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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

8,558 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,558
Reviews: 2,682
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 122
Gots: 830 | FT: 3
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
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Ratings: 8,558 | Reviews: 2,682 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of plaid75

New York

4.47/5  rDev +10.6%

Poured a nice copper hue, with a one finger head. Good head retention and lacing.

The smell was rich with hop and grapefruit character. A light and airy aroma, which is inviting, in my experience, to non-craft drinkers.

The taste was crisp and dry. A very nice hop to malt balance, accented by grapefruit and flowery flavors.

The mouthfeel is crisp and clean, not too full and not too thin.

A very drinkable Pale Ale. In fact, I have found this to be a cross over beer for many people who are not experienced in craft brews.

In my opinion, a staple. I use this beer as a standard from which I measure every American Pale Ale I try. While few have exceeded this one in flavor and aroma, most fall short. Another plus is that it is readily available in most areas of the country I have visited.

04-25-2006 16:33:01 | More by plaid75
Photo of LPorter33


4.3/5  rDev +6.4%

6 pack from Martignetti's on sale for $6.29

Appearance = Great looking, crisp, clear golden honey colored. Head is good initially, frothy 1/2'' which fades into a thin line. lacing is very above average and carbonation is persistent and even.

Smell = Decent nose although a bit subdued. What's there is nice though. Clean piney hops with some honey-like sweetness coming through behind.

Taste = Excellent APA. Perfect amount of hops..not enough to be an IPA but present enough to make a definite statement. Outstanding drinkability as flavor hits the perfect balance without being overwhelming nor watered down. Extremely well balanced. This should set the standard for APAs.

Overall = Probably the best ubiquitous beer you can find. I default to this every time i'm at a pub which doesn't cater to beer advocates.

04-16-2006 00:55:51 | More by LPorter33
Photo of JanM


4.22/5  rDev +4.5%

SNPA has to be one of the most reviewed beers on BA, and who am I to add anything new to it? It's well liked by everyone, and the jewel of American mass produced beer. Well, gotta join the movement.

The color is amber golden and it pours with a finger of nice, thick foam. The smell is strong of grass, citrus, and a little roasted just like a PA should. The taste is an excellent balance between sweetness and bitterness with the latter taking over in the end. There's a tinge of chocolate in there too. Carbonation is just right. A friend to trust.

04-15-2006 15:24:26 | More by JanM
Photo of ChuckD

New York

3.9/5  rDev -3.5%

12oz twist off bottle poured into a chalice. Off white, delicate lacing atop a shiny copper body.

To the nose, the floral bouquet bangs up front with underlying malty sweetness. The aroma is very strong but tends to be all over the place.

In the mouth, this is a wonderful PA. Layers and layers of hop character melded with just the right amount of sweet goodness. The taste spectrum is far ranging and there is always a nice nuance to find.

The feel is bold and full - creamy on the tongue with a nice crisp carb to keep it lively. It finishes dry and earthy - making you want more.

Musings: I am not a huge SN fan in general - but this is onebrew I almost always have around. It is a perfect summer brew - refreshing and brisk but still maintaining the depth.

04-13-2006 18:10:00 | More by ChuckD
Photo of IntriqKen


4.1/5  rDev +1.5%

Served on tap at Angel's Stadium in a clear plastic cup.
Poured a beautiful medium golden amber with no head but ample lacing that stayed with the entire glass.
Aroma was sweet malt, bread yeast, and mild hops at the end.
Mouthfeel was full from the tiny carbonation, although I didn't notice any alcohol in the back as I swallowed.
The taste was a slightly sweet malt with just a little hop bite and then the sweetness of the malts follow finishing very balanced tasting with a slight citrus drying at the end.
Overall a very pleasant beer that can be sessioned well and is perfect for drinking with peanuts, hot dogs, and popcorn at a summer's baseball game.

04-13-2006 05:51:30 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of shamus

Ontario (Canada)

4.8/5  rDev +18.8%

This is probably my favourite session beer. Perhaps the fact that I can't get it in Ontario adds to it's allure. I had my first back in San Francisco in 97 and thought "Wow the Americans do make good beer". Canadian youth grow up with a lot of mythology about American beer based on things like Old Milwaukee and Coors.

I liked this so much I brought a few bottles home to Montreal with me. Fortunately it is widely distributed in the States so I always have some when I make a trip to Boston.

It's a beautiful copper colour, with a great head and the hops are very fragrant and well balanced. I love this beer.

04-12-2006 15:01:42 | More by shamus
Photo of BurnsTau


3.98/5  rDev -1.5%

Pours a deep amber with minimal head, small amount of lacing.

Hops are immediately recognized in the aroma, this beer has an incredible smell that just builds anticipation. First taste and the hop bitterness is immediately recognizable. There is definitely a strong hop profile in this beer that is more apparent than the malts. Malty sweetness is faint but there, but that isn't what this beer is about.

Great, great beer for hop lovers, and beer lovers of all kinds need to try this one.

04-11-2006 22:10:47 | More by BurnsTau
Photo of Erdinger2003


3.58/5  rDev -11.4%

The beer pours very nicely...however I did pour it pretty hard, but the lacing still sticks just great. Has a clear crisp brown color.

Smell is very hoppy with cascade hops with some very slight banana smell to it.

Taste is hoppy, but not overdone and is balanced with a light coffee malts.

Mouthfeel is a bit like water.

I do enjoy this beer more than others.

04-11-2006 06:53:38 | More by Erdinger2003
Photo of SilentSabre

North Dakota

4.35/5  rDev +7.7%

This has to be one of the most perfect session beers ever. It pours an orange bronze colour with a nice white foamy head that hangs around for quite a while. Nice, thick sticky lacing adorns the edges of my glass. The smell seems an even balance of both malt and hops; quite sweet and slightly floral. Smells delicious. Taste is mild with hop bitterness up front and a nice malty backbone on the finish. Mouthfeel is smooth with a nice level of carbonation. Drinkability is fantastic, as this is certainly in my top 5 session brews.
Blessed Be

04-09-2006 22:26:24 | More by SilentSabre
Photo of mcallister


3.78/5  rDev -6.4%

A good thick lathery head with very little lacing. The color of wet hay that was recently put through the blender.

Aromas are somewhat lackluster as nothing really jumps out at you. Somewhat hoppy, slight spicy characteristic.

But the taste is what truly makes this pale ale. Very balanced, with a good solid backbone of hop and malt. An interesting spicy wheat component is in this brew also.

The beer is very palatable and can help you through the long haul of a night especially if you end up at a non-beerfly type of establishment that doesn't have the best beer selection in town.

Very dependable especially at the price.

04-09-2006 21:26:55 | More by mcallister
Photo of Roguester


4.33/5  rDev +7.2%

Very good beer, and in fact the beer that got me into micro to begin with. This beer has it all, great smell, great hoppy taste, and can be found anywhere. Always a safe bet while beer shopping. It suprises me that Sierra Nevada can produce so much of this beer while having such a fresh hop flavor and incredible smell.

04-09-2006 11:04:22 | More by Roguester
Photo of dfried


4.53/5  rDev +12.1%

If I had to choose one beer to drink for the rest of my life, I would flat out go crazy. But if I could put together a short list of them, this would be my first entry. When I want to enjoy a beer on a hot summer day, this is the first that comes to mind. It has been there for me so many times when I am blind drunk at 1:30am at the bar. Its exquisite pale/mildly-hoppy flavor makes for a truly tasty beer that can be enjoyed in one at a time, or many at a time.

04-05-2006 20:13:49 | More by dfried
Photo of sabrills70

North Carolina

3.85/5  rDev -4.7%

12oz brown bottle with no apparant freshness date. Pours a medium gold/slight amber with a 1 finger head that faded rather quickly and just OK lace. Nice grassy hop aromas mixed with a good amount of malt smells as well. Not as hoppy as I thought. Again a good hoppy grassy flavor, a bit citric but not as prominant as I had thought. Perhaps a bit watery. Nicely balanced. A good solid pale ale - nothing special, but solid.

04-05-2006 01:23:29 | More by sabrills70
Photo of doppelmeup

North Carolina

4/5  rDev -1%

Had a glass on tap from a local alehouse.

Typical looking ale. Nice creamy head, yellow-orange color. Decent lacing.

Nice fruity, fresh aroma - what I was expecting.

Pretty good tasting beer. So much has already been written about this, but I tend to agree for the most part.

Nice crisp finish. Easy to drink.

I liked this beer, but I prefer the SN India Pale Ale, and that's just more of a style preference on my part than it is a criticism of this beer.

04-04-2006 20:08:55 | More by doppelmeup
Photo of ultralarry2006


4.1/5  rDev +1.5%

Poured from 12 oz.'er rendering nice head that recedes to surface skim. Hazy yellow amber. Slight amount of lacing. Aroma - Citrusy and some pine. Hint of bready malt. Taste - pretty much as promised by aroma; much citrus and bready malt very evenly balanced. Not especially as bitter as nose would have. Very clean finish. Mouthfeel - full, more carbonation than expected, slight hop slickness coating. Drinkabilty - could pound one after another, or just chill and sip. A good stand-by for hopheads when other things are scarce (owing to its wide availability), and a good gateway to hoppiness west-coast-style to the uninitiated; in short: an American classic and standard.

04-03-2006 22:15:29 | More by ultralarry2006
Photo of sammy44


3.78/5  rDev -6.4%

A deep copper to amber color. Nice white head that hung around until the end. Tried two of these, one pouring the yeast into the glass and one without. I couldn't tell much difference except a liitle bit of cloudiness.

Smelled strongly of hops. A little citrusy and piney. A little more unbalanced toward the hops than what I think a pale ale should be. Almost into the IPA range. Nice full mouthfeel and fairly drinkable. All around a good beer.

04-03-2006 17:12:36 | More by sammy44
Photo of Mebuzzard


4.43/5  rDev +9.7%

Poured into pint glass.
A darker golden color with nice foaming head that did lace.
Smell of hops and then some lemon and grass, maybe a pinch of ginger.
A good taste. Balanced (or should I say imbalanced) just right for a PA. Hops are the main note, with malt and lemon in the background for body. Nothing special on the mouthfeel, but that's good anyway.
Easy drinking, dangerous...can drink several without thinking of it.

04-03-2006 15:49:37 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of Graebner


4.43/5  rDev +9.7%

I realized that I had reviewed all sorts of strange beers, yet had never talked about my old and trusted friend Sierra Pale Ale. So here goes:

The appearance is good, but nothing to write home about. Pours out a yellow-amber with quite a bit of carbonation, lots of bubble column activity. The head peaks at two fingers of light fluffy froth, which diminishes to a paper-thin layer of white. Never judge a beer by its cover, though

The smell is where it starts to pique your curiosity. Lots of flowery hops, some citrus fruits and flowers, a little malty sweetness and some herbal nose. Makes you go "eh?" and scoot closer for a better angle.

The taste...mmmm, the taste. A little sour at first, maybe for a split second, then malty sweetness, then a crisp, clean, and ample hops finish. Also characters of citrus, herbs, a little spice, and some bready malt. It finishes very cleanly, though.

The mouthfeel is also superb. Carbonation on the front of the tongue, smooth over the middle, and a little more carbonation in the back. The hops also dry the back of your mouth and throat with their bitterness, but it's not at all unpleasant and contributes to the very balanced character of the beer.

The overall drinkability is phenomenal. Whether you are coming in from a hard day's work or school and just want to sit and sip, or you're out with the lads for the evening and need a session ale to accompany you, you can hardly go wrong with the Sierra Pale Ale. I could drink this morning, noon, and night, then pass out, and drink it noon and night the next day as well. It's that good. In my opinion this is simply the best widely-available (as in gas station) beer you can buy. I'm proud to call it my friend.

An interesting note: I recently discovered that, when enjoyed out of a glazed clay mug, one gets an even better taste out of this beer. It seems the clay and/or the shape of the mug (slightly bulbous at the bottom with a narrower neck, in this case) brings out more flavor. Either that, or I just got an exceptionally good bottling. Give it a try.

03-31-2006 23:17:19 | More by Graebner
Photo of cheers2beers


4.22/5  rDev +4.5%

This beer pours a nice golden straw/amber combo with a white head that didn't stack up. Very little laceing is noticed along with a slow and steady column of beading. The aromas are grassy,floral,and some sour fruits. The flavors are simply fantastic. A nice hop character balanced with these sour fruits and herbal/floral notes make up a great taste that beckens me to drink more. A slick grainy liquid goes down very easy for a most splendid quaff. I have had this pale ale on many occasions now and found out that there is no wrong time to drink it.Goes great with dinner, and even better while your working out in the yard.Sierra Nevada is obviously doing something right!


03-31-2006 22:18:41 | More by cheers2beers
Photo of BradBLR


4.1/5  rDev +1.5%

I had this on draft and it was brought out to me with noy much head at all. This is good and bad, more beer in the glass, but I enjoy a nice head on my beer. The color was a nice medium amber color.

The aroma of this beer was slighty floral with a nice fruit smell.

The taste was very good, a nice crisp bitter taste intially with a nice mouth feel. A light malty flavor and with a very nice complimenting hooppy flavor. This was finished with a nice bitter aftertaste.

All in all a good beer and it seems to be available more and more places on draft, so that is good for every one. Give it a try if you have a chance and for most of you try it again and again, it's always a good standard to have.

03-30-2006 21:13:06 | More by BradBLR
Photo of dreadnatty08

District of Columbia

3.58/5  rDev -11.4%

Pours a light caramel color. Super bubbly and topped off with a fluffy white head. Aromas of that nice grapefruity Cascades, so distinct with SN. Also a bit of a biscuity malty background. This is perhaps one of the most balanced beers I've had. Hops are assertive, yet not overpowering. That bready malty character gives it great body and complimentary flavors. This is a perfect everyday beer as it doesn't get in the way of foods nor is it boring. However, I feel it's a bit too syrupy on the tongue, a little out of character for this style. Would also like to see some more dry hopping for additional aromas. Overall, a rather average beer, not my favorite of SN.

03-30-2006 20:32:16 | More by dreadnatty08
Photo of Crosling


2.28/5  rDev -43.6%

Amber color with a large covering cream. Stinky, doughy and sweaty yeast aroma, which hints of medicine and vitamins, unsuccessfully attempts to disguise itself with a lightly aromatic, herbaceous and floral hop scent. Light caramel in the nose as well, but pretty much just stinky yeast and dulled hops. I still find the yeast character to be obtrusive upon tasting, though not as bad as the aroma. The malt flavor is very light and grainy and to me, doesn’t blend well at all with the mildly aggresive hop flavor and bitterness. The hops which shift from herbaceous, to floral to piney (on the finish) are moderately pleasing, but overall, this is just a poorly balanced beer, plus the yeast stinks or something.

03-29-2006 07:34:23 | More by Crosling
Photo of BigBry

Alberta (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +1.5%

Finally got to try the famous SNPA, on a recent trip south of the border. One of the specialty selections available at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. Enjoyed a 12 oz bottle with lunch.
Nice, light orange color with an short white head. Smell of lots of hops, and a hint of pine - perfect for the style. It tastes of a lot of hops, some lemony citrus, some pine, some floral, but all well balanced. This is a hop-lover’s delight. This feels great in the mouth. The carbonation is not overdone, the brew has a creamy consistancy. It’s complex with lots of flavors, but not over the top, making a very drinkable American Pale Ale. The benchmark for the style.

03-28-2006 18:38:30 | More by BigBry
Photo of brewdlyhooked13


4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Original review (10/10/02)
What can I say? This beer is well known by anyone who has been bold enough to venture outside the confines of American megabrewers. A wonderful teasing light aroma that gets the mouth watering *right now*. Initial taste sends the citrusy components evenly across the palate. The hop bitterness patiently waits its turn, then smoothly transitions the mouth experience, allowing one to easily pick up the full hop flavor. Outstanding. Once it all subsides, there is just enough trace bitterness residue in the mouth that it begins to act like a magnet to whatever vessel currently holds the remainder of the brew. I can't explain it, kinda like the commercial says, 'It's like (beer) science, you can't mess with science".
An experimental beer aged for 3+ years...

Appearance - pours a honeyed orange/gold color, quite nice. A quick life to the head, it leaves a few nice ropes of lace but quickly ends up a loose cover. 3.5

Aroma - a rather average hop aroma, mildy citric, decidedly underwhelming.2.5

Taste - ahhhh, that's more like it. A brief play of sweet malts, swept over by the appropriate wave of piny hops, enough to keep this beer fresh for quite a long boat ride. Ends with a strong grapefruit rind finish which become more prominent as the beer warms. All the requisite elements of the long program have been met with minimal deduction (my ode to the '06 Olympics). Yum. 4.5

Mouthfeel - hefty carbonation, sturdy body. 4.5

Drinkability - my palate tends to tire of IPA after a while but this is one I could drink several of. 4.0

03-28-2006 04:13:05 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of Enola

North Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -10.1%

This is a beer that you can find almost anywhere. The color is a light amber. There was little head. The smell is like a fresh cut pine tree. The taste is fairly bitter. The mouthfeel is filled with lingering bitterness. I could session these but this is not my favorite from the style. All in all, an average beer.

03-26-2006 19:03:23 | More by Enola
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,558 ratings.