Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

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10,187 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,187
Reviews: 2,945
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 218
Gots: 2,033 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 10,187 | Reviews: 2,945
Photo of jakester
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was a 12oz. bottle from my dad. The bottle says bottle conditioned. Also, 5Q49A12:53 is stamped on the bottle. How about a frickin' date!!

Pours a very slightly hazy (chill haze, yeast?) gold with orange tints. One finger off white head of creamy foam, which drops to about 1/2 finger and stays for most of the beer. Strong carbonation evident, almost appears effervescent. Lacing all the way down the glass.

Aroma is of lemons, grapefruit, and tangerines, followed by a slightly bready, pleasant pale malt smell; maybe a little yeast in there. Some caramel smell there as well. The aroma lasts for the whole beer. Impressive!

The first flavor to hit is a very smooth sweetness, quickly followed by a good dose of bitterness. Then lemons and grapefruit, fresh and tart. Really well balanced APA. Nothing huge or anything, but seems right on style. Backing up all this hop character is a perfect malt base. It's bitter and hop flavored, but the pale malt really comes through, balancing it nicely.

The mouthfeel is just so smooth it seems weird. When I poured it, the carbonation looked out of whack, but it's surprisingly soft. A little sweet, a little bitter, with a long finish in the back of your throat.

As APA's go, this has to be one of the best out there. Assertive, but not IPA-like, 5.6% ABV, a great representation of the style.

Photo of fisherman34
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden with a tinge of amber. Hoppy aromas of grass and mild citrus. Some grainy malt flavors combine with notes of citrus hops and white grape skin. Assertive, but not overpowering black peppery bitterness. Not watery, but surprisingly muted. This would probably make a good session beer, but I've had a few more interesting APAs than this one.

Photo of wingnutter
4.21/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My 1st review on BA. I recently ditched the world of macros and entered the world of crafts and micros. SNPA was one of the 1st beers I tried, and my 1st APA. The 1st 6 pack I drank was an enlightening experience.

The first taste I took I was almost floored by how much hoppiness and general flavor this beer had. A tad overwhelming at first (to a macro-head, which is what I was). By the 3rd one, I began to LOVE this beer. When the 6 was gone, I drove back to the store at mach 3 to pick up a 12 pack (and was glad and surprised SN makes a 12 pack of this. Thumbs up for that.) This beer opened my eyes to a whole new world.

Nice hoppy, piney taste, with a citrusy kick. The 1st taste is a nice kick in the taste buds, but it quickly fades into a nice dry finish that makes me want to take another sip right away. I liken the taste to "drinking a pinecone". I think I started my internship of "hophead in training" with this one. I never knew I liked hoppy beer, but apparantly, I do. As I try more APAs, I will instinctly use this one to judge others against.

Great taste, HIGH drinkability, decent ABV, widespread availability and reasonable sticker price make this one a winner on all fronts.

Photo of carln26
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice copper to amber color, very clear with a thick off-white head. It had an aroma of grapefruit rind (very pronounced), and a more subtle hop flower and grass aroma backed by mild caramel on the finish. The taste has the citrus/hop up front with the hop flower coming across subtly. The caramel is very light on the finish. Very smooth, and light mouth feel, very drinkable. This is another beer that began the journey for me to advocacy. It will always be a standard I measure other APAs against.

Photo of klewis
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured a nice golden hue, small head that had almost no retention.

Smell: Very floral aromas, also hops, orange, and bubblegum. Very nice.

Taste: Some very delicate hops flavor, but no hops bitterness. Touch of diacetyl.

Mouthfeel: Light and smooth with just the right amount of carbonation. Very refreshing.

Drinkability: Very smooth and easy to drink. I can't wait to have a few of these on my porch on a nice day.

Photo of kpantz
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Executive Review: Ahhh...SNPA. Always good to see this on the list at most of the "boring" bars and restaurants I visit. Clean, hoppy taste and wonderful aroma makes this a great choice almost any time.

Appearance: Crisp, clear amber. Nice pale ale.

Smell: Certainly not hiding the hops here.

Taste: A solid example of an APA. Slight citrusy sweet taste up front, followed by a great hop bitterness on the way back.

Mouthfeel: Good. Nothing remarkable here. Light and clean.

Drinkability: Fantastic session beer here. I like to factor cost into the drinkability equation sometimes, and SNPA comes out a winner for that reason alone.

Photo of MarkBlackout
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It was the first craft brew I ever had, at the tender age of 16. At the time it was a bit much, but I liked it. It took me a few years before I really discovered the style. Its still good, fortunately (8 years later), and more readily available. This is my benchmark for American Pale Ales, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Photo of mynie
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Last had this when my palette was young. Let's see how is stacks up now:

Pretty pour, like any good APA. Dark amber with the slightest haze and a nice head.

Smells of floral hops. Quite complex. The hops are very dry and complimented well with hints of citrus.

Tastes great--just bitter enough. The hops are bittersweet and present upfront, all floral and citrusy, mellowing out in the middle and met at the end with a sweet kiss of malt.

THE session beer to end all session beers. You can find it anywhere, it tastes great, and it goes down like water.

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.05/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I really like SNBC's beers, but this one didn't do anything for me. Poured out to a golden color with decent carbonation. Odors of spices were most present, and were slightly overpowering. Taste was complex, as i'm sure that's what they were going for. Flavors of bitterness, floral notes and hops were present. Finished with a smooth, yet strong bitter aftertaste. In no way a bad beer, but i've had better APA's. Still worth a try.

Photo of hackaxle
3.96/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Bottle poured into Pilsner glass. I was upset that I did not receive any head. I got maybe 1/4". Maybe I am not used to pouring bottle conditioned beer?

Appearance: Golden with no head.

Smell: Dry hops and hint of malt.

Taste: I am used to macro-brews so it tastes much stronger to me, but I do like it. Little bite in the after taste with a dry feeling.

Overall: I was left feeling cheated when I poured it with no head. Although it is much stronger tasteing to me, I am beginning to realize what everyone wants in a beer. The beer is of exceptional quality.

Photo of HogHill
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The first non-local microbrew that I really enjoyed back in the day. I remember getting a case of it for 4th of July, probably 12 years ago. This has always been a welcome find at bars that aren't heavily inundated with craft beers.

Appearance: amber gold tones with good clarity, the head is pure white about an inch high in my Stone IPA glass.

Smell: a little sweetness followed up by a floral hop aroma.

Taste: the malts are sweet, but not overdone, perhaps a feint bit of caramel presence. The hops are very nicely done, a great balance of bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, moderate carbonation, very nice.

Drinkability: a great session beer, easy to find, and fairly inexpensive for a six pack at most packies. Easy to drink, one right after another.

Overall: the American Pale Ale. I find myself really enjoying this beer's balance after getting tired of the extreme IPAs.

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well decided to buy some again, got introduce to it back around 97 in CA, one of the first micro's I've had. I've always liked the Pale Ale over the Stout and Porter. The color is golden brown and a mild taste. Goes down very easy with a great after taste. This has always been one of my favorites (Pale Ale). Highly recommended.

Photo of Noxious26
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle served in a mug.

Colour is dark gold and clear with lots of nice streams of bubbles. The foamy head is cream in colour.

Scent is mild but hoppy with citrus and floral highlights.

Light and nice and smooth feeling in the mouth with just the right amount of carbonation. Taste is slightly sweet at the start, like honey and hops. Tapers off to a slightly bitter finish with floral accents and a dry aftertaste.

I can see why this beer is so popular. An obvious choice for a sessional brew, this beer goes back nice and smooth. Basically the standard by which a good Pale Ale should be compared, this is a good, but not great, beer.

Photo of custardcb
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Pale Ale is what I consider a great beer for those lazy afternoons lounging around the house. The pleasant aroma with hints of yeast and hops are pleasing. The quality of the beer is very apparent and it is obvious the care is put into this drink. That has always been the lasting characteristic of this beer is freshness and quality. It is a beer that I know I can reach for at anytime and throughly enjoy.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of my all time favorites;
Aroma: Extremely floral and spicy, but not to overtake the malts. Complex and refreshing, even to the nose.
Appearance: Deep golden, excited from the carbonation. Nice white head, containing loosely laced bubbles.
Taste: Floral and spicy nose. High hop flavoring pronounced in the body. Medium bodied, cut nicely by bittering. Leaving mouth nicely coated. Finishes a bit dry, but not to offend. High bittering at the end.
Aftertaste: All the pleasantries of the taste without complete drying, tackiness, or metalics.
Impression: Absolutely refreshing, a bold and exciting beer. One that can be drank from sun-up to sun-down and any time of the year. One to stock the fridge with.

Photo of nfo
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's hard to rate such a sentimental favorite, which was probably my introduction to what I now consider "good" beer and serves as the benchmark I use to rate other beers. But since I'm well stocked on it at the moment... The citrusy hops aroma and flavor and crisp, bitter finish set the standard for west coast pale ales. The only bad thing I can say about it is that I've consumed so much of the stuff that it can get a little boring. But if I haven't had it for a while, when I finally do it's clearly a great beer, a true classic.

Most beer drinkers can probably agree that this beer's most important quality is its availability. I love that you can get it all over the country, and it shows up all the time in crappy bars where I'd otherwise have to fall back on well drinks.

edit: trying to calibrate my scores, having trouble keeping it all internally consistent

Photo of 1whiskey
4.41/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out with a 1"head thats holds up most of the way, with some foamy lacing. Appearance is a gorgeous transparant amber color with lots of bubbles and a little yeast settlement. Absolutely beautiful. The aroma is all about the citrusy hops and piney spices. Very appropriate for a brewery located at the junction of the Cascades and the Sierras...very nice.
Taste is even better....mirroring the aroma but with a slightly more bitter hop taste, some floral esters....yeast is very prominant here, even for a bottle-conditioned APA. Some grainy malts are subtle here(that's what I prefer anyway), just enough to provide some balance to those wonderful hops. Mouthfeel is great, with a medium body and the perfect ammount of carbonation. Very crisp, biting finish and the best dry afteraste I've ever had in a APA or even an IPA, for that matter. This is THE preeminent West Coast pale ale, and for good reason. It's great by itself, or it pairs well with most anything. A favorite snack of mine involves paring it w/ jack, colby, and medium or sharp chedder followed by a jonagold apple when you're done with your beer. Try it, it's great!!

NOTE: If you have tried this beer and didn't like it, give it another chance already! Sierra Nevada distributes aggressively and is botttle conditioned, and some unworthy distributers and retailers(gas stations, supermarkets, etc.) sometimes store it warm for long periods of time. I've gotten a couple of brews that were quite...well....lets just say they had seen better days. So pick it up at a reputable retailer or try it on tap, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale....old faithful!! Picked up a 12 pk today at an outrageously low price. Happy Memorial Day!!
The Pale Ale pours out a deep honey gold color. A 1" head formed and sank to a small white cap that rode the beer most of the way down. Light lacing left on the glass.
The nose of this beer is a nice citric hop with a little pine/spruce.
The flavor is dominated by a nice hop twang. A little citrusy, lemon/grapefruit. Very clean and easy to drink, the 12pk may not last long. Nice carbonation on the tongue and also a crisp mouthfeel.
This is a standard among American Pale Ales and I always enjoy it. In fact I have not had a bad Sierra Nevada brew. If you haven't had it , have it. If you haven't had it in a while, go get some. Good session stuff!

Photo of silver0rlead
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pale amber color with a small white head that dissapates quickly. Smell is floral, piney hops with a grainy malt background. Taste is very similar to the smell with a floral and resiny hops taste that gives way to a grainy, bready malt flavor and ends in a dry, slightly bitter finish. Overall a pretty standard pale ale, but nonetheless an original as it was one of the first craft beers to become widely available.

Photo of cubedbee
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada is a nice old familiar beer that is thankfully found at many a restaurant serving mainstream swill. Pours a lovely amber with a thick finger and a half of head and good lacing. Smells of citric and piney hops with a definite malt presence behind. Flavor is close to the nose, with grapefruit and lemons coming through and a strong malt backbone. Simple, but good. The mouthfeel is on the ligght medium side and the medium carbonation is just right on the tongue. Overall this is a solid pale ale that is widely available and I always drink when there are no better micros present.

Photo of diablo14
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

theres not alot i can say abou this beer that hasnt already been said. one of the very best all round session beers going around in the world, let alone the US. its the sort of beer youd be proud to have in your fridge as your standard beer.

theres nothing different in the appearance of this brew from the hundereds of other pale ales out there, and its not the most complex brew going around. nevertheless SN pale goes by the old english beer philosophy of less is more. simple grapefruit zest smell/taste, with a hint of cut grass and sneaky malt in the mix. pleasing hops presence, its floral on the nose, bitter on the palate, and goes down the hatch with a fine zing as it hits the spot. an absolute delight to drink anytime ,anywhere.

all i can say is its a pity you cant just head down your local in australia and pick this up whenever you like, coz its a pearler of a brew

Photo of marcobrau
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Pours a clear golden hue, with a fine bead of carbonation and a fantastic, assertive, citric aroma that comes with a hint of grassiness. A carbonic bite, then smooth smooth bready malt flavors accented by grapefruity hops, followed by a clean bitterness that has me wanting more of the stuff. This is a classic, quenching pale ale with just the right amount of bitterness. The wonderfully hoppy character of this beer come out more when just slightly chilled. The bottle I'm having now is probably just a bit too chilly, but the previous bottle was just perfect. This is an old favorite and possibly my #1 summer beer.

Photo of slyke
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a pleasing orange color with an inch high, off-white head. The head fades quickly, and there is little lacing, but a bit of the head lingers as the beer is drunk.

Smell: Floral/Citrus with a little grain.

Taste: A bit of lemon and/or grapefruit in the taste with a nice transition to a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Good medium body - "dances" a little on the tongue.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. A great session brew.

Would I buy it again? Heck yeah!

Photo of Symposium
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ah, the seminal classic. I find myself drinking this one more than probably any other beer just because you can seem to find it everywhere--even the most pathetic bars and convenience shops. Though it may not live up to some other APAs I've had (Alpha King comes to mind), I find myself genuinely satisfied every time I have it.

The beer pours an inviting light amber with a sturdy head that works itself down after a few minutes. Looks like a pale ale!

The nose is colored by citrusy hops that remind you that you are holding a real West Coast beer.

And then the drink. Malt is mild and upfront, followed by a healthy dose of those lemony, grapefruity hops which eventually turn pleasantly bitter.

What is so fantastic about SNPA is the balance and cohesiveness of all of its flavors. While I love ridiculously hop-heavy IPAs, it's refreshing to have a beer that comes with a sense of decency.

For this reason I can drink this ale all night. Sure, you might get bored, but it'll never let you down as far as quality goes.

A classic of the style and one that is a much welcomed fallback when the only other choices are macros or skunky imports.

Photo of thetros
4.83/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a jewel within a strong line-up of beers from this respected West Coast brewer.

Consistency comes to mind when I consider this beer as a top 100 contender. The smooth malt and sweet bouquet of hops has a consistent freshness that makes this a beer drinker's staple. For a beer to earn its rank, I believe it must taste good this year and next, rather than just have a fine batch or season.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is appropriate for all seasons as it is heavily hopped and malty enough to stand up to a hearty meal, though fresh and crisp enough to accompany your picnic or ballgame. Medium carmel color and a tamed head make this pale ale a charming pint, indeed.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 10,187 ratings.