1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Founders Pale Ale - Founders Brewing Company

Founders Pale AleFounders Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,974 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1974
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 1,974 | Reviews: 764 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of fank2788


3.59/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a pint glass
Slightly hazy orange gold in the glass, the head starts out about a finger thick then fades to a thin layer of bubbles which throws some lace. Great citrusy hop aromas due to the dry hopping process dominate the smell, there is also a bit of clean caramel in there also to give some balance. The taste too is almost all hops. A lot of resin and bitterness with the typical cascade flavor profile is all right out front. The rest of the beer is pretty clean with the malt flavors falling into the caramel, biscuit range perhaps not enough malt or enough range in the malt flavors to balance the hops for the style. Nice levels of carbonation along with assertive bitterness make this a tingly beer, the finish is bitter and long lasting. Overall this is a middle of the road APA, the hops are trying to push this beer into the IPA category while the malt just isn't where it should be for this style.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2013 23:21:52 | More by fank2788
Photo of StJamesGate

New York

3.56/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Amber-tinged goldenrod with craggy white foam that fades fast.
Dusty grain sack with some dried orange rind on the nose.
A bit of biscuit, then some anise-y pine, cut hay and grapefruit rind.
Waxy melon finish and long bitterly grassy linger.
Light, slight cling, a bit oily, dry.

With this strength and hopping, it should line up well against SNPA, and man, does it fall flat. Too pale, no brightness off the nose and thin. Dry-hopping brings a grassiness that makes Cascade taste like EKG, in a bad way.

I take one All Day over a sixer of this.

2nd tasting: OK, that's a bit harsh. There's some lemon hard candy hopping at the center of this which is basically pleasant. Bumping taste by .25

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2013 20:48:49 | More by StJamesGate
Photo of otterbearfla


3.34/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance - 2 finger head poured a semi-cloudy golden light brown with some visible carbonation. The head is a foamy white, lasts a while, and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell- Floral, mild, with some citrus lemon and lime

Taste- Mild. Lemon and lime. Slight malt. Slight hops.

Mouth-feel- Medium, a little bit of carbonation.

Overall-better than average but not a go to ale. Indistinctive except for the citrus.
Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2013 20:04:21 | More by otterbearfla
Photo of delta490


3.3/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A- poured a semi-cloudy orange with some visible carbonation. The head is a foamy white, lasts a while, and leaves some nice lacing.

S- mild, with some citrus notes (maybe grapefruit) and a little bit of malt.

T- again, pretty mild. Little distinct about the flavor. Slight malt. Slight hops but nothing really stands out.

M- not bad. not to thin, a little bit of carbonation.

O-an adequate beer, decent mild falvor but nothing really interesting or notable going on.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2013 18:55:35 | More by delta490
Photo of Glennlawless

New Jersey

3.26/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into pint glass

A- poured a hazy copper with a nice inch head and leaving thick lacing

S- faint grassy smell and orange peel.

T- very mellow hops with slight pine on finish... Super drinkable.

M- medium carbonation. Smooth.

Overall a great beer you could drink a few of. I'd get this again

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2013 01:06:08 | More by Glennlawless
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 nsheehan


2.25/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

12oz to libbey pub pint
5.4% ABV
35 IBUs
Bottled 07/24/13, purchased ~8/28/2013
A – A cloudy gold with a tinge of some amber, a tiny bit of transparency. Somewhat translucent. Thin layer of cream colored head.
S – Some OK fruitiness and plant aroma, and slightly burnt pizza crust. Grass, peach, cantaloupe, and a bit of citrus. An earthy smell that really reminds me of singed pizza crust. Also a faint note of greenness, like washed lettuce.
T – Grassy and green tasting, with a fair amount of bitterness. A faint amount of a citrusy melon. No other fruitiness or earthiness detected so far. Reminds me quite a bit of smelling lilies.
M – Light bodied and a tad soft on the tongue, with a good amount of gentle tingle. Somewhat sharp in the cheeks, feels rough. A pretty dry and rough finish that detracts a lot.
D – Seems quite unrefined and is not nice feeling to drink. Can’t recommend, and it would be hard to choose between a AAL and this given an option at a tailgate or something.
3.75, 2, 2.25, 2, 2.25; 2.13

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2013 03:39:57 | More by nsheehan
Photo of Makisupajoey


3.89/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap in a 12 ounce glass.

A: Awesome! Super head with a nice showing of cascades. Head was very white and body golden/amber(low light and I'm slightly color blind)
S: Seemed mild, I'm beginning to think my nose is plugged, however walk up side street from parking spot smelled amazing so....?
T: Smooth for a pale ale, not overly bitter
M: Creamy and smooth, I do dig the nitro appeal. I wish I had time to compare this to a bottle.
O: Not being a big enthusiast on pale ales it was enjoyable and I'd try it again if the opportunity arrived .

Serving type: nitro-tap

08-28-2013 17:47:29 | More by Makisupajoey
Photo of youngs11

Rhode Island

3.29/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a cloudy, honey-amber. Virtually no head. Small spots of lacing but that's about it.

Smells earthy, a little sour, mildly fruity.

Taste is quite malty overall. Hoppy brightness and some bitterness are short-lived on the front end. Finishes really smoothly and creates a mildly floral, apple aftertaste that does not linger for long.

Mouthfeel is somewhat astringent, medium carbonation and medium to light in body.

Overall not a bad beer, but not that impressive either. It really makes me wont an IPA, but I think it's fair to say this one is a pretty good example of the pale ale style.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2013 23:19:51 | More by youngs11
Photo of cjgator3


3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

Bottled date of 8/6/2013 printed on neck of label.

A- This is a little darker than most pale ales, it is orangish with a hint of golden yellow and amber colors with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is faint malt along with floral and citrus notes from the hops. NIce aroma, I just wish there was more of it.

T- The taste like the aroma has some malt up front with the hops coming in and lingering into the finish. This is spot on for a pale ale with a nice balance between the malt and hops without the hops completely taking over like an IPA.

M- The mouthfeel is between light and medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

O- Overall, I think this a a great pale ale that stays true to the style. It is light bodied, well balanced, and has a good amount of flavor. Recommended!

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2013 00:43:40 | More by cjgator3
Photo of shand


3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Founders Pale Ale is a much more classic-styled pale ale than even SNPA. Besides the hoppy aroma from the dry hopping, the flavor itself is delicate with floral/citrus hops and grainy malts. Very quaffable, if lacking a bit in excitement. Overall, a solid pale ale in a style that's beginning to die out.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2013 16:36:27 | More by shand
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 dar482

New York

3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was brewed 6/23/13, a month fresh.

The color is a light red orange with a lot of deep reddish orange in the light.

The aroma has lots of grainy malt, caramel sweetness, with some fresh grassy and light citrus aroma. Very subtle aroma for a “dry hopped” beer.

The flavor follows, not much of a citrus punch, but a lot of refreshing grainy and cracker clean malt. Some grassy, floral, and gentle clean pine. Almost like a lager with its crisp, yet very bready flavor. The finish has a bit more pine and light grapefruit. There’s a good amount of drying and bitterness and astringency on the end.

There’s a light to medium body with lots of carbonation.

In the end, this is a very clean pale ale. It’s not very hoppy as I like my pale ales, but I hugely enjoy how easy drinking and clean this beer is. One of the weakest beers from Founders, but still very competent. Going into this as a pale ale would be the wrong move, I would think of this more of a Helles lager. Very clean, a bit of hops.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2013 06:53:58 | More by dar482
Photo of danieelol


3.4/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a filtered yellow with pretty good head/lacing.

Smell has a doughy marzen-esque character, some toffee and some fruitiness which may come from either yeast or hops. Hop presence feels German or English to me, even though I know it's Cascade.

Taste brings a more distinctive hop flavour, more of that dry yeasty marzen character

Mouthfeel features quite full on coatings of flavour, a continued fruitiness and a moderate (and a tad "unpleasant") continuing bitterness.

Overall an interesting, strongly flavoured but more "traditional" tasting pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2013 08:51:13 | More by danieelol
Photo of mfnmbvp


4.23/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. Excited to try this beer; an outing from Founders that I haven't had yet. All Founders six packs are on sale at the local beer store for $8.99 all summer long.

Poured into a Firestone Walker pint glass.

A - Pours just shy of a finger's worth of fizzy white head which fizzles away quickly. Body color is a clear coppery yellow-orange color. Just a touch of sediment floating around, and hardly any lacing to speak of.

S - Smell is fantastic. Earthy dirty herbal hops, lemongrass, hint of citric grapefruit, and grainy malts. A wonderful smelling pale ale.

T - Taste follows the nose: earthy hops & herbal notes, some floral notes, sweet lemongrass, crisp citric qualities, some tea leaf sweetness, and a toasty malt profile. Light bodied with excellent carbonation, and a wonderfully light hop tinge.

M - Feel is crisp, citric, light bodied, and highly drinkable. Slightly resinous and dry in the finish due to the hop presence, but not by much.

Overall, I have to admit, this is probably one of the best pale ales I've drank in a long time. It's a shame that I slept on trying this one for as long as I did. The perfect summer beer: light, refreshing, super flavorful, and with a sessionable 5.40% abv, I would choose drinking this over Founders All Day IPA anytime. A delicious beer that I look forward to drinking many more times.

Founders Pale Ale ---4/5.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2013 23:55:29 | More by mfnmbvp
Photo of BradtheGreat7


4.04/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz growler filled at CL(Ashland Kentucky). Poured into a Founders standard pint glass.

A - golden color with slightly darker golden highlights when out of the light. White head had some size on the pour and left the glass with a nice sticky ring of lace with some nice clumps to it.

S - nice hop aromas. Grapefruit and pine with some floral notes. Balanced by some caramel malts and some breadiness along with a touch of something like dry grain. Very nice nose

T - malts are noticed up front with biscuit and grain. Grapefruit, semi citrus and some big floral hops set the backbone in the hop department. Caramel malt provides a sweet balance to the dry hop bitterness in the finish.

M - medium bodied with that whole Founders texture going on. Sure it's not as thick as some of their other brews, but its no where near thin either. Good feel and easy to drink while still pushing its classic flavors across.

O - very good APA. Dry hopped and delicious. I forgot how good this thing was and ill definitely have to review a bottle of it soon. One of the best American pale ales you'll find and Founders does a nice job of keeping it simple but with loads of class. Sometimes these classic hop and malt flavors are just what an ale needs. This does what it's intended to do and does it very very well.

Serving type: growler

07-24-2013 13:24:56 | More by BradtheGreat7
Photo of taylor714914


3.44/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Had this while tailgating in Hershey before a Dave Matthews Band Show.

Poured into the classy Solo cup. As suspected, tons of head due to the cup.

copper color with tons of bubbles.

Smells of sweet tropical and citrus hops and a bit of malt.

Taste follows suit. Standard pale ale IMO. Nothing to get too worked up over

Mouthfeel was a little to carbonated for my liking.

Overall an OK pale ale, though there are many others I prefer more.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2013 18:37:25 | More by taylor714914
Photo of schwemjw


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

A: Clear golden copper with a white fluffy head that resembles a sponge.

S: Very earthy. some pine with a bready caramel. A little floral. I'm kinda seaching here though, not too much going on.

T: Lots of pine and earth! a nice bitter finish that sticks around. Alot of acid with lemon and a spritz of lime rind. Really nicely balanced with malt and caramel.

M: Medium bodied. Its a little bigger than i expected with a nice refreshing hit of carbonation.

O: A nice pale ale with a great balance between the hops and malt. I'd say this is pretty earthy. Not as refreshing as other pale ales but still pretty good. /82

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2013 04:16:22 | More by schwemjw
Photo of kemoarps


3.56/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours an orange amber, like crystallized honey. Not a huge head, little spots of congregation that remind me of yeast, but I don't know if that's what it actually is or not. minimal lacing.

Nose is pretty weak. Some yeast, cracker malts and a grassy hop.

Starts of crisp and enticing, but the pale cracker malts and little bit of yeast in the background draw this closer to the, "OK" side of good than the, "great" side.

Crisp and smoothe. Goes down well. I've enjoyed the first half of the six pack so far, but probably would look elsewhere first. Maybe I was spoiled with the APAs I was drinking before, but this doesn't quite hit the sweet spot for me. Especially coming from such a (deservedly) acclaimed brewery as Founders, I was hoping for something... else. Well crafted, just not the complete flavour profile I was looking for.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2013 01:20:24 | More by kemoarps
Photo of superspak


3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled on 6/4/2013. Pours lightly hazy golden amber color with a 1 finger fairly dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of lemon zest, orange zest, grapefruit, bread, light honey, floral, grass, light pine, and floral earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of malt and citrus/floral hops; with solid strength. Taste of lemon zest, orange zest, grapefruit, floral, grass, bread, light honey, light pine, and floral earthiness. Light floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, citrus zest, floral, grass, bread, light honey, light pine, and floral earthiness on the finish for a short bit. Very nice flavor balance of citrus/floral hop flavors with bready malts; and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, lightly sticky, and crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with no warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice pale ale. Very nice balance of hop and malt flavors; and extremely smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering when it is fresh.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2013 04:36:58 | More by superspak
Photo of NiceTaps

New Jersey

3.81/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle in a pint glass.

A- poured a burnt orange color with a 1-finger white head that tapers quickly to a film. Hazy. Spotty lacing.

A- nice blend of toasty malts and fresh floral hops.

T-a touch of sweet malts and a hint of citrus hop flavor. The hops come through without being bitter.

M- medium body and good carbonation. Some hop tang on the finish but it does not overpower the malts.

O- a good warm-up before I hit the hoppier stuff. Easy drinking and flavorful.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2013 20:11:54 | More by NiceTaps
Photo of curasowa

New York

3.25/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Chill-hazed, golden color with one finger of head that fades slowly with a uniform curtain of lace.

Aroma: Toffee, a bit of banana bread and some spicy hop notes.

Taste: Creamy, mouth coating and a bit sweet, then a big rush of raw hop bitterness, but with a sweet, slightly spice undertone. It almost reminds me of a hint of gingerbread. Finished fairly fast with just a little bit of lingering bitterness.

The Rest: Nothing fantastic or remarkable, just a solid drinking beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2013 00:23:41 | More by curasowa
Photo of MistahBeah


3.06/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Hazy pale amber. Minimal head. Just swirling patches of off white carbonation. Some visible carbonation throughout. Some lacing

Aroma: Not much going on here. Toasty with some very faint floral/grassy undertones. Disappointing

Taste: Hops make themselves known a little more in the flavor. I'm picking up some citrus and grass. A little bit of oily pine in there too. There's a crisp tart aftertaste that's not entirely unpleasant. The finish is toasty. Some bread and a tad of sweet caramel malts

Mouthfeel: Crisp and refreshing. Smooth and a little creamy

Overall: Not impressed by this. I typically like Founders but I wouldn't rush out to get this again. There isn't really anything wrong with it...it just fails to stand out at all

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2013 04:16:21 | More by MistahBeah
Photo of flyingpig

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

355ml bottle from Good Spirits Co, Glasgow (£2.60):
Clear, light amber colour with a thin bubbly head to start that quickly turns to a patchy lacing on the top.

Weak on the nose, particularly considering it has been dry hopped. There is some earthy hops but overall the subdued malts and dry, toasted aroma seems to dominate the nose.

Citrus in the taste is more noticeable than it was in the nose and the hops are more upfront as well with a definite dry hopped taste. There is some pine and a little grapefruit that is followed up with the earthy and toasted malts from the taste.

Medium with lively carbonation and a nice balance to the beer. Pretty smooth and easy to drink with a touch of spice and a light bitter end.

A slow starter in that it wasn't at all what I was expecting, particularly from a beer with the words 'dry hopped' on the label but once the beer had time to settle and open up a little this became more apparent in the taste. A nice beer that slowly grew on me and turned out okay in the end.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2013 09:32:39 | More by flyingpig
Founders Pale Ale from Founders Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,974 ratings.