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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.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

8,807 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,807
Reviews: 2,702
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 138
Gots: 943 | 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:
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 8,807 | Reviews: 2,702 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Zraly
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium-golden color with a two finger head, precisely what should be in order. Nice herbal hop scent. And a curious accumulation of small yeast mounds at the bottom of my glass. I'm not sure if this is typical or not, but...an interesting sight for an APA.

The malt flavors are dominated by notes of raw grain and bready malts. A slight hint of sugar is layered amongst the very generous hop flavor. Smooth drinking with citrusy, herbal and slightly woodsy hop character. It's rather easy to drink more than one.

Sierra Nevada's flagship...and a good one at that. This should be the standard by which other APA's are judged. This is the lay of the land. Someone order the pizza.

Zraly, Jan 14, 2005
Photo of Illini5596
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice golden brew which while it has a dissapointing head, the lacing is quite nice. The smell is strong and carries through the classic ale aromas, hops dominating them all. On tasting the first impression is sharply that of the hops, which slowly blends to a vanilla creamy sweetness with a very even mouth feel. The after taste is a twang of sharp hops tempered by smooth cream. All over a very drinkable ale. The level of hops may put off some people but it is very well rounded and masterfully crafted. A good beer drinkers beer, great for sharing with your friends, and a good introduction to master crafted ales.

Illini5596, Jan 12, 2005
Photo of KroMagnon
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Clear, color is a light reddish-golden (on tap it seems darker to me though). The head is white and dissipates a bit rapidly. The aroma is clean with a bit of maltiness and a nice citrusy hop smell. The flavor is crisp, clean, with a slightly sweet malty base followed by a piney, resinous hop note and a solid bitterness. Several years ago this was the hoppiest beer I had regularly; since then its hoppiness has been surpassed by others, but I don't think any beer is as well balanced and compliemented as this one. This is a great beer and delicious.

KroMagnon, Jan 09, 2005
Photo of BruceBeerman
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah, the sweet nector of a west coast pale ale. The cascade hops with their citrus/floral aroma, the nice bitterness, and the wonderful mouthfeel of this beer it very nice. One of the best of its style.

It is nice golden color with 2 finger head. The foam disapate slowly and nice lacy foam clings to the glass as you drink it. It is bottle conditioned, so don't pour the sentement at the bottom of the bottle (dead yeast). It won't hurt, but just a little too bitter and off flavor as the rest is intended.

I love the history of this bewery and how they were pioneers in developing and marketing the APA style. One of the first and few true west coast micros to be sold in Pennsylvania.

Half of my homebrews are APA style because I liked it so much. SN APA is one of the reasons why. I love the floral cascade hops (and plenty of them).

BruceBeerman, Jan 07, 2005
Photo of Shiredave
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Im always happy to walk into a new bar and find SN pale on tap as the only "Micro" available.
Color is a golden amber, good streaming carbonation. Maybe too good. (swirling...swirling...) Thin and whispy white head that kicks up retreats quickly to a ring around the glass.

The aroma is all cascade - oranges and Flowers, a bit of sugar behind. A good aroma but somehow a bit boring.

Flavor is on style - rich malt up front with soft herbal hop flavors moving accross the tongue. Body is pretty light, hop bittering is there at the end but subdued and mildy dry. Nothing terribly complex, just good, light bodied balance.

Tasty and quaffable, Classic, if not The Origional, American Pale Ale. I seem to remember liking this more 5+ years ago tho...have I changed...? ....or the beer? Possibly both.

Shiredave, Jan 07, 2005
Photo of stjarnflikka
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden, all clear beer with a quite thick foam. It is somewhat orange in colour and has a nice carbonation.

Smell is malts, an orange sweetness. There are heavy traces of citrus in there and a flowery character to wrap up the sweetness, like the nectar of this beer :)

Taste is.. great. Its tihck and bready with a caramel like sweetness thats balanced with the bitterness. Butter and flowers flow throughout the sips.
Bitter and sweet blend perfectly and then comes the somewhat prickly alcohol and a large bitterness in the aftetaste together with spicy traces.

stjarnflikka, Jan 01, 2005
Photo of Crotor
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours crystal clear light amber with two fingers of off-white head that lingers, laces, and threatend to dimple. An ideal appearance for an APA.

Smells of bready malt and slight, citrus hops. No esters. Nice and *clean.*

Tastes crisp, with prominent, bready malt. Expertly balanced with the grapefruit rind hop flavor of Cascade hops. No yeast esters thanks to the 1056... Just clean, bready malt and citric hops in perfect balance. A simple and impressive profile.

The mouthfeel is fairly light, and slightly creamy. Entirely pleasant.

The drinkability is top-notch. This'd be a hard beer to grow tired of. Leaves me wanting more. Compliments a wide range of food, and does little damage to the palate. A hell of a session beer.

Goddamn. I'm damned impressed with SNPA this time around. For about the past two years I've only had it as my "fallback beer" when at restaurants, and it's usually been served way too cold, usually in one of those frosted tulip-pilsner glasses. Drinking it now, at the proper temperature (so that I can actually *taste* it) it's way more nuanced than I'd thought. When ice cold, all that I was able to taste were prominent, citrus hops. Now that it's warmed up, I can taste the depth of bready malt, and the hops seem to be in perfect, complimenting balance. This beer must've blow people's minds when it hit the market back in the 80s...

Crotor, Dec 29, 2004
Photo of santoslhalper
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearence: Pours a clear golden color with a frothy off-white head. Head leaves ok lacing, and a nice amount of carbonation is present.

Smell: Smells mainly of fresh, pungent hops with a decent malt presence. ver west coast smelling.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Tastes smooth and crisp with an almost pilsener-type hop taste. The malts are decent and balance it out well. It smooth and clean in the mouth, but a little too light-bodied for my tastes.

Drinkability and Overall: This is a classic APA that stands the taste of time. Simple and solid. Nothing unique but still a great session brew.

santoslhalper, Dec 19, 2004
Photo of aquaderek
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I love Chico, a fun school and a awesome beer. This beer can be found almost anywhere, and it never fails to come correct. It is much better on tap, on tap I would have given it all 5s. Lets get to the beer, pours a nice amber color, the nose is complex, pretty hoppy. The mouthfeel is great hoppy and spicy taste. Cannot go wrong with this beer. This beer will be around for a long time. I really like it with spicy food and pizza.

aquaderek, Dec 17, 2004
Photo of Juggernaut
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one was excellent, a very nice gold amber color, with a white head, with good retention. Smelled of slite malt with a good hop aroma, that was very inviting.

The taste was great, very well balanced with a good bitterness that hits you and then slowly fades into some maltiness, with a possible hint of citrus. The smoothness and body of this beer is incredible, and it has a very light carbonation, all making for a beer that could be enjoyed for hours.

Juggernaut, Dec 16, 2004
Photo of bceaglejoe
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer poured a dark gold amber into the glass, leaving a decent-sized head. It smelled hoppy, but it wasn't totally overpowering. The taste was smooth and crisp, leaving a slight aftertaste that disappeared quickly. After the initial hop hit on the tongue, subsequent sips proved pretty refreshing. It felt somewhat bitter on my tongue, but the bitterness contributed to the compexity of the flavors I was tasting. I don't know if I would drink many of these in succession, but this was a good dinner beer. I had it with somewhat spicy food, and it went pretty well. It would be interesting to try it with salads, or other types of entrees.

bceaglejoe, Dec 05, 2004
Photo of dgallina
3.35/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear golden color with substantial creamy white head, lots of lace, and strong carbonation. Smell is strong hops on a grain background. Powerful grapefruit hop flavors with somewhat rough grain underpinnings. Very drinkable medium-light body.

Very fresh tasting, but with a disappointingly one-dimensional flavor profile. Lots of tasty grapefruit hop flavor, but no malts or additional complexity in sight. This sample just didn't measure up to the bottled versions I've had.

dgallina, Dec 04, 2004
Photo of MrNuggets
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big white head with good retention. Leaves me with strong lace. The light with a mix of grain and hops. Mmmm... balance, I like balance in my pale ales. Expecially in something I will be drinking alot of. Which this one is good for. Easy on the carbonation and about as drinkable as it gets.

MrNuggets, Nov 27, 2004
Photo of mobyfann
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Paid $6.99 for a 6'er for Turkey Day...

BEER KARMA 100th POINT

The beer pours a clear beautiful ambe rbrown base with a medium white head, good retention and lacing effects. The aroma was not really distinct so I give it an average.

However, the taste is very full which I like personally; it has notes of hops, a little malt, a little fruity and a little sweet; a real nice blend. The M&D life this beer to a new dimension. I have never been more impressed by a mainstream beer than this. It is extremely smooth all over and this is an ideal session beer, watch out @ 5.6%...

Final Thought: It's been over two years since I drank a SNPA but I am glad I refounded this relationship that will continue for quite some time.

mobyfann, Nov 27, 2004
Photo of anders36
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This nice beer pours a copper colour, with a not so big head. The head reduces slowly leaving just a ring of foam. It has a fruity and hoppy smell with some hints of malt. Quite strong in carbonation, but it is balanced. The taste is malty and smooth and you can feel lots of fruity hops in the aftertaste. You also get alot of bitterness in the after taste. A really nice pale ale that i also have tasted on tap.

anders36, Nov 22, 2004
Photo of Shaw
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice amber/copper color with a beautiful head that reduces to just a layer of foam. There's a bit of hop aroma, along with some malt smells and some weird things I can't identify.

The taste is good and well-balanced between sweet and bitter. Not being an IPA, it isn't bitter.

The body is good, too. Not too heavy but far from light.

This is the gold standard for American Pale Ales and a very drinkable beer. It's one of the best mass-market beers out there and can please beer geeks and beer newbies.

Shaw, Nov 17, 2004
Photo of hero27
4.53/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Drank this on-tap at Mulligan's in Cedar Falls, Iowa..

Appearance: Looks great in the 16-ounce pint glass. Dark, amber color with a fairly thin head. The thin cap stays the entire time, though..leaving a soft lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell: Definite citrousy hop aroma, which makes it difficult to smell much else. There are some fruity, and even woody undertones.. can pick up some sweet malts as well.

Taste: mmm, very well-balanced and smooth. Would be a superb session beer...for some reason I enjoyed this on tap much more than the large bomber I originally sampled this from. Sort of a lemony-hoppiness to the brew..with some very pleasant smooth malts for a nice, well-rounded taste. Finish is bitter and hoppy, as expected.

Mouthfeel: As creamy & smooth as I've ever seen from a pale ale. Moderate overall mouthfeel but slides down dangerously easy..

Drinkability: Fairly cheap and widely available. A staple of the APA style and one of my favorite beers to have on-tap in the area, since most of them have it. You could drink this all night long if you wanted to...and you'd enjoy it.

hero27, Nov 16, 2004
Photo of bark
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The colour is brown-copper-red. The liquid is a bit cloudy, as the beer is bottle fermented. The pale yellow foam quickly dissolves into thin air.

The smell is very nice with a dominating sourish note. But there are also some fragrances like coffee, diacetyl, white bread and aroma hops.

The carbonation is quite strong, but not sharp.

The taste starts off with a mild malty taste, but that is soon replaced with a growing, fruity bitterness. The body is liberal with notes of bread, herbs and diacetyl. The finish and aftertaste is a mixture of mild hops (cascade?) and a sweet-sour note that reminds me of lemon curd.

A nice “micro” pale ale from a not-so-micro American brewer. On the whole, one may call this a nice beer.

bark, Nov 13, 2004
Photo of bigchris1313
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Golden yellow, with a white head.

Smell: Hops. And a smidgen of malt. But most importantly, hops, which for me is the selling point because I love hops.

Taste: What can I say, other than it is the epitome of the Pale Ale. More hops than a pilsner, with a tidbit more malt. Almost grassy.

Mouthfeel: Like a macro with more body and somehow "more solid" carbonation.

Drinkability: It gets a 4.5 because it's a solid beer that isn't very powerful.

Notes: What can I say about this beer? It's the beer that brought me into the realm of Beer Advocacy. This is the gateway drug of good beer. Furthermore, it's an incredible fall-back beer. If you're at a a moderate to nice bar in California, chances are they have this beer in bottles, so even if they fail to have anything incredible, you can usually get this beer. It's akin to having to drive your Cadillac while your Mercedes is in the shop.

bigchris1313, Nov 11, 2004
Photo of moocey
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz stubby bottle that is useless for homebrewing - poured into a freakishly designed beer mug.

Smell - Bready malty aroma and a ton of cascade hops. Not bad at all

Taste - Like homeade biscuits out of the oven! Yum! Bready biscuity malt up front that transitions into a citrusy, hoppy middle with a substantial smack of bitterness in the finish.

This is a great fallback here where I live. It can be found no matter where you are. This beer was my first introduction to hops.

moocey, Nov 05, 2004
Photo of GClarkage
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11/01/04- Purchased at the local grocery store.

Appearance- Pours with a nice head with little puffy circles as the head dies away. Surprisingly decent lacing also.

Smell- Scent of hefty malt with a equally hefty amount of hops. Definite woody and floral scents.

Taste- Pretty much the perfect combo of malt and hops. A nice citrus tang to it. Maybe some apricot in there that goes well with a hoppy malt flavor.

Mouthfeel- Goes down nicely. Great level of carbonation. Slides down the throat with ease.

Drinkability- For some reason I get worn out on this beer when I drink it too often. For me it's maybe a 12 pack a year. A great pale ale, but one to be consumed only on occasion for me. A good pick though.

GClarkage, Nov 02, 2004
Photo of longarm
3.43/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An old stand-by, if there's a beer that hooked me on the APA style, it was this one many years ago. Certainly as in most things related to first loves, perceptions can be inflated due in part to relative experience and naivete. It should be interesting to see how this classic holds-up to closer inspection.

Appearance is light amber, showing light hints of caramel malt. The head is decent with moderate fluffiness that fades faster than I would like. Overall carbonation, however, holds quite well.

The aroma is unimpressive for the style. Somewhat dominated by alcohol odors, but mild doses of caramel malt wisp around too. Surprisingly, the aroma hops are extremely mild and less than I expected from memory.

Flavor has mild hop bitterness with tinges of pine. Malt helps to round-out the flavors, but a slight sourness on the finish detracts from the overall flavor profile. Bitterness masks this a little, but the off-flavor is certainly present.

The mouthfeel is slightly above average.

While it doesn't live up to expectations, this beer will always hold a special place with me and warrant the occasional purchase. It's decently balanced and a good transition to the wonderful world of American Pale Ales. Although I don't live there now, when I first started drinking this beer, I lived in Northern California. I have to wonder if freshness has a lot to do with the perceived drop-off in quality in this review.

longarm, Nov 02, 2004
Photo of zacharius
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer pours a light amber that is something slightly less than brillantly clear. White head sits on top. Smell is of citrusy hops. Taste of beer is of Cascade hops with a slight malt background, finish is all hops. Slight hint of mineraly water. Very drinkable and smooth beer with a nice body. Definatley a session beer.

zacharius, Oct 31, 2004
Photo of Gagnonsux
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great beer, although I have to admit I expected a little more when I heard this was the prototypical APA. I guess I was expected the best APA ever, but I've had a few I liked better. Taste is nicely hopped, very full and complete. Citric hop tastes finish the sip appropriately. This is a perfect beer for slow sipping at a bar or at home, thankfully this is available almost everywhere. I have nothing more to add that hasn't been said numerous times already.

Gagnonsux, Oct 31, 2004
Photo of RushLimbmalt
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A very good pale ale. It is amber and very clear in it's appearance and it has a very slow natural carbonation and very little head.

It has a pleasant, hoppy/fruity/malty aroma that screams drink me. It's flavor is very much balanced between a hoppy bite and a malty sweetness, if a bit thin for a pale ale. It has a smooth creamy finish that makes this beer extremely drinkable. Not a bad beer at all and it makes for a nice session beer.

RushLimbmalt, Oct 30, 2004
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,807 ratings.