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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.

8,978 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,978
Reviews: 2,711
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 149
Gots: 1,030 | 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
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Ratings: 8,978 | Reviews: 2,711 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hustlesworth
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

i can remember years ago when i had one of these and said "YUCK" haha oh how the times change...

A- poured a crystal clear topaz honey amber colorwith rising bubbles topped by 2in of dense soapy off-white head with medium retention leaving 1/8in ring and random fingers of lace stuck to the glass.

S- citrus, sourdough bread, yeast and malted milkshake, roasted nuts and grains, and spicy peppery herbal hops with a floral twang to it

T- orange, grapefruit, white wine, lightly caramelized malt, fruity powdery yeast in the middle. the sourness of the citrus and the herbal pine sap hop bitterness cuts all underlying sweetness down leaving a lingering spicy resinous woodsy leafy hop aftertaste with bread and biscuits way wayyy in the background.

MF- perfectly balanced in my opinion, resinous yet refreshing. finished nice and dry and went down like a silky champagne although unlike most champagne, the carbonation was at an ideal level.

D- uh yeah, i could drink this all the time and it's definitely my go to beer when i'm lookin for a bullseye, right up there with old speckled hen and sam adams boston lager.

hustlesworth, Aug 30, 2007
Photo of BeerDreadz
3.45/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big brown bottle

Appearance is a dark brown,shiny orange.

Smell like some citrus fruit, some malt in there.

The taste is a lot like orange and some spices,citrus flavor are clearly there very nice,hops are present and sweetness is really there.

Nice drink after a dinner, not a really beer for a lot, i would soon for this one.

BeerDreadz, Aug 28, 2007
Photo of pojo41
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a reddish amber color with a thin head that didn’t last. Had a fruity, citrus aroma. Good flavor of biscut and malt with citrus coming through from the cascade hops. Very good mouthfeel and carbonation.
Have really come to enjoy this style of beer in recent months. One of the best I have access to.

pojo41, Aug 27, 2007
Photo of SafeAtFirst
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A) Light copper color, pretty clear. Good carbonation. White head dissipates quickly and leaves spotty lacing behind.

S) Not as much aroma as I expected. Some nice citrus odors and a light malt/biscuit.

T) A light citrus note up front followed by a hint of grains and toast. Plenty of hoppy bitterness in the finish.

M) Medium bodied, good mouth feel

D) Pretty good overall. I had this in a blind tasting with Liberty Ale and Hopalicious (Ale Asylum), it came in third. Not bad, but not life altering.

SafeAtFirst, Aug 26, 2007
Photo of tai4ji2x
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a golden amber with frothy head that sticks to the side for several nice rings of lace. this time i decided to slightly agitate the last bit in the bottle to get some of the yeast and see what happens. if you do, you will get some cloudy and speckled elements floating around.

aroma is a fresh pine scent, bread and yeast, and maybe a hint of citrus.

tastes fruitier but maintains bold hops and firm bitterness. still manages to play along and more or less balances with the malt, although i would have liked just a pinch more maltiness. but it's still very tasty.

crisp and light, goes down pretty smooth.

tai4ji2x, Aug 25, 2007
Photo of mshallah
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pale copper to dark gold in color. Appearance of the head shows a well crafted brew as it's fluffy and creamy. Looks classic. Many bubbles of different sizes. Carbonation streams from the bottom of the glass in an absolutely clear liquid. Aromas of sweet malted barley and citrusy fresh dry-hopping. Label states bottle conditioning and it shows with perfect ale cabonation that's smooth and tingly on the tongue. Tastes of citrusy cascade floral hops with a sweetish caramel malt background. Malt becomes more aromatic and an apricot fruitiness comes through as beer warms. Here is the template for many an APA. Still tastes great after all these years. If it's not broke.... Goes great with spicey foods, BBQ, burgers, pizza, indian and seafood dishes also pair well. One of many fine Sierra Nevada beers and a brewery that's a source of pride for American brewing.

mshallah, Aug 24, 2007
Photo of nosbocaj
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark golden/amber color. Thick off-white head stays and holds well.
S: Smells of sweet malt and fragrant hops
T: A nice balance between the sweet malt and the bitterness of the hops. Tasted hints of citrus hops as well.
M: Medium body with a perfect amount of carbonation.
D: An excellent APA that I will definitely buy again.

nosbocaj, Aug 24, 2007
Photo of jkrich
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle with no freshness date.
Poured a deep gold to copper color with a two inch off-white head which dissipated leaving some lacing
Noticeable northwest, piney hop smell with some bready aromas.
The citrusy hop flavor attacks the palate with a slight caramel malt flavor close behind. I have enjoyed this beer numerous times and find that the flavors are subtly different each time. Becauset this beer is available nationwide, including grocery stores, I believe I have purchased a six pack that was probably past its prime, This made the malt flavor more prominent as the hops dulled from age. Of course, I have always been satisfied with this ale, though I would like to taste the pale ale at its feshest.
Highly drinkable and could easily be a session beer even at the 5.6 % ABV.

jkrich, Aug 24, 2007
Photo of irishkyle21
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I start by saying I cant wait for this beer to make its way to Ontario. But for know I have to deal with having it once in awhile. Pours with a rocky white head, leaves behind some good lacing as it fades to a thin layer above the bright amber colored brew.

Smells of hops, citrus, some fruits ( grapefruit comes to mind but not as apparent as some IPA's or DIAP's), and a malt backbone.

The taste starts of with some citrus, malt, and has a great dry bitter finish. I would have this in my fridge often if only it were more readily available to me.

irishkyle21, Aug 23, 2007
Photo of bcgoldtoe
2.48/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

As one of the highest rated pale ales, I looked forward to a great balanced beer. I was, however, disappointed to see that the complexity I seeked was sorely lacking.

A= Solid, beautiful golden color with hints of amber

S= Better than a macrobrew but this was the first hint something wasn't right

T= Way overhopped. Needs more malt and fewer hops. Bitterness does fade into slight sweetness but does it have to take so long?

M= Excellent, one of the better balanced mouthfeels. Not too thick, not too thin

D= It's ok, once you get past the overpowering hops.

If you're not a fan of strong hops, avoid this beer. I do agree with the comment about this being Budweiser with hops. If you want a great microbrew pale ale without huge amounts of hops, I recommend Dogfish Head amber ale or Fat Tire.

bcgoldtoe, Aug 20, 2007
Photo of t0rin0
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have had this many times in the bottle as well as on tap over the past couple of years.

It pours an appropriate color for a pale ale. I say that because many times beers without color are beers without flavor barring of course belgian golden ales and tripels and some weissbiers. The foam dies off quickly which is alright with me because it doesn't taste much like the beer (the hops seem to stick out in the foam).

It has probably the best pale ale flavor I've had. It has a good amount of bitterness for a pale ale but that bitterness disapears quickly and becomes sweet and malty. Very drinkable and is well balanced.

I have always enjoyed this beer and always will.

t0rin0, Aug 20, 2007
Photo of tronester
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden orange, with a great, white head. Smells of citrus hops. Taste is very well balanced, sweet malt, with a good use of bittering and aroma hops. One of the best interpretations of the American Pale Ale out there. The version on tap isn't quite as good, likely due to this version being bottle conditioned.

tronester, Aug 19, 2007
Photo of WillieMoe
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light amber in color, with little head and mild tracing. This a delectable brew for sure. Has a solid, but not overpowering, hop smell. Starts bitter, but the bitterness doesn't linger, it becomes sweet and finishes smooth. This is an extremely drinkable beer, especially good on a warm summer day.

WillieMoe, Aug 14, 2007
Photo of gusdabrew
4.9/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For every great beer in America there are 1000 poor excuses for beer. SN Pale Ale is the perfect beer at the perfect price available everywhere. We all look at the lists of great beers and hope we can run across a few when we're lucky. SN Pale Ale is easy to find, easy to share and easy to enjoy. Kudos to Sierra Nevada for providing us with this America Classic.

gusdabrew, Aug 13, 2007
Photo of udubdawg
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

can't count the number of times this beer has saved what would otherwise be a deplorable beer list at a restaurant. Nothing spectacular, but no aspect of this beer is less than "good". The beer is amber with a decent off-white head. Lacing is pretty good, especially for the brief time that the head stuck around. Nose is pretty one-dimensional hops, but it's a nice dimension, with lots of citrus. Overall not that strong to this particular hop-head. Flavor is likewise very good, just enough bitter bite with every sip to make this even more refreshing. Rather floral, with an underlying light toasted malt flavor. Mouthfeel is a bit spritzy, but body is better than decent and quite smooth.
I don't think I've ever sessioned this beer, but it is quite drinkable. The carbonation sneaks up and I tend to feel full after a couple.

udubdawg, Aug 13, 2007
Photo of RedChrome
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A crystal clear golden orange blend. One third of an inch white colored head retained about a minute. Only a handful of small carbonation bubbles. Thin sticky lacing ribbons.

A super sweet malt aroma lies right on top of the hops scents. Light citric blend of hops aromas comes and goes. A decent blend, with surprising grain scents in the style.

Strong hops right up front in the taste. A definite citrus sense to the hops with a faint pine note underneath. Malty sweet flavors of brown bread are subdued but noticeable.

An average thickness to the body which clings on the sides. Carbonation pop in the finish.

A very nice choice in the style. Great beer to go with a sandwich. A solid choice to always keep on hand. If you like your taste buds, treat them to one of these.

RedChrome, Aug 12, 2007
Photo of whiplash3825
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

*Before I start, I want to warn that I usually drink wheat beers and therefore am VERY sensitive to hop smells and flavors!

Hard-poured a nice copper with a four-finger head which dissipated to a lasting cap w/ very nice lacing.

Smell was all floral citrusy hops, which always reminds me of the bergamot in Earl Grey tea.

Taste has a nice hop bite with a clean finish. All I can taste is hops, but the bitterness gets less noticable as you go. Very citrusy and floral. This reminds me a lot of Sweetwater 420 Pale Ale. Probably very typical of the style. The taste lingers, but not in a bad way.

Good mouthfeel, though not nearly as "chewy" as my favorite style which is German hefeweizen.

Very drinkable in spite of the higher ABV. Once I get adjusted to the big hop flavor after a few swallows I can drink 'em pretty easily.

Overall, a very good,easily found brew. I've tried to be kind because I'm just not used to drinking "hoppy" beer but am trying to expand my horizons. I can see where the hopheads would like this one!

whiplash3825, Aug 11, 2007
Photo of gubbt
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah, the first beer that I ever had...

Beautiful golden body with a thick creamy white head.

Nose is mostly piney hops with some underlying toasted grain and biscuit.

Up front is baked biscuit and dough that transitions into some fruity ale ester flavors and then the world famous pine/citrus hop finish.

Mouthfeel is fine and drinkability is quite high due to the nearly perfect balance. What can I say? Simply a classic and my first beer experience period and one that has converted countless. Not my favorite pale, but it will always have a soft spot with me because of the memories.

gubbt, Aug 11, 2007
Photo of YonderWanderer
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice clear copper with a thin head. Little bits of lacing on the glass.

S: A nice balanced hops smell comes through, hints of citrus, hints of pine, hints of resin. Not overpowering like an IPA, but really pleasing. A little bit of sweetness rounds it out nicely.

T: This beer shines in the taste department. Nice, smooth bitterness upfront with the hops followed by a slightly sweet malt, leaving behind a well-balanced yet nicely bitter aftertaste. No real alcohol presence.

M: Nice and smooth, goes down easy.

D: Very drinkable. This was the first pale ale I ever really started drinking frequently, which led to my love of the IPA and DIPA style. Highly recommended.

YonderWanderer, Aug 06, 2007
Photo of Budro
4.93/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pure copper, burnished like fine cookware, nearly transparent in its glassy clarity. On top of this, a full two-finger head, foamy and creamy in appearance. (Note: Every SN I've ever poured has been perfectly clear, in spite of the label's warning that you might see some yeast from the bottle conditioning in your glass. I'd love to see some yeast in there.)
S: The nose: Sweet mist rising from rain-splashed stone. Seriously. The hops' pine and ctirus notes are squarely in the background, lurking like a distant fog. The overall impression is one of mineral purity.
T: The suprisingly thin head, lightly flavored, tastes pleasantly of sour yeast. The beer proper boasts a bitter front and lingering sour back in perfect balance; as the latter fades from the palate, it complements the hop attack of the former. The finish is mineral-dry initially, but as the beer warms, the dryness of the finish becomes reminiscent of a sourdough roll. Nice transition. Furthermore, the beer yields underlying apple notes as it warms. No real sweetness, but allusions to sweetness in every swallow. It's subtle and complex.
M: The thin head disappoints; it appears creamier than it is. The tingle of carbonation is bracing but not overwhelming; it doesn't burn with the first swallow, and it mellows agreeably as the beer warms. Don't let it sit too long, though; when the beer gets too warm, the last couple of swallows are stripped of good flavor and feel almost tepid on the palate. That's just nit-picking, though. This is an exquisitely crafted brew.
D: I could drink this all day.

Budro, Aug 06, 2007
Photo of LittleCreature
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - 3.5
Poured a finger and a half of thick off-white head which quickly reduced to a thin layer. The colour is a nice, slightly cloudy orange-brown.

Smell - 4.5
Hmm, really interesting! This actually has a slightly Belgian smell to it, like you would find in a Belgian Pale Ale (perhaps it is the highish ABV). The usual flowery hop and fruity (mostly citrus) smells from an American pale ale, accompanied by sweet malt, spice and a smooth alcohol.

Taste - 4.5
Yum! This is a seriously tasty mouthful! A strong and bold flavour, starts with smooth malty sweetness, almost cake-like, which gives way to a strong hoppy bitterness and a tart orange taste, and a dry finish. I was very sad to finish my glass.

Mouthfeel - 4.0
Feels really thick in the mouth, quite dense and heavy, almost creamy. Carbonation is low to moderate. Became near-flat a little too fast for my liking.

Drinkability - 4.0
Not as drinkable as Little Creatures Pale Ale, mostly due to its higher ABV. This is bloody good stuff though, and I could definitely go a second (or a sixth) in one sitting

I was expecting this to be more similar to Little Creatures Pale Ale, but I am really glad it wasn't. I've never seen this in Australia before, and am hoping to stumble across it again. It was expensive to buy (nearly twice the price of LCPA and not appreciably better) but definitely worth it. A fine beer in its own regard.


On all subsequent tastings, I don't think SNPA is as good as LCPA. It is the benchmark beer of its style and very drinkable with pleasant bitterness and a dry finish. However, it lacks the fresh hoppy character of the best beers American Pale Ales.

LittleCreature, Aug 02, 2007
Photo of ndekke39
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank this from a 12 oz. bottle with no bottling date. On a hard pour it has a nice white head. Clear golden-yellow color. Great retention. Soft aromas and tastes of lightly toasted malt and honey. Finishes cleanly with a brush of the hops. Tastes travel well. Light-bodied mouthfeel. Continuous carbonation adds to the head, although it doesn't bite the tongue. Not the most powerful flavors, but a well-balanced session beer. Great example of a Pale Ale!

ndekke39, Jul 31, 2007
Photo of TheBierBand
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a couple bottles of this before the Reds game at Game Day Sports Bar just down the street from Graet American Ball Park, Cincinnati.

I poured the bottle into the 16 oz plastic cup to produce a 1" off white head over an amber colored beer. The head dissipated to a thin cap over the course of drinking this beer... lacing.... somewhat (even on a plastic cup).

The aroma was of floral hops with a bit of a sweet/malty profile in the background.

The taste: fairly good. Good hoppy taste but not overbearing. The malt came trough to balance this out.

Mouthfeel: nothing offensive hear. appropriate carbonation and not too thick... a good "gateway beer".

Drinkability: decent beer, best I could find at Game Day... nothing special. I'm sure that I'll have more... wouldn't turn one down....

TheBierBand, Jul 30, 2007
Photo of biggmike
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice copper color with generous fluffy white head that hangs around for a while. Aroma is dominated by the cascade hoppiness. Flavor is citrusy, but is ultimately nicely balanced between the hops and malt. This is a very fine beer that has become available everywhere. Drinkability is very high.

biggmike, Jul 29, 2007
Photo of oldirtycaffrey
3.3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Was pleasantly surprised to see this on-tap at Union Hall in Brooklyn. The appearance is a dark amber with a foamy, off-white head. Fair amount of lacing on the glass. Not really much to the smell besides the hint of hops; the taste was slighly malty and a bit bitter. Pale ales are not my favorite, but this one was enjoyable. Not sure if I'd want to drink more than one or two of these at one time, but it is an enjoyable brew if you are a fan of the bitter ones.

oldirtycaffrey, Jul 27, 2007
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,978 ratings.