Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
1,487 Ratings
Smuttynose Shoals Pale AleSmuttynose Shoals Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

Style: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our interpretation of a classic English beer style is copper-colored, medium-bodied and pleasantly hopped. Its flavor is delightfully complex: tangy fruit at the start, with an assertive hop crispness and a long malty palate that one well-known beer writer has compared to the flavor of freshly-baked bread.

52 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-05-1998

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Ratings: 1,487 |  Reviews: 671
Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A hazy golden amber with a big bubble head that dissipates quickly down to some small puddles. A lot of sweet bread and biscuit in the nose. Some white wheat as well. A resinous hop aroma that is sharp over the body. A good amount of carbonation coming out of a growler. I get a lot of the malt at first some of the biscuit but mainly a medium bodied caramel/toffee flavor. A quick transition to a pine/resin texture that is dry but because of the relatively heavy malt body it balances out.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My main man, Tone77, dropped by last night to take a load of Kvass from me (along with a myriad of CANs) and in return, he laid a whole buncha bottles on me, including this one. Between a protest on the Capitol steps in the blazing heat and the debrief at a local watering hole after, followed by some Kvass at home, this is my last beer for the day before beddy-bye.

My pour resulted in just better than a finger of thick, dense tawny head with good retention. Color was a slightly hazy orangish-amber. Nose smelled nicely of piney hops and I wonder if anyone has considered hops potpourri or air freshener ... There was also an underlying caramel malty sweetness. Mouthfeel was medium with a just-right amount of hops for before bedtime. It made me want to go inside The Samuel Haley house on Smuttynose Island, look for a bed that would be just right (not too hard and not too soft) and lie down. The lacing in the glass was nothing short of beautiful as I drank. It was maybe a little more malty than the brewer had intended (best before March 2011), but I was satisfied with the intermingling of malt and hops on the tongue. The finish was soft, smooth, eminently drinkable and ... Zzzz.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

the pour was a nice medium to light amber color with a thick head of white that sat on top throughout the entire session, nice lacing down the glass.

aroma is light, nice little notes of citrus, hints of apple, pears, light grasses and a smooth, even flavor or light fruity yeast. as i take the first sip i get the clean, crisp flavor right off the bat. really nicely done. clean and light hops, a good strain of yeast and very nice carbonation all lead to a solid pale.

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Photo of muletrane
3.21/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle (best by 7/11) into a pint glass.

A: Pours a hazy amber. 1 finger of dense off white head. Minimal lacing.

S: Mostly grain, biscuit, and bready notes in the nose.

T: Biscuit and bready notes up front. Some hop bitterness in the finish.

M: Nice crisp mouthfeel with lingering bitterness which I liked. Moderate body and carbonation.

Overall a halfway decent pale ale. Nothing too impressive and something seems a bit off at times. Enjoyable nonetheless.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a bright slightly haze copper-orange color with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades slowly down to a ring around the glass leaving behind some nice lacing in the process.

S - Aroma is full of citrus hops and sweet caramel malts. Some other fruity sweetness and floral elements in the background.

T - Starts off with a mix of some sweet caramel malts flavor and building citrus hop flavor and bitterness. Through the middle the hops flavor comes out much stronger and there are some more floral elements in the background. The beer finishes with some strong hop flavor and bitterness balanced by some floral and malt flavors that linger.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Strong bitter flavor and dry finish is really crisp and refreshing.

D - Very drinkable. Excellent malt and hop balance here. The flavors compliment each other very well. The hop profile while a bit simple, is really nice.

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Photo of BennyL1
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best before July 2011 notched on the label. Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. Bottle from a Smuttynose variety pack.

Shoals pours a nice amber color with orange highlights. A nice fingers worth of off white head appears. The lacing along the glass is also nice.

This beer has a very nice floral hop aroma with a good amount of toasted malt backing it up. A hint of caramel in there as well, very nice for a pale ale.

A nice piney hop bitterness along with some grain make for a solid tasting pale ale. Bitterness from the hops linger after you have a drink.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a dry finish.

A very solid and sessionable beer from Smuttynose. I can see myself drinking a couple of these as the weather gets warmer.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: deep orange, light brown body, trace head, fine lacing

S: earthy grainy aroma

T: sweet grain, hint of malt, slight bitter finish

M: med/light body, hint of slick/oil feel

O: Nice pale ale, not amazing, but still good.
Fine session brew. Smuttynose just makes really nice beer.


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Photo of jsprain1
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Copperish amber. I would think it's an amber/red if I didn't know better. Head is creamy off white but goes down to a ring tremendously quickly.
S- Smell tends toward hoppy with citrusy notes up front. There are some caramel notes as well. every so often I think there is a bit of a sweet nutty character, that I would have liked to see better developed, but it was fleeting.
T- It is initially a wonderful beer. A snap of citrus hoppiness mellows out into a caramel malt flavor. On the whole, it leans toward hoppy but it mellows out. A bit short in the finish leaves me wanting.
M- Medium body, somewhat overaggresive carbonation.
O- A decent pale I could drink throughout an evening. Not the most spectacular, and it has it's shortcomings, but it has enough flavor (at least up front) and goes down easy.

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Photo of Skeeter206
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A ~ Bottle from a 6 pack poured into a glass. Looks a dark orange color, about a half finger head with great lacing throughout the whole thing.

S ~ Smells of hops and malts, not much of a smell but still smells good.

T ~ Starts off with a malty sweetness which turns into a piny and floral hoppiness. Tastes very good, not too much sticking out but its a pretty good showing from smuttynose for a go to pale ale.

M ~ Perfect carbonation, medium body, not much more you can ask for in the style.

O ~ I'll get it again, not much of a selection within a 5 minute drive of me but I found this all alone(no other smuttynose selection) at a place I've never been to before.

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Photo of mdagnew
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle bought from

Poured a reddish amber colour. Light tan head poured quite loose and faded quickly to almost nothing... barely any carbonation and very little lacing...

Aroma - Light piney hops, good caramel maltiness, faint nuttiness, some light buttery traces, quite a lot of honey notes, some herbal hints, some saltiness, grapefruit and citrus fruitiness...

Taste - Quite malty first then the piney and grassy hops come to the fore... some sweet honey traces, grapefruit and orange fruitiness, quite floral, some saltiness, the faintest of metallic notes..

M&D - Quite crisp and dry... light / medium bodied... Very refreshing and drinkable and pretty sessionable...

Overall - A pretty decent APA - nothing groundbreaking just a good, clean well made APA... recommended...

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Photo of EkimGram
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: 12oz bottle dated to be consumed before March '09. Poured into standard ping glass. Dark red colour pours with a nice thick head, fades with very nice lacing.

Smell: Right out of the bottle the aromas ambush my senses. Sweet honey is most prominent smell backed by malt and hops. It is pretty powerful but doesn't really appeal to me.

Taste: Like the smell, very sweet upfront. Honey is followed by smooth malt that finishes with the faintest bitter bite of hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, slightly sticky, just a little bit of carbonation. Nice and balanced.

Drinkability: The smell was a little off-putting with its power but once I started drinking it everything began to mellow out. Overall, pretty interesting and tasty.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought a single bottle of this from Woodman's in Menomonee Falls, WI for about $1.50 in fall 2010.

Pours a reddish amber color with a fair amount of lacing. Has a great scent of matlts and hops. First comes the malts when you taste it, then the hops. It's an awkward effect, it seems that after you swallow the beer that there becomes a growing hops taste on your tounge. Not something that is going to appeal to everyone, but thoe who love Pale Ales and hops with enjoy this one.

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Photo of merlin48
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pours a dark shade of amber, slightly hazed. Medium offwhite head with good retention and ample patch lacing.

Aroma is mostly toasted caramel, accented by earthy and spicy hops with a hint of florals.

Medium body and carbonation.

Solid caramel malt base that is easily overpowered by the bitter hops. Hops are earthy and leafy with a vague citrusy note that seems to be orange. Finishes dry and earthy.

A decent American pale ale but only slightly above average.

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Photo of JWU
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into standard curved pint glass

A- Straight Amber, darker than most pale ales. Slightly clouded. Really nice clinging down the glass for a Pale.

S- Not much malt, astringent hops, and a tad sour (reminds me of their IPA in this regard)

T- Sour taste comes thru, hops hit, but aren't crushingly bitter. This one needs a sturdier malt backbone, especially with Smutty's unique sour taste that comes through on some of their offerings.

M- Medium-High carbonation, with medium to lighter body.

D- Not bad, not great.

O-Straight forward, but can't hold a candle to the Sierra Nevada's, and Victory's of the Pale Ale world.

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Photo of Satchboogie
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle (best by 9/11) poured into a SA perfect pint glass

A: Pours light copper, hazy, with a foamy off-white 2 finger head.

S: Floral hops, toasted malt, a little caramel

T: The hops hit the palate first with a good burst of floral notes and slight hint of fruit underneath. It's followed with a touch of bitterness and then the clean, toasted malts take over. There's a little caramel, just enough to provide a break from the hops and malt, but definitely in the background. Finish is clean, light toasted malt, floral hop bitterness, and touch of caramel.

M: Moderate to slightly high carbonation with a nice sharpness. Crisp, fairly malty body that feels lighter than it actually is. This is quite refreshing.

O: A crisp and refreshing hop-forward pale ale in more of an English style than American. I find the flavor profile very well balanced, decent bitterness and hop presence that's well balanced with clean toasted malt and just enough sweetness to combat the hop bitterness. A great summer sessionable thirst-quenching refreshing alcoholic beverage.

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Photo of Thads324
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A : pours a bright copper color with a big bubbled white head.

S : starts with a hoppy must followed by a honey sweetness. If you've ever trimmed a fruit tree, that is almost what the hops smell like, with a tiny hint if citrus tossed in.

T : a citrus hop at first, melded finely with a sweet, buttered crescent roll flavor. An immediate spicy and piney hop flavor follows, that bites the taste buds. The hop flavor seems fresh, almost dry hopped. A sharp clean finish makes me think the brew was almost finished with a lager yeast, maybe due to the carbonation. It's crisp and hoppy. Nice

M : highly carbed but pops the fresh hop. A clean crisp finish similar to a pilsner. Interesting and enjoyable

D : a good hoppy brew I could have 2-3 of, but no more.

A good hoppy pale ale that has differing hop flavors. A good beer all around

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Photo of engagechad
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was purchased as a 12 pack variety deal from Corks and Kegs in Richmond, VA - Drinks by June 2011 - poured into DFH snifter

Pours a nice pale ruby color with a perfect head and carb. Easy to produce head upon agitation and moderate lacing.
Smells mildly of hops and crystal (?) malts
This is a great beer. Nothing crazy, just a great beer. It's got a great undertone of sweetness while still maintaining a bitter bite. The sweetness is very subtle and I like it a lot. No biscuity flavors here like some other pales.

Overall this beer is great and I would order it in a bar or suggest it to a friend who is getting into craft.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark burnt orange and murky. Some small head, leaves fast to disk. Nice viscous lace and cascading bubbles!

S - Malt, ashes. I can't get much more.

T - Very standard sweet malt and appropriate bittering.

M - Good carb, good balance.

D - Very good go to beer.

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Photo of shand
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a nonic.

Pours a deep (for style) red-amber colour with two fingers of eggshell-white head. Lacing and retention are both good. Aroma is primarily bready malts, there's also some nice citrus and subtle floral aspects to the aroma. This is surely a malt-forward APA. The hops are prickly and a bit in the background, with some citrus coming in on the front. The malts turn a bit caramelly for the aftertaste, pairing with just a bit of hop and citrus prickliness.

The mouthfeel is solid enough, it has a bit of a presence to it thickness wise but is highly carbonated which works with the prickliness. The drinkability is also quite good. A solid pale ale that's a lot closer to the English style than the American. My bottle still had five months out on the freshness date, so it's surely fresh enough.

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Photo of Kinsman
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber/copper color body with some lighter orange hues. Beige colored head looks fairly sticky, leaving a nice lace behind.

Light biscuity malt aroma mixed in with some pleasantly sweet citrusy aromas.

Taste is delicately balanced between biscutiy and toasted malt flavors mixed in with a nice citrusy and slightly grassy hop flavor. The balance leans a bit towards the hoppy side, as it should for this style, but at only 30 IBU's, it's a bit of a relief or change of pace from IPAs.

At only 5% ABV, this beer is relatively light but packs plenty of flavors. Nice crisp but slightly wet mouthfeel, leaving you wanting more. Overall, a simple, straight forward, easy drinking APA.

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Photo of MowryJC
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Nonic Pint glass.

A - Pours a clear, tasty-looking copper red color (darker than most APAs) with a healthy finger and a half fluffy head that dissipates into a bubbly film that leaves light rings of lace down the whole glass.

S - Mostly caramel, with a little breadiness, and just the hint of herbal hops. Not much citrus or pine here, more of an English feel to it.

T - Nicely balanced, with caramel malt to offset the back-of-the-tongue bitterness. The malt, however, is a bit one note and boring.

M - Really great initial creamy mouthfeel that coats the tongue with bubbles, but the back-of-the-mouth bitterness could leave the palate a little faster IMHO.

D - Definitely drinkable, the only factor that would hinder it would be the lingering sticky bitterness. I like my pale ales to smack you in the tongue and then retreat, the cowards that they are. Also, malt bill is a bit boring. Still, an all around decent pale ale.

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Photo of theboozecruise
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass... it's a hazy red color with an huge white head, quite bubbly with lots of lacing.

I really like the aroma... hoppy and malty like a good pale ale should be!

The taste is a little thin right at first, but quickly gets interesting with a dominant hop flavor and a little caramel kick as well. It's a little hop forward in my opinion, but I like it.

Easy to drink, goes down smooth... APAs are quickly becoming one of my favorite styles and this one is high on the list.

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Photo of bishopdc0
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with a nice head form. A little darker then a westcoaster would expect for a pale. The head slow dissipate to lace the glasses edge.

Pale malt with a hint of grass and citrus. The crystal malt finishes the nose to explain the color and designate it as an english pale

Carbonation fills the mouth, the taste is pale with a large amount of crystal malt taste and finishes sweet and slight bitter

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Photo of jadpsu
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an orange, amber in color with a off white head. Retention is good, side lacing is excellent.
After having just had Smuttynose, IPA Finest which was aggresively hoppy this comes off more subtle and moderate with its orange rind and piney hoppiness.
Same with the taste, which includes more of a creamy, smooth mouthfeel and some mild bitterness throughout.
This is a beer that I could enjoy a full session with.

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Photo of mlazzaro
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This used to be one of my staple beer as I first got into the "craft" beers. I since have been exploring as many beers as I can, but decided to revisit this one, and it really is as good as I ever remember it. That is a huge endorsement, because in the past five years my knowledge, preferences, and palate have evolved dramatically, and still I find the shoals to be quite enjoyable.

A darker amber-brownish color. Hurtin' head retention, but otherwise looking very appetizing. Judging by the nose, I feel like this beer has American hops, with an U.K. yeast stain. Malty sweet and bitter, with yeasty finish (maybe slightly oxidized). Not the least bit scorching like an IPA might seem. Smooth but powerful bitterness. I like that they have bottle conditioning. Good beer, nice for a good session.

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Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.84 out of 5 based on 1,487 ratings.
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