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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

8,742 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,742
Reviews: 2,694
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.63%
Wants: 135
Gots: 920 | 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:
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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 8,742 | Reviews: 2,694 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wl0307
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
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!

wl0307, Aug 24, 2006
Photo of Billolick
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
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!

Billolick, Apr 24, 2004
Photo of Georgiabeer
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.

Georgiabeer, Aug 13, 2006
Photo of akorsak
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

akorsak, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -1%

duceswild, Feb 04, 2013
Photo of rhoadsrage
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.

rhoadsrage, Oct 06, 2006
Photo of DoubleJ
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.

DoubleJ, Apr 01, 2007
Photo of Zorro
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.

Zorro, Jan 31, 2004
Photo of jdhilt
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.

jdhilt, Aug 03, 2010
Photo of ejimhof
3.25/5  rDev -19.6%

ejimhof, Dec 25, 2012
Photo of mothman
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.

mothman, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of afsdan
4.75/5  rDev +17.6%

afsdan, Mar 22, 2014
Photo of BARFLYB
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.

BARFLYB, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of superspak
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.

superspak, Jun 25, 2012
Photo of Wasatch
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.

Wasatch, Jun 14, 2005
Photo of Huhzubendah
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.

Huhzubendah, Sep 01, 2010
Photo of Stinkypuss
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.

Stinkypuss, Oct 10, 2008
Photo of ppoitras
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.

ppoitras, Aug 07, 2004
Photo of Mebuzzard
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.

Mebuzzard, Apr 03, 2006
Photo of mdaschaf
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes.

A: Pours a hazy orange color with a decent white head, moderate retention and some decent lacing. Lively carbonation bubbles released from the bottom.

S: Citrus hops dominate, with nice touches of orange, and some caramel sweetness to balance it a little.

T: Nice and hoppy, full of citrus fruit flavors, orange being the dominant one. Slightly bitter on the front from the hops, with a sweeter middle from the malt, that come through as some light caramel. little bit of pine on the finish.

M: Medium bodied with lively carbonation. Very refreshing.

O: A great all around beer, one that I could drink at any time.

mdaschaf, Jul 08, 2011
Photo of BillRoth
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

BillRoth, Dec 22, 2013
Photo of brandoman63
4/5  rDev -1%

brandoman63, Nov 29, 2011
Photo of biegaman
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 !

biegaman, Nov 12, 2008
Photo of John_M
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!

John_M, May 08, 2007
Photo of smakawhat
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

smakawhat, Dec 19, 2010
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 8,742 ratings.