1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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.

8,510 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,510
Reviews: 2,680
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 120
Gots: 808 | 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: 8,510 | Reviews: 2,680 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bondjedi


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

On tap. This is my Dad's favorite beer.

Doesn't foam up on the initial pour. Nice - I won't half to waste half a keg getting the CO2 pressure right. Buying a keg of this is like getting a German shepherd that's already housebroken.

Well-laced, and a dainty light copper color. I think of a riverboat gambler who is a bit of a dandy.

Smooth pour down the throat. I would hope for a more gravelly note, that which usually accompanies a PA.

Great beer.

01-01-2011 02:29:59 | More by bondjedi
Photo of StlHopHead77


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

A-Pours out a nearly transparent,amber with a stark white cap of nearly 3 inches.Really good retention and attractive gummy strands of lacing on the glass.

S-Grassy and citrusy hops upfront,followed substantially by biscuit-like malts and a slight toffee character.

T-Pale malts,orange and lemon zest,sourdough bread,
pine and slight sugars.

M-Light side of medium bodied.Smooth and approachable.Good carbonation.

O-The hop lovers gateway drug.

07-08-2011 11:40:08 | More by StlHopHead77
Photo of mobyfann


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

Paid $6.99 for a 6'er for Turkey Day...


The beer pours a clear beautiful ambe rbrown base with a medium white head, good retention and lacing effects. The aroma was not really distinct so I give it an average.

However, the taste is very full which I like personally; it has notes of hops, a little malt, a little fruity and a little sweet; a real nice blend. The M&D life this beer to a new dimension. I have never been more impressed by a mainstream beer than this. It is extremely smooth all over and this is an ideal session beer, watch out @ 5.6%...

Final Thought: It's been over two years since I drank a SNPA but I am glad I refounded this relationship that will continue for quite some time.

11-27-2004 05:28:45 | More by mobyfann
Photo of jizdepski


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

poured into a english pint sized bass glass. nice looking ale, honey gold in color with a creamy textured tan collar. head retained well. floral hop bouquet with an earthy mustiness on the nose. tastes floral and herbal up front. not too hoppy, some graininess balances it out with a nice malt presense. not shy with hops, but not too hoppy especially if you are looking for them. feels oily slick going down (resiny, hoppy oil) and has a fullish, creamy medium body. just a little "bite" from carbonation but for the most part quite smooth. drinkability spot on. one of the better examples of an american pale.

01-05-2011 23:30:09 | More by jizdepski
Photo of moulefrite


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

A good beer-yes. A cult beer-I can see that, as most of us in the US don't dare reach out much beyond this anyway. It's at whole foods-yipee-I'm a cool, way-out kind of beer drinker--too cool dude. Hey, is this organic?Good, fresh brew, with malty richness and a nice bitter hop balance. Perhaps the coolest beer on the planet for those just stepping up from butt-wiper. An above "good" pale ale that gets way to much hooplah for what it is. Sorry frat boys and girls who think they have found the holy "pale."

11-12-2003 03:13:01 | More by moulefrite
Photo of MrHungryMonkey


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

Light yellow/amber, clear. Mild head and carbonation.

Sweet bready malt. Citric piney American hops. Sweet and spikey.

Biscuit malt, lightly buttery. Hop comes through nicely, citric and floral. Nice balance and strength.

Moderate carbonation, mild foamation.

Nice American Pale Ale.

02-03-2007 03:19:32 | More by MrHungryMonkey
Photo of TheBrewo


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

We pour a brew of deep gold. It holds a one and a half finger head of crisp, tight white bubbles, showing nice retention. Sheets and patterns of lacing are left as it goes, with a thick film left across the top of the liquid. No haze or sediment is noted, and carbonation appears to be active. The aroma gives pale, lightly wheaty, and metallic adjuncty malts alongside citric and sweetly nectary hops. Vanilla sweetness, raw honey, toast, faint pine cone earthiness, and turkey meatiness come out with warmth. Our first impression is that the flavoring is nicely hopped, with a hearty and classically “pale ale” base. As we sip, lemon zest, sweaty pale malts, soured adjuncts, baker’s yeast, gingerbread sweetness, and orangey citric hop sugars start things off. The middle peaks with pale muddiness, coriander and cinnamon depth, German lager malts, green grassiness, and mossy tree bark. The finishing wash shows mineral water, gravel, spicy earthy hops, white sugars, continued grassy hops, sesame seediness, and a revival of bitterly drying pale malts. The aftertaste breathes of lightly wet wheatiness, grassy and citric rind hoppiness, flashes of white sugars, red cherry skins, sweaty saltiness, and adjuncty coin. The body is medium, and carbonation is light to medium. The mouths is cooled and coated with an oily film. This eventually dries into a softer astringency. Each sip gives okay slurp and smack, with lesser froth or cream. The abv is appropriate, and the beer glugs easily.

Overall, what we liked best about this beer was its drinkability. This guy is a staple for the style, as well as for the craft beer revolution as we know it. The hops are robust and biting, while the aroma is decently fresh, mildly warming, and inviting. The flavor retains its strength with each sip, and invigorates the palate with its blend. This is a classic sipping beer, and something every beer enthusiast should be familiar with.

05-02-2013 02:35:04 | More by TheBrewo
Photo of BeerKangaroo


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

In a pint glass:

A: golden yellow colored body with a slight copper color; it has a decent white head that didn't last too long

S: hops and some caramel, some light malts

T: bitter through the hops, malts plant their presence to help balance very nicely

M: medium, sessionable, creamy, bitter aftertaste and finish

O: this is good for the style and good for me

11-18-2011 19:41:59 | More by BeerKangaroo
Photo of enjambed


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

Serving Type: Bottle Poured into glass. I thought I would try it at room temperature for something different. (Although it was very good as always, I would recommend it moderately chilled to 40-45 F)

Appearance: A moderate to hefty pour produces a one finger, soapy white head with lively carbonation and decent retention that settles down to a small cap. Good lacing as well, but I'm not that serious about these kinds of things. Color is a nice copper-orange hue standard for a pale ale.

Smell: Sweet malts, with some citrus hops, floral and a bit of pine. Overall, what you would expect in a cascade-based pale ale, but it's executed very well. Normally I can get more out of this beer, but my smell isn't as sensitive today.

Taste: My taste is not so sharp right now either, but I'll give it my best. Starts pretty plain, but finishes with clean, moderate bitterness and a very noticeable (and delicious) citrus/orange flavor. Possibly some pine there too, but it could just be the bitterness.

Feel: Medium, not too interesting, but pale ales aren't known for mouthfeel. There is a decent amount of carbonation that makes it nice and lively, and adds a little bit of crispness that works well with the hops. Dry, dry finish.

Overall: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a well established benchmark for the American Pale Ale, and for good reasons. Everything is well-balanced, and you can kick back a few of them without hop overload. Someone with an IPA-warped palate will barely be able to notice the bitterness, but that makes it more approachable for non-BA's just starting out in craft beer. It's a solid, everyday pale ale at an affordable price.

07-28-2014 03:40:35 | More by enjambed
Photo of comfortablynumb1


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

A - Poures a golden amber with a two finger off white froathy head. Decent head retention for the style, and there is even a little lacing to be had...

S - Hops, citrus, and a hint of pine...

T - Citrus/grapefruit hits you up front followed by hops. Ends on a slightly bitter hoppy note. Pretty smooth...

M - Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation...

D - Definitely not one of my favorites, but something I tend to drink fairly often because they are so available in my area. I guess you can say this is one of my go to beers when I am in a pinch...


11-27-2010 05:40:24 | More by comfortablynumb1
Photo of bruachan

District of Columbia

3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

on tap at the winking lizard

translucent copper with a descending head that leaves lacing behind and stops short of disappearing altogether
slight citrus nose with some caramel

more citrus in the flavor with coarse but moderate bitterness that feels kinda sticky in the mouthfeel (at one point it almost tasted metallic, but i decided against that observation)

i haven't tasted the stuff out of the bottle recently so i can't compare the two

01-31-2006 15:35:28 | More by bruachan
Photo of Atch


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

Poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Nice golden orange color, medium carbonation, 1 finger head that leaves quick and some descent lacing.

Smell: I get citrus and (coconut)?

Taste: A good balanced beer that definitely fits the APA style.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth texture, holds the carbonation.

Drinkability: I would absolutely have another.

I remember years back when I first tried SNPA, thinking how great it was and it would make me pucker. Then; being introduced to IPA's and doubles, I kind of forgot about Sierra. Probally the beer responsible for my never-ending hop quest. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale= Old Faithful.

02-28-2007 00:33:32 | More by Atch
Photo of Phelps


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

Looks: like apple juice. Perfectly clear pale almond with a one-finger head of sticky seafoam white that grips the sides of the glass in full sheets. The head chills atop the glass for a few good minutes before receding to become a thick layer.

Smells: classic. Nicely hoppy, with citrusy flavors of sweet oranges and lemon peel.

Tastes: nice bready malt and a subtler backbone of sweet caramel. A blast of zesty citrus peel hits, with lots of orange and a bit of grapefruit. Lightly bitter acrid orange peel in the back. Straightforward and solid.

Feels: soft and just a tad watery. Medium-light body and a medium carbonation.

Drinks: like a standby. To this long-time drinker, first-time reviewer, SNPA is a classic that's dependable when craft beer is scarce.

08-26-2010 23:26:43 | More by Phelps
Photo of swede96


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

Had one of these years ago in Reno straight out of the bottle. Tried another out of a pint beer glass. The head was just off white and about 1 finger with good lacing. I was surprised to see the beer was almost orange in color. The smell was very good with the hops and citrus coming through, tasted a lot like the smell, very good. Medium mouthfeel and drinkability was good, enjoyed this brew and will go for it again.
Went great with the burger....

11-17-2010 17:48:09 | More by swede96
Photo of sprucetip


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

From notes, on tap in California. Very clear, golden/copper, fluffy white head, good retention, some lacing. Not very active. SMELL pleasantly hoppy aroma up front, dissipates. Not expecially complex. Grassy hop notes return with a swirl and as it warms. TASTE nicely balanced meium bitterness, substantial but not overdone hop flavors & perceptible malt backing. FEEL tingly/fizzy, medium body, dry & a bit bitter in the finish. OVERALL it is a classic, or course. Plenty of flavor, easy drinking. Old reliable, and thankful to find it when it's the only craft beer available in a particular location.

11-13-2009 21:48:30 | More by sprucetip
Photo of BrewMaster


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

This beer was served from the tap with a dull amber color and a thin 1cm head. The aroma is a nice malty one with a bit of floral hop scent mixed in. Being that I've had this beer so much here in CA I've never really stopped to notice the beautiful aroma of this beer. But this time I did and I appreciate it much more now.

The flavor has a mild sweet malt profile with touches of cascade hops. A soft nuttiness is also present, but not in an overpowering or oily fashion. The beer is smooth and certainly suitable as a daily drinker.

09-03-2004 15:42:59 | More by BrewMaster
Photo of JDV


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

On Draft at UFC 73 in Sacramento. Lovely amberish color with just a little white head. Smell is a great fruity, fresh, hoppy scent. Taste is medium hoppy up front followed by a malty sweet aftertaste with a very nice finish. Great beer overall, with lots of flavor and a nice finish, and much better than I expected. I really liked this one.

01-31-2008 21:38:54 | More by JDV
Photo of Keblar

New York

3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

Only thing I don't care for in this beer is the hoppiness, enough that it could be an IPA rather than a PA.

Slightly cloudy bright golden orange. Good head in the glass. Nice carbonation balance. Decent head that lingers well.

Clean feel, not too bitter. Floral of course. Citrus-y. Someone described it as a grassy tone, and I think fits it pretty well.

Excellent beer, but not my style.

11-03-2009 01:52:03 | More by Keblar
Photo of jmarklan


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

Pours a clear dark golden color. Beautiful dense white head, good retention. Slight lacing.

The aroma is faint: slightly toasted malt, biscuit like, herbal and minty hops.

Light in flavor, typical pale ale. Herbal and slightly minty hops throughout, ends with a very slight toasty malt. Well balanced.

Feels light in body, very drinkable and crisp.

Overall: Generally i like beers with a bit more flavor and aroma, but this is a fine and sessionable beer.

04-07-2012 06:40:45 | More by jmarklan
Photo of Bfarr


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

Clear Copper amber with a big frothy tan head with broken lacing. A floral aroma with some sweetness. Nice malty, lightly caramel weetness balanced out with a fairly prominent floral/earthy flavor with light bittering finish. Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy for a pale ale.

Highly drinkable pale ale with a great bottle conditioned carbonation. Good hop presence for a pale ale but not overdone.

07-15-2010 00:31:40 | More by Bfarr
Photo of cocogan


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

Visual: copper in color with orange hues. Just a lsight layer of various sized bubbles left as a head. a smudgen of lacing.

Nose: Orange peel, slight citrus, buttered biscuit, and eggs (not sure about style.. maybe scrambled).

Taste: Clementine and orange peel flavors up front, followed by pineapple citrus,bit of bready chewiness, tin metallic flavor, and a crisp earthen finish that is dosed with a balanced hop bitterness.

Mouth: feels like beer thats for sure, mildly carbonated, left fairly dry but yo mouth waters for more.

Drunkability: solid american pale ale. it is a good stand by because it is pretty easy to get ahold of nation wide. However, i endorse drinkin local beer, so i must say that this would taste even better if i were sippin it fresh in Chico, Cali.

04-14-2011 03:32:23 | More by cocogan
Photo of Yeastcakes


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

Serving notes - Legal Seafood, Boston airport. Shaker glass, cool.
A - bright floral hops (but not overpowering), some malt in the background.
A - inch of white head, clear amber.
M - medium body and carbonation
T - hops forward but well balanced by the malt. Very bright flavor. No aftertaste.
D - Very sessionable beer.

03-28-2009 22:19:16 | More by Yeastcakes
Photo of custardcb


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

Sierra Pale Ale is what I consider a great beer for those lazy afternoons lounging around the house. The pleasant aroma with hints of yeast and hops are pleasing. The quality of the beer is very apparent and it is obvious the care is put into this drink. That has always been the lasting characteristic of this beer is freshness and quality. It is a beer that I know I can reach for at anytime and throughly enjoy.

06-09-2005 05:49:13 | More by custardcb
Photo of athensbeermaster


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

Never had this Classic ale on tap with some spicy mexican food.
Wow the hefty malt backbone with the tangy citrus notes went down perfect. The head was a good two fingers and had some lacing down the whole glass.The flowery and musty earthtones from the hops really cool down the spicy salsa. Thanks to Garrett Oliver for that suggestion.Who needs a bad beer with a lime?

01-22-2007 21:46:45 | More by athensbeermaster
Photo of isaacpopp


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%

A: yellowish orange pours with a 1 to 2 finger head that dissipates fairly quickly with little lacing.

S: a nice hoppy citrus aroma with some grassy notes as well

T: hop bitterness with some but definitely on the bitter side

M: light carbonation that is pleasant and leaves just a bit of a tingle on the taste buds in combination with the bittering hops. Thin mouthfeel otherwise.

O: Overall this is a really solid beer and one that you could drink as a session if not for the 5.6% ABV. A good bet if you are in the mood for a pale ale. Good quality to price ratio too!

07-18-2011 04:25:28 | More by isaacpopp
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,510 ratings.