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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.

9,891 Ratings

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Ratings: 9,891
Reviews: 2,859
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.91%
Wants: 205
Gots: 1,705 | 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: 9,891 | Reviews: 2,859
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.

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.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 9,891 ratings.