Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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2,966 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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: 2,966 | Ratings: 11,022
Photo of jeffjeff1
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I usually pick this up in bulk at Costco or Sam's Club. I just realized I have never done a review for it so I decided I would do one.

Appearance- amber color, thin head

Smell- First thing to hit was the malt then I got some piney hops.

Taste- subtle hop flavor, some malt

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- This is a very good pale ale. It is Sierra Nevada's flagship beer and probably the beer I drink the most because I buy it in bulk. I always have a case of it at my house. Highly recommended

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Photo of Tyrawlings
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Slightly hazed orange in color with copper hues. Dense white head pours two fingers thick. Good retention. Thin sticky lacing clings to the sides of the glass.

S: Citrus juice. Citric and pine hops. Bread. Caramel malts.

T: The taste of grapefruit and a hint of apple are followed by citric and pine hops that give off a pleasent bitter bite. Sweet balancing malts chime in with a bread like flavor. Touch of grain is followed by a soft citrus presence and the beer finishes slightly dry.

M: Crisp and refreshing. Medium carbonation. Slightly dry.

D: A session beer all the way. Nothing over the top crazy and that is what makes it good. Worth a try.

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Photo of Globetrotter
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the Sophisticated Otter in Johnson City, TN, my SNPA came out a clear slightly reddish gold under a very thin white head that lingered well and left very good lace. Subdued flowery hops greet the nose, while the mouth is met by a very pricky medium-bodied sensation. Smooth malt contends with distinctive flowery hoppiness right from the start, with the hops winning out in the end. There's a very nice bite in the finish, followed by a good lingering bitterness. There's a reason why this is a solid stand-by brew. Can't go wrong here.

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Photo of whiplash3825
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

*Before I start, I want to warn that I usually drink wheat beers and therefore am VERY sensitive to hop smells and flavors!

Hard-poured a nice copper with a four-finger head which dissipated to a lasting cap w/ very nice lacing.

Smell was all floral citrusy hops, which always reminds me of the bergamot in Earl Grey tea.

Taste has a nice hop bite with a clean finish. All I can taste is hops, but the bitterness gets less noticable as you go. Very citrusy and floral. This reminds me a lot of Sweetwater 420 Pale Ale. Probably very typical of the style. The taste lingers, but not in a bad way.

Good mouthfeel, though not nearly as "chewy" as my favorite style which is German hefeweizen.

Very drinkable in spite of the higher ABV. Once I get adjusted to the big hop flavor after a few swallows I can drink 'em pretty easily.

Overall, a very good,easily found brew. I've tried to be kind because I'm just not used to drinking "hoppy" beer but am trying to expand my horizons. I can see where the hopheads would like this one!

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Photo of GClarkage
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11/01/04- Purchased at the local grocery store.

Appearance- Pours with a nice head with little puffy circles as the head dies away. Surprisingly decent lacing also.

Smell- Scent of hefty malt with a equally hefty amount of hops. Definite woody and floral scents.

Taste- Pretty much the perfect combo of malt and hops. A nice citrus tang to it. Maybe some apricot in there that goes well with a hoppy malt flavor.

Mouthfeel- Goes down nicely. Great level of carbonation. Slides down the throat with ease.

Drinkability- For some reason I get worn out on this beer when I drink it too often. For me it's maybe a 12 pack a year. A great pale ale, but one to be consumed only on occasion for me. A good pick though.

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Photo of TempeBeerMan
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A – A crystal clear golden yellow with a two finger white head that disappears very quickly. Head has kind of a “dish soap” appearance. Decent clumpy lacing.

S – Strong aroma of extremely floral, piney hops.

T – Tastes like it smells; piney and floral. Slight citrus twang in the middle. Not dank or earthy at all. Grassy. Airy. While the hop character is indeed tasty, ultimately it’s almost all this beer has. Not much in the way of balance. Finishes extremely clean.

M – Nice carbonation for the style, but ultimately the beer is pretty thin and even a little watery. From the taste I would guess this comes from a complete absence of malt. (Ok, just kidding, I’m sure it has malt, but you can’t really taste, smell, or feel it. Just sayin’)

O – While the comments above would suggest I didn’t like this beer, I've drank a lot of these in my day. This is an absolute perfect beer for a 118 degree Arizona day, and I feel I could easily down an entire bottle without stopping. Also, would make a great “transition beer” from adjunct beers as this one has good flavor but it’s presentation and profile is so mild I couldn’t see it scaring anyone away from craft beer.

(As a side note, I somehow I remember this tasting much more "full" on tap)

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Photo of CBFanWish
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A bronzy color to this one. It left little or no head. the smell was somewhat sweet at first but became super hoppy.
This was an interesting beer. I found it to be rather meaty, if that is a word to describe beer. But I was sort of overwelmed. This is not normally like me. I can drink the hoppy brews with the best of them. I did like pale ale. It is something I will drink again, but I can't make this a daily drink. I'm a wierdo and a hippy.

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Photo of BierStein711
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draft

Pale yellow with off white head

Tastes of pine, hop, malt

Gentle carbonation, but not too strong

Smelled great, and the hop smell is just excellent. Overall, this is a solid beer. I would not commit to a sixer, but I'd have again.

Note: Felt a little flat, but didn't effect taste.

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Photo of EvilFlyingCow
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I just bought a sixer of this. Poured a yellow-orange color with a thick light-tan head with alot of rising bubbles. Malts and hops with some lemon are very noticable in the smell. The taste is malty at first, with strong hops at the finish. The mouthfeel is strong and malty, coating the tongue with its hoppy aftertaste. I will definately buy this beer again when I am in the mood for a nice pale ale.

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Photo of Rezzin
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the beer that got me started on craft brews and it's been a long time since I had one. I picked up a sixer today just to have some 'old faithful' on hand.

A - Pours an amber / orange with a soft white head that drops fairly quickly. I need to change dish soap I think.

S - Fruity and citrusy with a slight malty background. Not as hoppy as I recall but it might be because of the beers I've been drinking as of late.

T - Fruity and mild. Hmm... I'm wondering if I have a bad bottle. It's almost tasting somewhat metallic. Easy drinking and good despite the metallic flavor. Perhaps I'm mistaking the citrus for metallic? Nice and crisp with a tiny bit of bitterness at the end.

M - Well carbonated. Smooth yet somewhat on the thin side to me.

D - Well, this went from my favorite to a fairly regular beer. Too many craft brews have destroyed my pallete. Easy drinking APA but no longer as hoppy as I'd prefer in my APA's.

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Photo of Azurescens
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle with bottled on date 029121011, checked their website and code doesn't match with their formats for '09 or '11 so I assume this was bottled in late '10. Don't really see the point of bottling codes that change format every year, especially if you can't look up the formats for all previous years. Poured into Maudite stemmed glass, reviewed on 4/7/11

A: Pours a slightly hazed nice golden orange with dense fluffy head that I can already see sticking itself to the sides of my glass. Head hangs around for a while and leaves nice rings of lace around glass. So far so good.

S: Good combination of floral hops with some sweet malt aromas and a touch of alcohol and honey, nothing overpowering. Not too shabby.

T: A very noticeable crisp hop bitterness greets my taste buds up front that slowly fades to let the caramel malts and sweet hop resins come through briefly at the finish. Pretty standard taste for a pale ale, nothing special.

M: Plenty of carbonation and a medium-light body, slightly sharp up front with a smoother finish.

O: Pretty standard pale ale, the carbonation and hop bitterness that first greet your mouth hide the nice malt and hop flavors that come through towards the end of each sip. Decent pale ale, won't be grabbing six packs of this any time soon, but wouldn't turn one down either, especially on a hot summer day.

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Photo of fisherman34
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden with a tinge of amber. Hoppy aromas of grass and mild citrus. Some grainy malt flavors combine with notes of citrus hops and white grape skin. Assertive, but not overpowering black peppery bitterness. Not watery, but surprisingly muted. This would probably make a good session beer, but I've had a few more interesting APAs than this one.

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Photo of hooligan
3.64/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

golden beer that foams to a thin lacy white head, no chill haze. Smells like citrus with a leaning towards grapefruit and faint elements of yeast. Clean crisp malt character and an aggressive floral hop taste upfront, with the malt dying down and the hops prevailing on the palate afterward. Slightly lacking in malt character in my opinion, which makes this beer slightly unbalanced with the hop bitterness and strong hop aroma.

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Photo of valdesd1
3.64/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear off gold to amber hue. Obvious little bubbles of carbonation. Didn't pour too aggressively to get a nice white one finger head that dissipated pretty quickly. Good amount of lacing.

S: Nice floral smell. Can't quite get too much out of it though.

T: Nice bitterness up front. Sweet citrus coming through the middle. Not too much bitterness coming off the end, leaving it to be smooth but not lacking in hoppiness. Definitely taste the sweetness from the malts towards the end. Compliments it well.

M: Nicely carbonated.

D: Considering the 5.6% abv, the "not so in your face" bitterness and smoothness, I'd say this is a sessionable beer.

Overall I like this beer. I'd say if you're looking for a standard pale ale, or beer in general, this would be a go to. For me however, I feel like it's lacking in complexity. Maybe i'm just used to other styles.

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Photo of Skrumpy
3.64/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

I have been drinking this beer since the 90s and have have always considered it to be decent. It may not be a favorite, but I can remember so many occasions in which it was the best beer available, and I was truly grateful. The color is a nice amber color, and the smell is caramel malt and some grain. The flavor is malty, a bit sweet, with a bitter aftertaste. A bit watery on the finish. A solid beer though overall.

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Photo of CTbrew32
3.64/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- red/orange amber color thats pours a medium, white foamy head.

Aroma- Mild hints of citrus, pine, and a sweet malt.

Taste- Grapefruit, citrus, pine followed by a bready malt in this finish. Perfectly balanced with great hop flavor and smooth malt finish.

Mouthfeel- Crisp snap of hops at first, with smooth malts rounding it out. Very drinkable with medium carbonation and very little bitterness.

Overall- Can't go wrong with beer for any occasion. Hoppier than I remember in the past, but overall the balance and flavor is great.

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Photo of TheMirrorOwl
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Honey golden amber, voluminous white head, lots of lacing. Tons of carbonation visible, dissipates quickly.

Smell: Floral, citrus fruit and sweet malt.

Taste: Moderately bitter grapefruit flavor leads into sweet floral earthy malt. Pine in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Lighter on the medium-bodied scale. The carbonation dissipates quickly, which I like, but that leaves the beer somewhat sticky feeling. Fairly astringent.

Overall: The hop potency is more akin to an American IPA, which is what I'd call this by traditional standards. No denying this is a great brew. There are finer, but for the money, this is a well crafted IPA that doesn't disappoint. A solid go-to for hop heads everywhere.

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

355ml brown bottle poured into a Young's branded pint pot.

A. Yellow-bordering on orange in colour with a soft, pillowy white head.

S. Fruity malt, peppery spice.

T. Citrus fruit, bubblegum, sherbet notes. A slightly hoppy finish.

M. Medium bodied with some carbonation.

D. Quite a nice interpretation of a pale ale from the boys at Chico. A BIG improvement on their Porter I just had. Also, I appreciate this beer more than when I first tried it about 5 years ago. Like their Porter it is still lacking somewhat in the aroma/palate departments but would take this offering over the Porter.

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Photo of Thrill62
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice copper/amber slightly hazy clear color.

S: Light grapefruit and obvious hoppiness.

T: Strong hoppiness for a mid price pale ale. Mostly bitter with a grapefruit finish.

M: Fairly acidic bite, which I don't mind, also light and bubbly with a crisp and almost dry finish.

D: Good session beer. One of the only decent beers I can find on draft in a couple (non-beer loving) bars in South Florida.

Also good when I don't want to break the bank, but want something consistently tasty.

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Photo of rdub
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at a local Texas Roadhouse. Nice 1/2 inch head which stayed most of the glass. Couldn't tell much from the aroma since I just fired down half a rack o' ribs. Golden dark color also looked nice. Definite hops bitterness but not as strong as some. All in all, a nice alternative to the typical BMC offering.

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

This is a beer that you can find almost anywhere. The color is a light amber. There was little head. The smell is like a fresh cut pine tree. The taste is fairly bitter. The mouthfeel is filled with lingering bitterness. I could session these but this is not my favorite from the style. All in all, an average beer.

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Photo of WesMantooth
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Orange in color. A little foggy. Huge, pillowy off white head.

Smells like citrus and light malts

Tastes like orange and grapefruit rind, pine, and toasted grains. Building bitterness on the back end.

Body is sort of crisp, but very soft and light. It feels kind of creamy on your tongue.

A good beer, but I am not as big of a fan as most.

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Photo of jmvecchio1
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

L-Hazy yellow, high carbonation, rocky head that dissipates very slowly, sediment on the bottom.
S-Hoppy (pine) and yeasty.
T-Biscuity, hops on the finish (hop oil sticks around for awhile), but the yeast is omnipresent throughout the drink.
D-Good drinking beer and sold company.

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Photo of sluggermatt15
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a yellow-orange color with a hazy appearance. Has a nice look to it. Foam head has short retention time.

S- Hops, not too overwhelming. Above average.

T- Clean and crisp. You can definitely taste the hops. Not as much wateriness as I had expected. A little bitterness to it. Above average.

M- Moderately bodied beer, not too overwhelming as far as carbonation goes.

D- Possible to drink multiple. I had this at a bar so I could have had probably 2 or 3, yet only settled for 1.

This is comparable to the other exceptional pale ales out there. Highly recommended if you are a fan of these ales.

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

Pours a very nice copper color with nice head and good lacing. It has a nice scent, slightly floral and hoppy, but it's not as strong as I would have expected. Nice taste, it had excellent American and English virtues, with a nice hoppiness (both citrus and slightly beef jerkyish) with a mellow bitter aftertaste. Goes down fine, a good pale ale.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,022 ratings.
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