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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

2,926 Reviews
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Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Generous quantities of premium Cascade hops give the Pale Ale its fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor.

37 IBU

Added by kbub6f on 07-05-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,926 | Ratings: 10,858
Photo of Boozeisfood
3.1/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

I haven't really had that many Pale Ales but this was a treat. i didn't happen to pour it into anything other then my mouth.

The smell was quite Ale-ish, i noted the smell of grapefruit rind among other citrus sents.

The taste was quite alright, had the bitterness for sure and the citrus i smelled came thru in the taste aswell. i dont really have too much to say about this beer other then it's good to try but nothing i would buy again and again.

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Photo of SaltyLime
3.13/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Nice gold color with a thin sliver of a head. Carbonation bubbles were never ending.

Smell - Crisp hops.

Taste - Sharp bitterness at first, mellows out. Strong. Takes getting used to.

Mouthfeel - Bitterness dominates. Carbonation is definitely not subdued.

Drinkability - Drinkable. Would not turn down if offered for free. I needed food to fight off the bitterness. Not too happy with this one.

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Photo of Jammies
3.13/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a golden color with about 3/4 an inch of foam. Great carbonation and pretty decent retention. Strong lacing. Still visible by the end of the beer.

S- A light floral small. Smells more like a pilsner.

T- Hoppy and mild. Good balance but somewhat dry.

M- very light, but still decent body. Hops leave the mouth dry. Slightly bitter.

O- Solid go to beer. Light and hoppy plus available year round. Not my favorite pale ale, but good.

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Photo of musicman575
3.13/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sierra Nevada drinks like the standard pale ale in every way. I've avoided buying SN just because one can get it virtuall anywhere. I was recently at a bar (for the purpose of watching some baseball) whose only slightly hoppy beer was SN, so I had one, I mean two.

There's a lot of carbonation in this beer. Bubbles were many and always rising from the bottom of the glass. Didn't keep too much of a head though.

Pale Ale mild hoppiness - check.
Pale Ale mild maltiness, slightly musty - check.

There was one offensive smell in the beer. Within the malt, I smelled mildew.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.13/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Clear amber gold. The head is sticky, leaving tons of white lacing. It fades to a pillow, fueled by tie laser etched Perfect Pint.

The smell is straightforward. Lightly doughy malts under floral hops.

Sweet floral and citrus hops start things off nicely. A toasted grain malt presence takes things until some bittering pine finishes it.

Very sharp carbonation, its way too much for me. The body isn’t too thin though.

Not the end all and be all pale ale, like everyone claims.

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Photo of Beerocrat69
3.15/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It had been awhile since I've had one of these, and my memory was better than the bottle I just tasted. Maybe I got an old bottle (trying to give them the benefit of doubt.) I doubt anything has changed at the brewery. Beer looked golden-copper colored with a white head and nice lacework on the glass. It had a resiny, pine-like aroma. The hop bitterness was lacking and it tasted more sweet than usual. Not as dry as I remember. This beer was balanced - in a bad way. It normally finishes more dry. Maybe the bottle-conditioning never took off on this batch or this bottle. I'll try again soon.

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Photo of cheapxceptbeer
3.15/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This beer is alright, it tastes like a textbook definition of an american pale ale, personallly I think it is so boring I could die, well brewed, I guess this just isn't my style. I love the hop and malt forward brews by sierra nevada, but their flagship puts me to sleep. Nothing against balanced beers, I'm just not crazy about this one, its just so boring. Smooth creamy mouthfeel is the best part of this beer.

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Photo of ThreePistols
3.15/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pale golden color, frothy white head that diminishes fairly quick. Hoppy, citrus, slightly sweet, some floral tones, yeasty, aroma. Flavor is citrus, bitter, hoppy, slightly yeasty and moderately acidic. Finish is bitter and slightly dry. Could have been balanced better. I would have like to have experienced more malt. Overall this is a good beer however it is not my style of beer. Too hoppy for my taste but I enjoyed it all the same.

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Photo of Jae27
3.16/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a standard Grumpy Dave's pint glass.

A. Clear amber to yellow with a bubbly head dominated by CO2 carbonation. Not bottle fermented. No yeast. No CO2 nucleation.

S. Very light hoppyness. Nothing really strong comes through. I may be getting another cold, so I'll have to check this again later.

T. Pretty floral hops, not overly floral, just to much for my tastes. hops taste and smell like a combination of Cascade hops and Nobile hops. This is just speculation no real evidence for this. No malt flavors at all. The finish is bitter which is nice.

Not really an APA guy, but this is one of the better I have had. Nice change from the RIP's and porters I usually drink. Nice beer overall. Nothing really special though.

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Photo of maddogruss
3.16/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this tonight at the business get together. Wasn't sure if it was an English pale ale or an APA when I was there, so I figured it was an English pale ale because it tasted very malty. It had a good look to it: dark amber color with a decent, white head that retained throughout the beer. Smelled very malty; did not notice any kind of hops at all. Tasted malty as well; once again, no hoppy traces even noticed in the aftertaste which led be to believe that it was an English pale ale. A pretty nice mouthfeel; pretty thick, similiar to a Sam Adams in regards to mouthfeel. A good, drinkable beer, but did not taste like a good APA; I would have expected at least a little bit of a hoppy taste, at least to balance the malt, if I knew it was an APA when I was drinking it.

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Photo of DerBayer
3.16/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Hmmm well not a big fan of the style and this one fits right in although the copper style colour makes it look more enticing than it is.

The mouthfeel is too dry and very flat so hmmm, the fruity esters are not too penetrant but there are no earwax hops in it.

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Photo of Kelby777
3.17/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Ok, so I am a pale ale virgin and my views are entirely unbiased. I recognize that the ratings for this beer on Beer Advocate are high, but I will tell you what I honestly think.

Poured delicately out of a 12 oz. bottle into a dimpled beer stein at about 36 degrees.

Appearance - It has a beautiful caramel color with particles floating in the beer. It looks highly carbonated. It has almost a one finger head. It retains most of its head all the way through.

Smell - Has a nice fruity and floral scent to it. Floral hops and citrusy.

Taste - Fruity and citrusy carbonated taste with a strong bitterness from the hops afterward. The hoppy taste lingers for a while on the tongue. They really do use some superb hops, but the taste gets annoying after a while. The first beer was definitely good, but the beers after that are way too bitter.

Mouth feel - Watery and spritzee mouth feel.

Overall, I think this beer is refreshing. However, for me personally, this is NOT the beer I'd want to consume everyday OR in large quantities. The taste really subtracts from the drinkability and I really do enjoy DRINKING my beer.

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Photo of danieelol
3.18/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours golden orange, not a colour I'm particularly enamoured with but good head and lacing.

S: Nuttiness on bottle opening, which pops up again intermittently. Vague citric lemon-lime zest hops. Some nondescript malt to sniff. Alcohol intermittently.

T: First sip was really sweet. Then it's just subtle hops with present but nondescript malt. Hop bite in the finish, with some alcohol occasionally.

M: Ok?

O: Mmm, this stuff really doesn't wow me in the slightest. LCPA beats it at its own game IMO, and I've had several better local examples like Pacific Ale and Hart's House Pale Ale. Very average on the whole.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.2/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First had: God only knows...

Pretty much the middle of the road in my beer journey. I'll drink this if there's nothing better available, but otherwise, it's just that average beer that I'll let pass.

Pours a slightly hazed (depending on temperature) copper color with anywhere between 1/2 and 3 fingers of frothy white head. Grainy aroma with a certain caramel smoothness underlain. Smooth malts in the taste, grains, balanced by crisp, non-threatening hoppiness, and just a implication of citrus. Light-medium mouthfeel, and easily drinkable.

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Photo of Brad007
3.2/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer pours a light amber color. There's a faint aroma of hops and not much else. The beer tastes kind of hoppy at first but then fades into a sweet malty backbone. From what I gather about pale ales, they should never be too hoppy or too malty.This one is well balanced but I would think that it would taste better straight from a tap.

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Photo of eballard
3.2/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours an amber brown color with a light lacing. It has a spicy hops smell that tickles the nose. There is also a fruity floral smell to this beer. The taste is hops and more hops. It’s blended well with a malty fruit and finishes with a nice spicy bite. The feel is smooth with a tingly bite. It finishes with a hard bite but clears quickly and leaves little bitter after taste. Over all this is a fine pale ale.

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Photo of chugalug06
3.2/5  rDev -21%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Half head, half brew pour. Head is soapy white with green tint. Brew stand golden and nicely clear.

Boring and bready. Nothing exciting. Mild pine resin with a touch of apple fruity-ness.

A very average flavor. Nothing bitter, nothing sweet, or offensive. Carbonation is nice and easy.. no heat.

A great tailgate brew, but an average pale. It's nice, but way over produced, you can't taste any love. It's a go-to when there's nothing else.

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Photo of gracebeliever
3.2/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This brew poured gold/copperish with a light amber bubbly head.

It had a mild hops smell

Smooth hops taste but not overly robust however. At first there wasn't a lingering residual taste in my mouth. After several sips this changed. It began to accumulate but even then the duration wasn't drawn out.

The head reduced to maybe 1/8th inch but would revive with each taste. But very little lacing.

I sampled this beer twice. The 1st solo. The 2nd with dinner. I think therefore I prefer it solo rather than with food. For my taste I prefer the beer to mesh in a wonderful way with a meal. In this case it was with grilled New York Strip, Baked Potato and corn on the cob. Perhaps it was this meal but the beer was just a beer. Nothing happened. The beer was the same as when taken solo.

Overall I like this beer and if I find it in the midst of the other normal in-restaurant-beers I will drink it gladly.

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Photo of TexIndy
3.23/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. It was a bronze color with a ton of yeast floaters. Decent carb, no lacing. It had a small beige head that settled into a partial film. The aroma was floral and hoppy with a grassy malt smell as well. Something in there didn't sit right though. It also appeared in the taste. It was a weird bitter aftertaste that I usually don't find in PA/IPA's. I love a good bitter PA/IPA bite but that weird aftertaste really hurt this one. I got as a single so possible that it's a bad sample so will try again. But for now I can't really recommend (One and done)

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Photo of kristenspaintings
3.23/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This beer tastes okay. Nothing amazing about it. It's not too hoppy (a plus) and doesn't have a strong soapy taste like some IPAs I've tried.

I'd say it lacks interest for me though. The flavors I look forward to in a beer are not there. It's pretty one-dimensional and it's just okay in my opinion. I'd drink it if my only other party alternatives were soda or iced tea but I wouldn't seek it out either.

To be fair, there's nothing wrong with Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale. It's just not what I look for.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.23/5  rDev -20.2%

My first offering from Sierra Nevada.

Serving style : 12 oz stubbie poured into coke glass

Appearance (4) : The foam is like 4 fingers, dood. The body is slowly pushing up and eating the off-white foam. Said body is mostly transparent and honey-blonde colored. Lacing remains all the way down.

Smell (3.5) : Grass, rolling fields, plenty of hops. Reminds me of growing up near the Black Hills with the tall grass in the ditches and the smell of summer growth. Very grassy, very green. In fact that's about it. Grass and hops. Simple, but elegant.

Taste (3.25) : Lemony, bitter. A bit like chewing cud, some slight sorghum. Easy drinking. I'm just not a huge fan of bitter beers. This beer is a tad too bitter for the Pale Ale category. It's pushing the envelope for me but still passively enjoyable. Better than other pales I've tried. I can tell the hops are pretty fresh and man those female notes sing. Bittery and buttery.

Mouthfeel (3.5) : Very creamy and caramel-like. The carbonation is balanced so well. A smooth bitter pale ale.

Overall (3.23) : This is a refreshing beer, if a little too hoppy for its style. As I said I am not a fan of bitters and this pushes the envelope just a little too far for me, but it has a decent fresh, grassy flavor. I would not buy this again, ever...as it is too bitter for me. That's not to say it's a bad beer. I can review a beer on its good merits even if I don't agree with them. This is a good beer if you don't mind a little buttery bitterness in your brew.

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Photo of thedoubler55
3.23/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: A nice golden hue, with a nice head at the top, barely any lacing.

S: Citrus and lemon notes, with caramel and nice presence of hops.

T: A crisp lemon and citrus taste, with hints of caramel and nice hop notes.

M: Medium bodied, mid carbonation, smooth and refreshing.

O: A simple brew that taste good.

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Photo of Exner83
3.23/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A crystal-clear, golden color with a subtle flowery smell. Above-average activity with a solid head and light lacing.

The taste is an estery, acidic fruitiness--lightly oily with a remarkable bite. This is a pungent, hop-favored brew. A stinging, slick finish caps off the quaff.

I'd prefer more malt balance. This brew's one note short of a chord: A little more hop-to-malt harmony, and I'd be dancing.

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Photo of RenoZymurgist
3.24/5  rDev -20%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thick white head subsides at a medium pace. Nice amber color with adequate carbonation. The hops are very prevalent and this is refreshing for a pale ale. Aroma of citrussy hops with a hint of sweet malt. Mouthfeel is a bit light but good for a pale ale. the carbonation bits enough to let the hops ring through the maltiness. Overall a brew i would be happy to drink again.

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Photo of indy169
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

There was a time when this beer was one of my favorites. I thought it had great body, plenty of hops, and wonderful drinkability.
Not the case any more. What happened to this once great brew?
Appearance is still fine, deep golden color, respectable head with fair lacing. Smell of hops is much fainter than I remember, with no discernable direction. Taste is nothing special. Malty, but not too much & not too fresh tasting. Hops have no cajones. This is SN's #1 brand & it is simply average. Now, I don't know if the offerings from DogfishHead & Bell's have raised the bar beyond the reach of SN Pale Ale, or if SN changed it on us, but it does not seem nearly as special as it once did. I still love the Celebration Ale from SN.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,926 ratings.