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Pale Ale - Okanagan Spring Brewery

Not Rated.
Pale AlePale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

136 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 136
Reviews: 65
rAvg: 3.21
pDev: 15.58%
Wants: 0
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Okanagan Spring Brewery visit their website
British Columbia, Canada

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

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Clear and copper coloured, it is fruity on the palate and hearty in hops with a nice, round finish. We are honoured that Pale Ale continues to be BC’s most popular craft brew.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-19-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 136 | Reviews: 65 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.28/5  rDev +2.2%

On-tap at Canyon Creek, in Toronto.

This is indeed pale but not exactly without colour: tanned gold, to be exact. When served to me the beer's head was inflated like a giant balloon. Like a balloon, it gradually lost its air, shriveled, and eventually contracted into nothing. That being the case, I'm sure you've figured out already that it was incapable of leaving any lacing behind.

It's a positive sign that the brewery doesn't shy off the fact that their pale ale has a more hearty, more discernible maltiness than most its commercial competitors. The fruity esters and whiff of bitterness also suggest Okanagan doesn't subscribe to the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" motto. This doesn't have a ton of character - but at least it has some.

This ale maintains its 'easy going-ness' despite having a thicker, more bitter profile than probably any other beer you're likely to find on tap at a commercial establishment. The cereal graininess here is appreciable and wholesome - that alone makes this a good alternative to the ubiquitous macro offerings. Nevermind that it also tastes much better.

Its bitterness may be practically anemic relative to many North American microbrewed pale ales, but it'd probably be considered gargantuan by anyone acclimatized to mainstream lagers. Indeed, the fruity ale yeast esters and more enunciated hop bitterness are both present in the finish, which is significantly fuller than that of a lager.

I'm glad the brewery dropped "extra special" from the beer's name because, frankly, nothing about it is. It's a middle-of-the-road pale ale with no real faults but equally little character to match. It is a decent pint but unless you're the type accustomed to ordering plainer, more mainstream beers it's doubtful you'll care much for a second.

03-08-2011 21:38:57 | More by biegaman
Photo of marty21

Manitoba (Canada)

3.4/5  rDev +5.9%

A: Pours a clear copper with a fingers worth of white head. Settles to a nice cap and left quite a bit of lacing.

S: Maybe some caramel malt but mostly got some grains.

T: Mostly caramel malt with some faint grainy notes.

M: Light carbonation with a light to medium body.

D: This is not really a Pale Ale but for whatever it is it's not too bad. I would easily drink it again if offered.

03-06-2011 22:27:48 | More by marty21
Photo of Methodd

British Columbia (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +27.7%

This is not an APA or Pale Ale of any sort as far as I can tell. If I were to rate this as an APA I'd have to give it a failing grade. If I were to rate this as an Amber or Red Ale I'd have to say it's pretty darn good. I like this beer and from now on if I buy it again I'll be buying it as an Amber. It's got a nice amber color and produces lots of off-white head and leaves little to no lacing. Carbonation is moderate with very little after taste. They really should rename this as an Amber or Red.

11-07-2010 03:36:48 | More by Methodd
Photo of kwjd

Ontario (Canada)

3.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Splitting a pitcher of this. Pours a copper brown colour with thin off-white head. Almost no lacing. Smells of sweet caramel and very minimal hops. Flavour is quite sweet. Is this really an American pale ale? Low carbination. Ok beer to drink, but nothing special at all.

10-24-2010 02:21:44 | More by kwjd
Photo of kjyost

Manitoba (Canada)

3.43/5  rDev +6.9%

Purchased as part of a mixed 'craft' sampler pack put out by the brewery (3 of 4). Undated. Poured into a tulip

A: Copper, clear. White head that descends quickly but left blobs of lacing.

S: Fruity esters, mainly apple. Not much else going on here. Personally I would like a bit of hop presence in the nose. As time passes an earthy presence emerged, along with a bit of malt sweetness (caramel / toffee).

T: Initially came through as quite malty, without being cloying or sweet. Some earthyiness and next to no esters oddly enough. Not much hop presence is a major disadvantage.

M: Low carb, feels a little thin

D: Surprisingly good. I wasn't expecting this. It is in no way as good as an SN Pale, but it is a good pale by macro standards and could be a decent baby-step away from macro for some...

08-25-2010 02:54:51 | More by kjyost
Photo of chickenm

British Columbia (Canada)

2.98/5  rDev -7.2%

Pours a medium amber color with a thin white head that leaves a bit of lacing on the glass. This had very little aroma, with a tiny bit of caramel sweetness and some faint floral hops. The taste again is fairly mild and bland with caramel malt and a slightly bitter finish. The mouthfeel is decent with a medium-light body. Overall this this isn't too bad of a beer, but it's boring with very little character.

04-05-2010 06:21:35 | More by chickenm
Photo of DoctorStrangiato

Alberta (Canada)

3.03/5  rDev -5.6%

Poured a 341-ml bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - copper, as the name suggests. A moderate pour created a 1/2 inch soda-like head that subsided quickly. Some surface bubbles remain as a result of the high carbonation.

Smell - sweet, creamy malt aromas with the slightest detectable of cotton candy, believe it or not. Fairly gentle nose with just a hint of alcohol.

Taste - some active sweetness up front that gives way to a modest taste profile of sweet malt and a fading finish. Subsequent tastings suggest a near-fruit flavour toward the end.

Mouthfeel - on the whole a little too active and lacking balance. Goes from peppery to an extended sweetness - not a great segue.

Drinkability - nothing wrong with this brew but not the best and nothing special either. I've enjoyed a few and likely would have it again if offered.

01-16-2010 04:46:56 | More by DoctorStrangiato
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.48/5  rDev +8.4%

341ml bottle. The 'Extra Special' seems to have been dropped from the name of this beer, as of their most recently packaging update. That said, the new label has way too much stuff going on, as the different angles of text practically make me dizzy before even partaking in the product itself.

This beer pours a clear, bright medium copper amber hue, with three fingers of puffy, foamy, and even a little creamy off-white head, which leaves some undulating streaks of cloudy lace around the glass as it quickly melts away.

It smells of semi-sweet biscuit and caramel malts, some decent, yet muddled orchard fruitiness, and a wee bit of earthy, grassy, and leafy hops. The taste is more biscuit malt, a bit of removed bready caramel, faintly astringent apple cores, and surprisingly mild earthy, weedy hops.

The carbonation is moderate, if a bit fizzy at times, the body a tame medium-light weight, and kind of blandly smooth. It finishes off-dry, with a bit more of that now dominant, yet still understated biscuity malt.

Not a particularly full-flavoured pale ale, but enjoyable enough on a warm patio, in a much warmer season and locale, as the memory of this offering will stay in my mind, if not exactly so for now, and moving forward.

12-29-2009 07:06:44 | More by biboergosum
Photo of JohnnyBarman

Ontario (Canada)

3.18/5  rDev -0.9%

On tap at McGinnis FrontRow in Waterloo. My third choice bar of the evening (the other two were full), and, having been given a slate of boring macros available on tap, was given a rare chance to try something different.

Poured an amber hue, left about an inch of head, and surprisingly, it stuck around, at least in the form of a ring around the glass until the end. Actually, nothing wrong with it appearance wise.

The smell was non-existent. Maybe got a bit of malt and floral notes, but almost nothing. Not offensive, just...nothing.

The taste wasn't bad. Never found it offensive, and considering the horrible alternatives, I was rather pleased with this brew. A bit of skunkiness, but generally a good mix of malts, caramel and lemon. Not exciting, but decent.

Mouthfeel was thin, but it did the trick.

Actually, not a bad beer. Had no problems getting this one down, nothing offensive. A good pitcher beer, and one I'll probably get again. Like running into a friend after leaving a bad blind date, this beer wasn't exactly what I wanted, but it saved the evening.

11-21-2009 06:49:58 | More by JohnnyBarman
Photo of Grunewald

British Columbia (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev +12.1%

A - poured from a bottle into a weizen glass. It pours clear amber with a white head. The head leaves some drippy lacing at the top of the glass.

S - malt, honey, flowery hops and a hint of cherry

T - malt and some mildly astringent hops, no astringency in the finish though

M - medium body, light carbonation, and a moist finish

D - enjoyable

09-28-2009 03:22:49 | More by Grunewald
Photo of Voonder

Alberta (Canada)

3.03/5  rDev -5.6%

Pours deep copper colour with two finger off-white head which dissapeared quickly. Smell - bready, toasty, malty, slightly sweet. Taste - malty, slightly toasty. Quite nice flavour, but this beer is messing hops big time. Pretty smooth, creamy. Fairly drinkable.

04-05-2009 22:42:37 | More by Voonder
Photo of EatsTacos

Yukon (Canada)

3/5  rDev -6.5%

Hmmm, poured a clear copper with a two finger head and not much lacing to speak of.
The nose was very faint, some hops but mostly malted barley and grainyness.
The tatse is very crisp and clean, mostly herbal hops and slightly bitter. Good balanced beer and refreshing. The mouthfeel is medium to low and the carbonation was high and crisp.
A pretty mediocre beer, nothing to complain about.

11-20-2008 04:41:17 | More by EatsTacos
Photo of OpIvy

British Columbia (Canada)

4.9/5  rDev +52.6%

This is my daily drinker. I am very surprised at the low score this beer has, but I think I know why.

Okanagan Spring's Extra Special Pale Ale is very dependant on the medium it is consumed from. The on-tap stuff is quite literally terrible. It simply loses it's real taste, smell, and feel. Most noticeably, it inherits a sour yeasty taste.

The canned version is also sub-par gaining a very slight metallic taste. Much more noticeable than other canned beers. Much better than on-tap but definitely not in it's true form.

To fully appreciate this beer, it must be consumed from a bottle. It has a slightly sweet taste with a beautiful aroma. It isn't overpowering, it's actually quite mild. It has minimal head and consists of a fairly pale amber colour.

Great beer in my opinion. Not an outgoing beer. But definitely a nice relaxing daily drinker type beer!

10-20-2008 20:32:32 | More by OpIvy
Photo of Highbrewer

Ontario (Canada)

1.15/5  rDev -64.2%

Had it on tap. Appearance is okay. Smell is next to nothing. Tasted sour like it had some kind of bacterial infection. Waiter said it was supposed to taste like this.

Any more effort for this review is a waste of time. This beer sucks.

To the brewers: Try a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale if you want a decent example of this style. Maybe they tried to achieve a Belgian-type sour APA? Don't know, but the experiment failed. Why is so hard to get a decent ale in this beer wasteland of Canada.

I could not finish this beer. I don't think I've ever sent a beer back. Just terrible.

10-03-2008 23:39:30 | More by Highbrewer
Photo of Antilochus

Ontario (Canada)

2.95/5  rDev -8.1%

Had it at the Alex P. Keaton in London, Ontario. On-tap, in a Okanagan Pale Ale branded pint glass. Nice.

Pale amber, almost nonexistent head. Moderately dry, not nearly enough hops for this style. Metal, something a bit off about it. Still, I found it decent. Perhaps because it was on tap. Sweetish finish. I find these bland APAs have too much abv given their flavour profile.

05-18-2008 00:13:15 | More by Antilochus
Photo of ablaze

Alberta (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev +13.1%

Copper-orange with good clarity. Foamy head that sits to a ring after a couple minutes with poor to average lacing.

Scent is nutty, lightly roasted malts and a hint of caramel. Corn is there too, similar to a macro. Hops seem nonexistent. Actually not a bad smell and I kind of like it.

Light and creamy body, light bitterness with decent carbonation. Hops are light, clean and crisp but not dominant. Grainy caramel malt shows through well, along with more nuttiness and a metallic edge. Dry and sweet finish.

This isn't too bad. A clean macro style pale ale, very easy to drink with a nice flavour. Nothing spectacular but I wouldn't mind seeing it again. Actually reminds me of a beer I brewed last year...

02-18-2008 19:44:02 | More by ablaze
Photo of Graham5161986

British Columbia (Canada)

3.3/5  rDev +2.8%

A: pours a clear, orangey-amber colour with a 1 finger off-white head that dissapates into a thin foam and leaves a pretty good lace.

S: sweet malts, slight grassy hop aroma but a tad metallic

T:brown sugar malts up front with a bit of bitter hops in the background, bit of a metallic aftertaste

M: medium bodied and slightly creamy, decent carbonation and a smooth finish.

D: Not a bad APA. Very easy to drink and offers a more enjoyable experience than most other Macros. Excellent session beer. I think it makes a good throw back beer whenever you just need to relax. Good for the big game too.

02-06-2008 00:10:46 | More by Graham5161986
Photo of BigBry

Alberta (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev +9%

Pint on-tap at Fogg 'n Suds in Vancouver.
Color is dark gold with a short white head that disappates quickly. Not as hoppy a smell as other Pale Ales, good mix of malt and hops. Blend of malt and a subdued hop flavor. Doesn't have the same kick as many other APAs. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, not quite full flaovered and bodied as expected. A slightly more flavorful step up from most macro offerings, and works as a option to other main stream beers.

04-07-2007 14:18:59 | More by BigBry
Photo of Shadman

Alberta (Canada)

2.25/5  rDev -29.9%

Liked their helles lager and liked it so let's give their pale ale a go...

Good looking copper colored ale with a decent head that receeds into a nice foam ring around the glass. Not much in the way of lacing. Smells faintly of spicy fruit..but it's not easy to tell. Taste is a big let down...very faint, almost sugary malt and some hop bitterness, but mostly just fizz from the carbonation..mouthfeel is very astringent...not digging this at all...

03-04-2007 06:13:47 | More by Shadman
Photo of Hornet2003

British Columbia (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +27.7%

This is one of my favourite daily drinkers. I have a nostalgiac attachment to this beer since it is what I was drinking when I met one of my mentors for my chosen career(Pilot).

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with a nice one finger head that disappates quickly.

Smell: For a Pale Ale the hops are not as pronounced as others, but the maltiness makes up for it. It smells pleasant and drinkable.

Taste: To borrow a line from Will Farrel: "Scrumtralescent". Slight sweetness from the malt backbone and a nice, albeit, quite subdued hop presence.

Mouthfeel: A little fizzy, but it fits the beer. Around where I live this is one of the staples of most bars so it is the standard drinkable micro beer.

Drinkablility: Well in the summer, this is probably my favourite beer. I can polish off a sixer no problem when laying on the beach or watching an airshow( ;), inside joke). Dangerously drinkable.

01-12-2007 04:07:42 | More by Hornet2003
Photo of sinistermadman


3.25/5  rDev +1.2%

From the notes scribed on hotel stationary:

Served from the hotel mini-bar 12 oz aluminum can. Clear copper in color with a finely bubbled thick foam. Smell is of mild malt sweetness that hints at caramel. Slightly citrus tinge from the hops. Quite a simple brew, rather one dimensional. Smooth on the palate with an active carbonation. Overall impression... nothing special.

10-02-2006 23:59:35 | More by sinistermadman
Photo of dirtylou


3.48/5  rDev +8.4%

16oz draft at "The Keg" in Vancouver, BC

appearance: surprisingly dark mahogany-amber...body struck me as very full for a pale ale, light tan head

smell: mostly bready malt on the nose, just some light faint hops, a little musty

taste: nutty, bready, caramel and toasted malt, not too much hop to speak of...just not a very strong APA

mouthfeel: medium bodied, above average carbonation

drinkability: decent

07-08-2006 18:54:32 | More by dirtylou
Photo of tommy78

North Carolina

2.35/5  rDev -26.8%

Picked up a sixer at a local provincial liquor store in Vancouver. Poured out of the botter, and the appearance was a copperish color. In terms of aromas, the beer lacked a smell. I couldn't pinpoint a specific aroma after sniffing the beer many times. The taste is average. I really couldn't pick out a fruity or corn taste that other reviewers had mentioned. As for drinkability, I wouldn't recommend having more than one. If you can finish one off, then you are my hero because I couldn't.

02-25-2006 00:11:49 | More by tommy78
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

2.38/5  rDev -25.9%

Very pale, minimum fizzy head. Carbonation like soda. Metallic and dry, with minimal hops. Not finishable, a drain pour. More corn than malt, a drop of fruit but overridden by mustiness, and yes I did detect some brown sugar.
The whole thing is feh. Mediocre effort.

11-20-2005 02:01:06 | More by Sammy
Photo of Noxious26

Saskatchewan (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev +27.1%

341ml bottle poured in a pint glass.

Clear, amber-copper in colour. Light beige head is 1/8 inch on the pour, but quickly reduces to a splotchy, thin cap.

Aroma is a nice, lightly hoppy scent with undertones of malt and fruit giving it a subtle sweetness.

Well balanced and easy to drink, things start off with hops in the foreground on the swallow and hints of malt in the background. Finish is balanced and even with both hops and malt making an appearance. Aftertaste is lightly bitter, with sweet-ish undertones.

A light-medium bodied mouthfeel nicely complements the light-moderate carbonation.

Although this beer is placed in the American Pale Ale category, I think it is a better example of the English Pale Ale. I have found that typically the American style is hoppier and crisper, while the English is more balanced and displaying more malt. This beer certainly won't blow your socks off, but I'm not certain that this style is capable of doing that. Instead of challenging your tastebuds, this pale ale is nice, easy going, well balanced, and highly drinkable.

10-23-2005 19:03:04 | More by Noxious26
Pale Ale from Okanagan Spring Brewery
74 out of 100 based on 136 ratings.