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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.

7,926 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,926
Reviews: 2,658
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 100
Gots: 520 | 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
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Ratings: 7,926 | Reviews: 2,658 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Ilovesuds

New Hampshire

4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a 12 pack and popped open a bottle. My initial reaction was that it had no nose and tasted like a watered down IPA. The second bottle I let sit in the glass and warm up a bit. What a difference. Nice understated citric nose. Inviting amber gold color with a nice head and lace. Taste is grapefruit and pine. Not too "in your face" but that was expected with an ABV of 5.6%. The only thing I didn't like was the carbonation. I thought it was a bit harsh and over bubbly. That said I still would enjoy this again and again.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2011 23:12:08 | More by Ilovesuds
Photo of Parky1

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Copper-coloured, virtually no head is present.

Hoppy, with hints of caramel.

Sharp and hoppy, slightly bitter.

Light, fizzy and dry.

I've had a few in the past and will no doubt have a few more in the future.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2011 21:25:56 | More by Parky1
Photo of DaftCaskBC

British Columbia (Canada)

4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: 1/2" off-white head that dissipated quickly over amber liquid with excellent clarity.

S: Citrus hops, honey and malt.

T: Initial taste is of slightly bitter citrus hops, which transitions to sweet malt and a somewhat dry finish.

M: Medium to thin viscosity with a low level of fine carbonation.

O: A very good American Pale Ale that is extremely well balanced, drinkable and would be a good pairing for many foods.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2011 04:58:33 | More by DaftCaskBC
Photo of jifigz


4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle poured into a mug.

A: A golden orange with a nice white head. Carbonation bubbles can be skyrocketing towards the surface. A little bit of lacing is apparent.

S: Fruity, malty, yet light and refreshing smelling.

T: Crisp fruit flavors up front. Mildly tart with a wonderful clean taste that is just the perfect light blend of sweetness, bitter, and fruity. The aftertaste is mildly bitter but by no means too much so.

M: The MF is crisp and clean feeling, lighter bodied and easily quaffable. Nothing offensive or harsh to the palate.

O: The classic example of the American Pale Ale. This is just a damn good beer. It is not trying to be anything that its not and it is simple and up front. I have been drinking this beer for years and years, and finally got around to actually adding my two cents here, and it will stand the test of time and always be a classic.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2011 15:11:31 | More by jifigz
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

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

12oz. bottle served at 53 degrees in a standard pint glass. Pours a bright, translucent copper with a half inch, loose, creamy, bone white head. Head disperses into a broken slick. Nose is very subdued but expresses a light caramel malt character as well as an earthy hops presence. Taste follows nose with that addition of a mild citrus character that intersperses itself through the flavor profile. Moutfeel is light in body with an assertive carbonation that lightly burns the back of the throat. This is my go to beer when I'm out and the beer list is limited. Solid and quite drinkable; definitely a classic.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2011 19:53:53 | More by Jwale73
Photo of gerite


3.5/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at a local restaurant. The beer I received had no head and neither I nor my wife could detect any aroma. The taste was more on the hops side with a hint of malt. Overall, it was a crisp light beer with no after taste that goes well with a burger. Except for the lack of any aroma, this was a pretty good Pale Ale with good golden color and a refreshing taste.

Serving type: on-tap

08-20-2011 05:05:41 | More by gerite
Photo of MrDonQuixote


4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 24 oz bomber into an oversized wine glass:

A- Nice orangish golden color with a half inch white head

S- Floral and citrusy. There is an obvious presence of strong hops

T- Hoppy upfront; hints of orange and other citrus notes as well. Nice malty finish

M- Super smooth due to the malty finish. Nice carbonation.

O- Great APA. One of the best of the style, and one of the staples of craft beer. Definitely worth all of the love and hype.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2011 02:35:14 | More by MrDonQuixote
Photo of 1Adam12


3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is one of the first, if not THE first craft beers I ever tasted many years ago.

Pours an orangish golden color with a half in head. Smells very earthy. Has a bit of old sock smell about it. Hops are very noticeable as well as a bit of citrus. Taste is hoppy with a lot of earthiness. A tad bit of bitterness on the back end. Not a very complex brew, but good. This is a bit over carbonated for me, but very satisfying. Overall, this is a good everyday beer, or good session beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2011 18:16:02 | More by 1Adam12
Photo of paxchristi


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

Sierra Nevada is a classic microbrew staple and this is their premiere beer. Its the essential gateway into craft beer, and I could not speak more positively about our friends in Chico. They have found a niche and it is serving them well in the microbrew/craft beer cult. Their consistency is out of this world; probably due to their commitment to bottle conditioning.

Appearance: Pours a good looking beer. I expect this from my pale ales. Golden amber with a good amount of head-- 1.5-2 inches that leaves great lacing down the side of the glass. Totally professional.

Smell: Earthy, grainy, biscuit front infused with hoppy intensity in the nose. Definite esters. I even caught a grassy/leafy smell in the undertone.

Taste: HOPS! Body is medium filled with citrusy tones-- near a bit salty yet still earthy. There is something behind the hops that gives it balance but I do not know what to call it. Total bitter finish matched with an earthy tone that brings it balance. Classic.

Mouth: Dances in my mouth. Hops sticks to the palate and the nose. Even carbonation gives this beer is a strength of this brew. It brings out the bitterness of the hops and gives the hoppy stick to the palate a stronger effect. Brilliant.

Overall: An American classic. Enough said. This is always be one of the go to beers for me. This is the poster child for American Pale Ales. The poster child may not always be the absolute best, but it is definitely the one that gives an accessible entry into the subtleties of craft beer appreciation.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2011 18:21:20 | More by paxchristi
Photo of soulfly1492


3.45/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep gold. Moderate white head, with above average lacing. Average to slightly above average retention.

Aroma: Pale malt. Caramel. Floral, indicating the presence of bitter hops. Bready. Perhaps a bit of diacetyl.

Taste: Sweet malt, quickly followed by orange/grapefuit citrus, followed by pine/floral hop bitterness. I detect a faint amount of diacetyl at the end of this one. I wasn't quite sure so I checked out the label, and sure enough this brew is bottle conditoned.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Chalky dry texture. Lots of carbonation.

Overall: Not bad. Definitely on the dry/bitter side of the style. Very crisp and refreshing. Could have done without the diacetyl. The citrus flavor really is the highlight in this one.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2011 00:46:21 | More by soulfly1492
Photo of breslaubrewer


2.73/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I know this is the classic example of an American pale ale ,but.... in the midwest it becomes oxidized on the retail shelves and doesn't hold up well. I've had one six pack I really enjoyed (nice piney floral aroma, dry finish, bitter spicey taste). I usually won't buy unless I know it's fresh because I get a cardboard/oxidized taste that I can't overcome and usually throw the rest out.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2011 19:54:22 | More by breslaubrewer
Photo of chefhatt


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

I poured this beer into a pint glass, it has a golden color body with a big foamy white head on top. The smell comes as pine and lemon. The taste first off is malt, then the bitterness of the hops comes through. Neither flavor is overpowering. The mouth feel is nice and smooth, easy drinking. Overall a good beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2011 04:15:10 | More by chefhatt
Photo of IPA35


4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this nice looking golden ale into a a pint glass. Slightly hazy with a foamy head. good visible carbonation.

It smells of pine resin and citrus (lemon) and the malts is a light caramel. Inviting.

The malts are a bit weak tasting, more bready than robust/caramel as with the Anchor Pale Ales. The hops are fruity with a average bitter, hoppy aftertaste. Some sweetness in there but the hop takes over quick. Not very complex but it is good and very easy to drink. That was the first pour without yeast. Now the second half. It mellows down the flavour a little prehaps?
It leaves some brown stains in the otherwise white head and there are some brown particles in there that have sunken to the bottom by now.

It has a medium body, not thick but not watery either. Just fine. Under average carbonation.

I think I prefer the Anchor offerings for flavour, but this is even more drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2011 21:53:36 | More by IPA35
Photo of jgreenearrow


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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a golden copper color with lighter golden tones around the edges of the glass. The beer is fairly translucent, as bubbles are easily visible as the cascade up to the top of the pour. A thin cream colored foam formed at the top of the pour with very little retention. Some slight lacing remains on the sides of the glass.

S: Caramel and biscuity malts dominate the nose. Some slight citrus is present as well, rounded out by some hop bitters.

T: Sweet malts and caramel flavor burst onto the tongue at the outset of the sip. Bread crust and biscuit meld into flavor profile in the middle followed by some citrus of orange peel and grapefruit and hop bitterness in the finish.

M: This is a light to medium bodied beer. Carbonation is pleasant and refreshing.

Overall, this is an excellent pale ale. The flavors are complex and well balanced. Neither malts nor hops dominate the flavor profile, as all of the flavors meld nicely to create a refreshing beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2011 18:56:10 | More by jgreenearrow
Photo of ummswimmin

New Jersey

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

Sierra Nevada pale is one of the original craft pales in wide distribution. This was one of the gateway beers that got me into craft beer drinking as a hobby. It is easy to drink. It tastes really good, and it isn't too complicated.

I haven't had this beer in many years, and it was really nice going back.

The coloring is a nice shade of copper with a minimal amount of head. Carbonation was present, but it wasn't over-whelming.

There is light hoppiness coming off the top and in the taste as well.

This is a good example of a pale. You could refer to it as "old reliable."

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2011 02:49:58 | More by ummswimmin
Photo of lawlerj


3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A - pours a hazy copper with a decent size head. Leaves speckled lacing on the glass. Appears to be moderately carbonated.

S - strong rich malty aroma on the nose. A bit of hops in the background but nothing crazy. Very rich.

T - buttery malt and rich hops - bitter hops in there and some citrus/floral hops in the mix as well, but doesn't overpower the malt base.

M - medium bodied, smooth nice mouthfeel.

O - overall, this is a solid beer. Deserves respects as one of the originals. I had it some years ago before my palate really developed and I didn't care for it, but it really sits well now.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2011 23:59:31 | More by lawlerj
Photo of jeffjeff1


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

I usually pick this up in bulk at Costco or Sam's Club. I just realized I have never done a review for it so I decided I would do one.

Appearance- amber color, thin head

Smell- First thing to hit was the malt then I got some piney hops.

Taste- subtle hop flavor, some malt

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- This is a very good pale ale. It is Sierra Nevada's flagship beer and probably the beer I drink the most because I buy it in bulk. I always have a case of it at my house. Highly recommended

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2011 22:42:11 | More by jeffjeff1
Photo of warbird07


4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in my New Belgium globe...thanks to the Kroger around the corner for providing this to me for 2.99..

amber pour, nice white head, quick lacing..looks like a pale should..

deep piney hops hit the nose, fresh smelling, malt as well..

taste is nice, crisp hoppyness, lingers a bit..

smooth mouthfeel..the malt backbone provides a nice bed for the hop character..

this is one of my favorite, drinkable pale ales..

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2011 01:53:05 | More by warbird07
Photo of rapayn01


3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a perfectly serviceable pale ale, though not nearly as hoppy or bitter as the same brewery's excellent Torpedo. I much prefer the latter, though this beer is much easier to find in bars, stores, and restaurants across the land. It is almost always my go-to fallback beer at chain restaurants when the rest of their beer list is limited to a variety of low-quality American beers from the large breweries.

It has a nice tan-orange coloring, but a mild (and pleasant) taste and smell. You really cannot go wrong drinking this beer and I loved it years ago when it was more difficult to find better alternatives. It is better than most of the competition, but ale lovers will want to explore other offerings if available.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2011 21:21:06 | More by rapayn01
Photo of danieelol


3.15/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours golden orange, not a colour I'm particularly enamoured with but good head and lacing.

S: Nuttiness on bottle opening, which pops up again intermittently. Vague citric lemon-lime zest hops. Some nondescript malt to sniff. Alcohol intermittently.

T: First sip was really sweet. Then it's just subtle hops with present but nondescript malt. Hop bite in the finish, with some alcohol occasionally.

M: Ok?

O: Mmm, this stuff really doesn't wow me in the slightest. LCPA beats it at its own game IMO, and I've had several better local examples like Pacific Ale and Hart's House Pale Ale. Very average on the whole.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2011 13:06:05 | More by danieelol
Photo of chocosushi


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

12oz->Anchor Steam Pint
A ~ pours a perfectly pale honeyed-brown. Constant steady carb
with a bit of lacing.

S ~ Solid nose of grass, fresh barley, brewer's yeast & grass

T ~ Nice balance of crisp hops & pale malts...bit of
bread-crust, and a finish of their tasty house yeast.

M ~ Crisp & clean. Simple, with a nice balance.
I don't understand how some think this is too hoppy.

D ~ Just good...really good. It's a given
to buy this beer in 12-packs. The definition
of the (American) style. Not a big beer by any
means, just a solid one. We all started w/ this.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2011 23:25:06 | More by chocosushi
Photo of Hopilator


4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured a twelve oz. bottle into a pint glass, backed by natural light, revealed a light copper color, with a white head. A floral nose, well balanced malt to bitterness on the tongue. Good carbonation, and lacing. Very delicious, I would drink this beer anytime, with anyone.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2011 21:58:48 | More by Hopilator
Photo of CaptDavyJones

New York

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

Poured a clear orange/golden color from a 12 oz bottle, with no ABV or freshness date.
Nice, frothy one finger head that dissipates slowly.
Aroma is a nice blend of citrus and floral hops with hints of malt/grain.
Taste is predominantly hoppy with a mild malt backbone. Nice lace all along the insides of the glass
Easy to drink and has all the makings of a perfect sessions beer.
Refreshing on a nice hot summer day.
All in all, a classic pale ale from Sierra Nevada and is definitely worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2011 04:23:24 | More by CaptDavyJones
Photo of iwantmorehops


3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had to revisit this one as it had been a few years since my last one. I never thought it was particularly remarkable, but it gets so much praise on the forums here that it was time for another shot. A nice golden orange color with a small head, not much retention a tad of lacing. Smells not overly exciting, but its good, a little citrus and pine and some bready malt. Taste follows the smell with a very mild hoppy bitterness and a hint of citrus. Pretty carbonated and a nice light mouthfeel. Very easy drinking beer, a great intro to craft, and unlikely to offend anyone. Not my favorite APA, but certainly one I'll keep buying for a long time.

One note the first bottle I had I drank pretty quickly on a hot day and wasn't impressed at all, the next one was allowed to warm up a tad and the aroma and flavors were dramatically improved. Don't drink your pale ales straight out of the fridge or you wont taste anything.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2011 18:59:26 | More by iwantmorehops
Photo of avaldivia


4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the first beer I ever had. Because of that it will always have a soft spot in my heart, even though I now rarely purchase it.

A: Dark golden color that reminds me of caramel or honey. Very nice head with good retention.

S: Grains and citrus are on the forefront. There is a hint of Caramel.

T: Good citrus flavor to begin, but then it gibes way to a nice malt and grain character.

M: Nice medium bodied with good carbonation.

O: This was my first beer ever and because of that I will always appreciate it. I rarely order when out at beer bars, but the nice thing is, it is usually on tap at most dive bars so this is my go to.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2011 15:27:10 | More by avaldivia
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 7,926 ratings.