Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

2,824 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,824
Hads: 10,261
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 9.85%
Wants: 222
Gots: 2,102 | 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:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 07-05-2001

Generous quantities of premium Cascade hops give the Pale Ale its fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor.

37 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,824 | Hads: 10,261
Photo of Slatetank
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
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. (721 characters)

Photo of LXIXME
4.92/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from above the glass gives this a big white to off-white head that slowly recedes into a nice lacing above a clear rich golden ale.

This medium bodied beer has a rich fruity/citrusy and slight pine aroma.

Citrus-fruity-pine-grasses taste that has a slight sweet malt hidden in there.

A nice lightly dry aftertaste with some leftover citrus notes lingering on.

One of my favorite beers, I look for this when I dine out, love it with Mexican food. (456 characters)

Photo of Jason
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
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. (977 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.1/5  rDev +1%
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!!


(543 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.2/5  rDev -21.2%
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. (545 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.57/5  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. (1,062 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.05/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

2000 reviews and I somehow haven't done this one yet. Go figure. Bottled February 1st according to the bottle code. 5.6% ABV confirmed. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard ("Use Bottle Opener"!) pressure cap acquired at a local Trader Joe's and served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I'm rarely impressed with Sierra Nevada, but this is indisputably a classic craft beer which did a lot historically. Regardless of what I may or may not think about the beer after enjoying it, I do respect it.

Served straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Not paired with food.

A: Pours a four finger beige colour head of nice cream and thickness, and good (~5 minute) retention. Little lacing as the head recedes. Body colour is a fairly vibrant pale copper; transparent and translucent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. It's generally appealing and is typical of the style. There's nothing unique or special here, but there are no overt flaws.

Sm: Floral hops, ejected shell casings (seriously), artificial pine, soap, and pale malts. The soapiness is bothersome, and becomes more reminiscent of detergent the more I smell the beer. Bubblegum. Yeah, this spent too long in primary. An average strength aroma that isn't particularly appealing.

T: Okay. Muted citrus, dominant soapy character, light artificial pine, and some mild floral hops. Bland pale malts form the foundation. There's not a whole lot going on here, and I'm none too keen on what is. Imbalanced and badly built for the style. A bit too bitter for the style as well, but it's also too sweet up front.

Mf: Way too dry on the finish, eradicating any refreshing feel that it might have had prior. Smooth and wet up front. Too thick all around. Overcarbonated, to boot. Weak. Doesn't suit the flavour all that well. Palate presence is okay.

Dr: I'll finish this bottle, but it's really not that drinkable for a pale ale. I'm shocked at how underwhelming this beer is given its influence on the style. I'll try to revisit this on-draught; maybe this was just an off bottle arbitrarily. As it stands, this is rather pedestrian and I see no reason to get it again. Hides its ABV well. Another disappointment from Sierra Nevada.

C-

---
After the bottle review above, I tried it on-draught when it was the only decent option at a bar in Las Vegas. I actually found it to be much better on-draught, and would have given it a high C+ but wasn't in a reviewing mood at the time. I'll plan on revisiting this beer; it's so ubiquitous it'd be criminal not to.

---
11.10.14:

B- (2,736 characters)

Photo of smcolw
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Perhaps the most classic of APA's. Everything about it sets the standard for style, much like Guinness. It may not be my favorite but it is close.

Clear and gold with lots of continual bubbles. The head lasts well but leaves spotty lace.

The aroma is mostly hop which is reflected in the flavor as well. Astringent and dry with a below average body. Highly carbonated. Good aftertaste of strong hop bitterness. (412 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
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. (811 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
3.98/5  rDev -2%
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. (482 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.1/5  rDev +1%
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. (793 characters)

Photo of orangesol
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank a few of these this past weekend at the beach. Reviewed from notes.

A - Pours hazy golden yellow with a small half finger tall white head leaving spotty lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of citrus, pine, lemon, toasty grain and biscuit like malt. Nothing too over the top, just a solid nose. This one might be a bit old.

T - Starts off with a nice, light, citric hop kick quickly giving way to a mix of caramel and biscuit from the malt. It has a good overall balance of flavors. Finish has some hop bitterness, lingering for a short time. A tad old but still very nice.

M - Light body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Slick feel with some lingering bitterness in the finish.

O - How can you go wrong with a SNPA. It is perfect for a hot summer day at the beach like today. I can, and plan on, drinking this all day. (832 characters)

Photo of jwc215
3.66/5  rDev -9.9%
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. (486 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled on 9/10/2014. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy golden orange color with a 1-2 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of lemon zest, orange peel, grapefruit, caramel, bread, light honey, floral, grass, pine, and floral/grassy earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of juicy citrus/floral hops and moderate dark/bready malt sweetness; with good strength. Taste of lemon zest, orange peel, grapefruit, caramel, bread, light honey, floral, grass, pine, and floral/grassy earthiness. Fair amount of pine/grassy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon zest, orange peel, grapefruit, caramel, bread, light honey, pine, and floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance, robustness, and complexity of juicy citrus/floral hops and moderate dark/bready malt sweetness; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately crisp, and fairly creamy/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent pale ale. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of juicy citrus/floral hops and moderate dark/bready malt sweetness; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering. (1,519 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Pine Tree Lodge in New York, NY

A: Pours a crystal clear golden orange in color with very light visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall off-white head that reduces to a thin layer over the entire surface of the beer with some thicker patches and a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Significant lacing is observed.

S: Light smell of toasted malts, caramel malt sweetness, and then hops - pine mostly with a hint of citrus.

T: There is a light flavor of caramel malt sweetness upfront followed by the not too intense pine hop and a light amount of citrus zest. The beer has a moderate bitterness that lingers slightly.

M: On the heavier side of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Crisp.

O: One of the early craft beers that I was introduced to and enjoyed, this beer is a classic introductory craft beer. This beer is easy to drink and very sessionable. I have had this beer many times over the last 15+ years and likely will continue to get it as an everyday kind of beer. (1,024 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
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. (409 characters)

Photo of mothman
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
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. (1,040 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -1.5%
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. (353 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes.

A: Pours a hazy orange color with a decent white head, moderate retention and some decent lacing. Lively carbonation bubbles released from the bottom.

S: Citrus hops dominate, with nice touches of orange, and some caramel sweetness to balance it a little.

T: Nice and hoppy, full of citrus fruit flavors, orange being the dominant one. Slightly bitter on the front from the hops, with a sweeter middle from the malt, that come through as some light caramel. little bit of pine on the finish.

M: Medium bodied with lively carbonation. Very refreshing.

O: A great all around beer, one that I could drink at any time. (641 characters)

Photo of stakem
3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into a sierra nevada snifter. The brew pours a clear copper color with a rich white froth that fades to a thin film supported by rising bubbles. Overall a solid looking pale ale.

The aroma includes a faint floral to fruity hop quality with a caramel to toffee and biscuit-like grain presence that has a soft touch of butter towards the back end. Not the most vibrant bouquet but enjoyable and easily approachable.

The flavor is clean and crisp with a hoppy bitterness that is somewhat herbal and floral to fruity. Just like the aroma suggested, plenty of caramel malt that blends into the finish and is a bit buttery.

This is a light bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. Overall this is solid and very easy drinking. It is a well made brew that sometimes I have admittedly overlooked in lieu of less familiar faces and/or seasonal offerings that are not always available. This is a very good standby. (931 characters)

Photo of GClarkage
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11/01/04- Purchased at the local grocery store.

Appearance- Pours with a nice head with little puffy circles as the head dies away. Surprisingly decent lacing also.

Smell- Scent of hefty malt with a equally hefty amount of hops. Definite woody and floral scents.

Taste- Pretty much the perfect combo of malt and hops. A nice citrus tang to it. Maybe some apricot in there that goes well with a hoppy malt flavor.

Mouthfeel- Goes down nicely. Great level of carbonation. Slides down the throat with ease.

Drinkability- For some reason I get worn out on this beer when I drink it too often. For me it's maybe a 12 pack a year. A great pale ale, but one to be consumed only on occasion for me. A good pick though. (725 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada appears transparent yellowish orange with a thick white head that completely coats the glass in lacing. A well balanced brew, with hop flavors in the forefront. Really drinkable, this is a refreshing beer. The carbonation level is spot on. The flavor is simple, but well done. I have has this beer all over the country, and found it to be very consistent. This is a great beer to have around when you want something light and don't want to pillage your cellar. (474 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one completely amazes me - I will be its 2501st reviewer, not having reviewed it previously in any serving style; my mother lives in Chico and I have visited her on a couple of occasions, making my first statement more incredible; and the first person to review it from a CAN was my local CANTrader and fellow CANQuester (TM), tone77! It took me a while to find this in a CAN with Torpedo seemingly more accessible. SMH!

From the CAN: "Purest Inredients"; "Finest Quality"; "CAN Conditioned".

Just the Crack seemed to release a lot of hops aroma into the room. The inverted Glug really made it seem as though I had sprayed hops air freshener and I would be lying if I said that my mouth was not watering. I was looking at a massive two-plus fingers of dense, French Vanilla-colored head with excellent retention when I was done with my pour. Color was a deep amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose was full of pine hops and now I was starting to drool. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, slightly viscous and the hops were soft, not overpowering as in some (many?) AIPAs. The melding of the hops with the malt was very pleasant and caused me to think back to the mid-1980's when I had this for the first time. I remember thinking that it was too bitter, but now it is just what the doctor ordered for this Jonesin' hophead. Finish was semi-dry and both pleasant and refreshing. I am so excited to see it being CANned and I would recommend it for anyone's cooler under any circumstances. Believe the hype! (1,503 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev -1.5%
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 (1,912 characters)

Photo of BARFLYB
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Bourbon blue.

A- SNPA is a nice bright bronze color. Some spots of orange as well. A good sized sturdy head with white bubbles throughout stayed afloat. Some light lace stuck on the glass but barely.

S- A nice hop aroma from various strains giving off a floral aroma. I can smell a citrus a roma plus some malt leading its way to slight caramel. Very nice and pungent.

T- Was not expecting all the hops plus bitterness for a pale ale but this does fit the style. It's not overdone, it's just balanced. The malt gives off caramel at just the right time without interfering. In the finish is some toasted grain plus a bit of spice.

M- A step above medium bodied and oily. The bitterness is there but does not overcome. The malt addition works well in this nicely hopped pale ale. Creamy going down and a nice finish.

D- Good stuff, drinkable plus affordable, this one is a good package. Better off of the tap but fresh bottles are good as well. Low alcohol too which is also a plus. The balance is what sets this one off. (1,034 characters)

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,824 ratings.