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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,877 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,877
Hads: 10,542
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 22.22%
Wants: 248
Gots: 2,419 | 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: 2,877 | Hads: 10,542
Photo of Baraka
4.52/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Golden color with a solid head. Aroma is weighted heavily towards citrusy west coast hops, although there is a bit of malt balance. Features medium carbonation and an impressive hop bitterness (esp for a pale) that quickly overwhelms any malt present. Crisp and delicious, this is the ultimate session beer.

The quintessential example of an APA, SNPA is simple yet brilliant, and one of the beers that got me into craft beer in general. The perfect pale ale for a hophead as well as a great stepping stone to the world of hoppy beers.

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Photo of PerzentRizen
4.52/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Juicy hops, fresh flavor, and a great warm weather bite that makes you fall in love with it.

I poured mine into a footed long-stemmed sierra nevada tulip glass. The color is an apple cider color with amazing clarity despite the note on the top of the bottle concerning yeast sediment. This should be served chilled to around 45-55 degrees.

The smell is of fresh juicy hops and light malty alcohol (only an illusion as this beer is only 5.6% ABV.

The taste is fresh, tart and exceedingly good. I really love this pale ale because it has the bite of an IPA and the body of a traditional pale ale. I love the hop character.

The mouthfeel is a light, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. For the style the mouthfeel is very good (I generally like the more substancial beers in mouthfeel so I had to push myself to rate this a 4.0).

This is an exceedingly drinkable beer. In fact I plan on finishing my six pack in the next few hours as I enjoy the afternoon.

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Photo of hero27
4.52/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Drank this on-tap at Mulligan's in Cedar Falls, Iowa..

Appearance: Looks great in the 16-ounce pint glass. Dark, amber color with a fairly thin head. The thin cap stays the entire time, though..leaving a soft lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell: Definite citrousy hop aroma, which makes it difficult to smell much else. There are some fruity, and even woody undertones.. can pick up some sweet malts as well.

Taste: mmm, very well-balanced and smooth. Would be a superb session beer...for some reason I enjoyed this on tap much more than the large bomber I originally sampled this from. Sort of a lemony-hoppiness to the brew..with some very pleasant smooth malts for a nice, well-rounded taste. Finish is bitter and hoppy, as expected.

Mouthfeel: As creamy & smooth as I've ever seen from a pale ale. Moderate overall mouthfeel but slides down dangerously easy..

Drinkability: Fairly cheap and widely available. A staple of the APA style and one of my favorite beers to have on-tap in the area, since most of them have it. You could drink this all night long if you wanted to...and you'd enjoy it.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Read my first review. Wow how tastes change. I once didn't like ales. This ale is an example of how to make a good pale ale. Great head and retention. Great hoppy smell.

This beer starts off witha nice breadiness, followed by a nice hop bitterness with citrusy undertones. Such a smooth mouthfeel. I could drink this beer all day.

The prototypical pale ale that everyone should have in their fridge.

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Photo of michaelgrant1983
4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours in good and has a thick head on it. Great smell and even better taste. I didn't know what to expect when I first tried this one, but I'm glad I dove in. It gave me my love of American Pale Ale's. I'm never tired of this brew and it is still one that is on my top 10 list.

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Photo of PDXHops
4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. See-thru golden orange body with the typical SN long-lasting fluffy head and loads of clumpy lace. (Do these guys make any beer that's not great-looking?)

Smells and tastes like the classic brew that it is. Loads of pine and grapefruit with a dry malt profile that threatens to run away and hide altogether before returning with some light sweetness mid-swallow. A hefty bitterness that really makes this a borderline IPA (and the hoppy superior of many brews labeled as such). Finishes a little juicy, a little sticky, and with a distinct longing for another sip. Great beer.

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Photo of joehop67
4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of my favorite beers. The bouquet is not overly strong, which is somewhat deceiving. The bright hoppy flavor is what I look for in my beers. I don't get the "piney" flavor that some of the other reviews refer to but nonetheless an excellent example of hop flavor in general.
Readily available, even in pre-free the hops Alabama.
On tap this beer presents a nice head without a long wait for settling. Important when you are really in need of a cold brew! The copper-gold coloring represents this beer well. The flavor, texture, and overall drinkability of this beer makes it the perfect go-to beer for any beer lover.

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Photo of BigBarley
4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Beautiful light amber color, yellowish orange in the light. Very little foam, still a beautiful beer overall.

S - Light notes of malt Very strong hop presence, slightly citrus, mostly pine. Smells like a balanced beer to me!

T - Bright hoppy front, slight biscuit malts underneath, all around balanced and sweet. Not overly bitter but maintains it's clean, refreshing hop pallet. Tasty start to finish. Full of flavor without being a sip-only.

M - Light syrup feel, active carbonation, very refreshing. Not thick compared to many pale ales, but still more heft than a lager. Nice and smooth.

O - I will drink this beer every day for the rest of my life. Well, not really, but I now know when I want something that is not too heavy or too punchy with flavor, this beer will do the trick. Very tasty, refreshing.

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Photo of grynder33
4.54/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is one of the reasons I got into expanding my horizons as far as new brews are concerned. What a treat. Full rich fruit hop aroma, lucious hop heavy fruit taste with a honey accent. Slightly sweet aftertaste lingered in your mouth like the aftermath of a sweet kiss, seductively calling you to indulge again. The blending here is pure art. This beauty will always have a place in my fridge

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Photo of Litterbean
4.54/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been drinking this beer for a while, haven't gotten around to reviewing it. Now that I have, I realize why it's one of my favorites.

Pours a amber orange with a nice head that dissipates quickly. Still, a great looking pale ale.

The smell hooks you in. The cascade hops smell citrusy and fruity and inviting. Beneath those is a sweet malty flavor that balances it out, resulting in what I consider the "real beer smell."

Great taste. Sweet, fruity, citrus hop flavor. This is backed up my a warm malt flavor that isn't truly balancing but just enough where the hops don't overwhelm. Still, not bitter and very smooth.

One of my favorites. w00t!

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Photo of MattyG85
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Golden and cloudy with a big white bubbly head. Good head retention with a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: Strong citrus hop scent with pine and a hint of malt.

Taste: Starts with floral and pine hops followed by a hint of grapefruit and breadiness. Overall not very bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation. Very crisp.

Overall: A very tasty ale with a very good balance between sweetness and bitterness.

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Photo of BeanBone
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: A clear, brilliant golden orange body with millions of particles suspended within. On top, a bubbly white head that leaves above average lacing.

Aroma: Gloriously bright, citrusy Cascade hops over a sweet malt backbone. Mouthwatering, to say the least.

Taste: Decently bitter Cascades up front, in just the right proportion for a Pale Ale. A solid caramel-biscuity malt base keeps everything in perfect balance. Little hints of booze from time to time. Near perfect proportions.

Mouthfeel: A medium body with moderate carbonation. Very refreshing.

Drinkability: Amazingly quaffable, I could run through a six-pack of this without even realizing it.

Verdict: Simply brilliant and perfectly balanced, there's no wonder why this has become the classic American Pale Ale. Like Anchor Steam, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is one of the great forefathers of the American craft-brew world that still holds up to anything brewed today.

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Photo of EvoRich
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: This beer pours very impressively. Orange gold in color. Very fizzy and refreshing looking with a huge foamy head that stays for EVER! It's a very photogenic beer. It looks perfect. The problem is having a beard and being forced to dip your face into this beer with the head it produces.

Smell: Very mild hops. not overly bitter, with a touch of citrus.

Taste: Very much like the smell. A very good balance between hops and a slightly citrusy sweetness, with a hint of maltiness at the finish. So refreshing!

Feel: Medium bodied, with a refreshing, thirst quenching feel.

Overall: Very impressive beer. I wasn't expecting quite this good.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Considering how popular and how good this beer is it is surprizing that it's taken me so long to do a review.
I really like the mix of sweet floral and citrus hops with firm and steady malt base.
Tannnish/yellow fizzy but stable head that has good stamina and changes to a creamy look and presents lacing. Amber and clear.
Flavorful hop bitterness of citrus quality start to finish. Just enough malt base to support and lend smoothness to flavor. Fullness from carbonation, but leaves some softness too Ale smoothness that moves to fluffiness as warms.
A classic American beer.

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Photo of zachloveshisbeer
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hot damn, now that's an American pale ale! Thanks to my buddy Colin for presenting this awesome beer on a craft beer tasting night at his house. Normally, we cannot get this beer in Alberta, but due to the fact that Vancouver hosted the Olympics in 2010 and Sierra Nevada was a sponsor of their alpine ski team, he was able to pick up a bottle from a liquor store in BC. It poured a nice ruby with immediate hop aroma, but underlying and very pleasant caramel malt. The lacing could not have been better and it just tasted awesome! I immediately understood why Sierra Nevada is considered one of the world's best beer producers and at the forefront of the craft beer movement. If beers like this could catch on to the mainstream, we would never see Budweiser in another bar, unless it was the original Czech pilsner!

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Photo of RodBurg
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This brew is such a classic, I'm ashamed to say the first time I tried it was only about a month ago. I love the short brown bottle and the cool looking green label. The label alone conjures up images of majestic mountains and forests in the American West.

A fine layer of yeast coats the bottom of the bottle and it pours out a beautiful clear golden. A small, coarse head rises and doesn't stick around. No lacing.

The smell is wonderful. Crisp pale malts matched by the sharp cascade hops.

Tastes crisp, clean, and very refreshing. The malt and hops are in perfect harmony here. Slight grapefruit tones with a light/medium body and a good amount of carbonation.

This is the standard for American pale ales and what they all should try to live up to. A great thirst quencher and summer beer. This one is going on regular rotation in my fridge.

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Photo of godlessape
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this one into my trusty Red Hook pint glass.

Appearance: Dark gold, or brassy with a quarter inch frothy white head that stays in there for the long haul.

Smell: Great balance of sweet malt and piney, citrus hop's.

Taste: Starts off with a bite then the caramel malt massages the taste buds into submission only to take another West Coast style hoppy bite. Perfect balance as a pale ale should.

Mouthfeel: This beer has a great medium bodied feel to it, with just the right amount of carbonation.

Overall: If there's a pale ale out there better than this I'd like to know.

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Photo of ithacabaron
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Original Review, 2003.

12 oz. stubbie, into a pint glass, alongside a 3 pound homemade turkey sandwich...mmmm.

This beer pours a burnished, golden amber in the glass. Aroma is fresh cascade hops all the way. The initial taste is almost like sucking on a cascade hop leaf, the flavors are so bright and simple and singular -- but there is a generous portion of malt that backs it up, balancing the beer perfectly.

The malt profile is what makes this such an excellent session beer. While it supports the hops, it never becomes overbearing, allowing the appriciator to sip many of these in one session. Additionally, the freshness of the hops makes this beer perfect for cleansing the palate in-between bites of food.

If I weren't a poor college student, I'd keep a sixer of this in my refridgerator all the time. Seems like it would be an excellent beer to convert macro drinkers with.


Re-review, July 2011. Numbers adjusted appropriately.

Pours a fantastic copper with soft orange highlights. A nice foamy head soon settles down to a thin cap. Excellent lacing appears down the side of the glass.

Aroma is soft and mild, mellow malt, fresh grass, dill, and candied grapefruit peel.

Taste expands into a buttery, smooth, golden syrup. At the end of the swallow, a firm (but not harsh) dimple of bitterness appears, a whisper of freshly squeezed citrus, a hint of pine sap. There's an immediate invitation -- but not a necessity -- to take another sip. Wondrous.

Mouthfeel is appropriately pillowy, a cascade (ha!) of warm surf.

This beer has held-up through the test of time; if anything, the ever-expanding palate of choices -- it seems like a new craft brewery opens every week -- has only magnified how excellent this brew is. More importantly, Sierra Nevada hasn't dumbed their Pale Ale down over time. This is, and remains, THE platonic ideal of American Pale Ale.

Inevitable, inescapable, all but perfect.

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Photo of iskivolkl
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is fair, my bottle did not pour an exceptional head, and It did not last terribly long either. The beer is a nice clear amber color with a very minimal amount of haze.

Smell has a mild aromatic hoppyness, not a very complex aroma overall.

Taste provides a nice balance of a bitter hop taste with a citrus wash to follow.

Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, provides a good tingly feeling on the tongue.

An easily drinkable beer in any situation, all of the flavors are very up front, making for a beer that can be truly enjoyed without lots of thought.

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Photo of yeagerbm
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fantastic beer. Haven't had this one in a while so I thought it was time to review it.
Appearance- Bright orange with a smooth white head.
Smell- Hops and malt. The kind of smell that lets you know this beer was dry-hopped and will be delicious.
Taste- I had this beer before and knew that it was good. Now I come back to it after trying hundreds of good beers and I see that it is nearly perfect. A delicious aromatic hop experience which is balanced by a great malt flavor. This beer is not extreme. It is wonderfuly flavorful and easy to drink. I don't know if I'll ever give a beer all 5's or if that beer even exists but I don't know if a pale ale can get a better taste than this.

A+ with a smiley face!

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Photo of paulisme
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've chosen Sierra Nevada Pale Ale for my first review because it's my favorite all-around beer. This one never fails to satisfy; I just love the strong and distinct taste of this beer. It pours a nice copper color with a thin head which doesn't hang around long. Both aroma and taste have hints of citrus. Finishes with a nice, slightly bitter aftertaste. This is the pale ale by which I judge all others; I've yet to find a better one among the dozen or so I've tasted. If you live in the Southeast US, try this beer with the chicken fingers and Zax sauce from Zaxby's. It's one of my favorite food/beer combinations.

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Photo of pat61
4.56/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: hops and malt, slight resin, earth and citrus, hop aroma moderate, moderate malt. Appearance: gold, slight haze, 1” head dissipates to a hick film, actually fairly clear as it warms, off white to light tan head, good lace. Flavor: slight fruit backed by medium malt, no carmel, hops linger into the finish. Mouthfeel: medium body, medium carbonation, a little astringency on the finish, lingering bitterness, creamy smooth. Overall Impression: balance tilts towards the hops, refreshingly hoppy but well balanced by he malt.

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Photo of Illusionist_Ryan
4.56/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pale amber, unfiltered with some particles, thick and bubbly 1 inch white head with a bit of lacing.

Smell: Some bread notes, but mostly piney and earthy tones

Taste: Very piney and floral initial taste, solid mouthfeel that coats your tongue in malt, very smooth and refreshing, great session brew

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied for a pale

Overall: A staple beer, classic taste that balances every flavor in harmony. I prefer it from the can and it is my go to pale ale.

Serving type: can

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Photo of IronLover
4.56/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had countless bottles of SNPA in the past, but never did a review of it. Bought a case of it shortly after trying it for the first time. I guess I can call this beer my "gateway" craft beer. It opened my eyes to how good beer could really be. So after getting a kegerator, and finding out the local distributor carries an awesome variety of sixtels, I had to christen my kegerator with SNPA.

Pours a crystal clear deep yellow with a hint of orange. Big foamy white head that takes until the last few mouthfuls to disappear. Lots of sticky lacings. Taste and aroma is a perfect balance of sweet malt and citrus hops. Creamy smooth with perfect carbonation. This 5 gallon keg is not gonna last long. Thanks Sierra Nevada!

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Photo of chetripley
4.56/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

What can be said that hasn't already? Clear pour, medium head, deliciousness in a glass.
What all American Pale Ales strive for.
Consistency bottle after bottle.
I have compared SN to many and they don't stack up to it.
If there is a complaint about it I have to say the smell is slightly off-not bad, just not biscuity or malty like I would expect out of any lager/ale offering.
Can and will drink anytime. Always in my fridge.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,877 ratings.