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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.

7,323 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7323
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
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Ratings: 7,323 | Reviews: 2,621 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ThreeWiseMen


2.98/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled this on-tap at the brewery this past Thursday (09-03-2009). For those that don't know, every Thursday is cask night at the brewery. Following review written from notes.

Appearance: Two fingers of dense white head sit atop a hazy caramel body. When held to light, shimmers of yellow-orange appear around the edges. No apparent carbonation. Head retention is shorter than expected - quickly settles as a mere crown. Thick spotty lace.

Smell: Wow, lame. Hops have completely fallen out of this one. I get estery alcohol and toasted malt - that's all. This would hardly cut it as an English bitter. Boring.

Taste: Toasted malt and wood, with mild hoppy flavors in the finish. The bitterness and crispness are gone. The hops still affect the flavor profile and consistency, making the beer mildly piney, citrusy, and oily. Finishes grainy and grassy - a touch sour, a touch bitter.

Mouthfeel: There was actually more carbonation to this cask ale than I expected, which was kinda nice. Malty, chewy, light, and clean. The aftertaste is mild and centered around the barley.

Drinkability: I was pretty let down by this one. I was hoping that this cask conditioned SNPA would showcase the beer's malt profile; and while it did bring the malt side into the spotlight, I feel like this beer's shortcomings were just exposed. I didn't have a problem drinking this, but given my time constraints that night this felt like a waste. Oh well, now I know.

Serving type: cask

09-08-2009 04:57:43 | More by ThreeWiseMen
Photo of DenverHopHead


4.11/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a can with a packaged on date of 2/4/14; into a pint glass.
Appearance - dark gold; swirling carbonation that builds an ice cream sundae-like white head. Lacing is spot on!
Smell - sweet malts and a blend of grass, pine and citrus.
Taste - wonderfully balanced and complex flavors in true SN style!
Feel - about as easy drinking as you get for the style!
Overall - a bit lacking in the aroma department, but that is nitpicking a stud of a beer!

Serving type: can

04-13-2014 01:30:33 | More by DenverHopHead
Photo of NickPiezzo

New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A- a nice 1 inch head with a amber color, looks noisy

S-pretty hoppy, smells like a normal ale

T-one of my more favorite beers I've tried

M- leaves a nice taste on your tounge

O- its a very very good beer especially for one that is available across the county, its pretty loud

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2014 03:36:54 | More by NickPiezzo
Photo of davidsumner


4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Preamble - Pale Ale or IPA ? Hmmmm.... doesn't really matter to me; at the end of the day, it's good no matter how you name it. I prefer this over Torpedo; as Torpedo is a tad too heavy for me. Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale is world class and a mainstay in my beer fridge.

Poor - Good frothy poor leaving a generous two finger head. Decent lacing. The color is a warm amber; carbonation is great and because it's bottle conditioned, there is of course sediment resulting in a slight haze.

Nose - Nice light pine/resin hops with a light sweet malt backbone. Pine,citrus,floral.

Taste - Hop forward; piney, resiny, faint of citrus, biscuit and tea. Just how I like it; I'm a hop head and I prefer heavier hops, lighter malt. All and all, very nice, light quaffable beer.

This is a great sessionable, all times of day beer. It goes with almost any meal, but has enough to be an after dinner Ale as well. One of my goto beers and usually at a great price.

Serving type: can

04-10-2014 17:51:26 | More by davidsumner
Photo of FrozenJoe


4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick fluffy head. Large soapy bubbles in the head. Lots of lacing. The head takes time to go down. The body is cloudy. The color is amber or maybe light orange. Moderate carbonation. Yeast is at the end of the pour. It settles at the bottom of the glass.

Piney hops.

Piney hops. Bitter. Malt body is there but malt flavor is not strong. The yeast bits at the bottom have a bread flavor. IMO there is too much hop flavor with not enough malt flavor to balance it out. Overall still quite good.

Medium bodied. Hop bitterness lingers.

An excellent beer. Cascade hops are shown off. "CAN CONDITIONED". Quality.

Serving type: can

04-08-2014 05:43:58 | More by FrozenJoe
Photo of mevett89


4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: tall frothy head and golden hued.

Aroma: a delicious interplay of hops and malt.

Taste: same as aroma. Citrusy hops with a pleasant bitterness over a bed of malty goodness.

Mouthfeel: crisp with a nice level of carbonation.

Overall: easy to see why this is a classic. It's balanced, drinkable and delicious.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2014 19:20:28 | More by mevett89
Photo of Sam-VW

United Kingdom (England)

4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep dark amber colour, thick white head which clears quickly but the lacing is great

S - Subtle aroma, floral notes and slight hop.

T - spicy floral bite with a smooth malty aftertaste

M - Crisp to begin but smooth at the end with a touch of dryness.

O - Great beer, drinkable all year round and still enjoyable. Definitely one of my old favorites.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2014 14:44:11 | More by Sam-VW
Photo of kristen56


3.84/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The color is a dark, golden bronze-ish brown. It has a very light smell, not over powering at all. There are some fruit notes coming through. The citrus tones are definitely apparent. Definitely can taste the hops, and I'm surprised it doesn't smell a little more hoppy. Still isn't overbearing hop in the taste. It has a very clean finish. Easy to drink, and crisp. Very good!!

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2014 01:53:13 | More by kristen56
Photo of HopBomb515

New Jersey

3.45/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - Deep clear copper color, 2 finger fluffy white head that dissipates pretty quick, nice chunky lacing.

S - Not outstanding. Rather subtle aroma. Has an herbal, spicy, floral nose. Nothing leaping out.

T - Crackers, spicy floral hop bite, and a long bitter finish round this one out. More pepper floral tats lingers after the finish. I remember this beer slightly sweeter, maltier, little citrus and floral notes. It isn't there on this one. The bottle is fresh so I'm not sure, if I revisit and it changes I'll update.

M - Crisp, sharp sting on the tongue from the carbonation and a slightly dry and crisp finish.

O - I remember this being sweeter, more citrusy, floral and better. The bottle is fresh this just didn't grab me like I remember it once did a few months ago. Straight forward pale ale, a solid go to in the right setting, but not something I see myself seeking out over other options.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2014 00:48:24 | More by HopBomb515
Photo of Cory_Brown


4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Having this on tap at bdubs watching March madness! Had this first when I was brand new to craft and didn't like it much. Now that I've made the transition I can see what the rave is about. Appearance is good, dark bronze with an inch of white creamy head. The smell is kind of faint to me, but I do detect some fruitiness and pine hops. Taste is amazing at first with fruitiness up front and then the piney hops come in to counteract. There's a slight malt presence but the hops pretty much dominate the finish. Leaves a lingering bitterness that is at first enjoyable but becomes a little too much after a while.
Overall this is a great beer that I will becoming back to. The keg must have been tapped recently because this is so fresh and the fruitiness is amazing. Don't care for the finish too much but still an awesome beer.

Serving type: on-tap

03-21-2014 17:08:21 | More by Cory_Brown
Photo of eanmcnulty


3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark golden, beautiful white lacing.

Smell: citrus, floral, and fruity. light malt.

Taste: fairly bitter, sweet earthy malt.

Mouthfeel: medium-bodied without being too light.

Overall: This is the beer that started it for me. I don't even know when I had my first SNPA. It must have been in the late 80's. SNPA has become more bitter than I care for these days. I tend toward the pale ales that are highly hopped in flavor and aroma.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 22:42:03 | More by eanmcnulty
Photo of DagenhamDavis

New York

4.16/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle into a tumbler. I really need to work on my glassware situation, but I feel like any glass is better than none. Last one from a 6 pack, enjoyed this beer quite a bit. It's a style I love, and pretty typical for it.

Pours a slightly hazy light amber/dark blonde with less than one finger of creamy off white head. Lacing isn't anything to write home about.
Sniffs Good. Subtle and hoppy, probably cascade. Mouthfeel is pretty light, and drinks smoothly. Would be a good beer in the summer, and is great right now late in the winter too. Tastes well balanced with plenty of hops. If you don't like hops this one is pretty approachable. (People should just drink what they like though.)

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2014 02:08:20 | More by DagenhamDavis
Photo of reebtaerG


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

Poured 12oz bottle into New Belgium globe

A-Appears a finger and half head, which is off white. Golden clear, colored beer.

S-Smells of citrus (grapefruit to be exact) and a bit of hops.

T-Tasted a slight bit fruit and the hops were there but not neutral, not over hopped or under hopped.

M-Mouthfeel has medium carbonation with a nice dry, crisp finish. Well balanced!

O-Overall great pale ale that sets standard.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2014 14:18:54 | More by reebtaerG
Photo of Grugalug

New York

4.11/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours a golden/amber color and is very clear. About 1.5 finger head with very nice lacing and good head retention. Looks like a textbook pale ale, and that's not a bad thing.

S- Dominant aromas are a pleasant piney smell along with citrus, primarily grapefruit. Smells very bright and crisp.

T- Very much reinforces the nose: pine and citrus, although this time the grapefruit overtakes the pine. Hop bitterness balances out the somewhat present sweetness, and it is mostly felt toward the back of the tongue and is mostly felt in the aftertaste. Refreshing and crisp just like the nose.

M- Mouthfeel is relatively light, although definitely not watery. Pleasant amount of carbonation makes it seem lively. Very easy to drink.

O- Just a great American Pale Ale. If you are unfamiliar with the style, you would have a hard time finding a better example to get introduced to it. Just a great beer with a lot to like.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2014 04:14:19 | More by Grugalug
Photo of jjh19


4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Golden yellow.

Smell: Grassy and earthy.

Taste: Nice balance. Crisp hops. Mid-tone malts. Nothing overwhelms anything else. The model of what a Pale Ale should be.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and light body.

Drinkability: A pale ale that aims for and hits the straight-down-the-middle pale ale target. Bullseye. A Classic for a reason.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2014 23:58:15 | More by jjh19
Photo of emmasrue1


4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Love this beer anytime but particularly on a nice warm Summer day. It won't knock your socks off and it sure is refreshing. I like the can so that we can take it on the boat. This beer and Torpedo are two of my top 10 favorites. You can drink more than 2 of these and still feel in control. Nice smooth taste.

Serving type: can

02-22-2014 14:51:12 | More by emmasrue1
Photo of NickT2121


4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - a golden Amber honey color, beautiful color with a lot of bubbles. A fat 1 finger head with good amount of lacing going on.

S - a sweet malty, and citrus flavor. A bit of tangerine in the end. Hops are bursting out I love this Smell.

T - at the beginning I get a sweet citrus and at the end a dry bitter taste with lingering tangerine, the bitterness is just right. Very smooth and complex.

M - just the right amount of carbonation and a light feel on the palate with a smooth bitter end.

O - this beer is very very good i now see why this beer has been around for so long. The flavors work perfectly together and after finishing my beer I had an immediate thirst for another. This is my go to beer now. Great work Sierra Nevada


Serving type: bottle

02-21-2014 02:26:10 | More by NickT2121
Photo of Boca-X


4.16/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 24oz bottle into a shaker. Wonderful white, foamy heady, decent lacing throughout review.. A foggy, golden, honey hue.

Hops, citrus and pine on the nose. Lightly floral.

Smooth on the tongue, perfect carbonation. Slightly sweet up front with hints of honey and citrus. Finishes off with a lightly dry, bitter, hoppy mix of grapefruit and pine. The dry/bitterness doesn't last long and then the honey seems to comes full circle, leaving a very pleasant sweet note behind.

This is a very smooth and refreshing brew. Not complex, just very complete. Nicely balanced and easy to drink. The hoppy finish is quick, cleansing your taste buds and in return beckons for another swallow...and then another...and another. Great everyday pale ale...Salud!

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2014 23:11:55 | More by Boca-X
Photo of TheMirrorOwl


3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Honey golden amber, voluminous white head, lots of lacing. Tons of carbonation visible, dissipates quickly.

Smell: Floral, citrus fruit and sweet malt.

Taste: Moderately bitter grapefruit flavor leads into sweet floral earthy malt. Pine in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Lighter on the medium-bodied scale. The carbonation dissipates quickly, which I like, but that leaves the beer somewhat sticky feeling. Fairly astringent.

Overall: The hop potency is more akin to an American IPA, which is what I'd call this by traditional standards. No denying this is a great brew. There are finer, but for the money, this is a well crafted IPA that doesn't disappoint. A solid go-to for hop heads everywhere.

Serving type: on-tap

02-15-2014 06:51:53 | More by TheMirrorOwl
Photo of JJKBeerLvr


3.96/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Bright amber, with nice thick and light colored head. The head lasted a very long time, and left a nice coating on the inside of the glass.

Smell: Pleasant, with a nice hops bitterness in the aroma. There is some sweet aromas, but the hops definitely dominate.

Taste: A nice mix of hops and malt flavors, that make for an interesting and complex Pale Ale. There is a nice after-taste, and the hops flavor lasts for a while but not too long.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and crisp, with a medium body.

Overall: I was interested in trying this classic after hearing so much about it. This is an interesting and complex Pale Ale that I would like to drink again.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2014 16:33:02 | More by JJKBeerLvr
Photo of fitzy84


4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought a six pack at a local store. Beer poured with an orange-gold appearance with a fluffy head that dissipated with a creamy lacing on the sides. A very rich aroma of spicy malts and and orange citrus gave me a good punch. Very tasty; citrus mixed with a caramel, bready flavoring and a malty aftertaste. Crisp carbonation with a subtle creaminess; really helps to make the drink refreshing and makes you want to go back for more. Overall, a fantastic pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2014 00:51:24 | More by fitzy84
Photo of theteleman


5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A classic for a reason. Poured into a pint glass from a six pack purchased at PW Mart in Poway CA. Smells spicy, hoppy, with some citrus. Pours a honey yellow with a big white fluffy head. Tastes delicious. Remarkabely smooth and refreshing with a hoppy bite to it. This is one of my favorite beers ever. It can be enjoyed straight out of the bottle. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2014 03:08:53 | More by theteleman
Photo of DenisKolkin

Ontario (Canada)

4.11/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Got this in a trade from a friend of mine. Served chille dinto a pint glass.

Appearance- Hazy, orangy copper color, with 1.5 fingers of white head receding down to a half finger or so which is maintained for a good while. Decent level of carbonation seems to be present in the beer. Probably one of the orangest beers I've tried. Some nice lines of lacing left around the glass.

Smell - Nice blend between some sweet maltiness and good hop bite as well.Sort of reminiscent of tropical fruits namely some mango aroma blended in with the burn sugar or molasses malt and the citrusy hops.

Taste - Like the nose but subtle and a little milder than I expected, the malts work well with the tropical fruit nature of this beer. There's a trace element of leather hiding in the background towards the end of the sip which is interesting and works well here. Full flavored for the style, but was hoping for a bit more hop presence.

Mouthfeel - Smooth and velvety, with little distinguishable carbonation. A little soft in the mouth but does have great quaffability that could easily make this a great daily drinker If I had more access to it.

Overall - A great beer, that lived up to the hype I had built up in mind. Deliciously drinkable and just a great pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2014 04:24:16 | More by DenisKolkin
Photo of Emnmarko


3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Has the color of golden honey. This is quite a clear brew. Active carbonation delivers a heaping 2+ finger head but it dissipates quickly leaving a nice halo with abundant lacing.

S- Light roasted malts along with a sweet citrus aroma.

T- Up first is a pleasant malt base with spice. Following this is a mild hop bitterness that transitions smoothly. Finally a light peppery aftertaste comes through and finishes this ale off nicely.

M- Medium bodied with a slight tickle from the carbonation. Leaves a mild buttery feeling. Dry finish.

O- This is a fine example of a pale ale. Personally I prefer a brew with an emphasis on the hop bitterness, but this beer is balanced nicely. Very easy to drink, and I will be enjoying this addition to Sierra Nevada again.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2014 23:52:45 | More by Emnmarko
Photo of Chiefy770


4.11/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 12 fl oz brown bottle into a pint glass. Bottled on October 10th, 2013.

Appearance: Slightly hazy orange-gold body. Tall fluffy white head collapses and leaves a good amount of lace throughout.

Smell: Grains, bread, and citrus up front. Notes of spice break out in the hops.

Taste: The hops hit first; orange and grapefruit. The malts break things up very well. Bread and grains dominate the malts. This beer really finds its 'zen' when it hits optimum balance. The hops are tamed but not overridden by the malts. The hops return in the finish, straight citrus in flavor. Overall it is very smooth, goes down well, and has a semi-dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Moderate carbonation, somewhat flat for my liking.

Overall: This one is commonly referred to as a "classic" and I would definitely have to agree.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2014 23:30:25 | More by Chiefy770
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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 7,323 ratings.