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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

2,928 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: 2,928 | Ratings: 10,867
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 cosmin
4.87/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I wish we had more of Sierra Nevada's product in Canada. I was never really a fan of pale ales until I tried this one on tap in the States. Wow. This is truly the bench mark for American style pale ales. Beautiful colour. Wonderful smell. Even better taste. Very refreshing and hoppy! At first I must admit I thought I was drinking an IPA. And at 5.6% ABV this is truly a remarkably balanced beer. I've been searching for similar products but cannot find anything comparable. A++ for this one.

We have this available in bottles in Canada (at the LCBO in Ontario) however it's pretty pricy at $15 for a 6 pack! None the less, I always keep a few in the fridge. I only wish they would bring Sierra Nevada's Torpedo IPA to the LCBO!

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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 mgwagman
4.85/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of the first "micro brews" I started with 20 or so years ago. Strong pale ale with lots of hops. Balanced but very piney. One beer is almost enough, but two usually are the limit for me.

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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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Photo of SteveMcQueen36
4.85/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my favorite beer. SO much zing and flavor. Just the right amount of pop. If you want to start loving beers with more flavor then this is the St. Peter of beers, ushering you into a vast pasture of amazing taste. This beer gives you that ah-ha moment when you realize what people are talking about when they reference a drink as having hints of this and that.

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Photo of Entaie
4.85/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

So reliably delicious, glad it's almost ubiquitous. Not much more to add other than it's just a very well balanced floral beer. Not quite hoppy enough to be an IPA but pretty darn close. Just a legit amazing beer. Can't believe I have to do 250 characters just to say how good this beer is.

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

This beer is one of my favorites. It's probably the single beer I drink most often.

The flavor is delicious and hoppy with crisp mouthfeel. Drink it very cold, and very often.

What else am I supposed to say to fill up 250 characters? The beer's great. Go try it!

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Photo of matuka123
4.84/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Overall a great beer... I'm a starting beer connoiseur but Sierra Nevaduh Pale Ale is delicious BALANCED, GREAT Beer. And not so rare. But it costs more because I buy it in Finland, in the states you could get it for cheaper probably.

Awesome taste, hops, malt, deliciousness. Crisp balanced beer

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Photo of Plattler01
4.84/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a strong copper color, with a good head. Head goes away quickly, but there is great lacing. The smell is wonderful, with notes of pine, citrus, and cascade hops. Very well balanced, pine and hops flavor, a sessionable go-to for any craft drinker.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.83/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So I never reviewed this? This is probably my "if you could only have one beer etc. . ." type choice. The world gold standard.

Pours a great dark yellow and amber hue, minimal head, not much lacing. Aromatic whole flower hops. The three C's.

Taste, unlike anything else. The most mass produced hoppy bitter beer out there. Pine and citrus. Tastes like Chico. Great throughout. Drinkable for days, great price. And unmistakable mouthfeel of bitter hops and unique as hell tree/pine kind of flavor going for it. So much caramel and yet the bottle conditioning keeps the carbonation peppy and perfect so that the caramel is never heavy.

The first time I drank this beer (UC Davis keg party in '93) I was a senior in high school, and I hated it. I asked the party host if he washed his cups because the beer tasted like it had soap in it. What a noob. . .

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Photo of rabsten
4.83/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sierra Nevada sets the bar for me. While I use Sam Adams Boston Lager as my benchmark, SNPA is probably the one I SHOULD be using.

Poured from a 24 oz bottle into an Imperial pint glass. Fluffy, khaki head on top of a copper body. The lacing is absolutely spectacular. Way back in 1987 or '88 I read the William Least Heat Moon essay on craft beer, "A Glass of Handmade," wherein he pointed out how good beer leaves lines on the glass. He was talking about Seirra Navada products. Nice.

The hops in the brew are evergreen-y. Balsam more than pine. Citrus in there, too.

Taste. One of my favorite beers. Hard hop hit up front, mellowing into a malty middle, with a yeasty finish. Floral undertone. A total taste experince.

Feels light and crisp up front, and rounds out near the end without ever becoming heavy.

Drinkability. Well, lets say I've had several evenings lost when I've gone into a bar to get "just one beer," only to find they have SNPA on tap or on special. I can drink this all weekend long.

Bottom line: If you're on this site, you already know how good this brew is. If it's not "the best" APA available, then it's sure damn near the top. Occasionally, I'll want someting different, APA-wise, like the excellent Great Lakes Burning River. But this beer Kicks Ass. And as a bonus, it's available everywhere!

Bob says go get some.

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Photo of thetros
4.83/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a jewel within a strong line-up of beers from this respected West Coast brewer.

Consistency comes to mind when I consider this beer as a top 100 contender. The smooth malt and sweet bouquet of hops has a consistent freshness that makes this a beer drinker's staple. For a beer to earn its rank, I believe it must taste good this year and next, rather than just have a fine batch or season.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is appropriate for all seasons as it is heavily hopped and malty enough to stand up to a hearty meal, though fresh and crisp enough to accompany your picnic or ballgame. Medium carmel color and a tamed head make this pale ale a charming pint, indeed.

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Photo of jsawicki603
4.82/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What new can I say about one of the best pale ales on the market? Well not a whole lot. It pours a nice coppery reddish brown. Light lace hangs on for while. Good citrus hop flavor with a light malt for balance.
One of the best, well balanced, drinkable ales on the market. Perfect for getting that friend into craft beer.

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Photo of redfire89
4.82/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- A dark golden color, with a little bit of head.
S- Citrus, hops, and some piney notes.
T- Wow!!! Very spicy, lots of hops and citrus, but not overpowering at all.
M- A little heavier than others that I've had, but it's light for 5.6%.
O- This knocked out Yuengling as my go-to beer, an instant favorite.

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Photo of CSAsylum
4.82/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was a particpant in drug and alcohol study several years ago and the doctor, who was testing brain activity in drinkers after they smelled certain liquors, asked me what my favorite hard liquor was and what my favorite beer was. To the first I answered Makers Mark. To the second, I answered Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It took me two years to fully appreciate Sierra Nevada Pale Ale again after my two stints in an MRI chamber, smelling various things and thumbing a button whenever I did so.

Nevertheless, I thought then, and still think today, that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale represents the quintessence of American beer. It is, as far as I'm concerned, the beer that comes to mind when people say "beer."

A: Pours a bright,clear copper-orange with a full finger of tawny head which dimishes quickly to something less than 1/4 finger and then after the first drink disappears completely.

S: Wonderful aromatic citrusy and floral hops aroma arrives immediately and dominates the nose.

T: Hops and malt dance together here. Hops first as you take it in, probably a leftover from smelling them as you bring the glass to your mouth but then a mild malty sweetness. The leave has a touch of bitterness from the hops and the whole thing makes sense like an EB White essay that ends where it begins but you're better off for having read it.

M: I think the mouthfeel is soft, not creamy but full and sweet. I think it leans on the heavy side of light but because of the hop brightness the slight heaviness of the body is a perfect balance.

Overall: I can barely add to the introduction, this is American Pale Ale as far as I'm concerned and that makes it the Americeyness of all American beers. Superb always, all the time.

If I could improve this beer, and I wouldn't really try, I would like the head to last longer and lace better. I would prefer a more robust color. But, aren't those incredibly minor wishes? Taste, Aroma, Mouthfeel, that's where the action's at, and that's where this beer excels.

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Photo of Dmann
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally had this beer on tap the other night at a great pool hall in the neighborhood and wow! This was much smoother on tap and the beer had a much more pronounced malt character than it does in the bottle. The floral hoppyness was still there, but in a much more balanced way. I had about 5 of these on tap and they went down so good I could have had 5 more!

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, clear, deep, dark, amber color with a quarter of a finger of white-colored head that completely dissolved away into an extremely thin lacing of foam that only partly covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Nice aromas of bready, toasted malt, imparting aromas of sourdough bread, English muffins and French baguettes, followed by some floral, piney hops. I also get notes of caramel, black pepper, honeysuckle and clover.

Taste: Delicious! Strong flavors of toasted malt up front, imparting bready flavors of sourdough bread and English muffins, followed by some caramel-like sweetness, a good amount of black pepper, and a touch of coriander. The beer finishes with some beautifully balanced, piney, slightly bitter hops. Delicious!

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and nicely carbonated. With an ABV of 5.5%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: What a great, fantastic, awesome, American Pale Ale! So beautifully balanced and so delicious!

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Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is an excellent example of a pale ale. This is what got me into craft beer. One day (2 years ago) at the distributor I noted that I wanted to try something different, and that I didn't know where to start. The staff recommended a case of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and noted that it was something nearly everybody could enjoy. I completely agree.

A- Light, fluffy, straw. Moderate white head. Visible nucleation of bubbles.

S- Clean, refreshiong, mild fruity hop aroma.

T- Moderate hop strength, balanced with bready pale malts.

M- Medium body. Flavorful and balanced.

I completely love the new can option, and I think they should just eliminate bottles. They are lighter, easier to carry, sunlight resistant, non-breakable, and they fit better in the fridge. They're also more eco-friendly.

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Photo of donmonkey1
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Beautiful amber with inviting bubbles dancing around. The head is a healthy two fingers deep and hangs around for a long time, with excellent lacing.

Smell: The piney, citrus hop smell lets me know that this beer is the real deal. I'm aching to taste it.

Taste: Outstanding. The hop taste is perfection. It's a lot stronger than most beers with a noticeable hop flavor, but it's not anything like a super crazy IPA.

Drinkability: I can't get enough.

This beer is great. It's one of my favorites and I plan on drinking many of them.

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Photo of bort11
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. Wonderfully bright golden orange color. Active streams of carbonation rising from the bottom. Massive frothy white head that maintained a strong lace until the last sip. The smell is a tightly balanced floral hop with a little bit of lemon. The taste is one of the most balanced of any pale ale I've had. The hops are up front. Floral and puckery but not overbearing. Even amount of malt flavor integrated in. Mouthfeel is light to medium body with just enough carbonation.

SN Pale Ale is a classic. I can easily session these all day, which I had the pleasure of doing over a weekend camping trip. In fact, through a casual survey, SN Pale Ale seems to be the top camping beer on BA right now.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a clear citrus golden with a bubbly inch of bright white head. A thin film lasting the whole beer through and left clinging patches and streaks of sticky lacing down the glass.
S: Clean and crisp notes of classic cascade hops. Pine with a touch of citrus and caramel malt pretty much describe this quintessential pale ale.
T: Follows the nose. This is one of the crispest, easiest drinking beers out there, and one of the best pale ales one the market. Pine flavor is lightly sweet and bitter. I could drink this instead of water it’s so refreshing.
M: Medium-light body, crisp and clean mouthfeel with perfect carbonation. I love it.
O: I am a fan boy of this beer. Before I became a beer geek this beer was so bitter I couldn’t drink it. Now it’s probably the beer I’ve drank the most over the years (despite never reviewing it until now). This is the archetype of the style, and an amazing beer at that. Cheers.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,928 ratings.