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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

2,926 Reviews
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Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Generous quantities of premium Cascade hops give the Pale Ale its fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor.

37 IBU

Added by kbub6f on 07-05-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,926 | Ratings: 10,857
Photo of 99bottles
3.72/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had one of these the other night and I can't believe that I never bothered to review this beer that I drink pretty frequently.

Apperance: SNPA pours a golden-amber color and had a nice inch of white sticky head that laces the glass. What I think of when I think pale ale.

Smell: This guy smell like he tastes. Hoppy and slick, with some small malt footing.

Taste: Mmm, mmm. Good old SNPA. This has a ton of Cascade hops pushing a tangy bitterness. They hit hard at first sip, but then they settle down and stop attacking your tastebuds. A good malt base of sweet biscuits balances this over time.

Mouthfeel: Slippery hop oil is the most dominant factor and gives this beer a somewhat heavier mouthfeel than most pale ales.

Drinkability: Yes please. This beer has such a wide distribution, I find myself getting it a lot at restaurants and bars that whose selections are only American macros and this. I could drink these for awhile, but if I had other more exotic beers to choose from this would easily be passed over. The classic American micro to whom we are all indebted.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.72/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

the sierra nevada flagship brew, more of an ipa than a straight pale ale, but a delicious beer nonetheless. a complex and robust hop nose is enticing, and the balanced flavor, medium body and effervescent carbonation make this a staple in most good bars. this is much hoppier than other american pale ales, but is not heavy as some can be. it is highly drinkable with a slightly bitter finish and an extraordinary crispness. the colder the better. a little less delicious when it warms up, so drink it swiftly for sure. one of the very first beers to define what cascade hops taste like, well ahead of its time, often copied but rarely equaled. the american craft standard.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
3.72/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look - Crystal clear, darkish golden color, decent amount of carbonation
Smell - Biscuity/bready malts, earth, spice, lemony type citrus
Taste - Spice, biscuity malts, floral, earthy, faint hints of citrus, slight caramel sweetness
Feel - smooth, balanced, super easy drinking, medium bodied

Overall - A classic indeed but nothing overly special here. But if you're looking for a well balanced, easy drinking and always available pale ale....you should give this one a try.

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Photo of jamesrobertson86
3.72/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- golden orange. Fluffy, messy head. Low head retention.

S- tropical fruits, pineapple.

T- bitterness at the forefront, slight stone fruit and melon flavours. Bitterness comes through at the end as well. A metalic hint lingers.

M- relatively high carbonation, rough and uneven. Kind of like home brew. Dry finish.

D- very sessionable. Bitterness stands out as almost being offensive. The APA style is not something I'm accustomed to which may have put me off a bit. I can see why this is a classic.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.72/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had a couple of pints with some blackened grouper while watching a Tampa Bay sunset over the water...

Arrives a dark reddish golden with a thin wispy head ... Not that great....

Faint citrusy hop aromas and a sweet mat bill characterize this one... This one seems to have more pop in the bottle but who knows how long this one has been tapped.... This one is ok...

Sweet roasted malts with a tangy citrus finish... Fairly solid but nothing to write home about...

A nice solid little brew to have with a meal...

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Photo of Parky1
3.71/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Copper-coloured, virtually no head is present.

Hoppy, with hints of caramel.

Sharp and hoppy, slightly bitter.

Light, fizzy and dry.

I've had a few in the past and will no doubt have a few more in the future.

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Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.71/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from Feb 6, 2012 and poured into a pint glass.

Pours a fluffy white head and a transparent orange body. Leaves some decent lacing down the glass.

Smells of orange and grapefruit fruitiness with some floral character.

It’s got a nice little crisp bite to it. It’s got the citrus flavor going on with some sweet and bready malt character.

Feels great going down. About a medium mouthfeel and a little dry.

The quintessential gateway craft beer perhaps? I know it was one of my first and still holds up even after drinking ridiculous Double IPA’s and Imperial Stouts.

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Photo of nomomentwasted
3.71/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at an airport bar in San Francisco, on my way back to Portland for a spell. Served into a pint glass at about 50 degrees.

Appearance: Brownish-amber color, darker than I'd have predicted a Pale Ale to be. I've had this beer a few times in passing, but upon the reviewing of other Pale Ales, this is darker than many of its kind. Carbonated well as well, with a wavy lacing.

Smell: Slightly metallic, I think the taps had been recently changed and not flushed all that well, but grassy, piny hops with a very present malty texture of slight barley. Hops are understated, with the malt character taking center-stage with almost a bready-ness to it all.

Taste: Much like the smell. Understated hops slightly cover a more malty and bready pale ale. Really not that bitter up front at all, and drinks with a very straight-forward taste that really doesn't evolve beyond slight pine and malty backbone, even as it warms up.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and carbonated enough, but little bitterness and light flavors add up to just a simple, non-lingering aftertaste.

Drinkability: Well, at 5.6%, it's drinkable, but also kind of dull and not too great and the alcohol is actually more present than I've had in a few beers almost double its ABV. I've had it better in the past, but the flavors are just a little too mild for my mood and wanted just a tad more from it.

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Photo of fitrock2112
3.71/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured Pale Ale into a Pint Glass.

A - Pours dark golden with a full two fingers of pillowy white head.

S - Smooth hop profile with light roasted malt.

T - Mild hop flavors again, good malt backbone. Nothing overpowering or overdone.

M - Medium mouthfeel, with medium carbonation.

O - A fine beer to have one of or six of. Very close to a classic Pale Ale. Recommended! Cheers!

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.71/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The classic APA. Pours a nice light copper color with a big fluffy white head that goes on and on. Aroma of pine, grapefruits, lemon peel, grass, more pine. Flavor follows with big pine bitter, a beautiful sweet caramel malt backbone, and a lemon peel finish. Lingering grass on the palate. Bubbly carbonation and easy drinking, slightly dry. Good stuff, of course.

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Photo of FattyJLE
3.71/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

S - Grapefruit and other citrus from the American hops. Slightly grassy. Slight malt aroma.

A - Clear beautiful gold. Cream colored, thick fluffy head with sticky lacing.

T - Citrus hop bitterness and flavor. Well balanced with a bready malt background. Hop flavor transitions to more grassy from middle to end. Very little malt sweetness produces a very clean profile. Dry finish.

M - Moderate body with medium carbonation.

O - A quality APA deserving of its reputation as true to style. Very drinkable.

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Photo of DPMomutant
3.71/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A medium-amber body sits below a nice finger-thick head that lasts a bit before settling to the sides.

A mild smell of fruity hops. Not bad but not quite as lively as some other pales I've had.

The taste starts with a citrus and slightly malty taste with a decent hop bitterness at the end.

This has a mostly lively mouthfeel, but isn't harsh. The bitterness that helps the taste takes a tiny bit from the mouthfeel.

This is drinkable as most decent American pales are. I have no problem having a few of these.

Overall it's a good beer, but there's at least a couple of local pales that are at least just as good (and possibly better) and I usually go local when I have a choice.

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Photo of Stevem68
3.71/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a medium Amber color. Has an earthy hop aroma with a malty presence. Flavor followed the aroma. Smooth to drink and a solid beer overall. Can easily drink several of these

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Photo of tjsdomer2
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Not overly carbonated. Nice transparent brown color. The yeast on the bottom gives it a nice touch in this category.

Smell: Almost smells a bit like oranges to me. Well-spiced, malted, and hopped.

Taste/Mouthfeel: The yeast in the bottom can create a problem, especially if you drink this later in the day...it can give you a bit of a sore throat in the morning if you don't wash it down. Otherwise, taste is very pleasant. Kind of like cinnamon with a peppery bite.

Drinkability: Not the most refreshing beer, but that's not it's purpose. Would probably be decent with dessert.

Overall: I know this craft beer has gained a followig. While I would not rave about it, if you find it cheap, try it. Thumbs up.

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Photo of jsh420
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours golden orange with a 1 finger head that leaves spotted lacing

smell is mainly malt but also the hops are present citrus grapefruit with some earthy grassy notes

taste is very much the same - but the hops hit you first grapefruit mixed with the grassy hops then a finish a sweet malts

mputhfeel/drinkability is where is beer loses me - way to harsh - and too much bite and sting

i used to love this beer but boy do times change - it is still a solid beer but if this is the gateway beer i think the craft party might lose some after trying this

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Photo of DeutscheJeff
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was my introduction to Sierra Nevada, and I have to say despite the overall lackluster taste I have been introduced to a brewery that has much better beers. I just wish I had bought Torpedo first, as this to me is far too similar to the standard macro-brews available. Perhaps if I ever have friends who need a beer to drink while over at my house this will be my choice brew, but otherwise this one won't be gracing my fridge again.

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Photo of foles
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First thing I noticed was the nice smell - orange peel like? It poured a nice head, and a very attractive amber/orange colour. And then on my first few sips the mouthfeel was a bit acidic, but that was maybe more to do with the strong alcohol - 5.6%. Once it settled down it tasted quite nice, with nice carbonation and flavour.

I cant help thinking it was better when I had it on tap in the united states. But it is still a good beer from the bottle - if a little too strong for a session beer.

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Photo of redneckchugger
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

poured into my mickey mouse pilsner( its great don't knock it)
shade darker than than straw pale, inch of clingy white head, good lacing
piney hop smell
piney hops on the tongue too, bit of malt in the back, goes down well, classic beer, the be all and end all of session beers IMO

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Photo of nfo
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's hard to rate such a sentimental favorite, which was probably my introduction to what I now consider "good" beer and serves as the benchmark I use to rate other beers. But since I'm well stocked on it at the moment... The citrusy hops aroma and flavor and crisp, bitter finish set the standard for west coast pale ales. The only bad thing I can say about it is that I've consumed so much of the stuff that it can get a little boring. But if I haven't had it for a while, when I finally do it's clearly a great beer, a true classic.

Most beer drinkers can probably agree that this beer's most important quality is its availability. I love that you can get it all over the country, and it shows up all the time in crappy bars where I'd otherwise have to fall back on well drinks.

edit: trying to calibrate my scores, having trouble keeping it all internally consistent

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Photo of stumac
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

pours up good looking golden brown, nice white head. definite hop spicyness in the nose. also some subtle malt. there's a little bit of citrusy hop smell too. also taste of hop bitterness for sure. pretty light bodied, medium carbo, easy drinking, great session pale.

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Photo of cptnjck101
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Well I finally got around to this American classic. It wasn't bad, it wasn't great, above par in every category, but I couldn't drink more than a few of these. Can't really say anything about this that hasn't been said before, good for the style, but nothing to write home about. A must try for any connoisseur of the cold ones.

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Photo of tykees88
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orange colored with a slight head when poured into my glass. I like the smell of citrus and obvious hop action. the taste is just alright to me though, I like pales and ipa's for that matter but this one just didn't hit it home for me on taste. I feel like there was something off or just something in it that I didn't like. Anyways a good beer that I will drink again someday down the road.

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Photo of midaszero
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear golden color with 2 finger of puffy white head that sticks around

S - Citrus (orange and lemon) and hopes. Almost a slight sweet caramel note

T - Crisp with some orange flavor plus lemon peel with floral and spice notes.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation

D - Pretty decent. Personally I found several other pales more drinkable but this is a good stand by and usually readily available.

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Photo of giblet
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

i have had this beer on and off over the past few years. very good and easy to find. pours your typical medium orange color. smells citrusy hops but mild. very pleasant flava and feel. this is a pale ale that should be tried!

suckem up and movem out.


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Photo of rawfish
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear orange amber into a snifter glass with a rising head of nearly three fingers. Some sediment visible. Retention is average and the suds manage to leave a small ring of lacing on the glass.

Faint grapefruit and pine, some hawthorn berry notes with a caramel malt back bone. Nothing really stands out.

Caramel and bready malt with some grainy flavors before shifting to a pine resin and grapefruit hoppiness. Not too intense but with a lingering bitterness and slick grapefruit on the tongue.

Average body with adequate carbonation. Sticky malt leaves a coating for the hops to act on while remaining bitter and attempting to dry.

The pale ale that is the standard to which many are judged. Sierra Nevada really puts out a good, consistent product. That being said I remember being floored by this pale ale when I first got into craft, it was like a mini IPA, but times and tastes have shifted. A good, always available starter beer that I wouldn't turn down.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,926 ratings.