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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.

7,336 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7336
Reviews: 2623
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: 7,336 | Reviews: 2,623 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Emnmarko


3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Has the color of golden honey. This is quite a clear brew. Active carbonation delivers a heaping 2+ finger head but it dissipates quickly leaving a nice halo with abundant lacing.

S- Light roasted malts along with a sweet citrus aroma.

T- Up first is a pleasant malt base with spice. Following this is a mild hop bitterness that transitions smoothly. Finally a light peppery aftertaste comes through and finishes this ale off nicely.

M- Medium bodied with a slight tickle from the carbonation. Leaves a mild buttery feeling. Dry finish.

O- This is a fine example of a pale ale. Personally I prefer a brew with an emphasis on the hop bitterness, but this beer is balanced nicely. Very easy to drink, and I will be enjoying this addition to Sierra Nevada again.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2014 23:52:45 | More by Emnmarko
Photo of Chiefy770


4.11/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 12 fl oz brown bottle into a pint glass. Bottled on October 10th, 2013.

Appearance: Slightly hazy orange-gold body. Tall fluffy white head collapses and leaves a good amount of lace throughout.

Smell: Grains, bread, and citrus up front. Notes of spice break out in the hops.

Taste: The hops hit first; orange and grapefruit. The malts break things up very well. Bread and grains dominate the malts. This beer really finds its 'zen' when it hits optimum balance. The hops are tamed but not overridden by the malts. The hops return in the finish, straight citrus in flavor. Overall it is very smooth, goes down well, and has a semi-dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Moderate carbonation, somewhat flat for my liking.

Overall: This one is commonly referred to as a "classic" and I would definitely have to agree.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2014 23:30:25 | More by Chiefy770
Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ


4.36/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Copper/Orange color, medium head, plenty of lacing.
Plenty of citrus notes, grapefruit, tangerines. Smells crisp and the smell is unique due to the use of whole cone hops.
Strong hop presence considering its only 30 IBU, it’s not too heavy, refreshing and yet “down to business” enough to remind you that you are drinking THE IPA. It’s available everywhere now days and it is what started the love for so many IPA drinkers and once you have one you’ll understand why.
This is one to be recommended to everyone. Are there more serious pale ales out there? Yes, but this one is unique and so freaking good. Go get one.


Serving type: bottle

02-03-2014 17:48:15 | More by BeerandWhiskeyHQ
Photo of ryan1788a5


4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Caramel colored on the pour. Great clarity. Frothy and creamy off white head is very persistent. Lacing is thick and foamy. A beautiful beer to behold.

S: Doughy and grainy malt base with light honey and caramel sweetness. A little brothy. Hops are very floral with notes of earth and pine.

T: Caramel, toasted grains, honey, touch of broth. Floral. Flash of mint and lemon rind. Earthy and piney hops kick it up a notch on the back end. Doughy. Toasty and grainy, earthy and piney hops on the finish.

M: Sturdy medium body. Ultra creamy and smooth. Light hop astringency. Modest prickling carbonation adds a bit of crispness.

O: A classic. One of just a handful of the pioneering craft beers that was able to sweep the nation. Approachable, and perhaps more complex than people give it credit for. Always a solid buy.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2014 19:25:34 | More by ryan1788a5
Photo of Brewtaster34

New Hampshire

4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: 12 ounce bottle poured into a 12 ounce glass

Appearance: Very little head all of which dissipates very quickly. Light tan in color.

Smell: Pine with a lot of citrus and slightly fruity.

Taste: Very balanced. Smells very similar to how to tastes at first it is piny then turns to citrus and fruit pineapple very tropical. Dry but very satisfying finish. The flavor lingers very pleasantly and calls for more.

Mouthfeel: Medium very smooth but bursting with flavor.

Overall: Very drinkable, balanced, and delicious. One of my favorite beers. Can't go wrong with a six pack of this. The best Sierra Nevada beer that I have tried up to this point in my opinion the others I have tried have been good, but really lacked balance.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2014 03:31:49 | More by Brewtaster34
Photo of Act25

New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sierra Nevada is so consistent, their Narwhal is as fine as any RIS, and their Pale Ale is perhaps the best pale ale for the price in the world, bested only by Stone or Dales Pale Ale (which is entirely different beast).

A: Perfect pour, lighter colored, hazed, and good head and lacing.

S: Nicely floral and spicy, complex craft, original, piney, and refreshing. Inviting. Gets really good at 50-55 degrees.

T: Follows the floral and spicy nose. Good hop flavoring pronounced in the mid-body.
MF: Medium to light bodied, cut nicely by bittering. Leaving mouth nice and dry and tingly. Lighter than sticky Stones, Dales, Troegs, or Left Hand.

O: This is one to buy by the case on sale. This is the go-to beer of all go-to beers. For example, I have found it for 12.99 a 24 vs 18.99 for 24 Dales. 4.25 for value.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2014 02:39:16 | More by Act25
Photo of Leviathan5


4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving type: Bottle into Shaker glass

A - Orange/copper color with a nice two finger head. Nice lacing

S - Hoppy and with citrus and pine touches

T - Good balance between the sweetness of the malt and the bitterness of the hops. Again touches of citrus and pine

M - Medium bodied, smooth and with nice carbonatation

O - A great beer. It's got to be really good to have inspired so many other APAs and still be one of the best ones 34 years after the first batch

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2014 08:36:31 | More by Leviathan5
Photo of Retroman40


4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a tulip glass slightly chilled (50F)

A - Light copper color with some haziness. Rich long lasting head and generous lacing.

S - A blast of pine and citrus.

T - Outstanding balance between the high hop rate and rich malt flavors.

M - Almost tangy with and excellent level of natural carbonation.

O - A well hopped (but not too much) ale. I suspect some of the haze was due to the natural conditioning. No matter what this is an outstanding beer that I have to spring for more often.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2014 10:50:54 | More by Retroman40
Photo of BierJager89


4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Orange/copper with a white head, somewhat translucent.

S: Orange and orangelike fruits. Tangerine, mango, sweet fruit, smells delicious.

T: Tastes as good as it smells with that delicious orange and mango character, sweet fruits, tangerine, mango, over a light malt backbone.

M: Medium-light body, average pale ale carbonation.

O: This is a delicious pale ale! It's available everywhere, but I've only had an experience like the one described in these notes at the brewery. Other times I've felt it harsh on carbonation or lacking in the citrusy goodness.

Serving type: on-tap

01-24-2014 05:55:49 | More by BierJager89
Photo of acemaverick

West Virginia

2.43/5  rDev -40%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A: Lovely label. Color of beer is dark yellow and looks ok to me.
S: Smells alright, nothing special. A bit tangy.
T: Very bitter. Strong bitter aftertaste. This beer is not enjoyable to drink.
M: Sharp, lots of carbonation.
O: Overall I did not enjoy this beer. It is way over hyped. I would not buy this beer on purpose.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2014 06:42:02 | More by acemaverick
Photo of Michaelcbyrnes


4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - golden orange with slight haze, nice lacing.

Aroma - clean citric dominate aroma with some sweet floral aroma underneath both of which are layered over a malty grain base.

Taste - clean hop bitterness balanced against a malty grain sweetness. With a dry finish which verges near to being harsh, but instead manages to get your attention without overwhelming you.

Mouthfeel - clean and sharp, there is not really any of the round feel that one would expect from the aroma. Dry finish.

Overall - hop forward, classic APA, smartly balanced against a strong grainy malt base. Very very good APA.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2013 05:07:26 | More by Michaelcbyrnes
Photo of Omnium


4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can > Pint Glass

A - Clear orange gold with two fingers of big fluffy white head, lots of patchy lacing.
S - Lots of bread dough kinda malt smell, pine, grapefruit, a little dank.
T - Bread and cracker malt up front then some grapefruit and orange, pine dankness, a little bit of tropical notes come out, especially pineapple.
M - Clean crisp and to the point, medium feel.
O - This beer is a legendary grandfather craft for all generations of craft beer drinkers to enjoy, balanced and flavorful, light enough to session, and available all year. I have easily gravitated to selecting SNPA over many other lame crafts because of its consistent quality.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2013 19:48:24 | More by Omnium
Photo of Isrealite


4.58/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This is the only beer at the gas station next to where I work that is not a two year old, forty ounce, malt liquor. Despite a purchase made out of complete desperation, this turned out to be a great American pale ale due to it's absolute simplicity. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is like a good burger. It would not be prudent to add too many other toppings and over complicate things. The aroma is amazing, the taste of hops is perfectly balanced, and this beer goes down really smooth. The price is fair, and this one is about as easy to get as my women. There are only 175 calories in a 12oz. bottle, and since its loaded with hops, it's also loaded with healthy polythenols, that will hopefully balance out the damage my liver takes whenever I buy this beer and end up drinking too much! This A.P.A. should be enjoyed straight out of the bottle, in my opinion. A solid brew for sure.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2013 09:05:57 | More by Isrealite
Photo of alankwak


3.99/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden clear with medium carbonation and good lacing. Good head retention.

S: Wonderful hop aroma(cascade).

T: Great quality grainy flavor from the barley perfectly balanced with the bitterness from the hops. Seems high quality ingredients are used. Finish is dominated by the hops flavor and aroma. Great.

M: medium/full mouthfeel. Nice.

O: I was pleased and surprised by this fine ale. Tasted, smelled and looked great. Great Ale. I will be drinking more soon .

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2013 01:47:30 | More by alankwak
Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead


3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Deciphered the bottle code to reveal this 6pack was bottled on August 9th...but eh well, such is the best you can find in a little hole-in-the-wall alcohol/fried things place in the middle of nowhere.
Poured into tulip; clear golden orange with a nice fluffy white head that leaves rocky, sticky lacing as it descends lazily.
Smells mostly of metallic malt, with a lingering hint of spicy hops. Not really any citrus to be found, sadly, in a bottle this old.
Taste isn't bad, although it's very obvious the hop flavors have faded greatly. Begins with a spike of herbal and spicy bitterness and some grassy flavors with the ghost of citrus that once was, then moves into very light, clean malt. Finishes wet, clean and a little bitter.
Mouthfeel is light and effervescent, very pleasing.
Overall, I picked this up because I had always skipped it over for something else, and I figured I should try SN's flagship, but I regret doing so with such an old 6-pack. I am loathe to associate myself with those who whip themselves into a righteous rage over the thought of a store that lets IPAs sit on shelves longer than a week, but it's nothing so ridiculous to acknowledge that 4 months is too old for this beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2013 05:50:52 | More by BurgeoningBrewhead
Photo of jbweld


2.49/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2

WTF pale ale!?!

I am writing this review because I am concerned about Sierra Nevada. I am a huge supporter of craft beer especially Sierra Nevada, but today I noticed something... Earlier today I enjoyed a pale ale in the can and it tasted great just as I would expect. Hoppy, balanced, a typical SN pale ale. Later in the day I had a pale ale in the bottle (bottling code 319311014) which was totally different. It was malt forward and sweet. The hop character was subdued. It almost tasted like fat tire or Sam Adams. What's going on Sierra Nevada? I have heard that Sierra Nevada was adjusting some of its recipes... I hope this is not the future of the beer I love.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2013 22:03:31 | More by jbweld
Photo of drop6301


3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Two-fingers of white head. Clear orange color with good lacing. Looks very nice.

Smell: I picked up orange-citrus notes mingling almost evenly with the malt-biscuit aroma with no overwhelming effect.

Taste: Again the biscuit and citrus-orange comes through. Very clean. The bitterness builds up slowly and then diminishes almost completely.

Mouthfeel: Medium-body, easy drinking with a dry finish. Carbonation good in the upper-medium range.

Overall: Style-wise this beer is obviously spot-on since it is listed as an example. I find it very drinkable. I've come to like pale ales that have hop character winning out over the malt.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2013 04:29:15 | More by drop6301
Photo of fitrock2112


3.71/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured Pale Ale into a Pint Glass.

A - Pours dark golden with a full two fingers of pillowy white head.

S - Smooth hop profile with light roasted malt.

T - Mild hop flavors again, good malt backbone. Nothing overpowering or overdone.

M - Medium mouthfeel, with medium carbonation.

O - A fine beer to have one of or six of. Very close to a classic Pale Ale. Recommended! Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2013 21:43:37 | More by fitrock2112
Photo of CA_brewster


4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is the original, quintessential American PAle Ale, absolutely my go to beer, it's fucking delicious, entirely sessionable and widely distributed! This brew is a golden copper color with a nice white head some thin lacing left on the glass. The aroma is sweet and hoppy as is the flavour. The flavour is very well balanced. The malt is sweet like honey and contrasts the bitterness of the American hops perfectly. I don't see this as a world class beer to be sipped out of snifters or a beer to impress anyone. To me, its just a great beer that goes perfect with any occasion any time of year. As i said this is my go to beer i drink it all the time. Perhaps you should too.

Serving type: can

11-23-2013 03:00:54 | More by CA_brewster
Photo of Bighead6365

New York

4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just a great overall beer. For 3 bucks for a 24 OZ it is such a solid session beer to enjoy after a long day. Great flavor, balance, just does what you would think an APA would. Something that I enjoy over and over, and definitely a beer that could introduce craft beer to someone else.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2013 01:30:58 | More by Bighead6365
Photo of Edward19

New York

3.64/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased a 12 pack of cans from Wegmans in Liverpool, NY. Great price point. I use this beer as a session beer. Great flavor and easy drinking. One of the best pale ale's I have had. I was introduced to this beer several years ago as one of my first craft beers. Great craft beer for beginners

Serving type: can

11-21-2013 17:22:08 | More by Edward19
Photo of JuicesFlowing


4.21/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

A hazy orangish copper body holds up an eggshell colored head that recedes to a wisp. Lacing is foamy and imitates a world map.

Aroma is balanced with citrus, pine, and floral fruits.

The taste profile starts with a woody, cedar and pine note. This soon transitions into more grapefruit citrus and faint apricot sweetness.

Mouthfeel is a bit dry, but also pretty smooth.

Overall, very well balanced and tastes delicious.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2013 14:55:02 | More by JuicesFlowing
Photo of Das_Reh


2.24/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a glass.

This is supposedly THE original APA, and one of America's first craft brews. I was eager to try it after seeing the high reviews on BA.

Appearance - A nice, deep coppery color with a decent cream colored head. Lively carbonation, almost no lacing, which was disappointing. I noticed "floaties" in the beer as I poured, which settled to the bottom of the glass like bits of backwash... very unappetizing.

Smell - practically nonexistent... some citrusy hops and not much else.

Taste - Good grief... why are the ratings so high? It's a 1-note acrid bitterness with virtually no maltiness. The citrus/pine hop flavors are barely present, and a sticky, tart bitterness overwhelms the palette... I know Pale's and IPA's are MEANT to be hoppy and bitter, but there's no balance here. It's just NOT good.

Mouthfeel - Mouthfeel is medium, and frankly unmemorable.

Overall - A bitter, overhyped concoction of hops, hops and more hops. No balance, no complexity. This was my second one and I will not drink another. I'll stick to Two-Hearted.

NOTE: In retrospect I am under the impression that I may have been drinking bottles that were out of date. Will give this beer a proper re-review in the future.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2013 23:48:26 | More by Das_Reh
Photo of corby112


3.56/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark golden orange color with copper/tangerine edges and a one finger, frothy white head that quickly settles into a thick, lasting ring.  Streaks of lace left behind.

Earthy floral hop aroma with some grassy, resinous pine and subtle citrus countered by bread/yeast and pale malt sweetness.  A touch of grapefruit and citrus peel followed by some caramel malt and toffee.  

Surprisingly full bodied for the style with a blast of dank, sticky hops giving off strong dry bitterness that lingers over the yeast and sweet malt notes into a dry finish.  Hop flavor is a bit one dimensional with bitter earthy character.  Lots of grass, pine needle and spruce tip with very little of the citrus/tropical fruit notes found in the nose.  It's there providing subtle sweetness but is overpowered by bitterness and strong malt flavors.  Hop bitterness is countered by bready yeast and malt sweetness.  Lots of caramel, bread, toffee and nut.  Well balanced with some nice hop flavor but it's not really light or easy drinking and doesn't really feel like a pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2013 01:04:21 | More by corby112
Photo of a0lbudman


4.11/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-clear gold with a white head that faded fast
S-hop and citrus are about even. With the citrus smell being more of lemon and orange
T-hoppy taste with some malt sweetness at first then a hop dry pine aftertaste
M-medium body and carbonation
O-no one smell or taste was overpowering making this an outstanding complex beer that I enjoyed

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2013 23:04:44 | More by a0lbudman
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 7,336 ratings.