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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.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

7,339 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7339
Reviews: 2623
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,339 | Reviews: 2,623 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BlackHaddock
BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

2.6/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Brown 350ml bottle, best before mid Oct 2007, drank late March 2007.

Imported into the UK and sold in a lot of supermarkets, thought I'd see what all the fuss was about with Sierra Nevada beers.

Poured into my Corsendonk tulip glass it looked a bright traffic light amber, almost terracotta orange colour. A tight white head sat on top, bubbles replenishing the head from the base and side of the glass.

An aroma of sour hops, mashed with an iffy yeast culture, attacked my nose, obviously not a Brit Pale Ale, thats for sure.

Young, green taste, the beer isn't ready to drink yet. Made me burp straight away, which also indicates to me it isn't the finished article.

Dry and metalic aftertaste, sorry, not for me.

Not too sure what I was expecting from this beer, something smoother perhaps, certainly not the young, dry, tinny flavours which I found. I will try another in the summer maybe, to see if the warmer weather helps me see it's characteristics in a better light.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2007 20:24:20 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

Ohio

4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After just finishing a McEwan's IPA, I just found myself in heaven. An magnificant orangish tint, with a nice white frothing head. A very thin lace, but right now it doesn't matter I am too busy enjoying the aroma to worry about how it looks. I could be blind right now and it wouldn't matter. A great citrusy full sharp delivery of wonderful cascade hops fiil me with joy. The staple of American pale ales, and this one is bottle conditioned which adds to the aroma to form a balanced full aroma with the blend of hops, yeast, and malt. The sweetness mixed with the decent amount of bittering hops does wonders for the soul, if the brewery in Chico had a church I might become a cult member. The hops are grapefruit citrusy flavored that tickle the back of the throat and at the same time the warming feeling of acohol crashes upon the palate just right. It is full of flavor and it is just the right texture to deliver the flavors, and it with the medium body this beer is one to be enjoyed all night. A wonderful part of Beer in America has this BAs approval.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2003 18:16:40 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Gavage
Gavage

New Jersey

4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a nice light bronze color with a thick head. The aroma is extremely satisfying, huge floral and citrus tones excite the nose. The taste is big - hoppy, sweet, fruity, and smooth. The hops and citrus last long into the aftertaste. This is a perfect example of the ultimate drinkable beer. Continues to be a staple in the refridgerator for me. All american pale ales should try to emulate this.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2003 15:34:32 | More by Gavage
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

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

Perhaps the most classic of APA's. Everything about it sets the standard for style, much like Guinness. It may not be my favorite but it is close.

Clear and gold with lots of continual bubbles. The head lasts well but leaves spotty lace.

The aroma is mostly hop which is reflected in the flavor as well. Astringent and dry with a below average body. Highly carbonated. Good aftertaste of strong hop bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2008 23:51:03 | More by smcolw
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

24 oz. bottle, poured into a pint glass

A: Golden orange, with a thick white head, which hangs around a while but eventually goes to nothing.

S: Piney Cascade hops predominately.

T: Pine and cilantro upfront from the Cascade, along with delicious bready malt which makes its true presence felt as the beer warms up.

M: Very good, the beer is well built, crisp and medium bodied.

D: Very good, low in alcohol, excellent taste makes for a great drinkability. The beer that introduced me to American hops, it is inexpensive and available almost anywhere, so I often pick it up and know I will have an enjoyable experience.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2007 02:32:55 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
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

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2011 19:08:55 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

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

One good Pale ..Poured a orange color with a finger-width, creamy white head that leaves lots of lacing as you drink. Scent is surprisingly not as hoppy as I would have thought. Lots of fruit and a woody/grassy aroma I couldn't place. Palate is crisp, clean and very dry. Not as hoppy as a lot of Pales and IPAs. You get a slight hop burn on the tongue, but it's balanced enough to let the grapefruit and spices come through.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2008 20:13:24 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

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

Bolder than English pale ale counterparts like Bass, Boddingtons or Old Speckled Hen. Served in a pint glass, the ale displays a golden amber color with a foamy white head. The aroma is of multi-grain bread and biscuit-like pale malts, with a sharp citrus and floral aroma. A dry, slightly tart caramel taste opens the flavor, followed by hops. Derived from Sierra Nevada's generous but balanced use of Cascade hops, the pale ale also brings tastes of lemon zest and grapefruit with a sweet, spicy finish.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2006 06:37:52 | More by tempest
Photo of mdfb79
mdfb79

New York

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

From 02/19/11 notes.

a - Pours a somewhat transparent golden color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of light citrus hops, bready malts, fruit, light caramel malts.

t - Tastes of citrus hops, bready malts, grain, caramel malts, light pine hops.

m - Light to medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A very nice, easy drinking APA. Can definitely drink a few of these and would want to. Have had many times and will have many times again.

Serving type: on-tap

02-21-2011 15:53:53 | More by mdfb79
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

2.59/5  rDev -36%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

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.

C-

---
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2013 05:19:46 | More by kojevergas
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A pint glass served at Champion's in Highspire, PA.

A: The pint has a clear amber body, an orange-brown combination that 'copper' is properly affixed to. A half a finger of white head managed to lace nicely in the oft-rinsed tumbler glass.

S: The nose has a strong hop presence for a pale ale, offering pine and citrus in abundance. A strong caramel backbone provides balance.

T: The ale opens with a very oily hop presence, one that was strong and resiny enough that 'soapy' may be appropriate. Further sips reveal the citrus and pine from the nose. Caramel and biscuit flavors drive the malt profile that is strong enough to stand up to the hops. The malt and hop pairing leaves a nmice finish in the mouth.

M: The mouthfeel, especially when fresh, is tough to beat. The hops are vibrant and oily, coating the palate with each sip.

D: A pleasantly drinkable pale ale, one that doesn't skimp on the hops. SNPA is an ale best served fresh on-tap.

Serving type: on-tap

11-23-2009 01:09:00 | More by akorsak
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium

Pennsylvania

3.23/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First had: God only knows...

Pretty much the middle of the road in my beer journey. I'll drink this if there's nothing better available, but otherwise, it's just that average beer that I'll let pass.

Pours a slightly hazed (depending on temperature) copper color with anywhere between 1/2 and 3 fingers of frothy white head. Grainy aroma with a certain caramel smoothness underlain. Smooth malts in the taste, grains, balanced by crisp, non-threatening hoppiness, and just a implication of citrus. Light-medium mouthfeel, and easily drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

06-18-2011 00:31:32 | More by Rifugium
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

24 ounce bomber bottle, ( a nice touch) no freshness dating to be found. Not much I can add to the other 400 or so reviews. This is the classic pale ale, so good it defines the style. One of the first micros to be had back in the day. If you havent sampled this tasty quaffer, you are missing alot. Goes great with spicy BBQ. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2004 20:33:11 | More by Billolick
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

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

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a golden orange color with a crystal clear body and a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles. There was a thin white film of head that lasted for a bit.

S- The smell of nice pine hops had a hint of ginger and pineapple weed in the background that gave some nice depth to the smell.

T- This beer has a light pale malt flavor that was good with a light hop spice note in the finish. The hops had a dry coriander hint that was almost like ginger. There was a hop bitterness that came through in the aftertaste.

M- This beer has a light body with a tight little fizz finish that boost the hops bitterness a bit.

D- This beer had a light but good malt flavor with a interesting twist to the hops that gave it some good character.

Serving type: on-tap

10-06-2006 21:01:55 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of lacqueredmouse
lacqueredmouse

Australia

4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks very much to my girlfriend who went in search of beer for me on a recent trip to San Francisco.

Pours a burnished golden bronze colour, very clear. Tiny streams of carbonation around the edge of the glass feed a light film of white head. Nice colour, nice looking beer all up.

good tropical fruits on the nose, the sweeter end of the spectrum though - mango and peach, almost. Also a real candy/caramel sweetness to it as well. Nice.

Taste is quite light. Pleasant sweet fragrant fruitiness on the front palate, then a subtle but pleasant dry hoppy bitterness. It's definitely not huge on the palate, but everything is nicely balanced. Quite dry on the finish, and refreshing. Mouthfeel spot on. Crisp and sharp to match the light hop bite.

A very drinkable pale ale. Really nicely balanced and very refreshing. Folks from the states come to Australia and often compare Little Creatures Pale Ale to SNPA, and I'm glad I can now do the same. It would be great to drink SNPA all the time, but I don't think I'm really missing out given I have Critters here in Australia to fill the gap.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2008 06:37:44 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.08/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a two finger white head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving traces of lace. Crystal clear amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Citrus hop nose. Flavor is citrusy, no sweetness, light bitter hop finish. $1.60 for a 12oz bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2010 22:17:58 | More by jdhilt
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

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

Presentation: 12oz short brown twist cap bottle. Thin layer of sediment from bottle conditioning.

Appearance: Rich golden orange in colour with a slight chill haze, a white lace lays on top and clings all over the glass.

Smell: Slightly rustic, raw and mildly pungent hop aroma of leaves, flowers and heavy on the citric fruit. An undertone of grain is in the background also.

Taste: Creamy smooth with a soft malt crispness that cradles a bready malt flavour. Hop bitterness is more than ample and shows off a bit yet there is an underlying sweetness that seems to put everything back together. Esters through a shadow of alcohol down which make a potential heady night. In the finish is a citric hop flavour with a touch more sweetness from the residual sugars, though this brew seems to dry up a little in the end.

Notes: The typical American Pale Ale ... The classic American Pale Ale basically as far as what people know. A good and solid ale for what I think.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2003 21:17:15 | More by Jason
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

3.05/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have a love/hate relationship with this brew. Some of the best and worst beers I have ever had were this brew. I believe that this is one beer that is very temperamental about how it is transported and stored.

Pours a clear orangish gold color.

Smell is malt, vanilla and hops smells bitterer than it tastes.

Taste is very mild yet full. This has a floral hop taste with a bit of oak flavor to it. A dry ale, I remember this being a bit sweeter in its draft form.

Mouthfeel is thicker than you would think.

Drinkability is good, but I prefer a Fuller's to this.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2004 02:13:10 | More by Zorro
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well decided to buy some again, got introduce to it back around 97 in CA, one of the first micro's I've had. I've always liked the Pale Ale over the Stout and Porter. The color is golden brown and a mild taste. Goes down very easy with a great after taste. This has always been one of my favorites (Pale Ale). Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2005 23:29:07 | More by Wasatch
Photo of corby112
corby112

Pennsylvania

3.56/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark golden orange color with copper/tangerine edges and a one finger, frothy white head that quickly settles into a thick, lasting ring.  Streaks of lace left behind.

Earthy floral hop aroma with some grassy, resinous pine and subtle citrus countered by bread/yeast and pale malt sweetness.  A touch of grapefruit and citrus peel followed by some caramel malt and toffee.  

Surprisingly full bodied for the style with a blast of dank, sticky hops giving off strong dry bitterness that lingers over the yeast and sweet malt notes into a dry finish.  Hop flavor is a bit one dimensional with bitter earthy character.  Lots of grass, pine needle and spruce tip with very little of the citrus/tropical fruit notes found in the nose.  It's there providing subtle sweetness but is overpowered by bitterness and strong malt flavors.  Hop bitterness is countered by bready yeast and malt sweetness.  Lots of caramel, bread, toffee and nut.  Well balanced with some nice hop flavor but it's not really light or easy drinking and doesn't really feel like a pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2013 01:04:21 | More by corby112
Photo of ppoitras
ppoitras

Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at The Pub, Amherst, MA.

16oz pint glass presentation. Hardly a head, but what was present was a white film over a dark amber brew, with no lacing. Light pale malt aroma coupled with a bit of hops, with the flavor carrying on where the nose left off, and an overall acceptable feel. Mouthfeel and drinkability excellent.

Serving type: on-tap

08-07-2004 04:02:53 | More by ppoitras
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

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

This one completely amazes me - I will be its 2501st reviewer, not having reviewed it previously in any serving style; my mother lives in Chico and I have visited her on a couple of occasions, making my first statement more incredible; and the first person to review it from a CAN was my local CANTrader and fellow CANQuester (TM), tone77! It took me a while to find this in a CAN with Torpedo seemingly more accessible. SMH!

From the CAN: "Purest Inredients"; "Finest Quality"; "CAN Conditioned".

Just the Crack seemed to release a lot of hops aroma into the room. The inverted Glug really made it seem as though I had sprayed hops air freshener and I would be lying if I said that my mouth was not watering. I was looking at a massive two-plus fingers of dense, French Vanilla-colored head with excellent retention when I was done with my pour. Color was a deep amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose was full of pine hops and now I was starting to drool. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, slightly viscous and the hops were soft, not overpowering as in some (many?) AIPAs. The melding of the hops with the malt was very pleasant and caused me to think back to the mid-1980's when I had this for the first time. I remember thinking that it was too bitter, but now it is just what the doctor ordered for this Jonesin' hophead. Finish was semi-dry and both pleasant and refreshing. I am so excited to see it being CANned and I would recommend it for anyone's cooler under any circumstances. Believe the hype!

Serving type: can

08-31-2012 02:30:20 | More by woodychandler
Photo of stakem
stakem

Pennsylvania

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 DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

One of the three major craft beers you'll find at many establishments on draft (the others being Fat Tire and Boston Lager), I got this at Famous Dave's BBQ when I was in Fresno this weekend. Paired with BBQ beef tips, on to the beer:

What's to say that hasn't been said? It's a west-coast classic with it's own unique beat. Typical of American styles, it leans towards the hoppy profile, with a grapefruit/citrus aroma. From draft, it has a creamy feel that's good to the last drop. I'm glad to hear from casual beer drinkers that this is on thier list for thier favorite beers, so it has appeal for everyone.

Serving type: on-tap

04-01-2007 19:53:37 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of wl0307
wl0307

United Kingdom (England)

3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Revisiting the bottled version of this beer. BB 15/02/2007. Served lightly-chilled in a straight imperial-pint glass.

A: even with such a large margin left for the beer head to build up (350ml beer in a imperial-pint glass), the beer head comes surprisingly restrained, on top of a clear amber body with very mild carbonation. Quite unlike any American bottled beers I've tried.
S: intensely honey-ish and sweet bouquet hops, on top of a juicy peach+lychee-ish fruits and caramely malts. Very well-blended and rather settled. Pleasant but not exciting.
T: effervescent-textured maltiness comes hand in hand with bitter-sweet yet aromatic, elderflowery, peachy, and sweet orangey hoppyness on top of a mildly sweet yet intense caramely malty base, a bitter-sweet tinge of lychee-fruits (on skins), tannic edge of grape-stems, and a quietly green-tea like aromatic aroma... moderately bitter and soothing in the finish.
M&D: nicely carbonated, though it's slightly sharp upfront; the medium body holds the smooth and well-blended flavour elegantly. Overall, much better than the tap-version that I tried a month ago. An extremely quaffable pale ale to be enjoyed in quantity with friends!

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2006 18:07:18 | More by wl0307
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 7,339 ratings.