Sierra Nevada Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

2,998 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: 2,998 | Ratings: 11,162
Photo of breakingbland
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice balance between malt and hops. There is slight malty sweetness but there is a hint of savory -- almost a slight funk. The hops are fragrant and floral. Overall a very good that I'll go back to even though this isn't my favorite style.

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Photo of DraconusDesanctus666
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle,into a Funky Buddha snifter.Packaged 02/03/17.

Thick creamy off white head that stands 1 finger tall with very good retention and sticky lacing.Light orange colored body with good clarity,and small amounts of sediment.Very low carbonation with a hard pour.

On the nose I get piney and floral hops with earthy,sweet,and caramel malts.Not much else,kind of a subdued and uneventful aroma,though not unpleasant.

On the palate I get sweet and caramel malts up front,piney hops in the middle,and floral hops balanced by earthy malts on the back end.

The mouth feel is medium with a sticky texture,dry finsh,and good amount of oxidation on the tongue.

This is a pretty solid APA,not my favorite but definitely up there.Good malt / hop balance with a nice bitter backbone.I've had it before this,and will drink it again.Recommended if for some reason you haven't tried it yet.

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Photo of Dentist666
3.49/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Almost clean orange/gold beer with excellent golden head.
Smell - grain, sour citrus.
Taste - grain, citrusy, generously hopped.
Moderate to high carbonation.
Not impressing at all.

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Photo of acmurphy696
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

You can definitely taste the hops on this iconic brew. It smells and tastes great, so it's easy to imagine how it became the gateway to craft beer for many a soul.

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Photo of jwilcox767
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - 2 fingers off-white foam over a body of golden amber, transparent, high visible carbonation

S - light scent of grapefruit, pine, and grain

T - lots of citrus and pine, peppery spice, bready backbone, dry finish

M - crisp light/medium body, high carbonation

O - Just an enjoyable pale, a good standby when nothing else available

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Photo of dmcbeerington
2.61/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

This is yet another over-rated average beer in my opinion. While everything is quite average, ie not great, not bad, I especially don't like the unbalanced after bitter taste. While it's drinkable because of it's complex fruity smell, it's only good for pairing for light food, ie, not too tasty nor too salty food.

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Photo of crisis1290
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

IMO-Sierra Nevada Pale is simply the "king" of craft beer ! Quality of most , in not all, Sierra products is one reason I continue to support this brewery. This is the "gateway" beer into craft beer for many people. Not much can be said about this beer that hasn't been said 3000 times. I spent a month in Erope and I was shocked to find out that the only American made beer served in the hotel was Sierra Nevada Pale. A great, smooth beer, great price , well made !

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Photo of lwillitz
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12-oz bottle into nonic pub glass

A - 2 fingers off-white foam over a body of golden amber; transparent, but full of sediment; high visible carbonation; laces the glass nicely

S - light scent of grapefruit, pine, and grain

T - lots of citrus and pine from the Cascade hops, peppery spice, bready backbone, dry finish

M - crisp light/medium body, high carbonation

O - Just an enjoyable pale; a relaxing end to a busy day.

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Photo of beerguy04
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a orange amber color with a creamy white head. Smell is piney citrus hops. With many beers the taste is similar to the smell. However, mildly bitter unlike, IPAs. Mouthfeel, light and refreshing. Overall, a good beer for its style.

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Photo of Everydayoff
4.01/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Hazy orange amber in color, the pour forms up very thick creamy off-white head that stays with remarkable retention before slowly sinking to an eternal foamy layer on the surface and leaving plenty of sticky lacing patch and spot.

Lots of biscuity malt as a base in a nose, hop discloses slightly thereafter with notes of pine, floral, spicy, earthy, citrus, and grapefruit.

Delicious and great balance, sweet and biscuit malt lays as the backbone of the flavor structure while hop comes into play providing its spicy, earthy, pine, citrus, grapefruit, and medium resiny bitterness.

Medium body with good crispness and some lively carbonation, smooth mouthfeel, dry finish.

Classic APA indeed, it is well-rounded and perfectly balance. A truly inspired beer.

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Photo of edward_boumil
3.39/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad beer, good toasty malts. Hops are spicy, piney, and resinous with a tiny touch of grapefruit. That being said to me its a little to crisp and bitter, not super smooth or easy drinking. Kind of thin and not thirst quenching. Definitely not a bad beer just nothing special to me, more of an east coast guy I guess.

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Photo of Profundobaso
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Orange/amber color, generous head
S: A light but detectable smell of the cascade hops: citrus, floral, and pine
T: Initial slight bitterness followed a nice malty aftertaste. Refreshing and simple.
F: Very easy to drink. Medium-bodied and crisp.
O: There may be better APAs out there that are more complex, but this is a fine beer that can be enjoyed by both hop lovers and non-hop lovers alike.

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Photo of LeRose
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The bottle poured a deep golden color with a generous three finger head that fell to about a finger and hung around for a good while. Lots of stick-to-the-glass lacing.

Smell was a nice balance of resinous, floral, and citrus hops supported by a biscuity malt smell. Wonderful, the citrus was just a hint.

The taste followed along, with a bit of bitterness up front, then the hops come in with the floral, milder than expected resin, then a bit if brightness from the citrus that seems more orange or tangerine than the usual grapefruit. Well-balanced, nice malt presence that put me in mind of a pilsener. A little biscuit, a little sweet.

Medium to light on the body, drying enough to invite another sip. Carbonation in the just right zone.

Overall, this is a great beer and I believe you have to add in the value. Available just about everywhere year round and at a very reasonable price. Good take on the style, SN delivers a well-balanced, flavorful beer.

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Photo of NickTrop
4.26/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This, along with Sam Adams Boston Lager arey staple brews. I live in PA close to the DE border where I get a 12-pack of each in cans for less than $30. I appreciate IPAs, strong ales from Belgium, seasonals, stouts, etc., but these are my day-to-days.

Why? Four reasons: 1. balance, 2. quality, 3. availability, 4. price. Price has become a dirty word on beer review sites but these beers represent a great value. They're fantadtic representations of their respective styles produced in high enough volume to make them widely available at a fair price without resorting to gimmicks.

Plenty of others give descriptions of look, flavor, taste. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a high-quality brew that rivals the great beers of Germany but is uniquely American. It's just fantastic. The day I tire of SNPA is the day I tire of beer.

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Photo of ThePold
4.57/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I give it a 5 overall as a tribute to its position in the history of American brewing. It is smooth, just hoppy enough to make one happy, and will always bring back the memories of when it was the only alternative to Bud or Miller at too many bars.

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Photo of Red5StandingBy
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle with freshness date of 8/9/16 into Stein.

L: Pretty golden color with thick three finger white head that slowly recedes into a lasting finger head. Great lacing that stays put.

S: Spicy, floral and earthy almost crushed leaves hop smell initially, transforms into a mellow biscuity aroma.

T: Smoothness like a straight razor shave consisting of sharp crisp bitterness from the hops to begin the complexity of this beer. You get a wonderful menagerie of floral, citrus, earthen and spicy hops. Mellowing out from there the malted barley comes through to take hold. Very well balanced.

F: The medium to low body of this beer with the refreshing balanced complexity to create one of the most easily drinkable beers out there.

O: I recently developed a taste for hoppier beers that thus far I heavily disliked. After realizing this I decided i must try one of the all-time American Pale Ale staples. I was swept away by this beer and will recommend this to most anyone. Well done Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of california_republic
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's a classic that really showcases the importance that Sierra Nevada places on balance. While it has inspired countless breweries to start a hops and IBU arms race, Pale Ale is here to stay for what you go back to when you want a taste of perfection. Not only is it the benchmark for taste, but also price and availability. If service is the rent we pay for living, Pale Ale is the rent Sierra Nevada pays to the world of beer.

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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
3.02/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

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 - wonderful and 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. Will buy again and again and again. Thanks.

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Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 11,162 ratings.
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