Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

2,847 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,847
Hads: 10,356
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 9.85%
Wants: 229
Gots: 2,203 | 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: 2,847 | Hads: 10,356
Photo of alexAK
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
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 -15.3%
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 +7.6%
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 +6.4%
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 +5.9%
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 -20.4%
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 +15.8%
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 +10.1%
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%
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)

Photo of Marcrates
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours a nice golden yellow with an inch and 1/4 head. Looks tasty.

Smell - Very sweet and citrusy.

taste - Has an immediate sweet taste, with a flowery and citrusy after taste.

Overall this is a very drinkable, yet flavorful beer. It didn't blow me away, but it may just make my top 15 or so. Only time will tell. (329 characters)

Photo of dopehousex3
4.75/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Has to be one of my favoret pale ale's I have ever drank. The taste is great you could really taste the hopps and taste so good nice and cold. This makes me want to go to 7/11 and buy a 6 pack lol. There's nothing like drinking a Sierra Nevada in a open glass just go pick on up you'll end up really liking them. (312 characters)

Photo of crzyc
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into pint glass.

A: Light head, a little lacing. Cloudy light amber body.

S: Orange, citrus.

T: Malt and orange up front with hops, spicy finish.

M: Nice carbonation, full bodied taste.

O: Very good APA, will never turn one down.

Six Pack Pier LQ (259 characters)

Photo of DuffManOhYeah
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If you're in need of a delicious beer that will rock your socks but not your wallet, Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale should be your beer of choice. It is the American Pale Ale in its near-perfect form. My favorite beer to bring to parties.

A- Quintessential golden amber with a beautiful head

S- Very floral and slightly citrus

T- Very smooth and not too hoppy. Enough hops to make you realize it is a pale ale but not too much to make it bitter. There is a certain sweetness behind the hops that just pulls the overall taste together beautifully. Absolutely delicious.

M- A nice crispness and carbonation

D- Very drinkable, especially in the summer. It always seems to leave me feeling refreshed but then reels me back in for a sip seconds later. (746 characters)

Photo of forsakenpariah
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first beer review.

Serving type - 12oz. bottle poured into pint glass.

A - Pours an orange-golden color with a fluffly, off-white, roughly one-inch head with good retention and moderate lacing.

S - The nose is dominated by bold, crisp, citrusy hops. A hint of floral and sweet scents are present as well.

T - The first sip is like a sucker punch of sharp, bitter hoppy glory. Lots of citrusy and floral hop flavor. There is a bit of caramel malty sweetness. Some hints of biscuit and earthy flavors as well. The flavor tends to sweeten and mellow as you drink.

M - Light body with moderate carbonation. The hops leave a lasting refreshing impression on the palate.

D - Good drinkability; this is an excellent session beer. This is overall the best pale ale I've had by far. I'll definitely be drinking it again. (821 characters)

Photo of AlfaMale
4/5  rDev -1.5%
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 TonyC
5/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A wonderful Pale Ale that hits the spot in every way. This one deserves to be in everyone's fridge.

A: A nice dark copper color with a nice, thick and creamy head that stays with you to the end.

S: A subtle hop smell that allows you to smell the sweet malt profile.

T: A very nice balance of hops and malt flavors. A ry nice sweet flavor that allows just the right amount of bitterness to come through.

M: Excellent carbonation with a slight hop bite. So very balanced.

O: Excellent beer. It has a great balance of malt and hops, and it allows you to just sit back and enjoy it.

Being a hop head, you wouldn't think this would be up my alley, but I do concede to perfect flavor when it warrants it. And this one does just that. (736 characters)

Photo of khensley
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apperance was as expected, with a thin head that kept as the beer disappeared. Color was a wee bit hazy straw yellow. Nice legs on the way down the glass. More sediment than expected from a big brewery, but I dont mind.

Smell: tones of grass, yeast, and a faint bit of rust.

Taste was impressively hoppy for a pale ale. Tasted a lot like an IPA with citrus, pine notes. Begining flaver had notes of graham cracker, the middle got grasssy, with a grapefruit finish. Malt was a bit thin, but the hop finish was delightful. The bitterness fades to a tinny aftertaste.

Mouthfeel was a bit big for an ale of this style. Plenty of little bubbles to punch the tongue.

Overall this beer is a solid one to buy when the selection is limited, and if you want to pair with nice hot sandwich. More like an IPA in my opinion. 24 0z. a serving is just right. (847 characters)

Photo of CraftDanny
2.3/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

I've seen this bottle coming in many pubs in London so I decided to try it. Looks great, shinny orange, nice bubbles. The taste is very strong, really bitter but fresh, fruity, there is ginger everywhere, smells acid, mouthtaste stays for few seconds. It took me long to finish the glass, not very used to this kind of flavor but was ok. (337 characters)

Photo of JohnIrving
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

I struggle to rate this beer. If you go purely by taste.. then you basically have a showcase for cascade hops, which craft drinkers are familiar with and by now may find dull. But I can't drink it and not appreciate the contribution to craft beer history and the rise of good beer in America. This beer is a classic. I also give it points for being so highly available. (369 characters)

Photo of TCJ0100
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Poured into Bloomington Brewing Company stange glass from a 12 oz. bottle from a fresh winter variety pack. Bottled on 9/1/14 which is about as fresh as I have ever had it. It pours clear with an orangish tinge probably due to the caramel malts. Had a decent head that quickly dissipated.

The smell is predominantly earthy hops with a distinct Cascade flavor showing through. I wouldn't really describe this beer as cirtrusy, but it has maybe a touch of grapefruit showing through.

The flavor is very balanced with malts at first, then a grapefruity finish afterwards. It is quite good, and it seems like a very modern sort of beer. Amazing that this was brewed in 1980.

This has changed my outlook on this beer. I drank a 12 pack of cans of this and was not impressed. It's either the freshness or the bottles that make this beer really shine. It is excellent, and it is a testament to how prevalent craft beer is becoming that I can buy this at my local grocery store for nearly the same price I would spend to buy Miller Lite. (1,034 characters)

Photo of MOFALLINGLEAF
3.79/5  rDev -6.7%
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 Webby64
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I will be honest, I can't tell the difference between this and Goose's "Honkers Ale". Smell (to me) is faint, I don't smell much. Color is clear light copper, no head to speak of. Taste has a touch of citrus, slight malt and a dry finish. Has a bit of a kick to it. Overall, a very good beer, one that I am really enjoying. I will buy again!

(346 characters)

Photo of Holyterror
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is one of the few beers I drink that has a screw-on cap. It took me a while ot notice that. Go figure.

Sierra Nevada makes some of the best mass market beers you can buy, so my expectations were high. I was not disappointed. It poured a hazy golden orange, very appetizing color. The head was moderately thick, good for this style, and settled into a thin white cap and laced the glass pretty well. I lack the vocabulary to properly describe the aroma, but the hops became evident even before the first taste. It had a very grainy taste, heavy on the hop oil, which lingered on into the aftertaste. The hops are very prominent, a plus for me. It is still balanced, and washes down smoothly without leaving excess bitterness on the palate. Good mouthfeel, perfect for this kind of beer. About halfway through the frist glass, it becomes very drinkable. Definite candidate for a session beer, especially if you like the style (which I do).

Definitely recommended as an introduction to the American Pale Ales. Another widely available brew to fall back on as well. (1,072 characters)

Photo of ericsdawson
4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

wow. it's been a while since i had one of these and i forgot how much i liked them. a healthy 2 finger head that retains well. best i can describe the color is a hazy orangey gold. good lacing too. at first, the smell is primarily of hops and citrus, but as this delight warms a little, i pick up a toasted grain smell. the taste hits the tounge bitter and hoppy but finishes with a nice and balanced sweet malt flavor. this is the kind of beer to buy by the case. i have yet to meet someone who doesn't like this beer. (except my girlfriend who says all beer tastes the same) some of the other sierra nevada stuff is a little hoppy for my liking, but this one is scrumtrulecently balanced. (690 characters)

Photo of onthefarside
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this one on several occasions. When I was first getting into beers i thought it tasted a little funny, but now that my taste for beer has matured quite a bit, this beer is great for me when I run out of Dogfish head and can't get to the one place that sells it in Albany. There are two bars so far that I know of in the Albany area that have this on tap. (I dont go bar hopping too much, stick to the usual place) My Place in Delmar and Hollywood down on Lark St in Albany. about $4 for a 16oz draft. On to the beer.

Appearance is a nice dark brown that when held to the light is more of a dark caramel. Depending on the bar tender you either get about 1 in head to almost no head. Out of the bottle about 1in with an average pour.

Smell- Some floral hops, not as strong as IPA but enough to know its going to taste great. Some malts and general pleasantries with this beer.

Taste- where to begin, a great almost sweet malt taste that makes the perfect transition to a slightly bitter hops. Mixed with wings and other typical bar foods, it can mix with other flavours to please your pallete. There are so many other flavours in here that i just can't pull out at the moment.

mouthfeel- when cold it has the perfect effect on your tounge, a perfect amount of carbonation, more than a usual IPA but less than a crappy macro. Good for drinking at a bar with freinds or for washing down a meal.

Drinkability- Definately my session beer at the bar. with 5.6 alcohol cont, it's rather high for a beer you can easily find in a grocery store. For a college party, get something cheaper, at 7-9 dollars around here it can be pricey for those of us in a pinch, but when i want something good and can't get my ass to the bev cent. This is my choice. Can't go wrong with Sierra Nevada! (1,797 characters)

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,847 ratings.