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Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Smuttynose Shoals Pale AleSmuttynose Shoals Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,166 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1166
Reviews: 639
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 11.2%

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Our interpretation of a classic English beer style is copper-colored, medium-bodied and pleasantly hopped. Its flavor is delightfully complex: tangy fruit at the start, with an assertive hop crispness and a long malty palate that one well-known beer writer has compared to the flavor of freshly-baked bread.

52 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-05-1998)
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Ratings: 1,166 | Reviews: 639 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of John

New York

4.9/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had the pleasure of trying this for the first time this summer in NH. I wish it were available in NY. Beautiful color, creamy smooth texture, gorgeous hop profile.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2001 13:16:08 | More by John
Photo of Chugmonkey


4.88/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Mmmm, mmm, mmm. Dang! I assumed this would be another boring pale ale. Wrong! Big rocky off-white head, deep auburn color, tons of lacing - beautiful beer.

I assumed it would be super caramelly, but the color is deceiving though. There is a bunch of caramel, but not overpoweringly sweet. Nice hoppy aroma, plenty of hop flavor to balance the sweet maltiness. Finsishes with a surprising crispness instead of a filling sweetness. Bitterness is perfect. I get way more malt & hops flavor than a bitter bite.

I love this beer. What a great balancing act. I think I'm going to move to New Hampshire.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2008 15:23:36 | More by Chugmonkey
Photo of FrankLloydMike


4.85/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a dark amber, more red than brown with a beefy, reddish white head that won't quit.

S: Very clean and crisp, malty but not sweet, strong but not overpowering.

T: Excellently balanced, this is maltier than it is hoppy. Biscuity, but slightly bitter. Not at all sweet, and just as clean and crisp as the smell suggests.

M: Full-bodied, slightly chewy but smooth. A great feeling.

D: Extremely drinkable, the bitterness is not overly dry so this one goes down real easy.

This is one of the best pale ales around, right up there with Whales Tale in my book, and a favorite standby of mine.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2010 21:53:25 | More by FrankLloydMike
Photo of mempath


4.83/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

i was NOT expecting much from this...i love craft brews and some are getting big and fancy...the smuttynose labels look a bit (charmingly) amateur. low tech. nice! but was quite surprised at every aspect of this brew.

pours nice and deep and cloudy and heady and lacey. ok. very nice...

smell is of cereal/malt but without sweetness...since i am expecting a lame-ish UK pale, i am not expecting hops.

taste shanghai'd me...a little more hopped up than i even though possible. not hophead bitter, but again, nice to see any sweetness receding in obesiance to the hops popping up like a swarm of nano-warriors. this simply BLOWS AWAY things like Stone Mill, Fiddlers Green...i expected this would be another weakling.

nice creamy roiling about in the mouth, carbonation is melded well and neither hides nor over-fizzles the flavors so well expressed and balanced.

quaffable by a mile. and savorable, too. i just didn't expect to be blown away by something that declares itself a simple 'pale ale'...i know IPA from smuttynose is supposed to be really nice (and better), but i am sold on THIS one. glad my local Total Wine carries this brewery's repertoire

there is something nearly perfect about this bottling. i don't know why it seems like a sam adams taken to perfection. need to revisit that one and compare...

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2009 14:20:21 | More by mempath
Photo of OStrungT


4.83/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a golden copper color, with a thick fluffy off white head. The head fades very slowly, leaving a thick lace.

I detect a mild sweet malt aroma. Slight biscuit and toffee aroma is present. A light floral hop presence is also noted.

This beers has tastes of toffee. Some sweet caramel is present also. A floral flavor is also noticable. It is very mild.

This beer is crisp and refreshing. It leaves a floral aftertaste. It is high in carbonation.

This beer would make a great session beer. It is low in alcohol, and the flavor is mild and nice.

Overall: This is a perfect summer beer. It is good for a hot Lemoore afternoon. Thanks to inlimbo77 for this nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2011 23:21:11 | More by OStrungT
Photo of Steff_Wantz


4.8/5  rDev +25%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: dark copper colored, unfiltered look with white head of foam

S: dough-like smell with a delicious hopped aroma

T: very smooth, drinkable, fruit like hints at first with a nice yeast and malt taste at the end.. crisp finish

M: covers your palate very smoothly tingles at the end and pleasantly lingers

O: Overall this beer is delicious! Smuttynose amazes me time and time again with their ability to brew every beer to perfection. I have yet to taste liquid brewed by Smuttynose that I do not enjoy. The overall packaging of their brews are very attractive and keep me wanting to try all of their creations.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2013 03:35:24 | More by Steff_Wantz
Photo of drugsbunny


4.75/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Great color and a hardy head that lasted longer than my last few beers. But the taste is a wonderful mix of the sweet malt and bite of hops. The perfect hop character is replaced by a sweet malty aftertaste. Such an assortment of flavors in a well crafted beer, much like all the Smuttynose products.

Serving type: on-tap

06-01-2004 16:46:30 | More by drugsbunny
Photo of StoutishDan


4.75/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

6-pack for 8.99 from Total Wine. Poured into a regular pint glass.

A - It pours a hazy amber color. Darker than most pale ales I've seen. The carbonation is medium, no bubbles appear to be coming up to meet the head. After initial larger bubbles, the head settles back into a very creamy small-bubbled head about an finger's width. It looks really delicious! Yep, the head is hanging around. Great lazcing as well.

S - Hops...RateBeer as well as the Smuttynose website calls this an English Pale Ale, but it has much more hop aroma. Grapefruity, sprucy, piney. Really nice. There is a caramely sweetness there form the caramel malt. Perfect balance on the nose.

T - Wow! Definitely understand why people call this an American-style Pale Ale. Definitely has more of a hop character which is common with American Pales. The thick creamy English-style Pale Ale comes through, for sure. More creamy, less dry taste as you'd find with an American Pale Ale. Really good beer. I'm glad I picked up a 6 pack of this. I will enjoy every last one of these!

O - This is probably one of the best Pale Ales I've ever had. I am very impressed with everything that Smuttynose offers. Whatever they're doing, they're doing it right.

On a scale from 1-100 I give this beer a straight up 98. Won't be the last time I buy a sixer or even a 12er of this beer.


Serving type: bottle

07-22-2012 02:30:01 | More by StoutishDan
Photo of Michaelcbyrnes


4.74/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: copper, golden red with foamy white head a good lacing.
S: balance of hop and malt aroma. Spicy herbal hop mixed with a sweet caramel malt
T: sweet malt start with a finely balanced hop finish. This is a well balanced pale ale presenting both a strong malt character of caramel and malty grain and a pleasant hop flavor, earthy and herbal. Very nice.
M: smooth full and round moving to a dry lightly bitter finish.
O: this is a very well crafted beer, with a near perfect balance of malt and hops.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2013 04:31:03 | More by Michaelcbyrnes
Photo of Dougal

New Jersey

4.68/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

excellent pale ale.... enough hops to give the mouth a pleasant taste and not too much to make it cloying. the taste has chocolate notes to it, carbonation is not high but it is very smooth and makes for an enjoyable experience. the malt and hops work perfect and drinkability is very high

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2010 23:59:09 | More by Dougal
Photo of mainlyale


4.68/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really wanted to like this beer because I love the Portsmouth area. I wasn't disappointed. I poured from a bottle - a dark amber beer with a big light tan head that stays for the first several sips ( or gulps). The smell was sweet with good balanced hop aroma. The taste was also somewaht sweeter than expected - I enjoyed this beer a lot and will keep it in stock for those lazy winter evenings by the woodstove.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2010 22:56:12 | More by mainlyale
Photo of AndyAvalanche


4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. Just the slightest bit darker than I expected for a "Pale" ale, but not overly dark. Golden/amber color with slight haze from particles inside. An off-white, trying to by orange head appears and hangs out around the edges for the entire beverage. Not a heck of a lot of lacing to this though, just around the top of the glass. Smell is very good. Cascade hops dominate the nose at first, citrus and floral aromas. You can also tell by the smell that it is well malted, pale roasted malts. The taste is outstanding, perfectly balanced malt/hop combination. There is a nice sweetness from the roasted, and I'd say caramelized malts. The distinct hop flavors follow, a slightly bitter citrusy taste that complement each other perfectly. This Pale Ale can easily be drank all year round. The mouthfeel is good. It's medium bodied with a good carbonation feel. The start of sweetness and the bitter finish feels clean. This beer is close to as drinkable as can be without being perfect. As mentioned earlier, it's a year round drinkable pale ale. A good introduction on what pale ales should be like. A home run by Smuttynose in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2010 22:41:04 | More by AndyAvalanche
Photo of hoptualBrew


4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle with best before date marked as September 11'.

Pours a deep murky honey amber color with a nice sized off white fine head that receeds to a thin layer up top. This pale is not transluscent - leading me to believe this will be a fuller bodied brew with some complexity.

Smell is definition of APA, although I am picking up way more malts here than a standard APA - biscuity malts & floral hops. Mild caramel scent as well.

Wow, is all I can say. Just a really solid pale ale. Starts up front with a little bitter prick on the tongue as the caramel and biscuity malts set the stage. On the back end is that classic drying almost soapy hop presence, but it is smooth - unlike some pales that can be just too much. Very balanced brew here, alot going on - very complex for the style.

Body is a medium (5/10) & the liberal carbonation has an enhancing effect on the end-taste.

6pak for $8.99. Great session beer, will be picking this up for beach & pool days for sure.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2011 01:18:40 | More by hoptualBrew
Photo of jmerloni


4.63/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - gold-orange color. Nice fluffy white head. Great look here. I like!

S - Nice hoppy, citrus-rindy. Fresh smelling. Earthy.

T - Just a great pale ale taste. Classic pale ale in flavor and couldn't be more honest to the style in this regard. Very hoppy, light, rindy. Pine and yeasty breads. Taste like baked bread that was liquified and injected with delicious citrusness and served to order in a bakery. Delicious.

M - Light to medium, dry, carbonation is medium and appropriate.

D - Great drinkability. This is a great, great, great pale ale. Will be getting this again in the future many a time. Just so true to the style and it doesn't get much better done than this. I'm impressed.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2010 04:17:32 | More by jmerloni
Photo of Ryan011235


4.55/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass on 12/24/09

Best before Feb. 2010

Thanks to smutty33

Dark copper, burnt orange color. Tobacco brown highlights. Mildly hazy with a few specks of drifting sediment. One finger head holds for a while, ultimately leaving a thin layer of retention. Impressive lacing.

Mild, yet distinctive citric hops offer aromas of orange & lemon. Maybe a touch of grapefruit. Hints of pine with stray floral wisps. Followed by biscuit & toasted malts. It's a choice balance with a penchant for hoppiness. Though not the most potent, it's an appealing aroma nonetheless.

As foretold by the nose, this is indeed a tasty beer. Reasonable amount of piney bitterness upfront with hints of floral hops throughout. Citrus hops are less apparent than in the nose, making way for the pine - not a bad thing. Baked bread & toasted malts comprise a solid backdrop; even-keeled, yet unobtrusive.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Some resiny grit is appreciated. Bitterness with hints of toasted malts linger on the finish. Faint citrus, too.

Excellent drinkability. A well-crafted APA that tips the scale towards the hoppy side. Definitely worth a shot; seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2010 20:55:51 | More by Ryan011235
Photo of BeerCon5


4.55/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy amber color with less than 1 finger of white fluffy head, retention is ok.

The scent was of citrus, some light grain, floral aroma.

The taste was of citrus and some spice, perfect hop presence for an APA, notes of bready malt.

Light bodied, smooth and refreshing, a little dry, moderate carbonation.

I thought this was an excellent APA. It was full of flavor and well balanced. Overall a very enjoyable beer, I would definitely get this again.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2010 15:56:15 | More by BeerCon5
Photo of Darkale


4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is slightly malty and nutty, but not quite strong enough for a better rating.

Clear, orange-brown body with a tan head that fades quickly to a skim. Good lacing. Nice carbonation; you can see the head briefly reform after every gulp.

Mouthfeel is slightly chewy, raspy, with a wonderful, full creaminess. Some malt, a faint thin fruitiness, and some citrus tones playing in the malt.

This is a fabulous pale ale, one of the best I've ever tasted. Probably a bit hoppier than most other pale ales, which may account for my enthusiasm for it. This is a beer that I intend to keep in my stable often.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2003 06:26:58 | More by Darkale
Photo of misterscooter


4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A bottle fermentation leaves some sediment in this one, so be aware before you pour. But when you do pour watch the fantastic, thick head form on the top of this copper colored beauty. As the head leaves, a nice lace stays behind and it doesn't dry out very fast.

The smell from the Shoals is quiet and comes to you slowly. I noticed some grass smell in there but not overpowering. Also, the scent of beeswax, or at least a beeswax candle or bar of soap.

As a pale ale, this guy has some great, smooth hops, not at all harsh. The aftertaste is slightly dry. There is also a sweetness in there that adds some spark, almost like a bit of sweet tea has been added.

This is a first rate pale ale and definitely fits in with the fine offerings from Smuttynose. Many pale ale lovers might be surprised by this one. It isn't typical but there are your typical pale ale flavors in there as well as some variation.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2005 05:07:14 | More by misterscooter
Photo of Tomdee74


4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big winner from smuttynose. Bought this in the variety 12 pack and each kind is very good.

This is a beer I love to revisit. A great pale ale. I love pale ales and this is one of my favorites.

Strongly recommend trying this one. Drinkability is exceptional and is something I can drink on a hot summer day or a freezing winter one.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2009 01:21:54 | More by Tomdee74
Photo of airheadmtrcycle


4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the beer that got me started in my love affair with Smuttynose Beer. I'd like to quit my job, move to New Hampshire and work for Smuttynose.

A beautiful pour with a nice foamy head that left some nice lacing. The ale itself is auburn/orange-ish and very opaque (not filtered I assume).

The aroma is citrus hops and malty sweetness. The hops are more in the sweet tangerine and orange aroma like Bell's Two Hearted Ale category rather than the pure bitter hops of others like Sierra Nevada's Torpedo IPA.

The flavor is a balanced mixture of sweet malts and (now in taste) bitter hops. Don't get me wrong there's plenty of bitterness for a pale ale; it actually comes across somewhat like an IPA, but then the malts are so well done it doesn't turn you off at all. The best way I can describe the taste is that there are a whole bunch of stuff in this beer. They certainly didn't skimp on ingredients. Thus, the mouth feel is quite full for an APA. But again that is balanced by a higher than average carbonation which keeps it in the refreshing category.

Drinkability is exceptional. I want another, but alas I'm out and everything's closed.

I have to put Shoals Pale Ale in an elite group with the very best pale ales. I am so happy we get a great selection of Smuttynose beers here in Atlanta.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2011 06:06:24 | More by airheadmtrcycle
Photo of MaineBeerMan


4.47/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy copper color with a fine head of of white foam that leaves a good amount of lace. Haziness is probably due to yeast as the bottle states that this is unfiltered.
Floral hop aroma and a creamy smooth mouthfeel. Great flavor balance goes from a citrus hop flavor to full sweet maltiness and finishes with a drying hop bitterness on the tongue.
This ranks right up with Geary's, which is one of my favorites, I don't know how I went so long without trying this one, but I will be buying more soon.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2002 17:36:25 | More by MaineBeerMan
Photo of bpw28

New Jersey

4.47/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: One finger bone white head, hazy copper, very nice lacing, visualable strong carb.

Smell: Surpisingly strong malt, floral, earthy, grassy.

Taste: Strong malt, floral, grassy. Very clean and refreshing. Just enough malt and hop backbone.

Final Thoughts: I love this one. It's very simplistic, but it is done in such a great way. It seems to take ques from both british style PA and american style. Could be one of my favorite Pale Ales.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2011 17:07:52 | More by bpw28
Photo of lehows

New York

4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden copper color with a large white head that faded down to a trim of white lace. Really good nose with aromas of pine and citrus with flowery notes. Taste is creamy and full with just the right amount of hop bitterness. There is also some malt and other complex accents that puts this brew above a lot of other APAs. Love the bottle art as well. This is one of my favorite pale ales and it's must try for anyone who likes the style.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2006 17:33:19 | More by lehows
Photo of sethmeister

New Hampshire

4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz into pint glass.

Clear copper orange color with a finger and a half of off white head. Plenty of lace.

Scent is citrus, primarily grapefruit, and a fresh biscuity bread note.

Grapefruit hop flavor, perhaps some orange rind, malty fresh bread. Lightly spicy.

Mouthfeel starts out tingly and creamy and somehow ends up seeming juicy.

At 5% a consummate session beer. This is beer I could drink all day long and never tire of.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2008 14:46:54 | More by sethmeister
Photo of jwinship83


4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle picked up as a single for $1.69. drank from my samuel adams perfect pint glass. no freshness information on the bottle, but its a new brewery to the area and i wasted no time grabbing this one.

A- this one pours out a darker than expected amber colored body with a small head made of tightly knit off-white colored bubbles. the head lasts almost the entirety of the glass and leaves behind a solid wall of lacing. very nice.

S- the nose is fairly simple, but that isnt necessarily a bad thing. the first thing i can pick up on are sweet caramel malts with a little bit of toffee in there also. after that comes a decent hoppy punch. mostly grapefruit and pine, but i smell a little bit of spicy hops also.

T- the taste follows the nose. it starts off with a little bit of toffee and sweet caramel malts. the hops i could smell come through loud and clear in the taste. plenty of pine and grapefruit. there are also some spicy and herbal notes. not bad at all.

M- light to medium bodied with a solid level of carbonation. not too dry, not too sweet. nicely bitter.

D- i enjoyed this one more than i was expecting to. so far, its been my favorite beer from this brewery. theres alot of taste packed into this little 5% abv beer. i could easily see myself having several of these before getting sick of them. check this one out if you havnt.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2010 04:38:10 | More by jwinship83
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Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,166 ratings.