Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

2,949 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

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

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: 2,949 | Ratings: 10,953
Photo of RyanPoff
4.16/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A: About half a finger of head on a clear amber pour. Very bubbly and fresh, but not exceptional.

S: Malts, citrus, hops, and tropical fruits. Varied and complex.

T: A bit of a hop and citrus bite up front. Maltiness is more apparent as the beer warms and on the back end. It's pretty much the standard for the style.

M: Medium bodied, not thin not overly heavy. Perfect for where this should be.

 400 characters

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

Look: One finger of off white head has decent retention and medium+ lacing. Mild carbonation. Fairly translucent copper in color.

Smell: Sweet malts. Pineapple. Pine.

Taste: Lots of tropical fruit. Pineapple, peach, mango. Subtle bready malts. A little caramel. Mild pine and resin finish. Very complex. Supremely well balanced.

Feel: Dry finish. Fun carbonation. Medium body.

Overall: Love this beer. Great fruit. Great bread. Great hops. Just so well balanced. Price is right. No reason not to give this one a shot.

 521 characters

Photo of ZakFaruki
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The go-to gas station brew, once upon a time this brew most likely made waves amongst a young and blossoming craft brew crowd, but now its over-marketed and overproduced. Even still though, its a brew that is far reaching and influential for the craft scene and I recommend all try it at least once. It's still a great choice before the king cobra and OE flavors.

 363 characters

Photo of breardon1776
3.97/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Always liked Sierra Nevada beers and they've been in the game a long time, but to me this is just an beer that's slightly above average. Nice amber/orange color and nice balance of hops and malt. Some lacing. Not overly bitter. Goes down smooth. A good beer with no gimmicks.

 281 characters

Photo of Svingjo
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a nice copper colour with a finger thick white head with good retention. - There is a nice citrus hop to the nose along with some pale malt and sweet bread. The hops start off much like the nose with a citrus side but then moves to a more earthy pine flavour along with some brown sugar and malty sweetness. There is a bit of a bready aftertaste there as well mixed in with a slight hoppy bitterness. The mouthfeel is quite rounded intend medium range with just the right amount of carbonation. An enjoyable pale ale.

 534 characters

Photo of whatthehull
4.36/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have to start this review with this: How in the world have I not rated this beer? Not only is this a staple as far as beer goes -- I have also had this one so many times I couldn't count if I tried. To Sierra Nevada this beer started my love for beer and I am sorry it has taken so long for me to give this beer the credit it is due.

Poured into a wine/snifter/tulip glass from a 12oz bottle

A - A really pretty translucent golden copper California sunset (I am coining this a crayon color), two finger very pretty white head and some sugar legs.

S - pine, pineapple, sugar, sweet malt, wet grains, very floral, baking yeast, fresh cut grass, a slight dank note. Smells like a perfect California day -- outside the cities of course.

T - pine, sugar, slight lager note, bittersweet malts, very grainy, crisp clean water, beautiful carbonation, dried tropical flowers, dried island fruits and perfectly hopped for a light, crisp yet flavorful pale ale.

M - medium body, perfectly balanced, wonderful complexity, medium plus carbonation, medium acidity and a wonderful sweet hop to sweet malt to bittersweet hop finish.

D/O - This beer is refreshing, crisp, taste, easy to drink, simple yet full of flavor -- a true masterly crafted ale for every beer/ale drinker. There isn't a lot to say about this one except thank you to the brewer himself.

Final Thoughts - This is a stable as far as I am concerned. The king of craft ales indeed. At a really nice 5.6% ABV this one will be enjoyed over and over again and you can't miss on it's $7-12 price line between sixers and 12 packs. You can also get this in a $3 32oz bottle.

 1,632 characters

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

My everyday go to drinking beer. Always in my refrigerator for any occasion. It is so affordable yet it has incredible excellent taste. Highly recommended!

 155 characters

Photo of sejorules
4.71/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: cloudy, golden orange or amber color. With a big head that faxes away quickly.
S: Fruity, citrus and rose smell. Caramel, very sweet and slightly hoppy.
T: follows the smell. Fruity at the beginning, more like orange or grapefruit, bitter in the aftertaste. However, the taste is well balanced
F: The feeling is nice, full of flavours.
O: I can easily say one of the best beers I have tried.

 394 characters

Photo of LennyOvies
3.52/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L- Golden orange clear body, white creamy head
S- Bold malt, earthy, citrus (orange, lemon), slight hops
T- Malts, bread, orange, lemon, slight hops.
F- Medium, dry, full.
O- Good pale ale, missed the hops. They were overpowered.

 229 characters

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

A lot maltier than I was expecting. I can't tell if this is malt heavy or if the hops and malt blend so well that it's hard to separate them. You can taste the pine and flowers from the hops, but it's almost like they blend into the background. Malt has sort of a brown-sugar sweetness to it. Velvety smooth feel, finishes nice and dry, and the bitterness from the hops becomes more prominent in the aftertaste.

 411 characters

Photo of PhantomsSpa
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This is one of the first hoppier beers I've tried and man did I enjoy it. I really love the caramel flavors you get off this brew. Just a wonderful beer you can get just about anywhere.

 185 characters

Photo of pat61
4.56/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: hops and malt, slight resin, earth and citrus, hop aroma moderate, moderate malt. Appearance: gold, slight haze, 1” head dissipates to a hick film, actually fairly clear as it warms, off white to light tan head, good lace. Flavor: slight fruit backed by medium malt, no carmel, hops linger into the finish. Mouthfeel: medium body, medium carbonation, a little astringency on the finish, lingering bitterness, creamy smooth. Overall Impression: balance tilts towards the hops, refreshingly hoppy but well balanced by he malt.

 533 characters

Photo of EvoRich
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: This beer pours very impressively. Orange gold in color. Very fizzy and refreshing looking with a huge foamy head that stays for EVER! It's a very photogenic beer. It looks perfect. The problem is having a beard and being forced to dip your face into this beer with the head it produces.

Smell: Very mild hops. not overly bitter, with a touch of citrus.

Taste: Very much like the smell. A very good balance between hops and a slightly citrusy sweetness, with a hint of maltiness at the finish. So refreshing!

Feel: Medium bodied, with a refreshing, thirst quenching feel.

Overall: Very impressive beer. I wasn't expecting quite this good.

 651 characters

Photo of Chinasky
3.91/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look yellow light amber.

Smell: hoppy fruit, citrus, lemon.

Taste: Biscuit malt and little caramel, ending with a piney resin, citrus.

Overall: a very nice all day beer.

 173 characters

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

Pours dark gold amber with lots of head and lots of clumpy lacing. Nose is spicy and floral. Flavours of cereal, some grapefruit, some pine. Taste medium bitter, light sweet. Full sticky body with lively carbonation and a lasting bitterness to the finish.

 255 characters

Photo of mmmbeer89
3.48/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

there's nothing special about the look or the smell, but it's one of the smoother and better tasting pale ales out there. sierra nevada knows how to make 'em.

 158 characters

Photo of TheBeerMaster1
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great pale ale, with a subtle pine and citrus flavor. Not too pale, and a great cascade hopped profile. A great beer for sitting by the pool and relaxing!

 154 characters

Photo of JackRWatkins
4.26/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

this is simply a fantastic beer, truly an american classic, and all things considered super cheap and easily available, you really just cant beat this pale ale at the price

two thumbs way up

 192 characters

Photo of sudsaholic
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm not a craft beer/IPA/Microbrew guy but this is one of the "crafty" beers that I actually like.

Not overly hoppy or heavy, but still has plenty of character.

 161 characters

Photo of South2NW
4.16/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A wonderful golden hue with a nice white head that leaves a nice lace.

S: Biscuity malt followed by floral hop aromas. A little citrus in there, as well.

T: Tasty! Follows the nose. Biscuit malt flavors up front, ending with a piney resin, and hint of citrus.

M: medium body, medium carbonation. Easy drinking. Definitely sessionable.

O: a very nice, well rounded, easy drinking beer. One of my "go to" beers.

 418 characters

Photo of Bunman3
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't have anything to add to the reviews of this beer. Solid, well-priced, and consistent. SN sets the standard for American Pale Ales, in my opinion.

 153 characters

Photo of muldersha
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Had from a 12oz brown glass bottle with a packaging date of 05/05/15. Purchased in Portland, OR

Pours a lightly hazy (but mostly clear) orange/amber color with a decent white head. Not very good retention and only a wispy lacing.

Orange and pine dominate the nose right out the gate. However, with a bit of agitation this brew really sings with boisterous aromas of orange zest, sweet orange juice, pine, white grape, Meyer lemon, Oro Blanco grapefruit, pomelo, oregano, green tea, Lemonheads candy, tangerine soda, buddleia flowers, mineral salts, and petrol. Almost like someone took a young, quality Mosel Riesling and mixed it with a West Coast IPA.

Unfortunately, I think my zealous agitation left the brew a little flat. It's medium-bodied, but lighter than expected. The flavor is also very sharp, peppery, herbal, and abruptly bitter. It felt a little thin and watery in the mid-palate. The finish is pretty weak with subtle peppery nuances of orange and bitter herbs.

I've had this beer hundreds of times, but I have to confess, I rarely really taste it. It definitely didn't taste like how I thought it was going to taste. It really opened up aromatically as it warmed a little, and it really needed that somewhat aggressive agitation to really open fully. It was also much thinner and lighter than I thought.

 1,334 characters

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Not pale, but instead the contemporary-norm for "pale" ales- golden-orange body, off white head with very sticky lace. Aroma is a of pure hops- pine, citrus, earth, in that order. Body follows, bitterness is dominant over the undetectable-but-surely-present malt sweetness, not to say it is overwhelming. Super easy drinking, crisp, nicely bitter, legendary refreshing quality. Truly a hallmark, both for its quality, trailblazing history, abundance and availability, and value. All around-excellent, a must for craft beer drinkers.

 532 characters

3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a one finger head with little retention, and little lacing. Body is a light amber with medium clarity and no sediment. On the nose is citrus and piney, with slight boozy notes toward the end. On the palate is pine up front with some malt sweetness, followed with faint bitterness that rolls to the back of the palate. finishes crisp and semi-dry. Over all a good pale ale.

 379 characters

Photo of FrostyStephen15
4.86/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Somehow, I've never had a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Finally, after months of skipping it over at the store, I bought a pint can at the local liquor store for review. I hate IPA's, and so I was hesitant to try a Pale Ale by a brewery famous for its' IPA's. Good god, I was wrong.

The beer pours a beautiful dark golden color, and smells very citrusy and piney. The taste is floral hops up front with a delicious crackery malt backbone. It has a lingering bitter aftertaste, which I like much more now than I used to.

I don't know how I went this long without a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but it just became one of my favorite beers.

 628 characters

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,949 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.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.