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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.

8,748 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,748
Reviews: 2,695
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 136
Gots: 920 | FT: 2
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
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Ratings: 8,748 | Reviews: 2,695 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of StoutyMcStouters
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

24 oz bottle, poured into a plain round table glass.

Poured with a gorgeous dark golden color and two fingers of head, head retention was good with lacing that stuck around for a while.

Smells very much like flowers, like a garden in a cup.

The flavor it packs was way more than expected, it has an awesome bitter citrus infused taste, really more than I could have asked for with the price I paid. It is hard to describe how natural but redefined it tastes. Bang for the buck is huge with this beer.

Easy to drink with a super smooth mouthfeel to it. I wish the aftertaste was a little less pronounced; The bitter overpowers the good taste of the beer as the flavor fades.

Overall a very solid, tasty beer, wish I had tried this beer sooner. Seems like it would go very well with a nice chicken or fish dinner.

StoutyMcStouters, Oct 18, 2010
Photo of mothman
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have had this beer many times, but I guess I never reviewed it. Well here it goes.

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass.

A slight aggressive pour creating a 2 finger slight off-white head. Leaves some thin splattered lacing. Color is a clear golden orange. You can see perfectly through this beer and the carbonation bubbles had my eyes mesmerized.

Aroma: first thing I thought of was fruity pebbles, but in a good way. Earthy hops. Bready malts. Not to much here, but really good for a pale ale (it has a better aroma then some IPAs).

Taste is hoppy of course. Very balanced with malts though (no types to distinguished for me). Has some citrus notes as well. Great pale ale!

Mouthfeel is bitter at first, but then becomes very enjoyable (not saying that the bitter isn't). Leaves a chewy, hoppy aftertaste.

This beer is definitely a classic and something I will always buy. It is by far one of the better tasting pale ales around. I highly recommend this beer if you haven't tried it yet. Great started beer for getting into hops.

mothman, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of hoppytobehere
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bought a 12 pack of cans for this weekend's camping trip. Having one now though.

Canned August 5th, 2013. Exactly 1 month old.

A: Clear, light copper body. Big soapy head which is characteristic of SN beers.

S: Citrusy American hops, some sweet caramel malt.

T: Follows the nose nicely. Slightly bitter, lots of citrus from the hops and a nice bready malt that lingers around at the end. Great balance.

M: SN always nails this one. Good carbonation. For a pale ale, this is right where it needs to be.

O: Although eclipsed by many other beers, this remains a classic example of a west coast pale ale.

hoppytobehere, Sep 06, 2013
Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

time to review a classic...

A - this ale pours a light brown color, with a thin swiftly dissipating white head, there is moderate carbonation present

S - smells like a classic and typical pale ale, that musty sweet hoppy ale-y aroma

T - great and tasty, but nondescript, which is not a knock, this is a
great ale, a great session beer, especially after a hard day of work. this is the first craft beer i ever had, about 5 years ago, after a hard day of digging at my archaeological site during a summer college course. the last day of every dig season we all brought beer. what a day that was!

M&D - smooth and highly palatable, easy down, a great session beer, a classic, what more can i say?

sinstaineddemon, Sep 05, 2006
Photo of PopeJonPaul
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

OK, I have to admit I have a soft spot for this beer. I grew up about an hour from this brewery and I've been drinking this stuff forever. And I still like it.

The color is a nice amber, with a medium, off-white head that stays for awhile and leaves good lacing down the glass. Light hop smell, bitter, yet offset well by the malts, a smooth citrusy taste that's well balanced and refreshing. Yeah, it doesn't pack a lot of punch, but it's not supposed to. You could certainly argue that "it's not as good as it used to be" but it's still a really good, really drinkable beer, especially since you can find one just about anywhere these days - considering that the 'default tap' at many bars is Budweiser or Coors, thank God.

PopeJonPaul, Sep 16, 2004
Photo of dpodratsky3
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Perfect orange amber, slightly darker than average, capped by awesome clingy, creamy, fluffy, just off-white head, already sticks heavily

S: Fairly mild, malt is easy to pick up, nice breadiness, hops are there, but flavor nut super pronounced, floral and kind of grapefruit hops

T: Starts off wit ha nice bite of resiny and slightly grapefruit hops, have a lot of flavor packed in, but they don't kill you with too much bitter, there is also a nice biscuity malt counterpoint that is semi-sweet at first, the beer finishes bitter, and I wish the malt extended a little bit

M: Not real dry like an IPA, not too bitey either, not thin, almost didn't notice the mouthfeel

D: Good, but could be better, rivals some IPA's

Notes: A very good pale ale, that definitely finds its place under an IPA. It doesn't try to be an IPA like some do. It looks amazing and tastes good. Just a solid beer.

dpodratsky3, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of BierReise
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great summer beer. Nice amber body with decent head and retention. Cascade hops all the way. This is the ale that gave me the ability to detect Cascade hops in beer. I've drank so many it's kind of programmed in my senses. Light enough flavor and body for the hot Summer weather.Perfect session beer as well and one of the most consistent brews I know of.

BierReise, Jul 18, 2003
Photo of Bookseeb
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance has a light orange brown with a thin head that dissapates quickly. Aroma is a light hop and malt. Taste is biscuty with light citrus tones with a good hop bite that leaves a lingering bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is light - medium, a well done beer, but I also wouldn't consider it a session.

Bookseeb, Jun 29, 2007
Photo of billab914
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was surprised to find I haven't ever reviewed this one, so I picked one up the other day specifically for this review. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Ithaca glass. It had a really nice golden amber color to it with a thin but frothy head to it.

The aroma has a nice balance of American hops and pale malts. There is some good citrus notes to it, along with a little pine. The pale, bready malts give it a nice base.

The taste shows off the Cascade hops nicely. It's got notes of grapefruit, lemon zest and a little pine to it. Again the pale, bready malts give it a nice base and provide a good balance.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being moderate. Overall, it's a classic version of the style and probably the benchmark for all other versions. Sure, there are newer beers in the style I like better, but sometimes revisiting a classic is just as enjoyable.

billab914, Jul 13, 2012
Photo of pdeepak
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer that started it all for me. Served into a pint glass at my favorite craft beer bar.

I had a case of this in my fridge at all times for months after I tried it for the first time. Opened my eyes to the joys of drinking pale ales and IPAs. Still me go to at sports bars that are riddled with BMCs

pdeepak, Aug 02, 2011
Photo of hackaxle
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Bottle poured into Pilsner glass. I was upset that I did not receive any head. I got maybe 1/4". Maybe I am not used to pouring bottle conditioned beer?

Appearance: Golden with no head.

Smell: Dry hops and hint of malt.

Taste: I am used to macro-brews so it tastes much stronger to me, but I do like it. Little bite in the after taste with a dry feeling.

Overall: I was left feeling cheated when I poured it with no head. Although it is much stronger tasteing to me, I am beginning to realize what everyone wants in a beer. The beer is of exceptional quality.

hackaxle, Jun 16, 2005
Photo of CrellMoset
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz glass into a pint glass.

Appearance was orangey-copper, with a medium, white head with good retention. Lacing was average in volume and retention, and carbonation was medium. All in all, a very nice beer to look at.

Smell was very intense, with piney hops dominating but not overpowering a sweet malty backbone.

Taste was great, quintessential American pale ale. An initial burst of hops, with a good balance in the middle and a nice, piney aftertaste. No alcohol detected.

Mouthfeel was again decent, working well in concert with the taste - full, without being too full, with the mild carbonation dying down perhaps a little too quickly.

Drinkability is superb - this is a definite go to beer for me, and it's good that perhaps the most easily-available American Pale Ale is such a classic. A good introduction to the style, and a good dinner party beer. Cheers!

CrellMoset, Feb 02, 2008
Photo of BeerDocT
3.94/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance 3.75: Poured out an opaque orangey golden color. Slight head quickly dissipated leaving the typical swirly foam on top. Striking look to this beer.

Smell 3.75: Very nice bouquet. Sharp, alkaline hop scent with a light hit of concentrated citrus. This is a refreshing hop hit, hard to describe. Almost like quinine.

Taste 4.0: Very nice. Front is smooth and slightly sweet. Middle is slightly dry, with deep barley and malt tastes and is velvety smooth. There is also the first hint of hops here. Finish is where the hops really come in, but it is a balanced wave of alkaline hops and features the good hop tastes of citrus and a slight chlorophyll. Aftertaste features a pleasing switch in the hop tastes: it turns to an emphasis on certain resiny, piney taste and a return of the malt, all of which is subdued and refreshing.

Mouthfeel 4.0: Creamy carbonation and general smooth as silky mouthfeel. Nice.

Overall 4.0: Outstanding and a great brew. Smooth and balanced with a little more hoppiness than some may like. I, however, am a hop-head and love it. This beer is slightly sweeter than you might expect from a bottle-conditioned beer, but it makes up for it in its sessionability. I could quaff this bad momma all night. And probably will... . ;) Recommended.

BeerDocT, Jul 15, 2013
Photo of Fitzy01
3.94/5  rDev -2.5%

Fitzy01, Sep 07, 2014
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,748 ratings.