Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

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

2,847 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,847
Hads: 10,358
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 9.85%
Wants: 229
Gots: 2,209 | 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: 2,847 | Hads: 10,358
Photo of Kelby777
3.17/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Ok, so I am a pale ale virgin and my views are entirely unbiased. I recognize that the ratings for this beer on Beer Advocate are high, but I will tell you what I honestly think.

Poured delicately out of a 12 oz. bottle into a dimpled beer stein at about 36 degrees.

Appearance - It has a beautiful caramel color with particles floating in the beer. It looks highly carbonated. It has almost a one finger head. It retains most of its head all the way through.

Smell - Has a nice fruity and floral scent to it. Floral hops and citrusy.

Taste - Fruity and citrusy carbonated taste with a strong bitterness from the hops afterward. The hoppy taste lingers for a while on the tongue. They really do use some superb hops, but the taste gets annoying after a while. The first beer was definitely good, but the beers after that are way too bitter.

Mouth feel - Watery and spritzee mouth feel.

Overall, I think this beer is refreshing. However, for me personally, this is NOT the beer I'd want to consume everyday OR in large quantities. The taste really subtracts from the drinkability and I really do enjoy DRINKING my beer. (1,129 characters)

Photo of DaverCS
4.62/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can poured deep orange in color with a nice fluffy white 2 finger head.

Aroma is of citrus and real nice pine. I get a good kick of lemon but the pine is the star.

Taste is a real nice refreshing beer. It's like one step away from an ipa, but it's a little lighter and crispier with less malt sweetness. Immediately get a nice prickle of carbonation up front. I get mild citrus followed by that classic Sierra Nevada piney hop flavor. However, rather than a lingering bitterness, a nice biscuity malt flavor takes over to finish the sip.

Overall super refreshing beer. One of the best sessionable beers I have tried. However, it's obviously not as flavorful of a beer as an ipa and feels a bit watery on the palate. This is expected for the style. I would pair this with a nice juicy slice of watermelon on a hot summer day. It gets a 92.5/100. (853 characters)

Photo of Pantalones
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Third bottle of this from the six-pack I picked up in February; bottling date is December 29th, 2014.

Pours pretty light in color, but once in the glass it's more of a dark gold/light orange sort of color. Almost coppery, now that I think about it. Mostly clear, with just a hint of haziness, and lots of little bubbles rising up from the bottom. Head is just slightly off-white and starts out fairly big, slowly shrinking away into a still-fairly-thick cap on the surface of the beer after a few minutes, leaving many trails behind on the sides of the glass as it goes. And of course, there's the neat little short stubby bottle with the "green with yellow banner" label that I've been able to recognize on sight since LONG before I ever actually drank beer. A very nice-looking beer in every category.

The smell seems to have a lot going on. There's some breadiness, almost a yeasty uncooked bread dough sort of thing to be specific, and of course the hops (which are piney and citrusy, leaning more toward the citrus side than most of the hoppy beers I've had so far.) The hops don't blast you in the face from a foot away in this one, but I do sometimes get faint little whiffs of citrus even at a distance, which really made me want to go ahead and drink some while I was writing the "looks" section of this review! The one downside: sometimes there's a bit of a funky smell that's a little offputting; I'm not really sure what this is, as it's hard to really pinpoint it even when it's present. In one of the earlier bottles it came across as "orange and BO," and in this one it's sort of reminding me of a blend of bread and dirty clothes that have been sitting in the "wash me" pile for a bit too long. I don't always get this from the smell, though--sometimes I pick up the funkiness, other times it's just a pleasant yeasty-bread-and-hops smell. I'm going to sort of give the smell score something between the score I want to give it when it smells funky (probably a 3 or slightly below) and the score I want to give it when it smells more "breadiness+orange/pine hops"-ish (upper 3s range, pushing 4)... leaning toward the higher scores a bit since the smell isn't really impacting my enjoyment of the beer, and I don't *always* pick up the funky bits.

Taste is more consistently good than the smell. I've had this at nearly a year after the bottling date and it was still not bad (the hops had faded for sure, but even then I could tell there was some citrusy type flavor in there along with the malts), and it's even better when it's fresh of course. There's yeasty bread-like flavors, slightly sweet (more so when it's older), and there's faintly bitter hop flavors too, citrusy and piney. As with the smell, the citrus stands out more in this one than in most of the other hoppy beers I've had--it's more clearly "citrus+pine" here rather than "PINE!... and maybe some citrusiness too." Sometimes I'm even getting a little bit of an herbal/spicy sort of flavor mingled in, but orange and pine are definitely the ones that stand out here. A citrusy flavor and just a bit of the accompanying bitterness hang around afterward. What bitterness is present is very mild and definitely blended with the flavors rather than standing out as its own harsh thing off to the side. Overall, it's really nice, and seems like it's more complex than the other pale ales I've tried rather than having one overwhelming flavor and only hints of the others.

Feel is also pretty nice. Not too fizzy, not too flat/watery, easy to drink but at the same time feels substantial enough to let you know this is definitely a beer, not some kind of flavored water drink. A bit of an oily/sticky thing going on, but not so strongly that it stands out a lot if you don't think about it.

Overall... this is a really nice beer. There's basically nothing below-average here, or even anything *average* for that matter--with the exception of the sometimes-funky smell, I have nothing but good things to say about this one. Even the smell isn't that much of a downside, which is saying a lot considering just how sensitive I am to bad smells (as in "if something smells really bad to me, I can't bring myself to eat it.") I can see how this was so many people's "wow, beer can taste like THIS?" beer way back in the day when craft beer was a much smaller chunk of the market than it is today. I'm glad I decided to pick up a fresher six-pack of this one after trying an old one in a restaurant once... although I don't mind the old version either, it is definitely better with only 2 or 3 months of age on it rather than 10 or 11! XD (4,641 characters)

Photo of vikinggary28
4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a perfect amber colour with a white head and a little lacing. Smell is not overly strong. Hops with a pine aroma, maybe a hint of citrus. Taste is above average for a west coast American pale ale, not over powering hops and maybe a little citrus spiciness to go with it. Great malt balance. Aftertaste may be a little grassy. Great mouthfeel. If you want to introduce someone for the first time to a great APA, this would be a great beer to start. (453 characters)

Photo of mtomlins
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On draught at the Bier Markt. I remember drinking this *many* years ago (pre-BA) and thinking how agressive the hops were. It was definitely one of the beers that turned me 'towards the light.' I think it is a true testiment to the craft beer world in general that now SNPA is just a standard, highly drinkable pale ale with a nice hop profile...dangerously sessionable. (373 characters)

Photo of RenzoD
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful, pale appearance. Looks very clean and clear. Small, non foamy head, quickly fades. Relative to how great of an ale this is, the smell isn't too huge. Pretty standard piney scent. Taste is up front with hint of roasty malt but dominated by cascade hoppiness. Refreshing bready/cracker and maybe slight skunk finish but hardly detectable. Oil and resin mouthfeel. Very spritzy and carbonated, which really really works for this beer. I could drink this all the live long day. (485 characters)

Photo of ZBowden
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours clear orange copper small white head, smells of biscuit cracker malts slight spicy hops, tastes malty on front with warming hop bitterness, incredibly smooth mouthfeel with a fantastic finish. (198 characters)

Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Obviously I have had many SNPAs in the past, and in fact I would say Sierra Nevada was my gateway into craft beer, but I'm just now getting around to reviewing it myself. Sierra Nevada really fits the bill, setting the bar for other APAs with a beautiful, lustrous amber hue and two-finger, bubbly white head. The lacing sustains throughout. The aroma is floral and citrus with the hops coming through nicely, and the taste is not harsh at all, just enough bitterness to tease the tongue, and a nice hoppy finish (not overpowering). I've always admired the balance in this beer, and the carbonation is moderate but present. Overall, this is a standard for APAs, a really solid brew. (687 characters)

Photo of buckslayer50
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank this right after the SA Rebel and loved this even more, looked and smelled amazing, had even more citrusy flavors than the previously mentioned rebel. I think these end up my gateway beer to loving all sorts of IPA's (223 characters)

Photo of delta490
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear light amber with a thick cap of foamy off-white head. Amazing retention. The aroma is light, with mild pine hops notes and hints of yeast and malt sweetness. The taste is also mild, but not lacking in flavor, with pine, spice, and floral notes and a nice bready quality from the malt bill. There is a solid carbonation to it and a bitter bite on the finish. (371 characters)

Photo of maxson924
3.03/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

As far as "big craft beers" go, this is definitely not as good as Sam Adams. But it's fine, and I'll order one in a bar or restaurant if there's nothing better. (160 characters)

Photo of Nolo
4.96/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Look-> Cloudy dark gold, really just spectacular. I got 1/2 finger of head that quickly disappeared and what was left was just a white layer that lasted till the end, nice carbonation too. Loved how the small sediment clouded the whole beer, final chug an amazing experience

Smell-> Really nice orangy, lemony, citrussy smell. Hops are just amazing, really an amazing floral smell. Not sure if i perceived pine, maybe someone else did.

Taste-> Truly amazing, hops are perfect. Not overpowering and not too low. I can easily have 3 or 4 of these.

Feel-> Defenitely a crispy one, really good to the palate. Smooth and creamy. You can actually have this one at different temperatures! Im not a big fan of warm Pale Ales but this one I can.

Overall-> Truly perfect, brewed to a perfection! Love Sierra Nevada. (810 characters)

Photo of GFM
3.84/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into pint glass. Pours a clear golden amber color with one finger of thin lacing. Ample carbonation and streaky, clinging lacing. Mild pungent hop scent with a grainy, earthy undertone. Don't sense much of a citrus aroma. Medium bodied feel; carbonation gives it some bite. Some hop bitterness but also an earthy taste and an occasional sweet undertone. A very balanced beer. This is the true embodiment of an American Pale Ale. I would choose it over many average IPAs but not over the better ones. (8.5) (525 characters)

Photo of TheElectricOne
3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can into a tulip.

Looks pretty, with an amber-copper color with a thick, bubbly head and carbonation bubbles continuously rising from the bottom of the glass. Unfortunately, not much in the way of an aroma, mostly just yeastiness. Smells like a lager. The taste makes up for it though, with nice piney and citrusy flavors for a cheap, canned pale ale. It's always been one of the most accessible and cheap beers that actually tastes good. The feel is crisp and smooth. Overall, a nice solid beer for anytime drinking. Not much fanfare or excitement, but a solid drink. (583 characters)

Photo of MikeyLegend
3.89/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Nice head with almost no lacing. First thing I noticed was the light copper color. She looks beautiful as the slight carbonation bubbles to the top. As with some of the lighter pale ales it's a little difficult to pick up a smell at first. Eventually you can pick up the citrusy yeast smell though its rather light. It's got great drinkability and at 7.99 is a great value. (412 characters)

Photo of Rabersutton
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A standard pale ale for craft beer, Sierra Nevada's pale ale is hoppy, yet with a juicy, citrusy sweetness that doesn't leave your mouth dry. Piney refreshing taste makes this classic a must have for hop heads. (210 characters)

Photo of fps_dean
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a copper color with little head that disapears quickly.

There's a feint smell of piney hops.

Tastes piney hops balanced with some caramel and some grainy malts. Very well balanced and with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Very tasty and smooth, and exactly what a hoppy Pale Ale should be!

I would picking this one up if you haven't already. Sierra Nevada is pretty much the original microbrew, and the Pale Ale has earned itself as a staple in their lineup. It makes a great session beer for hop lovers, as it has enough hops to satisfy IPA fans but with a lower alcohol content so you can drink these all day. (621 characters)

Photo of DownSouthGeorgiaBrew
3/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

World Class....Well, not in my world. LOOK: Honey colored with 1inch of bubble bath-like foam, and there was decent lacing. Smell: very mellow aroma of hops and piney. Taste: A malt presence up front, followed by a very mild hops and mellow bitterness. Feel: Mild carbonation and smooth...very drinkable. Overall, it was ok. (325 characters)

Photo of JLaw55
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This may be one of the hoppiest pale ales I have ever had, but dang it is delicious! Top pick when it comes to pale ales.

Will absolutely seek out and purchase again. (168 characters)

Photo of JohnnyI
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours in to an IPA tulip with a honey-golden hue and a hint of amber. The bottle-conditioned brew leaves large pieces of sediment gently drifting to the bottom, while the finer particles stay suspended. The otherwise translucent appearance of the beer really highlights the unfiltered nature of this one. Adorning the liquid is a massive, fluffy head that mounds over the top. In time it settles to a rocky layer of white foam, with impressive staying power. In its wake, mottled lacing clings to the glass. A sweet Hawaiian roll aroma beckons, with some tropical fruit in the nose. Faint caramel malt flavors dance with some pale malt varieties and a complimentary orange citrus hop bitterness. There's a little toasted grain and dryness in the finish. After a few sips, a pleasant bready yeast flavor lingers on the tongue. Nice juicy body with adequate carbonation. Perfectly balanced. Everything is apparent, but in moderation. This is an artful example of how the sum of a beer's parts can be much greater than the whole (or in this case, the whole cone hops!). This one is easy to quaff and entices you to take the next sip. They don't call it a stylistic standard because it's ordinary. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale sets the bar pretty high. (1,242 characters)

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.8/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, clear, deep, dark, amber color with a quarter of a finger of white-colored head that completely dissolved away into an extremely thin lacing of foam that only partly covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Nice aromas of bready, toasted malt, imparting aromas of sourdough bread, English muffins and French baguettes, followed by some floral, piney hops. I also get notes of caramel, black pepper, honeysuckle and clover.

Taste: Delicious! Strong flavors of toasted malt up front, imparting bready flavors of sourdough bread and English muffins, followed by some caramel-like sweetness, a good amount of black pepper, and a touch of coriander. The beer finishes with some beautifully balanced, piney, slightly bitter hops. Delicious!

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and nicely carbonated. With an ABV of 5.5%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: What a great, fantastic, awesome, American Pale Ale! So beautifully balanced and so delicious! (1,024 characters)

Photo of MarkLinton1
4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Definitely my go to pale ale when a wider selection of craft beers is limited. The quintessential American Pale Ale. Perfect balance of citrus fruits, pine and earthy flavor with just the right bite. (200 characters)

Photo of Pete_Ale-man
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Probably one of the best Pale ales I've had. Great taste, nice bite to it and smoother than other pale ales I've had. This is the type of beer other pale ales should strive to be. (179 characters)

Photo of mhuber
5/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Slightly cloudy, caramel color. Almost no head. There's a hint of a smoky aroma. Like most pale ales, starts with a citrusy flavor which gives way to the bitterness of the hops. This one is nicely balanced. Kind of a woody aftertaste. One of the best pale ales I've ever had. Great beer! (294 characters)

Photo of stucat
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Clean, crisp delicious pale ale. There are some better but for price, complexity, and pure deliciousness this is a great go to ale. It's moderate abv makes it fairly sessionable so this is great at parties and other gatherings. (227 characters)

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,847 ratings.