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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

7,328 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7328
Reviews: 2621
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 11.6%


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

37 IBU

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 07-05-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,328 | Reviews: 2,621 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Plattler01
Plattler01

Georgia

4.83/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a strong copper color, with a good head. Head goes away quickly, but there is great lacing. The smell is wonderful, with notes of pine, citrus, and cascade hops. Very well balanced, pine and hops flavor, a sessionable go-to for any craft drinker.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2013 18:28:53 | More by Plattler01
Photo of thetros
thetros

Virginia

4.85/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a jewel within a strong line-up of beers from this respected West Coast brewer.

Consistency comes to mind when I consider this beer as a top 100 contender. The smooth malt and sweet bouquet of hops has a consistent freshness that makes this a beer drinker's staple. For a beer to earn its rank, I believe it must taste good this year and next, rather than just have a fine batch or season.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is appropriate for all seasons as it is heavily hopped and malty enough to stand up to a hearty meal, though fresh and crisp enough to accompany your picnic or ballgame. Medium carmel color and a tamed head make this pale ale a charming pint, indeed.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2005 04:15:11 | More by thetros
Photo of rabsten
rabsten

West Virginia

4.85/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sierra Nevada sets the bar for me. While I use Sam Adams Boston Lager as my benchmark, SNPA is probably the one I SHOULD be using.

Poured from a 24 oz bottle into an Imperial pint glass. Fluffy, khaki head on top of a copper body. The lacing is absolutely spectacular. Way back in 1987 or '88 I read the William Least Heat Moon essay on craft beer, "A Glass of Handmade," wherein he pointed out how good beer leaves lines on the glass. He was talking about Seirra Navada products. Nice.

The hops in the brew are evergreen-y. Balsam more than pine. Citrus in there, too.

Taste. One of my favorite beers. Hard hop hit up front, mellowing into a malty middle, with a yeasty finish. Floral undertone. A total taste experince.

Feels light and crisp up front, and rounds out near the end without ever becoming heavy.

Drinkability. Well, lets say I've had several evenings lost when I've gone into a bar to get "just one beer," only to find they have SNPA on tap or on special. I can drink this all weekend long.

Bottom line: If you're on this site, you already know how good this brew is. If it's not "the best" APA available, then it's sure damn near the top. Occasionally, I'll want someting different, APA-wise, like the excellent Great Lakes Burning River. But this beer Kicks Ass. And as a bonus, it's available everywhere!

Bob says go get some.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2006 21:48:10 | More by rabsten
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

4.85/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So I never reviewed this? This is probably my "if you could only have one beer etc. . ." type choice. The world gold standard.

Pours a great dark yellow and amber hue, minimal head, not much lacing. Aromatic whole flower hops. The three C's.

Taste, unlike anything else. The most mass produced hoppy bitter beer out there. Pine and citrus. Tastes like Chico. Great throughout. Drinkable for days, great price. And unmistakable mouthfeel of bitter hops and unique as hell tree/pine kind of flavor going for it. So much caramel and yet the bottle conditioning keeps the carbonation peppy and perfect so that the caramel is never heavy.

The first time I drank this beer (UC Davis keg party in '93) I was a senior in high school, and I hated it. I asked the party host if he washed his cups because the beer tasted like it had soap in it. What a noob. . .

Serving type: on-tap

03-26-2010 20:38:33 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of CSAsylum
CSAsylum

Indiana

4.85/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was a particpant in drug and alcohol study several years ago and the doctor, who was testing brain activity in drinkers after they smelled certain liquors, asked me what my favorite hard liquor was and what my favorite beer was. To the first I answered Makers Mark. To the second, I answered Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It took me two years to fully appreciate Sierra Nevada Pale Ale again after my two stints in an MRI chamber, smelling various things and thumbing a button whenever I did so.

Nevertheless, I thought then, and still think today, that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale represents the quintessence of American beer. It is, as far as I'm concerned, the beer that comes to mind when people say "beer."

A: Pours a bright,clear copper-orange with a full finger of tawny head which dimishes quickly to something less than 1/4 finger and then after the first drink disappears completely.

S: Wonderful aromatic citrusy and floral hops aroma arrives immediately and dominates the nose.

T: Hops and malt dance together here. Hops first as you take it in, probably a leftover from smelling them as you bring the glass to your mouth but then a mild malty sweetness. The leave has a touch of bitterness from the hops and the whole thing makes sense like an EB White essay that ends where it begins but you're better off for having read it.

M: I think the mouthfeel is soft, not creamy but full and sweet. I think it leans on the heavy side of light but because of the hop brightness the slight heaviness of the body is a perfect balance.

Overall: I can barely add to the introduction, this is American Pale Ale as far as I'm concerned and that makes it the Americeyness of all American beers. Superb always, all the time.

If I could improve this beer, and I wouldn't really try, I would like the head to last longer and lace better. I would prefer a more robust color. But, aren't those incredibly minor wishes? Taste, Aroma, Mouthfeel, that's where the action's at, and that's where this beer excels.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2010 00:18:13 | More by CSAsylum
Photo of redfire89
redfire89

Florida

4.85/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- A dark golden color, with a little bit of head.
S- Citrus, hops, and some piney notes.
T- Wow!!! Very spicy, lots of hops and citrus, but not overpowering at all.
M- A little heavier than others that I've had, but it's light for 5.6%.
O- This knocked out Yuengling as my go-to beer, an instant favorite.

Serving type: on-tap

07-01-2011 13:05:07 | More by redfire89
Photo of Scott17taylor
Scott17taylor

Iowa

4.85/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It pours a beautiful clear orange color with a nice two finger head. The flavor is a very delicious hoppy and grapefruit flavor. There is a reason this beer has been so popular for so long it is a very good beer. I would recommend this beer to anyone.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2013 01:11:27 | More by Scott17taylor
Photo of snaotheus
snaotheus

Washington

4.88/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is one of my favorites. It's probably the single beer I drink most often.

The flavor is delicious and hoppy with crisp mouthfeel. Drink it very cold, and very often.

What else am I supposed to say to fill up 250 characters? The beer's great. Go try it!

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2008 15:34:44 | More by snaotheus
Photo of munchie101
munchie101

Minnesota

4.88/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - light gold with with 1/2 inch head that disipates within about 5 minutes. beautiful for a PA.

S - Citrus bitters, hops, some sweetness I think too.

T - Initially light, the hop flavors take a moment to hit and do not overpower my taste buds, lots of other flavors I don't quite recognize but very enjoyable.

M - not too dry like some brews very pleasant, a little light perhaps, but I like that in an ale like this. Feels like carbonated spring water and hops flavors.

D - One of my favorite PAs now that I've been able to try it, not too hard hitting and but wonderfully flavorful.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2010 02:12:01 | More by munchie101
Photo of orcsinspace
orcsinspace

Virginia

4.88/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The only pale ales that I have had that surpass Sierra Nevada Pale Ale have all been home brewed. The flavor is outstanding, and perfectly balanced. I have always found Pale Ale somewhat of a contradiction, because it has a simple, yet extremely complex taste at once. The mouthfeel is perfect as well, not too watery, not too much texture.

Just the right amount of lacing and the right amount of head. The color is a perfect golden color with little carbonation lingering. The smell of the beer is subtle, not too strong, not too weak--just right.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2013 17:42:35 | More by orcsinspace
Photo of gusdabrew
gusdabrew

Ohio

4.9/5  rDev +21%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For every great beer in America there are 1000 poor excuses for beer. SN Pale Ale is the perfect beer at the perfect price available everywhere. We all look at the lists of great beers and hope we can run across a few when we're lucky. SN Pale Ale is easy to find, easy to share and easy to enjoy. Kudos to Sierra Nevada for providing us with this America Classic.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2007 14:54:19 | More by gusdabrew
Photo of aficionado224
aficionado224

Ohio

4.9/5  rDev +21%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Many others rate this beer very highly, and I quite agree this is a great pale ale, or simply a great beverage of any type. It has plenty of flavor to savor, but not so much it needs to be chewed. I could sip this and luxuriate in each sip, or quaff this to quench my thirst from heat or exertion or both. I highly recommend this brew, and if you have never tried it, you gotta get your hands on one, soon.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2011 16:23:03 | More by aficionado224
Photo of NJBrewer
NJBrewer

New Jersey

4.9/5  rDev +21%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of the best all-around beers I've had. It is the perfect representation of a pale ale: perfect malt/hop balance and an overall fantastic flavor. Not a weak ale, but not too strong either. This flagship of Sierra Nevada is everything an American craft brew should be. A go-to beer in my house.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2011 20:30:13 | More by NJBrewer
Photo of MadMike80
MadMike80

Georgia

4.9/5  rDev +21%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Mildly sweet at start strong hops bitterness finish, enough malt keeps it creamy. Grapefruit-like aftertaste lingers, does not turn me off. Smells like the outdoors. I love seeing the sediment floating around in my glass.
Excellent brew.

This is probably my new favorite beer I can no longer go to the package store without picking up some sierra.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2011 15:41:00 | More by MadMike80
Photo of Budro
Budro

Georgia

4.93/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pure copper, burnished like fine cookware, nearly transparent in its glassy clarity. On top of this, a full two-finger head, foamy and creamy in appearance. (Note: Every SN I've ever poured has been perfectly clear, in spite of the label's warning that you might see some yeast from the bottle conditioning in your glass. I'd love to see some yeast in there.)
S: The nose: Sweet mist rising from rain-splashed stone. Seriously. The hops' pine and ctirus notes are squarely in the background, lurking like a distant fog. The overall impression is one of mineral purity.
T: The suprisingly thin head, lightly flavored, tastes pleasantly of sour yeast. The beer proper boasts a bitter front and lingering sour back in perfect balance; as the latter fades from the palate, it complements the hop attack of the former. The finish is mineral-dry initially, but as the beer warms, the dryness of the finish becomes reminiscent of a sourdough roll. Nice transition. Furthermore, the beer yields underlying apple notes as it warms. No real sweetness, but allusions to sweetness in every swallow. It's subtle and complex.
M: The thin head disappoints; it appears creamier than it is. The tingle of carbonation is bracing but not overwhelming; it doesn't burn with the first swallow, and it mellows agreeably as the beer warms. Don't let it sit too long, though; when the beer gets too warm, the last couple of swallows are stripped of good flavor and feel almost tepid on the palate. That's just nit-picking, though. This is an exquisitely crafted brew.
D: I could drink this all day.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2007 23:42:22 | More by Budro
Photo of LXIXME
LXIXME

New Mexico

4.93/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from above the glass gives this a big white to off-white head that slowly recedes into a nice lacing above a clear rich golden ale.

This medium bodied beer has a rich fruity/citrusy and slight pine aroma.

Citrus-fruity-pine-grasses taste that has a slight sweet malt hidden in there.

A nice lightly dry aftertaste with some leftover citrus notes lingering on.

One of my favorite beers, I look for this when I dine out, love it with Mexican food.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2012 16:49:13 | More by LXIXME
Photo of rote
rote

California

4.94/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I suppose I'm probably not an expert like some posters may be on this forum, but I have been drinking for nearly twenty years. I've tried all kinds of lagers, pilsners, mexican, ales, stouts, lights, etc. I tend to go in flavor-of-the-month phases for a few months or up to a couple years. Also, I don't travel, so my repertoire is limited to what's at the local supermarket in So Cal.

Anyhow, for a flavorful, 'strong' beer (ahem, ale), SN Pale Ale is a clear favorite. In addition to the flavor and quality, I think they have good quality control as I've yet to come across a bad batch at the local market. I don't know its availability outside CA, but if you see it and have not tried it, I highly recommend it.

I pretty much signed up for an account just to provide my 2 cents on this great ale while having a few of them.. Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2013 02:38:25 | More by rote
Photo of jasonpeckins32
jasonpeckins32

Michigan

4.95/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I cant believe its taken me this long to review this beer. One of my all-time favorites. I just absolutely love this brew. Also, one of the few brews that introduced me to the craft beer level.

Pours a hazy orange/amber in color with a nice head that sticks around as long as I could possibly want it to.

The nose is absolutely bursting of floral and citrus hops. Smells scrumptious and delicious. Just a beautiful smelling hoppy ale.

The taste is marvelous. If I had my eyes closed, I'd believe there was 1/2 a grapefruit sitting in the bottom of the glass. The excited citrus hop flavors graciously slide down the hatch. This one tastes almost rough and rugged at first swig, but after the first few sips, it eases up on you and becomes quite drinkable.

The mouthfeel is medium-bodied with perfect carbonation. Maybe even a touch bigger than medium-bodied.

Drinkability is great too. It gets mellower and mellower the more you drink.

Plain and simply a true american classic, and one of my favorites. If you havent tried it yet, I dont know what the hell you're waiting for!

Serving type: on-tap

12-28-2005 04:07:44 | More by jasonpeckins32
Photo of rightsideways
rightsideways

Massachusetts

4.95/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

quite possibly my favorite beer of all. I buy from a pretty shady liquor store in MA and many times i'm disappointed by what is obviously the result of abuse in transit or by the store. That being said, Sierra Nevada is ALWAYS a good buy. i'm not sure if the resilience of the beer they brew (the ESB i buy there is always great too) or the high turnover and consequently low shelf life of this great brew.

appearance: light amber color, very clear with some lacing and it's well carbonated which leads to a good head that sticks around for a bit.

smell: hops baby! gotta love cascade for finishing apparently... i'm trying that in my next brew. i can always smell those hops which is impressive because the website doesn't mention dry-hopping with this brew.

taste: great balance of hops and malt. not too bitter either, just a nice piny/citrus taste that keeps me coming back for more! although it's only 5.6% ABV it seems like a bit more but maybe i'm just sucking the beer down at an incredible rate...

this will be my go-to beer for quite some time i imagine!

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2008 01:48:52 | More by rightsideways
Photo of anchordrinker
anchordrinker

California

4.95/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- orange-straw hue. 1 finger of head and good lace.
S- orange, sweet grain, honey
T- herbal and bitter citric hop flavor up front briefly give way to a bready/grainy sweetness, followed by a dry, lingering grapefruit bitterness with a touch of bready/honey sweetness in the background. Perfectly balanced bitterness to sweetness for the style.
M- very fine carbo that shows it's presence without compromising flavor.
O- I've been looking forward to having this beer in a can for a while and it does not disappoint! The cans look great and the contents taste especially vibrant and fresh!

Serving type: can

03-04-2012 05:00:01 | More by anchordrinker
Photo of racer2k
racer2k

Massachusetts

4.97/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I first tried this beer back in the early 90's while enjoying some Grateful Dead shows on the east coast. This was well in advance of the craft beer revolution and many west coast deadheads would sell this excellent beer at shows. It has been my favorite "go to" stock beer ever since. Always plenty in the fridge.

A - Dark copper color, good solid carbonation. Thick creamy two finger head retention. Plenty of lacing on the sides of my pint glass

S - Moderate bitter hop smell with some hints of sweet malt. Very consistent smooth smell with a solid hoppy profile.

T - Very balanced taste with a moderate flow of hops and light malty flavor. Sweet but not syrupy sweet like some of the high powered IPAs. A bitter taste hits you in the middle of your swallow and there is a nice hoppy finish with hints of pine and floral overtones. A beautiful thing.

M - Good dose of carbonation with a moderate bitter hopped feel. Very balanced and not too thick.

D - Excellent session beer. That has a perfect balance beer after beer. This beer is positioned between a lighter hopped pale ale and a hoppier IPA in my opinion. I typically shy away from Pale Ales as many are bland and not hoppy enough. This is an exception for sure.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2007 22:54:43 | More by racer2k
Photo of Hokies
Hokies

Rhode Island

4.97/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: A nice pale red color with decent lacing

S: Very nice with a citrus note with an excellent hop aroma.

T: Probably one of the best Pale Ales I have tasted, with a nice citrus taste that finishes with a decent hop flavor

M: Nice carbonation that does not overpower.

D: Excellent example of a Pale Ale.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2008 06:07:22 | More by Hokies
Photo of lester619
lester619

Wisconsin

4.97/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a twelve ounce mug it has a deep clear copper/amber color with a big three finger head. The head is still there after the beer is long gone. Great smell. I love that herbal pine and grapefruit west cost smell. This beer is a true masterpiece. I'm not going to waste time describing the taste other than to say it's as close to perfect beer flavor as humanly possible. All the flavors are absolutlely right on, balanced in exactly the right way. The mouthfeel is creamy enough to be satisfying, but not too heavy to fill you up. It is scary how drinkable this beer is. I could go on and on. To sum it up it's a once in a lifetime creation that actually surpasses the hype. I love it.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2009 17:47:05 | More by lester619
Photo of itfitz
itfitz

California

4.97/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I remember the first time I tried a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It was (at that time) the most different beer I'd ever had. It was the early 1990's and I had just moved from Michigan, where I'd been exposed to mass-produced tasteless beers all my life. I'd fallen in love with Samuel Adams lager, which was quite hard to find due to the relative lack of distribution.

The aroma from the spicy hops hits your nose as you pour it from the bottle. The beer comes out with an amber-orange color with a perfect amount of foam and fantastic lacing in the glass. The bitterness is not overpowering, but adds just enough to counterbalance the smooth caramel maltiness.

The mouthfeel is wonderful, and although not thin, it doesn't come across as a heavy beer. The perfect carbonation combined with the wonderful taste gives this a drinkability like few other beers, and this is my everyday go-to beer (and has been for almost two decades now).

This is Sierra Nevada's flagship beer for a reason. It can be a session beer or an accompaniment to a gourmet meal (or pizza or burgers).

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2010 18:40:50 | More by itfitz
Photo of pb9613
pb9613

Michigan

4.97/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer poured a color that is not amber but not golden. The color is in a league of its own. The beautiful with head that appeared on top was solid white which lasted throughout the entire drinking experience.

The beer smells of that wonderful cascade hops with a rich citrus nose.

The taste is divine. This is what pale ale should taste light. Wonderful malty flavor with a rich hops taste. The bitterness of the hops is left as an undertone to the overall flavor with the flavor hops coming to the forefront.

This beer fills the entire palate of flavors with a heavy malt flavor for body and the hops for aroma and flavor.

This is a beer you can sip all night and not realize how many you drank until you wake up with the hang over.

Overall one of the best beers on the market and the reason Sierra Nevada has been around 30 years.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2010 01:48:59 | More by pb9613
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 7,328 ratings.