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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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9,678 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,678
Reviews: 2,799
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.91%
Wants: 182
Gots: 1,470 | 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: 9,678 | Reviews: 2,799 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of merryjoulton
3.52/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clean cut golden amber dark rosy color that is very inviting and crispy. Head is off white and sticks and laces and emits aromas of sticky hops, roasty and clean malts, pine trees, nectarines, and ripe plums. Taste is balanced and fair, honest and fairly bitter. Mouthfeel and drinkability are alright as well.

Photo of jpeterman
4.48/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

--Poured from a 12 ounce, brown snub-nose bottle into a shaker pint glass. No drink-by date visible on bottle.--

Appearance- A hard pour yields a sizable, fluffy, off-white 2 finger head, likable to a pillow. Light golden-amber liquid, perfectly clear with no haze whatsoever. (I poured the sediment in, so it is visible, creating a bit of a blur at the bottom of the glass.) Head stays around for about 3 minutes, leaving a nice sticky web of lacing as it goes. A spectacular looking APA.

Smell- Floral hops and pine hit the nose hard at first. A fresh, sweet-yet-sharp grassy scent is dominant, also. Comparison: A perfect summer day. In the background are light malts, and a smidgen of sharp sourdough bread as it warms a bit. Yeast is also prevalent, and some fresh fruits come about with every other whiff or so. Overall an irresistible aroma.

Taste- Just as with the nose, the sharp hop bite comes first; piney and very crisp. A light, sweet malt catches the back of the tongue, along with the yeast. More malt comes in as it warms. A near perfect balance for an APA. Extremely well constructed. My only qualm is that the finish is a bit slick. However, it is by no means drastic.

Body/ Mouth-Feel- Light and crisp, with perfect carbonation and just enough weight on the tongue to keep me interested. Again, a bit slick, but nothing to really complain about.

Drinkability- Easily a session beer. A 6 pack on any evening would be an absolute treat. In my opinion, this is a perfect example of an APA, along with being a classic!

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

A pint glass served at Champion's in Highspire, PA.

A: The pint has a clear amber body, an orange-brown combination that 'copper' is properly affixed to. A half a finger of white head managed to lace nicely in the oft-rinsed tumbler glass.

S: The nose has a strong hop presence for a pale ale, offering pine and citrus in abundance. A strong caramel backbone provides balance.

T: The ale opens with a very oily hop presence, one that was strong and resiny enough that 'soapy' may be appropriate. Further sips reveal the citrus and pine from the nose. Caramel and biscuit flavors drive the malt profile that is strong enough to stand up to the hops. The malt and hop pairing leaves a nmice finish in the mouth.

M: The mouthfeel, especially when fresh, is tough to beat. The hops are vibrant and oily, coating the palate with each sip.

D: A pleasantly drinkable pale ale, one that doesn't skimp on the hops. SNPA is an ale best served fresh on-tap.

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

A: A nice copper hue with a thick 1.5 finger head that dissipates slowly to a steady, thin coating over the beer; the lacing is good

S: Subtle hops that give it a bit of a flowery smell; there is also a nice grainy aroma; there isn't as much in the scent as I would hope but it works well

T: A very balanced brew with a good amount of hops but not overwhelming-kind of what an APA should be; there is also a graininess in the aftertaste

F: Slightly thin but for the most part this beer has a nice balanced mouthfeel; the carbonation works well too

D: One of the most drinkable, reliable, accesible beers out there; this is the definition of a session beer.

Photo of philbe311
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I can't believe it's taken me this long to get around to reviewing one of the most accessible and long standing staples of the craft beer world...

A - A medium copper color with a faint but distinct orange hue... Loads of moderate paced carbonation rises throughout... A slight white head quickly fades away leaving no real discernable lacing, just small collar of bubbles around the glass...

S - A mix of citrus fruit and piney hops... Rebalancing with a sturdy and reassuring malt backbone... Loads of breaded malts... Caramel... Toffee... Grain...

T - A pronounced hop bite to start... Piney and outdoorsy in nature... Just enough malt presence to provide excellent balance... Doughy bread... Some caramel and toffee... Some slightly metallic characteristics... Also some floral characteristics...

M - Medium bodied... Sturdy... A good bit of pringly carbonation engulfs the tongue... Very even beginning to end...

D - Goes down very easy... Not being a hop head, this is a brew I could enjoy quite a few of without feeling like my palette has been violated... Always my first choice when in BMC country as it is available almost everywhere, but it's a lot more than just a "fall back" beer...

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

24oz bottle poured into an American pint glass.

A - Amber/golden body, pretty clear, with a slight haziness to it. Nice frothy light-tan head. The beer appears very carbonated at first. The head retention is good.

S - Pretty strong floral hoppiness, with lots of pine and a bit of citrus notes. Some malts in the background.

T - Starts out with a decent hop bite, with lots of fruit (lemon, orange, apple) and pine notes. You also get a mild caramel background.The finish is floral and has some bitterness, but it does not linger for too long, which boosts up the drinkabilty.

M - Light-bodied. The carbonation is high at first, then moderate. Very smooth and pleasant overall.

D - Very easy-drinking. This beer is not the most complex APA, but it's very drinker-friendly (I downed the 24oz bottle in no time, provided I'm nowhere near being a guzzle-lover), so it definitely deserves a round of applause.

Photo of steveh
4.59/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A very old favorite (one of my first micros, when there were but few).

A -- Bright golden with a light cream head that thins to a persistent cap.

S -- Citrus fruit with biscuit malts bringing up the rear.

F -- Fruity citrus hops up front that blend into a mellow, earthy bitterness and ends with fruit esters and mildly sweet, bready malts. Piny bitter aftertaste.

M -- Light in body and crisp in mouthfeel. Slightly spritzy on the tongue.

D -- Goes down smooth and easy, quenches the thirst as a good Pale Ale ought to. King of the style and it keeps its chops.

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

Bottle to chalice. Classic label. Very utopian.

A: Looks great. The body pours a light golden orange with shades of reddish brown. 1.5 finger frothy white head. Excellent retention and above average lacing. Even through the faint haze, there is very active carbonation. The bubbles shoot right to the top.

S & T: Big fruity hops with flowery esters. The malts play second fiddle and a little leafy yeast further behind. Light citrus and pine notes help round it out. Great balance on the nose. Perfectly balanced flavors, everything good and in moderation.

M: Despite the lively carbonation and hop presence, this brew is fairly light on the tongue, especially as the temperature rises.

D: A go-to beer. And very available. You shouldn't have to travel too far to find a SNPA six pack. If you do, someone's not doing their job.

Photo of jwhancher
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice golden, straw color. Great carbonation from the pour. Very nice head that lingers quite a bit.

S: Rather neutral smell. Smelled some lighter malts and a faint citrus odor.

T: Awesome taste. When I had this recently, this beer conjured up memories of why I started to like craft beer in the first place. It really sets the standard of what a great beer should taste like.

M: Very good to great. Goes excellent with a variety of dishes/food or quite simply by itself. I find myself really forcing myself not to drink this beer too quickly...a tip of the hat to the mouthfeel of the beer.

D: I really enjoy this beer. Not something I would want to drink a half a case of in a night, but it's definitely a solid beer I would buy time and time again.

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

From notes, on tap in California. Very clear, golden/copper, fluffy white head, good retention, some lacing. Not very active. SMELL pleasantly hoppy aroma up front, dissipates. Not expecially complex. Grassy hop notes return with a swirl and as it warms. TASTE nicely balanced meium bitterness, substantial but not overdone hop flavors & perceptible malt backing. FEEL tingly/fizzy, medium body, dry & a bit bitter in the finish. OVERALL it is a classic, or course. Plenty of flavor, easy drinking. Old reliable, and thankful to find it when it's the only craft beer available in a particular location.

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

Appearance: Into a nonic pint, pours a huge 3 finger, creamy, off white head that leaves nice sheets of lace along the sides of the glass as it eventually settles down into a thin cap. A a radiant, deep golden hue glow when held up to the light.

Smell: Nice, aromatic, floral hoppiness: the standard grapefruit rind and pine aromas, along with hints of apricot and pineapple.

Taste: SNPA is a flavorful ale with more than adequate hop presence and a perfectly modest malt backbone. Mild pine, apricot, and grapefruit balanced with subtle but present malt notes, reminiscent of brown bread baked with honey.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-thin body. Perfectly carbonated, like all Sierra Nevada offerings. I find it awesome that they bottle condition all of their beers, even in the 12oz bottles.

Notes: A full flavored session beer. The quintessential American Pale Ale.

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

Definitely one of the best APAs out there in terms of availability. Pretty common, so you'll find this relatively easily. Pours a nice golden color. Aroma is of hops and wheat with some light citrus. Taste matches aroma, also has a slightly stronger carbonation mouthfeel. Great beer to start someone off with.

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

A: Nice 2 finger head it just disappears a little too quickly. Nice amber color and good lacing.

S: Piney, citrusy, earthy hops with a bit of malts backing them up.

T: Very clean and very balanced. Nice hop character with perfect malt backbone.

M: Perhaps a bit too carbonated for my taste. This is why I actually prefer Doggie Style over this. But still 2nd place for me.

D: Goes down very smooth. It is gone before you know it.

Not many APA's really stand up to this American classic. And yes I do believe it has earned the title American classic as it is actually starting to stand out against the macros. Price, availability, taste and drinkability are the reasons why this is APA around. Great gateway beer.

Photo of Jae27
3.16/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a standard Grumpy Dave's pint glass.

A. Clear amber to yellow with a bubbly head dominated by CO2 carbonation. Not bottle fermented. No yeast. No CO2 nucleation.

S. Very light hoppyness. Nothing really strong comes through. I may be getting another cold, so I'll have to check this again later.

T. Pretty floral hops, not overly floral, just to much for my tastes. hops taste and smell like a combination of Cascade hops and Nobile hops. This is just speculation no real evidence for this. No malt flavors at all. The finish is bitter which is nice.

Not really an APA guy, but this is one of the better I have had. Nice change from the RIP's and porters I usually drink. Nice beer overall. Nothing really special though.

Photo of MetalHopHead6
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale poured light straw with a thick two-finger head. Thick lace sank and disappeared quickly. The color was lighter than I like.

The smell and taste were citric and light, with a bit of an acidic aftertaste. The feel was crisp and slightly bitter and the ale was very refreshing.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the best widely-available beer I've had. It's a pleasure to find it on the menu at a restaurant with a poor selection. It also would serve very well as an every-day beer.

Photo of VTaler
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark Honey color. Thick light brown head. Alot of the particle are suspended through out it
S - Floral and citrus hops hit your nose hard. Also kind of a sour smell. The smell almost reminds me of malt liquor
T - really good taste. Perfectly balanced. Excellent combination of floral and citrus hops along with a nice malt backbone. Not too bitter. This is how a pale ale should taste.
M - Medium carbonation
D - very very drinkable. too drinkable

Photo of GoalieRon33
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Amber, with a hazy orange. Not a ton of head to speak of, but sufficient

S- Noticiable hoppiness. Fresh smell.

T- Bitter, with fruity undertones. I'm not the biggest fan of pale ale's, but this is a good one.

M- cool, crisp, and refreshing. Great carbonation.

D- Easy to drink...The hoppiness might offend the palates of some people, but those who appreciate the taste will love this beer.

Photo of gloobygloob
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours a hazy amber with a thin head that dissipates fairly quickly and leave little to no lacing.

Smell is a bit weak, but has hints of hops and malt hidden behind a bready, yeasty smell.

Tastes malty at first, which gives way to the hops in the finish. has a sticky fizzy, tangy, finish which is surprising after the weaker nose. finishes smooth as hell and extremely drinkable. i could drink this all night.

A bit disappointing at first in smell and appearance, but taste, feel, and drinkability make this an all around decent beer.

Photo of ImusBeer
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer of the Month this November at my local Taco Mac.

It arrived in my 20oz glass a light copper color, very clear with an off white head, very wispy. Small lacing appeared on the side of the glass as I drank.

The aroma of light pine hop with a clean grains dominated. The taste was mild with just a hint of pine and some sourness on the finish.

It had a light crisp medium bitterness with a light feel on the tongue. Nice drinkable beer, this one could carry you through the evening easily.

Photo of natelocc787
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a whole different experience on tap. My review of the bottle came out to a B-, however it may have been an old bottle because on tap this was MUCH more like the classic APA it claims to be. Very hoppy, piney and citrusy in the nose, nice sheets of lace left on the pint glass but disappear after a few minutes. Great color to the beer and the taste is very refreshing and hoppy with crisp fruit and pine showing their muscles. Very drinkable and very nicely done. I must say it was a totally different experience on tap.

Photo of BrewitYerself
2.86/5  rDev -29%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a frosted glass before I could stop the bartender.

Pours a clear dark copper, thick dense head, some lacing.

Smells of bready/slightly sweet malt with fruity/floral hops and mild esters.

Taste is pungently bitter and sour upfront. Pithy and herbal, almost vegetal. Finishes pretty clean with a moderate lingering pithy sour-bitterness. Not much malt on the palate - just a touch of breadiness and very slight sweetness.

Mouthfeel is very thin, overcarbonated.

Overall it's too bitter and sour, and not enough malt to balance. Hop aroma and flavor are a bit lacking. The flavors it does have taste stale. As it warms it releases more of a malty-sweet aroma, but there still isn't much more than bitterness on the palate. If someone offered me another, I'd take it, but I wouldn't order it.

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

It was bound to happen sooner or later, I would review one of the beers that brought me to my craft beer revolution. Thank you Sierra Nevada pale ale for showing me the way into the light.

Beer served on draft at a local pub. Beer is clear and yellow with a white head that leaves some lacing on the glass. Carbonation is medium to high.

The aroma is hop filled, mostly citrus but there is some pine character in there. The hops smell great but they overwhelm me and I cannot detect anything else.

Beer has a medium body, and there is a lot of bitterness in the back of the mouth from the hops. There isn't much to speak of in the front or perhaps I am just distracted by the hop bitterness. Drinkability high. One of my favorite stand by beers that is readily available nearly everywhere.

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

Poured into a beer glass which produced a nice foamy nice head and a nice nutty brown colour. It had a nice hoppy aroma about it, which did not disappoint as I drank it. A balanced hoppyness lingers nicely on the palate. A beer I could drink over and over, and makes me wish I could get a beer this good, this cheap in Canada. Sigh.

Photo of Josievan
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a fine golden hue with a nice head and lacing.

Smell: Somewhat hoppy, but more piney for me.

Taste: Good old Cascade hops duking it out with a pack of pine trees. This beer makes me want to lie on the cool ground on a late afternoon under immense California pines.

Mouthfeel: Significantly carbonated, with a good moderate weight for an APA.

Drinkability: For me, not sessionable, but very drinkable for an APA, which is not my favorite style.

Overall, this beer's reputation as the Old Faithful of APAs is warranted. Hop-forward beers such as APAs and IPAs aren't exactly my thing, but if I'm craving an APA, this comes to mind. I remember having this beer once before I was really into craft beer. At that time, it was quite a bit too hoppy for me to enjoy it. Now, I clearly see why it's a benchmark for APAs.

Photo of Keblar
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Only thing I don't care for in this beer is the hoppiness, enough that it could be an IPA rather than a PA.

Slightly cloudy bright golden orange. Good head in the glass. Nice carbonation balance. Decent head that lingers well.

Clean feel, not too bitter. Floral of course. Citrus-y. Someone described it as a grassy tone, and I think fits it pretty well.

Excellent beer, but not my style.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 9,678 ratings.