Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 8,534 | Reviews: 2,682 | Display Reviews Only:
4/5 rDev -1%
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
02-24-2008 01:29:01 | More by Gueuzedude
3.9/5 rDev -3.5%
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.
04-11-2008 23:51:03 | More by smcolw
4.03/5 rDev -0.2%
24 oz. bottle, poured into a pint glass
A: Golden orange, with a thick white head, which hangs around a while but eventually goes to nothing.
S: Piney Cascade hops predominately.
T: Pine and cilantro upfront from the Cascade, along with delicious bready malt which makes its true presence felt as the beer warms up.
M: Very good, the beer is well built, crisp and medium bodied.
D: Very good, low in alcohol, excellent taste makes for a great drinkability. The beer that introduced me to American hops, it is inexpensive and available almost anywhere, so I often pick it up and know I will have an enjoyable experience.
07-02-2007 02:32:55 | More by Halcyondays
United Kingdom (England)
2.6/5 rDev -35.6%
Brown 350ml bottle, best before mid Oct 2007, drank late March 2007.
Imported into the UK and sold in a lot of supermarkets, thought I'd see what all the fuss was about with Sierra Nevada beers.
Poured into my Corsendonk tulip glass it looked a bright traffic light amber, almost terracotta orange colour. A tight white head sat on top, bubbles replenishing the head from the base and side of the glass.
An aroma of sour hops, mashed with an iffy yeast culture, attacked my nose, obviously not a Brit Pale Ale, thats for sure.
Young, green taste, the beer isn't ready to drink yet. Made me burp straight away, which also indicates to me it isn't the finished article.
Dry and metalic aftertaste, sorry, not for me.
Not too sure what I was expecting from this beer, something smoother perhaps, certainly not the young, dry, tinny flavours which I found. I will try another in the summer maybe, to see if the warmer weather helps me see it's characteristics in a better light.
03-29-2007 20:24:20 | More by BlackHaddock
4.53/5 rDev +12.1%
Pours a nice light bronze color with a thick head. The aroma is extremely satisfying, huge floral and citrus tones excite the nose. The taste is big - hoppy, sweet, fruity, and smooth. The hops and citrus last long into the aftertaste. This is a perfect example of the ultimate drinkable beer. Continues to be a staple in the refridgerator for me. All american pale ales should try to emulate this.
10-13-2003 15:34:32 | More by Gavage
2.59/5 rDev -35.9%
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.
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.
03-06-2013 05:19:46 | More by kojevergas
3.63/5 rDev -10.1%
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.
11-02-2004 05:42:31 | More by GClarkage
4.1/5 rDev +1.5%
Took me a while to finally try this one but I did it and found a great, drinkable beer. Has a unique, characteristic taste to it that must be from different types of hops no usually used on the east coast. It's crisp, refreshing, very well balanced.. if aint broke dont fix it.
10-05-2008 21:26:03 | More by oriolesfan4
3.56/5 rDev -11.9%
Pours a dark golden orange color with copper/tangerine edges and a one finger, frothy white head that quickly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Streaks of lace left behind.
Earthy floral hop aroma with some grassy, resinous pine and subtle citrus countered by bread/yeast and pale malt sweetness. A touch of grapefruit and citrus peel followed by some caramel malt and toffee.
Surprisingly full bodied for the style with a blast of dank, sticky hops giving off strong dry bitterness that lingers over the yeast and sweet malt notes into a dry finish. Hop flavor is a bit one dimensional with bitter earthy character. Lots of grass, pine needle and spruce tip with very little of the citrus/tropical fruit notes found in the nose. It's there providing subtle sweetness but is overpowered by bitterness and strong malt flavors. Hop bitterness is countered by bready yeast and malt sweetness. Lots of caramel, bread, toffee and nut. Well balanced with some nice hop flavor but it's not really light or easy drinking and doesn't really feel like a pale ale.
11-14-2013 01:04:21 | More by corby112
District of Columbia
4.05/5 rDev +0.2%
12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Clear, slightly hazed bright golden amber color with slow carbonation and a fluffy off white head that dissipates to a thick ring with lots of webbed lacing.
S: Floral hops, a little citrus and strong background of grain. Earthy and slightly pungent. Not spectacular, but adequate.
T: Smooth, medium bodied. Malty, biscuit body with a earthy flavor, grain, and floral hops, citrus rind finish. Amazingly refreshing and drinkable.
06-05-2008 23:52:52 | More by yourefragile
4.25/5 rDev +5.2%
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!
08-31-2012 02:30:20 | More by woodychandler
4.13/5 rDev +2.2%
Thanks very much to my girlfriend who went in search of beer for me on a recent trip to San Francisco.
Pours a burnished golden bronze colour, very clear. Tiny streams of carbonation around the edge of the glass feed a light film of white head. Nice colour, nice looking beer all up.
good tropical fruits on the nose, the sweeter end of the spectrum though - mango and peach, almost. Also a real candy/caramel sweetness to it as well. Nice.
Taste is quite light. Pleasant sweet fragrant fruitiness on the front palate, then a subtle but pleasant dry hoppy bitterness. It's definitely not huge on the palate, but everything is nicely balanced. Quite dry on the finish, and refreshing. Mouthfeel spot on. Crisp and sharp to match the light hop bite.
A very drinkable pale ale. Really nicely balanced and very refreshing. Folks from the states come to Australia and often compare Little Creatures Pale Ale to SNPA, and I'm glad I can now do the same. It would be great to drink SNPA all the time, but I don't think I'm really missing out given I have Critters here in Australia to fill the gap.
05-26-2008 06:37:44 | More by lacqueredmouse
4.22/5 rDev +4.5%
Bolder than English pale ale counterparts like Bass, Boddingtons or Old Speckled Hen. Served in a pint glass, the ale displays a golden amber color with a foamy white head. The aroma is of multi-grain bread and biscuit-like pale malts, with a sharp citrus and floral aroma. A dry, slightly tart caramel taste opens the flavor, followed by hops. Derived from Sierra Nevada's generous but balanced use of Cascade hops, the pale ale also brings tastes of lemon zest and grapefruit with a sweet, spicy finish.
10-21-2006 06:37:52 | More by tempest
3.88/5 rDev -4%
One good Pale ..Poured a orange color with a finger-width, creamy white head that leaves lots of lacing as you drink. Scent is surprisingly not as hoppy as I would have thought. Lots of fruit and a woody/grassy aroma I couldn't place. Palate is crisp, clean and very dry. Not as hoppy as a lot of Pales and IPAs. You get a slight hop burn on the tongue, but it's balanced enough to let the grapefruit and spices come through.
10-28-2008 20:13:24 | More by barleywinefiend
3.9/5 rDev -3.5%
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.
06-16-2011 22:33:29 | More by orangesol
United Kingdom (England)
3.95/5 rDev -2.2%
Revisiting the bottled version of this beer. BB 15/02/2007. Served lightly-chilled in a straight imperial-pint glass.
A: even with such a large margin left for the beer head to build up (350ml beer in a imperial-pint glass), the beer head comes surprisingly restrained, on top of a clear amber body with very mild carbonation. Quite unlike any American bottled beers I've tried.
S: intensely honey-ish and sweet bouquet hops, on top of a juicy peach+lychee-ish fruits and caramely malts. Very well-blended and rather settled. Pleasant but not exciting.
T: effervescent-textured maltiness comes hand in hand with bitter-sweet yet aromatic, elderflowery, peachy, and sweet orangey hoppyness on top of a mildly sweet yet intense caramely malty base, a bitter-sweet tinge of lychee-fruits (on skins), tannic edge of grape-stems, and a quietly green-tea like aromatic aroma... moderately bitter and soothing in the finish.
M&D: nicely carbonated, though it's slightly sharp upfront; the medium body holds the smooth and well-blended flavour elegantly. Overall, much better than the tap-version that I tried a month ago. An extremely quaffable pale ale to be enjoyed in quantity with friends!
08-24-2006 18:07:18 | More by wl0307
3.55/5 rDev -12.1%
Let me say first off that I think this is a great beer. I really think they should be applauded for their role in the craft brewed revolution in this country. I think many of their products are excellent, and the snpa is the flagship. This used to be my favorite session beer. Why do I say used to be? Two reasons: first, I think this beer is not quite the beer it used to be. This is true both because it has stood still while great hoppy beers grew around it, but also because I think it has lost a little of its unique flavoe over the years. Second, I think this beer has had freshness and consistency problems as it has grown larger. I've had way to many snpas that were stale tasting if not downright skunky. This is particularly true on tap, but I've had some bad bottles too. I think its the beer, not the storage, but as snpas presence has become more ubiquitous, I'm sure there are more places that don't treat it right. Also, I think the tap beer is not as good as the bottles (Except maybe at the brewery- where its wonderful). The krausening in the bottles lends the brew a fruity yeastiness that is part of its charm. This is really lacking on tap, where an earthier taste comes through. When you find it really fresh and well handled, this can still be a near perfect brew, but its getting harder to find that way imo.
The beer came from the tap a beautiful copper color with a good head and excellent lacing throughout.
The smell is pretty good- earthy hops, but maybe with a little bit of a stale aroma as well. The draft lacks some of the fruity esters of the bottled.
The taste is still solid, fairly soft up front with a good earthy piney hop bitterness. A little stale on the finish.
The mouthfeel is fairly thin, but there is some creaminess there as well. The hops are pretty clean, but not a hop explosion. The thinner body helps the beer remain balanced.
Very drinkable, but best when really fresh. My scores are for draft at an average place. They would be higher at the brewery or in bottles.
08-13-2006 07:35:37 | More by Georgiabeer
3.59/5 rDev -11.1%
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.
08-13-2013 15:46:36 | More by stakem
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,534 ratings.