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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.

2,420 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,420
Reviews: 779
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 11.65%
Wants: 35
Gots: 176 | FT: 1
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: 2,420 | Reviews: 779 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

Photo of jbertsch
2.78/5  rDev -24.7%
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.

Photo of Zaradog
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Photo of ShogoKawada
3.35/5  rDev -9.2%
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.


Photo of airheadmtrcycle
4.33/5  rDev +17.3%
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.

Photo of secondtooth
3.95/5  rDev +7%
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.

Photo of STKPICR0720
4.5/5  rDev +22%
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.

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

Pours a hazy yellow gold in color with a massive 2 finger foamy off white head that looks like a cloud of bubbles; the head faded slowly leaving good spotty foamy lacing as it went down.

Smells of floral hops, sweet malt, grains, light lemon, faint caramel, grass and maybe some hay or earthy tones. This smelt a lot tamer and less hoppy then when I tried it on tap last year, and really was just as much malt as it was hops on the nose out of the bottle.

Tastes of sweet malt, yeast, toasted grains, wheat bread, light lemon, floral hops, herbs, tea, flowers, light pepper and other spices, some orange peel, light citrus hops, wheat and some caramel. Fine balancing act between the malts and hops, but I must admit that I expected more hop bite and attack with the “dry hopped” tag on the label.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with a light, crisp and refreshing feel that leads to a slightly dry and slightly bitter finish, after the taste fades away from the light to almost non-existent carbonation.

Good drinkability, and a good beer overall, but I must say that I was disappointed that the dry hops seemed to bring out the earthy and herbal tones and not the sweet, oily hop character. Will definitely drink this beer again.

Photo of gskitt
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very balanced APA. Pours a hazy amber, thin white head that does not last very long. Smells of flowers and has a fresh scent. Love the smell. Taste is of floral hops, balanced, slightly bitter, with a dry receding mouthfeel. Overall, a nice balanced APA. Founders rarely disappoints.

Photo of kjc51478
4.43/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Appearance is light orange and slightly hazy with light carbonation.

S: Aroma is orange/citrus and a distinctive floral character.

T: Taste is citrus moving into a mild breadiness; lemon hop bitterness is prevalent throughout.

M: Palate is remarkably dry giving it a rather bitter finish.

O: Just a wonderful APA.

Photo of dragonWhale
3.13/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From the great Michigan brewery..
Into the snifter it goes. A glorious orange, hazy, with sexy legs. Smells vaguely of some citrus and malt, not very exciting but there is a little going on. A quick hit of soft bitterness rolls into the malt and more or less dies. Little bit of citrus and pine hop flavor. Decent body, bitterness I'd like a bit more of. A little more hop presence too. Strange too that this is dryhopped. Not really getting that punch of aromatics out of this beer. Age?

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.13/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Captainren for the bottle.

12oz bottle poured into a Pint glass.
11.04.10 bottle date

A- Cloudy orange colored with a thin, off-white head that fades very quickly.

S- Citrus, floral, and malty.

T- Bitter orange and very floral.

D- Low carbonation, mild-slightly bitter after taste.

O- Overall ok, but may be due to how old it is.

Photo of grub
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

growler purchased at the brewery april 28/2011 and kept refrigerated. sampled may 6/2011.

pours deep yellow, not quite orange or amber, and showing just a touch of haze. a big cap of white head forms, dropping slowly and leaving tons of lace as it falls.

aroma is great. earthy, herbal, and lightly floral. not at all perfumey. touch woody. white bread and cracker. hint of biscuit. touch of alcohol. bit of grain. faint notes of citrus and pine, but the herbal/earthy combo seems to dominate. touch of caramel.

taste is nice. grain and toasty white bread. cracker. herbal and earthy. bit woody. light floral character. medium-low bitterness level. light alcohol. just a touch of buttery toffee.

mouthfeel is good. medium-light body. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is good. nice balance. i'd like a more decidedly american hop presence, but i like it regardless. it's certainly not going to be mistaken for an english pale or an american ipa, so it's doing something right. one i've had many times before and will surely have many more. good stuff.

Photo of washburnkid
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Under a finger of off-white froth. Hazy golden and some sticky lacing. Citrus and a bit of weird sour earth...not sure how else to describe it. Taste falls a little flat. Bitter and floral, but it's nothing that makes me really excited. Mouthfeel is light and dry. Not the best beer coming out of Founders...I'd be hard-pressed to pick this one up over a Red's Rye.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a cloudy burnt amber, with no real large head. What was there faded quickly but left a film of gooey, drippy lace skimming on the top, lots of eddys and swirls rounding about on it. Deep dripping lace down the glass, and a bit of a bubble stream coming up from the bottom. Smell was big and strong. Big citrus players here, lots of orange and grapefruit. Very sweet smell, like orange sherbert or candy. Very nice and plesing to the nose, smells like it will be a winner. Taste struck me as odd, after all the sugary itrus in the smell, none really came through in the taste. There was a strong bitter hop presence, providing lots of IBU's however it was more of a pine,resiney type of hops, rather then the sweet candy orange that came through at first. Nice and crisp, clean, very dry and long lingering finish, leaving a taste of burntor raosted pine for several minutes after a sip. Goes down very smooth and clean, not overally carbonated, and not syrupy either.

Photo of kbutler1
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Poured into a NB tulip glass a clear honey, amber color with a 1 1/2 finger off white head. Subtle aroma of orange and grapefruit, not overly in your face but there. Semi sweet start with a nice transition to a light/medium level of bitterness. Ends rather crisply with some lingering bitterness. Nice lace. Medium mouthfeel. A tish more carbonated than I would prefer and ever so slighlty takes away from the flavors. No real trace of alcohol. Overall, I nicely balanced beer and easily drinkable.

Photo of beerprovedwright
3.18/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was really hoping for more, seeing this is one of my favorite breweries, but it is what it is. Poured in Sam Adams Perfect Pint, chilled, not frozen. One finger head of white, medium foam. Little broken lace, with little cling. Color is a 6 on the SRM beer color chart. Smell is high in roasted malt and some citrus. Taste is balanced, but lacking in real body. Flavor of roasted wheat, sweet barley, and citrus. Mouthfeel was somewhat creamy and had some zing, but just seemed to be missing something, just can not lay my tongue on it. Maybe I am in a off day or just got a bad bottle. I think there is better Founders APA out there, I just got a bad bottle....I hope.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.2/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

A: Standard pour yields a .5 finger foamy white head with poor retention. Collapses quickly into a thin film atop a slightly cloudy pale orange brew. Lacing is spotty with moderate stick. Average. Clarity could use a bit of work but everything else is on point.

S: Nose is subtle. Grass, pine cones, and tea leaves characterize the hop profile with a bit of cane sugar sweetness in the back. Pretty pedestrian.

T: Opens with a slightly grassy and piney hop bitterness. Tea leaves. Some citrus and cane sugar in the middle that stays constant, finally dissipating towards the end. Finish is a nice hop spiciness. Aftertaste is a mild, sticky, resiny hop bitterness. Very simple and easy drinking.

M: Light bodied and well carbonated. Lively and bubbly in the mouth and watery and prickly going down. Finish is slightly dry with a sticky, slightly lingering aftertaste. Really drinkable and refreshing.

O: The perfect summer day-drink for hours beer. Refreshing, light, simple, and crisp. Flavor could use a bit more character but overall, this is a solid example of its style.

Photo of greybeardloon
3.05/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled on March 18, 2011.

A: Cloudy orange with maybe a finger of head from a reasonable pour. The head receded quickly, leaving some lacing.

S: Some bready malts and a hint of butter. A very faint hoppy aroma. I had expected much more from a dry-hopped beer.

T: The flavor is pretty light--just a little malt. A touch of metal. Some pleasant grassy or herbal hop bitterness comes through at the end and lasts for a while, though. The aftertaste is the best part of this beer.

M: Thin, boardering on watery, but with lively carbonation.

O: I didn't find this beer offensive in any regard, but I also didn't find anything particularly interesting about it. I expected much more from the dry-hopping, which turned out not to have much effect. There is nothing in here that impedes drinkability, but there's also nothing that keeps you coming back for more. With so many tasty American pale ales out there, I don't think I will choose this again.

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

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass

a: bright orange and cloudy. Minimal head but was not an aggressive pour either.

s: faint, light citrus notes. smell is very subtle.

t: grapefruit at the front and then finishes sweet with a little malt.

Easy drinking! Go does extemely smooth. Nothing complex or overpowering about this, but hits the spot with a nice pale ale and could easily enjoy a couple of these on a sunny afternoon.

Photo of Illtryit
4.72/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a really good Pale Ale.

Pours an orange-gold and cloudy into my mug with the perfect one finger head which lingers for a few minutes and leaves the proper amount of lacing. Looks absolutely irresistable.

Has a very slight citrus smell and maybe some molasses in there too. Smells almost as good as it tastes.

This is the perfect pale ale. Full flavored, crisp carbonation, and a slight bitter aftertaste. Slight alcohol flavor. Very refreshing, very drinkable.

I think this is a home run for Founders (go figure). For a dry hopped pale ale, I've tasted none finer.

For those looking for a gateway beer, this could be the one. Try it, you wont be disappointed.

Photo of daledeee
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beers pours a bright but cloudy yellow orange.

Nose is hoppy.

Taste is pretty much all hops but not very complex. Hop profile is on the grapefruit side. There is sweetness in the back ground. The taste hits you at first but ends up being bland.

Mouth feel is goodly carbonated. I found the beer to be easy to drink and fresh tasting. A good example of the style.

Photo of AEK
2.68/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

355ml brown bottle poured SLOWLY into a Young's pint pot.

A. Straw coloured ale with a bubbly white head as tall as the Chrysler building. Whoah!! this beer seems way too lively. Highly carbonated judging by the amount of bubbles streaming up the beer.

S. Melon, grapefruit, a little floral and grassy. Lemon sherbet.

T. Lacking complexity. Not a lot to say here, fairly bland. I think I got a touch of citrus fruit but can't be sure.

M. Thin.

D. A poor pale ale indeed. I hope the other Founder's beers I have are better than this rather tasteless thin bodied ale. Have another one of these that I was going to save until the end of the year but it isn't worthy enough to save until Christmas/New Year. Did I really pay £7.56 for 2 bottles of this rubbish?!!!

Photo of BeerDawgs
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A hazy golden/blond color. Leaves a ton of foamy head and lace retention on the bottle. Some of the most head I have ever seen in a beer! There is sediment floating all around in the beer. I love that.

S - Hops. The aroma is mild, but it is fairly hoppy and not many malts come through.

T - Lemon and a light bitterness. Nothing jumps out. Just a tasty pale ale. But it packs a nice bite at the finish.

M - Alot of carbonation, but a nice smooth finish.

D - Very high. This is a nice tasty beer for a hot summer day. Very refreshing, and I could drink several of these in a row.

Photo of Brianjames16
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy golden color with a one finger width white head. Some thin lacing sticks around on the glass.

S- Some slight bitter hop aromas with grapefruit and piney notes. I'm getting a more mild IPA aroma off this one. Some delicate flower like aromas.

T- Taste pretty much follows the aroma with a faint bitterness from the hops. Drinks like a more mild Founders IPA. This one is a very nice easy drinking beer.

M- Very light body with a nice refreshing crispness and clean finish. Very nice beer.

O- Very drinkable and great tasting. Founders has not let me down yet with any of there approaches. Cheers Founders !

Founders Pale Ale from Founders Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 2,420 ratings.