Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

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2,824 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,824
Hads: 10,258
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 9.85%
Wants: 222
Gots: 2,098 | 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
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Reviews: 2,824 | Hads: 10,258
Photo of Nixonbrew
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

As a chico state grad this was a staple of my education.

A - always a golden color with medium carbonation (amount depending on how rough it was tubing down the sac that day)

S - cascade hops, fresh malt, chico strain yeast, clean

T - cold, refreshing, a whiff of hops, light crystal malt flavor, with a slight bitter finish

MF - cold, clean, nothing better

O - excellent while tubing down the sac, at a party on 5th and ivy, or with the friends while fishing in deer creek off hwy 32

My favorite pale ale hands down. No other like it. (541 characters)

Photo of cottonkoozie
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Wonderful amber/peachy color. Good head with pretty good retention. LACING!!

Smell - Very good smell, not over powering, but good floral hops smell.

Taste - Great taste. Good balance but also a good pronounced hops flavor. Not too sweet, not too bitter.

Mouthfeel - Excellent mouthfell. Perfect carbonation.

Drinkability - Goes down smooth. Light after taste that is very similar to grapefruit juice.

Great beer. First time trying it, but will definitely buy this one again sometime. Should be on everyones list of a beer to try at least once. (562 characters)

Photo of TonyVic
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The appearance is clear and pale gold. When poured it has a nice creamy, long lasting head. The aroma is citrusy and piney. It also has some lingering herbal notes that add to the complexity. The mouthfeel is full, creamy and smooth. Hss great taste and easy drinkability. (272 characters)

Photo of acevenom
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours slightly hazy and golden with an abundant, lingering off-white head. As the head dissipates, plenty of sticking lacing is left on the glass. The smell is sweet from the malt and also has aromas of citrus and pine from the hops. The flavors up front are pine and citrus. There's also some malt sweetness in the flavor. The flavors are very well-balanced. The body is medium and there is plenty of carbonation. This beer is crisp and refreshing. Overall, this is an excellent beer. This pale ale is perfect for any occasion and is a great way to introduce someone to the pale ale style. (590 characters)

Photo of hmk22
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Probably among the very best American beers ever produced and maybe the best APA period. Seems like I taste something different each time which is a testament to their recipe, the ingredients, and their QC procedures. Taste is complex, a basket of hops, and it hits the pale ale spot every time. One of a kind and worth its cost. (329 characters)

Photo of ChefSchipull
4.59/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Medium golden color, with a white frothy head that dissipates slowly.

Smell: Extreme citrus! Hints of grapefruit are definitely evident, along with floral scents.

Taste: Piney, grapefruit, floral pleasing hops. Apple in the aftertaste perhaps?

Mouthfeel: Crisp carbonation with a dry finish that makes you want to drink this brew all night long.

Drinkability: Extremely easy to drink, cleanses the palette quite well with bold food flavors.

I would definitely recommend this beer and in my opinion it takes second place in the APA category only to Four Peaks Hopknot Pale Ale. (604 characters)

Photo of steveh
4.59/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A very old favorite (one of my first micros, when there were but few).

A -- Bright golden with a light cream head that thins to a persistent cap.

S -- Citrus fruit with biscuit malts bringing up the rear.

F -- Fruity citrus hops up front that blend into a mellow, earthy bitterness and ends with fruit esters and mildly sweet, bready malts. Piny bitter aftertaste.

M -- Light in body and crisp in mouthfeel. Slightly spritzy on the tongue.

D -- Goes down smooth and easy, quenches the thirst as a good Pale Ale ought to. King of the style and it keeps its chops. (567 characters)

Photo of Patrick999
4.59/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

With this review, I complete the Holy Trinity of American craft beer - Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, and Anchor Steam.

Sierra Nevada....had it a million times, but never bothered to review it. You do tend to take great beers like this for granted due to their availability. Yes, there are "hoppier" beers out there, but this beer is an original and one of the defining American craft beers.

This beer never fails in any of the attributes to which we assign numbers. Aromatics are not all that strong, but what a minor complaint. Taste is a perfect balance between hop, malt, and ale-yeast esters. Goes well with just about any meal you can think of, from pizza to nouveau cuisine like macadamia-nut-crusted salmon on a bed of sweet potato mash. Or, you can simply raise a few pints of it by itself.

A true American classic. The American craft beer movement owes this beer a debt of gratitude, one I'm more than happy to repay now and again by draining a glass. (962 characters)

Photo of Isrealite
4.59/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This is the only beer at the gas station next to where I work that is not a two year old, forty ounce, malt liquor. Despite a purchase made out of complete desperation, this turned out to be a great American pale ale due to it's absolute simplicity. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is like a good burger. It would not be prudent to add too many other toppings and over complicate things. The aroma is amazing, the taste of hops is perfectly balanced, and this beer goes down really smooth. The price is fair, and this one is about as easy to get as my women. There are only 175 calories in a 12oz. bottle, and since its loaded with hops, it's also loaded with healthy polythenols, that will hopefully balance out the damage my liver takes whenever I buy this beer and end up drinking too much! This A.P.A. should be enjoyed straight out of the bottle, in my opinion. A solid brew for sure. (880 characters)

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What can I say that hasn't already been said?? This is the best APA around and quite honestly my favorite domestic beer. Pours out of the bottle with a small head that doesn't stick around long. Smells of those wonderful Cascade I love them. The taste is smooth and hoppy. Great on a hot summer day, or any day for that matter. This is what beer should be. (367 characters)

Photo of jakester
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was a 12oz. bottle from my dad. The bottle says bottle conditioned. Also, 5Q49A12:53 is stamped on the bottle. How about a frickin' date!!

Pours a very slightly hazy (chill haze, yeast?) gold with orange tints. One finger off white head of creamy foam, which drops to about 1/2 finger and stays for most of the beer. Strong carbonation evident, almost appears effervescent. Lacing all the way down the glass.

Aroma is of lemons, grapefruit, and tangerines, followed by a slightly bready, pleasant pale malt smell; maybe a little yeast in there. Some caramel smell there as well. The aroma lasts for the whole beer. Impressive!

The first flavor to hit is a very smooth sweetness, quickly followed by a good dose of bitterness. Then lemons and grapefruit, fresh and tart. Really well balanced APA. Nothing huge or anything, but seems right on style. Backing up all this hop character is a perfect malt base. It's bitter and hop flavored, but the pale malt really comes through, balancing it nicely.

The mouthfeel is just so smooth it seems weird. When I poured it, the carbonation looked out of whack, but it's surprisingly soft. A little sweet, a little bitter, with a long finish in the back of your throat.

As APA's go, this has to be one of the best out there. Assertive, but not IPA-like, 5.6% ABV, a great representation of the style. (1,360 characters)

Photo of mudbug
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is the savior go- to beer when traveling by motorhome in the U.S..
Sometimes available at Wallyworlds (Wall Mart)
Good hops and one of the best balances around, the avitar of west coast ale.
Thank Bacchus (Even if it's not wine) for SNPA!! All hail! (259 characters)

Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours well, keeps a white foamy head throughout, which is impressive. Has a yellow-orange appearance, and smells great. Has an earthy, fruity, all around awesome taste, extremely smooth. The slight bitterness is proven in the aftertaste, but this beer goes good with anything, or any scenario. Sad I didn't try this one this sooner. Awesome brew! (346 characters)

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the Land Ho in Orleans.

What a great beer. This is a perfect example of what a Pale Ale should be. It does not have all the characteristics that I truly enjoy, but its balance is so good it’s incredible. The perfect amount of hops, followed by a fruity, but not over powering body, finished by a slight pine ending. Tops in its class. (348 characters)

Photo of cdizinno
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Golden amber with a nice head that settles into a lasting white lace.

S: Loads of floral, spicy hops. Touch of earthiness.

T&M: Smooth, medium body. Sharp, tangy, fruity, citrus bitterness. Light floral and spicy. Large hop finish.

This is one of my favorites. I always come back to this for a regualr drinking ale! (323 characters)

Photo of yossarian14
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On top of all the high marks for quality, I also have a soft spot for this brew, as it was a benchmark in my beering adventures. It became a beer to which I compared all others. I have recently taken to almost exclusively trying new beers of all styles (which I highly recommend) but I came upon this bottle in my inlaws fridge, and instantly decided it would be my next (third) review. I have a solid twenty minutes before I am noticed missing, and plan to cherish each and every one.

A-Light clear bubbly amber color with a large almost half-a-glass head (I poured into a curved Boddintons pint glass)that sticks around and then leaves some lacing.

S-When I smell a Sierra Pale Ale I get that green fresh hoppy IPAish sense in my head

T-But the taste is something smoother and more refreshing than expected.The bitter hops remain after a well balanced initial mouthful.

M-Carbonation is present and tingly throughout your mouth. Gets a little heavy and syrupy as it warms. I would tend to not want to let this one sit too long in the sun.

D-This one has given me many a headache which earns it a 5 in Drinkability (1,120 characters)

Photo of Spidey13
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the beer that first turned me on to craft beer two years ago. I had it on tap last night and decided finally to try to write a review.

In the glass, it is a very pretty, clear golden/copper color with a fluffy white head. Lots of lacing is left on the glass. The nose is very bright and floral with hops. Some citrus in there too with a bit of caramel underneath. The taste starts off with sweet caramel up with and them the grapefruity hop flavor and bitterness shows up and is fantastic! There are also some bready flavors in there and, while the beer warmed up, I think I tasted a bit of the alcohol underneath. There is a nice, medium mouthfeel with a medium/high carbonation. As for drinkability, I could drink this beer all day long. Never get between me and a SNPA. Do you hear me? NEVER! (822 characters)

Photo of culver501
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-light copper colored, 1 inch white head, good retention, great carbonation out of my laser etched sierra nevada glass

S-grass, pine, yeast

T- just really well balanced all the way through, piney hops immediately followed by a sweet roasted malt, i can't help but think that they're use of whole cone hops really brings a freshness and complexity that set them apart from the beginning, this one of my all time favorites so its much harder to review than i thought

M-between clean and slightly warming in the mouth, great balance as well

D-the most drinkable in my opinion, their other brews never disappoint either but this one just seems to be an american classic, I love going to the brewery in Chico too, always great surprises on tap (743 characters)

Photo of JasonCoop
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

one of my old favorites. pours a very pale yellowish amber color with big foamy head.

smells very citrusy and very hoppy with some subtle breadiness mixed in. very appetizing.

taste is a lot like the smell. nice citrusy hop taste. not an overly balanced beer because the hops dominate, but excellent nonetheless. not a complicated taste but it's just great.

mouthfeel is light and the hop bite is very pleasant. extremely drinkable brew, i just love this one. i'm a big fan of good pales or india pales with a strong hop presence and this is one of the old stand-bys. (576 characters)

Photo of JEdmund
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Caramel orange body with a moderate head that reatains; good level of carbonation

Piney hops and oranges

Taste & Mouthfeel
Sharp bite with a lasting bitterness; that bitterness is supported by a firm malt body; great, full body with a perfect feeling of carbonation

I love this beer. It was my gateway beer to craft beer and I regard it as a quintessesntial example of an American pale ale. It absolutely sets the standard. (454 characters)

Photo of BeerNutta
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

A = Poured a copper colour with a thin foam head.

S = Strong inital citrus smell followed by a stong hop aroma.

T = Same as the smell. Inital maltiness with a strong fruity backbone. Stong hop finish. Very nice.

M = Moderately carbonated to quech thirst.

D = Very drinkable. Great session beer. (332 characters)

Photo of Givemebeer
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Any brewery can try as hard as they want. But this is THE pale ale. Unique and perfect. Perfect showcase of the classic American cascade hop as well. (150 characters)

Photo of punzak
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It has a really nice balance. I could drink these all day long. In fact, I was recently talking with a friend of mine about what beer we would choose if we could have an unlimited supply of only one beer for consumption while trapped on a desert island. This was my choice. (273 characters)

Photo of beerogre
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is truly an American icon. Although there are more elaborate beers than this one available across the country, few can demonstrate the level of consistency, claim the enduring drinkability or indeed have the widespread availabilty that SNPA has.

Having just spent the last few days moving house (a sure way to build a thirst if ever there was one) I finally got the opportunity to have a few beers tonight. My fridge is packed with some really great beers from such breweries as Stone, Victory, Brooklyn, Southampton and even some SN Bigfoot, Torpedo and Celebration - but despite my impressive inventory, all I wanted to do was guzzle some SNPA, such is its thirst quenching quality. The thought of SNPA came into my head a few days ago, and I know that when that type of thing happens it's an itch that's not going to go away until it's scratched. So a quick trip to the supermarket soon remedied the situation - and that's one of the real beauties about this beer - it's available practically everywhere.

With its clean, crisp, (look at me I'm stood on top of a mountain and it's so) refreshing taste it really is a beer I could drink until the cows come home. Pure Class. (1,200 characters)

Photo of bigpatvoodoodad
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pale Ale is probably my favorite style, second only to English Brown Ale, and this beer in particular is my favorite of Pale Ales. As silly as it may sound, I like the serene green color of the label and artwork. Now, as far as the beer itself, well it is just spectacular. It is very refreshing and not overly heavy. I simply love the spicy taste and the pleasantly bitter aftertaste always leaves me wanting another after I've finished a bottle or pint. Needless to say, this is a very drinkable beer by my standards and what I consider the bench mark when comparing other American pale ales. (594 characters)

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,824 ratings.