Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

2,990 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: 2,990 | Ratings: 11,132
Photo of djohnse
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had the Pale Ale before this but time to sit down and really think about it.

Appearance - Light amber color with a very light haze of what appears to be carbonation bubbles. Light head formed, dissipating fairly quickly.

Smell - Hints of citrus fruit aroma with malt thrown in.

Taste - Really upfront fruit at the start followed by a mellower bitter taste and finally finishing with the fruit and malt.

Mouthfeel - very light, only coats the mouth for a second then goes away.

Having it again reminded me to keep having more, I have a hard time really finding anything wrong with it.

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

Clear golden, copperish poured into a pint glass. Head retention is minimal, very carbonated, nice lacing afterwards.
Cascade on the nose, right away. Crisp, citrusy piney. Sweet on the tongue, with a nice bitter kick, not too strong. Great balance of malts and hops. Highly drinkable, always makes me ask for more. Great session beer.
One of my favourite American Pale Ales. Highly recommended.

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Photo of nickapalooza86
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear orange color, got a little of the yeast from the bottom in the pour floating around in there. Canned 5/2/13, half finger of white head

Smell is pine, citrus(lemon), bready malt

Taste is complex, yet simple. Starts with a bitter pine, floral like hops, spicy citrus, lemon zest, backed well with a nice malt presence.

Mouthfeel is spot on for a APA, clean and refreshing, slightly dry, but not at an IPA level. Zestful carbonation gives it a very clean finish.

Well this is a classic and the number 1 selling craft beer in the country for a reason, a lot of flavor, sessionable, approachable, drinkable and did I mention very affordable. If you call your self a beer drinker and have not tried this one stop reading and go grab a six, or even better a 12!

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

Appearance- Pours a medium brown color with average head that lingers for a bit on the top and subsides into light ringing.

Smell- Somewhat hoppy with hints of citrus mixed in, a very even, mild aroma.

Taste- Opens with a bit of a bite, nothing harsh, but the hops assert their presence, this blends quickly into undertones of citrus, and then finishes with a smooth fruity bouqet.

Mouthfeel- Pretty clean on the palate, taste lingers quite a bit but not in an unpleasant way. Taste just sort of fades out gracefully, well balanced.

Drinkability- A very drinkable beer, not only delicious in every way but balanced, non-filling, and crisp. A delightful brew to enjoy.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

This is my go to beer and still in my top 5.

Pours a really nice golden copper color with decent clarity. Lots of bubbles stuck to the glass raising up to the finger and a half white head which leaves messy broken lacing.

Citrus is apparent in the nose upfront and a tad bit of earth. Nothing special.

First sip is always a "man this is a good beer" taste. Yes thats a taste characteristic now. Really hoppy for a simple Pale Ale. Almost a lemony hop with an earthy backbone...really nice flavor here. The citrus works so well. Really well balanced.

Mouthfeel is great. Nice and crisp with perfect carbonation.

This beer goes great with everything from mowing the lawn, to drinking at the beach, to camping, to partying with. Best session beer.

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

This is definately one of those beers that we see most of the time in australia but for some reason i havnt seen it on our shelves for the last few months or even longer so was stoked to see it again,it pours a very nice bright orange with some amber highlights and it has the perfect amount of carbonation that leaves a frothy two finger head with lacing everywhere a very impressive looking beer,and it doesnt stop there the aroma is piney sweet malty coated hops and very inviting indeed,it has a nice creamy full mouthfeel with a taste of the perfect same balance that is one on the nose with caramel malts firstly followed by the finish which is nice and light with a subtle touch of fruity,piney hops and no hint of its ABV on my palette,this is definately a beer that i always enjoy everytime i drink it and to be honest is probably better than the last time i tasted and will be buying again without a doubt.

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

A classic. I simply have nothing bad to say about this beer. Deep amber color with some yeasty clouding. Skunky hops aroma with a grainy malt backbone. Assertive hops flavor that balances well with a substantial maltiness. A syrupy bitterness lingers. Mouthfeel is great...tremendously refreshing yet chewy. Drinkability is legend. My "go to" beer.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Orange/copper with a white head, somewhat translucent.

S: Orange and orangelike fruits. Tangerine, mango, sweet fruit, smells delicious.

T: Tastes as good as it smells with that delicious orange and mango character, sweet fruits, tangerine, mango, over a light malt backbone.

M: Medium-light body, average pale ale carbonation.

O: This is a delicious pale ale! It's available everywhere, but I've only had an experience like the one described in these notes at the brewery. Other times I've felt it harsh on carbonation or lacking in the citrusy goodness.

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

A: 1/2" off-white head that dissipated quickly over amber liquid with excellent clarity.

S: Citrus hops, honey and malt.

T: Initial taste is of slightly bitter citrus hops, which transitions to sweet malt and a somewhat dry finish.

M: Medium to thin viscosity with a low level of fine carbonation.

O: A very good American Pale Ale that is extremely well balanced, drinkable and would be a good pairing for many foods.

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Photo of mah0019
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - Bottle poured into my faithful pint glass.

Appearance - looks like a beautiful pale ale should. Decent head, with equally decent lacing, however I would say the appearance does the overall quality of the beer some injustice.

Smell - extremely light smell, but one that is captivating. In my opinion, hints of fruits followed by copious amounts of hops.

Taste - one word... EXCEPTIONAL. It has all the boldness and body you could hope for, coupled with hops and a perfect finish. One of the few beers that I would say combines the refreshing taste of a mass market light beer and the sophistication of a craft beer. Perfect balance. Truly one to experience.

Mouthfeel - quite nice actually. not as thin as one would expect, but once again its simply one part in what makes this beer truly "off the charts" good.

Overall - great beer. My 2nd time out of the bottle, however had many on tap (strongly suggest you seek that experience out if you have access). I whole heartedly recommend this beer. To me, it is to Pale Ale as Sam Adams is to American Lager. Something combining just enough originality with tradition, and just enough mass market appeal with craft street cred. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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

A: Light citrus hop aroma w/ a slight bready malt backing. No diacetyl, no esthers.

A: Pours a clear golden yellow, w/ a creamy white to slightly off white head. Great head retention/Lacing.

F: Upfront great balance between the bittering hops and the malt is true to style. Malt is sweet but subdued (bready). Body of the beer is made up of the bitter hop presence and finishes bitter.

M: Light to medium bodied, medium carbonation. No alcohol warmth, slightly astringent from the bittering hops which is to style. Slight creamy mouthfeel.

O: I highly enjoy this beer. It was actually the first beer I ever had (wont say what age). But now that I actually know what I am looking for in a beer, I can appreciate everything that is going on with it. Only suggestions for improving this beer based upon style guidelines would be more in the mouthfeel. Possibly more malt character/presence.

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

Pours a clear golden brown color with a beautifully fluffy three finger head and good retention.

Smell is cascade hops with the malts showing through as well.

Taste is similar to the aroma, with malts up front and good cascades in the finish.

Good mouthfeel and great drinkability.

What can I say? This is the classic APA. It doesn't get much better than this.

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

I have tried this in the past, and recieved a skunked bottle. This time, I hope it's better. Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.
A: nice orangish color, nice lacing head good retention. the yeast doesn't cloud the beer which is nice.
S: very woody presence, a sweet floral aroma like a sweet pastry
T: Fantastically hoppy with a good kick, sweetens as the flavor matures.
M: highly carbonated, I forced a good head to bring the carbonation down, but not too low.
D: This is very drinkable, but on a happy stomach, this could cause problems if you haven't eaten.

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

Poured from bottle into a pint glass. Small layer of yeast at the bottom of the bottle after pouring.

I'm not as well-versed with the Pale Ale as I am with the IPA, but this seems like a special beer. The beer poured a very hazy, light orange color, like an IPA but a little lighter. Everything about the smell is citrusy.

Much like the smell indicates, there is a pretty heavy citrus flavor. This citrus flavor balances the hop flavor very well, though the hop flavor is dominated by the citrus.

From what I remember of the pale ales that I tried before I began reviewing on BA, this one is special. It is very drinkable, as I could easily have several of these in a row. Also, if the hoppy beers are not your thing, this would be a good beer to start yourself acquiring that taste. You can slowly work your way up to trying more hoppy beers.

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Photo of nschueller
4.46/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Beautiful, clear, light amber beer with bubbles rising through the mug to the thin one finger hear. Head is moderate in duration with light lacing. Head will not keep volatile aromatic molecules in beer.

Aroma: Caramel Malt. Not overly hoppy.

Taste: Caramel Malt and piney cascade hops. As far as I can tell it tastes like the bill is simply 2 row, caramel 60ish, and cascades. Wonderfully simple, wonderfully ideal. Piney but not bitter (for the style)

Mouthfeel: Very carbonated. Clearly an American PA (in this respect and others). Light. Worth swishing over the tongue once or twice.

Overall: One of the better brews a gentleman can find in nearly every liquor store in the country. My favorite example of the american pale ale. Strangely won a few awards for english pale ale even though the hops are obviously american cascade and the beer is very bubbly. One of the few beers I am comfortable sitting down with and sticking it out with for the entire night (if not weekend) - a "desert island beer".

Notes: Yeast in bottle a top fermenter and is pretty active and can be cultured pretty easily.

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Photo of FitnessForBeer
4.46/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

One of my regular purchases of beer, good to always have on hand

A: golden yellow, clear, large head of 2 fingers
S: hops, fruity, grassy, piney, barley
T: barley and malty, lots of hoppyness, fruity, tastes like im sitting on a porch overlooking the Sierras
M: so very smooth
O: think im alittle biased about this fantastic beer, one of my gateway beers into the craft world and still one of the beers i purchase on the regular. To this day, this the beer i judge all other pale ales and ipas against.

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured Into a pint glass at three needs, burlngton.

Pours a nce lght crisp yellow with a 1 fnger white head. Nose is light, sharp an hoppy. Very nice.

Taste is very creamy, crisp and smooth. Very hopy for a ale ale. But it's really an amazing beer and one of my all time favorites.

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Photo of Auraan
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice clear amber with a one finger white head that receded to a white ring leaving ample lacing. Pretty nice, very true to style. Scents of pine, citrus-zest, slight orange, biscuit-like malt, and floral hop notes. A nice balanced aroma profile of hops and malt, neither overwhelming the other. Very well executed and pleasant. Flavors of sweet malt, including caramel and toffee and some bready, nutty flavors, a moderate level of hop bitterness, with floral, pine resin and citrus zest hop flavors. The citrus zest comes through more on the finish. The finish is dry, with an almost woody flavor mingled with citrus zest and pine. Aftertaste it woody and modestly bitter. A very good, balanced flavor profiling combining hops and malt, with neither outshining the other. Very good. Mouthfeel is light bodied with moderate-light carbonation and a smooth mouthfeel. Very easy to drink with the right body for a good session ale. Overall this is a classic craft beer. Its balanced in aroma and flavor, both of which are very well executed in their constituent elements. The nice, smooth mouthfeel contributes to the beers drinkability and combines with the flavor and aroma to make a classic session ale. One of the best easily available craft beers out there.

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Photo of wcudwight
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a brown bottle-conditioned 24 ounce bottle into an imperial pint glass.
Looks like a sweet tea. Once the whispy thin head recedes, it could easily be mistaken for sweet tea.
Aroma is a nice mixture of sweet caramel, and piney hops.
Flavor starts out with a big malty taste of caramel sweetness. Also some biscuit. Then you are heavily hit with both citrus and piney hops. Finishes crisp and dry.
After the glass is drained you are left with hop burps and a longing for more.
SNPA is proof that beer can be mass produced and still very flavorful.

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Photo of Ottertude
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a craft beer classic that is easily available that I tend to take for granted at the local liquor store while trying other brews. I'm sure glad I took the time to re-discover SNPA.

The brew poured a golden amber color with an off-white head that left nice lacing on my glass. Not too carbonated.

The smell was of citrus and pine. Smells nice and hoppy. The taste was of grapefrit and piney hops up front, while the malts were present afterwards. I am really digging this. Hoppy but not too much as I have had some APA's that were just too piney bitter for my taste.

Drinkability? Gosh, this one went down in a few swallows while reviewing. I can drink a few of these and have before.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the American standard that all other APA's will be judged by in my book. Very tasty.

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Photo of plaid75
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice copper hue, with a one finger head. Good head retention and lacing.

The smell was rich with hop and grapefruit character. A light and airy aroma, which is inviting, in my experience, to non-craft drinkers.

The taste was crisp and dry. A very nice hop to malt balance, accented by grapefruit and flowery flavors.

The mouthfeel is crisp and clean, not too full and not too thin.

A very drinkable Pale Ale. In fact, I have found this to be a cross over beer for many people who are not experienced in craft brews.

In my opinion, a staple. I use this beer as a standard from which I measure every American Pale Ale I try. While few have exceeded this one in flavor and aroma, most fall short. Another plus is that it is readily available in most areas of the country I have visited.

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Photo of kbanks13
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This is my first review on BA, so I'm not quite as experienced at this as others.

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass

Appearance: Fluffy, white, finger and a half of head after a reasonably aggressive pour. Dissipates to a thin layer of head with lacing on the glass. Clear golden amber color.

Smell: Citrus, floral aromas, pungent hop odor.

Taste: Somewhat bitter and very hoppy, but not overly. Crisp and clean. A very bright flavorful beer with a light lingering after-taste of grains.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and reasonably carbonated.

Drinkability: I could easily have several of these, especially on a warm day. Smooth and crisp with a rich flavor but a lighter body.

Overall, a great beer that I picked up on a whim and really enjoyed. I would definitely pick up another sixer in the future.

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Photo of rrski198
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Big fluffy white head with decent lacing. Huge round slow rising bubbles highlight the golden yellow colored ale. Looks delicious.

S: Bready malt and big time hops. Perfectly pair and balanced scent. mild alcohol rounds out the scent. Smells like its a hoppy pale ale but solid.

T: Wow, very nice. This is a hoppy pale ale and thet are definitely showcased here but the malt is PERFECTLY balanced. sweet, buttery, earthy, spicy; this beer hits on all cylinders.

M: Thick, full, oily, spicy, and the carbonation level makes it all really pop.

O: one of the best pale ales ive ever had. This is perfectly done and very well balanced. Might be too hoppy for some, but for me, this is a staple in my fridge and a perfect session beer.

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Photo of AriRock
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have always thought the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was quite good from the bottle, but then I tried it from the can and found the flavor far superior. This is one of the best beers on the market for its price, and it is easy to find. Very hoppy for a pale ale, with grapefruit, lemon, and piney notes and lots of small bubbles. Just enough malt to counter any slight bitterness from the hops, but this is a hop-forward, crisp, refreshing beer.

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Photo of legatovibrato24
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Has been my standby for quite a while, just now getting around to reviewing it.

Pours a medium amber color, with a great head that laces the glass with enthusiasm. Taking a whiff of this beer yields a nose full of hops and yeast. The bouquet is complex enough to entice the seasoned craft beer drinker, but lacks the intimidation to make a novice cringe. Great balance.

The first thing you are hit with once sipped is a full plate of hops. At times there is almost a citrus flavor coming through the hops, although nowhere near what is found in the Torpedo IPA, with its inclusion of the citra hop. A slight malt flavor can be had, but the dominating notes are those of hops and caramel.

Although there is plenty of flavor, the beer itself does not have a heavy body. I would classify it as a medium bodied hoppy beer.

This is an easy beer to fall in love with. It's medium bodied nature lends itself to great sessions, as does it's low ABV of 5.6%, as compared to other hoppy pale ales and IPA's. A great beer overall and I highly recommend picking up a six or twelve to enjoy during the coming summer months.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,132 ratings.
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