The difference between ales and lagers has nothing to do with strength, color, or bitterness. The difference is the yeast and the fermentation temperature. Ale yeast ferments best at warmer temperatures — up to about 75° F. Because a yeasty foam rises to the surface of the beer, these are known as “top-fermenting” yeast. Lager yeast, on the other hand, prefers cooler temperatures. They are called “bottom-fermenting” yeast because they sink to the bottom of the beer during the cold storage period traditional for lager beers. This process removes haze and gives lagers their characteristic clean, rounded tastes.
Unfortunately, we are not able to ship beer directly to consumers. Please use our beer locator to find a retailer in your area.
We add additional whole-cone hops to some of our beers as they age in tanks. This increases the aroma and hop character of the finished beer without affecting its bitterness. Popular hops used for dry hopping are Cascade and Centennial.
All of our bottled beer is brewed, filtered and packaged without the use of isinglass, bone char or any other animal by-product.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. uses the highest quality and most natural brewing ingredients while utilizing the very best brewing practices. This allows us to create ales and lagers with superior flavor, aroma, balance, and character. As a traditional brewer, Sierra Nevada currently uses malted two-row barley (malt), whole-cone hops, yeast, and water for every brew. Only some of our beers—Otra Vez, Kellerweis and the limited distribution brands Old Chico Brand Crystal Wheat, Dark Wheat, Kolsch, Scotch Ale, Dunkelweizen, Weizenbock, Saison, Imperial Smoked Porter, and Belgian Wit—include wheat.
Most beer is best consumed fresh. Optimal storage conditions are cool, dark and dry. Our beer is dated on the day it is packaged. Since our Pale Ale is full flavored, with lots of hops and malted barley, it should last up to 150 days when stored under optimal conditions. Styles like our Bigfoot Barleywine are sometimes cellared and aged like wine; the flavors will continue to evolve and change with time. Celebration Ale is brewed and dry hopped with freshly harvested hops that contribute exceptional aromatic qualities. However, some people prefer it slightly aged; when the hops mellow, bitterness subsides and the malt sweetness comes forward.
All Sierra Nevada beer is dated when packaged. This code represents the production date and can be found on all our bottles, cartons and kegs. For more information, view our date decoders.
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Please check out the nutrition information for our beer by downloading this pdf.
Bottle conditioning is a time honored method for naturally carbonating beer and traditional champagne. We dose back a small amount of fermentable sugar and yeast into the bottle. The fermentation creates the finished carbonation and flavors unique to our beer.
The sediment evident in the bottom of a bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and other naturally conditioned beers is the yeast we use for bottle conditioning. Typically, the yeast lies tight and flat to the bottom of the bottle. As the beer is poured, the yeast will re-suspend making the beer’s appearance cloudy or slightly particulate but will not adversely affect beer flavor. If bottles are stored improperly (e.g. upside down or on their side) the yeast may resettle into what looks like a drop of pancake batter or vanilla ice cream and will be more apparent but will not affect the finished flavor of the beer.
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Pale Ale, Torpedo®, Kellerweis®, Porter, and Stout are available all year.
Our Seasonals rotate every three months and are generally available as follows: Ruthless® Rye IPA - January through March, Summerfest® - April through June, Flipside® Red IPA - July through September, and Celebration® Ale - October through December.
Our High Altitude series rotate every four months and are generally available as follows: Bigfoot® Barleywine-style Ale - January through April, Hoptimum® Whole Cone Imperial IPA - May through August, and Narwhal™ Imperial Stout - September through December.
Use our beer locator to find which retailers in your area have our beer.
We also have limited distribution in the following countries: Australia, British Columbia, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and United Kingdom.
We believe that the best results are born from the best possible ingredients, and malted barley and wheat are among the grains that help us create exceptional beers. Both of these grains contain small amounts of naturally occurring gluten, and although the brewing process notably reduces the gluten levels, no beer brewed using these materials can be called gluten free.
BPA (Bisphenol A) is a chemical that is found in trace amounts in the protective epoxy liner used to coat many food grade surfaces. Almost all cans (food, soda, and beer) have this type of epoxy liner which is designed to maintain the flavor integrity and freshness of product. For us, the liner has an important role: keeping beer from coming in contact with the metal, which could impact beer flavor. BPA is a chemical that has shown to be toxic in high doses. Although opinions vary as to the risk, some studies show that you’d have to eat and drink the contents of roughly 450 cans per day, every day, to ingest enough BPA from a can liner to reach unsafe levels. However, we encourage you make the best decision for you. Sierra Nevada can liners do contain trace amounts of BPA because there is currently no alternative for beverage container liners. The industry is focused on developing a satisfactory alternative to the current liner technology, but so far none has been found to meet the performance and safety of the materials currently available. We have diligently petitioned our can manufacturer to develop a liner that doesn’t contain any measurable BPA and would protect the flavor of our beer. We are one of the first companies in line to use a BPA-free liner as soon as it’s available. In our opinion, the benefits of cans—portability, lower carbon footprint, recyclability, and absolute protection from light and oxygen—outweigh the risk.
A standard measurement for beer bitterness imparted by hops — a higher number indicates higher bitterness, and therefore higher hop usage. Higher BUs do not always correspond to higher perceived bitterness — the malt character in the beer will affect perceived bitterness.