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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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2,979 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
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Reviews: 2,979 | Ratings: 11,076
Photo of asabreed
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer looks great in a glass. A weird brown and amber which is nice to look at. If it's at the right temperature it leaves a pretty good head on top and some spidery lacing on the glass.

Smell: Some slight sweet malt and burst of piney and oily hops. Very floral, and very engaging.

Taste: Almost IPA strength with the hops, though the malt presence seems to balance it out pretty well. The piney hops are at the forefront, and it settles down then into a yeasty and malty, slightly dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Moderately thicker body, it seems, for a pale ale, though the carbonation -- which seems to be on the heavy side -- makes it easy for sipping, and makes it very easy to drink.

Drinkability: Certainly a widely available beer on tap around the U.S., I think at least. Worth a shot, since some say this is one of the best pale ales made. Though I'm slightly inclined to disagree, I do think it's a widely available beer that I'm thankful is widely available.

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Photo of unknownlamer
4.37/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah Sierra Nevada's wonderful Pale Ale. Everything about this beer is wonderful. It looks good, and smells even better. The aroma is a quite nice one with a strong scent of floral hops. The taste is nearly perfect with a spot on malt/hop balance. It finishes with a with a a nice smooth and yet bitter bite while leaving behind a really nice mildly citrusy hop flavor.


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Photo of radshoesbro
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

24 oz brown bottle with no freshness date to be found. blurb about how it's brewed.

a - golden amber with a frothy head (head could be better) but the lacing is quite good.

s - hops. mild dough and floral smell. dry sort of smell.

t - this is interesting. it really really reminds me of JW Dundee's Amber Lager if that had more hops in it. this has an evenly balanced hop flavor. very smooth.

m - fairly light bodied with a good hop finish.

d - because it's fairly light i would recommend this as a summer brew. even though i didn't have it with any food i can see this going fairly well with lobster or perhaps a blue fish steak.

notes: i honestly would just skip this and go straight to Anchor Liberty Ale. it's much better.

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Photo of Bumpon10s
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear amber color, with no head and a touch of lace.

S - A nice mellow hop character, not a hop bomob, like an IPA, but that's what they were going for.

T - Not very hoppy in taste, but finishes with a bit of pine bitterness in back. Again, not as bitter as I like, but this is an APA sent to the masses, so it needs that lighter touch.

M - One of the cleaner, and smoother hop bears you'll find. This is mainly designed to be, but makes it a very easy going beer.

D - Many things factor in its high drinkability, being ABV, ease of drinking and frankly cost. At maybe $6 a six pack that is a great beer when you want to watch a game with the guys, but still drink a good beer.

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Photo of ChefSchipull
4.59/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Medium golden color, with a white frothy head that dissipates slowly.

Smell: Extreme citrus! Hints of grapefruit are definitely evident, along with floral scents.

Taste: Piney, grapefruit, floral pleasing hops. Apple in the aftertaste perhaps?

Mouthfeel: Crisp carbonation with a dry finish that makes you want to drink this brew all night long.

Drinkability: Extremely easy to drink, cleanses the palette quite well with bold food flavors.

I would definitely recommend this beer and in my opinion it takes second place in the APA category only to Four Peaks Hopknot Pale Ale.

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Photo of box299
4.67/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My absolute standard. Best price flavor and consistant quality. This beer is great on tap or in the bottle everytime. This beer is the baseline I use to compare all other pale ales. I would put Dogfish higher on my list but the price makes a big difference.

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Photo of tastybeer
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Amber-gold and very slightly hazy with a dense white head that turns into decent lacing. Smell and taste consist of nicely rounded hops, almost IPA like but still more of a pale. Citrus floral hops on top with some subtle grape and dark fruit with sweet bready malts underneath. Taste is balanced between citric earthy hop, sweet malt, and various other small flavors. Very tasty with a very nice hop profile. Good texture and good controlled bitterness. Easy to drink and enjoy.

I am very happy this beer is readily available and moderately priced in the NE area. Its always a good 'I don't know what I want beer," especially in spring and summer.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.47/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A full coppery color,but the head was a little small and disapears a little too fast.The taste is a little weak at first,but once the spices,hops,and barley hit all of your tongue you will enjoy this ale.This is a good ale for parties and tailgating,not too dark or light.This isn't the best ale I ever tried,but it's pretty good.

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

350 ml bottle, bought in Denmark. Deep golden / amber colour, slightly hazy, large head. Pleasant hoppy aroma with strong fruity notes (citrus, raisins, prunes). Hoppy flavour on a decent malty base, notes of fruits (grapefruit, raisins) and spices. It’s easy to understand why this beer has become part of the staple diet of many American beer afficionados

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Photo of whynot44
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very nice apricot/amber color with a creamy ivory head that persists decently, leaving a bit of lace behind.

The aroma has a bit of fresh bread with a serious citrus, pine overtone. Makes you thirsty just inhaling it.

Medium bodied, very nice yeasty malt flavor dominated by the grapefruit/pine hops. Very definite and very pleasant hops finish and aftertaste. Should go well with most food.

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Photo of lokicat444
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The distinctive bright green label and short stumpy bottle design is inviting; it contrasts well with the vibrant orange brew as it pours into a pint glass. The foam lasts for awhile and the buble quality is high- the small bubbles make for a very creamy head. Smell is very refreshing, an enticing blend of citrusy fruit, with perhaps a hint of yeast. Taste follows through with the smell, refreshing notes of citrus. The malts are good, something about this beer reminds me of bread. Mouthfeel is excellent; it's thick, rich, and satisfying. Later into the sip the hops really kick in, with a bitterness that challenges the senses but doesn't repel. Quite drinkable, this beer can be effortly paired with basically anything. Not exactly a session beer though, as you really want to take the time to enjoy each bottle.
I love this beer; excellent both in both in bottles and on-tap.

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Photo of clemtig76
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

APA lovers - It just don't get much better than this folks. Beautiful golden amber color with a nice fluffy head. Wonderful piney, citrusy grapefruit aroma. Taste is much lighter than you would expect from a dark beer. Well balanced between the biscuity malts and the sharp hop bite. A true American classic.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A gold/amber color with a one finger head that lingers for a bit. Visible carbonation. Nice rings of lace on the glass.

S - Strong cascade pine hop aroma. Slight malt character in the nose. A very very slight stomach acid scent, but not nearly potent enough to offset the positives.

T -Powerful pine flavor with slight metallic notes. A slight barley character, it is overshadowed by the moderate bitter finish. Malt stands out more as beer approaches room temp.

M - Thin and refreshing. Fairly smooth. Nothing impressive.

D - Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is easy to drink, pairs well with most foods and works fabulously as a session beer.

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Photo of beertastegood
4.14/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Been drinking this old standard for a while now, and finally sat down to review it. Pours a brilliantly clear orange/copper color with a half-inch of fluffy white head that has pretty good retention.

Smells of Cascades and more Cascades!!! lovely floral hop aroma to say the least. There is a slight hint of caramel malt in the nose, but the hops absolutely dominate. Love that smell.

Taste: Huge piney/floral hop flavor smacks me in the face, followed by a slight nutty malt flavor that is soon overwhelmed by more hop bitterness, followed by a thirst-quenching dry finish that leaves me wanting more.

Mouthfeel: medium-high carbonation and medium body give this beer a great mouthfeel.

Drinkability: at 5.6%, it is not exactly a session beer, but it goes down very easy.

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Photo of MurphyMacManus
3.91/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber with big, creamy off-white head that sticks all the way down the sides of the glass. Very impressive.

Smell: Spicy and lemon-y hops. Light on the malt in aroma.

Taste: Very light bready malt, with spicy and bitter hops in the middle and the finish. Stood up well to my spicy sausage and double Glouscester cheese.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, for a pale ale. I'd expect this kind of mouthfeel with a stout or a porter, but in an APA this is a very pleasant surprise.

Drinkability: This would be an excellent session beer; I could drink it all day, even with all the hop flavor I'm picking up, due to the fact that the hops enhance the experience, rather than pummelling the tastebuds.

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Photo of hojuwestlake
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been happy with every beer I've had from Sierra Nevada and this is no exception.

The color is a nice golden-copper topped by a light head. A sweet floral smell of hops with a light caramel malt aroma.

The mouth feel is crisp followed by a smooth finish. It has a medium bitter taste and a little apple on the tongue.

A great all around drinkable beer. Great with food or by itself.

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Photo of semihobo
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fat little bottle, looks nice. Beer looks great. Head was modest but nice, retained pretty well, awesome bubbling. When I twist the glass the streams of bubbles twist, pretty sweet. Perfect color for an APA, pale but respectable.

Smell of hops, some malts (maybe caramel), maybe spices. Very well balanced.

Yum. Hops on the front, but not as overpowering as I thought. I'm not sure I know any beers, especially Pale Ales, that merge hops and malts so seamlessly. Cascade hops? I'm bad at guessing varieties. A slightly sweet finish. Aftertastes of hops.

Good mouthfeel, carbonation and hops are matched well. Starts off bubbly and intimidating but finishes smooth. Crisp the whole way through. Feels good rolling around in my mouth.

Very drinkable -- an all-around great beer. I see why this is such a staple of the beer drinking world. APAs may not be my favorite, but within the style this is hard to beat.

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Photo of sopor
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear golden-amber with lots of quickly rising bubbles. Thick slightly rock head dissipates evenly leaving some nice lace on the glass. Smells of slight biscuity malt and citrusy hops.

BIscuit maltyness lead by just a hint of sweetness are quickly joined by an assertive but not overly powerful hops. Hops taste slightly citrus, slightly herbal. Biscuity bready flavors last for the after taste.

A refreshing brew with light body and light carbonation. Very drinkable, not outstanding for any reason, but good.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It pours a super clear golden color with a loose half inch of head at first pour that fell within about 30 seconds to a small ring maintained by a few bubbles rising. There isn't any lacing on the glass after drinking.

Aroma: Citrus hops are the first thing that you notice. It smells fresh and green. There are some floral hoppy notes coming out in the aroma as well. I can get a bit of caramel malts and a bit of a nutty malt aroma like it is derived from British pale malts.

Taste: The taste starts out with the flavor of the hops and then pretty quickly the carbonation kicks in and leads the malt into the profile. Finally at the end of the flavor, there is a bitterness that fades in to be the dominant force at the end of the profile.

Opinion: This beer is a staple of any American beer aficionado’s diet. It is pretty readily available, and tastes good. This makes it common at beer gatherings. The beer overall is really drinkable, even if you aren't a hophead like myself. Here in Houston, it goes great with some BBQ at the local park.

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Photo of ggroller
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer many times before. I spotted a case bottled on 5/13/05 at my local distro and decided to make this my session beer for the next few days.

Color is straw bordering on a slighty darker, copper color. Very little white head but nice lacing.

Smells of bread, malty sweetness, and just a hint of hops. Cascade, I think, although I could be wrong.

I taste the malt and biscuity/ bready yeast first, then a punch of bitter hops. Very, very little hop aroma in the nose.

Mouthfeel is very carbonated.

Overall, a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the Land Ho in Orleans.

What a great beer. This is a perfect example of what a Pale Ale should be. It does not have all the characteristics that I truly enjoy, but its balance is so good it’s incredible. The perfect amount of hops, followed by a fruity, but not over powering body, finished by a slight pine ending. Tops in its class.

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Photo of ReebShorts
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a mug, with an Ayinger logo that I picked up at Central Market for $3 (handwashed). Impressive bubbly white head on pour that did not fade away completely (until about half-way through). Color is orange, only slightly cloudy.

Smell is NW hops, yeast, some citrus (orange, tangerine, something like that) was not a powerful aroma, so had to dig the nose deep to pull out the citrus. Smells good, like an easy drinker that's not too sweet.

Ok, first drink I thought, I just found an excellent new session beer. Man, this stuff is tasty. Not overwhelming by any means, but I'd much rather sit around drinking these on a lazy <insert day> afternoon, than bud or something along those lines. I was pleasantly surprised at the lightly creamy finish. Also just a tinge of alcohol finish, very nice, this killed the potential for any lingering effect, instead it asked "please drink again right away, sir". Drinkability on this is off the charts.

I can't belive this is the first time I've tried this as I've been around it in various bars many times, but i'll be sure to make up for lost time now.

Next time fishing with the old man, i'm taking some of these along. He'll appreciate it after the last outing with a halfer of Pabst.

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

Nose is malty and a bit yeasty with some nice floral hops coming through. Pours a wonderful amber with a medium white foamy head. Aroma and appearance combine to make this a most enticing libation. First sip starts with some pleasant sweet maltiness and finishes with enough lingering hop spicy bitterness to balance it out. Medium to full bodied for a pale ale and coats the mouth nicely. This is a very enjoyable beer and I'm glad it's becoming so widely available.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tend to like hoppy beers as opposed to less hoppy beers so this is a great example of what a pale ale should be. It is pale; actually a light to medium amber color. It has a perfect hop aroma and taste balance. One can definitely feel the small bite of the hop bitterness which i absolutely love. A very drinkable beer anytime of the year and on any occasion. I personally prefer drinking this beer with a bacon chesse chicken sandwich and fries while watching any kind of sporting event, preferable college football. A great beer to keep in the fridge all the time (which is what I do).

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Photo of futaboots
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Back again with another classic.

Back when I knew not much about good beer, drinking this was like getting a slap in the face. Drinking my first IPA, that was like getting punched in the face. This beer was a gentle slap to the cheek.

Instantly, when you take the first sip of this beer, you will notice flavor. A bitter, acidic citrusy, fruit punchy flavor. It is hoppy, that's for damn sure. There is also an underlying, rich caramel note, to this beer. Finishes dry, with that lingering bitterness from the hops.

Appearance. Clear as the glass I'm drinking out of. Copper colored, with a head that refuses to die.

Mouthfeel, carbonation is a bit high, but acceptable. There is a slight bit of a syrupy feel, but overall this is pretty crisp.

One of my favorite beers of all time, it is so versatile, and pairs well with a wide variety of foods. Can be enjoyed by itself, either in a pub with a large crowd of people, or as an after work relaxant. The amount of hop bitterness turns off some people though.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,076 ratings.
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