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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.

7,347 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7347
Reviews: 2624
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
Ratings: 7,347 | Reviews: 2,624 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of mscudder


4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not quite sure how I have avoiding reviewing this guy, for I have probably had more bottles of this than any other beer on the planet. Into a pint, here we go!

A - Fairly transparent copper hue with a large, off-white head. Retention and lacing are both impressive.

S - Caramel sweetness, citrus hops with a light skunkiness.

T - Caramel malts, grain, pine, light spice, fair bitterness with a melodic finish. Many pale ales have a strong affection with one attribute; this guy has balance.

M - Light-medium body with moderate carbonation.

O - Highly drinkable, remarkably accessible and affordable. Combine this with consistent taste and quality balance and you have my go-to beer whenever I get in a tight spot requiring a stop at a grocery/non-craft beer shop. An amazing gateway beer for those trying to move into the craft world and one I have yet to hear anyone refute. This all said, it is not the best APA (nor is it a top 5 APA), although the sum of its attributes makes this a hell a brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2013 02:48:28 | More by mscudder
Photo of tmzl


4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Look: Pours with a average size, frothy white (with a light orange hue) head. Slow retention, mostly lasting in a thin thick layer. Golden orange hue, perfectly clear. Quite some carbonation for an ale. Leaves a good amount of lacing. Looking good.

Smell: Grapefruit, citrus at start, goes to floral, spicy, light tropical. Some white grape notes and light earthy, wax crayons. Covered with malty sweetness. Good balance, like a good summer fruity ice tea.

Taste: Floral goes to light sweet malt, biscuit middle. Then the medium pine, grapefruit, citrus hop bitterness comes and lightly stays with you for a while. Also some light earthy and spicy notes.

Mouthfeel: Medium, silky body. Fair amount of carbonation - fresh and dry. Easy to drink.

Overall: A classical american pale ale. The trick which works good with this one is relatively simple but fine balance of aroma and taste. I have it once in a while, brings back some good memories.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2013 09:21:15 | More by tmzl
Photo of charlescorley4


4.66/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This will always be my favorite Pale Ale. Absolutely lovely citrus and floral aroma, with one of the most perfectly balanced flavors. A biscuity undertone is countered by the flavor of magnum and cascade hops, giving it its piney, citrusy flavor. Not too overpowering of a hop aroma. As I said before, it is perfectly balanced. It is JUST RIGHT. Truly a classic. This will always be my go to when I'm in the liquor store and not quite sure what to get.

Serving type: can

08-07-2013 19:34:18 | More by charlescorley4
Photo of scotorum


3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled April 9th 2013 if my code deciphering is correct. So a bit old, which might have affected the review.

Poured into an Innis & Gunn flute from the 24 oz. bottle.

a: A clear amber formed a two inch tall white head which disspiated slowly to a heavy surface foam film and fancy lacing. Evidently highly carbonated.

s: Hint of pine.

t: Nicely balanced as a pale ale should be. Easy drinking. Apparently mine was not as hopped-up as other reviews have suggested this ale usually is, possibly due to its being about four months old.

m: Silky smooth almost to a fault, in fact curiously slick, almost like you were drinking hoppy light lubricating oil.

o: A different Pale Ale due to the unusually smooth mouthfeel. On the low side of hoppiness for modern American pale ales. A good one.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2013 04:10:38 | More by scotorum
Photo of rangerred


4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass. Can't believe I've never reviewed this beer.

Pours a slightly hazy light gold with just a thin white head. Just a few splotches of lacing.

Aroma of tropical fruit along with a little floral hop character. Some toast and biscuit from the malt provides a nice backdrop.

An amazing hop/malt balance on the flavor. Floral and fruit up front quickly followed by light toast and a touch of biscuity. A moderate bitterness helps dry out the mouthfeel leading to a crisp finish.

Overall, one of the best examples of the style out there. An extremely quaffable beer with tons of flavor. An American standard.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2013 01:08:24 | More by rangerred
Photo of Hesperus


4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Light, perfectly translucent amber with a solid two fingers of well-retained head, active carbonation, and decent lacing.

Smell: Piney hops with strong notes of grapefruit upfront, with pleasing malt and biscuit behind the scenes.

Taste: Piney bitter hops with with some grapefruit upfront, this is somewhat compensated for by an undertone of bisctuity maltiness. Very pleasing to my palate.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated, somewhat dry, still refreshing. It has enough body to be very satisfying while still being highly drinkable for those with a taste for hops.

Overall: This is one of the best and most common examples of an American Pale Ale, and while it is certainly not the end-all-be-all APA, it is an immensely satisfying beer in every respect. It's a good entry beer for those wanting to get their hop on, and a highly-available standby for visitations to establishments with limited selection. It's very hard to go wrong with one of these.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2013 22:37:27 | More by Hesperus
Photo of hubsluvsbeer


3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bottle. pours dark yellow with a solid white head. grassy and slight citrus aroma. taste is very bitter lots of fresh cut grass and some sweet sugar malt. had this on tap at the clarkston union and cant believe i have not rated it yet as it is a very true to style beer. it may not have the hop wallop that zombie dust has but the malt that is there plays a very nice roll in balancing out the hops.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2013 20:58:33 | More by hubsluvsbeer
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on August 3, 2013.

The pour is a good looking medium amber-copper with a full off-white head that lingers for a time.

The aroma is grainy and bready with a dash of earthy hops that smell clean and crisp.

The body falls into the medium range and the texture is generally smooth.

As far as the taste there is a quick biscuit and grainy maltiness but then the hops explode but simmer down to a moderate dry finish. By today's standards this is a pretty basic pale ale but one cannot neglect Sierra Nevada's role in the history of the craft beer movement. I bet this was wonderful in the 1970's to early 1980's.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2013 21:25:02 | More by puboflyons
Photo of sfprint


3.38/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Light golden in color, transparent with a steady, even, uniform amount of small rising carbonation, creating a short head.

Cream soda and piney hops with a bit of christmas spices like cinnamon, but that dissipates rather fast and turns in the malty AAL direction, but still maintaining some cream soda.

T: Sun tea with a bitter kick at the end. Far more watery and bland than expected. Hops have a dirt quality to them, that's not at all grassy. But there is a sweet grassiness in the aftertaste.

M: Light with a mild carbonation sting.

O: I really wish the beer tasted the same way that it smells.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2013 23:56:59 | More by sfprint
Photo of Abilow33

New York

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

I really like this beer. It is reasonably priced and has a really great taste. It poured dark yellow with a thick white head. The smell of this beer was great. It has a nice smooth taste and the taste hangs on for a while. I think this is one of those beers that has a great taste from a big brewer.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2013 23:53:47 | More by Abilow33
Photo of mentor


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

Pours a heavy finger of fluffy off-white head over a clear dark straw liquid. Smells sharp grapefruit pithy, mild pine, some orange. With searching I get bubblegum, lemon, and a woody grassiness (like EKGoldings hops).

Tastes much like the flavor. Nice cohumulone grassy edginess gives girth to the flavor profile. This is very hoppy for a pale ale. Apricot and pear esters, mild biscuity malt base. Flavorful, but not a complex monster that would turn this easy drinker into something disjointed or ponderous. Hop flavors are really well integrated. Oranges, mild baby aspirin, grapefruit pithy. Ptihy is drying in the finish and helps clean the tongue in the aftertaste. Heavy carbonation stings in the aftertaste, but is somehow fine-bubbled and creamy when liquid is in the mouth. Md-light viscosity is somehow a bit creamy, too. Well done!

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2013 03:03:38 | More by mentor
Photo of apr3940


4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Definitely a "starter beer" for anyone introducing themselves to the craft industry. Great flavor with the whole cone hops. You will taste a earthy piney, and grapefruit flavor from the hop combination. Pale Ale to me is great anytime of year.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2013 16:21:26 | More by apr3940
Photo of ThePaintedGrey


3.51/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into standard bar glass. Reviewed from notes.

A: A rich amber color, with some haziness throughout from the yeast sediment. A lustrous cream-colored head eventually deflates to a very respectable frothy cap that retains quite nicely. Sticky lace is found all over the glass. I was quite surprised, to be honest, in this department.

S: Lots of hop and citrus aroma, with bits of pine and yeast. Not detecting much of a malt sweetness here at all. A little underwhelming throughout.

T: A sharp hop bitterness up front, with the typical hoppy/citric flavor overall, with some flowery, grassy, and pine undertones. A very weak malty backbone struggles to contain the bitterness, but does manage to round it all off in the finish. I did notice a refreshing bit of spice in the finish, with a very slight hint of alcohol warmth as it goes down.

M: Medium-bodied throughout with a nice creamy texture and mild carbonation. Very solid in the mouth and drinks really well.

O: I don't hold this in high regard as some seem to, but this is a solid brew in its own right. It's not my first choice by any means, but with its popularity and thus wide-availability, I could see myself ordering this at a restaurant or pub if there's no other solid choices.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2013 18:46:31 | More by ThePaintedGrey
Photo of BeerDocT


3.94/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2013 03:11:01 | More by BeerDocT
Photo of andre_dufour


4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served from a 12 fl oz bottle into a pub glass.

Appearance: Murky and solid gold, with a mild but crisp carbonation. If you pour it with a half inch head, it'll stay with you to the bottom of the glass. The lacing is thick and obvious from start to finish.

Smell: The piney cascade hops will be the first thing to waft up from the glass, but you'll get a sense of the citrus in the background as well. You should also be able to get a brief whiff of the spicy undertones.

Taste: As with the smell, you'll notice pine first, citrus second, and a spicy undertone to compliment the finished flavor. As the beer warms, the spicy citrus aspect becomes much more prominent. The aggressiveness of the pine is tempered by attributes of dryness and graininess. The balance results in a strong and flavorful, yet tame and welcoming APA.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is perfectly balanced. The body is heavy enough to startle the palate, but smooth enough not overwhelm it. Very dry throughout, and a very brisk finish.

Overall: Excellent and prominent flavor, while still remaining extremely drinkable. I would recommend this as an enjoyable summer ale to anyone.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2013 01:55:38 | More by andre_dufour
Photo of Maninthearena


3.96/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Golden straw, crisp carbonation with a head that lasted a minute or two before settling down. A little bit of yeast settled eventually.

Nose- Herbal, grainy, some spiciness, and very fresh smelling. Like something was just harvested.

Taste- Deep earthy hops with some pepper in the beginning, almost grassy with some baked-goods notes of grain. Pretty dry finish. Extremely full flavored pale ale that doesn't hide behind anything sweet like some other brews. Hints of citrus characteristic of pale ales sneaks in once warmed a little. Clean yeast.

Mouthfeel-Pretty dry, very dense carbonation left me pretty filled up. Medium thickness that thinned with the finish, very zippy.

Overall- The sum of the parts come together to make a wonderful full APA. Hearkens to sitting on the porch of a farmhouse after dinner. Extremely clean beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2013 01:53:22 | More by Maninthearena
Photo of TrueHT


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

Comming from California, Ive always kept a bunch of these tasties in my fridge for as along as I can remember, but I will try to review this as neutral as I can.

Despite its level of hoppiness, this beer is very balanced and drinkable. It is not only balanced, but extremely crisp and clean. The initial flavor comes off citrussy and pure and has an after taste of pine and hops that isn't overly bitter.

What a lot of people fail to mention is its affordability. I see this beer all over the USA in just about every store. I rarely see it sell for more than 8 dollars a 6-pack. To get a beer of this quality for that price just makes it an obvious go-to beer even for a college student with a tight budget.

The company is known for brewing a lot of different recipes and sharing all if it on the market. All their stuff is pretty decent, but this original has always been my favorite.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2013 15:12:02 | More by TrueHT
Photo of bbluemzbeer


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

This one is classic for sure! It goes down smooth and in Southern California you can find for less then 8 dollars a six pack compare to other craft beer this a great bargain

Appearance : It has a bronze and some gold color, and a very thick and lon lasting lacing

Smell: Pine and cedar
Taste - Plenty of hops which are balanced . Has a earthy " taste to it and very refreshing without feeling you up.
Mouthfeel : medium and and satisfying

People who are looking for a World Class beer with some hops in it witch are balance. This would be the beer to try. I been drinking this beer for 15 years now and I will keep on drinking it

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2013 15:44:02 | More by bbluemzbeer
Photo of zac16125

South Carolina

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

12oz bottle into a pint glass
I cracked the code to figure out the bottle date: 2/21/13 (glad I picked the right six pack there was some 2012's there too! Really wish they made this bottle dating thing easier)

Ive had this beer more times than I can count, can't believe Ive never reviewed it.

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden yellow with 1 fingers width of white head. Head has very good retention before it dissipates down to a thick film that remains throughout the drink. Leaves only small patches of lacing.

S: Pale malts, a bit of hop spice, more subtle piney and floral hop notes.

T: Sweet malts, citrus hops, floral, pale malts, and faint piney bitterness.

M/D: Medium body, carbonation on the higher end of the spectrum, great drinkability.

O: A classic American Pale Ale. A beer I find myself drinking quite often as its frequently the only/best craft offering at non-beer bars and restaurants. Cant go wrong with old reliable. You're not a craft beer fan if you've never had this beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2013 00:57:40 | More by zac16125
Photo of nickapalooza86


4.46/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear orange color, got a little of the yeast from the bottom in the pour floating around in there. Canned 5/2/13, half finger of white head

Smell is pine, citrus(lemon), bready malt

Taste is complex, yet simple. Starts with a bitter pine, floral like hops, spicy citrus, lemon zest, backed well with a nice malt presence.

Mouthfeel is spot on for a APA, clean and refreshing, slightly dry, but not at an IPA level. Zestful carbonation gives it a very clean finish.

Well this is a classic and the number 1 selling craft beer in the country for a reason, a lot of flavor, sessionable, approachable, drinkable and did I mention very affordable. If you call your self a beer drinker and have not tried this one stop reading and go grab a six, or even better a 12!

Serving type: can

06-23-2013 21:09:02 | More by nickapalooza86
Photo of Illusionist_Ryan


4.58/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pale amber, unfiltered with some particles, thick and bubbly 1 inch white head with a bit of lacing.

Smell: Some bread notes, but mostly piney and earthy tones

Taste: Very piney and floral initial taste, solid mouthfeel that coats your tongue in malt, very smooth and refreshing, great session brew

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied for a pale

Overall: A staple beer, classic taste that balances every flavor in harmony. I prefer it from the can and it is my go to pale ale.

Serving type: can

Serving type: can

06-19-2013 23:01:40 | More by Illusionist_Ryan
Photo of Roman5150


3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

can into tulip

appearance: orange/amber, unfiltered with some particles, thick and bubbly 1 finger white head, not much lacing

smell: piney, floral, bready notes, apple, citrus

taste: very floral and pine oriented, sweet and sharp herbal bitterness that coats your tongue with a sweet malt presence. Also getting some bready notes on the forefront, with some citrus and lemon and apple notes as well. Easy to session, satisfies your thirst very well.

mouthfeel: average carbonation, medium to full bodied for a pale ale

overall: A great benchmark Pale Ale, although not my favorite, I typically find myself comparing most pale ales I drink to this classic brew. Everything is greatly balanced, not too much of any one thing, very refreshing. I personally think it tastes better in a can, but that's just me.

Serving type: can

06-18-2013 05:42:03 | More by Roman5150
Photo of IchLiebeBier


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

Appearance: Pale, golden yellow; clear; medium, frothy head, off white, long lasting

Aroma: Malty; slightly hoppy; slight grapefruit, grass and caramel

Taste: Malty, juicy and slightly bitter on start; finishes semi-sweet and hoppy with lingering nutty bitterness

Remarks: Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2013 22:35:30 | More by IchLiebeBier
Photo of brureview


3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a light honey color into a pint glass with a 2 finger head.

The aroma is light pine.

The mouth feel is lightly carbonated and well suited to the style. Often
Pale Ales are too carbonated and not well-balanced.

The taste is bready and piney, finishing with a hoppy fruity finish and a light bitterness.

The beer is a balanced, full flavored Pale Ale, and is unlike other beers in the style, which
are either too carbonated, hoppy and/or lack a pronounced taste.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2013 01:42:14 | More by brureview
Photo of Tonmeister


3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can served in tulip shaped glass

A: dark yellow, orangey, light amber with a thin white head.

S: piney citrusy with a hint of vanilla

T: citrusy and piney on the front with sweet apple vanilla in the middle.

M: Thin and highly carbonated.

Overall this is a classic American Pale Ale. I am very pleased with this one because it is blended well. It has a very distinct and unique taste in which I haven't had another beer that tastes likes this. This is sweet piney, great for session beer.

Serving type: can

06-11-2013 22:25:25 | More by Tonmeister
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 7,347 ratings.