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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

9,665 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,665
Reviews: 2,797
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 178
Gots: 1,455 | 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:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 07-05-2001

Generous quantities of premium Cascade hops give the Pale Ale its fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor.

37 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 9,665 | Reviews: 2,797 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of phichifiji00
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Golden in color. Pours about 1 inch of thick, foamy white head, that slowly fades over a few minutes. Moderate amount of lacing.

Smell: Hoppy, Citrus, Pine resin, floral, hints of caramel and malt.

Taste: Hoppy, citrus, pine resin, spicy (almost a saison/farmhouse quality) malty towards the middle, bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: light-medium bodied, lots of carbonation, smooth, bitter finish.

Overall: A very drinkable, well executed pale ale. Everything is well balanced for the style. Just damn good.

Photo of aorloski
3.6/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - thin tan, pale brown, i respect this beer so much
N - light hops, more on the bread side, one of the better smelling pale ales
T - malty, bready, hops are in the back not the front but in a good way. like i said, this beer has a lot of respect to me, it is very easily drank as a beer advocate.
M - thin, carbonated
O - literally the best session beer for a hop head.

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

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Tan dark brown, 1/2 creamy head, some lacing.

Smell - Floral hops, yeasty, Grassy, bready, some light carmal malts.

Taste - Crisp hoppy mixed with some yeasy and a nice malt backbone. The yeast adds a farmhouse ale like feel to it. Floral hops add some bitterness. Theres a nice spice/lemon flavor mixed in also.

Mouthfeel - Its fairly light and very smooth. Tounge gets bittered from the hops and yeast. Palette is coated with same bitterness and a little bit of malt. Aftertaste is bitter and dry but nothing too harsh at all.

Overall - The flavor, the price, the avaibilty, you cant beat this beer. Its a simple beer, theres nothing special about the flavors, its just a straight up pale ale made very well.

Photo of wordemupg
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into pint glass

A clear golden orange with some tiny suspended particles and only a few bubbles but a long lasting thumbs width of head that leaves several rings of lace well down the glass

S some citric and floral hops with some caramel malt

T a little bready and lemon rind on top of what I smell, good example of the style

M much thicker then expected and much more bubbles then one would guess from so few visible bubbles in the glass, right on in this area

O no complaints with this one it would be in my regular rotation if I could get it around here

not a bad way to get a hop fix without getting smashed, this is about the best thing I could find on the Vegas Strip pretty solid stuff though

Photo of ccm414
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 16oz bottle...

A- Light copper/amber in color. Very crisp and clean looking. Pours with a nice 2 1/2 finger head that recedes at an expected pace leaving a nice lace around the glass.

S- Mostly a floral hop aroma with some light caramel sweetness. It may be the glass or my nose tonight, but I almost pick up a mildew type smell that's very faint.

T- Sweet caramel malt up front that is quickly balanced with piney hops. It is dancing with being almost too bitter, but man does Sierra Nevada do a great job.

M- Clean and crisp. Nicely carbonated. Almost a creamy finish. Leaves you wanting more.

D- VERY drinkable. This one is a beer that I return to over and over again. Love this one. Sierra Nevada really did a great job here.


Photo of MbpBugeye
3.1/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Clear amber gold. The head is sticky, leaving tons of white lacing. It fades to a pillow, fueled by tie laser etched Perfect Pint.

The smell is straightforward. Lightly doughy malts under floral hops.

Sweet floral and citrus hops start things off nicely. A toasted grain malt presence takes things until some bittering pine finishes it.

Very sharp carbonation, its way too much for me. The body isn’t too thin though.

Not the end all and be all pale ale, like everyone claims.

Photo of Malt
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this beer from the bottle to a mug right now. The head started out thick but quickly faded. Nice color. Has a mild citrus/hoppy smell. There is very little carbonation. I am not really into having sediment on the bottom but I will manage. Has a mild bitterness for taste. Overall this is a great beer for a gathering or as some would say, a kick back.

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

appearance: clear golden honey color, light beige head about half a finger

smell: citrus, slight malt, pretty feint aroma

taste: quite bitter, malt flavor, very slight alcohol flavor, a dry cirtus taste remains in the mouth

mouth feel: smooth, very bitter taste, good carbonation, medium body taste

overall: Good beer, more on the bitter side, I probably wouldn't buy it for myself but wouldn't turn it down if it was offered to me.

Photo of SeattleBeerBlog
4.75/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Grew up on this stuff and figured I should finally make a formal review!

A- Great light copper Color, slightly hazy from bottle conditioning and dry hopping but still very clear, nice one inch head that dissipates a little too quickly but great lacing and a tad bit of white head remaining.

S- Grapefruit, pine, sweet malt, floral. awesome pale nose

T-Bitterness hits right up front with great grapefruit, pine, citrus notes supported by a great dry malt backbone, lingering bitterness is great, much hoppier than I remember, and so tasty.

M- nice carbonation (perhaps a bit low but good) and alcohol level is unnoticeable, medium bodied.

O- there is a reason this is one of the top selling beers in the US. It was the first American Pale Ale in the world and is still a fantastic beer, I don't drink this as often as a should and it is so good out of the bottle (Kegs are CO2 conditioned). Best pale hands down.

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

Review #100! Good to see it'll be one of the beers that really started it all for me.

Golden orange hue, sports a creamy white head that clings well to the glass. Some sparse sediment is in the bottom of the bottle from the bottle conditioning.

Earthy floral like aromas up front, mixed with orange rind and some spiciness to complement the malt backbone. Meshes really well to create a very favorable balance.

As with the nose, a variety of flavors combine their efforts to produce a hell of a beer. Moderate spice and citrus underneath an assertive hop bite, all atop a malt sweetness that acts admirably to round it all out.

Medium bodied and slightly creamy, this beer just tastes incredibly clean, like mineral water. A widely distributed semi-main stream gateway beer; as sessionable as it gets.

I honestly don't know if there is a better beer that gets the distribution this one sees. Next time you have a buddy reaching for a BMC, hand him one of these instead, I doubt he'll ever go back, Cheers!

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

Bottle into pint glass.

A: Light head, a little lacing. Cloudy light amber body.

S: Orange, citrus.

T: Malt and orange up front with hops, spicy finish.

M: Nice carbonation, full bodied taste.

O: Very good APA, will never turn one down.

Six Pack Pier LQ

Photo of breakofdawn
4.72/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm going to be a bit biased here: this is my all-time favorite beer. But to be honest, the first time I tried SN Pale Ale...I hated it!

Beer pours a golden/orange color. Some lacing left on the side. Smell of hops and pine notes.
More hops upon tasting, not overwhelming, but enough to get the point across. More pine notes, maybe a hint of citrus (almost grapefruit-esque). Some malt and barley mixed in as well.

Dry mouthfeel, definitely has you wanting more!

Overall, an impressive 4.5/5. Highly recommended, and a fine beer to enjoy year round.

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

Bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a bright golden hue and settles into a slightly darker yellow with a puffy white cloud of head and just the right amount of retention.

S: Aroma is lightly malty with crisp sweetness, just a touch of yeastiness and has some lingering hop bitterness with citrus and pine notes.

T/M: A medium to high amount of carbonation and a bright, brilliant body. Some slight bitterness is introduced up front followed by a refreshing bit of citrus hop and a biscuity, pilsner-like finish.

Not exactly a complex brew, but very revitalizing; the ideal pale ale. This is the go-to beer when you want something light.


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

Amber, frothy white head, which persists, nice bubbles from the bottle.
Aroma of grapefruit, caramel, marmalade.
Big malt hit initially, with citrus & lychee, followed by caramel, with the bitter finish. It's a like a parade in your mouth.
The overall effect is one of finely-tuned balance.
For me, this beer was becoming mythical.... so much good written about it, but I couldn't find it in Australia. Finally, I came across it, at the excellent Leura Cellars. One of the best Pale Ales I've ever had.

Photo of endovelico
4.63/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Nonic glass. Reviewed under medium high natural light. Best before 14/08/11. Reviewed on 22 / 09 / 2011.

Appearance: Pours a hazy orange-copper brew with small off white head that collapses immediately leaving a medium size cap. High apparent effervescence. decent lacing.

Smell: Medium high intensity aroma. One would expect a trampling grapefruit/lemon aroma, but this isn't the case at all. Excellent balance of brisky aromas, grapefruit, lemon, light malts, caramel, flowers, pine, maybe a touch of grass. It's so lively and imponent yet balanced and delicate.

Taste: Medium intensity. Obviously, you're going to be getting hops, the thing is you get so many layers of flavours from the hops alone, that you cant help but feel marveled at the complexity achieved.

You get the citrusy flavors, you get resiny flavors, you get some of the pine and briskeness from the malt. Having said that, these are pretty common notes associated with american-hop heavy brews, the key, in my opinion, is in the fantastic balance. Each sip brings forth a different more evident note, to the point that you feel you're drinking a variation of the same brew each time.

Mouthfeel: Medium to Medium high bitterness (it would probably be higher if it were fresher). Medium bodied. Medium carbonation. It is coating and goes down smooth leaving a earthy / citrusy aftertaste.

Overall: Great example of what a APA should be in my opinion. It's so well balanced and rich and you can't really expect vast creative intrepretations of an APA so i really cant fault it for not having a unique over the top gimmick tecnique, ingridient or flavour. It's an APA, and it's a darn good example. Thank you Sierra Nevada Brewing co.

Photo of match1112
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: clear golden straw color with a big fluffy white head that leaves minimal lacing as it recedes.

s: sweet citrus hops, malts ad a little earth.

t: good blend of citrus hops and sweet malts.

m: medium body with a clean crisp feel to it.

o: darn good beer to enjoy while doing darn near anything.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass, date of 1174 -- June 23rd, 2011(?) which makes close to 3 months old.

This pours a nice clear golden color with a foamy white head which leaves behind a little lacing. The smell is of pine and citrus hops, a little caramel. The feel is medium to light. The taste is initially of piney hop flavors, a hint of grapefruit and some caramel, there is some bitter afterflavors but this is very crisp and not as fatiguing as a super hopped IPA (which I love). Overall this is a great beer, easy to drink but full of bitterness and flavor, its also one of the cheapest craft beers to buy so what's not to love?

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

This beer being the classic example is still a very good session beer.
The Aroma is slightly flowery with some hints of 'green'.

The Taste is pleasant and almost balanced between the citrus hop flavours and the sweet malt.

Mouth-feel: Carbonation is at a level where is helps bring out the hops without being pushy or prickly on the tongue.
The beer's viscosity is slightly on the light side, which means it is very easy to drink and does not make much of it self while in the mouth. There is enough support to make me feel I am drinking a high quality product.

Photo of ErlendA
3.35/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a good pale ale, but I would prefer more fruity hops for it. Everything is "right" but it is not my kind of style. The dryness of this beer is one of its better qualities.

If I were to make a variant, I would try perhaps a saison yeast at lower temperatures if the hops are not to be touched.

Photo of godlessape
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this one into my trusty Red Hook pint glass.

Appearance: Dark gold, or brassy with a quarter inch frothy white head that stays in there for the long haul.

Smell: Great balance of sweet malt and piney, citrus hop's.

Taste: Starts off with a bite then the caramel malt massages the taste buds into submission only to take another West Coast style hoppy bite. Perfect balance as a pale ale should.

Mouthfeel: This beer has a great medium bodied feel to it, with just the right amount of carbonation.

Overall: If there's a pale ale out there better than this I'd like to know.

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

12oz bottle, Sam Adams Perfect Pint

A: Beautiful clear golden color, not much lacing but the head revives with a gentle swirl.

S: Piney hops, slightly pungent but not out of whack. Underneath that are some grassy hops and just a touch of citrus. Nice toasted malt presence, but not carmelly and sweet.  Smells like an APA, not overwhelmed with hops.

T: Very balanced, good bready/biscuit quality to match the piney hops.  The hops are herbal and spicy too in a sense.  There is a decent bitterness but it's an afterthought on the aftertaste.

MF: Good body on this one, almost medium and feels like an IPA or a bigger bodied beer; slightly pithy.

O: A good pale, with just enough bitterness and dryness but still very refreshing.  Very easy to drink.

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

Poured into a pint glass. Reviewed alongside Anchor Liberty Ale.

A: Clear orange-gold with two-finger, white and creamy head that lasted a couple of minutes. Pretty good lacing.

S: Pine and citrus hops. Caramel malt notes.

T: More toasted, bready malt up front. Herbal and grassy hop bitterness. Toasted and bitter finish.

M: Light to medium bodied. Fizzy carbonation. Crisp and refreshing.

O: The highlight for me was the floral and grassy hops. They smell and taste great. This beer also looks very nice in the glass. I thought it was a little less smooth than Anchor Liberty Ale.

Photo of Jadjunk
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

#113. So I've been away awhile and focusing on my beer reviewing efforts, so I felt an appropriate return to my reviewing notes would be with a universally reviewed and well known beer. I can't for the life of me figure out how the freshness dates works, but I do know it is good until sometime this year. It is hard to believe that I found this beer too "intense" in my early days as a beer drinker, but it has, like beer in general, grown on me as an essential icon in the craft brewing industry.

I poured this 12 oz bottle into the standard Sierra Nevada Tumbler Pint Glass (I felt that the hop tulip would have required more beer, around 16 ounces in order to be properly used and reviewed in). Served under 51 Degrees F.

(Appearance) Pours a slightly frothy 2 finger depth head and hangs for a couple of minutes. The surface takes a while to clear however, and a medium level of lacing drapes the sides of the glass. Color is a medium golden amber. There is a little bit of carbonation in the center and the beer is mostly translucent. For this most part, this beer looks quite appealing. 4

(Smell) A very pleasant blend of pale malts, some grassy hops and maybe even a even slighter tone of citrusy hops. The smell is rounded out well, however the potency is not all what I would expect it to be, and that's a shame. Overall it is a pleasantly enjoyable aroma and very worthy of a good drink. 3.5

(Taste) Deliciously balanced. A crisp, light and faintly sweet caramel malt base is rounded out by a complimentary citrusy and grassy hop character. There's a bit of something for everyone on both ends of the hop malt spectrum, but this beer manages to blend the best of both worlds into one delectable assortment. The nearly indiscernible alcohol presence make this extremely quaffable. It might just be one of my favorites from Sierra Nevada. 4.5

(Mouthfeel) The tiniest bit on the crisp side, but again wonderful balance. Each sip awakens on the tongue but is not overly active. There's a light/medium body to this beer and a well concealed alcohol presence. Masterfully done. 4.5

(Overall) One of the finest offerings from Sierra Nevada (I have a hard time finding something that tops Torpedo and Celebration, but this ranks up there), this is a great beer and a must try for even casual beer drinkers. Highly drinkable and thoroughly enjoyable, it will not disappoint even the most mainstream beer lover. 4

Photo of UDbeernut
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

can't believe for how many times I had this I never reviewed. amber hue, nice foamy off white head, nose is full of cascade and caramel, balance a tad to the bitter side, tasteful citrus and caramel meld well. sure there are better apas, but none of them are the benchmark that Sierra nevada's is.

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

A: slightly cloudy, typically amber, pours 1-finger head and sustains .5 finger head with some froth managing to cling along the way

S: floral hop aroma, with elements of sweet malt at the end

T: opens with slight hops, elements of sweet malt and finishes with a lasting yet subtle bitterness - well balanced

M: feels rich, froths easily when swirled in mouth

This is a great APA - coming from Australia I was afraid the journey over, storage and not being a macro-mover might make this over-rated experience but it held well and tastes and smells great.

Common becnhmark here in Oz is Little Creatures Pale Ale and this easily meets, if not slightly exceeds that benchmark.

Cost at $20 is a little more than your usual six-pack is one small factor detracting from it's appeal.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 9,665 ratings.