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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

9,879 Ratings

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Ratings: 9,879
Reviews: 2,855
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.91%
Wants: 204
Gots: 1,698 | FT: 4
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
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Ratings: 9,879 | Reviews: 2,855
Photo of goblue3509
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden amber color. The aroma is of a malt backbone, smells of bread, and a citrus and floral hop over the top. The taste is of a good floral and citrus hop top coat, however, not overly bitter, with a malt bread backbone. The mouthfeel is moderate carbonation. Overall it is a good pale ale, the hop taste isn't as bitter as other pale ale's making it more drinkable than most.

Photo of BeerPhan86
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark golden color with a nice thick off-white head.

S - Smells of sweet citrus and pine. Smells a little of booze which seems a bit of a turn off at first. Plenty of malt in the smell also.

T - Sweet at first, then quite hoppy. A bitter pale ale for sure, but I love that about it. Finishes sweet and the hoppiness lingers for a bit. Nice carbonation makes for one refreshing pale!

M - Smooth and bubbly, a bit thick.

D - I could drink this all night (and have). A great sessionable pale ale that is always a solid choice!

4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear golden orange with a 2 finger off whitish chunky head that mellows into a resinous foam cap that leaves patches of bubbly laces down the sides. Beautiful, like looking at clouds.

Floral and Citrus hop notes over a caramel bread malt.

Sharp citrus and floral notes on top of a nicely balanced caramel bread malt foundation. Spicy resinous hop oils that build a nice drinkable bitterness.

Smooth, medium bodied, crisp, well carbonated.

My favorite standby Pale Ale. A great west coast hoppy pale ale. Love them cascade hops. One of my gateway craft beers, and still one of my favorites.

Photo of david18
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pale ale is the ultimate for its style and can be best appreciated after laying off hoppier beers for a while. The aroma is perfect and the look, taste and drinkability is great any time of year or in any situation. Good copper color, amazing aroma of hops. Try after drinking a lot of lighter beers.

Photo of rgrholmes168
3.86/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

The beer poured with a nice 3/4 head that disappated, leaving a small bit of lace along the glass and a thin layer on top. The beer is a light orange that shows plenty of carbonation.

The smell is the weakest part of this beer. Unlike a lot of pale ales, the malt doesn't come thru.

However, the hops come smashing thru as the beer is drank. I really like the hoppy taste, but I would like a little more malt to my ale.

Very drinkable beer, that turns into a six pack really quick. It has a medium body, and doesn't offend the palete.

Photo of velosuds
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date, but coded printing on label.

A-Pours a golden amber with a one finger, off-white head with average retention and modest lacing.

S-Piney and citrusy hops.

T-Too bitter for an APA, but the malt presence became more noticeable as it warmed.

M-Very smooth but not quite enough malt presence.

D-A good APA, somewhat overrated in my opinion. Very easy drinking. Definitely improves as it warms, but I like to drink APAs cold and in large gulps to quench thirst on a hot summer day. Doesn't quite do it for me.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pilsener glass.

A - slightly hazy orange amber with a quickly dissipating head that leaves lots of thin strands of lacing.

S - A kind of boozy gasoline undertone comes up at first, but quickly is overtaken by the citrus and pine of the hops, faint notes of malt also in the background.

T - Crisp, bitingly hoppy at first, but had enough malt and fresh grainy taste to mellow the bitterness out. Finishes with a little bit of bitterness, bu not nearly enough to be unpleasant.

M - Fairly watery, but not limp. Carbonation is active and adds good amount of levity.

D - The ABV is slightly higher than the norm, but this is a easy drinker. Definitely a session-worthy one, just be a tad careful with it.

Overall - A nice hoppy brew with a workhorse feel. Definitely destined to be a regular in my fridge.

Photo of Buebie
3.56/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown stubby bottle into a pub glass. The semi-rigorous pour reveals a 1'' white head. Receding to leave a thin cap of retention. Sticky lace drapes all the way down leaving a few rings.
The color is a glowing orangish copper with some golden tones. Mostly transparent with a bit of chill haze.

Aroma is kind of subdued with citrus notes and plenty of malty sweetness.

Taste upfront is orange peels, hops are mild but present upfront. Becoming increasingly bitter through the swallow, lingering with bitter pine. Carbonation tickle throughout.

A solid pale ale, definitely a thirst quencher on a hot humid day like today.

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This beer pours faint amber, with a really nice-looking white head that leaves some lacings when it dissipates after quite some time.

S: Obivious hoppy one, floral hops - cascade, then there is some citrus and some faint yeast.

T: Heavy hops, cascade, but also flowery, fruity and a roughness to the malt.

M: Nice long bitter aftertaste, smooth in the mouth with nice bubbles.

D: This is a great beer and if you havn't had it get - get yourself to the nearst store that sells it and buy it!

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

A - A nice orange amber hue, a little bit of cloudiness, a nice fluffy head.

S- Mild smell, the hops and citrusy flavors are apparent.

T- Citrusy and a good amount of hoppiness for a pale ale, comes off tasting a bit watery on some sips, still very flavorful.

M- Feels smooth in the mouth, the flavors seem to slide over the tongue.

D- Very good for a 2 bottle sitting, or if you pick up a large bottle. Not sure if it would be suitable for a session, can be a bit heavy after 24oz.

Overall this is a great beer, would defintely purchase again.

Photo of sholland119
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Realized while drinking one today that I have never reviewed it. Thanks, Vickie.

A-A clear golden amber with a nice fluffly white head and decent lacing.

S-Some crisp floral and grapefruit hops and a nice malt profile.

T-Biscuit malt dominates with a pleasant grapefruit hop bite.

M-Crisp and refreshing, well carbonated.

D-A great session beer. I usually only drink this at a non-beer bar that has one craft tap. If you can only have one, this is a good one.


Photo of kegger22
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured as a dark amber with a one inch off-white head that hung around for a while. The smell was citrusy. The taste was grapefruit with a small amount of hops, like an IPA light, but without being bitter. Feel was light bodied with a little carbonation for the tongue to play with. Very drinkable, the number one asset of this beer. Overall, I liked the taste and I will enjoy again and again. Reminded me of a lager, not in taste, but its ability to quench a thirst.

Photo of hossua34
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I'll start off by saying that I have been of legal drinking age for nearly two years now, and the other day was the first time I've ever had a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I waited way, way too long... Serving type: 24 oz. glass bottle.

Appearance is the standard golden beer color, for a lack of better words. Pretty much clear, though the last portion of the bottle added a slight cloudiness to my glass. A big, thick head gradually dissipates to a thin layer of foam. Lots of lacing.

Smell has a decent hops note up front, but it is not at all overpowering. Malt sweetness is also detectable; very well-balanced. Citrus notes, including grapefruit and pineapple, are present.

I am not a big pale ale fan, and I generally dislike IPAs and anything too hoppy. But I LOVE the way this beer tastes. Enough carmally goodness to balance the bitterness of the hops, which are clearly detectable. Floral tasting with slight spice. Aftertase is sweet, hoppy-piney and delicious.

Mouthfeel is slightly watery, and the carbonation left my bottle kind of quickly (the half I poured and drank second).

Drinkability is right on the money. I had no problems easily polishing off my 24 ouncer, with plenty of room to spare. Not tedious to drink, which was my fear going into the bottle, as I don't like a lot of hops.

In reflection, this may be my new standby brand for times when I don't have a great selection to choose from (displacing Sam Adams Boston Lager). I despise hoppy beers and this was a pale ale that won me over. A very well-balanced, drinkable and flavorful brew, and a pioneer brand in American microbrewing to top it all off.

Photo of mwa423
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Upon realizing that out of the many beers I have rated, I have never looked critically upon the famed SNPA. So, picked up a bomber from the store around the corner.

A - Poured a good two fingers of frothy white head, the beer as it is poured looks like it is out of a beer commercial, lots of bubbles floating to the top, hazy straw color and the perfect mix of clear and watery.

S - Crisp slight hops, little else, very easy on the nose.

T - Very slight citrusy hops hit the tongue immediately. Not like the grapefruit type of citrus but more of a lemon/lime zest from the hops. It is followed quickly by malty sweetness, when you swallow another burst of the limey hops hit the tongue.

This is a real easy drinker and with its wide distribution it is a go to for when the options are this and BMC. If this is what defines and APA, I'm ok with it.

Photo of OlRasputin989
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: a slightly hazy golden yellow beer with a fluffy 2 finger head. leaves really nice lacing.

S: crisp and clean, fresh scent of floral, sprucey hops. very well defined without being overpowering

T: a bready, grapefruit, and earthy pine flavor. leaves a slightly bitter and sweet aftertaste

M: very bubbly, leaves the mouth feeling crisp and clean with a little dryness

Overall, This is the top American Pale ale in my book. It represents the style to a tee and is unmatched by most APAs.

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

I have drank this beer for years, going back probably 20 years, but I've never done a sit down review. With upwards of 1500 other reviews of the beer, there isn't much left to say beyond what already has been said. The beer pours a nice golden slightly copper color with a smallish but creamy white head, okay retention, some lacing too. The nose is very subtle, some leafy hop a touch of floral, maybe an earth aroma, but not much going on surprisingly.

The taste is very easy to drink. There are definite leafy hops, nothing too resinous or too oily or too nouvelle here, just solid and honest leafy hop. There is enough bready malts and a biscuity backbone to balance out the hop to make it very complementary. There are some drying notes, some sharper citrusy spice flavors in the beer too, maybe a slight touch of clove. The beer is drier than I remember, the mouthfeel is quite mild, there is a lingering hoppy dryness in the aftertaste. This is medium bodied, not too thick, not cloying, very refreshing, very solid. There may be a touch of orange rind lurking underneath as well. This is a very nice Pale Ale, very enjoyable. L'Chaim.

Photo of stevenseg
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I doubt anyone is here checking out beers at beeradvocate.com having not ever tasted a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. My beverage-loving buddies and I agree that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the gateway to more robust flavored beers. Considered a session, this Pale Ale from Chico, California is one of the biggest small-batch breweries in the nation. I honestly had only had the Pale Ale out of a bottle, and I was pleasantly surprised to find it on tap at MyBar, a little strip-mall joint just east of Sawmill Road on Rt. 161 in Dublin, Ohio (shout out to my hometown).

My brew was delivered as a full pint. As it is when I pour it at home, the color was a clear amber with a nice fluffy head, which dissipated after a few minutes into a nice sticky film with great lacing. I love lacing rings (rings of lacing that stick to the glass, which are visible after every drink) and I am always very careful as I drink to drink out of the same side of the glass to be sure to preserve them. SN's Pale Ale is so sticky that the rings are barely visible and the lacing coats the entire inside of the glass. A rarity and a testament to the density of the beer.

The nose of this pale ale had very little of that sweet maltiness. Instead it's very hoppy. If I can smell bitterness, it's bitter. Flowery, but my nose translates the smell of flowery hops to bitter, because that's what is coming.

I think Sierra Nevada calls this a pale ale so as not to scare off the newbies. This is a session beer after all and IPA's aren't typically sessions, but by all intents and purposes, the SN pale ale might as well be an IPA. It's subtle sweetness is no match for the dryness on the back end. This beer is all hops, which is a great trait for a session. The bitterness on the back end lingers pleasantly into the next sip.

SN's Pale Ale is a little syrupy. It's very thick and I could feel it on my lips. It's carbonation is done very well for a mass-produced beer. It is not creamy like and English Ale, nor is it a carbonated mess like American lagers. Instead it has a great consistency, much like a good IPA, and it surely doesn't taste cheap for being available at most supermarkets.

When I find a bar that serves Sierra Nevada, I'm a happy camper. I can slug down Guinness all night, but Sierra Nevada is a slow-sipping delicacy, a sipable evening treat.

The Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a session beer for craft brew lovers. It's one of the hoppiest commercially available beers on the market, and that's what distinguishes it in my mind. If you are a Pale Ale lover, it's just a matter of time before you're tipping back on thicker IPA's and porters.

Photo of boatshoes
3.6/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer at the Jersey shore after dinner to spend a relaxing evening. Not my first experience with this beer but my first time intent upon a review.

Appearance- Two and a half fingers of orange tinted head that is puffy and pillowly with big bubbles off of a not particularly aggressive pour. About a fourth finger of head retains as I drink, with a small amount of lacing down the side of the glass as well. The beer itself is a very nice copper orange with a solid amount of carbonation that beads up the side of the glass. Very solid looking pale ale.

Smell- A fairly simple but pleasurabe nose of citrusy hops in foreground. Lots of lemon zest and grapefruit/orange peel coming through with the hops. A bit of graininess/malt backbone detectable as well but not nearly as present as the hop profile.

Taste- Very mild beer with lemony, citrusy hops up front and a nice malt backbone to balance out the bitterness. Not terribly complex but a solid balance of bittering hops and malt backbone that makes this a very flavorful and easy drinking beer. Ends with a bit of a hop punch at the end that is nice and crisp and leaves you going back for more.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- A solidly balanced level of carbonation and body for a pale ale. Fairly heavily carbonated but not offensively so. The hop punch and dryness of the beer keeps you coming back and leaves this beer gone before you know it. Very sessionable.

Overall, a great beer to use to introduce your macro friends to craft and a solid staple to fall back on if you need a relatively cheap and sessionable craft brew. Unlikely I'll keep this a staple in the fridge, but certainly wouldn't pass it up if offered.

Photo of SpencerSauce
4.49/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

i love just chilling out with a nice sixer of this on the boat, or on the couch, or wherever.

Pours amber with what looks to be slight sediment. From yeast and protein coagulations consisting of B12 vitamins. This is normal because its a bottle conditioned beer usuing the purest ingredients.

The smell is more hoppy than i expected. Pine and slight citrus. Not a grapefruit type of citrus though. But at the same time lots of caramel.

Taste floral and piney hops, balanced well with malts. Lip smacking good. Honestly Smack them lips.

Easy drinking and leaves me wanting more. CLean and crisp mouthfeel with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Its a hoppy devil of a pale ale.

Photo of jrallen34
3.43/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from the bottle into a chalice.

The beer pours a dark gold, almost orange with a decent white head that stays for awhile. There is good lacing.

It smells light and hoppy with a tad bit of citrus.

This taste like your typical pale ale, light, hops and citrus with a bitter end.

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

This beer is good even at room temperature. There it brings out fruity berry flavors.

A- Poured into a into a pint glass at a local establishment. 1.5 finger head, falls a bit, laces well. Clear Golden hue. Looks good.

S- Just enough hops to satisfy me. Citrusy, bit of pine.

T- Very well rounded pale ale. Good balance of hops and pale malt.

M- Carbonation. Finishes dry on the palette.

O- This is a good go to beer where faced with a limited selection. This is a perfect beer for Friday night pizza.

Photo of hike20
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty shade of amber, with a 1 finger head. Aroma of hops and some citrus. Light fruity flavor with a decent hop kick that finishes slightly bitter but not overwhelmingly. Crisp and well balanced with a good mouth feel. My tastes tend to lean more to Stouts, but this beer is going to make me spend more time exploring PA's and IPA's I think. I really enjoyed this beer.

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.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 9,879 ratings.