Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale
11,489 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 11,489 |  Reviews: 3,054
Photo of SurlyDuff
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ha! not sure how I managed to never review this one. It's a real go-to beer, and is available ontap more places than I can think of.

For rating purposes I am basing it off the 24oz botttle (which I found for $1.99).

Big creamy/foamy head and amber hue.

Smooth hop aroma, piney and freshcut. Floral and a tad acidic.

Nice clean sharp hop bitterness at first, then a malt smoothness takes over, and then it goes dry and sharp hop bitterness for the finish. An exceptional APA, in fact I think it to be the quintesential APA in every respect. For a big-quasi-regional-semi-craft brewery, I love the consisitance in the quality, fair pricing/value, and good flavors!

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Photo of jjh19
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Golden yellow.

Smell: Grassy and earthy.

Taste: Nice balance. Crisp hops. Mid-tone malts. Nothing overwhelms anything else. The model of what a Pale Ale should be.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and light body.

Drinkability: A pale ale that aims for and hits the straight-down-the-middle pale ale target. Bullseye. A Classic for a reason.

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Photo of bluegrassbrew
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a crystal clear copper color with a nice initial head. No lasting lace though.

Smell is floral and juicy. Citrus and flowers at the same time.

Taste is a nice balance between some very juicy hops (Cascade?) and sweet malts.

Oveall, this is a great beer. One I consider the measuring stick for American Pale Ales. Highly flavorful and highly drinkable.

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Photo of stjarnflikka
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
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 DaveFL1976
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a classic American brew. SNPA pours a golden honey colour with a fluffy white head that sticks to the side of the glass. The nose is sweet but citrusy and spicy with hops. The taste is bigger than most any widely available brew. Plenty of bittering hops, plenty of aroma hops, and plenty of malt to balance it all out.

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Photo of Ieatlambfries
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is an excellent example of an American pale ale. Nice appearance, slight chill haze, small head, nice lacing as the head dissipates. The smell is hoppy/citrusy slightly alcohol like. The taste is in my opinion outstanding for the style. Hops are apparent as is a slight citrus taste. Something vegetive also in the background, but in a good way. Mouthfeel was good also. I found it to be very smooth. Extremely drinkable. I could drink this all night at a pub on tap.

A great beer in my opinion, worth a try if you haven't already. You'll find it to be one you come back to again.

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Photo of fsvan
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into New Belgium globe.

A- Bright golden, with a tinge of orange. Lively carbonation leads to a couple fingers of barely off white head. A lovely looking beer.

S- That piney hop smell that dominates many of the SN hoppy beers, but not without a malt backbone to stand up to it to keep it in check. Barely. Slight citrus notes lurk behind, but you have to bury your face in there to make them peek from behind the pine. A superbly hoppy smell for an APA.

T- Piney hops again dominate, in a way I always expect from SN pale/IPAs. As with the smell, the hops are backed by a nice amount of maltiness, but not too much.

M- Medium bodied, perfectly carbonate.

O- SNPA is the quintessential American pale ale, the forerunner of the style. Is the absolute best? No. But after years of challengers coming forward, SNPA still stands its ground, refusing to budge an inch. That this is so affordable and so easily attainable makes it easy to forget how good of a beer this really is.

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Photo of twelvsies
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a solid beer. Actually it seems to serve sometimes as a crossover beer; it's widely available, a lot of people know about it, but yet it's very good, unlike a lot of popular brews. Appears a vibrant orangy amber color with a typical head and lacing for a pale ale. Fruity hops abound in the nose. Taste is of course hoppy, which is good. A bit citrusy and tangy, but what makes this beer great is that there's an excellent balance of sweet malts in there as well. Feels smooth and creamy, a super-easy beer to drink. Bueno.

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Photo of meechum
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I last had this beer before last night approx a year ago..before I was a BA and absolutely hated it..I thought it was so overly bitter and unpleasant...what a difference a year makes

A - Poured a golden yellow to soft amber color with a nice fluffy white head that fell moderately and left a nice bit of lace

S - Very citric with a hint of the bready malted flavors in there

T - A nice sharp citric hit up front that mellows out and gives a nice full flavor of bread and grains and then finishes with a re-awakening of the citric hop bite that finishes a little dry and crisp

M - Nice crisp and clean flavor with a little drying at the bad aftertaste

D - This may be the epitome of the APA...and is a great example for the style

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Photo of bk3nj
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Maybe the best beer I've ever had out of a keg. no slouch from a bottle either, though. very nice.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

A hazy orangish copper body holds up an eggshell colored head that recedes to a wisp. Lacing is foamy and imitates a world map.

Aroma is balanced with citrus, pine, and floral fruits.

The taste profile starts with a woody, cedar and pine note. This soon transitions into more grapefruit citrus and faint apricot sweetness.

Mouthfeel is a bit dry, but also pretty smooth.

Overall, very well balanced and tastes delicious.

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Photo of CajunCavern
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle - Nice golden, slightly orange color with white head. Citrus, particularly grapefruit and orange peel aroma. Loaded with fresh hops flavor, spicey, that good bitter smack finish. I used to prefer darker beers to American pale ales, but this beer is the one that changed my mind. This beer goes great with crawfish and pizza.

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Photo of feelmefoam
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice light amber color with about a 1 inch thick head that left nice lacing all down the glass.

Smells sweet, with pine, hops, and a little citrus coming through in the nose.

Taste is great, a little piney at first followed by the hops, but not finishing too bitter. Finished up with that citrus coming through again in the end.

This is a light beer, typical of a pale ale, not too heavy on the palate at all with a medium amount of carbonation. Very refreshing.

This is a great beer overall, I love how the hops counterbalance the slight sweetness the brew brings in the beginning. Very sessionable. I buy these in the 12 packs :)



After about a year of drinking better beers and appreciating flavors better, I can safely say that this is the definition of sessionable, and is probably the most solid beer that is readily available to me (like even at the corner gas station). Thus, I've bumped the ranking up from a B+ to an A-. I love this beer.

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Photo of kurp001
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle bought at Shawan Liquors

A moderate pour yields about one finger of off-white head that sticks around for quite a while. Body is a slightly-cloudy amber; pretty much classic pale ale appearance, here.

A grassy hop character is notable in the aroma, along with a mild malt presence.

Again, the hop character is the first thing that pulls through on the taste, while a full malt flavor rounds things out on the finish. Great balance, here.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and crisp; again, very much in line with the style.

In my opinion, this is one of the most drinkable beers ever, period. Yes, the 5.6% ABV technically disqualifies it from the session beer category, but I find myself making a session out of SNPA way too often. The flavors are just solid without being overpowering, making this a great beer to have a few of. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale pretty much has a permanent spot in my fridge, and likely always will.

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Photo of jmich24
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle

A: Golden and slightly orange hue. Quarter inch fluffy white head with nice lacing all the way down.
S: Very appealing floral/citrus hoppiness and sweet malts.
T: Perfection! Very balanced and nice hoppiness.
M: Crisp and smooth, great bitterness.
D: Nice body, Crisp, Smooth, Super refreshing. My go to beer!

Old Standby. Very reasonably priced and great taste. Will always have a spot in my fridge.

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Photo of stockingcpl
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: After seeing another cycler wearing a Sierra Nevada shirt, I thought I'd write a review of one of their selections. I was not let down. This brew pours a light/medium amber color with a thick light tan hear. Plentiful lacings were left. Carbonation threads were observed.

Smell: A light sprig pine essence was detected. The overall fullness was slight, but this is a pale ale, so nothing heavy is expected. Aromatic hops were also detected. The hops may be Cascade hops. I like.

Taste: There is on onset zip that embodies moderated hopiness. Grains were detected during the sustain. Quite pleasant. The flavor is just about right for strength. Very smooth. I'm impressed.

Mouthfeel: This brew displays crisp presence, yet there is no noasty aftertaste to ruin the next sip. Carbonation matches well with the overall presence of this brew. Another great job.

Drinkability: Great brew. Not overly opressive, yet the brew has a sufficiently strong presence to know that the brewers meant business on this recipe. This would be a GREAT selection for a backyard grill-out or an afternoon by the pool.


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Photo of pure_guava_
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a classic.

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

i can remember years ago when i had one of these and said "YUCK" haha oh how the times change...

A- poured a crystal clear topaz honey amber colorwith rising bubbles topped by 2in of dense soapy off-white head with medium retention leaving 1/8in ring and random fingers of lace stuck to the glass.

S- citrus, sourdough bread, yeast and malted milkshake, roasted nuts and grains, and spicy peppery herbal hops with a floral twang to it

T- orange, grapefruit, white wine, lightly caramelized malt, fruity powdery yeast in the middle. the sourness of the citrus and the herbal pine sap hop bitterness cuts all underlying sweetness down leaving a lingering spicy resinous woodsy leafy hop aftertaste with bread and biscuits way wayyy in the background.

MF- perfectly balanced in my opinion, resinous yet refreshing. finished nice and dry and went down like a silky champagne although unlike most champagne, the carbonation was at an ideal level.

D- uh yeah, i could drink this all the time and it's definitely my go to beer when i'm lookin for a bullseye, right up there with old speckled hen and sam adams boston lager.

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Photo of Johnnyrafer
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of karst
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale's most popular beer is a delightful interpretation of a classic style. Pours deep amber color with a overly generous 3 finger frothy white head and long lasting lace. Cascade hops throw off fragrant orange bouquet and spicy flavor. Stong grapefruit crisp taste along with a full-body and complex character.
In their own words: “Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the flagship beer, the one that made Chico famous. It is a flawless beer that opens with bright, perky high notes of maltiness and orange blossom and segues into a delectable hoppiness.”

Keep these around for session they are a sure hit!

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Photo of srrn
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden/copper color, thick head that reduces to lace.Smell is light to me, some piney hops and grass is all I detect. I taste citrus first, followed by malt sweetness then piney hops and a bit of bitterness in the finish. Nice oil to the mouthfeel. Nice and highly drinkable. A classic from a great brewery.

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Photo of berley31
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured with a large, white, frothy head that had good lasting appeal. Body is clear and sparkling, and a dark-yellow (almost orange) color.

S: The aroma is high on citrus (especially lemon and orange), with a definite presence of hops as well.

T: Very nice. Citrusy, almost sweet at first, with a moderately bitter finish. Smooth and balanced perfectly.

M: Light-bodied and creamy, with average-to-lively carbonation.

D: It bears repeating: very nicely balanced. This is a standard in so many bars in the US, and there's a reason why... almost anyone could drink this and enjoy it. And enjoy five of them in one sitting.

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Photo of WeezyBoPeep
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Mostly clear copper color with a golden hue. Thin, patchy head with lace.

S: Light piney hops and grapefruit peel, biscuity grains that round out a nice, funky malt scent...lingering notes of honey and caramel.

T: A slightly sour, carbonated front leads to a perfectly balanced presence of malt and hops. Traces of fresh baked whole wheat bread and caramel. Finishes extremely well with a lingering, earthy fade with plenty of wheat.

D: This is definitely a good go-to pale ale for a summer evening.

Value: Considering you can get this beer at most fern bars and lots of gas stations, this widely available brew is hard to deny as being a serious bargain at under ten bucks a six pack.

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Photo of gianluca88
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DubC14
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 11,489 ratings