Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

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2,862 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,862
Hads: 10,438
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 11.6%
Wants: 237
Gots: 2,291 | 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: 2,862 | Hads: 10,438
Photo of alexAK
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, but clear and consistent golden brown. Aroma is pleasant with slight flowery undertones. Taste is clean but not without flavor and the hops are generous but not overpowering. Hits the back of the tongue producing a round mouthfeel. Very drinkable. A clear example of a classic Pale Ale without overreaching in complexity.

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Photo of TongoRad
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After a break I have been drinking this beer quite a bit lately and must say that I am impressed with it all over again. It's a classic in the light caramel/ citrusy hops vein but what I am struck with is just how elegant this beer has become. Residual sweetness, bitterness, malt and hops in the nose- it's all in perfect proportion. This is a real quality APA.

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Photo of Rio
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured clear and golden, without much of a head, just a ring around the edge left now. Tiny bit of a hoppy smell to it. The taste is a wonderfully smooth malt and hops flavor to it. Very nice, smooth feel to it. Previously, I've liked the sharper, crisper feel, but the smoothness of this one is wonderful.

This is a definite beer to pick up again. Wonderful Pale Ale.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was an excellent ale that poured a clear deep yellow with a good head that dissolved to lace rings.

The aroma was beautiful, of tangy bitter hops and pine and cedar notes. It drew me toward the first taste.

The taste was very bitter, with pine and grapefruit overtones. There was no prominent maltiness. It was very dry and excellent.

I highly recommend this one.

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Photo of misterscooter
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a beer that grew on me slowly and is now a regular in my arsenal. My first impressions, several years ago, was that it wasn't worth drinking because of the lingering aftertaste. Either I have grown used to it or their recipe has changed slightly. There are some other Sierra Nevada beers I don't like for similar reasons but the Pale Ale has gained my affection.

The color is a solid brown with a bite in the aroma. It has a complex, woody, but dry taste to it and a bit of a tingle from the carbonation. Back to that aftertaste. It is also very dry but, like I said, either I'm used to it or it has been toned down. If that is what you notice at first and it turns you off, be sure to give it a few more tries. You might be surprised.

I wasn't surprised when Consumer Reports rated it the best overall beer based on taste and cost. Of course, since they couldn't review every beer out there, people might not agree. But they aren't way off base.

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Photo of masterbruewer
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark golden color with a nice slightly off-white head that was thick and stuck around a while. Steady carbonation.

The smell was hoppy, maybe a little piney and citrusy.

The flavor was strong, but not offensively so, hops, with pine and citrus notes. This had a classic pale ale taste with no off-flavors. A very solid brew.

The mouthfeel was smooth, for a pale ale. The hops are out-front, but not in your face with bitterness. Nice carbonation, but not too tingly.

I could drink this all night long. It is a solid pale ale with strong hop flavor, but none of the disagreeable bitterness and over-pined flavor of some pale ales.

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Photo of Hefe
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted 7/4/04.

Appearance: Amber gold with a fluffy white head. Active cabonation.

Smell: Citrusy hoppy, with pale malts and whiff of alcohol.

Taste: Carmel malt, with an aggressive, but clean and fresh hop character.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, sprtzy and smooth at the same time.

Drinkability: Excessively so. The Quintessential American Pale Ale.

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Photo of bignick
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is known as the epitome of an American Pale Ale, as well it should. It has a nice appearance in the glass, with a slightly cloudy orange color. The lace sticks around until I finish the beer. The smell is citrusy, and so is the taste. The taste is also dominated by hopiness and a little bit of sweetness from the citrus flavor. This is overall a very versatile beer. It is great in the summer and the winter. It is great with or without food. It is, without a doubt, a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of Hibernator
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been drinking this beer for years and as of late it has become my staple at most Boston bars/restaurants that have the conventional/limited selection of beers.

This beer is readily available in the area that I live and very reasonably priced for a craft beer of this magnitude at most supermarkets or liquor stores.

For reviewing purposes, I had this out of a 12 oz twist off bottle. I think this is a great label as well, great shade of distintive green with the Sierra Nevada logo to match.

The appearance is a nice burnt orange color. I can smell floral like aromas from the beginning. Nice head on this beer.... maybe 1/2 -3/4 inch or so.

The hop aromas are right there. I think its the balance of the Cascade hops that I dig so much in this beer.

There is a real nice crisp and clean character to this beer. One of my favorite Pale Ales.

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Photo of aquatonex
2.74/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I expected more from this Pale Ale, perhaps it was the batch that was the problem. Pours light amber. Smells a lot of hops and alcohol, kinda skunky. Tastes rather bitter with a generous portion of hops, alcohol, and skunk that stays with your tongue until your next sip. I was not impressed at all.

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Photo of hobbes2112
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle

This was one of my first good beers back in the day and it is still with me today. Don't know why I haven't ever reviewed it until now.

Pours gold with a large white head, lots of lace. Aroma is citrus hop, a little bread, and a sedate malt. Taste follows along with quite balanced hop and malt (hop in the front malt in the rear.) Clean and crisp feel, every drink is great.

This is a wonder beer that is available all over, frequently quite cheaply (I got my current 12pk for $7.99)

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Photo of necoadam
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Eli Cannon's

Came in a pint glass. A nice golden color blend in with some amber tones, with a decent amount of carbonation. I wished there was more carbonation in this beer but it had to do. Smell was quite hoppy for a pale ale. Some citrus undertones with some grain in the background were there as well. Taste was mostly hops as well. Some undertones of malts can be tasted as well in the middle and into the aftertaste. Finally I know what the fuss is about for this beer. One of the better pale ale's out there, espeically on-tap.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.57/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I can't believe I have not reviewed this beer yet as I have had it many times. What makes this a touchstone among so many beerlovers. It is the blend between easy drinking and hoppy complexity. This beer has lots of interesting nuances for the sipper but goes well with food and mowing the grass. Along with Liberty Ale by Anchor Steam this beer helped define the American Pale Ale. What also is a bonus is the availibility of this beer even in gas stations and supermarkets.

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Photo of RedwoodGeorge
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Ale poured to with a gold-white head that dissipated slowly leaving no lacing. Dark gold color with a slight touch of red.

Smell: Rich without being overpowering, well balanced notes of hops with a hint of yeast and fruit

Taste: Nice malt notes with a touch of hop bitterness at the finish. The taste, like the smell is "well rounded" without simple or overpowering notes.

Mouthfeel: Okay but nothing impressive. A bit on the watery side without the desired creamy notes. More like a lager than an ale.

Drinkability: Quite nice and dependable - an ale I'd go for if there wasn't something more exotic to offer. Good with meals because the taste doesn't compete with the food.

[Additional notes] This has become my "go-to" beer. Not being as big a drinker as most here on BA, I only drink five or six beers a week. Currently two or three of them are SNPA; I can understand why so many people consider this a gold standard to measure other beers against. While I'm not a "monster hop" fan, I've been very fond of the bold, clean hop flavor that's short of an IPA but unmistakably a west coast brew.

Considering how often I keep coming back to this beer, I've upgraded the 'drinkability' score significantly as well as the 'mouthfeel' (those fine bubbles are very lager-like and do a good job of refreshing the palate.)

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Photo of Doiv
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought in London.

Brief off-white head with the hazy coppery amber appearance. I get the feeling I may have used a slightly wet glass.

Aromas are a little weak, but hops are noticeable. Malts and citric notes are apparent after a good inhale.

Taste of floral hops, then somewhat biscuity malts, caramel and citrus fruits, with a spicy hoppy end.

The mouthfeel was nice and it is easy to drink.

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Photo of mattcrill
3.61/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber orange color with a nice white head and good lacings throughout. Smells light, fresh, and a little hoppy. A hint of alcohol of you really get your schnozz in there and sniff. Pretty bland tasting I think but it has a nice mix of hops and a touch of citrusy sweetness. It's definitely a drinkable brew. Great for a cookout and a good representation of the style. A good session beer but I'm just not a big fan of pale ales unless they punch me in the face (which I guess is NOT the definition of pale ales). I would definitely recommend this brew to all.

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Photo of cbl2
3.97/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


A slightly hazy peach/yellow with about a quarter inch of white head.


Cascade hops prevail, but there is the promise of some hops lurking beneath. Promises to be hoppy, but balanced.


As the nose indicated, this is mostly hops. Nice and fresh, strong floral/herbal quality, but malts are there. Very well balanced, and thoroughly enjoyable. Easy to see why this is considered by many to be the gateway beer into craft beverages.

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Photo of beertaster13
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I gave Sierra Nevada pale ale a 4.0 because lets face it, this is the staple of craft beers, chances are this is where you started when it all began.The beer pours a bright golden amber, the head is a sight to see, ivory white and the lacing is impecable.The smell is that of a nice spring air, fresh cascade hops with slight caramel hints, a citrus/floral that brings character. The taste is a orchestrated mix of malt sweetness and fruit aftertones. The hop bitterness is just enough to appreciate the sweetness. Hints of lemon/orange zest and fresh rasberries linger in the buds. The roasted malt will show its power in the end.This is a medium bodied pale ale and has that nice crisp but smooth refreshing flavor you need in a nice pale. As far as drinkability goes, you can have a 12 pack a day of these, yes they are that good. SNPA is like the Don Corleone of beers. It is the Godfather. Alot of people are starting to put down SN because they are becoming "too big", hogwash this will always be one of the best pale ale's available.

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Photo of wyllder
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mid to light amber color, leaving a small foamy head.

Floral hops present with mild citrus notes on the nose, more pronounced when agitated.

Light hoppy intro on the palate that blends nicely with the malt and some underlying sawgrass & hay tones. Overall effect is mild with just enough character to please the hardcore beer afficianado and not enough to scare off the lowest common denomimator drinkers.

Overall, a solid offering.


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Photo of UnionMade
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The beer pours a bright golden amber, topped with a thick ivory froth. Great head retention, keeping an even coating throughout the entire glass. Sticky sheets of foam cling to the glass with tenacity. perfect lacing.
The aroma is impeccable. Soft toasty malt balances citric cascade hops. Very clean, with only a touch of floral esters.
The standard for american pale ale. The hops are artfully placed, with impeccable balance. Simple, but effective.
The flavor starts with an incredibly clean toasty malt. Chico yeast is a wonderful thing. A touch of lemon, apple and strawberry into the finish, where it meets a solid, fairly bitter citric hopping. The balance on the finish is a thing to behold. The malt maintains it's sweetness, while allowing the citric hopping to even out the balance. A lingering soft grapefruit finish. Medium bodied, with a mild, even carbonation. A very smooth mouthfeel, the standard for american beer. Drinkability? I've had more of these than I can count, and loved every one of them.
The standard for american pale ale. The best thing about this beer is that it's widely available, and you can find it at a chain restaurant or run-of-the-mill liquor store anywhere. It's a solid brew, not really stetching the boundaries. The amazing thing is that it establishes the boundaries, and it's a tried and true piece of american brewing, even after all these years.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color with a white foamy head. The head stayed on this beer for a long time. There was a great amount of lace on the glass at the end. Smells like a grapefruit, with hints of slightly toasted malt. The taste was sweet up front, with a big hit of Cascade hops. Even though this is a well-hopped beer, it had great balance. Medium body, with modest carbonation. Overall, this is the textbook APA. It goes down great. I would have this again and again.

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Photo of meathookjones
3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

There is already hundreds of reviews for this beer so I will keep it brief and to the point. Pours a nice golden amber color with a slight white head that left some nice lacing. Hops are definatly present in the smell with citrus notes. The flavor is very similar to the smell with the hops being upfront but not too much so and a bit of malt and spice is present too. It also has a slight bitter after taste and the mouthfeel is good. The best thing about this beer is its availability, this can be found either on tap or atleast in the bottle and a wide variety of establishments. A good beer to covert macro drinkers over with in my experience, a good taste but not too aggresive.

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Photo of rlcoffey
3.08/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a gold to amber color. Virtually no head despite noticeable carbonation. Very slight lacing. Floral aroma that isnt overpowering and wasnt that pleasant. Taste is very average for an APA. The hops are there, and leave a pleasant aftertaste, but they dont stand out like in many APAs. Good "structure" to the beer, the mouthfeel is there, but the taste is nothing special. Above average drinkability, I may have another despite being unimpressed. Its been a while since I have had an SNPA and I didnt remember it being anything special - and it wasnt.

Its a slightly above average APA.

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Photo of usualpulp
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice amber color with a small white head, which leaves laces down the glass.

Most noteable smells to this beer are hops hope and hops, though there are some great floral undertones, but the number one thing that sticks out is the cascade hops.

The taste of this beer is just great, it starts fruity and flowery with a slight bitterness, then ends with a whallop of hops that hit nice and clean.

This is one refreshing beer, that is one of my standbys and which I almost always seem to have around. This is truely the beer that sets the standard for american pale ales.

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Photo of Hunter
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A solid representative of the style. Coppery color, white pillowy head that regenerates well upon agitation. Lovely lacing. The hops come out in the smell, leaving little else for the nose to pick up. Taste reinforces that smell - a nice mild bite of hops, some traces of malt and spice, finishing in a pleasant bitterness and clean aftertaste.

The quality of this ale matched with its relatively wide availability makes it a godsend when stores/pubs see fit to serve only this, Bud, and Budlight.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,862 ratings.