1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  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.
BA SCORE
78
okay

745 Ratings
THE BROS
80
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 745
Reviews: 473
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 14.5%
Wants: 27
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Shelter Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 745 | Reviews: 473 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

OldFrothingSlosh, May 05, 2003
Photo of dwarbi
3.33/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No head at all. The beer looks highly carbonated and a light amber color. Looks more like a cream soda than a beer. Smells hoppy and little buttery. Bitter taste, but not too bitter. Can definitely feel the high carbonation, but it's pretty drinkable. A decent beer, but I'm in no rush to go get some more.

dwarbi, May 04, 2003
Photo of bewareOFpenguin
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have become a big fan of this style, particullarly in the summer. It poured a nice semi-bright color. It was crisp, but not lip smacking crisp. Carbonation was medium.Bitter? I think not, although there was a definite hop presense. I quaffed the first one in a hurry, noticing ot's thirst quenching abilities. A good beer.

bewareOFpenguin, May 02, 2003
Photo of far333
4.1/5  rDev +21.3%
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.

far333, Apr 26, 2003
Photo of Gusler
3.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The color a limpid golden amber, the head modest, frothy and off white in color, as it dissipates a fine sheet of lace is left behind to seal off the glass. Malt dominates the nose, fresh, crisp and clean with a malt-laden start that is lightly sweet, top skinny in feel. Mildly acidic, the hops sparse, dry aftertaste, pretty average but a nice drinkable beer for the hot summer ahead.

Gusler, Apr 20, 2003
Photo of Darkale
2.95/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I had thought that I had come upon a bad bottle, until I read some of the other reviews of this beer and found that I was not alone in my inability to love it. I wanted to love it, because DFH has several beers in its stable that I love (60 and 90 min IPA and Indian Brown). But, I cannot love this beer.

Cloudy, light butterscotch orange. Malt aroma, tinge of hops and citrus. Taste is an odd combination of coffee and hops. Slightly sour, bitter, grainy mouthfeel. Your mouth feels scrubbed after you swallow.

This is a miss.

Darkale, Apr 20, 2003
Photo of Scooter77
2.95/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I was a little disappointed by this one. DFH is so well known for it’s exceptional craft brews, this one just doesn’t stand up to the usual high standard that I’ve set for them. It pours a light amber color with a very small bubbly head that dissipates quickly, leaving no lace. The nose is full of floral hops, grapefruit, and light malts. The taste is similar to the aroma, with the hops being the dominating flavor. There was a bit of an astringent and sour aftertaste left in my mouth. The finish was dry and bitter. This is just an O.K. beer, I could take it or leave it.

Scooter77, Apr 15, 2003
Photo of goindownsouth
3.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have to admit, despite the fact that I enjoy a good pale ale, this one is a wee bit short. The head is what was expected. Light and lacey, clinging to the side of the pint glass ever so slightly. The aroma was faint as was the flavor. There was little going on there in the way of hoppy aroma and flavor. Try it, but there are others better. Prost!

goindownsouth, Mar 30, 2003
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
Shelter Pale Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 745 ratings.