Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

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2,826 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,826
Hads: 10,272
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 9.85%
Wants: 224
Gots: 2,109 | 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
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Reviews: 2,826 | Hads: 10,272
Photo of DrDoitchbig
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Posting this from notes due to the recent site crash. From now on I'll be saving my reviews on my computer so I can just copy and paste them if such a thing happens again. I know I won't be as happy with this as my original, my notes are just shorthand.

Appearance: Poured somewhat aggressively into my Duvel tulip. The result was a billowing two finger off-white head. Underneath that the beer was a dark amber, bordering on burnt orange. The head diminished throughout and left some minor splotches of lacing.

Smell: That classic Sierra Nevada aroma. Fresh cut pine is the dominant with a hit of lemon-lime citrus just behind it.

Taste: The same wonderful crisp pine and citrus are present from the smell. Following is a great malt backbone that keeps things from getting too hop centric. This beer is just fantastically balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, very smooth and crisp. There is even a bit of creaminess on the finish.

Drinkability: I could honestly drink 10 of these. I finished an entire bomber over the course of this review and frankly I could go for another. For me this is the epitome of session beer.

Overall there may be better American Pale Ales out there, but I haven't had one. Thanks to Sierra Nevada along with Samuel Adams I never have the fear of not being able to find good beer. You can pick this stuff up at just about any place that sells alcohol. It's a good feeling. (1,405 characters)

Photo of erosier
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one excellent pale ale. A very nice amber pour with an amber colored head. The head has a nice thickness that goes down slowly and sticks to the sides of the glass nice a nice American Pale Ale. The aroma is really nice with a good mesh of hops and malt that prove to make a nice smelling beer. The taste is exceptional! Nice amount of hops that give it a bitter but light flavor. The malt is blended exceptionally with the hops and a nice fruity undetone finishes nice and clean. The aftertaste is beautiful and the carbonation blends the whole beer very well. Very drinkable if you like Pale Ales. Try this beer. Very good. (633 characters)

Photo of Gavage
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a nice light bronze color with a thick head. The aroma is extremely satisfying, huge floral and citrus tones excite the nose. The taste is big - hoppy, sweet, fruity, and smooth. The hops and citrus last long into the aftertaste. This is a perfect example of the ultimate drinkable beer. Continues to be a staple in the refridgerator for me. All american pale ales should try to emulate this. (398 characters)

Photo of donniecuffs
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass. Nice amber/orange color, with a very good carbonation presence, a nice off-white head, and good lacing. The aroma is dominated by pine and citrus from the getgo, but you can also detect some biscuit and malt in there as well. The taste reveals why so few people have been able to duplicate this pale ale's success; citrus and pine hop flavor gives way to maltiness, which then gives way to a dry finish. Nice medium-bodied and carbonated mouthfeel, with a great dry finish. This beer defines 'session pale ale'. (537 characters)

Photo of NickRivers
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the ol' 12oz.

A - Super clear copper color with a 1-finger head and some lacing.

S - Caramel malts, piney hops, grassy.

T&M - Super crisp and well carbonated malty taste followed by a little hop taste. Very smooth, never dry.

D - Speaks for itself.

Before having this I was aware of its reputation and had previously tried the wonderful Spring, Summer and Winter seasonals. Even though I had some expieriance under my belt it still shocked me. Super well balanced, perfect light use of hops and malts, really refreshing. I really wish I had tried this earlier. I gave the appearance and smell a 4.5, I wanted to give it a 4, because theres nothing spectacular about it unlike the taste and what have you. It doesn't matter what it looks or tastes like everything else makes up for it. Go out and buy you a Case. can't wait to try Torpedo. (856 characters)

Photo of taez555
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a creamy white 1/2" inch head with a very clear amber/orange body. A slight yeast/chill haze.

The nose was a beautiful and very inviting even citrus hop/sweet malt nose. The hop dominating a bit.

The taste was a very smooth bitterness, dominated by an up front citrus hop flavor. Did I mention lots of citrus flavor? Classic cascade hop taste. It's almost more an IPA than a basic Pale Ale.
The malts are also very well balanced in this beer. Sweet and smooth. Not as present as the hops, but complimenting them perfectly.
It finishes with a long lingering bitterness that mellows nicely.

Basically this is the beer by which all other American Pale Ales are judged. It's a work of art and holds up no matter how sophisticated you think your beer palate is. (774 characters)

Photo of dfried
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

If I had to choose one beer to drink for the rest of my life, I would flat out go crazy. But if I could put together a short list of them, this would be my first entry. When I want to enjoy a beer on a hot summer day, this is the first that comes to mind. It has been there for me so many times when I am blind drunk at 1:30am at the bar. Its exquisite pale/mildly-hoppy flavor makes for a truly tasty beer that can be enjoyed in one at a time, or many at a time. (463 characters)

Photo of mckeowbc
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is my all time favorite session beer. It has a nice punch of Cascade hops that give it a nice floral bouquet and clean almost grassy taste without being overbearing. The moderate alcohol content and light malt flavor makes this a beer that is easy to drink and doesn't wear on the palate like heavier or hoppier beers. Also this beer pairs well with almost any food, but beef or spicy barbecue seem the most appropriate. (425 characters)

Photo of stuckonhops
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-- deep orange surounded by golden hues...light haziness because i turned the bottle to mix up the yeast on bottom..great sticky lacing..

S--musky dank hops...centenial smells on forefront...grassy, earthy, almost im in a forest in spring..

T--slightly bitter...very balanced carmel flavors..grassy hops...citrusy hops in aftertaste..delish

M--quite smooth...carbonation is tingly...not to sticky..

D-- one of my favs to drink all day...not to high in alcohol either...about to become the new staple in my fridge..

i have had this beer many times before but never reviewed that its been a while since i last had it i figured i'd get to i remember why i used to buy it all the time...time to get more...another great job from sierra nevada...i have never had a bad beer by these guys...all are solid...get some if you never had it.. (875 characters)

Photo of soulgrowl
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Clear orange-amber. Medium bubbles. Off-white beige head with a meringue-like texture. Moderate retention.

Smell: Pronounced butterscotchy diacetyl. Crisp herbal-citric-floral hops. Fresh caramel malts. Orange and white wine notes. Light rosy notes.

Taste: Extremely well-balanced. Fruity notes of white grape and pineapple. Bright citric hops. Very fruity finish. Mild gasoline-like fusel in the background.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and grainy. Clean finish.

Drinkability: Yum. So very good. I've had this beer with many foods and it is quite versatile, but I have never been so pleased as when I matched it with liguini with clams in a simple white wine sauce. (679 characters)

Photo of jwheeler85
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip glass:

A- Had a nice medium amber color with a little bit of head

S- Interesting aroma in the sense that I could really smell the hop bitterness and some floral qualities reminiscent of cascade hops. Not sure if that was the type used, it just really reminded me of smelling cascade hops at the homebrew store. Excellent job of showcasing hop potential.

T- Starts of with some hopiness (go figure), then some mild sweetness from the light malts, and then some hop bitterness as a clean finisher.

M- Medium carbonation with a light mouthfeel

D- This has become one of my favorite summertime beers. Not quite as refreshing as some hefewiezens that I've had, gut it's definitely high on the list of thirst quenchers (gatorade is for pussies!). Probably the best pale ale I've had... and they sell cases of it at Trader Joes! (846 characters)

Photo of Baraka
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Golden color with a solid head. Aroma is weighted heavily towards citrusy west coast hops, although there is a bit of malt balance. Features medium carbonation and an impressive hop bitterness (esp for a pale) that quickly overwhelms any malt present. Crisp and delicious, this is the ultimate session beer.

The quintessential example of an APA, SNPA is simple yet brilliant, and one of the beers that got me into craft beer in general. The perfect pale ale for a hophead as well as a great stepping stone to the world of hoppy beers. (535 characters)

Photo of PerzentRizen
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Juicy hops, fresh flavor, and a great warm weather bite that makes you fall in love with it.

I poured mine into a footed long-stemmed sierra nevada tulip glass. The color is an apple cider color with amazing clarity despite the note on the top of the bottle concerning yeast sediment. This should be served chilled to around 45-55 degrees.

The smell is of fresh juicy hops and light malty alcohol (only an illusion as this beer is only 5.6% ABV.

The taste is fresh, tart and exceedingly good. I really love this pale ale because it has the bite of an IPA and the body of a traditional pale ale. I love the hop character.

The mouthfeel is a light, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. For the style the mouthfeel is very good (I generally like the more substancial beers in mouthfeel so I had to push myself to rate this a 4.0).

This is an exceedingly drinkable beer. In fact I plan on finishing my six pack in the next few hours as I enjoy the afternoon. (963 characters)

Photo of hero27
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Drank this on-tap at Mulligan's in Cedar Falls, Iowa..

Appearance: Looks great in the 16-ounce pint glass. Dark, amber color with a fairly thin head. The thin cap stays the entire time, though..leaving a soft lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell: Definite citrousy hop aroma, which makes it difficult to smell much else. There are some fruity, and even woody undertones.. can pick up some sweet malts as well.

Taste: mmm, very well-balanced and smooth. Would be a superb session beer...for some reason I enjoyed this on tap much more than the large bomber I originally sampled this from. Sort of a lemony-hoppiness to the brew..with some very pleasant smooth malts for a nice, well-rounded taste. Finish is bitter and hoppy, as expected.

Mouthfeel: As creamy & smooth as I've ever seen from a pale ale. Moderate overall mouthfeel but slides down dangerously easy..

Drinkability: Fairly cheap and widely available. A staple of the APA style and one of my favorite beers to have on-tap in the area, since most of them have it. You could drink this all night long if you wanted to...and you'd enjoy it. (1,116 characters)

Photo of jasonjlewis
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Read my first review. Wow how tastes change. I once didn't like ales. This ale is an example of how to make a good pale ale. Great head and retention. Great hoppy smell.

This beer starts off witha nice breadiness, followed by a nice hop bitterness with citrusy undertones. Such a smooth mouthfeel. I could drink this beer all day.

The prototypical pale ale that everyone should have in their fridge. (402 characters)

Photo of michaelgrant1983
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours in good and has a thick head on it. Great smell and even better taste. I didn't know what to expect when I first tried this one, but I'm glad I dove in. It gave me my love of American Pale Ale's. I'm never tired of this brew and it is still one that is on my top 10 list. (287 characters)

Photo of PDXHops
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. See-thru golden orange body with the typical SN long-lasting fluffy head and loads of clumpy lace. (Do these guys make any beer that's not great-looking?)

Smells and tastes like the classic brew that it is. Loads of pine and grapefruit with a dry malt profile that threatens to run away and hide altogether before returning with some light sweetness mid-swallow. A hefty bitterness that really makes this a borderline IPA (and the hoppy superior of many brews labeled as such). Finishes a little juicy, a little sticky, and with a distinct longing for another sip. Great beer. (620 characters)

Photo of joehop67
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of my favorite beers. The bouquet is not overly strong, which is somewhat deceiving. The bright hoppy flavor is what I look for in my beers. I don't get the "piney" flavor that some of the other reviews refer to but nonetheless an excellent example of hop flavor in general.
Readily available, even in pre-free the hops Alabama.
On tap this beer presents a nice head without a long wait for settling. Important when you are really in need of a cold brew! The copper-gold coloring represents this beer well. The flavor, texture, and overall drinkability of this beer makes it the perfect go-to beer for any beer lover. (621 characters)

Photo of BigBarley
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Beautiful light amber color, yellowish orange in the light. Very little foam, still a beautiful beer overall.

S - Light notes of malt Very strong hop presence, slightly citrus, mostly pine. Smells like a balanced beer to me!

T - Bright hoppy front, slight biscuit malts underneath, all around balanced and sweet. Not overly bitter but maintains it's clean, refreshing hop pallet. Tasty start to finish. Full of flavor without being a sip-only.

M - Light syrup feel, active carbonation, very refreshing. Not thick compared to many pale ales, but still more heft than a lager. Nice and smooth.

O - I will drink this beer every day for the rest of my life. Well, not really, but I now know when I want something that is not too heavy or too punchy with flavor, this beer will do the trick. Very tasty, refreshing. (818 characters)

Photo of grynder33
4.54/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is one of the reasons I got into expanding my horizons as far as new brews are concerned. What a treat. Full rich fruit hop aroma, lucious hop heavy fruit taste with a honey accent. Slightly sweet aftertaste lingered in your mouth like the aftermath of a sweet kiss, seductively calling you to indulge again. The blending here is pure art. This beauty will always have a place in my fridge (399 characters)

Photo of Litterbean
4.54/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been drinking this beer for a while, haven't gotten around to reviewing it. Now that I have, I realize why it's one of my favorites.

Pours a amber orange with a nice head that dissipates quickly. Still, a great looking pale ale.

The smell hooks you in. The cascade hops smell citrusy and fruity and inviting. Beneath those is a sweet malty flavor that balances it out, resulting in what I consider the "real beer smell."

Great taste. Sweet, fruity, citrus hop flavor. This is backed up my a warm malt flavor that isn't truly balancing but just enough where the hops don't overwhelm. Still, not bitter and very smooth.

One of my favorites. w00t! (657 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Golden and cloudy with a big white bubbly head. Good head retention with a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: Strong citrus hop scent with pine and a hint of malt.

Taste: Starts with floral and pine hops followed by a hint of grapefruit and breadiness. Overall not very bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation. Very crisp.

Overall: A very tasty ale with a very good balance between sweetness and bitterness. (471 characters)

Photo of BeanBone
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: A clear, brilliant golden orange body with millions of particles suspended within. On top, a bubbly white head that leaves above average lacing.

Aroma: Gloriously bright, citrusy Cascade hops over a sweet malt backbone. Mouthwatering, to say the least.

Taste: Decently bitter Cascades up front, in just the right proportion for a Pale Ale. A solid caramel-biscuity malt base keeps everything in perfect balance. Little hints of booze from time to time. Near perfect proportions.

Mouthfeel: A medium body with moderate carbonation. Very refreshing.

Drinkability: Amazingly quaffable, I could run through a six-pack of this without even realizing it.

Verdict: Simply brilliant and perfectly balanced, there's no wonder why this has become the classic American Pale Ale. Like Anchor Steam, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is one of the great forefathers of the American craft-brew world that still holds up to anything brewed today. (937 characters)

Photo of garymuchow
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Considering how popular and how good this beer is it is surprizing that it's taken me so long to do a review.
I really like the mix of sweet floral and citrus hops with firm and steady malt base.
Tannnish/yellow fizzy but stable head that has good stamina and changes to a creamy look and presents lacing. Amber and clear.
Flavorful hop bitterness of citrus quality start to finish. Just enough malt base to support and lend smoothness to flavor. Fullness from carbonation, but leaves some softness too Ale smoothness that moves to fluffiness as warms.
A classic American beer. (581 characters)

Photo of zachloveshisbeer
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hot damn, now that's an American pale ale! Thanks to my buddy Colin for presenting this awesome beer on a craft beer tasting night at his house. Normally, we cannot get this beer in Alberta, but due to the fact that Vancouver hosted the Olympics in 2010 and Sierra Nevada was a sponsor of their alpine ski team, he was able to pick up a bottle from a liquor store in BC. It poured a nice ruby with immediate hop aroma, but underlying and very pleasant caramel malt. The lacing could not have been better and it just tasted awesome! I immediately understood why Sierra Nevada is considered one of the world's best beer producers and at the forefront of the craft beer movement. If beers like this could catch on to the mainstream, we would never see Budweiser in another bar, unless it was the original Czech pilsner! (816 characters)

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,826 ratings.