Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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2,966 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

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Reviews: 2,966 | Ratings: 11,022
Photo of thebarnesbomb
3.86/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into glass with a great 1 1/2 inch head (a great pour if I can congratulate myself for a second) with a nice golden yellow color with a slight amber hue to it. A really perfect color, what a beer should look like. The smell was slightly citrus, but mostly of the hop and malt combination. The taste would be just as you would imagine from its scent, mostly the great combination of the malt and hops, with some bitter citrus to it. This leaves the most prominent element to the aftertaste- bitter, but in the good way, lingering on the tongue. As I continued the head disapated to a quater inch head leaving some lacing as it went. A decent amount of carbonation, not enough to take away from the taste, and also a good mouthfeel to it, not watery at all.

Overall, I think this would be a great beer to drink as an all around refreshing beer. Pleanty of taste to keep you drinking, with a good amount of carbonation and a crisp taste to the finish. A wonderful pale ale.

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Photo of MurphyKieran
3.99/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hehe. I love this beer. It's not readily availably in Ireland but a local off-license stocks it thankfully.

It's really not the kind of beer I'd buy for a drinking session, but I regularly get a nice hot and spicy Indian meal like a Madras or Vindaloo on a Friday evening and a lovely hoppy crisp beer like this is the perfect accompaniment to it.


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Photo of hunteraw
3.97/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Not as much head as I'd expected when poured... nice color, a darker amber than I expected.

Smells of malt and hops. Surprising for its lack of much else. This is how beer should smell, straight-up.

Hops are the dominant flavor here. This is beer, brewed well and not trying to be anything else.

Mouthfeel is very crisp, carbonation and bitterness give a nice bite at first.

A fine beer, but drinkability isn't exceptional. Maybe a stylistic choice.

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Photo of chargerfanjess
4.16/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a nice dark amber, with a nice white lace that sticks to the side of the glass. The smell is citrus, hops, and lemons and flavored with a sweetness of honey and the faintest hint of vanilla. The taste is great, it has a nice bitter kick from the hops as well as some great lemon flavor that is brought out by the honey. The mouthfeel on the palate is very clean.

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Photo of hanco005
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle pored into a pint glass.

A—clear golden amber with about ½ of head, leaves medium lacing on the glass as I drink the beer.

S—hops and malts balanced well, not overpowering, but a nice aroma

T—wonderful hop and malt combo, the mild bitterness is flavorful and finishes nicely

M—smooth and mellow and a little lighter than I expected

D—A great pale ale with classic pale ale flavors and mild bitterness. Could drink many in one sitting.

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Photo of jnelson54
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours with fine wite head and golden amber hue. This is a beautiful everyday drinker. I love pale ales and this is a standard of mine. Spicy malt gives way to a nice cascade hop bite. I highly recommend this for anyone who has not had it. Just grap a clean pint glass and enjoy

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.91/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

As far as easily-accessible, ubiquitous beers go, this is one of the best. Found in smalltown groceries and dive bars, as well as more upscale establishments, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a great everyday/session beer. Affordable, tasty, accessible.

A good pour results in a soapy head atop a beautiful amber/copper body. Sometimes I just love to look at this one. The smell is unremarkable, only very faint hops present, citrus too faint (considering the orange-y hint in the flavor), but once past the lips this hoppy ale has a satisfying flavor, citrus-y, a pleasing and slightly bitter pinch on the back of the tongue. Refreshing in the mouth (an excellent summer beer) but if it stays too long it gets a bit tart. I drink this as a "daily beer" since lots of my favorite stuff is usually too precious to bust out every single day, which is why I've rated the drinkability high. Never gets old. Considering the local choices, I'll take this over mega-brewery headache-beer anyday. (I have to travel at least an hour to get anything beyond the usual Sierra Nevada/Newcastle choices.)

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

Guess it's about time I reviewed this bad boy, since it is usually my fall-back brew when I go out and they have the normal selection.
Not a bad fall-back at all if you ask me.

Yellowish-Orange hue with a fluffy 1" head.... constant stream of bubbles ascend to the surface, giving hint to the carbonation levels.

Lots of hop in aroma... floral citrus. Surprisingly, there is a significant malt aroma as well.

Nicely hopped, lots of citrus... well balanced. A classic. A wonderful session brew.

I would like it to have a bit less carbonation in it, but the thickness of the beer is perfect.

Could drink this beer all day and all night.... Sierra Nevada is consistently one of the least appreciated brewers for what they do in my opinion. I feel that people consistently overlook them when comparing them to other great craft brewers simply because of their size. But with brews like this, Celebration, and Bigfoot, they can play ball with anyone.

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Photo of RJLarse
3.46/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have long shied away from this beer, probably because of the packaging. Something about the label and carton does not appeal to me, probably the bright green. But I saw it’s overall rating (recommended) on BA and had to give it a try. I poured this one into a pint tumbler.

Pours a shiny copper or rich gold color, with a thin but resilient white head. The beer is quite clear, with a few streams of bubbles rising through it.

The smell is sharp and clean. It smells of hops and faintly like yeast. The smell of malt is not detectable.

The taste is complex, strong taste of hops up front, with mellow malt flavor to follow, and then a very resilient hop and malt aftertaste. There is a remarkable balance in the taste, and it is hard to choose a dominant taste characteristic.

Mouth feel is good, rich robust flavors, none of which are overpowering. But the taste and the beer in general is a little heavy. I’m not sure I’d want to drink more than a couple of these at a session, but for full flavored pale ale, this one is a good choice.

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Photo of Brauluver
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lovely copper colour with small /lasting head.
Marmaladey nose of sweet malt and citric hops in a good balance.
Flava is citric hop tang blended with crystal type malt base,with a long lingering hop bitterness.Neutral ale style with light /medium mouthfeel body.

Very well balanced and drinkable.

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

24oz. Bottle

Clarity is great... wonderfull copper color with a thick, creamy, frothy white head about 1/2" thick... it stays and stays with awesome stick all the way down the drink as it empties.

Nice hoppy aroma balanced with some earth and grain.

Very smooth on the drink. Creamy upfront and bitter on the back of the tongue... it evens out nicely. Flavor and bitterness linger on and on in a great way on the palate. Some slight citrus. Very drinkable... one of those session beers that got me started in those whole crazy BA thing!

Excellent and will purchase again and again.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.46/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Two fingers of spongy, porous, white head rest easily over a visibly carbonated, crystal clear, light cypress colored pale ale. Light , hoppy nose. Minimal lacing.

Taste is dry, light-bodied, dry, resinous piney hopswith a crisp finish. Nothing fancy about this beer, just a nice fresh session pale.

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Photo of danielocean03
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a rich orange-hued amber into a pint glass. Short fizzy head fell quickly to light lacing. Smells of fresh, fruity hops, somewhat citrusy. Taste is slightly masked by heavy carbonation at the start, opens quickly to the hops and sweetly marked of citrus, tastes very fresh, crisp and clean. Mouthfeel is sharp, light, bubbly, finished clean and dry, somewhat like champagne will. Nice and complex blend of citrus and hops, excellent brew, would purchase again, drinkability high, nice introduction to someone new to APA's.

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Photo of HugoGrim
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap in a standard pint, look is good, a clear light orangish amber with full carbonation, and a bit of a head.

Scent is full bodied, lots of hops.

Flavor was good, more hops than I expected which was a nice surprise. Nice crisp flavor.

This is apparently the flavor of the month beer in this area, as I've seen it pop up all the sudden in at least three locations on their rotating taps. Can't say I'm disapointed about this.

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Photo of Kulrak
3.04/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a golden orange color with absolutely no head. Smells of hops, cascade, I think. Strong hop flavor with some munich malt flavor. Somewhat citrusy with a bitter back end. I really taste almost nothing but hops. There's a little tongue scraping from the carbonation/hops. It's drinkable, but I wouldn't drink it every day.

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Photo of MrHolland
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Well this is my first review..

Appearance - Nice, bright, golden yellow, color when held up to some light. Nice lacing head but it does die down quickly

Smell - Floral and hoppy aroma which really helps create the beers taste

Taste - Very clean at first then a total blast of hops for the after taste. No real alcohol hints.

Mouthfeel - carbonation was normal but it does feel nice on the tongue.

One of my favorite session brews and a great example of the APA style.
Drink up!

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Photo of musingmonkey
4.37/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

As this was to be my first APA, I decided to go with the Sierra Nevada given its reputation as a reliable benchmark. I must say from the onset that I was certainly not disappointed!

Poured from the bottle into an oversized wine glass, a sizeable, bubbly head quickly formed and almost as quickly dissipated, leaving no lacing to speak of... only a ring around the rim of the glass, and an island in the middle that was maintained throughout my drink by several rows of carbonation at the bottom of the glass.

The smell was amazingly fruity. Orange rind, grapefruit, and a hint of pineapple even before my nose was above the glass.

The first sip was sharp and assertive citrus and hops, with a brief but pleasant attack of fiz on the lips. Finish is bitter and more citrus, but seamlessly moved into a gentle floral bouquet... here I had to think for a moment, but the most memorable and lingering flavour was reminiscent of rose hip. Simply delicious.

Mouthfeel is a little thin but bolstered by an immediate burst of carbonation. It would be quite quaffable if not for the desire to savour every flavour. A complex and delightful drink.

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Photo of acrawf6
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I'm drinking one now and saw that i have never reviewed this one. quite a shock to me.

Pours out a nice golden clear with a fluffy white head. sediment in the bottle.

Smells very familier as i get this as a backup always. a nice hopppy aroma. lots of floral smells. kinda sweet. but such a nice hoppy aroma.

tastes great. like i said before- hoppy, but not over the top. i really do love this beer.

Mouthfeel is nice to. good carbonation. nice balance. good body.

Overall a great beer and, IMHO, one of the best session beers. Certainly one you can always fall back on to have a great beer for the night. i can find it almost anywhere, which is a huge plus for when i am at school and these stores pretty much only sell swill. this is a fine american ale.

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

One of the classic pale ales in my mind. Its almost a text book example of what a pale should be. The body is great with a good pale and amber malt. The citrus is right in the middle but not over powering. The hops take over in the end to give it an over all great fresh taste to it. The beer taste very fresh and is great in the summer time.

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Photo of mdagnew
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml Bottle bought from Sainsburys..

Poured a golden yellow / bronze colour... Slightly off white head pours big and foamy which faded to nothing...

Aroma - Floral, spicy, lemony, vanilla, slight sugary notes, light maltiness, hints of honey...

Taste – Peppery, zesty, nice hop bitterness, slight saltiness, some sweetness..

Feel - Quite sharp and dry. Light body.... Very, very drinkable...

Overall - An excellent beer.... recommended...

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Photo of ohitsbrad
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

6 January 2006, Best Before Jul 06

Appears golden in colour with a white medium sized head, good head retention and some lacing. Fresh piney, citrusy, leafy, honeyish, nectary and vanilla aroma. Not such an aggressive aroma as anticipated but greater as it warmed a bit. Tastes fresh and hoppy. Some citrusy fruitiness but more tangy, piney and leafy. A hint of caramel like malt underneath, and a long bitter finish. Light to moderate body with low carbonation. Overall this is an excellent refreshing pale ale.

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Photo of casualbeerman
2.9/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This is a high quality brew from a respected and established craft brewer. So I'm swimming against the tide here. I wouldn't be surprised if I was giving the lowest review currently posted for this particular beer. There are definately people I'd reccomend this for. It is a quality beer with good ingredients and a depth of flavor. But I'm sorry I do not like it.

Appearance- It looked pretty appealing, though I must say its also rather dark. This "pale" is darker than Newcastle Brown (admittedly not a craft brew, but it has the correct color for its style so far as I'm aware). Just by looking at it you can tell its thick. Head is large and very sturdy. I didn't try to float the bottle cap on it, but I'm confident you could do that.

Smell- This was probably the high point of the beer. Its got a really malty punch, and the hop smell is very pleasant. Its got some strong bitter bite in the smell and yes some pine. A tiny bit of citrus/grass as well and some yeast that would probably be quite assertive if the other ingredients weren't so strong.

Taste- This is where the beer started to go south for me. Some of those aspects that made the smell pleasing did not do as much for my tastebuds. The pine aspect of the hops pleased my nose, but not my tastebuds, just like you'd find the scent of a pine tree infinately more pleasant than the taste of pine tar. The malts are once again very assertive: rich, dark, and sweet. But they are probably TOO assertive because the hops required to balance them are too much for me. I have yet appreciate a beer that advertises Cascade hops on the label. I find them more bitter than interesting. The subtle lemon, and even the slightly assertive pine were crowded out by a bitterness that may not have been skunky, but did remind me of grapefruit rind or maybe rubber tires. I'll say it again, bitter does not automatically mean good. I know I'm biassed against really strong bitterness, but when it gets to the point where that one aspect is crowding out all the more subtle flavors from the yeast and hops that make a good beer interesting, then I think the brewer needs to re-adjust their formula. Don't get me wrong, I found some redeeming qualities in the taste, on the balance I did not enjoy this beer very much.
Mouthfeel- Syrupy. That's the best way to describe it. This is a thick beer, and its work to drink it. Just getting through one bottle takes forever, and while it goes ok with food (I washed down a steak with this), it did not quench my thirst well. Even Guiness Draught was more thirst quenching.
Drinkability- The bitter aftertaste wasn't crippling. I did manage to drink two of these in one sitting. But more than that made me feel very full. And I could only drink this slowly because its so thick. And as you might have gathered, the taste didn't send me running back for more.

Conclusion- This is not for me. I think its rather overrated. Though well and carefully made, I think they could have hopped it with something better. I think McSorley's Ale, which is much cheaper, is much better hopped with all sorts of subtle flavors coming through (though its really not that much less bitter, the bitter didn't crowd out the other subtle flavors, so I enjoyed that one anyway). I think the thickness is also kind of excessive. Bear in mind, this isn't billed as an India Pale Ale, or an Extra Bitter, or anything like that. Just a regular Pale Ale. Compare it to Bass, the standard of that type. It's just too thick, dark, and bitter for the type of beer its supposed to be in my opinion. Even though American Pale Ales here are described as "bitter" vs British Pale Ales which are "more balanced" I think this is too much. That said if you want something that's really powerful, really thick, really bitter, and really well made (notwithstanding my own complaints about style and hops) then by all means check this out. It's a manly brew for sure that will put hair on your chest. Me, I think McSorely's Ale is the best American Ale I've tried. Also, be wary of the price if you're not sure whether you like it. It does run you like $7.50 for a sixpack. If you're skeptical, you might want to split it up with some friends (or if you know a good beer bar you can try it there, me I don't recall any place near me that carries this, even in the bottle)

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Photo of LordChesterfield
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Has a very dark yellow pour with a very obvious piney hop smell. Tastes sweet and fruity but is tempered by the very high quality hops. Great retention of pure white densely bubbled foam. makes for a smooth beer to eat with meal for me because the hops make food taste better. I prefer to eat with a tuna-egg salad sandwich, or any fish.

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

Pours a nice golden-reddish color. Color fades a little at the edges. Very clean and clear looking. I'm a little surprised by that actually. The label says it's bottle conditioned, so I expected it to be a little hazy. Finger and half head that lasts. Lively carbonation is visible.

Scent is pleasant, not overpowering. Citrusy hops and a little yeast. Could be a little stronger, but not bad at all.

Taste is also very pleasant. A little lemon at the back of the throat with some wheat and grain flavors throughout. Just a hint of hop bitterness at the finish. It's not a ridiculously strong flavor, but it's very enjoyable. Really quite tasty.

Light to medium body on the tongue. Very clean feeling. Goes down quick and easy. Carbonation is light. Feels quite quaffable.

Seems like an infinitely drinkable beer to me. Everything about it is tasty, but there's not too much of anything. It's extremely well-balanced. I almost want to describe it as subtle. It would be an excellent choice with food, as it wouldn't overpower it, but does a decent job of cleaning the palate. If I was drinking just for the sake of drinking, I would want more, but there's nothing wrong with this brew.

**Edit** Had another bottle of this today (1-4-06) and it was hazy with clearly visible yeast that even settled a little at the bottom of the glass. It was more yellow-gold colored too. Very strange. Tasted about the same though.

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Photo of clabaugh
3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, orange-brown with a thick, foamy head. The off-white head gives way to lacing that clings hardily to the glass.

Smell: Pleasant hoppy aroma imbued with some leafiness. A roasted maltiness also reveals itself in the scent of this beer.

Taste: The hops are less pronounced than the smell leads on. Still some palpable bitterness, but definitely subdued. The hops impart a certain pungent flavor, very much like lush grass. The malts are quite evident, present in toast-like flavor. There is some definite sweetness intermixed, maybe a trace of citrus.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied, with good carbonation. Finishes a bit watery, which is a detriment.

Drinkability: Very consumable; not filling, well-balanced, and a good taste. Tends to leave a sticky, stale aftertaste that is not altogether pleasant though. Could pass for a decent session beer.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,022 ratings.
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