1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

8,519 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,519
Reviews: 2,682
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 120
Gots: 813 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 8,519 | Reviews: 2,682 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jadjunk


4.18/5  rDev +3.5%

#113. So I've been away awhile and focusing on my beer reviewing efforts, so I felt an appropriate return to my reviewing notes would be with a universally reviewed and well known beer. I can't for the life of me figure out how the freshness dates works, but I do know it is good until sometime this year. It is hard to believe that I found this beer too "intense" in my early days as a beer drinker, but it has, like beer in general, grown on me as an essential icon in the craft brewing industry.

I poured this 12 oz bottle into the standard Sierra Nevada Tumbler Pint Glass (I felt that the hop tulip would have required more beer, around 16 ounces in order to be properly used and reviewed in). Served under 51 Degrees F.

(Appearance) Pours a slightly frothy 2 finger depth head and hangs for a couple of minutes. The surface takes a while to clear however, and a medium level of lacing drapes the sides of the glass. Color is a medium golden amber. There is a little bit of carbonation in the center and the beer is mostly translucent. For this most part, this beer looks quite appealing. 4

(Smell) A very pleasant blend of pale malts, some grassy hops and maybe even a even slighter tone of citrusy hops. The smell is rounded out well, however the potency is not all what I would expect it to be, and that's a shame. Overall it is a pleasantly enjoyable aroma and very worthy of a good drink. 3.5

(Taste) Deliciously balanced. A crisp, light and faintly sweet caramel malt base is rounded out by a complimentary citrusy and grassy hop character. There's a bit of something for everyone on both ends of the hop malt spectrum, but this beer manages to blend the best of both worlds into one delectable assortment. The nearly indiscernible alcohol presence make this extremely quaffable. It might just be one of my favorites from Sierra Nevada. 4.5

(Mouthfeel) The tiniest bit on the crisp side, but again wonderful balance. Each sip awakens on the tongue but is not overly active. There's a light/medium body to this beer and a well concealed alcohol presence. Masterfully done. 4.5

(Overall) One of the finest offerings from Sierra Nevada (I have a hard time finding something that tops Torpedo and Celebration, but this ranks up there), this is a great beer and a must try for even casual beer drinkers. Highly drinkable and thoroughly enjoyable, it will not disappoint even the most mainstream beer lover. 4

09-14-2011 02:02:23 | More by Jadjunk
Photo of UDbeernut

New York

4.28/5  rDev +5.9%

can't believe for how many times I had this I never reviewed. amber hue, nice foamy off white head, nose is full of cascade and caramel, balance a tad to the bitter side, tasteful citrus and caramel meld well. sure there are better apas, but none of them are the benchmark that Sierra nevada's is.

09-12-2011 22:06:32 | More by UDbeernut
Photo of mazstar


4.22/5  rDev +4.5%

A: slightly cloudy, typically amber, pours 1-finger head and sustains .5 finger head with some froth managing to cling along the way

S: floral hop aroma, with elements of sweet malt at the end

T: opens with slight hops, elements of sweet malt and finishes with a lasting yet subtle bitterness - well balanced

M: feels rich, froths easily when swirled in mouth

This is a great APA - coming from Australia I was afraid the journey over, storage and not being a macro-mover might make this over-rated experience but it held well and tastes and smells great.

Common becnhmark here in Oz is Little Creatures Pale Ale and this easily meets, if not slightly exceeds that benchmark.

Cost at $20 is a little more than your usual six-pack is one small factor detracting from it's appeal.

09-11-2011 14:53:20 | More by mazstar
Photo of boilermakerbrew


4.03/5  rDev -0.2%

A- Pours a semi-hazy full golden color. A sizeable foamy head that sticks around for awhile. Lacing is good and consistent throughout.

S- Definitely a hoppy overtone to the smell. Pine and citrus aromas are prominent and enticing to the nose. Just makes me think of the pacific coast, I don't know why.

T- Starts off like the smell, pine and citrus. Then hits you with the hops. The level of bitterness is a little over the top, but finishes without aftertaste and a very clean feeling left on the palate.

M- Heavier than anticipated. Still a manageable beer to have a few of if you are having a meal. Definitely a beer that enjoys the compliment of a meal.

O- For my first review of an APA (or IPA for that matter) it was a good experience. Not too much on the hop side to scare me away from more bitter beers, but enough to give me a taste. Makes me excited to try more Sierra Nevada brews.

09-10-2011 00:23:07 | More by boilermakerbrew
Photo of hoppyweasel311


4.1/5  rDev +1.5%

Pours a light copper color with fairly decent head and good lacing around the glass. Smells of floral hops, citrus, and pine. Good hop bitterness.. maybe a bit much for just a pale ale... to me it's almost borderline IPA. This is an all around good beer

09-08-2011 21:39:44 | More by hoppyweasel311
Photo of mooseo


3.88/5  rDev -4%

12oz bottle poured into pint glass.

A - Golden copper, looks a bit cloudy. Has a decent, foamy white head with average retention.

S - Big floral hop aroma mixed with citrus and sweet malts.

T - Roasted, bready malts up front, followed by grassy, floral hops. While well balanced, the hops are plentiful and provide a mild hop bite. The finish is rather dry with some bitterness, leaving a lingering citrus/malt flavor.

M - Crisp and smooth. Light-medium bodied.

D - Highly drinkable, making this an extremely sessionable ale. Bold, robust flavors for a pale ale. Everything seems to work well together. An all around great beer.

09-08-2011 01:10:13 | More by mooseo
Photo of doughanson78


4.08/5  rDev +1%

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Light copper color that is very bright. Pretty clear with a faint fogginess. A half finger white head with decent retention and alright lacing.

S: Floral hops. Some citrus, with light pineapple orange, and apricots. Mild caramel sweetness. Some herbal and grassy notes.

T: Caramel sweetness upfront. Very mild hop bitterness of floral notes with some light citrus. Big herbal and earthiness come through in the finish.

M: Medium to light bodied. Super crisp and refreshing. Higher carbonation. Nice smoothness.

O: A great and refreshing beer. Not over the top an anyway. One of the beers that got me into craft beer. I would call it a gateway beer. A must try for any beer lover.

09-05-2011 21:36:39 | More by doughanson78
Photo of musicman575


3.18/5  rDev -21.3%

Sierra Nevada drinks like the standard pale ale in every way. I've avoided buying SN just because one can get it virtuall anywhere. I was recently at a bar (for the purpose of watching some baseball) whose only slightly hoppy beer was SN, so I had one, I mean two.

There's a lot of carbonation in this beer. Bubbles were many and always rising from the bottom of the glass. Didn't keep too much of a head though.

Pale Ale mild hoppiness - check.
Pale Ale mild maltiness, slightly musty - check.

There was one offensive smell in the beer. Within the malt, I smelled mildew.

09-05-2011 17:47:24 | More by musicman575
Photo of mrkipling

United Kingdom (England)

4/5  rDev -1%

330ml bottle poured into a Trappistes Rochefort goblet.

A: Short-lived head with craters like the moon. Lovely amber hue.

S: Sweet. Perfumey. Floral. Fruity; apricots in particular. Makes we want to drink it.

T: It tastes like drinking delicious, delicious flowers. Fruity and crisp with a slightly bitter and dry finish. Somehow delicate and harsh in the same mouthful. Perhaps ever-so-slightly too bitter but not so much as to distract from the enjoyment of the beverage.

M: Crisp and nicely carbonated. Leaves me wanting more. Still though, slightly too bitter an aftertaste.

O: What's not to like about drinking fruity flowery beer? A delicious beer that is somehow available to me locally (in the UK) which I will be buying regularly. Love it.

09-04-2011 15:56:12 | More by mrkipling
Photo of JohnnyP3


4.22/5  rDev +4.5%

12 fl oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a slightly (not very) hazy autumn orange color. 2 finger of white foam cap this pale ale. Leaves some nice lacing on the glass. Looks to be well carbonated.

Smell is biscuity and malty with some pine bitterness in the nose. The malts also impart a slightly sweet aroma to balance the floral and pine hop aromas.

Taste is extremely well balanced between the hops and malt. Simultaneous flavors of bready, biscuity malts with some slight sweetness followed by or in tandem with hop bitterness--pine and mild citrus. Also a slight herbal flavor.

Mouthfeel is well carbonated, slightly slick. The balance between hops and malts makes you want to let this one roll through the taste buds.

Overall, a classic, top-notch American Pale Ale. Really defines the style. Readily available just about everywhere and a safe haven for craft beer fans when out and about. Love the interplay of bready and mildly sweet malt and piney hops.

09-04-2011 05:52:00 | More by JohnnyP3
Photo of joemcgrath27

Alberta (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev -3.5%

A - crystal clear copper golden, solid off white head retained very well with a steady stream of bubbles from the bottom, traces of random lacing
S - generally mild odours of herbs, grass, pineapple, and grains
T - crisp pilsner like hop freshness, herbal and grassy with some metallic, light bready malt, with a peppery finish
M - medium to light body with great carbonation, juicy through the middle and moving to a medium dry finish
O - a very tasty and sessionable pale, but I do have to say that the Torpedo blows this out of the water

09-04-2011 02:03:15 | More by joemcgrath27
Photo of mpyle


4.2/5  rDev +4%

Rich copper color, fairly clear but not brilliantly so. Poured a fairly large head with creamy fine bubbles. Good head retention.

Nice hop aroma, green piney grass smelling. Some nice caramel malt smell beneath the hops.

Taste is simultaneous malt and hops, with a good piney hop flavor dominating. Bitterness is assertive but not overpowering, but definitely lingers into the finish.

Medium body and carbonation, with no astringency or warming.

Was amazed to see that I'd never reviewed this beer despite having consumed it for the last 15 years or so. Still holds up as a great, hop forward beer. Everything is perfectly in balance, and oh so drinkable.

09-03-2011 19:23:58 | More by mpyle
Photo of CwrwAmByth

United Kingdom (Wales)

4.35/5  rDev +7.7%

Poured from a 350ml bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Pours a bright hazy orange colour, magnificent!

Smell is hoppiness, lovely whole hops that reminds me of boiling hops when making my first homebrew.

The taste is excellent, very hoppy with a recognisably American hop bitterness, yet it is extremely soft and well balanced, with alot of malts as well, making it very drinkable.

Overall a fantastic drink, great on a scorching summers day like today.

09-02-2011 15:15:35 | More by CwrwAmByth
Photo of setexascustoms


4.38/5  rDev +8.4%

S: 12oz bottle poured into an SA Perfect Pint

A: A nearly clear golden amber, with only the slightest haze. A finger of foamy off-white head, the retention isn't stellar, but the lacing is. I was nearly done when I noticed the yeast sediment on the bottom of the glass.

S: Clean, dominated by floral hops and behind that almost a sour dough.

T: Again, very clean. The hops seem better balanced than in the nose, and there's a certain sweetness. I also still pick up the sour dough.

M: Here is where this beer is exceptional to me. It coats the mouth wonderfully, and the texture feels almost slick. Truly remarkable.

O: This is my first review, and I'm still acquiring a nose and palate for these beers. I've always drank more flavorful beer than your average consumer and always leaned toward the darker, smokier brews. But this may be my current favorite, how well balanced it is and again the mouthfeel puts it over the top. Here's to America's Pale Ale.

09-01-2011 01:44:10 | More by setexascustoms
Photo of fx20736

New York

3.9/5  rDev -3.5%

poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Coppery amber, lazy carbonation with a khaki 2 finger head that leaves plumes of lacing.

Aroma: Restrained Grapefruit & pine resin

mouthfeel: slightly flat but fairly acceptable.

taste: broad field of crackery malt plowed by a balanced mixture of citrus and piney hops. Beer finishes dry and refreshing.

Notes: So many American Pale Ales aim for this. Sierra Nevada gets there. Well balanced, enough malt to anchor the hops, enough hops to refresh and delight. Like the other Sierra Nevada beers I have tried this one says quality.

08-31-2011 20:31:47 | More by fx20736
Photo of ZenAgnostic


4.05/5  rDev +0.2%

12oz poured into a plastic cup. (Hey, it was $2 U-Call-It night)

Appearance - Light copper amber body. Moderate head with good retention.

Smell - Balanced hop. Mild. Spicey. Balanced for sure.

Taste - Spicy. Hoppy. Mild. Balanced. Not boring. Good gateway pale ale.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied. Well done. Creamy body. Smooth drink. Frothy carbonation.

Overall Drinkability - Good, balanced beer. Balanced but not boring.

08-28-2011 18:32:54 | More by ZenAgnostic
Photo of brewski101


4.55/5  rDev +12.6%

Drink this one on a fairly regular basis - mostly on tap but sometimes bottled. Good thing that it is widely available. The color is always consistent. Aroma could almost be trademarked. Taste of the hops is well balanced by any residual maltiness. Very approachable. Good anytime

08-27-2011 20:55:11 | More by brewski101
Photo of stjaernstoft


4.1/5  rDev +1.5%

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, ABV: 5.6%.
350 ml bottle, 22.90 SEK at Systembolaget.

A: The liquid is somewhat hazy and bubbly. The colour is gold with tones of orange. The head is fluffy and slightly off-white - some lacing occurs.

S: Mild, fresh and fruity on the nose. Big notes of hops, dried apricots, green grapes, citrus fruits, flowers, rye bread and spices. Very pleasant.

T: Fruity and bitter flavours of hops, dried apricots, mandarins, green grapes, freshly baked bread, spices, caramel, honey and yeast.

M: The body is medium. The bitterness is medium to large. A drinkable pale ale, with a relatively balanced mouthfeel.

O: A very nice and stable APA - an easily drinkable session beer. I suspect that it would be a great choice paired with lots of different tasty types of food, as well.

08-27-2011 19:10:42 | More by stjaernstoft
Photo of sixthglass


3.45/5  rDev -14.6%

Copper in color, slight head.

Lots of hops, tinge of citrus, malts.

Sharp and smooth.

Doesn't coat the mouth very well, but leaves a good after taste.

Excellent session brew, this is the brew that started my love for craft beer. So I have to give a big thank you for opening up my beer virginity and thrusting me into a world of delicious brews.

08-26-2011 23:11:38 | More by sixthglass
Photo of Ilovesuds

New Hampshire

4.15/5  rDev +2.7%

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.

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

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

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.

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

British Columbia (Canada)

4.45/5  rDev +10.1%

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.

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


4.22/5  rDev +4.5%

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.

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

Rhode Island

4.1/5  rDev +1.5%

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.

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


3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

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.

08-20-2011 05:05:41 | More by gerite
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,519 ratings.