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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.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

8,714 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,714
Reviews: 2,691
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 129
Gots: 906 | FT: 3
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 8,714 | Reviews: 2,691 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Entaie
4.86/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

So reliably delicious, glad it's almost ubiquitous. Not much more to add other than it's just a very well balanced floral beer. Not quite hoppy enough to be an IPA but pretty darn close. Just a legit amazing beer. Can't believe I have to do 250 characters just to say how good this beer is.

Entaie, May 12, 2014
Photo of munchie101
4.88/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - light gold with with 1/2 inch head that disipates within about 5 minutes. beautiful for a PA.

S - Citrus bitters, hops, some sweetness I think too.

T - Initially light, the hop flavors take a moment to hit and do not overpower my taste buds, lots of other flavors I don't quite recognize but very enjoyable.

M - not too dry like some brews very pleasant, a little light perhaps, but I like that in an ale like this. Feels like carbonated spring water and hops flavors.

D - One of my favorite PAs now that I've been able to try it, not too hard hitting and but wonderfully flavorful.

munchie101, Jan 05, 2010
Photo of orcsinspace
4.88/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The only pale ales that I have had that surpass Sierra Nevada Pale Ale have all been home brewed. The flavor is outstanding, and perfectly balanced. I have always found Pale Ale somewhat of a contradiction, because it has a simple, yet extremely complex taste at once. The mouthfeel is perfect as well, not too watery, not too much texture.

Just the right amount of lacing and the right amount of head. The color is a perfect golden color with little carbonation lingering. The smell of the beer is subtle, not too strong, not too weak--just right.

orcsinspace, Mar 05, 2013
Photo of snaotheus
4.88/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is one of my favorites. It's probably the single beer I drink most often.

The flavor is delicious and hoppy with crisp mouthfeel. Drink it very cold, and very often.

What else am I supposed to say to fill up 250 characters? The beer's great. Go try it!

snaotheus, Oct 07, 2008
Photo of bbbblover
4.9/5  rDev +21.3%

bbbblover, Aug 27, 2014
Photo of MadMike80
4.9/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Mildly sweet at start strong hops bitterness finish, enough malt keeps it creamy. Grapefruit-like aftertaste lingers, does not turn me off. Smells like the outdoors. I love seeing the sediment floating around in my glass.
Excellent brew.

This is probably my new favorite beer I can no longer go to the package store without picking up some sierra.

MadMike80, Mar 28, 2011
Photo of gusdabrew
4.9/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For every great beer in America there are 1000 poor excuses for beer. SN Pale Ale is the perfect beer at the perfect price available everywhere. We all look at the lists of great beers and hope we can run across a few when we're lucky. SN Pale Ale is easy to find, easy to share and easy to enjoy. Kudos to Sierra Nevada for providing us with this America Classic.

gusdabrew, Aug 13, 2007
Photo of aficionado224
4.9/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Many others rate this beer very highly, and I quite agree this is a great pale ale, or simply a great beverage of any type. It has plenty of flavor to savor, but not so much it needs to be chewed. I could sip this and luxuriate in each sip, or quaff this to quench my thirst from heat or exertion or both. I highly recommend this brew, and if you have never tried it, you gotta get your hands on one, soon.

aficionado224, Jan 19, 2011
Photo of NJBrewer
4.9/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of the best all-around beers I've had. It is the perfect representation of a pale ale: perfect malt/hop balance and an overall fantastic flavor. Not a weak ale, but not too strong either. This flagship of Sierra Nevada is everything an American craft brew should be. A go-to beer in my house.

NJBrewer, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of cvignola94
4.92/5  rDev +21.8%

cvignola94, Aug 30, 2014
Photo of LXIXME
4.93/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from above the glass gives this a big white to off-white head that slowly recedes into a nice lacing above a clear rich golden ale.

This medium bodied beer has a rich fruity/citrusy and slight pine aroma.

Citrus-fruity-pine-grasses taste that has a slight sweet malt hidden in there.

A nice lightly dry aftertaste with some leftover citrus notes lingering on.

One of my favorite beers, I look for this when I dine out, love it with Mexican food.

LXIXME, May 13, 2012
Photo of Budro
4.93/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pure copper, burnished like fine cookware, nearly transparent in its glassy clarity. On top of this, a full two-finger head, foamy and creamy in appearance. (Note: Every SN I've ever poured has been perfectly clear, in spite of the label's warning that you might see some yeast from the bottle conditioning in your glass. I'd love to see some yeast in there.)
S: The nose: Sweet mist rising from rain-splashed stone. Seriously. The hops' pine and ctirus notes are squarely in the background, lurking like a distant fog. The overall impression is one of mineral purity.
T: The suprisingly thin head, lightly flavored, tastes pleasantly of sour yeast. The beer proper boasts a bitter front and lingering sour back in perfect balance; as the latter fades from the palate, it complements the hop attack of the former. The finish is mineral-dry initially, but as the beer warms, the dryness of the finish becomes reminiscent of a sourdough roll. Nice transition. Furthermore, the beer yields underlying apple notes as it warms. No real sweetness, but allusions to sweetness in every swallow. It's subtle and complex.
M: The thin head disappoints; it appears creamier than it is. The tingle of carbonation is bracing but not overwhelming; it doesn't burn with the first swallow, and it mellows agreeably as the beer warms. Don't let it sit too long, though; when the beer gets too warm, the last couple of swallows are stripped of good flavor and feel almost tepid on the palate. That's just nit-picking, though. This is an exquisitely crafted brew.
D: I could drink this all day.

Budro, Aug 05, 2007
Photo of rote
4.94/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I suppose I'm probably not an expert like some posters may be on this forum, but I have been drinking for nearly twenty years. I've tried all kinds of lagers, pilsners, mexican, ales, stouts, lights, etc. I tend to go in flavor-of-the-month phases for a few months or up to a couple years. Also, I don't travel, so my repertoire is limited to what's at the local supermarket in So Cal.

Anyhow, for a flavorful, 'strong' beer (ahem, ale), SN Pale Ale is a clear favorite. In addition to the flavor and quality, I think they have good quality control as I've yet to come across a bad batch at the local market. I don't know its availability outside CA, but if you see it and have not tried it, I highly recommend it.

I pretty much signed up for an account just to provide my 2 cents on this great ale while having a few of them.. Cheers.

rote, Sep 29, 2013
Photo of anchordrinker
4.95/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- orange-straw hue. 1 finger of head and good lace.
S- orange, sweet grain, honey
T- herbal and bitter citric hop flavor up front briefly give way to a bready/grainy sweetness, followed by a dry, lingering grapefruit bitterness with a touch of bready/honey sweetness in the background. Perfectly balanced bitterness to sweetness for the style.
M- very fine carbo that shows it's presence without compromising flavor.
O- I've been looking forward to having this beer in a can for a while and it does not disappoint! The cans look great and the contents taste especially vibrant and fresh!

anchordrinker, Mar 04, 2012
Photo of rightsideways
4.95/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

quite possibly my favorite beer of all. I buy from a pretty shady liquor store in MA and many times i'm disappointed by what is obviously the result of abuse in transit or by the store. That being said, Sierra Nevada is ALWAYS a good buy. i'm not sure if the resilience of the beer they brew (the ESB i buy there is always great too) or the high turnover and consequently low shelf life of this great brew.

appearance: light amber color, very clear with some lacing and it's well carbonated which leads to a good head that sticks around for a bit.

smell: hops baby! gotta love cascade for finishing apparently... i'm trying that in my next brew. i can always smell those hops which is impressive because the website doesn't mention dry-hopping with this brew.

taste: great balance of hops and malt. not too bitter either, just a nice piny/citrus taste that keeps me coming back for more! although it's only 5.6% ABV it seems like a bit more but maybe i'm just sucking the beer down at an incredible rate...

this will be my go-to beer for quite some time i imagine!

rightsideways, Apr 09, 2008
Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.95/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I cant believe its taken me this long to review this beer. One of my all-time favorites. I just absolutely love this brew. Also, one of the few brews that introduced me to the craft beer level.

Pours a hazy orange/amber in color with a nice head that sticks around as long as I could possibly want it to.

The nose is absolutely bursting of floral and citrus hops. Smells scrumptious and delicious. Just a beautiful smelling hoppy ale.

The taste is marvelous. If I had my eyes closed, I'd believe there was 1/2 a grapefruit sitting in the bottom of the glass. The excited citrus hop flavors graciously slide down the hatch. This one tastes almost rough and rugged at first swig, but after the first few sips, it eases up on you and becomes quite drinkable.

The mouthfeel is medium-bodied with perfect carbonation. Maybe even a touch bigger than medium-bodied.

Drinkability is great too. It gets mellower and mellower the more you drink.

Plain and simply a true american classic, and one of my favorites. If you havent tried it yet, I dont know what the hell you're waiting for!

jasonpeckins32, Dec 28, 2005
Photo of opel
4.96/5  rDev +22.8%

opel, Aug 17, 2014
Photo of ILuvBeer
4.96/5  rDev +22.8%

ILuvBeer, Aug 29, 2014
Photo of shacawgo24
4.96/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A-Deep orange/amber body. Bright burnt orange when held to light. Off-white head with brown yeast swirled in is two-finger thick. Cascading lace. Near perfect, head could be thicker and/or last longer. Throw some glossy edging in there as well and the brew's appearance would be impeccable.

S-Pine, pine, pine! Caramel malt. Sweet. Musty. A natural funk that is acceptable in drink & food. Funky brown sugar. Citrusy. Orange upfront then lemons and limes follow.

T-Pine. Caramel malt. Bread. Citrus. Lemons and limes steal the show this time with orange supporting. Fresh hops. Some of the freshest you'll have in a beer. These hops bleed pine into the brew.

M-Medium body. The body tips towards a fluid feel rather than a chewy swish. Medium carbonation. The hops are of a medium spiced-pepper feel. The finish is a perfect bitter pine sensation.

O-Most likely the best pale ale around. Has been for decades. A pale ale explosion should occur in craft brewing so we can have super-multitudes to choose from like IPAs. But if not, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale will continue to do just fine.

shacawgo24, Apr 18, 2014
Photo of racer2k
4.97/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I first tried this beer back in the early 90's while enjoying some Grateful Dead shows on the east coast. This was well in advance of the craft beer revolution and many west coast deadheads would sell this excellent beer at shows. It has been my favorite "go to" stock beer ever since. Always plenty in the fridge.

A - Dark copper color, good solid carbonation. Thick creamy two finger head retention. Plenty of lacing on the sides of my pint glass

S - Moderate bitter hop smell with some hints of sweet malt. Very consistent smooth smell with a solid hoppy profile.

T - Very balanced taste with a moderate flow of hops and light malty flavor. Sweet but not syrupy sweet like some of the high powered IPAs. A bitter taste hits you in the middle of your swallow and there is a nice hoppy finish with hints of pine and floral overtones. A beautiful thing.

M - Good dose of carbonation with a moderate bitter hopped feel. Very balanced and not too thick.

D - Excellent session beer. That has a perfect balance beer after beer. This beer is positioned between a lighter hopped pale ale and a hoppier IPA in my opinion. I typically shy away from Pale Ales as many are bland and not hoppy enough. This is an exception for sure.

racer2k, Oct 27, 2007
Photo of pb9613
4.97/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer poured a color that is not amber but not golden. The color is in a league of its own. The beautiful with head that appeared on top was solid white which lasted throughout the entire drinking experience.

The beer smells of that wonderful cascade hops with a rich citrus nose.

The taste is divine. This is what pale ale should taste light. Wonderful malty flavor with a rich hops taste. The bitterness of the hops is left as an undertone to the overall flavor with the flavor hops coming to the forefront.

This beer fills the entire palate of flavors with a heavy malt flavor for body and the hops for aroma and flavor.

This is a beer you can sip all night and not realize how many you drank until you wake up with the hang over.

Overall one of the best beers on the market and the reason Sierra Nevada has been around 30 years.

pb9613, Sep 25, 2010
Photo of lester619
4.97/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a twelve ounce mug it has a deep clear copper/amber color with a big three finger head. The head is still there after the beer is long gone. Great smell. I love that herbal pine and grapefruit west cost smell. This beer is a true masterpiece. I'm not going to waste time describing the taste other than to say it's as close to perfect beer flavor as humanly possible. All the flavors are absolutlely right on, balanced in exactly the right way. The mouthfeel is creamy enough to be satisfying, but not too heavy to fill you up. It is scary how drinkable this beer is. I could go on and on. To sum it up it's a once in a lifetime creation that actually surpasses the hype. I love it.

lester619, Oct 21, 2009
Photo of Hokies
4.97/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: A nice pale red color with decent lacing

S: Very nice with a citrus note with an excellent hop aroma.

T: Probably one of the best Pale Ales I have tasted, with a nice citrus taste that finishes with a decent hop flavor

M: Nice carbonation that does not overpower.

D: Excellent example of a Pale Ale.

Hokies, Mar 15, 2008
Photo of itfitz
4.97/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I remember the first time I tried a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It was (at that time) the most different beer I'd ever had. It was the early 1990's and I had just moved from Michigan, where I'd been exposed to mass-produced tasteless beers all my life. I'd fallen in love with Samuel Adams lager, which was quite hard to find due to the relative lack of distribution.

The aroma from the spicy hops hits your nose as you pour it from the bottle. The beer comes out with an amber-orange color with a perfect amount of foam and fantastic lacing in the glass. The bitterness is not overpowering, but adds just enough to counterbalance the smooth caramel maltiness.

The mouthfeel is wonderful, and although not thin, it doesn't come across as a heavy beer. The perfect carbonation combined with the wonderful taste gives this a drinkability like few other beers, and this is my everyday go-to beer (and has been for almost two decades now).

This is Sierra Nevada's flagship beer for a reason. It can be a session beer or an accompaniment to a gourmet meal (or pizza or burgers).

itfitz, Jun 22, 2010
Photo of ctxfenris
4.99/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass.
Amber in color, fair amount of head and carbonation. There's sediment floating around in there!
Smells of pale malts and hops, and tastes that way as well.
Delicious, my go to beer for some time now.
Leaves lacing all over the glass. A classic.

ctxfenris, Jun 27, 2014
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,714 ratings.