Shelter Pale Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Shelter Pale AleShelter Pale Ale

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762 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 762
Reviews: 476
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 14.5%
Wants: 27
Gots: 29 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

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

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-16-2001

Brewed with a premium barley and northwestern Williamette and Columbus hops, Shelter Pale Ale has a fine malt backbone and a slightly nutty flavor. It's a versatile and quaffable beer.

We named this beer Shelter Pale Ale because we think of a shelter as being a place you come home to. It just made sense for this Dogfish original.

30 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 762 | Reviews: 476
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured a deep orange with a soapy like top not much head to speak of but I liked the rich full color,aroma was very grainy and some toastedness maybe a little buttery note but faint.The beer was served to me ice cold (litteraly)so I had to wait a few minutes to get anything from this brew but when I did it was mainly malt some fruit and an astrigent taste I couldnt pin down like sour bad fruit?Not much of a beer from DFH at least compared to others in there line.

Photo of RoyalT
2.06/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance – Nice, clear, light orange in color but little head.

Smell – Faint, almost nasty grainy grassy aroma. This one smells like shit.

Taste – This is a tremendous disappointment. The cheap grain and sucrose tastes like a bad macro.

Mouthfeel – Thin and light in the body.

Sinkability – This one stayed out of the sink by a hair.

Photo of wesbrownyeah
3.08/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Shelter Pale Ale, Dogfish Head sitting a 5.0%
I'm sitting on quite a few 05/09 DF 120's so I figure i'd try a pale ale from dogfish to see what there baseline beer is.

A- Pours a amber-copper color fluid with small active head that falls quickly to a froth leaving decent lacing that spiderwebs the glass.
Looks bold.

S- Has a funky yeast and malt scent. Almost a musky vanilla carmel like smell with a faint alcohol hint.

T-M- Taste buttery with hints of light carmel malt, maybe a kiss of lemon peel and bright yeasty charactor. Mouthfeel is medium with an bubbley thick astringent feel that lurks over the tongue.

D- Drinkable but would like to try on tap and see if flavors open up. Locked up APA when it comes to balance.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.82/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer was a pale orange color with a small head and no lacing. It had a fresh, spicy odor. It had a nice sweet, flowery taste with some malt flavor and hoppy bitterness showing up later. It was a very smooth, pleasant beer. More robust than I expected.

Photo of babyhobbes
2.78/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This pours a nice golden amber color. It smells like your typical macro I swear, and unfortunaely kind of like ammonia. The taste is acceptable but subpar for DFH. This is a very disappointing beer. The mouthfeel is bubbly and thin. I could drink this after a hot day mowing the lawn but not if I wanted to enjoy myself.

On a good note, this might be something to pawn off on your macro drinking friend to get him to try something different.

Photo of merlin48
3.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, honey gold. Minimal head leaves slight ring lacing.
Aroma---Wow! A DFH that doesn't knock you back from 3 feet away. Hops still grab some immediate attention, with big floral notes. Some pleasing baked bread aromas are also here to tease.
Nicely carbonated with a moderate hop bite in the mouth. Light to medium bodied.
Taste is of an aggressive American Pale Ale, with lots of piney and tart citrus up front which deliver a bitter onslaught. Lemongrass seems to be the dominant flavor. I'm missing the crazy malt and yeast characteristics of the DFH ales I'm accustomed to. This is a decent American pale ale, but I was expecting more excitement from Dogfish Head in this one. No match for their 90 or 120 Minute IPA.

Photo of Billolick
3.4/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a mini growler pour, purchased at DeCiccio's in Ardsley, NY. Pours typical almond amber, minor off white head and moderate spotty lacing. Nose of mild malt and perhaps a hint of hops, on the tame side so far. Nose flows into the flavor expectadly and reveals this to be a smooth and balanced ale, not very dogfish like and this one oozes "session beer". Pleasant enough, just lacks the expected DFH punch of flavor, interest and headyness. DFH with training wheels.

Photo of Byeast
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a medium coppery orange/brown. Head was about an inch a quickly faded to a ring with tightly packed thin layer of carbonation. Kinda citrusy , kinda yeasty smell , slight hop aroma. Taste is kind of musty , with some slight citrus and a kinda nice bitter hoppy finish. Also a fair amount of carbonation. Mouthfeel is a medium to light slick , with carbonation coming through. I found this Pale Ale to be pretty tasty and drinkable. Iv'e definatly had much better APAs, but its still a pretty drinkable brew from Dogfish.

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

Presentation: 12oz. amber bottle with a "packaged in" stamping of the number 12.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dull orange in color. Very fizzy, bubbly head disappears instantly. Sparse lacing of the glass.

Smell: Surprisingly sweet, with a little bit of citrusy aroma in the background.

Taste: This is a tough review to write, as I have been so impressed with the 60- and 90-minute IPA's from DFH. It's darn difficult to have sampled those two stellar creations and then have to try to review this beer. Taste is well-balanced, hops and malty sweetness combining for an above-average flavor. There was a certain "earthy" flavor that kept creeping in towards the back end that was a little unsettling. Aftertaste was even less pleasing. A grainy flavor rested on the palate.

Mouthfeel: Above average, but nothing to get excited about. Lots of carbonation create a pretty fizzy beer.

Drinkability: Not a bad beer, and certainly a thirst-quencher...something that would do very well on a hot, humid Virginia summer afternoon. A good beer to drink when you aren't in dire need to critically sample and enjoy a complex beer.

Notes: For me, I'll definitely stick with the "big brothers" of this IPA, the 60- and 90-minute IPA's.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.23/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a light brown with a tiny bit of a thin head. Nose is sharp and a bit citrusy and malty.

Taste is also sharp with a light bitterness and a tinge of a toasty finish. Not too smooth but still pretty drinkable. I'd stay with the bigger dfh brews over this.

Photo of jondeelee
3.95/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enthusiasts familiar with Dogfish Head's standard beers will no doubt be surprised that the brewery is capable of making something light and understated, but Shelter Pale Ale is exactly that: an easily drinkable ale with mass-appeal potential. The brew starts off light and appealing on the nose, full of toast and toasted grain notes, with brown sugar, apples, and oranges rounding out the aroma.

On the tongue, light fruit esters such as white grape, apples, apricots, and lychee nut appear up front, followed by a nice bed of biscuity toasted grains as the sugars peel back and fade. A slight citrus tang and bitterness evidences the presence of hops, but the beer is clean and smooth, and not at all the hop monster that might be expected from a brewery that makes a 120 Minute IPA. The aftertaste is a whisper of toasted grain. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is an excellent pale ale, full of flavor and nicely nuanced. Shelter Pale Ale should appeal to a wide variety of drinkers, and would make an excellent choice for anyone whose most exotic brew has (so far) been limited to Anheuser-Busch products: *this* is what beer is supposed to taste like.

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: gold with slight haze, 1.5” head dissipates but leaves good lacing.
S: bready malt with slight hop aromas
T: Moderate malt flavors with a mild hop background. A little sweet in the background, very pleasant – the finish is dry with nice lingering hop flavors.
M: Medium body and carboation.
O: An easy to drink American pale ale.

Photo of Mertzy81
3.75/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Golden color, clear enough to easily read a book through. Big, soapy, off-white head that settles slowly; patchy, sudsy lace that slips down the sides of the glass. Aroma well balanced between bready malt, caramel sweetness, and fresh hops from the Willamette and Columbus additions.

Very nice flavor with good toasted malt character, moderate sweetness, and very fresh, complex hops. Mildly bitter, citric and herbal. Tasty and different than many other APA's. A bit more of an almost English hop profile, less West Coast vibe, no Cascade here as far as I know.

Crisp carbonation, almost a bit prickly, lots of life in the mouth. Medium thin body, lingers just a bit. Very fresh, very refreshing.

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

Hop aroma, blossoming head, fake-buttery popcorn flavor. If you've ever raised turkeys, the smell/taste is very similar to the smell of a turkey pen. Now, that sounds like a resounding pan, 1's across the board, but there's something more to this brew. If it resembles livestock feed, it is at least grainy and healthy. The malts are substantial and pleasing, and the hop finish is clean if a little soapy. Some definite altbier characteristics. Also reminds me of a tomato-ish Vienna lager, which I guess is fitting, since apparently the barley was at one time malted in the brewpub's pizza oven. Don't know if it's still the case, but if not, I'm sure they replicated it somehow since it seems to be a defining quality of the brew.

Photo of far333
4.09/5  rDev +21%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bright apricot color, with a large off-white lingering head. A cloud of yeast sediment descends through the head into the glass. Spicy aroma with hints of citrus, flowers, and honey, and a bit of yeast. Highly carbonated, which can be felt upon tasting. Full creamy mouthfeel that envelopes the palete. The taste is reminscent of a belgian ale, and has accents that match the aroma. Not my idea of a pale ale, but I would drink this again.

Photo of Soonami
3.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Live review...

Pretty average pale ale from DFH. Honestly, it's a pretty boring offering, considering the kind of beers we now expect from Sam Caligione.

The beer was poured fairly roughly to induce some foam formation, but after 20 seconds the head subsided to a scant atoll of bubbles. The foam also did not leave any lacing on the glass. The smell was mostly of bready malt and a bit of grapefruit. The taste was very clean and malt forward with a good dose of caramel sweetness and herbal bitterness to finish. The beer was refreshing and very sessionable.

Although this beer was not my favorite, it was nice to drink and I would definitely buy more if it were on sale or as an introduction to new beer drinkers. A solid pale ale, and interesting did not sense any of the diacetyl that Jason complained about, maybe the beer has been improved in the 10 years or so since his initial tasting.

Photo of BranfordBound
3.73/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle dated 7/29/10 into a pint.

Pours copper, slightly cloudy, with a 2 finger head. Head remains as a covering and it leaves spotty lacing.

Smells of hops with a slight malt note, some butterscotch as well.

Taste is fairly mild for an APA, the malts are present, and attribute their sweetness. Finishes with a mild, yet noticeable, kick of hops. Some small metallic notes.

Fairly soft with some carbonation, finishes on the dry side.

Very drinkable and enjoyable, I would reccomend this as a gateway beer for IPAs and APAs to the uninitiated. Mild malts and equally mild hops give balance to eachother.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.12/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

DFH does a normal beer. Looks like a standard pale, easy access micro beer. Smell is mildly pleasant, not quite floral, but a decent hop nose.

Taste, strangely uncomplicated and mainstream. A flagship entry level type brew. Faintness is the word. Mouthfeel doesn't do anything, very light on the palate, not at all drinkable, I don't know what makes this beer 10$ a 6er, but it is kinda like the beer to bring around people who don't drink beer that doesn't have commercials.

Photo of ADR
3.13/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Almost through the Dogfish Head brews available in Minnesota...

Pale amber color with a poor whitish head that's gone in about 20 seconds or so. Grainy aroma with a strange sense of diacetyl-like properties. Malts are front-loaded and somewhat buttered-corn like in first impression...hops are floral, somehat grassy and reserved. Decent balance but little mouthfeel. This is hardly a killer and along with the Chicory Stout, not one I'm likely to purchase again.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After trying most of the Dogfish Head specialty beers like WWS, 90 min IPA, Midas Touch, I just want to try some of their regular line up. The Shelter Pale Ale pours a copper amber tone with a cream toned head that is sticking around fairly well, and is also clinging to the glass. From the aroma I am getting a lot of cereal/grassy notes, and a very mild hop character in the background of the sweetness. Smells like a bowl of Wheaties, in a good way, very pleasan and appealing to my senses. The hops become much more evident in the flavor, but I am glad to say that the malt sticks around to finish this beers flavor off to balance things out nicely. A very well built beer, with a medium to light body very nice session brew. I will look for this one on tap, and I see that Dogfish Head nows how to brew a good solid all around beer. On the other hand would Dogfish Head be as widely known if they didn't push the envelope, I don't think so. Very drinkable beer, I am not dissapointed by any means, good beer.

Photo of SPRichard
3.82/5  rDev +13%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at Local 44 in West Philly

transparent yellow...thin carbonation....minimal head...lacking lace

malty...sweet...some caramel notes...floral hops

very sweet compared to most hop bombs associated with DFH...sweet and malty yet still a crisp refreshing beer

moderate carbonation...crisp, clean and refreshing

if this was more available outside of the brewpubs down in Delaware then I'd be drinking this all summer long and any other time I had the chance

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.71/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A-This beer pours a deep golden orange with a bit of hazy and a strong carbonation. It has a nice white creamy head on top.

S- Very soft floral hops aroma. Some nice pale malt notes too.

T- This has a very smooth mild citrus hop flavor with a nice smooth pale malt base. No big hop bitterness or heavy grains. Just pleasant.

M-This has a medium but creamy mouthfeel. No alcohol warmth or astringency.

D-Its a hot summer day here and this beer is a perfect session beer. It is well put together with sublet yet quality flavors. If your expecting and IPA they you will be disappointed but this is a great example of an APA.

Photo of brewQ
3.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hits the glass bronze with a thin ivory head.
The aroma was intriguing- woody and earthy. Different.

Sweetness had the edge on the flavor with some background hops.

The finish was clean and I thought it a drinkable.

Not a knock out beer but I'll drink it again.
Wasn't surprised to see it is one of DFH's lower rated offerings.
(That is my luck when I go out of state and grab a good brewer by name).

Photo of watermelonman
3.68/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured to a great gold color with a small head that lasted fairly well. Lace is minor.

The smell is dominated by grassy hop flavors. Toasted malts start off the taste, which then brings more grassy hop flavor. Notably absent is the big diacytel that many have complained about.

The mouthfeel is snappy and drinkability is good.

Photo of ggaughan
3.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Part of a Boom Box case I purchased over the weekend and sampled at a DMB concert in Hershey. The beer poured a yellowish golden color with a thick slighty off white head. The aroma was of a caramel malt backbone with some citrus fruity notes. The taste was a marriage of hops upfront and some malty goodness at the backend. Overall the carbonation and body makes this a pretty drinkable session beer.

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Shelter Pale Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 762 ratings.