Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

3,007 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: 3,007 | Ratings: 11,183
Photo of Jeffreysan
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, clear, deep, dark, amber color with a quarter of a finger of white-colored head that completely dissolved away into an extremely thin lacing of foam that only partly covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Nice aromas of bready, toasted malt, imparting aromas of sourdough bread, English muffins and French baguettes, followed by some floral, piney hops. I also get notes of caramel, black pepper, honeysuckle and clover.

Taste: Delicious! Strong flavors of toasted malt up front, imparting bready flavors of sourdough bread and English muffins, followed by some caramel-like sweetness, a good amount of black pepper, and a touch of coriander. The beer finishes with some beautifully balanced, piney, slightly bitter hops. Delicious!

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and nicely carbonated. With an ABV of 5.5%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: What a great, fantastic, awesome, American Pale Ale! So beautifully balanced and so delicious!

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Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is an excellent example of a pale ale. This is what got me into craft beer. One day (2 years ago) at the distributor I noted that I wanted to try something different, and that I didn't know where to start. The staff recommended a case of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and noted that it was something nearly everybody could enjoy. I completely agree.

A- Light, fluffy, straw. Moderate white head. Visible nucleation of bubbles.

S- Clean, refreshiong, mild fruity hop aroma.

T- Moderate hop strength, balanced with bready pale malts.

M- Medium body. Flavorful and balanced.

I completely love the new can option, and I think they should just eliminate bottles. They are lighter, easier to carry, sunlight resistant, non-breakable, and they fit better in the fridge. They're also more eco-friendly.

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Photo of donmonkey1
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Beautiful amber with inviting bubbles dancing around. The head is a healthy two fingers deep and hangs around for a long time, with excellent lacing.

Smell: The piney, citrus hop smell lets me know that this beer is the real deal. I'm aching to taste it.

Taste: Outstanding. The hop taste is perfection. It's a lot stronger than most beers with a noticeable hop flavor, but it's not anything like a super crazy IPA.

Drinkability: I can't get enough.

This beer is great. It's one of my favorites and I plan on drinking many of them.

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Photo of bort11
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. Wonderfully bright golden orange color. Active streams of carbonation rising from the bottom. Massive frothy white head that maintained a strong lace until the last sip. The smell is a tightly balanced floral hop with a little bit of lemon. The taste is one of the most balanced of any pale ale I've had. The hops are up front. Floral and puckery but not overbearing. Even amount of malt flavor integrated in. Mouthfeel is light to medium body with just enough carbonation.

SN Pale Ale is a classic. I can easily session these all day, which I had the pleasure of doing over a weekend camping trip. In fact, through a casual survey, SN Pale Ale seems to be the top camping beer on BA right now.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a clear citrus golden with a bubbly inch of bright white head. A thin film lasting the whole beer through and left clinging patches and streaks of sticky lacing down the glass.
S: Clean and crisp notes of classic cascade hops. Pine with a touch of citrus and caramel malt pretty much describe this quintessential pale ale.
T: Follows the nose. This is one of the crispest, easiest drinking beers out there, and one of the best pale ales one the market. Pine flavor is lightly sweet and bitter. I could drink this instead of water it’s so refreshing.
M: Medium-light body, crisp and clean mouthfeel with perfect carbonation. I love it.
O: I am a fan boy of this beer. Before I became a beer geek this beer was so bitter I couldn’t drink it. Now it’s probably the beer I’ve drank the most over the years (despite never reviewing it until now). This is the archetype of the style, and an amazing beer at that. Cheers.

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Photo of TripelJ
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Now Quaffing: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

I am having a hard time stopping to type and start this review because I can't put this beer down. SN Pale Ale pours a nice deep hazy copper-gold with a nice thick, clumpy head. The aromas are clean and pure, a nice floral and hoppy (Cascade?) nose. The taste is what makes this beer stand out for me--an absolute redefinition of quaffable. The taste reflects the nose with a nice dose of hops, sweet malty middle, and some more hops in the slightly bitter finish. I wish I was more adept and describing my perception of this beer, but alas I will let it speak for itself. This is definitely my new 'session beer' and has a permanent home in my fridge (until I drink it and have to buy more of course). Much respect to the folks at Sierra Nevada!

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Photo of ekfinn
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally, I'm getting around to review this absolute staple of American brewing. Poured from a 12 oz short brown bottle into a 16 oz thin-walled goblet. Head is beautiful and clings lace to the side of the glass. Aroma is strongly floral and hoppy. Color is a beautiful golden orange.

Taste is exceptional. This sampling was sampled outdoors on a hot and humid day and served at 38 deg F... a bit colder than many purists would like. Hops and citrus are strong and stand out at the beginning, with a very slight malt coming through a moment after. Hops lingers on the palate long after consumption.

Although heavy on the hops and citrus, this beer is quite simply excellent for many different foods, climates, and occasions, and quite possibly is the reference beer for the American Pale Ale style. Love it.

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Photo of spfldcardinalfan
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What else can one say but almost true perfection? Not too much carbonation, excellent aroma, color threw me off at first but love is blind. The citrusy notes finishes clean off the palate. Beer not quite the same in the bottle. I would strongly urge everyone to try this at least once, or twice, oh why stop there, comes in kegs too!

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Photo of phishgator
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Whether this brew is in a botte or on tap, it makes very little difference to me. This brew is a nice copper hue with a large foamy head. The aroma is of juicy hops and slight bubblegum. The flavor is pure heaven. There is a lot of hop oil and then full malty body, followed by a stiff bitter finish! The body is full. The drinkability is exceptional; I use this as my #1 session brew so it can be drank almost everyday without fail. There is a relaxing quality to three of these....

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Photo of beerphan
4.8/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottles -> nonic
no date

Pours a golden straw orange, with a decent slightly not white head that settles to dishsoap suds. Patchy lacing that is thick and sticky. Carbonation presents itself aggressively than slows to a steady rhythm.

Nose: Citrus hops, um yeah, the kind grown in Northern Cali.

The classic aPa flavor that has been enjoyed for years. Solid fruity hops with a solid yet subdued malt presense. Light grain flavor presents itself occasionally. Bittering is present and easily acceptable for pretty much anyone. Bitterness lingers tamely with just a kiss of sweetness.

Mouth is medium-full with a gentle crispness.

Drinkability is off the chart. Mostly due to an incredible easily quaffable flavor and body. Partly for being available all over. Thank you Chico!

The measuring stick. Period.

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Photo of PhilHeinricke
4.79/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

The Wonderful Taste of Pale Ale in a Bottle

I'm new here. I don't know what I'm doing. All I know is what I like. I had been going to a local micro-brewery for about a year, and their beers had a very distinct taste, a wonderful taste, that I had never experienced anywhere else. I tried a variety of beers from that place, some were better than others, but I began to notice that beers described as IPA or pale ale had that wonderful awesome taste.

I had seen this in the supermarket for a while, but I was never particularly interested. I didn't know anyone who drank it. I had my favorites with which I was very content. But when I noticed that pale ales had that taste and smell that I had grown to love, I decided to try it.

The first thing you notice is the color as you're pouring it into your glass. It's a rich, beautiful golden brown with a tint of orange. Then the smell. It had that unmistakable pale ale smell, and I apologize that I'm not sophisticated enough to describe it better. I don't know hops from barley from wheat. But the taste. That's the taste. That's the taste I've been longing for. Men have died trying to get that taste. I'd be lying to you if I told you it was a good as the tap from the local micro-brewery, but it has that great pale ale taste, and it's in a bottle.

After I tasted this, I went back and got a case of this.

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Photo of golfbeerguy2
4.78/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A great hopped up copper beer. Fruity floral and flavourful. When I'm in the US I really enjoy this beverage. Perhaps my favourite pale ale of all time. (or at this time!)

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Photo of gmoneyproductions
4.78/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz can poured into pint glass
look is copper gold with decent white head
smell is complex started out just malty but as the beer warmed slightly i got piney, fruity citrusy notes that got stronger as the beer warmed
taste crisp and very easy to drink slightly fruity/citrusy very smooth!
aftertaste citrusy as well
love this beer first time reviewed but have been drinking them for years
tastes better from the can than the bottle fwiw

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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 hylton44
4.77/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

O-blessed king of the American pale ales!

You entice my tongue with your sharp, squeaky, citrusy scent. You sooth me with the promise of your rich, dark yellow hue. You brighten my day with a sparkling white, even head.

I love Sierra Nevada Pale Ale! I know countless beverages from pop to beer have promised "clear sparkling" water within their lists of ingredients, but in the S.N.P.A., I really find myself wondering if they have some secret fount that makes this brew as damned refreshing as it is. There's just something clean tasting about it. It carries also a sharp, bitter tang, but it finishes very clean and delicious

Pale Ale is a nice contrast to other styles in that I don't feel like I need to hang around and let it warm up in order to release hidden attributes. Like revenge, Sierra Nevada is sweet and best served cold. I drink it pretty fast and love every second of it. I cannot think of a more welcome Summer drink.

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

Pours a clear, light copper/blonde color with a light and lacy white head. Through the glass you can see the high carbonation levels as bubbles float to the surface and send out a noseful of citrus hops aroma. The drink is very smooth and well balanced. A generous helping of citrus hops overpower the slight hints of complementing malt. The body is very light, crisp, and refreshing. It finishes with a smooth reminder of the citrus bitterness and fades out slowly.

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

This is probably my favourite session beer. Perhaps the fact that I can't get it in Ontario adds to it's allure. I had my first back in San Francisco in 97 and thought "Wow the Americans do make good beer". Canadian youth grow up with a lot of mythology about American beer based on things like Old Milwaukee and Coors.

I liked this so much I brought a few bottles home to Montreal with me. Fortunately it is widely distributed in the States so I always have some when I make a trip to Boston.

It's a beautiful copper colour, with a great head and the hops are very fragrant and well balanced. I love this beer.

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

This is my favorite pale ale, because it's basically an IPA. Today I'm in vegas slurping these out of the 24 oz bottles, so no comments on the appearance, other then memory telling me that it looks fine, with tons of lacing from the hops.

Smell is good, bright cascades baby - there's a reason these are the classic west coast hop!

Taste is as good as it gets for an APA, nice crisp toasted malt with a huge hop backbone, but where it differentiates itself in my book is that it's not just a bitter bomb, but plenty of hop FLAVOR, with a clean finish.

Mouthfeel is crisp and snappy, this is a great hot weather beer, not to heavy in the stomach, I can and have drunk way to many of these in one sitting, very easy drinker - an exceptional world classic!

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.77/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, looked like a traditional pale ale, with not a very large head. It had a hoppy smell, that was pleasent. It had a very "dry" and hoppy taste, exactly what you would want out of a pale ale. It didnt leave much of an aftertaste and was easy to drink. Overall it was a great beer, deffently worth trying, and enjoying more then once.

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Photo of dalimsta
4.76/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


Sorry about the caps, but this is worth it. One of the first craft brews I ever tried, this brought me into a whole new world of beer. I've had it on tap and bottled dozens of times, and it's never failed to please.

The flavor is incredibly rich and bready, slightly-sweet, slightly-hoppy. Extremely well-balanced, and easily one of the best beers readily available. Mouthfeel is just right.

I'd be seriously afraid to be left alone with a keg of this beer.

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Photo of steveh
4.76/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A very old favorite (one of my first micros, when there were but few).

A -- Bright golden with a light cream head that thins to a persistent cap.

S -- Citrus fruit with biscuit malts bringing up the rear.

F -- Fruity citrus hops up front that blend into a mellow, earthy bitterness and ends with fruit esters and mildly sweet, bready malts. Piny bitter aftertaste.

M -- Light in body and crisp in mouthfeel. Slightly spritzy on the tongue.

D -- Goes down smooth and easy, quenches the thirst as a good Pale Ale ought to. King of the style and it keeps its chops.

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Photo of geckointhebox
4.76/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What is to say?!? The more I write the more I want to run to fridge to get another (just to make sure I am reviewing it properly). If you like ales, this is a fine one.

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Photo of sdj5
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Looks very nice. Slightly cloudy peachy-tan color.

Smells floral and welcoming.

The taste is very crisp and clean with the hops hitting you in the middle and most strongly in the aftertaste.

The hops give it a delicious bitter flavor but it's never overpowering or disgusting.

The carbonation hits your tongue and feels very good. The beer is otherwise of a very crisp mouthfeel.

I could drink this all night. It is a fantastic, high-quality brew.

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Photo of thebrood1987
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Very nice looking Pale Ale and has an excellent smell of clean hop orange fruitiness I'm guessing from the cascade hop and some fresh pine smells as well. This is a very smooth beer which has a slight crisp spicy bite with the rich bready caramel malt taste in the middle and then ending with that fruity orange/pine like bitterness from the hops. Perfect amount of bitterness for such a refreshing beer. The hop smell and taste reminds me of Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale.

As it warms I'm getting some more tastes from the hops other than just the orange fruitiness. I can taste some tea and herbal flavors as well which tastes excellent. Perfect craft session beer. This beer is a classic and you can definitely tell why just by the first sip of this incredible pale ale.

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Photo of crob3888
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours an orange-gold with a nice beige head. Some lacing. Aroma of biscuit, orange-citrus zest, lots of floral hops. Flavors of citrus, bready malt, and orange-zest and even a hint of caramelized sugar. Smooth mouthfeel. An excellent pale ale.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,183 ratings.
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