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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 3,007 | Ratings: 11,183
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
1.36/5  rDev -66.4%
look: 1.75 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.25

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 - 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.

Tried it again - 4/2017 - and was overwhelmed by the hops. Hmmmmm, time to cast this one aside. No more.

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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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Photo of Bierliebhaber3
3.96/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This flagship APA pours a light orange color with a medium foamy off-white head. The smell is fairly hoppy with citrus notes and some slightly lighter pine notes. The taste is fairly similar with some orange and grapefruit citrus tones dominating and an undercurrent of pine and malty slightly sweet, toasted bread flavors. The body is light to medium and the finish is semi-dry. Overall it’s a crisp and refreshing beer. The hoppiness is quite restrained compared to many other APAs that I’ve had (especially from California), but when this first came out I’m sure it was considered pretty hoppy. I personally prefer it to some of the hop bomb APAs that I’ve tried, though I’m sure that many would disagree with me. To me this is a simple beer, but one that is has great clean flavors and nice balance, for sure a classic.

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Photo of Vader444
3.55/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Not much to say that hasn't already been said.

Can pour into tulip.
A steady, quality pale ale with little to distinguish it from the crowd. Scores points for reliability, availability and generally being a beer that is acceptable to most palates. A satisfactory drop for novices and seasoned beer lovers alike. A regular in my fridge

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Photo of AZBeerDude72
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pour is a deep yellow with very foamy head and excellent lacing. Smell is citrus in nature with a nice hops and some light grains. Taste is a smooth hoppy feel with nice citrus burst and pleasant dryness on finish. This has been a go to beer for me for a long time and it just gets better and better over the years, great beer.

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Photo of MattChiasson
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Benchmark American Pale Ale. Out of the bottle, poured a beautiful deep copper colour with slight haze from bottle conditioning, and with a creamy persistent head. I got aromas of grapefruit citrus, orange peel, pine, and wildflower honey. Moderate caramel malt, moderate hops with lingering bitterness. Very well balance. Creamy, refreshing. Excellent.

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Photo of ABabbidge
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

L: Hazy golden color. Thin head that reduces to a thin lacing.

S: Grains with a hint of hops and citrus.

T: Bready/ malty flavor with a little bit of hop spicyness that blends well. A bit of a dry finish.

F: Smooth mouthfeel with a little bit of dryness in the finish that sticks with you awhile.

O: I have always been a stouts/porters guy and I am just starting to venture out into pale ales/ IPAs etc... I know this is one of the gold standard American pales ales, so I thought I would give it a go. Nothing big and bold about this but it is enjoyable. It would make a good session beer.

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Photo of ricke49
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Classic pale ale. Drank this one at a slightly higher temperature than usual (more like 55-60) and it was astonishingly flavorful, with absolutely no off-putting elements to the flavor profile. Still perfectly balanced and immensely drinkable. Great beer!

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Photo of workingclassbrew
3.02/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Ah my first ale of any kind pale, or IPA. This was introduced to me years ago by my friend Brian Watring. I think my thoughts at the time were bitter, Christmas tree along that line. This gave me a fine appreciation of the soon to try IPAs which I came to enjoy.
Poured into a English pub glass. Orange, golden colour, almost like an Oktoberfest.
Aroma off the bat, metallic, much like Yuengling Lord Chesterfield, or maybe thats cause I just read my review of that one, smell, definitely metallic, but not off putting. Dry,
Its been awhile, but the piney notes I dont really find anymore. More of a dry hop, dry malt, biscuit taste. Light easy drinking beer. Very good, although I know not as intriguing as when I first sipped the "green goblin". The price is still reasonable for a craft brew.

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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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