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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.

8,132 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,132
Reviews: 2,666
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 110
Gots: 612 | 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: 8,132 | Reviews: 2,666 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MrHolland

South Carolina

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

Well this is my first review..

Appearance - Nice, bright, golden yellow, color when held up to some light. Nice lacing head but it does die down quickly

Smell - Floral and hoppy aroma which really helps create the beers taste

Taste - Very clean at first then a total blast of hops for the after taste. No real alcohol hints.

Mouthfeel - carbonation was normal but it does feel nice on the tongue.

One of my favorite session brews and a great example of the APA style.
Drink up!

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2006 01:14:55 | More by MrHolland
Photo of musingmonkey


4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

As this was to be my first APA, I decided to go with the Sierra Nevada given its reputation as a reliable benchmark. I must say from the onset that I was certainly not disappointed!

Poured from the bottle into an oversized wine glass, a sizeable, bubbly head quickly formed and almost as quickly dissipated, leaving no lacing to speak of... only a ring around the rim of the glass, and an island in the middle that was maintained throughout my drink by several rows of carbonation at the bottom of the glass.

The smell was amazingly fruity. Orange rind, grapefruit, and a hint of pineapple even before my nose was above the glass.

The first sip was sharp and assertive citrus and hops, with a brief but pleasant attack of fiz on the lips. Finish is bitter and more citrus, but seamlessly moved into a gentle floral bouquet... here I had to think for a moment, but the most memorable and lingering flavour was reminiscent of rose hip. Simply delicious.

Mouthfeel is a little thin but bolstered by an immediate burst of carbonation. It would be quite quaffable if not for the desire to savour every flavour. A complex and delightful drink.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2006 17:30:39 | More by musingmonkey
Photo of acrawf6


4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I'm drinking one now and saw that i have never reviewed this one. quite a shock to me.

Pours out a nice golden clear with a fluffy white head. sediment in the bottle.

Smells very familier as i get this as a backup always. a nice hopppy aroma. lots of floral smells. kinda sweet. but such a nice hoppy aroma.

tastes great. like i said before- hoppy, but not over the top. i really do love this beer.

Mouthfeel is nice to. good carbonation. nice balance. good body.

Overall a great beer and, IMHO, one of the best session beers. Certainly one you can always fall back on to have a great beer for the night. i can find it almost anywhere, which is a huge plus for when i am at school and these stores pretty much only sell swill. this is a fine american ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2006 00:49:53 | More by acrawf6
Photo of RoBotGod


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

One of the classic pale ales in my mind. Its almost a text book example of what a pale should be. The body is great with a good pale and amber malt. The citrus is right in the middle but not over powering. The hops take over in the end to give it an over all great fresh taste to it. The beer taste very fresh and is great in the summer time.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2006 02:15:31 | More by RoBotGod
Photo of mdagnew

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

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

330ml Bottle bought from Sainsburys..

Poured a golden yellow / bronze colour... Slightly off white head pours big and foamy which faded to nothing...

Aroma - Floral, spicy, lemony, vanilla, slight sugary notes, light maltiness, hints of honey...

Taste – Peppery, zesty, nice hop bitterness, slight saltiness, some sweetness..

Feel - Quite sharp and dry. Light body.... Very, very drinkable...

Overall - An excellent beer.... recommended...

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2006 10:42:51 | More by mdagnew
Photo of ohitsbrad


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

6 January 2006, Best Before Jul 06

Appears golden in colour with a white medium sized head, good head retention and some lacing. Fresh piney, citrusy, leafy, honeyish, nectary and vanilla aroma. Not such an aggressive aroma as anticipated but greater as it warmed a bit. Tastes fresh and hoppy. Some citrusy fruitiness but more tangy, piney and leafy. A hint of caramel like malt underneath, and a long bitter finish. Light to moderate body with low carbonation. Overall this is an excellent refreshing pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2006 16:50:37 | More by ohitsbrad
Photo of casualbeerman

New Jersey

2.83/5  rDev -30%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This is a high quality brew from a respected and established craft brewer. So I'm swimming against the tide here. I wouldn't be surprised if I was giving the lowest review currently posted for this particular beer. There are definately people I'd reccomend this for. It is a quality beer with good ingredients and a depth of flavor. But I'm sorry I do not like it.

Appearance- It looked pretty appealing, though I must say its also rather dark. This "pale" is darker than Newcastle Brown (admittedly not a craft brew, but it has the correct color for its style so far as I'm aware). Just by looking at it you can tell its thick. Head is large and very sturdy. I didn't try to float the bottle cap on it, but I'm confident you could do that.

Smell- This was probably the high point of the beer. Its got a really malty punch, and the hop smell is very pleasant. Its got some strong bitter bite in the smell and yes some pine. A tiny bit of citrus/grass as well and some yeast that would probably be quite assertive if the other ingredients weren't so strong.

Taste- This is where the beer started to go south for me. Some of those aspects that made the smell pleasing did not do as much for my tastebuds. The pine aspect of the hops pleased my nose, but not my tastebuds, just like you'd find the scent of a pine tree infinately more pleasant than the taste of pine tar. The malts are once again very assertive: rich, dark, and sweet. But they are probably TOO assertive because the hops required to balance them are too much for me. I have yet appreciate a beer that advertises Cascade hops on the label. I find them more bitter than interesting. The subtle lemon, and even the slightly assertive pine were crowded out by a bitterness that may not have been skunky, but did remind me of grapefruit rind or maybe rubber tires. I'll say it again, bitter does not automatically mean good. I know I'm biassed against really strong bitterness, but when it gets to the point where that one aspect is crowding out all the more subtle flavors from the yeast and hops that make a good beer interesting, then I think the brewer needs to re-adjust their formula. Don't get me wrong, I found some redeeming qualities in the taste, on the balance I did not enjoy this beer very much.
Mouthfeel- Syrupy. That's the best way to describe it. This is a thick beer, and its work to drink it. Just getting through one bottle takes forever, and while it goes ok with food (I washed down a steak with this), it did not quench my thirst well. Even Guiness Draught was more thirst quenching.
Drinkability- The bitter aftertaste wasn't crippling. I did manage to drink two of these in one sitting. But more than that made me feel very full. And I could only drink this slowly because its so thick. And as you might have gathered, the taste didn't send me running back for more.

Conclusion- This is not for me. I think its rather overrated. Though well and carefully made, I think they could have hopped it with something better. I think McSorley's Ale, which is much cheaper, is much better hopped with all sorts of subtle flavors coming through (though its really not that much less bitter, the bitter didn't crowd out the other subtle flavors, so I enjoyed that one anyway). I think the thickness is also kind of excessive. Bear in mind, this isn't billed as an India Pale Ale, or an Extra Bitter, or anything like that. Just a regular Pale Ale. Compare it to Bass, the standard of that type. It's just too thick, dark, and bitter for the type of beer its supposed to be in my opinion. Even though American Pale Ales here are described as "bitter" vs British Pale Ales which are "more balanced" I think this is too much. That said if you want something that's really powerful, really thick, really bitter, and really well made (notwithstanding my own complaints about style and hops) then by all means check this out. It's a manly brew for sure that will put hair on your chest. Me, I think McSorely's Ale is the best American Ale I've tried. Also, be wary of the price if you're not sure whether you like it. It does run you like $7.50 for a sixpack. If you're skeptical, you might want to split it up with some friends (or if you know a good beer bar you can try it there, me I don't recall any place near me that carries this, even in the bottle)

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2006 04:22:17 | More by casualbeerman
Photo of LordChesterfield


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

Has a very dark yellow pour with a very obvious piney hop smell. Tastes sweet and fruity but is tempered by the very high quality hops. Great retention of pure white densely bubbled foam. makes for a smooth beer to eat with meal for me because the hops make food taste better. I prefer to eat with a tuna-egg salad sandwich, or any fish.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2006 01:51:40 | More by LordChesterfield
Photo of skillerified


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice golden-reddish color. Color fades a little at the edges. Very clean and clear looking. I'm a little surprised by that actually. The label says it's bottle conditioned, so I expected it to be a little hazy. Finger and half head that lasts. Lively carbonation is visible.

Scent is pleasant, not overpowering. Citrusy hops and a little yeast. Could be a little stronger, but not bad at all.

Taste is also very pleasant. A little lemon at the back of the throat with some wheat and grain flavors throughout. Just a hint of hop bitterness at the finish. It's not a ridiculously strong flavor, but it's very enjoyable. Really quite tasty.

Light to medium body on the tongue. Very clean feeling. Goes down quick and easy. Carbonation is light. Feels quite quaffable.

Seems like an infinitely drinkable beer to me. Everything about it is tasty, but there's not too much of anything. It's extremely well-balanced. I almost want to describe it as subtle. It would be an excellent choice with food, as it wouldn't overpower it, but does a decent job of cleaning the palate. If I was drinking just for the sake of drinking, I would want more, but there's nothing wrong with this brew.

**Edit** Had another bottle of this today (1-4-06) and it was hazy with clearly visible yeast that even settled a little at the bottom of the glass. It was more yellow-gold colored too. Very strange. Tasted about the same though.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2006 04:35:06 | More by skillerified
Photo of clabaugh


3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, orange-brown with a thick, foamy head. The off-white head gives way to lacing that clings hardily to the glass.

Smell: Pleasant hoppy aroma imbued with some leafiness. A roasted maltiness also reveals itself in the scent of this beer.

Taste: The hops are less pronounced than the smell leads on. Still some palpable bitterness, but definitely subdued. The hops impart a certain pungent flavor, very much like lush grass. The malts are quite evident, present in toast-like flavor. There is some definite sweetness intermixed, maybe a trace of citrus.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied, with good carbonation. Finishes a bit watery, which is a detriment.

Drinkability: Very consumable; not filling, well-balanced, and a good taste. Tends to leave a sticky, stale aftertaste that is not altogether pleasant though. Could pass for a decent session beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2005 02:10:57 | More by clabaugh
Photo of jasonpeckins32


4.95/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I cant believe its taken me this long to review this beer. One of my all-time favorites. I just absolutely love this brew. Also, one of the few brews that introduced me to the craft beer level.

Pours a hazy orange/amber in color with a nice head that sticks around as long as I could possibly want it to.

The nose is absolutely bursting of floral and citrus hops. Smells scrumptious and delicious. Just a beautiful smelling hoppy ale.

The taste is marvelous. If I had my eyes closed, I'd believe there was 1/2 a grapefruit sitting in the bottom of the glass. The excited citrus hop flavors graciously slide down the hatch. This one tastes almost rough and rugged at first swig, but after the first few sips, it eases up on you and becomes quite drinkable.

The mouthfeel is medium-bodied with perfect carbonation. Maybe even a touch bigger than medium-bodied.

Drinkability is great too. It gets mellower and mellower the more you drink.

Plain and simply a true american classic, and one of my favorites. If you havent tried it yet, I dont know what the hell you're waiting for!

Serving type: on-tap

12-28-2005 04:07:44 | More by jasonpeckins32
Photo of nicksta


3.45/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I remember reading somewhere on this website that this is a very popular converter of macro drinkers. Well for christmas I bought some of this stuff and my Dad really liked it. He wouldn't even try some of the macros in the fridge. So I think I might have converted him.

As for my notes(I say notes because I was to drunk to want to handle a computer) on the beer: It pours a great deep gold with a nice frothy head. The smell is fruity and and hoppy. The taste is pretty good, dry, good hops(almost to bitter), with a little kick of fruit, sweet. The mouthfeel is okay, a little thicker, but with carbonation that sticks slightly to your mouth. The stronger hops, and the overall taste lower the drinkablity.

It is a good beer that I will be coming back to, that is if my Dad hasn't already drank it all.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2005 21:44:21 | More by nicksta
Photo of doctorjoeyboey


3.43/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma is hoppy with a variety of fruity smells. It almost seems to smell like sparkling grape juice, although I doubt this is justified by its contents. Color is a little bit too orange for me to consider it amber or to find it truly attractive. Taste is full on the front palatte and tangy thin on the back palatte. Accordingly, the body feels medium on the front palatte and light on the back.

Technically this is a good pale ale and I could enjoy a few in a row but I have not yet acquired the taste for pale ales as a session beer and feel that ending a night on one, including a Sierra Nevada, is like ending a song off key and leaving the audience unsatisfied.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2005 07:27:53 | More by doctorjoeyboey
Photo of metallistout


4.58/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I usually don't like to give fives, but this is one of my favorite beers.
Pours a light amber color with a nice thick head that will stick around.
Smells strong of hops.
Taste is a mild malt with a very dominate of citrus hops(this is what I love about this beer)

This is one of the best beers of its style and any time that I try an American Pale Ale, I always compare it to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Whenever I do this I notice that none of them are as good as this drink here.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2005 02:04:00 | More by metallistout
Photo of oggg


3.45/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Haven't had this one in a long time, but we had a department party and it was this or BMC.

Ruddy brown with unimpressive white head. I tried to hallucinate Cascade hops but only got a thin caramel nose. I tried to hallucinate Cascade hops on my tongue, but I got a brief semi-harsh bitterness with a mild caramel note before the slightly bitter lingering conclusion. Light to medium bodied. Not all that smooth.

Overall: Celebration is head over heels better. I can't really drink this brew anymore.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2005 23:28:17 | More by oggg
Photo of Kookiekwan


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

This beer pours a golden/orange amber color has a two finger frothy white head, OK retention and moderate lacing. The aroma is of citrusy hops and baked bread. The taste is just what you would want from a Pale Ale citrus/floral hops and pale malt perfectly balanced. This is one of the most drinkable beers out today.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2005 22:57:33 | More by Kookiekwan
Photo of BamaScholar


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

With nearly 700 reviews of this ubiquitous converter of macro-drinkers already here, there isn't too much more to say about this bad boy.

It's more amber in colour than one would expect.

Smell and taste are non-pretentious...good floral hop aroma with strong hop taste but not exclusively so. Lingering malt squeaks in with a caramel drizzle and homey bready finish.

It's hard to go wrong with this one, folks. Not perfect, by any stretch, but good for having just one or several, and a good balance of flavours.

Serving type: on-tap

12-20-2005 04:36:30 | More by BamaScholar
Photo of jslot38


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

12 oz Stubby Bottle.

Well, often times I've floated through the site and seen people get pumped up about their 100th, or 1,000th beer review... this is my 10th, and I choose one of my favorite kick back beers for it.

Appearance: Pours a clear copper with amber hues. Inch and 1/2 off white foamy head. Slowly disappates. Intermitant lacing.

Smell: Floral hops aroma power through your nostrils. A grained spiceness floats about. Lovely.

Taste: Such a great use of hops. This is one where you don't feel as if the hops have you by the neck (although I appreciate those at times), and yet remindes you of its style. Lovely esters and floral notes linger right on through a slightly biscut malt background. However, the whole hops are certainly the primary flavour, and are done to near perfection.

Mouthfeel: Although the hop rush up front might make you wonder to the mouthfeel of this beer, its level of carbonation and malt background, and the nature of the hops allow for a great mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Not filling, not too alcoholic, not too too hoppy, not too malty, a perfect mix which adds to a great drinkability. This is one that I'd pair with Dogfish Head's 60 minute that goes as a great 'session' Pale Ale.

Notes: One of the first craft beers I ever had, and while that night I was turned away, I've grown to love this beer, a great introduction to a great style.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2005 06:17:17 | More by jslot38
Photo of bosco7


4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle to a pint glass

A-Has a beautiful golden pale color with plenty of carbonation giving it a shimering quality.

S-Citrus and spicy notes.

T- Overall the ale expresses balance between hops and malt and is refreshing. Finishes smooth , mild and slightly sweet.

M- Really nice mouthfeel, carbonation is balanced.

D- Extremely drinkable!

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2005 02:13:16 | More by bosco7
Photo of jaluria


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

A light brown color with a golden hue that has an off-white colored head that dissipates quickly. Aromas of grapefruit, pine, and hops seem to come out. The taste is typical for this style with a mildly astringent mouthfeel due to the hop bitterness. Nothing about this beer is overpowering which makes for a very good session beer or a relaxing beer. Good example of the style; perhaps a bit too sweet in the finish. A solid beer that is readily available in many areas.

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2005 21:16:49 | More by jaluria
Photo of leadguit1


4.53/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tastes "rosey" , a very important attribute of a fine pale ale.

The hoppiness is just right, if you aren't looking for I.P.A. bite.

perfect bitterness.

This ale will please in almost any occasion or situation.

It is also good for introducing people to what "pale ale" is about.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2005 04:55:23 | More by leadguit1
Photo of maddamish


3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

AP: This is a very good pale ale. Amber in color. Almost no head to speak of. Even with an aggressive pour this was no lacing to speak of.

Smell: Orange pulp and hops

Taste: This beer is one big hop bomb with a hint of orange peel. This is a very complex beer.

Mouth Feel: Very smooth. A bit watery but nothing to complain about.

Drinkability: Nice starter beer.

Notes: I heard a lot of good things about this beer so I went and picked up a 12 pack. Boy am I glad I did.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2005 03:15:57 | More by maddamish
Photo of chOAKbarrell


5/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ah, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. What else is there to say? You've had it, you know all about it. SNPA is the best American Pale Ale there is, hands down. The quality and consistency of this beer is impeccable.

Getting into the wonderful world of craft-beer, this was my first true love, and will always be one of my all-time favorites.

For anyone getting into micro brews, this beer is going to seem like a kick in the face, with its standout cascade hop character. It certainly was for me. Funny - after a while, and many other beers tried, the hops now seem finely tuned and very well balanced.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is refreshing, vibrant, alive. Extremely recommended and fortunately available in almost as many places as Samuel Adams.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2005 22:37:18 | More by chOAKbarrell
Photo of stof0048


4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pale yellow with very thin head floating about, leaves little to no lacing.

S: Almost nothing but hops, maybe a touch of light spice... corriander?

T: Hops all the way. Bitter, but not overly so, balanced well. Has a slightly bready finish.

M: Medium body, flows over tongue easily, nice carbonation. Bitterness really hits at the back of the palate.

D: This is a pretty easy to drink brew. Could definitely fit this into the regular rotation when not drinking Belgians.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2005 21:51:54 | More by stof0048
Photo of stevegamburg


4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

There is no reason not to drink this pale ale. Very smooth flavor with a medium body. Nice hop bitterness, but not overpowering like some other pale ales.
A great value. They sell twelve packs of this stuff for the same price as Corona or Amstel which aren't even in the same category as Sierra's Pale Ale. Enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2005 15:45:43 | More by stevegamburg
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,132 ratings.