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.

9,347 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,347
Reviews: 2,736
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 163
Gots: 1,191 | 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
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: 9,347 | Reviews: 2,736 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Chico1985
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. Had this many, many times, happy to finally review. 12 oz bottle to a pint glass.

Pours a nice copper-orange, lots of carbonation bubbles. Nice foamy white head, 2 fingers. Turns to a cap and leaves nice blotches of lacing.

Nice smell. Grassy and piny hops, pale malt.

Citrus, light fruit, grass bread. Nice hops and malt, good balance.

Carbonation level is good, refreshing and very drinkable. Not much I can say that already hasn't been said. A classic, pleasantly hopped pale ale that is easily among the best of it's kind. One of the best, most legendary session beers.

Chico1985, Jun 12, 2010
Photo of rfabian
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After years of thinking I didn't like pale ale I finally learned that the taste I had come to associate with it was that of a skunked beer. It's an association that still makes me leery of the style -- memories and associations laid down in the limbic lobes color one's emotions for life, and so it takes elaborate rituals of storage and the assurance of freshness for me to feel right about sampling one. Better yet to have the brew screened by a reliable taster.

Poured into a tumbler it produces a nice thick head with ample lacing. The appearance is light amber and clear. After prying it out of the hands of the taste tester, who just "wanted to be sure, dude," I pondered the aroma at length for evidence of skunk, but the smell is of nice citrus hops and a hint of malt. The taste is mainly sweet malt and mildly bitter. It is medium bodied with a clean finish.

I'm not worthy to pass judgment on this ale which has long stood as a symbol of uniquely American craft brewing. Let me just add my note of appreciation for this fine and delicious drink.

rfabian, Jun 12, 2010
Photo of garuda
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear copper color with a one finger white head that has good retention and surprisingly great lacing down the glass.

S - Very nice floral hop aroma with a touch of pine, with some pale, toasted, grainy malts in the background.

T - Follows the nose with the malts up front, and a slightly bitter floral hop finish.

M - On the light side of a medium body, medium carbonation. Nice and creamy across the palate. Only slightly bitter through the finish.

D - Nicely balanced, highly drinkable pale ale.

garuda, Jun 12, 2010
Photo of BranfordBound
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper with an almost two finger white head that recedes to a covering. Pretty good carbonation with decent lacing.

The smell is interesting, I'm hit with a caramel sweetness at first, which gives way to the typical hoppy smell - bitter and floral with citrus.

The taste is similiar to the smell, but the sweetness is missing. The rest of the taste is typical IPA - bitter at the end and hoppy and citrusy at the front. The beer isn't overly bitter, though, pretty decent for the style.

The mouthfeel is light and refreshing, the bitterness clings a little bit, though.

Drinkability is fairly decent, IPA is probably my least liked beer style (Gasp!), however, the not-overly bitter nature of SN Pale Alr made it fairly drinkable for me, especially in these hot summer days. This is a staple of the IPA style, nothing bland, but nothing over the top. I most likely won't buy it again (Due to my style preferences) but I won't turn one down.

BranfordBound, Jun 10, 2010
Photo of adkirkish
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Light citrus hop aroma w/ a slight bready malt backing. No diacetyl, no esthers.

A: Pours a clear golden yellow, w/ a creamy white to slightly off white head. Great head retention/Lacing.

F: Upfront great balance between the bittering hops and the malt is true to style. Malt is sweet but subdued (bready). Body of the beer is made up of the bitter hop presence and finishes bitter.

M: Light to medium bodied, medium carbonation. No alcohol warmth, slightly astringent from the bittering hops which is to style. Slight creamy mouthfeel.

O: I highly enjoy this beer. It was actually the first beer I ever had (wont say what age). But now that I actually know what I am looking for in a beer, I can appreciate everything that is going on with it. Only suggestions for improving this beer based upon style guidelines would be more in the mouthfeel. Possibly more malt character/presence.

adkirkish, Jun 10, 2010
Photo of mlazzaro
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

good carbonation with off white head

clear as can be, light amber color

hoppy, yeasty and sweet aroma.

Sip is nicely balanced. Satisfying but not overpowering bitterness.

Sierra Nevada is so incredibly consistent. Every beer is exactly what they say it is, nothing off-putting, nothing too fancy.

Also this beer tends to be very fresh, because so many people purchase it, and because it is widely distributed (well known).

Good example of an American Pale Ale.

mlazzaro, Jun 09, 2010
Photo of appenzeller
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark gold, orange, good head that dissipates quickly. Smell is pungent with Cascade hops, I think, the taste follows as expected. Hops bite is moderate, not over the top, lingers through to the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is good, ample enough to be substantive but not overwhelming or heavy.

Obviously an American classic. Ironically not my favorite Sierra Nevada beer, but a very respectable brew.

appenzeller, Jun 07, 2010
Photo of voteforgoat
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opened my fridge, where I'm storing some hops for home-brewing
tomorrow...of course, that strong smell instanlty made me crave a hoppy beer. Thank goodness, I have some SNPA available.

a- orange/amber, pours out with a lot of foam. Fantastic lacing in the glass

s- hops!

t - Hops first, but some malt. Citrus? Dry finish. Almost an IPA as opposed to a Pale Ale.

m- nice mouthfeel. not too thin.

d- Can drink this all night. Thirst quenching, except it makes you thirsty for another one!

voteforgoat, Jun 04, 2010
Photo of emmasdad
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

No other beer has had this much of an impact on my life, both within and without the craft beer world. This was one of the first craft beers I had back in the mid-nineties, and it was the last beer I ever had with my father, at a Round Table Pizza in Turlock, CA. This is the review I dedicate to my Dad, the man who got me started on beer can collecting and so much more. Pours a very nice medium orange-amber, with just a little off-white head. Nicely balanced, nutty, caramelly and floraly hoppy. A very good beer, one that has been criminally overlooked the past few years.

emmasdad, Jun 04, 2010
Photo of exonthebottle
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

nice pale not as good as Mirror Pond Pale Ale or Dale's but decent and worthy of a pint at ed's.

standard mainstream ale with a hop kick darkish pale hue nice head not much lacing, hops and light malt taste
okay mouthfeel with smooth drinkability

exonthebottle, Jun 03, 2010
Photo of Pencible
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This poured clear gold with moderate white head.
S: It smelled like orange and lemon zest with some herbal hops and caramel malt.
T: It tasted like orange zest and herbal and copper hops, with some caramel malt. It had a bitter aftertaste that ended just a bit harsh.
M: It was somewhat thick with moderate carbonation.
D: This is a classic pale ale that's still quite good. It has lots of hops but is also decently balanced with malt. It has nice body too and is easy to drink. Not super exciting, but solid in every facet.

Pencible, Jun 02, 2010
Photo of Shrews629
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Orangish/Amber color with a beautiful white, frothy head that was very dense with some large bubbles hanging around. The lacing was nice and the head dissipated to a nice ring. Saw some sediment working its way to the bottom of the glass, but otherwise mostly clear.

Smell - Floral hops right off the bat. Smelled very nice, very prominent hops that were very clean and "springy" smelling. Getting a bit of fresh fruit in the nose. Peach or maybe pear. Also, got a hint of the sweet smelling malts.

Taste - Initial taste is slight fruity grapefruit. Nice bitter punch in the aftertaste. Really lingers on the palate.

Mouthfeel - Medium/Thin mouthfeel that was crisp and smooth. Just a tad watery however.

Drinkability. This is a very easily drinkable beer. I really like it. This brew is perfect for spring and summer. The smell is the prominent aspect of this beer in my opinion. I will definitely pick this up again.

Shrews629, May 30, 2010
Photo of Millski7
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice golden orangish-amber hue, with about a finger thick slightly off-white/cream head which is quick to dissipate. Good carbonation and sticky lacing. Aroma is very floral and hoppy, somewhat minerally. Initial flavor is a predominant hop taste with some subtle spices. Medium bodied feel in the mouth with a crisp finish and lingering hops sticking in your palate.

I found that this ale is very upfront with the hops and keep them kicking throughout the entire beer and well after each draught. However the medium body and crisp finish make this a very enjoyable beer on a summer day. Quite delicious.

Millski7, May 29, 2010
Photo of MVotter
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - The Sierra Nevada Pale Ale pours a crystal-clear amber, with a 1/2 inch cream colored head.

S - Apple and hops.

T - Terrific blends here. Wow ... the first impression is a sweetish hop-tang, and a then a hint of caramely malts; not overly hoppy, and at the same time the hops never relinquish control to those malts.

M - Medium gravity feel, smooth operator, just the right amount of carbonation.

D - Superb. Expertly crafted, balanced brew.

MVotter, May 27, 2010
Photo of EkimGram
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Rich amber colour with a nice-sized head.

Smell: Hops, lots and lots of hops.

Taste: Extremely hoppy, crisp but not too light. Has some bite to it, decent amount of carbonation. Finishes nice and clean.

Mouthfeel: A little bit too much carbonation. It has some bite to it that may not always be welcome.

Drinkability: This is a great beer. Lots of flavour, not too heavy or bitter.

EkimGram, May 26, 2010
Photo of brewerburgundy
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle, Sam Adams perfect pint,

The pour is a darkish yellow with copper tinges. A very proud creamy off-white head forced me to stop pouring with half an inch left in the bottle. The lacing is wonderful and a good cap never goes away.

The nose is divided between pink grapefruit and oddly, melon, from the use of solely Cascade hops and grainy bread.

Taste essentially mimmicks smell. Grapefruit becomes more dominant with sour juice, not sweetness. Some bready malt intercedes before grapefruit pith bitterness finishes.

Good carbonation level doesn't disturb the flavors and the weight on the palate is perfectly full.

Without this beer, the craft beer worldwide might not be where it is today. To many of us beer geeks this may not bring the excitement of an Imperial IPA, but it is a damn solid beer. Even though it isn't technically sessionable this would make a good all nighter.

brewerburgundy, May 26, 2010
Photo of Kaiser777
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A thick golden hazle color with a off white foam that raised just a bit, but never the lest a good thick foam with a million little bubbles floating from the bottom of the glass to the top.

S- A semi sweet smell, very hoppy with a slight hint of citrus, maybe even a carmel like candy smell as well.

T- A little hoppy with an explosive after taste with a little splash of citrus and a twist of sweetness that leaves an amazing after taste.

MF- Coats the mouth well and like I said before it has a beautiful after taste with a splash of citrus that I have grown to love over the years.

D- Very drinkable one of my favorite pale ales, actually one of the first micro brews I have ever drank about a year ago, and oh what a journey it has been.

Kaiser777, May 25, 2010
Photo of scottyb88
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled August 2009...picked it up not knowing the date system

A-clear medium orange with lots of carbonation, one finger slightly off white head

S-still smells great with nice pine and citrus notes with a slight sweetness; although a little muddled

T-has an orange peel bitterness, some earthy notes

M-slightly thick, yet smooth and well carbonated; the finish is a nice orange peel bitterness but its really clean and smooth

D-still a great beer after 9 months or so on the shelf; I'm sure its better fresh, but it was still very enjoyable; a staple beer in anybody's beer fridge

scottyb88, May 24, 2010
Photo of popery
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

SNPA is a great accomplishment. Plus, it was one of the first beers that I ever drank, years before I would drink another craft beer, and it's shaped my view of beer. I have no idea how to rate it because it's essentially my yardstick for every APA, IPA and DIPA that I've ever tried. Anyway, it's a darkened amber color with a wonderfully foamy head. The aroma is a wonderful combination of piney hops and caramel malt. The flavor starts sweet and finishes dry and hoppy. Mostly clean mouthfeel with a touch of slickness in the aftertaste. The finish has a healthy dose of hop bitterness for an APA. This beer is an absolute classic.

popery, May 21, 2010
Photo of Spica66
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this was the first "really hoppy" beer I ever tried back in the late 1980s. At first, I didn't know what to think of something that tasted like this, but I learned what to do. Drink it!!

A: Very clear beer, gold in color, with lots of carbonation.

S: Love those hops, hops and slight maltiness.

T: Wow, I love hops.

M: Fine, smooth

D: 6 of these will not make it through the night in my fridge!

Spica66, May 18, 2010
Photo of tigg924
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 1/3 inch head, clear, gold in color, high carbonation

Smell: citrus hops, toasted malt, and honey

Taste: Smell: citrus hops, toasted malt, and honey

Mouthfeel: light bodied, high carbonation, sweet start with a bitter backbone that lingers

Drinkability: An American classic that I could session. A nice and light beer that is perfect for outdoorsy activities.

tigg924, May 16, 2010
Photo of hayes31
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A great smell to this beer, followed by a great taste. It's got a sweet aftertaste to it which makes it extremely refreshing, and it goes great with whatever food you may be eating since it washes everything away with a pleasant twang.

Its availability is a great upside.

hayes31, May 14, 2010
Photo of beachbum1975
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

With 2,026 review prior to me, there's not much I can possibly add.

I've had this beer many, many times and I consider this to be the flagship American Pale Ale of America.

In fact, I base all my other pale ale reviews off this beer! Consistently on this beer is always spot on. The availability of this beer (everywhere!) helps, as well.

It's my go to beer if all my other choices are BMC's...

beachbum1975, May 13, 2010
Photo of djbreezy
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on draft in a pint glass at Belmont Inn in Portland, OR.

appearance - pours a nice amber with a low head, decent lacing

smell - caramel malts and citrus hops

taste - floral hops with a strong malt body, bitter hop finish

mouthfeel - medium body with adequate carbonation

drinkability - very smooth and enjoyable, good flavor, not overly complex but well crafted

djbreezy, May 10, 2010
Photo of wesclaypool
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Luna Loca...and a billion other restaurants, at least in this region.

a - Great color, very deep amber. Not a whole lot of head, but stays pretty much until the glass is empty.

s - I would say this is the weakest aspect of the beer in my opinion. I don't really get much out of the smell, but you can certainly tell the hops are there.

t - This is where the hops really come out. If you like a bitter beer, but still smooth, this is the one that's readily available.

m - Very smooth with a biting aftertaste.

d - Again, great, smooth beer that's readily available on tap and in the bottle.

wesclaypool, May 10, 2010
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 9,347 ratings.