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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.

2,902 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,902
Hads: 10,693
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 22.47%
Wants: 261
Gots: 2,557 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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: 2,902 | Hads: 10,693
Photo of morebeergood
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Grabbed a bottle of this when we stopped into TC's Lounge late night this past Friday. Poured into a pint glass, with a large white head forming. Pumpkin orange color. Smell was a bit tingly, with lots of hops present. Taste is awesome, as this beer is the definition of a pale ale. Hoppy, smooth, crisp, with a bite, you can't go wrong if this is all they have for decent beer. You'll find this stuff everywhere. It's a treat, or it's a last resort, oddly enough. Even dive bars carry it. That said, it's a bit too hoppy for my liking, so I never really order more that one of these.

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Photo of dreadnatty08
3.59/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light caramel color. Super bubbly and topped off with a fluffy white head. Aromas of that nice grapefruity Cascades, so distinct with SN. Also a bit of a biscuity malty background. This is perhaps one of the most balanced beers I've had. Hops are assertive, yet not overpowering. That bready malty character gives it great body and complimentary flavors. This is a perfect everyday beer as it doesn't get in the way of foods nor is it boring. However, I feel it's a bit too syrupy on the tongue, a little out of character for this style. Would also like to see some more dry hopping for additional aromas. Overall, a rather average beer, not my favorite of SN.

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Photo of ElGeordie
3.59/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had 2 or 3 of these at the State Theatre in Falls Church. Served in plastic glasses - Dont know why, my wife was drinking Coronas from the bottle.
Anyway, initial impression wasn't great: no head to speak of but the beer was a beautiful coppery colour. Tastewise, after it warmed up it reminded me a little of Bass but without the distinctive English hops (fuggles ?). Despite the low carbonation the beer felt good in the mouth and went down well.
Despite all of the challenges imposed by the serving I enjoyed SN PA and will look for it again - and uodate my review.

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Photo of troutmask96
3.59/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A decent pale ale, nothing too special here. Pours a dark golden translucence with a large head. Very hoppy smelling, with notes of pine and citrus. Taste is actually quite bitter, much like an I.P.A. All in all, a good session brew and an one of my favorite choices when I have to shop at the grocery store and can't make it to my local bottle shop.

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Photo of r0nyn
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Appearance is good, a golden amber color with about half an inch of white frothiness at the top. Not too much lacing at all. Smell is of hops and yeast, with a slight undertone of citrus. Fragrant, but not overpowering. I was sort of expecting a similar bouquet to Troegs Nugget Nectar, but it just seems simpler and cleaner.

A big hoppy blast of bitterness starts it off, and never really goes away, even as the taste of the beer settles on the tongue. I caught some hints of citrus and some good malty presence, but the bitterness is always there and continues into the aftertaste. Not terrible, but definitely a little unbalanced in that department. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a good amount of carbonation that manages to retain a semblance of smoothness.

Drinkability is okay for me. Maybe I was spoiled by having Nugget Nectar first, but the bitterness was just a bit unbalanced, at least in my admittedly inexperienced opinion. It was by no means overpowering, just a little too... present in the taste without much else complexity. One is all I'd think I'd have in a given night.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Clear, somewhat dark amber with a half finger of lasting off-white suds. Decent lacing, no legs.

Signature pale malt, faintly biscuity and not quite toasty with a vague vegetal undercurrent. Smooth light herbaceous hops with maybe a hint of orange peel.

Pale malt up front; bright and crisp on the palate with a musky/bready/faintly metallic flavor mid-way through. A touch of hemp is suggested by the hops along with a mild bitterness. Quite dry finish.

Moderately carbonated, light-bodied, with just enough heft for substance.

If you like their signature malt, you'll be pleased, otherwise there isn't a lot here to hold your interest compared to the dozens of superior examples of the style. Like Fat Tire, it's a good alternative to BMC at bars with poor selections or beer-geek-free parties...

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Photo of Erdinger2003
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer pours very nicely...however I did pour it pretty hard, but the lacing still sticks just great. Has a clear crisp brown color.

Smell is very hoppy with cascade hops with some very slight banana smell to it.

Taste is hoppy, but not overdone and is balanced with a light coffee malts.

Mouthfeel is a bit like water.

I do enjoy this beer more than others.

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Photo of MiguelMandingo
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It is kind of weird that for as long as I have been reviewing beer, this one has somehow slipped through the cracks. I used to drink this beer all the time when I first got into "better beer", and for no particular reason, I just stopped buying it for a while about six months ago. I had some the other night at a bar, and it just didn't taste the same. A friend gave me this bottle to review, and I am having the same problem.

Poured a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - It pours a completely transparent copper orange. It produced a pretty solid two finger white head and it left a bit of light lacing behind. It has constant stream of carbonation bubbles rising to the top of the glass.

Smell - Crackery/biscuity malts in the front of the scent, which then gives way to resinous grapefruity hops, and a slight hint of pine. This while the scent of this beer screams Cascade Hops, the scent is slightly subdued - it isn't as powerful as I remember it.

Taste - The initial flavor is very bready, with a tinge of a caramel sweetness. That flavor gives way to Cascade Hop flavor - slightly resinous grapefruit with the smallest hint of pine. There is slight bitterness that continues from the middle of the flavor and then plunges at the end, with the caramel sweetness rounding out the flavor. I remember this beer being far more dramatic - maybe my palate has changed, but this doesn't wow me like it used to.

Mouthfeel - On the thicker end of light bodied. The carbonation level leaves something to be desired, it feels kind of flat by the time it reaches my throat. It does, however, go down very smooth.

Drinkability - This is a beer you can drink the hell out of. It tastes pretty good, it is available pretty much everywhere, which is great because I will reach for this over any BMC, any day. It is an easy drinking brew. It is also one of the quintessential "training wheel beers" for most people that I know.

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Photo of TXHops
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Alcohol Content: approx. 5.6% ABV,4.4% ABW
Beginning Gravity: 1.052, 13 Plato
Ending Gravity: approx 1.011, 2.8 Plato
Calories/12 oz: 170.73
Apparent Attenuation: 78.62%
Real Extract: 4.58
Bittering Hops: Perle
Finishing Hops: Cascade
Malts: Two-row Barley Malt; Caramel Malt

-Coppery amber colored with a huge, foamy, white head that retreats in the wake of a spider-webbish pattern of lace work.

I like to think that Pacific Northwest Pale Ale is a sub-style of American Pale Ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the quintessential (and original) interpretation.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is yellowish, almost orange colored and has a huge, airy, white head that leaves a lacy curtain of dried bubbles on the inside of the glass. An intense, grapefruity hoppiness dominates the nose and overshadows the sweetish, almost biscuity malt in the flavor. The resiny, almost sticky hoppiness lingers on and on and almost causes you to forget that there's some really good, sweet maltiness hiding deep inside the bottle. Somewhat incongruously, the malty portion of the beer is relatively dry (not surprisingly, considering the 78%+ attenuation), while the hops don't let the flavor go quietly. Instead, the citric stickiness hides out in the back corners of your mouth, creating an almost sour sensation (not sour from sugar, like in a Coke, but sour from citric, like from grapefruit). In my mind, this is the primary difference between American and British hops. The British hops do a tremendous job of bittering sweet malts like Maris Otter, while the American finishing versions, like Cascades, aren't as much bitter as they are resiny, citric and robust.

Anyhow, I'd say that SNPA, although the originator of the style, would now do better in a beer competition as a British IPA, expect for those American hops. It's the sparing use of caramel malt that lends the primary difference. Most other APA's tend toward having a more pronounced malt flavor to compliment the hops, while SNPA (and those brewed in its ilk, like Rogue's Oregon Golden Ale) really feature the American hops. I find it ironic that the creator of the style wouldn’t be able to win an award for the style.

Although not my favorite APA (a little too harsh, without enough balancing maltiness, just a little too prickly in the mouth and with a touch of sourness) I still drink quite a bit and will continue to do so for as long as SN remains such a great producer of quality beer.

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Photo of walshclimb
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear golden, with thin ~1/2 inch bubbly, offwhite head that is relatively long lasting, leaving a thin lace behind

S - Moderate yeast, slightly earthy with hint of pine

T - light malt with good hop bittterness, slightly yeasty and not as clean tasting as I remember

M - medium bodied with slightly syruppy mouthfeel and alcoholic finish. A little fizzy

D - good beer, but not great for session and not interesting enough for repeat tasting. Really good for

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Photo of muldersha
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Had from a 12oz brown glass bottle with a packaging date of 05/05/15. Purchased in Portland, OR

Pours a lightly hazy (but mostly clear) orange/amber color with a decent white head. Not very good retention and only a wispy lacing.

Orange and pine dominate the nose right out the gate. However, with a bit of agitation this brew really sings with boisterous aromas of orange zest, sweet orange juice, pine, white grape, Meyer lemon, Oro Blanco grapefruit, pomelo, oregano, green tea, Lemonheads candy, tangerine soda, buddleia flowers, mineral salts, and petrol. Almost like someone took a young, quality Mosel Riesling and mixed it with a West Coast IPA.

Unfortunately, I think my zealous agitation left the brew a little flat. It's medium-bodied, but lighter than expected. The flavor is also very sharp, peppery, herbal, and abruptly bitter. It felt a little thin and watery in the mid-palate. The finish is pretty weak with subtle peppery nuances of orange and bitter herbs.

I've had this beer hundreds of times, but I have to confess, I rarely really taste it. It definitely didn't taste like how I thought it was going to taste. It really opened up aromatically as it warmed a little, and it really needed that somewhat aggressive agitation to really open fully. It was also much thinner and lighter than I thought.

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Photo of jethrodium
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap. Pours a clear golden copper with a small off white head that has good retention and leaves some light lacing on the glass. The aroma is floral hops, some light citrus, caramel, a light mineral note, and some light pine. The initial taste is sweet with caramel, and a bit of sugar cookie. Then comes some tangerine and floral hops. The finish has a light bitterness. Medium body. Medium carbonation.

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Photo of Floydster
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle from Ralphs

Poured into a cold pint glass

Dark brown with a white head and a nice strong smell

Nice strong pale ale that can be found almost anywhere

Good beer for the summer time at packs more a punch than a lot of the widely distributed microbrews

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Photo of Ochsenblut
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a hazy light copper with a bone white head that immediately dissipates to sticky lacing with big soapy bubbles.

Floral, aromatic and a spike of citrus peel come through.

This beer is dry and bitter to the end, allowing light grapefruit notes to peek in through a mineral-rich body. It's only slightly crackery as it fades to a brief sourness in the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is medium with a medium to high amount of suspended carbonation.

I would suggest this beer to anyone as a stepping stone into pale ales.

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Photo of xtremejammn
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not bad.

Pours a deep brown, with a head that dosn't fade too quickly but isn't very long lasting either.

smells very flourescent, a bit wheaty.

Tastes very bitter, with a strong flourescent taste.

M: bubbly but not too bubbly, very nice.

the bitterness makes for a little harder drinkability, but other than that it's not bad. Very nice.

Bottom line is that it's overall a very acceptable ale, I reccomend this to anyone just to try, it's worth it

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Photo of Chizoad
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I think I'm spoiled by Sierra Nevada's Torpedo offering.

Pretty dark amber in a tall flute of a glass with a nice off-white cap of foam. Kind of mellow smell. I could detect decent hops but only the bitter kind, not particularly floral.

Similar taste. Kind of bland really.

Good body with good medium carbonation, and a relatively drinkable beer. At places without great selection of brews, this and Blue Moon are the standouts of the widely available beers.

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Photo of washburnkid
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have a love/not so much love relationship with this beer. It's good sometimes, especially on tap. But when you get a bad bottle, you really get a bad bottle. The latest SNPA case I bought this last week fits into the "not so much love" category. Here's the review for the bottle, and I'll review it on tap in the near future.

A: Big white frothy, creamy head over a slightly hazy golden. Super sticky lacing and some frothy retention.
S: Toasted malts, fresh grains, some metallic, and a hop aroma that is really trying to push through but can't quite make it over the malts.
T: A few more hops on the tongue than the nose would have me believe. A bit piney and herbal, but that fades quickly and the taste turns into a wet grainy and slightly skunked character. Some woodiness in there.
M: Light-bodied with medium carbonation.
D: This baby is lacking in the flavor I know and love. The bottle just doesn't do this brew justice. Get it on tap...many of them!

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Photo of kitch
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A 12 fl oz bottle with a packaged date of 17th March 2015 and poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: The beer poured an extremely clear copper colour with a two finger slightly off-white head that dissipates fairly quickly leaving some stringy lacing.

Aroma: Mainly a piney smell along with some citrus lemon and grapefruit. Some bready malts also come through.

Taste: Pine hop taste along with some bread, biscuit and caramel malt. There’s also a hint of orange and some bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall: I’d drink this pale ale again, but I do prefer my pale ales with a slightly less pine, and more tropical fruit flavours instead.

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Photo of atrus138
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice amber color with a bit of head and plenty of lacing.

Smelled plenty of hops, with some floral aromas and hints of citrus.

Tasted nice and bitter, like a good pale ale should, though it isn't overwhelming.

Very easy to drink. Not too thin, but has lots of flavor. When a place has very few taps, this is usually the best they have to offer.

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Photo of JizackFH
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice gold almost amber color. Decent white head that didn't stick around too long.

S: Good smell with some citrus notes

T: There is a nice hoppy flavor, but i definetly think that it could use a stonger hop flavor. Im not saying to make it and IPA or anything I just think that a little more hops would improve the taste. Also has nice citrus notes.

M: Medium bodied and crisp is how I would describe the mouthfeel of this one.

D: Like i said i like something a bit more hoppy, but I could see myself drinking quite a few of these on a nice hot summer day.

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Photo of Libeertarian
3.57/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

A somewhat hazy bright copper with light tannish uneven foamy head. Medium retention. Lace and legs aren't worth mentioning. Oh wait, I just did. There's almost no smell to this. Caramel and resin if anything. More resin on the palate, but leaning towards herbal, brothy, or spicy even. Decent malt presence in terms of both grain and caramel, with a delightful vegetal and minimal iced-tea hop finish as well as expected peppercorn retro-olfaction. Superb balance. Medium-bodied, kind of watery, but oh so sudsy as it lingers. Fun to slosh between teeth and tongue. A good beer if I've ever had one. Also an overrated beer if I've ever had one. And I'm a huge fan of Sierra Nevada. Strong suits are definitely taste and feel, but even those are just on the high side of basic. The hops do most of the work here, even though they aren't very "apparent." You could add these same hops to a bottom-shelf English Pale (like Bass), and get more or less the same taste. Mind you, I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing. In any case, this mouthfeel is still far afield. Know this: was I to rate it on drinkability alone, it would garner a 5/5.

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Photo of corby112
3.57/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark golden orange color with copper/tangerine edges and a one finger, frothy white head that quickly settles into a thick, lasting ring.  Streaks of lace left behind.

Earthy floral hop aroma with some grassy, resinous pine and subtle citrus countered by bread/yeast and pale malt sweetness.  A touch of grapefruit and citrus peel followed by some caramel malt and toffee.  

Surprisingly full bodied for the style with a blast of dank, sticky hops giving off strong dry bitterness that lingers over the yeast and sweet malt notes into a dry finish.  Hop flavor is a bit one dimensional with bitter earthy character.  Lots of grass, pine needle and spruce tip with very little of the citrus/tropical fruit notes found in the nose.  It's there providing subtle sweetness but is overpowered by bitterness and strong malt flavors.  Hop bitterness is countered by bready yeast and malt sweetness.  Lots of caramel, bread, toffee and nut.  Well balanced with some nice hop flavor but it's not really light or easy drinking and doesn't really feel like a pale ale.

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Photo of stxp
3.57/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: light amber hues, orangy in light, large head, some lacing

smell: cascade, pac-northwest style, floral, slightly fruity, slight toast

taste: pine, very floral, citrus, grapefruit, slightly bitter but balanced, fast, clean, estery

mouthfeel: carbonated, slightly foamy, medium filling, hidden alcohol, hearty

overall: refreshing summer beer, great citrus hops balanced

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Photo of haddon
3.56/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a golden brown with a good two-finger head that doesn't hang around too long. good lacing all the way down

S- not a whole lot going on here. little hoppy on the nose with a faint smell of malt and citrus. very faint aromas all around

T- hoppy and bitter at first that dissipates quickly with not much aftertaste at all.

M- best part of beer. light and crisp with a good balance of carbonation. sits on the palate well

D- good beer. unfair to compare with an ipa if you are expecting more hops. actually got better as the beer warmed a bit.

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Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.56/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at InField's, Chicago Loop. Good to see this style-setting beer at more places in my neck of the woods. Pours an appealing amber body under a thin pale ale head. Originally had a mild taste, but I felt that I was "tasting" the glass more (maybe it wasn't rinsed correctly), but the fine balance of hop and malt came through. Definite northwestern hop profile with spice, bitterness and a light fruity touch. A good, toasty malt blend that's just a little sticky on the palate. Leaves a nice aftertaste and a little alcohol warmth to enjoy afterward. Not "extreme" by any means, but an excellent session beer.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,902 ratings.