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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.

2,876 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,876
Hads: 10,531
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 22.22%
Wants: 246
Gots: 2,412 | 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: 2,876 | Hads: 10,531
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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Photo of Dukeofearl
4.57/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Oh, boy, where to start... This is a very good hoppy beer for someone who is not partial to hoppy beers- that's how good it is. Pours a nice dark golden color with a small off-white head. Aroma is floral, slight citrus, and nice hops. The flavor is its best aspect (that's a good thing) and very enjoyable. The smooth flavors follow through with pine and herbal-oily notes. The hops are present throughout the taste, but end very nicely. Moderate clean mouthfeel with some creaminess, but not as much as some others I have had. Leaves a bitter aftertaste that just begs to be covered up by some more SNPA. This is my first 5.0 on drinkability

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Photo of LarryKemp
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It has been a long time since I have tried this pale ale. I had forgotten what a well made beer it really is. The beer poured a deep golden with a firm tan head. The head faded fast and is probably the least impressive aspect of this beer. The aroma of hops comes through but with each sip the smell of the malt gets stronger. What a joy. The hops on the tongue are not overpowering and the chocolaty, malty taste comes through very strong. The mouthfeel is medium with a tingle of carbonation that lasts throughout the beer. This is a delightful beer that is a joy to drink. No aspect of it rules which makes it a pleasure to sip with a meal or while typing a review. I will most certainly be buying more of these for the fridge.

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Photo of joecast
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

re-review 11/5/06
ahh snpa. good to know its available down here. pretty surprising seeing it sitting next to mgd and bud ice, the only other us imports we get. (and its not out of date, score!!)
not much to say about the beer. ive probably changed a lot more than the beer since my first review, well, my tastes at least.
upped the drinkability .5, other than that, i hope it keeps coming.

wonderful copper in color with a thin layer of white foam for a head.
great nose filling hop aroma.

hmm. i think i can actually taste the hop oils in this. it must have been dry hopped with the stuff. really nice.

flavor and aroma compliment each other very well.
this beer is packed full of mouthwatering flavor. but i couldnt honestly call it a session beer, if only because my pallate isnt quite trained up to handling it long term in one sitting. seriously hop accented but enough malt to back it all up.

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

On-tap at the Innsbrook Capital Ale House.

Clear and golden in color. Thick white lace persists for awhile, leaving a splash of lace on the glass. Aromas are crisp, with citrus and floral notes dominating. Flavor starts with a malty sweetness that is quickly usurped by the cascade of hoppy bitterness. Quite well-balanced and a brisk and short finish that satisfies and keeps you wanting more. A beer that I have no reservations about ordering, as I know this will always please.

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Photo of BadBadger
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A very pleasant pale ale. Pours a very nice amber color. A nice white foamy head arises at initial pouring, though this decreases to about a quarter of an inch rather quickly. The smell is pleasant, which hints of the hops and malt contained within. The taste is nice on both the palate and tongue: both bitter and sweet. A nice crisp finish. Seek this one out and enjoy!

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

350ml screw top bottle

Pours with a murky amber body, thick foamy head with good retention and lacing

Smell is hoppy, lavender and summer fruits, tons of cascade hop aroma

Taste is full of hops, nothing too powerful and mabye a little bland, limited, bit one dimensional compare to anchor liberty ale for example, but goes down well, great use of cascade hops. very cascady, very little else but still fantastic, some lemony bitterness

A great and refreshing session ale, very drinkable, fresh tasting even over here in ireland

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Photo of Holyterror
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is one of the few beers I drink that has a screw-on cap. It took me a while ot notice that. Go figure.

Sierra Nevada makes some of the best mass market beers you can buy, so my expectations were high. I was not disappointed. It poured a hazy golden orange, very appetizing color. The head was moderately thick, good for this style, and settled into a thin white cap and laced the glass pretty well. I lack the vocabulary to properly describe the aroma, but the hops became evident even before the first taste. It had a very grainy taste, heavy on the hop oil, which lingered on into the aftertaste. The hops are very prominent, a plus for me. It is still balanced, and washes down smoothly without leaving excess bitterness on the palate. Good mouthfeel, perfect for this kind of beer. About halfway through the frist glass, it becomes very drinkable. Definite candidate for a session beer, especially if you like the style (which I do).

Definitely recommended as an introduction to the American Pale Ales. Another widely available brew to fall back on as well.

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

Pours a light golden to slightly amber color that's crystal clear. It has a one-finger head that dissipates to a nice rocky covering and a white ring around the edge.
The aroma is light floral hops and a bit of citrus hops as well
The taste is just a well-blended balance of hops and malt, which is as smooth as can be. Finishes crisp and at this low ABV, can be enjoyed for the entire night, and I have done that plenty of times.
There just isn't much to say about this American staple that hasen't been said already....

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Photo of abcsofbeer
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours nice medium amber color. I am editing my review about the head and lace. When poured properly there is a very nice 1/4 head that leaves a nice lace down through the glass. Aroma is fairly hoppy and pleasant. Taste is very smooth, but with a definite hop presence. Carbonation is noticeable but light. I have read mostly good reviews about this brew, never a bad one. This is a good standby favorite, one that will be one of my all around favorites.

Taste is moderately spicy, but smooth. I think that pale ales are my preference in beer.

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Photo of andyo
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this beer has become a standard at my house. My wife loves it, so, it's usually what we get.

What else can I add to the reviews? This one poured really nice, an orange/copper color, with a nice, thick slightly orange head.

This pale ale has a slight bittersweet taste, with grass and citrus notes. Definate hoppy taste, yet not over powering this beer. Very crisp, and very refreshing. A good American Pale Ale- a standard for this style.

After a few years of drinking this beer, and trying many others, the "specialness" of this beer is sort of lost for me. Still a good beer, but it just doesn't "wow" me anymore.

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Photo of TagoMago
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz. short bottle.

Appearance: Pours a rich golden orange color with some haziness. Nice head and lacing.

Aroma: Very earthy with zesty lemon and slightly grassy herbal notes.

Taste: Nicely sharp citric hop bitterness up front, with some bready malt. The mouthfeel is quite smooth and balanced.

Overall: This is the classic American pale ale. It's one of those beers that is good any time of the year. I always have a case of this stuff on hand. This is also a very good beer for those just breaking through into the world of craft beers. It is a very accessible, drinkable beer.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,876 ratings.