Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

3,006 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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Reviews: 3,006 | Ratings: 11,180
Photo of Graebner
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I realized that I had reviewed all sorts of strange beers, yet had never talked about my old and trusted friend Sierra Pale Ale. So here goes:

The appearance is good, but nothing to write home about. Pours out a yellow-amber with quite a bit of carbonation, lots of bubble column activity. The head peaks at two fingers of light fluffy froth, which diminishes to a paper-thin layer of white. Never judge a beer by its cover, though

The smell is where it starts to pique your curiosity. Lots of flowery hops, some citrus fruits and flowers, a little malty sweetness and some herbal nose. Makes you go "eh?" and scoot closer for a better angle.

The taste...mmmm, the taste. A little sour at first, maybe for a split second, then malty sweetness, then a crisp, clean, and ample hops finish. Also characters of citrus, herbs, a little spice, and some bready malt. It finishes very cleanly, though.

The mouthfeel is also superb. Carbonation on the front of the tongue, smooth over the middle, and a little more carbonation in the back. The hops also dry the back of your mouth and throat with their bitterness, but it's not at all unpleasant and contributes to the very balanced character of the beer.

The overall drinkability is phenomenal. Whether you are coming in from a hard day's work or school and just want to sit and sip, or you're out with the lads for the evening and need a session ale to accompany you, you can hardly go wrong with the Sierra Pale Ale. I could drink this morning, noon, and night, then pass out, and drink it noon and night the next day as well. It's that good. In my opinion this is simply the best widely-available (as in gas station) beer you can buy. I'm proud to call it my friend.

An interesting note: I recently discovered that, when enjoyed out of a glazed clay mug, one gets an even better taste out of this beer. It seems the clay and/or the shape of the mug (slightly bulbous at the bottom with a narrower neck, in this case) brings out more flavor. Either that, or I just got an exceptionally good bottling. Give it a try.

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

Poured from a squat 12 ounce bottle into a pilsner glass.

A: Looks good! A light golden brown with bubbly effervescence and about an finger of light head. Heavy lacing.

S: Smells crisp and clean. Faint citrus; hops and some malt.

T: Unsurprisingly, the beer tastes how it smells - good, crisp, with citrus notes dominated by malty hops. A mild bitterness balances the flavours well. The finish is oddly bready, but not too dry and certainly pleasant.

M: The carbonation, citrus, and hops conspire to create a refreshing beer that keeps me sipping 'til the glass is empty.

D: Exceptional indeed. A great beer for drinking, sharing, and enjoying. Especially nice in warm weather or after a long day. Highly recommended.

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

A: Beautiful and coppery colored. This looks both delicious and refreshing.

S: Smells like most good pale ales. Good balance of hops and malt with no off smells.

T: Mmmm... my idea of what a pale ale should be. Great aroma from hops without being too bitter. Perfect malt balance. Nothing out of place.

M: Good. Medium bodied with good levels of carbonation for its weight.

D: Top flight here. I can drink 4-5 of these in a sitting without batting an eye.

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Photo of BoSox5902
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

very strong hop flavor. a great ale. i got a six pack of this from my dad for my 21st birthday. up there with samuel adam's as one of the best american brewed beers. i usually like the european imports myself but this beer can give them competition.

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

A very fine (as well as a defining) example of American Pale Ale. Just the right amount of hoppiness and just enough malt presence to balance it out. It has become one of my favorite table beers... I would consider Sierra Nevada Pale to be a "standby." When I play gigs in a bar and I am greeted by a sea of "lite beers" on tap, it is very comforting to see the green tap handle there in between the typical brands.. The bottled version is just a notch below the on-tap version, but it stands up well -- probably because it is bottle conditioned... The color suits a beer of this style. It is suitably pale, but has an orangish-red glow that make it very appealing. A comfortable evening lies ahead of me as I sip a few more of these...

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Photo of albertjr21
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a 24 oz. bottle into a pint glass. A clear and light golden amber color under a dense foamy head.

S: An appetizing, good old fashion blend of yeast and Cascade hops beautifully represented in the nose.

M/T: A lively palate awakening occurs at first sip with a evenly distributed malt sweetness on the tongue that quickly makes way toward a robust hop bitterness and clean quenching dry finish.

D: With or w/o food, this is the classic American you can't go wrong with because of it's versatility with different cuisines and crisp refreshing drinkability.

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

Let me start by saying that I am a big fan of this beer. I especially love it after having put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes before drinking it. If you haven't had this one ultra ice cold, you are missing out.

I like to drink SNPA right out of the has near perfect mouthfeel which I think can be attributed to the bottle conditioning. I feel like it loses something when you pour it into a glass.

Yes, as you've heard a thousand times before, this is the beer that got me, and almost everyone else into craft beer. So it holds a special place in my heart and fridge. Since I first tried SNPA many beers have came in went in my fridge yet SNPA remains eternal. It's hard to describe the taste except to say it's just straight goodness. To be a bit more specific, it's a little dry, a little floral, a little citrusy, a little bitter, and not very malty/sweet, but it has just enough of a malt backbone..exactly what an APA should be. There may be a handful of better APA's out there, but chances are you can only find them in like 3-5 states, or they're only availabe once a year when the moon is full, and jupiter and saturn have aligned. SNPA can be found at almost every single liquor/grocery store. Many times when I try a 6er of something new I wish I just bought the SNPA. Which is why before I venture out into the great unknown of craft beer, I make sure I have some SNPA in the fridge just in case the next beer is better suited for the bottom of my drain than the bottom of my stomach.

Also...the perfect beer for a BBQ.

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

Appearance: Nice color, Looks good to me!

Smell: Fresh smell, So far so good

Taste: Cha-Ching!! Grapefruit like a lot of others have mentioned, also pine. Not weak by any means but somehow manages to diminish down to no negative aftertaste very soon after swallowing. Clean aftertaste lingers indefinitely. Or should I say as long as you can resist taking another sip/gulp.

Mouthfeel: A LOT! going on for a brief moment passing through the mouth. Pleasant fizziness, real intensity of complex flavor. Body just right.

Drinkability: Highest possible drinkability!

I hadn't read all the other reviews when I first tried this recently. Bad reviews wouldn't have changed how much I liked this one but it did feel good anyway to see everyone else seemed to think highly of it too. I like the darker stuff too. Good extra stouts , the seasonal 'Stone' , Anchor Porter etc.. But this Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has got to be my 'desert island' beer!

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

12 oz. bottle pored into a pint glass. sierra pale ale pores a light copper color with a nice thick white head that lasted about 10 mins then faded away to some good lacing.

smell is very citrusy hoppy and spicey. spices dominate the smell.

i've yet to compare a beer to taste similar to this one. i think sierra pale ale has its own distinct flavor. it's hoppy, yet has such a nice tangy spiceness to it..but not too much of either one of them. also some bready, bananna and roasted malts.

this is surprisngly light bodied, although slightly dry.

one of the most drinkable beers i've had. this is my "go to" beer all year long.

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Photo of mattknueven
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had Sierra Nevada Pale out of the bottle and on draft plenty but from a can and poured into a glass is phenomenal. Even straight from the can is great! Everything about this experience is fantastic, from the lacing on the glass, to the creamier fuller bodied mouthful. This summer I will be drinking plenty of this!

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Photo of jtw5877
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a nice amber color with a decent head, hops are in your face. This is the beer that got me into hoppy pale ales, I love it, and it is readily available in my area. What else can I say... A real good beer to convert your macro friends.

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Photo of 1whiskey
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out with a 1"head thats holds up most of the way, with some foamy lacing. Appearance is a gorgeous transparant amber color with lots of bubbles and a little yeast settlement. Absolutely beautiful. The aroma is all about the citrusy hops and piney spices. Very appropriate for a brewery located at the junction of the Cascades and the Sierras...very nice.
Taste is even better....mirroring the aroma but with a slightly more bitter hop taste, some floral esters....yeast is very prominant here, even for a bottle-conditioned APA. Some grainy malts are subtle here(that's what I prefer anyway), just enough to provide some balance to those wonderful hops. Mouthfeel is great, with a medium body and the perfect ammount of carbonation. Very crisp, biting finish and the best dry afteraste I've ever had in a APA or even an IPA, for that matter. This is THE preeminent West Coast pale ale, and for good reason. It's great by itself, or it pairs well with most anything. A favorite snack of mine involves paring it w/ jack, colby, and medium or sharp chedder followed by a jonagold apple when you're done with your beer. Try it, it's great!!

NOTE: If you have tried this beer and didn't like it, give it another chance already! Sierra Nevada distributes aggressively and is botttle conditioned, and some unworthy distributers and retailers(gas stations, supermarkets, etc.) sometimes store it warm for long periods of time. I've gotten a couple of brews that were quite...well....lets just say they had seen better days. So pick it up at a reputable retailer or try it on tap, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of Quaffer
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This beer was an amber-orange color with a white, rough head. Not much lace left on the glass.

Smell: Oh, yeah. This is what a Pale Ale is supposed to smell like. There was a big hops aroma, balanced with fruit, some malt, and a bread-like smell.

Mouthfeel: Great mouthfeel for a pale ale. This brew had a medium body and was very smooth.

Taste: A great hops bitterness, balanced by lightly roasted malts. Occasionally, a little sweetness shines through. The finish drys out but the hops flavor just lingers and lingers . . . Not overly complex, but still very tasty.

This is a great, highly drinkable pale. You fill your glass and the next thing you know . . . POOF! It's gone. One of my favorites in the style.

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Photo of DCP
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Much better from a bottle than a keg on my palate.
My fishing companion.
Great heavy end all day beer.
I don't really order it on tap though.
It's less bitter and usually less fresh for me due to less hop and about the same body, maybe something else.
I've heard there are different recipes used for the bottles and kegs.
So I'm rating from the one I like better.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada- what can I say that hasn't been said?!

Pours a golden brown with a little white head. but that's o.k cause it has a heavenly aroma- citrus.
The taste is amazing, slighty bitter with a crisp malty flavor.
This is the beer you go to when your bar offers only macro crap.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is, hands down, 1 of the best overall beers out there!! and that's a bold statement!!

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Photo of Jon
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer that essentially led me here. SNPA is perhaps my all-time favorite old standby, and for good reason... I just don't know why it's taken me so long to review it. The pour is a light copper with a nice sized bubbly off-white head. The smell is great and features lots of hops, citrus and some yeasty notes. The taste is huge on the hops at first, especially for an APA. This beer is fairly carbonated for the style, and it shows in the mouthfeel, which is rather prickly. To me, this is a very easy drinker and is the trendsetter in the APA style.

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Photo of BeerAmbassador
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Kind of funny that I have not reviewed this one yet, I guess when you are always trying to seek out new beers you forget about the everyday beers out there. Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a two finger off white head. After it dissipates it leaves a bit of lacing and a thin froth on the top. Slight pine and dried hop leaf aromas with a bit of estery fruit in the malt. Nicely balanced malt and hops with a medium body good carbonation due to the bottle conditioning. A nice lingering hop bitterness that makes its presence known but is not overpowering. Funny how tastes can change, when I was younger and new to beer this beer seemed so bitter to me now after years of drinking what seems to be hoppier and hoppier beers this one barely registers. To me this beer is important in the same way that beers like Sam Adams Boston Lager are important. They were pioneers in the craft beer scene, they are good benchmarks for the style and maybe more importantly, they turn new beer drinkers on to craft beer. A great American Pale Ale.

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4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear golden orange with a 2 finger off whitish chunky head that mellows into a resinous foam cap that leaves patches of bubbly laces down the sides. Beautiful, like looking at clouds.

Floral and Citrus hop notes over a caramel bread malt.

Sharp citrus and floral notes on top of a nicely balanced caramel bread malt foundation. Spicy resinous hop oils that build a nice drinkable bitterness.

Smooth, medium bodied, crisp, well carbonated.

My favorite standby Pale Ale. A great west coast hoppy pale ale. Love them cascade hops. One of my gateway craft beers, and still one of my favorites.

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Photo of nosbocaj
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark golden/amber color. Thick off-white head stays and holds well.
S: Smells of sweet malt and fragrant hops
T: A nice balance between the sweet malt and the bitterness of the hops. Tasted hints of citrus hops as well.
M: Medium body with a perfect amount of carbonation.
D: An excellent APA that I will definitely buy again.

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Photo of Illtryit
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've seen this a million times but never tried it. Decided to go for it this afternoon due in part from the endorsement from a liquor store manager.

Pours a hazy, golden with bright white two finger foam.

Smells slightly floral, slightly wet paper.

Taste is a nice mix of citrus and floral hops. Blended perfectly.

Very refreshing beer. Light and crisp without feeling too thin or watery.

I would recommend this to any BMC drinker as a gateway beer. Good without blowing your face off.

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Photo of ifixufly
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured light golden amber color into a pint glass with 1" of head that disippated quickly into a tight white lace around the edges of the glass.
The aroma of the brew came across as hoppy with spicy and citrusy undertones when consumed. It has a smooth mouthfeel with very little aftertaste.
I would recommend this beer and seeing that it is one of my fave's, I drink this beer all the time. So bottoms up!

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Photo of BeerBobber
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This had a very nice gold color poured from a 12 oz. can with a barely off white head rocky head that dropped off quickly. Also visible was a lot of of carbonation with bubbles just a popping.

The smell was just a real clean smell of hops, with a punch of lemony citrus.

The taste was a great balance of that punchy smell of hops with a nice balance of a back bite of malt notes.

Overall this beer really struck me as a high quality brew that has a lot of craftsmanship going into its production.

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Photo of JBuff41413
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite beers. I have to pick it up every so often. I'm finally getting around to reviewing it.

A- Clover honey color with a 3/4 inch creamy white head that falls to just a creamy glaze on the surface.

S- Very hoppy with grapefruit and honey.

T- Sweet caramel malts up front beautifully transitioning in to a quite bitter brew with lots of hops and grapefruit taking the forefront.

M- Medium-light mouthfeel, that finishes dry.

D- I love this beer and is one of my most popular session beers. 4 in a sitting is perfect.

This was one of my first beers and still one of my favorites. GREAT pale ale.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was an excellent ale that poured a clear deep yellow with a good head that dissolved to lace rings.

The aroma was beautiful, of tangy bitter hops and pine and cedar notes. It drew me toward the first taste.

The taste was very bitter, with pine and grapefruit overtones. There was no prominent maltiness. It was very dry and excellent.

I highly recommend this one.

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Photo of farHillsBrewer
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the standard by which all American Pale Ales are judged. Some may be better, but this is the best seller, the one that has penetrated markets and contends for the title of King of Beers. The slight chill haze is easily excusable since SNPA is bottle conditioned. The aroma provided by generous amounts of Cascade hops is a quite evident spicy-flowery-citrusy, that pleases throughout the lace coated glass. A hint of sweet malt covered by some underlying bitterness provides excellent balance. Each swallow finishes with a crisp hoppiness that begs for more.This is a great session beer, not that I'm inclined for excess, you understand, that works for picnics, parties, and for those of you who understand, crab feasts.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,180 ratings.
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