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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

2,929 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: 2,929 | Ratings: 10,869
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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Photo of BeerAngel
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light orange color with a 2 finger head that hangs in through half of my SNPA trip and leaves a lace all the way down. Smells of hops and a light woody smell that gets your mouth watering. The taste is initially crisp with a taste of bread and tons of hops that is characteristic of S.N. It has a light bodied mouthfeel and this is a beer that I could drink a few of these bad boys. Cheers!

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Photo of teg8612
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a nice copper color with a thick head. Slight residue gets left on the glass.

S-The smell is good with the hops dominating with a hint of floral notes.

T-Taste is smooth with the hops standing up and begging for attention. Not really terrible that a none-hophead can't enjoy it's wonders. Not real malty or it might just be overpowered by the hops however there is a nice hint of citrus and flower to even out the brew. More bread-like malt flavor as it warms.

M-Mouthfeel is medium with an upundance of carbonation. Crisp and dry.

D-This is a great beer to sit around with and have a few. Alcohol content is higher than normal but not overly so which means the evening won't have to end too soon. One of the better APA's out there that really has become the standard for other breweries to follow. A great step to work your way up the hop-ladder to the big IPA's out there.

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

a surprisingly good beer when it sits. i've had this before and it wasn't so promising. this has been sitting around for about six month and spread the hop range. nice citrus... not astringent but a nice mild apple and grape along with the floral clean palate in the finish. although the carbonation is sufficent... the malt is too lean for the yeast quality and it has a fingernail yeast flavor. although its extremely easy to find.

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

Had a couple bottles of this before the Reds game at Game Day Sports Bar just down the street from Graet American Ball Park, Cincinnati.

I poured the bottle into the 16 oz plastic cup to produce a 1" off white head over an amber colored beer. The head dissipated to a thin cap over the course of drinking this beer... lacing.... somewhat (even on a plastic cup).

The aroma was of floral hops with a bit of a sweet/malty profile in the background.

The taste: fairly good. Good hoppy taste but not overbearing. The malt came trough to balance this out.

Mouthfeel: nothing offensive hear. appropriate carbonation and not too thick... a good "gateway beer".

Drinkability: decent beer, best I could find at Game Day... nothing special. I'm sure that I'll have more... wouldn't turn one down....

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

Poured a pale gold that was strongly orange-hued. Also had a huge frothy head, very little carbonation, and a lil' bit o' lace. Smelled of fresh hops and clean malt, but mostly hops oil. Also had some clean and easy scents of grapefruit, all faint and moderate though. Did I mention the hops. Taste is a pleasant refreshing bitter with a soft golden malt underneath. The yeast imparted an earthiness and combines with bitterness; the flipside is that the yeast creates not the best finish. With a smooth watery mouthfeel a touch viscuous from all those hops, this beer has great drinkability. In all a simple quality pale, in fact, the classic.

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Photo of Bonkinishwa
3.69/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. 5.6% ABV. 12oz bottle poured into snifter.

Look: Translucent golden color, with white lacing present.

Smell: Smells of fresh tropical fruit, hops, and pine.

Feel: Smooth and carbonated, balanced out.

Taste: Just like fresh tropical fruits, with some wheat and hop flavors throughout, and counteract each other nicely. The aftertaste is grainy, and reminded me of saltine crackers.

Overall: My first American Pale Ale style of beer. I usually stay away from IPA's, because of the high bitterness, but decided to try this, to get introduced into the style of bitter beers. I was pleased by how it wasn't overly bitter, and how the ingredients weren't covered by it. I did enjoy it, and am eager to try some more of the same style. Recommend to those who wish to get into IPA's, but don't want an extremely bitter beer.

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Photo of schmitter
3.69/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

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Photo of Cascadia
3.69/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a great every-day beer. Always worth the price to grab a half rack of Sierra Nevada for the weekend. Consistant and clean, nice and hoppy with good flavor balence and highly drinkable. Can't go wrong with this beer for a sessions beer. As close to a marco/micro beer as you'd wanna go.

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Photo of perrymarcus
3.69/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a SA "perfect pint" glass.

pours a slightly cloudy amber/bronze tone with a little short of two fingers' light beige head; very impressive retention, some lacing... great looking beer.

nose is a bit underwhelming with light citrus hops and a bit of pine evident.

strong hoppy profile frames the taste; balanced to an extent by a caramel malty presence but clearly hops is the dominant character in this one. some hoppy bitterness to the finish. nothing crazy delicious here, but moderately tasty and refreshing.

medium-body/medium carbed mouthfeel... high drinkability score, easily a "session" type of brew.

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Photo of Haydn-Juby
3.69/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Clear looking with some slight cloudiness approcing as the yeast from bottle conditioning was poured. Golden color with perhaps an extremely light amber hue. One finger of head with nice retention and lacing.

S: A good balance of sweet malt and citrusy hops.

T: A very balanced and evenly matched combination of sweet malts and bitter hops. Bitterness is good and not too overwhelming for a Pale. Some light citrus is made present and perhaps a touch of very slight piney flavor. Sweet slightly toasty malts make up the other half of the beer and make the beer more balanced.

O: A good drinkable beer. It would not be unsuitable to drink two or three of these at a BBQ or get together or any other social occasion but not really something I would be satisfied with during a massive hop craving. It was good and balanced as it should be.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Deciphered the bottle code to reveal this 6pack was bottled on August 9th...but eh well, such is the best you can find in a little hole-in-the-wall alcohol/fried things place in the middle of nowhere.
Poured into tulip; clear golden orange with a nice fluffy white head that leaves rocky, sticky lacing as it descends lazily.
Smells mostly of metallic malt, with a lingering hint of spicy hops. Not really any citrus to be found, sadly, in a bottle this old.
Taste isn't bad, although it's very obvious the hop flavors have faded greatly. Begins with a spike of herbal and spicy bitterness and some grassy flavors with the ghost of citrus that once was, then moves into very light, clean malt. Finishes wet, clean and a little bitter.
Mouthfeel is light and effervescent, very pleasing.
Overall, I picked this up because I had always skipped it over for something else, and I figured I should try SN's flagship, but I regret doing so with such an old 6-pack. I am loathe to associate myself with those who whip themselves into a righteous rage over the thought of a store that lets IPAs sit on shelves longer than a week, but it's nothing so ridiculous to acknowledge that 4 months is too old for this beer.

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Photo of dafizzif
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours with 1 finger off-white head. Near transparent amber color. Laces nicely down the glass.
Smell: Not too strong, citrusy smell.
Taste: Up front it has hints of citrus, and while not too hoppy or bitter, the bitterness really lingers (nicely).
Mouthfeel: Very crisp and refreshing. Not overly carbonated. As said, hoppiness really stay in the mouth for a while.
Drinkability: Very drinkable. Could drink many in one sitting.
Very solid APA that is now a staple in my beer diet as it is a great value and easily available.

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Photo of GimmeAles
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Crystal-clear gold, with russett highlights. 2-finger head receeds to a confident 1cm sheet which stays to the end. Collapsed head leaves nice lacing.

Floral, herbacious hops greet the nose with a slight citric prescence hinting at what's to come. Slight detection of toasted Malts.

A metallic-tinged, citric hop blast hits the tongue with some toasted malts racing in from behind. Like good lemon squares with a biscuit crust (minus the powdered sugar garnish), and hint of
toffee in the back provide some light sweetness.

A nice refreshing and light mouthfeel which is a bit prickly at first (from the bottle conditioning, presumably), settles down to smooth-out the mouthfeel. Decanting into another vessel would help lessen the initial gassiness. A solid, session American-Pale which I'm glad to see hasn't changed over the years and is widely available.

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Photo of cabsandking
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden/amber in color and a slim head that fades to a small pool of fine bubbles and a thin laced ring. Honey and toffee sweetness and some floral notes in the nose. Hops offers some grassy, yeasty characters followed by peppery dryness. Malt characters are simple notes of honey, toffee, a touch of oak, and really just enough to balance the brew nicely allowing the hops to take the main stage. Thin to medium body and a smooth mouthfeel with a touch of fizz at the end. Moderately carbonated. Woody, bisquity, and slight malt sweetness in the finish.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

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Photo of BuffaloTapHugger
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Picked up a six pack late night after work at the grocery store with very little craft available.

Pour into a pint glass. Very light head noticed that recedes relatively quick. Smells of citrus come in first, lemon and orange, followed by tangerine. Gulp. Easy on the hop, well balanced with the malt is the highlight. The citrus taste can be noticed a tad and that makes the hop pounce a touch. Very easy on the palate.

Drinkability, why not. This is my beer of choice when the taps have no other macros available, or micros for that matter. It's also the goto beer when all other stores are out of the loop. By all means, an overall a good beer.

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Photo of BostonHops
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a SA "perfect pint" glass.

pours a slightly cloudy amber/bronze tone with a little short of two fingers' light beige head; very impressive retention, some lacing.

nose is a bit underwhelming with light citrus hops and a bit of pine evident. strong hoppy profile frames the taste; balanced to an extent by a caramel malty presence but clearly hops is the dominant character in this one. some hoppy bitterness to the finish. nothing crazy delicious here, but moderately tasty and refreshing.

medium-body/medium carbed mouthfeel... high drinkability score, easily a "session" type of brew and an approachable APA for newbies.

original review on: 10-19-2010

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Photo of dpnelson1978
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into glass pint.

$9.99 / ea.

A: Bright straw body with an enormous rocky head of great retention. Wonderful lacing and a thick rocky head. Not quite perfect, but considering circulation it is a fantastic ambassador.

S: Grapefruit. The definition of citrus hops since well before I knew of craft beer. Personally, this is what all IPA's are compared against.

T: Right down to the aftertaste this is 100% grapefruit citrus. Biscuit malt backbone but takes a backseat to the hop goodness. Mild aftertaste, but pleasant and unobtrusive.

M: Medium body and low carbonation. Smooth, bordering on oily. Decent, but not great.

D: Easy sessioning selection. Goes down easy, doesn't overpower the palate, and goes great with food. Can't ask for much more.

O: It all started here for me, and it will always have a soft spot in my heart. Not perfect, but so inviting to a wide range of palates. There is a reason they are so highly regarded.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

the now widely available classic and one of my first pale ales. this helped start me on my road to better beers. i managed to talk the manager of my local dive bar into getting this on tap so now i have something to drink when i'm at that shithole playing golden tee. pours a light amber with a small creamy head. light caramel malts and citric, floral hops in the nose. all of which are subtle aromas to me now, but they were huge some time ago. light caramel malt sweetness at the start well balanced out by a decent hop bitterness. slightly sour and crisp finish. light/medium in body and very sesionable. i'm glad this is now widely available but selling to the evil empire of retailers (walmart) scares me for some reason.

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Photo of abcsofbeer
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours nice medium amber color. I am editing my review about the head and lace. When poured properly there is a very nice 1/4 head that leaves a nice lace down through the glass. Aroma is fairly hoppy and pleasant. Taste is very smooth, but with a definite hop presence. Carbonation is noticeable but light. I have read mostly good reviews about this brew, never a bad one. This is a good standby favorite, one that will be one of my all around favorites.

Taste is moderately spicy, but smooth. I think that pale ales are my preference in beer.

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Photo of jaluria
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A light brown color with a golden hue that has an off-white colored head that dissipates quickly. Aromas of grapefruit, pine, and hops seem to come out. The taste is typical for this style with a mildly astringent mouthfeel due to the hop bitterness. Nothing about this beer is overpowering which makes for a very good session beer or a relaxing beer. Good example of the style; perhaps a bit too sweet in the finish. A solid beer that is readily available in many areas.

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Photo of Curlybash
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%

Picked this up in SN's Snowpack 2014- never had SN Pale Ale before this, even though i see it everywhere. I've heard and read good things about it, so I'm gonna drink up.

Appearance:deep copper leaning towards a more brown hue. faintly off-white head, about 1/2 finger, which remains throughout. collars and sheets of thin lace throughout. 4

Aroma: floral, clean hops dominate the nose. vague malt background, although im bad at detecting malt in hops-dominated beers. Seems a little one note, but it could just be me. 3.3

Taste: Starts with an initial hops bite, finishes with brown bread crust. aftertaste is malty with a slight bitterness that grows between sips. 3.78

Mouthfeel: medium with moderate carbonation. nothing overpowering or distracting, or particularly interesting. 3.6

Overall: A well balanced pale ale. No overpowering hops and a pleasant, subdued malty finish. Very drinkable but still a quality beer. Cheers!

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Photo of Holyterror
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is one of the few beers I drink that has a screw-on cap. It took me a while ot notice that. Go figure.

Sierra Nevada makes some of the best mass market beers you can buy, so my expectations were high. I was not disappointed. It poured a hazy golden orange, very appetizing color. The head was moderately thick, good for this style, and settled into a thin white cap and laced the glass pretty well. I lack the vocabulary to properly describe the aroma, but the hops became evident even before the first taste. It had a very grainy taste, heavy on the hop oil, which lingered on into the aftertaste. The hops are very prominent, a plus for me. It is still balanced, and washes down smoothly without leaving excess bitterness on the palate. Good mouthfeel, perfect for this kind of beer. About halfway through the frist glass, it becomes very drinkable. Definite candidate for a session beer, especially if you like the style (which I do).

Definitely recommended as an introduction to the American Pale Ales. Another widely available brew to fall back on as well.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,929 ratings.