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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.

8,091 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,091
Reviews: 2,664
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 111
Gots: 593 | 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: 8,091 | Reviews: 2,664 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zebedee

United Kingdom (England)

3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Now, I’ve always been ignorant of American ales, until I discovered this site, mainly because the only American beers I’ve ever seen here are the usual Bud/Miller shite. Suffice to say, this ale was part of a new line in my local, evil supermarket, so I thought, what the heck, I’ll try it.

This ale poured a marmalade orange colour, with a one finger head of weak, brilliant white foam. There was little noticeable carbonation. The head quickly dissipated until there was but a thin film covering the beverage.

The smell, I found intriguing. Parma violets initially came to the fore, with some sherbet and a hint of liquorice. This gave way to oranges and lychees. Quite an aroma I thought.

Despite the smell, which I feared would be a precursor to a sickly sweet drink, I actually found it fairly delicate. It tasted like I was drinking a liquid bouquet, with violets and lavender, with some sour apple thrown in for good measure. The finish was quite dry, and slightly sour.

I felt little carbonation on the tongue, but it does hit the back of the throat on the way down. I feel this adds to the dryness, which isn’t a bad thing at all. It felt thin in the mouth, but not in a negative fashion.

This ale is light and crisp, and I would certainly be able to sink a few in a sitting. It lacks the sickly sweet taste I feared it would have, and is overall a nicely rounded drink. This would go down just chipper on a warm, dry day, which we seldom have here:(. All in all, I was very pleased with this beer as an introduction to American pale ales, and I hope I continue to have good fortune with them in the future.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2006 23:20:42 | More by zebedee
Photo of WeymouthMike


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

This is one of the first craft beers I tried about 5 years ago and somehow never got around to reviewing this beer. Appearance is a clear amber color with a head that as white as fresh snow. Smell is typical of a pale ale a mix of hops and malts neither out weighing the other. Taste is crisp , clean with some bitterness. Mouthfeel is not light but malty and smooth. I could easily drink a six pack of these on a nice summer day and be as content as could be.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2006 20:43:23 | More by WeymouthMike
Photo of mnj21655


4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a copper color with an 1/2" off-white head that faded to just a thin layer of foam. Smells faintly of hops with some hints of citrus, nothing overpowering. Taste is great: clean, crisp and balanced. Some bitterness at the beginning followed by hops with a clean finish. Nice mouthfeel, not too thick not too thin. Great drinkability. My favorite American Pale Ale. Deserves its reputation as one of the best. Bottom line this is another excellent beer. Sierra Nevada does it again.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2006 02:06:47 | More by mnj21655
Photo of gnoff


2.05/5  rDev -49.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

(350 ml bottle)

Clear golden color with a big lasting white to cream colored head.
Hoppy mixed with a sour acid scent.
Taste has the same acid in it, also a bit strange bitterness.
Could it be infected? Though I find that hard to believe. Perhaps it's just supposed to smell and taste this way?
High bitterness, gives it a dry and bitter after taste.
Medium, almost to the low watery side, mouth feel.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2006 21:21:23 | More by gnoff
Photo of BeerSox


3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with no date into a mug.

Pours clear dark gold with light head. Levels off into an off-white cap. Blotching lacing.

The aroma comes with leafy and flowery components. Hops dominate the aroma, no malts detectable.

Strong hop flavor with slight hints of fruit in the background. finish with a bit of lingering hoppiness. Slight grain is available as the beer warms.

Crisp and clear mouthfeel, but not too watery. Carbonation is on the lighter side.

A solid pale ale, more bitter than its English counterpart. Solid APA in my book.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2006 02:39:19 | More by BeerSox
Photo of barefootbrewer


3.45/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured a clear gold with a small head that dissipated quickly. The smell is very hoppy and slightly sweet. The taste is hoppy and bitter. The mouthfeel is thin and crisp. The carbonation has a noticeable bite. This is an excellent example of a pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2006 19:04:54 | More by barefootbrewer
Photo of Cresant


3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 24 oz. bomber into a pint glass. No date. Beautiful pour. Two fingers of bubbly white head. A cap of foam remained throughout. Some lacing remained. Rich golden clear body with active beads of bubbles.

Smell was green young grass. Floral. Malty sweetness appeared as it warmed.

Tasted of fresh hops. long bitter, crisp finish. Mild sweetness does not balance the assertive hops. Rather simple yet solid. A bit more hoppy than I think of in an APA.

Zesty mouthfeel, crunchy carbonation that smooths considerably as it warms.

Enjoyable and very easy to drink, a go to beer for myself and trillions of others.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2006 23:23:47 | More by Cresant
Photo of fank2788


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

This beer pours a beautiful golden color with a creamy white head that will last a while, with good lacing. The smell is amazing it is very full and rich once I had the bottle open I could smell this beer. The taste is nice and complex without being overwhelming. I notice a slight bitter taste that will linger for a little while. This beer has good carbonation so it feels really good in your mouth. The drinkability is really good too, I could easily finish a few of these in a sitting.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2006 23:58:16 | More by fank2788
Photo of gmfessen


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

Pours a golden-copper color, with a small amount of head and lacing. Immidiate taste is of a citrisy hops (which dominate almost to the point of an IPA) followed by a smooth light malt flavor that leaves a enjoyable slight aftertaste. The body is relativly light and combined with the flavor, makes for a very drinkable beer. An excellent example of an APA. Must try.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2006 01:51:33 | More by gmfessen
Photo of BrewDoctor


4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A great measuring stick for APA's (maybe I should say IPA). Enjoy anytime of year, but especially during the warmer months. A staple in my house during the spring and summer months.

A - The medium sized white foamy head forms quickly atop the amber & copper liquid with medium to medium high carbonation. The beer pours clean and crisp with good head retention.

S - Bitter citrus hops find the nose followed by a light, sweet bready malt. The scent is pleasant and balanced.

T - The scent is not deceiving. The taste starts with a nice grapefruit hop bite (not too strong) that flows over the tongue and is followed by the same lightly sweet breadymalts apparent in the smell. A wonderfully well balanced beer with a stronghold on American beers. The aftertaste is mild, refreshing, and doesn't outstay it's welcome.

M - Light to Medium mouthfeel, but no outstanding characteristics when compared to the overall category

D - Yes, you can drink this beer on a daily basis as one at a time or 6 at a time. The taste welcomes you back again and again.

Thank You Sierra Nevada!

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2006 19:11:41 | More by BrewDoctor
Photo of rarevos

New York

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

Poured into stange (only glass I had around--at the in-laws' house) on 8/12/06

A: Amber. Good head, fluffy and long-lasting.

S: Grapefruit dominates the front of the sniff. Even at arm's length you can detect the fruitiness. Little hint of malty sweetness toward the back.

T: A little grapefruity up front, malty in the middle with a hint of celery (this actually is really well-done, despite how weird it sounds). Finish is bitter, and is hoppier than some IPAs. Bitterness really rounds out the grapefruit --> malt progression.

M: Light-bodied, smooth.

D: A well-balanced pale ale. Enjoyed this on a warm summer afternoon, but I could see this being an appropriate beer in the fall or spring, too.

This beer/brewery gets accolades around here. They're deserved. Really nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2006 17:17:45 | More by rarevos
Photo of Georgiabeer


3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Let me say first off that I think this is a great beer. I really think they should be applauded for their role in the craft brewed revolution in this country. I think many of their products are excellent, and the snpa is the flagship. This used to be my favorite session beer. Why do I say used to be? Two reasons: first, I think this beer is not quite the beer it used to be. This is true both because it has stood still while great hoppy beers grew around it, but also because I think it has lost a little of its unique flavoe over the years. Second, I think this beer has had freshness and consistency problems as it has grown larger. I've had way to many snpas that were stale tasting if not downright skunky. This is particularly true on tap, but I've had some bad bottles too. I think its the beer, not the storage, but as snpas presence has become more ubiquitous, I'm sure there are more places that don't treat it right. Also, I think the tap beer is not as good as the bottles (Except maybe at the brewery- where its wonderful). The krausening in the bottles lends the brew a fruity yeastiness that is part of its charm. This is really lacking on tap, where an earthier taste comes through. When you find it really fresh and well handled, this can still be a near perfect brew, but its getting harder to find that way imo.

The beer came from the tap a beautiful copper color with a good head and excellent lacing throughout.

The smell is pretty good- earthy hops, but maybe with a little bit of a stale aroma as well. The draft lacks some of the fruity esters of the bottled.

The taste is still solid, fairly soft up front with a good earthy piney hop bitterness. A little stale on the finish.

The mouthfeel is fairly thin, but there is some creaminess there as well. The hops are pretty clean, but not a hop explosion. The thinner body helps the beer remain balanced.

Very drinkable, but best when really fresh. My scores are for draft at an average place. They would be higher at the brewery or in bottles.

Serving type: on-tap

08-13-2006 07:35:37 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of xzqrut


3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured from the tap, a nice copper color, with excellend head, retention, and lacing. Gave a mild hop aroma and taste, but felt it lacked a little in the bitterness category compared to other pales. Gave a nice crisp mouthfeel, good drinkability. All in all an very good beer.

Serving type: on-tap

08-12-2006 17:07:51 | More by xzqrut
Photo of ghostmech007


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

A copper color with a lace that hugs the bottle like there is no freakin tommorow.

The smell is all hops which blends into a malt sorta of blend and a bit of fruit smell as well.

Smooth body but full of flavor which helps.. Simple straight forward beer, which is good in my opinion. A good hop.

All in all, I have this in my fridge at all times. No matter how much my friends make fun of me. This is a good beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2006 07:18:16 | More by ghostmech007
Photo of dblinkhorn


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

Poured from a 12 oz into a glass tulip goblet.

Appearance - A nice thick head accompanies the pour. It is bubbly and barely tan. The beer is medium darkness amber-orange coloration, which is perfectly crystal clear. There is no haze whatsoever. Lots of lace all the way down the glass...reminds me of a Belgian ale.

Smell - One of the main reason I love this brew. You stick your nose down in the glass and you smell one of the finest, most crisp hop aroma of nearly any beer. The hop smell is clean, citrusy and full of character. Also present is a very mellow malty presence.

Taste - The flavor is very clean and crisp. Hops up front, which taste of lemon, medium bitterness, very slightly sour. The malt occupies a higher percentage of the taste than the smell. It is very smooth and mellow, but has a strong, defined flavor. Very good.

Mouthfeel - This brew has perfect carbonation. The beer is medium- to light-bodied and very smooth in the mouth.

Drinkability - Perfect. One can easily enjoy four of five of these without a problem.

Overall, this is a great brew. It's main strengths are it's crisp and clean character, along with its excellent hop flavor and aroma. This brew is high-quality...a must have.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2006 04:34:47 | More by dblinkhorn
Photo of horndecker

New Jersey

4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First words that come to mind are: well built, sturdy, balanced, and delicious. A fine, soft white head sits for a short time above a clear butterscotch amber. The smells are fresh, citric and piney hops and bakery. The taste has a wonderful smooth bitter start, a sweet malt follows, chewy and slightly nutty. Great balance. The finish is dry and long. The mouthfeel is buttery and full. Everything works. It's a hit. So, so drinkable and doesn't fade.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2006 11:39:49 | More by horndecker
Photo of Dizzy


4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada is the standard upon which all APA's should be measured. It pours hazy amber with off white head. The smell is citrusy (grapefruit) hops. Taste is malty sweetness, fruitiness, citrusy hop flavor and hop bitterness, all in a perfect balance. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a lot of carbonation. I could have several of these easily. I would certainly reccomend this.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2006 03:00:58 | More by Dizzy
Photo of robocrouch


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

Poured a rich copper/amber color. With maybe a hint of red. Perfect off white head, laced very well to the glass. About a finger or two thick. I loved the bits of yeast that floated to the bottom.

Taste was very impressive. Up front had robust flavor that continued with hints of grapefruit that finished with a very nice bite. Wow what a beer this is.

Drink ability is great. This is a perfect beer to enjoy while fishing.

Overall a very solid brew. The perfect model for what an APA should be. I will have to make a permanent spot in my fridge for this as it starts to become available nation wide.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2006 00:21:31 | More by robocrouch
Photo of jokelahoma


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

This oine poured a nice burnished copper color, clear as can be. The head was about average, off white, and faded quickly to a thin layer of foam.

The nose is quite citrusy. There's not much malt to be found in the aroma. It's hoppy, but not scary hoppy. Really not overpowering in any way. Just a good, clean, balanced smell.

The taste reflects that balance as well. There's a good bitterness up front, followed by fruity, flowery, citrusy hop flavors. The malt is more present in the aftertaste, as an earthiness that linger, riding shotgun with the floral aftertaste of the hops. There are no real flaws to be found here. Just a good, well made, well balanced beer.

The body is just thick enough to be substantive. Almost perfect for the style.

This is arguably the mother of American pale ales, a status it wears well and deserves to keep. When one compares pales, the standard to which they're compared is Sierra Nevada. Everyone should try this at least once.

Serving type: on-tap

08-08-2006 03:21:17 | More by jokelahoma
Photo of BoozySmurf


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

clear, golden amber with a frothy white head

malty, doughy, and citrusy aromas

sweet, caramel & biscuit malts, flowery & citrusy hop bitterness provide balance

light-medium bodied, crisp with a bitter finish

drinkability is good as expected for this classic american pale ale

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2006 02:35:21 | More by BoozySmurf
Photo of pmcadamis


4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This pale ale pours golden amber with a quickly rising foamy head. After an initial agressive pour, the head nearly reached the bottom of the pint glass, but rose quickly to a one-finger head that stayed the duration. Left nice laces of foam on the glass.

*sniff* *sniff* Smells great! I smell hops first, citrus fruit second. Upon subsequent sniffs I smell grapes somewhere in there. Definitely zesty and astringent in a pleasant way. Tickles the nose hairs! (maybe it'
s time to trim those suckers).

*sip* *sip*.... Wow! I taste grape fruit and a lemon-rind zing along with hops. This could be a great thirst-quencher in the summer! Slightly sweet at first, citrusy aftertaste. Bitter, but only slightly and in a very good way!

Mouthfeel is zesty and refreshing. I really like this!

Overall, a very good pale ale that would be great in the summer. Complex enough to be enjoyable, but light enough to drink several....this beer could be quite dangerous. Awesome.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2006 09:00:12 | More by pmcadamis
Photo of mherring


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

This is one of those beers that you really have to fight yourself on as far as when to stop. I could easily kill a sixer of this without much thought. Pours a nice light brownish/red color with just a small bit of foam. The smell is very nice indeed, one of the best smelling beers I've ever had I think. It's got a very nice blend of hops and citrus, with the hops maybe taking a slight edge. Taste is also good, a bit citrusy at first and then very hoppy with a pretty smooth feel to it.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2006 23:28:27 | More by mherring
Photo of Hollenbeck2


4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

to me this is a classic

probably one of the first micro breweries I had and the first that I actually visited in Chico, CA.

I have had this in the bottle and on tap and both are great and very drinkable to me. It has a amber color and an exceptionally full-bodied character. Cascade hops give this Pale Ale its fragrant floral and spicy flavor.

The beer has a bright, perky high note of maltiness and orange tastes and has a hint of hoppiness, the hoppiness is not over the top by any means.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2006 14:15:27 | More by Hollenbeck2
Photo of xav33


3.38/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
12 oz bottle
Recent bottling, savored 07/06
Medium pour in a shaker.

Poured with hues of amber and copper, with consistant off-white head.

Smelt of fruity citrus and a hint of biscuity malt.

Taste begins with soft citrusy piney hops a subtle sweet bready malt kick, with enduring sour pineness. A soft approach and gentle release on the palate. Mouthfeel was slightly creamy and average carbonation.

Overall, a classic American pale ale that sets a standard, but gives room for improvement.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2006 05:11:17 | More by xav33
Photo of beerphilosopher


3.43/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presents itself as a nice light amber with a thick white head. Sporadic lacing in the pint glass. Nose is lively with hops, citrus, floral notes, and candy. Palate is definitely hoppy up front, with a good malty backbone giving it a touch of sweetness. Good flavor. Mouthfeel is light, with a good hop bite. Adequate carbonation. A very refreshing pale ale with strong hop presence. Something short of an IPA, of course, but isn't shy with the hops. Finishes quite well balanced. This is another one I can get on-tap locally and am thankful for it. A nice alternative to the macro crap that rules this region. A good solid American Pale.

Serving type: on-tap

07-29-2006 20:46:40 | More by beerphilosopher
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,091 ratings.