Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

3,007 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: 3,007 | Ratings: 11,182
Photo of PatrickBeebe
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Been a long time since I've had this, but realized I've never reviewed. Got this in the snowpack. Poured into a teku. bottled 9/9/15. Golden straw color, two fingers white head. Smells piney and earthy. Taste is malt forward, with an amazing, non overpowering hop presence. Medium mouthfeel, smooth carbonation, earthy finish. Quintessential example of a pale ale. All 5's across the board. One of the first craft beers I liked. Still stands on top in today's expanding market.

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

Look: Poured from bottle into tulip glass. Orange gold, slightly cloudy
Smell: Citrus, piney hops
Taste. Very hop forward. The citrus and piney bitterness that I love about IPAs and pale ales, with a malty biscuity finish. Amazing
Feel: medium body, very drinkable.

Overall: this may be the perfect pale ale. I love the hop forwardness followed by the malty sweetness at the finish.

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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 Ninjakillzu
4.21/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Poured into a Pint Defiance tulip. Body is clear amber, just a smidgen of a head around the tulip's rim.

S: Sweet candied orange rind, biscuits, spicy cascade hops, and toasty malts.

T: Hop spiciness, orange rind, some mild grapefruit bitterness, and toasted malt. Well balanced.

F: Light bodied, smooth, medium carbonation.

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

I'm not really a Pale Ale guy, but I really enjoyed this beer. I've had it several times with friends over the years and I like it more and more with each bottle. It's great on a hot Texas day. It's the perfect amount of hops for the style and rich in flavor and body. Great beer overall!

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Photo of Bonkinishwa
3.69/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. 5.6% ABV. 12oz bottle poured into snifter.

Look: Translucent golden color, with white lacing present.

Smell: Smells of fresh tropical fruit, hops, and pine.

Feel: Smooth and carbonated, balanced out.

Taste: Just like fresh tropical fruits, with some wheat and hop flavors throughout, and counteract each other nicely. The aftertaste is grainy, and reminded me of saltine crackers.

Overall: My first American Pale Ale style of beer. I usually stay away from IPA's, because of the high bitterness, but decided to try this, to get introduced into the style of bitter beers. I was pleased by how it wasn't overly bitter, and how the ingredients weren't covered by it. I did enjoy it, and am eager to try some more of the same style. Recommend to those who wish to get into IPA's, but don't want an extremely bitter beer.

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Photo of Libeertarian
3.57/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

A somewhat hazy bright copper with light tannish uneven foamy head. Medium retention. Lace and legs aren't worth mentioning. Oh wait, I just did. There's almost no smell to this. Caramel and resin if anything. More resin on the palate, but leaning towards herbal, brothy, or spicy even. Decent malt presence in terms of both grain and caramel, with a delightful vegetal and minimal iced-tea hop finish as well as expected peppercorn retro-olfaction. Superb balance. Medium-bodied, kind of watery, but oh so sudsy as it lingers. Fun to slosh between teeth and tongue. A good beer if I've ever had one. Also an overrated beer if I've ever had one. And I'm a huge fan of Sierra Nevada. Strong suits are definitely taste and feel, but even those are just on the high side of basic. The hops do most of the work here, even though they aren't very "apparent." You could add these same hops to a bottom-shelf English Pale (like Bass), and get more or less the same taste. Mind you, I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing. In any case, this mouthfeel is still far afield. Know this: was I to rate it on drinkability alone, it would garner a 5/5.

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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a nonic pint glass. Has a golden amber color. Straight hard pour creates a lot of head but it dissipates quickly enough. Leaves lacing even after the glass is finished. Overall, it has a nice balanced hop flavor that is not overpowering. Could be a great selection for those who prefer lagers but want to venture into the world of pale ales

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Photo of 911CROFT
3.55/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

350ml bottle into a conical 2/3 pint glass. Paid £1.90 for a single bottle.

Pours a slightly hazy amber coloured body with plenty of fast rising visible carbonation. A thick, foamy, two-finger in height, white head slowly fades to a thin cap leaving thick bands of excellent sticky lacing.

The hop forward nose predominately consists of bold floral and pine aromas. Lighter notes of citrus fruit and spice are underpinned by an ample amount of soft bready malt. The taste mirrors the nose, leading with floral and sticky pine hop profiles followed by a touch of peppery spice. The soft, sweet bready backbone and a touch of caramel malt provide excellent balance throughout the mid palate and linger for an enjoyable length of time before smoothly fading as hops re-enter in the finish. In the mouth, the texture starts pleasantly smooth and creamy. The medium body, lifted by plenty of lively carbonation, is crisp, easy drinking, and refreshing but the finish becomes just a little too bitter and dry. Strong resinous pine and grapefruit flavours build, and a large amount of hop oils stimulate the palate with a prolonged, moderately bitter, slightly astringent sensation that is left to linger.

Overall this is a very good beer. With the exception of the aftertaste, which I found just a little too harsh, it is very well balanced and hugely drinkable, I much prefer this to Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo offering. I could certainly see myself trying it again in the future and would absolutely recommend it to someone with a slightly higher tolerance to that bitter pine hop profile than myself.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
3.72/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look - Crystal clear, darkish golden color, decent amount of carbonation
Smell - Biscuity/bready malts, earth, spice, lemony type citrus
Taste - Spice, biscuity malts, floral, earthy, faint hints of citrus, slight caramel sweetness
Feel - smooth, balanced, super easy drinking, medium bodied

Overall - A classic indeed but nothing overly special here. But if you're looking for a well balanced, easy drinking and always available pale should give this one a try.

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Photo of Pete_2112
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ah, a classic. With a beautiful light amber color, and a smell that is orgasmic, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale tastes of perfect balance. Caramel, citrus, and pine. Just the perfect balance here. Great mouthfeel and overall perfection. I can't say anymore.

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Photo of Spike
3.46/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Dark orange. Three fingers lumpy, off-white head. Carbonation visible. Decent.

Citrus & pine. Classic american hop profile. But musty, and doesn't last. Some sweet malts eventually. Mixed.

Malty. Slightly sharp hop profile. Resinous. Mixed.

Light/medium body. Medium carbonation. Ok.

This was my music venue go-to when living in the States. When presented with the choice of Bud, Bud Light, Heineken Light or Sierra Nevada there was always going to be one winner. Not the best. But an early original. A trail blazer. Not sophisticated or gentle so best enjoyed in a busy environment with friends.

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Photo of matuka123
4.84/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Overall a great beer... I'm a starting beer connoiseur but Sierra Nevaduh Pale Ale is delicious BALANCED, GREAT Beer. And not so rare. But it costs more because I buy it in Finland, in the states you could get it for cheaper probably.

Awesome taste, hops, malt, deliciousness. Crisp balanced beer

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Photo of gmoneyproductions
4.78/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz can poured into pint glass
look is copper gold with decent white head
smell is complex started out just malty but as the beer warmed slightly i got piney, fruity citrusy notes that got stronger as the beer warmed
taste crisp and very easy to drink slightly fruity/citrusy very smooth!
aftertaste citrusy as well
love this beer first time reviewed but have been drinking them for years
tastes better from the can than the bottle fwiw

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Photo of Brian_L-2056
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Has the typical hoppy IPA or pale ale smell. Pours a nice golden color with a small off white color head. Very good carbonation also. Initial taste is kind of hoppy but not overpowering, mellows out to a mild slightly dry finish. Overall, I really enjoy this brew and will definitely buy more

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Photo of Stevem68
3.71/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a medium Amber color. Has an earthy hop aroma with a malty presence. Flavor followed the aroma. Smooth to drink and a solid beer overall. Can easily drink several of these

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Photo of puck1225
4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A classic! Golden color, nice head and lacing. Earthy, slightly bitter taste. Good balance between hops and malt tastes. I have had it many times but never did a review. Last type to drink from the Sierra Nevada Fall pack. Enjoyed it yet again!

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Photo of CanadianBacon
3.94/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours clear golden amber with a big head subsides to a lacing that lasts throught the drink.

Aroma - buscuity malts and earthy hops.

Taste - Slight caramel and then it dives right into some grapefruit and earthy hops.

Mouth feel - Medium body dry finish not much carbonation.

Overall - Your typical american pale ale. Classic taste great to drink while watching tv or sports. Does what is supposed to do.

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Photo of J_Chavez15
4.85/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours out amber color. Good lacing on the glass. Smells of citrus. Taste of malts and hops. Hops are definitely there. Medium body. Goes down smooth and semi dry. Topedo extra ipa is more drier than the pale ale. At 5.6% this beer is pretty enjoyable. Standard American pale ale.

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Photo of Strat58cat
3.31/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

This is a rough draft of a beer from a brewer that has developed into one of my favorites. Originating in 1980 as the original Sierra Nevada ale, Pale Ale notably did not conquer the world. Samuel Adams Boston Lager, in contrast, sort of did conquer the world. There's a good reason. Samuel Adams Boston Lager is a landmark beer - truly supreme to anything on the market in 1985, and to this day among the best beers available. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - despite the great marketing, awesome art on the bottle, environmentalism, and quality ingredients - is only so-so. Of course, even though it's better, it couldn't conquer Budweiser. It's not even in the same ballpark as Boston Lager. I can see what they were trying to do with it - very clearly. They've realized their vision in other offerings since Pale Ale - for example, Torpedo and Nooner. Sierra Nevada makes fantastic beers - but this world-famous, historic ale isn't one of them.

I've never liked Sierra Nevada Pale Ale that much. I didn't like it that much when it was the new thing in the 1980s. I didn't like it that much when it was an established craft beer in the 1990s. I didn't like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale that much in the 2000s when it achieved ubiquity. I tried it again last night. I still don't like it that much. Look, I know it's famous. It's just so-so.

Ironically, the shortcomings of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale seem to have driven the brewery to greater and greater heights of achievement. Today, Sierra Nevada can go toe-to-toe with any brewer in the world for overall quality. They make delicious beers. In contrast, Samuel Adams has struggled even to approach, much less surpass, Boston Lager.

Sierra Nevada has a defining aesthetic. Torpedo is a terrific IPA. Nooner is a sublime pilsner. Traded-off one with the other, these two beers compliment each other and reach insane heights, since they share a common aesthetic. The initial emergence of that Sierra Nevada aesthetic in Pale Ale, however, is just a rough draft.

The look of Pale Ale is its strong suit. It's a deep amber, suggesting toasty notes from roasted malts. Like many craft beers today - but nothing like what was available in 1980 - Sierra Nevada Pale Ale froths up a tight head of white foam, and retains it. The head laces to the bottom of the glass. The color is a simple, deep amber, suggesting a simple but high-quality brew.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has an old-school aroma. This is no IPA. The smell of hops is strong in this one, but they are blandish, dank hops. At most, there's a bare hint of pine. The aroma is very similar to Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale's taste is overwhelmingly toast. Although the hops lend the dank aroma just noted, the taste is not notably impacted. Instead, I get a bland toasty flavor. It's a simple flavor, similar to perhaps the toasty malt backbone of Lagunitas. However, unlike in Lagunitas, there's nothing else going on and it's ho-hum. To my taste buds, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale tastes like bland toast. Then, suddenly, the hops make their presence known with a dramatic hop bitterness. Bland yet suddenly and unpleasantly bitter is not what I personally look for in a beer. Objectively, SNPA is not actually that bitter. The IBU is 37, while a fellow craft landmark from 1985, Boston Lager, is 30. I immensely enjoy IPAs with IBUs more than double SNPA. A Firestone Walker pale ale - Pale 31 - is more bitter than SNPA, but it works brilliantly there. The problem in SNPA is the combination of flavors, which falls far short of delicious. The dank but unremarkable hops and bland toast don't set the stage for bitterness. As a result, SNPA's bitter flavor is unwelcome and unpleasant. A novice chef might create a dish that featured a dank aroma, a bland flavor, and then bitterness. That's pretty much what happened here . . . but wait. What's this? There's a hops note that comes in, after the bitterness. It hints of something remarkable. It hints of something terrific. Yes, that hops note has been expanded and turned into the delicious flavors of Sierra Nevada's more developed offerings, such as Torpedo and Nooner. Here, it saves the day. There's something special there after all, in the background. It's lurking behind a little too much boring dank hops aroma, and too much boring toast flavor, and too much unsupported bitterness. Yes, that special note has been turned into a symphony of spectacular flavors in later brews from Sierra Nevada. SNPA is a special beer, because it's the starting point for greatness. Put together, the flavors make for a so-so ale, but it is refreshing.

The feel of SNPA is solid. It's neither watery nor thick. Carbonation is medium as well. There's nothing amiss with the feel.

Sierra Nevada has accomplished tremendous brews. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is their first brew, but not nearly the best. It's a so-so beer that charted a course to later great beers.

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Photo of qrazvan
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A great beer from US. The smell is proving his flowery notes from the moment you pour the beer in your glass. The colour is a light brown. A classic pale ale taste, with a lot of hops. Can't go wrong with this one. Recommended!

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

This is exactly what I expected, a classic West Coast APA. There's a reason this beer is so popular...try one and find out for yourself. I'd order this again. Nothing too adventurous, but a good representation of the style.

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Photo of codekiln
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bright honey, good lace, little head

Metallic, fruity (notes of banana), floral, hoppy

Starts with caramel notes, washes into a steady hoppy bitterness

A very pleasing, drinkable choice. Decent beer all around!

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Photo of JacobusFavier23
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L-Pours a very nice amber, solid finger and a half foamy head that dissipates fairly quickly.
S-Citrusy hop smell, I love it. Very appealing and floral aroma.
T-Super mellow with notes of pine and slight citrus. Theres a great hoppy flavor too. Yet above all, not harsh.
F-Strong carbonation but super drinkable.
O-This is such a GOOD beer. Its everything you'd want in a pale ale. Citrusy, floral and hoppy yet it is still so drinkable. This beer is so easy to get too. Try it, you'll like it.

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Photo of maedhros09
4.21/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: gold-amber with 2-3 fingers of off-white head that settles to a film, leaving some lacing
Smell: citrusy, lightly piney and floral
Taste: A nice mild maltiness balanced by a moderate citrusy hops presence. Finishes with moderate bitterness
Feel: medium body with average carbonation

Overall: It had been a while since I last tried this classic. It turns out it is better than I remembered. It is a great all-around brew - full-flavored yet refreshing with a moderate ABV, it's an excellent value as well.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,182 ratings.
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