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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.

8,997 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,997
Reviews: 2,714
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 150
Gots: 1,039 | 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:
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: 8,997 | Reviews: 2,714 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gford217
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a clear golden amber with a small white fluffy head that dissipates quickly to a ring leaving only a little lacing. The aroma is big on citrus hops with grapefruit up front and a hint of pine in the background. The taste starts with a big citrus hop bite up front before giving way to the malt backbone. There is a little pine bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is fresh and clean with good carbonation but a tad light for my liking. This is certainly one of the best mainstream beers out there and one that I order frequently when there's not a lot else available. Good stuff.

gford217, Aug 25, 2008
Photo of StoutyMcStouters
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

24 oz bottle, poured into a plain round table glass.

Poured with a gorgeous dark golden color and two fingers of head, head retention was good with lacing that stuck around for a while.

Smells very much like flowers, like a garden in a cup.

The flavor it packs was way more than expected, it has an awesome bitter citrus infused taste, really more than I could have asked for with the price I paid. It is hard to describe how natural but redefined it tastes. Bang for the buck is huge with this beer.

Easy to drink with a super smooth mouthfeel to it. I wish the aftertaste was a little less pronounced; The bitter overpowers the good taste of the beer as the flavor fades.

Overall a very solid, tasty beer, wish I had tried this beer sooner. Seems like it would go very well with a nice chicken or fish dinner.

StoutyMcStouters, Oct 18, 2010
Photo of mothman
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have had this beer many times, but I guess I never reviewed it. Well here it goes.

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass.

A slight aggressive pour creating a 2 finger slight off-white head. Leaves some thin splattered lacing. Color is a clear golden orange. You can see perfectly through this beer and the carbonation bubbles had my eyes mesmerized.

Aroma: first thing I thought of was fruity pebbles, but in a good way. Earthy hops. Bready malts. Not to much here, but really good for a pale ale (it has a better aroma then some IPAs).

Taste is hoppy of course. Very balanced with malts though (no types to distinguished for me). Has some citrus notes as well. Great pale ale!

Mouthfeel is bitter at first, but then becomes very enjoyable (not saying that the bitter isn't). Leaves a chewy, hoppy aftertaste.

This beer is definitely a classic and something I will always buy. It is by far one of the better tasting pale ales around. I highly recommend this beer if you haven't tried it yet. Great started beer for getting into hops.

mothman, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of hoppytobehere
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bought a 12 pack of cans for this weekend's camping trip. Having one now though.

Canned August 5th, 2013. Exactly 1 month old.

A: Clear, light copper body. Big soapy head which is characteristic of SN beers.

S: Citrusy American hops, some sweet caramel malt.

T: Follows the nose nicely. Slightly bitter, lots of citrus from the hops and a nice bready malt that lingers around at the end. Great balance.

M: SN always nails this one. Good carbonation. For a pale ale, this is right where it needs to be.

O: Although eclipsed by many other beers, this remains a classic example of a west coast pale ale.

hoppytobehere, Sep 06, 2013
Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

time to review a classic...

A - this ale pours a light brown color, with a thin swiftly dissipating white head, there is moderate carbonation present

S - smells like a classic and typical pale ale, that musty sweet hoppy ale-y aroma

T - great and tasty, but nondescript, which is not a knock, this is a
great ale, a great session beer, especially after a hard day of work. this is the first craft beer i ever had, about 5 years ago, after a hard day of digging at my archaeological site during a summer college course. the last day of every dig season we all brought beer. what a day that was!

M&D - smooth and highly palatable, easy down, a great session beer, a classic, what more can i say?

sinstaineddemon, Sep 05, 2006
Photo of PopeJonPaul
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

OK, I have to admit I have a soft spot for this beer. I grew up about an hour from this brewery and I've been drinking this stuff forever. And I still like it.

The color is a nice amber, with a medium, off-white head that stays for awhile and leaves good lacing down the glass. Light hop smell, bitter, yet offset well by the malts, a smooth citrusy taste that's well balanced and refreshing. Yeah, it doesn't pack a lot of punch, but it's not supposed to. You could certainly argue that "it's not as good as it used to be" but it's still a really good, really drinkable beer, especially since you can find one just about anywhere these days - considering that the 'default tap' at many bars is Budweiser or Coors, thank God.

PopeJonPaul, Sep 16, 2004
Photo of dpodratsky3
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Perfect orange amber, slightly darker than average, capped by awesome clingy, creamy, fluffy, just off-white head, already sticks heavily

S: Fairly mild, malt is easy to pick up, nice breadiness, hops are there, but flavor nut super pronounced, floral and kind of grapefruit hops

T: Starts off wit ha nice bite of resiny and slightly grapefruit hops, have a lot of flavor packed in, but they don't kill you with too much bitter, there is also a nice biscuity malt counterpoint that is semi-sweet at first, the beer finishes bitter, and I wish the malt extended a little bit

M: Not real dry like an IPA, not too bitey either, not thin, almost didn't notice the mouthfeel

D: Good, but could be better, rivals some IPA's

Notes: A very good pale ale, that definitely finds its place under an IPA. It doesn't try to be an IPA like some do. It looks amazing and tastes good. Just a solid beer.

dpodratsky3, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of BierReise
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great summer beer. Nice amber body with decent head and retention. Cascade hops all the way. This is the ale that gave me the ability to detect Cascade hops in beer. I've drank so many it's kind of programmed in my senses. Light enough flavor and body for the hot Summer weather.Perfect session beer as well and one of the most consistent brews I know of.

BierReise, Jul 18, 2003
Photo of Bookseeb
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance has a light orange brown with a thin head that dissapates quickly. Aroma is a light hop and malt. Taste is biscuty with light citrus tones with a good hop bite that leaves a lingering bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is light - medium, a well done beer, but I also wouldn't consider it a session.

Bookseeb, Jun 29, 2007
Photo of billab914
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was surprised to find I haven't ever reviewed this one, so I picked one up the other day specifically for this review. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Ithaca glass. It had a really nice golden amber color to it with a thin but frothy head to it.

The aroma has a nice balance of American hops and pale malts. There is some good citrus notes to it, along with a little pine. The pale, bready malts give it a nice base.

The taste shows off the Cascade hops nicely. It's got notes of grapefruit, lemon zest and a little pine to it. Again the pale, bready malts give it a nice base and provide a good balance.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being moderate. Overall, it's a classic version of the style and probably the benchmark for all other versions. Sure, there are newer beers in the style I like better, but sometimes revisiting a classic is just as enjoyable.

billab914, Jul 13, 2012
Photo of pdeepak
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer that started it all for me. Served into a pint glass at my favorite craft beer bar.

I had a case of this in my fridge at all times for months after I tried it for the first time. Opened my eyes to the joys of drinking pale ales and IPAs. Still me go to at sports bars that are riddled with BMCs

pdeepak, Aug 02, 2011
Photo of hackaxle
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Bottle poured into Pilsner glass. I was upset that I did not receive any head. I got maybe 1/4". Maybe I am not used to pouring bottle conditioned beer?

Appearance: Golden with no head.

Smell: Dry hops and hint of malt.

Taste: I am used to macro-brews so it tastes much stronger to me, but I do like it. Little bite in the after taste with a dry feeling.

Overall: I was left feeling cheated when I poured it with no head. Although it is much stronger tasteing to me, I am beginning to realize what everyone wants in a beer. The beer is of exceptional quality.

hackaxle, Jun 16, 2005
Photo of CrellMoset
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz glass into a pint glass.

Appearance was orangey-copper, with a medium, white head with good retention. Lacing was average in volume and retention, and carbonation was medium. All in all, a very nice beer to look at.

Smell was very intense, with piney hops dominating but not overpowering a sweet malty backbone.

Taste was great, quintessential American pale ale. An initial burst of hops, with a good balance in the middle and a nice, piney aftertaste. No alcohol detected.

Mouthfeel was again decent, working well in concert with the taste - full, without being too full, with the mild carbonation dying down perhaps a little too quickly.

Drinkability is superb - this is a definite go to beer for me, and it's good that perhaps the most easily-available American Pale Ale is such a classic. A good introduction to the style, and a good dinner party beer. Cheers!

CrellMoset, Feb 02, 2008
Photo of BeerDocT
3.94/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance 3.75: Poured out an opaque orangey golden color. Slight head quickly dissipated leaving the typical swirly foam on top. Striking look to this beer.

Smell 3.75: Very nice bouquet. Sharp, alkaline hop scent with a light hit of concentrated citrus. This is a refreshing hop hit, hard to describe. Almost like quinine.

Taste 4.0: Very nice. Front is smooth and slightly sweet. Middle is slightly dry, with deep barley and malt tastes and is velvety smooth. There is also the first hint of hops here. Finish is where the hops really come in, but it is a balanced wave of alkaline hops and features the good hop tastes of citrus and a slight chlorophyll. Aftertaste features a pleasing switch in the hop tastes: it turns to an emphasis on certain resiny, piney taste and a return of the malt, all of which is subdued and refreshing.

Mouthfeel 4.0: Creamy carbonation and general smooth as silky mouthfeel. Nice.

Overall 4.0: Outstanding and a great brew. Smooth and balanced with a little more hoppiness than some may like. I, however, am a hop-head and love it. This beer is slightly sweeter than you might expect from a bottle-conditioned beer, but it makes up for it in its sessionability. I could quaff this bad momma all night. And probably will... . ;) Recommended.

BeerDocT, Jul 15, 2013
Photo of Fitzy01
3.94/5  rDev -2.5%

Fitzy01, Sep 07, 2014
Photo of rkarimi
3.94/5  rDev -2.5%

rkarimi, Jun 12, 2012
Photo of thomda11
3.94/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have had this beer quite a few times, but never reviewed it. The beer pours a copper color with a finger-width head--little to no lacing. It has a distinct piney hop aroma. The taste follows the nose, but with a more prominent malt backbone. This being said, the piney hop taste is featured most prominent. A pleasant resinous hop bitterness, along with a hint of breadiness, lingers on the tongue for a bit. An exceptional example of the style.

thomda11, Jul 06, 2014
Photo of JMScowcroft
3.94/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look - Pours gold and settles dark copper amber in the glass. Heavily carbonated with lots of big bubbles. Clear and filtered with a nice frothy head that dissipates rather quickly and leaves decent lacing.

Smell - Aroma is roasted malts and subtle hop aroma, right in line with what it is supposed to be. Prefer the aroma slightly to DFH 60.

Taste - Roasted malts quite perfectly blended with the slight hop bitter. Nice.

Mouthfeel - Sits dry and super drinkable. Zero booziness. Carbonation level is just right. Light bodied but roasted malts provide some body.

Overall - This is a solid pale ale, probably the most solid of the "mainstream" offerings you can get.

JMScowcroft, Apr 06, 2008
Photo of Stevedore
3.94/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz cans crushed with a few buddies while moving a buddy's stuff out onto his moving truck a week ago, 6/1/2013. I've of course had this plenty of times before, but we finished the rest of the 12-pack today, 6/8/2013.

Aroma: Nice and citrus + earthy hoppiness, not a whole lot else going on besides a little bit of malt sweetness. Thick nose but lighter on the actual aroma. (3.75)

Colour: Poured this out into a glass to assess- pours a light amber body with a nice fluffy 2cm white head that dissipates fairly quickly into a medium-thick film on top of the beer. Lacing isn't too bad. (3.75)

Flavour: It's great- very hoppy and citrusy with some earthiness in there. There's a good presence of malt sweetness in terms of honey although its predominantly hoppy. Very tasty and easy to drink- not a complicated pale ale by any means. I give it points for pretty much inventing the APA style. (4)

Mouthfeel: So easy to drink and refreshing. Beats any of the canned AALs out there- I'll drink it anytime. Crisp, thinner bodied with great carbonation out of the can that finishes refreshingly wet. Aftertaste is hoppy earthiness. (4)

Overall: A classic that still drinks great ouf of the can. If I want to go out to a place where canned beers are the main show, this is one of the first canned beers I'll go to. (4)

Stevedore, Jun 08, 2013
Photo of tigg924
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 1/3 inch head, clear, gold in color, high carbonation

Smell: citrus hops, toasted malt, and honey

Taste: Smell: citrus hops, toasted malt, and honey

Mouthfeel: light bodied, high carbonation, sweet start with a bitter backbone that lingers

Drinkability: An American classic that I could session. A nice and light beer that is perfect for outdoorsy activities.

tigg924, May 16, 2010
Photo of seymourcox
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The driving range and par 3 that I frequent used to have Newcastle in cans. It had been a while and I had since become a hop fan, so when I got back into golf, I was thinking "ok, it's better than ****-light". But oh, what the devil?!? They now have Sierra Nevada in cans! I took it as a good omen. (I think this beer has actually helped me with my fade.)

seymourcox, Jul 30, 2014
Photo of skillerified
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice golden-reddish color. Color fades a little at the edges. Very clean and clear looking. I'm a little surprised by that actually. The label says it's bottle conditioned, so I expected it to be a little hazy. Finger and half head that lasts. Lively carbonation is visible.

Scent is pleasant, not overpowering. Citrusy hops and a little yeast. Could be a little stronger, but not bad at all.

Taste is also very pleasant. A little lemon at the back of the throat with some wheat and grain flavors throughout. Just a hint of hop bitterness at the finish. It's not a ridiculously strong flavor, but it's very enjoyable. Really quite tasty.

Light to medium body on the tongue. Very clean feeling. Goes down quick and easy. Carbonation is light. Feels quite quaffable.

Seems like an infinitely drinkable beer to me. Everything about it is tasty, but there's not too much of anything. It's extremely well-balanced. I almost want to describe it as subtle. It would be an excellent choice with food, as it wouldn't overpower it, but does a decent job of cleaning the palate. If I was drinking just for the sake of drinking, I would want more, but there's nothing wrong with this brew.

**Edit** Had another bottle of this today (1-4-06) and it was hazy with clearly visible yeast that even settled a little at the bottom of the glass. It was more yellow-gold colored too. Very strange. Tasted about the same though.

skillerified, Jan 02, 2006
Photo of carwreCk
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

SNPA smells of citric hops. Taste is pretty hop-forward with citrus and pine. Not much detected from the malts. Bitter on the end. Mouthfeel is medium for the style and ABV, pretty highly carbonated. Drinkability is good. Not too bitter or having any other characteristic(s) that would prevent more consumption.

carwreCk, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of watermelonman
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This came to my table as an brilliant copper orange without much head. The lacing was pretty minor too.

The flavor is decidedly good. There's a fair amount of hops in here; I think they could even label it as an IPA. I think it would be better with a little more balance, and a small reduction in hops.

As much as some like to complain that this stuff is overhyped or too commercialized, this is still very much a good beer.

watermelonman, Mar 21, 2004
Photo of Metalmonk
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

As far as easily-accessible, ubiquitous beers go, this is one of the best. Found in smalltown groceries and dive bars, as well as more upscale establishments, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a great everyday/session beer. Affordable, tasty, accessible.

A good pour results in a soapy head atop a beautiful amber/copper body. Sometimes I just love to look at this one. The smell is unremarkable, only very faint hops present, citrus too faint (considering the orange-y hint in the flavor), but once past the lips this hoppy ale has a satisfying flavor, citrus-y, a pleasing and slightly bitter pinch on the back of the tongue. Refreshing in the mouth (an excellent summer beer) but if it stays too long it gets a bit tart. I drink this as a "daily beer" since lots of my favorite stuff is usually too precious to bust out every single day, which is why I've rated the drinkability high. Never gets old. Considering the local choices, I'll take this over mega-brewery headache-beer anyday. (I have to travel at least an hour to get anything beyond the usual Sierra Nevada/Newcastle choices.)

Metalmonk, Jan 23, 2006
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,997 ratings.