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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.

2,863 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,863
Hads: 10,448
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 22.22%
Wants: 236
Gots: 2,310 | 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:
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,863 | Hads: 10,448
Photo of TonyC
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A wonderful Pale Ale that hits the spot in every way. This one deserves to be in everyone's fridge.

A: A nice dark copper color with a nice, thick and creamy head that stays with you to the end.

S: A subtle hop smell that allows you to smell the sweet malt profile.

T: A very nice balance of hops and malt flavors. A ry nice sweet flavor that allows just the right amount of bitterness to come through.

M: Excellent carbonation with a slight hop bite. So very balanced.

O: Excellent beer. It has a great balance of malt and hops, and it allows you to just sit back and enjoy it.

Being a hop head, you wouldn't think this would be up my alley, but I do concede to perfect flavor when it warrants it. And this one does just that.

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Photo of AllanJ
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Discovered this at age 73 after my daughter left a bottle. I have never had a beer or ale anywhere as good as this!

I drink it with steamer clams and sauteed oysters. Heaven! Next will be sauteed scallops. I need 54 more characters to post, so "+++"

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Photo of mhuber
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Slightly cloudy, caramel color. Almost no head. There's a hint of a smoky aroma. Like most pale ales, starts with a citrusy flavor which gives way to the bitterness of the hops. This one is nicely balanced. Kind of a woody aftertaste. One of the best pale ales I've ever had. Great beer!

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Photo of ctxfenris
4.99/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass.
Amber in color, fair amount of head and carbonation. There's sediment floating around in there!
Smells of pale malts and hops, and tastes that way as well.
Delicious, my go to beer for some time now.
Leaves lacing all over the glass. A classic.

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Photo of racer2k
4.97/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I first tried this beer back in the early 90's while enjoying some Grateful Dead shows on the east coast. This was well in advance of the craft beer revolution and many west coast deadheads would sell this excellent beer at shows. It has been my favorite "go to" stock beer ever since. Always plenty in the fridge.

A - Dark copper color, good solid carbonation. Thick creamy two finger head retention. Plenty of lacing on the sides of my pint glass

S - Moderate bitter hop smell with some hints of sweet malt. Very consistent smooth smell with a solid hoppy profile.

T - Very balanced taste with a moderate flow of hops and light malty flavor. Sweet but not syrupy sweet like some of the high powered IPAs. A bitter taste hits you in the middle of your swallow and there is a nice hoppy finish with hints of pine and floral overtones. A beautiful thing.

M - Good dose of carbonation with a moderate bitter hopped feel. Very balanced and not too thick.

D - Excellent session beer. That has a perfect balance beer after beer. This beer is positioned between a lighter hopped pale ale and a hoppier IPA in my opinion. I typically shy away from Pale Ales as many are bland and not hoppy enough. This is an exception for sure.

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Photo of pb9613
4.97/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer poured a color that is not amber but not golden. The color is in a league of its own. The beautiful with head that appeared on top was solid white which lasted throughout the entire drinking experience.

The beer smells of that wonderful cascade hops with a rich citrus nose.

The taste is divine. This is what pale ale should taste light. Wonderful malty flavor with a rich hops taste. The bitterness of the hops is left as an undertone to the overall flavor with the flavor hops coming to the forefront.

This beer fills the entire palate of flavors with a heavy malt flavor for body and the hops for aroma and flavor.

This is a beer you can sip all night and not realize how many you drank until you wake up with the hang over.

Overall one of the best beers on the market and the reason Sierra Nevada has been around 30 years.

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Photo of Hokies
4.97/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: A nice pale red color with decent lacing

S: Very nice with a citrus note with an excellent hop aroma.

T: Probably one of the best Pale Ales I have tasted, with a nice citrus taste that finishes with a decent hop flavor

M: Nice carbonation that does not overpower.

D: Excellent example of a Pale Ale.

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Photo of itfitz
4.97/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I remember the first time I tried a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It was (at that time) the most different beer I'd ever had. It was the early 1990's and I had just moved from Michigan, where I'd been exposed to mass-produced tasteless beers all my life. I'd fallen in love with Samuel Adams lager, which was quite hard to find due to the relative lack of distribution.

The aroma from the spicy hops hits your nose as you pour it from the bottle. The beer comes out with an amber-orange color with a perfect amount of foam and fantastic lacing in the glass. The bitterness is not overpowering, but adds just enough to counterbalance the smooth caramel maltiness.

The mouthfeel is wonderful, and although not thin, it doesn't come across as a heavy beer. The perfect carbonation combined with the wonderful taste gives this a drinkability like few other beers, and this is my everyday go-to beer (and has been for almost two decades now).

This is Sierra Nevada's flagship beer for a reason. It can be a session beer or an accompaniment to a gourmet meal (or pizza or burgers).

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Photo of Nolo
4.96/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Look-> Cloudy dark gold, really just spectacular. I got 1/2 finger of head that quickly disappeared and what was left was just a white layer that lasted till the end, nice carbonation too. Loved how the small sediment clouded the whole beer, final chug an amazing experience

Smell-> Really nice orangy, lemony, citrussy smell. Hops are just amazing, really an amazing floral smell. Not sure if i perceived pine, maybe someone else did.

Taste-> Truly amazing, hops are perfect. Not overpowering and not too low. I can easily have 3 or 4 of these.

Feel-> Defenitely a crispy one, really good to the palate. Smooth and creamy. You can actually have this one at different temperatures! Im not a big fan of warm Pale Ales but this one I can.

Overall-> Truly perfect, brewed to a perfection! Love Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of shacawgo24
4.96/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A-Deep orange/amber body. Bright burnt orange when held to light. Off-white head with brown yeast swirled in is two-finger thick. Cascading lace. Near perfect, head could be thicker and/or last longer. Throw some glossy edging in there as well and the brew's appearance would be impeccable.

S-Pine, pine, pine! Caramel malt. Sweet. Musty. A natural funk that is acceptable in drink & food. Funky brown sugar. Citrusy. Orange upfront then lemons and limes follow.

T-Pine. Caramel malt. Bread. Citrus. Lemons and limes steal the show this time with orange supporting. Fresh hops. Some of the freshest you'll have in a beer. These hops bleed pine into the brew.

M-Medium body. The body tips towards a fluid feel rather than a chewy swish. Medium carbonation. The hops are of a medium spiced-pepper feel. The finish is a perfect bitter pine sensation.

O-Most likely the best pale ale around. Has been for decades. A pale ale explosion should occur in craft brewing so we can have super-multitudes to choose from like IPAs. But if not, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale will continue to do just fine.

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Photo of rightsideways
4.95/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

quite possibly my favorite beer of all. I buy from a pretty shady liquor store in MA and many times i'm disappointed by what is obviously the result of abuse in transit or by the store. That being said, Sierra Nevada is ALWAYS a good buy. i'm not sure if the resilience of the beer they brew (the ESB i buy there is always great too) or the high turnover and consequently low shelf life of this great brew.

appearance: light amber color, very clear with some lacing and it's well carbonated which leads to a good head that sticks around for a bit.

smell: hops baby! gotta love cascade for finishing apparently... i'm trying that in my next brew. i can always smell those hops which is impressive because the website doesn't mention dry-hopping with this brew.

taste: great balance of hops and malt. not too bitter either, just a nice piny/citrus taste that keeps me coming back for more! although it's only 5.6% ABV it seems like a bit more but maybe i'm just sucking the beer down at an incredible rate...

this will be my go-to beer for quite some time i imagine!

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Photo of anchordrinker
4.94/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- orange-straw hue. 1 finger of head and good lace.
S- orange, sweet grain, honey
T- herbal and bitter citric hop flavor up front briefly give way to a bready/grainy sweetness, followed by a dry, lingering grapefruit bitterness with a touch of bready/honey sweetness in the background. Perfectly balanced bitterness to sweetness for the style.
M- very fine carbo that shows it's presence without compromising flavor.
O- I've been looking forward to having this beer in a can for a while and it does not disappoint! The cans look great and the contents taste especially vibrant and fresh!

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Photo of rote
4.93/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I suppose I'm probably not an expert like some posters may be on this forum, but I have been drinking for nearly twenty years. I've tried all kinds of lagers, pilsners, mexican, ales, stouts, lights, etc. I tend to go in flavor-of-the-month phases for a few months or up to a couple years. Also, I don't travel, so my repertoire is limited to what's at the local supermarket in So Cal.

Anyhow, for a flavorful, 'strong' beer (ahem, ale), SN Pale Ale is a clear favorite. In addition to the flavor and quality, I think they have good quality control as I've yet to come across a bad batch at the local market. I don't know its availability outside CA, but if you see it and have not tried it, I highly recommend it.

I pretty much signed up for an account just to provide my 2 cents on this great ale while having a few of them.. Cheers.

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Photo of LXIXME
4.92/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from above the glass gives this a big white to off-white head that slowly recedes into a nice lacing above a clear rich golden ale.

This medium bodied beer has a rich fruity/citrusy and slight pine aroma.

Citrus-fruity-pine-grasses taste that has a slight sweet malt hidden in there.

A nice lightly dry aftertaste with some leftover citrus notes lingering on.

One of my favorite beers, I look for this when I dine out, love it with Mexican food.

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Photo of Budro
4.92/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pure copper, burnished like fine cookware, nearly transparent in its glassy clarity. On top of this, a full two-finger head, foamy and creamy in appearance. (Note: Every SN I've ever poured has been perfectly clear, in spite of the label's warning that you might see some yeast from the bottle conditioning in your glass. I'd love to see some yeast in there.)
S: The nose: Sweet mist rising from rain-splashed stone. Seriously. The hops' pine and ctirus notes are squarely in the background, lurking like a distant fog. The overall impression is one of mineral purity.
T: The suprisingly thin head, lightly flavored, tastes pleasantly of sour yeast. The beer proper boasts a bitter front and lingering sour back in perfect balance; as the latter fades from the palate, it complements the hop attack of the former. The finish is mineral-dry initially, but as the beer warms, the dryness of the finish becomes reminiscent of a sourdough roll. Nice transition. Furthermore, the beer yields underlying apple notes as it warms. No real sweetness, but allusions to sweetness in every swallow. It's subtle and complex.
M: The thin head disappoints; it appears creamier than it is. The tingle of carbonation is bracing but not overwhelming; it doesn't burn with the first swallow, and it mellows agreeably as the beer warms. Don't let it sit too long, though; when the beer gets too warm, the last couple of swallows are stripped of good flavor and feel almost tepid on the palate. That's just nit-picking, though. This is an exquisitely crafted brew.
D: I could drink this all day.

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Photo of JJfreeou21
4.91/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the hop heads equivalent of bud light. An everyday beer bursting with flavor and quality. Extremely accessible. My go to beer. Wonderful for all occasions.

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Photo of MadMike80
4.88/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Mildly sweet at start strong hops bitterness finish, enough malt keeps it creamy. Grapefruit-like aftertaste lingers, does not turn me off. Smells like the outdoors. I love seeing the sediment floating around in my glass.
Excellent brew.

This is probably my new favorite beer I can no longer go to the package store without picking up some sierra.

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Photo of gusdabrew
4.88/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For every great beer in America there are 1000 poor excuses for beer. SN Pale Ale is the perfect beer at the perfect price available everywhere. We all look at the lists of great beers and hope we can run across a few when we're lucky. SN Pale Ale is easy to find, easy to share and easy to enjoy. Kudos to Sierra Nevada for providing us with this America Classic.

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Photo of aficionado224
4.88/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Many others rate this beer very highly, and I quite agree this is a great pale ale, or simply a great beverage of any type. It has plenty of flavor to savor, but not so much it needs to be chewed. I could sip this and luxuriate in each sip, or quaff this to quench my thirst from heat or exertion or both. I highly recommend this brew, and if you have never tried it, you gotta get your hands on one, soon.

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Photo of NJBrewer
4.88/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of the best all-around beers I've had. It is the perfect representation of a pale ale: perfect malt/hop balance and an overall fantastic flavor. Not a weak ale, but not too strong either. This flagship of Sierra Nevada is everything an American craft brew should be. A go-to beer in my house.

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Photo of lester619
4.87/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a twelve ounce mug it has a deep clear copper/amber color with a big three finger head. The head is still there after the beer is long gone. Great smell. I love that herbal pine and grapefruit west cost smell. This beer is a true masterpiece. I'm not going to waste time describing the taste other than to say it's as close to perfect beer flavor as humanly possible. All the flavors are absolutlely right on, balanced in exactly the right way. The mouthfeel is creamy enough to be satisfying, but not too heavy to fill you up. It is scary how drinkable this beer is. I could go on and on. To sum it up it's a once in a lifetime creation that actually surpasses the hype. I love it.

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Photo of orcsinspace
4.86/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The only pale ales that I have had that surpass Sierra Nevada Pale Ale have all been home brewed. The flavor is outstanding, and perfectly balanced. I have always found Pale Ale somewhat of a contradiction, because it has a simple, yet extremely complex taste at once. The mouthfeel is perfect as well, not too watery, not too much texture.

Just the right amount of lacing and the right amount of head. The color is a perfect golden color with little carbonation lingering. The smell of the beer is subtle, not too strong, not too weak--just right.

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Photo of FrostyStephen15
4.86/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Somehow, I've never had a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Finally, after months of skipping it over at the store, I bought a pint can at the local liquor store for review. I hate IPA's, and so I was hesitant to try a Pale Ale by a brewery famous for its' IPA's. Good god, I was wrong.

The beer pours a beautiful dark golden color, and smells very citrusy and piney. The taste is floral hops up front with a delicious crackery malt backbone. It has a lingering bitter aftertaste, which I like much more now than I used to.

I don't know how I went this long without a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but it just became one of my favorite beers.

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Photo of J_Chavez15
4.85/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours out amber color. Good lacing on the glass. Smells of citrus. Taste of malts and hops. Hops are definitely there. Medium body. Goes down smooth and semi dry. Topedo extra ipa is more drier than the pale ale. At 5.6% this beer is pretty enjoyable. Standard American pale ale.

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Photo of munchie101
4.85/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - light gold with with 1/2 inch head that disipates within about 5 minutes. beautiful for a PA.

S - Citrus bitters, hops, some sweetness I think too.

T - Initially light, the hop flavors take a moment to hit and do not overpower my taste buds, lots of other flavors I don't quite recognize but very enjoyable.

M - not too dry like some brews very pleasant, a little light perhaps, but I like that in an ale like this. Feels like carbonated spring water and hops flavors.

D - One of my favorite PAs now that I've been able to try it, not too hard hitting and but wonderfully flavorful.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,863 ratings.