1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

8,198 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,198
Reviews: 2,670
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 111
Gots: 650 | FT: 3
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:
Generous quantities of premium Cascade hops give the Pale Ale its fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor.

37 IBU

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 07-05-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 8,198 | Reviews: 2,670 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

4/5  rDev -1%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

10-06-2006 21:01:55 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis

North Carolina

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Pine Tree Lodge in New York, NY

A: Pours a crystal clear golden orange in color with very light visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall off-white head that reduces to a thin layer over the entire surface of the beer with some thicker patches and a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Significant lacing is observed.

S: Light smell of toasted malts, caramel malt sweetness, and then hops - pine mostly with a hint of citrus.

T: There is a light flavor of caramel malt sweetness upfront followed by the not too intense pine hop and a light amount of citrus zest. The beer has a moderate bitterness that lingers slightly.

M: On the heavier side of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Crisp.

O: One of the early craft beers that I was introduced to and enjoyed, this beer is a classic introductory craft beer. This beer is easy to drink and very sessionable. I have had this beer many times over the last 15+ years and likely will continue to get it as an everyday kind of beer.

Serving type: on-tap

04-08-2012 11:55:13 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of DrunkinYogi
DrunkinYogi

Connecticut

4/5  rDev -1%

03-06-2014 02:55:22 | More by DrunkinYogi
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.08/5  rDev -23.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2010 22:17:58 | More by jdhilt
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

3.05/5  rDev -24.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2004 02:13:10 | More by Zorro
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-13-2006 07:35:37 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-01-2007 19:53:37 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well decided to buy some again, got introduce to it back around 97 in CA, one of the first micro's I've had. I've always liked the Pale Ale over the Stout and Porter. The color is golden brown and a mild taste. Goes down very easy with a great after taste. This has always been one of my favorites (Pale Ale). Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2005 23:29:07 | More by Wasatch
Photo of mothman
mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have had this beer many times, but I guess I never reviewed it. Well here it goes.

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass.

A slight aggressive pour creating a 2 finger slight off-white head. Leaves some thin splattered lacing. Color is a clear golden orange. You can see perfectly through this beer and the carbonation bubbles had my eyes mesmerized.

Aroma: first thing I thought of was fruity pebbles, but in a good way. Earthy hops. Bready malts. Not to much here, but really good for a pale ale (it has a better aroma then some IPAs).

Taste is hoppy of course. Very balanced with malts though (no types to distinguished for me). Has some citrus notes as well. Great pale ale!

Mouthfeel is bitter at first, but then becomes very enjoyable (not saying that the bitter isn't). Leaves a chewy, hoppy aftertaste.

This beer is definitely a classic and something I will always buy. It is by far one of the better tasting pale ales around. I highly recommend this beer if you haven't tried it yet. Great started beer for getting into hops.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2009 02:03:29 | More by mothman
Photo of duceswild
duceswild

Maryland

4/5  rDev -1%

02-04-2013 21:23:08 | More by duceswild
Photo of ppoitras
ppoitras

Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-07-2004 04:02:53 | More by ppoitras
Photo of BARFLYB
BARFLYB

Pennsylvania

3.93/5  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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-06-2009 05:42:02 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of ejimhof
ejimhof

Pennsylvania

3.25/5  rDev -19.6%

12-25-2012 16:08:17 | More by ejimhof
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

10-10-2008 04:04:55 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of BillRoth
BillRoth

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

12-22-2013 20:26:23 | More by BillRoth
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev -1%
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 IBU's 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 were now re-inventing old world styles and hopping at levels previously unheard of - All hail it !

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2008 02:45:12 | More by biegaman
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada appears transparent yellowish orange with a thick white head that completely coats the glass in lacing. A well balanced brew, with hop flavors in the forefront. Really drinkable, this is a refreshing beer. The carbonation level is spot on. The flavor is simple, but well done. I have has this beer all over the country, and found it to be very consistent. This is a great beer to have around when you want something light and don't want to pillage your cellar.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2010 03:41:04 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of John_M
John_M

Oregon

4.44/5  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!

Serving type: on-tap

05-08-2007 13:11:45 | More by John_M
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

24 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled 2/15/2012. Pours lightly hazy golden amber color with a nice 1-2 finger fairly dense white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some good spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of orange, grapefruit, herbal, floral, bread, light pine, and caramel. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and decent strength. Taste of orange, grapefruit, pine, caramel, bread, floral, and herbal spiciness. Fair amount of bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, pine, bread, and light caramel on the finish for a bit. Great hop flavor balance; with a good balance of bitterness and malt sweetness. Medium carbonation and body; with a lightly creamy and quite crisp mouthfeel. Alcohol is well hidden with pretty much no warming noticed after the finish as expected. Very crisp and smooth to drink. Overall this is a damn nice pale ale, and pretty much the standard for the style. Nice balance of hop flavors; with smooth and easy drinking. It definitely held up given the bottle dating as well.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2012 03:34:00 | More by superspak
Photo of drewone
drewone

California

3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

11-22-2012 06:18:33 | More by drewone
Photo of brandoman63
brandoman63

Illinois

4/5  rDev -1%

11-29-2011 19:54:01 | More by brandoman63
Photo of rab53
rab53

Washington

3.25/5  rDev -19.6%

12-07-2011 02:33:47 | More by rab53
Photo of plaid75
plaid75

New York

4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice copper hue, with a one finger head. Good head retention and lacing.

The smell was rich with hop and grapefruit character. A light and airy aroma, which is inviting, in my experience, to non-craft drinkers.

The taste was crisp and dry. A very nice hop to malt balance, accented by grapefruit and flowery flavors.

The mouthfeel is crisp and clean, not too full and not too thin.

A very drinkable Pale Ale. In fact, I have found this to be a cross over beer for many people who are not experienced in craft brews.

In my opinion, a staple. I use this beer as a standard from which I measure every American Pale Ale I try. While few have exceeded this one in flavor and aroma, most fall short. Another plus is that it is readily available in most areas of the country I have visited.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2006 16:33:01 | More by plaid75
Photo of Mebuzzard
Mebuzzard

Colorado

4.43/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2006 15:49:37 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of beerthulhu
beerthulhu

New Jersey

4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2008 00:20:42 | More by beerthulhu
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,198 ratings.