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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.

8,710 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,710
Reviews: 2,691
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 130
Gots: 903 | 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: 8,710 | Reviews: 2,691 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bacabuck
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Average scores for appearance and smell may have to do with the fact that it was served on tap into a pilsner glass and the head did not properly form. Bad pour by the barkeep. Deep amber with minimal head. Good lacing along the sides of the glass. Very clear and bright. Smells of oatmeal and bananas. Taste has notes of coffee, earthy tones and finishs with a very slight bitterness. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy with low carbonation. Pour me another.

bacabuck, Jan 07, 2007
Photo of zuggy9
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an excellent pale ale. It pours an nice copper-amber with good head retention. The smell is full of malts and a nice earthy hoppiness. The taste is excellent and quite balanced, a pit floral and grassy too. The mouthfeel is balanced and just right. Even though it's a bit more potent on the ABV, it drinks well and I can do a number of these.

zuggy9, Jan 05, 2007
Photo of dmamiano
3.4/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is considered to be the benchmark American Pale Ale by many.
While I consider it a fine product, many others in my opinion stack up a little better.
The appearance of this pale ale is certainly acceptable, with an aroma that is quite pleasant. The beer in my opinion lacks malt character that I like in my pale ales and has a very "thin" mouthfeel.
I have also found it to be inconsistant at times, although because of no dating on its label, it is hard to tell where the fault in that is...the retailer or the brewer.

dmamiano, Jan 05, 2007
Photo of paulisme
4.58/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've chosen Sierra Nevada Pale Ale for my first review because it's my favorite all-around beer. This one never fails to satisfy; I just love the strong and distinct taste of this beer. It pours a nice copper color with a thin head which doesn't hang around long. Both aroma and taste have hints of citrus. Finishes with a nice, slightly bitter aftertaste. This is the pale ale by which I judge all others; I've yet to find a better one among the dozen or so I've tasted. If you live in the Southeast US, try this beer with the chicken fingers and Zax sauce from Zaxby's. It's one of my favorite food/beer combinations.

paulisme, Jan 01, 2007
Photo of goschool
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There's almost 1000 reviews already. I probably don't need to run through all the particulars.

It pours an amber hue with a decent-sized off-white head the lasts quite a long time. The aroma has pine and malts. This is crisp and clean, but it's got more flavor than it get credit for having and the hop bitterness, which takes on a citrus character in the taste, is huge compared to the beers at most of the bar that serve it. It's medium-bodied and lively. A true benchmark.

goschool, Dec 30, 2006
Photo of Poser
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a medium copper. Decent head w/ good lacing. Slightly heavy malts but it has a good hoppy aftertaste with some strong citrus flavors throughout. Just when you think it's a little too sweet, it finishes with an oatmeal flavor.

Overall, a great APA and one you can find anywhere, even in Prohibition south. A great beer for just having a beer.

Poser, Dec 27, 2006
Photo of olegv40
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep golden, with an admirable head. Hoppy aroma with hints of citrus, but too faint to stand out in any real way. The initial taste had major overtones of orange, quickly replaced by bitterness. The hops here seem less about flavor and more about bitterness, yet it never really felt like it got in the way, and the bitter flavor subsided to a much more sweet taste that finished very clean. The end result is a very good beer that is very enjoyable, and being readily available at many places that otherwise only serve macrobrews, it becomes a great choice during a night out at the bar.

olegv40, Dec 27, 2006
Photo of Celt44
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Apprearance is a beautiful copper/amber combo.
Aroma is heavy on the malt up front but piney hops pierce their way through towards the end.
Taste is superior for a pale ale - not too dry and not too bitter.
Mouthfeel is perfectly balanced.
Overall a Superior Pale Ale - Slightly above average ABV make this one a great tasty session brew...

Celt44, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of terrabyte
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, yellow-orange color with a medium white foam that disappeared on me. Lacing throughout.

Aroma had a light piney hops smell, bordering on airy or grassy.

Flavor wasn’t as hoppy as the aroma led me to believe. However, it was still apparent and still enjoyable. In fact, this allowed some floral, grassy, and citrus malts to come forward and weave into the palette.

Mouthful was light, crisp, but just a tad foamy.

Drinkability is quite high. With the lightness on each flavor and a light body, everything was able to balance well with each other. This is doing MORE with LESS, and it’s no wonder it’s a winner throughout the nation. It’s great for those who want to bridge the gap from tasteless BMC, and it’s great for someone like me who likes bold flavors but only when they’re his favorite flavors. Pine & Grapefruit hops are not my favorite, and this beer toned it down to a level that was very enjoyable for me.

terrabyte, Dec 21, 2006
Photo of JohnnyM2002
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from the tap, poured into a Sierra Nevada pint glass on pint night.

A - Pours a clear, golden color with red highlights and good carbonation.

S - Powerful combination of pine & grassy hops. Nice citrus blend in the background.

T - Not as overly-hoppy as the aroma suggests. The piney/grassy flavors blend very well with the milder hops. I've heard people talk about the hoppiness of this beer, but it's definitely not too packed with hoppy goodness....instead, it's a very good blend of citrus malt and grassy hops. Sorry to ramble...

M - Medium body with very good carbonation.

D - Definitely one of the top APA's I've ever had and a great brew to keep on hand for an everyday selection.

JohnnyM2002, Dec 19, 2006
Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Light amber with an inch of off white foam. Great head retention. Smells of sweet malt, pine and citrus. Tastes of grapefruit and piney hops. Just the right amount of malt to back it up. Very crisp and dry in the mouth. really refreshing. This beer will always have a place in my fridge.

Well I've been drinking this beer since the early 90's and it tastes the same today as it did back then. You can never go wrong with this American classic. SNPA has never let me down. it's been a staple in my fridge for more than 15 years. If it were not for this beer and this brewery blazing a path, we would most likely be stuck with a lot less choice when it comes to craft beer. Drink it now and drink it often.

ClockworkOrange, Dec 15, 2006
Photo of maddogruss
3.13/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this tonight at the business get together. Wasn't sure if it was an English pale ale or an APA when I was there, so I figured it was an English pale ale because it tasted very malty. It had a good look to it: dark amber color with a decent, white head that retained throughout the beer. Smelled very malty; did not notice any kind of hops at all. Tasted malty as well; once again, no hoppy traces even noticed in the aftertaste which led be to believe that it was an English pale ale. A pretty nice mouthfeel; pretty thick, similiar to a Sam Adams in regards to mouthfeel. A good, drinkable beer, but did not taste like a good APA; I would have expected at least a little bit of a hoppy taste, at least to balance the malt, if I knew it was an APA when I was drinking it.

maddogruss, Dec 14, 2006
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I've had this beer many times, but never reviewed it. I feel like the introduction of this beer represents a contribution to the American craft brewing scene, and thus needs to be considered in the context of its time and place and not next to Three Floyds Alpha King, Big A IPA, Maharaja, and other beers that likely wouldn't exist without Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Appearance is fairly classic APA - orangey, bright, and sparkling. Only one finger of foam which was retained fairly well and left some lacing.

Odor is very lightly estery hop aroma.

Taste is light (relative to some of the other APAs I mentioned above) hippiness, and pleasingly light bitterness.

In my mouth, it is just slightly sticky, which I've come to associate with APAs.

This beer is highly drinkable; I could drink these all night.

BeerBelcher, Dec 12, 2006
Photo of bigpatvoodoodad
4.65/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pale Ale is probably my favorite style, second only to English Brown Ale, and this beer in particular is my favorite of Pale Ales. As silly as it may sound, I like the serene green color of the label and artwork. Now, as far as the beer itself, well it is just spectacular. It is very refreshing and not overly heavy. I simply love the spicy taste and the pleasantly bitter aftertaste always leaves me wanting another after I've finished a bottle or pint. Needless to say, this is a very drinkable beer by my standards and what I consider the bench mark when comparing other American pale ales.

bigpatvoodoodad, Dec 06, 2006
Photo of Damian
2.98/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Drank on-tap at Sully's Pub, Hartford, CT

Poured a clear, reddish amber with a one-finger pillowy head. Some bits of spotty lacing.

Smell was hardly detectable initially. As the beer warmed, the aroma became somewhat more pronounced. Musty with a touch of citrusy hops in the background.

The taste was somewhat similar to the smell. Not much happening on the front end except maybe a touch of malty sweetness. As the beer moved to the rear of the palate, it became increasingly bitter but lacked the citrusy hop flavor that should have accompanied this. Somewhat grainy and resin-like on the back of the palate. Aftertaste was hoppy and bitter (orange peel was noticeable) and lingered on forever. (This was unquestionably the most impressive part of the beer.)

Mouthfeel was fairly creamy, smooth and full-bodied.

Overall, this beer was a disappointment, as it lacked the flavors and aromas needed to make up for its intense bitterness.

Damian, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of PEBKAC
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The classic summer pour is back for one more round. Buried deep, one last summer bottle remains.

Mellow gold. A Really heavy & thick mushroom cap envelops the edges of the pint glass. Almost like paste, no bubbles, except where the whitewash makes contact with the outside rim. Not really content with sticking around, it stands for about a minute, then collapses like a tower of Jenga, leaving craters & valleys where civilizations of yeasts once toiled the land & raised their families. Ok, it's just a beer.

Spicy & refreshing, like a full-strength hose sprayed right into your face on a hot summer day. You haven't actually been able to drink any, but you know if try hard enough, you eventually will.

Consistant like a glass of sparkling wine. There's always a little extra carbonation riding the stairway to heaven. Bitterly sweet grapefruit rind, with a saltine cracker finish that makes everything so pleasant. Nothing too crazy or complex. Honestly, who wants to sit & analyze; Seinfeld reruns are on.

Just drink & appreciate. :)

PEBKAC, Nov 29, 2006
Photo of umfskibum
3.45/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: This is undoubtedly a perfect looking beer. Pours a gold/orange color with a little bit of haze. White, thick, tasty head that lasts for most of the beer. Great looking lacing. This beer is at the peak of APAs appearancewise.

S: Strong citrus hop and bready malt scents. Really crisp, clean and balanced smell.

T: The citrus hops shine through without being too bitter on the tongue. Nice bready malt in the background as well. Really a pleasant flavor.

M: Really crisp and refreshing. Nice light carbonation. Goes down really smooth and a bit slick.

D: A good, drinkable beer, and a great example of an American Pale Ale. Not a beer I would ever turn down, and something I really see as a good bridge into the craft beer world from the macros.

umfskibum, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of eberkman
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful reddish gold with a nice, white head that leaves some lacing and sticks around for a bit. The smell is of citrusy hops and some sweet malt. The taste is very well-balanced -- the same malty sweetness balanced out by a pungent but not overpowering sour-citrusy hop bite. Nice, crisp mouthfeel with good carbonation. Extremely drinkable.

I really can't find any flaws -- the perfect session beer and the perfect beer to keep around to go with absolutely anything. I love this beer. A true classic.

eberkman, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of nathanho
5/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I already reviewed this beer and my comments on the various components of the SNPA experience remain the same.

It seems like every time the subject of beer comes up I always go to SNPA as a year-round "can't miss" and I have repeatedly described it to anyone who would listen as "overall, the best beer in the world". Taking into account quality, price, consistency and availability - I still hold this statement to be true (given my limited experience).

Therefore, I think that this beer belongs in my very limited pantheon of "5's".

If one would like to split hairs, I would give it somewhat less than a 5 in every category except taste and drinkability but, as a man in love, I say to you - "I don't care, she's perfect!"

nathanho, Nov 22, 2006
Photo of neenerzig
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear, dark golden/orangish color. Mine had almost no head. Decent lacing. Aromas of citrus and hops with a bit of spice as well. Tastes of sweet malt and hops are both present upfront, followed by some citrus and a touch of spice. The taste is nicely balanced. Has a medium body with a crisp and smooth mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation. Easy to drink. A little weak in some aspects, but this is a good beginner APA for someone who has never had a beer of this style before.


neenerzig, Nov 19, 2006
Photo of jwc215
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours orange/amber- nice clarity - with a creamy, lasting head that leaves rings of lacing down the glass.

It has a floral/citrusy aroma.

The taste is of mild citrus - lemon and orange - with a sweet malt balance. The hop bitterness has an edge over the sweetness, but is fairly well-controlled, as per the style. It's on the lighter side of medium-bodied.

It's a nice brew, but nothing special. A decent choice when the other choices are mostly macros. This is an easy-drinking APA.

jwc215, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of treehugger02010
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I got this on tap at Kildare's Irish Pub in King of Prussia. It came in a 12 ounze glass. There wasn't much head, but I think that was more a factor of the pour since the lace was more than apparent. Since there was no head, there was no retention either. The smell was rather good, but a bit to subtle. The taste was a typical pale ale, but I thought it was wonderful none the less. The was extremely smooth and the mouthfeel was nice. Very drinkable. Don't drink and review.

treehugger02010, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of mikesgroove
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a decent amber, with no head, and a bit of lacing, very clear. Smell is citrus hoppy, but not overly so. Slight spiceyness as well. Taste is very crisp, with a dry hop finish. Very citrus flavored, and a bit of grassy, piney flavor as well. This has always been one of my favs, always easy to get, and always drinkable. Pretty much my standard at restaurants that don't have much. Its no IPA, and is by no means the Celebration, But I have never turned one down.

mikesgroove, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of jeffjfindley
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is fun, because this is an old favorite that I haven't had in a long time. The last time I had this was before I started making an effort to analyze what I was enjoying. I've loved craft beers since I found them, but only recently (since the discovery of this website) have I started writing about em'.

I hate to say it, but the twist top kills it for me, and resulted in a deduction in the appearance category. I know it's petty, but I have a block when it comes to equating great beer & twist tops. Besides that, it's appearance is unremarkably attractive.

This is the template for the "West Coast Pale Ale", and it smells like it. The scent is very outdoorsy, piney, and fresh. It's not a huge attention grabber, but it makes you want a taste. A wonderfully refreshing, unpretentious taste of an American classic.

The mouthfeel is addictive, partially due to the sticky hop finish which leaves you thirsty for another gulp. There is no more drinkable beer on the face of the Earth, and I'm enjoying my visit with an old friend.

jeffjfindley, Nov 16, 2006
Photo of kmacphail
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

This dark, stumpy bottle poured out a light amber beer with a thin white head that gradually dissolved, but remained for a decent length of time.

The nose was dominated by hops with a hint of citrus thrown in. There was a natural and fresh smell to this beer, very pleasant indeed.

The hops dominated through to the taste with a good deal of maltiness added in for some good measure. This felt very light on the palate, but given it is a pale ale it does what it is supposed too. Again the sense of freshness was brought through to the taste. This is a very refreshing beer that would have been better tried in the middle of summer rather than november in Scotland.

I found this to be very easy to drink, next time I organise a BBQ I will purchase a number of these. Very nice, but a drink for a hot summers day.

kmacphail, Nov 02, 2006
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,710 ratings.