1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

8,184 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,184
Reviews: 2,668
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 111
Gots: 643 | 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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 8,184 | Reviews: 2,668 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a deep copper/amber color with a tan, foamy, three-finger head. It left thick rings of lace.

S - It smelled of grass, grains and malt.

T - It had a nice hoppy/grassy quality. It also has a good bready roasted malt taste.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good APA. It almost has the hop power of an IPA. Great malt flavor, too.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2007 17:38:46 | More by zeff80
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
westcoastbeerlvr

California

4/5  rDev -1%

11-15-2011 19:23:56 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear medium orange hue, with two fingers of creamy white head, which leaves a consistent wall of webbed lace in its wake. It smells of caramel malt, and grapefruity, grassy hops. The taste is predominantly citrus - orange and lemon - hops, with a light caramel malt backbone. The carbonation is moderate, the body medium weight, smooth, and slick, and it finishes a bit off-dry, with a mostly citrus hoppiness essence.

Common as water stateside, but very difficult to come by on this side of the border. Tastes pretty much like my favorite local hopped-up Pale Ale (Full Moon), so I can't help but like it a lot.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2010 22:18:11 | More by biboergosum
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

3.43/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Slightly hazy amber, good color and head retention.

Smell: Hoppy, floral, a touch of pine and citrus. A metallic character is also noticeable.

Taste & texture: Very bready malt, earthy and metallic, lots of pine in the hops. The malt character of this beer has never impressed me much, though the cascade hops give it a nice finish. I think I'd enjoy it a lot more with a stronger hop presence. The mouthfeel is fine; a bit creamy but not particularly heavy, medium-bodied and moderately carbonated.

Drinkability: While this seems to be the session beer of choice for a lot of people, I personally find it difficult to drink more than a couple of these. I get very sick of the malt flavor after a while.

Notes: This beer is a staple of craft brewing, probably the single most common craft beer you'll find on the west coast. It's a solid pale ale, nothing incredible and a bit overrated in my opinioin, but nonetheless a good representation of the style and a decent gateway into craft beer.

Serving type: on-tap

06-26-2007 17:58:29 | More by largadeer
Photo of JAHMUR
JAHMUR

Connecticut

3/5  rDev -25.7%

01-14-2012 19:33:03 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bright, clear golden amber in color with a 3/4" head that holds well, eventually dropping, but leaves a complete surface covering. Very nice.The aroma offers bright, fresh, floral & citrusy hops over a light maltiness. The body is medium-light with a fine, crisp carbonation. The flavor is a combination of tangy, fruity, citrusy hop flavors and a very lightly caramel & biscuit maltiness well backed by bitterness. It finishes dry with a short lingering hoppy bitterness and a bready/biscuity maltiness. Extremely well balanced. Very refined. Crisp & refreshing. Highly drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

09-28-2002 15:39:13 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of nickfl
nickfl

Florida

4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Two finger white head with good retention and lace. Copper body with excellent clarity.

S - Spicy hop aroma with restrained grapefruit aromas and a hint of orange. Some malt, but the aroma is dominated by hops.

T - Moderately spicy hop flavor up front with caramel and biscuit malt balancing in the middle. The finish is moderately bitter and smooth.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish with just a bit of astringency.

D - Quite drinkable. The malt character is a bit weak, but it is more than made up for by the excellent hop character, especially in the aroma.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2008 03:24:58 | More by nickfl
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -1%

01-23-2013 06:02:01 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

24oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours an amber color, with a very thin, quickly dissipating white head. However it leaves a bit more lace than you would think, given the thinness of the head.

S: The hops aroma is what prevails in the smell with some malt and a bit of citrus. Nice blend.

T: The malt comes out a little bit more in the taste, but the hops is still the dominant flavor. There’s a slight bitterness, but it’s not unwelcome. Almost no after-taste, which I would image, is mostly due to fact that malt seems to be used sparingly. I consider that a good thing in this case.

M: Smooth, but crisp, very well-balanced with a nice finish, medium carbonation.

D: Not very filling, definitely a beer that you can go with for a long while in one night.

Overall this is an excellent beer. It’s very straight-forward and doesn’t try to blow you away or try to hide anything. This beer is a great “next step” for those trying to break away from the Miller/Bud/Coors/Heineken/Corona rut.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2006 04:51:09 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

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

Presentation: 12oz short brown twist cap bottle. Thin layer of sediment from bottle conditioning.

Appearance: Rich golden orange in colour with a slight chill haze, a white lace lays on top and clings all over the glass.

Smell: Slightly rustic, raw and mildly pungent hop aroma of leaves, flowers and heavy on the citric fruit. An undertone of grain is in the background also.

Taste: Creamy smooth with a soft malt crispness that cradles a bready malt flavour. Hop bitterness is more than ample and shows off a bit yet there is an underlying sweetness that seems to put everything back together. Esters through a shadow of alcohol down which make a potential heady night. In the finish is a citric hop flavour with a touch more sweetness from the residual sugars, though this brew seems to dry up a little in the end.

Notes: The typical American Pale Ale ... The classic American Pale Ale basically as far as what people know. A good and solid ale for what I think.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2003 21:17:15 | More by Jason
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A pure bright amber color, with a thick and sturdy off-white head, that crackles as it crumbles. Aroma is bursting over with fruit, peaches, foremost, plus apricots, some citrus, melons, more? Great citrusy hop bite greets you on the palate,with a brief and sweetish finish soon after. Smooth texture, light body, but fully flavorful. Uncomplicated and refreshing. Bitterness is low, malt is firm. Perfectly balanced, and infinitely enjoyable!
In past years, I'd given this staple micro less credit than it deserves. I thought all pale ales were alike, and this one wasn't extraordinary to warrant the attention it receives. Just buy the local brew, and keep them in business, I thought. I still believe in that , of course, but I must accept that the flavor and quality in SN PA are really special and unique.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2003 18:03:31 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

West Virginia

4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After just finishing a McEwan's IPA, I just found myself in heaven. An magnificant orangish tint, with a nice white frothing head. A very thin lace, but right now it doesn't matter I am too busy enjoying the aroma to worry about how it looks. I could be blind right now and it wouldn't matter. A great citrusy full sharp delivery of wonderful cascade hops fiil me with joy. The staple of American pale ales, and this one is bottle conditioned which adds to the aroma to form a balanced full aroma with the blend of hops, yeast, and malt. The sweetness mixed with the decent amount of bittering hops does wonders for the soul, if the brewery in Chico had a church I might become a cult member. The hops are grapefruit citrusy flavored that tickle the back of the throat and at the same time the warming feeling of acohol crashes upon the palate just right. It is full of flavor and it is just the right texture to deliver the flavors, and it with the medium body this beer is one to be enjoyed all night. A wonderful part of Beer in America has this BAs approval.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2003 18:16:40 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Simply put, this ale enlightened me that we (USA) could make great ales. This my take on this bottle (know I've had better on draft & bottle)

Appearance: OK white heat that falls off, bur leaves A pleasing lace all the way down

Smell: Lemony hops & a hint of bread

Taste: Grapefruity hops on the toung gives way to biscuit & lemony hops on the back of the throat.

MF: Just a little under carbonated, otherwise yum..

Drinkability: Perfect balance, but I gravitate to stronger hoppie beers than I used to, still a classic!!


.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2005 02:58:21 | More by russpowell
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper gold, with a couple fingers of billowy bright-white head. This retains with a frothy richness, as a big dollop of foam stays behind and rings the sides of the glass with sticky lacing. The aroma is bright feeling in the nose, with notes of leafy spice and fresh citrus flavor. Underneath sits the pale malts, which adhere to the citrus, really pushing it forward with an earthy twang in the nostrils.

The taste is fresh citric flavor and bitterness straight through the profile, which is smoothed out on the edges by herbal character and then buffered underneath by the bready sweetness of the malt, which like the nose, sticks to that green citrus character. A dry finish ends this with some leafy pith that sticks a bit. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a softer creamy slickness in the mouth that flows very easily, allowing those hops to give this the crispness that it needs to stay quenching.

Wow, I love this in canned form, as I swear this is the freshest tasting that I’ve ever had this beer and that includes on draft as well. Just crisp, well balanced, and easy drinking as can be and now super portable as well! I’ll be drinking plenty this summer.

Serving type: can

03-21-2012 14:28:06 | More by Kegatron
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It was bound to happen sooner or later, I would review one of the beers that brought me to my craft beer revolution. Thank you Sierra Nevada pale ale for showing me the way into the light.

Beer served on draft at a local pub. Beer is clear and yellow with a white head that leaves some lacing on the glass. Carbonation is medium to high.

The aroma is hop filled, mostly citrus but there is some pine character in there. The hops smell great but they overwhelm me and I cannot detect anything else.

Beer has a medium body, and there is a lot of bitterness in the back of the mouth from the hops. There isn't much to speak of in the front or perhaps I am just distracted by the hop bitterness. Drinkability high. One of my favorite stand by beers that is readily available nearly everywhere.

Serving type: on-tap

11-04-2009 04:15:26 | More by drabmuh
Photo of SocalKicks
SocalKicks

California

4/5  rDev -1%

03-07-2012 04:24:04 | More by SocalKicks
Photo of Slatetank
Slatetank

Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had a bottle of this at the General Sutter Inn in Lititz, PA. Served cold in a pilsner glass.
A - A pleasant amber honey color w/ a white head of about an inch. Lots of lace clings to the glass with great head retention.

S - Subtle floral hop aromas when cold, the slightly sweet malt aromas and a bit of piney sap aroma is more noticeable as it warms.

M - Medium body and sweetness w/ moderate bitterness and carbonation.

T - A crystal malt/cascade flavor w/ subtle cherry and pine needle hop flavors collaborate in the classic pale ale. The taste is fresh w/ a nice dry, light grassinesss.

D - A very drinkable beer, great west coast pale example. Well worth each sip. This went great w/ my roast duckling entree.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2007 17:52:36 | More by Slatetank
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a pure gold color with a thin white lace head. The aroma is great. It has all the right stuff; hops, pale and carapils malts, and a floral nose. The taste is great. Again, it has a nice malt palate with a floral hop flavor that really makes this beer. The mouthfeel is good. This is a low bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a beautiful beer that drinks very well; an excellent pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2004 02:06:40 | More by WesWes
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hudsonphotog for sharing this beer. I have drank it for years but never reviewed it.

Pours a clear orange color with a white head. The aroma is citrus hops with a lot of orange notes. The flavor is orange and other citrus with a medium amount of bitterness. High carbonation and a medium mouthfeel. An American classic that never disappoints.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2010 05:06:24 | More by Mora2000
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium

Pennsylvania

3.23/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First had: God only knows...

Pretty much the middle of the road in my beer journey. I'll drink this if there's nothing better available, but otherwise, it's just that average beer that I'll let pass.

Pours a slightly hazed (depending on temperature) copper color with anywhere between 1/2 and 3 fingers of frothy white head. Grainy aroma with a certain caramel smoothness underlain. Smooth malts in the taste, grains, balanced by crisp, non-threatening hoppiness, and just a implication of citrus. Light-medium mouthfeel, and easily drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

06-18-2011 00:31:32 | More by Rifugium
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

the sierra nevada flagship brew, more of an ipa than a straight pale ale, but a delicious beer nonetheless. a complex and robust hop nose is enticing, and the balanced flavor, medium body and effervescent carbonation make this a staple in most good bars. this is much hoppier than other american pale ales, but is not heavy as some can be. it is highly drinkable with a slightly bitter finish and an extraordinary crispness. the colder the better

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2011 19:08:55 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of mdfb79
mdfb79

New York

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 02/19/11 notes.

a - Pours a somewhat transparent golden color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of light citrus hops, bready malts, fruit, light caramel malts.

t - Tastes of citrus hops, bready malts, grain, caramel malts, light pine hops.

m - Light to medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A very nice, easy drinking APA. Can definitely drink a few of these and would want to. Have had many times and will have many times again.

Serving type: on-tap

02-21-2011 15:53:53 | More by mdfb79
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours orange/amber- nice clarity - with a creamy, lasting head that leaves rings of lacing down the glass.

It has a floral/citrusy aroma.

The taste is of mild citrus - lemon and orange - with a sweet malt balance. The hop bitterness has an edge over the sweetness, but is fairly well-controlled, as per the style. It's on the lighter side of medium-bodied.

It's a nice brew, but nothing special. A decent choice when the other choices are mostly macros. This is an easy-drinking APA.

Serving type: on-tap

11-18-2006 20:39:44 | More by jwc215
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle Code 8003Y11126; Sampled February 2008
A vigorous pour yields a frothy, initially almost four-finger thick, light tan colored head that leaves some spotty lacing as it slowly recedes. The beer is a brilliantly clear, rich copper color that has a bright, copper color that almost has a metallic sheen to it when held up to the light. Soft citrus hop notes greet my nose and yield aromatics similar to grapefruit, orange zest, notes of creamsicles and light pine aromatics. There is a malt backbone here as well with aromas of soda crackers, toasty grain and biscuit like malt.

This starts out with a nice sharp hop bite and continues with a solid bitterness through to the finish. Grapefruit-like hop flavors and a touch of catty-hops show off the signature Cascade notes. Slightly herbaceous, with a definite pine-sap character, the hop character is just resinous enough to keep it interesting. Lightly caramelized malt and a drier biscuit / cracker note provide a malt backdrop to the hop character that is the real focus of this beer. This is quite quaffable, though it of course has a certain heft and body to it that helps to keep the hop notes in balance.

In the modern scene of hop overdosing, this beer can seem a bit tame, but it is so widely available & still delicious that it is always appreciated when I have this beer. This was my first craft brew experience back in the 90s and I remember how shocked I was at the flavor that greeted my unsuspecting taste-buds at the time; the hop character was just out of this world & an extreme jolt to my senses. I still remember that experience and I remember thinking how anyone could drink something like this. The funny thing is that it didn't stop me from having more and I became aware of all of the varied flavors that craft beer had to offer. Definitely a classic that will always hold a place in my belly.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2008 01:29:01 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Rochefort10nh
Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

5/5  rDev +23.8%

11-22-2011 17:55:47 | More by Rochefort10nh
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,184 ratings.