Bass Pale Ale | Bass Brewers Limited

2,655 Ratings
Read the review
Bass Pale AleBass Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Bass Brewers Limited
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-17-2001

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,655 |  Reviews: 1,063
Photo of civilizedpsycho
3.11/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured bottle into mug.

Appearance: Brown with a minor red hue to it. Decent head that lasts a little while with some good lacing.

Smell: I was expecting more from the smell than what I got. There was a somewhat hoppy smell, but not much.

Taste: Has a bit of a sweet start and a good, solid bitter kick at the end.

Mouthfeel: It has a little substance to it without being thick or anything. It felt like an average beer that one might get at 7-11.

Drinkability: It was pretty good and it's certainly something I wouldn't mind drinking again. With that said, however, I was not overly impressed.

 604 characters

Photo of PsychoJedi
3.11/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The color is a mix between gold and orange. Darker, but not dark. Not a proper color by any means. Pours clear and a nice head. Smell is good. Rather rich. And of course there is the taste. Not all of that. Not watered down by any means, just not what I want in a beer. Has a bitter touch to it and I do not like bitter though I know some really really like bitter. A bit of an after taste, but not a real bite. I could not drink this much. Verdict: try something else.

 469 characters

Photo of IPhantom
2.89/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours about the color of iced tea, with about a finger worth of off-white head that dissipates with unexpected quickness.

Aroma is flat, otherwise malty...not what you would expect from the "pale ale" label.

Taste follows suit, sort of underwhelmingly malty. Not bad, though--it's actually very well-balanced, buttery-smooth and mouth-filling, with a pleasantly crisp finish.

It's drinkable, nice for a changeup, but there are better beers for the price and in the style.

 477 characters

Photo of glid02
3.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this on-tap at a random place on Edgewood Ave. in Atlanta.

Pours a clear dark copper-brown color with a one-finger white head. The head dissipates into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of lightly toasted malts with a good deal of earthy and somewhat spicy hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Light toasted malts are joined by earthy hop flavors midway through the sip, then give way to the malt flavors again before a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a thickness that's a bit on the thin side with soft carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass easily and could have another.

Overall this is a nice EPA, but it's nothing to write home about. A good standby.

 717 characters

Photo of rbbchbum
2.03/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

On draft in a pint glass at a chain restaurant. After just a few swallows, I sent it back.

Appearance: Light brownish orange. It had zero foam.

Smell: None noted.

Taste/Mouth: Very mild hop finish with moderate malt. Very simple tasting.

Drinkability: This was so flat it seemed like drinking water. Zero carbination. I think I would order wine before I would order this beer again.

 386 characters

Photo of cavedave
3.92/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hello, old friend. A vigorous pour produces a light, lovely, nearly white three inch head. It recedes and leaves spotty islands and clinging arms of lace. It is a nice gold color, clear, glowing.

Smell is a mild treat of light citrus, sweet biscuits, yeast, and flowers

Taste is a marvel of goodness, a well-balanced mix of citrus, earthy notes, herbosity, biscuit. Very clean and balanced. Finish is semi-dry, herbal, and mildly bitter. Nice. Not complex, but yummy.

Mouthfeel is light and very fine for the style. It's more carbonated than many English pales, less full bodied, but it is as pleasing now as it was thirty years ago. Not a superstar, more a working class hero.

Drinkability is exceptional, best thing about this brew. To paraphrase R./D. Davies (other British imports)... Bass, I want to drink your brew, all of the time, all day, and all of the night.

 873 characters

Photo of donmonkey1
3.19/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Brownish orange with a nice head that doesn't recede too quickly. Good lacing and carbonation.

Smell: Not very strong. Sweet, malty, with a touch of caramel & molasses.

Taste: The hops were too faint, maybe a touch piney but they offset the sweetness, at first. After a second it tasted sweeter, with acidity.

Mouthfeel: Not enough carbonation. You know when you put a 9-volt battery to your tongue? When I held the beer in my mouth, there was a similar tingling on my tongue, just not as strong.

 511 characters

Photo of berserker256
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into my pint glass. Dark bronze in color and a bit orange. The head head is lasting a decent legnth of time. It's off white and consists of bubbles of medium size. Lacing sticks around as well. The smell is sweet, metallic, and spiced. Carmel and steel and a miniscule bit of hops. Bittersweet carmel and earthy sweetness in the flavor. Slightly metallic with a clean aftertaste. Kind of thin bodied and easy to drink.

 441 characters

Photo of KTCamm
3.01/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On draft in a standard pint glass at "Bear and Grill" restaurant in Fairfield CT. My experience is that this a decent brew on draft that loses some of its luster in the bottle.

Color - brownish, burnt orangy. Interesting. I had no foam, but I think that was intended by the bartender.

Smell - can't get much here. Some buried malt, a little sweetness, but otherwise not distinguished.

Taste/Mouth - slightly sweet start, mild hop finish, moderate malt in between. Not a lot of complexity here, though not the same as some other English pales I have had.

Drinkability - I could go for more, especially coming out cold from a tap.

 632 characters

Photo of Poormon79
3.61/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A. Looked alot like a burnt orange

S. Sweet smelling. Malt and hops

T. Was somewhat bitter. Drinkable though

D. Fairly drinkable. I enjoy Bass more in my black and tans but thats just me

Final Thoughts: A pretty decent, beer. To me made better as a tag team with Guinness

 276 characters

Photo of julian1117
3.72/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Visual appeal: stunning burnished orange

Smell: disappointing, slight hop

Flavor: rich and mildly creamy, hint of hops

Mouthfeel: satisfactorily maintains carbonation, mildly creamy

Drinkability: highly drinkable, thirst-quenching

I tried one after helping my brother do some landscaping work in Jersey before Mother's Day. Perfect thirst-quencher.

 353 characters

Photo of Onenote81
1.83/5  rDev -46%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Waiting in the Seattle airport, and this was one of the "better" offerings at a restaurant there. Came out a deep gold with a small white head on top. Decent lacing rings around the glass edge. Not bad looking, but it's downhill from here...

Smells of malts and breads, pretty sweet smelling. Not too bad. Mouthfeel is extremely watered-down and slick. No crisp bite, no sharp carbonation, nothing. Flavor was like if someone soaked a biscuit in water for 2 days, pureed it, strained it, and drank the dessicant. This was one of the most watered-down, flavorless beers I've ever had. My wife even said this was really weak, and she doesn't know beers that well. Very disappointing. I'll possibly try to get my hands on a bottle and give that a try to compare, but I'm not that excited about it. Avoid.

 802 characters

Photo of biegaman
3/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bass Pale Ale is neither pale in the conventional sense nor is it the deeply coppered amber colour it would have been around the time of its conception. It has a more golden tinge shaded by only the lightest brush of amber. The clarity is immaculate but its head, disappointingly, is non-existent.

The smell is not exactly hoppy nor does it really showcase much of the hard, mineral-rich water that Burton-on-Trent is so famous for. What is most noted, I'm sorry to say, is a cloying hint of corn syrup. It possesses the same kind of high fructose odour one can usually lift from soft drinks. Apart from that, there is really only a smidgen of amber malts.

Bass became famous for two main reasons: its exceeding hop bitterness and the harsh, clipping mineral rich water of the Burton-on-Trent. Fast forward to the twenty-first century and forget all that. Forget bitter, forget crisp - this is borderline cloying with hints of corn syrup landing way ahead of any earthy hops or rich caramelized malts.

It could just be me, but I find all of these British macro canned offerings to posses the same taste of artificially induced nitrogen (even in the samples, like this one, that are not the nitro-cans.) It has a very gassy texture that far exceeds any maltiness or bitterness.

The original pale ales made for export, Bass is surely included in this, were massively hopped at anywhere from 6 to 8 pounds per barrel! (The average beer will use a couple ounces, most IPA's around 1 or 2 lbs and most DIPA's still falling short at maybe 4lbs or so per barrel.) Of course, this has no impression of hops in taste, aroma, or mouthfeel.

Which really is no surprise, English breweries like Bass were, as far as I can tell, the first macro breweries, meaning the first to start compromising on quality and tradition in the name of efficiency and profit margins. (Bass production had already reached 56,000 barrels a year, 12% of which was exported, by 1849. They would open two more massive breweries in the decades that followed.)*

Bottles of Bass can be seen in many paintings by Picasso and most famously in Edouard Manet's 1882 painting "Bar at the Folies-Bergère." I'm inclined to believe the product has changed much since those times, however. Bass has a rich history no doubt. It is ashamed the company seems so unconcerned and indifferent to abandon it, the beer I mean.

*All information taken from Martyn Cornell's "Beer: The Story of the Pint", an excellent read for anyone interested in the subject.

 2,515 characters

Photo of AtlasBrew
2.51/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Color: Light Copper, crystal clear with and off-white head that's a bit fizzy.

Aroma: Touch of crystal malt with a gassy, floral and earthy hop aroma with a hint of spice.

Flavor: Medium mouth feel with a silky touch of buttered toffee and not much else except grains. There are some hops for bittering and a smooth, dry finish. Esters of alcohol come in at the end and make for an unpleasant taste

Overall: I'm really not sure what the fuss is all about, it lacks flavor all around except for the bitter taste of alcohol and tannins at the end. Not a good Pale Ale, I can think of dozens better

 598 characters

Photo of Foolmonkey
3.75/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Drinking a few bottles with my girlfriends dad, helping him make his next batch of beer. The appearance and smell are average, although with all the goings-on I didn't have extra time to fully examine these areas.

The taste was good. Slightly bitter, but very drinkable. The mouthfeel was light and sweet. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the beer we're brewing comes out just as good!

 389 characters

Photo of maximum12
3/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had a frighteningly large glass of this pale with a great dinner at The Chart House in Lakeville, MN.

It's pale, smells like beer, tastes like beer with a tiny jibble of hops & more malt, & is easy to drink. This is the epitomy of an OK beer. Back in 1994 this was a great beer, & why I drank so many whiskey sours - because beer was OK, not great. Thank goodness for the beer revolution!

 390 characters

Photo of bonsreeb85
3.2/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass from 12 oz. bottle

A- Clear copper color that left a single finger foam head that did not retain for too long.

S - very faint english hops, but prodominantly a sweet maltiness.

T - Nothing stands out here, no singlef flavor or taste steals the show. just a very balanced brew, slight brit-hops w/ a slim malt backbone. is that apple I taste?

Mf - body is very light and carbonation is minimal on par w/ the english traditional brews. very easy to slam back.

D - overall not much flavor, but balanced and easy to quaff

 547 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.21/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Moderately dark, yet also bright with a pretty good head.

S: Not too much going on here--some light malt and mild hop presence. Nothing overpowering.

T: Some pale malts come out, as well as typically-English hops.

M: Pretty good here. No alcohol presence. Carbonation is good, but nothing exceptional.

D: Fairly drinkable and not a bad fallback for when the selection isn't very promising. However, now that BA has "enlightened" me, I probably won't be seeking this one out as a premium beer any longer.

 511 characters

Photo of Spikester
3.83/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First time from a can. Pours amber with a modest head and few lacings. Aroma is mild floral hops. Taste is sweet malts with a good amount of hop bitterness. Very well balanced. Carbonation is minimal as is typical of English beers. Mouthfeel is good with a medium dry bitter finish. Very sessionable if you like this type of beer and I do. A very nice alternative to an American macro.

 385 characters

Photo of BigBen61
3.93/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It could have been the atmosphere of the psuedo-british pub in Lexington where I had this beer or the perfect Bass Imperial Pint glass that it was served in (definately boosted the appearance)but this was a memorable beer experience for me.

A-Not much of a head, not sure if there should be...maybe half to three-quarters of a finger of bright white. The color is like a ruby...I am amazed at just how red this beer is (there again the glass helped a bit).

S-Not overly powerful on the nose. The caramel malts are evident but not impressive but the hops do seem to blend very well with the caramel malt.

T-Good bitterness with a nice balance as shown on the nose. I wouldn't recommend having this with the fish n' chips like I did but beef or something a bit stronger in flavor may be good.

M-Smooth and this may sound wierd but almost a bit "oily" it seemed thicker than I assumed it would be.

D-One Imperial Pint down...I think I might need a breather before #2.

 969 characters

Photo of Andreji
3.68/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a Bass while dining at the Rustic Inn @ ft. lauderdale FL

This was a second try for bass. and was a fair deal, because this turned out to be a fine experience. pour is cristal amber with a thin head that dissipates quickly. smell is sweet hoppy, but subtle, and so is the taste which, far from amazing was pretty decent of roasted malt and a metallic hoppy finish, quite discrete compared to my previous appreciations. nice medium body and carbonation, typical of the british beers i've tasted.

overall a decent beer. it's a fine session beer but nothing over the top.

 575 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
2.79/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap in a Bass glass.

A- A fine line between bronze and copper with a frothy cap and minimal bubbles seen rising through the liquid. No lacing.

S- A nice amount of toasted malts with some barely noticable hops. A bit of a metalic scent coming from this. Earthy and bready.

T- Pretty weak for a pale ale but this is the english style. The breadyness in smell is what i'm picking up most along with the malt base and some hop taste but not bitey.

M- A step above light bodied with a smooth feel on the way down, to bad the flavors aren't more pronounced. A step above light carb as well.

D- Low alcohol and a nice malt base make for a drinkable beer but I won't be ordering another pint.

 692 characters

Photo of snaotheus
3.55/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bass was once once of my staple beers -- this is the first one I've had in several years, though. I've gotten very used to the American Pale Ale style in the meantime (and started occasionally rating beer).

Appears sort of flat, little head, no lacing. Dark golden in color, very little carbonation. Smells a little of tea and barley.

Taste includes a lager aftertaste which I don't enjoy much, but is mostly malty-sweet with a bitterness I haven't learned to recognize as hops -- perhaps it's tannic. I associate it with ESB. Slight sour notes

Feels light, very slightly clingy. Still a very drinkable beer, but no longer a favorite.

 637 characters

Photo of OldYoda
3.1/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear ruby orange color into my standard US pint glass. Little or no head and no residual lacing is evident. Not an unattractive beer visually.

Smell is faint and not much stands out but I pick up a definite whiff of alcohol which is not as pleasant as it could be.

Taste follows smell and not much going on but the alcohol I detected in the smell is also there in the taste, and not in a good way.

Mouthfeel is average as is drinkability.

Given it's reputation, I was disappointed in this beer. It was ok but there are much better pales out there. I wouldn't go out of my way to try this again.

 607 characters

Photo of Beefeater57
3.79/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear dark gold color, thin fizzy white head that dissipates pretty quickly.

S: Sweet smell of caramel malts, slighty sugary. Very faint traces of grassy hops.

T: Mellow, nothing comes off too strong. Malts are there, but not overwhelming which is the same for the hops. Get a slight richness of the malts, but I just can't pick out a dominant flavor.

M: Thin, carbonated - typical english pale ale.

D: Classic english pale ale, I can always drink a Bass. Easy to drink, not complicated at all. Definitely a good beer to have at a pub after work.

 553 characters

Bass Pale Ale from Bass Brewers Limited
3.39 out of 5 based on 2,655 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

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

    Learn More