Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale
BA SCORE
4.03/5
Exceptional
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

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 STATS
Ranking:
#7,513
Reviews:
3,114
Ratings:
11,810
pDev:
11.66%
 
 
Wants:
349
Gots:
3,491
Trade:
3
 
User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 3,114 | Ratings: 11,810
Photo of WYeates
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours to a pale amber color with a light head. Aroma is light and contains pine snd citrus notes.

The flavor is of grass and spice with a crisp after taste.

Sierra Nevada is a famtastic brewery and this is currently my favorite American Pale Ale.

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Photo of SierraNevallagash
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle - dated 03/05/19 - poured into a Spiegelau-style IPA glass at 45F

Pours a bright copper hue, nearly crystal clear, with about two fingers of very off white head, which possesses impressive retention, never fully dissipating to less than a full cap, and leaving a perfect ring of clingy lace behind. Fine ascending streams of effervescence are visible.

Nose: A hefty base of caramel malt is apparent on the nose. Slightly sweet, slightly toasty, crisp, and warm. Among the malt, a generous dose of Cascade hops waft up, with aromas of grapefruit, lemon, pine resin, pear, and perhaps even a note of sweet ripe mango. There is no earthiness, but rather a green element to the nose that evokes images of a forest. Lots of floral notes as well, including lilac, hyacinth, and Easter lilly.

Palate: Like the nose, the first sip unfolds with caramel malt. Semi-sweet, slightly toasty, and crisp, with notes of caramel, fresh bread, and toffee. Hops cut in rather late, bringing mostly pine sap, spring florals, cedar, and some citrus character. There is less of a grapefruit note than one might imagine with a beer like this. Cascade hops are not like Citra. They are piney, resinous, and sort of "woodsy". In fact, I would say the citrus notes in this beer are far closer to lemon than grapefruit. Only upon swallowing do the hops really overtake the malt, with a gentle bitterness showing up in the finish, amd the flavour profile becoming drier and more resinous. Still, well after the finish, the aforementioned caramel malt sweetness is still detectable in small doses around the palate.

Mouthfeel/Body: The beer is medium bodied, crisp in nature, but the caramel malt provides a soft, slick, slightly chewy feel to it. For a pale ale, it certainly has some respectable weight to it, and a really employable softness. Effervescence is lively and plentiful, and also incredibly fine, almost champagne-like. Still, while the beer is crisp and drinkable, and although it has a fairly low ABV, I don't think I would want to drink more than 24oz in one sitting. This is one where the weight of the malt may creep up on you.

Overall: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a classic. It's an old school, West Coast staple. Each of us have most likely consumed gallons of this stuff by this point, and there is a very good reason for that. It is a stellar beer. It's a no-frills, simple, easy, highly polished hoppy ale that does not demand one's attention with complexity, while remaining incredibly flavour-saturated, and never boring. It is a perfect default beer that most can agree on. It's affordable, it's tasty, it's incredibly consistent, and the quality is top notch. It won't win any awards for exotic hops or complex tropical fruit notes, but it does everything you want it to do and more, and for that, it really is one of the greatest pale ales on the market.

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Photo of good_to_sea
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Clear amber-brown with a persistent tan-white head.
Smell: Lemon and grapefruit citrus. Hints of pine and malt.
Taste: Grapefruit citrus mixed with malt sweetness. Hint of raspberry. Slightly peppery/spicy hop finish.
Feel: Medium-bodied with crisp carbonation.
Overall: This is a solid beer with some really interesting flavors going on.

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Photo of Gurney_Halleck
3.26/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Bottle to shaker pint. Golden yellow with about an inch of head that dissipates by over half within a minute. Very nice fragrance of hops and slight citrus. Very pleasant and balanced flavor with a slight malty sweetness. Feel is smooth with the slightest of tang and bitterness. Not a huge ale fan but I do like this one.

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Photo of CaliBeerBear
4.19/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

One of my "go tos" but there are so many great beers out there today this is kindsa my "bud lite". Being from CA I had to stop by SN - MR while in NC. Heading to my fav Wilmington...

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Photo of Thankin_Hank
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A normal amber color, no head but ample carbonation. Terrific aroma. Great hop smell. The taste is excellent and very hoppy. Mouthfeel is only slightly bitter and compliments the taste in this pale ale. Overall an excellent choice for Pale Ales when you’re in the mood.

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Photo of octortus
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

473 mL Bottle. ABV 5.6%.
Appearance: Clear golden/orange, Low carbonation, Over one finger of loose and fluffy off-white head, Thin cap remains.
Aroma: Lemon, Pine, Slight tropical fruit, Hops
Mouthfeel: Under medium body, Pleasant carbonation, Pleasant bitter finish.
Flavour: Malt sweetness, Citrus fruits (orange and grapefruit), Medium hoppy finish.
Overall: Clean, Well balanced, Quite enjoyable.

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Photo of jrc1093
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 3/5/19

Pours a clear golden orange-copper topped with a few fingers of tightly-composed white foam; great retention that trickles its way down to a thick, frothy cap while leaving layers of webby lacing following to the bottom of the glass.

Aroma hits with smooth, semi-sweet caramel malt upfront, eventually giving way to deep pine, herbal hops, red grapefruit, and orange zest developing in that order; a potent and drying bouquet.

Taste shows crisp caramel malts balanced with sharp piney hops and a touch of citrusy grapefruit on the back end; hints of wild berries develop fervently around/on the swallow.

Mouthfeel has a light, crisp body reinforced with fluffy, drying carbonation; brief heft on the mid-palate serves only to guide this one to a new height, an immensely satisfying dryness tinged with a faint, bitter hoppiness; for a pale ale, this is about as good as it gets.

A seminal pale ale for a reason, it holds up with its incredible malt-hop harmony and dynamic simplicity; it does alot without ever abandoning its easy-drinking nature. An effortless beer for all occasions.

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Photo of cardfan212
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a shaker pint.

Look - A healthy clear golden amber body with a powerful soft white head. Bubble streams are minimal. The head sticks around for a while before diminishing into a hefty lace.

Smell - Grapefruit and a breezy pine air out of this one. Gentle and caring, this smell lures you into its safe nest.

Taste - Immediately noticeable is the sweet and mild malty backbone, but that transitions quickly to a fragrant herbal bitterness. The taste lingers pleasantly for just long enough.

Feel - Perfect body, perfect carbonation. A nice creamy feel. Incredibly easy to drink.

Overall - Everybody already knows this, but SNPA is the quintessential craft beer. You can find it everywhere, and it's a welcoming and forgiving flavor. Perfect for getting people into beer while still offering enough for the seasoned vets to keep coming to.

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Photo of GACraftAdvo
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz can into IPA glass
Look: Pours a golden amber with about two fingers of a beautiful thick head that remains for a minute. A constant stream of bubbles comes up from the middle. A decent lacing is left in the glass.
Smell: The smell is malty and sweet, with the hops dancing in the medium range. You can smell the cascade hops, but they're not overpowering.
Taste: The taste follows the nose quite well. The hops are there but not overpowering and there is a strong malty sweet backbone. Neither the hops or the malt is overpowering and this beer is balanced well.
Feel: The feel is quite smooth; not effervescent, not sticky.
Overall: A good transition beer, well balanced and pretty good.

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Photo of aatazebeats
3.49/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

It's pretty good! Far from the best I've had, but I can see why many people enjoy it. Crisp and dry. Notes of herbs, orange and grapefruit. Very refreshing.

3.49 - B
Pretty good

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Photo of RockHop
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Classic well-done beer. Pour almost amber gold. Off white head with good soapy retention and lacing. Great carbonation and clarity. Cascade profil provides subtle bitterness and let’s the malt come through a bit. Slightly herby, bright, and piney, but all in a subtle and well- balanced way.

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Photo of Beer_Right_Back
3.25/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A classic brew, this pale ale is the perfect beer for newcomers to the craft beer scene. While light and refreshing, it also has just enough hop profile to make it worthwhile. There are certainly many better pale ales out there, but this will always beer a familiar favorite.

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Photo of defunksta
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle at 45 degrees,

Look - Pours a clear orange color. Strong foamy head that lingers.
Aroma: Not too strong. Grapefruit, pine, citrus mostly. Slightly attenuated.
Smell - A bitter smell with a slight hint of citrus. Trace malts. Very minimal aroma overall. I just don't get any aroma out of this one.
Flavor: Initial grapefruit citrus flavor, slight pine that is swallowed up by a yeast pepper and hop bitterness that leaves a bitter astringency on the palate. I don't appreciate much malts, but maybe some sweet honey bread underneath.
Feel - The mouthfeel is moderate. Bitter, but balanced with malts and leaves a clean finish on the palate.

Edit: Compared side by side to Revolution's Fist City, this has more of a dry, bitter finish. Less fruit & citrus. More of a lingering spicy mouthfeel. Less flavor overall and just more spiciness. This one is predominately spicy and bitter forward. Much less flavor. Definitely your west-coast style, but lacks the aroma and flavor I desire.

Compared to Three Floyd's Alpha King: This one has a more of an old school grapefruit and pine flavor. Much less dark tropical flavors. Minimal to moderate bitterness comparatively. Much more smooth, clean, and some would say balanced.

Overall: This is the old-school west-coast style pale ale. Grapefruit and pine hops that is appropriately balanced by malts. Doesn't finish bitter. Doesn't finish sweet. The ultimate balance of old-school American hops. Finishes so smooth. Compared to IPAs now this is surprisingly weaker but the respect is not dimished. The standard of the style to reference, and that is quite an achievement.

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Photo of Buckeye55
4.34/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had it once about 3 years ago, and looking at the rating it obviously made a strong impression. Oustanding product. Will pick up again soon to ensure this rating is accurate. It's accurate, drinking it tonight ant it delivers

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Photo of pramesh007
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My to go beer. Not too hoppy and heavy as Torpedo, somewhere in between. I am at a beer store and can not decide which one to pick, here is my to go beer that never disappoint.

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Photo of mj24053
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

3.75 overall as a beer; 4.5 if rating it as a pale ale. If I want a pale, this is one of my go-to's. A really good pale ale. Not a style I drink as often as others, but I like to mix it up from time to time. A good representation of the style. Hoppy. Medium carbonation. Seems pale ale and IPA is a pretty easy style to do. Most of these taste about the same. Really hard to mess up a pale or an IPA.

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Photo of hefe300
4.46/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a dimpled mug, the off white head sicks around a while and leaves good lacing. Color is amber, nice and clear.

Smell of pine and citrus.

Taste is grapefruit bitterness up front, then pine, a floral hop finish then rounded out by the caramel malt that's necessary to balance this hop forward American Pale Ale.

Clean and crisp with medium-high carbonation, this is an all occasions beer that pairs well with a wide variety of foods.


I'm reviewing this beer after drinking it many, many times. It's like running into an old friend and thinking, "What could we possibly have to talk about" but then before you know it you're laughing, reliving old glories and catching up on new events.

Excellent. Hightly recomended. If I had to put together my perfect flight of beer, this would make the cut.

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Photo of RMehrenberg
2.97/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Straw yellow at pour, looks redder and more opaque in the glass. A thick head of suds. Mildly scented...corn? Taste is slightly bitter, yet mild for a pale ale. Not especially floral or citrus-like. Mouth feel a little thin.

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Photo of biiru_ojisan
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a creamy white head. Color is a crystal clear pale amber.

Nose is crackers and toast with floral and citrus. Some dried citrus fruit in there as well.

Taste starts lightly bitter with toasty malt character. The middle opens up to a more crackery malt note with, with the hop flavors opening up to present dried citrus and floral notes. The finish opens up more of the bitterness and just slightly dries the mouth, making you want another sip. There is a sweetness that rides throught the entire sip that is never overpowering.

The mouthfeel is the slightest bit aqueous, but not so much that it's a turn off. The carbonation is right where it needs to be for an APA (this is THE APA, so it's expected.

Overall, you really can't go wrong with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It's the one of the standard APAs that every beer drinker has had at least once, and it's always pleasant to go back to it. A perfect partner for a good burger and a solid way to introduce somebody to the wonderful world of hoppy American bears.

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Photo of stevepat
4.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a beautiful clear amber, thin white head and active carbonation.
Smell is malty sweet with notes of apple, pine and caramel. Very pleasantly cohesive and complex.
Taste is wonderfully crisp, piney and grassy notes lead, into a lightly caramel/rich malt body, it all tails of into a piney/citrusy hop finish. Classic for a reason, this is a taste that is hard to get sick of.
Mouthfeel is super clean, definitely a drinker. Leaves nothing but refreshment behind.
Overall this is an undisputable classic in the american beer market. For those of us deep in the modern craft scene it can seem out dated or passe but as someone deep in a stint of modern IPAs and big stouts I can testify to the refreshing, crisp delight this beer still brings. Don't be scared, it's just a classic

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Photo of HardCider
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a clear golden amber color. Large white head that dissipated very slowly with significant lacing. Fresh hoppy, floral aroma. Hoppy and somewhat bitter taste. Clean and crisp on the palate. One of my favorite pale ales!

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Photo of DoogieSmythe
4.81/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Excellent and not to malty for a Pale Ale. People forget, that before the IPA fad, this was the best hoppy (cascade pacific) ale going. Best part is its only 5.6% abv. If you just wanna get f**Kd up get a double IPA . Sierra makes them too.

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Photo of IkelovesDeb
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer turned me on to “craft” beers in the early 80’s and Ive been on board ever since. A fantastic use of cascades. A very solid pale ale and one that I recommend to others when they want to move on from bland Americanized light lagers.

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Photo of TigerSoul
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sierra Nevada's flagship product, Pale Ale, is that one beer for me that delivers every single time. It embodies almost everything I look for, and especially what I expect, from a beer: freshness, character, lasting enjoyment from first to last sip, and the ability to stand up to a hearty meal. From the clean amber color to the lovely floral scent, the piney elements in the full-bodied taste, it is my 'house' beer, hands down.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 11,810 ratings