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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.

9,280 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,280
Reviews: 2,730
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 156
Gots: 1,157 | 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: 9,280 | Reviews: 2,730 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sweett3k
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A nice hop infused pale ale. Golden Amber poured with a huge head from my 24 oz. bottle. Nice tones of malt with a hop twist. Very easy to drink. I think it taste better right from the bottle. Light and crisp all the way through. I can see why this is their flagship beer. I love it.

sweett3k, Mar 10, 2011
Photo of
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My go-to affordable Pale Ale. Great for any time of the year. Great color, near perfect mouthfeel. It just tastes so clean and crisp. The citrus comes out just enough.

If I had to pick one beer to drink for the rest of my life, this might possibly be it.

, Mar 10, 2011
Photo of mnrider
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 pint 8oz. brown bottle

A: Pours a semi clear golden orange color with a nice fluffy head. Great sticky lacing.

S: Strong hops and citric fruits with other grains.

T/M: So smooth and creamy. Hops stand tall with a citric semi fruity taste. Good blend of sweetness and bitterness. Overall greatly balanced, nice body and fine tasting brew.

D: One of the best APA's out. Surprised I haven't reviewed it yet, since I've been drinking it for awhile now.


mnrider, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of DrScotch
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

You know your life is good when Sierra is on tap as standard!!

This is a great example of a well-done american pale ale. As an Englishman, my compatriots tend to be critical of American brews, usually along the lines of "too cold, too fizzy, too strong".

Crisp flavor and fresh smell work well with the carbonation and lower serving temperature. Sure, it's a little stronger than your typical english ale, but I keep coming back to this beer, Summer or Winter, whether I am in the mood for a refresher or a warmer, SNPA always works!!!

DrScotch, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of EricCioe
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pours a clear amber with a two finger frothy head that dies down and leaves some lacing. On the nose I'm getting wet straw and grains with a little bit of citrus. In the mouth it's a combination of bready malts and a little bit of hop bitterness, with a nice, creamy mouthfeel and some slight bitterness sticking around for a medium finish. I guess this technically isn't a 'session beer,' but given its popularity and drinkability this is kind of a de facto American session ale these days.

EDIT - Having this again and had to knock it down a bit on aroma and overall, since overall is no longer drinkability.

EricCioe, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of dragonclan15
5/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My staple beer of choice.

Wonderful color, head, taste and aroma.

Hoppy but one can still taste the malts involved in this brew. They do an exceptional job of making such a great American Pale Ale.

Not for the faint of heart or those who don't who drink mostly pilsners and light beers.

dragonclan15, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of zrab11
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a nice golden yellow with a 2 finger thick light head

S-Has a piney smell with some bread notes

T-Isn't super hoppy and goes down smooth. Taste pineyness and nice sweet notes

M-Light bodied, with good carbonation.very crisp and clean

D- This is such an easy drinker. Love the flavor and drinkability. will get this on a hot summer day for sure

zrab11, Mar 05, 2011
Photo of Tucquan
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on 2011-03-04 in Columbia, PA

A - Almost clear, straw-orange with a 1-finger head and good lacing.

S - Light grain, bready, orange citrus, pine and hop floral.

T - Sweet, lightly toasted malt, tropical fruit, pine, mild yeast. Some bitterness but not as much as an IPA. Good balance between sweet and bitter. Finishes on the dry side with bitterness just beating out sweetness in the end.

M - Light-medium body, medium-high carbonation. Crisp.

D - Really good. Refreshing and full of flavor.

Notes: This was my gateway into craft beer 2.5 decades ago. I haven't had it in a long time and not since I started reviewing beers on BA. I must say, after a whole lot of reviews and corresponding beer education on my part, this is a very delicious and highly drinkable brew. It is SO different tasting than I remember it being way-back-when. Now, I get tropical and citrus fruits to compliment the moderate bitterness. Back-then, it was the bitterest beer I'd ever had. It really holds up well!

Notes: On 2011-06-17 I had this side-by-side with an Orval. It was fun to compare and contrast these two fine beers. For a day-to-day brew, I'd prefer the SNPA.

Tucquan, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of those beers you never think to review.

Pours a golden clear. Very nice white lacing and head.

Little bit of hoppy aroma with a nice malt backbone. Not super aromatic.

Taste is classic. This is the pale ale everyone bases their pales around. Solid good taste. A bit hoppy with a nice maltiness.

Mouthfeel is great. Smooth and crisp.

Overall this is mine and most people who like good beers go to beer when we can't find anything else at a bar. You can almost guarantee they will have SNPA. Even when their are other beers I'll get this one. It's also the beer you can buy a case of year round and relax to at home after a hard day at work. Thank you SNPA

PeprSprYoFace, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of ehammond1
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011)

El Mercado Market
San Marcos, CA

A golden amber with floating specks of yeast particles dizzying their way around the brew. A white head forms initially but does not stay for long. Some specks of lacing dot the glass.

A combination of hop aromas in the nose; there's a majority of pine with some citrus. Not overly sweet or fruity.

A balanced and compete flavor profile. There's a fine combination of piney hops with some slight initial bitterness and then plenty of bready malts.

Perfect "Sierra-Nevada-mouthfeel," which in my mind could be added to the beer lexicon. Medium-bodied with perfect carbonation. The mouthfeel simply sings "Purest Ingredients" and "Finest Quality."

Incredibly drinkable. While this beer doesn't do any one thing significantly better than any other beer, it's an extraordinarily well balanced and delicious pale ale.

I also owe a lot to Sierra Nevada and this beer in particular to introducing me to the world of high quality craft beer. As a student in Chico, I was introduced to this beer very early and it became my most loyal study partner shortly after. Cheers!

ehammond1, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of afksports
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada helped make craft beer what it is with their excellent production of this Pale Ale. Their flagjip brew. And the A- rating it has on BeerAdvocate is well-deserved. Had on tap when it wasn't the most fresh, I'm still enjoying it, an still remembering the time when it was fresh an I enjouued it more.

Copper, decent head, resin pine smell of hops paired withal biscuity malt. SN PA has a hoppy aroma for an APA. Andt it's pleasant. The taste is hops first, paired with water thorughout and biscuit toast in the middle, a touch of caramel, hops bitter, and water in the back end.

Supremely drinkable and resolutely tasty, this pale ale is one for the ages and one for every day at the same time.


afksports, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of BEERMILER12
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a golden yellow color with a nice fingers worth of head

S: Resiny hops and pine mostly, with some bread in the back

T: Same as the smell, although a bit muted. Could definitely be hoppier, but I won't complain as this is only a pale ale. Does leave a semi-bitter aftertaste due to the hops

M: Light bodied and well carbonated

D: This is definitely an easy drinker, goes down nice and easy and won't get you too messed up too fast. Good all-around beer that is widely available and well priced

BEERMILER12, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of BeerMeInMS
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drinking Date: 2/28/11

Glassware: Tulip-shaped chalice

Appearance: Golden-orange that was just slightly hazy with some fine sediment floating around with the moderate bubbles. This brew had a huge, thick, foamy, white head that left thick lacing and lasted until the last drop and then some...Perfect! (reason for the 5.0 rating).

Smell: Earthy and floral with some roasted notes and a citrusy presence.

Taste: Opens with a full roasted flavor that is quickly balanced by a bitter, but kinda sweet citrus taste. More bitterness and earthiness as it warms up. These flavors swirl around together and finish dry with a floral and citrusy aftertaste. A delicious, deep flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with good bit of carbonation.

Drinkability: Constantly interesting and great taste that is not overpowering makes this brew excellent for several drinks.

Notes: Highly Recommended. I have come back to the Pale Ale after it was a staple in my fridge a few years ago. I love this beer and will drink many times in the future.

BeerMeInMS, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of THECPJ
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Reviewed from notes:

Appearance: golden orange with 2 finger white head that dissipates fast.

Smell: citrus, hops,

Taste: citrus, hops, caramel malts,

Mouthfeel: Dry bitter, mild carbonation, clean, crisp

Drinkability: very nice pale ale. I think this could be a game changer for the non craft beer drinkers.


THECPJ, Mar 02, 2011
Photo of JesteR14
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- I poured this bottle into a nice chilled pint glass, there was an inch and a half of foam that clung to the glass if i moved it.

S- When you smell this beer you defiantly get hops and a little bit of malt. Im expecting a hoppy easy drinker right here. Refreshing, slightly citrus smell.

T- The taste is amazing. Its not to overpowering while at the same time showing off the fresh hops, malt and slight citrus. After drinking more of it i feel its a lemon taste im feeling.It tingles my tongue d the with the hops, and then balances very nicely with the citrus tangyness. There is a pine taste in the background that is very pleasant and not overpowering. Very nice!

M- The mouth feel is very good. the taste impacts you but doesn't overpower you enough to only drink one. Lingers for a little but is not off putting, and leaves only after a little bit, making you want more and more.

D- Overall this beer is fantastic, SN is a great company doing great stuff with beer. And this one is one of the best in the world for its catagory, and you can tell that by just one taste.

Go get some! i bet you will thank me..

JesteR14, Mar 02, 2011
Photo of richkrull
4.7/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a nice copper color with a little bit of head on it. Smelled like hops, not a lot else. Taste was very good. Nice balance of malt and hops with a slightly bitter finish. Good light mouthfeel. Very drainable beer. This is my first time trying it but I'll definitely buy it again.

richkrull, Mar 01, 2011
Photo of Fenris244
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear copper in color, .5 finger head, decent retention leaves a thin lace on the surface of the beer, thin lines of bubbles are seen in the glass

Not much in the nose some hop character and some malt maybe but that's about it

Very hoppy up front, terrific malt character following it up, the grainy bread like sweetness is a perfect balance to the hops. The hops give the beer some of the usual ipa flavors but the great malt backbone is the star of this beer for me

Light in body and very crisp, the medium carbonation helps out in the mouth feel. The alcohol isn't to high and the flavor is just right to make this a damn drinkable brew

Fenris244, Feb 28, 2011
Photo of NJBrewer
4.9/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of the best all-around beers I've had. It is the perfect representation of a pale ale: perfect malt/hop balance and an overall fantastic flavor. Not a weak ale, but not too strong either. This flagship of Sierra Nevada is everything an American craft brew should be. A go-to beer in my house.

NJBrewer, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of julian
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Just bought a kegerator and my first keg is a 1/6bbl SN Pale Ale. w00t!

This stuff is seriously delicious from a keg. I don't think I've ever tried it on draught, and I gotta say...wow. This is a whole different beast. It's smooth, delicious and everything I'd expect from a world class pale ale. Wow. No comparison. I'll definitely be buying kegs of this stuff from now on, possibly as a regular rotation.

A: Absolutely crisp copper color with perfect clarity. Generous off white FLUFFY head, with the most decorative lacing I've seen in awhile. Beautiful.

S: Has that distinct Sierra Nevada earthy yeast aroma. Cascade hops mixed with an earthy mild citrus.

T: Mild bitterness from the perle and magnum, but leveled out nicely with some cascade in the finish, perfectly balanced malt bill. This isn't in your face like some pale ales that border on IPAs, it packs enough floral and mild earthy citrus flavor to quench your thirst and leave you wanting more.

M: Perfectly carbonated, great balanced mouthfeel all around, goes down really smooth...too smooth almost.

D: I'm not sure you can get much more drinkable than this. This is THE quintessential American pale ale. It's delicious, smooth and highly drinkable. Perfect session ale.

julian, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of Spider889
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The benchmark with which all pales ought to be graded, this is a solid beer, and excellent at times. One of my gateways into hoppy beer, and certainly well worth the cost.

Lots of visible carbonation from my pour (bought this sixer at a gas station with my brother while out of town, gotta love seeing this no matter where you are). Very clear, a clean-looking bronzen beer. A tall frothy head is expected, and this beer easily delivers. The head is a white merangue - very resistant to my attempts to break through to the resinous nectar beneath. I am left looking a thick gooey lace after each sip. The appearance literally cannot be improved for this beer/style.

The smell seemed lacking, note to self: I need to tick this brew fresh off the tap. I got fresh wet hop leaves which create an earthy pine aroma. I have also always perceived a faint "lagery" smell from this beer, I assume that's just my brain associating like malt profiles with each other.

As for the flavor, there is an immediate perception of fresh winter pine needles. The hops are bitter and sticky.

The mouthfeel is quite resinous, and I'd pin SN Pale on the heaviest side of medium bodied. Crisp and refreshing nonetheless. Dry finish. The bitterness lingers and treads water very near that of many lesser IPA's. But then again, that's what SN is all about.

Always a solid beer. However many more interesting beers are out there for the finding.

Spider889, Feb 26, 2011
Photo of flyingspatula
4.7/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Grade: A

Sierra nevada is one of my favorite beers. It's hard for me to believe now, but the first time I tried it I thought it was too strong. the best thing about it is the price. It's only $7.99 (at my liqour store anyway) and it is worth every penny! I would pay$10 or $12 like some of the craft beers, because it's just as good as many of the craft beers.

Appearance: Pale golden color.

Smell: Hoppy

Taste: Slightly bitter and hoppy, but wonderful. Also, citrusy.

Mouthfeel: Light with crisp carbonation. Refreshing.

Drinkability: Usually excellent, although occasionally I'm in the mood for something else.

flyingspatula, Feb 26, 2011
Photo of Seanibus
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The granddaddy of craft beers, my first what-is-this beer moment when I had some in the late 80s. It is no longer a pioneer or a wow by craft beer standards, but it has held up remarkably well as a mild, versatile, enjoyable pale ale. Pours a sunny reddish gold with a slight, quick-falling head and lively carbonation from the bottom. The aroma is pleasantly malty, with a little bread and caramel and a whiff of citrusy hops. The flavor seems almost quaint in this day of punishing citrus hops, but it is clean, crisp, slightly malty with a restrained dose of citrus hops and a mellow bitterness on the finish, with a hint of lemon. The mouthfeel is clean and a little prickly.

Seanibus, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of mcgwire756
2.98/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pilsner glass.

I have had this beer on multiple occasions and finally decided to review it.

Pours a golden yellow/orange with a large 3 finger head. Lacing is ok, but honestly this looks like almost any beer similar to this. No really stong smells but what is there is a bready malt with a little bit of pine. The taste is more bready malt at first, but after a while it just overbears your taste buds and it becomes a very bland malt beer. The mouthfeel is too prickly for more liking, and really brings down the drinkability after a while. It is ok for what it is, but not a great craft beer in my opinion.

mcgwire756, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of wrcraigl
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is my go to. It has a great taste and is easy to get anywhere for the reasonable price. I have had this on draught as well and its even better. If you are an ale fan this is one to try or retry. I would like to try and make my own personal brew similar to this one.

wrcraigl, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of diabecktic
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I couldn't pour all of the 24 oz. bottle into my 16 oz. glass at one time, but each pour left me with ~3 fingers of creamy white head. Though lacing was simply "good," the retention was excellent. The beer itself is a honey/orange color with a little bit of haziness.

The nose is anchored by a sweet, bready barley malt. Notes of hops, citrus, and caramel lend a sweet, piney character that provides an excellent compliment.

This beer's flavor, for the most part, resembles the nose. The citrusy, piney hop notes accent a bready, caramelly base. The balance is excellent, as both bitter and sweet notes become apparent at once. A slight spiciness ties all of the notes together.

The beer is fairly thick for my taste. The sweetness is likely responsible for the thick, sugary body, with bitterness largely present in the aftertaste. Both characteristics linger, though, so things are largely kept balanced.

Though a bit on the thick side, the alcohol remains well-hidden. Hence, this beer definately warrants sipping over time.

I find this beer to be close to an IPA. It's fairly hoppy, but also rather sweet and buttery (more apparent as the beer warms). I suppose that interpretation of this is subject to the taster's palate, but this is still a very good beer. I'll close with what others before me have stated - it's a very good APA. It's also definately worth trying if you haven't done so before.

diabecktic, Feb 23, 2011
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 9,280 ratings.