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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Reviews: 2,991 | Ratings: 11,137
Photo of beertastegood
4.14/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Been drinking this old standard for a while now, and finally sat down to review it. Pours a brilliantly clear orange/copper color with a half-inch of fluffy white head that has pretty good retention.

Smells of Cascades and more Cascades!!! lovely floral hop aroma to say the least. There is a slight hint of caramel malt in the nose, but the hops absolutely dominate. Love that smell.

Taste: Huge piney/floral hop flavor smacks me in the face, followed by a slight nutty malt flavor that is soon overwhelmed by more hop bitterness, followed by a thirst-quenching dry finish that leaves me wanting more.

Mouthfeel: medium-high carbonation and medium body give this beer a great mouthfeel.

Drinkability: at 5.6%, it is not exactly a session beer, but it goes down very easy.

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Photo of MurphyMacManus
3.91/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber with big, creamy off-white head that sticks all the way down the sides of the glass. Very impressive.

Smell: Spicy and lemon-y hops. Light on the malt in aroma.

Taste: Very light bready malt, with spicy and bitter hops in the middle and the finish. Stood up well to my spicy sausage and double Glouscester cheese.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, for a pale ale. I'd expect this kind of mouthfeel with a stout or a porter, but in an APA this is a very pleasant surprise.

Drinkability: This would be an excellent session beer; I could drink it all day, even with all the hop flavor I'm picking up, due to the fact that the hops enhance the experience, rather than pummelling the tastebuds.

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

I've been happy with every beer I've had from Sierra Nevada and this is no exception.

The color is a nice golden-copper topped by a light head. A sweet floral smell of hops with a light caramel malt aroma.

The mouth feel is crisp followed by a smooth finish. It has a medium bitter taste and a little apple on the tongue.

A great all around drinkable beer. Great with food or by itself.

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Photo of semihobo
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fat little bottle, looks nice. Beer looks great. Head was modest but nice, retained pretty well, awesome bubbling. When I twist the glass the streams of bubbles twist, pretty sweet. Perfect color for an APA, pale but respectable.

Smell of hops, some malts (maybe caramel), maybe spices. Very well balanced.

Yum. Hops on the front, but not as overpowering as I thought. I'm not sure I know any beers, especially Pale Ales, that merge hops and malts so seamlessly. Cascade hops? I'm bad at guessing varieties. A slightly sweet finish. Aftertastes of hops.

Good mouthfeel, carbonation and hops are matched well. Starts off bubbly and intimidating but finishes smooth. Crisp the whole way through. Feels good rolling around in my mouth.

Very drinkable -- an all-around great beer. I see why this is such a staple of the beer drinking world. APAs may not be my favorite, but within the style this is hard to beat.

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Photo of sopor
3.6/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear golden-amber with lots of quickly rising bubbles. Thick slightly rock head dissipates evenly leaving some nice lace on the glass. Smells of slight biscuity malt and citrusy hops.

BIscuit maltyness lead by just a hint of sweetness are quickly joined by an assertive but not overly powerful hops. Hops taste slightly citrus, slightly herbal. Biscuity bready flavors last for the after taste.

A refreshing brew with light body and light carbonation. Very drinkable, not outstanding for any reason, but good.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It pours a super clear golden color with a loose half inch of head at first pour that fell within about 30 seconds to a small ring maintained by a few bubbles rising. There isn't any lacing on the glass after drinking.

Aroma: Citrus hops are the first thing that you notice. It smells fresh and green. There are some floral hoppy notes coming out in the aroma as well. I can get a bit of caramel malts and a bit of a nutty malt aroma like it is derived from British pale malts.

Taste: The taste starts out with the flavor of the hops and then pretty quickly the carbonation kicks in and leads the malt into the profile. Finally at the end of the flavor, there is a bitterness that fades in to be the dominant force at the end of the profile.

Opinion: This beer is a staple of any American beer aficionado’s diet. It is pretty readily available, and tastes good. This makes it common at beer gatherings. The beer overall is really drinkable, even if you aren't a hophead like myself. Here in Houston, it goes great with some BBQ at the local park.

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

I've had this beer many times before. I spotted a case bottled on 5/13/05 at my local distro and decided to make this my session beer for the next few days.

Color is straw bordering on a slighty darker, copper color. Very little white head but nice lacing.

Smells of bread, malty sweetness, and just a hint of hops. Cascade, I think, although I could be wrong.

I taste the malt and biscuity/ bready yeast first, then a punch of bitter hops. Very, very little hop aroma in the nose.

Mouthfeel is very carbonated.

Overall, a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the Land Ho in Orleans.

What a great beer. This is a perfect example of what a Pale Ale should be. It does not have all the characteristics that I truly enjoy, but its balance is so good it’s incredible. The perfect amount of hops, followed by a fruity, but not over powering body, finished by a slight pine ending. Tops in its class.

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Photo of ReebShorts
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a mug, with an Ayinger logo that I picked up at Central Market for $3 (handwashed). Impressive bubbly white head on pour that did not fade away completely (until about half-way through). Color is orange, only slightly cloudy.

Smell is NW hops, yeast, some citrus (orange, tangerine, something like that) was not a powerful aroma, so had to dig the nose deep to pull out the citrus. Smells good, like an easy drinker that's not too sweet.

Ok, first drink I thought, I just found an excellent new session beer. Man, this stuff is tasty. Not overwhelming by any means, but I'd much rather sit around drinking these on a lazy <insert day> afternoon, than bud or something along those lines. I was pleasantly surprised at the lightly creamy finish. Also just a tinge of alcohol finish, very nice, this killed the potential for any lingering effect, instead it asked "please drink again right away, sir". Drinkability on this is off the charts.

I can't belive this is the first time I've tried this as I've been around it in various bars many times, but i'll be sure to make up for lost time now.

Next time fishing with the old man, i'm taking some of these along. He'll appreciate it after the last outing with a halfer of Pabst.

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

Nose is malty and a bit yeasty with some nice floral hops coming through. Pours a wonderful amber with a medium white foamy head. Aroma and appearance combine to make this a most enticing libation. First sip starts with some pleasant sweet maltiness and finishes with enough lingering hop spicy bitterness to balance it out. Medium to full bodied for a pale ale and coats the mouth nicely. This is a very enjoyable beer and I'm glad it's becoming so widely available.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tend to like hoppy beers as opposed to less hoppy beers so this is a great example of what a pale ale should be. It is pale; actually a light to medium amber color. It has a perfect hop aroma and taste balance. One can definitely feel the small bite of the hop bitterness which i absolutely love. A very drinkable beer anytime of the year and on any occasion. I personally prefer drinking this beer with a bacon chesse chicken sandwich and fries while watching any kind of sporting event, preferable college football. A great beer to keep in the fridge all the time (which is what I do).

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

Back again with another classic.

Back when I knew not much about good beer, drinking this was like getting a slap in the face. Drinking my first IPA, that was like getting punched in the face. This beer was a gentle slap to the cheek.

Instantly, when you take the first sip of this beer, you will notice flavor. A bitter, acidic citrusy, fruit punchy flavor. It is hoppy, that's for damn sure. There is also an underlying, rich caramel note, to this beer. Finishes dry, with that lingering bitterness from the hops.

Appearance. Clear as the glass I'm drinking out of. Copper colored, with a head that refuses to die.

Mouthfeel, carbonation is a bit high, but acceptable. There is a slight bit of a syrupy feel, but overall this is pretty crisp.

One of my favorite beers of all time, it is so versatile, and pairs well with a wide variety of foods. Can be enjoyed by itself, either in a pub with a large crowd of people, or as an after work relaxant. The amount of hop bitterness turns off some people though.

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Photo of thechaacster
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazed amber with a modest head that recedes to leave a nice lacing that lasts through the glass. Mild but slightly raw hop aroma. Flavor is highly hopped, floral with citric overtones. Hop bitterness is definitely up there, but a nice doughy malt backbone keeps it all together. Super smooth mouthfeel, and easily drinkable. Being one of the very few truly well known craft beers, it commands respect from American BAs.

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Photo of charlatan
3.82/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a simple, but good beer. There are no frills. The appearance (amber, medium head, a little lacing) is nothing special, and the smell is rather clean and slightly herbal. Hops are the focus here, and while the initial flavour may seem one dimensional, I have rarely found a better hop flavour (again it is very clean, herbal and fresh). The carbonation is good and the finish is pleasantly creamy with a hint of raisins coming through.

This is what run of the mill pale ales should be imitating. Good stuff!

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

I say this is a good vacation beer, for it seems to be the one I order when on vacation, otherthan a brew-pub. Its SN most Available brew in locations that offer little micro offerings. Its nice to see thisone from time to time. Its 5.6% abv is nice for its higher than most macs, so one or two with a day, your ready to go.
The beer itself pours a nice orange/amber with an average, no fizz creamy head. Lace is an added touch.
The aroma is bold of floral, hoppy crispness to the nose. The taste again follows the path of the aroma as a crisp, citric hop jumps first (not over the top strong). A mild sugary caramel malt balances well as the mouth is teased with a mild alcohol feel.
Again, a good drinkable stand-by micro. Kinda like seeing a friendly face in a crowd of macro strangers.

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Photo of ryantupy
3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a bright golden orange haze with a little white head that tended to cling to the glass. Smelled of very strong hops, some floral notes, and some citric scents aswell. Tasted nice creamy and smooth with a very mild malty crispness. I found it a little on the bitter hop side but in an enjoyable way. I really enjoyed this beer and ended up buy another round of it. So i would definatly reccomend this beer.

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Photo of Backer2004
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I haven't reviewed this one yet? Anyway, always a very good choice, though it seems to be one of the more expensive beers in North Carolina at a typical grocery store. Nice copper colored, without too much hoppiness. No bad characteristics to speak of . . . I'll still pcik the Flying Dog Pale Ale for the price alone.

I do recall now having the Sierra Nevada comped on my stay at Bally's in Vegas, which was a plus.

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

SNPA... Snuh Puhhh... In my experience, one of the most readily available brews to be found in bars outside of Bud Miller and Coors.
Quite the change up from the common three.
This actually has color, aroma, and quite a backbone when it comes to flavor. This one spits in the face of all that is typical macro flavor.
This brew has balls.
Big ones.
It's not afraid to jiggle them.
SNPA isn't my favorite beverage... the bitterness that lives there isn't for me. But I like knowing that it's out there.
Kind of like the drunken irishman that will beat the hell out of the frat boy that gets out of line.

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Photo of Sixpoint
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on-tap at Stout in Manhattan.

My sample poured a deep orange, almost amber color. I always admired how Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was a little deeper and richer than most pale ales.

The aroma? Usually, it's pretty impressive. I don't know if this particular keg was old, but I had virtually no hop aroma in this one.

The taste was well-balanced, very dry in accordance with style. There are a significant amount of flavor hops to round out the bitterness in the aftertaste.

The beer was medium-bodied and drinkable, and altogether, an American classic.

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Photo of cooter
3.29/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a macro-like yellow. Head appears creamy and very light. Carbonation light to none. Above average but not spectacular lacing.

Mouthfeel is sticky, hoppy, somewhat sugary, but very metallic and granular near the end. I've never gotten that from this beer before, and I've had a few in my day. Somewhat rice-y in front, but smooth.

Taste includes bitterness, a hint of hops, grapefruit, and some of both green apple and melon. Pungent kick near the end of each swallow of alcohol. Rather nice but needs either mellowing or less light when stored.

This beer is all over the place today. Creamy but grainy, flavorful but plain, smooth but cloying. Maybe this is a bad one, but there's some saving grace due to it being a style that can handle adversity--it does.

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Photo of danielharper
3.4/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Purchased from Great Spirits, Huntsville, AL.

Looks good, with a nice solid amber coloration topped with a foamy snowcap of head. The head dissipates over time, leaving little lacing, but it seems to fit the characteristics of an APA pretty well.

Smell is quite distinct, so much so that I can almost use it to describe other things, "like a SNPA". Really pretty overwhelmed with hops, but unlike other heavily-hopped beers, it doesn't seem to be overdone or unpleasant. It's just, well, how a SNPA is supposed to smell. Pretty decent, although I find it a bit uncomplex.

Unfortunately, this beer tastes pretty much just as it smells, and while the simplicity and hoppiness of the aroma are nice, the same things in the taste seem overdone. It's nice that the beer is well-hopped and pretty balanced overall, but there are no other flavors that jump out at me at all, and the beer leaves a bitter aftertaste that I don't really find enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is moderate, with a nice foamy carbonation mixing with a watery consistency to make something reasonably unique. I goes down smooth, yet it coats the tongue quite nicely. Pretty decent.

I tend to associate this beer in my mind with Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and of the two, the SA is my favorite hands-down. I can see why this is so well-respected by BAs all over the world, and I enjoy one now and again, but this beer isn't anything really special, and I find myself satiated for it after just one.

I do find it better on-tap, though. I had one at Ted's Buffalo Grill in Nashville, and found the quality much-improved over the bottled variety. Unfortunately I've never found a place in Alabama that serves it on-tap, so I am unable to test this hypothesis in a reasonable manner.

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Photo of Tim460
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Golden-orange color with a small white head that quickly dissipates.

Smell: floral hops and citric as beer warmed a hint of grains appeared.

Hops very apparent at first with bitter taste. As beer began to warm a malty taste kicked in that balanced out the beer nicely. Medium body that goes down smooth. This is a very drinkable APA and one of my favorites that is readily available.

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Photo of mjohn27603
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours yellow golden from a 24 fluid ounce bottle. Aroma is of piney hops with with some sweetness. Head develops into 1 head and then goes away within a minute or two. Sip reveals a piney hops flavor with some bitterness if held in the mouth for a while. Hops seems to dominate here. A very solid beer that you can find in many run of the mill places. Not citrusy hops flavor. Still a pale ale without running into the IPA category. Some slight sweetness too.

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

Appearance is a cloudy orange with white foam and clinging lace. Aroma is floral hops, green leaves and lemon blossoms. There are some barley and malt notes, too. Initial taste caresses the tongue with silky smooth crackers and malt, balanced by dry hoppiness. Ethanol fumes work through the sweet grapefruit hops and brown sugar. Good beer!

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Photo of DogFood11
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Solid american pale ale. Drinkability is high due to its unique flavor and aftertaste that keeps you coming back for more.

Color is an amber shade....head that retains for a few minutes. Tons of carbonation.

Smell is earthy with some charcoal and slight alcohol...

Taste is the best part of this beer, can get a bit musky, cardboard in the nose but the hops eventually kick its ass. I find this beer highly drinkable at 5.9%abv and a taste that doesnt make you want to switch beers...

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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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