Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

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2,862 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,862
Hads: 10,438
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 11.6%
Wants: 237
Gots: 2,291 | 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
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Reviews: 2,862 | Hads: 10,438
Photo of OKbrew89
3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark golden color with a good head that left lacing a quarter the way down the glass. Like many SN beers, the hop aroma was strong and dominated the smell. Balanced body of toasted malts and slightly bitter, piney hops with a really smooth and easy finish. Medium body with medium carbonation and no boozy aftertaste.
Very well done beer that is widely distributed and hasn't been watered down for national circulation. Good hop profile without being too bitter or crossing into IPA territory. Good example of the style.

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

June 13, 2015

12 oz bottle, pint glass

A – Light amber and orange. Brilliant white foam collar, an inch or so with moderate retention. Mostly clear.

S – Orange marmalade and light pine. Perhaps some pomegranate? Light biscuit and bready malt.

T – Orange and light grapefruit. Crackery-grainy, biscuit malt. Moderate hop bitterness.

M – Moderate carbonation and fairly dry. Some juiciness up front. Medium-bodied.

O – The example against which all others are judged, this is notable now for being so restrained and yet still flavorful, complex, and interesting.

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Photo of MemphisSooner
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the perfect session Pale Ale. Every other beer in this style should be judged against this beer. It is the standard of what a pale ale in America should be.

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Photo of cuksumstu
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I drank this out of the bottle, but the taste and feel were top notch. For a pale ale, it was certainly stronger, with a little more bitterness, spiciness, and well hopped with the yeast still there.

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Photo of ThomasMetal75
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

*Review sample was from 6/5/15*

A-Very sediment rich and unfiltered. Dark golden and copper in color. Has a nice 2 to 3 finger head that died somewhat, but never fully went away. Head itself was a tad rocky. Very carbonated. Looks great!

S- Very citusy and piney in the hops. Has a leathery note and a bit of dank, hop, resin. It's balanced by a nice, malty backbone. Sweet, caramel malts are present. Touch of breadiness as well.

T- Same as the taste. The hoppy notes are really the first thing that hits you in this beer. But for 38 IBUs, I think this beer is pretty hoppy without going overboard at all. It's certainly not an IPA, but it closely resembles one. Again, hops are citrusy and piney with a touch of leather. It's got a slight resinous/hop oily taste. Immediately after the hop profile, you notice this beer also has a very well balanced malty note. The malts are caramel and toffee in nature. Bready/biscuty as well. The beer leans slightly more on the hoppy than malty side, but I think the flavor profile is very well balanced in general. Great stuff!

F- This is a straight up medium bodied beer. It still retains the light oily, hoppy slickness that keeps the beer's profile very enjoyable. The finish is malty and sweet before it dries somewhat. The beer is crisp, clean, and very refreshing.

-Overall, this beer is a home-run. It's no secret why it has been around since the early 80's. It's not an overly complex beer, but it's not so light that it's dull. Hop heads should use this as a true "session IPA" (even if it's at 5.6% ABV). It would go fantastically with some buffalo wings, fish, or virtually anything on the grill. And it's not an expensive beer at all. If you never had this, get up and get it now!

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

A great "go to" pale with balanced hops and a good amount of flavor without being overdone. Great to savor but could also be session-able. My first exposure to what good craft beer can be. One of my all-time favorites.

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

I do not know why it took me so long to try this! I totally am enjoying all their beers! I am a fan for sure now. It was light and smooth yet had some flavor. REFRESHING!

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Photo of DCP
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Much better from a bottle than a keg on my palate.
My fishing companion.
Great heavy end all day beer.
I don't really order it on tap though.
It's less bitter and usually less fresh for me due to less hop and about the same body, maybe something else.
I've heard there are different recipes used for the bottles and kegs.
So I'm rating from the one I like better.

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

Poured from a 12 oz can into a pint glass

LOOK: Clear dark reddish brown with about a finger of off white head that leaves sheets of lacing.

SMELL: Grapefruit pulp, pine needles, and sweet bready malt.

TASTE: Grapefruit pulp and pine cone hops balanced against a thick caramel malt backbone. Well-balanced. Equal parts bitter and sweet. Finishes dry and slightly sticky.

FEEL: Medium-bodied, slightly sticky, with moderate carbonation.

OVERALL: For what it is, this has stood the test of time. One of the best beers available almost everywhere nationwide. An old reliable classic, and a great introduction to the world of craft beer.

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Photo of Burnthedevice
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

One of the best smelling beers I've ever had. Hop presence is good, and blends well with a very restrained fresh tasting sweetness. I get some pear, and a little peach, in the flavor, but again, any sweet, fruit-like flavors are not overpowering, and blend in very well with the overall flavor profile. This beer is on the light side body-wise, which in my opinion lends itself more to warm weather drinking. I'm liking this beer more with each passing try. **UPDATE TO ORIGINAL REVIEW**: This has become my go-to for the summer of 2015 up here in Maine. Don't know how it will hold up in the colder months, but for now, it's perfect. Great brew that hits on all cylinders, and also a great introduction to craft brews, in my opinion, because it's not hard to appreciate.. It's just damn good!

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Photo of olivialim
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Bought it from Bevmo, Poured from a 12 oz. bottle

A: Bright golden color, clear, and decent lacing

S: Citrus, Floral, and Grapefruit.

T: Piney, Spicy, and Citrus

M:Medium light body, Crispness, and refreshing

O: This is my favorite beers out of sixty five beers. I am glad that I finally found it. Also, I can hang out with my friends by drinking Sierra Nevada Pale Ale during summer vacation. It is a good pair with salads!!

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle enjoyed at my parents house, great bbq beer.
Golden amber color, moderate citrus hops with a bready caramel maltiness to back it up. Great brew, and I'm a bit surprised I haven't rated this before.

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Photo of Cannibalgasm
3.87/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

A: Pours a hazy amber with an off-white head. Head dissipates and leaves a fair amount of lacing.

S: Toasted bread, caramel malts, citrus, grapefruit, and piney hops.

T: Sweet malts, caramel, cracker, lemony citrus, orange, and some hops on the end providing just enough bitterness on the finish.

M: Medium bodied and creamy. The hops provide a subtle spiciness that makes it go down very easy.

O: One of the truest examples of a solid APA. It's subtle sweetness melded with the spicy hop bitterness make it a all around solid brew.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, PKGD 03/17/15. I've had this dozens of times & I was shocked to see that I had never reviewed it!
A - amber colored ale with a creamy ivory head that slowly fades to a foam
S - caramel malt with pine and grapefruity citrus, faint fruit and yeast
T - well balanced with caramel, bready malt, pine, grapefruit, and yeast
M - creamy but resinous on the piny & spicy hop finish
O - classic American Pale Ale. I drink this often and love it every time!

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Photo of Kendo
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

OK, so I've reviewed - full, written reviews - over 1250 beers and somehow never got around to reviewing the classic SNPA. Can't figure out how that ever happened, but recently I picked up a 12-pack for my father-in-law, so I know this beer is (pretty) fresh, so I'm finally sitting down to review it.

A: Poured into a pint glass - hey, a ubiquitous craft beer deserves a ubiquitous glass, amirite? The body is coppery amber in color with a 1-finger slightly-off-white foamy head on top, which is reinforced by plenty of fine bubbles. It's a nice look, and it leaves behind plenty of lacing.

S: Classic APA, with nice malt foundation of toasted bread, which is then followed up with a mild hoppiness of faint citrus.

T: I've been drinking this beer for at least 20 years now, and of course my initial impression way back when was over how hoppy it was. Now, with hundreds of IPAs under my belt, I'm surprised at how malty this beer is when compared to my recollection and my more-recent exposure to hopped-up American IPAs. It more or less follows the nose, with some sweet malt setting the table along with toasted bread. The hops follow, providing a modest lemony, citrusy flavor that balances the malt to leave a lingering lemony taste on the palate into the aftertaste.

M: Nice and creamy - more so than I remember. Call it medium in heft, carbonation is fine-bubbled and feels nice on the palate.

O: The quintessential American Pale Ale. My wife was drinking one of these the night we met - in 1994 - making it readily apparent that she had (and has) good taste.

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Photo of kevinlater
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

welcome to ontario SNPA! 355ml bottle into nonic pint glass. bottled march 25, 2015. consumed on may 14, 2015

a: clear light amber with a finger of off-white head

s: biscuity malt up front followed by piney, floral, and grapefruity hop characteristics. hints of hoppy spices and oranges. extremely pleasant

t: a piney floral presence at first, but quickly leads into big biscuity malt flavours with subdued grapefruit, lemon, and orange notes, as well as touches of spice coming from the hops. moderate bitterness at the end

m: medium-minus body, with moderate carbonation. excellent

o: a modest but delicious, solid, and enjoyable ale

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Photo of BayernMunchen3113
4.62/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Very tasty pale ale - Would recommend for summertime grilling and BBQ. Extremely enjoyable when super cold. My favorite beer hands down. Love this offering!

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Photo of Vinegarroon
3.4/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

The pale ale I grew up with. It always reminds me of Mom.
This is a classic to me. It is the benchmark of American Pale Ales. It's not outstanding compared to some of it's successors, but over the past 30-some years it remains good. A pioneer of the American microbrew. If you've never had one, this is where the magic began. Have one just to pay homage to our microbrew forebarers.

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Photo of gutbucket2
3.82/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

350ml. Pours amber/gold, with thick diminishing head. Fruit on the nose. Taste: fruit, a little caramel. Mouthfeel: tingly with gentle lingering hop. Overall: one of the best bottle-conditioned pale ales. Good quality control at brewery ensures consistency between batches.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

355 mL bottle from a sixer picked up at the LCBO; bottled on Mar 25 2015. This one finally became available for sale in the Ontario market sometime last week - and you can bet that I didn't waste any time in tracking it down. And now, let's see what all the fuss is about. Served slightly chilled.

Pours a foggy golden-amber hue, with visible flecks of hop particulate slowly hovering throughout the liquid. Roughly two fingers of head are produced, though it does not stick around terribly long. After a few minutes have passed, a bubbly film and foamy collar have taken its place, accompanied by some scant filaments of lace. The nose is largely dominated by the Cascade hops - plenty of pithy grapefruit, with lesser notes of lemon zest and orange. A light hint of pine resin is also noticeable, with suggestions of caramelized sugar, bready malt and toasted biscuit. Nothing too fancy, but it gets the job done.

In fact, the very same could be said of the flavour profile, too - it's well-made and tasty, but not the sort of pale ale that grabs your attention in any way whatsoever. The malt backbone is unassuming but reliably sturdy; a mild, caramelized sugar sweetness comes through, in addition to some nice toasted bread/biscuit flavours. Cascade hops take the reigns for the latter half of the sip, offering up familiar notes of grapefruit pith and orange zest. Finishes with a touch of resiny bitterness that lingers briefly into the aftertaste. Medium-bodied, with moderate carbonation levels that give this pale ale a somewhat crisp mouthfeel. It goes down smoothly and effortlessly.

Final Grade: 4.05, a solid A-. I can't help but feel that my palate has become rather spoiled, given the explosion of hop-forward pale ales that have flooded the market over the last 10 years or so. Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale hails from a simpler time - and while it may not boast a particularly exotic flavour profile, or the ability to smash your head in with a sledgehammer constructed entirely of hops - you really can't deny this one's quality. It's just supremely drinkable and refreshing - a true staple, though at $15/sixer (in this market), the local guys probably don't have much to worry about yet.

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Photo of m_hall
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pour from a 12 oz bottle into a nonic pint. Clear golden in hue, topped by a two-finger off-white head that falls slowly, leaving good lacing.

Aromas are biscuit and citrus fruits, with some pine and earthy hops.

On tasting the malts come up front, with the same biscuit promised by the nose, along with a mild sweetness and light fruity esters. Hop notes soon follow, grapefruit and spice. Finish is dry and slightly chalky (but not unpleasantly so) with just a hint of resinous aftertaste. A good choice if you want a hoppy ale if IPA's are a bit too much for you.

Body is medium, slightly chewy, with good carbonation for a bit of zest. Alcohol is just right for this to be a good anytime drinker.

One of the "grand old men," of US craft brewing (along with Anchor Steam, Stone Pale Ale, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and a handful of others) the original American Pale Ale continues to live up to its reputation. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is solid in every respect... newer drinkers might wonder what all the genuflection is about with this one, but one has to realize that way back in the early 80's, this beer helped start a revolution in American brewcraft, along with providing a great showcase for US-grown hops from the Pacific Northwest. Every APA that's come after has followed the trail blazed here.

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Photo of pianoguy
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

Poured a golden body with a 1 inch off white head, good lacing

Sweet malts are fairly prominent with a slight pine hop scent

Malt at the start with a nice refreshing slightly bitter hop finish. Good mix !

Appropriate mouth feel for a pale ale.

When the weather is warm I'm a sucker for a good pale ale ! This one has a lot going for it !

Goes well with oysters .

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Photo of MNAle
2.88/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

1/2 inch slightly off-white head. Amber color with aggressive carbonation. Faint aroma that is pleasant, somewhat citrusy. Very mild taste, not highly hopped at all in either the initial taste, mid, or aftertaste. This surprised me. It was only about 10 weeks past its bottled date,. so hop fading should certainly not been an issue. Substantial mouth feel, especially for a pale ale. But, the overall taste is just so unremarkable. While I generally prefer beers that are not over-hopped, it is not just the lack of a hops bite that is surprising. It is just so ordinary. This is a very drinkable ale, but for all the hype about this being the prototypical American pale ale, I was expecting much more.

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

This is my current everyday beer. I am not sure why I like it so much, but I guess it is:
1. Great American Hops, still balanced with the malt
2. Bottle conditioned, not pasteurized. It has a live taste.
3. Brewed here in N.C. Fresh date, fresh N.C. mountain water, low carbon footprint.

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Photo of AirBob
3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Notes from 12/19/14

A - 3 fingers of rolling white head. Great retention and lacing. Clear orange-golden body.

S - Grassy hops. Bready malt backbone. Citrus rind and some pine follows. Maybe a little white pepper.

T - Mild malt backbone with a bitter citrus bite and pine notes.

M - Relatively creamy for the style. Medium carb. Clean finish.

O - This bottle may have beer a little past its prime or my palate is off. A little too much malt for my liking, but still a great, easy to find refrigerator beer.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,862 ratings.