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.

1,976 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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 1,976 | Reviews: 764 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of RaphaelSC


3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a cloudy orange with a little white head.

S: Fainty citric hop smell a little dry woody pine too.

T: Some citric lemon taste, with pine, probably because of the cascade hops. The end is a little Bitter citric too.

M: Refreshing smoothing with a soft bitter in the aftertaste.

O: A smooth refreshing beer a perfect session beer, with average ABV and flavour enough to be considered a good beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2013 01:09:30 | More by RaphaelSC
Photo of Pegasus


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

Appearance: Dark copper in color, with a massive, somewhat coarse, incredibly persistent off-white head, The carbonation is fine, profuse, and fast-rising. The lacing is utterly glass-coating.

Aroma: Massive burst of pine tar and grapefruit hops, and a good bit of toasted malt, quite pleasant.

Taste: Opens with juice citrus and to a lesser extent, pine tar hops, backed by a substantial toasted malt presence. As the taste progresses, the sweet malt is present, but the hops dominate throughout. Finishes with a long, moderate, but lingering hop note.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, very pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: A very rewarding example of the style.

Presentation: packaged in a stubby twelve-ounce brown glass bottle with a twist-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2013 00:47:14 | More by Pegasus
Photo of magictacosinus


3.1/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Gotta say, I love the artwork on this bottle, although the name is slightly generic yet gets to the point. There's a label on the bottle that says this was bottled on "11/21/12," so it's quite old at this point.

Pours a cloudy, orange-amber color that leaves some bubbles and lacing temporarily at the side of the glass. Hardly any head, which quickly dissipates into nothing. Looks like it's on its way to getting past its prime, but nothing in presenting itself for what it is.

The aroma was what I feared based on the bottling date - while there is a faint, classic Cascade hop profile, filled with some earthiness, slight piney flavors, and a dash of citrus, it really seems to have faded quite drastically by now. There's a bit of caramel and honey from the malts, and a huge cracked grainy flavor, but by now I can only assume how much the hops have descended from their former glory. There's hardly any dry hopped astringency to speak of, in fact, and overall it smells pretty muted, almost to the point of being oxidized. Nothing smells wrong, just bland, almost like cardboard.

Right at the front, there's a classic hop citrus flavor from the Cascade, as well as touch of crisp graininess combined with malty faded toffee full-bodied flavors. If someone handed this to me in a blind tasting and told me that it was a SN pale ale, I would have instantly believed them, although I would said that it was a rather old batch. And while it holds up well, I believe age is a major factor here in deciding this beer's greatness. There's some slight lemon rind flavors, a bit of earthy grains that are astringent but not too long lasting, and decent carbonation, which is only hindered by the thinned body of the beer. Pine and floral flavors come in and out. Not bad, but nothing too great to write home about.

Even this old, this is a drinkable beer, although I can't tell where the dry hopping has really played a part here. Dry hopped pale ales are becoming my new favorite thing, so to see it so muted at this point is rather saddening. I bought this two weeks ago, and broke it from a six pack, but I've no clue why it was still sitting around. It still is crisp, and amazingly resemblant to the flagship West Coast PA flavor, but it has way too much lemon going in on in it, and not enough else other than the earthy grains. Not horrible, but not up to par on Founders' standards.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2013 07:40:18 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of Omnium


3.71/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Pours super murky light orange, less than a half a finger of head, no signifigant lacing.
S - Faint aromas of sweet caramel malts, with some dry pine and earthy hop scents.
T - The sweet caramel and other malts in this are really off for a pale ale, especially a dry hopped one, but on that note it does finish with a nice dry pine bitterness.
M - Odd flavors linger, and its not well carbonated.
O - Weird brew that doesnt really match up to its label or class.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2013 04:35:56 | More by Omnium
Photo of chefhatt


3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I poured this into a glass, it has a orange amber colored body with a thin tan heas. The smell has sweet malt aroma with a hint of hops, The taste has a very nice malt up front then the hops come right after. the bitterness of the hops leave a nice resdue on the back of the tongue. Overall this is a good pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2013 01:46:27 | More by chefhatt
Photo of philbe311


3.49/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I can't believe that it's taking so long for me to get around to trying this Founders offering...

A - No real head to speak of... Rather there is just a slight lop-sides fizzy lacing with some carbonation bubbles exploding up through the surface... The color is a rather pale golden yellow... There is a very subtle haziness present... Fairly still with just a couple of sluggish to moderate paced carbonation bubbles seen towards the top of the glass...

S - A slightly malt forward aroma... Warm doughy biscuits... A slight kiss of caramel sweetness... The hops are a bit muted, but take on a rich whole coned persona... They are earthy in nature... Some light orange zest notes... A very minor spice component as well... A bit musky...

T - The hops take more of a prominence on the palate, but are far from potent... They take on a European noble character... Some bread crust... There is a slight metallic presence as well... Not too much else going on...

M - On the fuller side of light bodied... Sleek... Clean and crisp... A limited bit of sharp carbonation... A bit thin around the edges... Very muted carbonation... Finishes with an ever so slight dryness...

D - Goes down easily enough... However, this does not live up to the lofty expectations that other Founders offerings leads one to expect...

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2013 01:20:08 | More by philbe311
Photo of banglin


3.18/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: poured a very small white head, clear golden color

S: nice hop aroma but not overpowering. nothing too strong

T: the hops bitterness is almost absent when first taking a sip but appears after being swallowed and remains in the mouth for a while after drinking

M: nice amount of carbonation bordering on too much

O: this is a pretty good beer. Admittedly I am more of a porter and stout fan and prefer Founders' selection of stouts and porters over this one.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2013 23:51:15 | More by banglin
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 KTCamm

New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours copper, light and dark with white foam. Clings at the edges, dissolves atop. Malty pine nose. taste is a fruity open, middle of the road bitter, but layered below. Smooth, nice buzz from the carbonation. Kind of a tropical fruit finish. Very good.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2013 00:23:33 | More by KTCamm
Photo of Ilafan


3.4/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This, for me, is a surprisingly mediocre beer. Oh it's better than a grocery store, mass-produced American lager, but Founders is usually so creative and excellent. I guess my expectations were too high.

Anyway, the pour is golden and slightly cloudy. The lacing is minimal, but it does have a bigger head than I'd expected for a pale ale.

The smell had a citrus aroma to it. Lemon perhaps?

The taste was crisp but rather bland. The hops were rather mild with only a slight bite.

Overall, I think I'll go with the excellent other offers from Founders from now on.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2013 19:28:55 | More by Ilafan
Photo of Treyliff

West Virginia

3.71/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A- pours clear and golden with a two finger foamy white head, good retention after the pour

S- floral and citrus hop with some buiscity malt, a bit of grain

T- subtle dry hopped flavor with a grainy-yet-sweet malt balance, dry finish that is slightly bitter

M- light-med body with low carbonation and a slightly foamy mouthfeel, slick finish

O- well balanced and great drinkability, a sold light drinking beer with just enough flavor

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2013 19:47:07 | More by Treyliff
Photo of mscudder


3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served ina pint.

A - Pours a light citrus amber with a pillow-like white head. Fair retention with great lacing.

S - Pale biscuits, fair hop presence and a touch of citrus.

T - Dry hop bitterness atop touches of caramel malt. Not overpowering in any way, yet lacks robust character.

M - Light+ carbonation with malty light body.

O- Nothing crazy to speak of in this guy, but a solid brew I could drink a LOT of.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2013 21:53:11 | More by mscudder
Photo of beerhan


3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

This is a review of the nitro tap pale ale.

To preface, I do not think this one works on nitro too well.

Pours a dark orange color with almost no head. Aroma of flowers and sweet candy and some yeast. Tastes very dry. Lots of lemon and orange and an overall dry citrus taste. The body of this beer is very watery. The lack of carbonation gives this an awkward stale apple juice feel and taste. This beer really did not sit too well on me. Bottle and standard tap options are very appropriate as this can be a tasty pale ale when fresh but the lack of carbon dioxide changes this one.

Serving type: nitro-tap

03-31-2013 04:57:49 | More by beerhan
Photo of Tucquan


3.84/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Had this on 2013-03-30 at the brew pub

A - pretty clear gold w strong white head.

S - bread, yeast, grass, citrus.

T - like the smell but stronger. Lingering grassy bitterness

M - super creamy. Med body and light carb

O - enjoyed it and will try this in bottles

Serving type: nitro-tap

03-30-2013 16:10:42 | More by Tucquan
Photo of Jimmys


3.14/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into tulip. bottled on 11/27/12.

A: slightly hazedbubble light orange/blond body. solid thick white head with good retention and some spotted lacing.

S: smells oxidized. muted melon aroma. dry grain. not much else.

T: oh yeah, this thing has seen better days. a straight bitter hop flavor starts things off. sweet melon flavor towards the bulk of the body.

M : average, subtle carb on a medium body.

D: certainly disappointing considering this brew is only about 3+ months old. apparently that is too much time. take note if purchasing!

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2013 03:29:56 | More by Jimmys
Photo of PieOhMy


4.11/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

An old favorite. Been meaning to review for a while. Poured into imperial pint glass.

A Clear dark amber. Little head. Pencil thin lacing.

S This is one of the great things about this pale ale. Strong fresh aroma. Smells like a summer storm. Cut wheat. Honey. Pepper.

T Very much like the smell. Sweet honey taste, peppery. The hop kicker is very pronounced. Lingers a bit.

M Medium. Not syrupy, but there is some body. The finish is fairly clean, this is a pale ale after all, but it is a tad on the gritty side relative to the style.

O A great representative for the style. Light, smooth, sweet, got some hops and bitterness. Great 'lounging around' nay I say session beer. This joins FIS and Dirty Bastard as great Founders beers for their particular style.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2013 18:08:36 | More by PieOhMy
Photo of Lemke10


4.45/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours a cloudy, golden orange color with a slight beige head. The aroma is full of wheat, fruity scents, and hints of hops. The taste is smooth, flavorful, and very easy drinking. Founder’s is known for making these big, bold beers; but this brew is very simple in comparison but just as tasty. It drinks a little sweet and finishes a little crisp. This is well made and is very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2013 05:39:23 | More by Lemke10
Photo of jwhancher


3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours gold with nice tight white head & ample carbonation. Slightly hazy. Smells sweet from malts with touch of hops. This isn't a hop bomb APA by any means. Citrus hops that give off lemon notes. Tastes sweet initially then bitterness coats the tongue. Touch of sweet crystal malts. Feels light bodied with no astringency and very even balance. Overall, this is a solid pale ale. Thought it could be more since it was brewed by Founders, but it still makes for a solid session ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2013 23:19:48 | More by jwhancher
Photo of ummswimmin

New Jersey

3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I poured this beer into my tulip glass. The foam is light and minimal on this one. The coloring is a deep orange, akin to a malty DIPA (like 2XIPA).

I like the aroma off of this one. You get some mild hopping. Just some really clean/balanced nose.

Overall this is a pretty good pale. The hop presence almost pushes this into the IPA realm.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2013 17:49:46 | More by ummswimmin
Photo of fx20736

New York

3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, served at fridge temp.

Apple juice amber with a white head that recedes quickly.

aroma; hops out front here, seemingly of a Noble variety. Crystal? malts evident as well.

mouthfeel; nothing special.

taste: Pale maltiness with a restrained grapefruit hoppiness.

notes: clean, dry and light. well balanced.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2013 01:22:35 | More by fx20736
Photo of jmccullough108


3.09/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle, into a pint glass. Date on bottle was 10/09/12

Appearance: light copper, thin lacing, decent carbonation

Smell: Bread, tropical citrus, also smell the "rust" that was discussed before.

Taste: Bready, sweet, do not taste the rustiness, though I do smell it (may have to do with it being a little bit old)

Mouthfeel: A little bitter, but does go down easy.

Overall: Decent brew, has a bit more flavor then a previously tasted APA. Overall not bad, I would drink it again, but probably wouldn't buy a six-pack.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2013 23:48:04 | More by jmccullough108
Photo of microbrewlover


2.74/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This brew pours a golden brown color with a one finger head which dissapates quickly; there is very little lacing on the glass.

Light citrus hops with orange and grapefruit. A slight diacetyl, buttery, smell also a little straw/yeast smell.

The taste is oily hops with a little peppery spice and diacetyl. Not much else.

The mouthfeel is oily, strong carbonation, oil is left on the tongue after swallowing.

Overall this offering from Founders tends to underwhelm, which is a shame because it tastes as though it has potential. Founders usuall makes very high quality brews but this one fails to blow me away or even excite me.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2013 23:24:24 | More by microbrewlover
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 KFBR392


3.94/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A golden color with a minimal head. Slight head retention. Carbonation bubbled throughout.

Smell: A slight sour aroma, possibly from the slight hop presence.

Taste: This is really what I imagine with a pale ale. The hops are there but at the same time don't provide a powerful impact. I think anyone starting to mess around with craft beer would really enjoy this one. There is a honey like sweetness hidden in the undertones of this brew.

Mouthfeel: The hops bite a little bit but quickly yield to a smoothness that makes this beer go down very quickly.

Overall: Like I said, I think anyone who was looking for a very solid beer to begin their transition into craft beer would enjoy this brew. Pale Ale's seem to be getting more and more hoppy but this beer sticks to the mold and really is very pleasant. Nothing to make you jump back but overall does the job.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2013 08:51:18 | More by KFBR392
Photo of GoldHorde


4.54/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Founders Dry Hopped Pale Ale

Gold/amber with a slight haze. Herbal scent. Light mouthfeel. Slight head and little lacing. Of ALL the Pale Ales I've had (NOT INCLUDING the India Pale Ale style) this Pale Ale made an INSTANT impression on me and actually SURPRISED me because it had the agressiveness of an IPA - certainly due the dry hop treatment. It instantly had a nice crisp burst of flavor with a citrusey edge and that slowly dissipating aura of a green forest. Very, very nice beer - NICE JOB! I have had about 7 styles of the FOUNDERS so far and I have liked every single one. I expect Pale Ales to be more malty - this beer encourages me to look for more dry hopped beers.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2013 04:14:18 | More by GoldHorde
Founders Pale Ale from Founders Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,976 ratings.