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Shelter Pale Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Shelter Pale AleShelter Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

741 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 741
Reviews: 473
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 14.5%
Wants: 26
Gots: 18 | 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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-16-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 741 | Reviews: 473 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tugdriver7
4.33/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Gaithersburg Alehouse. Nice gold/orange color, slight hops with malt edge in nose, with a bit of head retention (others at the table seemed to have a bit more). Taste was wonderfully balanced malt with a nice APA hop bite that just lingered enough to lend drinkability to the beer. A bit slick on the downside, but a great fresh flavor that held right to the last bit in the glass. Nothing like the often fiery IPAs Dogfish Head is famous for, but for me that was a good thing. Great with their fish and chips, by the way.

tugdriver7, Feb 10, 2008
Photo of Deuane
3.85/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Orange copper with a small off-white head that left nice lacing.

S- Sweet malt presence with a small amount of hop aroma.

T-Malty and sweet with a nice peppery/citrus hop presence. Nothing crazy or over the top...a simple straight up beer.

M-Light bodied and a little weak. Maybe slight overcarbonated for my liking.

D-A solid offering. Nothing crazy here. A simple, soild, everyday kind of drinking beer...the kind you would have as a fall back beer.

Deuane, Feb 08, 2008
Photo of PhageLab
4.05/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Single purchased from Total Wine & More. Poured into a standard pint glass.

A - Bright orange to bronze coloration, complete with a murky swirling effect in the middle. Produced a small head, but it stuck around a while and laced rather well. Nice presentation.

S - Nice earth tone, slight malt presence, and a bit sweet.

T - Nice refreshing quality to this dry, nicely bitter brew. Finish is citrusy but not overly sweet, this goes down nice and easy. A bit peppery and well hopped.

M - Light bodied, nice carbonation level, slight hint of grapefruit in the aftertaste. No real residue and a nice dry feel. Prety impressive.

D - Excellent, this could easily be a perfect beach beer. I can see this being a staple for me. Definite recommendation here.

PhageLab, Jan 18, 2008
Photo of wheelinshirt
2.98/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 12 oz bottle of this at Abe's in Bethlehem, mostly to round out my collection of DFH bottles (still need a couple of their strong beers, but i'm working on it). Poured into a pint glass. Bright, clear copper color with a finger of white head that receded and left a little lace. Not great but it doesn't turn me off.

Smell is, hmm, maybe cat piss? Not as bad as it sounds, really, but it isnt a good smell. Taste is a bit lacking, but not really full of the off flavors that i was expecting from the smell. I don't know how long this one has been sitting around on the shelves, could have been quite a while. I need more hops, more anything. I would like to re-review this beer when it is fresher.

Mouthfeel is medium light, good carbonation, drinkability is good except for the weird smell and lack of oomph in the taste. Would like to try again when i knew it was fresh.

wheelinshirt, Dec 09, 2007
Photo of Traquairlover
3.4/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12-oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A = Dark gold with light head. Small amount of lacing.

S = Light smell with pretty equal balance of malt and hops, both somewhat lowkey.

T = Fair hops flavor. I expected less after the smell. Good balance of flavors but not incredibly complex. A good straight forward pale ale. Aftertaste does not linger as long as I might like but it is pleasing.

M = light body, good carbonation, nicely coats the entire mouth.

D = This has good drinkability. It is not so good that I would plan an evening around having it, but it goes down smoothly, it tastes pleasant.

Traquairlover, Dec 07, 2007
Photo of bluejacket74
3.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle, no idea how old it is but the bottle was dusty when I bought it. Figured I'd try it anyway. It pours copper, with a lot of carbonation. It took a while for the head to settle down. Head retention and lacing are both good. The aroma is sweet, it smells like honey, some kind of fruit and earthy/grassy hops. It's an interesting aroma, that's for sure. It tastes the way it smells, good balance between the malt and hops. Mouthfeel is light/medium, but has way too much carbonation. Drinkability isn't too good, only because of the high carbonation. I'd like to try this beer fresh to see how it really should be.

bluejacket74, Nov 04, 2007
Photo of callmemickey
2.53/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Golden orange body with a minimal head.

S: Soft pale malts and a cloudy fruit/bitter profile that is kind of off (not skunked).

T: Follows the aroma... this is kind of murky and the flavors aren't very discernible from each other... the malts blend into hops in a muddled way

M: A thick, cream-like mouthfeel with a bit of carbonation here and there... leaves a film in the mouth.

O: A pass.

callmemickey, Oct 15, 2007
Photo of umustdrink
2.63/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - Dark orange color, opaque. Head fades to a film.

S - Very sweet earthy maltiness, sort of musty (diacetyl). Kind of funky when agitated, smells a little bit like garbage...

T/M - Starts out with a hard carbonation burn Creamy, buttery and sweet, with some light apple-like fruity tastes. Very faintly bitter. Leaves a buttery sort of feeling afterwards.

D - Probably want to avoid this, unless you like the whole diacetyl business, I think its gross (buttery beer??).

umustdrink, Oct 11, 2007
Photo of sirpsycho
3.13/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Pours a hazy orange with a small, thick off white head. The aroma has some sweetness, honey, with floral hops. An average beer from an above average Brewery. My least favorite from DFH so far, but that does not make it a bad beer by any means. This beer was easy to drink, not heavy. Many big, mainstream brewers wish they could make a beer this tasty.

sirpsycho, Oct 06, 2007
Photo of schoolboy
4.58/5  rDev +35.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this both on tap and in bottle. The bottle does the tap justice. Unfortunately I can't normally get this, and I have consumed the supply I brought back from Delaware (to Ohio).

It's a very nice IPA/APA. A bit on the tame side (balanced), and thus extremely drinkable. One could consume a mess of these and not loose one's mind or palate (you could eat too!).

I need to find an excuse to go back to Delaware to get more.

schoolboy, Sep 09, 2007
Photo of Slatetank
4.35/5  rDev +28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served cold in a Nonic at the brewpub in Rehobeth.
A - A light amber w/ a small white head. Practically no lace is formed from this ale.

S - Sweet odors of malt and hops. Very herbal smells bordering on, but not getting into perfumy territory. Slightly citric scents w/ nutty malt and a slight tinge of spice if I sniff hard.

M - Mellow feel from hop bitterness. Light carbonation and fruitiness. Sweet with a subtle spiciness in the finish.

T - Floral hop tastes overwhelms the palate w/ light malty flavors adding substance. Mellow bitterness w/ a dry flavor in the finish. Very delicate, yet flavorful w/ hops from start to finish. Not overly bitter and a taste that made me want to take large gulps. Very smooth quaffing.

D - A good Pale ale w/ high drinkablility for me. Highly quaffable, pleasant bitterness and a lower abv add to the overall experience. I enjoy that you can taste the hops instead of just feel the bitterness. The english style is hinted at a the blend of hops is heavenly. I could drink this in sessions, I really love this ale.

Slatetank, Sep 04, 2007
Photo of OWSLEY069
3.9/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clean copper color with an off white head. Aromas of hops and a sweet malt. In the taste, a bitter malt and a nice hop presence. The mouthfeel is very clean with a small malty aftertaste. A very nice pale, a nice hop and a great deal of malty presence.

OWSLEY069, Sep 04, 2007
Photo of Gmann
3.65/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color with a smallish dense off-white head. The smell is of light buddy/grassy hops, caramel malt. The taste is buttery with a light grassy hop, caramel malt, light honey, light rubbing alcohol flavor. All of the flavors are pretty mellow. The brew has a moderate body that has some tight carbonation, finishes very balanced. A respectable APA, probably not something I would expect out of DFH. It could use a touch more hops but other than that I think this is a good beer.

Gmann, Sep 01, 2007
Photo of Monkeyknife
3.23/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle a clear copper-orange with a light off-white head and some sticky lacing on the sides.

Aroma has a real sweet and sourness to it. Also noting a bready biscuit maltiness to it.

The taste follows the smell with a taste that is both sweet and sour. Interesting, but not too impressive. The malts lend a doughiness to the beer.

Light to medium bodied, flat with little carbonation.

Easy to drink but not really a beer I'd like to have in the fridge. Not one of DFH's better brews.

Monkeyknife, Aug 23, 2007
Photo of PittBeerGirl
2.05/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A- Crystal clear rusty amber colored body with thick white head that fades slowly to 1/2 finger. Plenty of lacing is left behind in the glass. Nice-looking beer.

S- whoa. very musty and biscuity with an added macro-hop potency. Not very appealing at all.

T- Lots of crass biscuity malt and barley upfront with a bitterness from hops but no taste of hops. Burnt Biscuit taste. The finish is clean with a burnt bitterness that lingers on and on.

M- High carbonation and a light body. My overall impression was the crassness.

D- It looks good, but the smell and taste are quite the opposite. When I grab an APA I'm not looking for something that tastes like a burnt biscut. I was rather disappointed with this offering from Dogfish Head since they are such a great brewery. I won't have this again.

PittBeerGirl, Aug 15, 2007
Photo of HugoGrim
3.28/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Golden orange, almost redish body, not much head, but decent lace.

Nothing special in the nose... just a bit of hops noticeable, kind of weak.

Flavor is not exceptional in my opinion. Not a bad APA to be sure, though there are many better examples. Hops are not as flavorable as I would like and seem to simply add bitterness, not all around flavor. Again, not bad, but I expect more from Dogfish Head.

HugoGrim, Aug 08, 2007
Photo of argock
3.15/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass

A: Very clear light copper body with thin, foamy head that leaves little to no lace

S: Musty and doughy smelling, not particularly appealing

T: Buttery and earthy with some sweet and roasted malts and minimal hops finish.

M: Smooth and not overly carbonated but a bit drier than I expected or liked.

D: The dryness of the finish and the butteriness tone down the desire to have many more of these.

Presentation: 12 oz brown long neck bottle with “Packaged In” date on the side of the label.

Appearance: Crystal clear tarnish gold colour with medium sized bubble floating to the top, good head retention and froth during the pour.

Smell: Big buttery diacetyl aromas, buttery and musty with a dough like maltiness and herbal hop.

Taste: Medium body, smooth and crisp. Buttery from the start and far into the finish from the yeasty byproduct diacetyl. Musty flavour with a dough malt flavour and big herbal hop that throws around an odd bitterness. Diacetyl is ever so dominant and gets annoying to a point. Herbal hop finish with little else.

Notes: A pale ale that has too much going on, this beer brandishes a diacetyl character that is relentless to bother the taste buds and the hops double the effect unfortunately. If the yeast was kept in check this brew would be a bit cleaner to have a more balance. Not a bad brew just off kilter.

argock, Aug 05, 2007
Photo of Bitterbill
2.03/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

I got this in a trade with Wasatch. Thanks, John!

It pours from 12oz bottle a clear gold with a good head of foam that shrinks to a fine broken layer by the end of my session.

The smell is rather delicate. I get a bit of floral hops but that's about it.

The taste has some good malty graininess up front with a touch of bitterness that moves in about midway through and that's, pretty much, the highlight of this APA. I won't mention the "D" word but yeah, it gets overpowering for my taste buds and I'm having a rather tough time drinking this brew. In fact, I can't finish my glass.
Dogfish Head makes some great brews so my not liking this one is neither here or there, if you catch my drift. ;^)

Bitterbill, Aug 04, 2007
Photo of umandd
3.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Definitely Dogfish Head's most drinkable PA for a beginner which makes sense given that it is the first beer they brewed (didn't want to get to extreme on the first try). Beer is lightly carbonated, not producing much head at all. Disappointing in comparison with 60 and 90 minute, but still a very good PA, coming from a person who drank Sierra Nevada for years.

umandd, Aug 02, 2007
Photo of enfield249
3.15/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Light copper-brown. Two fingers of head, about 1 stays around after the pour.

S - This is weird, but I got a scent of cigarettes on my first sniff! That can't be right. Other than that, slight hop smells, maybe a light malt smell.

T - Pretty good here. Biscuity, slight hops. Not a bad flavor all told.

M - I get slightly creamy in consistency, not flavor. At least heading in that direction.

D - Not my favorite from DFH, but not aweful. Worth a shot, you may like it more then I did.

enfield249, Jul 11, 2007
Photo of demcorhip
3.58/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a brilliantly clear amber hued ale. A one finger off white head formed on the pour of this mildly carbonated brew. Head quickly fell to leave a thin collar which managed to surprisingly produce thin yet full sheets of lacings.

Bready and biscuity malts and a pleasant earthy and leafy, almost tea like bitterness. Mild hints of fruity esters of apple, pear present, along with a hint of honey.

No real surprises here. Toasted bread and biscuit from the malts, along with a touch of honey sweetness. Very mild fruity esteres as in the nose. Nice bitterness, earthy, leafy, and slightly woody in character. A tea like astringency revealed itself more towards the finish.

Nicely balanced as far as the malt and hopping goes. Perhaps under attenuated, however, with its maltose and almost honey like sweetness. Prevents a refreshing, dry finish, and the level of astringency is also out of place.

A decent brew, although both the sweetness and astringency present detract from the overall drinkability of this brew, and the tasty malt and hops. Less unfermented sugars would have made for a more refreshing and sessionable, dry finishing pale ale. Almost but not quite a solid APA.

demcorhip, Jul 03, 2007
Photo of msubulldog25
3.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I haven't seen this DFH offering before on the West Coast - thanks to Wasatch for sending it as an extra in a recent trade (perhaps an extra of his, maybe I'm thanking MuenchenerKindl also?). This 12 oz bottle poured to a pint glass and kept me company on a Saturday afternoon.

A: Pale amber-orange & very clear. Only a little carbonation rising to a thin whitish head, which faded rapidly to a faint film. Looks pretty mundane actually, with no lace, no head and little action in the glass.

S: Mostly bready aroma, very malty and with limited sweetness. Hops are floral and bitter and don't compete much with an overtly malty aroma.

T: Pale malts taste doughy and lightly sweet/sour, good hop profile is a little citrus zest and a little herbal/grassy. Spicy sweetness is pleasant and overall balance is good; for the most part this is a balanced yet unremarkable Pale Ale.

M: Clean and crisp mouthfeel, adequate carbonation and refreshingly bitter bite on the tongue. Medium-light body.

D: An easy drinker, session-able at just 5% ABV. Nothing really bad about this nor outstanding - just a solid middle-of-the road APA from a respectable brewer. Worth a try.

Thanks, John, for beering forward this one...

msubulldog25, Jun 24, 2007
Photo of mdm46410
3.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. This ale poured a golden orange color with visible carbonation in the glass. A thin beige head quickly faded away. The aroma of this beer consisted of mostly caramel with a hint of some citrus notes. The flavor was surprisingly roasty and malty. Very faint notes of caramel and orange linger behind the malts. The mouthfeel was slightly watery and light-bodied. Brisk carbonation. Definately not the most interesting beer from Dogfish Head, but quite sessionable.

mdm46410, Jun 19, 2007
Photo of Zorro
3.2/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled through MrBURTON55 and the Summer Sipper 2007 BIF.

In the glass this is a clear amber colored ale with a good tan head.

The smell is a little sweet and herbal with a good caramel malt aroma. Lesser aromas are toasted wheat and some citrus type hops.

The taste begins neutral and quite bitter for the style with a good caramel aftertaste. The taste doesn't develop that much it is mostly woody and herbal with caramel in the after taste.

The mouthfeel is OK.

An OK Pale Ale but I know many better.

Zorro, Jun 10, 2007
Photo of ultralarry2006
4.22/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle marked "bottled on 01/10/07". Leaves a one finger tan head that has very good retention, and some good lacing. Body is a clear amber. Looks good.

Smell - grassy herbal hops. Toasty malt biscuits, apples, and some butterscotch.

Taste - exactly like the smell. Grassy herbal hops washing over toasty malt biscuits, apples, and butterscotch.

Mouthfeel - full bodied, and smooth. Semi-dry from the hop bitterness.

Drinkability - this is a very good ale, and very sessionable.

ultralarry2006, May 31, 2007
Shelter Pale Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 741 ratings.