Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

3,007 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

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

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

Added by kbub6f on 07-05-2001

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 3,007 | Ratings: 11,185
Photo of Kriztofuhr
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look - Pours a beautiful dark orange color, big fluffy white head, lacing all over the glass.

Aroma - Pine cones, orange, lemon, sweet pastries.

Taste - Like the aroma, pine, orange peel, grapefruit. Hops are pungent but not overwhelming. Bitterness is kept in balance by warm malt, hint of light caramel and white bread. Finish is very long with a really nice nuttiness from yeast. Finishes dry but not abrasive. Delicious.

Feel - Medium bodied, very slick and oily, good amount of carbonation, borderline creamy, slightly dry.

Overall - The best American pale ale I've had to date. It isn't an IPA in disguise, nor is it a watery excuse of an ale. Just a beer that has a perfect balance; hard to find beers like this today.

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Photo of Martin194
4.14/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Light orange-yellow, cloudy, thick white head

Smell: Hops, yeast, bread

Taste: Hops, a little citrus; a lighter IPA than some I've tried but still good

Feel: Watery mouthfeel, warm, dry feel after swallowing

Overall: A pretty easy IPA to enjoy, I would recommend this to anyone who is trying to get into IPAs

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Photo of GrumpyGas
3.96/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Still a classic after all these years.
Poured directly from the bottle, dated 11/14/16, into my gob.
Pine hop bitterness and a whiff of malt for balance.
Slightly sticky feel but mostly a clean finish.

Carbonation seems low, but I always feel a little bloat with this. Maybe a built in attenuator to my consumption.

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Photo of Hackattack
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a really tasty beer. It has a hop front taste but malts are apparent as well. Not as good as some of the fresh stuff I get up here in the Michiana area, though.

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Photo of DyingPhenix
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is hands down my favorite beer. I grew up in Redding, CA which is about an hour north of Sierra Nevada's HQ. They've been pumping this pale ale out for decades now and they have established themselves as a leader in brewing industry.

I didn't like this beer the first time I tried it (18-19). That's the thing about it: you get used to it. It has so many flavors going on at once that it can be difficult to understand for noobie beer-drinkers. Eventually you'll find a new flavor to enjoy every time you take a sip. I simply have yet to find a pale ale that is as consistent, delicious, and reliable as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I personally associate it with many great Northern California memories over the past 15 years.

Get one ridiculously ice cold, pour it into a frozen beer glass, and enjoy on the hottest summer day of the year. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of Lorenzai_Konstantinov
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle, 1.5 finger head with significant lacing. Hazy light brown almost bronze colour. The smell is of straight up cascade hops and a little bit of acidity. The smell translates directly into flavor, with the cascade hops up front on the palette. There is a citrus almost lemon-lime element present, and a weak malt backbone is also present but doesn't add much for balance or sweetness. As it warms it seems to get more bitter. My bottle did not have very significant carbonation, which I found slightly strange since I've had this beer plenty of times before and it did. Maybe someone shook the bottle. YMMV with that. Mouthfeel was as you'd expect a pale ale to be otherwise, a little on the thin side.
Overall this is one of my go to beers when I'm looking for something a little more hoppy. It's flavor is heavily skewed towards hops over the malt and makes a nice change of pace without completely obliterating your taste buds like a full on IPA does. The 37 IBU rating seems low. If you like cascade hops, try this!

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Photo of donspublic
3.94/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into shaker, minimal head, nice lacing. Clear amberish golden in the glass. Taste caramel malt sweetness on the front, leads into predominantly pine, with a mild bitterness. Great beer.

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Photo of breakingbland
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice balance between malt and hops. There is slight malty sweetness but there is a hint of savory -- almost a slight funk. The hops are fragrant and floral. Overall a very good that I'll go back to even though this isn't my favorite style.

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Photo of DraconusDesanctus666
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle,into a Funky Buddha snifter.Packaged 02/03/17.

Thick creamy off white head that stands 1 finger tall with very good retention and sticky lacing.Light orange colored body with good clarity,and small amounts of sediment.Very low carbonation with a hard pour.

On the nose I get piney and floral hops with earthy,sweet,and caramel malts.Not much else,kind of a subdued and uneventful aroma,though not unpleasant.

On the palate I get sweet and caramel malts up front,piney hops in the middle,and floral hops balanced by earthy malts on the back end.

The mouth feel is medium with a sticky texture,dry finsh,and good amount of oxidation on the tongue.

This is a pretty solid APA,not my favorite but definitely up there.Good malt / hop balance with a nice bitter backbone.I've had it before this,and will drink it again.Recommended if for some reason you haven't tried it yet.

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Photo of Dentist666
3.49/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Almost clean orange/gold beer with excellent golden head.
Smell - grain, sour citrus.
Taste - grain, citrusy, generously hopped.
Moderate to high carbonation.
Not impressing at all.

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Photo of acmurphy696
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

You can definitely taste the hops on this iconic brew. It smells and tastes great, so it's easy to imagine how it became the gateway to craft beer for many a soul.

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Photo of jwilcox767
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - 2 fingers off-white foam over a body of golden amber, transparent, high visible carbonation

S - light scent of grapefruit, pine, and grain

T - lots of citrus and pine, peppery spice, bready backbone, dry finish

M - crisp light/medium body, high carbonation

O - Just an enjoyable pale, a good standby when nothing else available

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Photo of dmcbeerington
2.61/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

This is yet another over-rated average beer in my opinion. While everything is quite average, ie not great, not bad, I especially don't like the unbalanced after bitter taste. While it's drinkable because of it's complex fruity smell, it's only good for pairing for light food, ie, not too tasty nor too salty food.

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Photo of crisis1290
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

IMO-Sierra Nevada Pale is simply the "king" of craft beer ! Quality of most , in not all, Sierra products is one reason I continue to support this brewery. This is the "gateway" beer into craft beer for many people. Not much can be said about this beer that hasn't been said 3000 times. I spent a month in Erope and I was shocked to find out that the only American made beer served in the hotel was Sierra Nevada Pale. A great, smooth beer, great price , well made !

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Photo of andrewh995
3.35/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

91? I think that's pretty high for this. It was kind of boring to me and nothing really stood out. I can't really say I enjoyed it too much and am only giving it a good rating because everything other than the flavor was great.

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Photo of lwillitz
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12-oz bottle into nonic pub glass

A - 2 fingers off-white foam over a body of golden amber; transparent, but full of sediment; high visible carbonation; laces the glass nicely

S - light scent of grapefruit, pine, and grain

T - lots of citrus and pine from the Cascade hops, peppery spice, bready backbone, dry finish

M - crisp light/medium body, high carbonation

O - Just an enjoyable pale; a relaxing end to a busy day.

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Photo of beerguy04
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a orange amber color with a creamy white head. Smell is piney citrus hops. With many beers the taste is similar to the smell. However, mildly bitter unlike, IPAs. Mouthfeel, light and refreshing. Overall, a good beer for its style.

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Photo of Everydayoff
4.01/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Hazy orange amber in color, the pour forms up very thick creamy off-white head that stays with remarkable retention before slowly sinking to an eternal foamy layer on the surface and leaving plenty of sticky lacing patch and spot.

Lots of biscuity malt as a base in a nose, hop discloses slightly thereafter with notes of pine, floral, spicy, earthy, citrus, and grapefruit.

Delicious and great balance, sweet and biscuit malt lays as the backbone of the flavor structure while hop comes into play providing its spicy, earthy, pine, citrus, grapefruit, and medium resiny bitterness.

Medium body with good crispness and some lively carbonation, smooth mouthfeel, dry finish.

Classic APA indeed, it is well-rounded and perfectly balance. A truly inspired beer.

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Photo of edward_boumil
3.39/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad beer, good toasty malts. Hops are spicy, piney, and resinous with a tiny touch of grapefruit. That being said to me its a little to crisp and bitter, not super smooth or easy drinking. Kind of thin and not thirst quenching. Definitely not a bad beer just nothing special to me, more of an east coast guy I guess.

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Photo of Profundobaso
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Orange/amber color, generous head
S: A light but detectable smell of the cascade hops: citrus, floral, and pine
T: Initial slight bitterness followed a nice malty aftertaste. Refreshing and simple.
F: Very easy to drink. Medium-bodied and crisp.
O: There may be better APAs out there that are more complex, but this is a fine beer that can be enjoyed by both hop lovers and non-hop lovers alike.

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Photo of LeRose
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The bottle poured a deep golden color with a generous three finger head that fell to about a finger and hung around for a good while. Lots of stick-to-the-glass lacing.

Smell was a nice balance of resinous, floral, and citrus hops supported by a biscuity malt smell. Wonderful, the citrus was just a hint.

The taste followed along, with a bit of bitterness up front, then the hops come in with the floral, milder than expected resin, then a bit if brightness from the citrus that seems more orange or tangerine than the usual grapefruit. Well-balanced, nice malt presence that put me in mind of a pilsener. A little biscuit, a little sweet.

Medium to light on the body, drying enough to invite another sip. Carbonation in the just right zone.

Overall, this is a great beer and I believe you have to add in the value. Available just about everywhere year round and at a very reasonable price. Good take on the style, SN delivers a well-balanced, flavorful beer.

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Photo of NickTrop
4.26/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This, along with Sam Adams Boston Lager arey staple brews. I live in PA close to the DE border where I get a 12-pack of each in cans for less than $30. I appreciate IPAs, strong ales from Belgium, seasonals, stouts, etc., but these are my day-to-days.

Why? Four reasons: 1. balance, 2. quality, 3. availability, 4. price. Price has become a dirty word on beer review sites but these beers represent a great value. They're fantadtic representations of their respective styles produced in high enough volume to make them widely available at a fair price without resorting to gimmicks.

Plenty of others give descriptions of look, flavor, taste. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a high-quality brew that rivals the great beers of Germany but is uniquely American. It's just fantastic. The day I tire of SNPA is the day I tire of beer.

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Photo of ThePold
4.57/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I give it a 5 overall as a tribute to its position in the history of American brewing. It is smooth, just hoppy enough to make one happy, and will always bring back the memories of when it was the only alternative to Bud or Miller at too many bars.

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Photo of Red5StandingBy
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle with freshness date of 8/9/16 into Stein.

L: Pretty golden color with thick three finger white head that slowly recedes into a lasting finger head. Great lacing that stays put.

S: Spicy, floral and earthy almost crushed leaves hop smell initially, transforms into a mellow biscuity aroma.

T: Smoothness like a straight razor shave consisting of sharp crisp bitterness from the hops to begin the complexity of this beer. You get a wonderful menagerie of floral, citrus, earthen and spicy hops. Mellowing out from there the malted barley comes through to take hold. Very well balanced.

F: The medium to low body of this beer with the refreshing balanced complexity to create one of the most easily drinkable beers out there.

O: I recently developed a taste for hoppier beers that thus far I heavily disliked. After realizing this I decided i must try one of the all-time American Pale Ale staples. I was swept away by this beer and will recommend this to most anyone. Well done Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of california_republic
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's a classic that really showcases the importance that Sierra Nevada places on balance. While it has inspired countless breweries to start a hops and IBU arms race, Pale Ale is here to stay for what you go back to when you want a taste of perfection. Not only is it the benchmark for taste, but also price and availability. If service is the rent we pay for living, Pale Ale is the rent Sierra Nevada pays to the world of beer.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,185 ratings.
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