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.

8,984 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,984
Reviews: 2,711
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 149
Gots: 1,033 | FT: 2
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: 8,984 | Reviews: 2,711 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of roadhouse
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This has always been one of my favorite brews - a perfect balance between malts and hops, while still allowing the bitterness to dominate.

Pours a deep golden/copperish color with a nice one finger head.

Aroma is wonderful, like being inbetween a grapefruit orchard and a pine forest (is this possible?).

Mouthfeel is medium-light, not exceptional, but good.

Starts with piney flavors and finishes with citrus and a nice bittersweet end.

One of those beers where after you have had two, you just have to finish the whole six pack. As many have already said, it's a benchmark for the APA style.

roadhouse, Jan 27, 2008
Photo of MerkinMan
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the standard to which all APAs should be set.

Pours a nice deep coppery color with an explosion of citrusy hop aroma. While the hop presence is certainly the focus, it is supported with a nice malty backbone.

The mouthfeel of this beer is good, but nothing that really sends off fireworks. The head retains nicely.

This is a very drinkable beer if you are in the mood for an APA or IPA. People who do not like massive doses of hop goodness should beware, but you probably knew that already.

MerkinMan, Jan 24, 2008
Photo of 1fastz28
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a really nice light amber color, with a small head and has some average lacing. smell is good, hoppy with a nice malty undertoe. taste is good, has a stronger alcohol flavor than one would expect, the hop flavor is piney and citrusy, aftertaste is kinda malty good beer all around

1fastz28, Jan 19, 2008
Photo of GJ40
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really like this beer. It's been my standard for several years now. My wife also loves it. It's one of the few bottled beers that really retain it's hop flavor and aroma. And if that's not enough, I can get it at my local Target for $11.99 / 12 pack. It's cheaper than most of the crap beers they sell. Go figure.

GJ40, Jan 19, 2008
Photo of animal69
4.7/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

i haven't had a Sierra Nevada brew in a while ; pours a hazy golden color w/ a decent head which dissipated a bit quick leaving a decent lacing in my pint glass ; a hoppy smell, mostly a piney citrus w/ some malt and slight fruitiness in the nose ; a nice, crisp hop flavor initially, with some bready malts in the mix, great malt/hop balance ; a light, semi-dry mouthfeel w/ a decent amount of co2, lets the flavor stay around just long enough ; an excellent beer, in fact, i think it was the "original" APA and set the style example, and at 5.6 ABV i could drink this all day long...

animal69, Jan 17, 2008
Photo of tsbuttry
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

One of the standard bearers of the craft beer movement, Sierra Nevada is a solid Pale Ale that is always enjoyable.

Appearance: Excellent amber color and head that retains well while leaving a nice lacing down the side of your glass.

Smell: Do I detect some cascade hops? (Intentional understatement) There's also an unappreciated malt aroma to this beer, picking up a lot of caramel malts on this one.

Taste: Quite good. The malts don't quite stand up to the hopiness, but it's not overwhelming. It has a good, clean finish, too.

Mouthfeel: No aftertaste, washes clean over the palate and nice heavy, but not too heavy carbonation.

Drinkability: If you have too many of these, it sits like a rock in your digestive tract. However, it's dry profile lets it go well with many foods and it's always fun to enjoy one or two during a ballgame.

tsbuttry, Jan 17, 2008
Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in-tap at the Red Door, Watertown, Conn.

A: Poured a reddish, copper color with a thin head of tight white foam. Carbonation was a little on the sparse side, but probably just the keg here.

S: Smells of pine and citrus fruits, like grapefruit and lemon zest, with a whiff of sweet, acrid hops.

T: Tastes prickly and piney on the front of the palate, but washes over with a smooth malt and a dry hop finish. This is one of fthe more well-crafted pale ales out there, in my opinion. Great malt balance, but never treading on the hop profile.

M: Mouthfeel is slightly oily, but still quite clean and refreshing.

D: Despite being a little jacked up in ABV, Sierra Nevada's flagship pale ale is one of their finest, and a very drinkable brew.

Hopheads can mellow a bit with this sturdy, but never overbearing ale, while some may just relish the bitterness they rarely get with other shoddily crafted pales. Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head really turned me on to hops, but you just don;t see DFH on-tap too many places around here. Thank goodness for Sierra Nevada!

Gambrinus1184, Jan 17, 2008
Photo of DrDogbeer
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap in a pint glass. Deep copper color with slight cloudiness and nice one finger head. Smells of slight hop presence, but soft. First sip is smooth. Decent hop presence, but balanced well with the malts. I would say a nicely balanced beer with nothing overdone. More kick than most pale ales, though. Good finish, a very drinkable beer.

DrDogbeer, Jan 16, 2008
Photo of ElGrecoVerde
3.05/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured an orangish yellow, which matched the scent and flavor pretty well.

A lot of fruit peel smells in this one. Kind of grassy, too. When I took a sip, my first thought was "overkill". The flavors are good, but there's no balance and they just sort of swish around with no where to go.

It had a good feel. Like some people say, good with food as it's pretty damn crisp. But it leaves me with too much of a fruit peel aftertaste to enjoy. Reminds me a lot of gin in that way. Finished a bit harsh too.

ElGrecoVerde, Jan 15, 2008
Photo of trentley87
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first experience with this beer was a delightful one. Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A: Beautiful golden-orange, almost amber. Even a gentle pour yields a generous, fluffy, long lasting head. Very clear with constant bubbling. A very attractive beer.

S: Tons of aroma coming off of this one. Strong, but good. Very floral/citrus dominated with just a hint of hops. Appetizing.

T: Better balanced that the aroma might suggest. Bitter at the front fades to nice malty sweetness and the finish is all citrus (and maybe a hint of alcohol in the aftertaste). Very tasty. Less dominated by citrus than some other pale ale varieties I have tried.

M: Absolutely perfect for me. Mouthfeel makes or breaks a lot of beers for me and this one gets it right. Carbonation is right on and it is creamy without erring to the side of "chewy" or watery.

D: More please. Cold, warm, out of the glassware or out of the bottle, I like this one a lot.

trentley87, Jan 14, 2008
Photo of Proteus93
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep straw / amber colour sporting a yellowish head which was rather slow to recede, leaving liberal lacing.

S: Sweet, somewhat fruity + malty. A hint of an aroma of apple or something in there.

T: Full flavoured... hops, very mild fruit flavours, something seemed almost mushroom-like for lack of a better comparison. Quite nice.

M: Just a tad thick, but otherwise fine and the carbonated fizz manages to perfectly compliment the hops in this one.

D: Very drinkable and compliments a meal very nicely. Perhaps not completely sessionable, but it's tempting!

Proteus93, Jan 14, 2008
Photo of MisterClean
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


A - Pours a nice golden-bronze color. Light head.

S - Lots of citrus and pine, which begs to quench my thirst.

T - Initial light-bitterness, with floral hops, and a big strong pine finish from the cascades.

M - Very quenching and satisfying. Light alcohol feel.

D - Definitely a winner. This is the beer that turned me on to micro brewing.

MisterClean, Jan 14, 2008
Photo of BlackBearForge
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle data indicates a bottling date of 1-31-07.

Pours a crystal clear golden amber with a nice two finger creamy slightly orange head which subsides quickly to just a thin surface cover with minimal lacing.

The smell is a bit yeasty with a nice floral orange-citrus note. Nice actually.

The taste is sweet biscuity malt with a big bitter component, the two being nicely balanced. Hoppy but not to an extreme, with a touch of fruit sour orange-citrus component and perhaps a tad of caramel. As noted, nicely balanced with just a touch of alcohol warmth on the tongue.

Mouthfeel seems medium to me with just the right touch of carbonation.

Drinkability is quite good, it goes well with most foods and is one of my standard everyday beers. Might be a bit more bitter than batches I've had in the past, still very good and easy to drink.

BlackBearForge, Jan 12, 2008
Photo of Spikester
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 24 ounce bottle about 55 deg. F. Aroma is grassy some breadiness.

Finally a pale ale with perfect balance between hops and malt. I hate to rate a California brew above the Northwest micros but I must.

The pour yielded a huge head. The lacing was plentiful completely covering the glass. Good level of carbonation. Nice light amber color. Nicely hopped with a somewhat bitter taste but due to sweet maltiness the hops don't overwhelm. The aftertaste is just slightly bitter.

As far as drinkabilty is concerned this one could be habit forming. Am very much looking forward to trying the draft version. One of the very best of the style.

Another plus is the consistency. Always good and an excellent value as well.

My favorite Pale Ale at this time. If I were only allowed one beer for all time I guess this would be it. For an everyday craft beer it is at the top of the pedestal of APAs.

Spikester, Jan 12, 2008
Photo of 1759Girl
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance> Lively golden, with a medium bubbly head
Smell> Hoppy and fruity, very nice.
Taste> A crisp, clean start, rush of hops, with a resiny, with ever slight sweetness to its finish.
Mouthfeel> Medium bodied. Quite pleasing.
Drinkability> Once I conquered my fears of Cascade Hops, it became a standard, though I still prefer Stone's. Only just.

1759Girl, Jan 10, 2008
Photo of littleshamrocks
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle with no freshness dating. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a medium amber with about one finger of frothy white head. It has a very nice clarity and about an average amount of carbonation. When held up to the light it seems to have some small particles, possibly yeast, suspended in the brew. The head settles to a small crown on top and leaves behind impressive rings of lacing. The aroma is kicked off by toasted grain/bready maltiness along with a mix of a floral to perfumey to citrusy hop presence. Some fruity esters are here as well. The malt flavor is very solid with some spicy hops in the middle and an orange peel-like bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a somewhat coarse texture and lively carbonation. The finish is lightly astringent.

This beer makes me feel nostalgic. It was one of the two or three brews that really got me hooked on "better" beer. I remember back then being impressed by the hoppiness of it, but now, after being exposed to a whole new world of beers, I am struck by the balance in the ingredients. It is a supremely drinkable classic of an American craft beer. If Sierra Nevada would only put some kind of freshness dating on their bottles, I would keep this one around much more often.

littleshamrocks, Jan 09, 2008
Photo of MDekker
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out with a golden brown hue, some head (not a hard pour) and pretty continuous bubbling. The aroma is dominated by pine and hops. It's somewhat floral, too, with a slight fruity sweetness. The taste starts bitter and ends bitter, with a little sweetness in between. After a while it makes me think of apples a little bit. It feels fresh and clean, with a mild lingering aftertaste. The mouthfeel is fine; nothing offensive. In the end, this is a "good" pale ale, although every time I've had it I've never been as excited as some be are about it. I'm not yearning for more when I'm done.

MDekker, Jan 08, 2008
Photo of Mazeraski
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

12oz. bottle poured into a glass mug

A - Transparent golden honey color with a slightly tan head that lasts about halfway through the 1st sample.

S - Slight grass/piney hint with a pronounced floral hoppiness and also dashes of citrus and small wisps of alcohol.

T - The hops hit your tongue first with a small punch, then the slight malt rushes in, with the gulp ending in an excellent second wave of hops a little bit larger than the first. All this mixed with little bits of citrus and faint notes of alcohol hiding in the background.

M - A smooth and uniform feel throughout, teetering on the edge between light and medium bodied.

D - One of the most drinkable beers I have yet encountered that actually has a really great taste. With the ABV toward the lower end and the excellent representation of an American Pale Ale, this is one to grab for longer sessions.

Mazeraski, Jan 07, 2008
Photo of TexIndy
3.2/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. It was a bronze color with a ton of yeast floaters. Decent carb, no lacing. It had a small beige head that settled into a partial film. The aroma was floral and hoppy with a grassy malt smell as well. Something in there didn't sit right though. It also appeared in the taste. It was a weird bitter aftertaste that I usually don't find in PA/IPA's. I love a good bitter PA/IPA bite but that weird aftertaste really hurt this one. I got as a single so possible that it's a bad sample so will try again. But for now I can't really recommend (One and done)

TexIndy, Jan 06, 2008
Photo of
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In glass from a 12oz bottle

A - Light body, excellent clarity and light tan head

S - Strong hoppy scent, grass, Strong floral quality, light citrus and faint alcohol

T - Well balanced hop laced beer, smooth malt and floral hops flavor.

M - Smooth light coat from start to finish.

D - One of the great pale ale's a true American craft ale.

, Jan 02, 2008
Photo of beersabound
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A classic APA. A brilliant golden/amber hue flows from the bottle to create a snappy finger's width head that fizzles out a bit quick. Not much lacing or stickage either. Wafts of clean malt hang out behind a citrusy and slightly piny hop aroma. Clean hop bitterness with a slight sweetness are followed up by a dry finish. A well balanced session beer that is quite drinkable. The mouthfeel has a little too much CO2 and pops without much of a creamy or lucious texture.

beersabound, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of mattster
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Opened 12 oz bottle, poured into nonic glass.

Nice large foamy head of say 2". Dies down at a moderate pace to create a nice thin layer of foam across top of brew. Color is light amber, mostly clear with good bubbles in it.

Smell is very clean with some hops and slight citrus notes. Taste follows through with very clean crisp hoppy taste, although I don't detect citrus on my palate. Beer has a nice mouth feel and is very drinkable. I may have another before calling it an evening.

I'd been worried for sometime that Sierra Nevada was becoming to mainstream, but it appears that even though more mass markets are carrying their beer, they are still able to produce a quality product.

mattster, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of skeetermoses
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I liked this one, of course beer always tastes better when you finish skiing, I did have this beer with rocklette when I was in Utah, it happens to be my 3rd favorite beer behind the Heffe and the Bass that I drank. But I always have enjoyed SN beers in the past so I could not go wrong.

skeetermoses, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of willjschmidt
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle (bottled on 10/17/07) into a pint glass.

A: Pours a golden amber color with a thin white head that recedes quickly.

S: Lots of pungent floral hops in the nose.

T: A smooth, well balanced, and tasty American craft beer classic. A floral and herbal hop taste layered over a bready malt base.

M: Smooth and medium bodied.

D: Not much new to say about this one. An American brew classic and probably the most popular micro in the country. Also a good option for a beer on draft since it's widely available on tap.

willjschmidt, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of MiguelMandingo
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It is kind of weird that for as long as I have been reviewing beer, this one has somehow slipped through the cracks. I used to drink this beer all the time when I first got into "better beer", and for no particular reason, I just stopped buying it for a while about six months ago. I had some the other night at a bar, and it just didn't taste the same. A friend gave me this bottle to review, and I am having the same problem.

Poured a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - It pours a completely transparent copper orange. It produced a pretty solid two finger white head and it left a bit of light lacing behind. It has constant stream of carbonation bubbles rising to the top of the glass.

Smell - Crackery/biscuity malts in the front of the scent, which then gives way to resinous grapefruity hops, and a slight hint of pine. This while the scent of this beer screams Cascade Hops, the scent is slightly subdued - it isn't as powerful as I remember it.

Taste - The initial flavor is very bready, with a tinge of a caramel sweetness. That flavor gives way to Cascade Hop flavor - slightly resinous grapefruit with the smallest hint of pine. There is slight bitterness that continues from the middle of the flavor and then plunges at the end, with the caramel sweetness rounding out the flavor. I remember this beer being far more dramatic - maybe my palate has changed, but this doesn't wow me like it used to.

Mouthfeel - On the thicker end of light bodied. The carbonation level leaves something to be desired, it feels kind of flat by the time it reaches my throat. It does, however, go down very smooth.

Drinkability - This is a beer you can drink the hell out of. It tastes pretty good, it is available pretty much everywhere, which is great because I will reach for this over any BMC, any day. It is an easy drinking brew. It is also one of the quintessential "training wheel beers" for most people that I know.

MiguelMandingo, Dec 29, 2007
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,984 ratings.