Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

10,187 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,187
Reviews: 2,945
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 218
Gots: 2,033 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 10,187 | Reviews: 2,945
Photo of tdm168
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Lynnwood Grill

Arrived a copper color with one finger of head and nice retention. Smell is pretty hoppy for a pale ale, very floral. Taste is also quite hoppy but does not overpower. Mild malts and floral, piney hops are extremely well balanced. Medium bodied with good carbonation; a little dry but very refreshing.

A great beer. One of my favorite pale ales.

Photo of BARFLYB
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Bourbon blue.

A- SNPA is a nice bright bronze color. Some spots of orange as well. A good sized sturdy head with white bubbles throughout stayed afloat. Some light lace stuck on the glass but barely.

S- A nice hop aroma from various strains giving off a floral aroma. I can smell a citrus a roma plus some malt leading its way to slight caramel. Very nice and pungent.

T- Was not expecting all the hops plus bitterness for a pale ale but this does fit the style. It's not overdone, it's just balanced. The malt gives off caramel at just the right time without interfering. In the finish is some toasted grain plus a bit of spice.

M- A step above medium bodied and oily. The bitterness is there but does not overcome. The malt addition works well in this nicely hopped pale ale. Creamy going down and a nice finish.

D- Good stuff, drinkable plus affordable, this one is a good package. Better off of the tap but fresh bottles are good as well. Low alcohol too which is also a plus. The balance is what sets this one off.

Photo of Halcyondays
4/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

Photo of BlackHaddock
2.63/5  rDev -34.7%
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.

Photo of Billolick
4.27/5  rDev +6%
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!

Photo of yourefragile
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Clear, slightly hazed bright golden amber color with slow carbonation and a fluffy off white head that dissipates to a thick ring with lots of webbed lacing.
S: Floral hops, a little citrus and strong background of grain. Earthy and slightly pungent. Not spectacular, but adequate.
T: Smooth, medium bodied. Malty, biscuit body with a earthy flavor, grain, and floral hops, citrus rind finish. Amazingly refreshing and drinkable.

Photo of billab914
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was surprised to find I haven't ever reviewed this one, so I picked one up the other day specifically for this review. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Ithaca glass. It had a really nice golden amber color to it with a thin but frothy head to it.

The aroma has a nice balance of American hops and pale malts. There is some good citrus notes to it, along with a little pine. The pale, bready malts give it a nice base.

The taste shows off the Cascade hops nicely. It's got notes of grapefruit, lemon zest and a little pine to it. Again the pale, bready malts give it a nice base and provide a good balance.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being moderate. Overall, it's a classic version of the style and probably the benchmark for all other versions. Sure, there are newer beers in the style I like better, but sometimes revisiting a classic is just as enjoyable.

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

A. On tap into a pint glass. Copper in color with a bit of lace.

S. Floral hoppage and some malts in the distance.

T. A good grassy hopping of some caramel malt. A bit of floral hops. Biscuity malt. Balanced well and nothing out of place.

M. Medium bodied and crisp. Ample amount of carbonation. Finishes slightly dry.

D. A nice pale ale. Pretty much the definition of the style. Solid and a worthy of a staple.

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into pint glass.
A darker golden color with nice foaming head that did lace.
Smell of hops and then some lemon and grass, maybe a pinch of ginger.
A good taste. Balanced (or should I say imbalanced) just right for a PA. Hops are the main note, with malt and lemon in the background for body. Nothing special on the mouthfeel, but that's good anyway.
Easy drinking, dangerous...can drink several without thinking of it.

Photo of DoubleJ
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

Photo of tempest
4.2/5  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.

Photo of smakawhat
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had hundreds of these over the years, but never reviewed it until now..

Copper/yellow color of a nice clear. Decent head when poured on tap and lots of lacing.

Smell is kind of closed, not much going on, but nothing offensive either, faint bread and some chew.

Taste though is much improved with a very good bread finish that is subtle. Really good finish on this beer giving just enough hops and malt/bread/biscuity chew to feel decent. Easily drinkable, with a good mouthfeel that isn't too wet and is considerably better on tap than from the bottle.

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.54/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Let me say first off that I think this is a great beer. I really think they should be applauded for their role in the craft brewed revolution in this country. I think many of their products are excellent, and the snpa is the flagship. This used to be my favorite session beer. Why do I say used to be? Two reasons: first, I think this beer is not quite the beer it used to be. This is true both because it has stood still while great hoppy beers grew around it, but also because I think it has lost a little of its unique flavoe over the years. Second, I think this beer has had freshness and consistency problems as it has grown larger. I've had way to many snpas that were stale tasting if not downright skunky. This is particularly true on tap, but I've had some bad bottles too. I think its the beer, not the storage, but as snpas presence has become more ubiquitous, I'm sure there are more places that don't treat it right. Also, I think the tap beer is not as good as the bottles (Except maybe at the brewery- where its wonderful). The krausening in the bottles lends the brew a fruity yeastiness that is part of its charm. This is really lacking on tap, where an earthier taste comes through. When you find it really fresh and well handled, this can still be a near perfect brew, but its getting harder to find that way imo.

The beer came from the tap a beautiful copper color with a good head and excellent lacing throughout.

The smell is pretty good- earthy hops, but maybe with a little bit of a stale aroma as well. The draft lacks some of the fruity esters of the bottled.

The taste is still solid, fairly soft up front with a good earthy piney hop bitterness. A little stale on the finish.

The mouthfeel is fairly thin, but there is some creaminess there as well. The hops are pretty clean, but not a hop explosion. The thinner body helps the beer remain balanced.

Very drinkable, but best when really fresh. My scores are for draft at an average place. They would be higher at the brewery or in bottles.

Photo of corby112
3.57/5  rDev -11.4%
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.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

Photo of Zorro
3.06/5  rDev -24.1%
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.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

Photo of wl0307
3.93/5  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!

Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

Photo of John_M
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I don't want to even speculate how much of this I've drunk over the years. A considerable lake of it at the very least.

As others have noted, this really is the quintessential American Pale Ale. I know whenever I think of a pale ale, this is the beer that comes immediately to mind.

The beer pours an impressive copper orange amber color, with very decent head retention and good lacing. On the nose.... mmm.... the sierra nevada pale aroma. There's nothing quite like it. Noticeable hops and malt perfectly intermixed on the nose, with a hint of orange/citrus and ginger. The beer is mouth watering, and as always, I can't wait to take the first sip. On the palate this beer is just delicious. Again, it seems to have the perfect intermix of hops and malt, with just enough hops to keep the beer refreshing and not too sweet. In combination there is a very forward fruitiness to this beer, a mix of orange, cherry and apple I think. The beer finishes very crisply, and always leaves me wanting to take the next sip. I find this beer to be amazingly drinkable for a beer with so much flavor, and I'm not afraid to admit that at one time I could go through an entire 6 pack by myself, or would pound down 4 or 5 pints at my favorite sports bar.

I still remember the first time I encountered this beer (many, many years ago in California). I knew right then that my days of drinking miller, coors and AB products were over forever. For that I will always be grateful. Just an excellent beer. Cheers!

Photo of johnnnniee
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle enjoyed at my parents house, great bbq beer.
Golden amber color, moderate citrus hops with a bready caramel maltiness to back it up. Great brew, and I'm a bit surprised I haven't rated this before.

Photo of jdhilt
3.08/5  rDev -23.6%
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.

Photo of akorsak
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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

A deep bodied yellow shaded in with tones of amber. A seemingly infinite number of tiny bubbles sprout up from the base and race to the top. Clarity exist but in a somewhat blurred state. The top half inch is peach hued and adhesive enough to envelop the glass above it.

Notes of citrus, grass and pine combine for a pleasant effervescence. It is a soft fruitiness that includes orange blossom and a squirt of lemon juice. The hop character is pronounced but moderate - it's not a smack to the sinus but rather a gentle tickling of the nostrils.

Hints of grapefruit and citrus fruit are noted in the flavour, too. More prevalent now, however, is the taste of lightly toasted, caramel laced malts. It's not exactly a rich, gooey presence but it adds an extra shot of flavour to what is otherwise a very simple beer.

The hops might snip at those not accustomed to bitterness but should definitely be considered restrained. The modest 37 IBUs add a nice underlying quench to each sip. Crisp mouthfeel and good carbonation only adds drinkability to what was already something quite tasty.

Sierra Nevada is rightfully regarded as the grandfather of the American craft beer revolution. Their pale ale was particularly inspirational for a generation of craft brewers that are now re-inventing old world styles and hopping at levels previously unheard of - All hail it !

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

Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer is an orange-copper coloring with a thin, filmy, sparse white coating on the surface. Aromas of citrus sweet and herbal spicing on a roasty, caramel backbone. The beer is smooth and crisp in mouth, thanks to the carbonation and the hops bitterness. Flavors are roasted caramel and a touch of smoke in the backbone, supporting a resiny, bitter hops profile that highlights alongside a citrus blend of lemon and grapefruit. Very well balanced, with a bitter, slightly drying aftertaste that again showcases some of the herbal highlights. Smooth, drying finish with some of the bitter and spice left to linger until the next sip. As I said of the former Draught Style, this brew is a staple of the APA style. Very tasty, and very sessionable.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 10,187 ratings.