Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

2,987 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: 2,987 | Ratings: 11,110
Photo of Gaisgeil
3.48/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark gold with a thin wispy white head. Nose smells strongly of hops with notes of grass and citrus, very "summer" like. The taste is similar, though a bit more grainy and heavier tasting than I expected. Quite hoppy but a decent amount of malt character to match and balance.

Nice APA, but honestly, this is a pretty standard brew within the constraints of the style, very drinkable however.

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Photo of ski271
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of the first beers I drank that got me away from the cheap domestic swill I drank too much of in college. I enjoyed this beer at lunch at Hiway Pizza in State College, PA on tap on a wonderfully spring-like day in February. There are noticeable differences between the bottle and draught, and I think I like it on tap better, but it’s also one of the best quality bottled APA’s out there. This is the APA to which I compare all others, due to its sentimental value to me and its widespread availability, and there’s only a select few I would take over Sierra Nevada (like Red Seal Ale).

This ale is a light amber color with a white, dense, mostly diminishing head with little lacing early. The aroma is more malty than I remembered, but still very nice. It’s also a bit piney and citrusy. The taste is marvelous! A wonderful balance of bready maltiness and bittering hops. The hops are noticeable right off the bat but still rather mellow, but the bitterness picks up a bit toward the finish. And there’s a slightly grapey taste in there. The finish is crisp, medium in length, but just so damned easy-drinking! I think it’s sweeter on tap than from bottle. One of the most refreshing beers out there. I highly recommend it!

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Photo of mjc410
3.42/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz brown glass bottle

Appearance: Small white head over a deep amber-orange body.

Smell: Overpowering hops. I can't smell anything past it.

Taste: The malt shows up here, barely. Slightly sweet, bready. Then the hops kick in and wipes the floor with the malt. The hops are bitey, citric, high-acid. It's a dry, bitter, tough finish.

Mouthfeel: Pretty average.

Drinkability: Tough on the senses. The hops are too much for me. I had to rate it a little above average because it has a respectable power and bite.

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Photo of Vancer
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this before, of course, but never *rated* it. Read a lot of other reviews, kinda surprised by my appraisal of it: Perfect amber orange pour, head and lacing somewhat poor (old beer?). Many people wrote of the hop intensity, but I didn’t notice that much – my notes say a lite hop tang with nice dry aftertaste. Lite & spicy thoughout. Very good overall taste – will have to find it on tap and have another glass (or two).

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Photo of Dithyramb
4.77/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of my old standbys from way back when. SNPA is quite possibly one of the first micro-brews that started this long, strange trip for me. Had two bottles last night while at a very non-beer-knerd establishment.
Presentation: 12oz short brown twist cap bottle and the traditional green label that doesn’t appear to have changed much over the years.

Appearance: Decidedly orange, with a golden hint and a bit of chill haze. Doesn’t develop a long lasting head, but the white lace lays on top and clings all over the glass.

Smell: Raw hop leaves, grains, and a bit of something floral.

Taste: Extremely well balanced, yet tipped slightly into the hop bitterness category.
The hops are stinging when you first drink the brew, almost as if the beer is too cold and it is chilling your tongue. There is a very smooth, creamy, and bread laden malt undertone that holds up well. The hops tip the balance scale on the back end of the flavor profile. Citric floral hops finish, giving a slightly acidic and dry feeling. Very well crafted and worth a few. This beer is the standard of all other APA brews that have followed.

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Photo of clvand0
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this many times, but never reviewed it. Here goes. It pours an orange/amber color with a small head that dies off quickly and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. The aroma is filled with American hops - citrus and grass. Not much else. The flavor has a nice caramel backing and then follows with the citrus hops. This is a solid APA. Nothing wrong at all. Drinkability is good.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've enjoyed this beer from the bottle many a time in the past, but I finally decided to order it on tap at my favorite bar earlier tonight. This is a stunning APA out of the bottle, but out of the tap it's frickin' exceptional. It pours to a clear amber color with a medium frothy white head that stays for most of the pint. The smell seemed somewhat subdued, though I have somewhat of a nasal cold. This didn't kill my judgement, however, as I could still smell the wonderfull citrusy/hop smell. Also, the retro-olfaction was actually improved somewhat, as the odors seemed to get caught up in all the mucuous from the cold. I will definately be revisiting this from the tap wherever available, particularly if there is nothing new to try (though the bar I had this at, the Sanctuary, still has quite an enourmous selection of beers that I haven't tried.) And like always, I could drink SNPA all night, from tap OR bottle.

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

12 oz., bottle conditioned with no freshness date. Pours a golden orange into the imperial pint glass with a 3 finger head that leaves some lacing and a thin blanket of foam. Couldn't resist pouring the yeast into the glass. Has a floral/metallic/grassy/citrus smell. Flavors are a hop spiciness up front with a lasting bitterness. Some floral/citrus notes (lemon?) and grains with the malts getting more pronounced as it warms, along with a bit of yeast. The carbonation is crisp at first but becomes smooth. Easy to drink. Overall a good pale ale with a wide enough distribution that you can always rely on it to satisfy your hop craving.

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Photo of oracle
2.89/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle servered in a shaker style glass

Beer poured lightish to medium copper with a faint wisp of a head that quickly disappeared altogether.

Smell was faint at best, consisting primarily of hops and pine.

Taste was almost non-existant. Not hoppy enough with a sweet cloying finish.

Ugghhh. Sierra Nevada makes some damn fine beers (Bigfoot is still my all time favorite beer), but I'll pass on this one from now on.

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Photo of SkullFission
3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This pours pale (as expected), with a thin head if you're light on the pour. The taste is a bit over-citrusy for my tastes, and I much prefer the SN porter and stout to this, but it still holds its own. The smell is rather nondescript, although it hints to the taste. This is a better compliment to lighter foods than the porter or stout are, and it's the only SN available at the Albertson's which is close to me (the closest liquor store is 45 minutes away, but I still catch it on the way back from university), so I keep coming back to it. A sometimes thin, sometimes thick (depending on age I suspect) layer of sediment dwells on the bottom due to bottle conditioning, which encourages a light pour. Enjoyable, but certainly not the best SN offering.

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Photo of CVC
4.69/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Came in a dark brown 24 oz. (non-twist-off) bottle; served in a pint glass.

Pours a copper color with a two-finger white head. Dies somewhat slowly, and leaves some thin lace. Smells hoppy and herbal. Tastes really hoppy for a pale ale--also has a woody taste. Pretty carbonated. You know what SNPA tastes like. A balanced mouthfeel.

Ahh, the classic pale ale. The taste of this brings back good memories. This beer goes so well with any meal, especially pizza. Mmm. Anything by Sierra Nevada is always welcome in my pint glass.

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

I must say this is one of my favorite beers. Has a very hazy orange color to it. You can see the particals of yeast from the bottle conditioning. The head is fairly large and settles to a sticky lace around the glass. Smells hoppy with a little grain. Bitter spice, citrus,malts, and pine dominate the flavor. A very drinkable pale ale! I think it is the perfect session beer! In my opinion, Sierra Nevada Pale ale is truely a classic American beer!

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

Pours a medium-golden color with a two finger head, precisely what should be in order. Nice herbal hop scent. And a curious accumulation of small yeast mounds at the bottom of my glass. I'm not sure if this is typical or not, interesting sight for an APA.

The malt flavors are dominated by notes of raw grain and bready malts. A slight hint of sugar is layered amongst the very generous hop flavor. Smooth drinking with citrusy, herbal and slightly woodsy hop character. It's rather easy to drink more than one.

Sierra Nevada's flagship...and a good one at that. This should be the standard by which other APA's are judged. This is the lay of the land. Someone order the pizza.

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Photo of Illini5596
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice golden brew which while it has a dissapointing head, the lacing is quite nice. The smell is strong and carries through the classic ale aromas, hops dominating them all. On tasting the first impression is sharply that of the hops, which slowly blends to a vanilla creamy sweetness with a very even mouth feel. The after taste is a twang of sharp hops tempered by smooth cream. All over a very drinkable ale. The level of hops may put off some people but it is very well rounded and masterfully crafted. A good beer drinkers beer, great for sharing with your friends, and a good introduction to master crafted ales.

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Photo of KroMagnon
4.49/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Clear, color is a light reddish-golden (on tap it seems darker to me though). The head is white and dissipates a bit rapidly. The aroma is clean with a bit of maltiness and a nice citrusy hop smell. The flavor is crisp, clean, with a slightly sweet malty base followed by a piney, resinous hop note and a solid bitterness. Several years ago this was the hoppiest beer I had regularly; since then its hoppiness has been surpassed by others, but I don't think any beer is as well balanced and compliemented as this one. This is a great beer and delicious.

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Photo of BruceBeerman
4.62/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah, the sweet nector of a west coast pale ale. The cascade hops with their citrus/floral aroma, the nice bitterness, and the wonderful mouthfeel of this beer it very nice. One of the best of its style.

It is nice golden color with 2 finger head. The foam disapate slowly and nice lacy foam clings to the glass as you drink it. It is bottle conditioned, so don't pour the sentement at the bottom of the bottle (dead yeast). It won't hurt, but just a little too bitter and off flavor as the rest is intended.

I love the history of this bewery and how they were pioneers in developing and marketing the APA style. One of the first and few true west coast micros to be sold in Pennsylvania.

Half of my homebrews are APA style because I liked it so much. SN APA is one of the reasons why. I love the floral cascade hops (and plenty of them).

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

Im always happy to walk into a new bar and find SN pale on tap as the only "Micro" available.
Color is a golden amber, good streaming carbonation. Maybe too good. (swirling...swirling...) Thin and whispy white head that kicks up retreats quickly to a ring around the glass.

The aroma is all cascade - oranges and Flowers, a bit of sugar behind. A good aroma but somehow a bit boring.

Flavor is on style - rich malt up front with soft herbal hop flavors moving accross the tongue. Body is pretty light, hop bittering is there at the end but subdued and mildy dry. Nothing terribly complex, just good, light bodied balance.

Tasty and quaffable, Classic, if not The Origional, American Pale Ale. I seem to remember liking this more 5+ years ago tho...have I changed...? ....or the beer? Possibly both.

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

Pours a golden, all clear beer with a quite thick foam. It is somewhat orange in colour and has a nice carbonation.

Smell is malts, an orange sweetness. There are heavy traces of citrus in there and a flowery character to wrap up the sweetness, like the nectar of this beer :)

Taste is.. great. Its tihck and bready with a caramel like sweetness thats balanced with the bitterness. Butter and flowers flow throughout the sips.
Bitter and sweet blend perfectly and then comes the somewhat prickly alcohol and a large bitterness in the aftetaste together with spicy traces.

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

Pours crystal clear light amber with two fingers of off-white head that lingers, laces, and threatend to dimple. An ideal appearance for an APA.

Smells of bready malt and slight, citrus hops. No esters. Nice and *clean.*

Tastes crisp, with prominent, bready malt. Expertly balanced with the grapefruit rind hop flavor of Cascade hops. No yeast esters thanks to the 1056... Just clean, bready malt and citric hops in perfect balance. A simple and impressive profile.

The mouthfeel is fairly light, and slightly creamy. Entirely pleasant.

The drinkability is top-notch. This'd be a hard beer to grow tired of. Leaves me wanting more. Compliments a wide range of food, and does little damage to the palate. A hell of a session beer.

Goddamn. I'm damned impressed with SNPA this time around. For about the past two years I've only had it as my "fallback beer" when at restaurants, and it's usually been served way too cold, usually in one of those frosted tulip-pilsner glasses. Drinking it now, at the proper temperature (so that I can actually *taste* it) it's way more nuanced than I'd thought. When ice cold, all that I was able to taste were prominent, citrus hops. Now that it's warmed up, I can taste the depth of bready malt, and the hops seem to be in perfect, complimenting balance. This beer must've blow people's minds when it hit the market back in the 80s...

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Photo of santoslhalper
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearence: Pours a clear golden color with a frothy off-white head. Head leaves ok lacing, and a nice amount of carbonation is present.

Smell: Smells mainly of fresh, pungent hops with a decent malt presence. ver west coast smelling.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Tastes smooth and crisp with an almost pilsener-type hop taste. The malts are decent and balance it out well. It smooth and clean in the mouth, but a little too light-bodied for my tastes.

Drinkability and Overall: This is a classic APA that stands the taste of time. Simple and solid. Nothing unique but still a great session brew.

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Photo of aquaderek
3.52/5  rDev -13.1%

I love Chico, a fun school and a awesome beer. This beer can be found almost anywhere, and it never fails to come correct. It is much better on tap, on tap I would have given it all 5s. Lets get to the beer, pours a nice amber color, the nose is complex, pretty hoppy. The mouthfeel is great hoppy and spicy taste. Cannot go wrong with this beer. This beer will be around for a long time. I really like it with spicy food and pizza.

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Photo of Juggernaut
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one was excellent, a very nice gold amber color, with a white head, with good retention. Smelled of slite malt with a good hop aroma, that was very inviting.

The taste was great, very well balanced with a good bitterness that hits you and then slowly fades into some maltiness, with a possible hint of citrus. The smoothness and body of this beer is incredible, and it has a very light carbonation, all making for a beer that could be enjoyed for hours.

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Photo of bceaglejoe
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer poured a dark gold amber into the glass, leaving a decent-sized head. It smelled hoppy, but it wasn't totally overpowering. The taste was smooth and crisp, leaving a slight aftertaste that disappeared quickly. After the initial hop hit on the tongue, subsequent sips proved pretty refreshing. It felt somewhat bitter on my tongue, but the bitterness contributed to the compexity of the flavors I was tasting. I don't know if I would drink many of these in succession, but this was a good dinner beer. I had it with somewhat spicy food, and it went pretty well. It would be interesting to try it with salads, or other types of entrees.

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Photo of dgallina
3.36/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear golden color with substantial creamy white head, lots of lace, and strong carbonation. Smell is strong hops on a grain background. Powerful grapefruit hop flavors with somewhat rough grain underpinnings. Very drinkable medium-light body.

Very fresh tasting, but with a disappointingly one-dimensional flavor profile. Lots of tasty grapefruit hop flavor, but no malts or additional complexity in sight. This sample just didn't measure up to the bottled versions I've had.

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Photo of MrNuggets
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big white head with good retention. Leaves me with strong lace. The light with a mix of grain and hops. Mmmm... balance, I like balance in my pale ales. Expecially in something I will be drinking alot of. Which this one is good for. Easy on the carbonation and about as drinkable as it gets.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,110 ratings.
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