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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.

8,710 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,710
Reviews: 2,691
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 130
Gots: 903 | 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: 8,710 | Reviews: 2,691 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AltBock
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. stubby bottle with just a simple green label with a small picture of a mountain stream running through some trees. The neck label had all the information about the beer, except for a date. Above the barcode is a bottle number that would no use to the average consumer. The bottle was sealed with a twist off cap.
After drink craft beer for well over a year, this is actually the first time I got to try this readily available beer.

Appearance: When poured into a mug, the beer was a nice golden copper color with an less than 1 inch head of fizzy white foam. The head of foam dissipated away not too fast leaving behind some fizzy rings and very little fizzy white lace.

Smell: I didn't get much of an aroma from this beer as I would have liked. All I got was an average smell of little citrus fruits with just a hint of bitter hops behind that. That's it, nothing more.

Taste: For such a highly produced beer, it had an excellent taste. The taste was that of citrus fruits in the beginning, then little toasted malt, and then finishes with a dry bitter hoppy taste. I was actually quite surprised that the taste would be this good.

Mouthfeel: It was light, not watery, smooth, carbonated, and with an aftertaste of dry bitter hops. What more can I ask for from this beer?

Drinkabaility: A great beer that's a must try and it wouldn't be hard to find it, it's almost everywhere in the US and at a good price too. Something that I will have again!

AltBock, Jun 05, 2006
Photo of haz77
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A – Pours a light copper with a half in of head which dissipates to a thin layer. Looks to have high carbonation.

S – Grapefruit and other citrus, pine-like hops

T – Initial sweet malts are quickly swept aside by the pine-like hops. Citrus runs through the spine of the drink. Restrained bitter finish.

M – Thin to medium and smooth. Moderate carbonation

D – Easy to drink and an all-round good beer.

haz77, Jun 04, 2006
Photo of deuschbag
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle pored into a pint glass. sierra pale ale pores a light copper color with a nice thick white head that lasted about 10 mins then faded away to some good lacing.

smell is very citrusy hoppy and spicey. spices dominate the smell.

i've yet to compare a beer to taste similar to this one. i think sierra pale ale has its own distinct flavor. it's hoppy, yet has such a nice tangy spiceness to it..but not too much of either one of them. also some bready, bananna and roasted malts.

this is surprisngly light bodied, although slightly dry.

one of the most drinkable beers i've had. this is my "go to" beer all year long.

deuschbag, Jun 04, 2006
Photo of BeerNutta
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

A = Poured a copper colour with a thin foam head.

S = Strong inital citrus smell followed by a stong hop aroma.

T = Same as the smell. Inital maltiness with a strong fruity backbone. Stong hop finish. Very nice.

M = Moderately carbonated to quech thirst.

D = Very drinkable. Great session beer.

BeerNutta, May 31, 2006
Photo of devo
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a favorite session beer. It's affordable, widely available and easy to drink. Sierra's a great fall back when nothing unique is on the docket.

Sierra pours a nice golden, almost wheaty brown that hints at bready notes with a finger and a half foamy head.

The smell is pleasant, though limited. Floral hops dominate the scent with a some citrus mixed in.

The taste is clean with hops as the dominant flavor. It's a classic, very pleasant and enjoyable American Pale Ale.

You can drink and enjoy Sierra forever. It's a wonderful, everyday brew.

devo, May 31, 2006
Photo of goochpunch
4.53/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours out an apple juice color with a fluffy white head and a hazy body containing moderate carbonation. Citrus rind hops and bready malt fill the nose. Close to perfect, but I've had pales with a bit of a stronger presence in the nose. Malts are sweet but not cloyingly so. There isn't as much of the brightness I tend to associate with American pales. From the hops I get mostly citrus flavors with some floral notes. Perfect mouthfeel from a pale. Enough carbonation to keep it from being a still beverage, but it's not intrusive, on the other hand. Moderate body. Perfect "session" beer.

Although not as over the top as some American pales, this one is textbook.

goochpunch, May 31, 2006
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Clean, golden. Oatmeal colored head started off big but is falling rapidly. Lots of lace clinging to the sides of the glas

S: Floral and citrusy, cascade hops.

T: Pine and cascade flavors lead to slightly malty and alcoholic flavor.

M: Decently smooth but some what prickly.

D: An American standard. A classic.

Westsidethreat, May 27, 2006
Photo of harpo111
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like this beer. Pours a nice brownish red with a moderate head. Smell as hops and malt...pugent..
taste is hoppy with a wonderful bitterness with a little Citris overtone to it.
mouthfeel is moderate...what you would expect from a pale ale.
drinkablility: very good...this one goes with a lot of food and make you want another.

harpo111, May 25, 2006
Photo of gus
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very strong hop aroma, very pale to golden hue (rust?), moderate in carbonation and body. Somewhat bubbly with a large white head. Very clean in apparance. Very high in hop flavor. Smooth going down, a slight hop bitterness noted with a slight aftertaste, but good. A very refreshing beer, just tastes good a beer you can drink for all occaisions.

gus, May 21, 2006
Photo of PuckLSHS
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What can I say about Sierra Nevada that you can't read in the rest of the reviews? Pours a nice gold color, with a nice head and lacing. The beer is a classic pale ale with a slight citrus flavor to it. The mouthfeel is smooth and has that nice little bite of carbonation. This beer is completely drinkable, as I tend to have quite a few when I start on this beer.

The beer is great for summer and spring. Amazing bbq beer as it matches most food. Excellent beer to make a very excellent day...now where's my lawnchair?

PuckLSHS, May 21, 2006
Photo of shererjt
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured an orangish-yellow clear with an impressively thick head. Hops dominated the nose--grapefruit, baby!--but there was an underlying caramel sweetness that really made it work. Maybe a bit of mustiness that I didn't quite get. Yeast, perhaps? Flavor was well balanced; sweet malt, hop bitterness, and hop flavor were all there. Definitely had a strong cascade flavor, but not as prominent as I remember. Lively mouthfeel that was bursting with flavor--it was significant but not overpowering. The drinkability was quite good.

I like this beer a lot, though I have to say that it's not one of my all-time favorites. Whether you love it or merely like it, I think we all owe a debt of gratitude for the role this beer played in the growth of craft beer in the US.

shererjt, May 21, 2006
Photo of bigdeuce
4.58/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sometimes, after drinking all kinds of fancy porters, stouts, wits, hefes, IPA's, belgians and germans, you just have to go back to where it all began. Every so often, I have to buy this beer, it's in my blood. Classic looking APA, straw colored with an outstanding smell. This beer is like potato chips, can't just have one. Washes down with a smooth, hoppy goodness. Extremely smooth and crisp, with slight grapefruit flavoring. Nice head leaves some lacing down the glass. Hey, it can't get much better than a Sierra Nevada APA on a hot day!

bigdeuce, May 18, 2006
Photo of jwff
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice looking beer.. for a pale this as close as it gets. This has very citric hops and some warm/dry malts in the smell. Taste is extremely close to the smell, but with a stickier body. Mouthfeel has the right amount of carbonation with hop/malt balance. I remember this was one of the first craft beers I had and I likened the hop taste to something like mosquito repellent. I'm glad some things change.

jwff, May 18, 2006
Photo of TheBungyo
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Is it fair to call this beer the granddaddy of Pale Ale's in the US? I'm not sure but I will anyway. I get a massive 2 inch head from my gentle pour (2 inches is too much in my oh so humble opinion) and a scant bit of lacing. Body is a shade below amber. Nose is pretty faint but brings to mind sweet caramel and grapefruit hops. Taste is at first sweet, then bitter then full of caramel and grapefruit. Very nice balance. Neither the malt nor the hops outshine the other. Mouth is rich and full. If you want to session a pale ale this is the one for you.

TheBungyo, May 18, 2006
Photo of pibbxtrasucks
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured nice with a decent but thin head that lingered a bit and finally stayed as a nice ring throughout the entire drink. Was a brown-orange color that was very nice to look at. unfortunately it smelt somewhat skunky, not very pleasing. The taste however made up for the smell. it had a full taste with a hint of bitter and rich aftertaste common in ales. The drink is heavily carbonated but feels nice overall. this beer is clean and crisp enough to drink several in a row but tasty enough to enjoy while doing it.

pibbxtrasucks, May 18, 2006
Photo of wedge
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Even, clean gold color with a white head that sticks well. Clean fresh citrus, leafy, and floral hop aromas over mild malts and grain. Taste is fresh citrus hoppiness with some spiciness in the center leaving a thin layer of sweetness on the tip of the tongue. Solid bitterness, dry crisp mouthfeel, and tremendously drinkable.

A damn good fall-back session beer when it's fresh. Classic APA top to bottom.

wedge, May 16, 2006
Photo of rabsten
4.85/5  rDev +20%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sierra Nevada sets the bar for me. While I use Sam Adams Boston Lager as my benchmark, SNPA is probably the one I SHOULD be using.

Poured from a 24 oz bottle into an Imperial pint glass. Fluffy, khaki head on top of a copper body. The lacing is absolutely spectacular. Way back in 1987 or '88 I read the William Least Heat Moon essay on craft beer, "A Glass of Handmade," wherein he pointed out how good beer leaves lines on the glass. He was talking about Seirra Navada products. Nice.

The hops in the brew are evergreen-y. Balsam more than pine. Citrus in there, too.

Taste. One of my favorite beers. Hard hop hit up front, mellowing into a malty middle, with a yeasty finish. Floral undertone. A total taste experince.

Feels light and crisp up front, and rounds out near the end without ever becoming heavy.

Drinkability. Well, lets say I've had several evenings lost when I've gone into a bar to get "just one beer," only to find they have SNPA on tap or on special. I can drink this all weekend long.

Bottom line: If you're on this site, you already know how good this brew is. If it's not "the best" APA available, then it's sure damn near the top. Occasionally, I'll want someting different, APA-wise, like the excellent Great Lakes Burning River. But this beer Kicks Ass. And as a bonus, it's available everywhere!

Bob says go get some.

rabsten, May 11, 2006
Photo of EStreet20
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow I was looking over my reviews and realized I never sat down and reviewed this one. I fell in love with SNPA a few years ago before I knew what a craft brew was. Just tried it at a bar/restaurant that had a few "different" beers as I saw it back then. Def a go to beer for a nice pale ale that's available and inexpensive at my local liquor stores.

12 ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint glass.

A - Pours out a nice golden color with a two finger white head capping the beer to the top of the pint. Head sticks nicely and retains well.

S - A fresh citric hoppy smell along with a nice malty sweetness that lends a great balanced smell.

T - A nice subdued malty sweetness follows a nice rush of some citric and bitter hops. The beer finishes with nice bitter hops on the tongue.

M - Feels nice and slick and has a crisp carbonation.

D - A great session pale ale. Has a nice hop fix along with an interesting malt flavor coming through without anything overwhelming. Very drinkable.

Notes: One of my breakthrough beers for getting into craft beers and still one I pick up before barbecues and concerts or to have around the house.

EStreet20, May 10, 2006
Photo of KarlHungus
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a brillant clear red color with a touch of bronze to it. The head is massive for a pale ale, creamy yet fluffy. The aroma is full of pine resin with a hint of orange underneath. The taste is more than I have grown to expect from a pale ale, and is more than the aroma lets on. It is full of pine, and has a nice lingering bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, I have been a BA living in America for almost a year now, and have to say that my biggest mistake in that year is not having tried this sooner. It might not be the best pale ale out there, but it is close to it. I will certainly buy this beer again.

KarlHungus, May 09, 2006
Photo of DaggerEyes
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass
thin white head with significant lacing clinging to the sides of the glass. A golden copper color with tons of bubbles of carbonation rising to the surface.

Not the most bold or fragrent nose but smells of citric and piney hops are present, they mingle with some faint sweet malts.

A solid and balanced taste, obviously the hops are most noticble with citric and piney flavors but they are nicely balanced out by the malts.

A crisp and refreshing mouth feel, medium bodied and nicely carbonated. A lot of "fine" carbonations, small bubbles popping all over your tongue.

A really solid beer and a great American Pale Ale. By far the best beer that I can find in my local super market.

DaggerEyes, May 08, 2006
Photo of strattor
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served to me in a pint glass a slightly cloudy golden-red with a white head.

Smell of citrus hops dominates.

Taste is of citrusy hops, but without much bitterness. There is also a slight biscuity flavor.

Light body with nice effervesence.

Very easy drinking. It would be easy to down a few of these without any problem.

strattor, May 06, 2006
Photo of LarryV
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a pale amber color with a 1/2" head. Smell is citrusy hops.
Taste is citrusy hops followed by a hint of sourness. Malt just barely balances out the hoppiness. One of the hoppier pale ales on the market, and a decent session brew. Nothing really special about it, just a good, solidly brewed beer.

LarryV, May 01, 2006
Photo of indy169
3.23/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

There was a time when this beer was one of my favorites. I thought it had great body, plenty of hops, and wonderful drinkability.
Not the case any more. What happened to this once great brew?
Appearance is still fine, deep golden color, respectable head with fair lacing. Smell of hops is much fainter than I remember, with no discernable direction. Taste is nothing special. Malty, but not too much & not too fresh tasting. Hops have no cajones. This is SN's #1 brand & it is simply average. Now, I don't know if the offerings from DogfishHead & Bell's have raised the bar beyond the reach of SN Pale Ale, or if SN changed it on us, but it does not seem nearly as special as it once did. I still love the Celebration Ale from SN.

indy169, May 01, 2006
Photo of jettjon
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Highs: Clean hops flavor
Lows: None

I stumbled back onto this beer by accident at a bar where I was trying some different beers. I had forgotten if I had tried it before, and was glad to get reacquainted with this excellent ale.

From the bottle, pours a red-orange/amber color with a copious foamy light tan head. Head fades at a moderate pace down to a thin sheet: good retention, and good lacing here. Nose is marked by a definite hops presence as well as some fruity—apples and grapes, maybe. Taste is solid hops all the way back, bold, but not overdone or over-bitter. Mouth is watery but substantial; pretty decent. Finish is again hops with a light bitterness. Drinkability is good if you apprecate a hopsy ale.

Overall: A decent hopsy ale, recommended.

jettjon, Apr 30, 2006
Photo of Sosh
3.25/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Finishing this beer as I type this. It poured into my glass a golden orangish color, with considerable head and a decent lace. I've seen this beer hyped up on this website and finally bought a six pack. This first beer I really enjoyed, but maybe it was all mental due to the hype. After finishing the 6 pack, I'm really not all that impressed. This plenty other beers I would buy over this. Although, I am interested in the other offerings Sierra Nevada has to offer.

Sosh, Apr 30, 2006
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,710 ratings.