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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.

2,876 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,876
Hads: 10,532
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 11.6%
Wants: 247
Gots: 2,411 | 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
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Reviews: 2,876 | Hads: 10,532
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hops and cream and noticeable creamy head. Taste with an offsetting bitterness that I didn't care for or expect. Strong bitter mouthfeel Citrus floral and pine aroma. Inexpensive.
Had this 3 years later on-tap and this review is based on that, at Pizza Port Solena Beach Lace, a serviceable pale. AFter so many good pales, Sierra finds its way among the pack, but was sure a revalation when I first had it.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper orange color with a 1 inch off-white head that fades to a thin cap. Nice thick rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of sweet malt and citrus zest. Taste is of sweet malt and citrus zest hops. There is a slightly soapy taste I am getting as well. This beer has good carbonation and is crisp and clean in the mouth. Slight hop bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. Overall, this is a good pale ale and pretty much available everywhere in a pinch when there are no other good beers on the menu.

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Photo of t0rin0
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have had this many times in the bottle as well as on tap over the past couple of years.

It pours an appropriate color for a pale ale. I say that because many times beers without color are beers without flavor barring of course belgian golden ales and tripels and some weissbiers. The foam dies off quickly which is alright with me because it doesn't taste much like the beer (the hops seem to stick out in the foam).

It has probably the best pale ale flavor I've had. It has a good amount of bitterness for a pale ale but that bitterness disapears quickly and becomes sweet and malty. Very drinkable and is well balanced.

I have always enjoyed this beer and always will.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I know many of us are beer "fanatics" but something is to be said of beers that can both please the Bud Light drinkers and the Beer snobs. This beer is not the best in its category but it is a staple amongst beer drinkers and is as good bottled as on draft which is not always the case. It has an initial sharp flavor that fades quickly so as too not be overly offensive. A solid overall beer.

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Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear dark golden yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense off white head that died down and consistently left a thin film covering the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderate aromas of citrusy hops in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the hops stand out in the overall taste, but these contribute a light to moderate amount of bitterness that is kept in check by the underlying malts, which also contribute some hints of toasted malt flavors.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and somewhat crisp with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very easy to drink, refreshing and is quite sessionable. I would have no problem drinking more than one of these at a time.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.67/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

the sierra nevada flagship brew, more of an ipa than a straight pale ale, but a delicious beer nonetheless. a complex and robust hop nose is enticing, and the balanced flavor, medium body and effervescent carbonation make this a staple in most good bars. this is much hoppier than other american pale ales, but is not heavy as some can be. it is highly drinkable with a slightly bitter finish and an extraordinary crispness. the colder the better

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Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The classic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I remember sitting at the Keystone Pub when I ordered my first one back in 2007. It was probably one of my first pale ales. I can't recall having one prior to it. Anyway, it pours out as a lightly hazed yellowish gold color. The head is strong and leaves a good lacing on the glass. The smell of the beer has a really nice hop aroms on it mixed with some malts on the nose. The taste of the beer has a good bitterness to it with a dry hoppy aftertaste. When it comes to the mouthfeel it's a highly drinkable beer. It's got a good body to it and it's not overly heavy. Overall this beer is worth checking out if you haven't already, It's a pioneer pale ale, it really holds it's own again many competitors.

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Photo of brentk56
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy dark golden body with a fluffy white head that displays good retention and lacing

Smell: Some grapefruit aroma, but not particularly overwhelming; slightly skunky with a touch of oxidation (may not be the freshest bottle)

Taste: Starts out with a nice bready taste that transforms, mid-palate, into a nice bitter citrusy flavor; well-balanced

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with plenty of carbonation

Drinkability: The go-to beer at so many bars; always a good choice but I'll need to take another look from time to time as this bottle wasn't tasting fresh

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of my all time favorites;
Aroma: Extremely floral and spicy, but not to overtake the malts. Complex and refreshing, even to the nose.
Appearance: Deep golden, excited from the carbonation. Nice white head, containing loosely laced bubbles.
Taste: Floral and spicy nose. High hop flavoring pronounced in the body. Medium bodied, cut nicely by bittering. Leaving mouth nicely coated. Finishes a bit dry, but not to offend. High bittering at the end.
Aftertaste: All the pleasantries of the taste without complete drying, tackiness, or metalics.
Impression: Absolutely refreshing, a bold and exciting beer. One that can be drank from sun-up to sun-down and any time of the year. One to stock the fridge with.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap on the home kegerator. Works out quite well.

Pours a nice light copper color with a good white head and some pretty sticky lacing on the way down. The nose is all about the American C hops with some excellent citrus notes throughout. The taste is slightly-bitter citrus hops with a very mild malt presence in the background. Not excessively bitter, but does the job right. Drinkability is really high, as this is perhaps the most classic of all the craft beers.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Draft: Poured a medium amber color ale with a medium size foamy head. Aroma of citrus and piney hops is well balanced against some lightly sweet caramel malt base. Taste is also a wonderfully mix of floral hops notes from West Coast hops with nice line and citrus notes though they are never overwhelming. Malt base is not too sweet and well balanced against the hops. Body is about average with good carbonation. This si one staple that I will never get tired of.

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Photo of largadeer
3.43/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Slightly hazy amber, good color and head retention.

Smell: Hoppy, floral, a touch of pine and citrus. A metallic character is also noticeable.

Taste & texture: Very bready malt, earthy and metallic, lots of pine in the hops. The malt character of this beer has never impressed me much, though the cascade hops give it a nice finish. I think I'd enjoy it a lot more with a stronger hop presence. The mouthfeel is fine; a bit creamy but not particularly heavy, medium-bodied and moderately carbonated.

Drinkability: While this seems to be the session beer of choice for a lot of people, I personally find it difficult to drink more than a couple of these. I get very sick of the malt flavor after a while.

Notes: This beer is a staple of craft brewing, probably the single most common craft beer you'll find on the west coast. It's a solid pale ale, nothing incredible and a bit overrated in my opinioin, but nonetheless a good representation of the style and a decent gateway into craft beer.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle at Beer Bistro in the heart of downtown Toronto's suit-heavy, after market closing dining district.

This beer pours a clear, medium bronzed amber colour, with two chubby fingers of puffy, somewhat bubbly, but eventually creamy off-white head, which leaves a consistent wall of broken webbed lace around the glass in its slow and meandering wake.

It smells of biscuity caramel malt, grapefruit, blood orange, and lemon citrus rind, and mildly dank spicy, earthy piney, and grassy hops. The taste is predominantly citrus forward (orange and overripe lemon, mostly), with a sort of white pepper spicy character, more leafy, weedy, and pine hop notes, and a lightly bready caramel malt backbone.

The carbonation is moderate in its well supportive and generally playful frothiness, the body a solid-ass middleweight, and smooth, with a mild creamy slickness. It finishes more than a bit off-dry, the green and citrus hoppiness still in an agreeable detente with the lingering caramel malt.

SNPA is obviously common as water Stateside, but for some retarded reason very difficult to come by on this side of the border. Overall it tastes pretty much like my favourite local hopped-up pale ale (Alley Kat Full Moon, for the record, which was apparently heavily influenced by it), so, yeah, I can't help but like this one a lot.

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Photo of zeff80
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a deep copper/amber color with a tan, foamy, three-finger head. It left thick rings of lace.

S - It smelled of grass, grains and malt.

T - It had a nice hoppy/grassy quality. It also has a good bready roasted malt taste.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good APA. It almost has the hop power of an IPA. Great malt flavor, too.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quintessential amber with a blizzard of fine yeast suspended within. The beer is topped by a bone white crown that is rocky and pitting as it melts. Unfortunately, the lid didn't last very long. There's a decent amount of lace, though nothing too special. The nose is of average intensity and is primarily of citrusy hops.

The flavor profile is on the simple and straightforward side; not that that's a bad thing. Each mouthful starts out with a gently spicy-bitter push, backed by a solid underlay of malt. Things don't really change in character from start to finish or with warming.

Although SNBC uses Cascade hops (along with Magnum and Perle), grapefruit zest isn't bursting across the tongue. The mouthfeel is slightly more full than medium and has no rough edges whatsoever.

I expected very good things from Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and was just a little let down in the end. It's not that it's bad beer, not by a long shot, but there are better versions out there. I'm sure I'll come back to it again since it's so widely available (and since my local hoppy options are so limited).

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Photo of oberon
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It had been awhile since I had drank this beer so I had a pint the other night,pours a hazy deep orange with a pretty nice sticky head.The aroma is definently zesty hoppy and a little piney.Taste to me might be a little over the top hopwise very citruisy and dry,pretty good beer but would like a little more balance to this beer.It is a hop head classic though.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a decent amber, with no head, and a bit of lacing, very clear. Smell is citrus hoppy, but not overly so. Slight spiceyness as well. Taste is very crisp, with a dry hop finish. Very citrus flavored, and a bit of grassy, piney flavor as well. This has always been one of my favs, always easy to get, and always drinkable. Pretty much my standard at restaurants that don't have much. Its no IPA, and is by no means the Celebration, But I have never turned one down.

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Photo of nickfl
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Two finger white head with good retention and lace. Copper body with excellent clarity.

S - Spicy hop aroma with restrained grapefruit aromas and a hint of orange. Some malt, but the aroma is dominated by hops.

T - Moderately spicy hop flavor up front with caramel and biscuit malt balancing in the middle. The finish is moderately bitter and smooth.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish with just a bit of astringency.

D - Quite drinkable. The malt character is a bit weak, but it is more than made up for by the excellent hop character, especially in the aroma.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour is a hazy golden-orange color with some lively carbonation and a fluffy white head.

S: While there is certainly a caramel malt sweetness, this pale ale has a very pronounced citrus and pine hoppiness to it.

T: Up front, this has nice citrus hops with the malt taking the lead through the middle before the piney, bitter finish.

M: The body is medium with a lively carbonation which makes this a nice refreshing pale ale.

D: My fist craft beer and always a standby when out at a bar or restaurant. You can almost never go wrong with SNPA.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.52/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear copper body with a small, fizzy off-white head.

Smell: Grainy aroma with a small measure of caramel and a moderate citrus hop presence.

Taste: Sweet caramel maltiness mingles with the taste of toasted grains. Predominately citrus hops, but there is a pinch of pine in there, too. Medium bitterness leads into a bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Overall, a solid pale ale that's readily available and generally easy on the wallet.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper gold, with a couple fingers of billowy bright-white head. This retains with a frothy richness, as a big dollop of foam stays behind and rings the sides of the glass with sticky lacing. The aroma is bright feeling in the nose, with notes of leafy spice and fresh citrus flavor. Underneath sits the pale malts, which adhere to the citrus, really pushing it forward with an earthy twang in the nostrils.

The taste is fresh citric flavor and bitterness straight through the profile, which is smoothed out on the edges by herbal character and then buffered underneath by the bready sweetness of the malt, which like the nose, sticks to that green citrus character. A dry finish ends this with some leafy pith that sticks a bit. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a softer creamy slickness in the mouth that flows very easily, allowing those hops to give this the crispness that it needs to stay quenching.

Wow, I love this in canned form, as I swear this is the freshest tasting that I’ve ever had this beer and that includes on draft as well. Just crisp, well balanced, and easy drinking as can be and now super portable as well! I’ll be drinking plenty this summer.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Walter Payton shaker pint glass at Hammerheads.

Had to have something to drink while playing pool, so I figured I'd revisit this old classic (and finally review the damn thing). It pours a clear brass topped by a finger of white foam. The nose comprises grass, flowers, lemon peel, orange rind, and very light toffee. The taste brings in more of the same, with the more citrus-y hops gaining in potency a bit, balancing out the earthier ones pretty nicely; all while the toffee doesn't give much ground. The body is a rather light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly dry finish. Overall, a very nice pale ale, one that deserves the status it holds.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bright, clear golden amber in color with a 3/4" head that holds well, eventually dropping, but leaves a complete surface covering. Very nice.The aroma offers bright, fresh, floral & citrusy hops over a light maltiness. The body is medium-light with a fine, crisp carbonation. The flavor is a combination of tangy, fruity, citrusy hop flavors and a very lightly caramel & biscuit maltiness well backed by bitterness. It finishes dry with a short lingering hoppy bitterness and a bready/biscuity maltiness. Extremely well balanced. Very refined. Crisp & refreshing. Highly drinkable.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.05/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

2000 reviews and I somehow haven't done this one yet. Go figure. Bottled February 1st according to the bottle code. 5.6% ABV confirmed. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard ("Use Bottle Opener"!) pressure cap acquired at a local Trader Joe's and served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I'm rarely impressed with Sierra Nevada, but this is indisputably a classic craft beer which did a lot historically. Regardless of what I may or may not think about the beer after enjoying it, I do respect it.

Served straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Not paired with food.

A: Pours a four finger beige colour head of nice cream and thickness, and good (~5 minute) retention. Little lacing as the head recedes. Body colour is a fairly vibrant pale copper; transparent and translucent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. It's generally appealing and is typical of the style. There's nothing unique or special here, but there are no overt flaws.

Sm: Floral hops, ejected shell casings (seriously), artificial pine, soap, and pale malts. The soapiness is bothersome, and becomes more reminiscent of detergent the more I smell the beer. Bubblegum. Yeah, this spent too long in primary. An average strength aroma that isn't particularly appealing.

T: Okay. Muted citrus, dominant soapy character, light artificial pine, and some mild floral hops. Bland pale malts form the foundation. There's not a whole lot going on here, and I'm none too keen on what is. Imbalanced and badly built for the style. A bit too bitter for the style as well, but it's also too sweet up front.

Mf: Way too dry on the finish, eradicating any refreshing feel that it might have had prior. Smooth and wet up front. Too thick all around. Overcarbonated, to boot. Weak. Doesn't suit the flavour all that well. Palate presence is okay.

Dr: I'll finish this bottle, but it's really not that drinkable for a pale ale. I'm shocked at how underwhelming this beer is given its influence on the style. I'll try to revisit this on-draught; maybe this was just an off bottle arbitrarily. As it stands, this is rather pedestrian and I see no reason to get it again. Hides its ABV well. Another disappointment from Sierra Nevada.


After the bottle review above, I tried it on-draught when it was the only decent option at a bar in Las Vegas. I actually found it to be much better on-draught, and would have given it a high C+ but wasn't in a reviewing mood at the time. I'll plan on revisiting this beer; it's so ubiquitous it'd be criminal not to.



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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Took me a while to finally try this one but I did it and found a great, drinkable beer. Has a unique, characteristic taste to it that must be from different types of hops no usually used on the east coast. It's crisp, refreshing, very well balanced.. if aint broke dont fix it.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,876 ratings.