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Striped Bass Pale Ale - Devils Backbone Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Striped Bass Pale AleStriped Bass Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

33 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 33
Hads: 183
Avg: 3.33
pDev: 34.23%
Wants: 1
Gots: 26 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Devils Backbone Brewing Company visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Thorpe429 on 05-09-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 33 | Hads: 183
Photo of mckenziac
4.21/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams Boston Lager glass.

Appearance: Pours a bright, pale golden color. Has a large, fizzy head that dissipates slowly and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: Smells of musty, earthy hops with a bit of grainy maltiness.

Taste: Moderately hoppy with a sort of musty, earthy taste. Has a nice, balancing maltiness to it with some toasty notes. All in all, a nicely balanced APA.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and a little chewy.

Overall: A really pleasant surprise. I see Devils Backbone as a sort of up-and-coming brewery in Virginia and it's nice to see that they can brew quality beers like this one. I definitely wouldn't mind seeking this one out to have again.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.08/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a semi-cloudy, golden color with a quarter of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that partially covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Lots of toasted malt, imparting notes of crackers, biscuits and English muffins. I get some aromas of caramel, clover, honey-suckle and a touch of piney hops.

Taste: Wow! Lots of flavor! Toasted malt up front, followed by some nice caramel and honey-like sweetness, a touch of black pepper and coriander, finished by some pronounced, but beautifully balanced piney hops. Absolutely delicious!

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, crisp and effervescent as there is quite a bit of carbonation. With an ABV of 5.2%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: What an excellent, excellent, American Pale Ale! Spectacular! At least to my palate. Fans of hoppier pale ales might find this a bit lacking, but I love it! It could easily become my favorite American pale ale. Another killer beer from Devils Backbone, my favorite Virginian brewery!

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Photo of woodychandler
4.07/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

My fellow CANQuester (TM) and local, in-person trader, tone77, CAN refer to me as "The CAN Man" all that he wants, but he always surprises me with the odd CANs as part of his massive drop-offs. A limited release beer and in a CAN!?! Perfect.

From the CAN: "Great Beer Deserves Clean Water"; "From mountain streams and coastal rivers to the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, the water connects us all. Your purchase of Striped Bass Pale Ale helps Devils Backbone Brewing Company and its supporters fund the education and restoration program of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation."; "We thank you for your support!"; The icthyalogically-correct rendtion of the fish in question is also identified on the CAN by its Latin designation, "Morone saxatilis"; "Save the Bay".

I am down with this in so many ways! I am a Piscean by birth and a sailor by trade and I spent many sea and anchor details coming in and out of Norfolk, VA on the Chesapeake Bay while on active duty in the US Navy. In fact, it is the underway time that I miss second-most to the camaraderie in my retirement. This makes me want to have some striped bass for lunch to go with this beer, but I will have to make do with something else.

The Crack and inverted Glug resulted in two fingers of rocky, foamy bone-white head with limited retention in the face of today's humidity. Color was a deep golden-yellow with NE-quality clarity and Croesus and King Midas sat across from me, drooling, Nose had a delicate grassy hopiness to it, more in keeping with what I expect from the style. I think that the line between APAs and AIPAs has become very blurred and the description somewhat muddled. Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium and the hops were very grassy on the tongue. This seemed to me to be what I expect in the style. I just had Bell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale, another APA and it seemed closer to an AIPA, as a point of reference. Finish was semi-dry, again quite grassy, especially on the extreme finish. Not only did I like it, but since it does come in a CAN, I would recommend it for a beach fish fry.

BTW, this marks the 800th beer of The CANQuest (TM)!

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Photo of smakawhat
4.05/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A real soapy white three finger head with lots of staying power though, with big swiss cheese bubbles. Body color is a real golden brass amber, hints of lager looking classic Backbone brewing here, with slow rising carbonation coming up. Quite not use to looking at this and imagining ale, but it looks like a classic impressive lager.

Bouquet hits with a mild balanced mix of light hop, sweet malts and toasty grains and bread. Spicy. Clove like in nature with a bit more sweetness. Quite nice, a little "perfume" like smelling.

Wonderful texture and palate feel. Feels large and malt rich with a somewhat quick grass, but then the after finish brings a real nice lime astringent character. Bready malts hit with lots of toasty aromas. Nice finishing sweetness with lime hop character too.

Overall, I think I would love to save the Cheseapeake like this more often! Tasty memorable pale ale.

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Photo of scbeerman
3.9/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is an underrated retro-style APA (think SNPA or Sweetwater 420). It's a true pale ale rather than a mislabeled IPA like many well-known examples of the style.
L: Clear orange/gold color with half a finger of foamy white head, ok but not good retention. With a better head would be rated higher.
S: light orange scent from the hops mixed with slightly sweet malt, toasted grain and some grassy scent. Light but pleasant.
T: much like the nose, I get a little citrusy hop flavor reminiscent of candied orange along with refreshing gentle bitterness and grassy flavors which balance the mild malt character well. Not going to blow your mind but this is a tasty beer.
F: extraordinarily drinkable and this is by far its best characteristic. Smooth, crisp, everything a pale ale should be.
O: this beer is underrated because it's not a monster beer, but it doesn't need to be one. It's light but not too light and eminently drinkable; better than the sum of its parts. Kind of hard to find because it's not their most popular beer, but I buy this every chance I get and keep it in the fridge almost constantly.

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Photo of ordybill
3.86/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 OZ can into a pint glass. This is a golden yellow brew that has a nice hop aroma. It has a small white head and is a medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Rustico during the Devil’s Backbone NoVA launch. Served in a taster glass. Pours a clear golden color with a nice white head. Good spotty lacing on the way down. The nose carries a pretty good dose of American hops and a light touch of bread in the background. Flavor is nice and hoppy, though not at all over the top. Body is light. Good hop bitterness. Nice drinkability.

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Photo of argock
3.78/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz brown bomber into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass. No decipherable freshness date -- smudged. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $5.79.

A: Clear very pale amber with 1-2 fingers of off-white frothy head with below-average retention but some scraps of lace.

S: Bready, crackery maltiness with some dry toast aromas mixed with honeysuckle and orange citrus hops and a little floral character as well. Pretty soft aroma profile overall.

T: This APA definitely fits the balanced, dry form of the beast, and it does a good job of pushing this agenda. The bready, slightly toasty, smooth malty flavors are nearly equal to the rosy, floral, and orange blossom citrus notes. I really enjoyed this ale -- very smooth and very drinkable with great body and dryness.

M: Firm somewhat slick medium body with even carbonation and a crisp, dry finish. Best part of this beer.

O: A hop-bomb of an APA this is not -- it fits the balanced, dry form of pale ale and does a wonderful job of it. If you are looking for a hoppy APA, definitely stay away. If you like a smooth, drinkable, well-brewed pale ale, then go for it. This was a nice surprise for me as I think of DB as a better lager brewery generally. This is a good brew that's worth a try as long as you realize what this is -- a balanced APA.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.67/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to smokeypeat for this one, always exciting to crack open a canned pale ale. The Striped Bass pours out goldenrod and yellow with a mild chill haze being the only thing standing in the way of reasonable clarity. A white head foams up and quickly settles to a thin film and a broken collar outlining the pale brew. Just a few, small, wet spots of lace are left on the glass above.

Mild floral notes crowd the aroma along with grassy type hops and a faint peppery note. Gettin' hammered on some green grass and high tides, baby. There's a very mild citrus tint to the aroma, like someone smacked you in the face with a week-old grapefruit peel, then it disappeared forever. Not quite as bombarding and raw I would like my pale ales to be, however I don't see anything glaring or wrong with the aroma, either.

The taste isn't quite as hoppy or bitter as I was expecting, as the hop bill must've exerted all of its power on my nostrils. The mild, malty backbone is finally noticeable and provides a good canvas for these American hops to work; pale malts with a touch of faintly sweet bread. Grassy and leafy hops fill the mouth like you were a cow at dinnertime.

That mild peppery spice is back, though the grapefruit from before has nearly vanished completely. Some earthiness, dirt, and a hint of sulfur finish things off - not so sure the sulfur is a welcomed addition, though it's not up to distracting or off-putting levels. Thin-medium bodied for the style with a good amount of carbonation. Crisp, mostly dry, and snappy mouth feel, pretty much what I've come to expect from pale ales.

Not so sure why the ratings on this are so extremely low. I mean, it's not a world beater or anything like that, but it's still a moderately enjoyable pale ale with it's only real weakness being the fact that there are already so many other, slightly more robust pale ales out there. You might be able to say that it's a little boring and/or one-dimensional... Yes, it's simple, but it's still a pretty decent pale ale that's easy enough to put down.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can, courtesy of the brewery during GABF 2013 and Denver Beer Week.

This beer pours a clear pale golden yellow colour, with three fingers of puffy, rather loosely foamy dirty white head, which leaves some sparse island chain lace around the glass as things slowly drop away.

It smells of lightly grainy pale caramel malt, mildly stale lemon and grapefruit citrus peel, and more floral, herbal hop notes. The taste is biscuity, semi-sweet caramel malt, overly sweet white bread, citrus cream, a bit of tame table-top pepper, and earthy, herbal hops.

The carbonation is rather laid-back and ineffectual, the body an adequate medium weight, and generally smooth. It finishes off-dry, the bready pale malt really the only thing interested in prolonging this affair.

A more-or-less above average APA, the hops a little too floral and herbal, versus assertive and bitter for my liking. Easy drinking overall though, but uninteresting enough to engender a desire to move on to something different sooner rather than later.

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Photo of uvachief
3.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz can into a glass. Traditional light golden American Pale Ale. Little to no smell other than malty bread but very subtle. Taste is much the same. Mild hops with malts. Easy drinking ale. I could drink a few of these on a boat. Guess that's why they call it striped bass. Others will hate the lack of hoppinesss. Good starter beer for someone just getting into craft beer.

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Photo of DaveBlack
3.46/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Straw colored beer, a fluffy head of maybe 1/2 an inch. There is moderate retention and some light lacing.

S: Cereal grains, and a slight biscuity aroma. Honestly, not much here, and it smells a little like an adjunct lager.

T: Fortunately, the taste is nothing like an adjunct lager. The hops take center stage right from the beginning with a heavy dose of citrus. The grains are there, enough to balance out the moderate hoppiness, but not much more. The finish is grainy, and slightly metallic.

M: Moderate body, slightly oily, with a fair amount of carbonation.

O: Not a beer that I would seek out. It tastes better than it smells, but the taste isn't anything special and the metallic finish is slightly off-putting. A decent beer, perhaps even a good beer, but no more.

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Photo of Pantalones
3.45/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Second can found being sold individually at a local Kroger; can't find a date stamp so I'm not sure how old this is.

Pours pale yellowish; once in the glass it's a pretty nice golden color, very shiny and mostly clear. Perhaps the "palest" pale ale I've ever seen; most that I've had seem to hover in the medium orangey-gold to light orangey-brown range instead. Foam on top is not huge, but definitely present and hangs around for a while (though it does shrink fairly quick, it leaves a thin layer on top and a ring around the edge for a while; there's a bit of that ring and a couple of tiny "islands" of foam left even as I'm nearing the end of the glass.) Lots of bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass, which never quite seem to stop coming. There's a neat little fish on the can, and the can design overall is pretty nice-looking. Overall, looks pretty nice!

Smell is definitely not as hoppy as I'd expect from an American-style pale ale. I'm mostly smelling a bready sort of thing here, and even that's not all that strong. Maybe the faintest bits of a grassy or leafy hop thing (when I had my first can yesterday I got very slight lemony scent here and there, too) but mostly bread. Not at all a bad smell, just a little underwhelming, especially considering that it's classified as an American pale ale which are supposed to lean more hoppy.

Taste is better than the smell; a very nice dry crackery sort of malt flavor going on and something that reminds me of a bread crust, along with some noticeable hop bitterness (the bitterness is actually the first thing my taste buds pick up on, interestingly.) Not a lot of hop flavor to go along with the bitterness, though, which is unfortunate. Occasionally a faint trace of that leafy/grassy earthy sort of thing, building up a little more as I drink (starting from "barely there" and gradually becoming slightly more present), with some pine coming out in burps. The malt side of this beer's flavor is pretty good but it's pretty weak in the hops department. I wonder if maybe this is a somewhat old can and the hops have faded as a result, but since there's no date on it, it's hard to even guess.

The feel is a definite positive to this one. It's light but not watery, fizzy but not prickly, and very easy to drink quickly -- my "sips" drinking this are more like small gulps.

Overall, I'm not all that impressed with this one -- it's not *bad* by any means, and that crackery/biscuity/bread-crust malt flavor in particular I really liked, but it's a bit lacking when it comes to hop flavor and as a result doesn't really compare to most of the other pale ales I've had. I was kinda hoping for a bit more than what was there, and am glad I picked up just two stray cans rather than a full six-pack (though, for the price I paid for these two cans it was great -- the equivalent of $4.89 for a six-pack... I seriously doubt any other beer available at that price would be as good as this was.) Of course, it's possible the cans I got were old ones that Kroger was trying to unload to replace with the new shipment -- I may try this again in the future if I find some that's definitely fresh.

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Photo of tone77
3.44/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a light golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is kind of mild, a touch of hops. Taste is light, refreshing, hops, a bit of malts, very easy drinking. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall would be a good beer on a hot afternoon.

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Photo of hmph
3.38/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle to a pint glass.

A - transparent yellow with some darker edges, small stark white head that quickly fades, small ring left on the edges

S - strong lemongrass type smell, lots of 'light' grain smell, and oddly a bit of 'mustiness' , not off putting but not super inviting either

T - Lets start with the good, it is light and crisp and fairly easy to drink, however there is a bit of funkiness in there, some buttery aspects as well, finish is more of a sourdough than a bitterness, and it lingers a bit

O - well, I really like Devils Backbone but this one missed the mark, tastes like they forgot to add the hops, or maybe it is just out of balance, even for a British style 'APA' it leaves much more to be desired.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.35/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz can. Pours a crystal clear pale gold with a big frothy bright-white head. This leaves back huge sticky swathes of sudsy lace. Smells grassy and citric with some soft doughy malt along the back. The taste has a bit more going on with it, being grassy and pithy feeling with a resinous edge. Light notes of herbal and tropical fruit character, as well as some bready malt, helps soften the hops a bit. Bitterness and pine stick to the tongue on the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a mellow crispness to the carbonation which glides well. This was OK. The nose could have given up a bit more but it definitely had some decent assertive hoppiness going on. You could do worse than packing some cans of this along on a trip.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
3.28/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Golden straw colored body with a stick, fluffy bone-white head. Looks as clear as a pilsner.

S- Hops are apparent, citrus and fresh grass come through along with a toasted malt aroma. Not overwhelming, but overall pretty pleasant.

T- Pretty light on flavor, with the toasted malt coming through the most and only a little bit of the citrus and grassy hops. Slight hint of grapefruit in the middle as well, but more on the malty side overall.

M- As the appearance would indicate, I found this one to be on the watery side. Medium carbonation and certainly drinkable, but very thin.

O- This would be a good summer beer for a can, but overall a pretty average pale ale.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Poured from bomber into a pint glass

Appearance – Pours a golden straw color with a two finger white head. The head fades very fast to leave only a very light level of lacing.

Smell- The aroma is light overall with some toasted malt and a grainy smell. Mixed with these are some lighter notes of a citrus hop nature.

Taste – The taste begins with a more dry bready flavor up front. There is light citrus hop very near the start which grows stronger at the middle only to fade more toward the end. While the citrus hop flavor diminished from the middle to the end, herbal and grassy hop flavors grow stronger on the tongue. In the end a crisp and lightly bittered grassy/herbal flavor are left on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the medium to light side with a carbonation level that is medium to slightly above medium. The mouthfeel couple with the flavors of the brew create a rather crisp and easy drinking beer.

Overall - Nothing all that extraordinary here. Overall it is a decent APA with a more crisp taste and feel.

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Photo of m_hall
3.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 oz can into a nonic pint. Clear gold and topped by an inch-tall fluffy white head. Light lacing.

Aroma is lightly malty, with a bit of grassy herbal hops, fairly subtle.

Flavor is light caramel malt sweetness on the front, a bit of biscuit, with lemony notes from the hops coming in after. The finish is dry and a bit stringently bitter, a little soap-y.

Mouthfeel is medium, just slightly chewy. No alcohol is perceptible.

A pretty standard APA, solid, but not particularly memorable. A portion of the proceeds from each purchase do go towards the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, so at least your beer habit can support a good cause with this one.

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Photo of tigg924
3.25/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours gold, with moderate carbonation and 1/4 inch had. Taste is herbal hops and English pale malt. Above average pale ale, but nothing I would rush out to get again.

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Photo of obywan59
3.25/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Yellow against my white review screen, but golden orange against my walls. 1 1/2 finger whitish head that leaves decent lacing. Carbonation is evident.

Light but nice floral/herbal and citric "bouquet" Over ripe citrus mainly. Occasionally a whiff of vanilla.

Light sweet malt upfront but bitter citrus rind then dominates. A bit of lemony citrus punches through next, before grapefruit rind rises through the finish.

Light in body, highly carbonated early on, but it then settles down a little. Somewhat drying with a light stickiness. Burn of carbonation in the throat.

An okay beer. Overbalanced to the bitter in my opinion. I would freely drink it again if it was offered me, but I probably wouldn't go in search of it.

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Photo of KMcG
3.21/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a growler purchased from the brewery a few hours ago. The color is a clear straw yellow and it has a nice 2 finger head that dissipates quickly to no lacing.  A small rime of head rims the glass. 

The smell is honey, slight citrus hops and malty.

The taste is well balanced with some lemon and bready character.  It's crisp, but leaves a doughy quality in the aftertaste. 

The beer is light, easy to drink, and refreshing.  

Overall, this beer is one that I would seek out for a summer day.  I wish the hops were a bit stronger as is more typical with APA.  

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Photo of qchic
3.15/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Happy to see another brewery canning--and from my home state! It poured pale gold with a nice white cap. Aroma is subdued with earthy hops and hints of lemon rind. Flavor is also subdued, but not unpleasant. Definitely lighter overall than I was expecting, but as I make the most of this one, I do find nice subtle melon and clove flavors intermittent with cereal grain and hop bitterness on the tail end of things. Probably not one to incorporate into my normal rotation, but maybe a sessionable option when it's hot out.

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Photo of delta490
3.12/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a beautiful deep gold, tinting to amber. There is a nice creamy-ish white head that settles down and leaves some sticky lacing. The aroma is very mild, with just some light hints of malt. You've got to really dig in to find it. The flavor is much more of a let-down. There is barely any, frankly. It's quite close to water, actually, with all but the lightest hint that barley was used in the production. The body has a nice weight but there is too much carbonation on the finish. Wish this one was more like their others.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.1/5  rDev -6.9%

Appearance: on the orangish side of straw yellow color. a finger of an off white head that fades quickly but leaves a pretty strong lacing along the base of the glass. fairly strong clarity and easy to see through but not quite perfectly clear. 3.75/5

Smell: strong crystal sweetness, along with a extremely grassy hoppy smell. Hops notes of citrus and pine mainly, comes off slightly earthy due to the grassiness. 3/5

Taste: opens with sweet and light cara/crystal malts. a slightly dull transition to again a grassy hop taste. faint notes of pine and citrus. 3/5

Mouthfeel: light to medium body. some lingering bitterness. overall the balance between sweet and bitter isn't quite as sharp as I'd like. they blend together a bit too much. 3.25/5

Overall: I think this one is a bit too strong on the light crystals and something about the hops makes it just too grassy for my tastes.

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Striped Bass Pale Ale from Devils Backbone Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 33 ratings.