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Shelter Pale Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Shelter Pale AleShelter Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States | website

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-16-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 474 | Ratings: 765
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.

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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.

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Photo of Phelps
3.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Usually only available at the Rehoboth brewpub, is beer was brought out to AZ for the annual Beer for Brains Bocce Brew-Ha-Ha. This was poured from a jockey box into a shaker pint.

Light, mostly clear copper. One finger of fuzzy head very close to pure white.

Mild, slightly fruity nose. Fresh cut grass, flowers, a little apricot, a touch of biscuit.

More English-tasting here. A little caramel, some biscuit, mild earthy bitterness. Some flowers. Dry finish.

Medium-light body, mild massaging carbonation. A fair amount of fizz. Super dry, crisp, quenching finish.

Not super memorable, but drinkable as hell, which works for this event.

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Photo of TheMultiYeast
3.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours golden amber with a finger of head

Smells nice..leans toward malts with light wave of hops. Almost sugary sweetness with toasted biscuits. Grassy

More malt in taste, caramelized sugar, then herbal hop notes, very little bitterness.

Prickly carbonation, good for a session.

Falls short of some hoppier APAs but enjoyable.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at the brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, DE

A: thin head on a clear golden with amber hues
Body. Some lacing.

S: aroma is very very light with mostly orange citrus and caramel malts.

T: sweet caramel malts, brown sugar, candied citrus and light herbal hop notes.

M: lighter side of medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: not very aromatous or flavorful. Very simple and drinkable but I wouldn't have this one again.

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Photo of Eddxii
3/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shelter pours a clear light amber with a medium head that dissipates rather quickly. A goodly amount of bubbles dance within and the outer lacing is hearty along the sides of the glass.

It smells of hops, as one would expect, but not overpoweringly so, and the light but solid malt notes hover underneath.

It tastes like…well, beer. This is not meant to be glib, but rather signifies that Shelter is a decent archetype of the American Pale Ale style. Though the word 'boring' would carry too negative of a connotation, Shelter is an unexciting beer that won’t garner much of a reaction in any direction.

There are better beers and there are certainly worse beers, and so I see Shelter as an overhang. It’s comfortable, it’s appreciated, but it’s not someplace to remain for a long time. Though Shelter is not quite on the same rung as Sam Adams’ Boston Lager, it fills a similar role. It is drinkable, enjoyable, and provides a respectable presence in a gathering of friends. Overall, Shelter is a solid, if uninspiring flagship beer.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Clear amber orange, some carbonation, two finger head with some lacing

S-Malt and not much else, boring.

T-Malt with some grassy hops and some spices

M-Medium bodied with some carbonation

O-A boring beer, I see why DFH doesn't distribute it, but it owuld serve as a nice beer for people who aren't into craft. Glad I found a bottle at the local store to say I've tried it.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.76/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 12 days prior to review, picked up at Total Wine in Delaware. Figures they get the DFH stuff fresh.

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.

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Photo of Immortale25
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Shiner Bock pint glass. Says bottled on 7/19/11. Figured I'd better review this one because a. It's low in alcohol so it'll probably spoil soon and b. I live in Florida now and this one is only distributed in Delaware and the neighboring states so it's the last one I'll have until I go back.

A- Pours a dark gold color with a 1/4 inch head that lowers to a thin ring with random foam formation on the surface.

S- Has a bready, biscuity malt nose with hops trailing behind it. A bit of caramel sweetness accompanied by flashes of cereal grain.

T- Flavors of cracker, bread and sugar cookie come through at first with a distant yet noticeable amount of hop bitterness. A faint wheat taste is also present although not necessarily detectable until it's sought out. I used to think this was a pretty bitter beer for how low in alcohol it is but now I find myself more drawn to the malt notes it possesses. Go figure.

M- Medium carbonation with a hop bite that's present but not all there. Goes down easy yet still feels like you're drinking a somewhat hearty beer.

O- As solid of a pale ale as they come. One of the first beers that got me into the craft brew scene.

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Photo of Heatwave33
4.45/5  rDev +31.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a Dogfish Head Snifter.

Color: Slighltly hazy golden orange with a white head.

Smell: Caramel malts, hops and citrus.

Taste: Caramel malts, citrus and hops.

Mouthfeel: Great carbonation, smooth with a mid dryness.

Overall: Finally the one that started it all! Well balanced, crisp and a nice citrus tone. A great subtle brew to relax with. Cheers!

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Photo of Stunner97
2.96/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance- amber in color and very murky in appearance, thick tan head remains for quite sometime, nice look,

Smell- the smell is quite faint, light hop and malt

Taste- very light hops and malts, nothing really dominate in this flavor profile, its not bad in flavor just rather bland,

Mouthfeel- light bodied with crisp carbonation,

Drinkability/overall- I can see why this beer is probably not widely made by dogfish its probably overall the weakest of any dogfish beer I have ever tried, its not that its bad its just incredibly bland and plain, nothing i would see myself buying if available cuz just so many more flavorful options out there

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Photo of jsprain1
3.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a clear golden, thick white head that lasts well. Lacing is minimal.
S- Aroma is slighty grassy, butterscotch, and apple.
T- It comes off a bit sweet as the hop presence is fairly low. There is a toffee/butterscotch flavor to it, as well as a light apple peel flavor. Hops show up in the finish but stay relatively muted.
M- Medium body, could have used a shade more carbonation.
O- Interesting to see DFH's less off-centered brew. I enjoyed it well enough, but I wouldn't say anything about it particularly was memorable or exciting.

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Photo of devinoconnor
3.37/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden color with an abundance of head even from a bottle. My first letdown from Dogfish. Later was told it's one of their original beers, which makes sense since it's safe, boring, and much like the larger mass-produced companies.

Smell is nice. Some hops come through, but the taste is very bland. Tastes more like a larger than ale, and those hops on the nose seem to disappear.

Reminds me of a heavier-bodied Miller Lite. Not worth going out of your way for, but if you're a Dogfish Head (Head), you owe it to yourself to give it a run when in the Mid-Atlantic states.

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Photo of Radome
3.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tasted on tap at Dogfish Head Alehouse in Falls Church, VA.

A - Beer is a copper color, a bit darker than 60 Minute, which I sampled in the same session. It is very clear. The head is thin, even on the initial pour.

S - Generic but clean beer aroma, more like a lager than an ale. Low hops aroma that strike me as more noble in variety than American

T - Clean malt, a bit of hop flavor, but not much. A dry finish with some hop bitterness that comes across as almost soap-like. Not much complexity or flavor development.

M - Light body, a moderate amount of carbonation.

O - Overall a well-made beer, but very generic and uninteresting. It is certainly the least memorable beer that I have ever had from DFH and I don't need to have it again.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
2.94/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Typical dark goldenrod in color with a large foamy head which leaves lots of thin lacing. Crystal clear and tons of carbonation.

S - For an APA its kind of dull and the light toasted malts are the main aroma in this one. The hops add a slight floral aroma right at the end.

T - Doesn't remind me of an APA at all. Almost no hop presence until at the very end of the aftertaste where a slight bitterness can be picked out. The body is mainly light caramel and light roasted malts. Nothing special at all.

M - A little under carbonated for my liking but has a nice medium body. Once it warms a little it becomes more boring.

O - For a company who makes "Off-centered ales for off-centered people" this one is very off-centered at all.

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Photo of jcartamdg
3.77/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden honey with a two finger head that sticks around, great lacing throughout. Aroma of hops upfront with malts in the back, taste follows the nose, low hop profile compared to newer pale ales. Smooth and easy to drink. This beer doesn't have the best ratings on here but I like it, it's a great summer lawnmower beer and great beer to introduce others to craft.

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Photo of mikeg67
3.58/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at the DFH brew pub. Pours light amber hue with a thin, white head and some lacing. Aroma is of caramel malt and ripe fruit. Medium, smooth body. Caramel malt, ripe fruit and earthy hops nicely balanced on the palate. Very nice session pale ale.

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Photo of Sipchue
4.62/5  rDev +36.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

DFH never said that they're shooting for a particular style. You could argue that it's a Pale Ale, so it should act like one. It does, but in it's own, unique, refreshing way. The color is pleasantly light with good lacing. The aroma is fresh and round - not overwhelming on the malt or the hops. I rated the taste as exceptional, not because it fulfills any particular style parameters, but because it pleases me a great deal. In fact, the well-roundness of the flavor profile is what truly makes this brew stand out. The flavors coated my buds for a good 10-15 minutes after the last sip, with no regrets at both refrigerator temperature and at rest. Good job, Dogfish Head!

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.34/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured on-tap into a pint glass, the beer is a vibrant, clear, copper coloring with increased carbonation and a thin layer of film atop. Mild aromas of semi-sweet malt, with only the lightest hint of any hopping. Flavors are smooth, with a brown-sugar sweetness and a crisp feel from the increased carbonation. Mid-bodied with a decent lacing along the glass while you drink. The aftertaste is a little sour and drying, with a bitter presence from the hops. Dry and astringent finish, making a clean break at the end. Well balanced, but not overly memorable or remarkable for the style. Decent brew.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.17/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

hazy burnt amber orange with a big white frothy head that slowly faded and left behind a multitude of lacey goodness in its wake. Smell is very malty. Slight hint of a citrus hoppiness in the back but main flavors were grain and musty malty bread. Taste followed a similar route, crisp clean, and the finish was very light and orange tinged in flavor. Overall this was a very quality brew and a fine pale ale.

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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.

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Photo of B967ierhunter177
2.46/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a clear gold with a rapidly fading head and no lace. The aroma is of caramel and grass. It's flavor has caramel, honey, and nutty notes. It has a light-medium mouthfeel and is smooth and balanced. Dogfish Head Shelter Pale is an average beer, very drinkable. Recommended.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
3.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 6/29/11

A - Golden copper body, quite clear, loose white foam quickly fades.

S - Light fruity hops and malt profile. Decent.

T - Malt forward, toffee, caramel, lightly roasted notes, with a citrus back up.

M - Medium body, smooth.

O (D) - very drinkable. Not spectacular, but not bad either.

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Photo of chodinheaven
3.11/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Slightly hazy burnt orange color with a healthy head on top, some lacing, and good retention. Smell is noted by a faint twinge of floral hops and some barley malts. Faint floral hops as well.

The taste follows the nose pretty well, but the beer has a good overall balance. Malted barley is the first taste you get, followed by that light twinge of floral hops, followed by a small dose of bitterness. It gives you a full feeling as it has a decent amount of carbonation, but it also has a sort of creamy mouthfeel with little pops of hops dancing around inside of it. For the style of APA, there are better beers out there, but this isn't bad. Its just rather plain when you consider DFH's usual off the wall beers. But in reality, this isn't a bad beer, just a little more on the average side.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
3.72/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Golden brown with good lacing. Pretty thick.

Smell: Very nutty and caramel-like. Almost no hops. Maybe a bit of pineyness?

Taste/Mouthfeel: Basically nuttyness throughout. Not the most balanced beer, but a good gateway. Mouthfeel is definitely too thin for the flavor combination.

Drinkability: A good autumn beer.

Overall: Very tame by Dogfish Head standards.

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Shelter Pale Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 474 ratings.