Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

2,991 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,991 | Ratings: 11,136
Photo of abrdnck
4.63/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Clear, light amber in colour with a white head that lasts all the way to the end. Nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: Citrus and piney hops, beautifully balanced with the bready malt. I remember the first time I tried this beer, it seemed overwhelming to me. Times have changed, and there are many beers out there more intense, but this is still amazing.

Taste: Just like the smell. Excellent balance of malt and hops. Significant hop flavour with pine and citrus in the foreground.

Feel: Medium body, enough to grab on to but light enough to enjoy many of them.

Overall: There is a reason this is a classic. I like pale ales in general, but this stands out in the field.

 695 characters

Photo of matcris
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

LOOKS: Poured aggressively into a Nonic Pint glass. Nice 2 finger, off white, foamy head. Lots of small bubbles streaming up the glass. Color is a clear amber-orange. Leaves a fair lacing down the glass.
AROMA: Floral sweetness and honey right off the bat. Pine and citrus/mild grapefruit rind. Lots of floral/jasmine here.
TASTE: Sweet and bitterness are nicely balanced here. Mild citrus and pine notes, this beer came in a winter variety pack and the beer is exactly three months past the bottling date. Probably would be a bit more flavorful if newer, same with aroma. But that is what is available.
MOUTHFEEL: Medium light body, not overly dry, not overly the middle. Perfect carbonation to this beer, prickly on tongue.
OVERALL: I think a super fresh bottle would pop a bit more, but this is still a great tasting brew. An easy drinking, pleasant brew that would appeal to a wide audience.

 906 characters

Photo of Ahypercube
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Got in a 12-pack seasonal sampler, poured from a 12 oz bottle into a big tea mug.

L: Lots and lots of very active head with big happy-looking bubbles, which unfortunately dissipate rather quickly leaving very minimal lacing. Like a short firework show, exciting and anticlimactic.

S: Tangy tangerine, lime, and grapefruit, along with some soft bready malt character topped with sharp pine and some mild floralness.

T: Like the smell, sour citrus, except more heavy on the grapefruit; pine is still prominent, though not super bitter, and the malt is left as more of an aftertaste, although it is a nice one. The hoppiness is not too intense; good for newcomers to the pale ale world.

F: It's a shame it's a bit thin (and well, a tad lacking delicious hops and malt) or this would be a great beer.

O: As it is, it is a very good beer, from a great brewing co. and one I certainly don't mind drinking.

 905 characters

Photo of Parmesan
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Beautiful clear golden amber, with a white head that dissipates quickly, Some lacing.

Smell: Bready malt with citrus and some orange peel

Taste: A nice balance of citrus, bready malt, a very pleasant bitterness.

Feel: Lighter to medium body, a pleasant bitterness coats the tongue

Overall: A nice pale, it's not in your face like some of today's pale ale, but definitely a good sessionable beer.

 407 characters

Photo of Dragginballs76
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours golden color with off white head that dissipates quickly. Citrus and malt smell . Taste slight orange and citrus taste slight hop after taste very good flavor. Very smooth going down piney aftertaste. Overall a very good pale ale!!

 237 characters

Photo of Buck89
4.16/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. A slightly hazy dark amber-orange color with a generous bright white head. Big pine and orange smells. Some grapefruit and bread. Bitter citrus up front on the first sip, followed by pine and earth tones. Nice bitter and lemony-malty finish - nutty and not sweet. Dry finish. Medium-bodied and medium carbed.

 334 characters

Photo of frasergrove
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The quintessential pale ale. Light pale/golden body, low to no haze, fluffy thick white head. Aroma is Cascade all the way...light citrus/fresh grapefruit with moderate earthy and pepper under tones. Sufficient bitterness, just enough body, refreshing and sessionable. Great balance, great pale.

 295 characters

Photo of KevCan
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Got a 12 oz. bottle as part of a Trader Joe's mystery bag given to us as a gift from our friend Alice. Bottled-on date is 8/3/15. Poured into my trusty tulip glass. Paired with last night's Mexican leftovers.

Look: Pours a nice medium copper color with some haze. Large bubbles in the head, but it quickly dissipated, leaving just a few bubbles hanging out around the edges.

Smell: Strong bready malt notes, with a honey explosion. I'm not getting much hoppiness, maybe it's a bit too old (almost 4 months since bottling). The smell isn't that enticing.

Taste: While the hops were lacking in the smell, they show up in the taste, lending a noticeable bitterness to balace and offset the sweet honey smell.

Feel: Medium carbonation, a little watery but also sticky at the same time.

Overall: Given its legacy and reputation, I can't knock this beer too much. It still stands up well to the legion beers that derived from its template. Quite drinkable; this would be a solid choice for having a few in a row.

 1,011 characters

Photo of jjamadorphd
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I really want to like Sierra Nevada - I hear and read so much about them and though i wasn't overly impressed with this pale ale, I did for the most part enjoy it.

The look was a nice dark amber, thick head, and very good lacing down the glass. The scent of "whole cone hops" was distinct and it was quite aromatic. I was a bit disappointed with the carbonation - or rather so much carbonation that the brew has. Although it wasn't the best pale ale I've ever had, it was still better than most and from an overall perspective I am glad I picked up a 12-pack - I will be enjoying these for quite some time.

 612 characters

Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
3.99/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured into a pint glass. Why? Oh yeah, its just an APA, people, why are we re-inventing the wheel, oh boy, well, here's the rest for the rookies using tekus, take your training wheels off guys.
The appearance was a hazy pale burnt orange color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within less than a minute. Lacing was stringy and running here and there.
The smell started off with sharp citrus rind with a light spicy character over top of a light biscuity malt base.
The taste was bitter with the light spice sliding right on in and then a light sweetness from the malts.
The mouthfeel was light bodied with a clear crisp sessionability about it. Carbonation hits the tongue nicely as an APA and allows the blend of the spice, bitterness of the hops and the malts to lay down sweet and bitter on my tongue.
Overall, now that's an APA, folks. A crisp clear session that has proven itself to be a winner far and wide and a great food beer as well.

 971 characters

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

Been a long time since I've had this, but realized I've never reviewed. Got this in the snowpack. Poured into a teku. bottled 9/9/15. Golden straw color, two fingers white head. Smells piney and earthy. Taste is malt forward, with an amazing, non overpowering hop presence. Medium mouthfeel, smooth carbonation, earthy finish. Quintessential example of a pale ale. All 5's across the board. One of the first craft beers I liked. Still stands on top in today's expanding market.

 477 characters

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

Look: Poured from bottle into tulip glass. Orange gold, slightly cloudy
Smell: Citrus, piney hops
Taste. Very hop forward. The citrus and piney bitterness that I love about IPAs and pale ales, with a malty biscuity finish. Amazing
Feel: medium body, very drinkable.

Overall: this may be the perfect pale ale. I love the hop forwardness followed by the malty sweetness at the finish.

 383 characters

Photo of stevoj
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perfectly executed ale , can from Brewforia. Dark golden with airy white head. Pleasant hoppy aroma, ale is perfect blend of malt and hops. Nice finish with light lingering aftertaste. Excellent!

 195 characters

Photo of Ninjakillzu
4.21/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Poured into a Pint Defiance tulip. Body is clear amber, just a smidgen of a head around the tulip's rim.

S: Sweet candied orange rind, biscuits, spicy cascade hops, and toasty malts.

T: Hop spiciness, orange rind, some mild grapefruit bitterness, and toasted malt. Well balanced.

F: Light bodied, smooth, medium carbonation.

 330 characters

Photo of Kevin_Langford
3.84/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I'm not really a Pale Ale guy, but I really enjoyed this beer. I've had it several times with friends over the years and I like it more and more with each bottle. It's great on a hot Texas day. It's the perfect amount of hops for the style and rich in flavor and body. Great beer overall!

 292 characters

Photo of Bonkinishwa
3.69/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. 5.6% ABV. 12oz bottle poured into snifter.

Look: Translucent golden color, with white lacing present.

Smell: Smells of fresh tropical fruit, hops, and pine.

Feel: Smooth and carbonated, balanced out.

Taste: Just like fresh tropical fruits, with some wheat and hop flavors throughout, and counteract each other nicely. The aftertaste is grainy, and reminded me of saltine crackers.

Overall: My first American Pale Ale style of beer. I usually stay away from IPA's, because of the high bitterness, but decided to try this, to get introduced into the style of bitter beers. I was pleased by how it wasn't overly bitter, and how the ingredients weren't covered by it. I did enjoy it, and am eager to try some more of the same style. Recommend to those who wish to get into IPA's, but don't want an extremely bitter beer.

 874 characters

Photo of Libeertarian
3.57/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

A somewhat hazy bright copper with light tannish uneven foamy head. Medium retention. Lace and legs aren't worth mentioning. Oh wait, I just did. There's almost no smell to this. Caramel and resin if anything. More resin on the palate, but leaning towards herbal, brothy, or spicy even. Decent malt presence in terms of both grain and caramel, with a delightful vegetal and minimal iced-tea hop finish as well as expected peppercorn retro-olfaction. Superb balance. Medium-bodied, kind of watery, but oh so sudsy as it lingers. Fun to slosh between teeth and tongue. A good beer if I've ever had one. Also an overrated beer if I've ever had one. And I'm a huge fan of Sierra Nevada. Strong suits are definitely taste and feel, but even those are just on the high side of basic. The hops do most of the work here, even though they aren't very "apparent." You could add these same hops to a bottom-shelf English Pale (like Bass), and get more or less the same taste. Mind you, I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing. In any case, this mouthfeel is still far afield. Know this: was I to rate it on drinkability alone, it would garner a 5/5.

 1,144 characters

Photo of vabeerguy
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a nonic pint glass. Has a golden amber color. Straight hard pour creates a lot of head but it dissipates quickly enough. Leaves lacing even after the glass is finished. Overall, it has a nice balanced hop flavor that is not overpowering. Could be a great selection for those who prefer lagers but want to venture into the world of pale ales

 380 characters

Photo of 911CROFT
3.55/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

350ml bottle into a conical 2/3 pint glass. Paid £1.90 for a single bottle.

Pours a slightly hazy amber coloured body with plenty of fast rising visible carbonation. A thick, foamy, two-finger in height, white head slowly fades to a thin cap leaving thick bands of excellent sticky lacing.

The hop forward nose predominately consists of bold floral and pine aromas. Lighter notes of citrus fruit and spice are underpinned by an ample amount of soft bready malt. The taste mirrors the nose, leading with floral and sticky pine hop profiles followed by a touch of peppery spice. The soft, sweet bready backbone and a touch of caramel malt provide excellent balance throughout the mid palate and linger for an enjoyable length of time before smoothly fading as hops re-enter in the finish. In the mouth, the texture starts pleasantly smooth and creamy. The medium body, lifted by plenty of lively carbonation, is crisp, easy drinking, and refreshing but the finish becomes just a little too bitter and dry. Strong resinous pine and grapefruit flavours build, and a large amount of hop oils stimulate the palate with a prolonged, moderately bitter, slightly astringent sensation that is left to linger.

Overall this is a very good beer. With the exception of the aftertaste, which I found just a little too harsh, it is very well balanced and hugely drinkable, I much prefer this to Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo offering. I could certainly see myself trying it again in the future and would absolutely recommend it to someone with a slightly higher tolerance to that bitter pine hop profile than myself.

 1,600 characters

Photo of Tonyjenlasc
3.72/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look - Crystal clear, darkish golden color, decent amount of carbonation
Smell - Biscuity/bready malts, earth, spice, lemony type citrus
Taste - Spice, biscuity malts, floral, earthy, faint hints of citrus, slight caramel sweetness
Feel - smooth, balanced, super easy drinking, medium bodied

Overall - A classic indeed but nothing overly special here. But if you're looking for a well balanced, easy drinking and always available pale should give this one a try.

 478 characters

Photo of Pete_2112
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ah, a classic. With a beautiful light amber color, and a smell that is orgasmic, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale tastes of perfect balance. Caramel, citrus, and pine. Just the perfect balance here. Great mouthfeel and overall perfection. I can't say anymore.

 249 characters

Photo of Spike
3.46/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Dark orange. Three fingers lumpy, off-white head. Carbonation visible. Decent.

Citrus & pine. Classic american hop profile. But musty, and doesn't last. Some sweet malts eventually. Mixed.

Malty. Slightly sharp hop profile. Resinous. Mixed.

Light/medium body. Medium carbonation. Ok.

This was my music venue go-to when living in the States. When presented with the choice of Bud, Bud Light, Heineken Light or Sierra Nevada there was always going to be one winner. Not the best. But an early original. A trail blazer. Not sophisticated or gentle so best enjoyed in a busy environment with friends.

 600 characters

Photo of matuka123
4.84/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Overall a great beer... I'm a starting beer connoiseur but Sierra Nevaduh Pale Ale is delicious BALANCED, GREAT Beer. And not so rare. But it costs more because I buy it in Finland, in the states you could get it for cheaper probably.

Awesome taste, hops, malt, deliciousness. Crisp balanced beer

 297 characters

Photo of gmoneyproductions
4.78/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz can poured into pint glass
look is copper gold with decent white head
smell is complex started out just malty but as the beer warmed slightly i got piney, fruity citrusy notes that got stronger as the beer warmed
taste crisp and very easy to drink slightly fruity/citrusy very smooth!
aftertaste citrusy as well
love this beer first time reviewed but have been drinking them for years
tastes better from the can than the bottle fwiw

 439 characters

Photo of Brian_L-2056
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Has the typical hoppy IPA or pale ale smell. Pours a nice golden color with a small off white color head. Very good carbonation also. Initial taste is kind of hoppy but not overpowering, mellows out to a mild slightly dry finish. Overall, I really enjoy this brew and will definitely buy more

 296 characters

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,136 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.