1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

9,508 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,508
Reviews: 2,757
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 169
Gots: 1,273 | 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:
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
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: 9,508 | Reviews: 2,757 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JRed
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Damn! That's a good beer. The initial hop-attack wipes all other tastes from the palate clearing its way like an invading army. The fresh, crisp taste that follows is one welcomed aftershock. This beer also features a characteristic that is hard to find in most others, its highly drinkable over a period of time. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale never loses its allure throughout a day or for that matter, day after day. This is a great "go to" beer whether you're entertaining others on a holiday or just want something to sip on during the NBA Finals. Every swig leaves you wanting more of the bitter yet fresh and satisfying taste of this beer. It's very consistent and the alcoholic punch isn't a bad repercussion either. So sit back and enjoy a great brew, possibly the best American Pale Ale there is.

Photo of SeanRedd
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I can't help but to feel patriotic when I enjoy this craft classic. I would join a local militia and defend this country solely for its heroic efforts devoted when brewing this precedent for American Pale Ales. Light on the malt, perfectly overflexed with hop bitterness, this beer boasts balance. Touch of dessert bread met by clean, citrus bitterness. Pure perfection when following the criteria for what an American Pale should be. I would present this hop cake at any close friend's birthday. Definitely a recomendation for any beer drinker making the transition from tastless, mass-produced, heartless, garbage drinker to craft brew enthusiast. America, once again a shining beacon of light...in the world of beer at best.

Photo of orcasteve
4.78/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

this is a beautifal song to the hop, i cracked the top and the hops jumped from the bottel to my nose, i poured into a glass and was happy to see the purfict hue for a pale, ther was a great start to the beer, kind of sweet and lightley carobanated, then the hops overpower the grain, thay hit hard and after you swallo, the bitterness fades to a fregrant spring day flavor. start to finish, the purfict after work take into the shower with you beer

Photo of phantomwyse
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden amber, the color of a few years worn penny. Thinnish filmy head.

S: Earthy pine -- like grinding fresh pine needles in your hand. Lots of baked malt sweetness right behind the hop curtain. I'm a fan of the balanced smell off this beer.

T: Taste follows smell -- balanced. Hops are earthy, slightly herbal but leaning toward grassy, citric pine. Malts are dark breads.

M: Light and prickly, dryer finish.

D: Given that I've found many restaurants in my area serve this along side the usual suspects (you know what I'm talking about), I've found myself drinking this often, and enjoying it every time. Thereby, very drinkable in my book.

Overall: A well rounded pale ale. To be honest, I expected a more powerful West Coast hop presence, but they've saved that craft for other brews. I believe this to be an excellent introductory beer to those just learning to appreciate hops.

Photo of mrhiccups
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice APA, not overly hoppy, balanced with taste of some pine, some citrus. Flavor is not overpowering like some in this class. Cascade hops add some "distinction" to the taste. Am waiting to go to my local watering hole to try this on tap, as they just started serving this beer! Overall, very drinkable indeed.

Photo of Chugmonkey
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

THE Pale Ale that you compare others too. Great Cascade aroma balanced with perfect hop bitterness. Super clear, light copper color with nice white head.

Just a great classic pale ale. If there weren't so many thousands of other beers to try I would be picking these up all the freaking time.

Photo of xare
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Easily one of my favorite beers and a reliable standard that I can use as a benchmark to measure other pale ales and even other beers against. If I'd drink them in equal measure to this, it's a good beer. If I'd reach for them instead of this on a consistent basis, it's an outstanding and truly exceptional beer. But on to the review.

Pours as a hazy somewhat white/golden/orangeish blend with nice head and excellent retention. Smells very hoppy with a nice blend of aromas. Taste is of clean, crisp water with great flavor and hoppiness. Mouthfeel is clean, crisp, and excellent. Always a nice wallop from the hops (although sometimes the stinginess detracts from the mouthfeel as an aftertaste effect).

Drinkability is outstanding. I often find myself drinking more Sierra Nevadas just so that I can go out and buy more Sierra Nevadas.

Photo of Onenote81
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a crystal clear dark orange with a 2-finger head, most of which stayed the entire drink. Smells of sweet floral, citrus, and woodsy, with a hint of sourness.

Very smooth and creamy. Slightly bitter hops, with a bready taste. Fine layer of yeast at the bottom of the glass.

All in all, a very good APA!

Photo of BryanCarey
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is medium bodied, with a golden/orange color. The aroma of the beer grabs your attention immediately, with a mixture of spice, hops, and citrus, and floral overtones greeting the nose. Foaminess is average. As you drink a glass of this beer, it leaves a pattern of lace on the sides of your glass and it is common to find a thin layer of yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottle.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has a distinct hopped flavor. This beer is brewed using two- row barley malt, caramel malt, ale yeast, Perle and Cascade Hops. The taste of the Cascade hops is obvious, but this ale also manages to have a slightly malty taste, which helps keep the beer from becoming too bitter. There is a somewhat creamy texture, with a citrus and spice accented body. The finish of the beer is bitter.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a classic American Pale Ale. It may not be the best pale ale in America, but it's still very good and it stands as a benchmark to the American Pale Ale style. The citrus hop profile and the malty backbone make this a beer worth seeking out.

Photo of Squelch
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I just had this beer on tap and I was very impressed with the hop flavor as opposed to the bottled beer. Absolutly no harshness to the hops at all. The caramel malts were well balanced to the hops. Very Very good beer when served draft. Highly recommended.

Photo of morebeergood
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Grabbed a bottle of this when we stopped into TC's Lounge late night this past Friday. Poured into a pint glass, with a large white head forming. Pumpkin orange color. Smell was a bit tingly, with lots of hops present. Taste is awesome, as this beer is the definition of a pale ale. Hoppy, smooth, crisp, with a bite, you can't go wrong if this is all they have for decent beer. You'll find this stuff everywhere. It's a treat, or it's a last resort, oddly enough. Even dive bars carry it. That said, it's a bit too hoppy for my liking, so I never really order more that one of these.

Photo of charlzm
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 06/08/08.

Nice coppery-golden pour with a nice white head that leaves good lacing in the glass.

Aroma is piney hops with a hint of caramel malt in the background.

Flavor is mostly hoppy, with pine and some light citrus notes being dominant. There's a bit of caramel malt in the background that comes out after the main taste but before the lingering bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is slightly creamy and a little thick, but not substantially so.

Extremely drinkable and refreshing, this is a yardstick in the craft beer world with good reason.

Photo of dfillius
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed in a tall water glass.
A: Moderate pour yields 1.25 fingers of white head with great retention. Clear brownish-gold. Very inviting.
S: Very little smell, a little floral, tropical fruit, some phenol.
T: Light on hops, but they are there with a grapefruit/pine flavor. Kind of bland. Stronger hops upon warming. Definitely an APA.
M: Decent bittering with a bit of malt balance.
D: Very drinkable session beer. Taste and smell don't blow me out of the water, so I'm ranking this lower than if they were really exciting.

Photo of PhxHorn
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was surprised that I hadn't reviewed this beer, but I found myself in a Bud/Miller/Coors establishment and was pleased that they at least had this available so as to avoid the horror.

Solid yellow in color, with white head, it smells moderately of hops and a hint of spice. Tastes moderately of hops and citrus, a teeny bit of malt, and has a strong amount of carbonation. Just a damn solid American Pale Ale that I tend to take for granted until I find myself in a jam, and I learn to appreciate it all over again.

Photo of ekfinn
4.83/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally, I'm getting around to review this absolute staple of American brewing. Poured from a 12 oz short brown bottle into a 16 oz thin-walled goblet. Head is beautiful and clings lace to the side of the glass. Aroma is strongly floral and hoppy. Color is a beautiful golden orange.

Taste is exceptional. This sampling was sampled outdoors on a hot and humid day and served at 38 deg F... a bit colder than many purists would like. Hops and citrus are strong and stand out at the beginning, with a very slight malt coming through a moment after. Hops lingers on the palate long after consumption.

Although heavy on the hops and citrus, this beer is quite simply excellent for many different foods, climates, and occasions, and quite possibly is the reference beer for the American Pale Ale style. Love it.

Photo of BucBasil
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured from the 12oz bottle into a pint glass. The beer is a clear golden color ith hints of orange. Head was about 2 fingers thick and slightly off-white.

Smell: Clean aroma with a citrusy hop aroma that is also slightly floral with a hint of balancing malt underneath.

Taste: Very nicely balanced, starting out with a light, almost orangey hop character. Malt is always there, somewhat bready and adding some depth and substance to the beer. Finishes with a crisp drying hop.

Mouthfeel: a bit disappointing - smewhat flat, though this probably wouldn't be a problem from the tap.

Drinkability: One of those perfect chill-out, highly drinkable beers. Nothing you have to think about, but with plenty of taste and substance.

Photo of yourefragile
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Clear, slightly hazed bright golden amber color with slow carbonation and a fluffy off white head that dissipates to a thick ring with lots of webbed lacing.
S: Floral hops, a little citrus and strong background of grain. Earthy and slightly pungent. Not spectacular, but adequate.
T: Smooth, medium bodied. Malty, biscuit body with a earthy flavor, grain, and floral hops, citrus rind finish. Amazingly refreshing and drinkable.

Photo of SurlyDuff
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ha! not sure how I managed to never review this one. It's a real go-to beer, and is available ontap more places than I can think of.

For rating purposes I am basing it off the 24oz botttle (which I found for $1.99).

Big creamy/foamy head and amber hue.

Smooth hop aroma, piney and freshcut. Floral and a tad acidic.

Nice clean sharp hop bitterness at first, then a malt smoothness takes over, and then it goes dry and sharp hop bitterness for the finish. An exceptional APA, in fact I think it to be the quintesential APA in every respect. For a big-quasi-regional-semi-craft brewery, I love the consisitance in the quality, fair pricing/value, and good flavors!

Photo of steelerguy
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a beautiful golden color with a nice thick slightly off white head. The color and carbonation is what I consider perfect for an APA. The head diminishes throughout but always covers the top and leaves a little lace.

S - Nice citrus smell from the Cascades with some malt undertones.

T - Damn...that is good. The hops hit perfectly, then the crisp citrus flavor, and ends with a nice malty sweetness. This is what I would call a stepping stone beer to get into the harder IPAs and even double IPAs. Not so hoppy or alcoholic that it is a sipper though, and is very refreshing.

M - Has a very good mouthfeel, I like the carbonation...I guess it could be a bit creamier but I am nit picking.

D - Excellent. This beer is good after getting home from work, after working in the yard for hours, with a burger at a restaurant, while watching a football game. Just a good beer for all occasions.

I think this is a benchmark beer. When I think APA, I think Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. There may be some better out there, but not many, and never as widely available. This is craft beer at it's finest...well, Sam Adams is not bad either.

Photo of aubuc1
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from a 12 pack case in to an imp pint glass. Pours a golden orange color with an off white head. Light, sweet citrusy smell with pine in the background. Slightly hoppy balance taste with the smells in the background. Some orange taste. Nice easy to drink pale ale. Renowned for its quality, and rightly so. Of beers recognized by non beer people- it is the best.

Photo of TroyS
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my regular brews along with sweetgrass, so maybe I under rate it. It's a great ale. I like it because it's somewhat hoppy/piney. Buy some and drink it. GREAT pour! The thing that I like the best about this particular brew is that it's a good drink, but available nearly everywhere out here. I got this one at Hooligan's in Pocatello, Idaho;)

Photo of hellcatsjg
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazy dark orange with a big creamy head. A nice layer of foam lasts for most of the glass.

Smell: Nice earthy and floral hop aroma balanced with a good amount of malt.

Taste: Almost perfect pale ale. Nice amount of earthy and floral hops balanced perfectly with a nice amount of malt. Nothing overpowers and it is all very tasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Feels quite creamy in your mouth. Nice crisp hop flavor left behind.

Drinkability: One of the most drinkable beers out there. Nice flavor and nice balanced complexity. This is a great beer for any type of drinker and does not disappoint. Highly recommended.

Photo of NOOGIE
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the staple of the frisbee cricut, always availabe. Once I showed up to a tournament this weekend my friend had one right away for me. I would always take a 6 pack of Sierra Nevada when I would go on the road to a tournament. Anyways the look of the beer has a dark amber color, little foam that disappears quickly. Smells of hops and some fruit good smell overall. The taste is very hoppy and fruity, excellent taste. The feel is smooth with carbonation, good wetness. The drinkability is very good, with an extra sweetness at the end.

Photo of ccrida
4.8/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my favorite pale ale, because it's basically an IPA. Today I'm in vegas slurping these out of the 24 oz bottles, so no comments on the appearance, other then memory telling me that it looks fine, with tons of lacing from the hops.

Smell is good, bright cascades baby - there's a reason these are the classic west coast hop!

Taste is as good as it gets for an APA, nice crisp toasted malt with a huge hop backbone, but where it differentiates itself in my book is that it's not just a bitter bomb, but plenty of hop FLAVOR, with a clean finish.

Mouthfeel is crisp and snappy, this is a great hot weather beer, not to heavy in the stomach, I can and have drunk way to many of these in one sitting, very easy drinker - an exceptional world classic!

Photo of daythree16
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass at the bar. Amber in color with a one finger head that fades and leaves a little lace on the glass.

The smell is mostly of citrus with hints of candy in there. The taste is of light malt sweetness up front with citrus notes and a good hop bitterness.

The mouthfeel is very carbonated but still smooth. This is a great session beer and a very refreshing pale ale.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 9,508 ratings.