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Founders Pale Ale - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Pale AleFounders Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,188 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,188
Reviews: 773
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 11.35%
Wants: 28
Gots: 118 | FT: 2
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: 2,188 | Reviews: 773 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ms11781


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

Reviewed on 03/22/2011. Bottled on 02/24/2011. 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a clear, golden orange with a minimal white foam head. What little head that was present sticks around and leaves excellent sticky lacing on the glass.

The nose is surprisingly subdued for a dry hopped beer. Floral hops stand out the most. There is a slight lemon/citrus zest along with some clean pale malt.

The taste follows along with the nose but aren't as muted. Big floral hop flavors hit first along with a touch of bitterness. The pale malt character balances the hops nicely before finish with the lemon/citrus zest.

Very crisp and extremely clean. Light/medium body with matching carbonation. Very smooth all the way through.

A decent beer overall, nice, clean hop and malt flavors although they are somewhat subdued. The beer is only about a month old. Normally a hoppy beer is ok at that point but what stands out is that the malt flavors are also somewhat muted at this point.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2011 03:22:36 | More by ms11781
Photo of wvsabbath

West Virginia

3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark burnt orange, golden yellow. Not much head or lacing.

Smell - Mild hops, yeast, floral spices, lemon.

Taste - Very smooth and mild pale ale, yeasty, piney, light malts but not very flavor heavy. Floral hops add a bitterness, and a carmal and lemon like taste from the spices.

Mouthfeel - Thin, light, and slighty bitter but not strong at all. Aftertaste is dry and not long lasting.

Overall - A decent offering from the great founders brewing. MIld flavor, low alcohol, not to sweet, not to bitter, just a good overall easy to drink beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2011 23:23:41 | More by wvsabbath
Photo of weizenbob


2.88/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled 6/29/11. Poured into a nonic pint glass. The pour yields a finger of head that slowly dissipates. Some small patches of lacing caress the glass. A fair amount of carbonation can be seen. The brew is golden colored and fairly translucent. It looks like standard issue pale ale.

This is not a very aromatic glass of beer, but the aromatics that do manifest are all mildly hoppy. A sweet piney scent just slightly dominates a noticeably soapy presence. There is a little bit of floral action going on in the background and the slightest hint of sweet citrus, bringing tangerine to mind. Overall however, the aroma lacks punch (which surprises me considering how fresh this bottle is).

I generally like to review a beer on its own merits, but when reviewing an American Pale Ale, it is really difficult to not compare what I'm drinking with Sierra Nevada's classic Pale Ale (a beer that pretty much defines the style). As far as this particular pale ale is concerned, there is a decent balance between hops and malt; but I could really do with more of both. I'm not saying that Founders should jack this into India Pale Ale territory, but as is, the flavor is underperforming to my taste. Some would throw around adjectives like "subtle" but I'm just going to call it bland. The flavor is a mildly bitter affair with a floral hoppiness reluctantly taking center stage. There is not a lot of backbone to the brew, so it comes in like a lamb and goes out like a slightly more timid lamb.

The mouthfeel is what you'd expect from a pale ale. It's nice and light with a mild effervescence that makes it fairly easy to drink. It does come off a little watery but the notion is slight, and just mentioning it feels like splitting hairs. It's not offensive and it's not noteworthy. But then again, pale ale is not a style that aims to amaze.

Overall, this is not a bad beer. But considering that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is (1) better (2) about 20% less expensive, and (3) much more widely available, I can't see any reason to purchase this beer again. The odd notion is that, save for this pale ale, I really love Founders' entire line. As everything they bottle is so extraordinary, it is surprising how tragically average this is. Again, it's not bad, but why bother with not bad?

The Two-Schlitz Scale: (reference my profile for an explanation)
I give a Schlitz for Founders' Dry Hopped Pale Ale; but for the price, I'll pass.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2011 02:44:30 | More by weizenbob
Photo of jimlin


3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

After having been blown away by the first Founders product I had (Red's Rye PA), I have been less impressed by the others I have had. The Centennial IPA was mediocre, lacking the hop kick I was hoping for, especially with the Centennial right in the name. Same can be said about this Pale Ale. The label calls attention to it being a Dry Hopped Pale Ale. I get very little hop aroma from it after pouring into a pint glass. There's some bitterness (label states 35 IBU) but the malt backbone seems to dominate. Not a bad thing, just not what I expected given the label calling out the dry hopping and Cascade hops used. Maybe I've just been trying too many West Coast brews when I can find them here in MA. I fully expected much more hop aroma and flavor due to the label's description. Again, not a bad pale, just not what they seem to advertise it to be.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2011 14:24:43 | More by jimlin
Photo of BradLikesBrew


3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque golden body with a white head and good lacing.

100% sure its 100% cascade. Orange rind, grapefruit zest, tangerine, vanilla, mild pine, and floral notes.

Caramel and pale malts upfront, with zesty tangerines, sweet orange, and apricot. Bitterness is their, but very mild.

Medium bodied and lower carbonation make this one smooth drinker.

Not off the charts flavor wise, but the drinkability is killer. A poundable Pale Ale.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2011 02:09:07 | More by BradLikesBrew
Photo of TheHoppiest


3.4/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a slightly cloudy golden color, with minimal head that reduces to a skim on top. The bottle bears a "bottled on 04/01/11" stamp, making this one just over three months old, and at the outer edge of its freshness.

Has a malty, honey aroma, almost biscuity- ccertainly not what I would expect from a dry-hopped pale ale. There's a mild fruit aroma that is effervescent in its wispiness. Some floral notes as well.

Starts rather simple, some carbonation up front, with mild malt and grassy notes. Very little hop presence, with just an echo of hop bitter to escort it out. Light lemon mid-taste that lingers on the back of the tongue.

Light bodied, this is a simple, uncomplicated brew.

A decent offering, but nothing that overwhelms. The aroma, frankly, is almost non-existent, and the taste is light and easy. If I'm going to have a session-tasting beer, I'd like it to actually be a session beer, not a brew clocking in at 5.4%. In that vein, give me a Founder's Endurance any day over this ale from Founders.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2011 20:31:49 | More by TheHoppiest
Photo of gdkersey


2.88/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled date reveals the beer is 3 months old; not the freshest, but not exactly out of date.

A - slightly hazed golden-amber pour, looks tasty and thinly laced head

S - not much going on in terms of hops, certainly below expectations considering the bottle is labeled with "dry-hopped". Slight grassy hoppiness

T - crystal/caramel sweetness, followed by a relatively low bitterness. not much in the terms flavorful hops. ends with some more sharp bitterness.

M - good carbonation, a little slick (maybe diacetyl?). almost as if it's an English style ale

Overall a decent beer but nothing I would seek out. Flagship, classic, reliable, but a false impression (especially given other Founders beers and the "dry-hopped" labeling)

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2011 23:51:23 | More by gdkersey
Photo of DannyDan


3.23/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a golden brass color with a thin off white head that has minimal retention and lacing. The nose has a pine and bread with a sweet malt scent to it. The taste starts out with a sweet caramel maple like taste mixed in with some orange that follows some biscuit and finishes off with some pine. The mouthfeel is rather watery with not much consistency. Overall a very unimpressive beer, and a big disappointment coming from one of the best brewers in Michigan.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2011 05:54:03 | More by DannyDan
Photo of aubuc1


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

12 oz bottle with no date code

Pours a hazy yellow orange with a sticky off white head.

Smell is a crisp pine with some biscuit.

Taste is slightly bitter and biscuity. Not sure how fresh this is.

Mouthfeel is a little thin.

This is a good beer and probably better when fresh.

Very refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2011 21:18:22 | More by aubuc1
Photo of dtivp


3.08/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy dark golden brass with a very 1/4 inch white head that fades quickly into a nice ring with light lacing.

Aroma was lackluster, hints of citrus and floral hops.

Taste of citrus, grass, light bready malt and a slight floral hop bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel was light body with moderate to light carbonation, very crisp and slightly dry.

Overall an average APA, not overally impressive.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2011 22:15:57 | More by dtivp
Photo of sixerofelixir


3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. bottled-on date clearly inked on neck.

Pours a clouded gold. A ring patches the glass a little. Smell is piny, sharp hops that are woody, and almost a bit sweet & smoky. Definitely pick up the dry hopping on the taste. Sweet, oily goodness, with a moderate malt backing. Finishes tight. A decent pale ale for sure, seems hoppier than its 35 IBUs..

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2011 05:07:23 | More by sixerofelixir
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 Yagman3000

New York

3.3/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

Appears a little light and golden in color. Tiny head resting on top.

Smells nice but a little underwhelming. A touch iof tropical fruit.

Tastes ok but I'm not blown away. A little too much of the malt taste throughout that tells me more hopping needed to take place - especially with "dry hopped" prominently displayed on the label.

Mouthfeel is ok with some lasting feel. A slight creaminess to thus beet.

Overall I'm not too impressed and find their double trouble to be a much better experience.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2011 03:09:02 | More by Yagman3000
Photo of ctfixer


3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a room temperature pint glass

A- Pours a deep gold with a fair white head. Fades a little quickly, with minimal lacing. Head settles to 1/4 cm on top.

S-Mild floral and citrus notes hops, grain malty backbone. Very inviting and well balanced aroma for me.

T- Light to medium citrus hops, biscuit malt and barely some lightl toasted grain. Flavors are well balanced and suited to an American Pale Ale style with more hop flavor than indicated by the 35 IBU on the label.

M- Medium carbonation and feel making it almost bodering on a summer ale, refreshing.

O- This is a solid true to the style beer. Falls right in the middle for a great American Style Pale. This is one I could sit down and have more than one for sure and overall its a winner for this brewery

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2011 01:01:58 | More by ctfixer
Photo of rlee1390


3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Cloudy Orange, about one finger head, left behind some lacing.

S-Some floral and citrus tones and possibly even alcohol.

T-Similar to the nose, except for alcohol. Starts floral and ends with some slight bitterness (enough to know it is there).

M-Light with some carbonation.

O-A decent beer, so far the worst I've had from Founders but that isn't say much of anything. But if you can only get one Founders beer don't pick this one.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2011 04:24:17 | More by rlee1390
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly

New York

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

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - slightly hazed brass color with a white head that thinned to a ring leaving a few specks of lacing.

S - earthy, some citrus and sourdough bread.

T - sourdough bread with some light citrus flavor.

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation helping this beer go down smooth and easy.

O - while it's a good APA there are others I'd reach for over this one.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2011 23:51:46 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
Photo of Erish


3.33/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I poured this 12 oz. beer into a Nonic pint glass. No freshness date.

A: cloudy light honey gold color, the yellow-white head quickly falls into a decent cap with average lacing.

S: lightly toasted malt, some grassy/herbal hop aroma, faint earthy aroma. A bit subdued, even for an APA.

T: toasted malt flavor up front, the middle has a slightly herbal/earthiness, the finish is dry and grassy. Lacks depth and interest for me.

M: light bodied, lightly silky to watery texture, moderate to plentiful carbonation.

O: the finish is the best part of this beer, and it isn't enough to rescue it from mediocrity. For a dry hopped APA, it lacked sufficient hop character, IMO.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2011 00:33:47 | More by Erish
Photo of BuffaloTapHugger

New York

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Light color of yellow/orange, has a haze thing going on and is looking good doing it. Little egg shell head that dissipated fast and just the slightest of lacing noticed in the beginning. Turned my head and it was gone forever...

S: I like the smell of this beer the best, it definitely comes out the winner. Grassy notes with a citrus in toe (lemon zest, orange tangerine conglomerate). Stellar.

T: Mellow hit of hops in the front gives off a little spice factor. Get the notes of the grass and citrus making things refreshing.

M: Loose, abv nonexistent, finishes clean.

O: The label describes everything you anticipate and it unfolds without fail. Its a bona fide APA, comes recommended.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2011 20:02:41 | More by BuffaloTapHugger
Photo of deadonhisfeet


3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I have it a rough pour into a nice pub glass. It came out a slightly cloudy, very very light amber with a perfect 2 finger head. It had a nice, faint aroma of fresh citrus and pine.

The flavor was very light and easy-going. There is a microsecond of sweetness at the front of your mouth before you get a zesty, lemony spiciness. There is very little body and if this beer had been the least bit grainy, I probably would have spit it back out. As it is, there is more than enough hoppiness to liven things up and keep the flavor refreshing and interesting.

I enjoyed this beer, but probably wouldn't buy it again for the simple reason that Founders makes other beers (like Red's Rye and Centennial) that are just as available and (to my palate) a bit more satisfying. I'd give this beer higher marks, but I usually like a bit more maltiness out of this particular style.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2011 01:57:30 | More by deadonhisfeet
Photo of jbertsch


2.78/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appears orange, and fairly cloudy, though not completely opaque. Sports a sudsy one-finger head.

Floral hop aroma with some husk, light citrus, and corn.

The taste has an average malt profile file. Almost tastes hollow. Corn like flavor is experienced and makes the taste run a little short. But it’s got a touch of honey in the middle that lingers in the finish with a very faint bitterness.

Crisp mouthfeel with high carbonation.

Not great for the style, and in fact, one of the worst pale ales' I've had. I expect better from Founders. All in all, it actually smells, drinks, and feels like a ok pilsner.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2011 23:41:17 | More by jbertsch
Photo of Zaradog


3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Visual: Off white loosely packed head that fades pretty quickly. The color of honey, but cloudy. I kept wanting to wipe the fog from my glass only to realize there is none, it’s just the haze of the beer. I haven’t even taken a sip yet and already there is some lacing left on the glass from the head dissipating.

Aroma: There is a crisp smell of grapefruit citrus, but the smell isn’t very strong. It seems singular in that I don’t smell anything else… but still not very strong.

Taste: Wow, That’s more bitter than I expected. This beer is dry hopped, therefore you should get a noseful of hops, but the taste has far stronger hop character than the smell does. And the taste is quick to change. Mouthful one was all hop bitterness from front to back, start to finish. Taste two brings a separation between the from hop kick and the one that comes later to the back of your pallet.

Mouth Feel: I like this mouthfeel. It has a good balance between crisp carbonation and soft wetness. If I had to complain about something, it would be that a tad bit less mouth coating would be nice. Something about it makes my mouth water I little more than it should.

Drink-ability: This isn’t going to jump into my top 5 beers that I like right now, but it is good none-the-less. I probably could sit down and enjoy 2 or 3 of these before I was ready to move on. I think I would start out the night drinking this, but might want something a little dryer to end the night. Also the after taste in the back of your throat might be a bit bitter for my final beer of the night slot

Impressions: The smell, even though it was dry hopped, is a bit weak. The hop bitterness is maybe just a bit too much on the finish, although it is spot on at every other part of the mouth. The mouth wetness leaves my mouth feeling like I just had a fluoride treatment at the dentist, which I don’t care for, OK that is exaggerating a bit, but it does lean in that direction.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2011 00:49:55 | More by Zaradog
Photo of ShogoKawada

Rhode Island

3.35/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottled ~1 month ago. Into pint glass.

A- Nice pale orange with a big white head. fills the glass up and slowly fades, with minimal but attractive lacing. Head settles to 1/2 cm on top.

S-Mild floral hops, some husky, grainy malt. Not very inviting or really substantial in any way.

T- Light earthy and floral hops, biscuit malt and some lightly toasted grain. Flavors are light and zippy.

M- High carbonation keeps it lively. Bright, clean, and crisp. Refreshing.

O- Overall this is a solid, if run-of-the-mill, beer. Great in this hot weather, and good to have a few of in a row. Not winning any flavor points, but it does drink pretty nice.


Serving type: bottle

05-31-2011 00:01:04 | More by ShogoKawada
Photo of airheadmtrcycle


4.33/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very underrated beer, imo. I had one the other day immediately after a Bell's Two Hearted IPA, and it did seem a little dull. But when it's your first beer of the day or particularly when you're hot and thirsty it really hits the spot. And, no, I don't think Bud et. al. tastes good after cutting the grass; I'd much prefer water, thank you very much.

It's light orange/yellow with a nice head and lacing. The aroma is pleasantly bread-y with a nice citrus smell that follows. The taste is very similar with a perfectly carbonated mouth feel.

Overall, a terrific APA that I will come back to again and again. It's so well balanced that it may lose points for some people. I put it easily in the same class as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2011 21:07:57 | More by airheadmtrcycle
Photo of secondtooth


3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy gold, with some sediment (my bottle could've been aged -- no "best by" date present). Thick, slow head and decent lace.

Aroma is good -- citrus hops and pine resin.

Taste is good -- a little sharpness, and more of the pine flavor on the tongue.

Overall, a solid pale ale that approaches an India Pale Ale in flavor, and a superb session beer for hop heads.

Additional review of Founders Nitro Pale Ale:
On tap 11.26.13 at Gerst Haus, Evansville, IN. Fishbowl with frozen frothy bubbles overflowing and refreezing. No visible lace. Frothy carbonation that sticks in my beard.

Lovely amber.

Nose mild hops. Subtle.

Taste is hoppy but oddly muted by the nitro. Very smooth and creamy. Highly unusual bit well tasty.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2011 19:17:23 | More by secondtooth
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
Founders Pale Ale from Founders Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 2,188 ratings.