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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.

2,843 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,843
Hads: 10,345
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 9.85%
Wants: 226
Gots: 2,193 | 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: 2,843 | Hads: 10,345
Photo of kevinlater
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

welcome to ontario SNPA! 355ml bottle into nonic pint glass. bottled march 25, 2015. consumed on may 14, 2015

a: clear light amber with a finger of off-white head

s: biscuity malt up front followed by piney, floral, and grapefruity hop characteristics. hints of hoppy spices and oranges. extremely pleasant

t: a piney floral presence at first, but quickly leads into big biscuity malt flavours with subdued grapefruit, lemon, and orange notes, as well as touches of spice coming from the hops. moderate bitterness at the end

m: medium-minus body, with moderate carbonation. excellent

o: a modest but delicious, solid, and enjoyable ale (646 characters)

Photo of BayernMunchen3113
4.62/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Very tasty pale ale - Would recommend for summertime grilling and BBQ. Extremely enjoyable when super cold. My favorite beer hands down. Love this offering! (156 characters)

Photo of Vinegarroon
3.4/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

The pale ale I grew up with. It always reminds me of Mom.
This is a classic to me. It is the benchmark of American Pale Ales. It's not outstanding compared to some of it's successors, but over the past 30-some years it remains good. A pioneer of the American microbrew. If you've never had one, this is where the magic began. Have one just to pay homage to our microbrew forebarers. (388 characters)

Photo of gutbucket2
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

350ml. Pours amber/gold, with thick diminishing head. Fruit on the nose. Taste: fruit, a little caramel. Mouthfeel: tingly with gentle lingering hop. Overall: one of the best bottle-conditioned pale ales. Good quality control at brewery ensures consistency between batches. (275 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

355 mL bottle from a sixer picked up at the LCBO; bottled on Mar 25 2015. This one finally became available for sale in the Ontario market sometime last week - and you can bet that I didn't waste any time in tracking it down. And now, let's see what all the fuss is about. Served slightly chilled.

Pours a foggy golden-amber hue, with visible flecks of hop particulate slowly hovering throughout the liquid. Roughly two fingers of head are produced, though it does not stick around terribly long. After a few minutes have passed, a bubbly film and foamy collar have taken its place, accompanied by some scant filaments of lace. The nose is largely dominated by the Cascade hops - plenty of pithy grapefruit, with lesser notes of lemon zest and orange. A light hint of pine resin is also noticeable, with suggestions of caramelized sugar, bready malt and toasted biscuit. Nothing too fancy, but it gets the job done.

In fact, the very same could be said of the flavour profile, too - it's well-made and tasty, but not the sort of pale ale that grabs your attention in any way whatsoever. The malt backbone is unassuming but reliably sturdy; a mild, caramelized sugar sweetness comes through, in addition to some nice toasted bread/biscuit flavours. Cascade hops take the reigns for the latter half of the sip, offering up familiar notes of grapefruit pith and orange zest. Finishes with a touch of resiny bitterness that lingers briefly into the aftertaste. Medium-bodied, with moderate carbonation levels that give this pale ale a somewhat crisp mouthfeel. It goes down smoothly and effortlessly.

Final Grade: 4.05, a solid A-. I can't help but feel that my palate has become rather spoiled, given the explosion of hop-forward pale ales that have flooded the market over the last 10 years or so. Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale hails from a simpler time - and while it may not boast a particularly exotic flavour profile, or the ability to smash your head in with a sledgehammer constructed entirely of hops - you really can't deny this one's quality. It's just supremely drinkable and refreshing - a true staple, though at $15/sixer (in this market), the local guys probably don't have much to worry about yet. (2,208 characters)

Photo of m_hall
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pour from a 12 oz bottle into a nonic pint. Clear golden in hue, topped by a two-finger off-white head that falls slowly, leaving good lacing.

Aromas are biscuit and citrus fruits, with some pine and earthy hops.

On tasting the malts come up front, with the same biscuit promised by the nose, along with a mild sweetness and light fruity esters. Hop notes soon follow, grapefruit and spice. Finish is dry and slightly chalky (but not unpleasantly so) with just a hint of resinous aftertaste. A good choice if you want a hoppy ale if IPA's are a bit too much for you.

Body is medium, slightly chewy, with good carbonation for a bit of zest. Alcohol is just right for this to be a good anytime drinker.

One of the "grand old men," of US craft brewing (along with Anchor Steam, Stone Pale Ale, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and a handful of others) the original American Pale Ale continues to live up to its reputation. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is solid in every respect... newer drinkers might wonder what all the genuflection is about with this one, but one has to realize that way back in the early 80's, this beer helped start a revolution in American brewcraft, along with providing a great showcase for US-grown hops from the Pacific Northwest. Every APA that's come after has followed the trail blazed here. (1,316 characters)

Photo of pianoguy
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

Poured a golden body with a 1 inch off white head, good lacing

Sweet malts are fairly prominent with a slight pine hop scent

Malt at the start with a nice refreshing slightly bitter hop finish. Good mix !

Appropriate mouth feel for a pale ale.

When the weather is warm I'm a sucker for a good pale ale ! This one has a lot going for it !

Goes well with oysters . (385 characters)

Photo of MNAle
2.88/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

1/2 inch slightly off-white head. Amber color with aggressive carbonation. Faint aroma that is pleasant, somewhat citrusy. Very mild taste, not highly hopped at all in either the initial taste, mid, or aftertaste. This surprised me. It was only about 10 weeks past its bottled date,. so hop fading should certainly not been an issue. Substantial mouth feel, especially for a pale ale. But, the overall taste is just so unremarkable. While I generally prefer beers that are not over-hopped, it is not just the lack of a hops bite that is surprising. It is just so ordinary. This is a very drinkable ale, but for all the hype about this being the prototypical American pale ale, I was expecting much more. (703 characters)

Photo of beerinchapelhill
5/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my current everyday beer. I am not sure why I like it so much, but I guess it is:
1. Great American Hops, still balanced with the malt
2. Bottle conditioned, not pasteurized. It has a live taste.
3. Brewed here in N.C. Fresh date, fresh N.C. mountain water, low carbon footprint. (288 characters)

Photo of AirBob
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Notes from 12/19/14

A - 3 fingers of rolling white head. Great retention and lacing. Clear orange-golden body.

S - Grassy hops. Bready malt backbone. Citrus rind and some pine follows. Maybe a little white pepper.

T - Mild malt backbone with a bitter citrus bite and pine notes.

M - Relatively creamy for the style. Medium carb. Clean finish.

O - This bottle may have beer a little past its prime or my palate is off. A little too much malt for my liking, but still a great, easy to find refrigerator beer. (519 characters)

Photo of hopphead31415
3.77/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is a standard "go-to" beer for Sierra Nevada. I really like this brewery, but this variety isn't their best. I'll discuss each aspect of the beer below.

A: It pours a pretty clear deep golden yellow whose shade depends on the ambient lighting. I was in a relatively dim room so it might be a lighter shade than I perceived. Nice foamy head that results from a good pour, but make it a vigorous pour so that you can get the little head that it has to offer.

S: The smell is nice with a toasty cracker base and hints of piney hops and mango citrus.

T: The taste starts with the malty toasty flavor and then a mild hop character that gives way into the citrus mango. It leaves a coating on the tongue that begs for another sip. It is quite delicious when chilled down real good.

F: The mouthfeel is pretty standard. Smooth crisp with carbonation that is a mild level of effervescence. Fine lacing on the glass and the head lasts until the last sip.

O: Overall, I think this is a nice beer for any day of the year, but if you want a strong hoppy beer, then move on to their Torpedo Extra IPA. The Pale Ales are good, but should be reserved for those days when you want to switch it up. (1,194 characters)

Photo of ARoman
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a shaker. The beer is a clear orange gold with a decent amount of sediment floating around in it and is topped by a floating, soapy white head that has a light retention and a light lace. The aroma is a bright tropical and citrus note with a touch of pine and a subtle bread toast undertone. The taste is a balanced, medium bittersweet. The texture is oily with a foamy carbonation to help it go down smooth. The medium body is flavored much like the aroma - citrus, pineapple, mango, and pine. It finishes with a waxy, bitter grapefruit and pine that turns lightly cloying and astringent, but mostly clean, with an aftertaste of bread toast. (666 characters)

Photo of MikeDL
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The first thing I did on my 21st birthday was skateboard down to the store and buy a 12 pack of these. Sipped on them the whole day, these beers taste great. You have to try them! (179 characters)

Photo of do_ob
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ah, an old favorite. 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a clear amber with a 1 finger white sticky head of foam. Lots of carbonation. Dank smell with pine, spice, and citrus. Light weight, nice and crisp mouthfeel. Taste is sweet pine and citrus with notes of grapefruit and raisins. Low bitterness. A bit of malt on the back end with a piney finish.

This is one of my favorite session beers, and was one of the beers that got me into the craft scene. There's not much to say about this one that hasn't been said a million times since it's creation in 1980. If, for some reason, you haven't tried this staple beer, do yourself a favor and pick up a 6 pack. (658 characters)

Photo of SmashAdams
3/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a decent beer but certainly not a favorite of mine. My only problem with this beer is that it has no stand-out qualities to it. Nothing seems special or interesting about it other than it's a solid beer. yb (214 characters)

Photo of hophead723
4.26/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled on Feb. 5, 2015 so it's pretty fresh. Poured into a pint glass at a very chilled temperature.

Look: Absolutely brilliantly clear amber that has a hearty off white head. Nice lacing as well. This beer looks amazing in the glass.

Smell: Excellent biscuity malt jumps right out of the glass with a nice backing of grassy, floral, and herbal hop aroma. It is also pungent with fruity ale yeast.

Taste: Nice and sweet malt right at the beginning along with a very gentle hoppyness that perfectly imitates the aroma. I get a tannin expression similar to biting into a granny smith apple. It almost tastes like apple cider!

Feel: Crisp and somewhat astringent at the back of the tongue with subtle dry lingering as well.

Overall: It's easy to see why this beer is the best selling pale ale in the country. It's very clean, drinkable, and friendly to those who are new to hops. If you like this, try it's big brother Torpedo Extra IPA. (944 characters)

Photo of Colt-Seavers
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Light amber almost translucent that produced 2 fingers of slightly off-white head that dissipated into a medium-thin layer that remained until finished. Spotty lacing; beautiful in natural light.

S: Pine, citrus-grapefruit, and slight lemon zest. HOPS GLORIOLA! Sweet malt and then a less forward yeast-funk that makes it's self known right at the end.

T: A mirror of smell with the hop forward character dominating with piney-citrus - grapefruit, lemon zest, sweet malt (thank God) and then a bit of that yeast-funky-left the laundry in the washer too long flavor. This last bit of funk would be offensive with out the dominance of hops and subsequent sweetness of the malt. Together, the flavors work well.

MF: HOPS forward astringent, moderate carbonation that co-insides, on the oily side of light.

When I let the funk out, it always includes George Clinton. As far as beer is concerned, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is right there with GC! Right after the piney-ester grapefruit-citrus forward taste and feel of this brew, you'll be looking up "Flashlight" on YouTube. Drank my first in the 80's and appreciate it more now. Readily available - Get you some of that...soon. (1,182 characters)

Photo of joyntbrewing
3.76/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

There is yeast in the bottle. Look hard at the bottom and you will find it. Impressive that they can bottle condition and leave eight yeast cells at the bottom of the bottle. This beer transcends time. Get ye some. (218 characters)

Photo of golfbeerguy2
4.78/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A great hopped up copper beer. Fruity floral and flavourful. When I'm in the US I really enjoy this beverage. Perhaps my favourite pale ale of all time. (or at this time!) (173 characters)

Photo of Reckage
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a really nice light copper, about three finger head that dwindles to about a cm. Has some relaxed lacing going on.
Smells herbal and citrus, slight piney and maybe a breadiness.
Taste is top notch, very much like the smell. Really well balanced here and leaves a great after taste imo.
Carbonation is good and medium plus body, goes down too easy.
Delicious brew here, looking forward to throwing a couple of these back come summertime! (442 characters)

Photo of sporklift87
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours two fingers of light tan fluffy head with good retention and some spotty lacing. Clear, light amber and orange. Some small particles floating around. Zesty, spicy smell of pine. Floral background with citrus notes from Cascade hops. Semi-sour citrus flavors, like lemon, with pine lingering more on finish. Bitterness is right about what I would expect in a pale. Straightforward and not too complex, but quite refreshing. Good carbonation, and stays on front and middle of tongue for half a minute or so. Acidity seems slightly off balance compared to lighter side of a medium body feel, but thats not a bad thing. Foam expands and dances around mouth, even with a small sip. Overall, a great example of a pale ale, perhaps not the pinnacle, but a highly recommended go-to. Easy drinking and easy to find at a good price (about $1 per beer, even in a six pack). (868 characters)

Photo of Kelby777
3.17/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Ok, so I am a pale ale virgin and my views are entirely unbiased. I recognize that the ratings for this beer on Beer Advocate are high, but I will tell you what I honestly think.

Poured delicately out of a 12 oz. bottle into a dimpled beer stein at about 36 degrees.

Appearance - It has a beautiful caramel color with particles floating in the beer. It looks highly carbonated. It has almost a one finger head. It retains most of its head all the way through.

Smell - Has a nice fruity and floral scent to it. Floral hops and citrusy.

Taste - Fruity and citrusy carbonated taste with a strong bitterness from the hops afterward. The hoppy taste lingers for a while on the tongue. They really do use some superb hops, but the taste gets annoying after a while. The first beer was definitely good, but the beers after that are way too bitter.

Mouth feel - Watery and spritzee mouth feel.

Overall, I think this beer is refreshing. However, for me personally, this is NOT the beer I'd want to consume everyday OR in large quantities. The taste really subtracts from the drinkability and I really do enjoy DRINKING my beer. (1,129 characters)

Photo of DaverCS
4.62/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can poured deep orange in color with a nice fluffy white 2 finger head.

Aroma is of citrus and real nice pine. I get a good kick of lemon but the pine is the star.

Taste is a real nice refreshing beer. It's like one step away from an ipa, but it's a little lighter and crispier with less malt sweetness. Immediately get a nice prickle of carbonation up front. I get mild citrus followed by that classic Sierra Nevada piney hop flavor. However, rather than a lingering bitterness, a nice biscuity malt flavor takes over to finish the sip.

Overall super refreshing beer. One of the best sessionable beers I have tried. However, it's obviously not as flavorful of a beer as an ipa and feels a bit watery on the palate. This is expected for the style. I would pair this with a nice juicy slice of watermelon on a hot summer day. It gets a 92.5/100. (853 characters)

Photo of Pantalones
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Third bottle of this from the six-pack I picked up in February; bottling date is December 29th, 2014.

Pours pretty light in color, but once in the glass it's more of a dark gold/light orange sort of color. Almost coppery, now that I think about it. Mostly clear, with just a hint of haziness, and lots of little bubbles rising up from the bottom. Head is just slightly off-white and starts out fairly big, slowly shrinking away into a still-fairly-thick cap on the surface of the beer after a few minutes, leaving many trails behind on the sides of the glass as it goes. And of course, there's the neat little short stubby bottle with the "green with yellow banner" label that I've been able to recognize on sight since LONG before I ever actually drank beer. A very nice-looking beer in every category.

The smell seems to have a lot going on. There's some breadiness, almost a yeasty uncooked bread dough sort of thing to be specific, and of course the hops (which are piney and citrusy, leaning more toward the citrus side than most of the hoppy beers I've had so far.) The hops don't blast you in the face from a foot away in this one, but I do sometimes get faint little whiffs of citrus even at a distance, which really made me want to go ahead and drink some while I was writing the "looks" section of this review! The one downside: sometimes there's a bit of a funky smell that's a little offputting; I'm not really sure what this is, as it's hard to really pinpoint it even when it's present. In one of the earlier bottles it came across as "orange and BO," and in this one it's sort of reminding me of a blend of bread and dirty clothes that have been sitting in the "wash me" pile for a bit too long. I don't always get this from the smell, though--sometimes I pick up the funkiness, other times it's just a pleasant yeasty-bread-and-hops smell. I'm going to sort of give the smell score something between the score I want to give it when it smells funky (probably a 3 or slightly below) and the score I want to give it when it smells more "breadiness+orange/pine hops"-ish (upper 3s range, pushing 4)... leaning toward the higher scores a bit since the smell isn't really impacting my enjoyment of the beer, and I don't *always* pick up the funky bits.

Taste is more consistently good than the smell. I've had this at nearly a year after the bottling date and it was still not bad (the hops had faded for sure, but even then I could tell there was some citrusy type flavor in there along with the malts), and it's even better when it's fresh of course. There's yeasty bread-like flavors, slightly sweet (more so when it's older), and there's faintly bitter hop flavors too, citrusy and piney. As with the smell, the citrus stands out more in this one than in most of the other hoppy beers I've had--it's more clearly "citrus+pine" here rather than "PINE!... and maybe some citrusiness too." Sometimes I'm even getting a little bit of an herbal/spicy sort of flavor mingled in, but orange and pine are definitely the ones that stand out here. A citrusy flavor and just a bit of the accompanying bitterness hang around afterward. What bitterness is present is very mild and definitely blended with the flavors rather than standing out as its own harsh thing off to the side. Overall, it's really nice, and seems like it's more complex than the other pale ales I've tried rather than having one overwhelming flavor and only hints of the others.

Feel is also pretty nice. Not too fizzy, not too flat/watery, easy to drink but at the same time feels substantial enough to let you know this is definitely a beer, not some kind of flavored water drink. A bit of an oily/sticky thing going on, but not so strongly that it stands out a lot if you don't think about it.

Overall... this is a really nice beer. There's basically nothing below-average here, or even anything *average* for that matter--with the exception of the sometimes-funky smell, I have nothing but good things to say about this one. Even the smell isn't that much of a downside, which is saying a lot considering just how sensitive I am to bad smells (as in "if something smells really bad to me, I can't bring myself to eat it.") I can see how this was so many people's "wow, beer can taste like THIS?" beer way back in the day when craft beer was a much smaller chunk of the market than it is today. I'm glad I decided to pick up a fresher six-pack of this one after trying an old one in a restaurant once... although I don't mind the old version either, it is definitely better with only 2 or 3 months of age on it rather than 10 or 11! XD (4,641 characters)

Photo of vikinggary28
4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a perfect amber colour with a white head and a little lacing. Smell is not overly strong. Hops with a pine aroma, maybe a hint of citrus. Taste is above average for a west coast American pale ale, not over powering hops and maybe a little citrus spiciness to go with it. Great malt balance. Aftertaste may be a little grassy. Great mouthfeel. If you want to introduce someone for the first time to a great APA, this would be a great beer to start. (453 characters)

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,843 ratings.