1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Founders Pale Ale - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Pale AleFounders Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,324 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,324
Reviews: 776
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 11.65%
Wants: 31
Gots: 152 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,324 | Reviews: 776 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bsp77
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Hazy light orange with creamy white head and some nice lacing.

Smell: Dry citrus and floral hops and just barely sweet grainy malts.

Taste: Very dry all the way through with a focus on citrus, grapefruit, pepper and slightly grainy malt. Ends slightly bitter and almost sour.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium grainy body, very dry sour finish.

Drinkability: It is official - Founders can do no wrong. Very solid APA overall with an emphasis on hops and an unusually dry body for an APA.

bsp77, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of hardy008
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pale orange color with a white one finger foamy head. Has good retention. Has the aroma of citrus hops with grapefruit peeling, also some grass, and a light amount of malt. The taste is bitter citrus hops with some grapefruit peeling and the grass aroma also shows up in the taste. This is bitter, but the flavor and aroma were both somewhat light.

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, and the hop bitterness coats the mouth. The carbonation is lighter than expected, and the overall mouthfeel is somewhat disappointing. Especially for a Founders beer. Overall the drinkability is pretty good, but I wish the flavor and aroma were stronger, and the mouthfeel was better.

hardy008, Jan 15, 2010
Photo of HopOverdose
2.83/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass. It has a nice honey orange color. Pours well with a nice head. Slightly cloudy against a backlight. Looks very inviting. Very nice delayed lacing.

It's very light on the nose. To me, not a strong aroma. Slightly citrusy with a juicey end smell.

Very hoppy taste at first, bitter. Some citrus in the beginning and finishing with a very bitter after taste. The malt is nice in the middle. The taste fades very quickly into a dry bitterness that lingers on the rear of the palate.

This beer has good feel, and the carbonation is just right. Not too thick as well.

I wasn't too impressed with Founders rendition of an APA. The taste balance wasn't that great and I just wasn't excited.

HopOverdose, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of cassanoj
2.93/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a nonic, color of honey, white head and yeasty, not much lacing.

Aroma is hoppy and citrusy, but neither are real pungent. I also smell a bit of peach. There's other stuff there but it's too subtle for my nose.

The nose comes through in the taste. Strong hops that fade quickly. Bitter citrus coats the mouth. Taste doesn't really do anything for me. I've tasted similar beers, Crooked Tree comes to mind and I find it much more enjoyable. This has too much of a bitter twang for me.

Mouthfeel isn't bad, medium bodied. I also feel like it fades too quickly for me to appreciate any subtleties.

Overall, not impressed but for 3 bucks, I get what I pay for.

cassanoj, Jan 07, 2010
Photo of fropones
3.6/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle bomb (probably from running up the stairs with it then promptly openning it)

A - A nice golden orange, nice and bubbly, with about 4 fingers of fluffy white head with great retention.

S - Nice citrusy hops with something I can't quite place. Some pale malt as well. A splash of white grape juice.

T - Pale malt up front with some hop bitterness balancing it out back. Either this one is a little more aged than I thought or there is barely any hop character to it.

M - Nice effervescence, very creamy and bubbly (can again be contributed to the bottle bomb). Sloshing some in my mouth I can actually feel my cheeks expanding with the releasing of CO2.

D - Drinks very nicely. A nice sessionable ale. Could probably use to be a bit more fresh with some more hop character, but that's on me, not the beer.

fropones, Jan 07, 2010
Photo of cbutova
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy copper/golden color with a one finger head that is neither very creamy or fizzy. It retains at about a half of a finger for a fair amount of time. A tiny bit of lacing is left and the beer ends up looking almost like juice. Smell is big on malts and has a nice earthy hop backbone. I also get a tiny bit of citrus hop. The pale malts and grains are nice on the nose. I would like a bit more strength here as it is hard to get a large amount of anything on the smell. Taste has a very nice massive malt backbone. The hops are earthy and some are floral. There is nice hop taste melded in with the flavors and bitterness to compliment the overall taste and feel of the beer. It is very nice to get huge malts in an APA. The hops certainly help to add a nice backing to the malts though. Body is light but has some creaminess to it, which I like. The carbonation feels extremely smooth and there is no warming at all. Very nice feel for an APA. If this one was a bit cheaper it would be the ultimate session beer. It is however a very good example of an APA. It is like a classier, more complex version of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (the ultimate session APA). Founders continues to amaze me with the quality of their beers.

cbutova, Jan 06, 2010
Photo of Kadonny
4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from tap into a standard pint glass.

A: A light clear gold color with a one finger fluffy white head. Slight glass lacing.

S: Grassy earthy hops with a slight caramel malt sweet smell. Smell that dry hopping!

T: Hops are fresh and assertive on the start with notes of grassy floral flavors coupled with some lighter lemon and orange citrus flavors. A solid but not overwhelming caramel malt sweetness holds the beer together, but the hops win on the finish with a nice bitter finish that ends clean.

M: A bit light actually, very crisp and clean but not overly coating.

D: High, real nice beer that goes down easily.

Overall a much better beer than that which I had in a bottle years ago. I soon realized I had an old bottle which the flavors had faded. This is a great APA that can be drank anytime. Another winner by Founders.

Kadonny, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of drpimento
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ppretty decent pale ale of the dry hopped variety. Poured with a large fluffy, frothy, foamy off white head and lots of lace. Color is a clear light to medium amber. Aroma is not overly bold, but hoppy, malty, earthy, not much citrus. Flavor's about the same. Body is excellent and great carbonation. Nice clean balanced finish. Session beer.

drpimento, Dec 22, 2009
Photo of brownbeer
3.7/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one has leafy, herbal hop aroma with some pine, mint, and soft grains. American all the way.

The taste is fresh, leafy hop resins without much malt complexity and a long, dry finish. I could have used a little more of a malt profile in this.

It's not bad, but there are a lot better choices out there right now. I don't factor in price when reviewing, but there are better values.

brownbeer, Dec 15, 2009
Photo of WYVYRN527
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours golden with a thick white head that settles to a thin film on the surface. There is some haze to this beer. Lacing is good, and head retention is decent.

S: Some sweet, caramel-like malt aroma up front, and then comes dry, floral, grassy hop notes.

T: A bit better than the smell. The sweet malt shines through in the beginning, but the hop profile is quite pleasant. Floral, grassy, and a touch of citrus, with a nice dry finish.

M: Light to medium bodied brew. A bit thin, but still quite refreshing.

D: Not my favorite beer from Founders, but overall pretty darn good. It's easy to drink, and quite sessionable.

WYVYRN527, Dec 11, 2009
Photo of THORN
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into pint glass. Stamped bottling date 10/22/2009. Served 40-45 F.
A: Hazy light orange brown. Pours thick white head. Retains very little head. A little bit of lace left around pint.
S: Sweet pale malts and fresh floral hops.
T: Pale malts, slightly sweet. Somewhat spicy, accented by crisp hops. Flavors fade away slowly.
M: Light on tongue.
D: Light and crisp, well balanced, and refreshing.

THORN, Dec 10, 2009
Photo of cagocubs
3.95/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an apple juice gold with a gigantic white foamy head. Head lingers and laces nicely. Great looking beer.

S: Smells real hoppy with citrus fruit and an earthy rose like smell. Pines and malt present as well. It's like laying in a meadow on a warm spring day. Smells real clean and crisp.

T: You get some of the taste that you smell in regards to the earthy tones, rose, and citrus. Fairly watery for the smell, this was suprising. Aftertaste is somewhat fruity and dry.

M: Watery, crisp, and light bodied.

D: The appearance and smell of this beer are amazing. The taste and mouthfeel are lacking. I would choose Founders Centenial IPA over their Pale Ale.

cagocubs, Dec 10, 2009
Photo of bbeane
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured into a 16oz tumbler... very nice 3/4 inch white head that with very good retention and nice lacing. Beer is a typical amber color, maybe a bit lighter, with some sediment

S- Not a whole lot going on... subtle hoppiness and sweetness

T- Starts with an ever so little amount of sweetness, than turns a bit hoppy, and finishes dry and bitter

M- Watery, lighter in body with light carbonation

D- Not very complex, but tasty... at 5.2%, almost or somewhat sessionable


bbeane, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of morimech
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden color with two inches of white head that sits perfectly in the glass. The head had excellant retention. The head eventually settles to a thick cap. Heavy lacing is left on the glass. Nice hoppy aroma with citrus and floral hints. Also hints of bready malt. The flavor also is hop centric. The hop flavors consist of oranges and pineapple. The malt has a little toasted element that helps balance things out. Bitterness is moderate. A nice refreshing flavor and it finishes clean. Medium body and nice carbonatin for a pale ale. A very drinkable APA but not sure if it is worth Founders prices. I like the low ABV as well so it is sessionable.

morimech, Dec 04, 2009
Photo of Pedro07
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Took home a growler of this stuff last night after a visit to the brewery. I've had this beer before a lot, but never have reviewed it.

A- Pours a nice deep golden color with a 3/4 white head rising, then slowly falling. Moderate lacing is left on the glass.

S- Better smell than most APA's. I get hops and a little piney note, not so much citrus. There is some earthy spiciness that I can't identify.

T- Very balanced, but there is a nice hoppy element. I can taste some pine needles and grassiness, maybe a hint of oranges. The hops linger on your palate...mmmm.

M- Very good. If a beer is advertised as an ale, it's a good idea to have the mouthfeel of one. One of my biggest pet peeves is getting a watery "ale".

D- Oh yes, session beer to the definition.

Getcha some.

Pedro07, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of homebrewhawk
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle served in a shaker pint. Poured a slightly hazy gold with a sparse white head. Pretty subdued aroma of citrusy hops and some carmel malt. Solid malt base to this one with a crisp hop bite, but not a whole lot of bitterness. On the lighter side of medium body. Nice lingering dry finish from the hops, but not a mouth puckerer. Very drinkable, a solid Pale Ale.

homebrewhawk, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of hooliganlife
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pour was light bright yellow with hints of orange, fairly murky.

light floral and citrus hops. bits of pineapple.

very malty, huge malts. light floral and bitter piny hops blend with the malts to add a little something extra. strong bitter aftertaste

medium carbonation, a bit of bite, nice body

a very easy drinking pale ale although it has a bit more flavor than most pale ales. this is quite drinkable

hooliganlife, Nov 10, 2009
Photo of Buebie
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single with the new pry cap, no more twist offs.
Poured into a pub glass off a rigorous pour, producing little head. No lace is left behind and a smallish collar of retention is left.
Faint haze to this, but mostly transparent.

Aroma is unimpressive, mild floral hop aroma and malt, some caramel and breadyness but really a subdued aroma for one that is dry hopped.

Hop forward in flavors though which is a nice change from aroma. Bittering hops up front, mixing with pine and mild rind peel, some malt comes through creating nice balance. Through the middle is great fresh grain flavors, cereal like bordering husky but not crossing the line.
Finishing crisp and mild bitter linger and a little bit of aspirin.
A good clean beer all around. This could use oomph in aroma and maybe some flaked barley for a bit more foam presence and longer lasting head.

Buebie, Nov 02, 2009
Photo of adamette
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the tap at the brewery yesterday during my visit there into a clean, clear pint glass.

A Yellow orange slightly cloudy body with little head. 3.5

S Light malt, barley with very little hops. 3.5

T Light malt, barley taste with somewhat larger hops presence than the smell suggested. A very soild Pale Ale and not weak like many I have tasted. 4.0

M Light feel with minimal syrupy stickiness, "goes down" very easily. 3.5

D Very good and I believe that this is the main point. 4.5

adamette, Oct 19, 2009
Photo of dfillius
4.55/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass. Bottle 4/23/09, enjoyued 8/13/09
A: Aggressive pour yields 2/3 finger thight white head with great retention. Chill hazy orange straw colored liquid. Pretty.
S: Man Candy! Pineapple, orange, grapefruit. Simcoe and Centennial? Slight hint of malt, whiff of aspirin.
T: Well rounded and balanced with a prick of bitterness finishing. Piney hop, bready malt with some buttered toast flavor. Twinge of fruity alcohol. Solid, tasty beer.
M: Sharp bitterness is slightly puckering
D: Session beer that has big hop aroma and well balanced flavor. I would order another and buy a sixer.

dfillius, Oct 18, 2009
Photo of heliosphann
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz squat bottle with a Pry-off cap. About a month from the bottling date. Served in a Pint glass.

A: Very thin layer of sketchy foam. Pours a fairly clear orange. Lacing is not bad for a Pale.

S: Crisp, floral hops up front along with some breadiness and grains. Some faint malts and sweetness are also present.

T: Light grassy hops are paired nicely with some solid maltiness. A little sweetness is also detectable, and some hop bitterness on the finish.

M: Light/Medium bodied. Carbonation feels spot on.

D: Just like it should, this beer drinks quite nicely. You could session these very easily at 5.2%. The slight bitterness on the finish might impede drinking too many though.

Another solid offering from Founders. I'm not the biggest fan of Pale Ale's, but I wouldn't mind drinking a few of these in a pinch.

heliosphann, Sep 27, 2009
Photo of projectflam86
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a nice golden orange color with a thick white foam head that leaves some nice lacing.

S- A fairly large amount of hoppy aroma with some citrus and pine scents. A decent roasted malt undertone is noticeable as well.

T- Crisp hoppy bitterness initially with grapefruit, pine, orange, and light floral flavor. A bit of caramel malt flavor is present in the finish helping to balance this brew nicely.

M- Light/medium body with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Really easy drinking brew that I would consider having around often.

projectflam86, Sep 20, 2009
Photo of kbeals
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review number 100!

A- Served in an imperial pint glass it appears a bright amber/orange color. A solid two fingers of head sits atop the beer. Great head retention and lacing.

S- Citrusy hops, and that's about it, no real malt bill is detected.

T- The malt bill shows up here a little bit. A lightly sweet start followed by a hoppy bitterness. Ends slightly dry, but overall pretty pleasing.

M- Light bodied, very crisp feel like other pale ales. Plenty of carbonation.

D- Pretty drinkable due to the light body and lower ABV.

Overall, a pretty standard pale ale, not the best one I've had but it is good. I would buy it again.

kbeals, Sep 07, 2009
Photo of jera1350
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deeper golden yellow color with a thin layer and ring of foam.

Nose is like a lighter version of Centennial IPA backed by some grain. A little zestiness.

A nice lighter piney hop flavor with a good amount of malt. Again, reminds me of a lighter Centennial.

Nice active mouthfeel. A little more than light bodied. Crisp and clean with a dry finish.

This would make an outstanding session beer. I could easily make a night of these. Solid pale ale from a solid company.

jera1350, Aug 30, 2009
Photo of MrMonkey
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a bright but slightly hazy golden amber with a steady stream of carbonation rising up. A one-finger off-white head fades slowly to a thin cap.

Strong smell of orange zest as soon as the cap is off. After pouring, there's some pale malts and toasted bread crusts, along with some floral, grassy notes.

Taste begins with pale malts and bread crust up front, and finishes rather dry and bitter. Citrus notes that are evident in the nose are missing in the taste, with the hops being mostly grassy.

Medium-bodied, crisp mouthfeel.

Drinkable, and a pretty good session beer.

MrMonkey, Aug 22, 2009
Founders Pale Ale from Founders Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 2,324 ratings.