Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

2,998 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: 2,998 | Ratings: 11,162
Photo of breslaubrewer
2.72/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I know this is the classic example of an American pale ale ,but.... in the midwest it becomes oxidized on the retail shelves and doesn't hold up well. I've had one six pack I really enjoyed (nice piney floral aroma, dry finish, bitter spicey taste). I usually won't buy unless I know it's fresh because I get a cardboard/oxidized taste that I can't overcome and usually throw the rest out.

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Photo of Brunite
2.72/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Hazy, light gold colored beer. Lots and lots of floating sediment. This bottled was handled and poured properly. Yet...tons of sediment. Not to thrilled here.

Smell: Mild....nothing noteworthy. Very subtle citrus and malt.

Taste: Average. OK bitterness...some biscuit...not very memorable.

Mouthfeel: Decent but nothing special.

Drinkability: Really disappointed here. Had hopes of making this a go-to APA due to price & availablity. I've had much better. Just too many floaters and not enough flavor for a PA. I'll pass next time.

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Photo of PorterLambic
2.73/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours clear and bright, golden in color and topped by a full inch of off-white foam. Good retention, decent lace.
Smell is hoppier than expected with notes of herbs and citrus and a very light malt in the background. Would like better balance.
Taste is at least similar to the scent in that the malt takes a 'back of the bus' approach with the hops driving. Light citrus (grapefruit) note accompanies the heavy herbal/floral/medicinal hops. Less balanced than the nose.
Medium bodied with a somewhat sharp effervescence in the front. Dry finish, astringent. Hops mellow in the aftertaste but remain the main ingredient. Warming didn't improve this one, quite the opposite. Sadly, this is a pale ale more in name than in the glass. Drinks like a good lager should. Too bad it isn't labeled as one.

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Photo of aquatonex
2.74/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I expected more from this Pale Ale, perhaps it was the batch that was the problem. Pours light amber. Smells a lot of hops and alcohol, kinda skunky. Tastes rather bitter with a generous portion of hops, alcohol, and skunk that stays with your tongue until your next sip. I was not impressed at all.

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Photo of AdamBear
2.75/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-pale gold with a hint of orange. thin white head. there are some bubbles

S-very hoppy, but very bold and striking. its not that citrusy but i'm getting a hint of orange. there's a good strength to it.

T-starts with an oddly bitter mixture of hops and barley. there's a bitter after-taste of barley. this is quite the simple and unexciting beer.

M-medium to high carbonation which is creamy. finish is a tad dry

D-it doesn't get any worse than the initial taste but it doesn't get any better. i've heard a lot of good things about this beer but i was really let down. this is nothing special and doesn't beat the other commonly found beers.

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Photo of kindestcut
2.75/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The SN Pale Ale pours a clear and pale golden amber. The head is quite frothy but dies a brave death in only a few minutes. Quite a refreshing looking beer before the first taste.

The aroma is, as would be expected, spicy and very subtle floral with strong hops. The flavor is not particularly smooth but with a bitterness that is not overpowering.

Ultimately, I think that the SN Pale Ale is not delicious but it can be refreshing...if you were very thirsty.

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Photo of chicagoanbeerone
2.8/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Smell and taste of water and hops, I like it nice and bitter probley one of the most consistant pale ales around. very good and drinkable even for beginers It is close to a lager with hopier traits A nice beer that is enexpensive and to watch a football game with not so heavy just smooth and good

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Photo of bucko
2.8/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

SNPA pours a copper color with a light white head and has a nice, faint citrus aroma. Tipping back the bottle and taking a sip, I find a nice, crisp bite, and while the flavor is good, it's not remarkable. I've had better, I've had worse... good, not great. It's a tasty brew and I'd certainly be willing to buy more, but this just isn't a standout in my book.

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Photo of Jesstyr
2.8/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I am re-reviewing this beer after my last review was unreasonably taken down. I bought a new bottle as part of a pick 6, so I could give a new and fair review. I continue to be underwhelmed with this beer, but am now certain my prior bottle was skunked.

A: Light copper, with very little head. Fairly significant sediment.

S: Very light, some pine, some subtle not flattering metallic nose.

T: This, again, is where I was most disappointed. Very thin flavor, lacked anything particularly redeeming or strong. To be honest the metallic nature reminded me of Kirin, but it did finish like a traditional IPA. Definitely tasted pine, and a lot of hops - too much in fact.

M/D: Thin and a little too dry. Not enticing to go back for more.

I'll continue to find this beer underrated, but look forward to trying some other SN to see what all the hubbub is about.

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Photo of TheKingofWichita
2.8/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

So I don't want to seem like an ass but I didn't really like this beer.
Pours an off orange color with a white head, and minimal lacing.
Smells a little citrusy with some hop character and some pine.
Tastes like hops, hops, hops, bitterness, with a little malt and citrus thrown in for kicks.
Mouthfeel and drinkability were fairly average.

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Photo of WhiteOak
2.8/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Bright golden color, lacy white head.

S- Grains, floral/citric hops aroma.

T- Bitter citric hops over minerals and light malt flavors.

M, D- Light/medium body.

All credit is due for this old soldier who helped lead the initial charge, but in comparison to current competition, somewhat uninspiring.

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Photo of BrewitYerself
2.86/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a frosted glass before I could stop the bartender.

Pours a clear dark copper, thick dense head, some lacing.

Smells of bready/slightly sweet malt with fruity/floral hops and mild esters.

Taste is pungently bitter and sour upfront. Pithy and herbal, almost vegetal. Finishes pretty clean with a moderate lingering pithy sour-bitterness. Not much malt on the palate - just a touch of breadiness and very slight sweetness.

Mouthfeel is very thin, overcarbonated.

Overall it's too bitter and sour, and not enough malt to balance. Hop aroma and flavor are a bit lacking. The flavors it does have taste stale. As it warms it releases more of a malty-sweet aroma, but there still isn't much more than bitterness on the palate. If someone offered me another, I'd take it, but I wouldn't order it.

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Photo of Mitchster
2.86/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brewed with Two-row Pale & Caramel malts. Hopped with Magnum and Perle for bittering and Cascade for finishing. OG=13.0p, FG= 2.8p, 5.6% ABV, 37 IBU.

Pours out to a clear light caramel, forming a creamy off-white head with veyr good retention and sticky sheets of clumpy lacing. Bubbles rise slowly through the beer with mild-moderate carbonation. Aroma is very bready and yeasty nearly overpowering the citric hops, with lots of bready alcohols and sharp cheesiness. Much different than I remember. Hops are slightly oxidized. Mouthfeel is middle of the road with a crisp finish and medium body. Taste begins with crisp carbonation, followed by rather non-descript hops, potent yeast, bready alcohols, malts which are barely perceptable in contrast to the hops and yeast. Mild to moderate bitterness. Crisp finish.

Much different than I remember, and different than what I had on-tap at Sierra Nevada Brewery. This is the 3rd bottle that has tasted this way. I'll chalk it up to a more refined palate, but this just doesn't do much for me anymore. Considered a "classic" American Pale Ale in many circles. Way to bready and cheesy. I would pick nearly any pale ale over this. Boston Ale is a MUCH better mass-produced alternative. If you have to drink this, drink it ice-cold. It get's nasty warm.

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Photo of Offa
2.86/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap, this is at least ok, rather bopring but slightly tasty, drinkable, and reasoanbly balanced in character (unlike from thE bottle, in which form I find it dreadful)

It looks good on tap, with a nice copper body, a decent, lasting off-white head and some decent, lasting lace.

The aroma is a decent, basic ale, with a little grain, crackers, and citrusy hops, but rather muted and simple.

On tap, the taste is really rather bland, with just some hops, mostly grapefruit and other citrus, plus a light grain quality that mostly takes over in the end.

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Photo of PhageLab
2.87/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I purchased a 24oz bottle of this from a local grocery store today and poured it into a 14oz tall pilsner glass w/wide mouth.

A - Complex deep amber color in the center which fades out to a pale yellow. It produced a frothy brown head which slowly dissipated. Appeared to be full-flavored.

S - Faintly metallic aroma, not much to it, hard to distinguish.

T - Highly bitter initially yet quickly turns into an almost floral aftertaste. I could definitely taste the hops, but it was not overpowering.

M - As I said, the bitterness fades fast and it is actually much lighter than I had anticipated. Nothing too special here.

D - Although it doesn't pack nearly as much punch as I had expected, it is still very tasty. I may not go out of my way to get another, but I certainly wouldn't turn one down if offered.

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Photo of MNAle
2.88/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

1/2 inch slightly off-white head. Amber color with aggressive carbonation. Faint aroma that is pleasant, somewhat citrusy. Very mild taste, not highly hopped at all in either the initial taste, mid, or aftertaste. This surprised me. It was only about 10 weeks past its bottled date,. so hop fading should certainly not been an issue. Substantial mouth feel, especially for a pale ale. But, the overall taste is just so unremarkable. While I generally prefer beers that are not over-hopped, it is not just the lack of a hops bite that is surprising. It is just so ordinary. This is a very drinkable ale, but for all the hype about this being the prototypical American pale ale, I was expecting much more.

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Photo of oracle
2.89/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle servered in a shaker style glass

Beer poured lightish to medium copper with a faint wisp of a head that quickly disappeared altogether.

Smell was faint at best, consisting primarily of hops and pine.

Taste was almost non-existant. Not hoppy enough with a sweet cloying finish.

Ugghhh. Sierra Nevada makes some damn fine beers (Bigfoot is still my all time favorite beer), but I'll pass on this one from now on.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
2.9/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Type: on-tap
Glass: pint
From: Casey's Tavern in Ann Arbor
Price: $4.50

Appearance: a slightly dark orangish-red. clear with a small foamy head the faded slowly and left a lacing on the sides

Smell: Spicy hops, florals maybe a touch of citrus.

Taste: a mixture of spicy hops with some floral and citrus undertones. but i definitely get the ever so slight taste of dirty socks

Mouthfeel: pretty light and overly bitter to me

Overall: i am not a huge pale ale guy but i do enjoy them from time to time. this one was just not doing it for me when i wanted a nice refreshing beer. i will most likely revisit this one as it is not hard to come by but until then these are my thoughts on it

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Photo of casualbeerman
2.9/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This is a high quality brew from a respected and established craft brewer. So I'm swimming against the tide here. I wouldn't be surprised if I was giving the lowest review currently posted for this particular beer. There are definately people I'd reccomend this for. It is a quality beer with good ingredients and a depth of flavor. But I'm sorry I do not like it.

Appearance- It looked pretty appealing, though I must say its also rather dark. This "pale" is darker than Newcastle Brown (admittedly not a craft brew, but it has the correct color for its style so far as I'm aware). Just by looking at it you can tell its thick. Head is large and very sturdy. I didn't try to float the bottle cap on it, but I'm confident you could do that.

Smell- This was probably the high point of the beer. Its got a really malty punch, and the hop smell is very pleasant. Its got some strong bitter bite in the smell and yes some pine. A tiny bit of citrus/grass as well and some yeast that would probably be quite assertive if the other ingredients weren't so strong.

Taste- This is where the beer started to go south for me. Some of those aspects that made the smell pleasing did not do as much for my tastebuds. The pine aspect of the hops pleased my nose, but not my tastebuds, just like you'd find the scent of a pine tree infinately more pleasant than the taste of pine tar. The malts are once again very assertive: rich, dark, and sweet. But they are probably TOO assertive because the hops required to balance them are too much for me. I have yet appreciate a beer that advertises Cascade hops on the label. I find them more bitter than interesting. The subtle lemon, and even the slightly assertive pine were crowded out by a bitterness that may not have been skunky, but did remind me of grapefruit rind or maybe rubber tires. I'll say it again, bitter does not automatically mean good. I know I'm biassed against really strong bitterness, but when it gets to the point where that one aspect is crowding out all the more subtle flavors from the yeast and hops that make a good beer interesting, then I think the brewer needs to re-adjust their formula. Don't get me wrong, I found some redeeming qualities in the taste, on the balance I did not enjoy this beer very much.
Mouthfeel- Syrupy. That's the best way to describe it. This is a thick beer, and its work to drink it. Just getting through one bottle takes forever, and while it goes ok with food (I washed down a steak with this), it did not quench my thirst well. Even Guiness Draught was more thirst quenching.
Drinkability- The bitter aftertaste wasn't crippling. I did manage to drink two of these in one sitting. But more than that made me feel very full. And I could only drink this slowly because its so thick. And as you might have gathered, the taste didn't send me running back for more.

Conclusion- This is not for me. I think its rather overrated. Though well and carefully made, I think they could have hopped it with something better. I think McSorley's Ale, which is much cheaper, is much better hopped with all sorts of subtle flavors coming through (though its really not that much less bitter, the bitter didn't crowd out the other subtle flavors, so I enjoyed that one anyway). I think the thickness is also kind of excessive. Bear in mind, this isn't billed as an India Pale Ale, or an Extra Bitter, or anything like that. Just a regular Pale Ale. Compare it to Bass, the standard of that type. It's just too thick, dark, and bitter for the type of beer its supposed to be in my opinion. Even though American Pale Ales here are described as "bitter" vs British Pale Ales which are "more balanced" I think this is too much. That said if you want something that's really powerful, really thick, really bitter, and really well made (notwithstanding my own complaints about style and hops) then by all means check this out. It's a manly brew for sure that will put hair on your chest. Me, I think McSorely's Ale is the best American Ale I've tried. Also, be wary of the price if you're not sure whether you like it. It does run you like $7.50 for a sixpack. If you're skeptical, you might want to split it up with some friends (or if you know a good beer bar you can try it there, me I don't recall any place near me that carries this, even in the bottle)

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Photo of UncleBart91
2.9/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Golden blonde, like a Swedish goddess. Rich foam. Thick fermentation

Aroma: Crisp Cascade hops, definite pale blend of pine and spice

Taste: Light, yet hoppy with a very crisp aftertaste. Almost on the lighter side of pale ales

Overall: Not my favorite pale ale, but a decent beer. Too crisp for my taste. Very defined aftertaste leaves a very pale aroma. Not bad for a craft brew.

Serving type: Bottle/Pint Glass

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Photo of Beaver13
2.91/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The SN Pale Ale pours a bubbly golden orange with a decent white head that has good retention and laces the glass.

Its aroma is malty biscuit with some metallic hops.

The taste is biscuity malts up front with some faint floral hops and then a fairly harsh bitter aftertaste. It is medium bodied with a sticky finish.

Overall, I'm not too impressed. I was expecting more fruity notes to balance the bitterness. I can respect what this beer has done for the microbrewery business, but I've never been able to get into it.

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Photo of peabody
2.91/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours out a nice straw/amber color very clear with just a little head with nice lacing.
Smell is orange yeast and fruit with just a slight hint of alcohol.
Taste is a little watery but caramel and grapefruit come through.
Not a bad beer but I need to try some more of Sierra Nevada's brews.

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Photo of beertunes
2.91/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into straight pint glass. Poured 1/2 inch of bright, white head that left a medium amount of lacing. Bright, light orange/deep yellow color. Not much malt in the nose, but solid hop presence. Flavor matches aroma closely. The lack of body is noticed right away. Very drinkable, but the flavors becomes unnoticeable quickly. This is a solid go-to beer that never lets you down, but rarely thrills the drinker. I have long maintained that, due to the prominence of hops and lack of malt body, this should be called an IPA, not a pale ale. I seem to be in a very small minority in this view.

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Photo of crazybrody06
2.91/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours an average straw color, but the head was white and frothy and lasted a long time.

The smell is pine and hops.

The taste is not great, hops, the pine comes through on the flavor as well but not much else that Im picking up. Not a lot of flavor at all.

The mouthfeel was borderline watery, but not quite.

Overall this beer dissapoints in most categorys although if I had to I could make this a session beer.

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Photo of illidurit
2.95/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hey folks have you ever wanted an MGD with a blast of bitter one dimensional hops? Here's your beer.

Looks decent enough. Smells like rind. The malt, instead of light and crisp, tastes bready and doesn't serve to balance the hops. The beer is way overhopped, tasting of acrid pine needles. The bitterness is obnoxious and the beer isn't refreshing or balanced. HORRIBLY overrated, just like everything else from Sierra Nevada.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,162 ratings.
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