the best pale ales I have ever tried. I'm somewhat familiar with the Sierra Nevada line...I've sampled their IPA, Celebration Ale, and BIGFOOT Barleywine, respectively.

I poured one 12 fl. Oz. bottle into my trusty tasting snifter and almost immediately smelled the aroma of hops. This is definitely a more aggressively hopped A.P.A. There was a short head, only about a quarter of an inch, which eventually subsided. The color was a beautiful amber gold. As mentioned before the nose was sharp with hops and also a yeasty malt aroma. The taste was bold for an American Pale Ale. You can tell that the good brewers at Sierra Nevada take their time crafting this offering. I'll have to remember to pick up a case of this next time I'm out at the beer distributor.

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Photo of Blakaeris
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours golden-amber with a thick creamy white head that leaves plenty of lacing.

Aroma is grassy, floral and citrus hop and grainy malt.

Taste is crisp and clean. Nice bit of grapefruit hop. Grainy caramel malt backbone keeps everything in balance. Lemon grass and fruity citrus character lingers throughout. Finish is crisp and dry with resinous pine and spicy hop.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied.

A very drinkable APA that is accessible even to those not yet initiated to the wonderful world of hops. Overall flavor is mild but crisp enough to keep things interesting. A great session beer.

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Photo of HockeytownBrew
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draft.

A: Pours a clear copper brown with an ever so slight haze. Finger width head that dissipates rather quickly. Moderate lacing.

S: Hops with a generous floral note and citrus in addition to malts.

T: Sweet malts and citrus with a slight hoppy bitterness. Finishes smooth and clean.

M: Light to medium bodied and crisp. Moderate carbonation.

D: Nice drinkability. Easy to go through a few.

A good pale ale.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Grabbed a bottle of this when we stopped into TC's Lounge late night this past Friday. Poured into a pint glass, with a large white head forming. Pumpkin orange color. Smell was a bit tingly, with lots of hops present. Taste is awesome, as this beer is the definition of a pale ale. Hoppy, smooth, crisp, with a bite, you can't go wrong if this is all they have for decent beer. You'll find this stuff everywhere. It's a treat, or it's a last resort, oddly enough. Even dive bars carry it. That said, it's a bit too hoppy for my liking, so I never really order more that one of these.

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Photo of dreadnatty08
3.59/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light caramel color. Super bubbly and topped off with a fluffy white head. Aromas of that nice grapefruity Cascades, so distinct with SN. Also a bit of a biscuity malty background. This is perhaps one of the most balanced beers I've had. Hops are assertive, yet not overpowering. That bready malty character gives it great body and complimentary flavors. This is a perfect everyday beer as it doesn't get in the way of foods nor is it boring. However, I feel it's a bit too syrupy on the tongue, a little out of character for this style. Would also like to see some more dry hopping for additional aromas. Overall, a rather average beer, not my favorite of SN.

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Photo of ElGeordie
3.59/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had 2 or 3 of these at the State Theatre in Falls Church. Served in plastic glasses - Dont know why, my wife was drinking Coronas from the bottle.
Anyway, initial impression wasn't great: no head to speak of but the beer was a beautiful coppery colour. Tastewise, after it warmed up it reminded me a little of Bass but without the distinctive English hops (fuggles ?). Despite the low carbonation the beer felt good in the mouth and went down well.
Despite all of the challenges imposed by the serving I enjoyed SN PA and will look for it again - and uodate my review.

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Photo of troutmask96
3.59/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A decent pale ale, nothing too special here. Pours a dark golden translucence with a large head. Very hoppy smelling, with notes of pine and citrus. Taste is actually quite bitter, much like an I.P.A. All in all, a good session brew and an one of my favorite choices when I have to shop at the grocery store and can't make it to my local bottle shop.

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Photo of r0nyn
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Appearance is good, a golden amber color with about half an inch of white frothiness at the top. Not too much lacing at all. Smell is of hops and yeast, with a slight undertone of citrus. Fragrant, but not overpowering. I was sort of expecting a similar bouquet to Troegs Nugget Nectar, but it just seems simpler and cleaner.

A big hoppy blast of bitterness starts it off, and never really goes away, even as the taste of the beer settles on the tongue. I caught some hints of citrus and some good malty presence, but the bitterness is always there and continues into the aftertaste. Not terrible, but definitely a little unbalanced in that department. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a good amount of carbonation that manages to retain a semblance of smoothness.

Drinkability is okay for me. Maybe I was spoiled by having Nugget Nectar first, but the bitterness was just a bit unbalanced, at least in my admittedly inexperienced opinion. It was by no means overpowering, just a little too... present in the taste without much else complexity. One is all I'd think I'd have in a given night.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Clear, somewhat dark amber with a half finger of lasting off-white suds. Decent lacing, no legs.

Signature pale malt, faintly biscuity and not quite toasty with a vague vegetal undercurrent. Smooth light herbaceous hops with maybe a hint of orange peel.

Pale malt up front; bright and crisp on the palate with a musky/bready/faintly metallic flavor mid-way through. A touch of hemp is suggested by the hops along with a mild bitterness. Quite dry finish.

Moderately carbonated, light-bodied, with just enough heft for substance.

If you like their signature malt, you'll be pleased, otherwise there isn't a lot here to hold your interest compared to the dozens of superior examples of the style. Like Fat Tire, it's a good alternative to BMC at bars with poor selections or beer-geek-free parties...

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Photo of Erdinger2003
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer pours very nicely...however I did pour it pretty hard, but the lacing still sticks just great. Has a clear crisp brown color.

Smell is very hoppy with cascade hops with some very slight banana smell to it.

Taste is hoppy, but not overdone and is balanced with a light coffee malts.

Mouthfeel is a bit like water.

I do enjoy this beer more than others.

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Photo of MiguelMandingo
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It is kind of weird that for as long as I have been reviewing beer, this one has somehow slipped through the cracks. I used to drink this beer all the time when I first got into "better beer", and for no particular reason, I just stopped buying it for a while about six months ago. I had some the other night at a bar, and it just didn't taste the same. A friend gave me this bottle to review, and I am having the same problem.

Poured a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - It pours a completely transparent copper orange. It produced a pretty solid two finger white head and it left a bit of light lacing behind. It has constant stream of carbonation bubbles rising to the top of the glass.

Smell - Crackery/biscuity malts in the front of the scent, which then gives way to resinous grapefruity hops, and a slight hint of pine. This while the scent of this beer screams Cascade Hops, the scent is slightly subdued - it isn't as powerful as I remember it.

Taste - The initial flavor is very bready, with a tinge of a caramel sweetness. That flavor gives way to Cascade Hop flavor - slightly resinous grapefruit with the smallest hint of pine. There is slight bitterness that continues from the middle of the flavor and then plunges at the end, with the caramel sweetness rounding out the flavor. I remember this beer being far more dramatic - maybe my palate has changed, but this doesn't wow me like it used to.

Mouthfeel - On the thicker end of light bodied. The carbonation level leaves something to be desired, it feels kind of flat by the time it reaches my throat. It does, however, go down very smooth.

Drinkability - This is a beer you can drink the hell out of. It tastes pretty good, it is available pretty much everywhere, which is great because I will reach for this over any BMC, any day. It is an easy drinking brew. It is also one of the quintessential "training wheel beers" for most people that I know.

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Photo of TXHops
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Alcohol Content: approx. 5.6% ABV,4.4% ABW
Beginning Gravity: 1.052, 13 Plato
Ending Gravity: approx 1.011, 2.8 Plato
Calories/12 oz: 170.73
Apparent Attenuation: 78.62%
Real Extract: 4.58
Bittering Hops: Perle
Finishing Hops: Cascade
Malts: Two-row Barley Malt; Caramel Malt

-Coppery amber colored with a huge, foamy, white head that retreats in the wake of a spider-webbish pattern of lace work.

I like to think that Pacific Northwest Pale Ale is a sub-style of American Pale Ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the quintessential (and original) interpretation.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is yellowish, almost orange colored and has a huge, airy, white head that leaves a lacy curtain of dried bubbles on the inside of the glass. An intense, grapefruity hoppiness dominates the nose and overshadows the sweetish, almost biscuity malt in the flavor. The resiny, almost sticky hoppiness lingers on and on and almost causes you to forget that there's some really good, sweet maltiness hiding deep inside the bottle. Somewhat incongruously, the malty portion of the beer is relatively dry (not surprisingly, considering the 78%+ attenuation), while the hops don't let the flavor go quietly. Instead, the citric stickiness hides out in the back corners of your mouth, creating an almost sour sensation (not sour from sugar, like in a Coke, but sour from citric, like from grapefruit). In my mind, this is the primary difference between American and British hops. The British hops do a tremendous job of bittering sweet malts like Maris Otter, while the American finishing versions, like Cascades, aren't as much bitter as they are resiny, citric and robust.

Anyhow, I'd say that SNPA, although the originator of the style, would now do better in a beer competition as a British IPA, expect for those American hops. It's the sparing use of caramel malt that lends the primary difference. Most other APA's tend toward having a more pronounced malt flavor to compliment the hops, while SNPA (and those brewed in its ilk, like Rogue's Oregon Golden Ale) really feature the American hops. I find it ironic that the creator of the style wouldn’t be able to win an award for the style.

Although not my favorite APA (a little too harsh, without enough balancing maltiness, just a little too prickly in the mouth and with a touch of sourness) I still drink quite a bit and will continue to do so for as long as SN remains such a great producer of quality beer.

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Photo of walshclimb
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear golden, with thin ~1/2 inch bubbly, offwhite head that is relatively long lasting, leaving a thin lace behind

S - Moderate yeast, slightly earthy with hint of pine

T - light malt with good hop bittterness, slightly yeasty and not as clean tasting as I remember

M - medium bodied with slightly syruppy mouthfeel and alcoholic finish. A little fizzy

D - good beer, but not great for session and not interesting enough for repeat tasting. Really good for

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,863 ratings.