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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.

7,350 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7350
Reviews: 2624
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: 7,350 | Reviews: 2,624 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Jason


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

Presentation: 12oz short brown twist cap bottle. Thin layer of sediment from bottle conditioning.

Appearance: Rich golden orange in colour with a slight chill haze, a white lace lays on top and clings all over the glass.

Smell: Slightly rustic, raw and mildly pungent hop aroma of leaves, flowers and heavy on the citric fruit. An undertone of grain is in the background also.

Taste: Creamy smooth with a soft malt crispness that cradles a bready malt flavour. Hop bitterness is more than ample and shows off a bit yet there is an underlying sweetness that seems to put everything back together. Esters through a shadow of alcohol down which make a potential heady night. In the finish is a citric hop flavour with a touch more sweetness from the residual sugars, though this brew seems to dry up a little in the end.

Notes: The typical American Pale Ale ... The classic American Pale Ale basically as far as what people know. A good and solid ale for what I think.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2003 21:17:15 | More by Jason
Photo of Maestro


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

This beer is available all over the place, so that shows progress as a culture. It has a nice golden/orange color. The nose is a nice balance of hops and malts. Very clean smelling. There is little to no head, but I think the bartender poured it incorrectly. The beer has good carbonation. The hops selection gives the beer a good overall bitterness that combines well with the plentiful malts. This beer is quite consistent throughout and is quite refreshing. Finishes clean and smooth.

Serving type: on-tap

03-04-2003 04:17:41 | More by Maestro
Photo of stoutman


4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Slight citrus note to the mainly hoppy aroma. Excellent balance between the hops and malt with a subtle but present caramel flavor. Hazy, golden color, short-lasting head. Lighter color and greater hoppiness distinguish this from English-style pale ales

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2003 14:37:12 | More by stoutman
Photo of Fabric8r


3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The hops really grab you right away. The hop smell, and the taste. I believe they use Pearle and Cascade hops, a nice combination. If you like hops, it can't be beat, if you like to taste malt, get another brew, or really think of malt and you can find it in there somewhere. The second glass is better, as you begin to get used to, and like the hops. Bottled version not quite so hoppy. Great Beer, these folks know how to brew!

Serving type: on-tap

02-19-2003 11:23:11 | More by Fabric8r
Photo of LiquidBreadMan


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

Sierra Nevada, in my opinion, is not the best at anything. But they are definitely very good at everything.

Their Pale Ale pours a cloudy golden hue with bits of hops that eventually settle at the bottom of the glass and a thick, lasting head. The aroma is surprisingly pronounced and fruity -- citrus with apple undertones. The taste is an excellent balance of spicy hops and sweet malts. Mouthfeel is crisp, with moderate carbonation. Finish is pleasantly spicy and fruity.

I believe that a good Pale Ale matches well with everything -- from cheescake to fajitas, not to mention by itself. Sierra Nevada definitely fits the bill.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2003 09:42:19 | More by LiquidBreadMan
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A pure bright amber color, with a thick and sturdy off-white head, that crackles as it crumbles. Aroma is bursting over with fruit, peaches, foremost, plus apricots, some citrus, melons, more? Great citrusy hop bite greets you on the palate,with a brief and sweetish finish soon after. Smooth texture, light body, but fully flavorful. Uncomplicated and refreshing. Bitterness is low, malt is firm. Perfectly balanced, and infinitely enjoyable!
In past years, I'd given this staple micro less credit than it deserves. I thought all pale ales were alike, and this one wasn't extraordinary to warrant the attention it receives. Just buy the local brew, and keep them in business, I thought. I still believe in that , of course, but I must accept that the flavor and quality in SN PA are really special and unique.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2003 18:03:31 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of Quaffer


4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This beer was an amber-orange color with a white, rough head. Not much lace left on the glass.

Smell: Oh, yeah. This is what a Pale Ale is supposed to smell like. There was a big hops aroma, balanced with fruit, some malt, and a bread-like smell.

Mouthfeel: Great mouthfeel for a pale ale. This brew had a medium body and was very smooth.

Taste: A great hops bitterness, balanced by lightly roasted malts. Occasionally, a little sweetness shines through. The finish drys out but the hops flavor just lingers and lingers . . . Not overly complex, but still very tasty.

This is a great, highly drinkable pale. You fill your glass and the next thing you know . . . POOF! It's gone. One of my favorites in the style.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2003 18:49:23 | More by Quaffer
Photo of WVbeergeek


4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After just finishing a McEwan's IPA, I just found myself in heaven. An magnificant orangish tint, with a nice white frothing head. A very thin lace, but right now it doesn't matter I am too busy enjoying the aroma to worry about how it looks. I could be blind right now and it wouldn't matter. A great citrusy full sharp delivery of wonderful cascade hops fiil me with joy. The staple of American pale ales, and this one is bottle conditioned which adds to the aroma to form a balanced full aroma with the blend of hops, yeast, and malt. The sweetness mixed with the decent amount of bittering hops does wonders for the soul, if the brewery in Chico had a church I might become a cult member. The hops are grapefruit citrusy flavored that tickle the back of the throat and at the same time the warming feeling of acohol crashes upon the palate just right. It is full of flavor and it is just the right texture to deliver the flavors, and it with the medium body this beer is one to be enjoyed all night. A wonderful part of Beer in America has this BAs approval.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2003 18:16:40 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of JohnnyDuvel


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

About as well balanced as an ale can be. Along with Liberty Ale, about as good of an example of a classic American micro-ale. Pours a nice,
golden-to-amber color, foamy head, good retention. Nice lace throughout. Wonderfully fruity, hoppy aroma and taste. Not overly dry, despite the obvious hop presence. At 5.6% ABV, packs a decent little punch (the hops are noticeable, also) but quite drinkable. I have nothing negative to say about this beer at all.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2003 23:48:18 | More by JohnnyDuvel
Photo of RBorsato


5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What can you say: The Classic West-Coast Style American Pale Ale and the standard to introduce people to APA's.

Golden and unfiltered with a nice tight low ivory head. Strong citrusy (grapefruit) hop aroma. Big hoppy flavor without the annoying bitter bite. Decent balance but definitely leans hoppy. Light-medium bodied (leans light) with slight creaminess.

The bonus: Available virtually everywhere !!

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2003 10:45:16 | More by RBorsato
Photo of Delirium


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

Don't expect, a watered down, fusal alcohol fiasco. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale pours amber with light carbonation welling up from the sides of the glass. Uneventful head comes and goes, with whisper of yeast and balenced hop in the nose. Not too sweet, not too dry. Enough said, this stuff is like buttered sourdough bread.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2003 21:18:58 | More by Delirium
Photo of TXHops


3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Alcohol Content: approx. 5.6% ABV,4.4% ABW
Beginning Gravity: 1.052, 13 Plato
Ending Gravity: approx 1.011, 2.8 Plato
Calories/12 oz: 170.73
Apparent Attenuation: 78.62%
Real Extract: 4.58
Bittering Hops: Perle
Finishing Hops: Cascade
Malts: Two-row Barley Malt; Caramel Malt

-Coppery amber colored with a huge, foamy, white head that retreats in the wake of a spider-webbish pattern of lace work.

I like to think that Pacific Northwest Pale Ale is a sub-style of American Pale Ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the quintessential (and original) interpretation.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is yellowish, almost orange colored and has a huge, airy, white head that leaves a lacy curtain of dried bubbles on the inside of the glass. An intense, grapefruity hoppiness dominates the nose and overshadows the sweetish, almost biscuity malt in the flavor. The resiny, almost sticky hoppiness lingers on and on and almost causes you to forget that there's some really good, sweet maltiness hiding deep inside the bottle. Somewhat incongruously, the malty portion of the beer is relatively dry (not surprisingly, considering the 78%+ attenuation), while the hops don't let the flavor go quietly. Instead, the citric stickiness hides out in the back corners of your mouth, creating an almost sour sensation (not sour from sugar, like in a Coke, but sour from citric, like from grapefruit). In my mind, this is the primary difference between American and British hops. The British hops do a tremendous job of bittering sweet malts like Maris Otter, while the American finishing versions, like Cascades, aren't as much bitter as they are resiny, citric and robust.

Anyhow, I'd say that SNPA, although the originator of the style, would now do better in a beer competition as a British IPA, expect for those American hops. It's the sparing use of caramel malt that lends the primary difference. Most other APA's tend toward having a more pronounced malt flavor to compliment the hops, while SNPA (and those brewed in its ilk, like Rogue's Oregon Golden Ale) really feature the American hops. I find it ironic that the creator of the style wouldn’t be able to win an award for the style.

Although not my favorite APA (a little too harsh, without enough balancing maltiness, just a little too prickly in the mouth and with a touch of sourness) I still drink quite a bit and will continue to do so for as long as SN remains such a great producer of quality beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2003 18:35:42 | More by TXHops
Photo of Reidrover


3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had heard a lot about this beer from other "micro" beer drinker, so when it went on sale for $4.99 a six i thought i,de give it a go.
Pours pretty nicelly, but doesnt hold a head to well, the smell is good. Has a nice after taste to it , thiough the feel in the mouth is pretty average. I was drinking this with a hang over already so maybe i found the drinkabilty less than i would have in top condition LOL

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2003 21:58:04 | More by Reidrover
Photo of Amdahl


3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nice amber with about 2 fingers of head. A nice lace covers the side of the glass all the way to the bottem. The head doesn't go down very fast. A nice floral hops smells great on the nose. The taste is hoppy with a floral overtones. This is a very good Pale Ale that is not very full-bodied.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2003 21:01:26 | More by Amdahl
Photo of GreatPondBrewer


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

This is definitely one of the classic american ales on the market, and I was glad to find a six-pack hidden on the shelf of my local supermarket. The pour revealed a nice amber/dark golden color. There was a thin head that disappeared after about a minute, but a nice lace remained until the last sip. The smell was a crisp, sharp one with some nice fruity(citrus??) hops. The first taste revealed more of those hops and a pleasant bitter taste that receded quickly and left a nice dry aftertaste. Overall a very good brew that I would recommend to anyone!

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2003 15:38:43 | More by GreatPondBrewer
Photo of francisweizen


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

A CLASSIC, what can I say about this beer. Well, it pours a nice dark amber colour into my pint glass, with not that much of a head to be found. It smells of *raspberries*, fruity hops, and some nice background malts. It tastes more of the same, hoppy, malty, fruity, bitter, and dry...wonderful! This has a nice crisp, and full mouthfeel, like any APA should which lends to it's very high drinkability.
a beautiful beer!

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2003 07:19:59 | More by francisweizen
Photo of GeoffRizzo


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

Pours well, keeps a white foamy head throughout, which is impressive. Has a yellow-orange appearance, and smells great. Has an earthy, fruity, all around awesome taste, extremely smooth. The slight bitterness is proven in the aftertaste, but this beer goes good with anything, or any scenario. Sad I didn't try this one this sooner. Awesome brew!

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2003 18:36:56 | More by GeoffRizzo
Photo of cretemixer


3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful deep golden hue with a thick off-white head. Head dissapates to a thin layer after a minute or so and leaves a fine white lace. Aroma is nicely balanced with a slight floral odor which is very pleasing. Really clean balanced taste as well with a slight spicy/sweet hop bitterness. Well carbonated and refreshing. A fine example of American pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2003 05:01:27 | More by cretemixer
Photo of mickstepp


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

It's hard to believe that I'm just now getting around to reviewing this beer. This was the first American Pale Ale I ever tried and it was an epiphany. I still consider it one of the best and the benchmark for the style. Nice golden color and a decent head and lacing. That wonderful citric hop aroma and the crisp grapefruity taste. Just tart enough and with a nice supple mouthfeel. I could drink this stuff all day. There are hoppier pale ales and there are more complex ones but there are none that are consistently better.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2003 11:34:57 | More by mickstepp
Photo of kelticblood


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

Being my first time trying this brew or anything from Sierra Nevada I didnt know what to expect.The appearence didnt do much but the smell and flavor is what got me.A great hop and citrus taste accompanied this clear light yellowish orange Ale.It has a high drinkability percent ,but i'd wish it was ust a bit more maltier.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2002 10:09:10 | More by kelticblood
Photo of purplehops


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

When I think of American Pale Ale this is the beer I think of. It is a brassy yellow-orange with a white head that clings to the glass as you drink. The aroma is very floral with notes of hop spiciness. The taste starts with a pleasant maltiness that is not over powering and just the right amount of carbonation to get your attention without taking away from the malt flavors. The finish is crisp and dry with plenty of hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is a pleasant medium full maltiness with well balanced carbonation and hop bitterness.
It has been a while since I have had a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. My loss! This is a good example of what an American Pale Ale should be. Well balanced with all of the ingredients evident in the aroma and taste without one or the other over powering each other. I think I will have another!

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2002 03:56:26 | More by purplehops
Photo of Riggo


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

A classic american west coast pale ale from Sierra Nevada, a brewery that oozes integrity.

This ale pours a beautiful honey-gold color with a rocky, off-white head and medium head-retention. The nose is a beautiful bouquet of grass, hops, and citrus with some later notes of yeast and wheat. At palate entry, spicy bitter hoppiness and leafy, floral notes. At mid-palate, yeasty, caramel malt notes appear. As it warms, notes of bread dough and cracker. The mouthfeel suffers from too much "spritzy-ness" and the overall flavor is too bright and citrusy. A very good APA, but would benefit from some more depth and earthy, malt balance. The Finish is crisp, clean and dry.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2002 14:34:09 | More by Riggo
Photo of JISurfer

South Carolina

4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great googily moogily!!! This is a very good beer out of the bottle. It is ranked in the Top 5 of best bottled beers I've ever had. I'm usually not this big of a fan of American brews persay, but this is up there with my favorite European beers. I know it may sound crazy, but it's true. I saw that Consumer Reports gave it a good review, so I thought I would try it, and I must say that they know what they are talking about. The taste is "wheaty" and has a smooth delivery. It doesn't have a harsh aftertaste and leaves light on the palate. This is a must for anyone who is into wheat ales.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2002 21:09:13 | More by JISurfer
Photo of Shiloh

Ontario (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew is a class act! The golden hue of this offering is very deep and mid dark. The body is medium plus, but, it is the taste that gets you and holds on...the taste is of a slight bitterness from the hops which fails to leave, but is more somehow, mellow, crisp. Very rewarding.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2002 19:10:30 | More by Shiloh
Photo of alittlehazy


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

Man, I can drink this beer all day! Nice citrusy taste, moderate carbonation and nice apperance coming out. Dry finish, very refreshing. I must say, if you want a good session beer this is pretty hard to beat.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2002 13:22:02 | More by alittlehazy
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 7,350 ratings.