Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

3,000 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: 3,000 | Ratings: 11,163
Photo of Backer2004
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I haven't reviewed this one yet? Anyway, always a very good choice, though it seems to be one of the more expensive beers in North Carolina at a typical grocery store. Nice copper colored, without too much hoppiness. No bad characteristics to speak of . . . I'll still pcik the Flying Dog Pale Ale for the price alone.

I do recall now having the Sierra Nevada comped on my stay at Bally's in Vegas, which was a plus.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

SNPA... Snuh Puhhh... In my experience, one of the most readily available brews to be found in bars outside of Bud Miller and Coors.
Quite the change up from the common three.
This actually has color, aroma, and quite a backbone when it comes to flavor. This one spits in the face of all that is typical macro flavor.
This brew has balls.
Big ones.
It's not afraid to jiggle them.
SNPA isn't my favorite beverage... the bitterness that lives there isn't for me. But I like knowing that it's out there.
Kind of like the drunken irishman that will beat the hell out of the frat boy that gets out of line.

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Photo of Sixpoint
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on-tap at Stout in Manhattan.

My sample poured a deep orange, almost amber color. I always admired how Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was a little deeper and richer than most pale ales.

The aroma? Usually, it's pretty impressive. I don't know if this particular keg was old, but I had virtually no hop aroma in this one.

The taste was well-balanced, very dry in accordance with style. There are a significant amount of flavor hops to round out the bitterness in the aftertaste.

The beer was medium-bodied and drinkable, and altogether, an American classic.

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Photo of cooter
3.29/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a macro-like yellow. Head appears creamy and very light. Carbonation light to none. Above average but not spectacular lacing.

Mouthfeel is sticky, hoppy, somewhat sugary, but very metallic and granular near the end. I've never gotten that from this beer before, and I've had a few in my day. Somewhat rice-y in front, but smooth.

Taste includes bitterness, a hint of hops, grapefruit, and some of both green apple and melon. Pungent kick near the end of each swallow of alcohol. Rather nice but needs either mellowing or less light when stored.

This beer is all over the place today. Creamy but grainy, flavorful but plain, smooth but cloying. Maybe this is a bad one, but there's some saving grace due to it being a style that can handle adversity--it does.

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Photo of danielharper
3.4/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Purchased from Great Spirits, Huntsville, AL.

Looks good, with a nice solid amber coloration topped with a foamy snowcap of head. The head dissipates over time, leaving little lacing, but it seems to fit the characteristics of an APA pretty well.

Smell is quite distinct, so much so that I can almost use it to describe other things, "like a SNPA". Really pretty overwhelmed with hops, but unlike other heavily-hopped beers, it doesn't seem to be overdone or unpleasant. It's just, well, how a SNPA is supposed to smell. Pretty decent, although I find it a bit uncomplex.

Unfortunately, this beer tastes pretty much just as it smells, and while the simplicity and hoppiness of the aroma are nice, the same things in the taste seem overdone. It's nice that the beer is well-hopped and pretty balanced overall, but there are no other flavors that jump out at me at all, and the beer leaves a bitter aftertaste that I don't really find enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is moderate, with a nice foamy carbonation mixing with a watery consistency to make something reasonably unique. I goes down smooth, yet it coats the tongue quite nicely. Pretty decent.

I tend to associate this beer in my mind with Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and of the two, the SA is my favorite hands-down. I can see why this is so well-respected by BAs all over the world, and I enjoy one now and again, but this beer isn't anything really special, and I find myself satiated for it after just one.

I do find it better on-tap, though. I had one at Ted's Buffalo Grill in Nashville, and found the quality much-improved over the bottled variety. Unfortunately I've never found a place in Alabama that serves it on-tap, so I am unable to test this hypothesis in a reasonable manner.

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Photo of Tim460
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Golden-orange color with a small white head that quickly dissipates.

Smell: floral hops and citric as beer warmed a hint of grains appeared.

Hops very apparent at first with bitter taste. As beer began to warm a malty taste kicked in that balanced out the beer nicely. Medium body that goes down smooth. This is a very drinkable APA and one of my favorites that is readily available.

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Photo of mjohn27603
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours yellow golden from a 24 fluid ounce bottle. Aroma is of piney hops with with some sweetness. Head develops into 1 head and then goes away within a minute or two. Sip reveals a piney hops flavor with some bitterness if held in the mouth for a while. Hops seems to dominate here. A very solid beer that you can find in many run of the mill places. Not citrusy hops flavor. Still a pale ale without running into the IPA category. Some slight sweetness too.

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Photo of palliko
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a cloudy orange with white foam and clinging lace. Aroma is floral hops, green leaves and lemon blossoms. There are some barley and malt notes, too. Initial taste caresses the tongue with silky smooth crackers and malt, balanced by dry hoppiness. Ethanol fumes work through the sweet grapefruit hops and brown sugar. Good beer!

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Photo of DogFood11
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Solid american pale ale. Drinkability is high due to its unique flavor and aftertaste that keeps you coming back for more.

Color is an amber shade....head that retains for a few minutes. Tons of carbonation.

Smell is earthy with some charcoal and slight alcohol...

Taste is the best part of this beer, can get a bit musky, cardboard in the nose but the hops eventually kick its ass. I find this beer highly drinkable at 5.9%abv and a taste that doesnt make you want to switch beers...

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Photo of cracgor
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Transparent amber color. Plenty of carbonation. Light tan frothy head. Good retention and nice lacing that sticks lightly to the glass.

Smell: Citrusy oily hops. Sweet malt smell. Just Delicious.

Taste: Bitter, but in such a good way. The hops are very citrusy and good. The malts balance this very well. Overall it is a very fruity sweet and great pale ale.

Mouthfeel: Clean Refreshing and Light.

Drinkability: I love drinking this beer. It has never failed me. A great standard for the American Pale Ale. It is a wonderful everyday beer for myself.

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Photo of ericsdawson
4.31/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

wow. it's been a while since i had one of these and i forgot how much i liked them. a healthy 2 finger head that retains well. best i can describe the color is a hazy orangey gold. good lacing too. at first, the smell is primarily of hops and citrus, but as this delight warms a little, i pick up a toasted grain smell. the taste hits the tounge bitter and hoppy but finishes with a nice and balanced sweet malt flavor. this is the kind of beer to buy by the case. i have yet to meet someone who doesn't like this beer. (except my girlfriend who says all beer tastes the same) some of the other sierra nevada stuff is a little hoppy for my liking, but this one is scrumtrulecently balanced.

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Photo of jakester
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was a 12oz. bottle from my dad. The bottle says bottle conditioned. Also, 5Q49A12:53 is stamped on the bottle. How about a frickin' date!!

Pours a very slightly hazy (chill haze, yeast?) gold with orange tints. One finger off white head of creamy foam, which drops to about 1/2 finger and stays for most of the beer. Strong carbonation evident, almost appears effervescent. Lacing all the way down the glass.

Aroma is of lemons, grapefruit, and tangerines, followed by a slightly bready, pleasant pale malt smell; maybe a little yeast in there. Some caramel smell there as well. The aroma lasts for the whole beer. Impressive!

The first flavor to hit is a very smooth sweetness, quickly followed by a good dose of bitterness. Then lemons and grapefruit, fresh and tart. Really well balanced APA. Nothing huge or anything, but seems right on style. Backing up all this hop character is a perfect malt base. It's bitter and hop flavored, but the pale malt really comes through, balancing it nicely.

The mouthfeel is just so smooth it seems weird. When I poured it, the carbonation looked out of whack, but it's surprisingly soft. A little sweet, a little bitter, with a long finish in the back of your throat.

As APA's go, this has to be one of the best out there. Assertive, but not IPA-like, 5.6% ABV, a great representation of the style.

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Photo of fisherman34
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden with a tinge of amber. Hoppy aromas of grass and mild citrus. Some grainy malt flavors combine with notes of citrus hops and white grape skin. Assertive, but not overpowering black peppery bitterness. Not watery, but surprisingly muted. This would probably make a good session beer, but I've had a few more interesting APAs than this one.

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Photo of wingnutter
4.21/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My 1st review on BA. I recently ditched the world of macros and entered the world of crafts and micros. SNPA was one of the 1st beers I tried, and my 1st APA. The 1st 6 pack I drank was an enlightening experience.

The first taste I took I was almost floored by how much hoppiness and general flavor this beer had. A tad overwhelming at first (to a macro-head, which is what I was). By the 3rd one, I began to LOVE this beer. When the 6 was gone, I drove back to the store at mach 3 to pick up a 12 pack (and was glad and surprised SN makes a 12 pack of this. Thumbs up for that.) This beer opened my eyes to a whole new world.

Nice hoppy, piney taste, with a citrusy kick. The 1st taste is a nice kick in the taste buds, but it quickly fades into a nice dry finish that makes me want to take another sip right away. I liken the taste to "drinking a pinecone". I think I started my internship of "hophead in training" with this one. I never knew I liked hoppy beer, but apparantly, I do. As I try more APAs, I will instinctly use this one to judge others against.

Great taste, HIGH drinkability, decent ABV, widespread availability and reasonable sticker price make this one a winner on all fronts.

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Photo of carln26
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice copper to amber color, very clear with a thick off-white head. It had an aroma of grapefruit rind (very pronounced), and a more subtle hop flower and grass aroma backed by mild caramel on the finish. The taste has the citrus/hop up front with the hop flower coming across subtly. The caramel is very light on the finish. Very smooth, and light mouth feel, very drinkable. This is another beer that began the journey for me to advocacy. It will always be a standard I measure other APAs against.

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Photo of klewis
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured a nice golden hue, small head that had almost no retention.

Smell: Very floral aromas, also hops, orange, and bubblegum. Very nice.

Taste: Some very delicate hops flavor, but no hops bitterness. Touch of diacetyl.

Mouthfeel: Light and smooth with just the right amount of carbonation. Very refreshing.

Drinkability: Very smooth and easy to drink. I can't wait to have a few of these on my porch on a nice day.

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Photo of kpantz
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Executive Review: Ahhh...SNPA. Always good to see this on the list at most of the "boring" bars and restaurants I visit. Clean, hoppy taste and wonderful aroma makes this a great choice almost any time.

Appearance: Crisp, clear amber. Nice pale ale.

Smell: Certainly not hiding the hops here.

Taste: A solid example of an APA. Slight citrusy sweet taste up front, followed by a great hop bitterness on the way back.

Mouthfeel: Good. Nothing remarkable here. Light and clean.

Drinkability: Fantastic session beer here. I like to factor cost into the drinkability equation sometimes, and SNPA comes out a winner for that reason alone.

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Photo of MarkBlackout
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It was the first craft brew I ever had, at the tender age of 16. At the time it was a bit much, but I liked it. It took me a few years before I really discovered the style. Its still good, fortunately (8 years later), and more readily available. This is my benchmark for American Pale Ales, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

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Photo of mynie
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Last had this when my palette was young. Let's see how is stacks up now:

Pretty pour, like any good APA. Dark amber with the slightest haze and a nice head.

Smells of floral hops. Quite complex. The hops are very dry and complimented well with hints of citrus.

Tastes great--just bitter enough. The hops are bittersweet and present upfront, all floral and citrusy, mellowing out in the middle and met at the end with a sweet kiss of malt.

THE session beer to end all session beers. You can find it anywhere, it tastes great, and it goes down like water.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.05/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I really like SNBC's beers, but this one didn't do anything for me. Poured out to a golden color with decent carbonation. Odors of spices were most present, and were slightly overpowering. Taste was complex, as i'm sure that's what they were going for. Flavors of bitterness, floral notes and hops were present. Finished with a smooth, yet strong bitter aftertaste. In no way a bad beer, but i've had better APA's. Still worth a try.

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Photo of hackaxle
3.96/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Bottle poured into Pilsner glass. I was upset that I did not receive any head. I got maybe 1/4". Maybe I am not used to pouring bottle conditioned beer?

Appearance: Golden with no head.

Smell: Dry hops and hint of malt.

Taste: I am used to macro-brews so it tastes much stronger to me, but I do like it. Little bite in the after taste with a dry feeling.

Overall: I was left feeling cheated when I poured it with no head. Although it is much stronger tasteing to me, I am beginning to realize what everyone wants in a beer. The beer is of exceptional quality.

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Photo of HogHill
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The first non-local microbrew that I really enjoyed back in the day. I remember getting a case of it for 4th of July, probably 12 years ago. This has always been a welcome find at bars that aren't heavily inundated with craft beers.

Appearance: amber gold tones with good clarity, the head is pure white about an inch high in my Stone IPA glass.

Smell: a little sweetness followed up by a floral hop aroma.

Taste: the malts are sweet, but not overdone, perhaps a feint bit of caramel presence. The hops are very nicely done, a great balance of bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, moderate carbonation, very nice.

Drinkability: a great session beer, easy to find, and fairly inexpensive for a six pack at most packies. Easy to drink, one right after another.

Overall: the American Pale Ale. I find myself really enjoying this beer's balance after getting tired of the extreme IPAs.

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

Well decided to buy some again, got introduce to it back around 97 in CA, one of the first micro's I've had. I've always liked the Pale Ale over the Stout and Porter. The color is golden brown and a mild taste. Goes down very easy with a great after taste. This has always been one of my favorites (Pale Ale). Highly recommended.

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Photo of Noxious26
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle served in a mug.

Colour is dark gold and clear with lots of nice streams of bubbles. The foamy head is cream in colour.

Scent is mild but hoppy with citrus and floral highlights.

Light and nice and smooth feeling in the mouth with just the right amount of carbonation. Taste is slightly sweet at the start, like honey and hops. Tapers off to a slightly bitter finish with floral accents and a dry aftertaste.

I can see why this beer is so popular. An obvious choice for a sessional brew, this beer goes back nice and smooth. Basically the standard by which a good Pale Ale should be compared, this is a good, but not great, beer.

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Photo of custardcb
3.94/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Pale Ale is what I consider a great beer for those lazy afternoons lounging around the house. The pleasant aroma with hints of yeast and hops are pleasing. The quality of the beer is very apparent and it is obvious the care is put into this drink. That has always been the lasting characteristic of this beer is freshness and quality. It is a beer that I know I can reach for at anytime and throughly enjoy.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,163 ratings.
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