Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,862 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,862
Hads: 10,437
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 22.22%
Wants: 238
Gots: 2,289 | 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: 2,862 | Hads: 10,437
Photo of Leebo2007
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a great beer...it is good on draft or in the bottle. It is better cold. It loses some of its kick when it gets warmer. I can really taste the hoppy flavor come through in the draft. It has a citrus flavor that blends to a barky/nutty taste. Try it on draft!

 265 characters

Photo of nbrown
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

When I was in highschool I usually only drank the usual macros. Then I bought a few of these in a concert parking lot.This is pretty much the first good beer I began drinking on a regular basis. It is still my go to beer if I go to a store and they don't have a very good selection.

Good taste, color, smell and I could and have drank these all day long.

 355 characters

Photo of 89Vision
3.82/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. This isn't what I usually drink, but I saw it in the grocery store and it made me thirsty, so I figured why not. I've had it before, though I didn't appreciate it then.

The appearance is a toasted golden color, with a very thin head. It has a bready pine scent that is pleasing, but subtle.

This beer is pretty damn tasty. While I'm not usually a fan of highly hopped beers, I enjoyed this one. It does have a fairly high bitterness, but its not unpleasant, and the hops give a nice pine, woody flavor, but doesn't become overpowering. I could see this beer being perfect for a camping or canoe trip.

 643 characters

Photo of mafiasentinel21
4.72/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Balanced, balanced, balanced...

A: This beer has a beautiful golden amber. The head is about a finger and a half that dies down to what looks like a crashed wave that sits beautifully on top of the brew.

S: Hops & fruit. Citrus. Faint malt.

T: What a refreshment. Sierra's trademark hoppiness definitely resonates in this beer as does some citric acid. Doesn't linger around a whole lot, and finishes crisp.

M: Medium, carbonation has an opening strength that backs off slowly and pleasantly.

D: Perhaps the scariest part of this beer, a sessionable for sure and one I would never turn down. This beer always makes its way to my fridge.

-It was the brew that got me into any and all craft brews. A great, great beer that deserves all of the acclaim it has received. If you want to try to get a friend off of Coors, Bud, or Miller serve one of these quaffable beauties.

 874 characters

Photo of jerskine
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: nice golden color with thick foam and lots of lacing

S: the aroma of this beer wasn't anything special, but I wasn't expecting much for a pale ale that uses the basic ingredients

T: this beer claims to use the finest malted barley and hops to give it its crisp light hoppy flavor; it definitely proves its claim when the beer hits your taste buds

M: not sure if their "fresh seal cap" had anything to do with this, but the carbonation and freshness of this beer was excellent

O: Sierra Nevada is one of my go to beers when I'm not looking to spend too much. This beer doesn't try to be something it isn't... make sure to look at the date if you're buying a 12 or 24 pack; the fresher the better

 701 characters

Photo of FallinDeck
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I like the dark red/orange red color to it. The floral white head seems to be a little lacy.
The slight aroma leaves me wanting a little more. Feel is good and has a little tangy taste to it. I believe this is a good beer to have stocked in the home bar. I would defiantly buy again.

 283 characters

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

SNPA smells of citric hops. Taste is pretty hop-forward with citrus and pine. Not much detected from the malts. Bitter on the end. Mouthfeel is medium for the style and ABV, pretty highly carbonated. Drinkability is good. Not too bitter or having any other characteristic(s) that would prevent more consumption.

 311 characters

Photo of alcurtsinger
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm new to this so bear with me, I am not yet able to identify specific flavors.

A - 1 Finger of foam, and a beautiful gold color.

S - A sweet hoppy smell

T - Very balanced and a perfect amount of hoppy flavor.

M - Crisp and lighter than I expected

D - I could drink a bunch of them and I will considering it was on sale for $12 for a 12 pack.

 348 characters

Photo of SourBatchKid
3.47/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Sightly washed out bright yellow-brown, a finger of head that quickly disperses into a lace then only memory of the head at first pour.

S- Smells of hooped out alcohol and the rushing river flowing out of the Sierra Nevada's, just kidding about the last part. But seriously, at first I can smell dank hoop buds, but thats quickly is taken a back.

T- I wish this tasted like overwhelming dank buds, however very refreshing. It reminds me of someone deluding a great beer for a gag. Ah sigh... Maybe, if it was reduced in a pan we might have some complex flavors. The flavor is there, but I can barely find it.

M- At first sip, the pearloge is unsteady with medium carbonation. Easily aerated into a thick head in my mouth that lingers for only seconds. I might just prefer to enjoy it this way from now on, aerateing it I mean.

D- I could drink this in a pinch or out of convince, purely out of convince, this is a large supply in my basement.

 949 characters

Photo of OhSoHoppy
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From Bottle to glass
Looks like a deep golden straw. the head is very light if not white colored but has very even consistency that hangs around for a decent amount of time.
Smells slightly grassy and clean, hints of citrus fruit.
Tastes Very similar to smell, grassy lean and quite crisp. The overall taste is just very natural. light citrus. decent aftertaste (Almost seems to cleanse the palate)
Feel has the perfect amount of carbonation for this beer, crisp and has a great ease about it. light to medium bodied.

Pretty much this beer is Classy. Please try it if you haven't yet. you might finish it quicker then you think. I could drink this nonstop.

 658 characters

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

My go to beer when a local craft IPA or Pale Ale is not on tap. Hoppy without being overly so. Smooth with just a hint of an aftertaste. The aroma is just like I always thought a proper beer would smell like. Certainly the best mass marketed Pale Ale this side of 30 West.

 272 characters

Photo of wrb357
4.72/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

For awhile I had no idea that Sierra Nevada was regarded as such a wonderful brew. Being in Nor Cal, we get this beer EVERYWHERE. I have always enjoyed its pleasant taste and easy drinkability, but I guess I took it for granted because many are not as familiar.

I've drank this beer in every way imaginable, but best is out of a bottle into a pint glass.

A - Nice pale color to it, more orange than yellow. Always give a nice head.

S - Nice floral and citrus hop aroma. Doesn't smell bitter in the nose, just smells fresh.

T - Such a smooth, easy drinking beer. Some hints of pine, and some bitters, with a citrus hop finish. It has a taste that you will immediately enjoy, and it won't kick you in the mouth. However, the taste doesn't go away. It stays with you the whole time, very flavorful.

M - Easy in the mouth, doesn't taste watery or too bitter, has just the right amount of body to sip it slow or drink it very very fast.

D - It's everywhere for me, and it always pleases. It is so smooth yet flavorful, I can have one and be happy, or down a sixer and not fall flat on my face. Just a superb session drink, one of the best pales to drink a lot of.

To all my Nor Cal friends, be thankful for this amazingly cheap, satisfying beer! To everyone who has to stretch to find it, do it and enjoy.

 1,307 characters

Photo of Vinegarroon
3.4/5  rDev -16%
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

3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a one finger head with little retention, and little lacing. Body is a light amber with medium clarity and no sediment. On the nose is citrus and piney, with slight boozy notes toward the end. On the palate is pine up front with some malt sweetness, followed with faint bitterness that rolls to the back of the palate. finishes crisp and semi-dry. Over all a good pale ale.

 379 characters

Photo of gmoneyproductions
4.78/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz can poured into pint glass
look is copper gold with decent white head
smell is complex started out just malty but as the beer warmed slightly i got piney, fruity citrusy notes that got stronger as the beer warmed
taste crisp and very easy to drink slightly fruity/citrusy very smooth!
aftertaste citrusy as well
love this beer first time reviewed but have been drinking them for years
tastes better from the can than the bottle fwiw

 439 characters

Photo of Rob6852
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer came in a 12 oz. brown twist top bottle.
Poured a Golden-amber hue with minimal head and lacing.
This beers' dominant smell is of citric and hops .
For a person used to drinking stouts this was a refreshing turnabout. The taste of this beer is hoppy but not overly dominated by them. The malts even things out but the hops definatly dominate this fine brew. Leaves the mouth dry at the end waiting for the next drink.
I'm not really big on hops but am learning to enjoy them. This beer
may make a hop lover out of me yet.
I can drink several of these in a sitting and not feel overpowered by
A damn fine beer.

 630 characters

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

Pours a deep, but clear and consistent golden brown. Aroma is pleasant with slight flowery undertones. Taste is clean but not without flavor and the hops are generous but not overpowering. Hits the back of the tongue producing a round mouthfeel. Very drinkable. A clear example of a classic Pale Ale without overreaching in complexity.

 335 characters

Photo of doctorjoeyboey
3.44/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma is hoppy with a variety of fruity smells. It almost seems to smell like sparkling grape juice, although I doubt this is justified by its contents. Color is a little bit too orange for me to consider it amber or to find it truly attractive. Taste is full on the front palatte and tangy thin on the back palatte. Accordingly, the body feels medium on the front palatte and light on the back.

Technically this is a good pale ale and I could enjoy a few in a row but I have not yet acquired the taste for pale ales as a session beer and feel that ending a night on one, including a Sierra Nevada, is like ending a song off key and leaving the audience unsatisfied.

 669 characters

Photo of musingmonkey
4.37/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

As this was to be my first APA, I decided to go with the Sierra Nevada given its reputation as a reliable benchmark. I must say from the onset that I was certainly not disappointed!

Poured from the bottle into an oversized wine glass, a sizeable, bubbly head quickly formed and almost as quickly dissipated, leaving no lacing to speak of... only a ring around the rim of the glass, and an island in the middle that was maintained throughout my drink by several rows of carbonation at the bottom of the glass.

The smell was amazingly fruity. Orange rind, grapefruit, and a hint of pineapple even before my nose was above the glass.

The first sip was sharp and assertive citrus and hops, with a brief but pleasant attack of fiz on the lips. Finish is bitter and more citrus, but seamlessly moved into a gentle floral bouquet... here I had to think for a moment, but the most memorable and lingering flavour was reminiscent of rose hip. Simply delicious.

Mouthfeel is a little thin but bolstered by an immediate burst of carbonation. It would be quite quaffable if not for the desire to savour every flavour. A complex and delightful drink.

 1,149 characters

Photo of Roguester
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very good beer, and in fact the beer that got me into micro to begin with. This beer has it all, great smell, great hoppy taste, and can be found anywhere. Always a safe bet while beer shopping. It suprises me that Sierra Nevada can produce so much of this beer while having such a fresh hop flavor and incredible smell.

 320 characters

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

Appearance--pours a copper golden amber with a slight foam that doesn't last. Nothing too interesting.

Aroma--Medium pine hops and more hops. Citrus notes. Slight grassy notes. Complex.

Taste--Clean, bright and refreshing. Mildly bitter and dry. Pine, citrus and very mild malt. An expected slight bitter aftertaste. More complex than most. A great beer.

Mouthfeel--Perfect for the American style if not somewhat light in body. Mild carbonation and crisp.

Drinkability--Highly drinkable. The classic step up beer for nubies.

This is clearly one of America's finest beers. Everyone should be able to find it and should drink it. In this category I also enjoy Goose Islands Honkers Ale which is slightly more popular in the midwest.

 738 characters

Photo of Exner83
3.23/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A crystal-clear, golden color with a subtle flowery smell. Above-average activity with a solid head and light lacing.

The taste is an estery, acidic fruitiness--lightly oily with a remarkable bite. This is a pungent, hop-favored brew. A stinging, slick finish caps off the quaff.

I'd prefer more malt balance. This brew's one note short of a chord: A little more hop-to-malt harmony, and I'd be dancing.

 405 characters

Photo of Frosthazard
4.7/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a nice tall "beer mug"

A- Clear with tiny particles after pour, beautiful amber color. Medium head that dissipates quickly. Nice lacing. Very enticing.

S- Nutty malt and piney hops, just what I would expect from a good American Pale Ale. Slightly citrusy and yeasty. Very well rounded.

T- Slightly piney, but it a very good way. Hoppy, a little bitter, but well balanced. one word-delicious.

M- Nice carbonation, has a little bite, which I like, lets you know your drinking it. Medium body.

D- Very drinkable, wish the alcohol content were slightly higher, but this is definitely one of my favorite beers.

 623 characters

Photo of ChrisQ
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pouring Pale Ale into a glass, one will see an amber liquid with a half inch of bone colored creamy foam that lasts about a minute. The view of looking into the glass gives the viewer thoughts about clarity and character: a brew that isn't hiding anything and can stand up for itself.

Smelling your freshly poured drink reveals a light floral smell that invites you to taste. One's tongue is given a bath in clean flavors with a light bitterness that sticks around until your next sip. Subsequent sips cause the front clean flavors to blend with the initial sharp aftertaste, causing the taste of bitterness to mellow which creates a cooperation of flavors that keeps your mouth from getting bored.

This is definitely a drink that can be enjoyed in multiples due to its building flavors on top of itself, so I look forward to my next trip to the store.

 854 characters

Photo of lweaver18240
4.71/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow, this may be my favorite beer.

A- Amber, yet clear enough that you can read through it. Pours with a light head that maintains with each mouthful.

S- Smells like high quality hops to me, not much else prominent.

T- Tastes like heaven. Starts off sweet and hoppy, simplistic and perfect. Then the flavor of hops rolls along the tongue and lingers for a bit, but not overly intense.

M- Lightly carbonated and incredibly smooth leading to a high level of drinkability.

D- Very sessionable. Drank a sixer before bed and it went down easier than water. Woke up and drank one at room temperature, and it was equally delicious. Not many beers can pull that off.

A very well done ale that isn't overly bitter, nor is it overly complex. A great beer to enjoy casually and often.

 782 characters

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,862 ratings.