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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

7,326 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7326
Reviews: 2621
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 11.6%

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:
Generous quantities of premium Cascade hops give the Pale Ale its fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor.

37 IBU

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 07-05-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 7,326 | Reviews: 2,621 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of lipschitz

Alberta (Canada)

4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle with a quite brewing process write-up on the neckband.

Pours with a hazel hue, clear, with a smallish head that reduces to a nice sticky lace. Caramel aroma is surpassed by citrusy hops, with floral and herbal tones finding their way to your nose as well. The taste is earthy, with a moderate to low hop presence, and some peppery notes as well. The mouthfeel is appropriately carbonated & slightly coating, with hop oils relaxing on your pallet.
Notes: This is quite enjoyable. The hop levels are subdued for a pale ale, but perhaps this is closer to the intended style. It is apparently quite a popular beer, and I can see why – It can be equally embraced by the masses looking for a change, and beer geeks alike. Definitely piques my interest in American beers.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2003 19:24:08 | More by lipschitz
Photo of Boilermaker88


4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After getting home from my Saturday night softball league double-header, I opted for the SNPA over a Summerfest or a Stone IPA as the refresher of choice. Good pick!

Appearance: Poured a dark orange/amber with a creamy white head that refused to fade thanks to the ceaseless streams of bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass. Nice patchwork of lace left behind as the beer went down.

Smell: Citrusy/flora hops with a sweet malt aroma.

Taste: Starts off with a smooth sweet malt taste and citrus hops. Mellow, faintly piney bitterness builds slightly and leaves a soft lingering bitterness at the finish. Well balanced flavors of sweet and citrusy hops with hops only slightly dominating . Not crazy-hoppy.

Feel: Very clean and smooth. Not fizzy despite appearance of lots of carbonation.

Drinkability: This is a very easy-drinking beer, thanks to the nice balance of flavors and smooth, almost creamy feel. Perfect refresher after 3+ hours of softball on a warm summer evening. This one (and its pack-mate) disappeared quite quickly.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2003 16:20:47 | More by Boilermaker88
Photo of taez555


4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a creamy white 1/2" inch head with a very clear amber/orange body. A slight yeast/chill haze.

The nose was a beautiful and very inviting even citrus hop/sweet malt nose. The hop dominating a bit.

The taste was a very smooth bitterness, dominated by an up front citrus hop flavor. Did I mention lots of citrus flavor? Classic cascade hop taste. It's almost more an IPA than a basic Pale Ale.
The malts are also very well balanced in this beer. Sweet and smooth. Not as present as the hops, but complimenting them perfectly.
It finishes with a long lingering bitterness that mellows nicely.

Basically this is the beer by which all other American Pale Ales are judged. It's a work of art and holds up no matter how sophisticated you think your beer palate is.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2003 08:22:28 | More by taez555
Photo of BierReise


3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great summer beer. Nice amber body with decent head and retention. Cascade hops all the way. This is the ale that gave me the ability to detect Cascade hops in beer. I've drank so many it's kind of programmed in my senses. Light enough flavor and body for the hot Summer weather.Perfect session beer as well and one of the most consistent brews I know of.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2003 20:50:32 | More by BierReise
Photo of alexgash


4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I love this beer. This was my gateway beer to the world of hoppy beers. Pours a beautiful copper color with a fragrant white head. Sweet malts and refreshing, spicy hops flow from the top. Ahhhh! Taste starts with nice toffee malt sweetness that gracefully gives into perfectly matched hops. Nice oily, sprucey-bitter finish. Amazing balance leads to perfect drinkability. I'd buy it by the case if there weren't so many other great beers to try!

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2003 13:28:25 | More by alexgash
Photo of Bruiser81


4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The appearance of this beer was better than I expected. A nice dark copper color with an impressive rocky head, and there was some lacing. A malty sweetness is the first thing I noticed in the aroma as well as a crisp citrus smell. The taste is similiar to the nose with sweet malts up front. There is a little bit of hops bitterness in the middle and it finishes with a bit of citrus.
The balance of the brew was almost perfect. The mouthfeel was a little thin but a very drinkable brew.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2003 12:24:03 | More by Bruiser81
Photo of woemad


4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from a six-pack purchased for $5.99 (I think it was on sale)at the local Rosauer's. Poured a nice golden amber, with a decent amount of white head. Gave off a nice scent of floral hops with a sweet malt smell in the background. Starts off sweetly like some English bitters I've had, and then the hops kick in. Whoa! Big hop zap! The hops definitely win out over the malt in a big way, finishing off with a big, crisp citrusy note. Mouthfeel is a little thin, but compared to a macro pale, its like a stout. Definitely hits the spot on a warm day (like, say...today!), so long as you are not afraid of a little hoppiness - then again, who in their right mind gets a SN and DOESN'T expect hoppiness. What perplexes me is that my brother, who dislikes hoppiness (he won't even touch an IPA) loves this, and cites it as his favorite beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2003 21:54:14 | More by woemad
Photo of RenoZymurgist


3.25/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thick white head subsides at a medium pace. Nice amber color with adequate carbonation. The hops are very prevalent and this is refreshing for a pale ale. Aroma of citrussy hops with a hint of sweet malt. Mouthfeel is a bit light but good for a pale ale. the carbonation bits enough to let the hops ring through the maltiness. Overall a brew i would be happy to drink again.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2003 20:32:21 | More by RenoZymurgist
Photo of Indybeer


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

12 oz bottle. Poured a golden amber color with a good head, that stuck around, leaving some lacing on the glass. Aroma is all hops, with maybe a hint of malt. The taste is malty and hoppy. Very smooth mouthfeel, and well balanced. I tried this beer once before quite a while ago, and didn't care for it. But after all this sampling, and being educated on good beers, I find that this is very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2003 19:02:02 | More by Indybeer
Photo of DESTRO


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

this is the staple pale ale. pours a nice golden amber with a nice head, nice smell of hops and flowers. the taste is light and crisp, pleasant hop bite and floral notes. light and drying in the mouth. etremely refreshing light brew that is easily available and fits any situation.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2003 21:11:52 | More by DESTRO
Photo of freed


4.75/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I consider this the benchmark. The continental divide. Beer flowing to the east should go back to the drawing board. Beer flowing to the west is how life should be. And those beers are tributaries that flow into the great standard. I don't mean to make SNPA sound like an amalgamation of beers, but its really just one of those great confluences of smell, appearance, taste, and enjoyment.

It pours a rich golden color. As the pour slows, the head billows up with a turbulent cap that settles with a nice crisp rim of foam. The aroma is of ample fresh hops, bursting is bright green flavors. The first sip is crisp, malty, and satisfying. Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, its always the same taste. With a nice malt background the hops are a wonderful compliment. The biscuit and the citrus are a wonderful mix.

Maybe its the years of practice, but when in doubt, pick up a sixer and you'll be set.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2003 22:39:21 | More by freed
Photo of JoeyHotrod


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

A truly wonderful beer. This beer was the one that made me a true and proud hophead. Upon pour the ale is a beautiful golden color with a nice head that sticks around for some time leaving a nice lace. A quick sniff of the beer instantly brings says hops. Not just any hops mind you, but cascade hops some of the most wonderful of all hops. Taste wise you are treated to full frontal hop brilliance. Some floral notes, citrus notes here and there with just enough malt to balance things out. Truly world class in every way and one of my personal faves.

Edit: 9-11-06

Going to have to drop my ratings just a tad after having this beer numerous times since this initial review from 2003.

While I'll always have a soft spot for this beer and will continue to drink it from time to time, I've since had better examples of the style. Still a classic.... though no longer world class imho.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2003 16:08:38 | More by JoeyHotrod
Photo of Stingray5

New York

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

Nice floral aroma. Dark orange color with a creamy white head. Slightly cloudy. Taste is all hops, very citric, with grapefruit. Medium high carbonation. Good hops. Lots of hops. Cascade hops. An extremely enjoyable and refreshing pale ale. Availability of this one makes it the uber-session brew.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2003 20:15:05 | More by Stingray5
Photo of Stubbie1


4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark golden color with a tight off white head on top. Great head retention turning to a nice lace until the bottom of my glass. The aroma is all hops with hints of malt in the back round, very nice. The taste is all out hops with a hint of citrus and a nice mix with the malt. This is a crisp, refreshing beer. Very enjoyable and easy to drink. Now I understand all the hype of Sierra Nevada brews, cant wait to try the others!

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2003 10:39:20 | More by Stubbie1
Photo of nomad


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

Poured a pale gold that was strongly orange-hued. Also had a huge frothy head, very little carbonation, and a lil' bit o' lace. Smelled of fresh hops and clean malt, but mostly hops oil. Also had some clean and easy scents of grapefruit, all faint and moderate though. Did I mention the hops. Taste is a pleasant refreshing bitter with a soft golden malt underneath. The yeast imparted an earthiness and combines with bitterness; the flipside is that the yeast creates not the best finish. With a smooth watery mouthfeel a touch viscuous from all those hops, this beer has great drinkability. In all a simple quality pale, in fact, the classic.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2003 06:19:10 | More by nomad
Photo of xgrigorix


3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pale amber color, with a tight crisp white head.

Floral scents, with lemon mix with hop aromas.

Medium body. Excellent malt character along with raw grain flavors. A dry hop infested finish follows. Some people would say this an IPA. I just call it good.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2003 10:05:32 | More by xgrigorix
Photo of elmocoso


4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one looks a true gold color when held up to the light. There is a small but faithfull head and good lacing along the side of the glass. Very active carbonation, though does not sting the tongue.

A big whiff of cascades when poured but after sitting 4-5 minutes, the smell recedes leaving a maltyness and slight alcohol character.

This is a good tasting beer, better when slightly warmer than fridge temp. A clean crisp balance of maltyness and hop-bitterness. Feels real good on the tongue and in the belly.

One of the best session beers around. You can't go wrong here. Grade A drink!

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2003 20:58:52 | More by elmocoso
Photo of beergeek279


4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours amber with a fair bit of head. The smell is hoppy with a bit of flower to it. On tasting, it has a fair bit of hoppy taste without overwhelming the rest of the beer. At 5.6% ABV, the alcohol is low enough to be able to have quite a few in a session! This is a classic beer, and with SN's fair bit of distribution should be available just about anywhere.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2003 19:42:47 | More by beergeek279
Photo of far333


4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a rock-solid beer. Consistent, smooth, and full of character without hitting the senses too hard. It's a great "old faithful" beer for me. Many bars that don't serve great beer or have vast selections will offer this, so I know that my chances are good that I will be happy at most places. It also goes great with most foods. It pours from the bottle a dark amber with a white head that hangs out for a while and produces fine lacing around the glass. The smell is hoppy and yeasty. The flavor also is hoppy, with some yeast and fruit undertones. Not a strong malt flavor, but there is a lingering bitter hop aftertaste. Very smooth, very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2003 04:45:10 | More by far333
Photo of tar


4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my most frequently consumed beers, in part due to its broad distribution and availability, but also because it is just good. It pours golden amber in color with a nice full white head. The head diminishes rather quickly leaving lacing behind on the glass. A thin layer of fine bubbles linger throughout. An overall very nice looking beer in a glass. In tipping back a glass you are met by a nice aroma of hops with floral undertones. This beer has a great taste, dominated by hops, although a light citrus flavor comes through. This medium bodied beer feels very smooth in the mouth, which in addition to its taste contributes to its high drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2003 12:02:53 | More by tar
Photo of kindestcut

North Carolina

2.68/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The SN Pale Ale pours a clear and pale golden amber. The head is quite frothy but dies a brave death in only a few minutes. Quite a refreshing looking beer before the first taste.

The aroma is, as would be expected, spicy and very subtle floral with strong hops. The flavor is not particularly smooth but with a bitterness that is not overpowering.

Ultimately, I think that the SN Pale Ale is not delicious but it can be refreshing...if you were very thirsty.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2003 07:58:13 | More by kindestcut
Photo of jreitman


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

Nice floral hop aroma with a very subtle earthiness. Some sweetness comes across as well. Pours a deep gold in color with a light tan head. Citrus grapefruit are most evident in the mouth but the beer still has a nice malt backbone. Dry finish with a good hop bite. Medium-light carbonation is very evident. A finely crafted brew.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2003 14:43:42 | More by jreitman
Photo of AudioGilz


3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear amber and orange hued color....with an enormous head that ends up one heluva lacer. As far as hops and malt goes, the hops dominate, but the malts are there just enough for an awesome balance. The crispness makes it very drinkable and refreshing. This is definitely one of the best American Pale Ales out there.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2003 15:40:20 | More by AudioGilz
Photo of pheurton


4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

THE fallback beer when i can't get anything else. i consider SNPA to be responsible for helping make me into the beer lover i am today. pours a crystal clear tan with an creamy white head. the taste is a lesson in balance....sweet carmel malts are in perfect balance with PNW hops. a sheer pleasure to quaff that gets even better as it warms. it may seem run of the mill, but is still the best all around semi-mass produced beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2003 17:47:53 | More by pheurton
Photo of AtLagerHeads


4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great looking crystal clear gold color with a smallish white head. Slight retention, but very little lace. Full nose citrus hops against an underlying malt base. Very citrus bitter taste that portrays grapefruit and rind. Warming to the innards. This is a very crisp, clean brew with many strong attributes. I am very impressed with Sierra Nevada beers so far and happy that appear easy to find in this part of the country.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2003 20:55:54 | More by AtLagerHeads
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 7,326 ratings.