Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

2,843 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,843
Hads: 10,345
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 9.85%
Wants: 226
Gots: 2,193 | 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: 2,843 | Hads: 10,345
Photo of AllThingsNinja
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, this is a beautiful beer. The perfect white head floats atop a beautiful amber brew that is brimming with hoppy goodness. As I come back to the beer, I'm always impressed by the malty nose that so pleasantly contrasts the intense hop finish. It is a wonderful beer, but it requires a true appreciation of cascade hops to enjoy. (353 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quintessential amber with a blizzard of fine yeast suspended within. The beer is topped by a bone white crown that is rocky and pitting as it melts. Unfortunately, the lid didn't last very long. There's a decent amount of lace, though nothing too special. The nose is of average intensity and is primarily of citrusy hops.

The flavor profile is on the simple and straightforward side; not that that's a bad thing. Each mouthful starts out with a gently spicy-bitter push, backed by a solid underlay of malt. Things don't really change in character from start to finish or with warming.

Although SNBC uses Cascade hops (along with Magnum and Perle), grapefruit zest isn't bursting across the tongue. The mouthfeel is slightly more full than medium and has no rough edges whatsoever.

I expected very good things from Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and was just a little let down in the end. It's not that it's bad beer, not by a long shot, but there are better versions out there. I'm sure I'll come back to it again since it's so widely available (and since my local hoppy options are so limited). (1,094 characters)

Photo of WOLFGANG
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Deep amber color with perfect clarity. Billowy long-withstanding white head leaves plenty of lace. Quite appealing in appearance.

Mixture of citrus and floral hops and a nutty aroma lingers. Hints of pine as it warms a bit.

Taste starts tangy with a lemony bite on the palate. Then a slight touch of sweetness ( like nut and honey) is present, but finishes well with slight bitter hop.

A lighter mouthfeel I guess is to be expected.

Built for Summertime enjoyment (IMO). Not hard to drink this throughout the day I imagine. (535 characters)

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

this wasn't as bitter as i remember. maybe my palate has grown more loving of pale ales. i don't know.

i noticed that there was sediment at the bottom of the bottle so i gave it a healthy swirl to help make it a bit better looking. i thought that this would make it a bit cloudy but instead it was pretty clear with a bunch of little floaties hoppin about. i guess it's yeast?

taste was very crisp and clean. the hops were not as strong as i remember but they were there. i found it to be very drinkable and good. i'll buy it again. (538 characters)

Photo of RocketWidget
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Not a bad beer at all. Currently enjoying this brew while waiting for my homebrew wort to chill, so really in the beer mood!
Pours a true gold color, with lots of sediment and average head. Smell is crisp and hoppy but not overpowering. Taste sets a very good standard, hoppy and sweet and just enough bitter flavor. A very drinkable brew. Overall recommended. (361 characters)

Photo of BeefyMee
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Orangey-yellow with a pillowy head that left nice lacing.

Smell: Very hoppy for a pale ale. The hop aroma isn't all that strong but it is the only thing I can smell.

Taste: Interesting. The hops hit upfront but are not abrasive and even less powerful than the smell. A subtle bready malt flavor follows in the aftertaste. Gets addicting.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly substantial. Those little bubbles tingle on your tongue so nicely.

Drinkability: I wish I bought a sixer.

Beef Notes: I like this beer more and more every time I drink it. It's quickly becoming a favorite as I develop a taste for hops. I will be buying more. (647 characters)

Photo of PartyHatjo
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy, amber color (due to the yeast used in the natural carbonation). The color "seeps" a bit into the plentiful head, giving it a not quite white color. The hoppiness is present in the nose, and the taste. I originally didn't like this beer, but after drinking it nearly everyday when I was California, it turned me into a hophead. The bitter-sweet balance is nearly perfect here. I can easily drink a six-pack of this, although the flavor can get harsh towards the end. (481 characters)

Photo of jtfest
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Somewhat hazy, more orange than yellow, with a smallish off-white head. Light, pleasant, sorta' floral aroma. The mouthfeel was full and consistent. The taste begins very smooth and almost sweet, then blends into a nice mellow hoppy finish for a drinking experience that was far more enjoyable than the appearance promised. I would enjoy this for a session. (357 characters)

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

A true modern classic and one that started me on the path to better beer. Others have improved on the original, IMHO, but as the trend has been "bigger is better" in craft brewing, SNPA retains high marks for drinkability; simply one of the finest session pale ales around. Once I began stockpiling Celebration every year I stopped buying this beer, so this is a homecoming of sorts. It pours a light orange amber with a frothy white head that leaves rings. The aroma is light but dominated by citric hops. The taste is mostly citrus with some pine and is pleasantly bitter. A simple sugar, candy-like sweetness makes a brief appearance on the palate but the malt doesn't develop like some of the bigger PAs. Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied and slightly creamy but not heavy, an excellent lunchtime brew. (805 characters)

Photo of MobBarley
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A classic. I simply have nothing bad to say about this beer. Deep amber color with some yeasty clouding. Skunky hops aroma with a grainy malt backbone. Assertive hops flavor that balances well with a substantial maltiness. A syrupy bitterness lingers. Mouthfeel is great...tremendously refreshing yet chewy. Drinkability is legend. My "go to" beer. (348 characters)

Photo of Zorro
3.06/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have a love/hate relationship with this brew. Some of the best and worst beers I have ever had were this brew. I believe that this is one beer that is very temperamental about how it is transported and stored.

Pours a clear orangish gold color.

Smell is malt, vanilla and hops smells bitterer than it tastes.

Taste is very mild yet full. This has a floral hop taste with a bit of oak flavor to it. A dry ale, I remember this being a bit sweeter in its draft form.

Mouthfeel is thicker than you would think.

Drinkability is good, but I prefer a Fuller's to this. (578 characters)

Photo of palma
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Sweet-ass looking foggy gold body with some yeast sediment due to the traditional bottle conditioning as it explains on the label. Not much of a head developed on the pour and whatever did faded rather quickly.

Smell: Not very impressed with the smell which had a fruity aroma but also was very leafy and earthy. Smelled kind of like moss...yes, moss. Not what I was expecting but I guess that plant-like aroma was what they were going for.

Taste: Almost a 4.5. Great hop bitterness throughout with strong fruity flavors. At first there is a noticeably sharp hop bite to the beer, but then the malt comes through just enough to give it a perfect amount of sweetness to compensate. Then after a few more sips the bitterness and the sweetness really start to begin to mingle together very well and the brew just gets more enjoyable. I love the lingering aftertaste of this beer which is very dry with an awesome bready flavor.

Mouthfeel is extremely smooth. Has a great light carbonation that gives it a nice crisp and smooth finish. (1,055 characters)

Photo of coasterfreak75
4.67/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I was really impressed by this beer from the start, my wife purchased it for me as a Christmas present. When I read the label and saw it was bottle conditioned, being a homebrewer, I was excited. The color, a nice copper, was very impressive. The fruity aroma was the next hint I was in for a great drink. The only fault I find is the head retension, there was none. But overall I was greatly impressed with this pour. (418 characters)

Photo of RootedFool
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of my favorites. Purchased a case for the weekend (edit: my roommate purchased it, because I'm a bum; but I'll drink most of it).

Pours deep yellow, more like gold, and leaves a nice airy tan head that left thick sheets of lace on the glass.

Scent is an earthy, rainy plume of grassy hops. A subtle malt sweetness lies in the background, balancing it all out.

The taste is a glorious flow of bitter-sweet, almost toasty hops. The sweet coming in with the mild malts mixing it up. Aftertaste is rich, earthy, pleasantly gritty (if you can imagine that). Goes down, on the whole, smooth as bitter silk.

Mouthfeel is perfect -- not too thin, not too thick.

An incredibly drinkable beer. (710 characters)

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

A beer that I must say I really love. Pale Ales are one of my favorites and this one does not disappoint! Pours to a nice golden color with a small bubbly head. Small amount of lacing diminishes quite quickly and leaves you an excellent tasting brew! The smell is a somewhat strong hint of citrus and hops making you want to dive right in! The taste is dry and hoppy with a good deal of carbonation. One of my favorite beers of all time, one that I can drink regardless of the season! (484 characters)

Photo of Charthepirate
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep golden, with a well maintained head and a thick lacing. Small carbonation and layer of sediment. Very nice looking beer, no doubt.

A nice, biscuity, hoppy smell.

Flavor has a nice bready biscuity maltiness. Flavor is followed by a big citrussy hop bite. Nice, bitterness, but it's a bit unbalanced for my tastes.

Great beer, not above amazing, but I could be happy with a case of it.

Char (416 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a pure gold color with a thin white lace head. The aroma is great. It has all the right stuff; hops, pale and carapils malts, and a floral nose. The taste is great. Again, it has a nice malt palate with a floral hop flavor that really makes this beer. The mouthfeel is good. This is a low bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a beautiful beer that drinks very well; an excellent pale ale. (409 characters)

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
them.
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)

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,843 ratings.