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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.

8,977 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,977
Reviews: 2,711
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 149
Gots: 1,028 | 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: 8,977 | Reviews: 2,711 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JohnnyM2002
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from the tap, poured into a Sierra Nevada pint glass on pint night.

A - Pours a clear, golden color with red highlights and good carbonation.

S - Powerful combination of pine & grassy hops. Nice citrus blend in the background.

T - Not as overly-hoppy as the aroma suggests. The piney/grassy flavors blend very well with the milder hops. I've heard people talk about the hoppiness of this beer, but it's definitely not too packed with hoppy goodness....instead, it's a very good blend of citrus malt and grassy hops. Sorry to ramble...

M - Medium body with very good carbonation.

D - Definitely one of the top APA's I've ever had and a great brew to keep on hand for an everyday selection.

JohnnyM2002, Dec 19, 2006
Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Light amber with an inch of off white foam. Great head retention. Smells of sweet malt, pine and citrus. Tastes of grapefruit and piney hops. Just the right amount of malt to back it up. Very crisp and dry in the mouth. really refreshing. This beer will always have a place in my fridge.

Well I've been drinking this beer since the early 90's and it tastes the same today as it did back then. You can never go wrong with this American classic. SNPA has never let me down. it's been a staple in my fridge for more than 15 years. If it were not for this beer and this brewery blazing a path, we would most likely be stuck with a lot less choice when it comes to craft beer. Drink it now and drink it often.

ClockworkOrange, Dec 15, 2006
Photo of maddogruss
3.13/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this tonight at the business get together. Wasn't sure if it was an English pale ale or an APA when I was there, so I figured it was an English pale ale because it tasted very malty. It had a good look to it: dark amber color with a decent, white head that retained throughout the beer. Smelled very malty; did not notice any kind of hops at all. Tasted malty as well; once again, no hoppy traces even noticed in the aftertaste which led be to believe that it was an English pale ale. A pretty nice mouthfeel; pretty thick, similiar to a Sam Adams in regards to mouthfeel. A good, drinkable beer, but did not taste like a good APA; I would have expected at least a little bit of a hoppy taste, at least to balance the malt, if I knew it was an APA when I was drinking it.

maddogruss, Dec 14, 2006
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I've had this beer many times, but never reviewed it. I feel like the introduction of this beer represents a contribution to the American craft brewing scene, and thus needs to be considered in the context of its time and place and not next to Three Floyds Alpha King, Big A IPA, Maharaja, and other beers that likely wouldn't exist without Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Appearance is fairly classic APA - orangey, bright, and sparkling. Only one finger of foam which was retained fairly well and left some lacing.

Odor is very lightly estery hop aroma.

Taste is light (relative to some of the other APAs I mentioned above) hippiness, and pleasingly light bitterness.

In my mouth, it is just slightly sticky, which I've come to associate with APAs.

This beer is highly drinkable; I could drink these all night.

BeerBelcher, Dec 12, 2006
Photo of bigpatvoodoodad
4.65/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pale Ale is probably my favorite style, second only to English Brown Ale, and this beer in particular is my favorite of Pale Ales. As silly as it may sound, I like the serene green color of the label and artwork. Now, as far as the beer itself, well it is just spectacular. It is very refreshing and not overly heavy. I simply love the spicy taste and the pleasantly bitter aftertaste always leaves me wanting another after I've finished a bottle or pint. Needless to say, this is a very drinkable beer by my standards and what I consider the bench mark when comparing other American pale ales.

bigpatvoodoodad, Dec 06, 2006
Photo of Damian
2.98/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Drank on-tap at Sully's Pub, Hartford, CT

Poured a clear, reddish amber with a one-finger pillowy head. Some bits of spotty lacing.

Smell was hardly detectable initially. As the beer warmed, the aroma became somewhat more pronounced. Musty with a touch of citrusy hops in the background.

The taste was somewhat similar to the smell. Not much happening on the front end except maybe a touch of malty sweetness. As the beer moved to the rear of the palate, it became increasingly bitter but lacked the citrusy hop flavor that should have accompanied this. Somewhat grainy and resin-like on the back of the palate. Aftertaste was hoppy and bitter (orange peel was noticeable) and lingered on forever. (This was unquestionably the most impressive part of the beer.)

Mouthfeel was fairly creamy, smooth and full-bodied.

Overall, this beer was a disappointment, as it lacked the flavors and aromas needed to make up for its intense bitterness.

Damian, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of PEBKAC
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The classic summer pour is back for one more round. Buried deep, one last summer bottle remains.

Mellow gold. A Really heavy & thick mushroom cap envelops the edges of the pint glass. Almost like paste, no bubbles, except where the whitewash makes contact with the outside rim. Not really content with sticking around, it stands for about a minute, then collapses like a tower of Jenga, leaving craters & valleys where civilizations of yeasts once toiled the land & raised their families. Ok, it's just a beer.

Spicy & refreshing, like a full-strength hose sprayed right into your face on a hot summer day. You haven't actually been able to drink any, but you know if try hard enough, you eventually will.

Consistant like a glass of sparkling wine. There's always a little extra carbonation riding the stairway to heaven. Bitterly sweet grapefruit rind, with a saltine cracker finish that makes everything so pleasant. Nothing too crazy or complex. Honestly, who wants to sit & analyze; Seinfeld reruns are on.

Just drink & appreciate. :)

PEBKAC, Nov 29, 2006
Photo of umfskibum
3.45/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: This is undoubtedly a perfect looking beer. Pours a gold/orange color with a little bit of haze. White, thick, tasty head that lasts for most of the beer. Great looking lacing. This beer is at the peak of APAs appearancewise.

S: Strong citrus hop and bready malt scents. Really crisp, clean and balanced smell.

T: The citrus hops shine through without being too bitter on the tongue. Nice bready malt in the background as well. Really a pleasant flavor.

M: Really crisp and refreshing. Nice light carbonation. Goes down really smooth and a bit slick.

D: A good, drinkable beer, and a great example of an American Pale Ale. Not a beer I would ever turn down, and something I really see as a good bridge into the craft beer world from the macros.

umfskibum, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of eberkman
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful reddish gold with a nice, white head that leaves some lacing and sticks around for a bit. The smell is of citrusy hops and some sweet malt. The taste is very well-balanced -- the same malty sweetness balanced out by a pungent but not overpowering sour-citrusy hop bite. Nice, crisp mouthfeel with good carbonation. Extremely drinkable.

I really can't find any flaws -- the perfect session beer and the perfect beer to keep around to go with absolutely anything. I love this beer. A true classic.

eberkman, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of nathanho
5/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I already reviewed this beer and my comments on the various components of the SNPA experience remain the same.

It seems like every time the subject of beer comes up I always go to SNPA as a year-round "can't miss" and I have repeatedly described it to anyone who would listen as "overall, the best beer in the world". Taking into account quality, price, consistency and availability - I still hold this statement to be true (given my limited experience).

Therefore, I think that this beer belongs in my very limited pantheon of "5's".

If one would like to split hairs, I would give it somewhat less than a 5 in every category except taste and drinkability but, as a man in love, I say to you - "I don't care, she's perfect!"

nathanho, Nov 22, 2006
Photo of neenerzig
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear, dark golden/orangish color. Mine had almost no head. Decent lacing. Aromas of citrus and hops with a bit of spice as well. Tastes of sweet malt and hops are both present upfront, followed by some citrus and a touch of spice. The taste is nicely balanced. Has a medium body with a crisp and smooth mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation. Easy to drink. A little weak in some aspects, but this is a good beginner APA for someone who has never had a beer of this style before.


neenerzig, Nov 19, 2006
Photo of jwc215
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours orange/amber- nice clarity - with a creamy, lasting head that leaves rings of lacing down the glass.

It has a floral/citrusy aroma.

The taste is of mild citrus - lemon and orange - with a sweet malt balance. The hop bitterness has an edge over the sweetness, but is fairly well-controlled, as per the style. It's on the lighter side of medium-bodied.

It's a nice brew, but nothing special. A decent choice when the other choices are mostly macros. This is an easy-drinking APA.

jwc215, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of treehugger02010
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I got this on tap at Kildare's Irish Pub in King of Prussia. It came in a 12 ounze glass. There wasn't much head, but I think that was more a factor of the pour since the lace was more than apparent. Since there was no head, there was no retention either. The smell was rather good, but a bit to subtle. The taste was a typical pale ale, but I thought it was wonderful none the less. The was extremely smooth and the mouthfeel was nice. Very drinkable. Don't drink and review.

treehugger02010, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of mikesgroove
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a decent amber, with no head, and a bit of lacing, very clear. Smell is citrus hoppy, but not overly so. Slight spiceyness as well. Taste is very crisp, with a dry hop finish. Very citrus flavored, and a bit of grassy, piney flavor as well. This has always been one of my favs, always easy to get, and always drinkable. Pretty much my standard at restaurants that don't have much. Its no IPA, and is by no means the Celebration, But I have never turned one down.

mikesgroove, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of jeffjfindley
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is fun, because this is an old favorite that I haven't had in a long time. The last time I had this was before I started making an effort to analyze what I was enjoying. I've loved craft beers since I found them, but only recently (since the discovery of this website) have I started writing about em'.

I hate to say it, but the twist top kills it for me, and resulted in a deduction in the appearance category. I know it's petty, but I have a block when it comes to equating great beer & twist tops. Besides that, it's appearance is unremarkably attractive.

This is the template for the "West Coast Pale Ale", and it smells like it. The scent is very outdoorsy, piney, and fresh. It's not a huge attention grabber, but it makes you want a taste. A wonderfully refreshing, unpretentious taste of an American classic.

The mouthfeel is addictive, partially due to the sticky hop finish which leaves you thirsty for another gulp. There is no more drinkable beer on the face of the Earth, and I'm enjoying my visit with an old friend.

jeffjfindley, Nov 16, 2006
Photo of kmacphail
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

This dark, stumpy bottle poured out a light amber beer with a thin white head that gradually dissolved, but remained for a decent length of time.

The nose was dominated by hops with a hint of citrus thrown in. There was a natural and fresh smell to this beer, very pleasant indeed.

The hops dominated through to the taste with a good deal of maltiness added in for some good measure. This felt very light on the palate, but given it is a pale ale it does what it is supposed too. Again the sense of freshness was brought through to the taste. This is a very refreshing beer that would have been better tried in the middle of summer rather than november in Scotland.

I found this to be very easy to drink, next time I organise a BBQ I will purchase a number of these. Very nice, but a drink for a hot summers day.

kmacphail, Nov 02, 2006
Photo of cabsandking
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden/amber in color and a slim head that fades to a small pool of fine bubbles and a thin laced ring. Honey and toffee sweetness and some floral notes in the nose. Hops offers some grassy, yeasty characters followed by peppery dryness. Malt characters are simple notes of honey, toffee, a touch of oak, and really just enough to balance the brew nicely allowing the hops to take the main stage. Thin to medium body and a smooth mouthfeel with a touch of fizz at the end. Moderately carbonated. Woody, bisquity, and slight malt sweetness in the finish.

cabsandking, Nov 01, 2006
Photo of scarletfire79
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer is my definition of an everyday craft brew. great flavor, dry finsh. very refreshing. nice hop balance, not too bitter. all in all, exactly what i look for in an APA. don't get me wrong, there is nothing outstanding about this beer. unless of course you find that there is absolutely nothing offensive what so ever outstanding. there just isn't anything out of the ordinary. although i'm partial to east coast beers, sierra has definitly opened my mind to other west coast beers.

scarletfire79, Nov 01, 2006
Photo of Doomcifer
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Pours a crystal-clear golden, liquid gold, with a beaty of a creamy white head that retains very well.

Aroma is of pale malts, hop spiciness, hay, grains, very earthy.

Taste is of light malts and hops. Very smooth and crisp.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated.

Extremely drinkable. As said, very smooth and extra crisp. Great summer day beer.

Doomcifer, Oct 31, 2006
Photo of uconnalum2
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear amber color with a small white head which diminishes quickly. A pleasant, somewhat sweet smell. Taste is crisp with a slightly sweet malt flavor and hops bitterness throughout. Aftertaste disappears very quickly. Mouthfeel is dry and light to medium bodied. Drinkability is very good. No problem downing several of these. Overall, this is not an exciting beer but a good one to have when you want to have a few.

uconnalum2, Oct 30, 2006
Photo of beakerboy
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Part of Liquor Barn's Ultimate Brew Crew Nov '06 - Pale Ales

Poured a bottle into a certified british tulip pint glass. The cream colored head was two fingers high and slowly dissipated, leaving a significant amount of lace on the glass. The beer is quite clear and a dark amber in color. The aroma is strong hops and sweet malt. The flavor starts with floral notes, which fade to a medium bitterness. The bitterness is not so overwhelming, it's well balanced. The mouthfeel seems on the light side. A good beer all in all, more hops than many Pale Ales, but not as agressive as IPAs.

beakerboy, Oct 30, 2006
Photo of bigone4
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clean orange almost clear straw color. Nice white head that dissipated pretty quickly. Mild lacing with some head retention. Smells floral and of a mix citrus fruits. Mild hint of lemon or a grapefruit like tone. Very strong hop citrus scent with a hint of some pale malt in the background. No freshness date to be found. Has a very soothing hop scent. Good bottle conditioned carbonation and a minimal amount of yeast sediment. Nice hop flavor in the initial taste followed by a rather interesting smooth mix of flavors. Hop bite mixed with a subtle touch of malt and grain. Has a rather citrus fruit, hop after taste. Very enjoyable and easy to drink. I have had this beer many times before and have never reviewed it. I am glad to have the chance to finally enjoy this beer for what it is worth. Good overall characteristics of a pale ale. Fine construction from start to finish. Good all around drinking brew. Has a good feeling in the mouth and leaves a nice hop bitterness in the back of the mouth. I forgot how much I enjoyed this brew.

bigone4, Oct 27, 2006
Photo of RobertDwight
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perfectly clear golden color. Decent white head that laces a bit. Not that much going on with the smell. Taste is pretty good, lovely hops! At first glance you wouldnt suspect this brew to pack such a bitter punch but it does. I love how this beer is hopped. This is definitley a go to beer. I could have rather one too many of these!

RobertDwight, Oct 27, 2006
Photo of boblog
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden clear color. Nice white head leaving a good amount of lacing.

Smell: Nice citrus hop smell with grainy, yeast scent as well.

Taste: Nice crisp along with a bit of sweet malt. has hints of citrus twang.

Mouthfeel: Light, dry and crispy.

Drinkablity: East to drink good for most occasions. Over all a very decent beer.

boblog, Oct 22, 2006
Photo of tempest
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bolder than English pale ale counterparts like Bass, Boddingtons or Old Speckled Hen. Served in a pint glass, the ale displays a golden amber color with a foamy white head. The aroma is of multi-grain bread and biscuit-like pale malts, with a sharp citrus and floral aroma. A dry, slightly tart caramel taste opens the flavor, followed by hops. Derived from Sierra Nevada's generous but balanced use of Cascade hops, the pale ale also brings tastes of lemon zest and grapefruit with a sweet, spicy finish.

tempest, Oct 21, 2006
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,977 ratings.