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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

9,339 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,339
Reviews: 2,734
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 161
Gots: 1,188 | FT: 3
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
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Ratings: 9,339 | Reviews: 2,734 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of niknar
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a amber/copper color with a pretty decent off-white head. Strong lacing down the side of the glass, and much better than average head retention put this beer among the top. Smell is a category I always struggle with. Having said that, I do detect some hops and citrus notes... possibly some malt in there as well. Overall a pleasant smell. Taste is well above average. Strong hop bitterness balanced by a sweet maltiness and some citrus flavors. Though not overly complex, I feel this is still a very delicate balance that makes it a very good beer. True to the style, it finishes with strong hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is excellent as well. Light and crisp without being over carbonated or too thin. I consider this a very strong offering worthy of a special occasion or everyday consumption alike. Definitely a beer that any craft beer lover should try. Maybe a good beer for someone who was recently converted from macros, but I wouldn't make this one part of such a program too early due to the bitterness!

niknar, Jul 31, 2004
Photo of BranfordBound
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper with an almost two finger white head that recedes to a covering. Pretty good carbonation with decent lacing.

The smell is interesting, I'm hit with a caramel sweetness at first, which gives way to the typical hoppy smell - bitter and floral with citrus.

The taste is similiar to the smell, but the sweetness is missing. The rest of the taste is typical IPA - bitter at the end and hoppy and citrusy at the front. The beer isn't overly bitter, though, pretty decent for the style.

The mouthfeel is light and refreshing, the bitterness clings a little bit, though.

Drinkability is fairly decent, IPA is probably my least liked beer style (Gasp!), however, the not-overly bitter nature of SN Pale Alr made it fairly drinkable for me, especially in these hot summer days. This is a staple of the IPA style, nothing bland, but nothing over the top. I most likely won't buy it again (Due to my style preferences) but I won't turn one down.

BranfordBound, Jun 10, 2010
Photo of bradleyp
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

6 pack for $6.99 at the local gas station. A golden amber color with a thick foamy head. smells of hops and some citrus. Very nice lacing throughout the glass. aste is very complex with some bittering, but not extremly hoppy. You don't realize how strong this beer is until you've had 2-3. I've been drinking this beer for years, but finally decided to review it. SN Pale Ale is usually the go to beer when I go to said gas station. The only other good beer they offer is Bridgeport Hop Czar.

bradleyp, Sep 07, 2010
Photo of joemcgrath27
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - crystal clear copper golden, solid off white head retained very well with a steady stream of bubbles from the bottom, traces of random lacing
S - generally mild odours of herbs, grass, pineapple, and grains
T - crisp pilsner like hop freshness, herbal and grassy with some metallic, light bready malt, with a peppery finish
M - medium to light body with great carbonation, juicy through the middle and moving to a medium dry finish
O - a very tasty and sessionable pale, but I do have to say that the Torpedo blows this out of the water

joemcgrath27, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of psyco1
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I guess I'm more of a porter and brown ale guy, so this can be taken with a grain of salt.

It looks like a pale ale should, there's some yeast on the bottom of the bottle and the head stays for a bit.

The smell is hoppy, somewhat floral and citrusy.

Taste, that's where I just don't get along with this one all that well. I'd rather have a bit more malt presence, it's just too hoppy and bitter for me.

Drinkability, if I had to choose between this and a macro, I'd take this. But, if there was a SN Porter to be had, I'd be all over it.

edit on 10-3-04

I've raised my review score, since I've either started loving the hop, my tastes have changed or the fact that this is one of the few decent beers you can get around here on a night out and I've become more accoustomed to it.

psyco1, Apr 17, 2004
Photo of quikfish13
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have drank these for many years and have now just gotten around to actually reviewing one. So lets begin.

A: Poured a clear dull orange color with an off white head. A perfect pour lead to a very nice and not too foamy head.

S: Not much in the ways of smell, a few hoppy citrusy notes but nothing to brag about.

T: A nice orange and malty taste. The almost bread like quality comes through in the middle followed with lemon like bitterness aftertaste.

M:Nice and smooth. Definitely good enough to keep you drinking.

D: A very nice beer and something you could start someone down the path to good beer with. Not all that expensive either. Me however, I would rather be drinking Great Lakes burning river if I'm looking for a well priced pale ale.

quikfish13, Jul 21, 2007
Photo of LacquerHead
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into a Sam Adams pint glass.

It pours a nice amber color with a very slight haze. The brew produces a white foamy head that never dissipated. (The foam clung to the sides of the glass very nicely.)

The hops was the first thing I detected along with a slight citrus along with grain.

The taste was very smooth and the bitterness of the hops was not overly aggressive. There was a slight citrus, but for me straw and grain came through the most. The overall flavor reminded me of autumn. This was easy to drink.

This is the beer I would recommend to anyone who wanted to try a pale ale for the first time. The hops is a little mild for my taste, however, the smoothness and quality keeps me going back. This is just a well put together beer.

LacquerHead, Jul 12, 2010
Photo of oxmasterscream
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a light amber, clear color with a continuous stream of bubbles, seemingly feeding a tiny, creamy, white head. Nose is citrus and cascase with a sour, grainy thing happening. Taste is citrus up front, tangy and slightly fruity in the middle, bitter and dry for the finish... very balanced. Mouthfeel is very carbonated and medium to light. Great stuff from a big producer. The classic American Pale Ale.

oxmasterscream, Sep 05, 2004
Photo of MmmIPA
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My last of the "Sierra Nevadathon" Ive had this beer plenty of times but never reviewed it.

Orangish body with a thick pillowly white head.Nice lacing is left after the head falls down.It looks like more of a IPA then a APA.Small mosels of carbonation.

Cascade smell (very fruity and citrusy)

Bittering taste then some malt.Piney hops with some dank hop taste in the aftertaste.Bready like malts and some tea like hops also.

Mouthfeel is good and easy going.I like it,its the easiest out of the SN familly.

I can remember buying a case of this stuff a year and some change ago and being very overwhelmed by the bitterness.Now it is a shadow of its self in my eyes.See what time does?This is a beer that I would drink if there wasnt any other type of craft beer there.Not because it sucks but just because its not moving me anymore.There are plenty of hoppier beers out there that overpower this.I dont know how to say that without dogging the beer.

MmmIPA, Sep 23, 2007
Photo of dd43
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%

dd43, Oct 19, 2014
Photo of scottyshades
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Whenever I find myself in a place that does not have a selection up to par, Sierra Nevada is always a safe bet
A: Pours a beautiful cloudy golden color with a small head and lace
S: Interesting smells that include notes of hops, some citrus, some malts, and others that I cannot put my finger on
T: Interesting taste that includes citrus, hops and more
MF: very refreshing, clean, slightly bitter, and smooth
D: Highly drinkable, one of my favorites, but it gets too intense after a few

I recommend this beer

scottyshades, Oct 23, 2007
Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear dark golden yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense off white head that died down and consistently left a thin film covering the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderate aromas of citrusy hops in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the hops stand out in the overall taste, but these contribute a light to moderate amount of bitterness that is kept in check by the underlying malts, which also contribute some hints of toasted malt flavors.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and somewhat crisp with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very easy to drink, refreshing and is quite sessionable. I would have no problem drinking more than one of these at a time.

metter98, May 27, 2011
Photo of hopwave
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first review might as well be the forever classic SNPA.

Always on-tap @ The Conway Muse.

A: Translucent Yellow/Orange. Small white head.

S: Good, Floral/Piney Hops.

T: Crisp, Clean, Bitter, Perfect.

O: Very Good. This Pale can be found at any grocery store/gas station.

hopwave, Jan 26, 2012
Photo of fx20736
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Coppery amber, lazy carbonation with a khaki 2 finger head that leaves plumes of lacing.

Aroma: Restrained Grapefruit & pine resin

mouthfeel: slightly flat but fairly acceptable.

taste: broad field of crackery malt plowed by a balanced mixture of citrus and piney hops. Beer finishes dry and refreshing.

Notes: So many American Pale Ales aim for this. Sierra Nevada gets there. Well balanced, enough malt to anchor the hops, enough hops to refresh and delight. Like the other Sierra Nevada beers I have tried this one says quality.

fx20736, Aug 31, 2011
Photo of PartyHatjo
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy, amber color (due to the yeast used in the natural carbonation). The color "seeps" a bit into the plentiful head, giving it a not quite white color. The hoppiness is present in the nose, and the taste. I originally didn't like this beer, but after drinking it nearly everyday when I was California, it turned me into a hophead. The bitter-sweet balance is nearly perfect here. I can easily drink a six-pack of this, although the flavor can get harsh towards the end.

PartyHatjo, Feb 05, 2004
Photo of goatherder
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Golden in colour, great clarity for a bottle conditioned beer and an ample white head. Big hop aroma up front, tangerines and rockmelons with the malt peeking through as the beer warmed up. A firm hop slap up front with all the fruitiness of the aroma which gives way to a wonderfully round, bready malt flavour. The bitterness is well balanced and gives a crisp end to the maltiness. The mouthfeel is middle to thin with the carbonation just a bit high for my liking. This combines with the relatively high abv to inhibit the drinkability for me. This beer comes with quite a reputation and I'm happy to say it lives up to it. A great example of an APA, able to showcase the hops whilst allowing the malt to shine through too.

goatherder, Aug 01, 2008
Photo of Murchmac
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this beer a million times and can't believe i've never reviewed it. The beer that launched a thousand vessels...

A nice frothy geyser of white funk spunk mushrooms over the pint glass with thick white foam racing down the side of the glass. Ahhh refreshing. Look around, this is not brown, it's a hazy shade of copper orange.

Not much of a smell out the bottle, but on tap I know it's more pungent. Some floral hops but much. Smells are good, but taste is better.

Nice clean and in this bottle creamy combines with a great citrus hop taste. Sweet malts and hops coati your oral cavity. This is not yuk mouth, even though I don't brush.

Great beer, no wonder Jugs magazine voted this Pale Ale of the year.

Murchmac, Jun 10, 2009
Photo of mntlover
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pale ale which others are judged by, or so it seems. Nice golden beer with a touch of amber. White foamy head eventually dies to a wring of white bubbles following there way down the glass. Aroma is of hops citrus and flowery with hint of malt. Taste is crisp light hops with light malt coming threw. Mouthfeel is light as it should be great beer for killing thirst after hot day at work. Very drinkable and avaliability everywhere makes it a good choice over the usual macro swill.

mntlover, Dec 31, 2003
Photo of jwff
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice looking beer.. for a pale this as close as it gets. This has very citric hops and some warm/dry malts in the smell. Taste is extremely close to the smell, but with a stickier body. Mouthfeel has the right amount of carbonation with hop/malt balance. I remember this was one of the first craft beers I had and I likened the hop taste to something like mosquito repellent. I'm glad some things change.

jwff, May 18, 2006
Photo of DrDemento456
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can you believe after 1400 beers I haven't had this one yet? Facepalm!

A - A nice hard pour scored me a 1/2 inch of sticky white head. Lacing is pretty nice. Color is a bright orange yellow tint.

S - Nothing offensive good amount of citrus hops twang with a decent pale malt profile.

T - Well I could see why Daisy Cutter is the new edge pale this one is somewhat boring with mild piney hops (they do stick to the palate for quite a bit) then malts.

M - Goes down easy enough. It's more drinkable than Daisy cutter with more ABV. Plus hella cheaper.

Overall I was going to bash the guy below for giving this a lower score but it's kind of true. It's a beginner IPA that plays off like a pale ale. Damn tasty regardless.

DrDemento456, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of REAL_Harrison
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%

REAL_Harrison, Sep 10, 2014
Photo of velosuds
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date, but coded printing on label.

A-Pours a golden amber with a one finger, off-white head with average retention and modest lacing.

S-Piney and citrusy hops.

T-Too bitter for an APA, but the malt presence became more noticeable as it warmed.

M-Very smooth but not quite enough malt presence.

D-A good APA, somewhat overrated in my opinion. Very easy drinking. Definitely improves as it warms, but I like to drink APAs cold and in large gulps to quench thirst on a hot summer day. Doesn't quite do it for me.

velosuds, Aug 09, 2009
Photo of JohnnyJam
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Well I've been drinking this one for a while but haven't reviewed it yet. The beer from a bottle is better. Perhaps it doesn't make sense; I've taken some time and I have come to the conclusion that the can is not as good. It is a staple in my beer refrigerator. Always a great price.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle with a date code (my beer is four moths old) into a pint glass and I get one finger of head.

A: Pours a golden amber color with one finger of head that dissipates quickly to almost nothing but a ring around the glass on top. Little to no lacing.

S: Biscuit smell upfront that is sweet and malty and is followed by floral citrusy smell. There is really nothing that smells like pine or a resin pine smell. Very pleasing and balanced between the malt and the hop.

T: Caramel malt and hop bitterness that are not complex but completely balanced. It finishes slightly bitter.

M: This beer goes down good. It is slightly lighter than medium bodied with medium carbonation. It leaves my mouth slightly dry.

O: This is an outstanding beer. It's always available and I always have it in my refrigerator. It is very drinkable: smooth, balanced, and refreshing.

JohnnyJam, Aug 30, 2013
Photo of rjplumer
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A very nice ale that compares to Anchors Liberty Ale. Not over powering but goes down nice and smooth. Has a soft smooth amber color and a slightly spicy taste. A nice ale that goes down nice. Has a nice amber color with an average head. I like this one very much.

rjplumer, Nov 22, 2010
Photo of DanL133
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1st ever review.
Poured from a undated 24 oz bottle into pint glass.

Color is bright honey with a slight bit of haze. Nice white cap the dissipates but remains present & good lacing down the glass.
Smells like beer - Nothing overpowering. The taste is clean and balanced with Med to higher carbonation and good mouth-feel with a bit of a bitter hop lingering. This beer is easy to find and a solid option for any occasion. I will continue buy and enjoy this offering as you can't go wrong with this one!

DanL133, Feb 03, 2012
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 9,339 ratings.