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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.

8,715 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,715
Reviews: 2,691
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 129
Gots: 907 | 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: 8,715 | Reviews: 2,691 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of thecarster1
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a- bottle poured into a pint, one finger bubbly head, nice retention, good bit of carbonation, nice orangey brown color, great lacing.

s- bright, floral hops, sweet caramel malt.

t- wonderful balance, sweet and floral, tang of lemony, grapefruity hops, more hoppy than most apas almost ipa territory, little bit of dryness on the finish, mmm.

m- nice medium body.

d- wonderful, sessionable, one of the best apas i've had, when people talk about apa balance, this is what their talking about, this is my go to case of pale ale, so tasty.

thecarster1, Sep 09, 2009
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
2.98/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled this on-tap at the brewery this past Thursday (09-03-2009). For those that don't know, every Thursday is cask night at the brewery. Following review written from notes.

Appearance: Two fingers of dense white head sit atop a hazy caramel body. When held to light, shimmers of yellow-orange appear around the edges. No apparent carbonation. Head retention is shorter than expected - quickly settles as a mere crown. Thick spotty lace.

Smell: Wow, lame. Hops have completely fallen out of this one. I get estery alcohol and toasted malt - that's all. This would hardly cut it as an English bitter. Boring.

Taste: Toasted malt and wood, with mild hoppy flavors in the finish. The bitterness and crispness are gone. The hops still affect the flavor profile and consistency, making the beer mildly piney, citrusy, and oily. Finishes grainy and grassy - a touch sour, a touch bitter.

Mouthfeel: There was actually more carbonation to this cask ale than I expected, which was kinda nice. Malty, chewy, light, and clean. The aftertaste is mild and centered around the barley.

Drinkability: I was pretty let down by this one. I was hoping that this cask conditioned SNPA would showcase the beer's malt profile; and while it did bring the malt side into the spotlight, I feel like this beer's shortcomings were just exposed. I didn't have a problem drinking this, but given my time constraints that night this felt like a waste. Oh well, now I know.

ThreeWiseMen, Sep 08, 2009
Photo of yuenglings
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice beer to drink on labor day while im relaxing. Its all preaty close to the same as the torpedo but not as strong of a taste but not weak very well balanced. I can see myself easly drinking alot of these in one sitting. I would buy this agian for sure.

yuenglings, Sep 08, 2009
Photo of showell
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This has quickly become one of my favorite beers. It's very available too. My local Safeway carries it :-) . Pours a golden amber, and you can immediately smell the citrus/grapefruit scent. Tastes like grapefruit too. A little sweetness, but not too much. A litle carbonation, but not too much. A little malt, but not too much. Overall, it would be really hard to improve the taste and mouthfeel of this beer, and very drinkable. When I want a lighter flavored beer, this is the one I go for.

showell, Sep 07, 2009
Photo of CptAubrey
4.75/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Thin white head and yellow-amber beer. A fine-looking beer.

S: Citrusy hops, caramel, and malt. Smells delicious and fresh. Makes one salivate.

T: Sweet, caramelly malt up front followed by citrusy, herbal hops. Moderate hop bitterness. Touch of grain adds depth. Every flavor is lively and fresh and the beer is well-balanced overall.

M: Fine carbonation and light-medium body with an oily finish.

D: Extremely drinkable with perfect balance and surprising depth. One of the most flavorful American pale ales I've had.

CptAubrey, Sep 07, 2009
Photo of deaconoflove
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a beautiful amber golden brown with a very nice fine head. Unfortunately, the head didn't last too long. Some lacing.

The smell is mildly sweet citris (if that's possible), and a little lemon. The taste follows through with a tart grapefruit with a little nuttiness maybe? The finish is definitely very tart grapefruit. Although, the whole thing seems nicely balanced.

In the mouth it feels clean and filling and crisp. I could drink a couple of these...but I have work to do.

deaconoflove, Sep 07, 2009
Photo of craftaholic
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a somewhat hazy golden color with a decent finger length head that hits the road after a few sips.

Smell: Hops are evident at the nose, a nice piney herbaceous aroma but nothing too overpowering; quite citrusy as well.

Taste: Super malty smooth from the first sip on... The hops were surprising for being a pale ale almost on par for a light IPA. While the hops are the main characteristic in flavor there is an earthy undertone that balances it out well.

Mouthfeel: Surprising medium body was expecting it to be very light, has enough carbonation and goes down smooth.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable but in my opinion would be too bland to session with.

Overall: One of the better pale ales i've had, has a tinge more hops which is a-ok in my book and the citrus really brings it all together.

craftaholic, Sep 06, 2009
Photo of HopBacchus
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Orange to Pail gold with a large creamy head, vanishes quickly leaving traces of lace

Citrus up fronts with bitter hop character the maltyness in the beer gives it a reasonable balance

This beer is extremely bitter and crisp but in a pleasant way citrus notes are detectable throughout as well as a grassy flavor hoppes are highly present throughout

light to medium bodied high carbonation keeps the beer extremely pleasant

Pale ales are not my thing but this thing definitely does what its supposed to do, its a nice switch up from the malt bombs which dominate my life, a good gateway craftbeer

HopBacchus, Sep 03, 2009
Photo of alleykatking
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Figured I would have this on tap one last time before Fat Tire was put on in its place.

A- Pours a good slight haze golden copper color. Nice two finger eggshell white head leaves after a short period but leaves behind lacing on the sides of the glass which doesn't really impress but is big in number which is impressive.

S- Big citrus upfront to this with some bitter hops present. Sweet underlying malt backbone make this beer a little more balanced then what it would be if the malts weren't so apparent. Some earthy underlying hints to this beer as well that I catch from time to time while drinking this.

T- Bitter hops in the front of this beer. Nice kick also right from the get go. Some malts come through in the middle but are quickly tackled by some citrus hops keeping it down. Middle of this beer has a weird earthy grassy taste to it. Nothing bad but it gives it a little more of unique taste to it. Ends on a bitter bite which leaves you wanting to sip on more and more.

M- Light- medium mouthfeel to this beer. Carbonation is dead on and helps lighten up the beer I think. Hops left everywhere on the palate with the aftertaste being bitter and making you yearn for more. The only knock I have on this beer is it seems to be a little on the dry side.

D- This beer is my go to Pale and well my go to beer if nothing else is around. I always come back to this beer even after I drink myself to death on hopbombs or extreme maltbombs. This beer is refreshing and always does the trick. would recommend to everyone. Great gateway beer into the craft world.

alleykatking, Sep 03, 2009
Photo of Mdog
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Gold, good carbonation bubbles, ok head.

Smell: Piney, citrus.

Taste: Nicely balanced between caramel sweetness and piney/citrus bitterness.

Drinkability: I could have a few in a sitting.

Finally got around to reviewing SNPA. I don't drink it much since we have a good local APA in Summit but the 6er was on sale so I picked up some. Nicely balanced, nothing too exciting these days, but would have been amazing 20+ years ago.

Mdog, Sep 01, 2009
Photo of mdale13
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark orange/yellow color. One finger white head.

S- Pine, some citrus. Hops evident. Perhaps a grassy touch, earthy even.

T- Nice balance of malts and hops. Bitter and sweet at the same time. Very nice.

M- Carbonation and the bitterness of the hops is an enjoyable experience. Feels light, but substantial enough for the style.

D- Very drinkable. The right mix of hops and malt, allowing many of these to be put away in a single sitting.

mdale13, Sep 01, 2009
Photo of burnerfinger
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale This one goes way back for me: an old friend revisited.

poured into my tumbler from 12 oz glass bottle. Super fluffy 3 and a half finger head settled with little lacing.

Nice clean slightly hoppy smell....I dont really get any maltiness here.

nicely bitter understated hops. kind of stays with you , (citrus? pine? earth? malt?)

no too light at all, medium- heavy body.

this goes down so easy, I regret not drinking lots more of this. I'll have to work on that.

burnerfinger, Sep 01, 2009
Photo of nomomentwasted
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at an airport bar in San Francisco, on my way back to Portland for a spell. Served into a pint glass at about 50 degrees.

Appearance: Brownish-amber color, darker than I'd have predicted a Pale Ale to be. I've had this beer a few times in passing, but upon the reviewing of other Pale Ales, this is darker than many of its kind. Carbonated well as well, with a wavy lacing.

Smell: Slightly metallic, I think the taps had been recently changed and not flushed all that well, but grassy, piny hops with a very present malty texture of slight barley. Hops are understated, with the malt character taking center-stage with almost a bready-ness to it all.

Taste: Much like the smell. Understated hops slightly cover a more malty and bready pale ale. Really not that bitter up front at all, and drinks with a very straight-forward taste that really doesn't evolve beyond slight pine and malty backbone, even as it warms up.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and carbonated enough, but little bitterness and light flavors add up to just a simple, non-lingering aftertaste.

Drinkability: Well, at 5.6%, it's drinkable, but also kind of dull and not too great and the alcohol is actually more present than I've had in a few beers almost double its ABV. I've had it better in the past, but the flavors are just a little too mild for my mood and wanted just a tad more from it.

nomomentwasted, Aug 30, 2009
Photo of lfrouse
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a honey gold color reminding me of the jurassic park mosquito trapped in baltic amber, with a finger's worth white creamy head that dissipates leaving a thin layer covering the beer with a lace that quickly slides to the surface. Head can be reconstituted with a gentle swirl.

The nose is a balance of subtle grapefruit and apple slice with gentle biscuit malt, and a slight hoppy resin. Flavor is well-balanced, with bitterness offset by gentle malt which is boosted by the smooth mouthfeel. As this pale ale warms, the bitterness subsides leaving the smooth, relatively thick mouthfeel (for a pale ale) in memory. Very balanced, drinkable pale ale, which has become a staple to keep in stock for myself and to share with visitors who may or may not be craft brew drinkers.

lfrouse, Aug 30, 2009
Photo of oldpinecone
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass.

This is my go to beer and still in my top 5.

Pours a really nice golden copper color with decent clarity. Lots of bubbles stuck to the glass raising up to the finger and a half white head which leaves messy broken lacing.

Citrus is apparent in the nose upfront and a tad bit of earth. Nothing special.

First sip is always a "man this is a good beer" taste. Yes thats a taste characteristic now. Really hoppy for a simple Pale Ale. Almost a lemony hop with an earthy backbone...really nice flavor here. The citrus works so well. Really well balanced.

Mouthfeel is great. Nice and crisp with perfect carbonation.

This beer goes great with everything from mowing the lawn, to drinking at the beach, to camping, to partying with. Best session beer.

oldpinecone, Aug 29, 2009
Photo of ruckus232
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 ounce brown bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Golden coloring with excellent white head and really nice lacing

Smell: Grainy smell with a nice citrus smell in the background

Taste: A slight malt sweetness that is complimented nicely with a pleasant bitterness that isn't overpowering in anyway.

ruckus232, Aug 29, 2009
Photo of techtatu
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a nice gold color with a white head about a fingers width worth. Sweet Piny aroma with hops in the background. The hops jumped right out at me and mellowed out to a very mild sweet after taste. Good beer, however does not tickle my fancy.

It is a beer I would recommend to those who have not tried anything from the dark side. I also had this beer over Seafood Provencal, and it went well together.

techtatu, Aug 28, 2009
Photo of vdread
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale pours an attractive orange color, a thick foamy white head (2 finger) that stays rocky throughout most of the drink, and some light lacing left behind

the nose has some floral and citrus tones. a little bready malt behind that.

tastes of orange, grapefruit, and apricot are most prevalent. this is a nicely balanced pale ale. bitter, but not too much. floral and citrus hops are present but not dominating. some bready malt balance out the hops

mouthfeel full, slightly dry, just right.

drinks easy, never gets old. this is a solid staple beer, easily sessionable.

+ classic SNPA. what can i say about this beer that hasn't already been said? it's a solid staple beer. great example of a pale ale, and a perfect (and likely) crossover beer.

vdread, Aug 26, 2009
Photo of northaustin
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured from a 12 oz into a pint glass. pours a clear yellow/amberish with alot of white head that disappears quickly and leaves almost no lacing.

smell is mostly just piney hops. a good amount of the malts are there but the hops are the star of the aroma.

love the taste of this beer!!! its amazing its taken me this long to get around to reveiwing. to date i cannot think of a better american pale ale thats better for the price. an almost perfect balance of sweet and bitter. its popular for a reason.

mouthfeel: doesnt leave a hoppy dry mouth and doesnt leave a sticky mouth. all i can really say is that for seasoned beer drinkers and beer noobies this one should go down fairly easily.

drinkability: 5 for five reasons:
2:available most everywhere
3:ridiculously sessionable
4:great beginner beer
5:i enjoy it and im god

northaustin, Aug 25, 2009
Photo of crossovert
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

12 ounce bottle from the local grocery store, this seems to be one of the most widespread crafts around here along with Sam Adams, New Glarus, and Hacker-Pschorr. Elegantly decorated bottle.

Pours into my pint glass with a small white head and no lacing. Its a nice amber in color, sorta bloody piss like color. I wish bloody piss didn't look like this because it's a nice looking beer, with some bubbles continuously floating to the top.

Smell is a bit pedestrian, has some floral citrus hop. A little bit of sweet malt too.

Taste has a nice hoppy bite to it, but not without some sweeter, bready malt. Has a creamier mouthfeel, not enough carbonation though. Its decently balanced.

Overall this is a great lawnmower or party beer, its got a nice kicky abv but not too much to ruin a good session. Not on par with say Alpha King though.

crossovert, Aug 24, 2009
Photo of sophisticated
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love Sierra Nevada.

A) Absolutely clear honey-amber with thick white foam with great retention and lacing.

S) Pine, grapefruit, citrus hops.

T) Not a lot of strong malt presence - this is hoppy. Citrus makes it balanced, but it still ends on a bitter-hops note.

MF) Medium, some crisp tingle on the tongue.

D) Very high. At 5.6% ABV I could have several of these and enjoy them.

sophisticated, Aug 22, 2009
Photo of PartyBear
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Warming amber colour, with a nice white fluffy head. Seems highly carbonic.

S - Rich hoppiness, with earthy tones. There is also a hint of sweet malts on the nose.

T - Dry, refreshing and bitter from the get go. The flavours are clearly controlled by the hops, which delivers a grassy bitterness. There are slight citrus flavours towards the end, along with what tastes like apples.

M - Quite light on the palete, with a dry feel.

D - A nice beer, and very drinkable. Light and refreshing enough to be a solid summer beer.

PartyBear, Aug 22, 2009
Photo of atremains
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of the first beers I tried after my enlightenment to the world of craft brewing. An accidental violent pour creates a tasty looking 2 finger head that makes a quick escape to some light froth. A nice golden orange color with no evidence of carbonation. The smell is sweet and citrusy, with a bit of hops. Taste starts with citrus hops and transforms into a floral bitterness and finishes malty. The creamy mouthfeel is the best I've found yet in a session beer. Can't go wrong with this one.
Edit: I've had this at various bars on tap and it doesn't come close to the experiences I've had with the bottled version, so take what you want from that.

atremains, Aug 22, 2009
Photo of chumba526
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice but small head. It is a nice clear yellow color with a medium amount of carbonation. It smells slightly of citrus like hops and like quality malt. The taste is pleasantly hoppy there is a bit of good malt to balance out the hops which taste citrusy. Over all this is still one of the best pale ales on the market.

chumba526, Aug 21, 2009
Photo of chickencoop
4.68/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Classic and in my book in the HOF of beers.

A & S - Golden brew with a nice foamy head. Strong hop with citrusy and flowery notes.
T/ M/ D - high hop flavor with low malt character to allow the hop flavor to come through. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth finish with complex hop citrus and flowery notes. Very drinkable, and perfect for any occasion, one of the only 2 beers that I allowed at my wedding.

chickencoop, Aug 20, 2009
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,715 ratings.