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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.

8,213 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,213
Reviews: 2,670
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 111
Gots: 656 | 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: 8,213 | Reviews: 2,670 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of Yagman3000

New York

3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle into a bubbled pint glass.

Appears a nice golden orange with a small creamy head that remains.

Smells bready and malty with only a subtle hint of hops. A little underwhelming for the genre.

Tastes a little bitter, more than in the nose, with a pretty strong bite.

Has a nice fresh mouthfeel with an outwardly expanding outtro.
More effervescent than I would have expected in a pleasant manner.

Overall a pretty good beer that's generally easy to acquire. It could be hoppier in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2011 03:23:45 | More by Yagman3000
Photo of pdeepak


3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer that started it all for me. Served into a pint glass at my favorite craft beer bar.

I had a case of this in my fridge at all times for months after I tried it for the first time. Opened my eyes to the joys of drinking pale ales and IPAs. Still me go to at sports bars that are riddled with BMCs

Serving type: on-tap

08-02-2011 16:32:30 | More by pdeepak
Photo of BucannonXC5


4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pilsner glass. Had about a ½-inch of head. Slight film that lasted throughout the majority of the beer. Color was honey, copper and caramel, also like urine from a very dehydrated person.

Smelled of strong flavors. Citrus was the first smell that came to mind, maybe lemon? Smelled a bit hoppy.

Tasted slightly better than the smell. Initial taste was malty and citrusy, but not too much of either. Immediately followed with an aftertaste of alcohol. Each flavor complimented each other.

Mild carbonation. Very, very good mouthfeel that kept me coming back for more. Really tastes great throughout. Slight hint of caramel after I finished.

One of my favorite beers. Great balance throughout and hardly any weaknesses.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2011 03:52:12 | More by BucannonXC5
Photo of justintcoons


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

A: Pours a beautiful gold/amber with about a half inch of head that dissipates quickly. Moderate carbonation and decent lacing.

N: Caramel, orange zest and pine.

T: Orange and lemon citrus upfront backed by excellent caramel malts. The citrus is then swapped out for pine and a crisp grassiness. Finishes with lingering pine, citrus and caramel.

M: Medium bodied, crisp, clean and dry.

O: This is THEE American Pale Ale with good reason. Easy drinking, juicy and refreshing. Hop forward yet incredibly balanced. This has always been a great go-to-beer. This is the best example of what an APA SHOULD taste like.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2011 19:13:42 | More by justintcoons
Photo of samie85


3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a slightly hazy copper color with two fingers of dense foam that leaves behind thick lacing.

S-Smells of bready malts with some light citrus notes.

T-Tastes of bitter lime and some bready malts.

M-Medium bodied with low carbonation for the style and a very slick feel.

D-Very easy drinking, and a great summer beer for when you don't necessarily want a beer that's gonna blow your socks off. I wish they had a more discernible dating system so I could know if this is two or eight months old.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2011 03:53:39 | More by samie85
Photo of gabedivision

New York

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

Poured from a 12oz to a SA Perfect Pint.

Deep golden bronze, with a 2 finger head and a solid retention. Strong floral hops fill the nose a nice smooth malt back bone, tons of lemon citrus, piny, very sticky and resin smelling. The taste is just about the same, extreme floral flavors, so appetizing. Big hops, big citrus, big bitter zest. Light on the feel, crisp, refreshing perfect for anytime of the year. Overall i love this beer, its the perfect APA.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2011 20:21:29 | More by gabedivision
Photo of SiriusBock


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

A: good golden color with a decent head and good lacing.
S: smelled like pine, grapefruit, and barley
T: tasted sharp and acidic. It matched well with my garlicy pizza. It cut through the taste and left a pleasant pineyness on my palette
M: had good effervescence but knew when to quit aka had good level of carbonation. I can appreciate the bottle conditioned style. Impressive for a bigger microbrewery.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2011 17:45:32 | More by SiriusBock
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Lynnwood Grill

Arrived a copper color with one finger of head and nice retention. Smell is pretty hoppy for a pale ale, very floral. Taste is also quite hoppy but does not overpower. Mild malts and floral, piney hops are extremely well balanced. Medium bodied with good carbonation; a little dry but very refreshing.

A great beer. One of my favorite pale ales.

Serving type: on-tap

07-30-2011 13:24:43 | More by tdm168
Photo of tito42


3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to a Boulevard tulip. Bottled 29 APR 2011.

A: Copper in color with unfiltered, bottle conditioned particulate in suspension. Active carbonation and a fluffy, off-white head. Decent lacing and retention.

S: Earthy hops, grain, and a sweet orange citrus aroma.

T: Earthy hops with tart apple and a hint of sweetness, and a kick of alcohol at the finish. Malt presence throughout.

M: Smooth and creamy up front with a very dry finish.

O: The standard-bearer for the APA, and for good reason. Great looking and smelling, with above average characteristics all around.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2011 02:18:14 | More by tito42
Photo of magictacosinus


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

Poured into a pint glass. No freshness date on the bottle.

Appearance: A strongly toned amber color that's instantly recognizable as a Sierra Nevada brew. A small, thin layer of foam tops the beer.

Smell: Sweet and malty with brief hoppy aromas. It's definitely on the fruity side, with scents reminiscent of oranges and lemons.

Taste: As pale ales go, this ranges more on the maltier side than the hoppier. Never mind that, though, as this is a damn tasty beer! The tastes of citrus are full-bodied, and the malts are good enough to provide a thick, grainy experience.

Mouthfeel: Every time I take a sip of this beer, I feel very relaxed, as it is gentle on the palate. This is due to the hops not being strong at all, as well as it tasting more fruity as it warms up. The carbonation that maintains itself throughout further maintains the soothing experience of drinking this beer.

Overall: While I prefer the more hoppier varieties that Sierra Nevada has to offer, this beer is nevertheless a classic in craft brewing that deserves all the praise it's received. It may be gentle on the mouth, yet is flavorful on the taste buds. A great pick!

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2011 07:54:26 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of fields336


4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle dated 119th day of the year. April 29.
Served in a Bell's pint glass.

A: orange amber with 2 fingers of thick white head that isn't going anywhere. Slightly hazy from the bottle conditioning and there is a good amount of carbonation from the bottom of the glass. Sticky white lacing is clinging to the sides. A masterpiece of a beer.

S: Piney, floral, grassy, citrusy hops fill the nose along with a bready caramel malt background. A ton to sift through here.

T: if you weren't aware of what you were drinking this could be classified as an IPA. tons of different hops flood the palate, backed by a great amount of malt. Exactly like it smells, delicious

M: creamy and light-medium bodied this is still an easy drinker. At 5.6% it is very close to a session ale. This is a world class beer.

O: somehow I always seem to overlook how good this beer actually is. The leader of the craft beer movement for a reason this should be in every craft lover's fridge.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2011 00:12:05 | More by fields336
Photo of Nugganooch


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

Awww SNPA...one of my personal gateway craft beers along with Boston Brewco, Mendocino , Rogue, Nectar Ales and a small group of others. I owe a great deal of gratitude to this brew for elevating not only my palate but my overall appreciation for beer. It was over a decade ago that I was in college and a dormie said I gotta try this danky stuff from Chico! Should have made this my very 1st review now that I think about it but here goes.

*Popped with my Sierra Nevada Opener and into my pint

A: SNPA pours a clear copper pale...leaning more towards that golden straw hue with a frothy 2 finger off-white head and some very classy lacing.

S: Smell is a bouqet abundent with citrus and florals and as I reminisce there was just nothing like it at the time it debuted.

T: Taste is just sooo good and wins me over every time with it's balance. That citrus and pine hop combo that I find in other brews made classic by this one right here. A light bready cereal malt base. Slight caramel sweetness. Just so refreshingly crisp and hoppy deliciousness.

M: Light sticky body and creamy texture make for an overall great mouthfeel.

D: Can't say enough about this brew. Super drinkability. It's hoppy but not offensively bitter. It's malty but not overly sweet. Just great balance and a for sure crowd pleaser. The beer for me when I go camping, fishing, vaca, etc. And one of the few brews that the wife and I can both enjoy togther. In fact I had a keg of SNPA at my wedding in 2004.

Truly a beer that is standing the test of time. It's only been downgraded here because of so many new amazing beers that have no doubt spawned from what is SNPA IMO. Never dissapoints. Would definitely never turn one down. Again just can't say enough!

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2011 22:18:09 | More by Nugganooch
Photo of BeerAmbassador


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

Kind of funny that I have not reviewed this one yet, I guess when you are always trying to seek out new beers you forget about the everyday beers out there. Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a two finger off white head. After it dissipates it leaves a bit of lacing and a thin froth on the top. Slight pine and dried hop leaf aromas with a bit of estery fruit in the malt. Nicely balanced malt and hops with a medium body good carbonation due to the bottle conditioning. A nice lingering hop bitterness that makes its presence known but is not overpowering. Funny how tastes can change, when I was younger and new to beer this beer seemed so bitter to me now after years of drinking what seems to be hoppier and hoppier beers this one barely registers. To me this beer is important in the same way that beers like Sam Adams Boston Lager are important. They were pioneers in the craft beer scene, they are good benchmarks for the style and maybe more importantly, they turn new beer drinkers on to craft beer. A great American Pale Ale.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2011 01:40:26 | More by BeerAmbassador
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,213 ratings.