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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.

9,665 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,665
Reviews: 2,797
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.88%
Wants: 178
Gots: 1,455 | 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:
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 9,665 | Reviews: 2,797 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gunnerman
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass pours a copper color with a foamy one finger head that leaves some nice thick heavy lace. Smell is pretty malty, I was expecting a bit more hop smell in the nose but the malt was overwhelming. THis beer is so smooth and goes down very well a nice balance with the hop and the malt not overpowering but a nice solid flavor of earth and citrus. I have had this beer alot and have never reviewed it, this is a classic that should be in everyones beer refrig truly an amazing product from an amzing brewer.

Photo of tedsox31
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Goose Island pint glass. The color is a clear amber with a nice frothy, white head that retains well and leaves lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is floral to me, along with some yeast and grains. I like it very much.

This is a sharp, fruity taste. I notice the fruits first, followed by some citrus and yeast, and finishing with the grainy hops taste. It has such a good hops taste at the finish. Keeps making me come back for more.

Clean, medium mouthfeel. There is carbonation, but it balances nicely with the rest of the beer.

Overall, a very drinkable beer. A session beer if I have ever had one, what with the generally low abv (comparatively) and the tastiness. I am looking forward to making the original recipe that you can find in Papazian's book.

Photo of Jayli
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This light amber brew throws out dense white head that creates a nice lacing throughout the entire beer. There is a wonderful blast of hops in the aroma. The flavor follows this same trend. Great hop character with a fantastic understated bitterness. Underlying malt is sufficient. Pretty clean tasting for an ale. This is one that is good to go all night. One of my favorite Pale Ales.

Photo of maximum12
3.38/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well, I think enough virtual ink has been spilled over this beer. The basics have been covered about 1,500 times.

For me, this is certainly a beer worth trying. While not one of my favorite styles, it has the misfortune of following Alpha King by a short time span, & suffers by comparison to that proof of God.

It has the requisite bite, pale color, low ABV, but it's a bit more obvious & less refined that the class of the APA field. But a good beer to go & sip around a bonfire on a warm fall night, which is what I will be doing in roughly five minutes.

Photo of champ103
3.28/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep amber orange color. A small white head forms and leaves little lace.
S: Floral hops and grapefruit. Some citrus and piney aroma as well.
T: Bitter grapefruit up front. Some floral hops and citrus fruit again. Not a lot of malt for balance.
M/D: A medium body that has a crisp snap on the tongue. A nice creaminess follows. For me, the bitterness takes away from the drinkability. Not something I want to session.

I do enjoy this beer, I just think it is over rated a bit. Lots of bitter grapefruit and not much malt balance. If that is your thing, then its all good. Its not mine. Though I would not hesitate to drink this as a fall back when nothing else good was around.

Photo of bcolflesh
4.7/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank 2 bottles at Zendcon 2008.

Someone came from the free bar with one of these and I asked him how it was - he shook his head, "not so good, dude" - I saw him later enjoying a Corona.

This is really good - hints of many flavors, and a really slight bitterness, which I normally would not like - but it's almost nothing and disappears immediately.

I was eating various cheese cubes and mashed potatoes - but this would have been good on it's own I think - good beer.

Photo of JBuff41413
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite beers. I have to pick it up every so often. I'm finally getting around to reviewing it.

A- Clover honey color with a 3/4 inch creamy white head that falls to just a creamy glaze on the surface.

S- Very hoppy with grapefruit and honey.

T- Sweet caramel malts up front beautifully transitioning in to a quite bitter brew with lots of hops and grapefruit taking the forefront.

M- Medium-light mouthfeel, that finishes dry.

D- I love this beer and is one of my most popular session beers. 4 in a sitting is perfect.

This was one of my first beers and still one of my favorites. GREAT pale ale.

Photo of ckeegan04
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy golden amber color with one finger off-white head. Slowly fades away and leaves decent lacing.

S - Strong aroma of citrusy grapefruit hops. Far stronger aroma than when had from the bottle. Smells almost IPAish.

T - Light malt sweetness up front, primarily caramel. Quickly overcome by a juicy hoppiness. Taste of grapefruit with a hint of something a little more tart.

M/D - Medium bodied. Easily drinkable. Hops are a little strong for an APA, but I consider that a good thing.

Photo of Silenus89
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured to my pint glass from 12oz bottle. Cloudy amber color with good carbonation and nice head. Smells of nuts,citrus hops, alittle sweet malts. Tastes of pine and hops and malts top it off. Light/medium body. This has a good drinkability beer that is readily available. Id get this again

Photo of NHGrafx
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 24oz brown bottle.

Pours a copper color with a decent head, which does not last long at all and minimal lacing.

This one has a lovely aroma. There are some nice floral aromas mixed with a nice citrus aroma which smells like grapefruit and mandarin orange slices. As it warms, aromas of yeast come through as well. Very pleasant.

Taste starts off citrusy which then yields to the bitterness from the hops. There is also some malt flavors in there as well, but they seemed hidden to me. The finish has some nice bitterness to it and is also very dry. Mouthfeel is relatively smooth. Moderately drinkable, for me anyway.

Overall this is very nice example of an American Pale Ale.

Photo of philipquarles
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper with a smallish white head. Retention isn't great, nor is the lacing. Still looks good though.

Smells of hops up front, with a bit of pine/juniper, citrus and some sweet malt. The citrus really comes forward on the palate, and with the hops and malt makes it a very well balanced, slightly bitter brew. Great example of a pale ale.

Very drinkable overall; thanks to the lowish ABV, something I could actually drink all night.

Photo of JustinBathurst
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured clear orange-copper with 1 cm white crown. Good lacing.

Smells of citrus, red licorice, and dry cereal (think Cheerios).

The mouthfeel is crisp, with good carbonation.

The taste is hoppy and floral, with a nice malty sweetness, grapefruit, and a slight sourness. The aftertaste is nicely sour and bitter. A good brew.

Photo of brewmudgeon
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

continuing to work my way through a 12-pack, and it's finally starting to grow on me again. still a little on the beer-soda side, but so long as you haven't had anything hoppy in the last few days you can get in a groove with snpa. doesn't seem so watery now either. still seems to be lacking in something, but having a harder time placing what it is and caring less about finding out.

came back after a couple years, and was dissappointed with snpa.
4 clear light ambery orange, nice short head and scattered lace
3.5 citrus hops and a tiny suggestion of pale malt. very simple.
3.5 the flavor is ok, citrusy, one-dimensional. the sweetness keeps it from being crisp, and there isn't quite enough bitterness to solicit additional swigs. had to push myself through a bit. the worst was that it kept reminding me a little of some sort of soda pop.
3 thin body, a bit too watery even for an apa, imo.
3.5 fairly easy to drink but i was surprised to find myself struggling to really enjoy snpa this time around. not sure what exactly the problem is. it's not that i'm too much into more extreme stuff to like an apa, and i've been really loving the smuttynose shoal's pale ale. will have to give sierra nevada another try to reconfirm.
now that this update is done, i'm looking at my earlier impressions (below) and apparently i wasn't all that wild about the stuff in the first place.

review from 9/08/08

3.5 A small head, slight lacework, nice glowing coppery amber, translucent
3.5 S dough, grapefruit
4 T thankfully not too doughy, lots of grapefruit. pretty clean and simple.
4 M ample carb, light to medium bodied
3.5 D a bit one-dimensional, but can be worth having two during a session. the wide availability means it can on occassion save you from having something very bad at a bar or restaurant.

Photo of Kraken
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes from my rainy South Caka-Lacka (SC) adventure.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass. Firm pour yields a 2 finger head that diminishes quickly. No lace to speak of. Beer pours a nice orange/golden amber.

Nose- Citric hops, not over whelming, but strong enough to let you know what you are in for.

Taste- Muted citric sweetness, followed by tart and tangy citric hops. Carmel malts rear their head. Nicely balanced, dry and bitter finish. Very nice.

Mouthfeel- Tart and tangy, highly carbonated.

Drinkability- Very high. An easy drinking pale ale. My go to at bars with a dubious beer menu.

Photo of OtherShoe2
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received a nice orange pint with a decent bubbly head that left some lacing.

Smells of malt and floral hops. Some citrus.

Citrus rind hop flavor, smooth malt, crisp finish. Some carbonation, not over the top, though.

What a great, solid beer. Clean and refreshing for any season. A real drinker here, which is scary. Classic APA all the way.

Photo of Brew33
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz draft.

I have had this beer numerous times on draft and in bottles. It was my first venture into American craft beer.

It is a solid APA. Great color, aroma and taste. Perfect body and head. An excellent beer. Great balance of hops and malts. I have now graduated to more complex, flavorful Pale Ales but this is like Mom's Pot Roast to me, sometimes I crave it.

It isn't the best Pale Ale on the planet but it is timeless and tasty. I would gladly shell out my money for this brew anytime. Good stuff.

Photo of mtstatebeer
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle. Pours a medium yellow-orange color with a small creamy off-white head. Aroma is almost all hops with some pine and citrus. Flavor is of sweet caramel malts and bitter spicy hops. Very well balanced, good pale ale. Finishes astringent and dry on tongue. An easy 'go-to' beer when the best beer you can get within an hour drive is SN or Rogue.

Photo of steinlifter
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy deep golden, frothy head with good retention.
citrus and floral hop aroma.
dry hops hit the palate 1st mellowing to some citrusy and malt flavor.
med. body,fairly carbonated, a bit chewy.
drinkability for me is decent,however a bit hoppier than I prefer, but a very good example of the style.

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A long time session beer of mine, as well as the first american pale i ever tried.

A: Pours a nice copper gold color with an off white head about an inch or so. crystal clear, nice bubbles. all around a good looking beer.

S: peppery and citrusy hops, a light malt bill, fairly sweet smelling, but hops dominate it, very nice.

T: clean hop tastes, a nice bitterness that lingers, the malt is caramelly and sweet. a little more towards the hoppy side, but that's exactly how i like it. the finish is very clean. pretty crisp up front. not too sticky, very balanced, all around excellent.

M: balanced, not too thick or thin, nice lingering bitterness, nicely carbonated. all in all great.

D: for a relatively higher hopped beer, this beer does alright as far as drinkability goes, i really like to drink a few when i choose to drink them. a great standby beer when i can't decide on anything.

Photo of Lepley
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle

A: Pours light tan/ orange with a finger of cream colored head and little lacing.
S: Citrus, tangy fruits, sweet, light hops.
T: Sweet and hoppy. Bitter after taste with a slight sense of alcohol. The bitterness and sweetness are very well balanced.
M: Smooth and light.
D: This is pretty refreshing beer, good for hot afternoons. I would excitedly have it again.

Photo of RodBurg
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This brew is such a classic, I'm ashamed to say the first time I tried it was only about a month ago. I love the short brown bottle and the cool looking green label. The label alone conjures up images of majestic mountains and forests in the American West.

A fine layer of yeast coats the bottom of the bottle and it pours out a beautiful clear golden. A small, coarse head rises and doesn't stick around. No lacing.

The smell is wonderful. Crisp pale malts matched by the sharp cascade hops.

Tastes crisp, clean, and very refreshing. The malt and hops are in perfect harmony here. Slight grapefruit tones with a light/medium body and a good amount of carbonation.

This is the standard for American pale ales and what they all should try to live up to. A great thirst quencher and summer beer. This one is going on regular rotation in my fridge.

Photo of gford217
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a clear golden amber with a small white fluffy head that dissipates quickly to a ring leaving only a little lacing. The aroma is big on citrus hops with grapefruit up front and a hint of pine in the background. The taste starts with a big citrus hop bite up front before giving way to the malt backbone. There is a little pine bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is fresh and clean with good carbonation but a tad light for my liking. This is certainly one of the best mainstream beers out there and one that I order frequently when there's not a lot else available. Good stuff.

Photo of changeup45
3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap, out of the bottle, I always enjoy this beer. Copper color with moderate off-white head and some lacing. A bit floral, nicely hopped, with grapefruit, moderate bitterness and some sweet malt for a nicely balanced beer. This is a solid beer and probably easy to find for most people.

Photo of thekevlarkid
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Strong hoppy aroma with a floral hint. Copper color. Pours with a nice thick head that shows great retention. Delicate bubbles leave good lacing too. Medium bodied and bitter with a crisp, dry finish. Smooth and refreshing. The light carbonation makes you want to savor it and swish it around in your mouth. This is a good beer (you can see why it's their flagship) and you could easily drink it all night.

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wanted to see if the 24oz bottle tasted any different than it's little bro. Poured into a Yeti snifter glass a clear copper color with great lacing and retention.

Light, citrisy hop aroma. Smells fresh. Delicate bready malts present as well. Has everything you should smell in an APA, nothing you dont.

Taste falls on the hoppy side of life. More floral than citrus. Light, crisp and smooth. I get the feeling the water they use is really tasty with just enough minerals. Yum.

Pretty amazing how SN can brew so much of this and keep the quality this high. Prost!

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 9,665 ratings.