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Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Shoals Pale AleSmuttynose Shoals Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,329 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,329
Reviews: 652
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.23%
Wants: 25
Gots: 81 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-05-1998

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,329 | Reviews: 652 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of msubulldog25
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 12 oz. bottle, poured to a pint glass, enjoyed on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. Label notched at best before: J(une) 09. Never gonna frown upon an extra...thanks, John (Wasatch).

A: An almost-clear auburn-orange with a fair amount of slow-rising carbonation bubbles. Head isn't tall, maybe cresting at a finger, but retains a sudsy creaminess around the edges and forms a thin, bubbly lid. Lovely lacing, as if blotted on with a sponge.

S: Caramel sweetness and orange blossom fragrance. Pleasant, mild, appealing. Traces of drier, cracker-y breadiness.

T: A zesty, lemon-y tang that builds, a cracker-like, almost salty, dryness. Hanging spicy hops, black pepper (?).

M: Lemon-like hops cause instant salivation; it's like the waterworks were turned on in my mouth the instant this hit my taste buds. Impressive, memorable. Lasting bitter, dry and fairly clean. Feel is medium, though coating feel lasts and seems to add a little extra weight.

D: Another really good, really flavorful craft brew from Smuttynose. Damn, I wish they were available in Oregon - they're one of my favorite breweries on either Coast (or anywhere in between) at this point.

Photo of BuffaloTapHugger
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a medium brown color with a ruby hue in the back. Little head and lacing noticed on the pint glass.

S: Roasted malts, some earthy tones, hops.

T: Malty in the front, they win the show for the most part with just a slight hit of the hop in back.

M: Medium in body, almost a little too thick for my liking in an APA. Sticky on the palate, more mellow than crisp, moderate carbonation, ABV is nonessential.

D: Good for one or two, but a complete session would be out of the question. I would recommend other APA's over Shoal's, but Smuttynose has a good arsenal of beers, should not be too worried about it.

Photo of drtth
4.26/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer pours out a very dark, almost brown, copper/amber with a 1" fluffy tan head that recedes slowly leaving behind rings of foam. Sipping produces lots of streaked lacing and a couple of sheets of foam. Even with most of the beer gone there is still lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell: The aroma is soft grapefruit and pine from the hops with a bit of caramel malt in the background. Nothing here is strong nor unpleasant.

Taste: The flavor is initially sweet caramel malt that soon moves into the background leaving behind the bitterness of the hops. The bitterness slides in right over the sweetness of the malt in a very smooth fashion. In addition there are different components of bitterness here that seem to slowly bounce back and forth. Just as one starts to get to be almost too much it slides away and another component replaces it. But it is a somewhat soft balanced bitterness. There is a lot of complexity in this pale ale.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is medium/light bodied and smooth with light carbonation. The finish is crisp and long. It begins with some sweet malt and then tapers off into pine and grapfruit hops which play back and forth as they slowly just disappear.

Drinkability: This is a very nice, very complex pale ale that drinks easily. One sip leads to another and another. I could sit and drink this all night as there is just enough malt to temper the bitterness and create a balanced beer and the hops play back and forth off of each other just long enough to demand attention but not so long as to be unpleasant.

Photo of zoso1967
2.83/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Redish amber with light carbonation and a decent white head. Smells of grass and some citrus hops, as well as a slight whiff of malt. Taste is very malty with lots of grassy hops and a caramel toastyness that reminds me more of an ESB than a pale ale. Definitely an English style al. Firmly bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is between light and medium. It goes down easy, but I can think of a lot of beers that I would rather be quaffing right now.

Photo of brewmudgeon
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

glad i gave this one another try. like the ipa (which i already liked) this one seemed much better the second and third time. ratings duly adjusted (taste 3.5 adjusted to 4, mouthfeel 3.5 to 4, drinkability 4 to 4.5). [will have to get some more shoals and snpa and let them duke it out]

smuttynose shoals pale ale

a 4 amber with a slight orange cast, moderate head quickly fades to a ring and decent lace.

s 4 citrus hops, similar to the ipa in that department but without the nouget quality

t 3.5 unlike the ipa, which was balanced toward the nougety malt, this one leans a little too far toward dryness and the bitterness has more of a metallic quality.

m 3.5 light to medium body. the carbonation ran out a bit early.

d 4 a decent beer that i would normally pass over for something more balanced or flavorful, but at 5% it's a reasonable sessioner

Photo of washburnkid
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Andrewberl for a great West/East trade!

A: Hazy amber and orange with a finger of off-white, bubbly head. Some sticky lacing and good retention.
S: Citrus and hops, sweet bready malts to balance. A big, fruity bouquet to boot.
T: A good dose of bitter, slightly citric hops at the front. Woody, almost piney hops are trying really hard to dominate. Metallic notes.
M: Great carbonation, a creamy light-to-medium bodied mouthfeel. A decent amount of bitter residuals caking my palate.
D: Refreshing, and downright delicious. A wonderful session beer. I look forward to having more of the Shoals to help wind down after a long day.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 12 ounce bottle purchased at The Beer Stop for $1.75. Poured into a standard shaker glass and appears a clear golden copper color with about an inch of bone white foam. Smells and tastes of lightly toasted grains, grassy, earthy hops, a touch of sweet malt, and a hint of grapefruit. Medium in both body and carbonation. Rather drinkable with a dry finish.

Photo of armock
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a brownish amber color with a light tan head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of caramel malt followed up by spicy hops

T - Like the smell sweeter caramel malt start then finishes bitter and spiced from the hops

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

D - Not a bad beer but the hops gave it a flavor that just doesn't rub me the right way it has a decent flavor its worth trying sometime

Photo of JRed
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber red in color with large thick off white head. Aroma of malt, cinnamon, grass, lemon, pine, faint caramel. Nice thick taste that starts off malty biscuit with spices, grass, pine, earth, and finishes with clean hop bitterness and earth dirt that lingers in the aftertaste. A chewy medium body with medium carbonation and sessionable ABV. A pleasant warming APA.

Photo of Tomdee74
4.48/5  rDev +17%
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.

Photo of jimj21
3.89/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought as part of a Smuttynose variety twelve pack. Twelve ounce bottle marked best by May 2009. Bottle poured into standard pint glass. Beer pours a reddish amber. Very clear with many bubbles rising in the glass. Topped by about a finger of white head. Not much retention but pretty good lacing.

Aromas in this one seem pretty muted. There are some hoppy aromas of citrus but the malty smells are more pronounced. Caramel and toast. Some sweetness as well. I would like if the aromas, especially the hoppy ones, were stronger.

Taste starts out light and sweet, and kind of fruity. Definitely some citrus in the way of grapefruit. I think there's something else there too. Pear maybe. There is a nice malty side to this one too. Toasted and caramel malts are definitely there providing a nice balance. On the finish, there are some buttery flavors as well as a touch of smokiness. Malty aftertaste.

Good medium body. Carbonation is great and provides a nice feeling on the tongue. Kind of dry on the finish, but a little oily as well.

This is another great session beer from Smuttynose. The hops and malts play together very well and create great balance. This has something that everyone will like.

Photo of lstokes
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Amber with a pretty thin head, and the citrus hops are what stood out to me in the nose.

I thought this was a pretty bold pale ale, with lots of hops for the style--it had a nice tingly carbonation and bitterness that gave the drinking experience some momentum alongside the toasty malts--sort of a creamy-carbonated mouthfeel.

The finish was a little bit too bitter for me, but overall a very nice brew, exceptionally drinkable.

Photo of wheatyweiss
3.59/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle with a freshness date of April 09.

Pours a medum copper with a slight cloud. Nice rich head stays and laces very well.

Aroma is of copper and tannic acid. Iced tea with lemon. Floral and citric in the hop department. Malt is biscuity and like saltine crackers.

Flavor starts with toasty malt with a creamy rider. Malt is creamy and slightly buttery. Middle is hops, very light and citric, with a slightly amarillo tang, like musty pine cones. Grassy lewisite like flavors are prominent. Finishes dry and bittering with a piney earthy flavor.

Mouthfeel is rich and viscous. Carbonbation is adequate with a nice soft bubble feel to it. Good body.

Overall a nice American Pale, refreshing enough. Although I would have to say the diacetyl flavors made the beer taste slightly "off". Also I think te hops were a little too grassy. Although BJCP says it's wrong, I still liked the beer.

Photo of beermanWV
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought a 12 pack sampler of Smuttynose products. The sampler came with 3 Shoal's Pale Ales, three IPAs, three Old Brown Dog Ales, and 3 "brewer's choice" beers. I assume "brewer's choice" is much like "cooks choice" in the school cafeteria where you get whatever is left, but I will talk about how this brewer's choice was much more enjoyable than cafeteria food in a later review.

Light amber/dark orange in color. I love the unique design of a lot of the Smuttynose bottles, and Shoal's Pale Ale fits into that category. Some head retention with moderate head retention

Not a strong smelling beer. Floral hops with a crisp scent.

Could have been more balanced with a little more malt. Hops predominate with a bitter taste, but not overpowering.

Something minor seems off but I cannot put my finger on it. Maybe a fresher beer would solve the problem- the label on mine says best before April 2009 (the month I drank the beer). Not skunked at all, it just seems a little off for some reason.

Solid pale ale.

This is a unique pale ale. I like pale ales with a tad more balance with malt flavors, but this is a interesting pale ale. I would like to take a fresher Shoal's Pale Ale, perhaps one on draft.

Photo of bsend
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this 12 oz. bottle into a standard pint.

Appearance: The beer poured a medium brown color with a nice white head. Light carbonation clung to the side of the glass. White specks of yeast floated throughout the glass. Holding it up to the light, we get a richer amber color.

Smell: Heavy wet hops backed with yeast. Pleasant but not spectacular.

Taste: Nice hop flavor moves into a nice light finish. No appearance of alcohol.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: The beer plays well along the pallate. The medium body allows for both enjoyment of flavor and sessioning. A definite good choice for sessions.

Final Thoughts - This beer is another winner for Smuttynose Brewing Company. The beer has a good mix of flavor and session that makes this one easy to revisit.

Photo of JohnQVegas
3.72/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours slightly reddish brown with a beige head.

Nose is slightly toasty, a bit nutty, with a slightly citrusy, spicy hop character.

Taste is slightly toasty malt at the front, with piney hops emerging alongside a slightly bitter, breadcrusty malt note, that eventually gives way to a long, fairly bitter lingering resiny hop note on the back of the tongue. Fairly balanced and different, though the hops linger a bit too long for the flavor profile in my opinion.

Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.57/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Amber orange with not much head. What was there briefly was tan and fizzy.

This APA has a decent malt profile with the hops coming in second. Some nice flowery notes but not up front like others. Kind of a nicely balanced APA for a change. Taste is earthy malt and hops, really again a nice blend of the two with neither wanting to take center stage. The hops are piney in nature but turning fruity toward the middle and just a touch bitter for the finish. Nothing really lingers here at all.

Decent body not over-carbonated. A good drinkable APA that I could easily session. Wish I could get more of it.

Photo of emsroth
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

App: Dark copper, almost ruby, bordering on brown.

Smell: A slight sweet malt dominated by dank and sour, floral hops. Hints of alcohol tease the nose.

Taste: Greeted by a burst of carbonation. The middle is a sweet hop flavor. Next is an indescribable but most delectable malty sweetness. It ends with a decent hop bitterness.

Medium body. I'm content with one.

Smuttynose labels this as an "interpretation" of an english style. I think I was looking for more of an EPA, and this is much more of the APA as labeled above.

Photo of YesFest
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a Weizen Glass, light bronze under huge head from a hard pour. Cryptic lacing remains on the side of the glass like Charlotte's Web telling Templeton the rat about her favorite corn-dog and fried-refuse recipe.

Smell: Grassy malts, mild earthy sweetness.

Taste: HUGE malts and hoppy bitterness, quite shocking given mild nose. Impact settles down after a few sips and a quaff. Pungent backyard taste, woody, like a liquefied tree-house. Busy, but no sweetness. This is an American Pale Ale drinker's Pale Ale (hardly pale, though it is). Dark and bitter enough to be an ESB, and a particularly bitter one at that.

Mouthfeel: Appropriately thin. Adequately low carbonation. Not much coating, which is probably good for the drinkability here.

Drinkability: For being thin and light, the malts have quite a long ride down the tongue. Okay to quaff, probably a sipper for most, despite it's low abv. This must have been extremely fresh... I checked the website IBU's which say 30; I would have guessed maybe double that.

Not particularly smooth, but certainly full flavor. The combination of Cascade and Chinook hops aren't exactly my bag of tea, but it's definitely worth a swallow if that's what you're into...

Photo of bcastine
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the better bottled APA's out there IMHO. Great appearance with lasting head and lacing from top to bottom. Hoppy aroma packed with hints of citrus, taste is that of hops, lots of citrus,mainly grapefruit, really this tastes like a toned down version of Smuttynose's great IPA, except the shoals pale is much more sessionable, and does so without feeling weak. How Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale has higher scores on here is perplexing, as I don't feel it tastes half as good. This is a staple in my fridge.

Photo of waltonc
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours copper colored with white head. Smells and tastes of lots o' malts and floral hops. Not sure what kind of hops these are, but this doesn't taste like pine needles or grapefruit to me. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation. Pretty drinkable, well-balanced pale ale.

Photo of JamesS
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice deepish copper color with some good initial head and a bit of decent lasting lacing. Good scent, very hoppy, nice slight citrus aroma with it, wafts up nicely if not as strong as it could be. Good taste, a little unbalanced; nice hops, some good American citrus tones, but an odd, almost English hoppiness, too, an odd mixture. Goes down fine, if not great. A good APA.

Photo of cjgator3
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
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!

Photo of TheycallmeTim
3.89/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Photo of mempath
4.8/5  rDev +25.3%
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...

Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,329 ratings.