Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding
2,957 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale
BEER INFO

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,957
Ratings:
10,989
Avg:
4.05
pDev:
22.47%
 
 
Wants:
287
Gots:
2,882
For Trade:
2
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,957 | Ratings: 10,989
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!

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Photo of flagmantho
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich but light orange color with two fingers of ivory head. Nice lacing as the head dissipates.

Smell: nice collection of hop aromas. I get earthy, herby, a little citrusy and a little funky. A very nice balance; I like it.

Taste: smooth flavor if a little on the hoppy-bitter side. Malt is slightly sweet and caramel-flavored; hops tend more toward the earthy, funky and floral in the flavor than was the case in the aroma. Bitterness is quite high. Quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation for the style. It works, though it doesn't blow me away.

Drinkability: pretty drinkable. Tried this out at band practice last week and it seemed to go down pretty well. It is probably even better with a burger outdoors in the summer.

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Photo of John_M
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I don't want to even speculate how much of this I've drunk over the years. A considerable lake of it at the very least.

As others have noted, this really is the quintessential American Pale Ale. I know whenever I think of a pale ale, this is the beer that comes immediately to mind.

The beer pours an impressive copper orange amber color, with very decent head retention and good lacing. On the nose.... mmm.... the sierra nevada pale aroma. There's nothing quite like it. Noticeable hops and malt perfectly intermixed on the nose, with a hint of orange/citrus and ginger. The beer is mouth watering, and as always, I can't wait to take the first sip. On the palate this beer is just delicious. Again, it seems to have the perfect intermix of hops and malt, with just enough hops to keep the beer refreshing and not too sweet. In combination there is a very forward fruitiness to this beer, a mix of orange, cherry and apple I think. The beer finishes very crisply, and always leaves me wanting to take the next sip. I find this beer to be amazingly drinkable for a beer with so much flavor, and I'm not afraid to admit that at one time I could go through an entire 6 pack by myself, or would pound down 4 or 5 pints at my favorite sports bar.

I still remember the first time I encountered this beer (many, many years ago in California). I knew right then that my days of drinking miller, coors and AB products were over forever. For that I will always be grateful. Just an excellent beer. Cheers!

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.54/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Let me say first off that I think this is a great beer. I really think they should be applauded for their role in the craft brewed revolution in this country. I think many of their products are excellent, and the snpa is the flagship. This used to be my favorite session beer. Why do I say used to be? Two reasons: first, I think this beer is not quite the beer it used to be. This is true both because it has stood still while great hoppy beers grew around it, but also because I think it has lost a little of its unique flavoe over the years. Second, I think this beer has had freshness and consistency problems as it has grown larger. I've had way to many snpas that were stale tasting if not downright skunky. This is particularly true on tap, but I've had some bad bottles too. I think its the beer, not the storage, but as snpas presence has become more ubiquitous, I'm sure there are more places that don't treat it right. Also, I think the tap beer is not as good as the bottles (Except maybe at the brewery- where its wonderful). The krausening in the bottles lends the brew a fruity yeastiness that is part of its charm. This is really lacking on tap, where an earthier taste comes through. When you find it really fresh and well handled, this can still be a near perfect brew, but its getting harder to find that way imo.

The beer came from the tap a beautiful copper color with a good head and excellent lacing throughout.

The smell is pretty good- earthy hops, but maybe with a little bit of a stale aroma as well. The draft lacks some of the fruity esters of the bottled.

The taste is still solid, fairly soft up front with a good earthy piney hop bitterness. A little stale on the finish.

The mouthfeel is fairly thin, but there is some creaminess there as well. The hops are pretty clean, but not a hop explosion. The thinner body helps the beer remain balanced.

Very drinkable, but best when really fresh. My scores are for draft at an average place. They would be higher at the brewery or in bottles.

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

A: This beer pours faint amber, with a really nice-looking white head that leaves some lacings when it dissipates after quite some time.

S: Obivious hoppy one, floral hops - cascade, then there is some citrus and some faint yeast.

T: Heavy hops, cascade, but also flowery, fruity and a roughness to the malt.

M: Nice long bitter aftertaste, smooth in the mouth with nice bubbles.

D: This is a great beer and if you havn't had it get - get yourself to the nearst store that sells it and buy it!

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

The iconic west coast pale, still a standard bearer for the style, although not as exciting as it once was. On draft, pours coppery gold, nearly clear, with a sizeable head that has good retention and lacing. Aroma is mostly citrusy hops; mild sweet and grainy malt underneath.

Flavor follows suit; primarily features the citrus hop notes of cascade and other C hop varieties; light caramel malt backbone; feels mild and lightly bitter after all these years of escalating hop bombs. Finish is mostly dry with lightly lingering bitterness in the aftertaste. Flavorful and easy to drink.

Medium body and carbonation; good smoothness in the draft version. An excellent choice on a night trapped in a shit-kickin' BMC bar, thankful for this option. Doesn't fire up the imagination and palate the way it did 20 odd years ago but still a reliable and satisfying drinker.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.08/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a two finger white head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving traces of lace. Crystal clear amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Citrus hop nose. Flavor is citrusy, no sweetness, light bitter hop finish. $1.60 for a 12oz bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks very much to my girlfriend who went in search of beer for me on a recent trip to San Francisco.

Pours a burnished golden bronze colour, very clear. Tiny streams of carbonation around the edge of the glass feed a light film of white head. Nice colour, nice looking beer all up.

good tropical fruits on the nose, the sweeter end of the spectrum though - mango and peach, almost. Also a real candy/caramel sweetness to it as well. Nice.

Taste is quite light. Pleasant sweet fragrant fruitiness on the front palate, then a subtle but pleasant dry hoppy bitterness. It's definitely not huge on the palate, but everything is nicely balanced. Quite dry on the finish, and refreshing. Mouthfeel spot on. Crisp and sharp to match the light hop bite.

A very drinkable pale ale. Really nicely balanced and very refreshing. Folks from the states come to Australia and often compare Little Creatures Pale Ale to SNPA, and I'm glad I can now do the same. It would be great to drink SNPA all the time, but I don't think I'm really missing out given I have Critters here in Australia to fill the gap.

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

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on August 3, 2013.

The pour is a good looking medium amber-copper with a full off-white head that lingers for a time.

The aroma is grainy and bready with a dash of earthy hops that smell clean and crisp.

The body falls into the medium range and the texture is generally smooth.

As far as the taste there is a quick biscuit and grainy maltiness but then the hops explode but simmer down to a moderate dry finish. By today's standards this is a pretty basic pale ale but one cannot neglect Sierra Nevada's role in the history of the craft beer movement. I bet this was wonderful in the 1970's to early 1980's.

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Photo of corby112
3.57/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark golden orange color with copper/tangerine edges and a one finger, frothy white head that quickly settles into a thick, lasting ring.  Streaks of lace left behind.

Earthy floral hop aroma with some grassy, resinous pine and subtle citrus countered by bread/yeast and pale malt sweetness.  A touch of grapefruit and citrus peel followed by some caramel malt and toffee.  

Surprisingly full bodied for the style with a blast of dank, sticky hops giving off strong dry bitterness that lingers over the yeast and sweet malt notes into a dry finish.  Hop flavor is a bit one dimensional with bitter earthy character.  Lots of grass, pine needle and spruce tip with very little of the citrus/tropical fruit notes found in the nose.  It's there providing subtle sweetness but is overpowered by bitterness and strong malt flavors.  Hop bitterness is countered by bready yeast and malt sweetness.  Lots of caramel, bread, toffee and nut.  Well balanced with some nice hop flavor but it's not really light or easy drinking and doesn't really feel like a pale ale.

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

The Pacific Northwest Pale Ale that defined the style. Certainly more subtle than newly developed products.

A: Golden bronze with a little head, no lace.

S: Nice American hop citrous.

T: Citrousy, biscuity malt.

M: Light-to-moderate body, fairly high carbonation.

D: Suitable for a wide range of beer drinkers.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One good Pale ..Poured a orange color with a finger-width, creamy white head that leaves lots of lacing as you drink. Scent is surprisingly not as hoppy as I would have thought. Lots of fruit and a woody/grassy aroma I couldn't place. Palate is crisp, clean and very dry. Not as hoppy as a lot of Pales and IPAs. You get a slight hop burn on the tongue, but it's balanced enough to let the grapefruit and spices come through.

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Photo of wl0307
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Revisiting the bottled version of this beer. BB 15/02/2007. Served lightly-chilled in a straight imperial-pint glass.

A: even with such a large margin left for the beer head to build up (350ml beer in a imperial-pint glass), the beer head comes surprisingly restrained, on top of a clear amber body with very mild carbonation. Quite unlike any American bottled beers I've tried.
S: intensely honey-ish and sweet bouquet hops, on top of a juicy peach+lychee-ish fruits and caramely malts. Very well-blended and rather settled. Pleasant but not exciting.
T: effervescent-textured maltiness comes hand in hand with bitter-sweet yet aromatic, elderflowery, peachy, and sweet orangey hoppyness on top of a mildly sweet yet intense caramely malty base, a bitter-sweet tinge of lychee-fruits (on skins), tannic edge of grape-stems, and a quietly green-tea like aromatic aroma... moderately bitter and soothing in the finish.
M&D: nicely carbonated, though it's slightly sharp upfront; the medium body holds the smooth and well-blended flavour elegantly. Overall, much better than the tap-version that I tried a month ago. An extremely quaffable pale ale to be enjoyed in quantity with friends!

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.36/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottles purchased at Wegmans. Some chugged while playing Mario Kart Drunk Driving, one enjoyed later in a bit more relaxing manner. Poured into a shaker pint.

Pours a golden copper color, with a one inch head. Nice lacing down the glass.

Very floral and piney aromas here. A little bit of citrus, but this feels brash and earthy.

The taste is similar. Classic resinous pine bitterness that Sierra Nevada is known for, with some fresh cut grass and black pepper. Great hop flavors here from Cascade.

Very drinkable, one of the most drinkable hoppy beers on the market. Crisp, medium bodied, well carbonated.

The classic, and still a champion 30 years later. This one never gets tiring.

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

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a golden orange color with a crystal clear body and a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles. There was a thin white film of head that lasted for a bit.

S- The smell of nice pine hops had a hint of ginger and pineapple weed in the background that gave some nice depth to the smell.

T- This beer has a light pale malt flavor that was good with a light hop spice note in the finish. The hops had a dry coriander hint that was almost like ginger. There was a hop bitterness that came through in the aftertaste.

M- This beer has a light body with a tight little fizz finish that boost the hops bitterness a bit.

D- This beer had a light but good malt flavor with a interesting twist to the hops that gave it some good character.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured a brilliantly clear orange with a soft, creamy 1 finger dirty white head that settled rather quickly to a thin, sparse covering. Visible carbonation was very light.

S: The nose started out with a dry grassiness at first before giving way to a sweet citrusy nature.

T: The initial flavor starts out with a great graininess with a citrusy and light pine hopping. Quenching citrusy bite. The crisp, pale malting truly stands out here is never overshadowed by the bright citrusy nature. Finishes with a touch of grassiness and dried grapefruit. There is a reason why this is considered the staple per style. To many modern pales have been bastardized by amercian's lust for hops while neglecting the true intended crisp pale nature of the drink. This one offers a great balance with a crisp malting with a touch of malt sweetness and hopping that is balanced perfectly.

M: medium, oily viscosity with a nice feel and light dried citrus hop fade.

D: By style one of the best. Crisp, refreshing with a great malting and true to style. Case worthy by all means a go to for that summer picnic to quench the thirst with a citrusy blast.

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Photo of akorsak
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A pint glass served at Champion's in Highspire, PA.

A: The pint has a clear amber body, an orange-brown combination that 'copper' is properly affixed to. A half a finger of white head managed to lace nicely in the oft-rinsed tumbler glass.

S: The nose has a strong hop presence for a pale ale, offering pine and citrus in abundance. A strong caramel backbone provides balance.

T: The ale opens with a very oily hop presence, one that was strong and resiny enough that 'soapy' may be appropriate. Further sips reveal the citrus and pine from the nose. Caramel and biscuit flavors drive the malt profile that is strong enough to stand up to the hops. The malt and hop pairing leaves a nmice finish in the mouth.

M: The mouthfeel, especially when fresh, is tough to beat. The hops are vibrant and oily, coating the palate with each sip.

D: A pleasantly drinkable pale ale, one that doesn't skimp on the hops. SNPA is an ale best served fresh on-tap.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Have had this numerous times, and I was at a bar and got a draft and had a pen on me, so I wrote a review. A rich, copper hue with a one-finger mountain head that dies so slowly, leaving a lace ring down the entire glass. A hop smell is prevelant, floral and citrus, with some malts in there and a light alcohol smell. Full-bodied and creamy - delicious - with a coffee/bread malt taste on the back, blended with some hops for a semi-dry backbite. Has a citric taste going down before the, like orange and maybe lemon (MAYBE) and some sweetness in it like there's caramel or honey in it. A quintessential microbrew to be enjoyed by everyone.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.97/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky coppery amber color with a white lace that clings well onto the glass. Aroma is dominated by citrusy hops that give way to a slight maltiness and a bit of a metallic smell in the nose as well. Smooth bodied and a pretty simple straight forward beer (which is not a bad thing). Not overly hopped but a good amount. Overall, this is a good classic beer that is slightly better on-tap.

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Photo of beertunes
2.91/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into straight pint glass. Poured 1/2 inch of bright, white head that left a medium amount of lacing. Bright, light orange/deep yellow color. Not much malt in the nose, but solid hop presence. Flavor matches aroma closely. The lack of body is noticed right away. Very drinkable, but the flavors becomes unnoticeable quickly. This is a solid go-to beer that never lets you down, but rarely thrills the drinker. I have long maintained that, due to the prominence of hops and lack of malt body, this should be called an IPA, not a pale ale. I seem to be in a very small minority in this view.

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Photo of dar482
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer comes in a clear light ruby amber.

The aroma has sweet candied grapefruit and orange peel, floral, lots of malt, a big candy sweetness.

The taste goes the same with lemon, grapefruit peel, a medium bready malt in the middle, a punch of potpourri, spicy on the back, a hint of dry grainy quality in the back.

A light hoppy pale ale with a substantial yet relatively clean malt profile. Incredible that this recipe is almost 35 years old! Obviously it has been outshined by many world class brews, but this still stands on its own hoppy feet.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one has escaped my review radar for long enough! ;^)

It pours from 12oz bottle a slightly hazy gold with a good 2 finger head of foam from the initial pour and it stays for the entire session as a solid 1" layer. Good lacing to be had here as well.

The smell is hop dominant to the nose but it's fairly light.

The taste is hoppy with a mild bitterness of grapefruit and a touch of grass. I can just taste some malt, especially when I swish the beer in my mouth, but it's just there to cut through the hops a bit...not really to balance it as hop is king in this very tasty APA that I've enjoyed for many many years. This was actually one of my main gateway beers bridging the past of light tasting, oh so similar tasting brews to the present, where you can pretty much sample flavours all over the spectrum. And....after all these years, it does more than hold its own. This is a *classic* and rightfully so.

The mouthfeel is medium as is the carbonation and it finishes dry and has a nice bitter aftertaste that lingers on for some time. *Still* one of my favourites of the style and one I frequent often. It is that good.

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

A: Clear golden color. Poured with a two finger puffy white head that dissipated slowly. Light lacing.

S : Citrus hops up front. Biscuity malts and a pleasing lightly sweet caramel note.

T: Crisp citrus; orange flavor plus lemon peel. Floral and spice hop flavors.

M: Medium body. Nicely balanced with sufficient carbonation.

D: Decent APA. Frankly, some are better, but some are worse. Where choices might be limited, this would be a solid choice.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.96/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into pint glass

A clear golden orange with some tiny suspended particles and only a few bubbles but a long lasting thumbs width of head that leaves several rings of lace well down the glass

S some citric and floral hops with some caramel malt

T a little bready and lemon rind on top of what I smell, good example of the style

M much thicker then expected and much more bubbles then one would guess from so few visible bubbles in the glass, right on in this area

O no complaints with this one it would be in my regular rotation if I could get it around here

not a bad way to get a hop fix without getting smashed, this is about the best thing I could find on the Vegas Strip pretty solid stuff though

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

Pint at cafe deluxe at the venetian in las vegas for 6.50$

Appearance - Clear yellow colour with a large white fizzy head. There appears to be an average amount of carbonation and there is some fairly decent lacing. The head lasted for 3 minutes before it dissipated.

Smell - Hops, citrus zest, pine and corn syrup

Taste & Mouth - There is an average mount of carbonation and I can taste light citrus and a bit of woodiness. There is also a bit of grapefruit/lemon rind mixed with corn syrup and hops. It ends with a slight dry/bitter aftertaste.

Overall - Probably my favourite beer to session. The taste is perfectly balanced and the beer is highly drinkable. My go to pale ale that I was happy to finally try on tap.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,957 ratings.
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