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

Appearance: Pours a fine golden hue with a nice head and lacing.

Smell: Somewhat hoppy, but more piney for me.

Taste: Good old Cascade hops duking it out with a pack of pine trees. This beer makes me want to lie on the cool ground on a late afternoon under immense California pines.

Mouthfeel: Significantly carbonated, with a good moderate weight for an APA.

Drinkability: For me, not sessionable, but very drinkable for an APA, which is not my favorite style.

Overall, this beer's reputation as the Old Faithful of APAs is warranted. Hop-forward beers such as APAs and IPAs aren't exactly my thing, but if I'm craving an APA, this comes to mind. I remember having this beer once before I was really into craft beer. At that time, it was quite a bit too hoppy for me to enjoy it. Now, I clearly see why it's a benchmark for APAs.

Josievan, Nov 03, 2009
Photo of Keblar
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Only thing I don't care for in this beer is the hoppiness, enough that it could be an IPA rather than a PA.

Slightly cloudy bright golden orange. Good head in the glass. Nice carbonation balance. Decent head that lingers well.

Clean feel, not too bitter. Floral of course. Citrus-y. Someone described it as a grassy tone, and I think fits it pretty well.

Excellent beer, but not my style.

Keblar, Nov 03, 2009
Photo of PapaEugene
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this beer from Mitra van Bergen in Eindhoven, mainly because of my memories being in San Diego. Shared it with BA member rvdoorn.

A: Copper yellow color and a head not worth mentioning.

S: Grapefruit, floral honey and something grassy.

T: Grains, hops, grapefruit and some laurel hints.

M: Low carbonation and thin body.

D: A good beer and still a special one to me. At the time it was the most "unique" beer in the conference center that I stayed.

PapaEugene, Nov 02, 2009
Photo of Kooz
2.3/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Lots of high ratings for this beer. Makes me wonder if I got a bad batch. I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as everyone else seemed to.

Taste was just too hoppy. I get it, people like Pale Ales to be hoppy, but this was so overly hoppy that I had trouble getting past it. This goes for both the smell and the taste.

Appearance was nice. It was a light, nut brown. And the mouthfeel was okay, but a bit too bubbly. Over-carbonation is never a plus. But I wouldn't say the mouthfeel was bad.

As for drinkability, I wouldn't have more than one.

Kooz, Oct 30, 2009
Photo of Stigs
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams glass.

A - leaves a nice creamy one finger head, impressive for an APA. falls down to a thin layer on top. nice dark golden color.

S - light grassiness, some bitter hops try mightily to pop through, and suceed. light touch of malts, smells very refreshing.

T - grassy hops are mostly dominant, but balanced nicely throughout by some light sweet maltiness. very pleasant taste, understandable how this beer is often a gateway to some DIPA hop-bombs. has that distinct SN hop taste to it. lovely.

M - light yet full, and crisp yet subtle. a real thirst quencher, one of my perfect summer beers. good enough to a chilly fall night while watching some hockey as well.

D - oh so drinkable. right amount of flavor and character to keep my attention, yet not flashy...efficient. usually have at least a 6'er of this around, as its friendly enough for my non craft drinking friends, yet something i have no hesistations going to when i'm in the mood for a few.

anytime i go a few weeks without having one, the next time i am reminded what a quality beer this is.

Stigs, Oct 28, 2009
Photo of Ottertude
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a craft beer classic that is easily available that I tend to take for granted at the local liquor store while trying other brews. I'm sure glad I took the time to re-discover SNPA.

The brew poured a golden amber color with an off-white head that left nice lacing on my glass. Not too carbonated.

The smell was of citrus and pine. Smells nice and hoppy. The taste was of grapefrit and piney hops up front, while the malts were present afterwards. I am really digging this. Hoppy but not too much as I have had some APA's that were just too piney bitter for my taste.

Drinkability? Gosh, this one went down in a few swallows while reviewing. I can drink a few of these and have before.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the American standard that all other APA's will be judged by in my book. Very tasty.

Ottertude, Oct 27, 2009
Photo of rvdoorn
3.6/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this beer during another beer evening with PapaEugene, who said he had very nice memories from drinking this beer during his trip to San Diego several years ago.
Poured into an original palm glass. The beer pours a clear copper-yellow color with almost no head and a somewhat messy lacing.

Smell: grapefruit, sweet honey and some dried grass.

Taste: Grapefruit, grains and spicy laurel. Aftertaste is bitter, but not too dry. It resembles a bit a very very diluted Pliny or Borefts bock 2009 from the Molen brewery.

Mouthfeel: watery, thin bodied, medium-low carbonation that nicely tickles the tongue.

Overall: A decent brew. Not more not less, will not refuse one in the future.

rvdoorn, Oct 23, 2009
Photo of nerow
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden into a standard pint glass. Some head, which dissipates with time. Nothing remarkable or unique about this smell, perhaps a bit floral. Taste is somewhat piney, with a sweet aftertaste...perhaps citrus. Some hops, not overwhelming though. Mouthfeel is very nice, some moderate carbonation, very smooth. The best part about this beer is it's drinkability. While perhaps not a session beer, this one begs for you to drink more and pairs very nicely with food (I recently had a bottle with a bleu cheese encrusted steak sandwich which was absolutely divine). I could see myself buying a six pack and making it vanish within a single night.

nerow, Oct 23, 2009
Photo of MrDanno96
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A: Dark amber, about one finger of head and lots of foamy lacing down the sides. Nice.

S: Sweet hops, malt, grains, and a bit of baked bread. Not bad here, but the aromas are pretty subtle.

T: Full malt flavor up front that gives way to some bitter hoppiness in the back. There are also subtle grain flavors and fresh bread with just a touch of sweetness (apples, grapefruit?). These flavors are well balanced.

M: Medium body and carbonation. Maybe just a little watery at times, but pretty nice.

D: Well balanced flavors, goes down smooth. I could session with this.

Edit, 12/14: After multiple experiences with this I'm upping the drinkability on this to a 5 (from 4). It is definitely one of the best session beers I've ever had and one of the few brews I'm willing to buy 6 packs of.

MrDanno96, Oct 23, 2009
Photo of rhollman
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Deep amber

Smell - Floral hops

Taste - Crisp with a faint bitterness

Mouth Feel - Smooth

Drinkability - This is a great beer. Nice to gulp down when you are hot & sweaty. Perfect with a variety of foods as it compliments but does not over power your food. Crisp, flavorful, then a wonderful faint bitterness on the finish - Cheers!

rhollman, Oct 22, 2009
Photo of lester619
4.97/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a twelve ounce mug it has a deep clear copper/amber color with a big three finger head. The head is still there after the beer is long gone. Great smell. I love that herbal pine and grapefruit west cost smell. This beer is a true masterpiece. I'm not going to waste time describing the taste other than to say it's as close to perfect beer flavor as humanly possible. All the flavors are absolutlely right on, balanced in exactly the right way. The mouthfeel is creamy enough to be satisfying, but not too heavy to fill you up. It is scary how drinkable this beer is. I could go on and on. To sum it up it's a once in a lifetime creation that actually surpasses the hype. I love it.

lester619, Oct 21, 2009
Photo of kurp001
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle bought at Shawan Liquors

A moderate pour yields about one finger of off-white head that sticks around for quite a while. Body is a slightly-cloudy amber; pretty much classic pale ale appearance, here.

A grassy hop character is notable in the aroma, along with a mild malt presence.

Again, the hop character is the first thing that pulls through on the taste, while a full malt flavor rounds things out on the finish. Great balance, here.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and crisp; again, very much in line with the style.

In my opinion, this is one of the most drinkable beers ever, period. Yes, the 5.6% ABV technically disqualifies it from the session beer category, but I find myself making a session out of SNPA way too often. The flavors are just solid without being overpowering, making this a great beer to have a few of. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale pretty much has a permanent spot in my fridge, and likely always will.

kurp001, Oct 20, 2009
Photo of cdrogers
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle to pilsner glass. Serving temp was about 35F.

Was a very nice golden amber with an almost 2 inch foamy head. Head stayed for most of the glass and stuck to it nicely. Was a very well-balanced brew. Very hoppy aroma as well as taste, but not too overwhelming where I couldn't drink this regularly. Probably the best APA I've had to date.

cdrogers, Oct 19, 2009
Photo of TheQuietMan22
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear deep gold. About two fingers of off-white head.

Smell: Tangerine or grapefruit citrus. Just like a pale ale.

Taste: Sweet, almost sour grapefruit. A little caramel. A well-balanced hop bite at the end.

Drinkability: Not like what I remember; no cigarette butts this time. A very good brew for a meal in the Sierra Nevada's. It's true to a style which is not my favorite.

TheQuietMan22, Oct 19, 2009
Photo of Spineypanda
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

By far one of my favorite beers.

This is the beer that got me started on the path of the hop.
It has a great light amber color and smells of citrus and delicious hops.
It is bitter, but a wonderful bitter, with a hint of citrus flavor but mostly the hoppy wonder that I have come to love.

One of the few beers I actually buy often!

Spineypanda, Oct 18, 2009
Photo of PretzelsNBeer
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the gold standard for American Pale Ales - a classic. Drinking the beer out of an american pint glass, the slightly cloudy, off-golden, bottle conditioned beer forms a nice off white head. The head eventually gives way and leaves a nice lace on the glass while the small carbonation bubbles jet to the top of the beer. The aroma gives you a tease of hops but mostly the malty sweetness comes through in the nose. The first sip gives way to that sweet initial taste then it's quickly balanced by the floral hops finishing with a faint bitterness. The mouthfeel is right on target which is on the lighter side of medium bodied. This beer is perfect for complimenting bar food: pizza, wings, poppers, & burgers. It's also a great everyday beer which should occupy any american pale ale lovers beer fridge or beer meister. A great beer for anyone who loves a nice flavorful but not over the top american pale ale.

PretzelsNBeer, Oct 17, 2009
Photo of Faune
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a amber orange with a head that turns to a thin lace.

Smell: Hops, citrus, fruits and grain. Medium bodied.

Tastes: Fruit, citrus, hops, malt.

Mouthfeel: Smooth medium bodied.

Overall a great Pale Ale. A classic, enjoyable beer.

Faune, Oct 15, 2009
Photo of Shamgar
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a main stay for me.

appearance: Pale orangy (if that's a word) color. Nice head, Nice retention, average lacing

smell: citrisy pine. hint a lemon peel. Hops are definetly up front. Faint malt in the background.

taste: Hops a prevelent. Great citris characteristics. Slight bitterness in the finish that is attributed to those wonderful cascade hops. Very flavoful Pale Ale and well balanced

mouthfeel: light/medium bodied. Good carbination, smooth and clean in the finish.

drinkability: yes! Could stay with this all night.

Shamgar, Oct 15, 2009
Photo of jt31914
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: about 1-1 1/2 fingers head; darker yellow and very carbonated. Head retention is very long lasting.

S: Clove and hop smell - pretty weak but nice.

T: Weak clove and hop taste, this beer isn't very bitter and is quite mild; however, it is still good and there is a nice noticeable barley flavor in the beer.

M/D: Very drinkable with nice smooth mouthfeel. For a beer that you can get pretty much anywhere this was pleasant.

jt31914, Oct 15, 2009
Photo of zoso493
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Probably the best entry-brew into the realm that is craft beer...

Appearance: Pours a beautiful coppery gold with a one and a haf finder head that dissipates to just covering the top of the beer.

Smell: A lot of cirtusy hops with some sweetness and floral notes.

Taste: Mild, sweet hop character with a touch of bitterness at the end that lingers just long enough.

Mouthfeel: A little thinner than expected, but still not bad.

Drinkability: Very high. This is a great session brew.

Overall, this is definitely classic brew that I haven't had in at least a year, but I'm glad I picked up a bottle. There's definitely a reason that so many people drink this when they are starting to get into craft brews. Great beer, for just that reason

zoso493, Oct 13, 2009
Photo of Blitzstyle
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottel into a pint glass. A nice golden copper color pours a 1/2in head. Looks very refreshing head disapates after a min or 2.

Smells awesome not over powering not weak perfect in a way. Mostly citrus notes and can pick up Cascade hops.

Taste great just like it smells actually not to bubbley going down. Nice hop aftertase that lingers for just a min.

Gave it a 5 on drinkability. Could and have made this beer a all night session beer. Love it!!

Blitzstyle, Oct 12, 2009
Photo of magnj
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - golden orange body rests below a generous white foamy head. Carbonation apparant, prototypical apa appearance.

S - sweet bready malt body lies beneath layers of tropical fruit and earthy hop aromas. Smells good but not aggressive. Masterfully balanced.

T - citrus hops blend with caramel malt. Well balanced, leans towards malty at times. Not quite as flavorful as it smells but to style.
M/D - very easy to drink, totally approachable for a newcomer to craft beers but still enjoyable for seasoned tasters.

magnj, Oct 08, 2009
Photo of rfgetz
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As a supplement to my recent review of it in a bottle...

Differences to note:
- brighter and cleaner looking
- much fuller, fresher hop flavor and smell
- carbonation much more balanced

As close as an APA can come to IPA in hop smell, flavor and bitterness. Overall, the draft version exceededs the bottle by a mile.

rfgetz, Oct 07, 2009
Photo of muskabeatz
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm excited to say that this is my first review. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a nice orange bronze color with a 1 inch head. Dissipates rather quickly, leaving very minimal lacing.

Smell consists of primarily citrus and hops.

Taste takes over where the smells leaves off, presenting a prominent citrus and hop flavor, giving way to a sort of buttery, biscuity undertone. Very well-balanced, with just the right amount of carbonation.

An extremely drinkable APA that I will continue coming back to.

muskabeatz, Oct 07, 2009
Photo of Mavajo
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this beer once before and was very disappointed. Decided to try it again just to see if I'd gotten an old bottle. I'm glad I did - this sample was much more enjoyable.

Pours a nice orange color with not a whole lot of head - dissipates almost immediately. Smell is of citrusy hops. Taste is similar. The citrus and cascade hops are really noticeable, but it's not really bitter. There's a slight hint of spice here. Quite drinkable, especially if you're a fan of the style.

Mavajo, Oct 07, 2009
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,705 ratings.