Sierra Nevada India Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

332 Reviews
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Sierra Nevada India Pale AleSierra Nevada India Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: English India Pale Ale (IPA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-25-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 332 | Ratings: 382
Photo of yzer
4.92/5  rDev +34.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my first review for BA, so I should make my viewpoint known. I am pretty new to craft, micro brews and ales in general. I took an interest in ales only two years ago.

It seems to me that there are two ways of evaluating an IPA. An IPA can be tasted fresh and soon after the bottling date, or it can be evaluated after six months of cellaring. I believe that the true test of any IPA must be made after a minimum of six months of bottle aging: the true test of a beer that was originally formulated to be consumed after an unrefrigerated voyage of six months duration from the British Isles to the Indian subcontinent.

I enjoyed the February 2007 bottling of Sierra Nevada IPA fresh. I also enjoy another SN IPA as a fresh IPA: Celebration Ale.

For this review I have notes for Sierra Nevada India Pale Ale (with the dark green schooner label) bottled 70058 (February 27, 2007). This evaluation was enjoyed in September of 2007, when the IPA was six months old. It was cellared without refrigeration in my garage stored dark and covered in a cool northern corner on slab concrete.

SN India Pale Ale is poured into a glass stein. Aroma is hoppy, fruity and pungent without the slightest trace of skunking. A raisin scent is noticed immediately. The head is quick to form, modest in height, dense, sandy off-white in color and laces well. Carbonation is lively and long lasting. The color is dark amber with burnished gold highlights. This IPA poured with a medium clarity owing to suspended yeast that accumulated on the bottom ½ inch of the bottle during six months of aging. Plenty of yeast stayed put on the bottom of the bottle.

The taste displayed a sharp but not overly powerful hops bite that lingered as the predominant aftertaste. The malt and fruitiness of the Goldings hops combined harmoniously as only single hop ale can: toasty, mellow malt with depth and a rich caramelized sweetness. The dark raisin and toffee taste was a welcome surprise. Substantial, but medium feel in the mouth but refreshing. Not bad in the summer. Robust hops bitterness aside: this is the sweetest IPA I have yet to taste.

I’ll offer another review of this ale in March 2008, after the brew has bottle aged for a year.

Sierra Nevada India Pale Ale is a beautifully balanced bottled IPA. I’m asking the brewery to do another bottled run in February 2008. I hope they listen. Pack it in 12-pack boxes so we can lay it up for six months or more.

I’m looking forward to tasting SN Celebration Ale late this summer. I’ve laid up several 12-packs low in the boat so they will be ready to enjoy at anchor in the heat of August.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.18/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off, I want to say that I appreciate the fact that SN labels this as the 2007 IPA. I personally feel more brewers should use dates for their beers.

Pours a very slightly fogged amber. Small cream head. Nose is pine hops. Flavor is nice and thick, malty, and mature. Exemplifies the style. Nothing Showy. Just well made. Smooth but a bit thin on the liquid. Nice carbonation. Very drinkable. Could have many of these for sure. For SN to still be putting out a quality product like this after being in the biz for so almost makes a man weepy. Almost. Thanks for not selling out SN.

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Photo of CDBeerDisappear
3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cloudy orange amber with half an inch of dense creamy foam, plenty of lacing. Aroma of grapefruit hops. Tastes hoppy with a bitter finish. Very full mouthfeel with good carbonation. Overall a very average beer, not a bad beer, I would drink this again.

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Photo of SargeC
4.33/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazy orange-gold brew with a golden tan head.

Smell: Pine and citrus hops, sweet malt.

Taste: Nice hop bite with a sweet malt undercurrent.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, slightly acidic with a semi-dry finish.

Drinkability: Great, balanced flavor. The sweet malt really tones down the hops and reduces their bite.

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Photo of OKCNittany
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a one finger white head with good retention and lacing. Body was a slightly hazed deep gold/orange.

S: Aroma of sweet malts & citrus.

T: The sweet caramel malt backbone was chased away by bitter, citric hops. Seemed somewhat less balanced (and less enjoyable) than the SNPA - yet was still not a big IPA.

M: Medium body with soft carbonation and a smooth mouthfeel. Lasting finish that stayed true to the taste.

D: Goes down easily. Not a bad brew by any means, but from SN, I'd prefer the Harvest, Pale, Anniversary, Celebration, etc.

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Photo of brewdoc75
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been wanting to try this one, but couldn't find it anywhere. By luck I was in South Dakota for the weekend for Thanksgiving and found a couple of these in a "build your own 6-pack" section of a liquor store.

Poured into an Imperial Pint Glass

Appearance: Amber, orange color w/ a nice 1/4 inch head that lasts for quite a while. A little bit of haze noted.

Smell: Not an overpowering aroma, but is interesting w/ nice mild citrusy hops and a slight toffee aroma to back them up.

Taste: Solid IPA flavors w/ nice bitterness that lasts to the next drink. Definite spicey, citrusy flavors as one expects from SN. What makes this one different is a stronger malt character w/ some toffee flavors as well as some diacetyl butteriness.

Mouthfeel: Heavier than west coast IPAs, but lighter than most English IPAs. Medium bodied. It is somewhat smooth, but crisp enough to make you remember this is an IPA.

Drinkability: This is a pretty damn good IPA. Not my favorite in the world, but better than most. I think if I had to choose, I would probably go for the Celebration Ale and the Anniversary Ale before hitting this one again. I would definitely buy it again.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my pint glass. This beer pours a clear copper/orange color. The head is about 1/4 inch thick when poured. It quickly settles to a fairly thin surface layer with a nice white ring lining the inside of the glass. Not too much lacing. Aromas of hops and citrus/grapefruit are present along with some caramel. Taste is a lot like the smell. Hoppy upfront along with grapefruit flavor followed by some sweet caramel. Not the most complex IPA, but pretty tasty! Has a nice crisp, full bodied mouthfeel with moderate to high carbonation. Overall, pretty easy to drink.


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Photo of Floydster
3.23/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle from Vons supermarket

Poured into a pint glass

This was a very bitter IPA, but not one of my favorites

Very dark brown color with a medium sized head

Smoky flavor takes over and you do not really get to determine the different hops in it

Long and dry aftertaste

Might be worth trying if you are an IPA fan, but if not, probably steer clear of it

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Photo of Jonte
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 bottle poured into a pint glas.

Copper/orange color. The head is off-white, quite small, but creamy. The lacing is medium.

Smells of moderate hops, citrus, apricot, sweet/sour caramel, some alcohol.

The taste is sweet/sour and bitter. Lemon, grape, caramel/toffee, and a bit of dark chocolate. Nice bitter-sweet and dry aftertaste.

Medium body and light/medium carbonation with small bubbles. Good balanced and not very extreme IPA. I like it.

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Photo of atigerlife
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden orange color with a fluffy white head. Good head retention. Lots of small carbonation seen rising. Good lacing. Very nice to look at.

Aroma is of hops, hints of floral, caramel and leaves.

Taste is hops [not overbearing], fruit, floral and malts. Interesting.

Mouthfeel is quite dry, medium bodied and nicely cleansing.

Overall, a very drinkable brew. Very refreshing. I was quite surprised I enjoyed this as much as I did. Could definitely go for more.

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Photo of brentk56
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a firm head that leaves shards of lace

Smell: Very modest aromatics - a touch of caramel and some earthy hops

Taste: Starts out by laying a nice caramel base upon which some earthy hops tap dance lightly; after the swallow, the earthy/piney hop flavors become more pronounced but there is some pith and aspirin astringency on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A decent middle of the road English IPA marred only by the finish

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Photo of SupaCelt
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

There is nothing more beautiful than an english pint filled with an english IPA. This beer pours out in a glorious dirty copper fashion. It sprouts a small head that crashes into a half moon of surface scum within seconds. It leaves behind some lacing that forms pretty decent sheets, albeit only from the half lunar formation. The nose is fine and dandy. There really isn't much subtlety or complexity to it, but alas this is the beauty of this forerunner. No uproarious green and fruity hop aromas, but rather a subdued and brownish hop smell, which is stylistically owning the joint and repping the species. Smells a bit burnt and spicy. Dirty. Dirty in a good way. The taste is crispy and moderately dried out in the finish. The flavour actually reveals a bit more green. Bitterness is there. A smidge of chalk and dust and the burnt toffee cast offs linger in the soup. Straightforward beer. This would be great to shlurp with some hearty ole pizza. Mouthfeel is sturdy. Not overly thick by any means, just a satisfying frame that supports the show. The drinkability is simp. This is easily sessionable by historian hop junkies and adoring fans of dryness and big ships destined for far away lands. Ye old IPA is surely worth a try. It surely holds a place in my repertoire.

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Photo of hustlesworth
3.96/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- 2in fluffy off white foam. from one bottle, i was able to built the foam up almost 2in above the rim of the glass. i took pictures of it. body was a brilliant orange-amber with a slight haze and a few rising bubbles. head settled slowly to 1/8in with lots of wispy lace.

S- citrus burnt orange peel, sour apricot, grains, dark chocolate, earthy hop resin, sweet malt, flowery yeast, and meaty mushroom.

T- candy-like citrus then smoky cumin followed by a hard resinous bitter dark chocolate coffee with toasted bread and burnt caramel malt. powdery yeast, faint lingering sweetness and an herbal hop bite at the end that becomes floral as it dissipates.

MF- oily, resinous and sticky with nice medium carbonation. goes down with a slight dryness that makes me want more.

D- surprisingly drinkable despite its up front characteristics, i didn't expect myself to drink 4 in a sitting but its aftertaste kept me comin back for more.

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Photo of botham
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip. pours a deep amber with ruby undertones, topped with a finger of off-white head, on the tan side.

smells moderately hoppy, with a strong ale yeast character. there is apricot, honey, and a slight alcoholic presence. overall a fruity and yeasty brew that lacks in the hops department, at least for an IPA.

tastes sweet and malty up front, with a base of ale yeast. reminicent of a belgian ale. finishes dry with a slight bite from the alcohol. apricot and honey sweetness are still present, though subtle.

aftertaste is dry and hoppy. the first hops of the taste come after the finish.

mouthfeel is tart, with a slight bite from CO2 and alcohol. goes down moderately smooth, but ends much dryer than the rest of the experience would hint at.

drinkability is sub-par. the beer is strong (6.9% APV), which is good for an IPA, but lacks in the hops department until the aftertaste. a peculiar IPA overall that could use some re-working.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, 6.8% ABV. Clear, copper in color. Thick white rocky head. Great retention and lace. Good looker!

Caramel, bready, and floral in the nose. Not exactly a hop blast, but just enough presence to make it interesting. Some fruity notes in the background.

A fruity esthers, bready, almost biscuity malt character. Good amount of bitterness, but not as much as an American IPA. Long lingering floral and earthy hop finish.

Good body, and carbonation. I enjoyed this one, so easy to drink. Very nice, and it was nice to see a change of pace English IPA. Well done.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
2.92/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clean orange-ish amber color with a small off-white head. A sweet maltier hop aroma. In the taste, a mellow, small hop, and a bitter, dry end. It does leave a small hoppy dryness in the mouth. A very nice front and nose, taste was a bit mellow, a nice mellow IPA.

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Photo of TechMyst
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Was glad to see Sierra Nevada's IPA in. I wanted to try this once before but the supplier ran out. Got a sixer. Murky orange with orange head. Medium mouthfeel leaving a slick palate. slight lacing. All bitter, very low malt profile. Conditioning was not harsh, but a little too "active." This'll put a ding in the drinkability for me. Good beer, a little under what I expected; so I'll have to be careful to not bias my rating. Easy to get buzzed on. After finishing the sixer over a few days, I do think this is very drinkable...

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Photo of wl0307
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

BB 06/01/08, served in SN’s own pint glass.

A: dark amber in colour, slightly murky, with a fluffy beige head.
S: rich-bodied Fuggles lead the aroma, underlined by mainly caramel malts, soaked tea-leaves, plenty of autumny fruits, sweet nectar, and sweet peaches. Very fragrant and intense, yet showing a rough balance b/w hops and malts, like a true, rich IPA.
T: rich and full-bodied, with more malts in action before the manifestation of hops; leading towards a fragrant bouquet packed with smoked longan-fruit, caramel, longan-flower honey, light citrus, etc. The aftertaste is long, dry, and herbal, with a touch of chewy piney+tannic bitterness to entertain the sides of the tongue.
M&D: decent-bodied, pretty dry, lightly fizzy, with a good backbone full of rich juicy and lubricant hops. This is a well-balanced yet still heavy-weight English style IPA. Utterly delicious!

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Photo of bark
3.66/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The colour is deep copper-gold with a tint of red. The two finger head slowly sinks down to a off white thick lid. Lots of lacing. Clear liquid.

The smell is a little sour-bitter with some creamy semi sweet malt. Some notes of rye bread, roasted nuts, alcohol and a hint of bitter almonds.

The taste is fresh with a clean bitterness with some sourness. There are creamy mild flavours of lightly roasted malt and some dry and very British yeast. The aftertaste is bitter with hints of lemon, bitter almonds and some herbs.

The carbonation is average with small refreshing bubbles. The liquid is medium smooth.

One of the most English ale from the US that I have reviewed; it reminds me a lot of the Marston Old Empire IPA (i.e. a little to dry for my taste).

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Photo of MiScusi
3.81/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Lucky Baldwin's IPA fest in Sierra Madre, the appearance was a light orange/gold with very thin head... still, it looked appetizing as an IPA. The smell however, was very weak... only mildly fuity, not much of in the way of hops coming off there. The taste redeemed itself as it was mostly fruity and citrus, but had a bitter pine finish. Not as bad as I thought it would be, but not up ther with the best either. A middle of the road IPA you probably can't go wrong with.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.42/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. stubby, 2007 version. A rough pour delivers a two inch, sticky head atop a coppery, hazed, and lightly carbonated body. It smells of earthy hops, with a light backing of buttery malts, and piney, perfumy, floral, and citric notes emerging as it warms. The flavor follows this closely, with an assertive bitterness quickly subduing any notions of the mildly sweet, carmel malts provided for ballast. The body is medium and quite smooth, (but a bit too low in carbonation) with a long, enjoyable finish. Overall a well crafted IPA. I like the hop usage here (American for bitterness, British for aroma), as it makes this beer stand out a bit more in the large field of IPAs. Definitely worth a try - make sure to keep an eye out for this seasonal.

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Photo of Night
3.31/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours lightly hazy copper with orange and gold flecks. Chunky off-white to beige head dies down at a moderate pace and leaves medium lacing. Aroma is faint malts with a mild and vague hoppy character and some alcohol. Medium body; just a touch fizzy. Flavor is warm, sour-bready, lightly buttery malts backed by subtle but strong bitter grassy and resiny hops. Notes of apple, peach, dough, wood, and cream throughout. Finish is sharp and toasty with a mildly bitter aftertaste.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.23/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from Florian's. Amber-red body with a half inch of white head that leaves a fair bit of lacing as it goes. Smells fruity and hoppy. Tastes like citrussy hops and biscuit and caramel malts. Medium bodied, and very drinkable. A solid classic IPA.

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Photo of Daehpoh
3.72/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured slowly into a pint glass to avoid introducing sediment into the glass
Copper color and clear with a subdued head, lots of bubbles
Good hop aroma, earthy, not as potent as American hop styles
I detected some apple juice in the aroma as well as toffee malts
Taste begins with some spicy hops then moves to toffee malt flavors and finishes up with more hop bitterness, good balance
Fairly dry and not too slick, but does leave a footprint on the palate
This is an enjoyable English IPA with some American influence coming through

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Photo of jdhilt
2.36/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Pours a five+ finger off-white head that slowly fades to a thin layer leaving some lace. Nice crystal clear amber color. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Hoppy nose. Flavor is sweet and hoppy with hoppy finish and lingering bitter aftertaste. Typical IPA. $1.50 for a 12 oz bottle from Capital Convenience Concord, NH.

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Sierra Nevada India Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.67 out of 5 based on 382 ratings.
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