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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

2,926 Reviews
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Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Generous quantities of premium Cascade hops give the Pale Ale its fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor.

37 IBU

Added by kbub6f on 07-05-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,926 | Ratings: 10,855
Photo of EvilFlyingCow
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I just bought a sixer of this. Poured a yellow-orange color with a thick light-tan head with alot of rising bubbles. Malts and hops with some lemon are very noticable in the smell. The taste is malty at first, with strong hops at the finish. The mouthfeel is strong and malty, coating the tongue with its hoppy aftertaste. I will definately buy this beer again when I am in the mood for a nice pale ale.

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Photo of Rezzin
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the beer that got me started on craft brews and it's been a long time since I had one. I picked up a sixer today just to have some 'old faithful' on hand.

A - Pours an amber / orange with a soft white head that drops fairly quickly. I need to change dish soap I think.

S - Fruity and citrusy with a slight malty background. Not as hoppy as I recall but it might be because of the beers I've been drinking as of late.

T - Fruity and mild. Hmm... I'm wondering if I have a bad bottle. It's almost tasting somewhat metallic. Easy drinking and good despite the metallic flavor. Perhaps I'm mistaking the citrus for metallic? Nice and crisp with a tiny bit of bitterness at the end.

M - Well carbonated. Smooth yet somewhat on the thin side to me.

D - Well, this went from my favorite to a fairly regular beer. Too many craft brews have destroyed my pallete. Easy drinking APA but no longer as hoppy as I'd prefer in my APA's.

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Photo of Azurescens
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle with bottled on date 029121011, checked their website and code doesn't match with their formats for '09 or '11 so I assume this was bottled in late '10. Don't really see the point of bottling codes that change format every year, especially if you can't look up the formats for all previous years. Poured into Maudite stemmed glass, reviewed on 4/7/11

A: Pours a slightly hazed nice golden orange with dense fluffy head that I can already see sticking itself to the sides of my glass. Head hangs around for a while and leaves nice rings of lace around glass. So far so good.

S: Good combination of floral hops with some sweet malt aromas and a touch of alcohol and honey, nothing overpowering. Not too shabby.

T: A very noticeable crisp hop bitterness greets my taste buds up front that slowly fades to let the caramel malts and sweet hop resins come through briefly at the finish. Pretty standard taste for a pale ale, nothing special.

M: Plenty of carbonation and a medium-light body, slightly sharp up front with a smoother finish.

O: Pretty standard pale ale, the carbonation and hop bitterness that first greet your mouth hide the nice malt and hop flavors that come through towards the end of each sip. Decent pale ale, won't be grabbing six packs of this any time soon, but wouldn't turn one down either, especially on a hot summer day.

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Photo of fisherman34
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden with a tinge of amber. Hoppy aromas of grass and mild citrus. Some grainy malt flavors combine with notes of citrus hops and white grape skin. Assertive, but not overpowering black peppery bitterness. Not watery, but surprisingly muted. This would probably make a good session beer, but I've had a few more interesting APAs than this one.

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Photo of hooligan
3.64/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

golden beer that foams to a thin lacy white head, no chill haze. Smells like citrus with a leaning towards grapefruit and faint elements of yeast. Clean crisp malt character and an aggressive floral hop taste upfront, with the malt dying down and the hops prevailing on the palate afterward. Slightly lacking in malt character in my opinion, which makes this beer slightly unbalanced with the hop bitterness and strong hop aroma.

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Photo of valdesd1
3.64/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear off gold to amber hue. Obvious little bubbles of carbonation. Didn't pour too aggressively to get a nice white one finger head that dissipated pretty quickly. Good amount of lacing.

S: Nice floral smell. Can't quite get too much out of it though.

T: Nice bitterness up front. Sweet citrus coming through the middle. Not too much bitterness coming off the end, leaving it to be smooth but not lacking in hoppiness. Definitely taste the sweetness from the malts towards the end. Compliments it well.

M: Nicely carbonated.

D: Considering the 5.6% abv, the "not so in your face" bitterness and smoothness, I'd say this is a sessionable beer.

Overall I like this beer. I'd say if you're looking for a standard pale ale, or beer in general, this would be a go to. For me however, I feel like it's lacking in complexity. Maybe i'm just used to other styles.

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Photo of CTbrew32
3.64/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- red/orange amber color thats pours a medium, white foamy head.

Aroma- Mild hints of citrus, pine, and a sweet malt.

Taste- Grapefruit, citrus, pine followed by a bready malt in this finish. Perfectly balanced with great hop flavor and smooth malt finish.

Mouthfeel- Crisp snap of hops at first, with smooth malts rounding it out. Very drinkable with medium carbonation and very little bitterness.

Overall- Can't go wrong with beer for any occasion. Hoppier than I remember in the past, but overall the balance and flavor is great.

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Photo of TheMirrorOwl
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Honey golden amber, voluminous white head, lots of lacing. Tons of carbonation visible, dissipates quickly.

Smell: Floral, citrus fruit and sweet malt.

Taste: Moderately bitter grapefruit flavor leads into sweet floral earthy malt. Pine in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Lighter on the medium-bodied scale. The carbonation dissipates quickly, which I like, but that leaves the beer somewhat sticky feeling. Fairly astringent.

Overall: The hop potency is more akin to an American IPA, which is what I'd call this by traditional standards. No denying this is a great brew. There are finer, but for the money, this is a well crafted IPA that doesn't disappoint. A solid go-to for hop heads everywhere.

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Photo of AEK
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

355ml brown bottle poured into a Young's branded pint pot.

A. Yellow-bordering on orange in colour with a soft, pillowy white head.

S. Fruity malt, peppery spice.

T. Citrus fruit, bubblegum, sherbet notes. A slightly hoppy finish.

M. Medium bodied with some carbonation.

D. Quite a nice interpretation of a pale ale from the boys at Chico. A BIG improvement on their Porter I just had. Also, I appreciate this beer more than when I first tried it about 5 years ago. Like their Porter it is still lacking somewhat in the aroma/palate departments but would take this offering over the Porter.

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Photo of Thrill62
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice copper/amber slightly hazy clear color.

S: Light grapefruit and obvious hoppiness.

T: Strong hoppiness for a mid price pale ale. Mostly bitter with a grapefruit finish.

M: Fairly acidic bite, which I don't mind, also light and bubbly with a crisp and almost dry finish.

D: Good session beer. One of the only decent beers I can find on draft in a couple (non-beer loving) bars in South Florida.

Also good when I don't want to break the bank, but want something consistently tasty.

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Photo of rdub
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at a local Texas Roadhouse. Nice 1/2 inch head which stayed most of the glass. Couldn't tell much from the aroma since I just fired down half a rack o' ribs. Golden dark color also looked nice. Definite hops bitterness but not as strong as some. All in all, a nice alternative to the typical BMC offering.

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Photo of Enola
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a beer that you can find almost anywhere. The color is a light amber. There was little head. The smell is like a fresh cut pine tree. The taste is fairly bitter. The mouthfeel is filled with lingering bitterness. I could session these but this is not my favorite from the style. All in all, an average beer.

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Photo of jmvecchio1
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

L-Hazy yellow, high carbonation, rocky head that dissipates very slowly, sediment on the bottom.
S-Hoppy (pine) and yeasty.
T-Biscuity, hops on the finish (hop oil sticks around for awhile), but the yeast is omnipresent throughout the drink.
D-Good drinking beer and sold company.

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Photo of sluggermatt15
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a yellow-orange color with a hazy appearance. Has a nice look to it. Foam head has short retention time.

S- Hops, not too overwhelming. Above average.

T- Clean and crisp. You can definitely taste the hops. Not as much wateriness as I had expected. A little bitterness to it. Above average.

M- Moderately bodied beer, not too overwhelming as far as carbonation goes.

D- Possible to drink multiple. I had this at a bar so I could have had probably 2 or 3, yet only settled for 1.

This is comparable to the other exceptional pale ales out there. Highly recommended if you are a fan of these ales.

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Photo of JamesS
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice copper color with nice head and good lacing. It has a nice scent, slightly floral and hoppy, but it's not as strong as I would have expected. Nice taste, it had excellent American and English virtues, with a nice hoppiness (both citrus and slightly beef jerkyish) with a mellow bitter aftertaste. Goes down fine, a good pale ale.

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Photo of shererjt
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured an orangish-yellow clear with an impressively thick head. Hops dominated the nose--grapefruit, baby!--but there was an underlying caramel sweetness that really made it work. Maybe a bit of mustiness that I didn't quite get. Yeast, perhaps? Flavor was well balanced; sweet malt, hop bitterness, and hop flavor were all there. Definitely had a strong cascade flavor, but not as prominent as I remember. Lively mouthfeel that was bursting with flavor--it was significant but not overpowering. The drinkability was quite good.

I like this beer a lot, though I have to say that it's not one of my all-time favorites. Whether you love it or merely like it, I think we all owe a debt of gratitude for the role this beer played in the growth of craft beer in the US.

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Photo of Edward19
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased a 12 pack of cans from Wegmans in Liverpool, NY. Great price point. I use this beer as a session beer. Great flavor and easy drinking. One of the best pale ale's I have had. I was introduced to this beer several years ago as one of my first craft beers. Great craft beer for beginners

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Photo of chumba526
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice but small head. It is a nice clear yellow color with a medium amount of carbonation. It smells slightly of citrus like hops and like quality malt. The taste is pleasantly hoppy there is a bit of good malt to balance out the hops which taste citrusy. Over all this is still one of the best pale ales on the market.

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Photo of AudioGilz
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear amber and orange hued color....with an enormous head that ends up one heluva lacer. As far as hops and malt goes, the hops dominate, but the malts are there just enough for an awesome balance. The crispness makes it very drinkable and refreshing. This is definitely one of the best American Pale Ales out there.

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Photo of bceaglejoe
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer poured a dark gold amber into the glass, leaving a decent-sized head. It smelled hoppy, but it wasn't totally overpowering. The taste was smooth and crisp, leaving a slight aftertaste that disappeared quickly. After the initial hop hit on the tongue, subsequent sips proved pretty refreshing. It felt somewhat bitter on my tongue, but the bitterness contributed to the compexity of the flavors I was tasting. I don't know if I would drink many of these in succession, but this was a good dinner beer. I had it with somewhat spicy food, and it went pretty well. It would be interesting to try it with salads, or other types of entrees.

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Photo of zander4dawin
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden amber with a thin white head. The smell is subtle notes of sweet caramel malts and sweet piney hops. The taste is the golden standard of American pale ales, crisp and drinkable yet full bodied and bold. Drinkablility is great and the aftertaste leaves you wanting another sip.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.62/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A go-to pale ale. Always good, always available. Pours clear copper with a short white head. Clean, fresh floral hop aroma with shrap, crystal malt. Taste is representative of the aroma, citrus hops taking a back seat to the tangier malt. Would rather drink an AleSmith brew, but I'm not going to whine if this is my only option.

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Photo of sacfly
3.62/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz, 6091 stamped on the side, whatever that means. Just put the freakin date please.
Pours a shade of yellow/orange with particles in suspension. Head is thick and off white with large bubbles. Aroma is light pine. Taste is a nice mix of pine with a touch of mint and a lemon citrus finish. Lightly bitter aftertaste. Very east to drink.
Used to be a go to Pale ale, but now there are just too many other solid Pale ales and IPA’s out there for this one to stand out like it did in the past. Still a solid pale ale.

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Photo of seedyone
3.62/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. It's easy to see how this is a go-to brew for so many. Subtle aroma, flavor that's not too much of anything, yet not too much nothing. Congenial & balanced are the hallmarks of this of this ubiquitous brew.

I for one will always be grateful to Sierra

12/19/12 On tap atRattle n Hum, NYC. Once the benchmark in hoppiness, this classic is sure to disappoint today's hop-heads. It harkens what I consider a more civilized time when one could drink a pint without having their taste buds mugged.

I'm having this vision of bar full of guys looking like the cast of "This Old House" in the first shot, toobelts & all, then the slide changes to them all dressed in sport jackets & chinos. A rugged sensibility.

Bear in mind there was a time when the expression IPA designated a brew modified for long distance travel. My best reference would be having General Tso's Chicken in the restaurant vs having it as a take-away. The crispiness created by the extra step of deep frying the cornstarch dredged pieces of chicken is deteriorated by the steaming that happens once it's placed in a closed container. There is enjoyment there, but it is altered. I doubt Gen. Tso is rolling is his grave, as the dish is American in origin, but you get the point.

Pale ale is/was the foundation of IPAs & India is a long way away from NYC, where I'm drinking this.

All things considered, this, as a stand alone brew, has a lot going for it. Block out all prejudice, kick back & enjoy a classic that helped lay the foundation for the craft world we enjoy today.

In 1896 the film "The Kiss" was considered outrageous & disgusting. It last 30 seconds on screen. It was, for better or worse, a sensation. Today's audience would not only be totally underwhelmed, but outright bored having to watch anything so mundane for a full 30 seconds.

My point is, try to appreciate what came before because nothing just happens out of the blue. Embrace the evolution.

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Photo of SmashPants
3.62/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: reasonable brown bottle with an original and decent label.

Appearance: mid-amber in colour with a light haze. Disappointingly minimal head that doesn't last long.

Aroma: a typically APA nose of citrus, pine and a dash of caramel. A touch of herbs behind as well. An enticing prospect.

Taste: a little disappointing, actually. Not as full as the aroma, and a bit weak in feel. The good flavours do still come through, however, which helps keep this beer afloat.

Aftertaste: oddly, stronger on the finish, with a good dash of bitterness. Even better near the bottom of the bottle.

Mouthfeel: a bit weak in body. The flavour could have been carried better by a heavier feel. Light-to-medium carbonation is pretty bang-on.

Overall: a good quality American Pale Ale that is only let down by its lack of body. Good for a 6-pack, but I don't think it will be joining my list of regular beers.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,926 ratings.