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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.

7,323 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7323
Reviews: 2621
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: 7,323 | Reviews: 2,621 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Scott17taylor


4.85/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It pours a beautiful clear orange color with a nice two finger head. The flavor is a very delicious hoppy and grapefruit flavor. There is a reason this beer has been so popular for so long it is a very good beer. I would recommend this beer to anyone.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2013 01:11:27 | More by Scott17taylor
Photo of Mongrel


3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Here it is - the classic, original "hoppy" beer by which all others are judged. This brought me to craft beer, and years later it's still always refreshing and satisfying.

Beautiful, classic pale ale appearance. Clear, pale, golden orange. Always a little sudsy head on top and good lacing down the glass.

Smell brings lemony fruit and a little pine. Perhaps some toffee/caramel too?

Taste is immediately bright, floral and a little bitter, with hops delivering those lemon and orange notes. At the center is that classic, slightly herbal, caramel backbone.

Mouthfeel is prickly, but soft, if that makes sense. Ample carbonation. Coats the tongue for a good couple seconds and then leaves a dry finish. Lemony, herbal aftertaste, almost like tea.

Man, I can pound these back entirely too fast.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2013 00:28:59 | More by Mongrel
Photo of abeeronthebeach


3.81/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A - A copper-gold liquid fills the glass. You expect this beer to have some flavour and it does. Lacing is generous and sticks around.

S - Grapefruit, a modicum of sweet malt. Hop bitterness.

T - Clean, very crisp due to the hop character. Opens with a little sweetness before the main citrus-hops arrives ending nice and dryly. Hoppiness is definitely at the citrus rather than the pine end of the spectrum. Surprisingly strong-flavoured and has that more-ishness which keeps you sipping

M - Satisfying, well-balanced. I thought the mouthfeel was pretty much spot on with this one.

O - I enjoyed this a lot more on tap than I remember enjoying it from the bottle. It's nice to have a widely available beer of such solid quality to fall back on. A fine beer.

Serving type: on-tap

10-22-2013 08:20:05 | More by abeeronthebeach
Photo of jawlessbody


4.14/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into a nonic glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear, light amber with a fluffy 3 finger head that dissipates quickly. Lots of visible carbonation after the pour with small bubbles continuing throughout the length of the drink.

Scent: The nose is typical of a pale ale: hoppy and citrusy, but with a hint of pine.

Taste: This beer yields some very complex flavors. There's a sharp hoppiness right off the bat, followed up by citrus and pine with a slightly malty finish. There's also just a little warmth from the alcohol. Overall it's a balanced beer, with a slight emphasis on the hops. Very drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a good amount of carbonation. Crisp finish.

Overall: This is an incredible beer for the price. It's drinkable enough to have a few, but it's not boring. Definitely a top contender for my go-to session ale.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2013 02:08:29 | More by jawlessbody
Photo of DeFaz


4.26/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was looking at the recent reviews for this beer, and I was surprised that it isn't rated as the exceptional beer that I perceive it to be and as the beer that it used to be. Is it because the quality has gone down? I think not. I think right now--the age of the double IPA and the triple IPA--there is the desire for more and more--more hops and a higher ABV. This APA isn't about quantity, it's about quality, and the hops are nicely composed but they are also balanced. A pour of this beer reveals a great head with sticky lacing, and the beer has a smell and taste of hops that offer citrus, floral, and pine flavors. The mouthfeel is spot on for a hoppy session beer--perfect thickness and carbonation, giving it a nice crispness. Maybe this beer is too easy to find (much like how Sam Adams Boston Lager has become so taken for granted and too "weak" to be appreciated), but I think this is much better than many of the amped up double IPAs with their 10% ABV.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2013 00:39:16 | More by DeFaz
Photo of Plattler01


4.83/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a strong copper color, with a good head. Head goes away quickly, but there is great lacing. The smell is wonderful, with notes of pine, citrus, and cascade hops. Very well balanced, pine and hops flavor, a sessionable go-to for any craft drinker.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2013 18:28:53 | More by Plattler01
Photo of rote


4.94/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I suppose I'm probably not an expert like some posters may be on this forum, but I have been drinking for nearly twenty years. I've tried all kinds of lagers, pilsners, mexican, ales, stouts, lights, etc. I tend to go in flavor-of-the-month phases for a few months or up to a couple years. Also, I don't travel, so my repertoire is limited to what's at the local supermarket in So Cal.

Anyhow, for a flavorful, 'strong' beer (ahem, ale), SN Pale Ale is a clear favorite. In addition to the flavor and quality, I think they have good quality control as I've yet to come across a bad batch at the local market. I don't know its availability outside CA, but if you see it and have not tried it, I highly recommend it.

I pretty much signed up for an account just to provide my 2 cents on this great ale while having a few of them.. Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2013 02:38:25 | More by rote
Photo of Airedoggie


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

A: Pours a coppery orange color, slightly hazy. Nice head dissipates fairly quickly, leaves nice lacing.

S: Hint of citrus and piney notes.

T: A piney hops taste is immediate on the tongue followed with a citrus bitterness. Not too brash, but a pleasing taste. Finishes with a light floral spiciness.

M: Lots of carbonation - crisp and refreshing but with enough body for a smooth swallow.

O: A classic. Great session beer. It's fairly well-balanced but with enough hoppy bitterness to make it complex and interesting. A very enjoyable drinking experience.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2013 18:03:18 | More by Airedoggie
Photo of admiral


4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

tasty, delicious - how a pale ale should be!

aroma: didn't get much aroma from the bottle I had but didn't matter when the taste was so good

taste: citrus, pine, spice, orange peel and herbs

very nice, crisp pale ale with a good bitter finish - the standard for pale ales

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2013 09:34:37 | More by admiral
Photo of RolandoHH


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

Appearance - Beautiful, deep amber color, pours a nice head, with good retention and an off-white color. Lacing lasts a long time.
S - Very prominent hops smell, citrusy. There's a nice balance between that and sweet caramel malt.
T - Delivers on what the nose promises. Hoppy, with lots of citrus, and a very nice malt taste to balance it.
M - Very nice carbonation, right where it needs to be.
O - Sure, other's might do it better, but this is still a classic, very drinkable, and an example of what a pale ale should be.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2013 01:38:39 | More by RolandoHH
Photo of brewbattles


3.38/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

We conducted a blind taste test between this beer and 4 other popular American Pale Ales: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Deschutes Mirror Pond Ale, Stone Pale Ale, Firestone Double Barrel Ale, and Boulder Hazed & Infused.

Check it out: http://youtu.be/DHis2L_OBdg

Serving type: can

09-09-2013 23:09:26 | More by brewbattles
Photo of rashley


4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I decided to try this one since I had heard about it from some friends.

This one came from a bottle and when I poured it up in my favorite glass:

A: Pored with a nice head of about 2 fingers. Head retention was great and was an off white color. Lacing lasted a long time on the sides of the glass. Color was a deep amber color and it was clear, with no chill haze or sediment.

S: The smell had a very pronounced hops aroma which I find appealing. It was not overpowering but just begged for me to taste and see if the hops flavor would be pronounced also.

T: My first drink proved that the hop aroma was just a hint of what was to come, as the hops stood out. The carbonation left a little bite on the tongue and the hops left a bitter taste on the back of the tongue. Not too much bitter, but enough to balance the beer. I might detect citrus in there also. I am a novice beer taster so sorry I cant be detailed enough. Just know I liked the hoppy flavor.

M: I would call this a medium body beer as it did not feel watery, but did not feel thick either. Just a nice medium body feel on the tongue and mouth. Very nice.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2013 22:12:18 | More by rashley
Photo of Steveosupemeo


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

I don't know what the hell you all expect in a beer but this little mofo just rocked me! This beer is my new favorite! I just had one bottle from a sample case of many that I received for my birthday and DAMN! I just found my new favorite! My old favorite was Newcastle but now I think I found my true love! I haven't checked the price of this beer yet, but I hope I can afford it! The head stayed moderate throughout the enjoyment of this beer. It smelled a little piney and woodsy and I didn't want to drink the last damn drop knowing that this is the only bottle I had of it. What a teaser! It's kinda like the first good piece of a@@ you ever got. You feel like you want to savor the flavor but get greedy and say screw it, I'm going all the way....It's like that! Dudes, if you haven't tried SN, try it! You won't regret it! My fridge will forever be stocked with Sierra Nev. until my next love comes along...

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2013 05:30:27 | More by Steveosupemeo
Photo of hoppytobehere


3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bought a 12 pack of cans for this weekend's camping trip. Having one now though.

Canned August 5th, 2013. Exactly 1 month old.

A: Clear, light copper body. Big soapy head which is characteristic of SN beers.

S: Citrusy American hops, some sweet caramel malt.

T: Follows the nose nicely. Slightly bitter, lots of citrus from the hops and a nice bready malt that lingers around at the end. Great balance.

M: SN always nails this one. Good carbonation. For a pale ale, this is right where it needs to be.

O: Although eclipsed by many other beers, this remains a classic example of a west coast pale ale.

Serving type: can

09-06-2013 00:00:50 | More by hoppytobehere
Photo of Jdbateman83


3.74/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I have a love hate with this beer, as I do with Sierra Nevada as a company. They make some of my all time favorite top 3 beers (Ovila Golden Ale, and the other 2 Ovila's). This a great pale ale, hoppy, slight bitter, but I don't like the lingering bitterness. I have toured Sierra Nevada's Chico plant, and they put every other brewery I have been to to shame when it comes to facilities, and tours. Part of that is the lack of corporate bureaucracy, since it is still a private brewery, and hopefully will remain so forever. If anyone goes through Chico,CA I would highly recommend this tour. At the end of ours, we tried 10 beers in their tasting room, it was awesome. They have a great pubhouse to great food.

Serving type: on-tap

09-01-2013 04:30:10 | More by Jdbateman83
Photo of Givemebeer


3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Golden, perfect head size - ideal look for a pale ale (Judging by the times I've poured it from a bottle or had it on tap)

S: Piney hops dominate the smell along with some citrus

T: Follows the nose. Mostly piney hops some citrus and bitterness with a small malt backbone that is vaguely present. Finish is very smooth and lingering. Clean, Easy to drink beer.

M: Pretty thin mouthfeel which is normal for the style. Hoppy dry finish.

O: This beer has earned it's status as the quintessential American Pale Ale. Overall, Not the best pale ale I've had, but it's up there. Could go for one of these anytime. My go to session beer.

Serving type: can

08-31-2013 22:12:06 | More by Givemebeer
Photo of teron_reed


3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is my go to beer. I have six of them in my frig right now and will hopefully always. It has a mild flavor, not too overpowering and is perfect for any occasion. I prefer this beer in a bottle over tap or can.

This is my first review and will most likely be edited later.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2013 18:21:29 | More by teron_reed
Photo of JohnnyJam


3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Well I've been drinking this one for a while but haven't reviewed it yet. The beer from a bottle is better. Perhaps it doesn't make sense; I've taken some time and I have come to the conclusion that the can is not as good. It is a staple in my beer refrigerator. Always a great price.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle with a date code (my beer is four moths old) into a pint glass and I get one finger of head.

A: Pours a golden amber color with one finger of head that dissipates quickly to almost nothing but a ring around the glass on top. Little to no lacing.

S: Biscuit smell upfront that is sweet and malty and is followed by floral citrusy smell. There is really nothing that smells like pine or a resin pine smell. Very pleasing and balanced between the malt and the hop.

T: Caramel malt and hop bitterness that are not complex but completely balanced. It finishes slightly bitter.

M: This beer goes down good. It is slightly lighter than medium bodied with medium carbonation. It leaves my mouth slightly dry.

O: This is an outstanding beer. It's always available and I always have it in my refrigerator. It is very drinkable: smooth, balanced, and refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2013 03:16:01 | More by JohnnyJam
Photo of Haydn-Juby

Quebec (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Clear looking with some slight cloudiness approcing as the yeast from bottle conditioning was poured. Golden color with perhaps an extremely light amber hue. One finger of head with nice retention and lacing.

S: A good balance of sweet malt and citrusy hops.

T: A very balanced and evenly matched combination of sweet malts and bitter hops. Bitterness is good and not too overwhelming for a Pale. Some light citrus is made present and perhaps a touch of very slight piney flavor. Sweet slightly toasty malts make up the other half of the beer and make the beer more balanced.

O: A good drinkable beer. It would not be unsuitable to drink two or three of these at a BBQ or get together or any other social occasion but not really something I would be satisfied with during a massive hop craving. It was good and balanced as it should be.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2013 00:16:31 | More by Haydn-Juby
Photo of archyquaffer


3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the oversize bomber into a shaker. A moderate pour produces about 1.5 inches of creamy, off-white head that's plenty sticky. The beer is hazy, with a deep straw color.

Sweet malt and mild floral hops are apparent on the nose and palate. I detect undertones of a sweetness suggestive of honey sweetened tea. The hops assert themselves, but do not overpower, and blend with the fruitiness of the malt to produce a mild and sweet citrus taste similar to a tangerine. A mild bitterness lingers on the tongue, with fruity aftertastes wafting from the burps...

This is one of my "go to" beers- it's refreshing and epitomizes a west coast pale ale without going overboard on the hops. The 24 ounce bombers can often be had in my town for around $2.99 on special (cheap!), and the larger size bottles are also great for filling with homebrew.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2013 01:27:58 | More by archyquaffer
Photo of BethanyB

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: The beady, off-white head has a creamy top and real staying power. The color is a medium amber, and clarity is slightly hazy, presumably due to dry hopping.

Smell: Floral citrusy hops are nicely balanced with grainy malt. A touch of honey is detected as the beer warms.

Taste: Toasted biscuit malt with a touch of caramel. Bitterness is medium-high and lasts through the finish, but still allows the malt to come through. Citrus hop flavor plays a soft, yet noteworthy secondary role.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel and medium-high carbonation. Good balance of smoothness on the palette and dryness in the finish.

Overall: A solid example of an APA. Sessionable and balanced, but at the same time, diversified enough to keep things interesting.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2013 17:25:18 | More by BethanyB
Photo of stakem


3.59/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into a sierra nevada snifter. The brew pours a clear copper color with a rich white froth that fades to a thin film supported by rising bubbles. Overall a solid looking pale ale.

The aroma includes a faint floral to fruity hop quality with a caramel to toffee and biscuit-like grain presence that has a soft touch of butter towards the back end. Not the most vibrant bouquet but enjoyable and easily approachable.

The flavor is clean and crisp with a hoppy bitterness that is somewhat herbal and floral to fruity. Just like the aroma suggested, plenty of caramel malt that blends into the finish and is a bit buttery.

This is a light bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. Overall this is solid and very easy drinking. It is a well made brew that sometimes I have admittedly overlooked in lieu of less familiar faces and/or seasonal offerings that are not always available. This is a very good standby.

Serving type: can

08-13-2013 15:46:36 | More by stakem
Photo of mscudder


4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not quite sure how I have avoiding reviewing this guy, for I have probably had more bottles of this than any other beer on the planet. Into a pint, here we go!

A - Fairly transparent copper hue with a large, off-white head. Retention and lacing are both impressive.

S - Caramel sweetness, citrus hops with a light skunkiness.

T - Caramel malts, grain, pine, light spice, fair bitterness with a melodic finish. Many pale ales have a strong affection with one attribute; this guy has balance.

M - Light-medium body with moderate carbonation.

O - Highly drinkable, remarkably accessible and affordable. Combine this with consistent taste and quality balance and you have my go-to beer whenever I get in a tight spot requiring a stop at a grocery/non-craft beer shop. An amazing gateway beer for those trying to move into the craft world and one I have yet to hear anyone refute. This all said, it is not the best APA (nor is it a top 5 APA), although the sum of its attributes makes this a hell a brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2013 02:48:28 | More by mscudder
Photo of tmzl


4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Look: Pours with a average size, frothy white (with a light orange hue) head. Slow retention, mostly lasting in a thin thick layer. Golden orange hue, perfectly clear. Quite some carbonation for an ale. Leaves a good amount of lacing. Looking good.

Smell: Grapefruit, citrus at start, goes to floral, spicy, light tropical. Some white grape notes and light earthy, wax crayons. Covered with malty sweetness. Good balance, like a good summer fruity ice tea.

Taste: Floral goes to light sweet malt, biscuit middle. Then the medium pine, grapefruit, citrus hop bitterness comes and lightly stays with you for a while. Also some light earthy and spicy notes.

Mouthfeel: Medium, silky body. Fair amount of carbonation - fresh and dry. Easy to drink.

Overall: A classical american pale ale. The trick which works good with this one is relatively simple but fine balance of aroma and taste. I have it once in a while, brings back some good memories.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2013 09:21:15 | More by tmzl
Photo of charlescorley4


4.66/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This will always be my favorite Pale Ale. Absolutely lovely citrus and floral aroma, with one of the most perfectly balanced flavors. A biscuity undertone is countered by the flavor of magnum and cascade hops, giving it its piney, citrusy flavor. Not too overpowering of a hop aroma. As I said before, it is perfectly balanced. It is JUST RIGHT. Truly a classic. This will always be my go to when I'm in the liquor store and not quite sure what to get.

Serving type: can

08-07-2013 19:34:18 | More by charlescorley4
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 7,323 ratings.