Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding
2,957 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale
BEER INFO

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,957
Ratings:
10,988
Avg:
4.05
pDev:
22.47%
 
 
Wants:
287
Gots:
2,881
For Trade:
2
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,957 | Ratings: 10,988
Photo of eberkman
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful reddish gold with a nice, white head that leaves some lacing and sticks around for a bit. The smell is of citrusy hops and some sweet malt. The taste is very well-balanced -- the same malty sweetness balanced out by a pungent but not overpowering sour-citrusy hop bite. Nice, crisp mouthfeel with good carbonation. Extremely drinkable.

I really can't find any flaws -- the perfect session beer and the perfect beer to keep around to go with absolutely anything. I love this beer. A true classic.

 516 characters

Photo of PhiloPsych
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

What a great (everyday) beer! It's not extravagant as craft beers go, but it is fit for most any beer occasion--great by itself, great with pizza, great for me tonight with slightly upscale hotdogs, but could hold its own with a nice restaurant-style dinner, too.

Light, clear orange pouring from the bottle and in the glass. Fizzy appearance with a light head. No haze at all. Piney hops in the nose. Crisp, clean mouthfeel with just a bit of a sticky finish. This is just what a pale ale should be. Definitely the standard by which pale ales should be judged.

 562 characters

Photo of AlesRTasty
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This brew is reliable. It's always good and easy to find. Sometimes when I go out this is the only thing I will drink.
A - Deep golden yellow. Small amount of head atop.
S - citrus hoppiness. very inviting.
T - Again citrus and hops. Not overpoweringly hopped, just the right amount.
M - crisp and refreshing. very nice. Light bodied and great carbonation
D - delicious, I drink this beer the most and it never lets me down. I am so amazed at how consistent Sierra Nevada can make this brew. Definitly a personal favourite.

 529 characters

Photo of John_M
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I don't want to even speculate how much of this I've drunk over the years. A considerable lake of it at the very least.

As others have noted, this really is the quintessential American Pale Ale. I know whenever I think of a pale ale, this is the beer that comes immediately to mind.

The beer pours an impressive copper orange amber color, with very decent head retention and good lacing. On the nose.... mmm.... the sierra nevada pale aroma. There's nothing quite like it. Noticeable hops and malt perfectly intermixed on the nose, with a hint of orange/citrus and ginger. The beer is mouth watering, and as always, I can't wait to take the first sip. On the palate this beer is just delicious. Again, it seems to have the perfect intermix of hops and malt, with just enough hops to keep the beer refreshing and not too sweet. In combination there is a very forward fruitiness to this beer, a mix of orange, cherry and apple I think. The beer finishes very crisply, and always leaves me wanting to take the next sip. I find this beer to be amazingly drinkable for a beer with so much flavor, and I'm not afraid to admit that at one time I could go through an entire 6 pack by myself, or would pound down 4 or 5 pints at my favorite sports bar.

I still remember the first time I encountered this beer (many, many years ago in California). I knew right then that my days of drinking miller, coors and AB products were over forever. For that I will always be grateful. Just an excellent beer. Cheers!

 1,500 characters

Photo of Crotor
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours crystal clear light amber with two fingers of off-white head that lingers, laces, and threatend to dimple. An ideal appearance for an APA.

Smells of bready malt and slight, citrus hops. No esters. Nice and *clean.*

Tastes crisp, with prominent, bready malt. Expertly balanced with the grapefruit rind hop flavor of Cascade hops. No yeast esters thanks to the 1056... Just clean, bready malt and citric hops in perfect balance. A simple and impressive profile.

The mouthfeel is fairly light, and slightly creamy. Entirely pleasant.

The drinkability is top-notch. This'd be a hard beer to grow tired of. Leaves me wanting more. Compliments a wide range of food, and does little damage to the palate. A hell of a session beer.

Goddamn. I'm damned impressed with SNPA this time around. For about the past two years I've only had it as my "fallback beer" when at restaurants, and it's usually been served way too cold, usually in one of those frosted tulip-pilsner glasses. Drinking it now, at the proper temperature (so that I can actually *taste* it) it's way more nuanced than I'd thought. When ice cold, all that I was able to taste were prominent, citrus hops. Now that it's warmed up, I can taste the depth of bready malt, and the hops seem to be in perfect, complimenting balance. This beer must've blow people's minds when it hit the market back in the 80s...

 1,383 characters

Photo of doho95fu
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is the beer I drink most consistently and that is due to its own consistency. Sierra is always good - never had a bad bottle. The appearance in amber and clear, the smell is good but doesn't really hit me with anything. The taste is great, with the right amount of hoppiness, doesn't blow you out with hops. Nice head and lacing.

 337 characters

Photo of BigRedN
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Poured from the 12 oz stubby twistoff bottel into a standard pint glass. Color of the beer is an orangish/copper hue with a 1/2 inch white head. Dissipated to a thin covering left good lacing down the glass. Clear with some carbonation evident.

Smell: Hoppy, mostly citrus fruit with some floral notes. There is also a hint of sweet caramel malt, but I notice mostly the hops.

Taste: Outstanding. Hoppy on the outset, balanced by a firm maltflavor in the middle. It finishes hoppy. What I want in an APA, very well balance and not too strong in any diredtion (although it maybe leans a little towards the hoppy side which for me is good for the style).

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, lightly carbonated. Smooth and well balanced beer.

Drinkability: I believe this is the first 5 I have ever given. Just a perfect beer to drink. I was wrong in a previous review. This is the APA by which to judge all other APA's. Helping this beer out is that it is available practically all over (I have seen it in gas stations) . Purchased a six for $5.99, practically a steal.

 1,081 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle of a classic beer which I poured into a standard pint glass. The color is a light orange yellow and clear. The head is a frothy white cloud. The smell is hoppy and I also detect a perfume quality. The taste is crisp and also has elements of perfume. Very balanced and the drinkability is awesome. I could easily put down a sixer.

 341 characters

Photo of Lothore
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Long time standby, first time getting around to reviewing it.

A- Pours a deep rusty copper hue with a foamy, 2 finger off white head that leaves lacing on the way down.

S- Grainy, lots of floral hops.

T- Bready with deep grainy undertones leading into a nice hop bite.

M- Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- This is the quintessential american pale ale. In my opinion the best widely available beer on the market

 433 characters

Photo of MSchae1017
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer was tasted in a pint glass from a bottle.

This beer pours an amber gold with a frothy white head that dissipates in to a thick film that lasts and laces the whole way down the beer. The smell hits you initially with the aroma of the hops. First of all the distict floral and citrus flavors that are so common. There is also a hint of some lightly toasted pale malts. The taste is also fantastic. The hops are obviously the focus of the beer but this does not prevent the beer from preventing some delightful sweet and toasted malts. Again the normal floral/citrus hops are most prevalent but once the beer is tasted the citrus flavor seems to dominate. The mouthfeel is carbonated well with some nice thickness. There is also a welcome dimension of bitterness associated with this beer. Overall I really enjoy this one and have to give it a 5 on drinkability. This is one I will come back to again and again.

 921 characters

Photo of SargeC
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Deep golden color with an almost perfect, off-white head. Carbonation lazily flows.

Smell: Crisp hops, sweet malt.

Taste: Beautifully balanced to highlight the ingredients. Good initial hop flavor that evolves into hearty malt flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Nice staying power with a semi-dry finish.

Drinkability: Classic American ale. Great session choice. Very refreshing and goes with everything.

 421 characters

Photo of Mikeyr89
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Golden in color with a nice two finger head, the beer poured perfectly and probably had the best mouthfeel of any beer I've ever had. (Granted that number is nothing compared to most on here) This was the first time I've ever had a beer and enjoyed the hop flavor! (Again I'm new) but I do hold this beer high among those I've had for it was wonderful. I have to add it in there too, that at this price (7.99/six) it's certainly hard to beat. Full of flavor and not at all too powerful!

Very great!

 500 characters

Photo of nickthetick
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a clear golden orange into a DFH Off-Centered glass with a finger and a half of dirty khaki head that hangs around for a bit and is continuously replenishing itself.

S: wonderful dark citrus greats the nose with a burst of grapefruit, sweet oranges and lemon. There is a distinguishable malt aroma of biscuits, caramel and honey.

T: much the same as the nose the citrus is the most formidable taste on the palate but is not overbearing on the sweet malt notes that make up the backbone to the beer.

MF: a medium to light body with a great effervescence, crispness and very refreshing.

O: the quintessential pale ale, the one I bring to all the parties and enjoy quietly at home. The almost light body keeps it very drinkable and the malt qualities keep the palate fresh to taste the next one.

 809 characters

Photo of Gusler
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

It's with a certain amount of shame that I must admit, that I rarely drink my favorite beers like SNPA, as I'm to busy with all the new beers, or some over the top beer that has caught my fancy, its a shame when we forget our "Old Friends", whether it be beer or people, something I plan on rectifying in both cases.

The beer disembogues the stubby brown 12-ounce bottle a slightly hazy amber color, the head portly and off white in color with the left over lace a fine velum like sheet, that obscures the glass. Oh what a wonderful nose, malt, citrus crisp, hop floral, and just plain sniffable, with the start rich in malt and somewhat sweet, top is middling in its feel. Finish has a determined acidity, the hops wonderfully spicy and the aftertaste desert bone dry. Sorry "Old Friend" if I have ignored you lately, it was not intentional.

 845 characters

Photo of tekstr1der
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Golden pour with white clingy head. Smells of fruit and slight pine. Crisp and slight bite initiallly with a smooth, semi-sweet (amazing) middle, and clean finish. Drinkable in quantity!

 186 characters

Photo of joecast
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

re-review 11/5/06
ahh snpa. good to know its available down here. pretty surprising seeing it sitting next to mgd and bud ice, the only other us imports we get. (and its not out of date, score!!)
not much to say about the beer. ive probably changed a lot more than the beer since my first review, well, my tastes at least.
upped the drinkability .5, other than that, i hope it keeps coming.
---

wonderful copper in color with a thin layer of white foam for a head.
great nose filling hop aroma.

hmm. i think i can actually taste the hop oils in this. it must have been dry hopped with the stuff. really nice.

flavor and aroma compliment each other very well.
this beer is packed full of mouthwatering flavor. but i couldnt honestly call it a session beer, if only because my pallate isnt quite trained up to handling it long term in one sitting. seriously hop accented but enough malt to back it all up.

 920 characters

Photo of BeerAficionadoMCMXC
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer many times in my life, but now I am tasting it professionally as an amateur. It is an incredibly balanced beer. No wonder SN has had such success with it. I hope they put out better seasonal beers though. This one gets an 9/10 in my book.

 257 characters

Photo of Rainne
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got my start on APA's and this one is a classic. Had lots of bottles but dare I say I like it even better on tap.

A- Copper orange/red color. Nice head and less retention than the bottle and lacing is very nice. Pretty.

S- Something else comes out on tap. A little earthier maybe? Great balance of hops and orange as well.

T- Likewise. Hops up front and malt balanced with orange and earthy floral notes.

M- Medium body, smooth and dry. Crisper on tap?

D- Super drinkable.

 477 characters

Photo of MACrist
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

LOOKS: Poured aggressively into a Nonic Pint glass. Nice 2 finger, off white, foamy head. Lots of small bubbles streaming up the glass. Color is a clear amber-orange. Leaves a fair lacing down the glass.
AROMA: Floral sweetness and honey right off the bat. Pine and citrus/mild grapefruit rind. Lots of floral/jasmine here.
TASTE: Sweet and bitterness are nicely balanced here. Mild citrus and pine notes, this beer came in a winter variety pack and the beer is exactly three months past the bottling date. Probably would be a bit more flavorful if newer, same with aroma. But that is what is available.
MOUTHFEEL: Medium light body, not overly dry, not overly slick...in the middle. Perfect carbonation to this beer, prickly on tongue.
OVERALL: I think a super fresh bottle would pop a bit more, but this is still a great tasting brew. An easy drinking, pleasant brew that would appeal to a wide audience.

 906 characters

Photo of stimulus
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a deep amber / golden color with minor lacing and a very small head.

S: Smells very hoppy, like other pale ales and IPAs I've tried. Also catch a whiff of citrus a bit later.

T: It tastes very much as it smells, with hops dominating the flavor profile, along with a faint hint of citrus at the end.

M: Quite light with some carbonation. Goes down very smoothly.

D: At 5.6%, there is very little alcohol burn as it goes down.

 487 characters

Photo of bkeach
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S.N.P.A: My go to low abv summer day drinker. In my opinion this is the best representation of a basic pale ale. So consistent on the balanced hop flavor, mouthfeel crisp and refreshing, very drinkable and just plain delicious. SN has been the most consistent brewery from my experience in the profiles of their beers. SNPA is always a safe bet, and goes well with many types of food.

 384 characters

Photo of MrNuggets
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big white head with good retention. Leaves me with strong lace. The light with a mix of grain and hops. Mmmm... balance, I like balance in my pale ales. Expecially in something I will be drinking alot of. Which this one is good for. Easy on the carbonation and about as drinkable as it gets.

 291 characters

Photo of mjtiernan
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz can poured into an oversized tulip

A: Fairly aggressive pour creates a nice fluffy white head. Color of the body is a hazy golden with slight copper hues. Average head retention and spotty lacing.

S: Generous citrus and floral character with hints of pine. Some tangy sweetness is a nice complement.

T: Taste has all the components of the aroma but the sweetness is muted and the hops really explode. The citrus provides a nice bite and then transitions to the floral flavor that I think is the real signature of this classic brew.

M: Body is light to medium. Texture is a little watery but the finish is dry. Carbonation is above average and those scrubbing bubbles do an excellent job of cleansing your palate with all sorts of foods.

O: My gateway craft beer. I’ve been drinking this on and off for about 15 years. A special beer with a classic flavor that is refreshing in the warm weather and satisfies completely.

 931 characters

Photo of WeissGary
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is an exceptional beer! It features a fantastic amber colour, a somewhat grassy aroma, and complemented with a ’bitter but sweet’ taste. It feels like this has a lot going on in terms of its taste, body and aroma. In terms of drinking, this beer has sipping qualities; a very easy to drink yet rewarding and complex beer! I would absolutely suggest you pick this up if you get a chance, I know its quite well established in the USA but it seems to be picking up over in the UK today, if you spot it, give it a shot!

 524 characters

Photo of matdot
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap from Pastis in Dunwoody, Georgia. Accompanied by Filet Mignon and Truffle mashed potatoes.

Appearance: Golden orange with bubbles and a small one inch head. Bubbles filled the sides of the glass and were not trying to escape.

Smell: Sweet, caramel and butterscotch.

Taste: The taste of caramel and sweet malt.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, not heavy at all.

Drinkability: Great I drank three pints and it did not leave me bloated like other "filling" beers. Bring another!

 497 characters

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 2,957 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.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe