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Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Shoals Pale AleSmuttynose Shoals Pale Ale

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

1,232 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,232
Reviews: 640
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 11.2%
Wants: 23
Gots: 40 | FT: 1
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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,232 | Reviews: 640 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cjgator3


4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle

A- Best before Aug 09 notched on the label. 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark amber color with a nice off-white head that provides very nice lacing and retention.

S- The aroma is sweet malt, hints of caramel, and citrusy hops. The flavors open up nicely as the beer warms.

T- The taste features a solid malt backbone with some caramel and a very nice citric hop finish that leaves a nice lingering bitterness. There's a lot of flavor packed into this 5% ABV beer.

M- The mouthfeel is somewhere in between light and medium bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation and a really nice texture.

D- I'm surprised that this one is only 5% ABV, this one is packed with flavor but the low ABV keeps it pretty damn drinkable and would make for a nice session brew. This will definitely be one of my go-to beers in the future! Highly Recommended!

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2009 03:38:44 | More by cjgator3
Photo of TheycallmeTim

New York

3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle best by June 09 into an American pint glass.

A--A little more red than caramel body with a soapy creamy white half finger head that, while smaller than expected, does retain well. Is it just me or does this seem a little dark given the style?

S--The best part to me: a little spicy and herbal with a malt kick, followed by some floral notes. Really quite varied for a pale ale, with serious hops in there for the style.

T--Good not great. Hops blossom early on with more sweetish floral notes which kind of crowd out the more herbal, earthy notes I liked from the nose. Malt is rock solid, crackery and full forward in the middle, then lingering on the finish a bit with some more doughy notes. Nice. My only bash would be the finish as a whole, which is both oddly astringent (the abv on this is way too low for that) and chalky/dusty. The latter may be because the bottle's a few months old, as there does seem to be a more tropical fruity flavor thing going on at the end that gets duked out by the overwhelming chalkdust, but still, we're well within the best by limits here. I've never had this on draft but have had better bottles--just bad luck that I pulled this one for the review, I guess.

M&D--Mouthfeel's fine, creamy and spot on for an APA. Drinkability's also fine, though fresher would be better (not that that isn't always the case).

The website says this is their version of the ESB. Um, ok...I don't see it, boys. I actually wouldn't mind if they scaled back the hops a bit on this one now that they have their (fantastic) IPA and this is no longer the hop bomb to today's tastes it was when introduced. One thing Smuttynose seems to lack in their arsenal--which is formidable--is a truly balanced ale. Americans can do it, I just know it--cf. Sierra Nevada's ESB.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2009 22:14:29 | More by TheycallmeTim
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 nickfl


3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - One and a half fingers of off white foam, settles quickly but leaves a nice layer of lace as it does. The body is a clear, amber-brown color.

S - Spicy, pine and citrus hops and a brown malty note to back it all up.

T - Both malt and strong hop bitterness up front, notes of rosemary and grapefruit. Malty flavors in the middle with toasted notes. The finish dominated by soapy bitterness and some vegetal hop flavors.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly dry, astringent finish.

D - A bit disappointing. The hop aroma is ok, but the flavor is bland and the bitterness is quite soapy. There is enough malt present to help keep it balanced, but it is too dark for an APA, and despite its darkness it is not complex. I wouldn't recommend this one.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2009 04:02:43 | More by nickfl
Photo of scottbrew4u


3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: A hard pour leaves a two finger light- tan head. Copper to amber in color with brilliant clarity. Good lacing as you drink this one.
S: Caramel and lightly burnt malt lay down and let a spicy herbal hop freshness come through. Some yeast in the aroma and a mellow bready smell.
T: Spicy hop character is fairly subdued but nice. Light roasted with light smack of honey and burnt caramel. Good compliment to the spicy and herbal hops. Malt has everything balanced. Some straw like grains in the aftertaste. Everything tastes fresh.
M: Medium to light body with moderate crisp carbonation. No alcohol warmth noticeable.
D: Very fine pale ale that has great flavor and easy drinking written all over it. Can easily have this as a session beer. Nice fresh flavor will not dissapoint beer lovers of all varieties.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2009 01:52:45 | More by scottbrew4u
Photo of everetends


3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle I got out of a mixed twelve pack from Cheers Wine and Spirits in Carrollton, GA. Served up in a basic pint glass.

A: Pours a nice and deep brown/yellow color. Held to the light and a more rich yellowish copper comes out. The really crazy part of this beer is the head. Really poured a nice finger of white head that seems like it would have amazing retention if it wasn't so damned sticky. The head just sits on the glass and doesn't move once it has found a bare piece of glass. The beer is pretty clear as well. Damned good looking beer.

S: The smell is a bit weak for my liking. Mostly just getting some light sugary and biscuity malt. There is a touch of an earthy, grassy hops presence. Other than that, I'm not getting too much, and that is a bit disappointing since I have had such a love affair with Smuttynose so far.

T: Taste makes up for the smell though. There is a really nice malty goodness going here. The malt is sweet and bready, making this very nice and tasty. The hops come in nicely and overpower the malts just a touch, taking it that direction just slightly. There is a nice grapefruit rind going here along with some nice grassy goodness. There is a touch of resin like quality here as well. Tastes very nice.

M: Mouthfeel falls into the medium area, but the carbonation seems a bit off. This makes this just a bit heavier than most PAs in my opinion. ABV of course doesn't show up or play a factor. Aftertaste is mostly just a touch of resin that sits in the mouth, otherwise pretty clean.

D: This beer is pretty nice but its not what I expect from Smutty. The nose and feel could definitely be built up a bit. The look and taste are spot on and make this a nice drinker. Easy to crush a sixer of this, but I see it sitting a bit heavy without the bubbly carbonation though. Not bad though.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2009 05:54:49 | More by everetends
Photo of grayburn

South Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Copper pour with a finger head and nice lacing, I can tell how big my sips (or gulps) are with this beer.

Smells very faintly of hops and barley, light, refreshing smell

Excellent balance, this beer is just a tremendous example of an often over-hopped style. The malt and hops really blend amazingly well in this beer.

Decent mouthfeel, slight lingering bitter, a bit overcarbonated.

I could drink this beer daily, it is an excellent example of a session brew. Excellent job by Smuttynose, I have come to expect nothing less.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2009 20:00:36 | More by grayburn
Photo of ProudBeerSnob

New York

4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Nice copper color, with a thin head that remained throughout the enjoyment of the pint and provided good lacing.

Not too much aroma going on, a little hops.

Taste is good for the style: a bready hop flavor or is it a hoppy bread flavor?

Not too thin in body as some APAs can be; very drinkable a good session beer.

A style that unfortunately gets botched by too many brewer as a weak, thin effort is done quite well by Smutty.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2009 23:59:18 | More by ProudBeerSnob
Photo of Duhast500

Rhode Island

3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

The color is dark amber, with a nice foamy whiter head.

The smell is citrusy, some hints of lemon and maybe some orange. Also has a nice hop flavor as well.

The taste is sweet with touch of malt. Also a bit bitter some citrus flavor and some hops.

A good pale ale, goes down very easy and is quite tasty.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2009 15:48:22 | More by Duhast500
Photo of deaconoflove


3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ap: Rich deep golden/amber hue, a little cloudiness. One finger head that shrank but hung on with nice lacing on the glass.
Sm: Hops and mild citrus.
Ta: Clear fresh hoppiness with strong pleasant grapefruit bitterness through the end.
Mf: medium to light body with some carbonation.
Dr: Very pleasant and refreshing, easy.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2009 17:51:46 | More by deaconoflove
Photo of PatrickJR

North Carolina

3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Dark amber with a slight haze. Nice, large, 3 finger off white head rises. Great retention with moderate lacing. Thick cap persists.

S - Grassy hops with some minor floral notes. I'm not picking up much of anything. Some citrus peel (grapefruit?) is hiding in the background.

T - Dominated by grapefruit peel. Grassy/floral notes from the nose are noticable but this stuff is lots and lots of grapefruit peel/juice. Grainy, barely perceptible malt jumps out a bit mid to late palate, but gives way quickly to a coarse, pith-like bitterness with touches of dirt and earth.

M - Light to medium body with very high carbonation. In fact, the carbonation is too high for my tastes. There's little room for any nuance to pull through and the prickliness adds to the rough and bitter finish.

D - Meh, overall I am not impressed with Shoal's Pale Ale. The hops aren't my cup of tea to begin with, but beyond that the brew finishes too harsh and bitter when I'm thining of a nice, quaffable pale ale. Carbonation is ENTIRELY too high as well.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2009 06:46:06 | More by PatrickJR
Photo of MunchkinDrinker


3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Cloudy amber with a thin white head. Lacing goes all the way down the glass.

S - A floral hoppiness and light malts come out right away. Inviting.

T/M - Hoppiness come over the top a little bit and overpower the other light. A few malts and some a slight sweetness make their way into the finish. If the tastes in the finish made their way into the rest, it would've been better IMO. Feels a little thin, but not really watery.

D - Very very drinkable. Goes down easily and very easy to drink alot of.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2009 02:34:04 | More by MunchkinDrinker
Photo of penguinjive7

New York

3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The pour is a hazy amber with about a half inch of white head that dissipates quickly and leaves a bit of lacing.

Bready malt dominates the smell with a tinge of earthyness.

The initial taste is of pleasant floral hops with the malt found in the smell mixing in after a bit. The flavor profile really isn't that bad until the aftertaste. The finish itself is quite smooth and balanced, but if I take a long pause between sips, there is an odd almost metallic aftertaste.

Overall this brew falls into the OK category for me. It falls just short in every category for my taste buds. While I would say this is quite a drinkable brew, the odd aftertaste would cause me to move on to something else after giving this one a go. Worth a shot, but nothing to write home about.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2009 03:34:09 | More by penguinjive7
Photo of Clydesdale

District of Columbia

3.23/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a hazy cooper color with a large, dense and frothy off-white head. Retention is excellent, lacing as well.

S: Some mild malt sweetness - perhaps some brown sugar. Some citric and vaguely floral hops - lemony, some grapefruit also.

T: Light malt sweetness up front - not too much of a presence overall. Hops are floral and citric - with a slowly-developing bitterness into the finish. Again, some light brown sugar and a bit of bready yeast become apparent. Some metallic flavors from time to time.

M: Medium bodied. Carbonation on the light side. A lingering, somewhat puckering dryness into the finish.

D: This one looks great but just seems a bit unbalanced in my opinion. Not much of a malt presence, and what is there gets overwhelmed by an overly blunt hop presence and some off flavors.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2009 00:04:53 | More by Clydesdale
Photo of farrago

New Jersey

3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pleasingly thick white head with strong lacing, semi-opaque copper to orange-brown in color, draws in light well. Kind of blunt blow to your nostrils of straw, grain, charcoal ash, the hops aren't as "aggressive" as "relentless," small edge of grapefruity white citrus, some unbuttered biscuit, smooth smokiness as it dissolves. Medium-bodied, the bitterness continues here with mineral water, iron notes and sauna stone smoke. The grapefruit pith clearer, foresty sort of herbaceousness, floor matter. Even the yeast, bread notes seem to get covered up. Carbonation is palpable, however, can't really increase the pacing. The charcoal element there, kind of brings out cocoa bean, burnt chocolate nuances too. Palate punisher.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2009 00:50:16 | More by farrago
Photo of Bitterbill


4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this bottle in a trade with jwc215. Thanks Joe!

This pours a clear bright amber with a 1 finger head of foam. It has some good lacing.

The smell is mostly of hops...some nice citrus notes going on here. I took more whiffs to see if I could get any malt out of it and lo and behold, there *it* is, light though it may be. I'm hoping it shows up more in the taste as I like me a balanced APA.

The taste is very bitter/hoppy on first sip but again, the malty sweetness sort of creeps up on you like with the smell. I really like the way the citrus translates to flavour here and the more I sip, the more the malty goodness reaches out and adds some balance. This is *still* a hop dominant example of the style but it is working for me. Yum. This is a tasty APA for sure.

The mouthfeel is medium as is the carbonation, and it finishes with a nice hoppy bite with a good long lasting aftertaste.

Drinkability? Very good! That's a lot of flavour that they packed in to this low abv beer. Well done, Smuttynose!

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2009 18:08:40 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of squilky


2.28/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- This one poured a light amber color. Small head that disappeared quickly.

S- A very citrusy smell, but not in a good way.

T- I found the hops to be overpowering. I didn't detect much malty sweetness to balance out the hops. There was a bitter, lingering, unpleasant aftertaste.

M- A nice amount of carbonation. Felt good in my mouth. The only positive I could find.

D- To me this tasted more like an IPA. It was very strong and bitter. Not to my liking. If you love hops, you will probably like this beer. If you are looking for a nice balance between hops and malt like I do, this isn't the beer for you.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2009 03:31:48 | More by squilky
Photo of OtherShoe2


3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orangy amber with a decent off-white head that dissipated quickly. Some lacing.

Smell is mild - citric hops and some toasted malt.

Hops are up front, grapefruity goodness. Some caramel sweetness fights through with just the right amount of toasted breadiness. Slightly dry, clean finish, with some bitterness right at the end, but then it is gone.

Mouthfeel is medium but well carbonated to keep the hops from becoming too cloying. Overall, a real drinker. Been buying this for years. What a solid brew. Can't go wrong with this one. Hop-leaning in nature, but drinkable in both summer and winter.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2009 18:24:02 | More by OtherShoe2
Photo of JayNH

New Hampshire

3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a light brown/ deep copper color with a small foamy head.

S- Slightly citrusy hops with a touch of nutty/roasted malt.

T- A very earthy hoppiness, slightly citrus with a touch of toasty malt. A nutty, earthy finish.

M- Smooth, just enough carbonation and a good body to this brew.

D- This is fairly strong tasting and bitter for an APA.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2009 21:10:53 | More by JayNH
Photo of Damian


3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from a 12 fluid ounce bottle purchased at Liquor World, Cambridge, MA
Best before: December 2008
Served in a pint glass

The beer poured a crystal clear, deep orangey amber color with a one-finger, bubbly, light tan head that quickly faded.

The aroma was bright and citrusy, yet subtle. Hoppy, with a semi-sweet caramel malt backbone.

The taste was rather mild initially but it became much more intense as the beer warmed. Somewhat malty and sweet (caramel-ish) up front before the hops took over. Citrusy (orange peel was most noticeable) hops came through in the center. The resonating finish was very grapefruit-like with a touch of pine thrown in. Overall, quite bitter.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied with a lively, spritzy carbonation. Creamy, smooth and supple on the palate.

This is a really flavorful and sessionable pale ale. It definitely falls on the hoppy/bitter side for the style and is thus a "must try" for all hop heads out there.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2009 18:30:30 | More by Damian
Photo of jiggahertz

New Hampshire

3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Two finger foamy head. Surprised by the color, it is a beautiful rich amber. Decent lacing.

S: Hops, malt, slight dough aroma.

T: Lackluster malt up front, followed by strong hops.

M: Creamy texture, the hops stick around for quite a while. Body is medium and carbonation is high.

D: Good drinkability, at 5% could be a good session beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2008 22:13:58 | More by jiggahertz
Photo of drizzam


3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation - Served in a 12 oz. brown bottle with a picture of the Samuel Haley House on Smuttynose Island on the label.

A - This definitely surprised me when I poured it...I was expecting a yellowish pale beer and what I got was a more reddish or copper color with an off color head. The head was thick at first but dissipated pretty quickly, leaving a very distinct lacing down the inside of my pint glass.

S - There was a smell of hop explosion as soon as I uncapped the bottle. After pouring it and giving it a chance to breathe, the extreme hoppy smell became pretty muted and became almost more malty to me.

T & M - Bitter and somewhat tingly on the tongue. I thought the tingle was possibly from the carbonation but as I look at it I see that it isn't that highly carbonated.

D - Not a bad brew...this is actually my first Smuttynose and now that I've had it, I would like to sample some more offerings from this fine brewery with the funny name.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2008 02:51:35 | More by drizzam
Photo of scootny

New York

4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a nice Pale ale. It pours into my tulip tumbler and produces a thick two finger head that stays. Good lacing as it fades leaving a bubbly blanket on the top. A copperish dark amber with that while clear has a bit of sediment floating throughout the glass.

Aromatics are earthy hops and grains. A sweet malt note plays lightly and touch of yeasty fruit and pine tinged hops combine invitingly.

Taste is toasty malt and light sweet breads with a dry bitterness that coats the mouth. I must quote the Bros, it is tingly and oh so good. The hop bittering lingers and lets just a touch of graham cracker like toasty bread through.

Mouthfeel is gently carbonated with a touch of velvet and cream. that back of the throat is quenched beautifully.

Drinkability is first rate. The stuff almost drinks itself and my glass was gone way too fast.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2008 05:10:08 | More by scootny
Photo of LilBeerDoctor

New York

3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 7/20/08. Bottle. Pours a clear brown with a small. Aroma of flowery hops, sweet malt, fruity. Flavor of sweet malt, bitterish finish. Not very hoppy. Not particularly flavorful, but quite drinkable and tasty.
Aroma: 7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Flavor: 7/10
Palate: 3/5
Overall: 13/20

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2008 20:25:36 | More by LilBeerDoctor
Photo of yesyouam

New York

3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The off-white head vanishes quickly to reveal a slightly hazy red-amber body. This doesn't look "pale"! The aroma is of light malt and moderate pine and citrus from the hops. It is a straightforward and well-balanced whiff. The flavor is simple-- well bittered from start to finish. It has a thicker body than I expected and a somewhat oily texture. This is more like an ESB that a Pale, but it's quite good.
(rated Feb 10, 2007)

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2008 04:58:49 | More by yesyouam
Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,232 ratings.