Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,863 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,863
Hads: 10,445
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 22.47%
Wants: 237
Gots: 2,301 | 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:
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: 2,863 | Hads: 10,445
Photo of Shamgar
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a main stay for me.

appearance: Pale orangy (if that's a word) color. Nice head, Nice retention, average lacing

smell: citrisy pine. hint a lemon peel. Hops are definetly up front. Faint malt in the background.

taste: Hops a prevelent. Great citris characteristics. Slight bitterness in the finish that is attributed to those wonderful cascade hops. Very flavoful Pale Ale and well balanced

mouthfeel: light/medium bodied. Good carbination, smooth and clean in the finish.

drinkability: yes! Could stay with this all night.

 555 characters

Photo of nasty15108
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a classic American Micro-Brew. This ale was poured from the classic brown 12oz bottle into a glass.

A - The ale poured a golden amber color, with a thin head of white foam. Lots of carbonation and lacing.

S - Hoppy and fruity with hints of flowers.

T - Crisp, light and refreshing with lots of hoppy punch in the finish.

MF/D - Clean and refreshing taste. Lots of bubbles and pleanty of dry flavor. A classic American Pale Ale. One of the best out there. If you haven't tried this classic, get out there and find one.

 529 characters

Photo of jspruit
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this bottle at The Drink Store in Stoneybatter on Sierra Nevada special. It's been awhile since I had this-a few years at least I'd say and it is about time I gave it a review.

Pours a nice shade of copper and orange. Nice carbonation with a small off-white foamy head. Leaves some nice lacing going down.

Smells very nice. Floral with hops is the main note here-with some butter biscuit smells too.

Tastes alot like it smells with the hops the overwhelming note. A light malt backbone comes in too which is nice and then it finishes a bit dry. Some citrus notes join the floral aroma-but not too much.

This goes down pretty smooth for an APA and that's probably another reason it is so popular. Not heavy or light and leaves you wanting another.

This is my favorite style of beer, and although not my favorite of this type, I can see why it is so popular. Nice balance of hops, ABV, aroma, mouthfeel, etc. Overall a great beer and definitely something I would not turn down if given the chance.

 1,009 characters

Photo of flyingv63
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours golden amber color, has a decent head that doesn't dissapate right away.

S- Smells kind of floral with a hint of carmel.

T- Good bitterness, nice balanced malty flavor

M- Bitter at first but smooth as silk going down very little aftertaste

D- I could easily drink two or there before starting to feel full although this is a very filling beer.

 356 characters

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at Miller's Ale House, Levittown, NY.

L - clear, amber color with a short white head that fell to a thin layer.

S - sweet malt and citrus hop aroma.

T - great balance of malts and hops.

F - medium bodied with good carbonation feel.

D - easy drinking brew.

 267 characters

Photo of mickstepp
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's hard to believe that I'm just now getting around to reviewing this beer. This was the first American Pale Ale I ever tried and it was an epiphany. I still consider it one of the best and the benchmark for the style. Nice golden color and a decent head and lacing. That wonderful citric hop aroma and the crisp grapefruity taste. Just tart enough and with a nice supple mouthfeel. I could drink this stuff all day. There are hoppier pale ales and there are more complex ones but there are none that are consistently better.

 527 characters

Photo of Braudog
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

If I’m ever stranded on a desert island and am given the opportunity to choose one and only one beer to live with for the rest of my days, SN Pale Ale has to be on the candidate list. Is it the best beer I’ve ever had ... well, no. But it is perhaps the best EVERY DAY beer I’ve ever had. I could drink gallons of this, like a fish-tank full, and never get tired of it. It has the pentultimate balance of malt and hops with an awesome bouquet of ... well, everything. If some day I ever have the guts it takes to start my own brewery, I only hope my flagship brew is as good as this. Or, if I start my dream tavern some day, there will ALWAYS be a tap reserved for SN Pale Ale.

 680 characters

Photo of Bighuge
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This light amber brew throws out dense white head that clings nicely to the glass as I drink. Wonderful blast of hops on the nose. Tasting this is a treat. Great hop character. And great understated bitterness. Underlying malt is sufficient. Pretty clean tasting for an ale. A very quaffable brew. One of my favorite Pale Ales.

 327 characters

Photo of BryanCarey
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is medium bodied, with a golden/orange color. The aroma of the beer grabs your attention immediately, with a mixture of spice, hops, and citrus, and floral overtones greeting the nose. Foaminess is average. As you drink a glass of this beer, it leaves a pattern of lace on the sides of your glass and it is common to find a thin layer of yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottle.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has a distinct hopped flavor. This beer is brewed using two- row barley malt, caramel malt, ale yeast, Perle and Cascade Hops. The taste of the Cascade hops is obvious, but this ale also manages to have a slightly malty taste, which helps keep the beer from becoming too bitter. There is a somewhat creamy texture, with a citrus and spice accented body. The finish of the beer is bitter.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a classic American Pale Ale. It may not be the best pale ale in America, but it's still very good and it stands as a benchmark to the American Pale Ale style. The citrus hop profile and the malty backbone make this a beer worth seeking out.

 1,086 characters

Photo of Jra1985
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed straight from the bottle.

A-Since I drank it from the bottle I have little to report on appearance but it looks exceptional.

S-Smell of hops and other grains. Maybe some slight pine aromas.

T-Great tasting beer. A little hoppy and maybe some piny tastes.

M-Great carbonation light bodied. Extremely smooth.

O-This is a great beer to bridge into the world of craft beer. Extremely drinkable and readily available. This beer is decently priced as well.

 464 characters

Photo of swooshjtb
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my "go-to" beers. I can enjoy this beer all year long. The appearance is on par with most other pale ales. However, the taste is, in my opinion, much better. This beer is always seems fresh with a great mouthfeel and a bold taste. If you are someone that like sweeter beers, this may not be the one for you. If you are looking to try a good pale ale to get introduced to the style, then this is a great place to start. You'll be hooked.

 451 characters

Photo of LarryKemp
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It has been a long time since I have tried this pale ale. I had forgotten what a well made beer it really is. The beer poured a deep golden with a firm tan head. The head faded fast and is probably the least impressive aspect of this beer. The aroma of hops comes through but with each sip the smell of the malt gets stronger. What a joy. The hops on the tongue are not overpowering and the chocolaty, malty taste comes through very strong. The mouthfeel is medium with a tingle of carbonation that lasts throughout the beer. This is a delightful beer that is a joy to drink. No aspect of it rules which makes it a pleasure to sip with a meal or while typing a review. I will most certainly be buying more of these for the fridge.

 730 characters

Photo of ironlung
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap @ Amici's pizza on Lombard in S.F.

A: Light amber. No-head. Nice lacing.

S: Very faint (I'm in a place that cooks pizza's on the open flame so no suprise that's all I really smell)! Pine hops are all I can detect.

T: Crisp. Snappy. A great hoppy pale ale. Perfect bitterness for the style IMO.

M: Light. Palate cleansing. Great beer to enjoy with a meal because it's not overpowering.

D: Super high! My go-to beer, and breakfest drink of choice!

 457 characters

Photo of bum732
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a yellowish orange, nice creamy head with great retention. Smells of grapefruit rind, orange, other tropical fruits, light breadiness. Tastes of semi-bitter grapefruit rind with a nice subtle bready undertone. More citrus fruits in the finish ending fairly clean. Great carbonation cuts through the perfect medium mouthfeel.

The classic American pale ale, as great as its always been.

 392 characters

Photo of ZorPrime
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally could get some. Bought it in New York in June 2009. Brought back to Quebec, almost confiscated by the canadian customs (argh!!).

Tasted on June 5th, 2009.

A: Pours as a copper color with a good head. Nice cloudy looking foam forms the head. Slightly clings to the glass.
S: Average intensity of hops. I mainly get piny hops maybe some citrus but very light.
T: Piny hops
M: Very dry finish. Hops oil cover the inside of the mouth which makes it feel very good...
D: So easy to drink.

Wow, I'm glad I've tasted it. Next time I have to bring a 6-pack to Quebec. This pale ale is more hoppy than some IPA from down here. A saying on the west coast love for hops!!

 671 characters

Photo of jpeterman
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

--Poured from a 12 ounce, brown snub-nose bottle into a shaker pint glass. No drink-by date visible on bottle.--

Appearance- A hard pour yields a sizable, fluffy, off-white 2 finger head, likable to a pillow. Light golden-amber liquid, perfectly clear with no haze whatsoever. (I poured the sediment in, so it is visible, creating a bit of a blur at the bottom of the glass.) Head stays around for about 3 minutes, leaving a nice sticky web of lacing as it goes. A spectacular looking APA.

Smell- Floral hops and pine hit the nose hard at first. A fresh, sweet-yet-sharp grassy scent is dominant, also. Comparison: A perfect summer day. In the background are light malts, and a smidgen of sharp sourdough bread as it warms a bit. Yeast is also prevalent, and some fresh fruits come about with every other whiff or so. Overall an irresistible aroma.

Taste- Just as with the nose, the sharp hop bite comes first; piney and very crisp. A light, sweet malt catches the back of the tongue, along with the yeast. More malt comes in as it warms. A near perfect balance for an APA. Extremely well constructed. My only qualm is that the finish is a bit slick. However, it is by no means drastic.

Body/ Mouth-Feel- Light and crisp, with perfect carbonation and just enough weight on the tongue to keep me interested. Again, a bit slick, but nothing to really complain about.

Drinkability- Easily a session beer. A 6 pack on any evening would be an absolute treat. In my opinion, this is a perfect example of an APA, along with being a classic!

 1,542 characters

Photo of beyah
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 24 oz bottle to a US Tumbler , 1 finger of head.

Color - golden with a slight cloudiness, white lacing hangs in there for a long, long time.

Smell - Very nice hoppiness, slight maltiness in the background.

Taste - Smooth very drinkable, there is a slight citrus taste to the beer. Not too bitter just perfect in the hop department.

Mouthfeel. Perfect carbonation, for this style beer.

I used to be a great fan of Bass Pale Ale, but now I have a new favorite Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

 500 characters

Photo of BeerMusketeer
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Im have always lov ed this beer but hadn't had one in ages. Just picked up a sixer and am remembering why I am so fond of sierra nevada. Nice orange/tan body with a decent head. The aroma and taste are a wondeful balance of gentle hops and solid malts. This is still the best APA for me.

 287 characters

Photo of thecarster1
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a- bottle poured into a pint, one finger bubbly head, nice retention, good bit of carbonation, nice orangey brown color, great lacing.

s- bright, floral hops, sweet caramel malt.

t- wonderful balance, sweet and floral, tang of lemony, grapefruity hops, more hoppy than most apas almost ipa territory, little bit of dryness on the finish, mmm.

m- nice medium body.

d- wonderful, sessionable, one of the best apas i've had, when people talk about apa balance, this is what their talking about, this is my go to case of pale ale, so tasty.

 540 characters

Photo of onthefarside
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this one on several occasions. When I was first getting into beers i thought it tasted a little funny, but now that my taste for beer has matured quite a bit, this beer is great for me when I run out of Dogfish head and can't get to the one place that sells it in Albany. There are two bars so far that I know of in the Albany area that have this on tap. (I dont go bar hopping too much, stick to the usual place) My Place in Delmar and Hollywood down on Lark St in Albany. about $4 for a 16oz draft. On to the beer.

Appearance is a nice dark brown that when held to the light is more of a dark caramel. Depending on the bar tender you either get about 1 in head to almost no head. Out of the bottle about 1in with an average pour.

Smell- Some floral hops, not as strong as IPA but enough to know its going to taste great. Some malts and general pleasantries with this beer.

Taste- where to begin, a great almost sweet malt taste that makes the perfect transition to a slightly bitter hops. Mixed with wings and other typical bar foods, it can mix with other flavours to please your pallete. There are so many other flavours in here that i just can't pull out at the moment.

mouthfeel- when cold it has the perfect effect on your tounge, a perfect amount of carbonation, more than a usual IPA but less than a crappy macro. Good for drinking at a bar with freinds or for washing down a meal.

Drinkability- Definately my session beer at the bar. with 5.6 alcohol cont, it's rather high for a beer you can easily find in a grocery store. For a college party, get something cheaper, at 7-9 dollars around here it can be pricey for those of us in a pinch, but when i want something good and can't get my ass to the bev cent. This is my choice. Can't go wrong with Sierra Nevada!

 1,797 characters

Photo of wolfinthemirror
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Just had my first pint of SN Pale Ale on tap, I was impressed.

A - Nice golden straw color, a fingers worth of foamy white head. beautiful looking beer in the glass!

S - I get grassy hops right up front. has a sweet fragrance to it.

T - Extremely refreshing. hops are present, some citrus notes. nothing over bearing, just an extremely well balanced flavor.

M - light bodied and very crisp. great amount of carbonation.

D- I could drink glass after glass if my wallet would let me. It goes down easy and is a great accompaniment with meals. It paired well with the nachos I had for dinner.

Deliciously refreshing Pale Ale, perfect beer for warming weather. You really can't go wrong with one of these.

 707 characters

Photo of chaduvel
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Golden copper in color rocky head. Aromas of sweet malts and spicy hops. Taste is fresh and piney, but perfect balanced between a mellow sweet malt backbone and cascading sapy hops. One of the most drinkable beers in existence and a fantastic gateway to good beer.

 264 characters

Photo of legalpete19340
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a nice bright orangish gold with a thick two finger head that stuck to the glass and laced perfectly.

S: Piney hops push forward with citrus notes in the back, dry herbal scent with crispy pale malt. Smells like a dry forest.

T: Bitterness hits upfront with loads of pine and herbal spiciness. A solid pale malt backbone holds everything up and swings into the mid swig with a crispness and caramel sweetness then backs off again and lets the hops finish things up with a slap of bitterness.

M: Medium and surprisingly foamy/creamy with perfect carbonation.

O: Just a great beer IMO. Perfect example of the APA style. I keep coming back to this beer and am impressed by how enjoyable and interesting it is. Made better because I can find it anywhere.

 764 characters

Photo of BillyBrew
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What else can I say about The Sierra Nevada...hre are a few... The most idealistic golden brown/orange colour. A fantastic, sticky, chunky, creamy head that keeps full coverage the whole way through while leaving rings in its wake. Scents have heavy hops and fruits, a pleaseantly soft mixture. My palate held a perfectly balanced malt base with a less bitter, more complex hop profile. A fantastic, velvety smooth, medium body. This brew drinks the best so far! This beer nearly shoots through my ratings roof, held back only by my imagination's ideal of unrealized brews to come (or, sadly, never). My best so far. Cheers!

 632 characters

Photo of wahhmaster
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Fist review...here goes...

Poured from a 24 oz. bottle into a Guinness branded tulip pint glass (I really need to get better glassware; this shit is ridiculous).

Appearance: Fuckin' epic. Nice straw color with a decent head that dissapates quickly but leaves average lacing.

Smell: Hoppy aroma with grassy hints. Pretty good but nothing to write a sonnet about.

Taste: Why haven't I had this beer before?!? This is amazing. Nice hop taste that comes on strong upfront. Basically tastes like it smells: hoppy and delicious. Leaves a nice aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Kind of thin. Nothing special here...

Drinkability: A solid pale ale by Sierra Nevada. Highly recommended for fans of the style, beer noobs, or beer advocates in general. Peace out...

 749 characters

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,863 ratings.