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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.

9,006 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,006
Reviews: 2,716
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 150
Gots: 1,040 | 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: 9,006 | Reviews: 2,716 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of carwreCk
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

SNPA smells of citric hops. Taste is pretty hop-forward with citrus and pine. Not much detected from the malts. Bitter on the end. Mouthfeel is medium for the style and ABV, pretty highly carbonated. Drinkability is good. Not too bitter or having any other characteristic(s) that would prevent more consumption.

carwreCk, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of watermelonman
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This came to my table as an brilliant copper orange without much head. The lacing was pretty minor too.

The flavor is decidedly good. There's a fair amount of hops in here; I think they could even label it as an IPA. I think it would be better with a little more balance, and a small reduction in hops.

As much as some like to complain that this stuff is overhyped or too commercialized, this is still very much a good beer.

watermelonman, Mar 21, 2004
Photo of Metalmonk
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

As far as easily-accessible, ubiquitous beers go, this is one of the best. Found in smalltown groceries and dive bars, as well as more upscale establishments, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a great everyday/session beer. Affordable, tasty, accessible.

A good pour results in a soapy head atop a beautiful amber/copper body. Sometimes I just love to look at this one. The smell is unremarkable, only very faint hops present, citrus too faint (considering the orange-y hint in the flavor), but once past the lips this hoppy ale has a satisfying flavor, citrus-y, a pleasing and slightly bitter pinch on the back of the tongue. Refreshing in the mouth (an excellent summer beer) but if it stays too long it gets a bit tart. I drink this as a "daily beer" since lots of my favorite stuff is usually too precious to bust out every single day, which is why I've rated the drinkability high. Never gets old. Considering the local choices, I'll take this over mega-brewery headache-beer anyday. (I have to travel at least an hour to get anything beyond the usual Sierra Nevada/Newcastle choices.)

Metalmonk, Jan 23, 2006
Photo of Backer2004
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I haven't reviewed this one yet? Anyway, always a very good choice, though it seems to be one of the more expensive beers in North Carolina at a typical grocery store. Nice copper colored, without too much hoppiness. No bad characteristics to speak of . . . I'll still pcik the Flying Dog Pale Ale for the price alone.

I do recall now having the Sierra Nevada comped on my stay at Bally's in Vegas, which was a plus.

Backer2004, Jul 27, 2005
Photo of philipquarles
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper with a smallish white head. Retention isn't great, nor is the lacing. Still looks good though.

Smells of hops up front, with a bit of pine/juniper, citrus and some sweet malt. The citrus really comes forward on the palate, and with the hops and malt makes it a very well balanced, slightly bitter brew. Great example of a pale ale.

Very drinkable overall; thanks to the lowish ABV, something I could actually drink all night.

philipquarles, Sep 12, 2008
Photo of BierFan
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a short 12 ounce bottle into a Samuel Smith pint glass.

Appearance: Sizeable off-white head and a honey colored clear body. Thick globs of lacing.

Smell: Mostly grapefruit in the smell with a little bit of pine aroma.

Taste: Thin juicy mouthfeel with caramel malt sweetness and some grapefruit and citrus peel from the hops.

Very solid beer.

BierFan, Jan 01, 2009
Photo of cpn920
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have had this pale ale many times and just getting around to reviewing it. It pours a nice golden amber with a head that dissipates rather quickly. The immediate aroma that I detect is a floral/piney smell. The taste is pretty smooth with acceptable bitterness and subtle malt characteristics. It has a nice mouthfeel with a semi dry finish. I could drink these through out the evening and be very satisfied. Not an overly hopped or sweet APA.

cpn920, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of Emnmarko
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Has the color of golden honey. This is quite a clear brew. Active carbonation delivers a heaping 2+ finger head but it dissipates quickly leaving a nice halo with abundant lacing.

S- Light roasted malts along with a sweet citrus aroma.

T- Up first is a pleasant malt base with spice. Following this is a mild hop bitterness that transitions smoothly. Finally a light peppery aftertaste comes through and finishes this ale off nicely.

M- Medium bodied with a slight tickle from the carbonation. Leaves a mild buttery feeling. Dry finish.

O- This is a fine example of a pale ale. Personally I prefer a brew with an emphasis on the hop bitterness, but this beer is balanced nicely. Very easy to drink, and I will be enjoying this addition to Sierra Nevada again.

Emnmarko, Feb 06, 2014
Photo of santoslhalper
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearence: Pours a clear golden color with a frothy off-white head. Head leaves ok lacing, and a nice amount of carbonation is present.

Smell: Smells mainly of fresh, pungent hops with a decent malt presence. ver west coast smelling.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Tastes smooth and crisp with an almost pilsener-type hop taste. The malts are decent and balance it out well. It smooth and clean in the mouth, but a little too light-bodied for my tastes.

Drinkability and Overall: This is a classic APA that stands the taste of time. Simple and solid. Nothing unique but still a great session brew.

santoslhalper, Dec 19, 2004
Photo of 12NattiBottles
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Classic label and logo, with short stout bottle, decorated in green with yellow accents, fitting the hoppy, citrusy, American Pale Ale style.

Appearance: Very nice orange color, with a tint of amber, a little foggy at first. Flatter one finger head, and ok lacing. Moderate carbonation.

Smell: Piney, with a very familiar scent of citrus, refreshing and clean.

Taste: Full of flavor, strong hop taste at the start with a malted barley finish, medium-bodied; Bitter hints, including heavy notes of citrus grapefruit and a peppery taste at finish that accompanies the beer as it seems to sweeten.

Mouth feel: Good bite, refreshing, very crisp.

Drinkability: All together relatively smooth with a mild bite, easier to drink with sweetening aftertaste; very enjoyable.

Overall: Enjoyable, One I won't hesitate to pick up from time to time for sure. Good Drinking!

12NattiBottles, Dec 24, 2008
Photo of Kaiser81
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got in one of those variety packs from a coworker for Christmas. It wasn't refrigerated, so I don't know if that'll affect the quality.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours a nice golden orange color with about 2 fingers worth of soft, pillow head. The head is a slightly off colored white. There is a nice amount of lacing left on my glass.

S - I get piney hops coupled wit a lemony-citrus scent. There is a sweetness from the malts present as well.

T - Pretty much follows the nose. Lemony citrus flavor with piney hops. There is just a touch of sweetness mid palate with the biterness of a pale ale that lingers on the aftertaste. There might be a slight bit of woodsy taste in there too.

M - Light bodied with good carbonation. An excellent crisp and refreshing beer.

D - A very easy to drink and sessionable beer. This should be the standard when it comes to bottles at parties.

Kaiser81, Jan 02, 2010
Photo of Fabric8r
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The hops really grab you right away. The hop smell, and the taste. I believe they use Pearle and Cascade hops, a nice combination. If you like hops, it can't be beat, if you like to taste malt, get another brew, or really think of malt and you can find it in there somewhere. The second glass is better, as you begin to get used to, and like the hops. Bottled version not quite so hoppy. Great Beer, these folks know how to brew!

Fabric8r, Feb 19, 2003
Photo of
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In glass from a 12oz bottle

A - Light body, excellent clarity and light tan head

S - Strong hoppy scent, grass, Strong floral quality, light citrus and faint alcohol

T - Well balanced hop laced beer, smooth malt and floral hops flavor.

M - Smooth light coat from start to finish.

D - One of the great pale ale's a true American craft ale.

, Jan 02, 2008
Photo of drtth
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in an shaker pint glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a bright clear light copper color with a ½" white head that leaves sticky lacing on the glass as it recedes. Sipping leaves a nice pattern. By the end of the beer there is only a small ring of foam leaving some light speckles of lacing. There is a spider web of lacing still stuck to the upper inch or so of the glass.

Smell: The aroma is fresh, clean, lightly scented with floral and citric hops (grapefruit zest mostly) and a light caramel aroma.

Taste: The flavor is slightly sweet with the light caramel flavor laying over the mild floral and grapefruit hop flavors. The bitterness is restrained by the malt sweetness and is noticeable but does not dominate.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied with light but persistent carbonation. The finish is medium long with the hop bitterness bursting through and concealing the malt before the bitterness fades away into dryness.

Drinkability: This is a very drinkable beer in many ways. Not only would I like another, I have enjoyed this beer in the past and I'm sure I'll be having it again. It goes nicely as a counterpoint to lightly spiced foods and is a nice, all-around beer. While there are other APAs out there I'd not turn this one down if offered.

drtth, Jan 13, 2010
Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The two Sierra Nevada creations I’ve had so far (Torpedo and Bigfoot Barleywine) were damn good. And this one, their ever-so-popular Pale Ale, has quite the reputation. So, before I even begin, I guess I have to admit that I have some pretty high standards for this particular brew. In any case, I’ll try to be as objective as possible. And, even if I end up disappointed, I’m sure I’ll be glad it was hyped up – that way, I got to explore this beer with a discerning eye.

A: Wow, a lot darker than I expected. Sure, it shines, but the body is more of a tree-sap amber than the typical PA light gold. Looks fuller-bodied than most – I like it a lot. Its foamy white head appears and then thins out almost immediately after the pour, leaving a classic, sudsy ring near the top.

S: A mild nose with a lot of complex hop aromas. The main component is a bright leafiness, but you can tell there are a few different hop varieties imbedded within: there’s bits of citrus, flowers, and spice here and there. Some yeast mellows everything out with a nice bready undertone. Great stuff.

T: The hops are elaborate and flavorful. An excellent blend, showcasing freshness, spiced bitters, and a rich dryness. The yeast is velvety smooth and provides some welcome breads to the mix. It’s a good and mellow experience. The only thing I can perceive as a negative is a bit of an unnatural feel in the wheat. It’s carried out with a slightly artificial undertone, like a BMC. It’s odd, because the other Sierra Nevada offering’s I’ve had were not at all like that. Now that I think about it, I also paid more for those. Anyway, it’s not excessively noticeable, and doesn’t impede the drinkability a whole lot. Overall, a very sessionable beer (technically, it’s 5.6%; but who’s counting?)

M: Good; nice upfront carb permits greater drinkability. Some watery notes here and there, but that’s only a very small percentage of the time.

O: I can’t believe this beer only cost me ~$16 for a 12-pack. You can hardly find Buds for that cheap! Certainly a great deal. Like I mentioned before, though, I did have high standards for this beer. Now, I’m not going to say I was disappointed (because I wasn’t). In fact, after having this beer, I find myself wishing we had more breweries like Sierra Nevada! All in all, this is a clear example of SN’s willingness to create the best beer from whatever ingredients they have, and then putting it in the same price range as many highly-commercial counterparts. I can certainly respect a brand like that. In the future, though, I’ll pay the extra couple bucks and get their Torpedo Extra India Pale Ale if I’m looking for a PA with a great price tag.

BarryMFBurton, May 09, 2011
Photo of Charthepirate
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep golden, with a well maintained head and a thick lacing. Small carbonation and layer of sediment. Very nice looking beer, no doubt.

A nice, biscuity, hoppy smell.

Flavor has a nice bready biscuity maltiness. Flavor is followed by a big citrussy hop bite. Nice, bitterness, but it's a bit unbalanced for my tastes.

Great beer, not above amazing, but I could be happy with a case of it.


Charthepirate, Jan 19, 2004
Photo of ocmpoma
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- a clear, golden pale ale. Not much foam at the top from the bottle (I don't usually do vigorous pours), but decent lacing.

S- delicious: fruity, tangy, and exceptionally crisp.

T- as with the aroma: lots of citrus tang and a great, crisp bitterness on the finish. Hops are up front and last throughout, but not overwhelming.

M- just a tad bit thin, especially for the crispness of the beer, but still quite decent.

D- a great session beer, easily drinkable, this was one of my favorite go-to beers for quite a long time and is still high on the list, as it's readily available.

ocmpoma, Feb 04, 2010
Photo of tippebrewcrew2
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is, as i'm sure it was for many others, a beer that starter my path to quality beer. It is a good example of a west coast apa and is probably one of the most widely distributed micro's on the planet. This is the beer you turn to when you are at a bar looking for what they have on tap. budlight, miller light, mgd, schiltz (really?). I'd rather hook up with the larger, one-eyed, one and half sized, woman-beasts at the other end of the bar. SN pale ale! thank god, my savior! WHen you say micro or craft beer to the general person this is what they think of and that's not a bad thing. This is a good front runner for craft beer. It has a good hop profile, a decent body, and overall it's a respectable beer. I will not turn it down at a party and I will not frown on a guy who brings a 6er to a party. good beer, great brew co!

tippebrewcrew2, Mar 02, 2010
Photo of bondjedi
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

bondjedi, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of StlHopHead77
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

StlHopHead77, Jul 08, 2011
Photo of mobyfann
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

mobyfann, Nov 27, 2004
Photo of jizdepski
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

jizdepski, Jan 05, 2011
Photo of moulefrite
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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."

moulefrite, Nov 12, 2003
Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

MrHungryMonkey, Feb 03, 2007
Photo of TheBrewo
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

TheBrewo, May 02, 2013
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 9,006 ratings.