Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

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2,826 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,826
Hads: 10,267
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 9.85%
Wants: 222
Gots: 2,105 | 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: 2,826 | Hads: 10,267
Photo of Rob6852
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer came in a 12 oz. brown twist top bottle.
Poured a Golden-amber hue with minimal head and lacing.
This beers' dominant smell is of citric and hops .
For a person used to drinking stouts this was a refreshing turnabout. The taste of this beer is hoppy but not overly dominated by them. The malts even things out but the hops definatly dominate this fine brew. Leaves the mouth dry at the end waiting for the next drink.
I'm not really big on hops but am learning to enjoy them. This beer
may make a hop lover out of me yet.
I can drink several of these in a sitting and not feel overpowered by
A damn fine beer. (630 characters)

Photo of Beastdog75
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is truly one of the beers that helped kick start the micro revolution in America. This was also one of the first "good" beers I ever had back in junior year of high school. I remember enjoying it, but being shocked at what I perceived to be just "dryness." Obviously, with a much maturing of the palette, I can now fully appreciate this beer.

SN Pale Ale pours an amber-like gold color with a nice foamy white head that retains well, but thins out in about 2 minutes and leaves minimal lace. The smell is truly hoppy, with citric and pine notes being the dominating aromas. Quite clean. The mouthfeel is smooth and lightly carbonated. Very quenching. There is a light maltiness in the flavor that gives an illusion of sweetness, but the hop presence nullifies it and takes over from there. The piney and citric notes return, with a healthy dose of woodiness as well. This beer is slightly drying on the way down. Very crisp, sharp and quenching. The Cascade hop flavors linger for quite some time after the beer is done with, and there is some warmth to finish out this beer.

This beer certainly did not seem as bitter or dry as when I first tried it back when I was 17, but it did have a good, slightly strong hoppiness to it that really makes this beer one of a kind. Adding the yeast sediment contributes some cloudiness to the beer, but I didn't recognize any immediate changes in the flavor. This would be good with some bbq ribs. A good beer if you're trying to slowly convert someone into a hophead, and it is so very easy to quaff a few of these down. (1,588 characters)

Photo of JackTheRipper
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly amber golden color, the yeast in the bottle forms a slight haze in my glass. Thin head, no real lacing.

Smell: Citrus, hops, not too punchy.

Taste: Well balanced, the hops definitely stand out most, but there's a good amount of sweetness underneath.

Mouthfeel: Full, good amount of carbonation. Finish is a bit oily. This beer is more warming than I would have expected from a 5.6% ABV beer.

Drinkability: This is a very nice ale, I look forward to my next one. Goes down very well, not too demanding on the taster. Kudos. (551 characters)

Photo of stewart124
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very nice rusty color with a decent head and beautiful laces left on the glass after each sip. A good amount of hops are present for a sweet smell. An outstanding taste that is not overally hopped up but still gives you that nice flavor of hops and fruitiness in your mouth. This beer really hits your tastebuds and can be appreciated by those who are still new to this style of beer. I recommend this to anyone who is still trying to get a feel for hops. A very nice beer for anytime you want to kick back and enjoy life. (522 characters)

Photo of daledeee
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A nice pale ale. Some say this isn't as good as the brewery got bigger. Pours a nice medium head with a bright straw colored body. Nice piny hoppy nose. A good shot of hops in the taste and some malt. Not as strong as some other American pale ales. But this is very drinkable. Good carbonation and hop finish.

This is a fine beer. (332 characters)

Photo of mschofield
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Copper-amber with a pillowy white head.
Nutty, malty, and citrus hop aroma.
Very hoppy taste (orange grapefruit and lemon citrus notes), the grainy malt plays second fiddle. Typical American pale ale hop-malt balance.
Light to medium feel, smoothness balance by the hop bitterness, easy drinking session beer (312 characters)

Photo of Jables
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours copper with white head.

Aroma is sweet and fruity with a nice balance of malt and hops.

The flavor seems to tip the scales in the hop direction with excellent grapefruit flesh flavors.

The mouthfeel nicely coats the mouth and the hops leave a slick feeling resting on the tongue.

A very refreshing and tasty brew, a great every day drinking beer and transition beer (385 characters)

Photo of Ieatlambfries
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is an excellent example of an American pale ale. Nice appearance, slight chill haze, small head, nice lacing as the head dissipates. The smell is hoppy/citrusy slightly alcohol like. The taste is in my opinion outstanding for the style. Hops are apparent as is a slight citrus taste. Something vegetive also in the background, but in a good way. Mouthfeel was good also. I found it to be very smooth. Extremely drinkable. I could drink this all night at a pub on tap.

A great beer in my opinion, worth a try if you haven't already. You'll find it to be one you come back to again. (589 characters)

Photo of mntlover
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pale ale which others are judged by, or so it seems. Nice golden beer with a touch of amber. White foamy head eventually dies to a wring of white bubbles following there way down the glass. Aroma is of hops citrus and flowery with hint of malt. Taste is crisp light hops with light malt coming threw. Mouthfeel is light as it should be great beer for killing thirst after hot day at work. Very drinkable and avaliability everywhere makes it a good choice over the usual macro swill. (486 characters)

Photo of scottum
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pale amber with a nice biggie white head which laces the sides of the glass. A nice 24oz bottle fits so perfectly into a 25oz glass. Nice hop flavor with a nice malt balance. I'm supprised I've gone so long without sampling this "classic" brew. Certainly a good one that should have been drinking. Now I know why this beer is often the only decent beer on tap. It really is decent. (389 characters)

Photo of BigPapaLager
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This has go to be my favorite pale ale I always go back to this beer. A beer for all tastes if ever there was one. It poured a medium amber, not very pale, with a steady white head. The hoppy aroma was strong but not overpowering. Wish I had more of this right now... (267 characters)

Photo of HardTarget
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Deep citric hop aroma that lets some malt come through.
Appearance: Clear dirty blonde/pale orange with a small white head. Collar of head remained but didn’t lace.
Flavor: Grapefruit hops dominate the taste but only leave a moderate bitter. Some bready malt provides a good base.
Mouthfeel: Coats the mouth with a medium-heavy body and a slight bitter pucker.
Overall Impression: It’s all about the hops baby. Enough malt to keep it all civilized, but by no means brings it to balance. If you’re a hophead, this is a refreshing brew, but a bit one-dimensional. Maybe I’ve just gotten use to the Celebration Ale. This “Pale”s in comparison but it’s an unfair association. It’s pretty high on my list of Pale Ales; give it a try. (787 characters)

Photo of TastyTaste
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this out of a keg, if you can believe that. I didn't know what I had until I asked the host. Deep golden brown color. Smell was strong of hops and a little florals. Tastes very hops heavy as it finished, very refreshing. This was a good all-around beer, that I would get again, probably bottled, though. (309 characters)

Photo of counselor
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is one of the classics - It pours a lovely dark golden with a stiff, rocky head that does't quit until the penultimate mouthful. This beer raps you on the nose with lime and bitter hops smell to let you know this is no sissy beverage. The taste backs up the nose with a crispness that hits your throat and all up in your sinsues letting you know this beer is not all about a hop assault on the sense. Qaulity ingrediants and a mild estery flavor from the yeast from bottle conditioning. Yet, after the beer is in your gullet, you are then reminded of where you started, with a dry, citrusy back end from the hops. I could (and have) enjoyed several of these in a setting and welcome each opportunity to do so. (719 characters)

Photo of Foxman
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It pours a golden orange, with a nice off-white head that settles out quickly to a skim of tight bubbles. Lace disintegrates as fast as it clings.

The aroma is very mild, with the expected piney Cascade, along with the requisite malt undertone, though really, until it approaches room temp, the whole aroma is an undertone.

The taste begins with hops, the bitter dryness preparing the palate for the mild malt sweetness that follows quickly. There's a very distant hint of spice that fades just before you can lable it firmly. The hop/malt balance is what gives this exemplary pale ale its understated flavor integrity.

It's light bodied, with the hop dryness supplying a finishing tingle on the tongue and back of the mouth.

I challenge anyone to drink just one of these. The aforementioned hop/malt balance make this beer go down about as smooth as a beer should, with the carbonation and distinguished sweetness performing a olfactory pas de deux with the pine-scented hops. It's a classic, as it should be, and happens to be the first micro-brew to truly wow me, in Winter, CA, roundabout 1992 or so. It was a year or so before I could get it on the east coast, but since that time, I've never hesitated to fall back on SNPA's stylistic excellence and wonderful flavor. (1,289 characters)

Photo of BrianOfMayberry
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A very fine (as well as a defining) example of American Pale Ale. Just the right amount of hoppiness and just enough malt presence to balance it out. It has become one of my favorite table beers... I would consider Sierra Nevada Pale to be a "standby." When I play gigs in a bar and I am greeted by a sea of "lite beers" on tap, it is very comforting to see the green tap handle there in between the typical brands.. The bottled version is just a notch below the on-tap version, but it stands up well -- probably because it is bottle conditioned... The color suits a beer of this style. It is suitably pale, but has an orangish-red glow that make it very appealing. A comfortable evening lies ahead of me as I sip a few more of these... (736 characters)

Photo of merlin48
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fortunately, this brew IS widely available, even out in the boondocks of the central Appalachian mountain coalfields, in my case at a beer store near Pound, Va, near the Ky/Va line. Pours a a just off-clear amber, with no real head. Minimal lacing. Nose is powerful, lemon rind and hops. Mouthfeel fizzles the tongue with carbonation and initial bitterness of citrus and hops. Feels pretty nice. Taste is excellent for a pale ale. Pine and some spice are in the background somewhere. Alcohol is well disguised, but definitely lets its presence be known after a couple of these. Some excellent malt flavor balances the hops toward the end of the glass. I've always felt a bitter aftertaste from this brew, but that's not a major issue, especially if you're having it with pizza. Looks like this is an ale that will be a regular in my fridge. (840 characters)

Photo of rabidawg
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Slightly hazy golden copper. White head that settled quickly to a clingy skim. Nice sheets of lace.

Smell: Sweet malt and cascades. Very fresh, and slightly evergreen.

Taste: Creamy up front, with a nice malty middle. Not much in the way of sweetness, and what there is gets kicked out before closing time by the fresh hop finish. Yeast is hardly noticeable, except for a brief moment every now and again. Finishes dry and clean, with a refreshing tingle.

Notes: This has to be the ultimate fall-back beer, since it tastes good and is extremely widely available. Makes for a wonderful session beer also, with enough hops to break through even a saturated palate. (684 characters)

Photo of NJpadreFan
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada- what can I say that hasn't been said?!

Pours a golden brown with a little white head. but that's o.k cause it has a heavenly aroma- citrus.
The taste is amazing, slighty bitter with a crisp malty flavor.
This is the beer you go to when your bar offers only macro crap.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is, hands down, 1 of the best overall beers out there!! and that's a bold statement!! (400 characters)

Photo of GreenWBush
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

With as many boxes of SNPA that have piled up in the last couple weeks, it is finally time for me to critically review this beer. This beer has definetely become my default of choice as it is available almost everywhere, and in most podunk towns, it is the only bottle-conditioned choice.

Color is relatively uninviting, a golden-brown-amber. A good head comes up, but dies almost instantly. I found little to no lacing on the glass. The taste is sharp on the tongue at first, but then the Cascade hop kick gives way to a rich maltiness.

The maltiness is steady throughout the palate, complemented by a short hop-kick to close out the swallow. The alcohol is hidden quite well in there. This is really almost all I drink, its sad to think that most establishment's closest runner up to this beer is Sam Adams.

I used to think that this beer was very hoppy, now really all I can taste is malt. I've been "ruined" one too many times. But still, a fabulous everyday session brew that never fails to please. (1,012 characters)

Photo of surfmeister
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: amber/orange, moderate head disappeared quickly, it would be make a nice lava lamp.
Aroma: floral, citrus, I could smell it from a foot away.
Flavor: Hoppy, It could use a little more malt balance. Relatively bitter, but that's expected, bitterness did not linger.
Mouthfeel: smooth, full, no astringency or acid bite.
Overall: tough to critique probably the most popular pale ale going. I'm a lager guy and I enjoyed this brew, it might get me sipping a few more ales in the future. (499 characters)

Photo of Boto
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer is a slightly orangeish color. It is just a hint cloudy. Fairly good nose of hops. Possibly a bit of pineyness on the aroma also. There is a well balanced taste here. Medium to full body, with a good balance of sweetness to the hops. Still the standard of all American Pale Ales. (288 characters)

Photo of moulefrite
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
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." (510 characters)

Photo of Gasp100
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance was a clear and light amber color. The smell was hoppy with a hint of fruit. The taste was clean and crisp with a bitter twinge that carried throughout until the end. The after taste was sharp but pleasant at the same time. The mouthfeel was dry and strong and this was a very drinkable beer. I could see this fitting many occassions and I'm glad this is a very accessible beer. I'd have no problems using this as my safe bet in a pinch. (452 characters)

Photo of philipt
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Some times the "well distributed" beer folks do well. This is an outstanding beer that is readily available even in the most remote parts,

Copper/amber in color with a respectable off-white head. Good lacing effect too. Fresh hops dominate the nose. The taste is much more balanced between hops and malt. Starts with a caramel sweetness that is quickly attacked by a very fresh hop flavor (Cascade hops I believe).

Probably the best readily available beer on the market. (476 characters)

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,826 ratings.