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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

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9,802 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,802
Reviews: 2,833
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.91%
Wants: 194
Gots: 1,604 | 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: 9,802 | Reviews: 2,833 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Casey10
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This has started to become my go to beer as I was drinking a lot of IPA's I wanted to back down a bit and got back into this one. I never reviewed so I thought as I might as well now.

This is truly a a great beer it is easy to obtain perfectly golden and crisp and is super consistent. Also because of afordability and the ability to find this in a lot of places makes this one in my mind a top notch brew.

Sure it's not a hard to find or hopped up monster but anyone looking into geeting into craft beer or just chilling having a nice regular craft brew can do no wrong here.

Photo of wcintula
4.16/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass with a nice big sticky yeasty head. Has strong citrus and floral hop smells with yeasty smells too, mmm. Strong hop-forward ale, with sweet notes. Strong carbonation in this moderate bodied beer. I drink tons of this poop, it's great.

Photo of jdense
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle served over lunch at Palo Alto CA Municipal Golf Course, 8.13.2010.

Finger and a half white head, medium dissipation with above average lacing. Clear amber body, multiple streams of carbonation. Pretty big hop presence in the nose, floral, a a bit of citrus and resin, significant hop bill balanced by caramel/crystal malts. Taste mirrors nose, this is certainly one of the more hoppy APAs you'll find, bordering the IPA category. Smooth clean mouthfeel with good effervescence, a hint of stickiness. Tres drinkable. My buddy called this beer ubiquitous and for good reason. A standby whenever you travel, you know this is gonna taste good. Recommended.

Photo of eclaycamp
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 ounce bottle. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Maybe the one beer that got me into craft beer 10 years ago or so. Pours a light golden amber with a nice fizzy white head. Looks beautiful in the glass. Aroma is light citrus and grassy hops with some nice caramel malts in the background. First taste is both familiar yet arresting at the same time. Just a brilliant brew. There's this great oily and piney hop character in the body and in the finish that's played out perfectly by the sweetness in the malt body. Wonderful semi-sweet finish. I've been getting back into Pale Ales recently, and this beer is probably the perfect example of what I'm looking for in the style. I really like this beer a lot, and tasting it again for the first time I've fallen back in love with it all over again.

Photo of thasnazzle
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - slightly cloudy deep amber with a small head that sticks around the glass

S - Sweet citrusy notes with just a hint of pine.

T - citrus pine-y floral hoppiness in abundance with what I have always thought is a smidgen of blueberry in the background, a tiny bit of malt, finishes with a dry bitterness.

M - At once crisp and refreshing, goes down smooth and finishes dry.

D - I could drink these all day and all night.

Everything in this brew is fine-tuned to perfection. There is definitely a reason it's so widely seen as the standard-bearer for pale ales.

Photo of uhhhaaron
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

consumed 03-03-2009, 12oz bottle into pint glass

appearance: pours a golden honey color with a fluffy 1.5 finger head.

smell: pines, citrus, caramel/sweet malts, & a toasty biscuits. good balance.

taste: upfront is the citrus flavors, some bready notes, sweetness from the malt & caramel. then the piney hop bit for the finish. nicely balanced with a smooth finish.

mouthfeel: smooth, somewhat creamy. ideal carbonation with a light to medium body.

drinkability: Very drinkable and a great session brew.

Photo of grittybrews
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a rich orange into a Duvel tulip with an inch of clinging white head. Slightly sweet citrus aroma with a hint of caramel.

Moderate carbonation and a light mouthfeel. Sweet caramel malt flavor followed quickly by a mild grapefruit bitterness. Nothing too assertive, but well-balanced, light, and easy-drinking. The hop profile wasn't quite as lemony as Sierra's Summerfest, but this one was equally suited to a summer evening.

Photo of AleWatcher
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured into standard pint...

I've been drinking this for a few years, so I figured now that is in the Top 100 list (context: minimum reviews was changed to 1000 in order to be considered a top 100 in the world beer), I felt it was time to review it!

This brew pours a coppery color with orange hues and an off-white head of three fingers that had respectable retention. Thick glaciers of lace cling in huge slow moving masses of micro bubbles.

Smells of a sweet malt-- like a Hawaiian bread and sweet caramel note. The hops come across as mostly citrus and floral. The nose translates well on the taste with a good upfront sweetness that gives way to a grapefruit and citrus hip note with a slightly spicy floral note towards the finish. The finish is clean and pleasant.

Nothing rough or uneven about this beer-- very well balanced and easy to drink. There is probably a reason that this is one of the biggest gateway beers into the world of craft-- it is a mighty fine beer.

The body is medium with decent carbonation. I'd actually prefer a little more carbonation, but this is certainly respectable.

Photo of drinkiusmaximus
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-pours a Golden color with slight amber tint fingers width head not much lacing to speak of.

S-Hops,piney with a slight citus scent.

T-piney Hop bitterness not much malts to speak of not much needed as the bitterness does not linger.

M-light to medium a nice crisp refreshing brew.

D-This for me would be nice on a Hot Summer Day when I am looking for a nice hop slap but don't want to be weighed down by a heavier beer. This is my go to for a Pale Ale!


Photo of tbeckett
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Fluffy, eggshell white head of about two fingers. Going down slow but leaving nice lacing. Golden colour with carbonation towards the heavy end of the spectrum.

S - Nice aromatic hops. Piney.

T - Lot's of hop bitterness up front mixed with a little bit of maltiness and decent bitterness lingering. Yummy. Not as well balanced as I'd expect but the presence of the malts is good. Finishes really piney but starts with a really nice, mellow hop flavour.

M - Light to medium body. Can't feel any carbonation in the mouth.

D - This is a good hop fix. Really nice and piney. I like some more citrusy hops but I could drink a few of these.

There's a reason this beer is the benchmark for the style. Totally smashes the Old World definition of pale ale.

Photo of rtepiak
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a surprisingly good beer when it sits. i've had this before and it wasn't so promising. this has been sitting around for about six month and spread the hop range. nice citrus... not astringent but a nice mild apple and grape along with the floral clean palate in the finish. although the carbonation is sufficent... the malt is too lean for the yeast quality and it has a fingernail yeast flavor. although its extremely easy to find.

Photo of newcastleme
3.55/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was an excellent ale. The only problem is that it may be too sweet of an ale.

Appearance was a pale standard ale.

The smell was moderately sweet.

Taste was the most appealing factor of this beer. It was strong with nice hints of fruit.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied and not to strong.

I would drink this beer again and feel it has incredible potential for food pairings. I would pair this with seafood and some chicken dishes.

Photo of honestdave
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12oz bottle into an ale glass.

A: Appearance is gold to amber in color. Really nice thick creamy white head from a strong pour. Small carbonation bubbles rise into the creamy head. Good lacing down the glass.

S: Smell is more floral than citrus. Really fresh scent.

T: Slight malty flavor followed by a super satisfying bitterness from the Magnum, Perle and Cascade hops is a delight. Piney hop goodness!

M: Natural conditioning provides just enough carbonation to give this brew a refreshing medium mouthfeel.

D: Perfect session ale. I can drink several and still want more. Stays refreshing to the bottom of the ale glass.

Summary: This is the one beer that really got me into American craft beer. Absolutely one of my favorite ales. This beer provides really fine balance between the malts and ends with great hop bitterness. Everything one would want in an ale. Excellent!

Photo of Sam21
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz into pint glass.

Appearance - Pours clear amber with a healthy white head. Excellent retention and good lacing.

Smell - Floral and citrus hop aromas as well as some bready malt.

Taste - Matches the nose. Fruitiness up frot with some bready malt in the middle. Nice balanced hop finish meshes nicely with breadiness. Good balance.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied, smooth.

Drinkability - This is a fantastic American pale ale. An extrememly drinkable well-balanced beer.

Photo of jdhilt
3.08/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a two finger white head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving traces of lace. Crystal clear amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Citrus hop nose. Flavor is citrusy, no sweetness, light bitter hop finish. $1.60 for a 12oz bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

Photo of darkmartin
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours to a clear golden brown with a heavy, thick tan head. Thick, sticky layer of lacing.

Smell: Smells very yeasty with some faint citrus hops.

Taste: Intensely complex flavor is initially quite shocking. The aroma suggests a fairly simple brew of yeast and citrus hops. However, the taste reveals an initial fruity, malty dependence that yields to a moderately bitter series of citrus hops that eventually give way to a dry, clean finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied beer that feels very clean in the mouth.

Drinkability: The beautiful golden color with an intimidating head, and the complex flavors presented in the taste, create an absolutely excellent pale ale. This will be kept in my fridge as often as it is sold.

Photo of albertjr21
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a 24 oz. bottle into a pint glass. A clear and light golden amber color under a dense foamy head.

S: An appetizing, good old fashion blend of yeast and Cascade hops beautifully represented in the nose.

M/T: A lively palate awakening occurs at first sip with a evenly distributed malt sweetness on the tongue that quickly makes way toward a robust hop bitterness and clean quenching dry finish.

D: With or w/o food, this is the classic American you can't go wrong with because of it's versatility with different cuisines and crisp refreshing drinkability.

Photo of bigrzman
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am reviewing this at a party. This has a a nice cascade hop smell with a nice pale malt back end. Citrusy and spicy. Orange peels and corriander. Good solid amber colr decent heas. Great on a summer day. Its a good beer with good drinkability. All around solid.

Photo of Baraka
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Golden color with a solid head. Aroma is weighted heavily towards citrusy west coast hops, although there is a bit of malt balance. Features medium carbonation and an impressive hop bitterness (esp for a pale) that quickly overwhelms any malt present. Crisp and delicious, this is the ultimate session beer.

The quintessential example of an APA, SNPA is simple yet brilliant, and one of the beers that got me into craft beer in general. The perfect pale ale for a hophead as well as a great stepping stone to the world of hoppy beers.

Photo of geryeb624
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A- Pours a golden amber with about 1 finger of off-white head.

S- Nice hoppy citrus aroma with some maltiness in the background.

T- Crisp and refreshing flavor. Starts out with a bitter hop kick and finishes with a nice, malty backbone.

M/D- Very nice feel with perfect level of carbonation. Very refreshing brew, and perfect for kicking back and enjoying with friends or a ballgame. Very well balanced, and easily sessionable.

Overall, this is a very good, very balanced pale ale, and one that I enjoy drinking in a number of situations. A classic of American craft brewing.

Photo of Sudsy89
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle, chilled

Pours a pretty amber color, has a thick, white head that looks like shaving cream!

I noticed a bit of citrus smell and taste, along with a moderate amount of hops. Overall was very smooth, has a slight hop bitterness but definitely not too much for me. This would be a great beer for a hot day, it's refreshing and light but still has a good amount of flavor. Mouthfeel is nice, not too watery. I could easily go through a few of these, alcohol content is good at 5.65%.

I highly recommend this beer!

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a 6 pack from ABC liquors in Tampa.

Pours a light amber, slightly murky, with a decent, sturdy white head. Good retention for a pale ale.

Nose is citrussy hops, bready malt, a touch of citrus and lemon.

A bitter, hop-dominated brew, with both citrus and earthy hops coming to the fore, but with a fine malty backing providing enough sweetness to make this highly drinkable. Notes of bread, caramel, grapefruit and lemon. Finishes bitter and tart.

Decent body, carbonation thoroughly covers the palate, allowing the hops to really pop.

A great example of the style. Would be a terrific go-to beer (if we would ever get this in Ontario, that is...) Great pick up.

Photo of r0nyn
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Appearance is good, a golden amber color with about half an inch of white frothiness at the top. Not too much lacing at all. Smell is of hops and yeast, with a slight undertone of citrus. Fragrant, but not overpowering. I was sort of expecting a similar bouquet to Troegs Nugget Nectar, but it just seems simpler and cleaner.

A big hoppy blast of bitterness starts it off, and never really goes away, even as the taste of the beer settles on the tongue. I caught some hints of citrus and some good malty presence, but the bitterness is always there and continues into the aftertaste. Not terrible, but definitely a little unbalanced in that department. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a good amount of carbonation that manages to retain a semblance of smoothness.

Drinkability is okay for me. Maybe I was spoiled by having Nugget Nectar first, but the bitterness was just a bit unbalanced, at least in my admittedly inexperienced opinion. It was by no means overpowering, just a little too... present in the taste without much else complexity. One is all I'd think I'd have in a given night.

Photo of steve8robin
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle...

A: Medium copper color with hints of honey gold. Thick 1 inch white head that fades at a decent pace. Very good.

S: Earthy hops blended with some nice bready notes. Some light fruits on the backend. Decent.

T: Sweet bready malts upfront with hints of earthy hops in the middle. This brew blends very well with the flavors. Good.

M: Leave some decent flavors on the palate. Good.

D: Goes down super easy. Perfect.

All in all, this is a solid brew. A nice light summer drinker. I love big beers, but if I had to drink a light style, this one might be a way to go. Good to try if you can.

Photo of Star80
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought a fresh 12-pack at the grocer store so felt was a fair time to finally review this ale. Definitely a classic beer which for me defines the pale ale style. The beer looks like a pale golden color, pours out with a lot of carbonation and effervescence. Nice thick head and clinging lace from the abundance of American hops. There is always some residual yeast in the bottom of the bottle from the bottle fermentation; I like this, and I try to swirl it into my glass. Smells like, well, hops and some biscuity maltiness, and despite the strong presence of hops I feel this beer is well balanced and very drinkable. This is a great beer to introduce the beer neophytes to the greatness of hops, and fortunately is widely available everywhere. God bless America.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 9,802 ratings.