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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

2,938 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: 2,938 | Ratings: 10,908
Photo of shererjt
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured an orangish-yellow clear with an impressively thick head. Hops dominated the nose--grapefruit, baby!--but there was an underlying caramel sweetness that really made it work. Maybe a bit of mustiness that I didn't quite get. Yeast, perhaps? Flavor was well balanced; sweet malt, hop bitterness, and hop flavor were all there. Definitely had a strong cascade flavor, but not as prominent as I remember. Lively mouthfeel that was bursting with flavor--it was significant but not overpowering. The drinkability was quite good.

I like this beer a lot, though I have to say that it's not one of my all-time favorites. Whether you love it or merely like it, I think we all owe a debt of gratitude for the role this beer played in the growth of craft beer in the US.

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Photo of Edward19
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased a 12 pack of cans from Wegmans in Liverpool, NY. Great price point. I use this beer as a session beer. Great flavor and easy drinking. One of the best pale ale's I have had. I was introduced to this beer several years ago as one of my first craft beers. Great craft beer for beginners

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Photo of chumba526
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice but small head. It is a nice clear yellow color with a medium amount of carbonation. It smells slightly of citrus like hops and like quality malt. The taste is pleasantly hoppy there is a bit of good malt to balance out the hops which taste citrusy. Over all this is still one of the best pale ales on the market.

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Photo of AudioGilz
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear amber and orange hued color....with an enormous head that ends up one heluva lacer. As far as hops and malt goes, the hops dominate, but the malts are there just enough for an awesome balance. The crispness makes it very drinkable and refreshing. This is definitely one of the best American Pale Ales out there.

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Photo of bceaglejoe
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer poured a dark gold amber into the glass, leaving a decent-sized head. It smelled hoppy, but it wasn't totally overpowering. The taste was smooth and crisp, leaving a slight aftertaste that disappeared quickly. After the initial hop hit on the tongue, subsequent sips proved pretty refreshing. It felt somewhat bitter on my tongue, but the bitterness contributed to the compexity of the flavors I was tasting. I don't know if I would drink many of these in succession, but this was a good dinner beer. I had it with somewhat spicy food, and it went pretty well. It would be interesting to try it with salads, or other types of entrees.

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Photo of zander4dawin
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden amber with a thin white head. The smell is subtle notes of sweet caramel malts and sweet piney hops. The taste is the golden standard of American pale ales, crisp and drinkable yet full bodied and bold. Drinkablility is great and the aftertaste leaves you wanting another sip.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.62/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A go-to pale ale. Always good, always available. Pours clear copper with a short white head. Clean, fresh floral hop aroma with shrap, crystal malt. Taste is representative of the aroma, citrus hops taking a back seat to the tangier malt. Would rather drink an AleSmith brew, but I'm not going to whine if this is my only option.

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Photo of sacfly
3.62/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz, 6091 stamped on the side, whatever that means. Just put the freakin date please.
Pours a shade of yellow/orange with particles in suspension. Head is thick and off white with large bubbles. Aroma is light pine. Taste is a nice mix of pine with a touch of mint and a lemon citrus finish. Lightly bitter aftertaste. Very east to drink.
Used to be a go to Pale ale, but now there are just too many other solid Pale ales and IPA’s out there for this one to stand out like it did in the past. Still a solid pale ale.

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Photo of seedyone
3.62/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. It's easy to see how this is a go-to brew for so many. Subtle aroma, flavor that's not too much of anything, yet not too much nothing. Congenial & balanced are the hallmarks of this of this ubiquitous brew.

I for one will always be grateful to Sierra

12/19/12 On tap atRattle n Hum, NYC. Once the benchmark in hoppiness, this classic is sure to disappoint today's hop-heads. It harkens what I consider a more civilized time when one could drink a pint without having their taste buds mugged.

I'm having this vision of bar full of guys looking like the cast of "This Old House" in the first shot, toobelts & all, then the slide changes to them all dressed in sport jackets & chinos. A rugged sensibility.

Bear in mind there was a time when the expression IPA designated a brew modified for long distance travel. My best reference would be having General Tso's Chicken in the restaurant vs having it as a take-away. The crispiness created by the extra step of deep frying the cornstarch dredged pieces of chicken is deteriorated by the steaming that happens once it's placed in a closed container. There is enjoyment there, but it is altered. I doubt Gen. Tso is rolling is his grave, as the dish is American in origin, but you get the point.

Pale ale is/was the foundation of IPAs & India is a long way away from NYC, where I'm drinking this.

All things considered, this, as a stand alone brew, has a lot going for it. Block out all prejudice, kick back & enjoy a classic that helped lay the foundation for the craft world we enjoy today.

In 1896 the film "The Kiss" was considered outrageous & disgusting. It last 30 seconds on screen. It was, for better or worse, a sensation. Today's audience would not only be totally underwhelmed, but outright bored having to watch anything so mundane for a full 30 seconds.

My point is, try to appreciate what came before because nothing just happens out of the blue. Embrace the evolution.

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Photo of SmashPants
3.62/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: reasonable brown bottle with an original and decent label.

Appearance: mid-amber in colour with a light haze. Disappointingly minimal head that doesn't last long.

Aroma: a typically APA nose of citrus, pine and a dash of caramel. A touch of herbs behind as well. An enticing prospect.

Taste: a little disappointing, actually. Not as full as the aroma, and a bit weak in feel. The good flavours do still come through, however, which helps keep this beer afloat.

Aftertaste: oddly, stronger on the finish, with a good dash of bitterness. Even better near the bottom of the bottle.

Mouthfeel: a bit weak in body. The flavour could have been carried better by a heavier feel. Light-to-medium carbonation is pretty bang-on.

Overall: a good quality American Pale Ale that is only let down by its lack of body. Good for a 6-pack, but I don't think it will be joining my list of regular beers.

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Photo of MacQ32
3.62/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a clear golden/slightly orange into my snifter a solid near white head dissipates relatively quickly, some lacing.

S - Bready sweet caramel malts with a grapefruit/citrus hoppyness

T - Malty sweetness to citrusy hops to a slightly dry bitter finish. wee bit of yeast

M - Fairly light and crisp, good carbonation very drinkable

O - A good affordable session beer, nothing special but a solid american pale ale

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Photo of AdmiralDiaz
3.62/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass. Light copper color with a single finger off-white head made from large bubbled carbonation. Head fades quickly but leaves a nice lacing.
Smells of orange with other citrus and hops.
Hops are the upfront taste along with a bitter aftertaste. Semi-malty along with the taste of orange peel that plays nicely with the hops and bitterness.
Pretty bitter on the tongue but not overpowering. It's not as carbonated as it looked
Overall it's quite drinkable and goes down easy. It's worth trying out if you don't have any craft beer.

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Photo of bgildea
3.62/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice light amber color with a pretty large white head. Large carbonation bubbles that left some slight lacing.

S: Nice smell of citrus hops.

T: Decent taste of hops but finishes with a blah taste of malts.

M: Pretty thin beer, but I wasnt expecting much chew.

D: It's a drinkable beer. Not great, but a decent IPA.

Overall: Overall I thought the beer was pretty good. Nothing spectacular... there are definitely better IPAs out there. But a pretty good beer overall.

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Photo of Giancarlo
3.61/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm honestly not a fan of pale ales.

I drank this beer straight from the bottle. To me this beer is average tasting. It has a bold piney taste to it with a hint of citrus, mostly grapefruit (Which i'm not a fan of).

To me it is a lighter version of Torpedo Extra IPA which i wasn't a huge fan of either.

Regardless of it all i gave it an above average rating because it was quite enjoyable and goes well with many foods.

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Photo of aorloski
3.61/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - thin tan, pale brown, i respect this beer so much
N - light hops, more on the bread side, one of the better smelling pale ales
T - malty, bready, hops are in the back not the front but in a good way. like i said, this beer has a lot of respect to me, it is very easily drank as a beer advocate.
M - thin, carbonated
O - literally the best session beer for a hop head.

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Photo of rvdoorn
3.61/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this beer during another beer evening with PapaEugene, who said he had very nice memories from drinking this beer during his trip to San Diego several years ago.
Poured into an original palm glass. The beer pours a clear copper-yellow color with almost no head and a somewhat messy lacing.

Smell: grapefruit, sweet honey and some dried grass.

Taste: Grapefruit, grains and spicy laurel. Aftertaste is bitter, but not too dry. It resembles a bit a very very diluted Pliny or Borefts bock 2009 from the Molen brewery.

Mouthfeel: watery, thin bodied, medium-low carbonation that nicely tickles the tongue.

Overall: A decent brew. Not more not less, will not refuse one in the future.

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Photo of Hoagie1973
3.61/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

What I liked about this beer was that the hops were dominant, but not obnoxious; there was still some decent malt flavor present and a moderate sweetness through the middle.
Beautiful amber/red color and nice thick white head. Impressive retention and lacing. Appearance was my favorite characteristic. Drinkable; not a bad stand-by APA.

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Photo of mattcrill
3.61/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber orange color with a nice white head and good lacings throughout. Smells light, fresh, and a little hoppy. A hint of alcohol of you really get your schnozz in there and sniff. Pretty bland tasting I think but it has a nice mix of hops and a touch of citrusy sweetness. It's definitely a drinkable brew. Great for a cookout and a good representation of the style. A good session beer but I'm just not a big fan of pale ales unless they punch me in the face (which I guess is NOT the definition of pale ales). I would definitely recommend this brew to all.

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Photo of boatshoes
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
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.

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Photo of jackndan
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Sierra Pale Ale: Good looking beer, cloudy caramel, had a big white head that disappeared in a few minutes. Wonderful aroma, sweet, with a little hoppiness. Hits the tongue with a little sweetness, and then a nice bitter hop bite. Several sips later, it seems the hops dominate. I can tell this is a fine beer, but the bitterness is a touch to much for me.

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Photo of mcnut
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sierra Nevada makes a good beer, sometimes the problem is that all of their beers taste remarkably similar.

Now its not fair for me to say all of them, as I've only tried their porter and the pale ale. Other than color, the taste was shockingly similar, well lets get to that.

The pale ale is just that, a pale golden beer with a soft lacing of head. The smell of hops and some citrusy notes comes out in the first whafting, with more hops to follow.

The taste is very strong of hops and a mild alchohol aftertaste. Not a beer I could personally session, your mileage may vary, especially if you like a very hopped beer.

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Photo of WaltTrombone
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

It pours a dark gold, with a tan head and medium lace. The aroma was faint, mostly hops. The taste was HOPS- the typical SN Hops Madness. Somewhere underneath all the hops were faint malt and citrus peel notes. The mouthfeel was smooth, but not as oily as you might expect from all the HOPS! The finish, need I even mention it, was HOPS, of the bitter and tangy variety.

Maybe in another few years I'll be able to appreciate the Sierra Nevada over-the-top approach to hops, but right now? Nope...

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Photo of TheElectricOne
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can into a tulip.

Looks pretty, with an amber-copper color with a thick, bubbly head and carbonation bubbles continuously rising from the bottom of the glass. Unfortunately, not much in the way of an aroma, mostly just yeastiness. Smells like a lager. The taste makes up for it though, with nice piney and citrusy flavors for a cheap, canned pale ale. It's always been one of the most accessible and cheap beers that actually tastes good. The feel is crisp and smooth. Overall, a nice solid beer for anytime drinking. Not much fanfare or excitement, but a solid drink.

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Photo of Jangles
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 24 oz. bottle into a Guinness Imperial pint glass (anything else is such a travesty).

A: Golden amber color, very clear. Minimal head that disappears pretty quickly

S: Strong hop profile. Very "herbal".

T: Initially very heavy on the hops, butts right up against being too bitter and piney, but backs off, well, tapers off, at the finish without going too far. Just barely.

M: Crisp and consistent, start to finish.

D: Quite drinkable, but I feel like it needs food to accompany it. I just cannot see myself putting these away without a meal or a snack.

Overall, I would drink it if it was there, or in the absence of one of my favorites, but I am not going to seek it out. I suppose I am not quite as impressed as I should be, given its reputation.

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Photo of stakem
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into a sierra nevada snifter. The brew pours a clear copper color with a rich white froth that fades to a thin film supported by rising bubbles. Overall a solid looking pale ale.

The aroma includes a faint floral to fruity hop quality with a caramel to toffee and biscuit-like grain presence that has a soft touch of butter towards the back end. Not the most vibrant bouquet but enjoyable and easily approachable.

The flavor is clean and crisp with a hoppy bitterness that is somewhat herbal and floral to fruity. Just like the aroma suggested, plenty of caramel malt that blends into the finish and is a bit buttery.

This is a light bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. Overall this is solid and very easy drinking. It is a well made brew that sometimes I have admittedly overlooked in lieu of less familiar faces and/or seasonal offerings that are not always available. This is a very good standby.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,938 ratings.