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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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2,970 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,970 | Ratings: 11,044
Photo of cubedbee
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada is a nice old familiar beer that is thankfully found at many a restaurant serving mainstream swill. Pours a lovely amber with a thick finger and a half of head and good lacing. Smells of citric and piney hops with a definite malt presence behind. Flavor is close to the nose, with grapefruit and lemons coming through and a strong malt backbone. Simple, but good. The mouthfeel is on the ligght medium side and the medium carbonation is just right on the tongue. Overall this is a solid pale ale that is widely available and I always drink when there are no better micros present.

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Photo of diablo14
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

theres not alot i can say abou this beer that hasnt already been said. one of the very best all round session beers going around in the world, let alone the US. its the sort of beer youd be proud to have in your fridge as your standard beer.

theres nothing different in the appearance of this brew from the hundereds of other pale ales out there, and its not the most complex brew going around. nevertheless SN pale goes by the old english beer philosophy of less is more. simple grapefruit zest smell/taste, with a hint of cut grass and sneaky malt in the mix. pleasing hops presence, its floral on the nose, bitter on the palate, and goes down the hatch with a fine zing as it hits the spot. an absolute delight to drink anytime ,anywhere.

all i can say is its a pity you cant just head down your local in australia and pick this up whenever you like, coz its a pearler of a brew

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

Pours a clear golden hue, with a fine bead of carbonation and a fantastic, assertive, citric aroma that comes with a hint of grassiness. A carbonic bite, then smooth smooth bready malt flavors accented by grapefruity hops, followed by a clean bitterness that has me wanting more of the stuff. This is a classic, quenching pale ale with just the right amount of bitterness. The wonderfully hoppy character of this beer come out more when just slightly chilled. The bottle I'm having now is probably just a bit too chilly, but the previous bottle was just perfect. This is an old favorite and possibly my #1 summer beer.

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

Appearance: Pours a pleasing orange color with an inch high, off-white head. The head fades quickly, and there is little lacing, but a bit of the head lingers as the beer is drunk.

Smell: Floral/Citrus with a little grain.

Taste: A bit of lemon and/or grapefruit in the taste with a nice transition to a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Good medium body - "dances" a little on the tongue.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. A great session brew.

Would I buy it again? Heck yeah!

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

Ah, the seminal classic. I find myself drinking this one more than probably any other beer just because you can seem to find it everywhere--even the most pathetic bars and convenience shops. Though it may not live up to some other APAs I've had (Alpha King comes to mind), I find myself genuinely satisfied every time I have it.

The beer pours an inviting light amber with a sturdy head that works itself down after a few minutes. Looks like a pale ale!

The nose is colored by citrusy hops that remind you that you are holding a real West Coast beer.

And then the drink. Malt is mild and upfront, followed by a healthy dose of those lemony, grapefruity hops which eventually turn pleasantly bitter.

What is so fantastic about SNPA is the balance and cohesiveness of all of its flavors. While I love ridiculously hop-heavy IPAs, it's refreshing to have a beer that comes with a sense of decency.

For this reason I can drink this ale all night. Sure, you might get bored, but it'll never let you down as far as quality goes.

A classic of the style and one that is a much welcomed fallback when the only other choices are macros or skunky imports.

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Photo of thetros
4.83/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a jewel within a strong line-up of beers from this respected West Coast brewer.

Consistency comes to mind when I consider this beer as a top 100 contender. The smooth malt and sweet bouquet of hops has a consistent freshness that makes this a beer drinker's staple. For a beer to earn its rank, I believe it must taste good this year and next, rather than just have a fine batch or season.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is appropriate for all seasons as it is heavily hopped and malty enough to stand up to a hearty meal, though fresh and crisp enough to accompany your picnic or ballgame. Medium carmel color and a tamed head make this pale ale a charming pint, indeed.

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Photo of AlexJ
3.28/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is another one of those beers we've all had a million times, but never think of reviewing. I rarely even order it anymore, I guess I had my fill of it in college.

It pours out a clear, pale amber color with a medium sized head of off white that had medium retention and laces nicely.

The aroma is kind of sweet and doughy, not really as I remember it. There's a slight undertone of floral and piney hops. I think perhaps this is an old keg, or from unclean tap lines.

The flavor is very similar to the nose. Bready malts and rather bland, unpronounced hop flavors. I know that this beer is better than this, it must be an old keg.

The body is light to medium with moderate carbonation and a muted floral hop finish.

I remember there was a time when the sight of the green SNPA tap handle at a pub was enough to excite me, I guess those days are long past. I'll choose to remember this beer from past experiences, which were always good. This is one of the beers that has lead us ALL down the path of beer rightiousness. Although our palates have grown, we should all give this beer it's due and proper.

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

Served on tap. Medium amber color, head quickly disappeared. No lacing on the glass. Smelled slightly malty to me. Taste was very good. I liked the bite on the tip on my tongue, and very nice bitterness on the back. Kinda like grapefruit. Very ful feeling in my mouth. Great drinkability! I'll buy again.

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Photo of Schwarzbart
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was one of my favorite beers years ago, but it has been a long time, The beer is darker than I remember with a copper amber color and lots of carbonation. Hop aroma is strong with a faint smell of fresh lettuce? Taste is of that typical Sierra Nevada malted barley, a strong hop flavor for an APA and orange rind which I don't remember from the past. Taste is good with a little bit of bitterness at the end. Mouthfeel is smooth and easily drinkable. A true classic APA in my opinion.

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

Probably the most solid example of the American Pale Ale.

This APA pours a nice copper with a froth white head that holds its sticky lace well.

Nose is of citrusy hops. Cascade all over the place.

Lightly toasted malts enter the palate, but the citrusy hops coat the palate, and leave on the exhale. Goes down pretty smooth and mildly astringent.

Medium bodied, pretty drinkable.

A very respectable APA.

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

Red gold body with a 1" white head. Honeyish malt with very mild spice in the nose. The flavor has smooth malt at the start followed by an excellent balance of hops towards the end. The hops come across better with more sips. Gotta love the balance, nothing is overstated. The mouthfeel is light-medium bodied, very carbonated and it has a refreshing effect. I wonder about the drinkability.. while it would be great to have one or two, and they would be a very drinkable one or two.. having much more than that would be over doing it for me.

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

poured a bright orange color with robust head that reduced to minimal white lacing. Has a nice hoppy smell without being overpowering. The taste has a pleasant hoppiness that fells great in the mouth. leaves a nice dryness that makes me want more. A very drinkable pale ale that would be a good session beer

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Photo of nota
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was very happy when I first seen this beer make it to my store shelves. This beer IMO sets the the standard for all other pale ales. You can review my complete and detailed review of this beer at: http://pilgrims-pub.blogspot.com/2007/12/tasting-notes.html

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

Some times, you just have to go back to the basics...

Pours out bright golden orange and sits amber-tinted gold in the glass, moving from the lightest golds to the deepest ruby-amber in the tulip. Good sized white head, fades to a thin skim, leaving lacings around the glass.

Smells of fresh citrus, oranges, lime and bits of fresh ruby red grapefruit. The slightest hint of pine hangs around. Caramel blends in, and holds some fruity esters, mainly apples, bright and vibrant. All lightly toasted.

Citrus comes out immediately in the mouth, big notes of grapefruit and orange, displaying a tangy pine resin inbetween. Malts seem cleaned out and sterile, providing light sweetness, with faint reaches of carmel sitting on a near crackery core. Finish is nicely bittered, still holding on to grapefruit oils and bits of pine.

Crisp and lively in the mouth, it fails to dissapoint. Medium-light in body overall with vibrant carbonation.

It's just that easy to drink. Simple, yet elegant. It's nice to know there will always beer a beer like this to fall back on.

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Photo of kegerator
3.81/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured out a haz yellow/bronze color with a nice 1 inch head that dwindles but leave a little lace.
Aroma was all hops, citrus, herbal and clightly pine notes. Taste was mostly herbal citrusiness that finshed off dry, crisp and bitter and a nice lemony/citrus aftertaste that lingered around.
light bodied, crisp and refreshing

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

I would be OK I think if I could only drink from one brewery and that brewery was Sierra Nevada.
Pours out a honey colored slightly hazy beer with mild carbonation and little to no head.
Definitely some hops in this beer, you can smell them first and then some sweet malt.
The taste is a quick bitter-sweet that lends way to a nice malty flavor. Then there is a wash of floral hop aroma followed by a bitter-dry finish and a lingering citrus taste.
Mouthfeel is very good for this style. I expected a thinner beer but this has decent body.
A very drinkable beer. I had a couple with dinner and I think a couple more are on deck for the evening at least.

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

Appearance: Poured from the 12 oz stubby twistoff bottel into a standard pint glass. Color of the beer is an orangish/copper hue with a 1/2 inch white head. Dissipated to a thin covering left good lacing down the glass. Clear with some carbonation evident.

Smell: Hoppy, mostly citrus fruit with some floral notes. There is also a hint of sweet caramel malt, but I notice mostly the hops.

Taste: Outstanding. Hoppy on the outset, balanced by a firm maltflavor in the middle. It finishes hoppy. What I want in an APA, very well balance and not too strong in any diredtion (although it maybe leans a little towards the hoppy side which for me is good for the style).

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, lightly carbonated. Smooth and well balanced beer.

Drinkability: I believe this is the first 5 I have ever given. Just a perfect beer to drink. I was wrong in a previous review. This is the APA by which to judge all other APA's. Helping this beer out is that it is available practically all over (I have seen it in gas stations) . Purchased a six for $5.99, practically a steal.

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Photo of maek228
3.38/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the only craft beer I've seen sold at Phillies or Eagles games.

Appearance: Bright vibarany Yellow. Quarter of a finger head with a lace that stuck around for the whole drink

Smell: Hops, floral aromas

Taste: Tastes of lemon rinds, chamomille tea, with a small twang of sweetness in there. Hops are strong and prevalant, but don't totally overpower the tastebuds.

Mouthfeel: A medium bodies malty feel

Drinkability: Not that easy to put down, but the above average taste provides motivation.

This is the standard Pale Ale I suppose

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Photo of Litterbean
4.54/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been drinking this beer for a while, haven't gotten around to reviewing it. Now that I have, I realize why it's one of my favorites.

Pours a amber orange with a nice head that dissipates quickly. Still, a great looking pale ale.

The smell hooks you in. The cascade hops smell citrusy and fruity and inviting. Beneath those is a sweet malty flavor that balances it out, resulting in what I consider the "real beer smell."

Great taste. Sweet, fruity, citrus hop flavor. This is backed up my a warm malt flavor that isn't truly balancing but just enough where the hops don't overwhelm. Still, not bitter and very smooth.

One of my favorites. w00t!

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Photo of bucko
2.8/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

SNPA pours a copper color with a light white head and has a nice, faint citrus aroma. Tipping back the bottle and taking a sip, I find a nice, crisp bite, and while the flavor is good, it's not remarkable. I've had better, I've had worse... good, not great. It's a tasty brew and I'd certainly be willing to buy more, but this just isn't a standout in my book.

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Photo of troutmask96
3.59/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A decent pale ale, nothing too special here. Pours a dark golden translucence with a large head. Very hoppy smelling, with notes of pine and citrus. Taste is actually quite bitter, much like an I.P.A. All in all, a good session brew and an one of my favorite choices when I have to shop at the grocery store and can't make it to my local bottle shop.

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

The consummate APA, to which all other APAs have to be matched up against. It's so deeply ingrained into what my idea of a solid APA is, it's almost a chicken-egg conundrum. Was there an APA before Sierra Nevada Pale Ale? Was there Sierra Nevada before there was an APA? The answer is yes, of course, but I wouldn't know because I'm 24 years old.

So what up-makes this APA? The answer seems obvious; all them west coast hops. That's the flavor, primarily, and the malt could only get in the way if it were to present itself any more strongly. We don't want any of those stinky esthery sweet flavors coming through to ruin our nice green, resiny American hop experience.

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Photo of matdot
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap from Pastis in Dunwoody, Georgia. Accompanied by Filet Mignon and Truffle mashed potatoes.

Appearance: Golden orange with bubbles and a small one inch head. Bubbles filled the sides of the glass and were not trying to escape.

Smell: Sweet, caramel and butterscotch.

Taste: The taste of caramel and sweet malt.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, not heavy at all.

Drinkability: Great I drank three pints and it did not leave me bloated like other "filling" beers. Bring another!

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Photo of BrewRunner
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was the first Sierra Nevada beer I have had. I enjoyed it all around. The color was a nice gold, with an orange hue. The taste was bold, but not over powering with a very small after-taste, which is by no means unpleasant.

It goes down smooth, both when drank slowly and quickly. Highly recommended, and I’m looking forward to trying other Sierra Nevada beers.

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

Pours an apple juice color with a copper hue, three inch head that dissipated within minutes, and some carb action.

Smells like a light/moderate toasted caramel malt with grass/resin grapefruit/orange hops and hints of honey.

Taste has a light sweet acidic toasted caramel malt with the same hoppy taste as the smell and the background may have a slight licorice and cola flavor.

Has a medium body, dry slightly syrupy texture, soft and lively carbonation, and a slight metallic finish.

My choice of beer when at a bar with mostly a commercial beer selection, perfect session beer.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,044 ratings.
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