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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.

9,504 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,504
Reviews: 2,754
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 169
Gots: 1,264 | 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: 9,504 | Reviews: 2,754 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JohnFatAss
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange color. Off white head that sticks around and left some lacing on the glass.

It has a really good smell. Floral and hoppy.

At first taste I was overwhelmed with the hop bitterness. I just was not expecting it, but after a few sips, this beer started to grow on me. Hops up front but with a creamy, malty mouthfeel. Very well balanced.
Finishes dry with some bitterness.

Overall - A very good pale ale.

Photo of CHickman
4.65/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a clear yellow gold in color with a massive 2 finger foamy off white head that fades very slowly and leaves great foamy lacing sticking to the glass; the beer leaves foam rings after each sip.

Smells of floral hops, flowers, piney hops, sweet malt, brown sugar, grains, biscuit, grapefruit, citrus hops, herbs, light lemon, wheat or light yeast; the hops really take over most of the aroma, and allow just enough malt and grains to come through for a perfect balance.

Tastes of floral hops, flowers, piney hops, sweet malt, brown sugar, grapefruit, orange peel, citrus hops, herbs, light lemon, biscuit, wheat, grass, hay, light yeast and tea or some chewy hops floating in the mix; this is a pale ale that always borders on an IPA, and I love it.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, with a zesty tingle on the tongue, a medium body, light carbonation and a slight bitter finish.

This has been my favorite beer since 1994, and is the reason I started exploring craft beers. A very high recommendation, as this beer is consistently good and always enjoyable.

Photo of lookitsmp
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Pours a nice light orange color with medium transparency. A small half finger white head diminishes down to nearly nothing. Not a bad looking brew.

smell: Malts, hops, and some very vague citrus scents. The smell doesn't really stand out from others of this style, but it is good none the less. I can't wait to take a sip.

taste: Begins with a nice biscuity malt taste, moves to a nice bitter jolt from the hops, then finally a very smooth and crisp malt finish. This is a very delicious pale ale.

mouthfeel: On the fence between light and medium bodied with fairly low carbonation. The hops dry your mouth a bit but overall this brew goes down very smooth.

overall: This is an excellent pale ale with a good balance of hops and malts. It's a very smooth beer that would make for a great session beer. In fact, I think I'll have one right now.

Photo of STKPICR0720
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the true American Pale Ale. Sure there may be better American Pale's out there but this is the stepping stone for all others. This is the grandfather and the one they are all compared to. Just a very clean refreshing ale that looks undisturbed and clings to the palate in the smoothest fashion that makes you question were another one is. I love this brew and look for it everytime I am at dinner.

Photo of obrendano
4.65/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An American classic!

A - good dirty blonde color, bright white head that sticks everywhere as you drink.

S - superb citrusy mix of hops and strong biscuit malt, smells fresh as can be

T - a favorite of mine. great initial surge of malt and subtle hops gives way to a stronger mid sip hop bite. But my favorite part of this beer is the distinctive strong clean and HUGE malt finish. Every first taste of this beer is an exceptional treat and has never failed me

M - smooth and lightly bubbly, no real complaints

D - this was one of my first beers that I had after getting into beer in general and has only gotten better for me over time. there is no food this doesn't go with either. Thumbs up!

Photo of augustgarage
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Clear, somewhat dark amber with a half finger of lasting off-white suds. Decent lacing, no legs.

Signature pale malt, faintly biscuity and not quite toasty with a vague vegetal undercurrent. Smooth light herbaceous hops with maybe a hint of orange peel.

Pale malt up front; bright and crisp on the palate with a musky/bready/faintly metallic flavor mid-way through. A touch of hemp is suggested by the hops along with a mild bitterness. Quite dry finish.

Moderately carbonated, light-bodied, with just enough heft for substance.

If you like their signature malt, you'll be pleased, otherwise there isn't a lot here to hold your interest compared to the dozens of superior examples of the style. Like Fat Tire, it's a good alternative to BMC at bars with poor selections or beer-geek-free parties...

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

Poured into a Pilsner glass

A - Nice, transparent medium copper/amber color. Approx. finger sized off-white head after pour. Decent lacing.

S - A citrus/fruity smell with a decent aroma of caramel/malt.

T - The hops get you right at the top with definite tastes of citrus but clears quickly to reveal the malts.

M - This is a fairly dry ale, but not too dry. Carbonation is pretty low. On a scale of 1-10, carbonation is probably about a 3.

O - This is a great tasting Pale Ale, one of my favorites. Not too hoppy and with a nice blend of malts. A great 'go to' beer if Ale's are your thing.

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

On tap at the Country Corner in Setauket, NY. Served in a pint glass. Its been quite some time since I've had a Sierra Nevada pale ale and I don't think I've ever given it a fair shake on tap, so here we go.

Look: copper body with a thin, slightly off white head. Good retention and good lacing.

Smell: a little grain with a good amount of citrusy hop aroma, and the Cascade hops really stand out to me. Simple but inviting.

Taste: grapefruity, citrusy, fruity hops and a little caramel maltiness to balance it out but keeping it hop forward. One of the more aggressively hopped straight up pale ales you will find and for that I am grateful.

Feel: medium bodied, dry with a lingering hop bitterness, carbonated well, refreshing and a good beer for a session.

Overall: good beer. No wonder it has stood the test of time. Drinks light a light IPA rather than an APA and thats definitely a good thing, since APAs typically leave me wanting more. If you haven't gotten around to this beer yet, what are you waiting for?! Cheers!

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

The two Sierra Nevada creations I’ve had so far (Torpedo and Bigfoot Barleywine) were damn good. And this one, their ever-so-popular Pale Ale, has quite the reputation. So, before I even begin, I guess I have to admit that I have some pretty high standards for this particular brew. In any case, I’ll try to be as objective as possible. And, even if I end up disappointed, I’m sure I’ll be glad it was hyped up – that way, I got to explore this beer with a discerning eye.

A: Wow, a lot darker than I expected. Sure, it shines, but the body is more of a tree-sap amber than the typical PA light gold. Looks fuller-bodied than most – I like it a lot. Its foamy white head appears and then thins out almost immediately after the pour, leaving a classic, sudsy ring near the top.

S: A mild nose with a lot of complex hop aromas. The main component is a bright leafiness, but you can tell there are a few different hop varieties imbedded within: there’s bits of citrus, flowers, and spice here and there. Some yeast mellows everything out with a nice bready undertone. Great stuff.

T: The hops are elaborate and flavorful. An excellent blend, showcasing freshness, spiced bitters, and a rich dryness. The yeast is velvety smooth and provides some welcome breads to the mix. It’s a good and mellow experience. The only thing I can perceive as a negative is a bit of an unnatural feel in the wheat. It’s carried out with a slightly artificial undertone, like a BMC. It’s odd, because the other Sierra Nevada offering’s I’ve had were not at all like that. Now that I think about it, I also paid more for those. Anyway, it’s not excessively noticeable, and doesn’t impede the drinkability a whole lot. Overall, a very sessionable beer (technically, it’s 5.6%; but who’s counting?)

M: Good; nice upfront carb permits greater drinkability. Some watery notes here and there, but that’s only a very small percentage of the time.

O: I can’t believe this beer only cost me ~$16 for a 12-pack. You can hardly find Buds for that cheap! Certainly a great deal. Like I mentioned before, though, I did have high standards for this beer. Now, I’m not going to say I was disappointed (because I wasn’t). In fact, after having this beer, I find myself wishing we had more breweries like Sierra Nevada! All in all, this is a clear example of SN’s willingness to create the best beer from whatever ingredients they have, and then putting it in the same price range as many highly-commercial counterparts. I can certainly respect a brand like that. In the future, though, I’ll pay the extra couple bucks and get their Torpedo Extra India Pale Ale if I’m looking for a PA with a great price tag.

Photo of Arknot
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The ulitmate "beer".
A nice balance of hops and malt, this pale ale fits my standard for a basicly perfect everyday beer.

Appearance is light copper with a thick white head.

Smell is hops and watery freshness, with a slight biscuity breadyness.

Taste is slightly bitter hops, with a nice biscuity bready malty body.

Mouthfeel is nothing heavy, very crisp, and very easy going.

Overall, If you enjoy american hops, and a want a solid beer to have with a meal, out in the sun, or hanging out with friends Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the ticket. I'll also say this is a fairly nice session beer, if only a little strong.

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

Poured from a bottle (1006 = 2011, 6th day) from the beer fridge at 45 degrees into a Spiegelau Stemmed Pilsner (tulip) glass. Poured 3/4 straight, then swirled the remainder to stir up the bottling yeast for the final 1/4 pour.

A: Orangy-gold colored, somewhat cloudy due to the bottling yeast, with nice 1-1/2 finger frothy white head. Gorgeous matrix of lacing on the glass that sticks around quite a while. Maybe the best lacing I've seen from any beer.

S: Citrusy and floral hops hit the nose first (rose petals), with a yeasty biscuit aroma hiding behind. Orange peel, mild grapefruit. Yummy.

T: Follows the aroma, citrusy/grapefruity hops prevail with a fair amount of non-sweet malt to back it up. Hints of orange peel once again with a cleansing bitterness to finish it off.

M: Adequate carbonation to carry the flavors, cleans the palate up nicely and finishes very dry.

O: A true classic. No aftertaste to speak of, the palate is left completely cleansed after each sip and ready for another. The hops dominate with just enough yeasty goodness to balance it out. Everyone should try this at least once in their beerdrinking career.

Photo of thebrood1987
4.78/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Very nice looking Pale Ale and has an excellent smell of clean hop orange fruitiness I'm guessing from the cascade hop and some fresh pine smells as well. This is a very smooth beer which has a slight crisp spicy bite with the rich bready caramel malt taste in the middle and then ending with that fruity orange/pine like bitterness from the hops. Perfect amount of bitterness for such a refreshing beer. The hop smell and taste reminds me of Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale.

As it warms I'm getting some more tastes from the hops other than just the orange fruitiness. I can taste some tea and herbal flavors as well which tastes excellent. Perfect craft session beer. This beer is a classic and you can definitely tell why just by the first sip of this incredible pale ale.

Photo of harrymel
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled: 106310724; March 4, 2011

A: Pours a golden orange ale with brilliant clarity. Less than single finger of fine white foam falls to a medium sheet of the same. Spotty, but persistent lacing.

S: At two months old, the beer isn't nearly as nice smelling. I will give it a bit of leeway provided they at least give me a date (albeit annoyingly written), and allow for some deterioration. The beer is predominately malts at this point. Fairly sweet, with some piney hops in there still.

T: Sweet malts win this profile. Actually a hint of corn on this one. This has been a unique SNPA in my experience. Immediately reminds me of cap'n crunch (weird). I recall this beer having a bit more bite, and a little more bitter on the back end.

M: Medium to heavy mouthfeel with medium carbonation. A bit slicking on the palate.

O: This has always been a fantastic and historic beer, dunno why, but this one is a little off. Will admit to inflating the scores a hare based on my previous experiences with the beer.

Photo of titosupertramp
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden amber in color, crystal clear. Nice large, foamy white head. Leaves behind very thick film with great lacing. Near perfect for a pale ale.

S: Piney, floral hops with toasted malt.

T: Follows the nose to a tee. Taste has a floral/pine hops quality with the toasted malts balancing it out, but still pretty bitter as the hops win the war on this. I've been noticing a tea quality to hop forward pale ales lately and this has it.

M: For a pale ale, this has a thick quality to it. Bitter, dry finish.

O: This isn't the most drinkable pale ale you'll come across due to the dry bitterness, but it's still excellent. One of the seminal American Craft beers, Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale doesn't disappoint.

Photo of travis224
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from the bottle a nice amber color with a thick frothy head. The smell is pine and resin. The taste is great, a really wonderful session beer with just the right amount of hops. The mouthfeel is spot on. My introduction to great craft beer. Still a winner.

Photo of Smithson49er
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden, Amber and some nice carbonation leaving a pretty foam lace

S: Not over powering but the cascade hop note is present and smells great

T: Balanced and smooth with enough of a hop character to really be enjoyable

M: Fresh and crisp it really hits the spot when you want to slam a few craft beers and go enjoy the great outdoors

O: This being one of my first reviews I had to do one of my old standbys you really cant go wrong with this beer.

Photo of sentomaster
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on-tap poured into a pint glass

A- light copper/amber hue with a small bone white head that dissipates quickly. Darker than one would expect from a pale ale.

S- Solid malty, sweet crispness fronted by a decent smack of piney and citrus hops. Pretty straightforward.

T/M- Again, fairly straightforward. A solid crisp and toasty malt layer provides the backbone with a zing of zesty piney flavored hops. In the middle there's a slightly nutty spiciness, but very soft. Also a touch of citrus.

O- A very good go to beer and just short of exemplary for the style. You really can't go wrong with this when you're looking for something to session, on the other hand, this is not going to not your socks off in any way; just good stuff all around

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

This bottle released a beautiful dark gold liquid with a nice thin white head. Very fragrant. Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, spice.

Slight malty sweetness, which is quickly buried under a wave of hoppy goodness. Mixed in with the hops I can detect apples and citrus. The hops never quite hide the creaminess of the malt, but there's no contest as to who wins this battle.

Obviously, this beer is a classic. It is widely available and worth returning to every so often. Even though I worship the hop, I usually like my ``unimperial'' pale ales a bit more balanced than this one. Still, it tastes darn good.

Photo of OneDropSoup
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip pint: Light, golden amber, clear, with three fingers' rocky, sticky, glistening head. Very good-looking brew. Thick lacing sticks around the crown.

Grapefruit, both flesh & zest, a little sulfur, not enough to be off-putting, some fresh-cut grass, & a small crackery grain presence. Nice.

Lightly sweet lemon-tea-ish flavor up front, quickly followed by a bracing, assertive bitterness like citrus zest & pine. Full-flavored but not heavy, very refreshing.

Medium-light-bodied, a little resinous quality in the aftertaste, good, crisp finish.

Overall, great. Very drinkable, refreshing, flavorful, exactly what I want from a sessionable pale ale. This, along with Anchor Steam, is a no-brainer as far as quality, widely accessible brews that exemplifies American craft brewing. Beautiful.

Photo of SWMeyer4141
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review Number 50.

One of my go to beers for the past 5 years, figured I would give it a well deserved review

Appearance-Vibrant Golden amber color with a 2 inch creamy off white head. Leaves some nice lacing.

Smell-Citrusy Hops(grapefruit, lemon), Pine and a Caramel Malt aroma. Very nice for a APA.

Taste-Off the bat you get the caramel malts, then you get hit with some citrus with a piney hop finish. Not too bitter, very nice finish leaving you wanting that next sip.

Mouthfeel-My mouth is coated with some nice piney hops. Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall-I can see myself 50 years from now still enjoying this beer. It goes great with food too. I do my grading to style and this is definitely one of the best, if not the best Pale Ale. I would drink this next to a buddy drinking a Pliny and I would be completely satisfied.

Photo of morehoppps
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-Tap, Served in classic Bar Pint Glass.

A: Nice, thick, two-finger head. Red-Amber in color, with lots of carbonation. This beer looks magnificent in the light, even better in the sun.

S: Piney hops, and a tinge of some floral in there, pretty light aroma.

T: Piney and Citrus somewhat subtle hops with a nice malt balance. Very good balance of hop and malt.

M: Nice and carbonated. Just how a Pale Ale should be. Crisp Mouthfeel, Light to Medium Bodied. Drinkable? Yes.

O: Great craft beer that is readily available. Highly Recommended.

Photo of Duff27
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a one fingered head on top of a dark orange/light red beer. Below average head retention and no lacing.

S- Smell is of faint oranges

T- Follows the smell with floral hops added, Light on the palate but very flavorful.

M- Good carbonation, feels nice in my mouth.

D/O- Drinkability on this is awesome...right up there with the best flavor&drinkability ratio there is. A gateway drug is there ever was one.

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

With all the "new" releases, seasonal and special bottling this beer tends to be overlooked and underappreciated. It is still an outstanding beverage.

The color, smell and taste don't disappoint. This an American West Coast pale ale and it is wonderful. It is very bitter yet quite drinkable. It goes well with appetizers, a meal or as a session beer. It is perfect on a hot day to quench a big thirst. It has so much flavor, body and smoothness for a pale ale. It’s still one of the all time great craft beers!

Photo of bigwillystyle9
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Amber gold with half centimeter of frothy head, leaves nice lace. Well carbonated with particulates.

S - Subtle smell, with hint of cedar wood.

T - Slightly bitter, stimulates the tip and front sides of the tongue. Leaves slight after taste of woody flavor.

M - Nicely smooth.

O - Enjoyable pale to heavy beer. Seems a little strong for a pale ale.

Summary: Reasonably priced with smooth and stimulating flavor and texture.

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

A - Slightly hazy Golden color with a white head a medium carbonation.

S - Smells of floral pine with a hint of malt in there somewhere, smells very good.

T - Tastes like the smell of floral pine, some malt in the middle with a slight bitter ending that lingers of hops.

M - You feel the carbonation but not as much as a lager, just enough to get a small tingle, very drinkable beer. Light to medium body.

O - Great beer for spring summer or fall, not as hoppy as an IPA, but has good flavor and is very enjoyable.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 9,504 ratings.