Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Founders Pale Ale - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Pale AleFounders Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

821 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 821
Hads: 2,686
Avg: 3.7
pDev: 20.27%
Wants: 56
Gots: 315 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) | 5.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002

100% Cascade hops.
35 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 821 | Hads: 2,686
Photo of gonzo000
3.59/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

a. Nice orange/brown color with 1 finger head. Cloudy. head does not last. Not much lacing.

s. OK, one trick pony without a lot of complexity. Dry hopped honey.

t. Honey, spice - very nice.

m. A bit thin - lacking carbonation.

o. Good beer - would revisit occasionally.

 273 characters

Photo of hophugger
3.18/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

good beer, pale and sweetness prevail. Overall a good dry hopped beer. Color is acceptable but look past it and try to feel the flavor. It is good but is missing some complexity. Overall, Founder's Brewing does an ok job with their beers but could use a little extra care to take it to the next level

 300 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Hotel glass
From: Whole Foods in Tempe, Ariz.
Price: $2.59
Purchased: May 17, 2014
Consumed: May 17, 2014
Misc.: Bottled April 18, 2014

Poured a honey, pale, clear color with 1-to-2 fingers of pillowy khaki head. Lots of bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass. A good deal of layered foamy lacing along the sides of the glass. Good retention.

Smelled floral hops, citrus hops, lemon wheat, grassy hops, wheat, honey, orange and some caramel.

Tasted floral hops, grass hops, citrus hops, lemon grass, wheat, honey, light orange rind, caramel and other fruity tastes.

Light body. Oily-to-creamy texture. Lively carbonation. Long, slightly bitter finish.

A nice pale ale. I may have underrated this a tad. I’d have it again for sure.

 773 characters

Photo of elwetback
3.41/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Solid yet not spectacular beer. Dry/crisp bitter hop flavor with only a minor hint of malt flavor. Very light/easy drinking which would allow you to have a couple back-to-back without a problem.

From an appearance POV, nice orange color with OK foam (little head retention). Hop smell is piney with citrusy notes.

 314 characters

Photo of Jamiesue
3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer has enough flavor to make it tasty but is not overpowering or heavy so you can drink it all day long. Hoppy aroma but not overly bitter. refreshing and crisp, my go-to pale ale. If you are looking for a balance of drink-ability and flavor I highly recommend. Great for BBQ or tailgating.

 297 characters

Photo of RoyalT
3.91/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Appearance – This is a gorgeous, hazy orange in color with a foamy, white, pillowy head that showed great retention.

Smell – The nose is balanced between light citrus hopping and quality grain. No sense reallly of the dry-hopping.

Taste – This is a balanced ale. The grain is bigger here and very nice. The hops again are mild and well-proportioned.

Mouthfeel – This is just shy of medium-bodied and well-balanced in the mouth.

Drinkability – Definitely a session ale, this Founders’ offering shows off some high-quality ingredients as well as an expert’s touch by the brewmaster. One of the most quaffble APAs I’ve ever had.

 645 characters

Photo of reebtaerG
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had on tap nitro at Fireworks Pizza

A-Pours a hazy, orangey color with a 2 finger, off white head. Superb lacing!

S-Citrusey hops, grapefruit, bready

T-Bready, lots of citrus fruit, somewhere in between a pale ale and an IPA.

M-Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

O-A very drinkable PA with a strong hop presence, definitely better with nitro than the bottle I had in the summer.

 400 characters

Photo of mjpolzin
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this beer up to help accumulate "Founders points" for a beer club at a local liquor store. I had never had this particular beer before. With spring coming I am more in the mood for pale ales so I figured this would be a good buy.

This beer is solid but nothing spectacular. It is easy drinking enough but there is hardly any malt backbone and the only real flavor is a bitter hop taste. There isn't really any other hop flavor to speak of. I would say this brew would be good for a summer outing because it is decent and could be refreshing on a hot day but it is certainly nothing spectacular.

 603 characters

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 10/07/13 at 45 degrees into imperial pint, sediment present
Light aroma of flowery hops
Head average (3 cm), frothy, white, rapidly diminishing
Lacing spotty, small
Body medium yellow, slight haze of tiny particles
Flavor light, no alcohol, slightly sweet but well balanced by the hops which add a resinous counter point. It ends with a slowly-dissipating bitter aftertaste. No malt flavor, no diacetyl.
Palate light, watery, carbonation soft.

This is a nice, light pale ale; a pleasant break after winter’s mixture of stouts, porters, and IPAs. This is easily a potential lawnmower beer.

 599 characters

Photo of alphagnome
3.39/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy, sediment rich, medium oak color. Considerable head with fantastic retention and lacing. Plenty of carbonation.

Leaves a lot to be desired. Light pine and subtle, sweet citrus. If the aromas were a bit more exaggerated, this would be ok... Unfortunately, it's all too light.

Bitterness hits right upfront as you'd expect from any respectable IPA. Heavy grass and pine character. A quick sweetness hits at the end that vaguely reminds me of pineapple.

If I didn't know that dry-hopping was a method of hop addition, I'd swear they were referring to the finish - it's VERY dry. Full body with decent carbonation. A bit too dry for my liking.

Not a bad IPA, just not the most enjoyable. A bit more balance and some more character in the taste and aroma department will go a long way. Oh, and fix the finish. Minor gripes aside, it's a solid IPA - there are better offerings available however.

 952 characters

Photo of tmzl
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Look: Pours with lovely, puffy, large, off-white (yellow hue, small to medium sized bubbles) head. It has a sticky retention (collapsing big bubbles), leaves relatively creamy, thin top layer, which is responsible for some sticky lacing. Clear golden (light orange hue) with some haze particles floating around.

Smell: Floral the most dominant, following with some herbal and very light earthy notes. Malt character mostly consist of light grain sweetness that in combination with hops creates a fresh, fruity feeling, which reminds me of pear compote. Also hiding in there are some light citrus notes.

Taste: Light, mostly grain with light honey middle sweetness. Some of the malt character is missing, but I can't resent that since this is a all-in Cascade driven beer - floral still the most dominant, with some herbal and earthy notes in there. Light bitterness finish goes into the realm of zest and pine. Some honey and floral notes come out deep in the after-taste.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, dry finish, refreshing carbonation. Goes down very easily.

Overall: Light, easy to drink and floral. Cascade all over it, would wish for a bit more malt backbone, but changing that would change the niche of this beer - the thing to grab instead of ice tea at a hot summer day.

 1,289 characters

Photo of Budinetz
3.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap nitro style at The Mint Gastropub.
Delicious flavor and serious hop contest. Lush in hops but light in flavor with no harsh after taste...this beer is certainly session able and also available ok the Pennsylvania market. Come drink some!

 252 characters

Photo of LooseGasCap
3.44/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's an OK bottle to follow a burger. The Pale Ale part is especially true as the color and head are creamy and true to the Pale name.
I like the crisp hop finish and the dry mouthfeel, but the nose is not particularly a draw for me.
At 5.4% ABV, it's no lightweight, but there's room for improvement and room for one more.
On second thought... there's always room for one more!

 378 characters

Photo of Act25
3.76/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I'm wavering overall on 4. Here's a great pear-like pale ale.
Love this brewer, this is high quality and well made.

A Cloudy apricot body, not much head, a little lacing.
S: Pear like aroma, plenty of sweet malt, along with faint hops in direction of grassy and flowery.
A bit faint.
T: Very good, much fuller, sweeter profile, of pear/apricot/pulpy fruit juice, very juicy, with a clean transition to bitter hop drying finish. Good hop profile, balanced, true to pale ale - not as piney hoppy as Dales or Stone. Too Vegetal?
MF: Lovely body, like a fruit juice, satisfying, beer is food. Good for you. Never cloying. Great body ala Stone or Dales.

O: Some reviewers asked for more distinct flavor but it's a dry pale ale - it is balanced and full bodied with a juicy profile. Well done but mid-pack.

 809 characters

Photo of polloenfuego
3.79/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass.

This beer pours a nice pale gold with a good two finger head that breaks fairly fast but leaves good lacing and a nice thin film of bubbles. The smell was grains, mild citrus hops and some floral qualities too. The taste was much like the nose, but there is an excellent balance to this beer. It is just quenching and satisfying, really quite enjoyable. Medium body with a medium amount of carbonation.

This may be my new cottage beer. It is very easy to drink and quite flavorful without being too heavy.

 546 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.49/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle poured into a Founders imperial pint.
5.4% ABV, 35 IBUs

A - Nearly crystal clear, it's easy to see the carbonation rushing from the glass' nucleation point to it's sturdy off-white head. Delicate lace adds appearance points to the already warm golden glow of the beer.

S - Founders' Pale Ale extends a welcome greeting of fragrant Cascade hops on the nose. Floral, faintly herbal, and finished with a touch of lemony citrus and mango; it's a beautiful bouquet overlapping pale malt with a touch of caramel sweetness for balance.

T - Lingering sweetness suggests some caramel notes to the otherwise pale malt base but this American pale ale focuses almost exclusively on it's Cascade hopping. Ripe lemon and grapefruit citrus underscore the flirtatious floral attributes and herbal suggestions.

M - Crisp cleanliness lends this beer near perfect drinkablility as it's loaded with aroma and flavor but lacking both a full body and high alcohol. Hop bitterness ads dryness along the finish but it's nicely balanced, sip after sip.

O - A charming version of the style from front to back, Founders' Pale Ale is a beautiful demonstration of the Cascade hop variety with it's floral and citrus aroma and flavor but, above all else, it's exceptional drinkability! This pale ale would pair well with nearly any pub fare.

 1,329 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a light orangey color ale with a generous head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of citrus and fruity hoppy notes is very interesting. Taste is dominated by very nice flavours of fruity and citrus hoppy notes with lightly sweet malt notes. Body is full for style with good carbonation. Very nice beer with high-level of drinkability with some very nice notes hops flavours without too much bitterness.

 430 characters

Photo of Digimaika2
3.59/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

(3.75) A: Clear amber with a finger of stark white coloured creamy head. Recedes fairly quickly to a ring with some good lacing evident.

(3.5) S: Grains, light citrus, probably more floral qualities, faint banana, and dry crackers. Detecting an earthy mineral-like aroma on the backend that’s nice.

(3.5) T: Similar to aroma with grains, citrus and floral qualities, and faint honey. Nice level of bitterness and dryness without over doing it making this very easy-to-drink.

(3.75) M: Lighter bodied with moderate-higher level of carbonation. Slightly creamy with enough slickness.

(3.75) D: This is a solid and very easy-drinking APA that I would recommend to fans of the style.

 687 characters

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

Reviewed based on tasting notes from a blind pale ale tasting.

12 oz. bottle inside a paper bag poured into a plastic tasting cup.

A- hazy amber.

S- Pungent lemon rind in the nose.

T- Really nice balance of sweet malts and citrusy hops that also have a hint of pine.

M- Creamy mouthfeel.

O- Outstanding example of the American Pale Ale style. Out of a total of 14 pale ales in the blind tasting, this ale tied for 1st (with 4 other beers) on my list, and ended up at 7th on the collaborative list.

 503 characters

Photo of Rambu
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from a pint glass.

A - Golden to Orange hues, a little cloudy, nice 1 finger head, good lively carbonation.

S - Hop aromas are Citrus, Grapefruit, lemon zest. Slight bit of maltiness coming through as well.

T - A nice rounded malt profile with a slight sweetness, hops blend in great, lemony, citrus, slight earthiness, finishes with a firm bitterness and lingering hop character. Really reminds of Timothy Taylor's Landlord pale ale, I get very similar hop flavours, very drinkable.

M - Mouthfeel is good, carbonation is right on the money, good rounded malt gives way to a nice dry hoppy finish.

O - This is a great sessionable pale ale, well brewed and put together, I'm not sure of the bottled date on this beer but it tastes reasonably fresh, can't pick up any oxidised notes. I'd love to smash down pint after pint of this on tap, everything I've tasted from Founders so far has been excellent, glad to have them available here in Australia, cheers!

 966 characters

Photo of Scrapss
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a cheater pint.

A: medium gold with a two finger whitish head that dissipated to a thin disk very quickly. Active carbonation.

S: some mild earth, slightly bitter citrus and middling malts make for a very pleasant nose.

T: Very welcome light bittering hops with bitter citrus and some smooth lightly roasted malt flavors. Plays well.

M: creamy, not overly filling. side of tongue gets a slight puckery sensation. not boozy or hot. Not overtly drying, just right amount of dryness.

O: This is a very nice PA that will get passed over by many that want a bigger IPA or IIPA, not realizing just how darned good this is. It is very light and nearly sessionable due to moderate ABV. This is a go-to for me now. Very very good Pale Ale.

 765 characters

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

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on January 4, 2014.

The pour is orange amber with a quick lasting white fizzy head. Not a ton of lacing but some.

The aroma is of grainy malts, pale malts, and a nice dose of earthy hop explosions. It smells fresh, clean, and crisp.

The body is light to medium but there is also a decent smooth quality to it.

The taste begins with a decent pale and grainy malt note, a kind of citrus feel, and a definite hop bite that is not overpowering but balances well with the rest of the sensations. Above average but nothing I would remember a few weeks from now.

 596 characters

Photo of jdhowe
3.61/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 11/16/13

A; Pours a hazy golden amber with 1/4 finger of white head that dissipates quickly.

S: A bit of a spicy and earthy hop note over pretty standard pale ale malt aromas.

T/M: Mouthfeel is light to medium with a relatively high level of carbonation -- crisp and clean, but prickly with carbonation. Taste is pretty unassuming up front, with very little character alongside prickly carbonation leading into a hop bitterness alongside bready pale ale malts. Finish is bitter and slightly drying with an aftertaste of both hop bitterness and bready malt character.

O: Nothing really special here, which is partly why this is such a bare-bones review. A really unspectacular beer that isn't great and isn't awful. Entirely drinkable, but definitely not something I will actively seek out.

 801 characters

Photo of thecheapies
4.06/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Light amber color with marmalade hues. Fluffy pale head holds tremendous. Laces big.

Dry, crackery grains and flowery orange hops in the aroma. Light toast and a faint wheaty scent with subtle stone fruit and grapefruity citrus interplay. Benevolent nose.

Bitter citrus fruits, tangerine, floral hops, zesty pale grains, mild toast, biscuit, grapefruit, and green leaf. Herbal and brute. Bitter husks and cracker. A fine-tasting pale.

Feels immensely full, without being thick. Velvety soft with a supple bite of chewy carbonation. Rustling, yet soppy smooth. Close to perfect.

Best feeling pale ale on the shelf, hands down. Awesome brew.

 643 characters

Photo of Goosehunter75
3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours A briht golden honey. Very very chunk. Lots of floaters in this beer. 1 finger fluffy white head with good retention

S - There is a whole lot of citrus in this beer! Grapefruits and lemon dominate! Slight pine and grass aromas with a hint of rasins as well

T - Not as much citrus as one would think. Nicely balanced. Grapefruit and lemon are still present but tamed down by the nice malty backbone.

M - A medium body beer. Creamy feelnig in the mouth with lots and lots of bubbles

O - Another solid offering from Founders. It has a great taste and is very easy to drink.

 586 characters

Founders Pale Ale from Founders Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 821 ratings.