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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: 11,046
Photo of tjsdomer2
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Not overly carbonated. Nice transparent brown color. The yeast on the bottom gives it a nice touch in this category.

Smell: Almost smells a bit like oranges to me. Well-spiced, malted, and hopped.

Taste/Mouthfeel: The yeast in the bottom can create a problem, especially if you drink this later in the day...it can give you a bit of a sore throat in the morning if you don't wash it down. Otherwise, taste is very pleasant. Kind of like cinnamon with a peppery bite.

Drinkability: Not the most refreshing beer, but that's not it's purpose. Would probably be decent with dessert.

Overall: I know this craft beer has gained a followig. While I would not rave about it, if you find it cheap, try it. Thumbs up.

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Photo of jsh420
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours golden orange with a 1 finger head that leaves spotted lacing

smell is mainly malt but also the hops are present citrus grapefruit with some earthy grassy notes

taste is very much the same - but the hops hit you first grapefruit mixed with the grassy hops then a finish a sweet malts

mputhfeel/drinkability is where is beer loses me - way to harsh - and too much bite and sting

i used to love this beer but boy do times change - it is still a solid beer but if this is the gateway beer i think the craft party might lose some after trying this

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Photo of DeutscheJeff
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was my introduction to Sierra Nevada, and I have to say despite the overall lackluster taste I have been introduced to a brewery that has much better beers. I just wish I had bought Torpedo first, as this to me is far too similar to the standard macro-brews available. Perhaps if I ever have friends who need a beer to drink while over at my house this will be my choice brew, but otherwise this one won't be gracing my fridge again.

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Photo of foles
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First thing I noticed was the nice smell - orange peel like? It poured a nice head, and a very attractive amber/orange colour. And then on my first few sips the mouthfeel was a bit acidic, but that was maybe more to do with the strong alcohol - 5.6%. Once it settled down it tasted quite nice, with nice carbonation and flavour.

I cant help thinking it was better when I had it on tap in the united states. But it is still a good beer from the bottle - if a little too strong for a session beer.

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Photo of redneckchugger
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

poured into my mickey mouse pilsner( its great don't knock it)
shade darker than than straw pale, inch of clingy white head, good lacing
piney hop smell
piney hops on the tongue too, bit of malt in the back, goes down well, classic beer, the be all and end all of session beers IMO

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Photo of nfo
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's hard to rate such a sentimental favorite, which was probably my introduction to what I now consider "good" beer and serves as the benchmark I use to rate other beers. But since I'm well stocked on it at the moment... The citrusy hops aroma and flavor and crisp, bitter finish set the standard for west coast pale ales. The only bad thing I can say about it is that I've consumed so much of the stuff that it can get a little boring. But if I haven't had it for a while, when I finally do it's clearly a great beer, a true classic.

Most beer drinkers can probably agree that this beer's most important quality is its availability. I love that you can get it all over the country, and it shows up all the time in crappy bars where I'd otherwise have to fall back on well drinks.

edit: trying to calibrate my scores, having trouble keeping it all internally consistent

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Photo of stumac
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

pours up good looking golden brown, nice white head. definite hop spicyness in the nose. also some subtle malt. there's a little bit of citrusy hop smell too. also taste of hop bitterness for sure. pretty light bodied, medium carbo, easy drinking, great session pale.

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Photo of cptnjck101
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Well I finally got around to this American classic. It wasn't bad, it wasn't great, above par in every category, but I couldn't drink more than a few of these. Can't really say anything about this that hasn't been said before, good for the style, but nothing to write home about. A must try for any connoisseur of the cold ones.

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Photo of tykees88
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orange colored with a slight head when poured into my glass. I like the smell of citrus and obvious hop action. the taste is just alright to me though, I like pales and ipa's for that matter but this one just didn't hit it home for me on taste. I feel like there was something off or just something in it that I didn't like. Anyways a good beer that I will drink again someday down the road.

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Photo of midaszero
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear golden color with 2 finger of puffy white head that sticks around

S - Citrus (orange and lemon) and hopes. Almost a slight sweet caramel note

T - Crisp with some orange flavor plus lemon peel with floral and spice notes.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation

D - Pretty decent. Personally I found several other pales more drinkable but this is a good stand by and usually readily available.

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Photo of giblet
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

i have had this beer on and off over the past few years. very good and easy to find. pours your typical medium orange color. smells citrusy hops but mild. very pleasant flava and feel. this is a pale ale that should be tried!

suckem up and movem out.


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Photo of rawfish
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear orange amber into a snifter glass with a rising head of nearly three fingers. Some sediment visible. Retention is average and the suds manage to leave a small ring of lacing on the glass.

Faint grapefruit and pine, some hawthorn berry notes with a caramel malt back bone. Nothing really stands out.

Caramel and bready malt with some grainy flavors before shifting to a pine resin and grapefruit hoppiness. Not too intense but with a lingering bitterness and slick grapefruit on the tongue.

Average body with adequate carbonation. Sticky malt leaves a coating for the hops to act on while remaining bitter and attempting to dry.

The pale ale that is the standard to which many are judged. Sierra Nevada really puts out a good, consistent product. That being said I remember being floored by this pale ale when I first got into craft, it was like a mini IPA, but times and tastes have shifted. A good, always available starter beer that I wouldn't turn down.

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Photo of BeerAngel
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light orange color with a 2 finger head that hangs in through half of my SNPA trip and leaves a lace all the way down. Smells of hops and a light woody smell that gets your mouth watering. The taste is initially crisp with a taste of bread and tons of hops that is characteristic of S.N. It has a light bodied mouthfeel and this is a beer that I could drink a few of these bad boys. Cheers!

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Photo of teg8612
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a nice copper color with a thick head. Slight residue gets left on the glass.

S-The smell is good with the hops dominating with a hint of floral notes.

T-Taste is smooth with the hops standing up and begging for attention. Not really terrible that a none-hophead can't enjoy it's wonders. Not real malty or it might just be overpowered by the hops however there is a nice hint of citrus and flower to even out the brew. More bread-like malt flavor as it warms.

M-Mouthfeel is medium with an upundance of carbonation. Crisp and dry.

D-This is a great beer to sit around with and have a few. Alcohol content is higher than normal but not overly so which means the evening won't have to end too soon. One of the better APA's out there that really has become the standard for other breweries to follow. A great step to work your way up the hop-ladder to the big IPA's out there.

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Photo of rtepiak
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a surprisingly good beer when it sits. i've had this before and it wasn't so promising. this has been sitting around for about six month and spread the hop range. nice citrus... not astringent but a nice mild apple and grape along with the floral clean palate in the finish. although the carbonation is sufficent... the malt is too lean for the yeast quality and it has a fingernail yeast flavor. although its extremely easy to find.

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Photo of TheBierBand
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a couple bottles of this before the Reds game at Game Day Sports Bar just down the street from Graet American Ball Park, Cincinnati.

I poured the bottle into the 16 oz plastic cup to produce a 1" off white head over an amber colored beer. The head dissipated to a thin cap over the course of drinking this beer... lacing.... somewhat (even on a plastic cup).

The aroma was of floral hops with a bit of a sweet/malty profile in the background.

The taste: fairly good. Good hoppy taste but not overbearing. The malt came trough to balance this out.

Mouthfeel: nothing offensive hear. appropriate carbonation and not too thick... a good "gateway beer".

Drinkability: decent beer, best I could find at Game Day... nothing special. I'm sure that I'll have more... wouldn't turn one down....

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Photo of nomad
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a pale gold that was strongly orange-hued. Also had a huge frothy head, very little carbonation, and a lil' bit o' lace. Smelled of fresh hops and clean malt, but mostly hops oil. Also had some clean and easy scents of grapefruit, all faint and moderate though. Did I mention the hops. Taste is a pleasant refreshing bitter with a soft golden malt underneath. The yeast imparted an earthiness and combines with bitterness; the flipside is that the yeast creates not the best finish. With a smooth watery mouthfeel a touch viscuous from all those hops, this beer has great drinkability. In all a simple quality pale, in fact, the classic.

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Photo of Bonkinishwa
3.69/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. 5.6% ABV. 12oz bottle poured into snifter.

Look: Translucent golden color, with white lacing present.

Smell: Smells of fresh tropical fruit, hops, and pine.

Feel: Smooth and carbonated, balanced out.

Taste: Just like fresh tropical fruits, with some wheat and hop flavors throughout, and counteract each other nicely. The aftertaste is grainy, and reminded me of saltine crackers.

Overall: My first American Pale Ale style of beer. I usually stay away from IPA's, because of the high bitterness, but decided to try this, to get introduced into the style of bitter beers. I was pleased by how it wasn't overly bitter, and how the ingredients weren't covered by it. I did enjoy it, and am eager to try some more of the same style. Recommend to those who wish to get into IPA's, but don't want an extremely bitter beer.

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Photo of schmitter
3.69/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is the beer that started it all for me (and I'm sure many others). Before Sierra Nevada came into my life, it was all Busch Light and natty for me. But now I have seen the light and honestly opt for different (better)beers these days.
Anyway, it poured a nice reddish amber into a pint glass with only a slight head. The hops kick is nice, but not wuite enough for me. There is the regular citrus notes and the biting aftertaste associated with the style. I could (and have) drink a dozen. Basically, thank you Sierra Nevada for showing me the light.

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Photo of Cascadia
3.69/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a great every-day beer. Always worth the price to grab a half rack of Sierra Nevada for the weekend. Consistant and clean, nice and hoppy with good flavor balence and highly drinkable. Can't go wrong with this beer for a sessions beer. As close to a marco/micro beer as you'd wanna go.

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Photo of perrymarcus
3.69/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a SA "perfect pint" glass.

pours a slightly cloudy amber/bronze tone with a little short of two fingers' light beige head; very impressive retention, some lacing... great looking beer.

nose is a bit underwhelming with light citrus hops and a bit of pine evident.

strong hoppy profile frames the taste; balanced to an extent by a caramel malty presence but clearly hops is the dominant character in this one. some hoppy bitterness to the finish. nothing crazy delicious here, but moderately tasty and refreshing.

medium-body/medium carbed mouthfeel... high drinkability score, easily a "session" type of brew.

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Photo of Haydn-Juby
3.69/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Clear looking with some slight cloudiness approcing as the yeast from bottle conditioning was poured. Golden color with perhaps an extremely light amber hue. One finger of head with nice retention and lacing.

S: A good balance of sweet malt and citrusy hops.

T: A very balanced and evenly matched combination of sweet malts and bitter hops. Bitterness is good and not too overwhelming for a Pale. Some light citrus is made present and perhaps a touch of very slight piney flavor. Sweet slightly toasty malts make up the other half of the beer and make the beer more balanced.

O: A good drinkable beer. It would not be unsuitable to drink two or three of these at a BBQ or get together or any other social occasion but not really something I would be satisfied with during a massive hop craving. It was good and balanced as it should be.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Deciphered the bottle code to reveal this 6pack was bottled on August 9th...but eh well, such is the best you can find in a little hole-in-the-wall alcohol/fried things place in the middle of nowhere.
Poured into tulip; clear golden orange with a nice fluffy white head that leaves rocky, sticky lacing as it descends lazily.
Smells mostly of metallic malt, with a lingering hint of spicy hops. Not really any citrus to be found, sadly, in a bottle this old.
Taste isn't bad, although it's very obvious the hop flavors have faded greatly. Begins with a spike of herbal and spicy bitterness and some grassy flavors with the ghost of citrus that once was, then moves into very light, clean malt. Finishes wet, clean and a little bitter.
Mouthfeel is light and effervescent, very pleasing.
Overall, I picked this up because I had always skipped it over for something else, and I figured I should try SN's flagship, but I regret doing so with such an old 6-pack. I am loathe to associate myself with those who whip themselves into a righteous rage over the thought of a store that lets IPAs sit on shelves longer than a week, but it's nothing so ridiculous to acknowledge that 4 months is too old for this beer.

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Photo of dafizzif
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours with 1 finger off-white head. Near transparent amber color. Laces nicely down the glass.
Smell: Not too strong, citrusy smell.
Taste: Up front it has hints of citrus, and while not too hoppy or bitter, the bitterness really lingers (nicely).
Mouthfeel: Very crisp and refreshing. Not overly carbonated. As said, hoppiness really stay in the mouth for a while.
Drinkability: Very drinkable. Could drink many in one sitting.
Very solid APA that is now a staple in my beer diet as it is a great value and easily available.

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Photo of GimmeAles
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Crystal-clear gold, with russett highlights. 2-finger head receeds to a confident 1cm sheet which stays to the end. Collapsed head leaves nice lacing.

Floral, herbacious hops greet the nose with a slight citric prescence hinting at what's to come. Slight detection of toasted Malts.

A metallic-tinged, citric hop blast hits the tongue with some toasted malts racing in from behind. Like good lemon squares with a biscuit crust (minus the powdered sugar garnish), and hint of
toffee in the back provide some light sweetness.

A nice refreshing and light mouthfeel which is a bit prickly at first (from the bottle conditioning, presumably), settles down to smooth-out the mouthfeel. Decanting into another vessel would help lessen the initial gassiness. A solid, session American-Pale which I'm glad to see hasn't changed over the years and is widely available.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,046 ratings.
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