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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,990 | Ratings: 11,132
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.

 699 characters

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.

 1,124 characters

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.

 304 characters

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.

 489 characters

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.

 418 characters

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.

 542 characters

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

 307 characters

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:

 258 characters

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

Some times, you just have to go back to the basics...

Pours out bright golden orange and sits amber-tinted gold in the glass, moving from the lightest golds to the deepest ruby-amber in the tulip. Good sized white head, fades to a thin skim, leaving lacings around the glass.

Smells of fresh citrus, oranges, lime and bits of fresh ruby red grapefruit. The slightest hint of pine hangs around. Caramel blends in, and holds some fruity esters, mainly apples, bright and vibrant. All lightly toasted.

Citrus comes out immediately in the mouth, big notes of grapefruit and orange, displaying a tangy pine resin inbetween. Malts seem cleaned out and sterile, providing light sweetness, with faint reaches of carmel sitting on a near crackery core. Finish is nicely bittered, still holding on to grapefruit oils and bits of pine.

Crisp and lively in the mouth, it fails to dissapoint. Medium-light in body overall with vibrant carbonation.

It's just that easy to drink. Simple, yet elegant. It's nice to know there will always beer a beer like this to fall back on.

 1,075 characters

Photo of kegerator
3.81/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured out a haz yellow/bronze color with a nice 1 inch head that dwindles but leave a little lace.
Aroma was all hops, citrus, herbal and clightly pine notes. Taste was mostly herbal citrusiness that finshed off dry, crisp and bitter and a nice lemony/citrus aftertaste that lingered around.
light bodied, crisp and refreshing

 329 characters

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

I would be OK I think if I could only drink from one brewery and that brewery was Sierra Nevada.
Pours out a honey colored slightly hazy beer with mild carbonation and little to no head.
Definitely some hops in this beer, you can smell them first and then some sweet malt.
The taste is a quick bitter-sweet that lends way to a nice malty flavor. Then there is a wash of floral hop aroma followed by a bitter-dry finish and a lingering citrus taste.
Mouthfeel is very good for this style. I expected a thinner beer but this has decent body.
A very drinkable beer. I had a couple with dinner and I think a couple more are on deck for the evening at least.

 658 characters

Photo of BigRedN
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Poured from the 12 oz stubby twistoff bottel into a standard pint glass. Color of the beer is an orangish/copper hue with a 1/2 inch white head. Dissipated to a thin covering left good lacing down the glass. Clear with some carbonation evident.

Smell: Hoppy, mostly citrus fruit with some floral notes. There is also a hint of sweet caramel malt, but I notice mostly the hops.

Taste: Outstanding. Hoppy on the outset, balanced by a firm maltflavor in the middle. It finishes hoppy. What I want in an APA, very well balance and not too strong in any diredtion (although it maybe leans a little towards the hoppy side which for me is good for the style).

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, lightly carbonated. Smooth and well balanced beer.

Drinkability: I believe this is the first 5 I have ever given. Just a perfect beer to drink. I was wrong in a previous review. This is the APA by which to judge all other APA's. Helping this beer out is that it is available practically all over (I have seen it in gas stations) . Purchased a six for $5.99, practically a steal.

 1,081 characters

Photo of maek228
3.38/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the only craft beer I've seen sold at Phillies or Eagles games.

Appearance: Bright vibarany Yellow. Quarter of a finger head with a lace that stuck around for the whole drink

Smell: Hops, floral aromas

Taste: Tastes of lemon rinds, chamomille tea, with a small twang of sweetness in there. Hops are strong and prevalant, but don't totally overpower the tastebuds.

Mouthfeel: A medium bodies malty feel

Drinkability: Not that easy to put down, but the above average taste provides motivation.

This is the standard Pale Ale I suppose

 561 characters

Photo of Litterbean
4.54/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been drinking this beer for a while, haven't gotten around to reviewing it. Now that I have, I realize why it's one of my favorites.

Pours a amber orange with a nice head that dissipates quickly. Still, a great looking pale ale.

The smell hooks you in. The cascade hops smell citrusy and fruity and inviting. Beneath those is a sweet malty flavor that balances it out, resulting in what I consider the "real beer smell."

Great taste. Sweet, fruity, citrus hop flavor. This is backed up my a warm malt flavor that isn't truly balancing but just enough where the hops don't overwhelm. Still, not bitter and very smooth.

One of my favorites. w00t!

 657 characters

Photo of bucko
2.8/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

SNPA pours a copper color with a light white head and has a nice, faint citrus aroma. Tipping back the bottle and taking a sip, I find a nice, crisp bite, and while the flavor is good, it's not remarkable. I've had better, I've had worse... good, not great. It's a tasty brew and I'd certainly be willing to buy more, but this just isn't a standout in my book.

 360 characters

Photo of troutmask96
3.59/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A decent pale ale, nothing too special here. Pours a dark golden translucence with a large head. Very hoppy smelling, with notes of pine and citrus. Taste is actually quite bitter, much like an I.P.A. All in all, a good session brew and an one of my favorite choices when I have to shop at the grocery store and can't make it to my local bottle shop.

 350 characters

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

The consummate APA, to which all other APAs have to be matched up against. It's so deeply ingrained into what my idea of a solid APA is, it's almost a chicken-egg conundrum. Was there an APA before Sierra Nevada Pale Ale? Was there Sierra Nevada before there was an APA? The answer is yes, of course, but I wouldn't know because I'm 24 years old.

So what up-makes this APA? The answer seems obvious; all them west coast hops. That's the flavor, primarily, and the malt could only get in the way if it were to present itself any more strongly. We don't want any of those stinky esthery sweet flavors coming through to ruin our nice green, resiny American hop experience.

 675 characters

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

Had this on-tap from Pastis in Dunwoody, Georgia. Accompanied by Filet Mignon and Truffle mashed potatoes.

Appearance: Golden orange with bubbles and a small one inch head. Bubbles filled the sides of the glass and were not trying to escape.

Smell: Sweet, caramel and butterscotch.

Taste: The taste of caramel and sweet malt.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, not heavy at all.

Drinkability: Great I drank three pints and it did not leave me bloated like other "filling" beers. Bring another!

 497 characters

Photo of BrewRunner
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was the first Sierra Nevada beer I have had. I enjoyed it all around. The color was a nice gold, with an orange hue. The taste was bold, but not over powering with a very small after-taste, which is by no means unpleasant.

It goes down smooth, both when drank slowly and quickly. Highly recommended, and I’m looking forward to trying other Sierra Nevada beers.

 370 characters

Photo of Troyone
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an apple juice color with a copper hue, three inch head that dissipated within minutes, and some carb action.

Smells like a light/moderate toasted caramel malt with grass/resin grapefruit/orange hops and hints of honey.

Taste has a light sweet acidic toasted caramel malt with the same hoppy taste as the smell and the background may have a slight licorice and cola flavor.

Has a medium body, dry slightly syrupy texture, soft and lively carbonation, and a slight metallic finish.

My choice of beer when at a bar with mostly a commercial beer selection, perfect session beer.

 585 characters

Photo of UncleJimbo
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on-tap at the Overdraught in Cambridge, MA.

This pale ale poured a clear, amber color with white foam that clung to the glass. The smell was a very nice, floral hops aroma with some maltiness poking through the hops. The taste was malty but with a very large dose of flowery, floral hops and bitter hops especially in the finish. The mouthfeel was smooth and very pleasing to the palate. The body was medium with moderate carbonation feel. The fruity and floral hops lingered in the finish. This is a very, very nice pale ale, and one can see why it is considered a classic in the American Pale Ale style. I can't believe it took me this long to get around to reviewing it. I am going to have to remember to drink this one more often, or at least whenever I see it on tap.

 783 characters

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

On tap at a local wing joint. Almost as tasty as from the bottle, but I feel like the hops don't show up quite as well on tap. Still very drinkable, quite crisp and refreshing, and leaps and bounds better than most of the taps at typical bars in SoCal

 251 characters

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

Poured from a 24oz bottle.

Bright orangish amber with a small white head that sticks around leaving light lacing.

Has that west coast floral/piney hop aroma with some malt and grains underneath.

Also tastes like what one would expect a west side PA to taste. Dry and very hoppy with just enough malt to bring balance. The moderate carbonation is in line with a medium mouthfeel. Long dry finish that lingers but doesn't wear out its welcome.

A very drinkable brew that ,IMHO, sets the bar for west coast PAs. If you like Liberty Ale or Two Hearted, give this one a try.

 582 characters

Photo of DrJay
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very clear amber colour topped by a thin lace of white head. Moderate retention and stickage. The aroma consists of floral, citrus and spicy hops with a bit of biscuit and grain. The flavour is balanced on the hoppy, bitter side. Mild sweetness with some maltiness, but mostly citrus and spicy hops with a dominating bitterness. Dry finish with a firm bitterness. Medium body and carbonation. Slightly crisp and acidic from the carbonation, but without having a coarse texture. This is a great session beer -- clean and full of flavour.

 536 characters

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

Poured golden-orange with a large frothy head.

Smelled of pine, grapefruit, with an underlying sweetness.

Assertive hops give a citrus bite at the top, creamy sweetness in the middle, then a long malty finish.

Smooth and creamy on the palette, little bit of carbon dioxide sting as well.

Nothing shabby about this beer, a great example of an APA, and one I look forward to having again, regardless of the time of year.

 431 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.