Pale Ale - Okanagan Spring Brewery

Not Rated.
Pale AlePale Ale

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BA SCORE
74
okay

143 Ratings
THE BROS
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 143
Reviews: 65
rAvg: 3.21
pDev: 16.51%
Wants: 0
Gots: 4 | 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)
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Ratings: 143 | Reviews: 65 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GodOfBeer
3.43/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber with a thin white head, decent lacing. Not very pale for a "Pale Ale."

Smells pretty nutty and malty, not to the style of pale ale at all.

Tastes nutty, some caramel and finishes slightly hoppy. This is more like a Nut Brown Ale or an Amber Ale, not a Pale Ale!

If this were a Amber Ale it would be decent, but for a Pale Ale it falls short.

Photo of thehyperduck
3.33/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle that claims this to be BC's #1 craft brew; this APA is a clear copper colour without much of a head (I feel that this was probably a result of my pouring style though). A thin island of foam in the center fights a losing battle to maintain cohesion. Some lacing on the sides, but not much. Looks fairly heavily carbonated. Smell is very faint but otherwise ok; pale malts, light caramel sweetness, maybe some floral hops but that could be my imagination.

Taste is nice but nothing exciting. Despite the fact that malts dominate the smell, there is an acceptable (if muted) hop presence throughout the sip. Grainy malts and faint caramel notes mix with this slight hoppy bitterness, which lingers for a bit in the finish. Earthy is a good way to describe the overall profile. Light to medium-bodied with a good bite from the carbonation.

I like this, but as other reviewers have noted there is nothing Extra Special about it, which I suppose could be why it was removed from the name. The flavour could be described as both balanced and subdued, and both adjectives are equally accurate. Worth one try; very sessionable, and potentially a good gateway beer, but will probably not impress serious beer geeks.

[Updated Nov. 8 2013]

I picked up a brewery sampler with 2 bottles of this inside it, and figured I'd give it a brief comment since it's been two and a half years. This pale ale is not even remotely interesting, but it is inoffensive and easy to drink. I'm not changing the score - I could drink this in a pinch and it's better than typical macro ales, but from a realistic perspective it's very forgettable.

Final Grade: 3.33, a B-.

Photo of Mit
3.23/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a-pours a dark clear amber...very little head.

s-citrus...malts....kinda thin though.

t-hmmmm...some hoppy bitterness at the back of my throught. Very mild malt...kinda thin and unimpressive as the smell indicated.

m-pretty good for the abv.

d-a nice lawn mower beer....I would get this again for sure.

Photo of liamt07
2.93/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Fanatics in Kingston, served in an imperial pint.

Pours a clear amber with a dense white head, mild retention and leave some spotty webbed lace. High carbonation visible in the body. Nose is almost nothing, some mild hops, plain pale malt and some grain. Taste is similar, some general sweetness, grain, plain malt and some odd red apple notes. Medium high carbonation and a lighter medium body. An easy drinker and unoffensive, but truly unexciting and definitive of mediocrity.

Photo of shamus
2.85/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I love Pale Ale, but I do not love this. There is something tinny and rubbery in the flavour of this bottle. it looks fine and has a nice foamy head but it's lacking in the hops and malt departments so really that makes some kind of beery water. Too bad.

Photo of mountsnow1010
3.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

First time with the new system so bear with me.

A - Amber with a thin white head that dissipates quickly.
S - Not too much, a bit of a floral aroma, but nothing extremely notable.
T - Nice balance of hops and malts; I would have to say that the flavors are somewhat muted.
MF - Clean and crisp. Real easy drinker, pairs very well with fish and chips. Cuts through the grease really nicely.
O - Nice, but nothing to write home about. C+.

Photo of CrazyMike
4/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber-copper apperance with medium head that sticks around for awhile, decent lace. Has a carmel, grain smell with a hint of malt.

Taste is overpowered by malt and carmel. Small hint of brown sugar And grass. Very earthy taste overall. Moderate body with moderate carbonation. Aftertaste has a lingering maltiness.

Overall, a this is a decent and well rounded pale ale. Nothing spectacular or bad, just good to drink. Would highly recommend.

Photo of biegaman
3.28/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of marty21
3.4/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Methodd
4.1/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of kwjd
3.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of kjyost
3.43/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

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...

Photo of chickenm
2.98/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of DoctorStrangiato
3.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of biboergosum
3.48/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of Grunewald
3.6/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

Photo of Voonder
3.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of EatsTacos
3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of OpIvy
4.9/5  rDev +52.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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!

Photo of Highbrewer
1.15/5  rDev -64.2%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

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.

Photo of Antilochus
2.95/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of ablaze
3.63/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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...

Photo of Graham5161986
3.3/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of BigBry
3.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Pale Ale from Okanagan Spring Brewery
74 out of 100 based on 143 ratings.