Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale
11,609 Ratings
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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 11,609 |  Reviews: 3,081
Photo of Tballz420
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really like this beer. It pours out with a nice white head, and lacing down the sides. The taste of hops is pretty apparent. I think as far as good beers go, this is a standard that everyone should have at some point. A nice session beer, maybe not the best pale ale in the world, but definately worth getting a 12er of if you havent had it.

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Photo of kbub6f
4.67/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought locally (Grapevine refrigerated shelves), a day in my fridge, reviewed 45F-55F.

A heavy pour gives up one inch of dense white foam. Runny lacing falls fast. The beer is a clear, strong amber with lotsa carbonation.

The nose is Cascade all the way, baby! Hints of caramel, too. The front is grapefruit hoppy. There's a little caramel in the middle and just a touch of sweetness at warmer temps. The feel is foamy, then creamy. The finish is hoptastic. Hops linger in the aftertaste, but allow room for some grains. Frak! This is an awesome beer.

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

The ol' standby, SN Pale Ale poured a clear, copper color with a decent fluffy head and visually pleasing carbonation. The Cascade hops are very apparent, with a luxurious,strong fruity scent. A mellow sweetness is noticed first, then the powerful hop presence dominates. Definitely a hop-head's beer. A bitter, full taste follows the swallow...very yummy. The medium body leaves a nice fizzle on the tongue. Sharp and very satisfying. This is a wonderful session beer, and its wide distribution allows it to compete with the macros. A model pale ale on the big market today...great beer overall.

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Photo of Scooter77
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is yet another exceptional beer from the Sierra Nevada brewery. Pours a clear copper color with a medium sized rocky head that retains itself for the duration, leaving a light lace on the glass. The aroma is full of cascade hops and citrus peel. Taste is extremely hoppy, I can’t really describe it much more than that, tons of hops! There was a little bit of a pungent, sour aftertaste. This is definitely a great session beer that can be enjoyed any day of the year.

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Photo of MJR
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a pale copper color with great clarity. What head it has comes in the form of a small cap. A few swirls of the glass increases it's size, but it shrinks right back down.

Smell: Aroma of bready malt and Cascade hops.

Taste: The malt/hop balance leans more to the hops, with grapefruit and citrus flavors in the forefront. The malt backbone is a bit thin, and is bready and slighty fruity.

Mouthfeel: The thickness is on the lighter side of medium, along with a crisp, dry mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Pretty good. This brew has saved me many a times when walking into a bar and seeing the usual macro crap, with this one buried in-between the swill.

All in all, a good (but not great) pale ale that is a good standby.

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Photo of Marty
4.67/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nothing makes me happier to see this beer on tap next to Bud, Guinness and the like at a bar. I consider it the finest mass produced pale ale in the United States. Consistently crisp and refreshingly hopped, with great big lingering head. When I need to stock my refrigerator, in the event that I'm having company or that I just need a reasonably priced drinkin' beer on hand, this is the stuff... that is, unless Celebration Ale is in season.

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

This is a fine american ale, and I was surprised, but delighted, to find a six-pack at my local Foodtown (alongside the SN Porter). The pour revealed a dark golden color, and the thin head disappeared slowly and deliberately. The smell was fruity and hoppy, and the taste was likewise, with a lemony overtone and a strong sense of hops in the after taste. Good, clear, and light mouthfeel. A winner!

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Photo of tavernjef
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This a standard pale that gets alot of praise and comparison. I was impressed with it, but I have to go with a paler pale for this style. This was a little to hoppy, but overall this is a great taster. Good balanced fresh hops with a bit of citrus and finishes dry and piney. This was actually hard to pin down as far as taste for me due to the finish happened to fast and I was feeling and wanting more. I still thought it was good but something was missing for me on the overall taste. Malt was present. Color was fine for a pale, kinda coppery yellow, with a nice floral aroma with good strong hop presence. I almost liked the smell more then the taste by just a bit. Solid pale, I can see why alot of folks like this stuff. This is a drinkable pale, very good, but needed something for me to really enjoy it fully. I kept a puzzled look on my face after every sip. Why? I'm not sure. Good to great, but not awesome.

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

Appearance = orange/gold, slightly hazy. Firm head with good lacing. Quite a bit of carbonation, more than my favorite 'go to' local pale ale (Boulevard)

Nose = hops, light fruit, touch of bread dough

Taste = boldly hopped, enough malt on first entry, midway thru a trace of fruit, semi-creamy mouthfeel, long & lovely finish of hops

Heckuva nice hop-head's pale ale. A classic.

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

Snuck a bottle of this into a sixpack. (How criminal). Nice golden color with good carbonation, hence a great head. Crisp and clean, with a good mix of hops and malts. The pale "dry" taste comes through with each sip. Definitely a good beer.

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Photo of Jason
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz short brown twist cap bottle. Thin layer of sediment from bottle conditioning.

Appearance: Rich golden orange in colour with a slight chill haze, a white lace lays on top and clings all over the glass.

Smell: Slightly rustic, raw and mildly pungent hop aroma of leaves, flowers and heavy on the citric fruit. An undertone of grain is in the background also.

Taste: Creamy smooth with a soft malt crispness that cradles a bready malt flavour. Hop bitterness is more than ample and shows off a bit yet there is an underlying sweetness that seems to put everything back together. Esters through a shadow of alcohol down which make a potential heady night. In the finish is a citric hop flavour with a touch more sweetness from the residual sugars, though this brew seems to dry up a little in the end.

Notes: The typical American Pale Ale ... The classic American Pale Ale basically as far as what people know. A good and solid ale for what I think.

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Photo of Maestro
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is available all over the place, so that shows progress as a culture. It has a nice golden/orange color. The nose is a nice balance of hops and malts. Very clean smelling. There is little to no head, but I think the bartender poured it incorrectly. The beer has good carbonation. The hops selection gives the beer a good overall bitterness that combines well with the plentiful malts. This beer is quite consistent throughout and is quite refreshing. Finishes clean and smooth.

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Photo of stoutman
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Slight citrus note to the mainly hoppy aroma. Excellent balance between the hops and malt with a subtle but present caramel flavor. Hazy, golden color, short-lasting head. Lighter color and greater hoppiness distinguish this from English-style pale ales

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Photo of Fabric8r
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The hops really grab you right away. The hop smell, and the taste. I believe they use Pearle and Cascade hops, a nice combination. If you like hops, it can't be beat, if you like to taste malt, get another brew, or really think of malt and you can find it in there somewhere. The second glass is better, as you begin to get used to, and like the hops. Bottled version not quite so hoppy. Great Beer, these folks know how to brew!

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

Sierra Nevada, in my opinion, is not the best at anything. But they are definitely very good at everything.

Their Pale Ale pours a cloudy golden hue with bits of hops that eventually settle at the bottom of the glass and a thick, lasting head. The aroma is surprisingly pronounced and fruity -- citrus with apple undertones. The taste is an excellent balance of spicy hops and sweet malts. Mouthfeel is crisp, with moderate carbonation. Finish is pleasantly spicy and fruity.

I believe that a good Pale Ale matches well with everything -- from cheescake to fajitas, not to mention by itself. Sierra Nevada definitely fits the bill.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A pure bright amber color, with a thick and sturdy off-white head, that crackles as it crumbles. Aroma is bursting over with fruit, peaches, foremost, plus apricots, some citrus, melons, more? Great citrusy hop bite greets you on the palate,with a brief and sweetish finish soon after. Smooth texture, light body, but fully flavorful. Uncomplicated and refreshing. Bitterness is low, malt is firm. Perfectly balanced, and infinitely enjoyable!
In past years, I'd given this staple micro less credit than it deserves. I thought all pale ales were alike, and this one wasn't extraordinary to warrant the attention it receives. Just buy the local brew, and keep them in business, I thought. I still believe in that , of course, but I must accept that the flavor and quality in SN PA are really special and unique.

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Photo of Quaffer
4.41/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This beer was an amber-orange color with a white, rough head. Not much lace left on the glass.

Smell: Oh, yeah. This is what a Pale Ale is supposed to smell like. There was a big hops aroma, balanced with fruit, some malt, and a bread-like smell.

Mouthfeel: Great mouthfeel for a pale ale. This brew had a medium body and was very smooth.

Taste: A great hops bitterness, balanced by lightly roasted malts. Occasionally, a little sweetness shines through. The finish drys out but the hops flavor just lingers and lingers . . . Not overly complex, but still very tasty.

This is a great, highly drinkable pale. You fill your glass and the next thing you know . . . POOF! It's gone. One of my favorites in the style.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.57/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After just finishing a McEwan's IPA, I just found myself in heaven. An magnificant orangish tint, with a nice white frothing head. A very thin lace, but right now it doesn't matter I am too busy enjoying the aroma to worry about how it looks. I could be blind right now and it wouldn't matter. A great citrusy full sharp delivery of wonderful cascade hops fiil me with joy. The staple of American pale ales, and this one is bottle conditioned which adds to the aroma to form a balanced full aroma with the blend of hops, yeast, and malt. The sweetness mixed with the decent amount of bittering hops does wonders for the soul, if the brewery in Chico had a church I might become a cult member. The hops are grapefruit citrusy flavored that tickle the back of the throat and at the same time the warming feeling of acohol crashes upon the palate just right. It is full of flavor and it is just the right texture to deliver the flavors, and it with the medium body this beer is one to be enjoyed all night. A wonderful part of Beer in America has this BAs approval.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

About as well balanced as an ale can be. Along with Liberty Ale, about as good of an example of a classic American micro-ale. Pours a nice,
golden-to-amber color, foamy head, good retention. Nice lace throughout. Wonderfully fruity, hoppy aroma and taste. Not overly dry, despite the obvious hop presence. At 5.6% ABV, packs a decent little punch (the hops are noticeable, also) but quite drinkable. I have nothing negative to say about this beer at all.

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Photo of RBorsato
5/5  rDev +24.1%
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 Delirium
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Don't expect, a watered down, fusal alcohol fiasco. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale pours amber with light carbonation welling up from the sides of the glass. Uneventful head comes and goes, with whisper of yeast and balenced hop in the nose. Not too sweet, not too dry. Enough said, this stuff is like buttered sourdough bread.

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Photo of TXHops
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Alcohol Content: approx. 5.6% ABV,4.4% ABW
Beginning Gravity: 1.052, 13 Plato
Ending Gravity: approx 1.011, 2.8 Plato
Calories/12 oz: 170.73
Apparent Attenuation: 78.62%
Real Extract: 4.58
Bittering Hops: Perle
Finishing Hops: Cascade
Malts: Two-row Barley Malt; Caramel Malt

-Coppery amber colored with a huge, foamy, white head that retreats in the wake of a spider-webbish pattern of lace work.

I like to think that Pacific Northwest Pale Ale is a sub-style of American Pale Ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the quintessential (and original) interpretation.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is yellowish, almost orange colored and has a huge, airy, white head that leaves a lacy curtain of dried bubbles on the inside of the glass. An intense, grapefruity hoppiness dominates the nose and overshadows the sweetish, almost biscuity malt in the flavor. The resiny, almost sticky hoppiness lingers on and on and almost causes you to forget that there's some really good, sweet maltiness hiding deep inside the bottle. Somewhat incongruously, the malty portion of the beer is relatively dry (not surprisingly, considering the 78%+ attenuation), while the hops don't let the flavor go quietly. Instead, the citric stickiness hides out in the back corners of your mouth, creating an almost sour sensation (not sour from sugar, like in a Coke, but sour from citric, like from grapefruit). In my mind, this is the primary difference between American and British hops. The British hops do a tremendous job of bittering sweet malts like Maris Otter, while the American finishing versions, like Cascades, aren't as much bitter as they are resiny, citric and robust.

Anyhow, I'd say that SNPA, although the originator of the style, would now do better in a beer competition as a British IPA, expect for those American hops. It's the sparing use of caramel malt that lends the primary difference. Most other APA's tend toward having a more pronounced malt flavor to compliment the hops, while SNPA (and those brewed in its ilk, like Rogue's Oregon Golden Ale) really feature the American hops. I find it ironic that the creator of the style wouldn’t be able to win an award for the style.

Although not my favorite APA (a little too harsh, without enough balancing maltiness, just a little too prickly in the mouth and with a touch of sourness) I still drink quite a bit and will continue to do so for as long as SN remains such a great producer of quality beer.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had heard a lot about this beer from other "micro" beer drinker, so when it went on sale for $4.99 a six i thought i,de give it a go.
Pours pretty nicelly, but doesnt hold a head to well, the smell is good. Has a nice after taste to it , thiough the feel in the mouth is pretty average. I was drinking this with a hang over already so maybe i found the drinkabilty less than i would have in top condition LOL

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Photo of Amdahl
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nice amber with about 2 fingers of head. A nice lace covers the side of the glass all the way to the bottem. The head doesn't go down very fast. A nice floral hops smells great on the nose. The taste is hoppy with a floral overtones. This is a very good Pale Ale that is not very full-bodied.

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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is definitely one of the classic american ales on the market, and I was glad to find a six-pack hidden on the shelf of my local supermarket. The pour revealed a nice amber/dark golden color. There was a thin head that disappeared after about a minute, but a nice lace remained until the last sip. The smell was a crisp, sharp one with some nice fruity(citrus??) hops. The first taste revealed more of those hops and a pleasant bitter taste that receded quickly and left a nice dry aftertaste. Overall a very good brew that I would recommend to anyone!

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 11,609 ratings