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Founders Pale Ale - Founders Brewing Company

Founders Pale AleFounders Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,976 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1976
Reviews: 764
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 11.62%

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
100% Cascade hops.
35 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,976 | Reviews: 764 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

The 'paleness' of Founders Pale Ale can definitely be called into question; this toasty brown-amber beer may be clear but it's way darker than your standard, commercially-made pale ale or lager. When viewed side-by-side the contrast is stark. So is the head retention - this beer kept its foam right until the very last sip.

The beer undoubtedly has some of the leafy and citrusy notes characteristic of Cascades but they aren't exactly conspicuous. Surely there's enough earthiness for craft drinkers to appreciate their presence but this hoppiness might just fly under radar of an unsuspecting macro drinker.

Instead, the toffee-flavoured, mildly toasted profile of the malt is more prominent in the aroma and, indeed, throughout the tasting. Especially as it warmed, the beer took on flavours of caramel and toast, with pine resins or fruity nuances only as afterthoughts. This biscuity, malty base provided the beer with plenty of body, making it ample and satiating.

Despite being a little more malt-forward one is constantly kept aware of the hops, even without ever turning notably bitter. Dry-hopping (adding supplementary hops to the beer after it has cooled) affords them a presence beyond merely the bitterness they can impart, something a little more delicate but still expressive.

Founders offers big and bold beers at both ends of the colour spectrum, but their Pale Ale is definitely not one of them. While its familiarity and moderation may disappoint some of the snooty beer geeks out there, I like that it contradicts the notion that American craft beer must be extreme. It's a conventional offering, yes, however a very well-made one.

Serving type: on-tap

09-02-2013 23:43:18 | More by biegaman
Photo of Dave_in_GR


3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap at the Founders pub.

Appearance is a light amber with lots of visible carbonation and substantial foamy white head.

Smell is dominated by earthy hops.

Taste is sweeter than I expected, with light-roasted malts followed by pine and citrus flavors from the hops.

Mouthfeel is nice, medium bodied but with enough carbonation to clean the palate.

Overall a solid pale ale.

Serving type: on-tap

08-16-2013 22:36:04 | More by Dave_in_GR
Photo of Beric


3.54/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Serving: On tap
Served: 15 August 2013

Appearance: Golden yellow with a foamy white head. Minimal lacing on the sides. Looks more like a pilsner than an APA, if you consider SNPA the standard.

Smell: Slight smell of hops complimented with sweet malts. Smells pretty decent.

Taste: If only this one tasted as it smells. Honestly, this one tastes like a malty-sweet mess to me. The hops are barely assertive at all, and the very sweet, light-roasted malt takes center stage. I know that APAs are not supposed to be as hoppy as IPAs, but I would have liked to see just a little more hop in this one to balance some of the sweet malts.

Mouthfeel: Despite the lacking flavor, the mouthfeel here is somewhat redeeming. Rather than feeling as thin as the flavor, the carbonation is nice and makes the beer go down smooth and easy.

Overall: This one is easily my least favorite Founders beer to date. Though well constructed, the taste does not compare to SNPA at all, which I personally hold as sort of the standard for the APA style. Color is too light, taste is too sweet. Would not buy again.

Serving type: on-tap

08-16-2013 18:53:31 | More by Beric
Photo of scottbrew4u


3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Served a clear light amber color with a frothy off-white head. Great lacing as you drink.
S: smooth roastiness and husky grain aromas. Hop notes are fresh peppery and minty.
T: husky grains, light caramel notes and a nice breadiness. Hops are not bold, but fresh tasting and balancing with some bitterness a peppery spice.
M: light crispness and light to medium body.
O: easy drinker and not flashy but it is spot on for style. Fresh tasting for sure and accessible for most people.

Serving type: on-tap

05-10-2013 20:38:25 | More by scottbrew4u
Photo of Alextricity


3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served on-tap for $2 a pint ... can't argue with that.

Appearance: Nice brownish color with a decent head... lacing's very nice through the first half of the glass or so.

Smell: Pleasant and fresh aroma ... like your typical pale ale, but with a bit more quality in the aroma. There's nothing rustic here, just a nice somewhat mellow balance of hops and malt.

Taste/feel: An absolute delicious pale ale, and no doubt one of the best I've had. Extremely smooth and easy drinking with a very, very nice balance. The score may "only" be an 84 for this beer, but pale ales never get very high ratings, it seems. Founders Pale Ale is one of my favorite pale ales, and yet another good one from Founders.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2013 05:18:14 | More by Alextricity
Photo of rodlavers


3.35/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass.

Very light yellow/gold in color, a finger of white head thins out pretty quickly; some lacing. Looks ok.

Smell is pretty subdued. Natural grass aromas, slight hint of hops and malt.

Taste is similar, nothing special but light and refreshing. Not terribly complex.

Mouthfeel is average with medium carbonation and slightly bitter aftertaste.

Overall ok for the style but I've had better Pale Ales. Not my favorite offering from Founders.


Serving type: on-tap

12-06-2012 22:15:00 | More by rodlavers
Photo of Durge


3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found at the Great Lost Bear in Portland, Maine this pale ale is a hazy yellowish amber color with a delicate but steady white fuzz on top and copious lacing. I can smell iced tea lemon with a faint hint of pine. Pleasant for a pale ale. The flavor offers much more hop bite than anticipated with a cracked wheat explosion of dry citrus and grass hops. It really roughs up the center of your tongue with crisp, slightly angry bitterness while tagging along a bit of grain sensibilities. I expect most would say that this is a bit harsh for a pale ale and could probably use some balance toward the malt and grain side, but I'm not complaining. Leafy, perhaps a bit oaky, this stuff is medium-light bodied, very fine but highly effective carbonation for a completely titillating feel with a bit of an aqueous quality. Not sure I'd want to session this pale ale, it's not Sierra Nevada, but bravo for the hop love in a pale ale!

Serving type: on-tap

10-23-2012 04:14:42 | More by Durge
Photo of Stinkypuss


4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Founders Pale Ale
Founders Brewing Company
Style: American Pale Ale (APA)
ABV: 5.40 %

LOOK: Pale orange colored brew, white head forms and leaves plenty of lace. Perfectly clear, looks like a good pale ale.

SMELL: Resinous hops, with some tea, herb, pine and grapefruit notes. Bready pale malts lend some sweet caramel character.

TASTE: Bitter citrusy hops and some caramel. Pine, earth, and herb notes definitely dry hopped tasting. Malt body is bready and semi sweet, there is a caramel malt backbone with a little toffee. Drinks like a nice, hop focused pale.

FEEL: Medium bodied, well carbonated, bitter with a hop bite. Drinks easily, and would pair well with alot of spicy to savory foods.

OVERALL: An impressive pale ale from Founders, a Michigan based brewery that does not disappoint. This fine specimen of a dry hopped pale ale is exemplary on draft.

Serving type: on-tap

10-21-2012 21:34:57 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of Boblud


2.68/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Somewhat hoppy and bitter. I would drink this beer again but it would not rank as one of my favorites. I am new to microbrews and am really starting to enjoy them. I am not a fan of heavy hops nor am I that fond of citrus drinks. I am willing to try any and have not really settled on a style of beer yet.

Serving type: on-tap

08-05-2012 18:27:19 | More by Boblud
Photo of megahurts4


4.55/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Founders Dry Hopped Pale Ale
on tap at the Stafford's Perry Hotel in Petoskey, MI

Appearance: honey, large-medium head, and good lacing.

Smell: very floral hops, grapefruit, and faint maltiness.

Taste: floral hops in the first bite, but it quickly fades into a bitter pleasant.

Mouthfeel: medium and smooth.

This has a very nice flavor and enough body to satisfy my tastes. It also is well suited for drinking many at a time.

Serving type: on-tap

06-05-2012 05:15:11 | More by megahurts4
Photo of Infamous7100


3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark gold, slighy orange hue. A white half finger head with great lacing as this one goes down.
S: a bit lacking, this. Floral and pine notes, but not overwhelming as i expect from Founders. Some sweet, bready notes as well.
T: starts out with a decent amount of malts and biscuity flavors, sweet I'd say. Transitions into the dry, bitter, hoppy ale i expected. Not as floral or piney as the nose would indicate, just bitter. A tad lacking since the malts seemed more defined.
M: slightly creamy, mild to medium carbonation. Medium bodied. Interesting finish as its wet on the sides and back of tongue, but dry as hell on the roof of my mouth.
O: a good beer overall, but could stand a bit more balance in the flavor. I attribute the skew towards bitterness to the dryhopping. Nice for the summer.

Serving type: on-tap

05-18-2012 20:24:44 | More by Infamous7100
Photo of OWSLEY069


3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy deep yellow color with a white head. In the aroma, a mellow orange citrus hop. I the taste, a small hop, mostly citrus, and a bit watery. A small hop bite and a medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry and small citrus hop in the aftertaste. A bigger nose, but easy to drink and nice.

Serving type: on-tap

02-27-2012 17:04:49 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of kylehay2004


3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

three finger frothy head on a pure golden, hazy body. lots of lacing and nice head retention. Aroma is a nice orange peel and grapefruit. A little soapy. I felt this to be very aromatous but many other reviewes didnt feel so. May be due to this one being bottled. The flavor is actually a little disappointing. Flavor is more soapy and way to watered down. There is a very light earthy and citrus mote. Light to medium body and moderate carbonation. Overall aromatous but watered down is what I take from this. I love Founders but I this one let me down in the flavor.

Serving type: on-tap

01-06-2012 03:50:11 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of elNopalero


3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured a golden color with a light foam on top. There’s a light hop (piney) aroma to this. It’s crisp, which I like, with some dark citrus notes and piney pine playing around on the palate. A little chewy sweetness rounds out a nice finish. It has a real pleasing hop profile—thanks to the Cascade hops—and I don’t expect my pale ales to all be big and hoppy but it’s almost as if the volume is turned too low on this one to really appreciate the nuances. It’s a good pale ale but this is Founders and I expected something, well, amazing.

Serving type: on-tap

12-27-2011 22:38:41 | More by elNopalero
Photo of xnicknj


3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap at pope in philly

Pours a hazed dark golden color with some wheat-like tones. Crop of fluffed white head, fades into a layer of film, spots of lacing left on the glass.

Nice bite of bitterness in the nose, some hints of pine and citrus. Cracker-like malt and straw. Some light breadyness, touch of caramel.

Bitter and dry up front with some piny stickiness. Lemon peel and citrus. Cracker and straw in the malt with light breadyness. A bit sweet towards the finish, which is dry.

Medium body, decent carbonation, sticky and dry on the tongue. Pretty drinkable and refreshing, something I'd probably have again.

Serving type: on-tap

11-23-2011 01:21:30 | More by xnicknj
Photo of Bowman2001


3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pale golden color. Finger of head. Smells faintly of citrus and piney hops. Smells like I'd expect--as if it will be thin and only mildly hoppy. That is the taste indeed but it is certainly refreshing. Nice balance of hops and malt. Mouthfeel is thin. Great session beer.

Serving type: on-tap

10-13-2011 19:54:21 | More by Bowman2001
Photo of todisht


3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a mid golden color with a bit of off-white head.

The dry hopping gives this beer a great flavor. It's not too bitter or hoppy. Nice and smooth with a slight fruity flavor.

Slight carbonation which makes it nice and refreshing. Not too heavy. Really an easy drinking beer. Perfect post hockey game libation ;)

Serving type: on-tap

09-25-2011 16:35:41 | More by todisht
Photo of vandemonian


4.13/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Founders Pale Ale dry hopped with Cascade is a nice APA. It was on tap at ChurchKey as "Founders dry-hopped ale (Cascade)" or something like that, so I'm pretty sure this is the right beer.

A: 15 mm Orange head that fades to good lacing. 4.5

S: Hoppy and yum. 4.5

T: Malty with tangy citrus hops. Bitter, slightly chlorine, aftertaste. 4

M: Foamy. 4

O: Yum. 4

Serving type: on-tap

08-24-2011 03:02:44 | More by vandemonian
Photo of woosterbill


3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at DeCicco's in Brewster; warming up for CBS.

A: Lightly hazed pale amber body under a sticky layer of fine tan foam. Pretty nice.

S: Very light aroma of nothing but faint herbal hops. Swirl as I may, this never shows any intensity or complexity.

T: A bit more dynamic here, with sharply herbal, leafy hop flavors dominating. Light pale malt on the finish. The dry-hopping really shows here.

M: Light, creamy, and clean. Very good.

O: I can't get over how big the disconnect was between this beer's nothing nose and pleasing palate. I really expected more aroma from the Cascade hops, but what can you do. It's certainly a nice, balanced, easy-drinking APA, and one that I'd like to have out of a bottle sometime.


Serving type: on-tap

08-18-2011 02:46:52 | More by woosterbill
Photo of Hojaminbag


3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Founders Pale Ale has a hazy orange body and a white head that is about a finger thick. Retention and lacing are both pretty good.

The aroma has a relatively equal allotment of hops and malt. Some caramel and biscuit malt pairs with a bit of citrus and pine.

Founders Pale Ale has a generous helping of hops, with equal parts citrus and pine. The citrus flavors have a bit of grapefruit, but it is more orange flavored than anything. Moderate bitterness. The malt comes in next, and although it has some caramel, it tastes more like biscuits and maybe a slight toasted flavor. The finish is fairly bitter.

Medium to full in body for the style, with noticeable bitterness and carbonation that is about average.

Founders Pale is a solid APA. I ordered a couple of them last night and was happy.

Serving type: on-tap

06-16-2011 18:44:21 | More by Hojaminbag
Photo of STKPICR0720


4.5/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great brew that while iin Michigan I was drinking a Bell's Two Hearted Ale and when I finished it the watress put me oon this brew. Wow I loved it before this brew I thought the best simple Pale Ale was Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Not anymore Founders pale ale uses cascade hops and is a very easy smooth drinking Pale Ale. A tad sweet finish, light alcohol and worth every penny. Drink this beer and you'll never drink a Sierra Pale Ale ever again.

Serving type: on-tap

05-21-2011 04:39:34 | More by STKPICR0720
Photo of funkymuppet

New York

3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very nice, easy drink. Nice on the light malt flavor, and good level of bitterness. Nice coloring and fair head retention - kept alive to the bottom of the glass. Not much there in hop aroma - true to style (I note that it's 100% cascade). Great warm weather pint.

Serving type: on-tap

04-04-2011 15:11:43 | More by funkymuppet
Photo of nickthetick


3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a clear amber gold into an imperial pint with a half finger of off white head.

S: pale malt an orange hop character.

T: more pale malt right up front gives a sweet biscuit quality. Blood orange and lemon zest linger on the tongue.

MF: smooth medium body and a little crisp.

D: had to come to harrisburg to find a Founders beer but once they come to MD I can see myself buying this as much as SNPA.

Serving type: on-tap

02-25-2011 20:01:30 | More by nickthetick
Photo of zoso1967


3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pale Ale is served up looking like a top notch APA. It is medium amber with a bit of a bronze hue. It has a nice creamy head that has great retention and leaves crazy swaths of lace.

The aroma is a mélange of zesty citrus hops and smooth biscuity malt. Lemon zest and grapefruit are the dominant aromas, with just a hint of the malt.

The flavor is still quite hoppy, but the malt shines through a lot more with one of the craziest fresh biscuit characters that I think I have ever smelled. The grapefruit and zesty citrus are held up well by the malt backbone. Though this beer is pretty bitter, it comes off quite balanced.

The mouthfeel is medium with a very nice softness to it. Not quite smooth, but not spiky either. The finish is nice and dry, with some hops in the aftertaste.

This is a nice drinkable pale, but nothing too special. Definitely a solid beer by a great brewery, and one that I am glad I tried.

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2011 23:30:14 | More by zoso1967
Photo of donniecuffs

New Jersey

4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Tried this one at the relatively recent Founders promo at The Blind Tiger, NYC. In a nutshell, with so many outstanding 'imperial' and barrel-aged beers made by these guys, this particular offering likely gets shoved aside, but it shouldn't.

Into a pint glass, it poured golden, with one finger of white which retained and laced very well. Visible carbonation, but not overly done. Very floral, pear and apple in the nose; a little surprisingly for a 'dry-hopped' pale ale, but it smelled inviting nonetheless. The taste mirrored the nose, with floral herbal hops coming to the fore, mixed in a nicely balanced way with apple and pear malt notes, and finished on a very modestly dry note. Lightly carbonated, and medium-bodied. This is a great session pale ale, as long as you are not expecting a huge cascade-type citrus hop presence. A pleasant pale ale alternative.

Serving type: on-tap

11-20-2010 00:10:23 | More by donniecuffs
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Founders Pale Ale from Founders Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,976 ratings.