Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

2,998 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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,998 | Ratings: 11,162
Photo of edward_boumil
3.39/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad beer, good toasty malts. Hops are spicy, piney, and resinous with a tiny touch of grapefruit. That being said to me its a little to crisp and bitter, not super smooth or easy drinking. Kind of thin and not thirst quenching. Definitely not a bad beer just nothing special to me, more of an east coast guy I guess.

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Photo of Profundobaso
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Orange/amber color, generous head
S: A light but detectable smell of the cascade hops: citrus, floral, and pine
T: Initial slight bitterness followed a nice malty aftertaste. Refreshing and simple.
F: Very easy to drink. Medium-bodied and crisp.
O: There may be better APAs out there that are more complex, but this is a fine beer that can be enjoyed by both hop lovers and non-hop lovers alike.

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Photo of LeRose
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The bottle poured a deep golden color with a generous three finger head that fell to about a finger and hung around for a good while. Lots of stick-to-the-glass lacing.

Smell was a nice balance of resinous, floral, and citrus hops supported by a biscuity malt smell. Wonderful, the citrus was just a hint.

The taste followed along, with a bit of bitterness up front, then the hops come in with the floral, milder than expected resin, then a bit if brightness from the citrus that seems more orange or tangerine than the usual grapefruit. Well-balanced, nice malt presence that put me in mind of a pilsener. A little biscuit, a little sweet.

Medium to light on the body, drying enough to invite another sip. Carbonation in the just right zone.

Overall, this is a great beer and I believe you have to add in the value. Available just about everywhere year round and at a very reasonable price. Good take on the style, SN delivers a well-balanced, flavorful beer.

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Photo of NickTrop
4.26/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This, along with Sam Adams Boston Lager arey staple brews. I live in PA close to the DE border where I get a 12-pack of each in cans for less than $30. I appreciate IPAs, strong ales from Belgium, seasonals, stouts, etc., but these are my day-to-days.

Why? Four reasons: 1. balance, 2. quality, 3. availability, 4. price. Price has become a dirty word on beer review sites but these beers represent a great value. They're fantadtic representations of their respective styles produced in high enough volume to make them widely available at a fair price without resorting to gimmicks.

Plenty of others give descriptions of look, flavor, taste. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a high-quality brew that rivals the great beers of Germany but is uniquely American. It's just fantastic. The day I tire of SNPA is the day I tire of beer.

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Photo of ThePold
4.57/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I give it a 5 overall as a tribute to its position in the history of American brewing. It is smooth, just hoppy enough to make one happy, and will always bring back the memories of when it was the only alternative to Bud or Miller at too many bars.

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Photo of Red5StandingBy
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle with freshness date of 8/9/16 into Stein.

L: Pretty golden color with thick three finger white head that slowly recedes into a lasting finger head. Great lacing that stays put.

S: Spicy, floral and earthy almost crushed leaves hop smell initially, transforms into a mellow biscuity aroma.

T: Smoothness like a straight razor shave consisting of sharp crisp bitterness from the hops to begin the complexity of this beer. You get a wonderful menagerie of floral, citrus, earthen and spicy hops. Mellowing out from there the malted barley comes through to take hold. Very well balanced.

F: The medium to low body of this beer with the refreshing balanced complexity to create one of the most easily drinkable beers out there.

O: I recently developed a taste for hoppier beers that thus far I heavily disliked. After realizing this I decided i must try one of the all-time American Pale Ale staples. I was swept away by this beer and will recommend this to most anyone. Well done Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of california_republic
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's a classic that really showcases the importance that Sierra Nevada places on balance. While it has inspired countless breweries to start a hops and IBU arms race, Pale Ale is here to stay for what you go back to when you want a taste of perfection. Not only is it the benchmark for taste, but also price and availability. If service is the rent we pay for living, Pale Ale is the rent Sierra Nevada pays to the world of beer.

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Photo of jrsqc7
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Golden colour with little head leaving some film.

Taste is has hop fruits enhanced by the malts. Bitterness is mild and quite pleasant.

Overall quite good. Very well balanced and tasty.

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Photo of shiu-chan
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour in beer glass, slight cloudy amber gold, with short foamy head. Floral hop and pine bouquet. Nutty and subtle caramel on palate. Smooth and light bubbly mouthful. Overall, a naunce of well-balanced malty & light bitterness.

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Photo of hreb
3.37/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz pkgd 09/07/16. Pint glass. Brassy orange color, moderate white head, crystal clear as SN is want to do. Piny and citrusy hop aroma, which could easily be an IPA. Flavor comes through strong with that same one-dimensional hop sharpness, but finishes with a biscuit malt aftertaste of toasted grain and a hint of caramel. But the bitter and sweet flavors don't work together and compliment each other. Rather, the malt flavor only serves to disqualify this beer from being a hoppy, West coast IPA.

As a pale ale I find this beer to be a failure, and as an IPA, it's just not very good. I deeply regret this this beer has become a benchmark for American Pale Ale, because I think there are some great APAs, and they don't taste anything like this one. I would much prefer this beer broken down into its components and served to me as separate ales: the aroma, bitterness, malt body, and color are all fine, but don't belong together in the same glass.

I do think this beer may be better in a fresh bottle than on tap.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into short bar glass. It pours a pale orange color with one finger of milky-white head and lacing with excellent retention. The smell features grass, pine needles, floral hops, and a whiff of citrus. The taste opens with a nice malt base with grapefruit and a blast of bitter hops. It is super dry and crisp. It's moderately carbonated and with a 5.6% ABV it's very easy to drink. There's a reason this is considered a classic: it's consistently well-crafted, tasty, and refreshing. This is a great beer with which to introduce a friend to the world of craft.

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Photo of Benjolovesbeer
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is by far the best pale ale I can think of, sure there are better beers, better Sierra Nevada's, and better IPA's but this is a pale ale and only 2 beers come to mind and that is Rolling Rock and Sierra Nevada. Rolling Rock used to compare when it was brewed by Latrobe but now it's brewed by Annheiser Busch and is awful. Sierra Nevada stays true to its roots and now brews the only delicious pale ale I can think of. Not to mention it is the beer that got me into IPA's, took me,away from commercial beers, first to inform me there are better brews out there , and it is Sierra Nevada's signature. An American classic. Although better straight out of the bottle this time poured into a tulip:
Look: golden with a fluffy head.
Aroma: pine and citrus.
Feel: medium, malty, and hoppy.
Taste: spicy, floral, earthy, piney, malty, hoppy, citrus, and a lameness dryness only found in Sierra and Rolling Rock.

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Photo of Vetbidder
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice color. I'm getting a subtle scent of citrus and pine on the nose with a nice malt in the background. Everything is working for this beer so far. Ok, so I'm getting a lot of subtle flavors. It's got some hop bitterness and citrus notes to start then flowing into a nice malt finish. I would not call this a bitter beer. It's somewhat carbonated and slightly dry on the finish. Nothing overpowering here but a solid good tasting and well balanced beer. I like this.

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Photo of Holderness
4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L -- Lovely pale orange. Two finger head with moderate lacing
S -- Fruity hops. Mild and clean
T -- Similar to smell
F -- Crisp and refreshing. No lingering off-tastes
O -- The fresher the bottle the better the taste!

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Photo of Beerwithoutallthehops
3.02/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Sierra Nevada (SN) has a wonderful idea about Octoberfest - go with the German idea of making a good one.

What a significantly NON-HOPFEST idea!!!! Thank you SN!!

In gratitude to SN for such a NON "CRAFT" BEER IDEA (NO 150 LBS OF HOPS PER BOTTLE) I decided to try their Pale Ale that gets such great reviews.

Aroma - wonderful and smells like a beer - so far - so good
Looks like a beer.


It tasted pretty good with an OBVIOUS hops presence. Not bad. Due to my hatred of the required 150 lbs of hops per bottle by almost all "crafties", this caught me a bit by surprise. There is an obvious bite from the hops, but it is SMOOTHER than other crafties I have endured.

The taste is better and more like a beer without the florals and spices and lace and knitted aprons that seem to be required by the crafties movement. There wasnt a crowd of old women sitting around talking about this either. A good sign.

Thanks SN, I am glad I stretched my taste spectrum this far. The reward is marvelous. Thank you. Will buy again and again and again. Thanks.

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Photo of detgfrsh
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a bottle dated 7/26/16. Pours an orange color with a finger of white head. Smells of citrus and pine. Light feel with medium carbonation. Taste is a balance of malt and piney hops. A classic and my go-to at places that don't have many craft beers.

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Photo of DarkStar75
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Old Reliable - my standard for Pale Ales. Its just a great blend of the malt and piney hops. This was my gateway into drinking good beer after years of Miller and Coors. The flavor blew my mind...reminded me that beer should taste good! Highly recommend to anyone who's never had one. Excellent beer.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
3.94/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pale light yellow with an off white head.

A nice bouquet of pale malt with citrus, pine, and floral hops in the nose.

Taste is biscuit malt up front with bitter pine and citrus pulling it towards hoppy with a dry nutty finish. The Pale ale standard.

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Photo of FortyouncestoFreedom
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Was my go to for years. Great IPA, I'm no longer a huge fan of the after taste, but it was the IPA that made me start drinking more IPAs so I gotta have love for it

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Photo of KevinSku
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

One of the best beers that is consistently available wherever I find myself. This is in my rotation of twelve packs I pick up, and they don't last long. The short neck, colorful green, and mosaic of rolling hills makes it stand out from most other beers. Overall, a must get. Though their Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA is even better.

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Photo of DEdesings57
4.36/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Age: 1 month old.
Vessel: can
Glass: Teku

Starts off with a huge pop of bitterness to open up the pallet then followed by sweet bready malt to stays in check by the hops. The body is med to full and finishs dry leaving you waiting for another sip. Excellent!

This beer still hold up to this very day and the quality of the beer speaks for it self. This beer came out in 1980. Imagine drinking it then for the first time, a bottle conditioned, all natural, hoppy pale ale with no fillers!

What can I say, A beloved classic, a pioneer in American craft brewing, a beer that has truly stood the test of time, a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

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Photo of Hat_Fulla_Beer
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355ml bottle poured into tulip.

Pours a clear amber-orange with one finger of off-white head that leaves cascading mountain waterfall lace as it recedes.

Smells of cut pine and citrus rind, biscuity caramel malt, wet stone and freshly cut flowers.

Tastes of lightly honeyed bread crust, orange and grapefruit rind and more sappy pine.

Feels soft and fluffy. Medium bodied with frothy carbonation. Finishes dry.

Verdict: Recommended. Tasty and easy to drink.

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Photo of DocRoc
3.35/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A -cloudy cooper, think foamy head >30sec w/lingering lacing
S -clean and crisp, somewhat pine
T -fresh
M -light
O -Quafable pacesetter for rest of Pale Ale month

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Photo of SomethingClever
3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into willibecher glass bottled on 7/27

A: Creamy tiny bubbled white head, body is a bright amber with great clarity.

S: Smells piney, floral, earthy, with a light bit of rust.

T: Light sweet malts play across the tongue while the hops add a piney bit of bitterness on the underneath.

M: Medium bodied also a little lighter very bubbly on the tongue though.

O: It isn't a bad beer but probably one of my least favorites from this brewery. It isn't exceptional in any way shape or form.

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Photo of jamesroses
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz can

Appearance: clear orange, medium to big head of tiny bubbles. Very good amount of carbonation.

Aroma: the weakest point of this beer. Light piny and citrusy smell, with a background of slightly sweet malts.

Taste: grapefruit and piny hops, light malts,maybe a hint of mint. Nice but simple.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, the right carbonation, crisp and refreshing. Grapefruit aftertaste.

Overall: a very nice and enjoyable APA, but a simple one. Refreshing and good taste and mouthfeel.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,162 ratings.
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