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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.

9,668 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,668
Reviews: 2,798
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.91%
Wants: 178
Gots: 1,459 | 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: 9,668 | Reviews: 2,798 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of stimulus
4.44/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a deep amber / golden color with minor lacing and a very small head.

S: Smells very hoppy, like other pale ales and IPAs I've tried. Also catch a whiff of citrus a bit later.

T: It tastes very much as it smells, with hops dominating the flavor profile, along with a faint hint of citrus at the end.

M: Quite light with some carbonation. Goes down very smoothly.

D: At 5.6%, there is very little alcohol burn as it goes down.

Photo of kevinjosephlee
3.82/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a glass.

A: An amber color with a whitish head; the beer appears to have small (perhaps proteinaceous) particles floating throughout the beer. good lacing and moderate head retention.

S: A citrusy hop nose

T: Moderately high hop bitterness and piney notes. Very subdued malt character makes a brief appearance before being struck down by the overtly hoppy bitterness in the finish.

M: Light-medium body with good carbonation.

Notes: For some reason, I remember that this same exact beer tasted a lot less hoppy and bitter when I had it this past weekend. One big difference is that I did not pour it into a glass last time, but this time I did. It is amazing how much the drinking receptacle can change the experience of the beer. I much preferred this beer IN the bottle. The bitter hops were more balanced by the malts.

Photo of bevenson
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in Sam Adams glass

A - Deep gold and crystal clear with a thick, rocky off white head that lasts for minutes. Belgian lace clings to the glass well after consuming.

S - Light caramel malt with moderate grapefruit/citrus hop aroma. Very low fruity yeast character. Mild bready malt. All aromas are playing very nicely with each other.

T - Citrus up front in flavor, closely followed by the smooth, bready malt. Bitterness is pretty moderate but lingers long after, along with the fresh grapefruit flavor. Mild caramel in finish sweetens the aftertaste and keeps the hops in check.

M - Medium carbonation and dry. Smooth, yet clears from the palate quickly making for a refreshing beer.

D - It's been a while since I've had this beer, and I wanted to review it to make sure it was as good as I remember it. It definitely is. This is an excellently crafted, well balanced beer that still deserves high recognition.

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a very fine bottled beer. The appearance is beautiful, with a nice head and a good, brown color. Aroma is pleasant, taste is excellent and just bitter enough, and mouth feel is good, with wonderful body. Overall, this is an exceptional product.


Photo of dpodratsky3
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Perfect orange amber, slightly darker than average, capped by awesome clingy, creamy, fluffy, just off-white head, already sticks heavily

S: Fairly mild, malt is easy to pick up, nice breadiness, hops are there, but flavor nut super pronounced, floral and kind of grapefruit hops

T: Starts off wit ha nice bite of resiny and slightly grapefruit hops, have a lot of flavor packed in, but they don't kill you with too much bitter, there is also a nice biscuity malt counterpoint that is semi-sweet at first, the beer finishes bitter, and I wish the malt extended a little bit

M: Not real dry like an IPA, not too bitey either, not thin, almost didn't notice the mouthfeel

D: Good, but could be better, rivals some IPA's

Notes: A very good pale ale, that definitely finds its place under an IPA. It doesn't try to be an IPA like some do. It looks amazing and tastes good. Just a solid beer.

Photo of cpetrone84
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-tranlucent golden yellow colored ale with a thick white head. solid retention and nice lacing left on the glass.

S-the nose brings pale malts, a touch of grain, with a nice (but light) tangerine and orange hop citrus bringing up the rear.

T/M-the taste follows the nose. grainy, pale malts with notes of sweet caramel, tangerine hops, notes of orange, smooth, medium body, creamy, well carbonated, hint of pine and bitterness at the finish.

D-well done pale ale, this was the beer that got me started into craft brews. it goes down smooth and easy and brings a nice balance of pale malts and citrusy hops.

Photo of BatDaddy
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice clear copper with a hint of orange. Frothy white head settles after a few moments to a nice soft layer on top and excellent lacing.

S - The hops fill the nose before the glass even gets near me. An abundance of fresh piney hops and a slight earthy smell.

T - Strong bold hops hit you up front, but there's a good solid malt base to back it up. Well balanced with plenty of flavor.

M - Mouthfeel is soft and smooth with nice carbonation. A bit sticky from the hops.

D - Excellent. The mouthfeel and taste plus a low abv make this an excellent session beer.

Notes - There's not much I can say about this beer that hasn't been said already. This is a classic pale ale, and if you like hops, or are trying to get into the hoppier stuff, this one should be on your list.

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

On-tap a the PAP.

Pale amber pour with a cushy white and good retention.

Nose is loaded with pine resin, a hint of earth, and mint.

Clean with soft carbonation, which might not be so soft from the bottle. Quick finish, great balance of fresh, piney hops and crystal malt.

Classic in every way.

Photo of OttoBomb
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in 16 oz. conical pint glass (January 23, 2010).

Eyes: This was served on tap at a bar in a shaker pint glass, so any extra head was likely run off. Underneath the thin head was a rich clear straw-copper color, the head wasn't all that clingy to the glass.

Nose: Fresh cut pine and grassy hops hit the nose, some yeast a bread aroma also.

Tongue: Follows the nose, sharp hops, crisp and a tad bitter, but the flavor is quite good and well balanced with the malts.

Mouth: Mid bodies, good carbonation, refreshing and tasty.

Libation: A quality sessionable beer. There might be some better APAs out there, but not a whole lot of them. I'm pleased this is widely available at most bars in Chicago these days.

I had this on tap and I'm looking forward to trying this again fresh from a bottle.

Photo of acelin
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this beer once when I first started drinking non-BMC beer and thought it was insanely hoppy. Oh how my tastes have changed - Not only do I love uber hoppy brews now, this beer seems like the ultimate in craft drinkability and mildness. Not to say that is a bad thing - this might just become a regular favorite of mine and something I get for when friends come over.

Pours a golden straw color with tinges of honey amber. Nice one finger head with light lacing throughout.

Scents of Pale Malt, Simcoe hops permeate through the air when pouring this beer. I picked up some pine scent/resin...

The taste of this beer is very smooth with low hop taste. Beautiful sweet pale malts combined with the wonderousness of Californian style hops.

Mouthfeel is spot on, as is drinkability.

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

Poured into the Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Have always loved this beer. Solid and accessible.

A - Pours a nice strong golden color with a nice white head that is about .5 inches and recedes to a nice thin film with a sticky ring.

S - Strong grain back bone that is accented by some nice faint pine character from the hops.

T - Starts of with a nice biscuity malt backbone. Some hints of walnuts and almonds. Nice and refreshing. Some faint citrus hop character that is well balanced with the malt. Piney resin as well coats the tongue.

M - Light, crisp and well balanced. A solid offering.

D - Refreshing and very very drinkable.

Photo of MellowG
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Fine, enjoyable, and widely available. Available at almost any decent deli or supermarket that sells beer here in NYC, which counts for a lot.

I like the hoppy but not excessively so characteristic of an American Pale Ale vs. an IPA. There are so many overwraught IPAs avaialbe today, and SNPA is a refreshng alternative. As one who found his way to better/fine beer by discovering ale an bitter in England (better the more north one goes), I find this and many/most other American PAs and IPAs to be overcarbonated for my liking, thereby reducing mouthfeel. But that's just my preference.

As it happens, SNPA has a nice, full and satisfying flavor that would benefit from less carbonation, to allow those flavors to come through.

All this is relative, however. SNPA is SO far ahead of the light yellow upbiquitous mainstream American beers, and in fact, way ahead of the top European imported Lagers. And it's American and available. So, go for it.

Photo of Jesstyr
2.8/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I am re-reviewing this beer after my last review was unreasonably taken down. I bought a new bottle as part of a pick 6, so I could give a new and fair review. I continue to be underwhelmed with this beer, but am now certain my prior bottle was skunked.

A: Light copper, with very little head. Fairly significant sediment.

S: Very light, some pine, some subtle not flattering metallic nose.

T: This, again, is where I was most disappointed. Very thin flavor, lacked anything particularly redeeming or strong. To be honest the metallic nature reminded me of Kirin, but it did finish like a traditional IPA. Definitely tasted pine, and a lot of hops - too much in fact.

M/D: Thin and a little too dry. Not enticing to go back for more.

I'll continue to find this beer underrated, but look forward to trying some other SN to see what all the hubbub is about.

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

355ml bottle poured in a chalice (I know, not suitable but the chalice gives me the chance of smelling it better). Around $3.5 the small bottle. Not too bad, in Switzerland.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: Classic American craft with good worldwide distribution (bought this one @ Drinks of the World - Basel).
A: First of all, nice bottle art. Beautiful golden-orange color. One to two fingers white head, which dissipates reasonably fast (but I think this is because of the chalice, should use a proper glass). Medium carbonation, anyway. Some particles floating around.
S: A hop bouquet. Pleasant. Malt (soft). Despite of being an APA, reminded me an IPA.
T: Good stuff. Refreshing first of all. Perfect for a summer barbecue (Not for the current Swiss 0ºC). Fresh hops and malt. Delicate bitterness. I've heard that's a 37 or 38 IBUs. In fact, some times, it gives the impression of being a little bit more than this.
M: Good. Quite balanced bitterness. A bit bitter end but does not overload the taste sense. Medium carbonation.
D: Very good. I could drink a case of this.

Photo of biboergosum
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear medium orange hue, with two fingers of creamy white head, which leaves a consistent wall of webbed lace in its wake. It smells of caramel malt, and grapefruity, grassy hops. The taste is predominantly citrus - orange and lemon - hops, with a light caramel malt backbone. The carbonation is moderate, the body medium weight, smooth, and slick, and it finishes a bit off-dry, with a mostly citrus hoppiness essence.

Common as water stateside, but very difficult to come by on this side of the border. Tastes pretty much like my favorite local hopped-up Pale Ale (Full Moon), so I can't help but like it a lot.

Photo of Pittsburgh
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another quality beer from sierra nevada, my favorite time to drink a cold one is in the summer outside.

Strong taste, even for an IPA, but not overpowering. Pours nicely, not too much head, great color, and high quality comes from this beer. Strong hops, gives more than most IPAs I've had, but it is a good thing because it is a god taste.

I think they did it perfectly, any more or less could have taken this down a notch or two.

Photo of WOTO97
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: bright gold with nominal head and some lacing

S: lots of citrus, orange blossoms

T: crisp hop notes, minor but noticeable malt on the front, great bite on the back end

M: very clean but more than sufficient density for the style

D: the quintessential session beer

Probably one of the most underrated beers simply because it is so readily available, but definitely a top-notch APA

Photo of ocmpoma
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- a clear, golden pale ale. Not much foam at the top from the bottle (I don't usually do vigorous pours), but decent lacing.

S- delicious: fruity, tangy, and exceptionally crisp.

T- as with the aroma: lots of citrus tang and a great, crisp bitterness on the finish. Hops are up front and last throughout, but not overwhelming.

M- just a tad bit thin, especially for the crispness of the beer, but still quite decent.

D- a great session beer, easily drinkable, this was one of my favorite go-to beers for quite a long time and is still high on the list, as it's readily available.

Photo of Augustiner719
4.56/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Orange yellowish crystal clear color. Large 2.5 finger head that leaves behind epic lacing and retains itself for a long time. Almost a reddish orange color with some yellow hues in it. Truely perfect.

Smell: Smells like extracted hop oils, grapefruit and has a orange zest/lemon zest oily aroma. Great fresh pinecone aroma, slightly woody, but has a nice balanced aroma and the hops arent too overpowering.

Taste: Tastes incredibly smooth and pure. you get a real sense of the craft beer industry when drinking this beer. Its got a homemade, earthy and rustic essence to it, yet it is remarkably consistant each batch. Good firm hops in the forefront and the palate is smoothed out by nice caramelly malts. The hops are sweet and slightly sticky. Grapefruit, wood, and a nice lemon peel component come through.

Mouthfeel: perfect carbonation. the beer finishes slightly dry which is great after the hops from the beer make you pucker up. completely balanced and smooth on the palate and in my opinion a style leader for sure.

Drinkability: this is the most sessionable and consistant pale ale out there. its one on its own and every other pale ale should strive to compete with this one because its setting the bar very high.

Photo of DerekP
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Golden Amber-Orange. A little cloudy but in no way opaque. Very little head retention; slim lacing, but I'm guessing it was my pour. Healthy carbonation, but not as bad as some that I've seen.

Taste: Hops & maybe a bit of grapefruit far in the back. Finishes very light body-wise, but the hoppy finish may dissuade a light beer drinker from ordering another.

Smell: Grapefruit, bitter orange & hops.

Body: Light-Medium on the palate, lighter on the finish.

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

A classic and reliable pale ale. Iconic for the style and a quality brew.

Presentation: 12 oz bottle. Green Sierra Nevada seal label, with brewing vegetation and a mountain scenery. Brief neck label describing the composition, and intent of the brew. Lacks date of bottling, and notes Alc. by Vol. (5.6%) Poured into a pint shaker glass.

A - Pale amber color with a very faint haze. Nice generous head that shows good retention and leaves nice lacing.

S - Fresh and soft hoppy notes, floral and citrusy.

T - Gentle hoppiness, citrus, grapefruit, even a bit piney and a nice malt sense embracing the finish.

M - Medium to light body with a smooth and creamy feel.

D - Very drinkable, a solid session beer.

Notes: While I´m not too big a fan of the style or of this particular brew it is a very welcome and reliable presence in otherwise mediocre menus out there. Years ago I used to go quite a bit to it in run of the mill corner stores that would offer something to stay away from the macros, and in a way this is one of a handful of beers that really got me initiated in the US craft offerings. Although lately it is barely ever in my fridge, it remains solid and pleasing.

Photo of ryanonline
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a nice orangey amber pour with a thick but quickly dissipating white head, quite a bit of lacing.

smells piney with a light citrus scent. a clean malt scent.

taste is the same but the pine takes a backseat to the citrus, and then follows with a bitter finish. good stuff.

clean creamy mouthfeel. nice finish, not too bitter.

i can pound these. good stuff.

quite a nice beer, a good solid all night drinker.

Photo of jamesrobertson86
3.72/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- golden orange. Fluffy, messy head. Low head retention.

S- tropical fruits, pineapple.

T- bitterness at the forefront, slight stone fruit and melon flavours. Bitterness comes through at the end as well. A metalic hint lingers.

M- relatively high carbonation, rough and uneven. Kind of like home brew. Dry finish.

D- very sessionable. Bitterness stands out as almost being offensive. The APA style is not something I'm accustomed to which may have put me off a bit. I can see why this is a classic.

Photo of lbaker
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My friend recently introduced me to this great brew. I had never really given Sierra Nevada much attention since they are now easily found in supermarket and larger stores throughout the states. I can't believe I have gone this long without it!

(a)- The beer pours perfectly and left an inch of head in the pint glass. The color is a rich and deep amber tone and looks like a great natural beer. (4.5/5)

(s)- I've never really had a good sniffer, but its easy to pick out the floral hops and frangrance. It's not as strong as it looks, but you can tell you're in for some delicious malt and orange spices as well. (4/5)

(t)- Very very VERY good. Definetely one of my favorite pale ales. You can taste this brew from front to back. At first taste it may seem very complex, but this full-bodied beer finishes just as strong and balanced as it starts. Perfect amount of hops, citrus and malts. Let me stop so I can get another sip before mouthfeel. (4.5/5)

(m)- Full-bodied, none of it gets lost from the tip of the tongue to the back of the throat. Warming sensation which is unusal for me because its not the typical citrus brew, but it is just a lil higher in ABV% than similar pale ales with these accents. Not too carbonated, great great beer. (4.5/5)

(d)- I typically reserve pale ales for mid-flight, but this one might be the exception. Goes great with normal foods and isn't as heavy as it seems. For a pale ale I can see myself drinking a fair amount without the palet going crazy. Around 40 IBUs so its just in that range where its not too much to notice on a busy night! (4.5/5)

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

served in a mug between 45-50 degrees

great frothy 2-inch head which fades down to about a quarter of an inch after a minute...very little lacing left, great amber color

sweet smell of hops and citrus

sweet, the faintest bitterness...

slight carbination yet remains smooth/soft all around, it's crisp!

fantastic! finishes quickly with not much of an aftertaste

Thoughts: I'd been hearing a lot of good about this but always skipped over it at the liquor store just because I had never tried it. I will always take this drink
into consideration when I'm buying something now! A great beer and for the price you can't go wrong. I would probably enjoy this even more in the summer months
as I'm sure it would be refreshing in the heat.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 9,668 ratings.