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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.

8,963 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,963
Reviews: 2,711
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 149
Gots: 1,022 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 8,963 | Reviews: 2,711 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DeaconBluez
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

to tell the truth. ten years ago, before i started liking craft beer, i thought this beer was down right vile. but i kept drinking it, and the more i drank it , the more i liked micro brews. i know this is not your typical ba review (taste, appearance, smell, etc), but it is more of a testamonial of how this beer made a macro swilling college boy to micro sippin fool. thanks sierra nevada. you may not be the best ipa i have ever had, but....wait a minute i am getting to sappy here...anyway, this beer is an awesome gateway beer for those on the edge between crap and micro brews....cheers sierra nevada

DeaconBluez, Feb 17, 2006
Photo of jlh8643
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass. A clear golden body with a slight orange tint. A solid white foam cap leaves nice lace. The usual northwest hops gives off the citrus, fruity aroma with a trace of grainy malt. Medium bodied. The fruity sharp hops last till the end and finishes crisp. The carbonation gives off a bit of metalic taste.

jlh8643, Feb 17, 2006
Photo of Oxymoron
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This has to be one of the biggest available mircobeers available. Pours a lemony golden hue with sharp amber glints. A good pour with a fuzzy white head. The retention was good, although didn’t last through the whole sampling, as was the lacing.

The smell is a tad more on the hop side of pale ales. A good citrus and floral hop aroma. This is backed by a balanced malt that is rather basic.

The taste is well balanced as well. A good malt base supports a aggressive sweet citrus hop taste up front. This is mixed well with carbonation that is leveled just right. The hop characteristic lasts through and finishes with more of a floral taste. There are hints of pine and earthiness to it as well.

It isn’t difficult to see why this beers does so well. A good body and overall good flavor.

Oxymoron, Feb 16, 2006
Photo of jamesdergen
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a golden honey color into my pint glass with a small white, fizzy head that dissipates rather quickly.

Smell: Sweet malty notes that hide behind big, bitter citrus aromas.

Taste: Very well-balanced brew with nice malt backing. The citric hops drive the taste but are not overpowering. Nice wheaty finish.

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated and light-to-medium bodied for the style.

Drinkability: Probably one of the strongest points of this brew, it balances great flavor with a high level of drinkability. I could easily have another bottle or 2.

This beer is one of my mainstays, I like to keep a sixer around at all times. I just finally got around to reviewing it. If for some reason you haven't tried this yet, go out and grab a sixer.

jamesdergen, Feb 14, 2006
Photo of akahn
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Amber golden color with lots of streaming bubbles. Off-white head of big bubbles. Sticky and lasts as an irregular skim. Some spotty lacing.

Mellow citric hop aroma, with a broad citric hop flavor. This beer has a serious hop bite, bitter, but not offensively so. Barely a hint of malt coming through, expressing itself as an underlying sweetness. This shows up more as the beer warms. Juicy, rather than dry.

Affirmative supporting carbonation that compliments the hops well, and a solid medium body.

Definitely drinkable, sessionable, but speaking from countless experiences this eventually leads to a sticky, unpleasant feeling in the mouth. But I guess that's a problem with lots of hoppy beers. This is probably THE beer that got me interested in beer, and returning to it after a long time was interesting. This beer is the same as I remember it, but I can appreciate it even more now. I'm glad to have a few in my fridge.

Edit: I'm having another one of these at considerably lower temperature. This allows a lot more pale malt and caramel malt flavors to come through. Also, I'm now noting the hops to be somewhat spicy.

akahn, Feb 13, 2006
Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.53/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a pale shade of bronze, clouded by the yeast pour. Three-finger head is dense, and slowly settles to a thin but hardy cap and leaves spotty lace. The nose has a good american barley scent, the hops are floral, and the faintest fruit ester appears in the background. Earthy malt flavor, almost green and not sweet in the least. Afteratste is dry, with a healthy dose of citrusy hops that provide a good balance of bitter and sweet. The mouthfeel is the perfect combination of low carbonation and a solid medium body. Session level drinkability; even the hint of diacetyl that shows up in the finish is appropriate for the style. This is the benchmark APA to judge all others against.

PBRstreetgang, Feb 11, 2006
Photo of MSchae1017
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer was tasted in a pint glass from a bottle.

This beer pours an amber gold with a frothy white head that dissipates in to a thick film that lasts and laces the whole way down the beer. The smell hits you initially with the aroma of the hops. First of all the distict floral and citrus flavors that are so common. There is also a hint of some lightly toasted pale malts. The taste is also fantastic. The hops are obviously the focus of the beer but this does not prevent the beer from preventing some delightful sweet and toasted malts. Again the normal floral/citrus hops are most prevalent but once the beer is tasted the citrus flavor seems to dominate. The mouthfeel is carbonated well with some nice thickness. There is also a welcome dimension of bitterness associated with this beer. Overall I really enjoy this one and have to give it a 5 on drinkability. This is one I will come back to again and again.

MSchae1017, Feb 11, 2006
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours an apricot honey color with a thin white head that left a nice frosting of lace. Smells of muddy oats, wheat, green grass and pine along with some musky lager-like tones. The malt base of this tastes like doughy wheat crackers of some sort, or perhaps rye crisps with a bit of straw. The hops bring out a definite grapefruit dryness but also lets in a little green grape and blueberries. The finish awkwardly transitions to a sterile dryness that almost mandates another sip. The mouth feel is light to medium bodied with lots of light carbonation that I found to be a bit distracting. This is a nice mellow blend of flavors that is a bit to dry in the end for my liking.

DarkerTheBetter, Feb 09, 2006
Photo of gbarron
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from the signature, squatty SNPA bottle. Thin layer of yeast on the bottom.

A - light golden, orange colored. Head pours quite bubbly. Big, off-white bubbles settle down into a little pool foam. Slightly hazy, some yeast in there.

S - citrus, grapefriut, muscadines. Toasted malt in the background. Strong cascade hop aroma.

T - bitterness right up front. Tart. Citrusy, flowery flavor of hops dominate then give way to light, toasty malt backbone. Hop flavor very present. Tastes like you're eating a grapefruit. Biscuity, toasty malt there, pretty balanced. Dry.

M - moderately thin body. Moderate to low carbonation.

D - highly, highly drinkable beer. Easy to pound a few of these and still have a long evening ahead. Very tasty brew. The definitive American Pale Ale.

gbarron, Feb 09, 2006
Photo of Citadel82
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This has become my "go to " brew for all occasions. Tough to beat it pricewise as well as for flavor. It is spicy and hoppy and has enough of a malt backbone to make it interesting. The luscious copper color and off-white head make this a nice beer to look at and the citrus aroma from the west coast hops stir the appetite and make this a nice aperitif. I always keep this baby in the house.

Citadel82, Feb 06, 2006
Photo of arguemaniac
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a crystal clear amber color with a brief, foamy head that leaves behind thin and sporadic lace. Caramel and citrusy hops in the nose. The flavor features a superb balance between malt and hops: smooth caramel along with a grainy pale malt flavor that, like many great American pale ales, has a slight but distinct apricot fruitiness. There is crisp citrus hop flavor that provides a nicely balancing bitterness. Hop spice and some toffee in the finish. The mouth feel is smooth with fairly active carbonation.

In my opinion, it’s one of the best beers out there, for a variety of reasons: it’s infinitely drinkable, it’s tasty enough for the even the most serious craft beer purist to enjoy but approachable enough that even the most committed swill drinker can appreciate it and, to top it all off, it’s widely available on draft and in bottles (six-packs, 12-packs, and even bombers!). For all these reasons, it’s one of the best beers to recommend when turning macro drinkers onto better beer. Highly, highly recommended.

arguemaniac, Feb 05, 2006
Photo of VoodooBrew
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer that started it all, or so they say.

SNPA is crisp, clean, very drinkable, and nicely hoppy. The nose is bright citrus, mild grapefruit, and some piney notes. We find these elements again in the palate, with of course more of a pronounced bitterness, chased by a tartness that takes residence on the sides of the tongue.

While I'd be fine with, say, a Dogfish Head 60 Minute for session purposes, SNPA is still thoroughly enjoyable as a crisp, easy-drinking APA with enough flavor to satisfy the discriminating beer drinker.

VoodooBrew, Feb 03, 2006
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

24oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours an amber color, with a very thin, quickly dissipating white head. However it leaves a bit more lace than you would think, given the thinness of the head.

S: The hops aroma is what prevails in the smell with some malt and a bit of citrus. Nice blend.

T: The malt comes out a little bit more in the taste, but the hops is still the dominant flavor. There’s a slight bitterness, but it’s not unwelcome. Almost no after-taste, which I would image, is mostly due to fact that malt seems to be used sparingly. I consider that a good thing in this case.

M: Smooth, but crisp, very well-balanced with a nice finish, medium carbonation.

D: Not very filling, definitely a beer that you can go with for a long while in one night.

Overall this is an excellent beer. It’s very straight-forward and doesn’t try to blow you away or try to hide anything. This beer is a great “next step” for those trying to break away from the Miller/Bud/Coors/Heineken/Corona rut.

TheManiacalOne, Feb 02, 2006
Photo of bruachan
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap at the winking lizard

translucent copper with a descending head that leaves lacing behind and stops short of disappearing altogether
slight citrus nose with some caramel

more citrus in the flavor with coarse but moderate bitterness that feels kinda sticky in the mouthfeel (at one point it almost tasted metallic, but i decided against that observation)

i haven't tasted the stuff out of the bottle recently so i can't compare the two

bruachan, Jan 31, 2006
Photo of cameraman
4.72/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An amber/copper color, with a nice white susatining head. A wonderful aroma of flowers and citrus comes through on the first scent. Feels slightly watery in the mouth, the hop flavor comes through from start to finish, with hints of malt and barley. The hops dominate the palate. This is the standard for all other pale ales, intense hop flavor, but not to overwhelming. This is a beer I can never get enough of, truely an excellent beer.

cameraman, Jan 30, 2006
Photo of thebarnesbomb
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into glass with a great 1 1/2 inch head (a great pour if I can congratulate myself for a second) with a nice golden yellow color with a slight amber hue to it. A really perfect color, what a beer should look like. The smell was slightly citrus, but mostly of the hop and malt combination. The taste would be just as you would imagine from its scent, mostly the great combination of the malt and hops, with some bitter citrus to it. This leaves the most prominent element to the aftertaste- bitter, but in the good way, lingering on the tongue. As I continued the head disapated to a quater inch head leaving some lacing as it went. A decent amount of carbonation, not enough to take away from the taste, and also a good mouthfeel to it, not watery at all.

Overall, I think this would be a great beer to drink as an all around refreshing beer. Pleanty of taste to keep you drinking, with a good amount of carbonation and a crisp taste to the finish. A wonderful pale ale.

thebarnesbomb, Jan 29, 2006
Photo of MurphyKieran
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hehe. I love this beer. It's not readily availably in Ireland but a local off-license stocks it thankfully.

It's really not the kind of beer I'd buy for a drinking session, but I regularly get a nice hot and spicy Indian meal like a Madras or Vindaloo on a Friday evening and a lovely hoppy crisp beer like this is the perfect accompaniment to it.


MurphyKieran, Jan 28, 2006
Photo of hunteraw
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Not as much head as I'd expected when poured... nice color, a darker amber than I expected.

Smells of malt and hops. Surprising for its lack of much else. This is how beer should smell, straight-up.

Hops are the dominant flavor here. This is beer, brewed well and not trying to be anything else.

Mouthfeel is very crisp, carbonation and bitterness give a nice bite at first.

A fine beer, but drinkability isn't exceptional. Maybe a stylistic choice.

hunteraw, Jan 27, 2006
Photo of chargerfanjess
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a nice dark amber, with a nice white lace that sticks to the side of the glass. The smell is citrus, hops, and lemons and flavored with a sweetness of honey and the faintest hint of vanilla. The taste is great, it has a nice bitter kick from the hops as well as some great lemon flavor that is brought out by the honey. The mouthfeel on the palate is very clean.

chargerfanjess, Jan 26, 2006
Photo of hanco005
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle pored into a pint glass.

A—clear golden amber with about ½ of head, leaves medium lacing on the glass as I drink the beer.

S—hops and malts balanced well, not overpowering, but a nice aroma

T—wonderful hop and malt combo, the mild bitterness is flavorful and finishes nicely

M—smooth and mellow and a little lighter than I expected

D—A great pale ale with classic pale ale flavors and mild bitterness. Could drink many in one sitting.

hanco005, Jan 26, 2006
Photo of jnelson54
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours with fine wite head and golden amber hue. This is a beautiful everyday drinker. I love pale ales and this is a standard of mine. Spicy malt gives way to a nice cascade hop bite. I highly recommend this for anyone who has not had it. Just grap a clean pint glass and enjoy

jnelson54, Jan 25, 2006
Photo of Metalmonk
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

As far as easily-accessible, ubiquitous beers go, this is one of the best. Found in smalltown groceries and dive bars, as well as more upscale establishments, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a great everyday/session beer. Affordable, tasty, accessible.

A good pour results in a soapy head atop a beautiful amber/copper body. Sometimes I just love to look at this one. The smell is unremarkable, only very faint hops present, citrus too faint (considering the orange-y hint in the flavor), but once past the lips this hoppy ale has a satisfying flavor, citrus-y, a pleasing and slightly bitter pinch on the back of the tongue. Refreshing in the mouth (an excellent summer beer) but if it stays too long it gets a bit tart. I drink this as a "daily beer" since lots of my favorite stuff is usually too precious to bust out every single day, which is why I've rated the drinkability high. Never gets old. Considering the local choices, I'll take this over mega-brewery headache-beer anyday. (I have to travel at least an hour to get anything beyond the usual Sierra Nevada/Newcastle choices.)

Metalmonk, Jan 23, 2006
Photo of nickss
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Guess it's about time I reviewed this bad boy, since it is usually my fall-back brew when I go out and they have the normal selection.
Not a bad fall-back at all if you ask me.

Yellowish-Orange hue with a fluffy 1" head.... constant stream of bubbles ascend to the surface, giving hint to the carbonation levels.

Lots of hop in aroma... floral citrus. Surprisingly, there is a significant malt aroma as well.

Nicely hopped, lots of citrus... well balanced. A classic. A wonderful session brew.

I would like it to have a bit less carbonation in it, but the thickness of the beer is perfect.

Could drink this beer all day and all night.... Sierra Nevada is consistently one of the least appreciated brewers for what they do in my opinion. I feel that people consistently overlook them when comparing them to other great craft brewers simply because of their size. But with brews like this, Celebration, and Bigfoot, they can play ball with anyone.

nickss, Jan 22, 2006
Photo of RJLarse
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have long shied away from this beer, probably because of the packaging. Something about the label and carton does not appeal to me, probably the bright green. But I saw it’s overall rating (recommended) on BA and had to give it a try. I poured this one into a pint tumbler.

Pours a shiny copper or rich gold color, with a thin but resilient white head. The beer is quite clear, with a few streams of bubbles rising through it.

The smell is sharp and clean. It smells of hops and faintly like yeast. The smell of malt is not detectable.

The taste is complex, strong taste of hops up front, with mellow malt flavor to follow, and then a very resilient hop and malt aftertaste. There is a remarkable balance in the taste, and it is hard to choose a dominant taste characteristic.

Mouth feel is good, rich robust flavors, none of which are overpowering. But the taste and the beer in general is a little heavy. I’m not sure I’d want to drink more than a couple of these at a session, but for full flavored pale ale, this one is a good choice.

RJLarse, Jan 21, 2006
Photo of Brauluver
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lovely copper colour with small /lasting head.
Marmaladey nose of sweet malt and citric hops in a good balance.
Flava is citric hop tang blended with crystal type malt base,with a long lingering hop bitterness.Neutral ale style with light /medium mouthfeel body.

Very well balanced and drinkable.

Brauluver, Jan 20, 2006
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,963 ratings.