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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.

7,361 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7361
Reviews: 2627
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: 7,361 | Reviews: 2,627 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of aaronh


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

My favorite trait of this beer is the wonderful head atop the beautiful dark amber body when you pour it into a pint glass. I wish every beer could look this good. The aroma is a bit of a floral perfume aroma. You know this one is high on the aroma hops. Take a sip and you taste just a slight hint of sweetness, and then get more of a grapefruit and lime citrus sensation. The beer finishes very well. Bitterness is more prevalent on the finish as the beer warms, but it's not overpowering. This is a very well balanced beer that even some of my Silver Bullet and Corona drinking friends will finish. Possibly the best American Pale Ale (Great Lakes Burning River is close). Get some soon.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2002 16:10:06 | More by aaronh
Photo of zakery


4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden color with a white fluffy head with medium sized bubbles. Laces down the glass.

The smell is hoppy, obviously, with a fresh citrus coming through the most. There is also a faint yeast smell lingering in the background.

It has a medium body with surprisingly high carbonation for the style. The hops hit you first and stay till the end. It is very fresh tasting with appetizing and slightly bitter citrus flavors. The cascade hops not being overly bitter leaves an opening for the malt to come through as well, and it is a balanced beer.

Very appetizing and drinkable. If you're planning to have more than one, be prepared to have food ready because your taste-buds and stomach will be turned on by this beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2002 15:14:15 | More by zakery
Photo of Pegasus


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

Light golden amber color with a thick and dense head that a pint glass will barely contain. The substantial remnants of the head linger to the bootom of the glass; lots of stickly lace, good carbonation. Strong aroma of grapefruit rind as well as hints of sweet malt. Begins with sweet malty flavors which are soon overlaid by sharp grapefruit flavors from the hops, finishes with slightly oily hop bitterness, excellent mouthfeel. A superb pale ale, nothing less.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2002 19:36:38 | More by Pegasus
Photo of theman336


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

I'd never had this until recently, when a six pack was given to me as a gift. I wil forever be greatfull to Tess, as her present turned me on to a top quality brew. The hops jump in from the get go and don't leave until the bottle is empty. There is less sweetness than you expect, but there are hints of it which help to balance out the bitterness of the hops, which is definately present from the beginning of the sip until the beer is swalowed. The hops aren't overpowering, just up front and even. It's beer the way it was meant to be. Absolutely fantastic stuff.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2002 23:00:17 | More by theman336
Photo of Todd


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

Bright, clear golden amber with a healthy looking head that settles into a lasting white lace.

Biscuit, grain and loads of spicy hops in the nose with a dose of floral / citrus. Esters. Touch of earthy leaf.

Smooth, even mouthfeel. Body is medium. Sharp, tangy, fruity, citrus bitterness starts things off ... with rind, salt and a leafy feel on the palate -- near puckering. Lightly floral and spicy. Some mineral flavours. A malty dextrin flavour hides behind the hops, acting as its backbone and providing a bit of needed balance. Hop oils cling to the palate and merge with a bready/biscuity flavour in the finish.

One of the quintessential American Pale Ales. Simply a classic among American beers.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2002 05:27:12 | More by Todd
Photo of doho95fu


4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is the beer I drink most consistently and that is due to its own consistency. Sierra is always good - never had a bad bottle. The appearance in amber and clear, the smell is good but doesn't really hit me with anything. The taste is great, with the right amount of hoppiness, doesn't blow you out with hops. Nice head and lacing.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2002 07:42:11 | More by doho95fu
Photo of BeerManDan


3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So much better than "on-tap". Not as bitter in the aftertaste and while drinking it. Although the flavor is not as intense as "on-tap". With the bottle, it has a balance flavor without the big bite!

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2002 22:27:15 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of shirfan

New York

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

Dark golden color, long-lasting and just slightly off-white head. Above average lacing. A touch of yeast clouds the glass when swirled and poured into a pint glass once the head recedes far enough.

Malty sweet, but balanced by the grapefruit zing of Cascade hops. Not as bitter as other APA's I've tasted.

Very drinkable, the hoppy but fairly sweet taste and classic ale mouthfeel bring the bottom of the glass all too quickly.

Although I'll remain a Saranac Pale Ale customer due to significantly lower price, this beer was exceedingly good for the style.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2002 22:39:35 | More by shirfan
Photo of EagleTalon


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

Everyone's "benchmark" American pale ale is well deserving of its reputation. The pale, hazy complexion, the clean malt and Cascades hop flavors and aromas and the tangy finish is always welcome. A very well-crafted brew. If you can make a beer this good, then you are doing just fine.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2002 08:31:36 | More by EagleTalon
Photo of Lupe

New York

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

Deep clear amber color, large light beige head, and wonerful lace down the entire glass. Malts and hop floral scents dominate. Start is malt sweet, the middle moderate as with the carbonation, just the right amount of bite leading to a spectacular finish which is clean, crisp, dry. An excellent brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2002 19:32:32 | More by Lupe
Photo of cokes


3.25/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Obviously, an archetype for most APA's.
Pours a yeast-filled golden amber. Thinnish white head with some stick.
Nose is inviting with floral and citric notes. Malt is noticed with some faintly carmel/bready aromas.
Hops jump forward in the taste dept. But not in a huge way. Maltiness provides some support by adding bready and biscuity hues along with some faint nondescript sweetness. Yeast pops ups here and there with some unwelcome mustiness.
Decent in the mouth. Creamy, and smooth. Medium bodied.
A good standby, as it is available almost everywhere. But there are much better APAs out there.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2002 20:52:42 | More by cokes
Photo of IrishRedRock


3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I expected this to be extremely hoppy from some of the reviews I read, but found it to be less hoppy than many other brews. The hop flavor is definitely present, but certainly not overpowering. Very smooth and flavorful. Golden amber color with lots of bubbles. A quality beer, and for some odd reason I like the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2002 20:55:42 | More by IrishRedRock
Photo of Wildman


3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a golden amber color and formed a small white head that didn't hold and left little lace. Some carbonation present. If had an aroma of hops with a slight bit of citrus. The flavor was of hops with some malt. A bit of citrus aspect. The finish was slightly sweet/citrus with a bit of a bite. A good beer, but I find the local pale ales on tap to be better as well as some others I had.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2002 16:55:47 | More by Wildman
Photo of DarthMalt


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

UPDATE - 11/18/02:

Thanks to the recommendations of all you beer dudes on hoppy beers:


a six-pack of Hop Ottin', one Brutal Bitter, and an Old Crusty here and there, I am happy to say, "I have seen the light!" and am now ready to give SNPA its proper place in my heirarchy of brews.
Beautiful yellow amber, with ample hop head (ha! ha! get it?). Scent of hops is obvious, but also a prevailing lager-sulphur snort (could be the hops) pervades. Smooth malt body with a noticeable alcohol puff on the front bumper leads in malty and very fruity on the mid section. Finish bites out with a little hop scrape, but, overall, malt fruits predominate and demand another!
[How could I have been so jaded?]


Egad! What's wrong with me?

I read all these glimmering reviews, and I wonder why I can't be a part of the experience. I don't think I'm a slouch when it comes to puttin' out for a righteous brew, but man, beers like this just rip my tongue off and throw it down the drain. In all honesty, it tastes like I'm eating grapefruit skin extract when I drink a beer like this--and I love grapefruit juice!

Of course it's the hops that do it, but Lordy, can't they put a warning label on there or something?

WARNING: This beer may cause they eyebrows of malt lovers to blow off like firecrackers upon the first sip!

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2002 11:18:54 | More by DarthMalt
Photo of BeerBob


4.58/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

All aboard for the hops flavor train!

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is exuding floral hops form the nose, from the palate, and after taste, and maybe into the after life.

Pours a golden amber from a 12oz bottle. Carbonation is fair, and leaves one to wonder what it would be like if the cap weren't a twist off.

The next time I drink this Beer, I’m going to do a roast duck with an orange sauce, the two should pair up eminently.

Aromatics abound from Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and you will be bound to try this marvelous brew again.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2002 17:49:09 | More by BeerBob
Photo of BitteBier


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

Nice, lacy head and effervescence that remains to the bitter (and fruity) end. Pleasant and well-integrated mix of flavors and good mouthfeel make this a versatile, very drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2002 19:04:46 | More by BitteBier
Photo of ElGuapo

New Jersey

2.98/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

drank a few at work on a hot summer day with the wind at my back and the sun in my face. it was a special day, and this was not quite a special beer. i am not a huge fan of pale ales, but it was pretty good. i won't be a return customer, but it was good for a day

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2002 14:37:02 | More by ElGuapo
Photo of tigerpaws

South Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is one of the better Pale Ales I have tried. The color is very pleasing and pairs well with almost any food or alone. Not much aroma here but very easy to drink and would recommend it highly...........CHEERS

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2002 09:41:18 | More by tigerpaws
Photo of Mark


3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm sorry to all the fans of this brew but I find it overated. I just don't buy it Prefer the smoother british beers. As for American Ales, I'll take Anderson Valley and North Coast. I realize I had underated this brew quite seriously. While I have upped it's numbers I still feel it is a vastly overated beer. I'll jump over this beer to get at Bear Republic, North Coast, and English ale without hesitation.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2002 07:14:18 | More by Mark
Photo of beerluvr

Ontario (Canada)

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

One of the original micro-American Pale Ales, I remember scoring a sixer of this way back in 1984 (I'm on the East Coast) Seems to me to have become a little sweeter, a little more tame since I first discovered it. Pours nicely into the glass with a tight white head, with a golden color after things settle down. Nose is a bit yeast/fruity, with mellow hoppiness detected. Taste is sweetly malty, fruity with oh-so-sublte Cascade hops leaving their mark. Smooth, medium-bodied, and a pleasure to drink.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2002 18:58:38 | More by beerluvr
Photo of RonfromJersey

New Jersey

4.68/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Rocky, white head that rises above the glass. Golden orange body revealing nice carbonation. Yeast particles floating down against the bubbles. Excellent lacing. Bracing floral and citric hop nose. Plenty of malt backbone to hang the hops on. This beer has balance, though it definitely leans to the hop side. Some grapefruit, but not enough for puckering. A beer I could (and have) drank all night. Not an example of an American Pale Ale, but the beer which defined the style. We must be careful not to take a craft brew cornerstone like this for granted. I am a grateful man that my favorite restaurant has this on tap.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2002 20:16:46 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of Bighuge


4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This light amber brew throws out dense white head that clings nicely to the glass as I drink. Wonderful blast of hops on the nose. Tasting this is a treat. Great hop character. And great understated bitterness. Underlying malt is sufficient. Pretty clean tasting for an ale. A very quaffable brew. One of my favorite Pale Ales.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2002 19:41:03 | More by Bighuge
Photo of ebraun


4.63/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My new favorite pale ale. The perfect balance of hops, sweetness and citrus. The rust colored brew seemed a little weak on the nose... but it's Texas in Spring so it could be my nose that's the problem. The beer itself was pleasantly herbal and peppery. For me the finish on the beer seemed to mimic a big slice of grapefruit, it was really wonderful.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2002 09:40:02 | More by ebraun
Photo of StevieW


4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another one of my favorites, revisited it recently. I think it is the standard for American Pale Ales. Looks very inviting with orange/yellow color and off white head. Perfect hoppy smell matched with the fruit and florals. The taste is maybe on the hop side for some, but I find it perfectly balanced, flavorful, and refreshing. SN always produces a quality product, and this one is readily available. This matches well with all foods, and I recommend it to newbies like me.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2002 14:49:46 | More by StevieW
Photo of Suds


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

This is a resolutely enjoyable beer. Appears as a very pale, clear, burnt-golden color with small wisps of yeast swirling beneath the head. Crisp hops aroma and bitterness. This beer deserves praise as an example of rock-solid craft brewing consistency.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2002 16:30:20 | More by Suds
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 7,361 ratings.