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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.

2,876 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,876
Hads: 10,530
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 22.22%
Wants: 246
Gots: 2,412 | 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: 2,876 | Hads: 10,530
Photo of wl0307
3.93/5  rDev -3%
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!

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Photo of jdhilt
3.08/5  rDev -24%
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.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.16/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium coppery amber with a half finger of off-white head with good retention and lacing. Nice aroma of light tropical fruit, citrus, pine, sweet malt. Flavor of mild sweet malt, tropical fruit, citrus, piney and citrus hops, finishing with piney, citrus and grassy hop bitterness. Awesome creamy medium body for a pale ale, great mouth feel. Seems slightly subdued after getting used to the abundant NW IPAs, but quickly won me over with a nicely balanced array of hop flavors and the creamy body augments the incredible balance of malt and hop in this ale. I understand why this is so highly regarded. A bit old fashioned in its flavors, but absolutely holding its own. A great pale ale from one of the world's great breweries.

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Photo of Tone
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden/yellow color. Decent head with little retention and little lacing. Smells strongly of hops. Fits the pale ale style quite nicely. Strong bitterness of hops with average carbonation. Could have a little more flavor, but overall very good beer.

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Photo of akorsak
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich but light orange color with two fingers of ivory head. Nice lacing as the head dissipates.

Smell: nice collection of hop aromas. I get earthy, herby, a little citrusy and a little funky. A very nice balance; I like it.

Taste: smooth flavor if a little on the hoppy-bitter side. Malt is slightly sweet and caramel-flavored; hops tend more toward the earthy, funky and floral in the flavor than was the case in the aroma. Bitterness is quite high. Quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation for the style. It works, though it doesn't blow me away.

Drinkability: pretty drinkable. Tried this out at band practice last week and it seemed to go down pretty well. It is probably even better with a burger outdoors in the summer.

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

The iconic west coast pale, still a standard bearer for the style, although not as exciting as it once was. On draft, pours coppery gold, nearly clear, with a sizeable head that has good retention and lacing. Aroma is mostly citrusy hops; mild sweet and grainy malt underneath.

Flavor follows suit; primarily features the citrus hop notes of cascade and other C hop varieties; light caramel malt backbone; feels mild and lightly bitter after all these years of escalating hop bombs. Finish is mostly dry with lightly lingering bitterness in the aftertaste. Flavorful and easy to drink.

Medium body and carbonation; good smoothness in the draft version. An excellent choice on a night trapped in a shit-kickin' BMC bar, thankful for this option. Doesn't fire up the imagination and palate the way it did 20 odd years ago but still a reliable and satisfying drinker.

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Photo of corby112
3.57/5  rDev -11.9%
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.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This beer pours faint amber, with a really nice-looking white head that leaves some lacings when it dissipates after quite some time.

S: Obivious hoppy one, floral hops - cascade, then there is some citrus and some faint yeast.

T: Heavy hops, cascade, but also flowery, fruity and a roughness to the malt.

M: Nice long bitter aftertaste, smooth in the mouth with nice bubbles.

D: This is a great beer and if you havn't had it get - get yourself to the nearst store that sells it and buy it!

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured a brilliantly clear orange with a soft, creamy 1 finger dirty white head that settled rather quickly to a thin, sparse covering. Visible carbonation was very light.

S: The nose started out with a dry grassiness at first before giving way to a sweet citrusy nature.

T: The initial flavor starts out with a great graininess with a citrusy and light pine hopping. Quenching citrusy bite. The crisp, pale malting truly stands out here is never overshadowed by the bright citrusy nature. Finishes with a touch of grassiness and dried grapefruit. There is a reason why this is considered the staple per style. To many modern pales have been bastardized by amercian's lust for hops while neglecting the true intended crisp pale nature of the drink. This one offers a great balance with a crisp malting with a touch of malt sweetness and hopping that is balanced perfectly.

M: medium, oily viscosity with a nice feel and light dried citrus hop fade.

D: By style one of the best. Crisp, refreshing with a great malting and true to style. Case worthy by all means a go to for that summer picnic to quench the thirst with a citrusy blast.

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Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a dark golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is dominated by hops. Taste is hops, some bitterness, a bit of malts at the finish. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall I tried this before and was unimpressed but now I found it to be a pretty good beer.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at The Pub, Amherst, MA.

16oz pint glass presentation. Hardly a head, but what was present was a white film over a dark amber brew, with no lacing. Light pale malt aroma coupled with a bit of hops, with the flavor carrying on where the nose left off, and an overall acceptable feel. Mouthfeel and drinkability excellent.

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Photo of beertunes
2.91/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into straight pint glass. Poured 1/2 inch of bright, white head that left a medium amount of lacing. Bright, light orange/deep yellow color. Not much malt in the nose, but solid hop presence. Flavor matches aroma closely. The lack of body is noticed right away. Very drinkable, but the flavors becomes unnoticeable quickly. This is a solid go-to beer that never lets you down, but rarely thrills the drinker. I have long maintained that, due to the prominence of hops and lack of malt body, this should be called an IPA, not a pale ale. I seem to be in a very small minority in this view.

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Photo of Derek
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Pacific Northwest Pale Ale that defined the style. Certainly more subtle than newly developed products.

A: Golden bronze with a little head, no lace.

S: Nice American hop citrous.

T: Citrousy, biscuity malt.

M: Light-to-moderate body, fairly high carbonation.

D: Suitable for a wide range of beer drinkers.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great beer, although I have to admit I expected a little more when I heard this was the prototypical APA. I guess I was expected the best APA ever, but I've had a few I liked better. Taste is nicely hopped, very full and complete. Citric hop tastes finish the sip appropriately. This is a perfect beer for slow sipping at a bar or at home, thankfully this is available almost everywhere. I have nothing more to add that hasn't been said numerous times already.

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Photo of DrJay
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very clear amber colour topped by a thin lace of white head. Moderate retention and stickage. The aroma consists of floral, citrus and spicy hops with a bit of biscuit and grain. The flavour is balanced on the hoppy, bitter side. Mild sweetness with some maltiness, but mostly citrus and spicy hops with a dominating bitterness. Dry finish with a firm bitterness. Medium body and carbonation. Slightly crisp and acidic from the carbonation, but without having a coarse texture. This is a great session beer -- clean and full of flavour.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.84/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on August 3, 2013.

The pour is a good looking medium amber-copper with a full off-white head that lingers for a time.

The aroma is grainy and bready with a dash of earthy hops that smell clean and crisp.

The body falls into the medium range and the texture is generally smooth.

As far as the taste there is a quick biscuit and grainy maltiness but then the hops explode but simmer down to a moderate dry finish. By today's standards this is a pretty basic pale ale but one cannot neglect Sierra Nevada's role in the history of the craft beer movement. I bet this was wonderful in the 1970's to early 1980's.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one has escaped my review radar for long enough! ;^)

It pours from 12oz bottle a slightly hazy gold with a good 2 finger head of foam from the initial pour and it stays for the entire session as a solid 1" layer. Good lacing to be had here as well.

The smell is hop dominant to the nose but it's fairly light.

The taste is hoppy with a mild bitterness of grapefruit and a touch of grass. I can just taste some malt, especially when I swish the beer in my mouth, but it's just there to cut through the hops a bit...not really to balance it as hop is king in this very tasty APA that I've enjoyed for many many years. This was actually one of my main gateway beers bridging the past of light tasting, oh so similar tasting brews to the present, where you can pretty much sample flavours all over the spectrum. And....after all these years, it does more than hold its own. This is a *classic* and rightfully so.

The mouthfeel is medium as is the carbonation and it finishes dry and has a nice bitter aftertaste that lingers on for some time. *Still* one of my favourites of the style and one I frequent often. It is that good.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.97/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky coppery amber color with a white lace that clings well onto the glass. Aroma is dominated by citrusy hops that give way to a slight maltiness and a bit of a metallic smell in the nose as well. Smooth bodied and a pretty simple straight forward beer (which is not a bad thing). Not overly hopped but a good amount. Overall, this is a good classic beer that is slightly better on-tap.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.96/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into pint glass

A clear golden orange with some tiny suspended particles and only a few bubbles but a long lasting thumbs width of head that leaves several rings of lace well down the glass

S some citric and floral hops with some caramel malt

T a little bready and lemon rind on top of what I smell, good example of the style

M much thicker then expected and much more bubbles then one would guess from so few visible bubbles in the glass, right on in this area

O no complaints with this one it would be in my regular rotation if I could get it around here

not a bad way to get a hop fix without getting smashed, this is about the best thing I could find on the Vegas Strip pretty solid stuff though

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

A: Clear golden color. Poured with a two finger puffy white head that dissipated slowly. Light lacing.

S : Citrus hops up front. Biscuity malts and a pleasing lightly sweet caramel note.

T: Crisp citrus; orange flavor plus lemon peel. Floral and spice hop flavors.

M: Medium body. Nicely balanced with sufficient carbonation.

D: Decent APA. Frankly, some are better, but some are worse. Where choices might be limited, this would be a solid choice.

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

This light amber brew throws out dense white head that clings nicely to the glass as I drink. Wonderful blast of hops on the nose. Tasting this is a treat. Great hop character. And great understated bitterness. Underlying malt is sufficient. Pretty clean tasting for an ale. A very quaffable brew. One of my favorite Pale Ales.

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Photo of pat61
4.56/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: hops and malt, slight resin, earth and citrus, hop aroma moderate, moderate malt. Appearance: gold, slight haze, 1” head dissipates to a hick film, actually fairly clear as it warms, off white to light tan head, good lace. Flavor: slight fruit backed by medium malt, no carmel, hops linger into the finish. Mouthfeel: medium body, medium carbonation, a little astringency on the finish, lingering bitterness, creamy smooth. Overall Impression: balance tilts towards the hops, refreshingly hoppy but well balanced by he malt.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.83/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So I never reviewed this? This is probably my "if you could only have one beer etc. . ." type choice. The world gold standard.

Pours a great dark yellow and amber hue, minimal head, not much lacing. Aromatic whole flower hops. The three C's.

Taste, unlike anything else. The most mass produced hoppy bitter beer out there. Pine and citrus. Tastes like Chico. Great throughout. Drinkable for days, great price. And unmistakable mouthfeel of bitter hops and unique as hell tree/pine kind of flavor going for it. So much caramel and yet the bottle conditioning keeps the carbonation peppy and perfect so that the caramel is never heavy.

The first time I drank this beer (UC Davis keg party in '93) I was a senior in high school, and I hated it. I asked the party host if he washed his cups because the beer tasted like it had soap in it. What a noob. . .

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,876 ratings.