1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

8,710 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,710
Reviews: 2,691
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 130
Gots: 903 | 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: 8,710 | Reviews: 2,691 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jiggahertz
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: a deep orangish beer darker than expected with a good one and a half finger head which slowly dissipates. Slight lacing at first with some good webbing later on.

S: Bready malts up front, wheat and a fiant hint of citrus.

T: Sweetness hits immediately from the malts, mellows out and has a long dry finish.

M: Medium carbonation and medium bodied.

D: Finish sticks around for quite a while, could be good or bad depending on tastes. But probably my favorite go to beer.

jiggahertz, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of Natural510
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark gold with an amber hue when poured. Carries a good amount of foam with nice ring of lacing when head dissipates.
Nice sweet citric malt aroma with orange overtone, balanced by a light pine hop note.
Juicy citric malt meets a dry, herbal hop when first tasted. Notes of orange, melon, green tea and forest leaf come through as it is consumed. Lightly dry, tangy finish.
Full enough in body to make for a well-rounded brew, light enough to be consumed in quantity.
THE quintessential pale ale in the United States, and as with so many other American beer drinkers, my introduction to "good beer" back in the early 1990s. Many have been brewed since, with varying strengths and weaknesses, but the original SNPA has not lost its shine.

Natural510, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of ShiningWater
4.63/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I particularly like this beer not just because it is my favorite style, but because of its exceptional drinkability. The bitterness of the overall hop character is not too overpowering for the light, citrusy taste, yet it still lets you know that it is a pale ale. And as far as citrusy character goes, I feel this beer is one of the best utilizers of the Cascade hop. The aroma is one of the traits I love best about this brew. But enough writing, I need to drink more of this beer and I can't do that while typing.

ShiningWater, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of WeisGuy
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a - bright golden amber color, two-finger ivory head, decent retention and good lacing, pretty clear with only minimal suspended sediment

s - bright citrusy and piney hops with a considerable biscuity malt component, not much alcohol evident at all

t - piney hops with some grapefruit notes, mid-palate and finish have a considerable biscuity and slightly caramelly maltininess, slight lingering bitterness on the finish but pretty well-balanced

m - medium-bodied, moderate to higher carbonation, well-balanced finish

d - highly drinkable, pretty easy on the palate for a fairly hoppy beer, alcohol is well-hidden

WeisGuy, Dec 01, 2009
Photo of JTahoe
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My old friend with whom I have spent many an evening over the years--perhaps my entree to the world of craft beer. But these days I tend to pass my old friend by more often than not, but I know that I can always count on this beer. An especially good fall-back due to its ubiquity.

A - Rich clear copper color with white lacey cap that clings to the sides.

S - Grains and malt with lots of hops on the nose with a spicy, floral, and distinctly earthy aroma which occasionally strikes me just slightly wrong for some reason... but it doesn't by any means ruin the enjoyment of the beer for me, just makes the smell slightly less pleasing.

T - Bready malts and biscuit flavors create a rich and solid foundation for the sharp, floral hoppy flavors to dance and weave through. Citrus, minerals, pine, fruit, flowers, and grass flavors all commingle--a bit muddled, but the it works.

M - Smooth, medium body, light carbonation. A bit of a dry finish.

D - Always a great drink--the APA that sets the bar for all others. Sessions!

JTahoe, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of fsimcox
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle.

Pours a nice clear slightly amber straw color. White foamy head that dissipated quickly. Very nice lacing.

Smells of fruity hops, hints of citrus.

Taste is crisp, with hops, finishes dry with a little citrus/bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is enjoyabel. A little more carbonation is noticed

A very drinkable beer, and a great session beer.

fsimcox, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of cheapxceptbeer
3.15/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This beer is alright, it tastes like a textbook definition of an american pale ale, personallly I think it is so boring I could die, well brewed, I guess this just isn't my style. I love the hop and malt forward brews by sierra nevada, but their flagship puts me to sleep. Nothing against balanced beers, I'm just not crazy about this one, its just so boring. Smooth creamy mouthfeel is the best part of this beer.

cheapxceptbeer, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of merryjoulton
3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clean cut golden amber dark rosy color that is very inviting and crispy. Head is off white and sticks and laces and emits aromas of sticky hops, roasty and clean malts, pine trees, nectarines, and ripe plums. Taste is balanced and fair, honest and fairly bitter. Mouthfeel and drinkability are alright as well.

merryjoulton, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of jpeterman
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

--Poured from a 12 ounce, brown snub-nose bottle into a shaker pint glass. No drink-by date visible on bottle.--

Appearance- A hard pour yields a sizable, fluffy, off-white 2 finger head, likable to a pillow. Light golden-amber liquid, perfectly clear with no haze whatsoever. (I poured the sediment in, so it is visible, creating a bit of a blur at the bottom of the glass.) Head stays around for about 3 minutes, leaving a nice sticky web of lacing as it goes. A spectacular looking APA.

Smell- Floral hops and pine hit the nose hard at first. A fresh, sweet-yet-sharp grassy scent is dominant, also. Comparison: A perfect summer day. In the background are light malts, and a smidgen of sharp sourdough bread as it warms a bit. Yeast is also prevalent, and some fresh fruits come about with every other whiff or so. Overall an irresistible aroma.

Taste- Just as with the nose, the sharp hop bite comes first; piney and very crisp. A light, sweet malt catches the back of the tongue, along with the yeast. More malt comes in as it warms. A near perfect balance for an APA. Extremely well constructed. My only qualm is that the finish is a bit slick. However, it is by no means drastic.

Body/ Mouth-Feel- Light and crisp, with perfect carbonation and just enough weight on the tongue to keep me interested. Again, a bit slick, but nothing to really complain about.

Drinkability- Easily a session beer. A 6 pack on any evening would be an absolute treat. In my opinion, this is a perfect example of an APA, along with being a classic!

jpeterman, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of akorsak
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A pint glass served at Champion's in Highspire, PA.

A: The pint has a clear amber body, an orange-brown combination that 'copper' is properly affixed to. A half a finger of white head managed to lace nicely in the oft-rinsed tumbler glass.

S: The nose has a strong hop presence for a pale ale, offering pine and citrus in abundance. A strong caramel backbone provides balance.

T: The ale opens with a very oily hop presence, one that was strong and resiny enough that 'soapy' may be appropriate. Further sips reveal the citrus and pine from the nose. Caramel and biscuit flavors drive the malt profile that is strong enough to stand up to the hops. The malt and hop pairing leaves a nmice finish in the mouth.

M: The mouthfeel, especially when fresh, is tough to beat. The hops are vibrant and oily, coating the palate with each sip.

D: A pleasantly drinkable pale ale, one that doesn't skimp on the hops. SNPA is an ale best served fresh on-tap.

akorsak, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of dbossman
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A nice copper hue with a thick 1.5 finger head that dissipates slowly to a steady, thin coating over the beer; the lacing is good

S: Subtle hops that give it a bit of a flowery smell; there is also a nice grainy aroma; there isn't as much in the scent as I would hope but it works well

T: A very balanced brew with a good amount of hops but not overwhelming-kind of what an APA should be; there is also a graininess in the aftertaste

F: Slightly thin but for the most part this beer has a nice balanced mouthfeel; the carbonation works well too

D: One of the most drinkable, reliable, accesible beers out there; this is the definition of a session beer.

dbossman, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of philbe311
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I can't believe it's taken me this long to get around to reviewing one of the most accessible and long standing staples of the craft beer world...

A - A medium copper color with a faint but distinct orange hue... Loads of moderate paced carbonation rises throughout... A slight white head quickly fades away leaving no real discernable lacing, just small collar of bubbles around the glass...

S - A mix of citrus fruit and piney hops... Rebalancing with a sturdy and reassuring malt backbone... Loads of breaded malts... Caramel... Toffee... Grain...

T - A pronounced hop bite to start... Piney and outdoorsy in nature... Just enough malt presence to provide excellent balance... Doughy bread... Some caramel and toffee... Some slightly metallic characteristics... Also some floral characteristics...

M - Medium bodied... Sturdy... A good bit of pringly carbonation engulfs the tongue... Very even beginning to end...

D - Goes down very easy... Not being a hop head, this is a brew I could enjoy quite a few of without feeling like my palette has been violated... Always my first choice when in BMC country as it is available almost everywhere, but it's a lot more than just a "fall back" beer...

philbe311, Nov 22, 2009
Photo of NightINgale
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

24oz bottle poured into an American pint glass.

A - Amber/golden body, pretty clear, with a slight haziness to it. Nice frothy light-tan head. The beer appears very carbonated at first. The head retention is good.

S - Pretty strong floral hoppiness, with lots of pine and a bit of citrus notes. Some malts in the background.

T - Starts out with a decent hop bite, with lots of fruit (lemon, orange, apple) and pine notes. You also get a mild caramel background.The finish is floral and has some bitterness, but it does not linger for too long, which boosts up the drinkabilty.

M - Light-bodied. The carbonation is high at first, then moderate. Very smooth and pleasant overall.

D - Very easy-drinking. This beer is not the most complex APA, but it's very drinker-friendly (I downed the 24oz bottle in no time, provided I'm nowhere near being a guzzle-lover), so it definitely deserves a round of applause.

NightINgale, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of steveh
4.59/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A very old favorite (one of my first micros, when there were but few).

A -- Bright golden with a light cream head that thins to a persistent cap.

S -- Citrus fruit with biscuit malts bringing up the rear.

F -- Fruity citrus hops up front that blend into a mellow, earthy bitterness and ends with fruit esters and mildly sweet, bready malts. Piny bitter aftertaste.

M -- Light in body and crisp in mouthfeel. Slightly spritzy on the tongue.

D -- Goes down smooth and easy, quenches the thirst as a good Pale Ale ought to. King of the style and it keeps its chops.

steveh, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to chalice. Classic label. Very utopian.

A: Looks great. The body pours a light golden orange with shades of reddish brown. 1.5 finger frothy white head. Excellent retention and above average lacing. Even through the faint haze, there is very active carbonation. The bubbles shoot right to the top.

S & T: Big fruity hops with flowery esters. The malts play second fiddle and a little leafy yeast further behind. Light citrus and pine notes help round it out. Great balance on the nose. Perfectly balanced flavors, everything good and in moderation.

M: Despite the lively carbonation and hop presence, this brew is fairly light on the tongue, especially as the temperature rises.

D: A go-to beer. And very available. You shouldn't have to travel too far to find a SNPA six pack. If you do, someone's not doing their job.

FeDUBBELFIST, Nov 17, 2009
Photo of jwhancher
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice golden, straw color. Great carbonation from the pour. Very nice head that lingers quite a bit.

S: Rather neutral smell. Smelled some lighter malts and a faint citrus odor.

T: Awesome taste. When I had this recently, this beer conjured up memories of why I started to like craft beer in the first place. It really sets the standard of what a great beer should taste like.

M: Very good to great. Goes excellent with a variety of dishes/food or quite simply by itself. I find myself really forcing myself not to drink this beer too quickly...a tip of the hat to the mouthfeel of the beer.

D: I really enjoy this beer. Not something I would want to drink a half a case of in a night, but it's definitely a solid beer I would buy time and time again.

jwhancher, Nov 17, 2009
Photo of sprucetip
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes, on tap in California. Very clear, golden/copper, fluffy white head, good retention, some lacing. Not very active. SMELL pleasantly hoppy aroma up front, dissipates. Not expecially complex. Grassy hop notes return with a swirl and as it warms. TASTE nicely balanced meium bitterness, substantial but not overdone hop flavors & perceptible malt backing. FEEL tingly/fizzy, medium body, dry & a bit bitter in the finish. OVERALL it is a classic, or course. Plenty of flavor, easy drinking. Old reliable, and thankful to find it when it's the only craft beer available in a particular location.

sprucetip, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of coldwarkid
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Into a nonic pint, pours a huge 3 finger, creamy, off white head that leaves nice sheets of lace along the sides of the glass as it eventually settles down into a thin cap. A a radiant, deep golden hue glow when held up to the light.

Smell: Nice, aromatic, floral hoppiness: the standard grapefruit rind and pine aromas, along with hints of apricot and pineapple.

Taste: SNPA is a flavorful ale with more than adequate hop presence and a perfectly modest malt backbone. Mild pine, apricot, and grapefruit balanced with subtle but present malt notes, reminiscent of brown bread baked with honey.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-thin body. Perfectly carbonated, like all Sierra Nevada offerings. I find it awesome that they bottle condition all of their beers, even in the 12oz bottles.

Notes: A full flavored session beer. The quintessential American Pale Ale.

coldwarkid, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of Evocatus
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Definitely one of the best APAs out there in terms of availability. Pretty common, so you'll find this relatively easily. Pours a nice golden color. Aroma is of hops and wheat with some light citrus. Taste matches aroma, also has a slightly stronger carbonation mouthfeel. Great beer to start someone off with.

Evocatus, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of generalnotsew
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nice 2 finger head it just disappears a little too quickly. Nice amber color and good lacing.

S: Piney, citrusy, earthy hops with a bit of malts backing them up.

T: Very clean and very balanced. Nice hop character with perfect malt backbone.

M: Perhaps a bit too carbonated for my taste. This is why I actually prefer Doggie Style over this. But still 2nd place for me.

D: Goes down very smooth. It is gone before you know it.

Not many APA's really stand up to this American classic. And yes I do believe it has earned the title American classic as it is actually starting to stand out against the macros. Price, availability, taste and drinkability are the reasons why this is APA around. Great gateway beer.

generalnotsew, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of Jae27
3.15/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a standard Grumpy Dave's pint glass.

A. Clear amber to yellow with a bubbly head dominated by CO2 carbonation. Not bottle fermented. No yeast. No CO2 nucleation.

S. Very light hoppyness. Nothing really strong comes through. I may be getting another cold, so I'll have to check this again later.

T. Pretty floral hops, not overly floral, just to much for my tastes. hops taste and smell like a combination of Cascade hops and Nobile hops. This is just speculation no real evidence for this. No malt flavors at all. The finish is bitter which is nice.

Not really an APA guy, but this is one of the better I have had. Nice change from the RIP's and porters I usually drink. Nice beer overall. Nothing really special though.

Jae27, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of MetalHopHead6
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale poured light straw with a thick two-finger head. Thick lace sank and disappeared quickly. The color was lighter than I like.

The smell and taste were citric and light, with a bit of an acidic aftertaste. The feel was crisp and slightly bitter and the ale was very refreshing.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the best widely-available beer I've had. It's a pleasure to find it on the menu at a restaurant with a poor selection. It also would serve very well as an every-day beer.

MetalHopHead6, Nov 11, 2009
Photo of VTaler
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark Honey color. Thick light brown head. Alot of the particle are suspended through out it
S - Floral and citrus hops hit your nose hard. Also kind of a sour smell. The smell almost reminds me of malt liquor
T - really good taste. Perfectly balanced. Excellent combination of floral and citrus hops along with a nice malt backbone. Not too bitter. This is how a pale ale should taste.
M - Medium carbonation
D - very very drinkable. too drinkable

VTaler, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of GoalieRon33
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Amber, with a hazy orange. Not a ton of head to speak of, but sufficient

S- Noticiable hoppiness. Fresh smell.

T- Bitter, with fruity undertones. I'm not the biggest fan of pale ale's, but this is a good one.

M- cool, crisp, and refreshing. Great carbonation.

D- Easy to drink...The hoppiness might offend the palates of some people, but those who appreciate the taste will love this beer.

GoalieRon33, Nov 07, 2009
Photo of gloobygloob
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours a hazy amber with a thin head that dissipates fairly quickly and leave little to no lacing.

Smell is a bit weak, but has hints of hops and malt hidden behind a bready, yeasty smell.

Tastes malty at first, which gives way to the hops in the finish. has a sticky fizzy, tangy, finish which is surprising after the weaker nose. finishes smooth as hell and extremely drinkable. i could drink this all night.

A bit disappointing at first in smell and appearance, but taste, feel, and drinkability make this an all around decent beer.

gloobygloob, Nov 07, 2009
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,710 ratings.