Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,826 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,826
Hads: 10,267
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 9.85%
Wants: 222
Gots: 2,105 | 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: 2,826 | Hads: 10,267
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)

Photo of MLucky
4.67/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Just a classic. If you don't like this beer, you don't like American pale ale.

Poured from a 12ozer, a nice amber color, persisent head, nice lacing.

Excellent aroma. Citrusy hop, a bit of esters, biscuit malt.

The taste is the very definition of this style. A firm balance of citrus and sweetness, greapefuit aftertaste.

Frighteningly drinkable. Goes down so easily you have to watch yourself.

This is just a tremendous American pale ale. The beer world has changed a lot since it was introduced back in the early '80s, and I suppose I can understand it if some people feel that SNPA has been surpassed by hoppier, more sensationalistic brews. But damn... this tastes amazing. Sierra Nevada changed the brewing world, and this is the beer that did it. If you can't dig it, it's your loss. (794 characters)

Photo of jedtheavenger
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What can I say about Sierra Pale Ale that hasn't already been said? I'm not going to bother with a formal review of the nuances in sensory characteristics. Pretty much everyone who bothers drinking craft beer is fairly familiar with it.

Allow me to touch on its redeeming qualities (beyond the standard appearance/taste/smell/mouthfeel):
1. It's just about as ubiquitous as craft beer can get. If you are in unfamiliar territory and can't find anything new that catches your eye, a sixer of Sierra Pale is probably waiting for you in the store.

2. Hot damn, it's in "I'm basically the same price as Miller Lite" cheap. The only decent beer at my store that is cheaper is Top Sail Session, so it really comes down to whether I want an ale or a lager.

3. Sometimes, you just want a beer that doesn't require a high-maintenance analysis of its flavor profile, but doesn't taste like a shitty macro. Sierra Pale is your answer. Tasty enough to be appreciated; humble enough to have three or four in a row. (1,016 characters)

Photo of UncleBart91
2.9/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Golden blonde, like a Swedish goddess. Rich foam. Thick fermentation

Aroma: Crisp Cascade hops, definite pale blend of pine and spice

Taste: Light, yet hoppy with a very crisp aftertaste. Almost on the lighter side of pale ales

Overall: Not my favorite pale ale, but a decent beer. Too crisp for my taste. Very defined aftertaste leaves a very pale aroma. Not bad for a craft brew.

Serving type: Bottle/Pint Glass (429 characters)

Photo of seymourcox
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The driving range and par 3 that I frequent used to have Newcastle in cans. It had been a while and I had since become a hop fan, so when I got back into golf, I was thinking "ok, it's better than ****-light". But oh, what the devil?!? They now have Sierra Nevada in cans! I took it as a good omen. (I think this beer has actually helped me with my fade.) (355 characters)

Photo of Sizeable_Paladin
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Overall it looked quite well for a pale ale when poured in a 16 ounce pilsner glass. It had a nice light copper color which i liked

Smell: Smell was a tad stout with a light flora smell to me, However it may be different for others as my sense of smell is not very keen.

Taste: the taste was slightly spicy hint in the mouth and as it you drink it back it has a nice malty flavor. Overall I found the taste quite enjoying

Mouthfeel: I found it quite subtle and easy to drink. It left no aftertaste in my mouth overall it was enjoyable.

Overall: I found this to be a great summer Pale Ale and so far I have yet to be disappointed with Sierra Nevada Breweries quality in its ales. Therefore I am very satisfied with this brew (740 characters)

Photo of Leviathan5
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving type: Bottle into Shaker glass

A - Orange/copper color with a nice two finger head. Nice lacing

S - Hoppy and with citrus and pine touches

T - Good balance between the sweetness of the malt and the bitterness of the hops. Again touches of citrus and pine

M - Medium bodied, smooth and with nice carbonatation

O - A great beer. It's got to be really good to have inspired so many other APAs and still be one of the best ones 34 years after the first batch (467 characters)

Photo of turkishbacon
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Awesome brew. One of my favorite seasonal beers. The first time I purchased it, I bought a 12 pack after looking the reviews up on here and I was not disappointed. If you find it, buy it. If you enjoy great tasting IPA's, you won't regret it. Cheers, big ears! (260 characters)

Photo of Ag-Hag
5/5  rDev +23.2%

The king!

Taking the best of the craft/micro breweries, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has achieved an APA that is supreme in flavor, mouth feel, and finish.

A marvelous color and body greet you at the tap or glass-pour. Beautiful staunch head and matching foam greets your lips as you sink into one outstandingly smooth and full-featured beers.

I knew it as soon as I tasted this. You cannot get a better beer. You can pay more, but you can't get a better one. Absolutely solid, glass after glass. MOST impressive. Exactly what this kind of beer should be.

Sam Adams introduced the American Micro Brew style into mainstream acceptance over 20 years ago, and Sierra Nevada has taken it to it's next step. A truly masterful brew in every respect. Absolutely my favorite for excellent reasons. (787 characters)

Photo of matdot
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap from Pastis in Dunwoody, Georgia. Accompanied by Filet Mignon and Truffle mashed potatoes.

Appearance: Golden orange with bubbles and a small one inch head. Bubbles filled the sides of the glass and were not trying to escape.

Smell: Sweet, caramel and butterscotch.

Taste: The taste of caramel and sweet malt.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, not heavy at all.

Drinkability: Great I drank three pints and it did not leave me bloated like other "filling" beers. Bring another! (497 characters)

Photo of nfo
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's hard to rate such a sentimental favorite, which was probably my introduction to what I now consider "good" beer and serves as the benchmark I use to rate other beers. But since I'm well stocked on it at the moment... The citrusy hops aroma and flavor and crisp, bitter finish set the standard for west coast pale ales. The only bad thing I can say about it is that I've consumed so much of the stuff that it can get a little boring. But if I haven't had it for a while, when I finally do it's clearly a great beer, a true classic.

Most beer drinkers can probably agree that this beer's most important quality is its availability. I love that you can get it all over the country, and it shows up all the time in crappy bars where I'd otherwise have to fall back on well drinks.

edit: trying to calibrate my scores, having trouble keeping it all internally consistent (876 characters)

Photo of Brauluver
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lovely copper colour with small /lasting head.
Marmaladey nose of sweet malt and citric hops in a good balance.
Flava is citric hop tang blended with crystal type malt base,with a long lingering hop bitterness.Neutral ale style with light /medium mouthfeel body.

Very well balanced and drinkable. (301 characters)

Photo of awinkro
3.74/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Cooper in color with about a 1/4" of head during the consumption.

S: More citrus/grapefruit aroma than floral, but some floral is present. Small amount of malt and caramel essence as well.

T: Slight spicy start, quickly followed by hops that linger for the entire drink. A nice malt balance comes in at the tail end.

M: The hops seem to linger on the palate after the drink, making the following drinks further apart.

D: It's a great standard for Pale Ale and a bar for new breweries to try and reach. (509 characters)

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

Was at Harry's Bar in SF today and noticed they had it on tap, so I gave it a try.

It's definitely better on tap than from a bottle. It has a darker amber color to it, which was a little unexpected. And per previous reviews, it does have a malty feel to it, certain to produce a bit of phlegm at the back of the throat.

It's not a beer I get too often, because of the maltiness and lack of refreshment I get from it. But I do enjoy the taste and prefer the local stuff when I'm out drinking with the boys. (507 characters)

Photo of dalimsta
4.76/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


Sorry about the caps, but this is worth it. One of the first craft brews I ever tried, this brought me into a whole new world of beer. I've had it on tap and bottled dozens of times, and it's never failed to please.

The flavor is incredibly rich and bready, slightly-sweet, slightly-hoppy. Extremely well-balanced, and easily one of the best beers readily available. Mouthfeel is just right.

I'd be seriously afraid to be left alone with a keg of this beer. (478 characters)

Photo of mentz99
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Color: Copper-orange with a slight cloudiness. Nice white one inch head.
Aroma: Citrus and piney hops with a caramel malt base.
Taste: A very smooth and drinkable beer with a slight citrus taste. Slightly bitter, but not over-powering. Very well balanced.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and well carbonated.
Very flavorful and balanced beer. A really good APA. (399 characters)

Photo of Malt
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this beer from the bottle to a mug right now. The head started out thick but quickly faded. Nice color. Has a mild citrus/hoppy smell. There is very little carbonation. I am not really into having sediment on the bottom but I will manage. Has a mild bitterness for taste. Overall this is a great beer for a gathering or as some would say, a kick back. (358 characters)

Photo of RIbeaz
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I managed to get my hands on a couple of bottles of this brew at a frat party. it was good break from the typical house party beers.

The smell was an inviting crisp hop aroma. the first sip was a clean, hop bittered taste. Very tasty. Good malt backbone and i caught slight citrus taste too. Very good feel to it and very drinkable.

This was may first american pale ale of of its style and i was not disappointed. i had heard good things about this brew before and it defiantly lived up to what ive heard. (507 characters)

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

12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

Like so many others, this is the beer that convinced me there was no need to drink American Adjunct Lagers.

Pours a brilliant amber (not very "pale" for the classic APA). Incredibly balanced taste and highly drinkable. The citrusy sweetness and bitter hops seem to balance each other perfectly. So much going on, flavor-wise, yet nothing overpowers. (382 characters)

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,826 ratings.