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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

2,920 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: 2,920 | Ratings: 10,810
Photo of Lahoi
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite possibly my favorite beer. It's at least a contender. Smooth, yet bold. Citrusy, floral, grainy, but nothing overbearing regarding any of the above. Nice head, good lacing. I could drink this beer on a brutally hot summer day, a bitterly cold winter day, and anything in between.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up a six pack at my nearest gas station. The packaged on date states it was packed two months ago. Poured right from the fridge into my Red Eye pint glass.

L: Pours a clear medium-amber with about two inches of eggshell head that sticks around for a bit and leaves nice lacing on the glass. Healthy visible carbonation, along with just a bit of particulate floating around.

S: Caramel malts and a touch of pine hop presence in the nose, but these are quite subdued. Perhaps just a suggestion of diacetyl buttery notes, as well.

T: Cracker malt flavor at the front, with just a touch of sweetness. A bit of a bright peppery quality there, too. The middle introduces some pine hop notes, along with just a bit of citrus zest, though they aren't what I would call assertive. I'm picking up just a hint of diacetyl butterscotch in the mix here. The back end is where the hops kick in--they're much more assertive as bittering agents. The back retains the cracker malt flavor, but there's a good deal of resinous hop bitterness at the back.

F: On the lighter side of medium-bodied. This one is bright, smooth, and bitter in turns. Very nice level of carbonation.

O: It's been a good long while since I've picked up a pack of SN Pale Ale. This seems to be--in the estimation of many of my fellow BAs--the benchmark for American pale ales. While I still enjoy this beer's flavor and drinkability, I have to say this it wasn't nearly as good as I remembered it being. Now, this could be attributable to a bad bottle or my developing tastes, but I don't think this one has ever delivered the kind of bright and assertive hop flavors that I enjoy in this style. It's a very good beer, don't get me wrong. But when I hold this one up to some of my other favorite APAs (New Glarus Moon Man is one that immediately comes to mind) SNPA falls a bit short.

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Photo of kitch
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A 12 fl oz bottle with a packaged date of 17th March 2015 and poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: The beer poured an extremely clear copper colour with a two finger slightly off-white head that dissipates fairly quickly leaving some stringy lacing.

Aroma: Mainly a piney smell along with some citrus lemon and grapefruit. Some bready malts also come through.

Taste: Pine hop taste along with some bread, biscuit and caramel malt. There’s also a hint of orange and some bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall: I’d drink this pale ale again, but I do prefer my pale ales with a slightly less pine, and more tropical fruit flavours instead.

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Photo of LampertLand
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada 'Pale Ale' @ 5.6% , served from a 6pack of 355 ml bottle's purchased for $14
A-pour is gold from the bottle to a clear golden amber in the glass with a medium size white head leaving a streaky lace along the pint
S-pine & citrus whole cone Cascade hops
T-crisp & clean tasting pale ale , very mild swallow
MF-ok lots of carbonation , good medium body
Ov-good beer , has a certain wow factor
prost LampertLand

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Photo of DrunkNFool
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I have been drinking this for ages now; since back when APA was the standard - not IPA. For me, this is THE benchmark to measure all other APA's. However, I recently picked up a 12-pack in the can variety and I must say that I am somewhat disappointed. The given scores are for the bottle variety; however, taste needs to include an asterisk for the canned variety. Everything looked good going in but it all fell apart at the taste; there is some off bitter taste - almost tinny. The taste shift drops the score by 1 point which makes it still a very good beer over-all. However, I recommend that you stick to the bottle - don't even try the can - unless you really need the convenience of a can - like "no glass allowed."

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Photo of OKbrew89
3.94/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark golden color with a good head that left lacing halfway down the way down the glass. Like many SN beers, the hop aroma was strong and dominated the smell. Balanced body of toasted malts and barely bitter, piney hops with a really smooth and easy finish. Medium body with medium carbonation and no boozy aftertaste.
Very well done beer that is widely distributed and hasn't been watered down for national circulation. Good hop profile without being too bitter or crossing into IPA territory. Good example of the style.

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

June 13, 2015

12 oz bottle, pint glass

A – Light amber and orange. Brilliant white foam collar, an inch or so with moderate retention. Mostly clear.

S – Orange marmalade and light pine. Perhaps some pomegranate? Light biscuit and bready malt.

T – Orange and light grapefruit. Crackery-grainy, biscuit malt. Moderate hop bitterness.

M – Moderate carbonation and fairly dry. Some juiciness up front. Medium-bodied.

O – The example against which all others are judged, this is notable now for being so restrained and yet still flavorful, complex, and interesting.

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Photo of MemphisSooner
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the perfect session Pale Ale. Every other beer in this style should be judged against this beer. It is the standard of what a pale ale in America should be.

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Photo of cuksumstu
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I drank this out of the bottle, but the taste and feel were top notch. For a pale ale, it was certainly stronger, with a little more bitterness, spiciness, and well hopped with the yeast still there.

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Photo of ThomasMetal75
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

*Review sample was from 6/5/15*

A-Very sediment rich and unfiltered. Dark golden and copper in color. Has a nice 2 to 3 finger head that died somewhat, but never fully went away. Head itself was a tad rocky. Very carbonated. Looks great!

S- Very citusy and piney in the hops. Has a leathery note and a bit of dank, hop, resin. It's balanced by a nice, malty backbone. Sweet, caramel malts are present. Touch of breadiness as well.

T- Same as the taste. The hoppy notes are really the first thing that hits you in this beer. But for 38 IBUs, I think this beer is pretty hoppy without going overboard at all. It's certainly not an IPA, but it closely resembles one. Again, hops are citrusy and piney with a touch of leather. It's got a slight resinous/hop oily taste. Immediately after the hop profile, you notice this beer also has a very well balanced malty note. The malts are caramel and toffee in nature. Bready/biscuty as well. The beer leans slightly more on the hoppy than malty side, but I think the flavor profile is very well balanced in general. Great stuff!

F- This is a straight up medium bodied beer. It still retains the light oily, hoppy slickness that keeps the beer's profile very enjoyable. The finish is malty and sweet before it dries somewhat. The beer is crisp, clean, and very refreshing.

-Overall, this beer is a home-run. It's no secret why it has been around since the early 80's. It's not an overly complex beer, but it's not so light that it's dull. Hop heads should use this as a true "session IPA" (even if it's at 5.6% ABV). It would go fantastically with some buffalo wings, fish, or virtually anything on the grill. And it's not an expensive beer at all. If you never had this, get up and get it now!

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Photo of Nickholland
4.21/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A great "go to" pale with balanced hops and a good amount of flavor without being overdone. Great to savor but could also be session-able. My first exposure to what good craft beer can be. One of my all-time favorites.

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Photo of Beerma
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I do not know why it took me so long to try this! I totally am enjoying all their beers! I am a fan for sure now. It was light and smooth yet had some flavor. REFRESHING!

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Photo of DCP
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Much better from a bottle than a keg on my palate.
My fishing companion.
Great heavy end all day beer.
I don't really order it on tap though.
It's less bitter and usually less fresh for me due to less hop and about the same body, maybe something else.
I've heard there are different recipes used for the bottles and kegs.
So I'm rating from the one I like better.

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Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz can into a pint glass

LOOK: Clear dark reddish brown with about a finger of off white head that leaves sheets of lacing.

SMELL: Grapefruit pulp, pine needles, and sweet bready malt.

TASTE: Grapefruit pulp and pine cone hops balanced against a thick caramel malt backbone. Well-balanced. Equal parts bitter and sweet. Finishes dry and slightly sticky.

FEEL: Medium-bodied, slightly sticky, with moderate carbonation.

OVERALL: For what it is, this has stood the test of time. One of the best beers available almost everywhere nationwide. An old reliable classic, and a great introduction to the world of craft beer.

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Photo of Burnthedevice
4.14/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

One of the best smelling beers I've ever had. Hop presence is good, and blends well with a very restrained fresh tasting sweetness. I get some apple, pear, a little peach and some citrus in the flavor, but again, any sweet, fruit-like flavors are not overpowering, and blend in very well with the overall flavor profile. Respectable and satisfying hop presence. The nice yeasty twang on the back end adds to the overall positive drinking experience. The keyword for..as well as the achievement of this beer..is balance. Body-wise , it is on the lighter side, which in my opinion lends itself more to warm weather drinking. I'm liking this beer more with each passing try. **UPDATE TO ORIGINAL REVIEW**: This has become my go-to for the summer of 2015 up here in Maine. Don't know how it will hold up in the colder months, but for now, it's perfect. Great brew that hits on all cylinders, and also a great introduction to craft brews, in my opinion, because it's not hard to appreciate.. It's just damn good!

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Photo of CNoj012
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours a transparent golden orange with a dense 2 finger light khaki head. Retention is excellent and there is lots of spotted lacing. Smell is subtle hops. Floral, pine and a light hint of citrus with a slight bready malt backbone. Taste is the same with just a bit of hop spiciness and very mild bitterness. Feel is light and crisp. So drinkable. Overall a great beer, one of the classics. Defines the American Pale Ale style for me.

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Photo of olivialim
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Bought it from Bevmo, Poured from a 12 oz. bottle

A: Bright golden color, clear, and decent lacing

S: Citrus, Floral, and Grapefruit.

T: Piney, Spicy, and Citrus

M:Medium light body, Crispness, and refreshing

O: This is my favorite beers out of sixty five beers. I am glad that I finally found it. Also, I can hang out with my friends by drinking Sierra Nevada Pale Ale during summer vacation. It is a good pair with salads!!

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle enjoyed at my parents house, great bbq beer.
Golden amber color, moderate citrus hops with a bready caramel maltiness to back it up. Great brew, and I'm a bit surprised I haven't rated this before.

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Photo of Cannibalgasm
3.87/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

A: Pours a hazy amber with an off-white head. Head dissipates and leaves a fair amount of lacing.

S: Toasted bread, caramel malts, citrus, grapefruit, and piney hops.

T: Sweet malts, caramel, cracker, lemony citrus, orange, and some hops on the end providing just enough bitterness on the finish.

M: Medium bodied and creamy. The hops provide a subtle spiciness that makes it go down very easy.

O: One of the truest examples of a solid APA. It's subtle sweetness melded with the spicy hop bitterness make it a all around solid brew.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, PKGD 03/17/15. I've had this dozens of times & I was shocked to see that I had never reviewed it!
A - amber colored ale with a creamy ivory head that slowly fades to a foam
S - caramel malt with pine and grapefruity citrus, faint fruit and yeast
T - well balanced with caramel, bready malt, pine, grapefruit, and yeast
M - creamy but resinous on the piny & spicy hop finish
O - classic American Pale Ale. I drink this often and love it every time!

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Photo of Kendo
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

OK, so I've reviewed - full, written reviews - over 1250 beers and somehow never got around to reviewing the classic SNPA. Can't figure out how that ever happened, but recently I picked up a 12-pack for my father-in-law, so I know this beer is (pretty) fresh, so I'm finally sitting down to review it.

A: Poured into a pint glass - hey, a ubiquitous craft beer deserves a ubiquitous glass, amirite? The body is coppery amber in color with a 1-finger slightly-off-white foamy head on top, which is reinforced by plenty of fine bubbles. It's a nice look, and it leaves behind plenty of lacing.

S: Classic APA, with nice malt foundation of toasted bread, which is then followed up with a mild hoppiness of faint citrus.

T: I've been drinking this beer for at least 20 years now, and of course my initial impression way back when was over how hoppy it was. Now, with hundreds of IPAs under my belt, I'm surprised at how malty this beer is when compared to my recollection and my more-recent exposure to hopped-up American IPAs. It more or less follows the nose, with some sweet malt setting the table along with toasted bread. The hops follow, providing a modest lemony, citrusy flavor that balances the malt to leave a lingering lemony taste on the palate into the aftertaste.

M: Nice and creamy - more so than I remember. Call it medium in heft, carbonation is fine-bubbled and feels nice on the palate.

O: The quintessential American Pale Ale. My wife was drinking one of these the night we met - in 1994 - making it readily apparent that she had (and has) good taste.

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Photo of kevinlater
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

welcome to ontario SNPA! 355ml bottle into nonic pint glass. bottled march 25, 2015. consumed on may 14, 2015

a: clear light amber with a finger of off-white head

s: biscuity malt up front followed by piney, floral, and grapefruity hop characteristics. hints of hoppy spices and oranges. extremely pleasant

t: a piney floral presence at first, but quickly leads into big biscuity malt flavours with subdued grapefruit, lemon, and orange notes, as well as touches of spice coming from the hops. moderate bitterness at the end

m: medium-minus body, with moderate carbonation. excellent

o: a modest but delicious, solid, and enjoyable ale

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Photo of BayernMunchen3113
4.62/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Very tasty pale ale - Would recommend for summertime grilling and BBQ. Extremely enjoyable when super cold. My favorite beer hands down. Love this offering!

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Photo of Vinegarroon
3.4/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

The pale ale I grew up with. It always reminds me of Mom.
This is a classic to me. It is the benchmark of American Pale Ales. It's not outstanding compared to some of it's successors, but over the past 30-some years it remains good. A pioneer of the American microbrew. If you've never had one, this is where the magic began. Have one just to pay homage to our microbrew forebarers.

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Photo of gutbucket2
3.82/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

350ml. Pours amber/gold, with thick diminishing head. Fruit on the nose. Taste: fruit, a little caramel. Mouthfeel: tingly with gentle lingering hop. Overall: one of the best bottle-conditioned pale ales. Good quality control at brewery ensures consistency between batches.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,920 ratings.