Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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2,970 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: 2,970 | Ratings: 11,040
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.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.31/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Amber with a textbook head.

S-Citrus and pine hops combined with bready malts.

T-Nice citrus hopslap accompanied by some pine and a refreshing malt base. Just exactly how the style should taste. Perfect balance. Still quite hoppy too!

M-Medium and well carbonated.

D-Very, very easy to drink.

Forgot how awesome this guy was. A PA/IPA hybrid in my book. Haven't had one of these in a while but am very glad I went back for some more. Absolutely one of the most important beers period. Never a bad choice, never reluctant to drink it either.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at The Pub, Amherst, MA.

16oz pint glass presentation. Hardly a head, but what was present was a white film over a dark amber brew, with no lacing. Light pale malt aroma coupled with a bit of hops, with the flavor carrying on where the nose left off, and an overall acceptable feel. Mouthfeel and drinkability excellent.

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Photo of barczar
3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brilliant caramel copper color with a dense, foamy half inch ivory head that slowly correlates, leaving solid lacing.

Pine, muted citrus, and lightly toasted malt form the initial aroma. There's a bit of fresh cut grass, resin, and light floral notes.

Flavor reveals underpinnings of grapefruit and orange pith, with slightly bready, toasted malt at the backbone, carrying into a somewhat bitter, lightly resiny finish. Tastes a little watery, perhaps oxidized. Could be the tap lines. Skunky and floral hops emerge as it warms.

Body is moderate to a touch watery, with moderate carbonation, a touch of warmth, and slight astringency.

Very sessionable brew. Fairly balanced, but leans slightly toward the bitter/hoppy side.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can you believe after 1400 beers I haven't had this one yet? Facepalm!

A - A nice hard pour scored me a 1/2 inch of sticky white head. Lacing is pretty nice. Color is a bright orange yellow tint.

S - Nothing offensive good amount of citrus hops twang with a decent pale malt profile.

T - Well I could see why Daisy Cutter is the new edge pale this one is somewhat boring with mild piney hops (they do stick to the palate for quite a bit) then malts.

M - Goes down easy enough. It's more drinkable than Daisy cutter with more ABV. Plus hella cheaper.

Overall I was going to bash the guy below for giving this a lower score but it's kind of true. It's a beginner IPA that plays off like a pale ale. Damn tasty regardless.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Florida Beer Co. tapered glass. Bottom of can says PKGD 051114

A- Pours a dark amber color with a 3/4 inch bubbly, bumpy head that retains decently before popping away to a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of surface foam. Non-resilient lacing leaves small clots behind.

S- Bready aroma with some faint hops and a twinge of alcohol.

T- Hop presence is more noticeable in the flavor as the grainy malt comes first and then the bitterness slides across the palate with just the right amount of slight citrus to complement the breadiness of the malt. In a word, balanced. Alcohol barely noticeable.

M- A bit tingly from the hops with medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the lighter side.

O- A classic - or should I say the classic - pale ale with such high drinkability as well as great flavor.

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Photo of avalon07
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a clear texture. There was a decent amount of foamy head and OK lacing.

S: Had a fruity, malty aroma.

T: Tasted of citrus, malt and hops (a little hoppier than you'd expect from a pale ale, but it still had a nice flavor).

M: A decent amount of carbonation with a very dry finish. Light-bodied.

D: One of the more drinkable mass-produced beers out there. Goes down easy and has a decent taste.

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Photo of bark
3.89/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The colour is brown-copper-red. The liquid is a bit cloudy, as the beer is bottle fermented. The pale yellow foam quickly dissolves into thin air.

The smell is very nice with a dominating sourish note. But there are also some fragrances like coffee, diacetyl, white bread and aroma hops.

The carbonation is quite strong, but not sharp.

The taste starts off with a mild malty taste, but that is soon replaced with a growing, fruity bitterness. The body is liberal with notes of bread, herbs and diacetyl. The finish and aftertaste is a mixture of mild hops (cascade?) and a sweet-sour note that reminds me of lemon curd.

A nice “micro” pale ale from a not-so-micro American brewer. On the whole, one may call this a nice beer.

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Photo of DrJay
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very clear amber colour topped by a thin lace of white head. Moderate retention and stickage. The aroma consists of floral, citrus and spicy hops with a bit of biscuit and grain. The flavour is balanced on the hoppy, bitter side. Mild sweetness with some maltiness, but mostly citrus and spicy hops with a dominating bitterness. Dry finish with a firm bitterness. Medium body and carbonation. Slightly crisp and acidic from the carbonation, but without having a coarse texture. This is a great session beer -- clean and full of flavour.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As a supplement to my recent review of it in a bottle...

Differences to note:
- brighter and cleaner looking
- much fuller, fresher hop flavor and smell
- carbonation much more balanced

As close as an APA can come to IPA in hop smell, flavor and bitterness. Overall, the draft version exceededs the bottle by a mile.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz cans crushed with a few buddies while moving a buddy's stuff out onto his moving truck a week ago, 6/1/2013. I've of course had this plenty of times before, but we finished the rest of the 12-pack today, 6/8/2013.

Aroma: Nice and citrus + earthy hoppiness, not a whole lot else going on besides a little bit of malt sweetness. Thick nose but lighter on the actual aroma. (3.75)

Colour: Poured this out into a glass to assess- pours a light amber body with a nice fluffy 2cm white head that dissipates fairly quickly into a medium-thick film on top of the beer. Lacing isn't too bad. (3.75)

Flavour: It's great- very hoppy and citrusy with some earthiness in there. There's a good presence of malt sweetness in terms of honey although its predominantly hoppy. Very tasty and easy to drink- not a complicated pale ale by any means. I give it points for pretty much inventing the APA style. (4)

Mouthfeel: So easy to drink and refreshing. Beats any of the canned AALs out there- I'll drink it anytime. Crisp, thinner bodied with great carbonation out of the can that finishes refreshingly wet. Aftertaste is hoppy earthiness. (4)

Overall: A classic that still drinks great ouf of the can. If I want to go out to a place where canned beers are the main show, this is one of the first canned beers I'll go to. (4)

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

What can you say: The Classic West-Coast Style American Pale Ale and the standard to introduce people to APA's.

Golden and unfiltered with a nice tight low ivory head. Strong citrusy (grapefruit) hop aroma. Big hoppy flavor without the annoying bitter bite. Decent balance but definitely leans hoppy. Light-medium bodied (leans light) with slight creaminess.

The bonus: Available virtually everywhere !!

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

A - Fluffy, eggshell white head of about two fingers. Going down slow but leaving nice lacing. Golden colour with carbonation towards the heavy end of the spectrum.

S - Nice aromatic hops. Piney.

T - Lot's of hop bitterness up front mixed with a little bit of maltiness and decent bitterness lingering. Yummy. Not as well balanced as I'd expect but the presence of the malts is good. Finishes really piney but starts with a really nice, mellow hop flavour.

M - Light to medium body. Can't feel any carbonation in the mouth.

D - This is a good hop fix. Really nice and piney. I like some more citrusy hops but I could drink a few of these.

There's a reason this beer is the benchmark for the style. Totally smashes the Old World definition of pale ale.

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Photo of tigg924
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 1/3 inch head, clear, gold in color, high carbonation

Smell: citrus hops, toasted malt, and honey

Taste: Smell: citrus hops, toasted malt, and honey

Mouthfeel: light bodied, high carbonation, sweet start with a bitter backbone that lingers

Drinkability: An American classic that I could session. A nice and light beer that is perfect for outdoorsy activities.

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

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Bottled sometime in Jan 2010 I think.

(A)- Pours a clear caramel colored amber that produced a large white head that dissipated down to a light frothy layer. Left tons of sticky webbing behind in the process.

(S)- Citrus of lemon, lime, & pineapple with a good piney background. Bits of honey-like caramel sweetness; very subtle though.

(T)- Great dry pine with a burst of lemon citrus. Light honey/caramel sweetness. Bitter, but fits the level for the style.

(M)- A good carbonation level & balance to it. Crisp & refreshing. A great mix of dryness, citrus, bitterness, & malt. Smooth.

(D)- A superb example of the style. An easy drinker for sure. Not overly bitter, malty, or dry, but just right. Always a great summer APA in my opinion.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap, served in a pint glass

Pours a bright amber color with a two finger, sturdy cream colored cap. Small streams of bubbles and good retention. Head eventually recedes in a rain drop type of pattern to form a thin layer of foam. Aroma is of grapefruit, peaches and apricots with a sturdy caramel malt backbone. The flavor is almost identical to the aroma. Grapefruit up front with soft peach and apricot as the caramel malt comes through in the middle before a moderately bitter finish. Medium body with a creamy mouthfeel. Carbonation is spot on. This is highly drinkable. A nice balance with just the right amount of hops winning out to not overly assault the palate. A staple in the beer landscape.

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Photo of Brad007
3.2/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer pours a light amber color. There's a faint aroma of hops and not much else. The beer tastes kind of hoppy at first but then fades into a sweet malty backbone. From what I gather about pale ales, they should never be too hoppy or too malty.This one is well balanced but I would think that it would taste better straight from a tap.

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

Well here we go, review #1801. . . and we have our second perfect 5 score.

Comes across an amazing beauty full of dark gold, caramel and amber appearance with just under 1" of white head. Aroma smacks of old school dry hopping with Cascades. Caramel notes from the malt.

Taste, just heaven, hoppy, yet a sturdy malt bill providing caramel backbone. Hop flavor is plenty of forest, grapefruit. A delicious bitter edge remains through the entire mouthfeel. A darker citrus edge throughout. Barely sweet malt presence that is smooth while the hops provide bitterness, and an almost Magnum hop like spice edge to it.

The absolute classic American pale ale.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This light amber brew throws out dense white head that clings nicely to the glass as I drink. Wonderful blast of hops on the nose. Tasting this is a treat. Great hop character. And great understated bitterness. Underlying malt is sufficient. Pretty clean tasting for an ale. A very quaffable brew. One of my favorite Pale Ales.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.83/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So I never reviewed this? This is probably my "if you could only have one beer etc. . ." type choice. The world gold standard.

Pours a great dark yellow and amber hue, minimal head, not much lacing. Aromatic whole flower hops. The three C's.

Taste, unlike anything else. The most mass produced hoppy bitter beer out there. Pine and citrus. Tastes like Chico. Great throughout. Drinkable for days, great price. And unmistakable mouthfeel of bitter hops and unique as hell tree/pine kind of flavor going for it. So much caramel and yet the bottle conditioning keeps the carbonation peppy and perfect so that the caramel is never heavy.

The first time I drank this beer (UC Davis keg party in '93) I was a senior in high school, and I hated it. I asked the party host if he washed his cups because the beer tasted like it had soap in it. What a noob. . .

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle

light copper in color, thin bright white head. decent head retention. slightly hoppy aroma - a bit spicy and herbal, a little fruity. well balanced taste. some biscuity malt flavor and slightly bitter finish. medium body, higher carbonation. drinks easy.

the classic for the style.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.43/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from the bottle into a chalice.

The beer pours a dark gold, almost orange with a decent white head that stays for awhile. There is good lacing.

It smells light and hoppy with a tad bit of citrus.

This taste like your typical pale ale, light, hops and citrus with a bitter end.

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

Aroma is initially piney and floral hops with a slight citrus; a little pale and biscuity malt as well.

The taste begins with light breadiness, a hint of sweetness but gently dominated by the floral and piney hops. Lesser amounts of grapefruit bitterness with a hint of complex, ripe fruit left over in the finish. A pleasant bitterness and not too dry. Full almost chewy.

The mouthfeel is medium with average carbonation. Slight stickiness on the lips. Overall it's good but not what I would consider the be all and end all for APAs. I prefer Great Lakes Burning River and Deschutes Mirror Pond.

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Photo of dgilks
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pale amber colour with a small white head. Moderately poor head retention. Clear.

Moderate floral, citrus hop aroma. Moderately-low malt profile. Clean and crisp.

Moderately-low hop flavour with a solid, biscuity malt backbone with hints of caramel. While there is substantial bitterness this is a very balanced APA with lots of malt to hold it up. Medium-dry finish.

Medium body with moderately-high carbonation. Fairly smooth.

A quintessential APA. While it is maltier than expected it ticks all the boxes even if it isn't spectacular. It could have more hop aroma and flavour to help carry the beer to greater heights.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle served at 53 degrees in a standard pint glass. Pours a bright, translucent copper with a half inch, loose, creamy, bone white head. Head disperses into a broken slick. Nose is very subdued but expresses a light caramel malt character as well as an earthy hops presence. Taste follows nose with that addition of a mild citrus character that intersperses itself through the flavor profile. Moutfeel is light in body with an assertive carbonation that lightly burns the back of the throat. This is my go to beer when I'm out and the beer list is limited. Solid and quite drinkable; definitely a classic.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,040 ratings.
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