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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.

9,507 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,507
Reviews: 2,757
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 169
Gots: 1,268 | 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: 9,507 | Reviews: 2,757 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rwathree
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Seems silly to review this, but...

12oz bottle, poured into tulip glass

A: Pretty, translucent copper color, golden when held up to light. Yields a solid white head that lingers and leaves a bit of lace.

S: Citrus and pine, citrus and pine. As it should be.

T: See above, but there's also something sweet that hits for just a moment, like a touch of caramel. Whatever it is, it's gone fast, scrubbed away by grapefruit. Very bright. No hop aftertaste, which I really appreciate.

M: Nothing too remarkable about this. Medium-bodied, leaves some pleasant hop resin.

D: This almost goes without saying, but this is a perfect session beer. It's a definite go-to when I'm anywhere with an otherwise average selection.

So easy to take for granted, and at this point it shouldn't wow anybody, but there's a reason why this was the keg beer at my wedding celebration. For balance, taste, and accessibility, a classic.

Photo of heygeebee
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Nearly 2500 reviews and someone really wants to read what some Aussie thinks about a sample which is as fresh as we can get, but that's not saying a lot in the grand scheme of things?

In short, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Not a WOW beer, but one you could drink all night. Not many pales you can say that about I suspect, most are too heavily hopped.

Photo of nschueller
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Beautiful, clear, light amber beer with bubbles rising through the mug to the thin one finger hear. Head is moderate in duration with light lacing. Head will not keep volatile aromatic molecules in beer.

Aroma: Caramel Malt. Not overly hoppy.

Taste: Caramel Malt and piney cascade hops. As far as I can tell it tastes like the bill is simply 2 row, caramel 60ish, and cascades. Wonderfully simple, wonderfully ideal. Piney but not bitter (for the style)

Mouthfeel: Very carbonated. Clearly an American PA (in this respect and others). Light. Worth swishing over the tongue once or twice.

Overall: One of the better brews a gentleman can find in nearly every liquor store in the country. My favorite example of the american pale ale. Strangely won a few awards for english pale ale even though the hops are obviously american cascade and the beer is very bubbly. One of the few beers I am comfortable sitting down with and sticking it out with for the entire night (if not weekend) - a "desert island beer".

Notes: Yeast in bottle a top fermenter and is pretty active and can be cultured pretty easily.

Photo of Lightbearer2012
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a historic day as I am posting my first ever review on BA and I chose this beer because although I try new beers all the time Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is always in my fridge. Why? Because this beer has replaced Budweiser as my go to. I remember trying this beer about 20 years ago and thought it was horrible. My how the palate changes.

12 oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Beautiful orange color with a nice fluffy head.

The smell is light and fruity with a nice hop aroma. Nothing knocking my socks off fragrance wise but smells of quality.

The taste is great and I like the balance of malt and hops. Again this beer tastes of quality and care in the brewing process.

The mouthfeel is great to me if a little light but that is one of the best features of this beer- drinkability! Perfect carbonation and ridiculously refreshing!

Overall I love this beer and for $12.99 a twelve it is a no brainer. If you are nervous about trying pales this one will win you over and get you started.

Photo of depechemode1983
3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Beer is an orange copper color. The clarity lets for visible carbonation. The head is off white withe decent retention and leaves small patches of lacing.

S - Semi bitter hops in the nose. A good balance between citric and floral hops. The malts balance it out even more with a touch of honey sweetness.

T - Taste is soft and bitter with some honey undertones and a bitter orange bite. Finish is mostly bitter but with very pronounced orange flavor.

M - Mouth feel is medium bodies with soft carbonation and a smooth finish.

O - Not a bad beer. Lots of good flavors and the mouth feel was great. Went down very smooth.

Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: I pour a 24 oz. bomber of Sierra Nevada Pale ale, the old stalwart of American craft beer intro a shaker pint glass. It's a mellow 57 degrees out,a little chilly for a July night in California so I think this beer is a perfect choice. The beer arrives in the glass as a consistent medium amber with light yellow undertones. The opacity of the beer is medium. It looks a tad watery and bubbles rise throughout the glass for a long while. The head comes in at a nice full foamy inch. It's very light tan in color. Eventually the head diminishes and then retains at 1/4 inches, thinning in the center and leaving a ring of light clinging lacing.

Smell: The malt presence is upfront. The blend of pale and crystal malts works well to create an aroma of toasted biscuit with a definite sugar presence. However, this beer isn't sickeningly sweet, a quality I usually dislike. There are aromas of dried fruit, tannins, raisins and caramelized sugar. Perhaps it isn't far fetched to also appreciate a leafy quality in this beer. I think this would be a great autumn beer. The cascade hops are piney and citrus. Floral and spicy flavors emerge in the background. A highly present flavor is grapefruit. The bitterness isn't appreciable until sipping.

Taste: Upon sipping this beer I find that the taste profile is fleeting. The malts come quick and then disintegrate into a nice but depreciating slight bitterness. It isn't a huge mouthfeel of flavor but it does hit all the fine points of the style. In addition to the usually citrus flavors, a grassy presence is detectable when tasting the beer. There is a emergent flavor of cocoa. The bitterness is mild, but becomes cloying when the beer warms. Pale Ale should be served at it's proper temperature. Since this beer is relatively low ABV it lends itself towards being sessionable.

Mouthfeel: The water base seems to be distilled. The ingredients are good but lack subtlety. The balance is fine, albeit it does lean bitter. With time the beer develops a slight chalky texture. The finish is clean and sharp.

Overall: This is the archetypal APA. I will always pick this beer up when it it the best possible choice, but because of it's lack of distinguishing characteristics will lean towards more interesting options if they are available. A great beer to introduce to craft beer novices if they are bold and want to try something with notable bitterness. A legend for it's consistency.

Mouthfeel: A medium bodied sticky chewiness that fizzes in the mouth. Finishes bitter. Refreshing.

Overall: I find it hard to knock this beer. It may not be the most interesting beer ever AKA the next best thing but it is a great introduction to high quality craft beer. I will definitely be using Pale Ale to introduce my friends to craft brew. Everyone had had this beer which validates it's reputation. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is one if the best APA's.

Photo of WanderingFool
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is one of my go-to beers when I'm at a non-craft bar, need a beer to share with a variety of friends or just want something to relax with. I'm surprised I've never reviewed it until now.

The beer pours a clear amber color with a small frothy white head on top. The foam dissolves quickly to a thin sheet on the surface, leaving behind numerous spots and lines of lace. From the bottom of the glass a steady stream of bubbles rises rapidly to the surface.

The aroma is rather faint with notes of orange and lemon citrus and pale malt.

Each sip of this light to medium bodied beer is slightly creamy with a firm carbonated feel. Finishes dry. The flavor is a nice balance of citrus hops and sweet malt. It starts sweet with flavors of caramel and pale malt. This is followed by mellow flavors of orange citrus and a touch of lemon zest. It finishes moderately bitter. Once gone the orange citrus and sweet malt lingers on the palate.

This is such a well balanced, easy drinking beer. I could have a pint every day of the week and not get tired of it.

Photo of Jammies
3.13/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a golden color with about 3/4 an inch of foam. Great carbonation and pretty decent retention. Strong lacing. Still visible by the end of the beer.

S- A light floral small. Smells more like a pilsner.

T- Hoppy and mild. Good balance but somewhat dry.

M- very light, but still decent body. Hops leave the mouth dry. Slightly bitter.

O- Solid go to beer. Light and hoppy plus available year round. Not my favorite pale ale, but good.

Photo of tjsmith910
3.05/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A bit of a weird dynamic here in my opinion. I purchased this product on a referral by a friend. I was fairly disappointed the first night as I finished off 3 of them. The next night, I just wanted them out of my refrigerator so I decided to finish the other 3. Big change from one night to the next. The first night, They seemed to taste like chilled thin cough syrup. But the next night I poured them into a pint glass and it is like the flavors mixed and matched and moved around to produce a rather tasty beer.

A - Pure transparent Orange color with off white 1 finger head that dissipated in about 2 minutes, leaving a light lace.

S - I rate all beers a 3 because of my lack of the sence of smell

T - Strong, lightly bitter and almost like sourdough bread.

M - Smooth follow through for an APA

O - Impressed by the ending of the product, glad I gave it a second round.

Photo of StlHopHead77
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours out a nearly transparent,amber with a stark white cap of nearly 3 inches.Really good retention and attractive gummy strands of lacing on the glass.

S-Grassy and citrusy hops upfront,followed substantially by biscuit-like malts and a slight toffee character.

T-Pale malts,orange and lemon zest,sourdough bread,
pine and slight sugars.

M-Light side of medium bodied.Smooth and approachable.Good carbonation.

O-The hop lovers gateway drug.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes.

A: Pours a hazy orange color with a decent white head, moderate retention and some decent lacing. Lively carbonation bubbles released from the bottom.

S: Citrus hops dominate, with nice touches of orange, and some caramel sweetness to balance it a little.

T: Nice and hoppy, full of citrus fruit flavors, orange being the dominant one. Slightly bitter on the front from the hops, with a sweeter middle from the malt, that come through as some light caramel. little bit of pine on the finish.

M: Medium bodied with lively carbonation. Very refreshing.

O: A great all around beer, one that I could drink at any time.

Photo of HockeytownBrew
3.6/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draft.

A: Pours a clear copper brown with an ever so slight haze. Finger width head that dissipates rather quickly. Moderate lacing.

S: Hops with a generous floral note and citrus in addition to malts.

T: Sweet malts and citrus with a slight hoppy bitterness. Finishes smooth and clean.

M: Light to medium bodied and crisp. Moderate carbonation.

D: Nice drinkability. Easy to go through a few.

A good pale ale.

Photo of TMoney2591
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Walter Payton shaker pint glass at Hammerheads.

Had to have something to drink while playing pool, so I figured I'd revisit this old classic (and finally review the damn thing). It pours a clear brass topped by a finger of white foam. The nose comprises grass, flowers, lemon peel, orange rind, and very light toffee. The taste brings in more of the same, with the more citrus-y hops gaining in potency a bit, balancing out the earthier ones pretty nicely; all while the toffee doesn't give much ground. The body is a rather light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly dry finish. Overall, a very nice pale ale, one that deserves the status it holds.

Photo of engagechad
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased as a sixer from Food Lion in Saluda, VA - poured into pint

Pours orangey hazy yellow with good head. Smells hoppy and earthy, taste follows however the hop taste is mild enough that I just tend to pound these beers.. so good

Overall this beer is a staply amongst BA's for a reason. Buy it by the case.

Photo of PollardsVision
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

Like so many others, this is the beer that convinced me there was no need to drink American Adjunct Lagers.

Pours a brilliant amber (not very "pale" for the classic APA). Incredibly balanced taste and highly drinkable. The citrusy sweetness and bitter hops seem to balance each other perfectly. So much going on, flavor-wise, yet nothing overpowers.

Photo of musicforairports
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Copper color, one-finger head never really disappears and leaves a bunch of lacing.

Smells of lemon-orange citrus and some sweet malt.

Flavor is hoppy for the style but still with a strong malt backbone. Citrus hop characters dominate, and sweet caramel hits strongly on the end.

Mouthfeel medium, well carbonated and otherwise quite perfect.

This is one of the beers that turned me on to craft beer, and while it's no longer a ridiculously flavorful beer to me compared to some, it's still a really good one and a great example of its style.

Photo of gatorguy
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice copper color with a two finger white head that slowly fades to some good lacing. Smells hoppy and of citrus, lemon mostly. Taste follows smell, hints of lemon and hearty hops, finishes mildly bitter. Mouthfeel is good, not a heavy beer really but somewhat strong from the hops. A nice pale ale that cycles with Dale's in my fridge when I want one.

Photo of Treebs
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into goblet at the Adobe Bar in Toas, NM.

A: Nice clear copper with some lighter toned edges. .5 finger off-white head that recedes quickly into a nice film.

S: Hop forward pale ale with a nice citrus fruits, mostly lemon peels.

T: Light citrus fruits with a good light bitterness in the middle. Some sweet malts really smooth it out on the finish.

M: Crisp and light bodied. Medium carbonation. The bitterness fades quickly on the palate leaving a nice subtle dryness.

O: A great tasting session pale ale. I don't know why it took me so long to come back and try this again, but I'm glad I did.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper orange color with a 1 inch off-white head that fades to a thin cap. Nice thick rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of sweet malt and citrus zest. Taste is of sweet malt and citrus zest hops. There is a slightly soapy taste I am getting as well. This beer has good carbonation and is crisp and clean in the mouth. Slight hop bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. Overall, this is a good pale ale and pretty much available everywhere in a pinch when there are no other good beers on the menu.

Photo of abgba121
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a golden color, slightly hazy with about an inch or so of head that dissipates fairly quickly and leaves behind a thin lingering lace.

S: great hoppy smell, nice and floral with a little citrus

T: beginning sweetness with light hop flavor and a lingering very light hoppiness on the finish, not much for bitterness

M: medium texture, good carbonation

O: great beer, a definite regular in the lineup

Photo of redfire89
4.85/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- A dark golden color, with a little bit of head.
S- Citrus, hops, and some piney notes.
T- Wow!!! Very spicy, lots of hops and citrus, but not overpowering at all.
M- A little heavier than others that I've had, but it's light for 5.6%.
O- This knocked out Yuengling as my go-to beer, an instant favorite.

Photo of Swim424
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am pouring from a 12oz bottle into a freezable beer mug.

A-pours a dark orange. looks nice. small head. fizzed down fairly quick.

S-smells of some fruit. maybe grapefruit apricot and slight mango. definitely smells of some malt. not getting much hops.

T- I definitely taste more hops then I could smell. Not as good as I was hoping. Not bad but not very impressive. I feel like the flavor is lacking for the amount of hops present. Slight fruit upfront like I described in the smell along with hops. finishing mostly with hops.

MF-Not bad. Some hop aftertaste. Leaves sort of a residue but not a bad feel or taste at all.

Overall this isn't bad. Nothing I would be excited to drink again but definitely not something i would ever turn down. Nothing great but pretty good.

Photo of doktorhops
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Another American beer, this time a highly recommended one... do not disappoint me Sierra Nevada. I'm looking forward to the hoppy APA I've grown to love in Little Creatures, and I've heard much talk regarding the American micro-brewer scene on the west coast, so here goes!

Poured from a 12oz (what's that in ml's?) bottle into a tulip pint glass.

A: Looks a treat. Like most APA's I've had before: slightly cloudy honey coloured body with a nice white head that leaves minor lacing in the glass.

S: Hell yeah! Floral hops lead my nose to an ale paradise with a hint of caramel malts in the background. The balance here is sublime - nothing overpowering, but the hops are definitely the champion here.

T: It's good, not great but good. On the front palate there are tangy hops, biscuit malts, which all blends well with a caramel sweetness: very nice. The back palate/aftertaste is where it's let down; hops that would otherwise have a chance to shine merely end up as a bitter twang that upsets the foundation of flavour set out from the beginning. Like I said: good but not great.

M: The texture is where I find real sparks of brilliance - the body is perfect, mid to heavy with carbonation representative of the style (low to mid), and a slight oiliness, top marks here!

D: I started out the review comparing this to Little Creatures Pale Ale, and it that respect it is a letdown, however overall this is a good representation of the style that with a little finesse with the hopping could be as great as LCPA... (or even better). To me this APA is a missed opportunity, a great malt base let down by overtly bitter hop flavours in the back note. If it weren't prohibitively expensive over here in Australia I would definitely drink it as a back-up to LCPA though.

Food match: Hearty food would suit this brew well, roast game birds and salad with a celeriac puree and vinaigrette... Mmmm.

Photo of Belekinbeer
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful amber color with a nice amount of head.
Has a nice lite citrus and pine smell with some sweetness. Mouth feel is lite with good carbonation.
Crisp hoppy taste with an excellent finish.
This American pale ale is great and I have made it my go to pale. It really is a simple great tasting pale ale.
For me, Sierra Nevada has yet to brew a bad beer. Cant wait till they open their Asheville brewery. Closer to home!!

Photo of spitInTheOcean
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

beautiful gold color. nice head retention. nice effervescence. great clarity.

smells like hops. citrusy ones at that. no real malts apparent through all those hops.

bitter beer. wow that is bitter. more hop bitterness than hop flavor. there is a subtle sweetness there in the middle just before the finish which adds a very nice dimension to this beer, i think the flavor of the caramel is subtly detectable too. this beer of course is full of hops at every stage both bitterness and flavor.

soft mouthfeel and crisp for an ale.

i have heard this beer referred to as the benchmark american pale ale. i think it deserves that title. this is a good beer. it IS simple, but not to a fault, instead its simplicity sort of makes it more lovable. its just a good beer. good night america

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 9,507 ratings.