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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.

8,705 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,705
Reviews: 2,691
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 129
Gots: 900 | 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: 8,705 | Reviews: 2,691 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of breakofdawn
4.72/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm going to be a bit biased here: this is my all-time favorite beer. But to be honest, the first time I tried SN Pale Ale...I hated it!

Beer pours a golden/orange color. Some lacing left on the side. Smell of hops and pine notes.
More hops upon tasting, not overwhelming, but enough to get the point across. More pine notes, maybe a hint of citrus (almost grapefruit-esque). Some malt and barley mixed in as well.

Dry mouthfeel, definitely has you wanting more!

Overall, an impressive 4.5/5. Highly recommended, and a fine beer to enjoy year round.

breakofdawn, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a bright golden hue and settles into a slightly darker yellow with a puffy white cloud of head and just the right amount of retention.

S: Aroma is lightly malty with crisp sweetness, just a touch of yeastiness and has some lingering hop bitterness with citrus and pine notes.

T/M: A medium to high amount of carbonation and a bright, brilliant body. Some slight bitterness is introduced up front followed by a refreshing bit of citrus hop and a biscuity, pilsner-like finish.

Not exactly a complex brew, but very revitalizing; the ideal pale ale. This is the go-to beer when you want something light.


TheBeerAlmanac, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of vancurly
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber, frothy white head, which persists, nice bubbles from the bottle.
Aroma of grapefruit, caramel, marmalade.
Big malt hit initially, with citrus & lychee, followed by caramel, with the bitter finish. It's a like a parade in your mouth.
The overall effect is one of finely-tuned balance.
For me, this beer was becoming mythical.... so much good written about it, but I couldn't find it in Australia. Finally, I came across it, at the excellent Leura Cellars. One of the best Pale Ales I've ever had.

vancurly, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of endovelico
4.63/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Nonic glass. Reviewed under medium high natural light. Best before 14/08/11. Reviewed on 22 / 09 / 2011.

Appearance: Pours a hazy orange-copper brew with small off white head that collapses immediately leaving a medium size cap. High apparent effervescence. decent lacing.

Smell: Medium high intensity aroma. One would expect a trampling grapefruit/lemon aroma, but this isn't the case at all. Excellent balance of brisky aromas, grapefruit, lemon, light malts, caramel, flowers, pine, maybe a touch of grass. It's so lively and imponent yet balanced and delicate.

Taste: Medium intensity. Obviously, you're going to be getting hops, the thing is you get so many layers of flavours from the hops alone, that you cant help but feel marveled at the complexity achieved.

You get the citrusy flavors, you get resiny flavors, you get some of the pine and briskeness from the malt. Having said that, these are pretty common notes associated with american-hop heavy brews, the key, in my opinion, is in the fantastic balance. Each sip brings forth a different more evident note, to the point that you feel you're drinking a variation of the same brew each time.

Mouthfeel: Medium to Medium high bitterness (it would probably be higher if it were fresher). Medium bodied. Medium carbonation. It is coating and goes down smooth leaving a earthy / citrusy aftertaste.

Overall: Great example of what a APA should be in my opinion. It's so well balanced and rich and you can't really expect vast creative intrepretations of an APA so i really cant fault it for not having a unique over the top gimmick tecnique, ingridient or flavour. It's an APA, and it's a darn good example. Thank you Sierra Nevada Brewing co.

endovelico, Sep 22, 2011
Photo of match1112
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: clear golden straw color with a big fluffy white head that leaves minimal lacing as it recedes.

s: sweet citrus hops, malts ad a little earth.

t: good blend of citrus hops and sweet malts.

m: medium body with a clean crisp feel to it.

o: darn good beer to enjoy while doing darn near anything.

match1112, Sep 21, 2011
Photo of DavidST
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass, date of 1174 -- June 23rd, 2011(?) which makes close to 3 months old.

This pours a nice clear golden color with a foamy white head which leaves behind a little lacing. The smell is of pine and citrus hops, a little caramel. The feel is medium to light. The taste is initially of piney hop flavors, a hint of grapefruit and some caramel, there is some bitter afterflavors but this is very crisp and not as fatiguing as a super hopped IPA (which I love). Overall this is a great beer, easy to drink but full of bitterness and flavor, its also one of the cheapest craft beers to buy so what's not to love?

DavidST, Sep 17, 2011
Photo of PappaT
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer being the classic example is still a very good session beer.
The Aroma is slightly flowery with some hints of 'green'.

The Taste is pleasant and almost balanced between the citrus hop flavours and the sweet malt.

Mouth-feel: Carbonation is at a level where is helps bring out the hops without being pushy or prickly on the tongue.
The beer's viscosity is slightly on the light side, which means it is very easy to drink and does not make much of it self while in the mouth. There is enough support to make me feel I am drinking a high quality product.

PappaT, Sep 17, 2011
Photo of ErlendA
3.35/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a good pale ale, but I would prefer more fruity hops for it. Everything is "right" but it is not my kind of style. The dryness of this beer is one of its better qualities.

If I were to make a variant, I would try perhaps a saison yeast at lower temperatures if the hops are not to be touched.

ErlendA, Sep 16, 2011
Photo of godlessape
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this one into my trusty Red Hook pint glass.

Appearance: Dark gold, or brassy with a quarter inch frothy white head that stays in there for the long haul.

Smell: Great balance of sweet malt and piney, citrus hop's.

Taste: Starts off with a bite then the caramel malt massages the taste buds into submission only to take another West Coast style hoppy bite. Perfect balance as a pale ale should.

Mouthfeel: This beer has a great medium bodied feel to it, with just the right amount of carbonation.

Overall: If there's a pale ale out there better than this I'd like to know.

godlessape, Sep 16, 2011
Photo of Scotchboy
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, Sam Adams Perfect Pint

A: Beautiful clear golden color, not much lacing but the head revives with a gentle swirl.

S: Piney hops, slightly pungent but not out of whack. Underneath that are some grassy hops and just a touch of citrus. Nice toasted malt presence, but not carmelly and sweet.  Smells like an APA, not overwhelmed with hops.

T: Very balanced, good bready/biscuit quality to match the piney hops.  The hops are herbal and spicy too in a sense.  There is a decent bitterness but it's an afterthought on the aftertaste.

MF: Good body on this one, almost medium and feels like an IPA or a bigger bodied beer; slightly pithy.

O: A good pale, with just enough bitterness and dryness but still very refreshing.  Very easy to drink.

Scotchboy, Sep 16, 2011
Photo of SolipsismalCat
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Reviewed alongside Anchor Liberty Ale.

A: Clear orange-gold with two-finger, white and creamy head that lasted a couple of minutes. Pretty good lacing.

S: Pine and citrus hops. Caramel malt notes.

T: More toasted, bready malt up front. Herbal and grassy hop bitterness. Toasted and bitter finish.

M: Light to medium bodied. Fizzy carbonation. Crisp and refreshing.

O: The highlight for me was the floral and grassy hops. They smell and taste great. This beer also looks very nice in the glass. I thought it was a little less smooth than Anchor Liberty Ale.

SolipsismalCat, Sep 16, 2011
Photo of Jadjunk
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

#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

Jadjunk, Sep 14, 2011
Photo of UDbeernut
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

UDbeernut, Sep 12, 2011
Photo of mazstar
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

mazstar, Sep 11, 2011
Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

boilermakerbrew, Sep 10, 2011
Photo of hoppyweasel311
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

hoppyweasel311, Sep 08, 2011
Photo of mooseo
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

mooseo, Sep 08, 2011
Photo of doughanson78
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

doughanson78, Sep 05, 2011
Photo of musicman575
3.18/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

musicman575, Sep 05, 2011
Photo of mrkipling
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

mrkipling, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of JohnnyP3
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

JohnnyP3, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of joemcgrath27
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

joemcgrath27, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of mpyle
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

mpyle, Sep 03, 2011
Photo of CwrwAmByth
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

CwrwAmByth, Sep 02, 2011
Photo of setexascustoms
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

setexascustoms, Sep 01, 2011
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,705 ratings.