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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.

9,313 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,313
Reviews: 2,733
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 161
Gots: 1,173 | 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: 9,313 | Reviews: 2,733 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rlee1390
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had in a bottle at a Ruby Tuesday (but that is another story) as I've been looking forward to finally reviewing this beer (and it was the best option on the "menu")

A-Cloudy orange, about a finger of head that leaves behind lacings.

S-Citrus, floral and hoppy.

T-Starts with some citrus and floral notes. Ends with some bitterness, solid balance. Some earthy tones as it warms.

M-Medium bodied and some carbonation

O-The best intro beer to newbies, the safest bet to get at a bar when there isn't a craft option (a better choice than Boston Lager). A solid beer that everyone should try at least once.

rlee1390, Jun 01, 2011
Photo of lazy8
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle in chilled pint glass

A - Amber/orange with a 1 inch head. Lacing throughout the glass

S - Malt more than hops but both are present

T - A fanstastic American Pale Ale. Malt includes dark, roasted flavors. Hops add bite, while not overpowering the flavor

M - Smooth with noticeable but nice aftertaste. Hop character shines through.

O - The best American Pale that is readily available both at home and in bars/restaurants.

lazy8, May 31, 2011
Photo of juniorforce
5/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours an orange amber with good head and lacing.

S - Citrus, pine. Great balance of hops and malt flavors.

T - Love the smell of this beer. Citrus and pine. Floral notes are also present.

M - Perfect carbonation with a medium mouth feel. Good crisp feel.

O - This is my favorite beer. Great anytime of the year.

juniorforce, May 31, 2011
Photo of stxSS07
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a Killian's pint

A- Pours a golden yellow with a finger's worth of head. Sticky lacing with carbonation streaming off the bottom of the glass.

S- Bitter hops, some grain, malt, and an earthy finish.

T- Floral hop notes, a bit of balancing sweet malt, and a crisp piney finish.

M- Light bodied with a good amount of carbonation that leads to a refreshing dry finish.

O- A refreshing classic and one of my summertime "go-to" brews.

stxSS07, May 30, 2011
Photo of Schmittymack
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at my watering hole, Old Chicago Westminster as part of their Craft Beer Week mini-tour. Poured a nice golden-amber color with a faint white head. Lacing was wonderful as it hung to the glass during the entire pint. Aroma of some citrus, malt, with some floral tones mixed in. Taste was very nice: malt, bread/biscuit, a touch of honey, with just the right amount of hop bitterness at the end. This is one of the brews that got me hooked on craft; I'll revisit this one again and again.

Schmittymack, May 29, 2011
Photo of pburland23
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been drinking SN Pale Ale for as long as I've been drinking craft beer, but had never reviewed it....until now.

On tap at Old Ebbit Grill in Washington, DC.

Pours a golden orange amber. Very clear. About a finger and a half of nice, white head. Pleasing head retention and lacing throughout the pint.

Smell is strong with floral hops and some grainy malt sweetness. Nice smelling pint.

Taste follows suit. I picked up lots of floral hops, some grapefruit and perhaps a little peach as well. There is just enough malt, slightly bready, to balance out each sip.

Mouthfeel is very smooth. Carbonation is on the light side, bit doesn't disrupt the overall taste of the beer.

SN Pale Ale is one of the classic of American craft brewing. These days, it's probably overshadowed by bigger, bolder beers. But, if you're looking for a well-made craft beer that has withstood the test of time, this is one to seek out.

pburland23, May 29, 2011
Photo of nukem5
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great color with a nice solid 3/4 cap of creamy tan foam that lovingly clings to the walls of glass all the way down.

Smells of fresh hop and crushed grain.

Tastes of the same but a faint malt character.

Mouthfgeel is like drinking silk sliding over and across the tongue.

Overall would definitly drink this again as it is allways welcome in my glass, never have I seen this in 24 oz bottles in PA. Bought all they had in stock in a small lakeside store in Ohio Its like drinking a good beer and ...bonus... heres another !

nukem5, May 28, 2011
Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear dark golden yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense off white head that died down and consistently left a thin film covering the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderate aromas of citrusy hops in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the hops stand out in the overall taste, but these contribute a light to moderate amount of bitterness that is kept in check by the underlying malts, which also contribute some hints of toasted malt flavors.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and somewhat crisp with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very easy to drink, refreshing and is quite sessionable. I would have no problem drinking more than one of these at a time.

metter98, May 27, 2011
Photo of BeerLover99
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: cloudy peach body, finger head, fine lacing

S: peach, mango, pine aroma

T: sweet peach, lemon grass, malt, oily pine slow bitter finish

M: med body, oily/sticky mouth

O: WOW! Nothing like a lighter (ABV) beer that can
also pack a flavor punch to your palate. How
did I miss this gem for so many years? Perhaps,
this will convert me to finally be a fan of Sierra Nevada?
Highly available, world class session brew.


BeerLover99, May 25, 2011
Photo of shaunb81
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I must say that I'm pretty excited to grade this beer. I have had this beer quite a bit, but have never actually graded it and I am proud to have it in my hand...

Appearance - Poured a little amber/copper body with some serious bubbly action going on. A nice one and a half inch head is apparent, which disappears pretty quickly into a lumpy, foamy mess on top. It looks quite tasty though. Medium lacing is there as well.

Smell - There are some bready and sweet malts on the front line. The hops are pretty significant and they have a faint citrus and floral scent. I want to drink this beer even more now.

Taste - So a slight sweet malt hit me on the front and was followed by an AMAZING hop presence. Dry, floral, and slightly citrus hops took over my palate and never let go. This stuff is beautiful. Nectar, to say the least.

Mouthfeel - Body was light/medium and the carbonation was medium as well. I didn't expect anything less from a pale ale.

Overall - I must say that I really couldn't find anything wrong with this brew. It was tasty, looked really good, and had me coming back for more. I was really happy to find this at the gas station next to my place too. I really can;t think of a better pale ale off the top of my head. Get it....

shaunb81, May 25, 2011
Photo of JohnFatAss
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange color. Off white head that sticks around and left some lacing on the glass.

It has a really good smell. Floral and hoppy.

At first taste I was overwhelmed with the hop bitterness. I just was not expecting it, but after a few sips, this beer started to grow on me. Hops up front but with a creamy, malty mouthfeel. Very well balanced.
Finishes dry with some bitterness.

Overall - A very good pale ale.

JohnFatAss, May 23, 2011
Photo of CHickman
4.65/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a clear yellow gold in color with a massive 2 finger foamy off white head that fades very slowly and leaves great foamy lacing sticking to the glass; the beer leaves foam rings after each sip.

Smells of floral hops, flowers, piney hops, sweet malt, brown sugar, grains, biscuit, grapefruit, citrus hops, herbs, light lemon, wheat or light yeast; the hops really take over most of the aroma, and allow just enough malt and grains to come through for a perfect balance.

Tastes of floral hops, flowers, piney hops, sweet malt, brown sugar, grapefruit, orange peel, citrus hops, herbs, light lemon, biscuit, wheat, grass, hay, light yeast and tea or some chewy hops floating in the mix; this is a pale ale that always borders on an IPA, and I love it.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, with a zesty tingle on the tongue, a medium body, light carbonation and a slight bitter finish.

This has been my favorite beer since 1994, and is the reason I started exploring craft beers. A very high recommendation, as this beer is consistently good and always enjoyable.

CHickman, May 22, 2011
Photo of lookitsmp
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Pours a nice light orange color with medium transparency. A small half finger white head diminishes down to nearly nothing. Not a bad looking brew.

smell: Malts, hops, and some very vague citrus scents. The smell doesn't really stand out from others of this style, but it is good none the less. I can't wait to take a sip.

taste: Begins with a nice biscuity malt taste, moves to a nice bitter jolt from the hops, then finally a very smooth and crisp malt finish. This is a very delicious pale ale.

mouthfeel: On the fence between light and medium bodied with fairly low carbonation. The hops dry your mouth a bit but overall this brew goes down very smooth.

overall: This is an excellent pale ale with a good balance of hops and malts. It's a very smooth beer that would make for a great session beer. In fact, I think I'll have one right now.

lookitsmp, May 21, 2011
Photo of STKPICR0720
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the true American Pale Ale. Sure there may be better American Pale's out there but this is the stepping stone for all others. This is the grandfather and the one they are all compared to. Just a very clean refreshing ale that looks undisturbed and clings to the palate in the smoothest fashion that makes you question were another one is. I love this brew and look for it everytime I am at dinner.

STKPICR0720, May 20, 2011
Photo of obrendano
4.65/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An American classic!

A - good dirty blonde color, bright white head that sticks everywhere as you drink.

S - superb citrusy mix of hops and strong biscuit malt, smells fresh as can be

T - a favorite of mine. great initial surge of malt and subtle hops gives way to a stronger mid sip hop bite. But my favorite part of this beer is the distinctive strong clean and HUGE malt finish. Every first taste of this beer is an exceptional treat and has never failed me

M - smooth and lightly bubbly, no real complaints

D - this was one of my first beers that I had after getting into beer in general and has only gotten better for me over time. there is no food this doesn't go with either. Thumbs up!

obrendano, May 15, 2011
Photo of augustgarage
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Clear, somewhat dark amber with a half finger of lasting off-white suds. Decent lacing, no legs.

Signature pale malt, faintly biscuity and not quite toasty with a vague vegetal undercurrent. Smooth light herbaceous hops with maybe a hint of orange peel.

Pale malt up front; bright and crisp on the palate with a musky/bready/faintly metallic flavor mid-way through. A touch of hemp is suggested by the hops along with a mild bitterness. Quite dry finish.

Moderately carbonated, light-bodied, with just enough heft for substance.

If you like their signature malt, you'll be pleased, otherwise there isn't a lot here to hold your interest compared to the dozens of superior examples of the style. Like Fat Tire, it's a good alternative to BMC at bars with poor selections or beer-geek-free parties...

augustgarage, May 14, 2011
Photo of audiodav
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Pilsner glass

A - Nice, transparent medium copper/amber color. Approx. finger sized off-white head after pour. Decent lacing.

S - A citrus/fruity smell with a decent aroma of caramel/malt.

T - The hops get you right at the top with definite tastes of citrus but clears quickly to reveal the malts.

M - This is a fairly dry ale, but not too dry. Carbonation is pretty low. On a scale of 1-10, carbonation is probably about a 3.

O - This is a great tasting Pale Ale, one of my favorites. Not too hoppy and with a nice blend of malts. A great 'go to' beer if Ale's are your thing.

audiodav, May 12, 2011
Photo of SkunkWorks
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Country Corner in Setauket, NY. Served in a pint glass. Its been quite some time since I've had a Sierra Nevada pale ale and I don't think I've ever given it a fair shake on tap, so here we go.

Look: copper body with a thin, slightly off white head. Good retention and good lacing.

Smell: a little grain with a good amount of citrusy hop aroma, and the Cascade hops really stand out to me. Simple but inviting.

Taste: grapefruity, citrusy, fruity hops and a little caramel maltiness to balance it out but keeping it hop forward. One of the more aggressively hopped straight up pale ales you will find and for that I am grateful.

Feel: medium bodied, dry with a lingering hop bitterness, carbonated well, refreshing and a good beer for a session.

Overall: good beer. No wonder it has stood the test of time. Drinks light a light IPA rather than an APA and thats definitely a good thing, since APAs typically leave me wanting more. If you haven't gotten around to this beer yet, what are you waiting for?! Cheers!

SkunkWorks, May 11, 2011
Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The two Sierra Nevada creations I’ve had so far (Torpedo and Bigfoot Barleywine) were damn good. And this one, their ever-so-popular Pale Ale, has quite the reputation. So, before I even begin, I guess I have to admit that I have some pretty high standards for this particular brew. In any case, I’ll try to be as objective as possible. And, even if I end up disappointed, I’m sure I’ll be glad it was hyped up – that way, I got to explore this beer with a discerning eye.

A: Wow, a lot darker than I expected. Sure, it shines, but the body is more of a tree-sap amber than the typical PA light gold. Looks fuller-bodied than most – I like it a lot. Its foamy white head appears and then thins out almost immediately after the pour, leaving a classic, sudsy ring near the top.

S: A mild nose with a lot of complex hop aromas. The main component is a bright leafiness, but you can tell there are a few different hop varieties imbedded within: there’s bits of citrus, flowers, and spice here and there. Some yeast mellows everything out with a nice bready undertone. Great stuff.

T: The hops are elaborate and flavorful. An excellent blend, showcasing freshness, spiced bitters, and a rich dryness. The yeast is velvety smooth and provides some welcome breads to the mix. It’s a good and mellow experience. The only thing I can perceive as a negative is a bit of an unnatural feel in the wheat. It’s carried out with a slightly artificial undertone, like a BMC. It’s odd, because the other Sierra Nevada offering’s I’ve had were not at all like that. Now that I think about it, I also paid more for those. Anyway, it’s not excessively noticeable, and doesn’t impede the drinkability a whole lot. Overall, a very sessionable beer (technically, it’s 5.6%; but who’s counting?)

M: Good; nice upfront carb permits greater drinkability. Some watery notes here and there, but that’s only a very small percentage of the time.

O: I can’t believe this beer only cost me ~$16 for a 12-pack. You can hardly find Buds for that cheap! Certainly a great deal. Like I mentioned before, though, I did have high standards for this beer. Now, I’m not going to say I was disappointed (because I wasn’t). In fact, after having this beer, I find myself wishing we had more breweries like Sierra Nevada! All in all, this is a clear example of SN’s willingness to create the best beer from whatever ingredients they have, and then putting it in the same price range as many highly-commercial counterparts. I can certainly respect a brand like that. In the future, though, I’ll pay the extra couple bucks and get their Torpedo Extra India Pale Ale if I’m looking for a PA with a great price tag.

BarryMFBurton, May 09, 2011
Photo of Arknot
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The ulitmate "beer".
A nice balance of hops and malt, this pale ale fits my standard for a basicly perfect everyday beer.

Appearance is light copper with a thick white head.

Smell is hops and watery freshness, with a slight biscuity breadyness.

Taste is slightly bitter hops, with a nice biscuity bready malty body.

Mouthfeel is nothing heavy, very crisp, and very easy going.

Overall, If you enjoy american hops, and a want a solid beer to have with a meal, out in the sun, or hanging out with friends Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the ticket. I'll also say this is a fairly nice session beer, if only a little strong.

Arknot, May 08, 2011
Photo of DrewV
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle (1006 = 2011, 6th day) from the beer fridge at 45 degrees into a Spiegelau Stemmed Pilsner (tulip) glass. Poured 3/4 straight, then swirled the remainder to stir up the bottling yeast for the final 1/4 pour.

A: Orangy-gold colored, somewhat cloudy due to the bottling yeast, with nice 1-1/2 finger frothy white head. Gorgeous matrix of lacing on the glass that sticks around quite a while. Maybe the best lacing I've seen from any beer.

S: Citrusy and floral hops hit the nose first (rose petals), with a yeasty biscuit aroma hiding behind. Orange peel, mild grapefruit. Yummy.

T: Follows the aroma, citrusy/grapefruity hops prevail with a fair amount of non-sweet malt to back it up. Hints of orange peel once again with a cleansing bitterness to finish it off.

M: Adequate carbonation to carry the flavors, cleans the palate up nicely and finishes very dry.

O: A true classic. No aftertaste to speak of, the palate is left completely cleansed after each sip and ready for another. The hops dominate with just enough yeasty goodness to balance it out. Everyone should try this at least once in their beerdrinking career.

DrewV, May 07, 2011
Photo of thebrood1987
4.78/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Very nice looking Pale Ale and has an excellent smell of clean hop orange fruitiness I'm guessing from the cascade hop and some fresh pine smells as well. This is a very smooth beer which has a slight crisp spicy bite with the rich bready caramel malt taste in the middle and then ending with that fruity orange/pine like bitterness from the hops. Perfect amount of bitterness for such a refreshing beer. The hop smell and taste reminds me of Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale.

As it warms I'm getting some more tastes from the hops other than just the orange fruitiness. I can taste some tea and herbal flavors as well which tastes excellent. Perfect craft session beer. This beer is a classic and you can definitely tell why just by the first sip of this incredible pale ale.

thebrood1987, May 07, 2011
Photo of harrymel
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled: 106310724; March 4, 2011

A: Pours a golden orange ale with brilliant clarity. Less than single finger of fine white foam falls to a medium sheet of the same. Spotty, but persistent lacing.

S: At two months old, the beer isn't nearly as nice smelling. I will give it a bit of leeway provided they at least give me a date (albeit annoyingly written), and allow for some deterioration. The beer is predominately malts at this point. Fairly sweet, with some piney hops in there still.

T: Sweet malts win this profile. Actually a hint of corn on this one. This has been a unique SNPA in my experience. Immediately reminds me of cap'n crunch (weird). I recall this beer having a bit more bite, and a little more bitter on the back end.

M: Medium to heavy mouthfeel with medium carbonation. A bit slicking on the palate.

O: This has always been a fantastic and historic beer, dunno why, but this one is a little off. Will admit to inflating the scores a hare based on my previous experiences with the beer.

harrymel, May 06, 2011
Photo of titosupertramp
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden amber in color, crystal clear. Nice large, foamy white head. Leaves behind very thick film with great lacing. Near perfect for a pale ale.

S: Piney, floral hops with toasted malt.

T: Follows the nose to a tee. Taste has a floral/pine hops quality with the toasted malts balancing it out, but still pretty bitter as the hops win the war on this. I've been noticing a tea quality to hop forward pale ales lately and this has it.

M: For a pale ale, this has a thick quality to it. Bitter, dry finish.

O: This isn't the most drinkable pale ale you'll come across due to the dry bitterness, but it's still excellent. One of the seminal American Craft beers, Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale doesn't disappoint.

titosupertramp, May 06, 2011
Photo of travis224
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from the bottle a nice amber color with a thick frothy head. The smell is pine and resin. The taste is great, a really wonderful session beer with just the right amount of hops. The mouthfeel is spot on. My introduction to great craft beer. Still a winner.

travis224, May 05, 2011
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 9,313 ratings.