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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Reviews: 3,007 | Ratings: 11,182
Photo of dreadnatty08
3.59/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light caramel color. Super bubbly and topped off with a fluffy white head. Aromas of that nice grapefruity Cascades, so distinct with SN. Also a bit of a biscuity malty background. This is perhaps one of the most balanced beers I've had. Hops are assertive, yet not overpowering. That bready malty character gives it great body and complimentary flavors. This is a perfect everyday beer as it doesn't get in the way of foods nor is it boring. However, I feel it's a bit too syrupy on the tongue, a little out of character for this style. Would also like to see some more dry hopping for additional aromas. Overall, a rather average beer, not my favorite of SN.

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Photo of Crosling
2.26/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Amber color with a large covering cream. Stinky, doughy and sweaty yeast aroma, which hints of medicine and vitamins, unsuccessfully attempts to disguise itself with a lightly aromatic, herbaceous and floral hop scent. Light caramel in the nose as well, but pretty much just stinky yeast and dulled hops. I still find the yeast character to be obtrusive upon tasting, though not as bad as the aroma. The malt flavor is very light and grainy and to me, doesn’t blend well at all with the mildly aggresive hop flavor and bitterness. The hops which shift from herbaceous, to floral to piney (on the finish) are moderately pleasing, but overall, this is just a poorly balanced beer, plus the yeast stinks or something.

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

Finally got to try the famous SNPA, on a recent trip south of the border. One of the specialty selections available at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. Enjoyed a 12 oz bottle with lunch.
Nice, light orange color with an short white head. Smell of lots of hops, and a hint of pine - perfect for the style. It tastes of a lot of hops, some lemony citrus, some pine, some floral, but all well balanced. This is a hop-lover’s delight. This feels great in the mouth. The carbonation is not overdone, the brew has a creamy consistancy. It’s complex with lots of flavors, but not over the top, making a very drinkable American Pale Ale. The benchmark for the style.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Original review (10/10/02)
What can I say? This beer is well known by anyone who has been bold enough to venture outside the confines of American megabrewers. A wonderful teasing light aroma that gets the mouth watering *right now*. Initial taste sends the citrusy components evenly across the palate. The hop bitterness patiently waits its turn, then smoothly transitions the mouth experience, allowing one to easily pick up the full hop flavor. Outstanding. Once it all subsides, there is just enough trace bitterness residue in the mouth that it begins to act like a magnet to whatever vessel currently holds the remainder of the brew. I can't explain it, kinda like the commercial says, 'It's like (beer) science, you can't mess with science".
An experimental beer aged for 3+ years...

Appearance - pours a honeyed orange/gold color, quite nice. A quick life to the head, it leaves a few nice ropes of lace but quickly ends up a loose cover. 3.5

Aroma - a rather average hop aroma, mildy citric, decidedly underwhelming.2.5

Taste - ahhhh, that's more like it. A brief play of sweet malts, swept over by the appropriate wave of piny hops, enough to keep this beer fresh for quite a long boat ride. Ends with a strong grapefruit rind finish which become more prominent as the beer warms. All the requisite elements of the long program have been met with minimal deduction (my ode to the '06 Olympics). Yum. 4.5

Mouthfeel - hefty carbonation, sturdy body. 4.5

Drinkability - my palate tends to tire of IPA after a while but this is one I could drink several of. 4.0

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Photo of Enola
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a beer that you can find almost anywhere. The color is a light amber. There was little head. The smell is like a fresh cut pine tree. The taste is fairly bitter. The mouthfeel is filled with lingering bitterness. I could session these but this is not my favorite from the style. All in all, an average beer.

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Photo of Phatz
4.31/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is one of the easiest drinking beers I have had. It is a very mild beer that is not a ‘bring out the fireworks’ beer, in any individual aspects; but the simple pure fact that it is so easy going makes it a perfect choice for just about any occasion. I had chili tonight and it was great next to that. It is also great next to burgers and dogs or BBQ chicken. It is a great party beer that is easy to simply accept and enjoy with out much thinking. From time to time I like beers that are puzzling, then other times you just want an approachable, sessionable easy beer like SNPA. Here's the breakdown:

Appearance: Pours a golden amber slightly orange hue. Small white head with decent retention. Plenty of active carbonation bubbles.

Smell: The smell is not as large as I would have expected. It is subdued but very pleasant. Slightly toasted malt aroma, a suggestion of white bread and a hint of citrusy hops.

Taste: Initially the taste appears straightforward because it is *so* easy to accept. Upon further contemplation I realize it is simply so well balance that you easily miss its beautiful layers. Slightly citrusy around the edge but marvelously malty through the center; this is a beer for swirling in the mouth. There seems to be a slight hint of toastyness through the malt character but the hops make it seem so bright it is simply brilliantly blended. The aftertaste is fantastic! It is layered, like the front end, with sweet first followed by tingly hoppyness that really encourages you to take the next sip. mmm! Very good stuff!

Mouthfeel: So creamy and smooth yet crisp and especially dry finish. Marvelous!

Drinkability: I think I have already established that the drinkability here is exceptional. This beer is easy and pleasant to drink! The epitome of Quaffable. This my new everyday (no-thinking) beer. I highly recommend it for your next party or cookout or to simply have on hand when you want to knock back something and don’t want to have to think about what your in the mood for. It is a good fall back always-appropriate selection IMO.

Hope this is helpful!

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

One of my favorite "standard" ales. I try to keep some on hand at all times. If i go to a bar or restaurant, this is my fall-back if they have nothing else special. Fortunatly it is often at most places we’ve gone to. Just a little hoppier than most pale ales, but still nicely balanced. Great color, aroma, and lingering taste!

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Photo of Rezzin
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the beer that got me started on craft brews and it's been a long time since I had one. I picked up a sixer today just to have some 'old faithful' on hand.

A - Pours an amber / orange with a soft white head that drops fairly quickly. I need to change dish soap I think.

S - Fruity and citrusy with a slight malty background. Not as hoppy as I recall but it might be because of the beers I've been drinking as of late.

T - Fruity and mild. Hmm... I'm wondering if I have a bad bottle. It's almost tasting somewhat metallic. Easy drinking and good despite the metallic flavor. Perhaps I'm mistaking the citrus for metallic? Nice and crisp with a tiny bit of bitterness at the end.

M - Well carbonated. Smooth yet somewhat on the thin side to me.

D - Well, this went from my favorite to a fairly regular beer. Too many craft brews have destroyed my pallete. Easy drinking APA but no longer as hoppy as I'd prefer in my APA's.

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Photo of Drew966
4.16/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Revisiting an old classic. This beer and Anchor Steam are what started me down the road to good beer many years ago. Pours a pale copper color with an off white head from a brown twist off bottle. Aroma is excellent, nice and hoppy. Hops dominate the taste as well. This is really a standard of American craft brewing, it's consistently good, easily available and quite drinkable.

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Photo of Optimat0r
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

this is a nice beer for 'session' drinking. picked some up when going to the beach last week, didnt know what to expect...i was impressed. smell is light citrus...taste is like a mild IPA, light hops are prominent and theres not much in the way of malts or dark flavors at all. drinkability is very good for this type of beer, you could easily knock back a few without it losing appeal or getting you trashed. my friend quit drinking his miller and kept grabbing my sierra nevada pale ales.

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

A special beer to me. The first craft brew I ever had, this beer cultivated my taste for hoppy brews. If I could rate this beer based on memory alone, it would be straight 5's all the way. But, let's get on with it.

Presentation is awesome. I love the fresh-looking green label.

Poured the beer into a pint glass. It formed a small, white head that faded relatively quickly. It has a nice, but not robust, clear, copper color.

Initially, it smells great. A spicy, floral bouquet of hops. The beer tastes good, but not as good as I remember; maybe my tastes are changing, or maybe this is from a bad batch. Hoppy, spicy, floral, bitter but lacking in overall body with a quickly diminishing aftertaste. It tastes like an awesome beer, but maybe a bit watered down.

Sierra Nevada Pale will always be my first beer love, but I am anxious to find out what else is out there.

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Photo of paulfear
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

it poured a nice deep golden almost copper color, the head was about 3/4 of an inch but the head disapated quickly.

it had a slight hoppy aroma. upon drinking, it had a nice sweet bite and not much of an aftertaste in my opinion. overall pretty pleasant with a nice light body.

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

24oz bomber.

A- deep straw color, with a mighty fine fluffy white head that had very nice retention. White lacing left all over the glass.

S- very clean crisp smelling, smell of cascade hops evident. Slighty grainy smell also.

T- Citrusy hoppy taste hits the palate good, very nice taste. Not really all that bitter, but did have a nice little bite to it as you swallow. Rather dry at the finish, but leaves a citrusy kind of aftertaste.

M- Feels at home on the palate. Not complaining though, cause it doesnt deter that taste or make it hard to swallow. Slighlty coarse at finish.

D- I would very much enjoy drinking a sixer of this stuff. Awesome taste, beginning and end. Definetly as good as its hype. Freakin good pale ale.

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Photo of mghotbi
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a (screwtop) twelve ounce bottle into a pint glass. Clear copper color with ample carbonation leading to a two-finger head with moderate retention and lacing.

The smell is hop heaven - extremely floral - nearly intoxicating in itself. Mouthfeel is not thick but neither is it watery - I'd say just right.
Taste is similar to aroma: a trace of sweet malt quickly balanced by floral hop tones and bitterness but with a very clean finish. The cascades really linger on in the nose - wonderful aroma without the lingering bitterness of some beers.

Exceptionally fine beer - has become a staple in my fridge. A bit filling at 200 calories / bottle, but there's nothing like one after work.

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

Pours a nice copper color with a 1 1/2 finger head that settles into a nice lacing. Mild carbonation, a few bubbles rising to the top. Aroma is subdued, grapefruity hops. Taste is just about perfectly balanced, the malt and hops (pine & grapefruit come to mind) complement each other, not fight each other for dominance. There's a lingering hoppy aftertaste, but again, not overpowering. Mouthefeel is smooth, not heavy or watery, and it would be oh so easy to down one after another as a session brew, as I have many a time during football season. A nice, solid, dependable brew for all...just enought oomph for craft brew lovers, but wouldn't overpower a macro drinker that you're trying to win over.

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Photo of jaxon53
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The Sierra Nevada Pale Ale I would have to say is a classic. One of my favorite beers that never let's me down. Bought many kegs of this , it is great on tap(and also in the bottle) poured a beautiful copper with a nice frothy head. Nice sweet aroma of hops. Great full bodied taste of hops that ends nice and bitter. This brew is very drinkable. Great on a hot summer day!!

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Photo of phishgator
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Whether this brew is in a botte or on tap, it makes very little difference to me. This brew is a nice copper hue with a large foamy head. The aroma is of juicy hops and slight bubblegum. The flavor is pure heaven. There is a lot of hop oil and then full malty body, followed by a stiff bitter finish! The body is full. The drinkability is exceptional; I use this as my #1 session brew so it can be drank almost everyday without fail. There is a relaxing quality to three of these....

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

A nice amber color with frothy two finger head.

The aroma was very hoppy with natural oaky and citrus smells.

The taste was very smooth with a nice hop intensity, that finished with a sweet maltiness. There was also some nice citrus and earthy flavors.

Very drinkable.

A classic American Pale Ale.

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Photo of tattooedtolley
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle.

Appearance: Amber color with plenty of head.

Smell: Citrusy hops slightly malty aroma.

Taste: Sweet malty taste balances the hoppiness, perfectly in my opinion.

Mouthfeel: Medium body that is fairly creamy.

Drinkability: Excellent beer and makes for a good session.

Overall I really enjoy this beer. I find it a good purchase since it is so widely available in my area at every grocery store. There is no other grocery store beer here that I would like to have, a very good APA.

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Photo of sevineyes
3.66/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle with a light green label.

A: Honey in color with an ample head and some lacing.

S: Some hoppiness, but not a big aroma overall.

T: Citrus between grapefruit and orange. Big hop flavor with a clean finish.

M: Coating mouthfeel with a distinct carbonation presence.

D: Very drinkable. No problems there.

Overall: A nice APA. Clean and doesn't have too much of an overbearance of hops even though hops is the dominant presence in this beer.

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

24oz Bomber. In a beer mug. The beer poured a beautiful deep amber with about a 1/2 inch of off white foam that slowly disappears, but leaves a lacing around the sides of the glass. It has a clean, refreshing smell of hopps. Taste is also refreshing. A little fruit maybe at the beginning of the sip...then the hopps give it a nice crisp finish. This is a fairly carbonated beer that makes your tongue tingle. Drinkability: This is a beer that I tried a long time ago and did not really care for. I decided to give it another try and I purchased a bomber. I still was not so sure of it, but my the end of the 24oz I began to appreciate the hopps(for this reason it got a 4.5 on taste). This beer opened me up to many others, and I feel that it is now my standard for american pale ales. Since that first bomber and the fond memory of it I seem to only buy this beer in 22oz format(or on tap). Although I did not like this beer at first I now find it really enjoyable, and extremely drinkable. Its a great intro to hopps.

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Photo of mcarroll10177
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

enjoyed from a bottle and poured into a traditional beer mug

A- dark gold with a nice white head

S- wow there is some hops in this ale you can pick them up in the nose right away an very nice smell.

T- very nice hoppy with a crisp bitterness in the finish

M- nice not to thick not to thin

D- a very drinkabable beer complex yet smooth.

notes- in my mind this beer offers the best of both worlds. it is a wonderful tasting and easy drinking beer but with a very nice complexity to it and the perfect amount of hop bitterness not to much not to little. excellent the flagship beer from SN indeed!

ed note- I have found an inconsistancy in this beers hop profile. Some bottles are really hopped up and out of balance with the other flavors and this effects the taste. However when this beer is on it is one of the standards of the style.

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Photo of evanackerman
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

well, i can't beleive i haven't reviewed this one yet! one of my faovorites.

this beer pours a nice light amber color with a fluffy white head. The aroma is one fo the best qualities of this beer, a combination of fresh baked bread and citrusy hops.

The flavor is very well balanced between american hops and bready malt backbone. very smooth mouthfeel with a nice amount of carbonation, very eady drinking and pleasant all around.

This is definitely a benchmark American Pale Ale, although not quite as good as Great Lakes burning river, this one is a winner.

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

This beer, along with Sam Adams lager, has been my old standby for many years when the pickings were slim at a bar or restaurant.
That's exactly what happened last night when I visited one of the many boring sports bars in Charlotte where the number of TV's outnumbers the selection of beers. The beer pours a slightly hazy, dark golden color with a pillowy one inch head. Aroma is hoppy and fruity with plenty of citrusy smells too. The taste is that wonderful flavor of Cascade hops, grapefruity and lemony, with a nice thirstquenching bitterness backed up with the solid sweetness of malt. This beer has never disappointed me and I have never had a bad bottle or a bad pint of this stuff. I'll take this any day over most macros.

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

Since I figured that this beer hasn't been reviewed enough on this site, decided it was time to throw my two cents in. As is true of most of us on BA I have appreciated this beer for what it represents and for its overall quality for some time. It, along with Sam Adams Boston Lager, has rescued me many times from the otherwise miserable selection of many establishments. For that I will forever be appreciative.

S.N.P.A. pours a light brown color with a full white head. Decent lacing and much bubble activity in the glass.

Smells pretty hoppy. There is a nice citrus aroma, mainly grapefruit on the nose.

Taste is of citrus and hops. Pretty bitter, but not overwhelmingly so.

In the mouth this beer is sharp, crisp and bitter.

Overall, Sierra Nevada lives up to its long accepted status as a moderate classic brew. Nothing terribly complex here, but all of the basics of the style are well done. Classic session beer if there ever was one.

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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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