1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

8,705 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,705
Reviews: 2,691
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 129
Gots: 900 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

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

37 IBU

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 07-05-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 8,705 | Reviews: 2,691 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nbrown
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

When I was in highschool I usually only drank the usual macros. Then I bought a few of these in a concert parking lot.This is pretty much the first good beer I began drinking on a regular basis. It is still my go to beer if I go to a store and they don't have a very good selection.

Good taste, color, smell and I could and have drank these all day long.

nbrown, Oct 12, 2007
Photo of titosupertramp
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden amber in color, crystal clear. Nice large, foamy white head. Leaves behind very thick film with great lacing. Near perfect for a pale ale.

S: Piney, floral hops with toasted malt.

T: Follows the nose to a tee. Taste has a floral/pine hops quality with the toasted malts balancing it out, but still pretty bitter as the hops win the war on this. I've been noticing a tea quality to hop forward pale ales lately and this has it.

M: For a pale ale, this has a thick quality to it. Bitter, dry finish.

O: This isn't the most drinkable pale ale you'll come across due to the dry bitterness, but it's still excellent. One of the seminal American Craft beers, Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale doesn't disappoint.

titosupertramp, May 06, 2011
Photo of chrishickman
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Having finished my Old Chicago World Beer Tour, I decided I was now to the point where I was going to drink beer I liked for the most part, and not be too adventurous. Sadly, I didn't take any notes so I have to rely on my feeble memory!

After having one of my favorite local beers, Millstream Schild Brau (Amber Ale), I decided I wanted something with some hoppy kick to it and saw the SNPA on tap. Boy, I got what I asked for and more! You can't ask for more hop flavor out of a "all year" beer, I mean there was not too much subtley to describe, just knock you on your ass hop clean and fresh hop flavor.1 This beer goes down easy and has a nice head for the style, great lacing. I have no idea why people would drink something like Bud (which laughably touts its high quality hops in their commercials) when stuff like this is available nationally. This will definitely be my "go to" beer when I want something hoppy, though usually I like something a little mellower in this area. Great beer though.

chrishickman, Feb 27, 2004
Photo of DaveGood
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a rich golden color with nice creamy head from a 12oz bottle. The aroma was a bit much from the hops. I have had this on tap previously as well and the odor is generally much more pleasant. The taste was extremely pleasant with a wheat-like malt flavor that is offset by citrus hops. The carbonation is moderate and the drinkability is very good. Overall, this beer goes down nice and smooth and has quickly become my favorite "normal bar" beer. It is definitely one of the best American Pale Ales that I have had to-date.

DaveGood, Apr 04, 2004
Photo of scottbrew4u
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A Classic!

A: Pours a golden-orange color with great clarity and a white bubbly head that hangs around a bit before settling back.

S: Citrus! Fresh grapefruit and some orange and a bit of peppery hop spiciness. Nice toasted malt aroma underlying and slight toffee sweetness in the end.

T: Fresh herbal and citrus hop flavors with some red grapefruit bitterness. Malt profile is of fresh baked bread and some toffee flavors. Hops keep coming with some herbal and fresh grass flavors.

M: Medium bodied with crisp carbonation and a slight alcohol presence at the end.

D: It doesn't get much more drinkable then this. Hop heads appreciate it and even those just starting to get into hops can find it flavorful. Good to introduce to friends thta don't regularly get good beer.

scottbrew4u, Aug 04, 2008
Photo of kguyty
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally had my first Sierra Nevada. I had been wanting to try one, and now I know why.

The PA ours a nice golden and amber color with a nice head. There is a decent smell of hops and sweetness. The taste is fairly hoppy, but not overly hoppy. The carbonation was just right which added to the drinkability of this beer.

A good beer from a company that I look forward to trying more of.

kguyty, Nov 05, 2007
Photo of DeaconBluez
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

to tell the truth. ten years ago, before i started liking craft beer, i thought this beer was down right vile. but i kept drinking it, and the more i drank it , the more i liked micro brews. i know this is not your typical ba review (taste, appearance, smell, etc), but it is more of a testamonial of how this beer made a macro swilling college boy to micro sippin fool. thanks sierra nevada. you may not be the best ipa i have ever had, but....wait a minute i am getting to sappy here...anyway, this beer is an awesome gateway beer for those on the edge between crap and micro brews....cheers sierra nevada

DeaconBluez, Feb 17, 2006
Photo of exonthebottle
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

nice pale not as good as Mirror Pond Pale Ale or Dale's but decent and worthy of a pint at ed's.

standard mainstream ale with a hop kick darkish pale hue nice head not much lacing, hops and light malt taste
okay mouthfeel with smooth drinkability
enjoy.

exonthebottle, Jun 03, 2010
Photo of SilentCharlie
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A, Bright golden with a good haze to it but not too merky. Large bubbles coming up ti a fine white head that is hanging around.

S, Citrus with some pine, but mainly grapefruit on the nose. Little to no malt, this is all Hops!

T, Sits well in the IBUs, not too bitter but has a nice hit. again strong on the citrus but the pine comes through more in the middle of the draw with a slight sweet honeyness towards the end. Then in more with the bitter.

Some Alcohol on the Buuurp.

Very Dry! Very IPA, Very Hoppy!

M, Big bubbles, Medium/ light mouth feel. Standard for the style but perhaps more heavily carbonates than some.

O, A very nice beer of the style. A classic for a reason with some lovely flavours and aromas. Easy drinking and doesnt try to be anything it is not.

Great beer

SilentCharlie, Mar 23, 2012
Photo of thechaacster
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazed amber with a modest head that recedes to leave a nice lacing that lasts through the glass. Mild but slightly raw hop aroma. Flavor is highly hopped, floral with citric overtones. Hop bitterness is definitely up there, but a nice doughy malt backbone keeps it all together. Super smooth mouthfeel, and easily drinkable. Being one of the very few truly well known craft beers, it commands respect from American BAs.

thechaacster, Aug 02, 2005
Photo of archyquaffer
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the oversize bomber into a shaker. A moderate pour produces about 1.5 inches of creamy, off-white head that's plenty sticky. The beer is hazy, with a deep straw color.

Sweet malt and mild floral hops are apparent on the nose and palate. I detect undertones of a sweetness suggestive of honey sweetened tea. The hops assert themselves, but do not overpower, and blend with the fruitiness of the malt to produce a mild and sweet citrus taste similar to a tangerine. A mild bitterness lingers on the tongue, with fruity aftertastes wafting from the burps...

This is one of my "go to" beers- it's refreshing and epitomizes a west coast pale ale without going overboard on the hops. The 24 ounce bombers can often be had in my town for around $2.99 on special (cheap!), and the larger size bottles are also great for filling with homebrew.

archyquaffer, Aug 15, 2013
Photo of haz77
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A – Pours a light copper with a half in of head which dissipates to a thin layer. Looks to have high carbonation.

S – Grapefruit and other citrus, pine-like hops

T – Initial sweet malts are quickly swept aside by the pine-like hops. Citrus runs through the spine of the drink. Restrained bitter finish.

M – Thin to medium and smooth. Moderate carbonation

D – Easy to drink and an all-round good beer.

haz77, Jun 04, 2006
Photo of schlimenhaumer
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 fl. oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith nonic pint glass at low altitude. I've had this beer several times before -- a bit surprised I haven't reviewed it by now.

A: Pours a translucent golden hue slightly lighter than honey. Thick and creamy 3- to 4-finger head of good retention and very nice lacing. Carbonation bubbles drift slowly toward the top of the glass.

S: The smell is relatively subtle overall, with piney hops dominating and caramel malt notes in the background.

T: Starts off with a long buildup of sweet malt notes, followed by a long, resinous hoppy finish that lingers on the palate. The flavors here are very straightforward, but they complement each other well.

M: Light- to medium-bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. Finish is slightly dry. Stands up nicely to the flavors and easy to drink.

O: I can't think of many NYC bodegas that don't stock Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Coupled with the quality of the beer, that makes it one of my go-tos.

schlimenhaumer, Jul 25, 2012
Photo of crookedhalo
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden amber colored with a thin off-white head. Cascade hop aroma and some muted caramelly malt notes, too. Not particularly bad in any sense, but nothing to email home about, either. I feel this brew shines in its drinkability. It's been a while since I had this beer, and maybe I'm being a little sentimental, but it's good. It's good so revisit some old stand-bys every now and then. Good carbonation. Lacking a bit in malt complexity, and thin in the middle, but Cascades are good...

crookedhalo, Aug 10, 2004
Photo of Insomnicat
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A really beautiful pale ale. The glass really showed off the carbonation and a good 2 fingers of fluffy white head

S - Smells flowery and hoppy

T - I'm only now starting to open up my tastes to beer, so it could have been that this beer was too hoppy for my tastes. It could be that my tastes are more malty than hoppy. All that I know is that it tasted hoppy like a kick in the teeth.

M - surprisingly crisp and refreshing! Definitely a superb mouthfeel.

D - I didn't have enough to really tell on drinkability, but I do know that it didnt fill me at all. That combined with 5.6% ABV and I would imagine this is a great session beer if you're used to the hops.

Insomnicat, Jul 21, 2010
Photo of flagmantho
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich but light orange color with two fingers of ivory head. Nice lacing as the head dissipates.

Smell: nice collection of hop aromas. I get earthy, herby, a little citrusy and a little funky. A very nice balance; I like it.

Taste: smooth flavor if a little on the hoppy-bitter side. Malt is slightly sweet and caramel-flavored; hops tend more toward the earthy, funky and floral in the flavor than was the case in the aroma. Bitterness is quite high. Quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation for the style. It works, though it doesn't blow me away.

Drinkability: pretty drinkable. Tried this out at band practice last week and it seemed to go down pretty well. It is probably even better with a burger outdoors in the summer.

flagmantho, Jan 28, 2010
Photo of GoalieRon33
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Amber, with a hazy orange. Not a ton of head to speak of, but sufficient

S- Noticiable hoppiness. Fresh smell.

T- Bitter, with fruity undertones. I'm not the biggest fan of pale ale's, but this is a good one.

M- cool, crisp, and refreshing. Great carbonation.

D- Easy to drink...The hoppiness might offend the palates of some people, but those who appreciate the taste will love this beer.

GoalieRon33, Nov 07, 2009
Photo of Yagman3000
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle into a bubbled pint glass.

Appears a nice golden orange with a small creamy head that remains.

Smells bready and malty with only a subtle hint of hops. A little underwhelming for the genre.

Tastes a little bitter, more than in the nose, with a pretty strong bite.

Has a nice fresh mouthfeel with an outwardly expanding outtro.
More effervescent than I would have expected in a pleasant manner.

Overall a pretty good beer that's generally easy to acquire. It could be hoppier in my opinion.

Yagman3000, Aug 03, 2011
Photo of BARFLYB
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Bourbon blue.

A- SNPA is a nice bright bronze color. Some spots of orange as well. A good sized sturdy head with white bubbles throughout stayed afloat. Some light lace stuck on the glass but barely.

S- A nice hop aroma from various strains giving off a floral aroma. I can smell a citrus a roma plus some malt leading its way to slight caramel. Very nice and pungent.

T- Was not expecting all the hops plus bitterness for a pale ale but this does fit the style. It's not overdone, it's just balanced. The malt gives off caramel at just the right time without interfering. In the finish is some toasted grain plus a bit of spice.

M- A step above medium bodied and oily. The bitterness is there but does not overcome. The malt addition works well in this nicely hopped pale ale. Creamy going down and a nice finish.

D- Good stuff, drinkable plus affordable, this one is a good package. Better off of the tap but fresh bottles are good as well. Low alcohol too which is also a plus. The balance is what sets this one off.

BARFLYB, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of Slackerville
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Truly a legend in the pale ale realm. Brewed with strong hop character on the nose and palate with a balanced malt base well before the US IPA revolution. After a few decades still a great example of the style.

Probably everyone has had at least one of these so no need for a detailed review. Too sum it up, if I was stranded on a desert island and could drink as much beer as I wanted but only have one beer this would be it. Great balance, not overpoweringly strong, hoppy, or malty, just a solid dose of each. Keep them coming.

Slackerville, Jun 02, 2013
Photo of davedahl
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Hog Island Oyster Co. in San Francisco.

Pours clear ligh amber. A proper 2-finger pour leaves a nice head.

Fantastic hop-nose not over-bearing.

Carbonation keeps bubbles coming throughout the session. Which is very nice and keeps a thin layer of head on the surface. Perfect lacing thank you Mr. Hops.

Mouthfeel is full and slightly oily from the hops - definitely not "slick" though.

Hops are in the forefront of taste. Malt has a nice ever-so-slight carmely taste.

The grand-daddy of PA's never fails. This one is especially fresh and "bright" tasting. Likely due to the foot-traffic Hog Island receives - keep rolling those kegs!

davedahl, Nov 05, 2008
Photo of Shiredave
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Im always happy to walk into a new bar and find SN pale on tap as the only "Micro" available.
Color is a golden amber, good streaming carbonation. Maybe too good. (swirling...swirling...) Thin and whispy white head that kicks up retreats quickly to a ring around the glass.

The aroma is all cascade - oranges and Flowers, a bit of sugar behind. A good aroma but somehow a bit boring.

Flavor is on style - rich malt up front with soft herbal hop flavors moving accross the tongue. Body is pretty light, hop bittering is there at the end but subdued and mildy dry. Nothing terribly complex, just good, light bodied balance.

Tasty and quaffable, Classic, if not The Origional, American Pale Ale. I seem to remember liking this more 5+ years ago tho...have I changed...? ....or the beer? Possibly both.

Shiredave, Jan 07, 2005
Photo of bboelens
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

A- Pours a nice copper color with large white head, medium retention and plenty of lacing.

S-Hops, slight malt and sweetness, yeasty notes as well

T-Almost identical with the smell, a very delicious beverage

M-Left a slight odd taste but an overall great feel

D-Easily a session beer that goes well with every situation. Most certainly will buy again.

bboelens, Dec 15, 2010
Photo of AllThingsNinja
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, this is a beautiful beer. The perfect white head floats atop a beautiful amber brew that is brimming with hoppy goodness. As I come back to the beer, I'm always impressed by the malty nose that so pleasantly contrasts the intense hop finish. It is a wonderful beer, but it requires a true appreciation of cascade hops to enjoy.

AllThingsNinja, Feb 08, 2004
Photo of gford217
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a clear golden amber with a small white fluffy head that dissipates quickly to a ring leaving only a little lacing. The aroma is big on citrus hops with grapefruit up front and a hint of pine in the background. The taste starts with a big citrus hop bite up front before giving way to the malt backbone. There is a little pine bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is fresh and clean with good carbonation but a tad light for my liking. This is certainly one of the best mainstream beers out there and one that I order frequently when there's not a lot else available. Good stuff.

gford217, Aug 25, 2008
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,705 ratings.