1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

9,807 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,807
Reviews: 2,835
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.91%
Wants: 195
Gots: 1,607 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 9,807 | Reviews: 2,835 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dasmith52
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of my favorite Pale Ales.

A: A beautiful light golden/ pale color that has a nice head.

S: The hops are the main taste here. A great hops and malt smell with a slight hint of citrus.

T: Crisp and refreshing. Again the hops is the main star, but the bitterness is balanced well with the malts and makes for a very nice overall beer.

M: Flows well, but nothing special as far as the feel goes. Still nice.

D: Very easy to throw back a bunch of these and very refreshing. Good pairing with food or separate.

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

The standard "you can find it everywhere" IPA. And not a bad option, either.

This one is a decent yellow orange, with a good fluffy head that laces a bit.

Spicy hops, fruity aroma. Very floral.

Decently mild hop flavor with just enough bite to make it interesting. Finishes very sweet and mellow, with just a touch of caramel.

Slightly dry mouthfeel, and a decent load or carbonation. Refreshing in spite of the slight dryness.

Like I said, a standard. Nothing mega-spectacular but a worthy option anytime.

Photo of FickleBeast
4.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Smuttynose pint glass

A - pours pale amber with only a slight ring of foam

S - wonderful aroma of citrus hops

T - classic. Balanced pale ale with just the right amout of hop flavor explosion at the end to satisfy my inner hop lover.

M - medium bodied with a good amout of carbonation that tickles the tongue

D - I love this beer. Great price, great flavor, I can drink this all night an be happy.

Photo of TheViolator666
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I fell in love with the Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA not too long ago and I've been meaning to try some more SN. This looked appropriate for a summer day.

12 oz. bottle poured into GLBC Burning River pint glass.

A: Pale golden color with a very nice and thick white fluffy head. Leaves beautiful lacing all the way down.

S: Smells floral. A hint of malt and of course hops, but less than I expected. Subtle and very light on the nose.

T: First thing I think of is how well balanced this beer is, malts definitely come through. Hops come to me at the end and leave a refreshingly bitter aftertaste. A very clean, refreshing beer. Sweet malt is notable in the aftertaste as well.

M/D: A nice medium-full body to this one. Very clean and smooth as I've noted and very drinkable. A great summertime beer, no doubt.

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

Appearance: Light light amber. Impressive head, recedes in a timely manner.

Smell: Smells like some fresh pale grain malts with a hint of hops.

Taste: The pale malt is pronounced enough to give a good counterpoint to the big hop flavor. It's somewhat bitter, and even better when it warms up a touch. Lot's of carbonation from unfiltered beer.

Mouthfeel: Clean! The beer practically begs to be held and sipped. Again, the light malt is big enough to hold the beer together.

Drinkability: This could easily be a session beer, that is if you like you pale ale a bit bitter. These go down especially well in the warmer months here in Wisconsin.

This beer is the money maker, with good reason.

Photo of jera1350
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pale golden yellow with big head of fluff. Nice lacing down the whole glass. Good head retention.

Fresh hops up front followed by caramel malt.

Well balanced hops and malt. Bitter grapefruit and other citrus notes with a touch of pine. Solid caramel malt backbone.

Feels fine. Light-medium bodied, carbonation is right on for flavor releasing.

Definite session beer right here! Widely available and consistent.

Photo of Mit
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A pours a nice golden colour with a rapidly dissapating head.

S subtle grapefruit and piney notes. Very mild malt character.

T light hoppy bitterness, finishing off with a spicyness and very slight malt flavour at end.

Mouthfeel is very typical of a 5% beer

D very drinkable-could have serveral in a session

Photo of bsp77
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ok, so I just bought a bomber of this, simply because I wanted to review it. I have had this countless times in my pre-review past, and it seemed like heresy to have not reviewed it. So here goes...

Serving glass: Poured from bomber into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Light golden-amber with moderate head and impressive layers of lacing for an APA.

Smell: Floral, citrus hops countered by light grainy malts.

Taste: Floral citrus hops take center stage, with a nice grainy malt undercurrent. Just a touch of sweetness, less so than most APAs. Ends with a nice level of bitterness. While not as bitter as most IPAs, it is certainly more bitter than many APAs.

Feel: Fairly smooth, medium body with moderately high carbonation. Finishes more dry than most APAs.

Drinkability: Hell, yeah. This may be the prototypical APA, but it is also one of the best, maybe because it straddles the APA/IPA line closer than most.

Photo of Shumista
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

SNPA was one of the beers that got me into craft beer and away from the light beers my buddies so enjoy. To this day whenever I'm not quite sure what I feel like on a friday or saturday night I know I can go with a sixer of this and be happy. Funny that I've never reviewed it.

A- I'm reviewing on my blackberry watching a game of beer pong with no glass around. That's ok with me though, SNPA is one of the few craft beers I don't hesitate to enjoy straight from the bottle. Besides the other 1600+ reviews probably do a good enough job of describing how this one looks.

S- The aroma is muted because it's still in the bottle but is still pretty good. Citrusy hops dominate the nose but do not overpower.

T- Wonderful, everything an APA should be. Citrusy hops are balanced perfectly with bready malt. I can't say enough about how perfectly balanced this beer is.

M- Medium bodied, crisp, good carbonation. Very refreshing beer.

D- Give me a twelve pack of this and a hot summer day and I will be happy long after the sun sets. One of the most drinkable craft beers I've had.

Photo of MikeBrandman
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - White, fluffy head that pours one finger thick into a pint glass and fades rather quickly, leaving a spotty hat of foam on the top. Minimal lacing down the glass. Transparent; brown and orange hues. Tasty looking.

S - Not a terribly strong smell, but the cascade hops come through. Smells orangy, maybe even a bit of honey sweetness to the smell. Not outstanding, but what's there is good.

T - Taste is fantastic. Very balanced for an APA. The bitterness comes through in the end, but the citrusy flavors linger throughout. The pine essences from the hops definitely make it taste like a "Christmas in July" kind of beer.

MF - Rather thick, medium to full bodied. Heavy over the tongue as it slides down. Leaves a hoppy taste on the tongue too.

D - Very drinkable. Refreshing, tastey, and good amount of alcohol. Would definitely go for a session of this.

Photo of schmitter
3.69/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is the beer that started it all for me (and I'm sure many others). Before Sierra Nevada came into my life, it was all Busch Light and natty for me. But now I have seen the light and honestly opt for different (better)beers these days.
Anyway, it poured a nice reddish amber into a pint glass with only a slight head. The hops kick is nice, but not wuite enough for me. There is the regular citrus notes and the biting aftertaste associated with the style. I could (and have) drink a dozen. Basically, thank you Sierra Nevada for showing me the light.

Photo of Sean9689
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into nonic.

A - Pours golden in color with a white head. Some lacing.

S - Malts, hops, citrus - all perfect for a pale ale.

T - Lots of subtle malts up front and a slightly sweet finish. Not a whole lot of hoppy/citrus favors at all. Very refreshing.

M - Light, perfect carbonation, very fizzy.

D - So easy to drink. A perfect summer beer.

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

A: light transparent amber color beer, white head that leaves specks of lacing

S: very traditional pale ale smell

T: bitter bites with some citrus hints thrown in. in short... good!

M: smooth medium body with a good amount of carbonation

D: easy to drink

Notes: great beer overall, im a big fan of pale ales so my review might be a little one sided. would recommend this beer and would buy again. wish i had more then one of these guys laying around

Photo of bgreg3
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

App.-Amber with a slight haze and a perfect foam head about 1.5" tall very impressive

Smell- Malty smell with some hops and yeast

Taste- Absolutely perfect balance of malt and hops, Malt dominates off the bat then the hops come and balance it out beautifully wow, This is a damn good beer.

Mouthfeel-Medium body, doesn't stay carbonated long, or maybe mine was getting a little warm, I got it from the cooler out of a liquor store and it sat for only about 5 minutes before I got to it. So I'm stickin with the 3.0 rating.

Drinkability-Very Drinkable, I would love to drink it all day , There is hardly any build up on the palate and the little that there is is very desirable.

Great beer. Must try.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

This brew pours a golden orange, with off white lively head that fades to a thin layer with some lacing throughout.

The brew smeels of hops, earthy backbone, citrus.

The brew tastes of hop bitterness (nice bitterness) very balanced brew. Bready malts, hops, citrus nice bitter hop finish on the finish.

Very drinkable. Very balanced. A classic, that is a staple in any beer lovers fridge. I havent drank this enough over the years. Drinks well year round - any occasion.

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

with 1000+ reviews i'll keep mine simple.

i tried this since it seems to be a good starting place for new beer drinkers to try a decent craft brew. I enjoyed it. its a class beer that has just enough flavor to be different then most standards lagers but not as bold (and perhaps to strong for some) as an IPA.

if you spent much time here at all you already know as i learned, this is a great beer for those who want to try something good but might not be able to handle an IPA or imperial stout.

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

Finally reviewing the classic American Craft beer.

Pours a cloudy peach body with a big white head. Fruity hops with notes of grapefruit and orange. Caramel malt and spicy, citrus hops meet seamlessly in THE classic APA. Good hop flavor, moderate bitterness, excellent balance. SNPA is creamy on the finish with high carbonation. SNPA is the beer that defines Sierra Nevada and is one of the most historic and influential beers in craft beers meteoric rise. As the number of quality American breweries has exploded, this beer may not be as greatly superior or unique as it once was, but it is still an excellent beer that serves as the model against which all APAs can be judged.

Photo of ElGeordie
3.59/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had 2 or 3 of these at the State Theatre in Falls Church. Served in plastic glasses - Dont know why, my wife was drinking Coronas from the bottle.
Anyway, initial impression wasn't great: no head to speak of but the beer was a beautiful coppery colour. Tastewise, after it warmed up it reminded me a little of Bass but without the distinctive English hops (fuggles ?). Despite the low carbonation the beer felt good in the mouth and went down well.
Despite all of the challenges imposed by the serving I enjoyed SN PA and will look for it again - and uodate my review.

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

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Light orange with a nice big fluffy head.

S: Cascade hops in all their piney-citrusy glory.

T: Pleasantly grapefruity hoppy bitterness with a bready malt backbone. The malt becomes more prominent as it warms. Nicely balanced.

M: Medium-bodied, just a little syrupy.

D: The beer that launced a thousand hopped-up West Coast pale ales. Nonetheless, its position as the best beer available at the average bar is pretty much unassailable.

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

Serving type- 24 ounce bottle poured into a mug.

A- Pours a dark straw yellow with a nice white lace that has a very good cling to the glass. Their is carbonation activity present after the pour.

S- Hints of hops present.

T- There is an immediate presence of hops in the taste. That hoppy bitterness sticks with you throughout the beer ending in a somewhat bitter aftertaste.

I always pass the 24 ounce bootle when I grocery shop and today I finally decided to buy one and see what it was like. I have become a huge fan of the Torpedo and I wanted to branch out and see what else they offered. I am not a huge fan of Pale Ales but this is a good tasting beer. For better or worse I have become a huge hop fan, therefore the hoppier the beer the better, but this is just as good as any of those hop bombs. I see this beer alot when I go out to chain restaurants and I am excited to now have another beverage option when I eat at those places. This will make it into my regular rotation when I need a break from the stronger presence beers.

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

A: The pour is a hazy golden-orange color with some lively carbonation and a fluffy white head.

S: While there is certainly a caramel malt sweetness, this pale ale has a very pronounced citrus and pine hoppiness to it.

T: Up front, this has nice citrus hops with the malt taking the lead through the middle before the piney, bitter finish.

M: The body is medium with a lively carbonation which makes this a nice refreshing pale ale.

D: My fist craft beer and always a standby when out at a bar or restaurant. You can almost never go wrong with SNPA.

Photo of qpHalcy0n
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served chilled into Pilsner glass.

Pours ambery/orange with perhaps some greenish hue at glancing angles with a 1 finger head. Moderate lacing.

Malt aroma hits first followed by hops and grapefruit and almost gingery smell.

Extremely earthy taste. Bitter citrus fruits like grapefruit hit first and finishes with a piney/gingery taste. A very refreshing beer, especially on a hot 100 degree Texas summer.

It's got a little bit more bite to it than I'd like, but the excellent taste/finish overcomes this for me. Moderate carbonation.

This is a very earthy beer that is very refreshing to drink. I haven't tried many Sierra Nevada beers but I'm looking forward to more. Makes for a wonderful summer beer.

Photo of jsh420
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours golden orange with a 1 finger head that leaves spotted lacing

smell is mainly malt but also the hops are present citrus grapefruit with some earthy grassy notes

taste is very much the same - but the hops hit you first grapefruit mixed with the grassy hops then a finish a sweet malts

mputhfeel/drinkability is where is beer loses me - way to harsh - and too much bite and sting

i used to love this beer but boy do times change - it is still a solid beer but if this is the gateway beer i think the craft party might lose some after trying this

Photo of drums4matt
3.82/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up - as I often do - on a hot day after making some moves on a Summer-like day.

Poured almost totally clear (other than perhaps a little chill haze) from the bottle into a Scaldis tulip. Looks nice; it pours a typical, goldenrod ale color with a one-finger, white, slightly fizzy head that only remained for a moment. Minor, though quite pretty, lacing is left around the apex of the glass.

Smell has significantly less to offer than other "micros" right off the bat, but after sipping one slowly and allowing for some warming-up this beer really shows its colors. There's a sweet graininess right out front with some west-coast hops just peeking their way through the soft, fragrant bouquet. Mmm. That smell sits SO nice with a hot afternoon.

The taste is nice. It offers more than the aroma would let onto. There's some nice fruity flavors right out front - tastes like a combination of the malted grains and phenoly, almost vinous, flavors. Delicate hops leave a lasting impression of floral and slightly citrusy flavor with a palate-coating oiliness.

Sierra Nevada is one of the beers that turned me onto beer. It has such well-defined characteristics - it nearly defines (or possibly ACTUALLY defines) the style of American Pale Ale. The refreshing drinkability (and not in the Miller Lite sense, either) meshes so well with the malt and hop to yield something that has become a classic.

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

It seems that with Sierra Nevada, you really can not go wrong. The same can be said for their Pale Ale. Clear, no sedament (not that I mind that) and good taste. This is definatley one of my fall back beers on Sunday night at 11 pm when I need to travel to Balto. County to get beer. In MD we call the "Blue Laws", the county I live in just allowed stores to be open until 4 or 6 pm, but there are times when living on a county line has its benifits.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 9,807 ratings.