Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Ranked #40
Ranked #21,392
3.86 | pDev: 9.07%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
Very Good
Notes: Our Left Coast take on a crisp, classic German-style ale is hopped up with zesty American and European hops for a twist on a traditional light-bodied beer.

From Cologne to California, Kölsch-style beers are a favorite around the world, prized for their incredible drinkability while maintaining a depth of flavor. As our stamp on this style, this Kölsch style has a punch of bright, citrusy American whole-cone hops to add West Coast character to this well-traveled ale.
Reviews: 96 | Ratings: 387 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of vette2006c5r
vette2006c5r from Minnesota

3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kolsch pours a lighter straw color, but with a huge lacing and long lasting head. Creamy and malty aroma. Flavor is big and full, nice and creamy, crisp malt notes, with just a hint of hops. Good body and feel. Overall, its a bigger kolsch, and a top notch example.

Sep 14, 2018
Photo of EMV
EMV from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Pale golden pour with 2 fingers of fluffy white head. Nice thin rim of lacing.

S: Lemon citrus and cracked grains.

T/F: Pale malts and light grains. Strong lemon citrus flavor.. grassy. White grape skins and mild spice. Light bodied... crisp and clean.

O: A really nice clean/crisp Kolsch... and it tastes like something you'd get in Germany. Not much higher praise I can give it.

Aug 13, 2018
Photo of Gmann
Gmann from New York

3.23/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

This has to be the lightest looking beer I have seen. There is barely any color to it. The head is soapy and dissipated quickly.

The aroma has a light cracker aroma with a touch of grass. A bit of a limey hop.

The taste is of a crackery malt with some general fruitiness from the yeast. The hops are light with grassy and limey hops.

The feel is light with tingly carbonation. Sweet on the palate with a light grassy bitterness. Drinks easy.

A very light beer. Needs some more Pils malt and hops.

Aug 12, 2018
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Act25 from New Jersey

3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

As expected clear straw body, with fizzy white head, and not much lace.
s) Grassy, clean with biscuity malt body.
t) Follows smell but as good, clean and grassy a Kolsch as found in Koln. Bravo.
f) light to medium, clean, and chewy texture, with a dry finish. Refreshing.
o) Cannot go wrong with SN Kolsch.

Jul 21, 2018
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babaracas from Florida

4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear straw yellow with thin soapy white head, splotchy lace trailing. Smell: sweetly grainy and mildly spicy, white grape, nectarine, notes of grass, pine, lemon. Taste: lots of white grape, white nectarine, notes of pine and earth, lemon candy, punchy grain, mildly bready and grassy closer. Light-plus bodied, crisp. Delicious.

Jul 16, 2018
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metter98 from New York

3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is clear light yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a short bright white head that died down, leaving a small patch of bubbles on the surface and a narrow collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of biscuit malts and green grapes are present in the nose.
T: The taste follows the smell, except that the flavors of green grapes are a little stronger, which stand out in front of the biscuit malts.
M: It feels a bit more than light-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is easy to drink, but seems like the aromas and flavors are a bit weaker compared to other beers in the style.

Serving type: bottle

Jul 12, 2018
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Amendm from Rhode Island

3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12-oz bottled PKD 05/09/18 takes an easy pour into a 16-oz. mug. 1 full finger of creamy white long lasting head eventually shrinks to a cap with moderate lacing.
Very pale slightly yellow color.
Pale wheat malt and citrus up front with bitter and spicy hops to the smell.
Taste is similar with a more pronounced malt, citrus plus apple at first. Slightly bitter/floral finish from the hops.
Light body with medium+ carbonation and then a dry finish.
Light yet flavor full, plenty of hops but not too bitter. Another summer easy drink.

Jul 09, 2018
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jadpsu from Georgia

3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Kolsch style appearance of an extremely faint, pale straw color. About as light pale as a beer color could be. Copious sticky white head shows good retention and side glass lace.
AROMA: Fairly sharp grass, husk and some tart aroma as well.
TASTE: Easy drinking, crisp, dry tart.
This is a simple beer that nevertheless a great Kolsch style experience.

Jul 07, 2018
Photo of chinchill
chinchill from South Carolina

3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, bottled last month.
Pale light golden body with a decent white head.
Flavorful for style with very good balance between bready malts and spicy-herbal hops. Hints of lemon.

Jun 22, 2018
Photo of obywan59
obywan59 from Virginia

4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not the prettiest beer I've ever seen, but true to style in that it's very pale. I would say the palest beer I've ever seen. Very pale yellow with a slight greenish hue and a 4 finger off white head from a hard head, make it a mounding 2 3/4 finger head by the time I got all the beer in the glass. Rather chunky as it recedes, leaving light lacing. You can read through the beer, just a very light haze.

Nuttiness of toasted malt at first sniff, smells like the other Kolsch's I've tried. After the head settles, though, it's rather citric or maybe it's just tart grapes.

Very dry with definite notes of tart grapes. The tart/moderately bitter combo again is reminiscent of citrus.

Light to moderate body and moderately crisp. Moderately astringent and drying.

Definitely the best Kolsch I've tried. The others were overly nutty and less grape-y. Light and easy drinking. A great summer beer!

Jun 20, 2018
Photo of secondtooth
secondtooth from Indiana

3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pale golden with a nice white head and little to no lace.

Aroma: Grainy malts, with a touch of citrus hops.

Taste: Crisp, light, and effervescent with a nice balance of malts and hops. Simply a solid and drinkable kolsch. Bravo!

Jun 15, 2018
Photo of CTHomer
CTHomer from Connecticut

4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: crystal clear; pale gold in color; 1 finger white head that receded to a wispy cap; little lacing;

S: grainy, grassy, a little spice;

T: well balanced between grain and grass on one hand and floral and lightly spicy hops on the other; mild bitterness on the finish;

M: light to medium bodied; moderate carbonation; moderately dry finish; crisp;

O: a nice example of the style; very easy drinking;

Jun 13, 2018
Photo of HalfFull
HalfFull from California

3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle from summer mix-o-pack served up in a pint glass. Pour is clear and crisp, medium straw in color, and sports a half inch of white cap. Decent retention follows.

Nose of pale malts and some lemony hops, along with some coriander type spice notes. Taste follows with more lemon and spice. Bit of bready malts on the finish. Fruit notes seem concentrated though not artificial per se, and yield an apparent sweetness on the mouthfeel. Overall rather bright in flavor and stands up to some warming for a refreshing warm weather quaff.

Jun 09, 2018
Photo of ordybill
ordybill from Georgia

3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is a clear bright yellow color with a large white head. The aroma is light citrus hops and grass. The taste is similar to the nose.

Jun 07, 2018
Photo of Lucular
Lucular from Maryland

3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad beer but not at all complex or interesting. I get that this is a subtle/restrained style but sorry, this is just a fairly boring beer. After hearing BAs clamor on and on for this to be released again, I don't get it.

May 29, 2018
Photo of CNoj012
CNoj012 from New York

4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This beer pours a fairly clear pale golden color with a one finger, bubbly, bright white head. Retention is above average and there are many whispy rings and patches of lacing left on the glass.

The smell is fruit forward. Lemon and white grape take the lead with straw, peppery spice, grass and crackery malts in the background.

Taste is the same. Complex and flavorful. Very nice.

Feel is light with low side of moderate carbonation. Very easy drinking and refreshing.

Overall a very good beer. I wish there was a bit more carbonation and a crisp dry finish, but still very enjoyable.

May 28, 2018
Photo of johnnnniee
johnnnniee from New Hampshire

3.64/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from the mixed twelve pack from Hannaford.
Brilliantly clear dark yellow with a bubbly white head that persists. Bready crackery lightly toasted maltiness with a hint of fruitiness and earthy spicy floral hops to counter. Pretty nice Kolsch maybe a hint too heavy on the hops but it was my favorite of the mixed pack.

May 26, 2018
Photo of Riff
Riff from Virginia

4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a clear pale yellow with a thin, white head. Smell is malt, biscuit, grass, and a hint of lemon citrus. Taste is lightly sweet, grain with a slight lemongrass note. Light body. Refreshing, easy to drink beer that's going to work well for summer. Could easily session this beer.

May 09, 2018
Photo of puboflyons
puboflyons from New Hampshire

3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle packaged 03/21/2018. Sampled on May 5, 2018.

It most definitely looks the part with its yellow, bubbly, heady pour and great clarity.

The aroma brings out sweet Euro-barley malts with that traditional ester of toasted biscuit. Grassy hops below.

The body is light to medium and a little chewy in texture.

The taste is sweet, full of barley-grains, a feint lemongrass character, and a mild-to-moderate dry finish. Refreshing.

May 05, 2018
Photo of Beejay
Beejay from Virginia

3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: pale yellow in color, clear with a decent white head.

S: light malt with a touch of citrus, and some very lager like aroma.

T: light malt with a touch of citrus, and perhaps a bit of pepper in the finish.

M: light in body, fairly aggressive carbonation, and a dry finish

O: overall, crisp and refreshing.

May 04, 2018
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
Jugs_McGhee from Colorado

3.27/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brief impression from a bottle:

Clear pale blonde body. Obviously filtered. Frothy white head. True to style though not unique or special within it.

Aroma is grassy, lacking the fruitiness observed in the best expressions of the style. 2-row barley. Pilsner malt. Suggests a slightly dry attempt at the style with limited depth of flavour. Aromatic intensity is below average.

Taste follows the aroma, but the beer finishes grainy and shallow. Balanced albeit simple. Very drinkable, though, to its credit. Minerally water-wise.

Smooth, dry, light to medium-bodied, aptly crisply carbonated, somewhat refreshing, and moderately soft.

A decent stab at the style considering it's an American effort. More of a fruity taste and more of a refreshing mouthfeel would help elevate it, but it's got the assertive carbonation down pat and it's well within the ballpark of traditional expressions of the style, which is more than one can say about most American stabs at it. I could definitely drain a couple fresh liters in one sitting, so this passes my Kölsch(-style ale) test.

Low B- (3.27) / WORTHY

Apr 21, 2018
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jkblr from Indiana

4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottled 3/21/18 (30 days ago) poured into a stange glass at fridge temp 5% ABV. The beer pours bright, very light straw yellow with off white head. The head recedes to a thin cap and leaves a little lacing. The aroma is pleasant, but subtle, with light malt and some floral & grassy hop notes. The taste is light malt up front with a blend of hop flavor, before finishing dry and slightly bitter. The hops lend flavors of grass first, followed by floral and hay. Mouthfeel is thin to medium bodied, adequately carbonated and dry in the finish. Overall, outstanding. I'll never get to sit in Cologne and sip fresh Kolsch from the source. This is the freshest and best version I am likely to encounter. It's hard to adequately describe the simple genius of this perfectly crafted beer.

Apr 20, 2018
Photo of mushroomcloud
mushroomcloud from Texas

4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottled 3-21-18 (Party Pack)
Straw yellow, clear/clean, full of carbonation. 1/2" white head retains at 1/4".
Pilsner malt aroma, some fruity esters and spicy hops apparent as well.
Delicious. Bread/cracker malts with some nice depth of flavor, some tangy citrus and a fruity element in there as well.
Soft mouthfeel, medium carbonation. Nice finish with some length to it.
This is a real surprise. Fantastic flavors and super drinkable.

Apr 16, 2018
Photo of Antg8989
Antg8989 from New Jersey

3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Worth a try for a Kolsch. I get it's hard to rate these styles but this is better than it is worse. Slightly fruity aronas in taste with a dominant wheat flavor and aroma.

Apr 16, 2018
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So Sierra Nevada makes some impressive hoppy ales. They also look super professional in the appearance department as well. But a lager? Yup, they hit those professional appearance marks as well, this yellow beer looks so damn clean. Nice 1" white head on the top. Just dare I say. . . perfect. Aroma pops with lemon like citrus and an almost white grape note.

Pilsner malt, kolsch yeast and a solid bitterness on the upper echelon of style guidelines deliver a very well made kolsch. Its clean, dry, highly carbonated, light on the palate but relatively full of flavor still. While it has a slight Sierra Nevada/American twist on the traditional style, frankly I think it is probably for the better (being hoppier and higher IBU than what a traditional Kolsch bjcp cicerone homie may allow).

Jun 09, 2017
Kölsch from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 387 ratings