Founders Pale Ale | Founders Brewing Company

827 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Founders Pale AleFounders Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
100% Cascade hops.
35 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 827 | Ratings: 2,732
Photo of Avagadro
4.92/5  rDev +33%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Another one of my favorites that I have just never gotten around to reviewing. Beer is currently being served at fridge temp (I've had it at all temps by now, and on a hot summer day nothing beats a cold PA). Poured into an American pint glass. A nice fluffy off-white head formed, and slowly receded to a layer of foam floating on top of the beautiful brew. This beer is clear, and straw colored. Aroma is clearly dominated by citrusy American hops. Lots of aroma is being eminated, no need to even swirl to get a full "wiff". The aroma told the truth, flavor is dominated by a smooth and mild citrusy hops flavor, with a nice smooth maltiness to bask it up. For a pale ale, this is pretty damn hoppy, but still alittle mild for me. Definitely not your average PA. Founder's seems to like to have a certain degree of thickness in its beers, and that is seen here. Most other pale ales I have are pretty light bodied, but this has alittle more to it, no where near the body of its others though. Drinkability is amazing. I love this beer, but normally go for the more hoppy Centennial IPA, or Red's Rye. If you are liking your PAs and are afraid to move on to IPAs, I'd use this as a stepping stone. I think its one of the better pale ales out there.

 1,250 characters

Photo of Mitchster
4.89/5  rDev +32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

5.0% ABV, 13.2º Plato. Hopped with Cascade.

This brew looks and smells damn good. Clear with a slight chill haze, golden-orange in color with a modest white head and some sparse lacing. Flittering bits of hop leafs dancing around. Carbonation is mild-moderate. Aroma is full of sharp, pungent green oily hops (I normally don't care for Cascade too much, but this is just awesome), lemon pith, pepper, with some subtle barn-yard manure smell and crystal malts. Taste starts out with sharp, citrusy pungent hops, a touch of that pungent green manure, and fading into a nicely done, and well-balanced malt body, complementing the pleasant spicy hop bitterness in the finish. There is a warm (pleasant) breadiness towards the finish, with a subtle tang of alcohol towards the bottom 1/2 of the glass. Mouthfeel is moderately-soft, smooth as a babies ass, with a medium body and semi-astringent finish.

An awesome pale ale, nearly rivaling Stone's IPA but less bitter and with a touch less body. Not as intense as the Centennial, but very solid. This will become as staple of my fridge in the summer when I want something a touch lighter than an IPA. Highly recommended. Royalty amongst American Pale Ales. World class.

 1,221 characters

Photo of klintok21
4.87/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Living in Grand Rapids, I get the luxury of getting this stuff right from the source (Along with all of their great brews). This is a very strong scented pale ale and is quite tasty, however I'm in a mix as to my favorite pale ale between this one and that of Magic Hat's #9. Anyhow if you see a bottle of this around it is sure to not disappoint, especially on a hot summer day! If your ever in Grand Rapids, Founder's brewery is a must on the trip!

 450 characters

Photo of david18
4.8/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So I've been hearing about Founders coming to New York for weeks and have been looking forward to the introduction since it was announced. I tried the Centennial first and didn't like it as much as I had hoped. The Pale Ale, however, was outstanding!! I have long been a proponent of the Captain Lawrence Pale Ale, which I love and have always thought it was a great alternative to Sierra Nevada. This pale ale however is a great combination of the two. Not quite as hoppy as the west coast versions, a little more filtered than Captain Lawrence. This is the quintessential session beer and if it's around for a while i'll drink it a lot.

 638 characters

Photo of Illtryit
4.7/5  rDev +27%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a really good Pale Ale.

Pours an orange-gold and cloudy into my mug with the perfect one finger head which lingers for a few minutes and leaves the proper amount of lacing. Looks absolutely irresistable.

Has a very slight citrus smell and maybe some molasses in there too. Smells almost as good as it tastes.

This is the perfect pale ale. Full flavored, crisp carbonation, and a slight bitter aftertaste. Slight alcohol flavor. Very refreshing, very drinkable.

I think this is a home run for Founders (go figure). For a dry hopped pale ale, I've tasted none finer.

For those looking for a gateway beer, this could be the one. Try it, you wont be disappointed.

 673 characters

Photo of nortmand
4.6/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours light amber with a big, beautiful lace producing head.

Passion fruit and blood oranges mingle with freshly mash malt overtones in the nose.

Slightly astringent and malty up front, by tongue there is a rich malt that balances with citrus hops. Leaves a very subtle, but pleasant bitterness.

Medium bodied, this is a very well done front hopped pale ale. Great hop flavors, with only the subtlest bitterness.

 421 characters

Photo of baos
4.58/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on tap up north.

A: 2 finger ecru head. Hazy golden amber color. Decent lacing and really nice head retention. Half a finger all the way down.

S: Spicy, hoppy, and fresh, very nice!

T: The Cascade hops are awesome with their piny-grapefruity kind bud pow intermingled with a nice maltiness. This brew is A-one and on draft it is AA-one.

M: Very nice pretty near full body on her.

D: This only gets better as it warms in your glass. I drank my first one quick, but I let the second sit around a bit and just sipped on her. The flavor really gets going when you let it warm a bit. Great BREW!

 608 characters

Photo of megahurts4
4.57/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Founders Dry Hopped Pale Ale
on tap at the Stafford's Perry Hotel in Petoskey, MI

Appearance: honey, large-medium head, and good lacing.

Smell: very floral hops, grapefruit, and faint maltiness.

Taste: floral hops in the first bite, but it quickly fades into a bitter pleasant.

Mouthfeel: medium and smooth.

This has a very nice flavor and enough body to satisfy my tastes. It also is well suited for drinking many at a time.

 440 characters

Photo of dfillius
4.55/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass. Bottle 4/23/09, enjoyued 8/13/09
A: Aggressive pour yields 2/3 finger thight white head with great retention. Chill hazy orange straw colored liquid. Pretty.
S: Man Candy! Pineapple, orange, grapefruit. Simcoe and Centennial? Slight hint of malt, whiff of aspirin.
T: Well rounded and balanced with a prick of bitterness finishing. Piney hop, bready malt with some buttered toast flavor. Twinge of fruity alcohol. Solid, tasty beer.
M: Sharp bitterness is slightly puckering
D: Session beer that has big hop aroma and well balanced flavor. I would order another and buy a sixer.

 604 characters

Photo of jefferyc
4.55/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Incredible amount of hops for a pale ale; furthermore it tastes more like an india pale ale than a pale ale. Although, it doesn't have a lot of bitterness except the aftertaste. Overall, it is an exceptional pale ale and should be treated with respect.

 252 characters

Photo of GoldHorde
4.52/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Founders Dry Hopped Pale Ale

Gold/amber with a slight haze. Herbal scent. Light mouthfeel. Slight head and little lacing. Of ALL the Pale Ales I've had (NOT INCLUDING the India Pale Ale style) this Pale Ale made an INSTANT impression on me and actually SURPRISED me because it had the agressiveness of an IPA - certainly due the dry hop treatment. It instantly had a nice crisp burst of flavor with a citrusey edge and that slowly dissipating aura of a green forest. Very, very nice beer - NICE JOB! I have had about 7 styles of the FOUNDERS so far and I have liked every single one. I expect Pale Ales to be more malty - this beer encourages me to look for more dry hopped beers.

 682 characters

Photo of PhillyStyle
4.5/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - The beer poured a clear, golden amber color, which produced a 2-finger, white, foamy head that was very well retained and produced some nice lacing.

S - For a Pale Ale, this had a very strong aroma to it, but what else would I expect from this brewer, right? The beer gave off a very nice pale malt aroma with some nice pine and citrus hops.

T - The taste of the beer was pretty well balanced, I thought, both the nice malt flavors were there along with some nice pine and citrus hops. Very well done.

M - The beer had a light-er feel to it, very smooth, the right carbonation and extremely easy to drink. The beer also had a nice hoppy aftertaste, but not too hoppy. Perhaps the beer was hoppier than expected from an APA, but this is easily one of the best APAs that I have tried. This will be a constant in the beer fridge. How this beer is not in the Top 50 of APAs I do not know.

 892 characters

Photo of STKPICR0720
4.5/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great brew that while iin Michigan I was drinking a Bell's Two Hearted Ale and when I finished it the watress put me oon this brew. Wow I loved it before this brew I thought the best simple Pale Ale was Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Not anymore Founders pale ale uses cascade hops and is a very easy smooth drinking Pale Ale. A tad sweet finish, light alcohol and worth every penny. Drink this beer and you'll never drink a Sierra Pale Ale ever again.

 445 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.49/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle poured into a Founders imperial pint.
5.4% ABV, 35 IBUs

A - Nearly crystal clear, it's easy to see the carbonation rushing from the glass' nucleation point to it's sturdy off-white head. Delicate lace adds appearance points to the already warm golden glow of the beer.

S - Founders' Pale Ale extends a welcome greeting of fragrant Cascade hops on the nose. Floral, faintly herbal, and finished with a touch of lemony citrus and mango; it's a beautiful bouquet overlapping pale malt with a touch of caramel sweetness for balance.

T - Lingering sweetness suggests some caramel notes to the otherwise pale malt base but this American pale ale focuses almost exclusively on it's Cascade hopping. Ripe lemon and grapefruit citrus underscore the flirtatious floral attributes and herbal suggestions.

M - Crisp cleanliness lends this beer near perfect drinkablility as it's loaded with aroma and flavor but lacking both a full body and high alcohol. Hop bitterness ads dryness along the finish but it's nicely balanced, sip after sip.

O - A charming version of the style from front to back, Founders' Pale Ale is a beautiful demonstration of the Cascade hop variety with it's floral and citrus aroma and flavor but, above all else, it's exceptional drinkability! This pale ale would pair well with nearly any pub fare.

 1,329 characters

Photo of arepwhotravels
4.48/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer is golden amber with appropriate carbonation and head. I was surprised at all the flavor in this beer for being called a pale ale. I thought it would be much more bland and constrained. Unortodox and tasty style that makes most pale ales essentially pale in comparison.

 278 characters

Photo of connecticutpoet
4.47/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This sucker had a four finger, rocky head in my pint glass. It took a while to die down, and an eighth inch layer of foam persisted. It was a deep yellow brew with lots of floaters.

Aroma was grassy and floral, with a definite hit of raw hops. There was a firm caramel malt backbone.

The taste was slightly bitter, with raw hops, a hint of pine, and a hint of sweetness in the aftertaste that mingled with a lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel was quite good. Not too heavy, a little chewy, melded quite well with the hops.

Drinkability was excellent. I would definitely get this one again. An excellent session beer.

 625 characters

Photo of Skidz
4.47/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a bright golden yellow and sits a slightly hazy golden amber in the glass with a good sized white head, fading to a light skim and leaves a few thin lacings around the glass.

Smells intoxicatingly sweet with sacks of oranges and grapefruits hitting you across the face, leaving your eyes burning with citric acid. Brown sugar melts on top, leaving you mouth watering as you prepare to dive into this gooey mess of citrus fruits and and rich caramel goodness.

Tastes lightly sweet up front and starts off with a small hint of orangy hop flavors. While tangerines, and California Navels release their juicy goodness over your toungue, you are reminded of the task at hand: pure malt goodness. Caramel and light brown sugar take a stand and really mellow everything out. Finishes nicely bittered with plenty of citrusy hop flavors sticking around for you to remember.

Smooth and very easy to handle. Carbonation is light feeling, yet very active. Creates a cushion for the beer as it slides around your mouth. Pleasing to hold on to for awhile.

I could drink this beer any time, any place, any where and in any amount. Disturbingly addicting. A session beer for marathon drinkers. Bottle is gone moments after opening. Simply delicious. I am a sucker for citrusy pales like this.

 1,298 characters

Photo of Lemke10
4.44/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours a cloudy, golden orange color with a slight beige head. The aroma is full of wheat, fruity scents, and hints of hops. The taste is smooth, flavorful, and very easy drinking. Founder’s is known for making these big, bold beers; but this brew is very simple in comparison but just as tasty. It drinks a little sweet and finishes a little crisp. This is well made and is very enjoyable.

 396 characters

Photo of sweemzander
4.43/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. No bottled date.

(A)- Pours a cloudy orange hue color. 3+ finger head dissipated after a minute or so to a 2 finger head of some of the thickest white foam I have seen in awhile. Sticky lacing all over the place in the glass.

(S)- Tons of citrus on the nose: Lemon, lime, grapefruit, and even a touch of pineapple. Light hints of hoppy pine.

(T)- Delicate citrus flavors (like above mentioned) combined with a nice light hoppy dryness. Light malts detected in the background. Kinda creamy on the finish.

(M)- Light-bodied. Smooth, crisp, creamy, and balanced ridiculously well all-around. Carbonation level is spot on. Overall, a rather delicate and intricate beer.

(D)- If you are looking for awesome balance in a Pale Ale, then this is it. Not overpowering in any direction. Its on the lighter side strength-wise. Superb citrus, hops, and creamy mouthfeel. An overall winner in my book for drinkability. A 6pk would not last long. Its also interesting to note that they used 100% Cascade hops in this beer.

 1,066 characters

Photo of ultralarry2006
4.43/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves a white one finger foamy head that has very good retention, and leaves very good lacing. Body is a slighty hazy dark gold.

Smell - very straightforward, floral hops and toasty malt bread biscuits.

Taste - Tangy citrus and floral hops dominate the toasty malt bread biscuit backbone way more than the nose would have it, the malt backbone being barely there, and the citric hops biting the whole time. Finishes with lemony hop twang, tart even, at times. This could be mistaken for an AIPA, but it's good whatever you want to call it.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, very slick, semi-dry from the tartness.

Drinkability - with its hop domination, this could be an AIPA, it's one for the hopheads. More importantly though, it's very good and it's very sessionable.

 805 characters

Photo of plaztikjezuz
4.42/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite pale ales made in Michigan.
The color is like a blonde with high lights, golden with sparkles of red and amber. The aroma is wounderful with a slight citrus, rich malt and hint of yeast. The flavor is rich with malt and hop flavor, little citrus refreshes the middle with hop flavor and finishes smooth with a lingering citus on the tounge. Not to heavy on the mouth and is an easy drinker. Easy drinker and great taste make this an all out good buy.

 478 characters

Photo of kjc51478
4.42/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Appearance is light orange and slightly hazy with light carbonation.

S: Aroma is orange/citrus and a distinctive floral character.

T: Taste is citrus moving into a mild breadiness; lemon hop bitterness is prevalent throughout.

M: Palate is remarkably dry giving it a rather bitter finish.

O: Just a wonderful APA.

 324 characters

Photo of yelterdow
4.39/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A new addition to the cold case at Bottle King, Hillsdale. $8.99 a sixer, I don't see a freshness date on this bottle but it's certainly new here in North Jersey.

Served at just over fridge temperature in an imperial pint glass before a dinner of halibut with tartar sauce.

Appearance- I immediately take notice and love the obvious sediment in the bottle, and make sure to include it with a rough swirl on the pour. Murky, orangey gold in color... the head is moderate to light, also carrying a slightly orange hue. Solid lacing is evident.

Smell- Citrus and caramel are the two most prominent aromas here, at least at the outset. The dry hopping, definitely a plus here, offers a terrific whiff of orange and grapefruit.

Taste- Light, crisp, hoppy, and quite balanced... all the right measures of lightly toasty malts mesh with the floral and fruity hop flavors. The finishing bitterness, compliments of the dry hopping, is mellow and everlasting.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Too easy... in the best way possible. The light, borderline-watery entrance foams up just right, creating an airy slickness in texture. With this much balance and flavor, this drinks great by itself but would shine further with pizza.

 1,213 characters

Photo of scooter231
4.38/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What a GORGEOUS beer. Grapefruit colored, hazy, cloudy, floaties, and awesome head and head retention- I drew a smiley face in it and it stayed! Great lacing. Just freaking beautiful.

Nose is grassy, sweet, and malty. Some vanilla, some orange zest... really appealing. Taste is a bit milder than anticipated- lots of breadyness up front, followed by some citrus, then some bitter hops finishes it up. That grassy is still there, but it's more of an undercurrent than an overwhelming forward flavor.

Mouthfeel is spot on. Sudsy, chewy, slick, carbonated, oily- just lovely, couldn't ask for more. Overall this is a tasty, highly enjoyable beverage. I would pick this up- often- if it would just come to Florida! Til then, I'll be begging my NJ friends to send me care packages.

 779 characters

Photo of StoutElk_92
4.38/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 03/01/16

Pours a slightly hazy amber orange with a creamy off-white foam head. Smells like grapefruit, mild orange citrus, some sweet malt, and woody earthy floral grass. Tastes like fresh grapefruit, sweet malt, some spice, mild orange citrus, with floral pine and woody earthy grass. Feels medium bodied, creamy with low carbonation. Overall a nice and refreshing pale ale.

 387 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Founders Pale Ale from Founders Brewing Company
3.7 out of 5 based on 2,732 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.