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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Reviews: 3,007 | Ratings: 11,182
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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Photo of BEERchitect
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of my all time favorites;
Aroma: Extremely floral and spicy, but not to overtake the malts. Complex and refreshing, even to the nose.
Appearance: Deep golden, excited from the carbonation. Nice white head, containing loosely laced bubbles.
Taste: Floral and spicy nose. High hop flavoring pronounced in the body. Medium bodied, cut nicely by bittering. Leaving mouth nicely coated. Finishes a bit dry, but not to offend. High bittering at the end.
Aftertaste: All the pleasantries of the taste without complete drying, tackiness, or metalics.
Impression: Absolutely refreshing, a bold and exciting beer. One that can be drank from sun-up to sun-down and any time of the year. One to stock the fridge with.

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Photo of nfo
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's hard to rate such a sentimental favorite, which was probably my introduction to what I now consider "good" beer and serves as the benchmark I use to rate other beers. But since I'm well stocked on it at the moment... The citrusy hops aroma and flavor and crisp, bitter finish set the standard for west coast pale ales. The only bad thing I can say about it is that I've consumed so much of the stuff that it can get a little boring. But if I haven't had it for a while, when I finally do it's clearly a great beer, a true classic.

Most beer drinkers can probably agree that this beer's most important quality is its availability. I love that you can get it all over the country, and it shows up all the time in crappy bars where I'd otherwise have to fall back on well drinks.

edit: trying to calibrate my scores, having trouble keeping it all internally consistent

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Photo of 1whiskey
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out with a 1"head thats holds up most of the way, with some foamy lacing. Appearance is a gorgeous transparant amber color with lots of bubbles and a little yeast settlement. Absolutely beautiful. The aroma is all about the citrusy hops and piney spices. Very appropriate for a brewery located at the junction of the Cascades and the Sierras...very nice.
Taste is even better....mirroring the aroma but with a slightly more bitter hop taste, some floral esters....yeast is very prominant here, even for a bottle-conditioned APA. Some grainy malts are subtle here(that's what I prefer anyway), just enough to provide some balance to those wonderful hops. Mouthfeel is great, with a medium body and the perfect ammount of carbonation. Very crisp, biting finish and the best dry afteraste I've ever had in a APA or even an IPA, for that matter. This is THE preeminent West Coast pale ale, and for good reason. It's great by itself, or it pairs well with most anything. A favorite snack of mine involves paring it w/ jack, colby, and medium or sharp chedder followed by a jonagold apple when you're done with your beer. Try it, it's great!!

NOTE: If you have tried this beer and didn't like it, give it another chance already! Sierra Nevada distributes aggressively and is botttle conditioned, and some unworthy distributers and retailers(gas stations, supermarkets, etc.) sometimes store it warm for long periods of time. I've gotten a couple of brews that were quite...well....lets just say they had seen better days. So pick it up at a reputable retailer or try it on tap, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

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3.77/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale....old faithful!! Picked up a 12 pk today at an outrageously low price. Happy Memorial Day!!
The Pale Ale pours out a deep honey gold color. A 1" head formed and sank to a small white cap that rode the beer most of the way down. Light lacing left on the glass.
The nose of this beer is a nice citric hop with a little pine/spruce.
The flavor is dominated by a nice hop twang. A little citrusy, lemon/grapefruit. Very clean and easy to drink, the 12pk may not last long. Nice carbonation on the tongue and also a crisp mouthfeel.
This is a standard among American Pale Ales and I always enjoy it. In fact I have not had a bad Sierra Nevada brew. If you haven't had it , have it. If you haven't had it in a while, go get some. Good session stuff!

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Photo of silver0rlead
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pale amber color with a small white head that dissapates quickly. Smell is floral, piney hops with a grainy malt background. Taste is very similar to the smell with a floral and resiny hops taste that gives way to a grainy, bready malt flavor and ends in a dry, slightly bitter finish. Overall a pretty standard pale ale, but nonetheless an original as it was one of the first craft beers to become widely available.

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Photo of cubedbee
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada is a nice old familiar beer that is thankfully found at many a restaurant serving mainstream swill. Pours a lovely amber with a thick finger and a half of head and good lacing. Smells of citric and piney hops with a definite malt presence behind. Flavor is close to the nose, with grapefruit and lemons coming through and a strong malt backbone. Simple, but good. The mouthfeel is on the ligght medium side and the medium carbonation is just right on the tongue. Overall this is a solid pale ale that is widely available and I always drink when there are no better micros present.

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Photo of diablo14
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

theres not alot i can say abou this beer that hasnt already been said. one of the very best all round session beers going around in the world, let alone the US. its the sort of beer youd be proud to have in your fridge as your standard beer.

theres nothing different in the appearance of this brew from the hundereds of other pale ales out there, and its not the most complex brew going around. nevertheless SN pale goes by the old english beer philosophy of less is more. simple grapefruit zest smell/taste, with a hint of cut grass and sneaky malt in the mix. pleasing hops presence, its floral on the nose, bitter on the palate, and goes down the hatch with a fine zing as it hits the spot. an absolute delight to drink anytime ,anywhere.

all i can say is its a pity you cant just head down your local in australia and pick this up whenever you like, coz its a pearler of a brew

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

Pours a clear golden hue, with a fine bead of carbonation and a fantastic, assertive, citric aroma that comes with a hint of grassiness. A carbonic bite, then smooth smooth bready malt flavors accented by grapefruity hops, followed by a clean bitterness that has me wanting more of the stuff. This is a classic, quenching pale ale with just the right amount of bitterness. The wonderfully hoppy character of this beer come out more when just slightly chilled. The bottle I'm having now is probably just a bit too chilly, but the previous bottle was just perfect. This is an old favorite and possibly my #1 summer beer.

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Photo of slyke
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a pleasing orange color with an inch high, off-white head. The head fades quickly, and there is little lacing, but a bit of the head lingers as the beer is drunk.

Smell: Floral/Citrus with a little grain.

Taste: A bit of lemon and/or grapefruit in the taste with a nice transition to a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Good medium body - "dances" a little on the tongue.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. A great session brew.

Would I buy it again? Heck yeah!

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Photo of Symposium
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ah, the seminal classic. I find myself drinking this one more than probably any other beer just because you can seem to find it everywhere--even the most pathetic bars and convenience shops. Though it may not live up to some other APAs I've had (Alpha King comes to mind), I find myself genuinely satisfied every time I have it.

The beer pours an inviting light amber with a sturdy head that works itself down after a few minutes. Looks like a pale ale!

The nose is colored by citrusy hops that remind you that you are holding a real West Coast beer.

And then the drink. Malt is mild and upfront, followed by a healthy dose of those lemony, grapefruity hops which eventually turn pleasantly bitter.

What is so fantastic about SNPA is the balance and cohesiveness of all of its flavors. While I love ridiculously hop-heavy IPAs, it's refreshing to have a beer that comes with a sense of decency.

For this reason I can drink this ale all night. Sure, you might get bored, but it'll never let you down as far as quality goes.

A classic of the style and one that is a much welcomed fallback when the only other choices are macros or skunky imports.

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Photo of thetros
4.83/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a jewel within a strong line-up of beers from this respected West Coast brewer.

Consistency comes to mind when I consider this beer as a top 100 contender. The smooth malt and sweet bouquet of hops has a consistent freshness that makes this a beer drinker's staple. For a beer to earn its rank, I believe it must taste good this year and next, rather than just have a fine batch or season.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is appropriate for all seasons as it is heavily hopped and malty enough to stand up to a hearty meal, though fresh and crisp enough to accompany your picnic or ballgame. Medium carmel color and a tamed head make this pale ale a charming pint, indeed.

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Photo of AlexJ
3.28/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is another one of those beers we've all had a million times, but never think of reviewing. I rarely even order it anymore, I guess I had my fill of it in college.

It pours out a clear, pale amber color with a medium sized head of off white that had medium retention and laces nicely.

The aroma is kind of sweet and doughy, not really as I remember it. There's a slight undertone of floral and piney hops. I think perhaps this is an old keg, or from unclean tap lines.

The flavor is very similar to the nose. Bready malts and rather bland, unpronounced hop flavors. I know that this beer is better than this, it must be an old keg.

The body is light to medium with moderate carbonation and a muted floral hop finish.

I remember there was a time when the sight of the green SNPA tap handle at a pub was enough to excite me, I guess those days are long past. I'll choose to remember this beer from past experiences, which were always good. This is one of the beers that has lead us ALL down the path of beer rightiousness. Although our palates have grown, we should all give this beer it's due and proper.

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Photo of RedLion
3.97/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap. Medium amber color, head quickly disappeared. No lacing on the glass. Smelled slightly malty to me. Taste was very good. I liked the bite on the tip on my tongue, and very nice bitterness on the back. Kinda like grapefruit. Very ful feeling in my mouth. Great drinkability! I'll buy again.

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

This was one of my favorite beers years ago, but it has been a long time, The beer is darker than I remember with a copper amber color and lots of carbonation. Hop aroma is strong with a faint smell of fresh lettuce? Taste is of that typical Sierra Nevada malted barley, a strong hop flavor for an APA and orange rind which I don't remember from the past. Taste is good with a little bit of bitterness at the end. Mouthfeel is smooth and easily drinkable. A true classic APA in my opinion.

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Photo of beersarang
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Probably the most solid example of the American Pale Ale.

This APA pours a nice copper with a froth white head that holds its sticky lace well.

Nose is of citrusy hops. Cascade all over the place.

Lightly toasted malts enter the palate, but the citrusy hops coat the palate, and leave on the exhale. Goes down pretty smooth and mildly astringent.

Medium bodied, pretty drinkable.

A very respectable APA.

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Photo of MrSeth
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Red gold body with a 1" white head. Honeyish malt with very mild spice in the nose. The flavor has smooth malt at the start followed by an excellent balance of hops towards the end. The hops come across better with more sips. Gotta love the balance, nothing is overstated. The mouthfeel is light-medium bodied, very carbonated and it has a refreshing effect. I wonder about the drinkability.. while it would be great to have one or two, and they would be a very drinkable one or two.. having much more than that would be over doing it for me.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a bright orange color with robust head that reduced to minimal white lacing. Has a nice hoppy smell without being overpowering. The taste has a pleasant hoppiness that fells great in the mouth. leaves a nice dryness that makes me want more. A very drinkable pale ale that would be a good session beer

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Photo of nota
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was very happy when I first seen this beer make it to my store shelves. This beer IMO sets the the standard for all other pale ales. You can review my complete and detailed review of this beer at:

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,182 ratings.
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