Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

11,216 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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 11,216 |  Reviews: 3,010
Photo of ectomorph
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle decanted into a pint glass leaving the sediment behind.

A - Orange and amber in color with a Thin white head that remains intact.

S - Citrus and flowers balanced with malt crackers and bread.

T - Excellent balance between the hop citrus and the bread finish. The Pale Ale standard.

M - Moderate body and carbonation, nice and even.

D - Very high. All day with any food.

 387 characters

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

I poured a 12 ounce bottle into a standard pint glass. The beer pours a clear copper color with a pretty head-and leaves nice lacing. It has a pleasant hoppy aroma- like walking the smell of a christmas tree. The beer is crisp with mild pine accents. The finish is dry with a mild piney aftertaste. A medium bodied beer that I could drink all day. This is the APA all others should be compared to. Overall a very well rounded beer, and one of the ones that got me interested in craft brews.

 490 characters

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

Purs a clear amber/cider with nice big 2 finger white foamy head. Smells of earthy hops with a caramel sweetness. Picked up a citrus and evergreen scent as well. Love this taste, crisp citrus mixed with a great hoppy taste. Maltiness flows through at end with nice aftertaste. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth. Very crisp and light bodied. This is very drinkable. I can't believe I have waited this long to try SN PA, I will be drinking this a lot more.

 449 characters

Photo of beakerboy
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Part of Liquor Barn's Ultimate Brew Crew Nov '06 - Pale Ales

Poured a bottle into a certified british tulip pint glass. The cream colored head was two fingers high and slowly dissipated, leaving a significant amount of lace on the glass. The beer is quite clear and a dark amber in color. The aroma is strong hops and sweet malt. The flavor starts with floral notes, which fade to a medium bitterness. The bitterness is not so overwhelming, it's well balanced. The mouthfeel seems on the light side. A good beer all in all, more hops than many Pale Ales, but not as agressive as IPAs.

 587 characters

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

Bottle from a six-pack purchased for $5.99 (I think it was on sale)at the local Rosauer's. Poured a nice golden amber, with a decent amount of white head. Gave off a nice scent of floral hops with a sweet malt smell in the background. Starts off sweetly like some English bitters I've had, and then the hops kick in. Whoa! Big hop zap! The hops definitely win out over the malt in a big way, finishing off with a big, crisp citrusy note. Mouthfeel is a little thin, but compared to a macro pale, its like a stout. Definitely hits the spot on a warm day (like,!), so long as you are not afraid of a little hoppiness - then again, who in their right mind gets a SN and DOESN'T expect hoppiness. What perplexes me is that my brother, who dislikes hoppiness (he won't even touch an IPA) loves this, and cites it as his favorite beer.

 841 characters

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

Pours a golden-copper color, with a small amount of head and lacing. Immidiate taste is of a citrisy hops (which dominate almost to the point of an IPA) followed by a smooth light malt flavor that leaves a enjoyable slight aftertaste. The body is relativly light and combined with the flavor, makes for a very drinkable beer. An excellent example of an APA. Must try.

 367 characters

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

A: Pours a nice 1/4 inch head and then settles to a thin layer on top. Colour is a orange or a very clean copper penny. Some residue, however it is bottle conditioned therefore to be expected.

S: Hints of sweet oranges, flowers, paired with hint of malt.

T: Oranges and citrus notes right off the bat with malt flavors following not far behind. The hops and the malt are basically side by side in your mouth but not competing.

M: low to medium bodied with a silky smooth feel in the mouth. The carbonation cleans up the palate well.

O: This is a great beer and a must have in any fridge. The balance of the hops and malt is right on, the flavours are very unique and well designed.

 686 characters

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

Poured into the Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Have always loved this beer. Solid and accessible.

A - Pours a nice strong golden color with a nice white head that is about .5 inches and recedes to a nice thin film with a sticky ring.

S - Strong grain back bone that is accented by some nice faint pine character from the hops.

T - Starts of with a nice biscuity malt backbone. Some hints of walnuts and almonds. Nice and refreshing. Some faint citrus hop character that is well balanced with the malt. Piney resin as well coats the tongue.

M - Light, crisp and well balanced. A solid offering.

D - Refreshing and very very drinkable.

 639 characters

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: a beautiful golden brown.

S: Aromatic, with a spicy sweetness, and floral notes.

T: A great mix of bitterness with the fruit and hop notes. It is a wonderful balance, and very impressive for a bigger company such as Sierra Nevada.

M: Very nice, not too full, or imposing. Slightly malty, and compliments the slight bitterness that hits the pallet early in the taste.

D: As always, one of my favorite beers, and a great choice for most any occasion, a great pale ale, and deserves great recognition. Pick a case up.

 570 characters

Photo of Jsalz21
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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

The beer is a slightly orangeish color. It is just a hint cloudy. Fairly good nose of hops. Possibly a bit of pineyness on the aroma also. There is a well balanced taste here. Medium to full body, with a good balance of sweetness to the hops. Still the standard of all American Pale Ales.

 288 characters

Photo of Star80
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought a fresh 12-pack at the grocer store so felt was a fair time to finally review this ale. Definitely a classic beer which for me defines the pale ale style. The beer looks like a pale golden color, pours out with a lot of carbonation and effervescence. Nice thick head and clinging lace from the abundance of American hops. There is always some residual yeast in the bottom of the bottle from the bottle fermentation; I like this, and I try to swirl it into my glass. Smells like, well, hops and some biscuity maltiness, and despite the strong presence of hops I feel this beer is well balanced and very drinkable. This is a great beer to introduce the beer neophytes to the greatness of hops, and fortunately is widely available everywhere. God bless America.

 765 characters

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

Thin white head on an amber body, excellent white lacing remaining on the glass

Beautifully mellow malt aroma.

Malty, fresh made whole grain bread with wood pine on the finish

Medium body with a big feel to it what do I mean by that, I dunno.

Extremely easy to drink. Hey, where did it go?

 301 characters

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

Poured a rich orange into a Duvel tulip with an inch of clinging white head. Slightly sweet citrus aroma with a hint of caramel.

Moderate carbonation and a light mouthfeel. Sweet caramel malt flavor followed quickly by a mild grapefruit bitterness. Nothing too assertive, but well-balanced, light, and easy-drinking. The hop profile wasn't quite as lemony as Sierra's Summerfest, but this one was equally suited to a summer evening.

 433 characters

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

A- Slight chill haze in the golden body. Thin white head sticks well to the sides.

S- Some sweet malt undertones with some grassy, citric hop aromas on top.

T- Semi sweet, bready malt base holds everything together. Grassy and citrus notes from the hops jump in on the malt base. Finish is a touch dry with a some final sweet citrus coming in.

M- Smooth feel with a crisp finish and good carbonation level.

D- Really great session beer; goes down smooth and crisp. Would recommend this one for sure.

 503 characters

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

The beer pours a very nice orange-amber with lots of evident carbonation and a 1.5 finger frothy cap.

It smells resinous and hoppy with some florals and the aroma of clean laundry, peach notes, and some yeastiness.

The taste is clean with some hop bitterness, honey, sweet biscuits and florals.

The mouthfeel is fantastic! It's creamy and soft and full in the mouth with a lovely smoothness and a crisp finish.

Drinkability is also good, though I shared a large bottle with a friend.

An all-around winner pale ale!

 519 characters

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

Appearance: Ale poured to with a gold-white head that dissipated slowly leaving no lacing. Dark gold color with a slight touch of red.

Smell: Rich without being overpowering, well balanced notes of hops with a hint of yeast and fruit

Taste: Nice malt notes with a touch of hop bitterness at the finish. The taste, like the smell is "well rounded" without simple or overpowering notes.

Mouthfeel: Okay but nothing impressive. A bit on the watery side without the desired creamy notes. More like a lager than an ale.

Drinkability: Quite nice and dependable - an ale I'd go for if there wasn't something more exotic to offer. Good with meals because the taste doesn't compete with the food.

[Additional notes] This has become my "go-to" beer. Not being as big a drinker as most here on BA, I only drink five or six beers a week. Currently two or three of them are SNPA; I can understand why so many people consider this a gold standard to measure other beers against. While I'm not a "monster hop" fan, I've been very fond of the bold, clean hop flavor that's short of an IPA but unmistakably a west coast brew.

Considering how often I keep coming back to this beer, I've upgraded the 'drinkability' score significantly as well as the 'mouthfeel' (those fine bubbles are very lager-like and do a good job of refreshing the palate.)

 1,346 characters

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.

 675 characters

Photo of ajmoody76
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bought at local grocery. 12 oz. (355ml) bottle into a pint glass. a shade lighter than copper with a nearly white head. head was a finger width with nice retention.

nose was fruity with citrus fruits. nice hoppy bouquet. not a lot of malt presence. no off odors identified.

great taste. a little hop bitterness but more fruit. the malt does have a place in this beer but takes a backseat to the hops. not a lot of sweetness in this beer.

good amount of carbonation. nice brussels lace. meduim-fullness mouthfeel. grapefruit on the aftertaste.

nice example of the apa style. the hops are a little out front. very drinkale beer. actually have had many sessions with this beer. have not had this in awhile. wonderful beer!

 733 characters

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

Poured into a beer glass which produced a nice foamy nice head and a nice nutty brown colour. It had a nice hoppy aroma about it, which did not disappoint as I drank it. A balanced hoppyness lingers nicely on the palate. A beer I could drink over and over, and makes me wish I could get a beer this good, this cheap in Canada. Sigh.

 332 characters

Photo of mwagner1018
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Large frothy heavy body 3 fingers of head following brisk, but steady pour. Light copper, with yellow golden undertones in the color. Sporadic larger bubbles rising, definitely due to the natural bottle carbonation. Takes a couple of minutes for the head to settle down to a nice blanket on the beer. Steady lacing down glass.

S- Nice release of floral citrus hops, notes of grapefruit, lemon zest, and mild pepper, classic west coast.

T/M- Crisp fresh bitterness up front, followed by a nice creamy bourbon vanilla infused malt character, finished by a really nice grassy, grapefruity, acidic and oily, mouth coating bitterness. Slight creamy butter texture, very well balanced, but certainly hop forward. Nice dry finish.

D- A great "go to" west coast style APA, done as right as you can get, crisp, refreshing, but with enough kick, and caramel malt to balance it all out. Every time I have one...I want another one, that certainly defines drinkability...Between this and Anchor Liberty...they really IMO set the standard for what an APA should be...

 1,059 characters

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

Nice clear pale golden brew with a big head as a result of an aggressive pour. Thin head remains on top and lots of sticky lacing clings to the glass. Wonderful smell of spicy hops and malt. Starts out strong and bitter from the hops and then smooths out with some maltiness and finishes very dry and hoppy. What a wonderful brew. Hard to say american pale ale and not think of this beer.

 388 characters

Photo of jmfc8237
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Has a nice golden brown hue with a touch of cloudyness. Almost caramel in color. Good carbonation and a nice white head boasting a large amount of tiny bubbles. Quick head discipation with moderate lacing.

S- Bright floral accents and citrus aroma. Very well rounded hoppy nose.

T- Lovely bright but not over bearing bitter taste. Gives a flowering aftertaste that lasts and lasts. The alcohol is very understated and has a great transition between the malt and hops.

M/D- A wonderful beer to sip on with dinner. Has a nice silky texture with bright carbonation. I love the price and it goes great with most any meal.

 624 characters

Photo of 3rdRowTailgater
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an American pint glass. It pours a copper color with a nice, big thick head that lasts.

A very nice citrus hoppiness balanced with pale malt. Not too hoppy, not too malty. Great blend.

The taste is pure APA. It's got citrus and piney hop notes along with malt and ends with a slight bread taste. Really nice balance.

It's not too viscous and not too thin and the taste lingers just long enough. I could drink this all night and I have many times. It's a classic for a reason.

 512 characters

Photo of brewdoc75
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I decided I'd go with one of my all-time favorites for my first review on this site. I've had it bottled and on tap and it is better on tap, however I'm rating the bottled version here.

Appearance: Clear orange in color. 1/2 to 3/4 inch head w/ lively carbonation eminating from below. Quite inviting indeed.

Smell: A nice clean citrusy perfume. Doesn't scream of hops, but lets you know there's some good ones in there. There is a faint sense of malt as well, but not overly present.

Taste: Outstanding. This is what does it for me. The beer has a signature hoppy bite with a pleasantly clean citrus flavor that follows. A touch of light sweetness from the malt that brings you towards the end of the drink. The finale is a enjoyable bitterness which slowly fades until the next drink.

Mouthfeel: Light, refreshing, and always making my mouth crave more.

Drinkability: I usually have the option to buy this in 6 or 12 packs. I can never bring myself to by only 6 as I know that I'll end up going back to the store.

Overall, this beer is the reason why I am now an aspiring beer geek. It made me cross-over from the mass-produced garbage I used to drink so much in college. Now, as I try a multitude of other great craft brews, this beer is still there. I compare it to the original 3 episodes of Star Wars. I can experience it over and over again and never be let down. In the end, it will always bring me happiness.

 1,427 characters

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,216 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.