Founders Pale Ale | Founders Brewing Company

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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

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Reviews: 827 | Ratings: 2,732
Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Significant white head on grapefruit copper. One dimension understated IPA based on cascade hops, malted. A good though drying taste from all the malt. Stickly.Because of my upbringing, whenever I start a pale I think British.I agree its a lawnmower beer.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

three finger frothy head on a pure golden, hazy body. lots of lacing and nice head retention. Aroma is a nice orange peel and grapefruit. A little soapy. I felt this to be very aromatous but many other reviewes didnt feel so. May be due to this one being bottled. The flavor is actually a little disappointing. Flavor is more soapy and way to watered down. There is a very light earthy and citrus mote. Light to medium body and moderate carbonation. Overall aromatous but watered down is what I take from this. I love Founders but I this one let me down in the flavor.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 10/7/15.

Pours a murky dark honey orange with a foamy tan head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of biscuit, citrus fruit, and floral aromas. Taste is much the same with biscuit, floral, citrus zest, and pine needle flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a nice mix of different hop qualities all around.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a nice golden color. The head was white and it pretty thick looking. The smell of the beer is hoppy and malty, smell like it's well balanced. The taste of the beer is pretty good but kind of falls short in my opinion. The mouthfeel of the feel is nicely carbonated. Overall it's a good social drinking Pale Ale, it's a good brew to offer people who might be interested in drinking Craft brews.

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Photo of metter98
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured golden yellow with a little bit of head.
S: Faint smells of toasted malts were present in the aroma, along with some notes of hops.
T: There are some hoppy flavors, but the overall taste is on the weak side. The finish had some bitterness.
M: The mouthfeel was crisp, refreshing and light-bodied.
D: It was very easy to drink but the lack of a distinct flavor did not leave me with the feeling that I wanted another of these anytime soon.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice Pale Ale that's probably more true-to-style than most that are put out these days. Not overly done, plain and simple: a dry beer with enough hop character to make you think whether it's balanced or dominant.

The nose is all citrus- grapefruit, orange zest, and lemon grass The spicy hops weaven in and out of the light caramel undertones from the malt. Lightly earthy with a mild fresh tobacco scent, shying just enough away from becommming catty or earthy.

Flavors are more balanced but with the hops still demanding attention at the tip of the tongue. Grapefruit and light pine taste give a zesty and fresh taste up front. Hops fade at mid palate, leaving way for the crisp graham cracker or animal cracker taste to balance the hop flavor and growing bitterness. The hop resins give a dry sensation in the finish but the malts give the last punch with an aftertaste of sweet breads. Still, light tobacco flavor rides along side of caramel malt sweetness.

Very well attenuated and very drinkable though maybe to the point of giving an impression of lightness or thinness. The dry finish accentuates the alcohols and suppresses what malt sugars are left.

I wouldn't call this beer an Extra Pale Ale but it tilts toward the more moderate or lighter end of the Pale Ale spectrum.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle.

This beer pours a slightly hazy medium golden amber colour, with one skinny finger of tight foamy white head, which leaves some DNA strand lace around the glass as it falls away. It smells of bready malt, citrus hops, buttery yeast, and a bit of pine needle. The taste is somewhat sweet, clean grainy malt, soft citrus and pine hops, and an underlying muddled yeastiness. The carbonation is moderate, the body medium weight, a bit clammy, but generally smooth. It finishes clean, a tad crisp, and nicely balanced between the non-overreaching flavour counterpoints.

Easy to drink, if you don’t expect too much from the hops – just enough to even everything out, and lo and behold – you’re ordering another…

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a fairly clear amber color with a modest head that deposits a lot of foam, nevertheless

Smell: Balanced aromatics, with biscuity malt offset by a primarily earthy hop profile; has a little citrus, however, to remind us that this is an APA

Taste: Biscuity, up front, with a sugary citrus flavor that emerges by mid-palate, along with an earthy, stone fruit character; after the swallow, the sugary malt balances out the hops, though I wouldn't describe this as a malty beer by any stretch

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Nice and refreshing; a well-balanced APA

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Photo of kojevergas
3.33/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

$2.29 at Four Firkins. 5.4% ABV confirmed. 35 IBU. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Bell's pilsner glass in me sister's gaff in low altitude Minneapolis, Minnesota. Reviewed live. Expectations are quite high given the brewery.

Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated. Served almost straight from the refrigerator.

A: Pours a one finger beige colour head, somewhat more thin than expected, with decent cream and retention. Colour is a nontransparent copper. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Floral hops and clean malts. Wheat? A light aroma. Too light for me broken nose to detect distinct notes.

T: Evocative floral hops. Full-bodied pleasant clean malts. Surprisingly simple considering the brewery. A bit grassy, with hints of citrus. Tropical fruits, tangerine. Tasty but limited by its simplicity. Not horribly subtle, either.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and pleasantly crisp. Good carbonation. Overly thick for the lack of complex flavour. Appropriate for the style, but not tailored to the flavour profile.

Dr: A solid drinkable pale ale, but not up to par for a brewery as renowned as Founder's. I'd try it on draught, but it's not a great beer. Well priced in Minnesota. Hides its ABV well.

Low B-


Picked up a 6er at HEB Grocery in Austin, Texas, earlier tonight, and consumed from the bottle as I don't have any beer glasses yet. Cost was $9.99 for the 6er. Bottled 07/24/13 - so it's just shy of a month old. 5.4% ABV confirmed. Reviewed live.

T: Solid floral hop character with some fruity esters - bursts of buried tangerine, orange, and light grapefruit (with no accompanying bitterness). Pale malts, pilsner malts. Lightly grassy. Good balance, but the build is a bit simple. ecent subtlety.

Average depth of flavour. Above average duration and intensity of flavour.

Mf: Smooth and wet. A biteen overcarbonated. Somewhat refreshing. Decent body and thickness. Complements the flavour profile nicely, but doesn't feel custom-tailored to it. Not oily, gushed, hot, or boozy.

Dr: A fairly refreshing dry hopped pale ale from Founders, but not up to par with the brewery's best offerings. I do like it, and it's fairly priced, but you can do better at this price point. I imagine I'll return to it occasionally, but it won't be a fridge mainstay by any means. It's quite drinkable; I'll have no trouble putting down this 6er.


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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a light orangey color ale with a generous head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of citrus and fruity hoppy notes is very interesting. Taste is dominated by very nice flavours of fruity and citrus hoppy notes with lightly sweet malt notes. Body is full for style with good carbonation. Very nice beer with high-level of drinkability with some very nice notes hops flavours without too much bitterness.

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Photo of zeff80
4.14/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Poured out a clear, golden-orange color with a two-finger, khaki-colored head of thick, firm foam. It left thin rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled floral and citrusy with a nice pine aroma. There was a burnt toast maltiness, too.

T - It tasted of spicy hops, burnt toast malt and caramel. It had a bitter citrusy hop kick.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a dry finish. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This was fantastic, an APA that almost tastes like an IPA. Founders continues to crank out great beers.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.23/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at the brewpub a while back, right before I tried the vaunted CBS.

A: Bright orange color with a big white head.

S: A so-so amount of citrus hops with a decent malt backing.

T: Much like the nose--there are some hops there, but a little lacking for the style.

M: Pretty good. Decent carbonation and a light-medium body.

D: This isn't a bad brew, just not up to Founders' normal standards. There's just nothing special about it when compared with other APA's.

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Photo of mothman
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into New Belgium Globe glass.

Pours 1/2 finger of white head. That fades down to a thin layer. Some splattered lace left. Color is a hazes sunset golden orange. Yeast floating in the glass.

Aroma: It has a light layer of hops. They are mainly pine flavored, but nothing big here. It also has a level of citrus fruit. Some bready malts balance it out.

Taste: Lots more malt here. Obviously pale malt, but more apparent in the taste than the aroma. It has a layer of hops, but this just isn't what I was expecting. I shouldn't have expected a lot since it is a pale ale. True to the style, but I have had better. It has a fairly decent citrus zest kick here as well.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly dry, bitter, and smooth. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends incredibly dry and hoppy.

Overall, not a bad pale ale, but with all of the IPAs and DIPAs out there it is really hard to respect a beer like this. It is great and to the style, but I have grown accustomed to the more hopped up beers. Still, definitely drinkable and worth a try!

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled on 6/4/2013. Pours lightly hazy golden amber color with a 1 finger fairly dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of lemon zest, orange zest, grapefruit, bread, light honey, floral, grass, light pine, and floral earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of malt and citrus/floral hops; with solid strength. Taste of lemon zest, orange zest, grapefruit, floral, grass, bread, light honey, light pine, and floral earthiness. Light floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, citrus zest, floral, grass, bread, light honey, light pine, and floral earthiness on the finish for a short bit. Very nice flavor balance of citrus/floral hop flavors with bready malts; and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, lightly sticky, and crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with no warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice pale ale. Very nice balance of hop and malt flavors; and extremely smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering when it is fresh.

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Photo of nickfl
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with half a finger of white foam on top of a light copper colored body with a touch of haze. The head settles quickly and leaves minor lace.

S - Light pine hops with a bit of a sweaty note and some bready malt in the background.

T - Toffee and bready malt up front. Some pine and herbal hop flavors in the middle. Finishes with more sweet malt and some toffee as well as light pine hops.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - This is a very standard pale ale. Some hops, quite a bit of malt, very drinkable. Nothing to write home about.

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Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Slow's BBQ in Detroit,poured a hazed light copper with a orange hue a small but well retained white head.There was a dose of American hops in this brew you could tell right off the bat in the nose quite piney and citrusy but there was a very noticable sweet caramel aroma that nearly matched the healthy dose of hops.Very well balanced with a real American character piney and citrusy and very crisp over top of a firm slightly sweet doughy malt backbone.Solid what else to say about this beer,very food friendly with good bbq cutting power with those hops.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Founders Pale Ale, although "dry hopped", is pretty standard fare. Not that that's not good, but it's not exactly like there haven't been brewers following in the steps of Sierra Nevada for well over a decade now.

It pours a hazy (it's bottle conditioned) amber-orange beneath a full head of frothy off-white foam that holds remarkably well and leaves wide walls of pretty solid lace about the glass.

The aroma is citrusy, and perhaps a light touch piney. Malt is minimal, and never quite edges over the fruity edge of the hops.

In the mouth it's medium in body with a delicately zesty carbonation from natural conditioning.

The flavor, following the aroma, displays drying citrusy hops (grapefruit rind) with some very gently piney notes as well; and there's also a fairly solid base of gently biscuity malt, and some yeasty notes for additional depth. Along with a stiff bitterness, it's gently resiny with hops, and the yeast adds a little bit to the dry finish as well.

Nicely done. Balanced a bit towards hops, but certainly not out of balance, and quite drinkable.

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Photo of chinchill
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange-amber with a small and short-lived off-white head. The top coat that remains after the head dissipates does last a good while and leaves a moderate amount of lacing.

Nice citrus hop aroma with hints of pine and light malt. Slightly earthy.

Good but limited hop flavor. Mildly bitter due to a substantial contribution from sweet malts.

M - medium-thin body. Dry, beginning rather early and then into the finish. Crisp.

O - a very pleasant and drinkable APA. A bit timid, however.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of fruity citrus, hops and light caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with a nice burst of grassy hops bitterness. Then a citrus and caramel sweetness comes in to provide a good balance. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, mild kick, very good representation of style, this is an excellent beer to drink a lot of when you're looking to pound down something mild but hoppy.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 05/07/12

A: Pours a hazy glowing golden orange to light copper in color with some very light visible carbonation near the surface of the beer and a moderate amount of particulates in suspension. The beer has a half finger tall light beige head that reduces to a thin film covering the entire surface of the beer along with a couple of small thicker patches and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of earthy and lemon/citrus hops with lighter hints of toasted + bready malts.

T: Light toasted + bready malt body with some very light hints of caramel malt sweetness. On top of the malt body, there is a light presence of earthy and citrus/lemon hops. Light bitterness in the finish but it does not linger.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Crisp.

O: This beer is pretty easy to drink and is quite refreshing. There is a pleasant flavor with light amounts of bitterness that makes it enjoyable. Just about sessionable. I find this one enjoyable enough to want another right now.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.4/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep golden body with a bubbly, lasting off-white head.

Smell: Soft citrus aroma with some toasted malt notes floating around in there, too.

Taste: Light caramel malt flavor with a citrus hop snap to it. Only a slight bitterness, with a green tea-ish leafy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied, and a bit watery; could definitely benefit from more body. Moderately carbonated.

Drinkability: Inoffensively light and crisp, though what you gain in sessionability, you lose in depth of character.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.15/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy orange-amber with an impressive amount of yeast in suspended animation. The cap is small, even after a pretty aggressive pour, and is bone white in color. It persists nicely, though, eventually falling to a thick film and leaving a moderate amount of lace in tries-to-be-rings.

The aroma is surprisingly citrus zest hoppy, approaching an IPA in terms of character and intensity. I like the flavor quite a bit. Like the nose, it's definitely on the hoppy end of the pale ale scale. The grapefruitiness of the Cascade hops is dominant and adds a resinous, medium strength bitterness.

Founders Pale Ale is a 'tweener' and would be a good bridging beer to move people from pale ales to more strongly hopped IPAs. There's a solid pale malt presence, but it's easily overshadowed by the hops. The finish is extended, allowing the lupulins to shine for as long as possible. The mouthfeel is more than solid and edges into mini-IPA territory.

This is immensely enjoyable and drinkable beer. I also have a few Centennial IPAs in my beer fridge. They should be a real treat after tasting what Founders has done with Pale Ale. Thanks to deejaydan for the bottles.

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Photo of billab914
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into my Dogfish shaped glass. It poured a hazy orange amber color with a thin but sticky white head to it. Decent head retention and a little lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma has a modest American hop profile with a little bit of citrusy, grapefruit like flavors coming out. Pale malts give it a good base for the hops and some balance.

The taste shows a little more of the pale malts up front while the hoppy, citrusy flavors seem to linger through the finish. Decent amount of bitterness in the finish, but not overly done for the style.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Overall it was a pretty easy drinking and nicely flavored beer. It wasn't an overly hoppy version of the style, nor did it really wow me in any category. Overall I though it was pretty tasty, drinkable, and an above average but not outstanding beer.

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Photo of russpowell
3.72/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up in NC about 45 days ago, review based on notes:

Pours a semi-hazed apricot with 2 fingers of beige head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Grassy & floral hops, orange peels & biscuitty malt

T: Floral hops, dryness & biscuitty malt, plus lemony hops up front. Dryness & slight apricot fruittyness, plus grapefruit, as this warms. finishes with citric hops & grainyness

MF: Medium bodied with soft carbonation & good balance

Drinks pretty easy, but had higher expectations for this one, especially since it was about $11 a sixer, came back to Mizzou & found other Founders for $8.50, not cool...

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes.

A: Pours a golden/copper color, slightly hazy, with a small white head on top. Decent retention with some patches of foam on top. Little bits of lacing.

S: Pretty good for an APA. Light citrus and floral hops with a little bit of grass and some pale malt backbone.

T: Nice and hop forward with some grapefruit and citrus. Slight pale malt flavor and a hint of caramel.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinks smooth and crisp with a slightly dry finish.

O: Solid APA, would expected nothing less from Founders.

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Founders Pale Ale from Founders Brewing Company
3.7 out of 5 based on 2,732 ratings.
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