Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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2,956 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
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Reviews: 2,956 | Ratings: 10,984
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of headlessparrot
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Fragrant, but not bitter. Not much to look at in the glass (not much head, what is there recedes, a hazy orange gold with big bubbles), and it's not setting the world on fire, but it's easy to overlook how good and how reliable this is. Perfumy but also a decent crisp malt base, light cracker, grass, hay.

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Photo of SaltofOH
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Review 4-18-15 (and 7-2-15). Sierra Nevada Pint Glass (then Pokal). Bottle dated 12/29/14 (then 3/24/15).

Appearance: Clear, bright copper w/ 1/4" bright white head. Active carbonation. Retains a thin white cap. Epic lacing. (Holy sediment!)

Aroma: Clean, malty, slight hoppiness. Kind of a let down after the last one I had in March; way less hoppy aroma (same in July review). Showing age (same in July review).

Taste: Leafy, malty arrival. Earthy, hoppy bitter mid-palate. Clean, hoppy, light finish. Fresh. (Same in July review)

Mouthfeel: Rich, midweight, actively carbonated. Semi-clean finish.

Overall: A perfect beer for any occasion. When the hops really die off, the ale esters stand out more. Even old, it tastes great.

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Photo of BigDaddyWarbuxx
4.14/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A crisp, refreshing aroma. The flavor leans a little bit more on the wheat than it does the hops, which is a bit of a surprise. This is still a very fine pale ale, and a very approachable flagship brew.

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Photo of mozart4898
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured to pint glass. Had it many times before, first time reviewing.

L - Deep golden color. Aggressive pour yields a 2 finger head which fades quickly to a ring around the pint glass. Slightly less than perfect clarity from a tiny bit of yeast from bottle conditioning.
S - Bit of caramel sweetness with floral hops in the background. Not overly distinctive in any one aroma.
T - Balance between malt and gentle hop bitterness with neither dominating. Again, hops show as more floral and possibly somewhat piney than the citrus usually associated with Cascade hops.
F - Mouthfeel is spot on for my expectation of the style - perfect moderate carbonation, not too thin yet refreshing.
O - SNPA probably seems underhopped to many hopheads today (myself included) but I can't fault a beer that's been around since I was born for staying true to its roots. Still a great choice for sessions as well as a great beer with many different types of food. Also doesn't hurt that you can find it pretty much anywhere. My go-to when I can't decide on something else or when choice is limited.

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Photo of Lahoi
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite possibly my favorite beer. It's at least a contender. Smooth, yet bold. Citrusy, floral, grainy, but nothing overbearing regarding any of the above. Nice head, good lacing. I could drink this beer on a brutally hot summer day, a bitterly cold winter day, and anything in between.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up a six pack at my nearest gas station. The packaged on date states it was packed two months ago. Poured right from the fridge into my Red Eye pint glass.

L: Pours a clear medium-amber with about two inches of eggshell head that sticks around for a bit and leaves nice lacing on the glass. Healthy visible carbonation, along with just a bit of particulate floating around.

S: Caramel malts and a touch of pine hop presence in the nose, but these are quite subdued. Perhaps just a suggestion of diacetyl buttery notes, as well.

T: Cracker malt flavor at the front, with just a touch of sweetness. A bit of a bright peppery quality there, too. The middle introduces some pine hop notes, along with just a bit of citrus zest, though they aren't what I would call assertive. I'm picking up just a hint of diacetyl butterscotch in the mix here. The back end is where the hops kick in--they're much more assertive as bittering agents. The back retains the cracker malt flavor, but there's a good deal of resinous hop bitterness at the back.

F: On the lighter side of medium-bodied. This one is bright, smooth, and bitter in turns. Very nice level of carbonation.

O: It's been a good long while since I've picked up a pack of SN Pale Ale. This seems to be--in the estimation of many of my fellow BAs--the benchmark for American pale ales. While I still enjoy this beer's flavor and drinkability, I have to say this it wasn't nearly as good as I remembered it being. Now, this could be attributable to a bad bottle or my developing tastes, but I don't think this one has ever delivered the kind of bright and assertive hop flavors that I enjoy in this style. It's a very good beer, don't get me wrong. But when I hold this one up to some of my other favorite APAs (New Glarus Moon Man is one that immediately comes to mind) SNPA falls a bit short.

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Photo of kitch
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A 12 fl oz bottle with a packaged date of 17th March 2015 and poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: The beer poured an extremely clear copper colour with a two finger slightly off-white head that dissipates fairly quickly leaving some stringy lacing.

Aroma: Mainly a piney smell along with some citrus lemon and grapefruit. Some bready malts also come through.

Taste: Pine hop taste along with some bread, biscuit and caramel malt. There’s also a hint of orange and some bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall: I’d drink this pale ale again, but I do prefer my pale ales with a slightly less pine, and more tropical fruit flavours instead.

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

Sierra Nevada 'Pale Ale' @ 5.6% , served from a 6pack of 355 ml bottle's purchased for $14
A-pour is gold from the bottle to a clear golden amber in the glass with a medium size white head leaving a streaky lace along the pint
S-pine & citrus whole cone Cascade hops
T-crisp & clean tasting pale ale , very mild swallow
MF-ok lots of carbonation , good medium body
Ov-good beer , has a certain wow factor
prost LampertLand

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Photo of DrunkNFool
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I have been drinking this for ages now; since back when APA was the standard - not IPA. For me, this is THE benchmark to measure all other APA's. However, I recently picked up a 12-pack in the can variety and I must say that I am somewhat disappointed. The given scores are for the bottle variety; however, taste needs to include an asterisk for the canned variety. Everything looked good going in but it all fell apart at the taste; there is some off bitter taste - almost tinny. The taste shift drops the score by 1 point which makes it still a very good beer over-all. However, I recommend that you stick to the bottle - don't even try the can - unless you really need the convenience of a can - like "no glass allowed."

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Photo of OKbrew89
3.94/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark golden color with a good head that left lacing halfway down the way down the glass. Like many SN beers, the hop aroma was strong and dominated the smell. Balanced body of toasted malts and barely bitter, piney hops with a really smooth and easy finish. Medium body with medium carbonation and no boozy aftertaste.
Very well done beer that is widely distributed and hasn't been watered down for national circulation. Good hop profile without being too bitter or crossing into IPA territory. Good example of the style.

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

June 13, 2015

12 oz bottle, pint glass

A – Light amber and orange. Brilliant white foam collar, an inch or so with moderate retention. Mostly clear.

S – Orange marmalade and light pine. Perhaps some pomegranate? Light biscuit and bready malt.

T – Orange and light grapefruit. Crackery-grainy, biscuit malt. Moderate hop bitterness.

M – Moderate carbonation and fairly dry. Some juiciness up front. Medium-bodied.

O – The example against which all others are judged, this is notable now for being so restrained and yet still flavorful, complex, and interesting.

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

This is the perfect session Pale Ale. Every other beer in this style should be judged against this beer. It is the standard of what a pale ale in America should be.

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Photo of cuksumstu
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I drank this out of the bottle, but the taste and feel were top notch. For a pale ale, it was certainly stronger, with a little more bitterness, spiciness, and well hopped with the yeast still there.

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Photo of ThomasMetal75
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

*Review sample was from 6/5/15*

A-Very sediment rich and unfiltered. Dark golden and copper in color. Has a nice 2 to 3 finger head that died somewhat, but never fully went away. Head itself was a tad rocky. Very carbonated. Looks great!

S- Very citusy and piney in the hops. Has a leathery note and a bit of dank, hop, resin. It's balanced by a nice, malty backbone. Sweet, caramel malts are present. Touch of breadiness as well.

T- Same as the taste. The hoppy notes are really the first thing that hits you in this beer. But for 38 IBUs, I think this beer is pretty hoppy without going overboard at all. It's certainly not an IPA, but it closely resembles one. Again, hops are citrusy and piney with a touch of leather. It's got a slight resinous/hop oily taste. Immediately after the hop profile, you notice this beer also has a very well balanced malty note. The malts are caramel and toffee in nature. Bready/biscuty as well. The beer leans slightly more on the hoppy than malty side, but I think the flavor profile is very well balanced in general. Great stuff!

F- This is a straight up medium bodied beer. It still retains the light oily, hoppy slickness that keeps the beer's profile very enjoyable. The finish is malty and sweet before it dries somewhat. The beer is crisp, clean, and very refreshing.

-Overall, this beer is a home-run. It's no secret why it has been around since the early 80's. It's not an overly complex beer, but it's not so light that it's dull. Hop heads should use this as a true "session IPA" (even if it's at 5.6% ABV). It would go fantastically with some buffalo wings, fish, or virtually anything on the grill. And it's not an expensive beer at all. If you never had this, get up and get it now!

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Photo of Nickholland
4.21/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A great "go to" pale with balanced hops and a good amount of flavor without being overdone. Great to savor but could also be session-able. My first exposure to what good craft beer can be. One of my all-time favorites.

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Photo of Beerma
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I do not know why it took me so long to try this! I totally am enjoying all their beers! I am a fan for sure now. It was light and smooth yet had some flavor. REFRESHING!

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Photo of DCP
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Much better from a bottle than a keg on my palate.
My fishing companion.
Great heavy end all day beer.
I don't really order it on tap though.
It's less bitter and usually less fresh for me due to less hop and about the same body, maybe something else.
I've heard there are different recipes used for the bottles and kegs.
So I'm rating from the one I like better.

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

Poured from a 12 oz can into a pint glass

LOOK: Clear dark reddish brown with about a finger of off white head that leaves sheets of lacing.

SMELL: Grapefruit pulp, pine needles, and sweet bready malt.

TASTE: Grapefruit pulp and pine cone hops balanced against a thick caramel malt backbone. Well-balanced. Equal parts bitter and sweet. Finishes dry and slightly sticky.

FEEL: Medium-bodied, slightly sticky, with moderate carbonation.

OVERALL: For what it is, this has stood the test of time. One of the best beers available almost everywhere nationwide. An old reliable classic, and a great introduction to the world of craft beer.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,956 ratings.
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