1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  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.

9,007 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,007
Reviews: 2,716
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 150
Gots: 1,040 | FT: 2
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: 9,007 | Reviews: 2,716 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of goldbot
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pale copper in color with lots of carbonation and a bit of head which is retained nicely, leaving good lacing. Smells of hops, for sure - plenty of citrus and pine notes, which a touch of caramel maltiness in the background. Tastes about the same - great hop profile with mostly pine notes. Caramel and bready malts come through nicely making for a balanced, easy to drink ale.

goldbot, Apr 16, 2010
Photo of ZX6Chris
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A=pretty dark for a pale ale, almost brown, nice carbonation and a rich creamy head.

S=A pleasant sweet smell. I've used Cascade hops and never got this smell myself. It's like a grape medication smell but in a good way. I really like it.

T=Tastes is milder but it is a pale ale. It's semi sweet but not in a sickening way, with a good malty flavor. I get alot of hop oils that add flavor but not too much bitterness.

M=Solid medium body, nothing light about this. It feels great in your mouth. Not dry at all.

D=This Pale Ale is delicious from a beautiful pour to a great finish. Easy drinking and flavorful. I didn't try this for a long time and now regret that. At $2.99 a bomber I'm gonna be drinking alot more of this.

ZX6Chris, Apr 16, 2010
Photo of SourBatchKid
3.43/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Sightly washed out bright yellow-brown, a finger of head that quickly disperses into a lace then only memory of the head at first pour.

S- Smells of hooped out alcohol and the rushing river flowing out of the Sierra Nevada's, just kidding about the last part. But seriously, at first I can smell dank hoop buds, but thats quickly is taken a back.

T- I wish this tasted like overwhelming dank buds, however very refreshing. It reminds me of someone deluding a great beer for a gag. Ah sigh... Maybe, if it was reduced in a pan we might have some complex flavors. The flavor is there, but I can barely find it.

M- At first sip, the pearloge is unsteady with medium carbonation. Easily aerated into a thick head in my mouth that lingers for only seconds. I might just prefer to enjoy it this way from now on, aerateing it I mean.

D- I could drink this in a pinch or out of convince, purely out of convince, this is a large supply in my basement.

SourBatchKid, Apr 15, 2010
Photo of mjw2808
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light amber color with a small head that leaves a good bit of lacing. The smell is very hoppy, with citrus notes and also a noticeable caramel presence from the malt. The taste is very hoppy but balanced out with some malt sweetness. A little bit of citrus is there too, but not as much as there is in the nose. Lots of carbonation too. Very clean crisp finish and very drinkable.

mjw2808, Apr 15, 2010
Photo of oglmcdgl
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Paired with a nice cornish game hen.

A-two fingers or rocky head from a hard pour that settles to light skin and some lace with stick.

S- bigs citrus hops, grapefruit, orange, lemon, and lime. Mild pine and some back round sweet touch.

T- good balance between grapefruit and pine. Biscuit breadiness and a mild sweetness.

M- medium to light in body and a mid level carb that really scrub the tongue and invigorate the palate.

D- well its my go to regular bar beer, its so available, easy to enjoy, its got tons of flavor, and cheap. What's not to like.

oglmcdgl, Apr 15, 2010
Photo of EgadBananas
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden brown/copper with a full fluffy egg shell colored head on top.

The smell, like most pales, aren't hugely aromatic in my opinion. A n even layering of slight hoppiness, malts and very mild sweetness.

The taste is great. Slight citrus, with pronounced floral hops with a subtle malt finish thats very clean. Refreshing with no lacking in depth.

Crisp with a bit of a lean towards medium bodied. I don't think you coud ask for more in a pale.

This is a great pale ale and despite being a top tier brew, I can find this in amongst even the crappiest of bars and I go to town!

EgadBananas, Apr 14, 2010
Photo of Lacesoutcody
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: a beautiful golden brown.

S: Aromatic, with a spicy sweetness, and floral notes.

T: A great mix of bitterness with the fruit and hop notes. It is a wonderful balance, and very impressive for a bigger company such as Sierra Nevada.

M: Very nice, not too full, or imposing. Slightly malty, and compliments the slight bitterness that hits the pallet early in the taste.

D: As always, one of my favorite beers, and a great choice for most any occasion, a great pale ale, and deserves great recognition. Pick a case up.

Lacesoutcody, Apr 14, 2010
Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a small glass, no freshness date on bottle.

A: Light amber orange body full of small bubbles rising to a white creamy head that laces all over the place.

S: Picking up some moderately fresh hops over some subtle malts.

T: This beer has all the usual suspects for pale ale that is leaning towards an IPA. A variety of semi-fresh hops swirl and cascade over the top of a foundation of sweet toasty malts. All this smooths out with a slightly more bitter finish than I was expecting. The aftertaste lingers shorter than expected, but is a good one.

M: Smooth but fresh with a nice balance of carbonation. The body is on the lighter side, but that lends to the drinkability nicely.

D: A very drinkable and pleasing APA. Not over-powering, and because of this it can be a fine session beer for the hop-seeker that doesn't want to blister his palate with one of the many American hop-bombs.

Overall: Arguably, this beer is (in my opinion) one of the "Big Three" beers that facilitates the conversion of great number of Bud/Miller/Coors drinkers into craft drinkers (the other two being Sam Adams Boston Lager and Guinness Draught). I wonder how many hoppy APAs and IPAs exist today because of the success of this beer. Regardless, it is a reliable, widespread, well-crafted pale ale that can be used as a benchmark to rate others against. This beer promotes beer advocacy, and on that note... it is a great beer!

allforbetterbeer, Apr 13, 2010
Photo of tjsdomer2
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Not overly carbonated. Nice transparent brown color. The yeast on the bottom gives it a nice touch in this category.

Smell: Almost smells a bit like oranges to me. Well-spiced, malted, and hopped.

Taste/Mouthfeel: The yeast in the bottom can create a problem, especially if you drink this later in the day...it can give you a bit of a sore throat in the morning if you don't wash it down. Otherwise, taste is very pleasant. Kind of like cinnamon with a peppery bite.

Drinkability: Not the most refreshing beer, but that's not it's purpose. Would probably be decent with dessert.

Overall: I know this craft beer has gained a followig. While I would not rave about it, if you find it cheap, try it. Thumbs up.

tjsdomer2, Apr 10, 2010
Photo of mwagner1018
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Large frothy heavy body 3 fingers of head following brisk, but steady pour. Light copper, with yellow golden undertones in the color. Sporadic larger bubbles rising, definitely due to the natural bottle carbonation. Takes a couple of minutes for the head to settle down to a nice blanket on the beer. Steady lacing down glass.

S- Nice release of floral citrus hops, notes of grapefruit, lemon zest, and mild pepper, classic west coast.

T/M- Crisp fresh bitterness up front, followed by a nice creamy bourbon vanilla infused malt character, finished by a really nice grassy, grapefruity, acidic and oily, mouth coating bitterness. Slight creamy butter texture, very well balanced, but certainly hop forward. Nice dry finish.

D- A great "go to" west coast style APA, done as right as you can get, crisp, refreshing, but with enough kick, and caramel malt to balance it all out. Every time I have one...I want another one, that certainly defines drinkability...Between this and Anchor Liberty...they really IMO set the standard for what an APA should be...

mwagner1018, Apr 08, 2010
Photo of ckimchi
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from bottle poured into a Pint Glass

Beautiful amber color. Clear as glass. Pours into a nice 1 1/2 finger head that has good retention throughout. Nice lacing throughout the whole drinking session.

Citrus (mostly grapefruit) and pine are the dominating smells. Smells refreshing and gets my mouth watering in sheer anticipation of the glorious hops to hit my palate.

Hop citrus dominate the flavor (but do not overwhelm) backed by a nice malt that is not sweet nor overly dry. Well balanced and not too bitter. Enough complexity to keep it interesting but not extraordinary Most macro drinkers cannot take the bitterness down although I feel it's not that strong. Finish is medium and doesn't stick around too long.

Nice body without being heavy. Great for the style. Goes in and out very easily.

This is my favorite session beer. Not too heavy and it's crisp and refreshing properties makes this a dangerous beer to have around in cases. They just keep going down and down.

ckimchi, Apr 06, 2010
Photo of jmich24
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle

A: Golden and slightly orange hue. Quarter inch fluffy white head with nice lacing all the way down.
S: Very appealing floral/citrus hoppiness and sweet malts.
T: Perfection! Very balanced and nice hoppiness.
M: Crisp and smooth, great bitterness.
D: Nice body, Crisp, Smooth, Super refreshing. My go to beer!

Old Standby. Very reasonably priced and great taste. Will always have a spot in my fridge.

jmich24, Apr 06, 2010
Photo of legatovibrato24
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Has been my standby for quite a while, just now getting around to reviewing it.

Pours a medium amber color, with a great head that laces the glass with enthusiasm. Taking a whiff of this beer yields a nose full of hops and yeast. The bouquet is complex enough to entice the seasoned craft beer drinker, but lacks the intimidation to make a novice cringe. Great balance.

The first thing you are hit with once sipped is a full plate of hops. At times there is almost a citrus flavor coming through the hops, although nowhere near what is found in the Torpedo IPA, with its inclusion of the citra hop. A slight malt flavor can be had, but the dominating notes are those of hops and caramel.

Although there is plenty of flavor, the beer itself does not have a heavy body. I would classify it as a medium bodied hoppy beer.

This is an easy beer to fall in love with. It's medium bodied nature lends itself to great sessions, as does it's low ABV of 5.6%, as compared to other hoppy pale ales and IPA's. A great beer overall and I highly recommend picking up a six or twelve to enjoy during the coming summer months.

legatovibrato24, Apr 06, 2010
Photo of Parrotbeak
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Orange-yellow with a thin white head that fades quickly.
Smell is equal parts malts and hops. Some very fainat citrus.
Taste is hops up front, with the malts coming out from underneith. Faint bitterness comes near the end. More faint light fruits.
Mouthfeel is crisp and light, with a clean finish.
Great drinkability on this one. Another good beer to "session."

Parrotbeak, Apr 05, 2010
Photo of IronCitySteve
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a crisp golden color with some orange hues. There is a small white foam head with deceent lacing throughout.

S: Lots of floral hops are present. There is a decent amount of bready/biscuit malt. Evens out the beer.

T: Lots of good hop flavor that is balanced by a lot of bready malts. This is a very tasteful and flavorful beer.

M: Leaves a nice clean somewhat bitter taste on the palate. Quite refreshing.

D: This is an easy to drink APA. This is a beer I use as a 'gateway' beer for non-micro drinking friends to get them into craft beers.

IronCitySteve, Apr 03, 2010
Photo of alkemy
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear and copper pour with a fluffy white head. Hops are certainly apparent, but pretty tame. Scent mostly dominated by citrus, specifically orange peel. You also get some sweet caramel malt aromas. It's pretty refreshing. A nice session beer for sure. The citrus hops are most noticeable just as in the scent. Caramel, bready malts come in toward the back. Finish is crisp and clean.

alkemy, Apr 03, 2010
Photo of animalchin
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Fatter, short neck bottle - signature Sierra Nevada. Pours a dark orange with red-orange hues shimmering through the glass. A layer of head that is consistent with moderate lacing.

S - Sweet orange, sharp hops that is assisted along with some doughy malts.

T - A GREAT balance of hops and malts. I'm having a hard time deciphering what comes through more. There is certainly a bread like degree that signifies some toasted maltiness, but at the same time there is a more tangier, citrus situation from the hops.

M - Smooth and lubricated. Has a lot of mobility.

D - Another please.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is my favorite beer. It took me a long time to realize this, and the reasons for this statement are long and boring. I say this is my favorite beer on the basis of aesthetic, economic and contextual terms.

animalchin, Apr 01, 2010
Photo of kneeland
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I'm not a huge fan of pale ales, but this one really works for me. I went with this for the first of my 5 gallon shell series, and I was happy I did. Sierra Nevada has a wide appeal to people. I won't order this at every bar I go to, but I'll drink it again.

kneeland, Mar 31, 2010
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.85/5  rDev +20%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So I never reviewed this? This is probably my "if you could only have one beer etc. . ." type choice. The world gold standard.

Pours a great dark yellow and amber hue, minimal head, not much lacing. Aromatic whole flower hops. The three C's.

Taste, unlike anything else. The most mass produced hoppy bitter beer out there. Pine and citrus. Tastes like Chico. Great throughout. Drinkable for days, great price. And unmistakable mouthfeel of bitter hops and unique as hell tree/pine kind of flavor going for it. So much caramel and yet the bottle conditioning keeps the carbonation peppy and perfect so that the caramel is never heavy.

The first time I drank this beer (UC Davis keg party in '93) I was a senior in high school, and I hated it. I asked the party host if he washed his cups because the beer tasted like it had soap in it. What a noob. . .

Beerandraiderfan, Mar 26, 2010
Photo of GaryKing28
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Classic pale ale. Very eazy to slam , aromatic and refreshing. I'd recommend SNPA to anybody.

Smells of x-mas tree pines. Grass ,spice and hop residue.

Nice light amber ,with flakey cream top.

Handfuls of chewey ,grassy hops-with grapefruit like bitterness. Its waxy and dry in the finish. Subtle maltiness.

Very eazy and likeable.

GaryKing28, Mar 26, 2010
Photo of NA1NSXR
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Light amber/dark golden, medium size foamy head, medium-light lacing.

Smell - Smells great, sweet with a lot of citrus aromas, some caramel comes through as the beer warms up.

Taste - Starts hoppy, ends malty/bready. Balanced flavor with medium bitterness, citrus aromas contribute lightly to taste without adding tart. It is all very good, but lacks any defining element of the taste.

Mouthfeel - Medium consistency, carbonation is enough to strike a feeling in your mouth but not too much.

Drinkability - Overall very good. Drinks a bit below its abv. Its simply a very solid beer with some slight additional bitterness and citrus overtones.

NA1NSXR, Mar 26, 2010
Photo of BillyBoysPie
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear orange/gold with a full inch of dense, white foam. Retention is fine, just a little layer of foam, but plenty of lacing.

Florals and, what's this I smell... oh yeah, Cascade hops! Plenty of the citrus expected, but not overpowering/strong. It all sits neatly atop a firm pale malt background.

Taste is ever so clean, ever so easy. Taste begins with a hint of lemon and lime and moves quickly into the pale malt. Nothing caramel or toasty, just unadulterated malt. The bitters return at the end with some pith coming across with the typical alpha oil clean flavor. Creamy, well carbonated, and easy to drink.

This beer is hard not to like unless there's a component of it that you're allergic to. Goes great with all sorts of summer food fare, but has enough backbone to justify just drinking it because you like it. Quintessential APA, and a great brew.

BillyBoysPie, Mar 25, 2010
Photo of JamisonM
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 24 oz bottle into a wheat glass

A: nice head really nice color its a copper color and the beer is not clear, dry hop anyone?

S: hops malt and a spicy orange maybe the orange zest mixed with the actual fruit

T: taste is like the smell you get hops and malt followed up with some orange zesty flavors and finishes back with the malt the beer is balanced and well crafted

M: its high in carbonation and that makes it refreshing perfect mouth

D: of course this one is highly drinkable and you get more bang for your buck with most beers 5.6 ABV is nothing to sneeze at

overall its a really well crafted beer and one of the best APA's I have ever had perfectly drinkable for all year round but I like to drink this spring and summer and maybe some fall but not as much during the fall.

JamisonM, Mar 25, 2010
Photo of rarbring
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A copper-toned amber beer with an off-white head that leaves lots of lacing.

The smell is aromatic, grape-fruit, sweet oranges, pine, flowers and tropic fruits.

A good crisp taste, citric tones, bitter orange, malty aromas like digestive biscuits.

A rather high carbonation, a medium body and in all a refreshing feeling.

This is an APA I really like, to be better it could possibly have a little more maltiness. But good for both drinking and to (spicy) food.

rarbring, Mar 25, 2010
Photo of AgentMunky
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a squat 12 ounce bottle into a pilsner glass.

A: Looks good! A light golden brown with bubbly effervescence and about an finger of light head. Heavy lacing.

S: Smells crisp and clean. Faint citrus; hops and some malt.

T: Unsurprisingly, the beer tastes how it smells - good, crisp, with citrus notes dominated by malty hops. A mild bitterness balances the flavours well. The finish is oddly bready, but not too dry and certainly pleasant.

M: The carbonation, citrus, and hops conspire to create a refreshing beer that keeps me sipping 'til the glass is empty.

D: Exceptional indeed. A great beer for drinking, sharing, and enjoying. Especially nice in warm weather or after a long day. Highly recommended.

AgentMunky, Mar 24, 2010
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 9,007 ratings.