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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.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

2,847 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,847
Hads: 10,355
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 9.85%
Wants: 229
Gots: 2,201 | 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: 10,355
Photo of RoadLizard
4.57/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Orange-ish color with a fairly chunky head and decent lacing. This beer smelled very good to me. Lively floral odors. Yum.

Excellent "upfront" hop-bite that becomes calming as it goes down. Slight maltiness at the end of the swig mixed with a little orange peel bitterness for some complexity. This is a beer that happens to be very drinkable & pleasant.

Packs a decent alcohol punch so enjoy it in moderation :)

Simply a GREAT Pale Ale!!!! (443 characters)

Photo of drums4matt
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up - as I often do - on a hot day after making some moves on a Summer-like day.

Poured almost totally clear (other than perhaps a little chill haze) from the bottle into a Scaldis tulip. Looks nice; it pours a typical, goldenrod ale color with a one-finger, white, slightly fizzy head that only remained for a moment. Minor, though quite pretty, lacing is left around the apex of the glass.

Smell has significantly less to offer than other "micros" right off the bat, but after sipping one slowly and allowing for some warming-up this beer really shows its colors. There's a sweet graininess right out front with some west-coast hops just peeking their way through the soft, fragrant bouquet. Mmm. That smell sits SO nice with a hot afternoon.

The taste is nice. It offers more than the aroma would let onto. There's some nice fruity flavors right out front - tastes like a combination of the malted grains and phenoly, almost vinous, flavors. Delicate hops leave a lasting impression of floral and slightly citrusy flavor with a palate-coating oiliness.

Sierra Nevada is one of the beers that turned me onto beer. It has such well-defined characteristics - it nearly defines (or possibly ACTUALLY defines) the style of American Pale Ale. The refreshing drinkability (and not in the Miller Lite sense, either) meshes so well with the malt and hop to yield something that has become a classic. (1,410 characters)

Photo of AleWerks
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah SN pale ale. What can you say? Aroma is nicely balanced between hops and caramel. Appearance is light copper with a white head. Flavor is hoppy and balanced. Mouthfeel is bright and hoppy, finishing clean. Overall, this beer is the epitome of the American Pale Ale style. I drink this beer every chance I get. (312 characters)

Photo of 8Punisher8
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Between this ale and Boulavard Pale Ale, they're the beers I can always count on for a great hop taste/smell. When there is nothing else good in stock, these two are my 'fallback' beere. Between the great taste and smooth hoppy finish, this one is a winner, which is why it's one of the industry standards when it comes to American Pale Ales. (342 characters)

Photo of knucks999
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a traditional nonic pint glass. Two fingers of foam on the pour, lacing as I drink it. Great aromas of grapefruit and other floral hops. Very smooth taste, the malt and the bitterness blend very well together. The finish is quick and clean that makes you seem more thirsty as you drink. Very balanced, great beer. (332 characters)

Photo of dasmith52
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of my favorite Pale Ales.

A: A beautiful light golden/ pale color that has a nice head.

S: The hops are the main taste here. A great hops and malt smell with a slight hint of citrus.

T: Crisp and refreshing. Again the hops is the main star, but the bitterness is balanced well with the malts and makes for a very nice overall beer.

M: Flows well, but nothing special as far as the feel goes. Still nice.

D: Very easy to throw back a bunch of these and very refreshing. Good pairing with food or separate. (518 characters)

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

A: slightly cloudy, typically amber, pours 1-finger head and sustains .5 finger head with some froth managing to cling along the way

S: floral hop aroma, with elements of sweet malt at the end

T: opens with slight hops, elements of sweet malt and finishes with a lasting yet subtle bitterness - well balanced

M: feels rich, froths easily when swirled in mouth

This is a great APA - coming from Australia I was afraid the journey over, storage and not being a macro-mover might make this over-rated experience but it held well and tastes and smells great.

Common becnhmark here in Oz is Little Creatures Pale Ale and this easily meets, if not slightly exceeds that benchmark.

Cost at $20 is a little more than your usual six-pack is one small factor detracting from it's appeal. (785 characters)

Photo of hayes31
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A great smell to this beer, followed by a great taste. It's got a sweet aftertaste to it which makes it extremely refreshing, and it goes great with whatever food you may be eating since it washes everything away with a pleasant twang.

Its availability is a great upside. (313 characters)

Photo of Kestrel452
2.2/5  rDev -45.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

If you're relatively new to beer, I would highly recommend you steer clear of this brew. You will most likely find it way too bitter to drink, and maybe even so much so that you cannot even take another sip. Before you venture out into the realm that is known as pale ales, try some more balanced/milder beers like Honker's Ale before going for this. The beer was great except for the flavor, it was just sickeningly bitter.

I realize this is widely regarded as an excellent beer, but it is NOT something a beginner should drink. Pale ales are inherently pretty bitter, but this one is extra hoppy/bitter. You'll end up turning yourself off to pale ales and possibly ales in general by making this your first go at an ale.

If you want to get used to beer that employs a good amount of hops, drink Sam Adams Boston Lager. It's well balanced, but it also does have a substantial enough hop character to fit the bill. It's about as bitter of a beer that's enjoyable to me.

In time, you may develop a palate for extra bitter beers like SNPA. However, let me reiterate that this beer should be avoided when you're starting to try out different varieties of beer. Happy Drinking! (1,178 characters)

Photo of StoutyMcStouters
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

24 oz bottle, poured into a plain round table glass.

Poured with a gorgeous dark golden color and two fingers of head, head retention was good with lacing that stuck around for a while.

Smells very much like flowers, like a garden in a cup.

The flavor it packs was way more than expected, it has an awesome bitter citrus infused taste, really more than I could have asked for with the price I paid. It is hard to describe how natural but redefined it tastes. Bang for the buck is huge with this beer.

Easy to drink with a super smooth mouthfeel to it. I wish the aftertaste was a little less pronounced; The bitter overpowers the good taste of the beer as the flavor fades.

Overall a very solid, tasty beer, wish I had tried this beer sooner. Seems like it would go very well with a nice chicken or fish dinner. (816 characters)

Photo of audiodav
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Pilsner glass

A - Nice, transparent medium copper/amber color. Approx. finger sized off-white head after pour. Decent lacing.

S - A citrus/fruity smell with a decent aroma of caramel/malt.

T - The hops get you right at the top with definite tastes of citrus but clears quickly to reveal the malts.

M - This is a fairly dry ale, but not too dry. Carbonation is pretty low. On a scale of 1-10, carbonation is probably about a 3.

O - This is a great tasting Pale Ale, one of my favorites. Not too hoppy and with a nice blend of malts. A great 'go to' beer if Ale's are your thing. (597 characters)

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

I poured a twelve oz. bottle into a pint glass, backed by natural light, revealed a light copper color, with a white head. A floral nose, well balanced malt to bitterness on the tongue. Good carbonation, and lacing. Very delicious, I would drink this beer anytime, with anyone. (277 characters)

Photo of davidsumner
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Preamble - Pale Ale or IPA ? Hmmmm.... doesn't really matter to me; at the end of the day, it's good no matter how you name it. I prefer this over Torpedo; as Torpedo is a tad too heavy for me. Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale is world class and a mainstay in my beer fridge.

Poor - Good frothy poor leaving a generous two finger head. Decent lacing. The color is a warm amber; carbonation is great and because it's bottle conditioned, there is of course sediment resulting in a slight haze.

Nose - Nice light pine/resin hops with a light sweet malt backbone. Pine,citrus,floral.

Taste - Hop forward; piney, resiny, faint of citrus, biscuit and tea. Just how I like it; I'm a hop head and I prefer heavier hops, lighter malt. All and all, very nice, light quaffable beer.

This is a great sessionable, all times of day beer. It goes with almost any meal, but has enough to be an after dinner Ale as well. One of my goto beers and usually at a great price. (954 characters)

Photo of bshotbox
5/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer, by far one of my favorites. any trip into a bar with this on tap and it is a must have for at least one pint. I have always been a pale ale kinda dude and this one really sets the bar for me. a perfect gateway beer for anyone that wants to get into craft beer (277 characters)

Photo of kristen56
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The color is a dark, golden bronze-ish brown. It has a very light smell, not over powering at all. There are some fruit notes coming through. The citrus tones are definitely apparent. Definitely can taste the hops, and I'm surprised it doesn't smell a little more hoppy. Still isn't overbearing hop in the taste. It has a very clean finish. Easy to drink, and crisp. Very good!! (378 characters)

Photo of PhantomsSpa
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This is one of the first hoppier beers I've tried and man did I enjoy it. I really love the caramel flavors you get off this brew. Just a wonderful beer you can get just about anywhere. (185 characters)

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

A great measuring stick for APA's (maybe I should say IPA). Enjoy anytime of year, but especially during the warmer months. A staple in my house during the spring and summer months.

A - The medium sized white foamy head forms quickly atop the amber & copper liquid with medium to medium high carbonation. The beer pours clean and crisp with good head retention.

S - Bitter citrus hops find the nose followed by a light, sweet bready malt. The scent is pleasant and balanced.

T - The scent is not deceiving. The taste starts with a nice grapefruit hop bite (not too strong) that flows over the tongue and is followed by the same lightly sweet breadymalts apparent in the smell. A wonderfully well balanced beer with a stronghold on American beers. The aftertaste is mild, refreshing, and doesn't outstay it's welcome.

M - Light to Medium mouthfeel, but no outstanding characteristics when compared to the overall category

D - Yes, you can drink this beer on a daily basis as one at a time or 6 at a time. The taste welcomes you back again and again.

Thank You Sierra Nevada! (1,091 characters)

Photo of ChefSchipull
4.59/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Medium golden color, with a white frothy head that dissipates slowly.

Smell: Extreme citrus! Hints of grapefruit are definitely evident, along with floral scents.

Taste: Piney, grapefruit, floral pleasing hops. Apple in the aftertaste perhaps?

Mouthfeel: Crisp carbonation with a dry finish that makes you want to drink this brew all night long.

Drinkability: Extremely easy to drink, cleanses the palette quite well with bold food flavors.

I would definitely recommend this beer and in my opinion it takes second place in the APA category only to Four Peaks Hopknot Pale Ale. (604 characters)

Photo of lastnightintown2
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is absolutely great, no doubt one of my true favorites. I have been craving one of these for awhile now. The taste is very smooth, though a wee bitter at first but finishes smooth and even a bit sweet. The appearance is lovely and a bit cloudy. It just looks like a fine beer, and that it is. Probably the more popular of the Sierra Nevada brews, and for good reason. The smell isn't outstanding but its not bad, it just isn't too prominent to me.

Overall, this will continue to sit near the top of my favorite beers. A good beer for a lovely sunny fall day. (570 characters)

Photo of Eirerate
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my favorite mug. As expected from the style, pour produced small head which left behind little lacing. Dark golden color seemed just a bit hazy but still appealing. Got a nice aroma of piney hops but not overpowering. Smooth enjoyable flavor. I liked this beer even though I prefer a darker beer with a more prounced malt flavor. Mouthfeel is not overly carbonated. A nice balanced beer and a fine example of the style. Very drinkable (467 characters)

Photo of brfbeerdrinker
3.77/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

[Appearance]: Very dark gold, almost brown.

[Smell]: Smells delightful of hops and honey, both very strong.

[Foretaste]: Strong yet sweet hops, very floral.

[Midflavor]: High carbonation drowns out the superb honey flavor but its still there slightly.

[Aftertaste]: Nothing but honey and sugar very nice aftertaste indeed.

[Overall Flavor]: Pretty good if your into strong hops flavors.

[Mouthfeel]: Thick, which is fine cuz that just adds to the honey flavors.

[Drinkability]: Nice, it's a very delicious honey experience a little strong on the hops tho.

[Personal Recomendation]: Give it a try it's kind of an acquired taste for me, but others could enjoy greatly. (674 characters)

Photo of Jae27
3.16/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a standard Grumpy Dave's pint glass.

A. Clear amber to yellow with a bubbly head dominated by CO2 carbonation. Not bottle fermented. No yeast. No CO2 nucleation.

S. Very light hoppyness. Nothing really strong comes through. I may be getting another cold, so I'll have to check this again later.

T. Pretty floral hops, not overly floral, just to much for my tastes. hops taste and smell like a combination of Cascade hops and Nobile hops. This is just speculation no real evidence for this. No malt flavors at all. The finish is bitter which is nice.

Not really an APA guy, but this is one of the better I have had. Nice change from the RIP's and porters I usually drink. Nice beer overall. Nothing really special though. (755 characters)

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

You know your life is good when Sierra is on tap as standard!!

This is a great example of a well-done american pale ale. As an Englishman, my compatriots tend to be critical of American brews, usually along the lines of "too cold, too fizzy, too strong".

Crisp flavor and fresh smell work well with the carbonation and lower serving temperature. Sure, it's a little stronger than your typical english ale, but I keep coming back to this beer, Summer or Winter, whether I am in the mood for a refresher or a warmer, SNPA always works!!! (537 characters)

Photo of itfitz
4.97/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I remember the first time I tried a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It was (at that time) the most different beer I'd ever had. It was the early 1990's and I had just moved from Michigan, where I'd been exposed to mass-produced tasteless beers all my life. I'd fallen in love with Samuel Adams lager, which was quite hard to find due to the relative lack of distribution.

The aroma from the spicy hops hits your nose as you pour it from the bottle. The beer comes out with an amber-orange color with a perfect amount of foam and fantastic lacing in the glass. The bitterness is not overpowering, but adds just enough to counterbalance the smooth caramel maltiness.

The mouthfeel is wonderful, and although not thin, it doesn't come across as a heavy beer. The perfect carbonation combined with the wonderful taste gives this a drinkability like few other beers, and this is my everyday go-to beer (and has been for almost two decades now).

This is Sierra Nevada's flagship beer for a reason. It can be a session beer or an accompaniment to a gourmet meal (or pizza or burgers). (1,073 characters)

Photo of Arknot
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The ulitmate "beer".
A nice balance of hops and malt, this pale ale fits my standard for a basicly perfect everyday beer.

Appearance is light copper with a thick white head.

Smell is hops and watery freshness, with a slight biscuity breadyness.

Taste is slightly bitter hops, with a nice biscuity bready malty body.

Mouthfeel is nothing heavy, very crisp, and very easy going.

Overall, If you enjoy american hops, and a want a solid beer to have with a meal, out in the sun, or hanging out with friends Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the ticket. I'll also say this is a fairly nice session beer, if only a little strong.
Cheers. (628 characters)

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