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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.

8,973 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,973
Reviews: 2,711
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 149
Gots: 1,026 | 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: 8,973 | Reviews: 2,711 | Display Reviews Only:
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 02, 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
Photo of badbeer
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden orange color with a beautiful frothy head leaving a nice lacing. Nice combination of floral and citrus hops in the aroma. Pine, orange, and biscuit flavors make up the majority of the taste, nicely balanced. Lightly carbonated and medium bodied. Pretty good beer and consistent as well. It's great having this beer easily available.

badbeer, Apr 30, 2006
Photo of cproioi
3.45/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a glass.
A: Golden in color with a white head that produced decent lacing.

S: Smelled of citrus hops not a bad smell rather enjoyable.

T: When I have an American Pale Ale I wanted it to have alittle more hop's bitterness to it then this beer had. My findings is that American Pale Ales normally have a more hoppy bite to them then other types from around the world. However, not with this beer. It was just kind of there in taste. Nothing really stood out to me at all.

M: It was fine nothing thick at all but never once did I think of it as watery.

D: Relatively high. I would drink this again after doing work outside but other then that I can't see myself buying a bottle just for the hell of it.

End notes: I've heard a lot of people talking about how great this beer was. I guess I had my hopes up to high because it really didn't bring to me what I was hoping for. It's not bad by any means but more of it's not my favorite. I would never think of trying to talk somebody out of buying this.

cproioi, Apr 25, 2006
Photo of plaid75
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice copper hue, with a one finger head. Good head retention and lacing.

The smell was rich with hop and grapefruit character. A light and airy aroma, which is inviting, in my experience, to non-craft drinkers.

The taste was crisp and dry. A very nice hop to malt balance, accented by grapefruit and flowery flavors.

The mouthfeel is crisp and clean, not too full and not too thin.

A very drinkable Pale Ale. In fact, I have found this to be a cross over beer for many people who are not experienced in craft brews.

In my opinion, a staple. I use this beer as a standard from which I measure every American Pale Ale I try. While few have exceeded this one in flavor and aroma, most fall short. Another plus is that it is readily available in most areas of the country I have visited.

plaid75, Apr 25, 2006
Photo of LPorter33
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

6 pack from Martignetti's on sale for $6.29

Appearance = Great looking, crisp, clear golden honey colored. Head is good initially, frothy 1/2'' which fades into a thin line. lacing is very above average and carbonation is persistent and even.

Smell = Decent nose although a bit subdued. What's there is nice though. Clean piney hops with some honey-like sweetness coming through behind.

Taste = Excellent APA. Perfect amount of hops..not enough to be an IPA but present enough to make a definite statement. Outstanding drinkability as flavor hits the perfect balance without being overwhelming nor watered down. Extremely well balanced. This should set the standard for APAs.

Overall = Probably the best ubiquitous beer you can find. I default to this every time i'm at a pub which doesn't cater to beer advocates.

LPorter33, Apr 16, 2006
Photo of JanM
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

SNPA has to be one of the most reviewed beers on BA, and who am I to add anything new to it? It's well liked by everyone, and the jewel of American mass produced beer. Well, gotta join the movement.

The color is amber golden and it pours with a finger of nice, thick foam. The smell is strong of grass, citrus, and a little roasted just like a PA should. The taste is an excellent balance between sweetness and bitterness with the latter taking over in the end. There's a tinge of chocolate in there too. Carbonation is just right. A friend to trust.

JanM, Apr 15, 2006
Photo of ChuckD
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz twist off bottle poured into a chalice. Off white, delicate lacing atop a shiny copper body.

To the nose, the floral bouquet bangs up front with underlying malty sweetness. The aroma is very strong but tends to be all over the place.

In the mouth, this is a wonderful PA. Layers and layers of hop character melded with just the right amount of sweet goodness. The taste spectrum is far ranging and there is always a nice nuance to find.

The feel is bold and full - creamy on the tongue with a nice crisp carb to keep it lively. It finishes dry and earthy - making you want more.

Musings: I am not a huge SN fan in general - but this is onebrew I almost always have around. It is a perfect summer brew - refreshing and brisk but still maintaining the depth.

ChuckD, Apr 13, 2006
Photo of IntriqKen
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served on tap at Angel's Stadium in a clear plastic cup.
Poured a beautiful medium golden amber with no head but ample lacing that stayed with the entire glass.
Aroma was sweet malt, bread yeast, and mild hops at the end.
Mouthfeel was full from the tiny carbonation, although I didn't notice any alcohol in the back as I swallowed.
The taste was a slightly sweet malt with just a little hop bite and then the sweetness of the malts follow finishing very balanced tasting with a slight citrus drying at the end.
Overall a very pleasant beer that can be sessioned well and is perfect for drinking with peanuts, hot dogs, and popcorn at a summer's baseball game.

IntriqKen, Apr 13, 2006
Photo of shamus
4.8/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is probably my favourite session beer. Perhaps the fact that I can't get it in Ontario adds to it's allure. I had my first back in San Francisco in 97 and thought "Wow the Americans do make good beer". Canadian youth grow up with a lot of mythology about American beer based on things like Old Milwaukee and Coors.

I liked this so much I brought a few bottles home to Montreal with me. Fortunately it is widely distributed in the States so I always have some when I make a trip to Boston.

It's a beautiful copper colour, with a great head and the hops are very fragrant and well balanced. I love this beer.

shamus, Apr 12, 2006
Photo of BurnsTau
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber with minimal head, small amount of lacing.

Hops are immediately recognized in the aroma, this beer has an incredible smell that just builds anticipation. First taste and the hop bitterness is immediately recognizable. There is definitely a strong hop profile in this beer that is more apparent than the malts. Malty sweetness is faint but there, but that isn't what this beer is about.

Great, great beer for hop lovers, and beer lovers of all kinds need to try this one.

BurnsTau, Apr 11, 2006
Photo of Erdinger2003
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer pours very nicely...however I did pour it pretty hard, but the lacing still sticks just great. Has a clear crisp brown color.

Smell is very hoppy with cascade hops with some very slight banana smell to it.

Taste is hoppy, but not overdone and is balanced with a light coffee malts.

Mouthfeel is a bit like water.

I do enjoy this beer more than others.

Erdinger2003, Apr 11, 2006
Photo of SilentSabre
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This has to be one of the most perfect session beers ever. It pours an orange bronze colour with a nice white foamy head that hangs around for quite a while. Nice, thick sticky lacing adorns the edges of my glass. The smell seems an even balance of both malt and hops; quite sweet and slightly floral. Smells delicious. Taste is mild with hop bitterness up front and a nice malty backbone on the finish. Mouthfeel is smooth with a nice level of carbonation. Drinkability is fantastic, as this is certainly in my top 5 session brews.
Blessed Be

SilentSabre, Apr 09, 2006
Photo of mcallister
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good thick lathery head with very little lacing. The color of wet hay that was recently put through the blender.

Aromas are somewhat lackluster as nothing really jumps out at you. Somewhat hoppy, slight spicy characteristic.

But the taste is what truly makes this pale ale. Very balanced, with a good solid backbone of hop and malt. An interesting spicy wheat component is in this brew also.

The beer is very palatable and can help you through the long haul of a night especially if you end up at a non-beerfly type of establishment that doesn't have the best beer selection in town.

Very dependable especially at the price.

mcallister, Apr 09, 2006
Photo of Roguester
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very good beer, and in fact the beer that got me into micro to begin with. This beer has it all, great smell, great hoppy taste, and can be found anywhere. Always a safe bet while beer shopping. It suprises me that Sierra Nevada can produce so much of this beer while having such a fresh hop flavor and incredible smell.

Roguester, Apr 09, 2006
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,973 ratings.