Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

2,991 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: 2,991 | Ratings: 11,137
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 EvoRich
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: This beer pours very impressively. Orange gold in color. Very fizzy and refreshing looking with a huge foamy head that stays for EVER! It's a very photogenic beer. It looks perfect. The problem is having a beard and being forced to dip your face into this beer with the head it produces.

Smell: Very mild hops. not overly bitter, with a touch of citrus.

Taste: Very much like the smell. A very good balance between hops and a slightly citrusy sweetness, with a hint of maltiness at the finish. So refreshing!

Feel: Medium bodied, with a refreshing, thirst quenching feel.

Overall: Very impressive beer. I wasn't expecting quite this good.

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Photo of Chinasky
3.91/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look yellow light amber.

Smell: hoppy fruit, citrus, lemon.

Taste: Biscuit malt and little caramel, ending with a piney resin, citrus.

Overall: a very nice all day beer.

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

Pours dark gold amber with lots of head and lots of clumpy lacing. Nose is spicy and floral. Flavours of cereal, some grapefruit, some pine. Taste medium bitter, light sweet. Full sticky body with lively carbonation and a lasting bitterness to the finish.

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Photo of mmmbeer89
3.48/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

there's nothing special about the look or the smell, but it's one of the smoother and better tasting pale ales out there. sierra nevada knows how to make 'em.

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Photo of TheBeerMaster1
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great pale ale, with a subtle pine and citrus flavor. Not too pale, and a great cascade hopped profile. A great beer for sitting by the pool and relaxing!

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Photo of JackRWatkins
4.26/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

this is simply a fantastic beer, truly an american classic, and all things considered super cheap and easily available, you really just cant beat this pale ale at the price

two thumbs way up

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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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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,137 ratings.
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