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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,847 Reviews

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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 mrpicklerelish
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Apperance - Pours a very nice brownish copper color, very nice to look at. Nice size head that leaves behind some nice tight lacing.

Smell - A small hint of bread aroma followed by some citrus.

Taste - A nice hop kick with a nice side of citrus taste to it. Not an overly hoppy brew but very nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel - A very smooth pale ale, very crisp in the mouth.

Drinkability - Very easy to drink. A great beer to just sit back and enjoy a few. Also a great starter beer to the land of craft brew.

Comments - This is one of my all time favorites. One that I am constantly going back to at least once a month for a revisit. Very accessable in my next of the woods as it is with most palces now and I take full advantage of it. (747 characters)

Photo of dedalus
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

coppery golden in the glass, swirled the last few drops in the bottle and poured it in the glass hefe-style, just in case any yeast was clinging to the bottom of the bottle. pillowy white head that could have stuck around a bit longer. bright clingy lacing.

aromas of fresh, grapefruity hops, orange/lemon peel, and an earthy, fruity, yeasty, damp soil scent lurking subtlely in the background.

mouthfeel is thin but not watery. very refreshing.

the flavors were all cascade hops up front: citrusy, juicy, and flowery. some malt came through in the middle but not enough to draw attention away from the hops. the almost wheaty malt and tangy, fruity yeast came back in the finish. loads of fresh hop flavor with enough bitterness to contrast the fruity, earthy, wheaty tastes.

a beautifully structured beer, perfect for the warmer weather. the bitterness here is only one of many flavor elements that build to achieve an effect greater than the sum of its parts. a true masterpiece that also happens to be widely available. i shied away from this beer in the past fearing that the bitterness would be overpowering and that the beer would lack character, but i am pleased to say my fears were unfounded. also great with a farmhouse cheddar and a loaf of real wheat bread.


s.d. (1,304 characters)

Photo of gentlebubbles
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks just like a beer ought to: a clear and golden with a nice white head. The enticing orangey fragrance drifts from the glass and hangs in there. Crisp malt. Bracing bitterness, if a bit sour from time to time. Surprisingly fizzy and sharp for a bottle-conditioned. I could have a few of these.

This one just does the right thing. (336 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

24 ounce bomber bottle, ( a nice touch) no freshness dating to be found. Not much I can add to the other 400 or so reviews. This is the classic pale ale, so good it defines the style. One of the first micros to be had back in the day. If you havent sampled this tasty quaffer, you are missing alot. Goes great with spicy BBQ. Cheers! (333 characters)

Photo of yeagerbm
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fantastic beer. Haven't had this one in a while so I thought it was time to review it.
Appearance- Bright orange with a smooth white head.
Smell- Hops and malt. The kind of smell that lets you know this beer was dry-hopped and will be delicious.
Taste- I had this beer before and knew that it was good. Now I come back to it after trying hundreds of good beers and I see that it is nearly perfect. A delicious aromatic hop experience which is balanced by a great malt flavor. This beer is not extreme. It is wonderfuly flavorful and easy to drink. I don't know if I'll ever give a beer all 5's or if that beer even exists but I don't know if a pale ale can get a better taste than this.

A+ with a smiley face! (717 characters)

Photo of psyco1
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I guess I'm more of a porter and brown ale guy, so this can be taken with a grain of salt.

It looks like a pale ale should, there's some yeast on the bottom of the bottle and the head stays for a bit.

The smell is hoppy, somewhat floral and citrusy.

Taste, that's where I just don't get along with this one all that well. I'd rather have a bit more malt presence, it's just too hoppy and bitter for me.

Drinkability, if I had to choose between this and a macro, I'd take this. But, if there was a SN Porter to be had, I'd be all over it.

edit on 10-3-04

I've raised my review score, since I've either started loving the hop, my tastes have changed or the fact that this is one of the few decent beers you can get around here on a night out and I've become more accoustomed to it. (797 characters)

Photo of DPMomutant
3.71/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A medium-amber body sits below a nice finger-thick head that lasts a bit before settling to the sides.

A mild smell of fruity hops. Not bad but not quite as lively as some other pales I've had.

The taste starts with a citrus and slightly malty taste with a decent hop bitterness at the end.

This has a mostly lively mouthfeel, but isn't harsh. The bitterness that helps the taste takes a tiny bit from the mouthfeel.

This is drinkable as most decent American pales are. I have no problem having a few of these.

Overall it's a good beer, but there's at least a couple of local pales that are at least just as good (and possibly better) and I usually go local when I have a choice. (694 characters)

Photo of soper2000
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was on of my first microbrews so i decided to revisit it for the purpose of this review. It pours a nice golden orange color with a smooth white head. A standard looking pale ale i might say. Smell is big on hops and citrus as is the taste. Big hoppy notes are present, I wish there was a little more malt flavor in this as the citrus and hops aren't balanced that perfectly to my palate. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both decent. This isn't my favorite pale ale but it'll always do in a pinch. (501 characters)

Photo of DaveGood
3.84/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a rich golden color with nice creamy head from a 12oz bottle. The aroma was a bit much from the hops. I have had this on tap previously as well and the odor is generally much more pleasant. The taste was extremely pleasant with a wheat-like malt flavor that is offset by citrus hops. The carbonation is moderate and the drinkability is very good. Overall, this beer goes down nice and smooth and has quickly become my favorite "normal bar" beer. It is definitely one of the best American Pale Ales that I have had to-date. (539 characters)

Photo of Joey7F
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am very impressed with Sierra Nevada after trying their pale ale. I had some of this at a barbeque where we had some spicy indian chicken. The floral hoppy quality of the beer was refreshing and complimented the spicy food. It is very drinkable and is slightly creamy. The tingling after taste is one of the better ones from any beer I can think of. Apparently their other offerings are equally impressive. I can't wait until I can try the Celebration Ale (I just turned 21 so I could get it back when the stores had it) Highly recommended.

--Joey (552 characters)

Photo of IronDjinn
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a slighty hazed near-twilight amber, small suspended particles. Head was a thick flash of dense white fizz, which recedes probably due to the hop oil presence. Aroma of cascade hops, citrus, a bit over evergreen and some biscuity malt. Flavour is a nice dose of hops up front, citrus and pine tones, all with an underlying sweet malt body that does a fairly decent job of holding the whole thing together. Full carbonated mouthfeel up front, with a smooth but oily finish that is quenching, this goes down easy. Would definitely like to get my hands on more of this stuff, as I could see a new session favorite in the making.

A classic, was my very first intoduction to American pale ales back in the day, and a pleasure to revisit. Straight four's on the board for this one, thanks to northyorksammy for sending one my way to sample. It's been a very long while since I had one of these, and it brings back fond memories indeed. (947 characters)

Photo of Gritsak
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

i keep finding myself drinking this at bars, but this is the first time ive bought a 6pack of it. i love the bright amber color of this beer.

it has a bitter smell with hints of fruit

you can taste the hops right off the bat..with a medium amount of carbonation with a little fruity after taste.

i could see myself drinking a 6pack of this easily. the taste is really refreshing and unique. (400 characters)

Photo of watermelonman
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This came to my table as an brilliant copper orange without much head. The lacing was pretty minor too.

The flavor is decidedly good. There's a fair amount of hops in here; I think they could even label it as an IPA. I think it would be better with a little more balance, and a small reduction in hops.

As much as some like to complain that this stuff is overhyped or too commercialized, this is still very much a good beer. (430 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hops and cream and noticeable creamy head. Taste with an offsetting bitterness that I didn't care for or expect. Strong bitter mouthfeel Citrus floral and pine aroma. Inexpensive.
Had this 3 years later on-tap and this review is based on that, at Pizza Port Solena Beach Lace, a serviceable pale. AFter so many good pales, Sierra finds its way among the pack, but was sure a revalation when I first had it. (407 characters)

Photo of brewQ
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A beautiful burnt orange color with an ivory head that holds well- fed by very fine carbonation.

I pick up sweetness and fruitiness that yields to a nice burst of flavor. A refreshing tang of hops in the finish,

This, for me, is the definition of quality drinkability.(Plus, I finished 3 of these just to savor and report the flavor).

SN represents the best in product quality and integrity- I like this stuff. (419 characters)

Photo of CrescentFresh
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My personal favourite of all time. The cascade hops are quite strong but not overbearing. Pours well, smells great, tastes better, feels smooth going down. This is the beer I try to clone whenever I make a batch of home brew. I wanted to rank it a 5, but Sierra Nevada might bring out a new version one day that's even better.

4.5 out of 5 swills, and that's not being generous. (381 characters)

Photo of filabrazilia
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark golden with a thin white head. Good lace left on the glass.

There is a sweet malt aroma that is the most memorable smell. I was wondering where the hops were. I could not detect the trademark floral hops that I come to expect with this beer. Despite that, the sweet malts were nice.

The hops were in the taste and they were a nice match to the carmel sweetness.

This beer was a little thin but still smooth and easy on the mouth. A very silky smooth offering from SN.

This is a very drinkable beer that I want to have again. Perhaps my bottle had been on the shelf a little longer than it should have been. (639 characters)

Photo of Jacobob10
3.4/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap @ Peculier Pub in Greenwich Village, NYC.

I see people drinking these wherever I go, so I thought I'd give it another shot since I haven't had it in a couple of months. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale definitely has a bit of kick to it. It pours out a nice amber color with a slight head. The one thing you notice about it right away are the hops. They are bright and outweigh the malt by quite a bit, making it a bit too imbalanced. This causes a dry sensation when drinking it, but it still tastes good.

I polished off a six-pack of this before a Yankees World Series game last October, but I have to admit it was a bit of a struggle near the end of the pack. I usually prefer a much mellower beer, but this is indeed a nice change every once in a while. A decent beer, but a little overrated. (800 characters)

Photo of Southernbrew
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid gold color, nice bubbly head.

Strong aroma, very hoppy, some sweetness.

Nice full body, strong hops presence, very smooth. Light floral notes, slight touch of dryness in the finish.

Exactly what I expect from a pale ale. Definitely a beer to try when discovering "good beer" and one I will continue to buy. (321 characters)

Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was served from a 12 oz. bottle. In a pint glass, the beer was a brilliant copper-orange hue hazed by a suspension of fine particulates, and topped with a scattered white head that left nice lacing. The nose was mouthwatering, exuding a soft sweetish maltiness and a very lively zingy citric hop bouquet. The taste was firm and crisp, with a dry malt base that presented a limey zip transition into the clean bitter citric finish. The body was richly full. All of this made for an extremely refreshing and very tasty brew that makes for great drinking. A solid effort, worth having some on hand at all times. (631 characters)

Photo of chrishickman
3.86/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Having finished my Old Chicago World Beer Tour, I decided I was now to the point where I was going to drink beer I liked for the most part, and not be too adventurous. Sadly, I didn't take any notes so I have to rely on my feeble memory!

After having one of my favorite local beers, Millstream Schild Brau (Amber Ale), I decided I wanted something with some hoppy kick to it and saw the SNPA on tap. Boy, I got what I asked for and more! You can't ask for more hop flavor out of a "all year" beer, I mean there was not too much subtley to describe, just knock you on your ass hop clean and fresh hop flavor.1 This beer goes down easy and has a nice head for the style, great lacing. I have no idea why people would drink something like Bud (which laughably touts its high quality hops in their commercials) when stuff like this is available nationally. This will definitely be my "go to" beer when I want something hoppy, though usually I like something a little mellower in this area. Great beer though. (1,007 characters)

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

This is becomming an American Classic. This beer is solidly enjoyable, complex in flavor but clean enough to go well with a variety of foods and be refreshing. Also makes a good session brew. The hops in this beer are flowery and bright. The flavor is crisp and citrusy. There is just enough malt to balance the hop flavor and ease into the finish. A solid APA and probably the best made mass produced beer. (407 characters)

Photo of jimdkc
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Slightly darker than I'd call amber, smallish head that dissipated quickly. Leaves a little bit of lacing on the glass. Smell is a mild hop scent, not too strong, but pleasant.

Mouthfeel was a bit thinner than I expected, but the carbonation was nice.

Good spicy hop taste with just enough malt for balance with a bit of yeast, too. To me, the bitterness was just the right amount. Crisp finish. Very drinkable

I liked this a lot. It will probably be one of my regulars! (479 characters)

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

Pours a nice copper with an off-white head. Lacy and a bit fizzy. Smell is grassy and hoppy. Floral hops and light citrus aromas.

Taste is just above average. Grassy and creamy pale malt. A nice hop profile and crsip. A bit fruity with a nice hoppy finish. Nicely balanced. A bit creamy and very very drinkable. Refreshing. The ultimate fallback beer and an old favorite of mine. (382 characters)

Photo of rkhaze
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a slightly hazy golden amber with a foamy off white head. Left ok lace. Aroma of sweet malt, citrusy hops and some fruit.
Tastes of sweet malt, caramel and tangy fruits segueing into
citrusy/spicy hops with a nod towards grapefruit and a bit of pepper.
Light to medium bodied but perhaps a wee heavy on the carbonation. Phenomenal drinkability as always.
This was the beer that opened my eyes to the potential of American microbrews over 20 years ago. I have a lot of respect for it, but also realize we've come a long way since then. While not the best one out there now, it's good to see it still holds up so well. Kudos to Sierra Nevada for this classic brew! (674 characters)

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