1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Shelter Pale Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Shelter Pale AleShelter Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

737 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 737
Reviews: 473
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 14.5%
Wants: 26
Gots: 17 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Shelter Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 737 | Reviews: 473 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MJR
3.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours crystal clear with a faint copper color with gold edges. The off-white head starts out huge and fluffy, and settles to a thick cap. Decent lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell: Aroma of hops, a touch of honey, and malt. There's a bit of an organic quality to it. Overall, the smell is faint and kinda lacking.

Taste: Bitter and pungent with citrus and floral notes. There's a small suggestion of a malt base, but it's covered by the hops. I taste some honey flavor as well. Finishes with a bit of a phenolic flavor. A bit thin and one-dimensional.

Mouthfeel: Has a thin mouthfeel with a dry finish.

Drinkability: It's not a bad brew, but it doesn't hold a candle to a big list of APA's with the same ABV and IBU's.

MJR, Mar 26, 2003
Photo of StevieW
3.75/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Medium copper color, mostly shiny with a touch of cloudiness. Very fluffy, large off white color head. More than covered the top and laced the glass to the bottom. Smell was very highly hopped, citrus, and orange peels. Flowery herbal hints also bounce around. First taste was lots of citrus, grapefruit flavors. Very acidic and tart. Hops run amok, to the point that the flavors were more different than much pale ales. I didn't get any big biscuit mait flavors I like so much in a pale ale. Very bitter, grapefruit and citrus flavors continue. It seems to me, it tries too hard to be overly hoppy, but still flavorful and refreshing. Lip smacking bitterness is good, and flavors are very pronounced. Hop burps resound. Slightly watery toward the end, citrus flavors and hop bitterness seem to take away from the enjoyment of the beer. This would be great with a sloppy tangy barbecue chicken.
Cheers to MJR for a sucessful trade.

StevieW, Mar 22, 2003
Photo of tavernjef
3.7/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Color was fine kinda light coppery with a light head. Smell of floral hops a bit of malt, kinda sweet and earthy. Tasted a little watered down with lots of good hop presence and balance of malty smoothness, but a bit bland. Body was a weak medium, sort of salty and empty. Its a drinkable ale but theres better out there. And there are diffenately some better Dogfish Head brews then this one. Very surprising, knowing that these guys are brutally innovative in some of their other brews.

tavernjef, Mar 19, 2003
Photo of garymuchow
3.88/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I guess I'm more with Brent, in that I kinda liked this beer. I really like the stronger malt presence (with some nice complexity), then the growing hop quality as the beer warmed, thus lengthening the finish. I found the mouthfeel quite appealing with a nice mix of smoothness with the fine carbonation and a slight richness.
Some lacing gave it a visual appeal, along with a goldish color and medium head. Aroma was too light and lacked character beyond sweet water, yet it had a bit of fruitiness.
I'd drink this again, and consider buying it.

garymuchow, Mar 16, 2003
Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.73/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Slightly hazed golden color with a slight orange hue. Off-white head that leaves lace.
Aroma is weak and unexciting for a pale ale. Floral, citrusy hops at a low level and a sweet scent as well.

Taste is balanced and not hoppy. Sweet malt flavor balanced by a citrus hop bite. Butterscotch flavor (diacetyl?). Good flavor and easy drinking, but could use a bigger dose of hops for my liking.

Decent mouthfeel.
A little different for a pale ale, but good drinkabilty.
Overall a good beer, but I like my pale ales a bit hoppier.

PhantomVodoo, Mar 04, 2003
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.83/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

WVbeergeek, Mar 04, 2003
Photo of scottum
2.85/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Wow... an average beer from Dogfish. Maybe I set the bar too high, but usually Dogfish Head blows me away with their beers. This one is a good brew, but nothing stands out from the pack. Pours out a deep amber with a decent head. I guess that's the diacetyl that stands out so much. Yuck! Why does quality control let the brew do this to itself? By far the worst Dogfish I've had!

scottum, Feb 19, 2003
Photo of feloniousmonk
2.93/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A light amber color atop a big, creamy, bubbly head. Aroma is, unfortunately, blase. Vegetal, herbal notes, perhaps, but nothing in the fruit department, not much in the way of hops. I can already tell what they're shooting for, before I sip, a bland session ale. And, bravo, they did it, but by sacrificing flavor, and body, and taste and anything else we like to look for in a beer. There's some ale-like substance here, but not very much. Certainly nothing I'd consider a "pale Ale', in the face of so many great American versions.

feloniousmonk, Feb 07, 2003
Photo of AaronRed
3.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer looked very promising in the beginning. Nice copper color with decent head. Smell was somewhat like ripe fruit- pleasing. As for the taste, it wasn't bad, merely average. I thought it was a bit too sweet for a pale ale. Some hops linger, but overall, as for taste, too much carmel-like flavor for me. However, is not without value. It is very drinkable and I believe that this would be a good beer for a beer drinker who might be just getting into craft beers.

AaronRed, Jan 29, 2003
Photo of paceyourself
3.2/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Clear gold in color with hardly any head. The soft malt and fruity aroma doesn't add anything to the experience. A light butterscotch flavor seems a little sweet. Some grassy and citrus taste but not very balanced overall. The very thin mouthfeel defines this brew the most. This pale ale doesn't have much going for it but still is kind of drinkable.

paceyourself, Jan 26, 2003
Photo of allboutbierge
3.7/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Burnt light amber orange color with white head. Nice floral scent with a grace of hops at the tip of the nose. Very mild and disapointing taste. No where near as flavorful as other pale ales such as SN or Saranac. Mild hopiness and call me crazy but something that just reminded me of a 'banana'. Drinkable and a great possible crossover beer. Otherwise a relatively boring beer from a unique and awesome brewery.

allboutbierge, Jan 21, 2003
Photo of SchmichaelJ
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pale ale poured a gold color with a slightly cloudy appearance. Thin but decent head, and a bit of lace on the glass. I was blown away by the smell at first, a strong hop / grapefruit aroma with a lush fruit bouquet. The hop presence was almost overwhelming in the taste, too...very bitter and sharp. There was a hint of banana, and possibly clove mixed in with the straw taste. The finish bore a complex taste that kept developing after the swallow...essences of fruit and bitterness fought against each other nicely. The light but creamy mouthfeel was very nice for the style. The Shelter Pale Ale was a nice APA pverall, with little to complain about from my perspective. An aggressive taste, but well done.

SchmichaelJ, Jan 21, 2003
Photo of RBorsato
3.78/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Golden with a beige head, decent carbonation and decent lace. Bitter citrusy hop aroma. Decent balanced flavor with a light bitter finish but certainly lighter on the malt character. Light-medium bodied (leans light).

A good brew but pretty average for the style.

Label states "whole leaf Willamette and Columbus hops"

RBorsato, Jan 09, 2003
Photo of aaronh
3.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

This crystal clear beer is medium amber in color with copper highlights. It pours with a solid one-inch, off-white head that gradually fades. The aroma is very mild, with merely hints of malt, hops, and caramel. The taste is also very light. A touch of caramel, supported by just a hint of malt. The finish reveals some apparent hop bitterness, but nothing on the level of most American pale ales. Also, some fruity notes tease the tongue in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is somewhat thin, but matches the overall charachteristics of this lighter flavored beer. The drinkability is excellent, considering the light flavor profile and ABV. To me, this is what a light beer should be (not the watered down, low calorie crap that pervades the US market), light bodied, with a rich color and subtle, balanced flavor. This seems to match the traditional ale style more the the APA style, which is generally hoppier. This beer could become my regular session beer. It's not going to wow anyone, but it definitely has a pleasing, light flavor. A bit more on the aroma would make this a nearly perfect session beer.

aaronh, Jan 02, 2003
Photo of purplehops
3/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shelter pours a cloudy yellow with a thin white head that leaves little to no lace on the glass. The aroma is very faint whiffs of malt sweetness with floral notes. The taste starts with a play of carbonation on the tip of your tongue and then moves into a not unpleasant sweet maltiness. The finish comes quickly, as soon as the carbonation ends in fact. There is little or no aftertaste. There is not a lot of flavor here good or bad. The mouthfeel starts full and moves in to nothingness.
Shelter Pale Ale is not an awful beer but it dosen't have that much that is special about it. If I lived in Delaware near the brewery I might drink more of this ale (support your local brewery and all of that). But living in Maine I see no need to go out of my way to buy more. This was my first lackadaisical product from Dogfish Head brewery.

purplehops, Dec 22, 2002
Photo of IrishRedRock
3.98/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very light pale ale, and certainly not the most flavorful of ales, but exactly what I am in the mood for right now. Smooth and quite palatable. Nice head that died to a sticky lace atop a hazy golden brew. The aroma seems to contain more malt than hop, odd for a pale ale.

Truly not complex in the least. Subtle hop flavoring appears towards the end of every sip. A light and refreshing ale. Seems to be a real thrist-quencher. Would make a great sittin on the porch watchin the world go by in the summer beer.

IrishRedRock, Dec 17, 2002
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.

ADR, Dec 11, 2002
Photo of MaineBeerMan
3.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beer was a very light shade of amber, with a fairly thin head that evaporated quite fast.
Aroma of malt, with a caramel or butterscotch character to it, just a bit of fruity hops dected too, not what I expected for the style.
The flavor mirrors the aroma almost exactly, more sweet malt flavor than hops, with the latter seeming a bit fruity.
Body seemed a bit leaner than medium, almost a bit watered down with not much of a lingering finish.
Not a bad beer, easy to drink, but not a great pale ale.

MaineBeerMan, Dec 07, 2002
Photo of doho95fu
3.15/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is just an average pale ale. Darker Gold color with a thick head. The smell was malty and fruity. Taste seemed weak and there was not a whole lot to go on in the Hops department. The flavor was weak and quickly forgotten. The only thing that remained was an almost smoky aftertaste.

doho95fu, Dec 02, 2002
Photo of mickstepp
3/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Copper color. Quickly fading head. Reference to the hops on the label is not born out in the taste. Lacks the hop bite and citrus aromas and qualities that I have come to love and expect from a superior pale ale. Not much of a mouth feel, rather thin. Slightly herbal even somewhat mineral in taste. Not a terrible beer but a lot less appealing than I had expected.

mickstepp, Nov 09, 2002
Photo of HossMcGraw
3.9/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Completely under-rated in my opinion. This was a great and unique tasting beer. Smelled great and tasted great. I haven't been able to get any other DFH brews around here in Lancaster so I really have no basis for comparison, but I really enjoyed this. But don't take my word for it, read the book! I mean, drink the beer!

HossMcGraw, Oct 28, 2002
Photo of beerluvr
3.05/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I can't believe I paid 8 bucks for this! This is what I got: a short lived thin head when poured, light and off-white. Clear light amber/gold in the glass, nose is grassy with some light maltiness and fruity yeast notes. Taste is light on the mouthfeel, some short lived hop flavors, malt sweetness, then dryness. Finshes quickly...not the most memorable offering from this otherwise fine fine brewery.

beerluvr, Oct 25, 2002
Photo of Viking
3.2/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pretty average brew...
Crystal clear golden-amber body with almost no head (just a bit of fine white lace on top fo the beer). Decent aroma of herbal hops, toasted caramel malt, and light fruity esters. Tastes of bready caramel malts, with some herbal hops. Slightly bitter finish. Best as a brew to wash down a hurried dinner.

Viking, Oct 17, 2002
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear, golden-amber in color with a thin, creamy, off-white head. The aroma is of a lightly fruity malt with very little to no hop aroma. The body is medium/light with a restrained carbonation that's fairly smooth in the mouth. The flavor combines a grainy & lightly caramel malt with grassy & piney hop flavors backed by a resonating bitterness. The finish is dry with a lingering bitterness and some gently nutty maltiness.

NeroFiddled, Oct 07, 2002
Photo of jreitman
2.95/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Something was not quite right with this beer. This was an off aroma that I could not put my finger on and it continued into the mouth. Dark orange with a nice white head and pretty well carbonated. Nutty aromas and flavors were evident and more minor flavors that I did not like. Sublte sweet aftertaste followed a slightly bitter finish. Overall, not a very good pale. After having it in a session with another pale, it paled in comparison (sorry for the bad joke).

jreitman, Aug 21, 2002
Shelter Pale Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 737 ratings.