Samuel Adams Pale Ale | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

911 Ratings
Samuel Adams Pale AleSamuel Adams Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.25%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-07-2001

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 911 |  Reviews: 571
Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An all-around good beer that tastes much as it looks - refreshing and flavorful. This beer poured a hazy amber with an ample 2 finger head of creamy ivory. The head is long lasting and creates very good lace affect. The nose is a bit light but gives off some malt, a trace of hops, and a small sense of citrus - not much. The taste leans to the malt side and starts a bit sweet. The hops do balance the malt very well and the finish is dry without any sense of bitterness. Mouthfeel is moderately full and creamy. Very drinkable pale ale - I like it.

 550 characters

Photo of cooncat
3.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a SA glass at fridge temp. A good one inch parchment colored head looks real nice after the pour, but is short lived. The SA etched glass keeps a constant stream of bubbles rising, which produces a thin cap that remains. Some lacing noticed on the swirl, but no stickage to the glass. The color is brilliantly clear 'old gold'.

The nose is pretty light and unremarkable. I do pick up faint English hops, and faint caramel, along with some mineral background.

Taste follows the nose pretty close. Somewhat unremarkable; nothing jumps out and grabs me. I guess that means that it is perfectly balanced. English hop notes (EKG and Fuggles) are light, and so are any malt flavors. That minerally note mentioned in the nose is in the taste as well. I wonder if this was an attempt to "Burtonize" the water, or something else. The mouthfeel is a notch over light. Finish is dry and when well chilled, this is definitely a thirst quencher. Pair it with 'fish & chips' would be my recommendation.

I always respect the offerings from SA, and will drink their brews anytime. I've always been of the mindset that says, "show me your Pale Ale, and I'll tell you what kind of brewer you are". Might have to make an exception in this case, as I've had some very good brews from Boston Beer Company (a.k.a. Samuel Adams), but, unfortunately, this pale ale doesn't quite make it to their usual standards in my book. I think either the malt or the hops need to make a stronger statement.

I'll give this one a recommendation for a try, as your taste buds likely differ from mine. Not Sam Adams' best, but highly quaffable.

Na Zdravje!

 1,633 characters

Photo of SuperSpy
3.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A perfectly clear, golden-yellow. A two-finger eggshell colored head. The head looks great and leaves some decent lace, but the head itself is short-lived.

Some faint malt and earthy hop resins. Good, but nothing to write home about.

Medium bodied and crisp. The flavor is earthy with some pale malt and a slight sweetness toward the middle. A very run-of-the-mill English Pale Ale flavor. Not at all a bad thing. It finishes earthy with a bit of resin like hop oil that gives it a dry aftertaste. You could definitely drink a few of these in one sitting but it probably wouldn't be the first beer on my mind as I headed to the bar.

 634 characters

Photo of Celtics76
3.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a Sam Adams pint glass.

This one has a nice gold color. Decent amount of carbonation but it goes down smooth. Doesn't have as strong a hop presence as most of the other pale ales I've tried.

I'm going to enjoy this with some Dragon Rolls I picked up at Eastside Marketplace.

I've definitely had better pale ales, but this is not one I would turn down if offered. I just wouldn't buy a 6 pack, or seek it out in general with better offerings out there.

 474 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jwc215 for this brew!

This pours from 12oz bottle(best by Aug 07) a clear amber gold with a very large head of foam that shrinks to a pretty solid layer with lacing and it lasts right to the end of the session.

The smell is on the light side; I can just smell some hop presence.

The taste has an earthy flavour up front followed by some sweet malt and some citrus hops midway through and through the finish but they are lightly done. Too lightly done for me, darn it.

 486 characters

Photo of danny013
3.4/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pair of bottles used to review. Nice hard pour into an English pint glass. Golden color with a thick, off white 2 finger head that slowly dissipates back to the beer, leaving a thin covering over it as it is drank. Light lacing.

Smell is of sweet malts with a hint of toastiness. No hop aroma to pick out.

Taste is gentle and light. Sweet malts up front, hints of light honey, faint toasted grains. Rounds out to a light earthy hoppiness, not much of a fresh hop or grassy flavor, just a nice bitter flavor. Not too bad, but I feel that the malt flavor is too 'plain' or one dimensional. It's certainly not a bad ale, but not at the top of the list.

Mouthfeel is the worst part of this beer for me. Lots of carbonation like all SA brews, but it's way overcarbonated for the style. Body is light-medium.

Overall, a fairly drinkable ale. Not the best example of the style, but it is still good. A tasty beer to drink a few of and not worry about flavors, balance, esters, etc. Plus I'd say it's a nice beer to try and get some BMC drinkers to branch out a bit - though perhaps that is what they were going for when brewing the beer.

 1,135 characters

Photo of dbmcrorie
3.4/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz brown long neck bottle poured into an American pint glass. Part of the Summer Mix Pack. Freshness date notched on back of bottle.

Pours a clear golden body with a small puffy white head that doesn't stick around to long. Very little lacing.

Malty nose; pale and lightly toasted. Soft hop aromas are clean and earthy with faint citrus in the corners. Buttered biscuit and faint yeasty notes in the finish.

Bitter toasted grain, slightly husky. A handful of English hops really stir up that earthy bitterness. Interesting contrast between toasted bread and peat. Smooth mouthfeel with a medium-light body. Fizzy carbonation accentuates the dry finish and bitter aftertaste with distant nutty notes.

Very sessionable. Though it doesn't stand up to English Pale Ales from England, it's decent enough as is. What it lacks in complexity and flavor, it makes up drinkability (don't think Bud Light). The bitterness is a bit heavy along the tongue with little flavor to back it up; but that makes it ideal for pairing with food, or just having multiple pints in one sitting.
Might pair greatly with nutty or bitter cheeses. Also would go nice with blackened burgers, salty pork, and any good ol' fashioned pub grub.


 1,271 characters

Photo of superdedooperboy
3.4/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle, this ale shows a crystal clear gold, giving rise to a short-lived pure white soda-pop head, fading almost as quickly as it appeared. Some tiny beads of lace remain on the glass as the beer goes down; these pearls won't garner any attention from an appraiser, though.

Aroma is snappy, herbaceous and somewhat grassy, maybe a tad spicy. No real discernible malt present in the nose.

Very light and effervescent, with a crisp bite; a touch of sweet-and-biscuity malt flavor trys to grab hold of the taste buds before being wiped away by a hop zing that mimics the nose quite well, herbal and a bit resinous and grasslike, leaving behind a clean, lightly dry, hoppy finish.

A passable pale ale, but certainly nothing special and falling short of any really good English or American interpretation of the style. Easily drinkable and quite refreshing, but a bit one-dimensional and lacking much real character.

 936 characters

Photo of cudmud
3.4/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This sample poured with a nice clear copper color. Little to no head and lace with this bottle.

Smell: Nice hop aroma, but the other components of beer are missing.

Tatse: A nice balance between malt and hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a nice level of carbonation.

Drinkability: A very drinkable brew that can be consumed all night of with most foods. I bet this one is dynamite with pizza.

 408 characters

Photo of blacklabel67k
3.4/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a bottle

A- A golden yellow lagerish color

S-Not much feint malts maybe

T- Taste is a bit tangy, small amount of hop bitterness. just right imo. A small amount of caramel and earthy notes.

M-Pretty smooth, goes down easy with light carbonation.

O- A decent beer, it tastes like the Boston Lager a bit. Not a big fan of IPA's but I can drink this one. And usually if I can drink it, it's pretty good.

 415 characters

Photo of WakeandBake
3.4/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Notes Aug 3, 2008
Pours a light gold,looks nice,with a solid white head. Nose of citrus,and hops. A very light crisp beer with kind of a watery mouth feel,light citrus,and malt flavor,finishes with a very nice dry hop taste. A nice beer for those hot summer days.

 264 characters

Photo of sluggermatt15
3.4/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a straw yellow with an orangish tint. Large foaming head forms and takes a minute or two to dissipate. About an average appearance here.

S- Sweet, lemony, some hops. Again, nothing out-of-this-world.

T- Has a lemony zest to it, pretty crisp, and some dryness, but typical in a pale ale.

M- Feels good, clear, and not a lot of carbonation.

D- Drinkable, would have this one again. Not bad on a hot and sticky night. There's a reason why this is included in the "Summer Variety" case from the BBC.

 510 characters

Photo of unknownlamer
3.4/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is an average pale ale, and much better than the boston ale. It has a decent hppy aroma, and a good hop and malt balance. It goes down smoothly, and leaves a crisp bitterness behind. Definitely not nearly as smooth as a lot of the pale ales I've had before, but still good.

 278 characters

Photo of mlazzaro
3.4/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very orange color white head.

lack of hoppy smell, aroma is malty and sweet.

This might be an older beer. I can't detect any hop aroma or flavor. Slight hoppy bitterness. Flavor is pretty much all malt. Nice tasting. Very simple, low head retention. (although it is very hot outside.)

for some reason I think it smells like a lager should smell. More like an English pale ale.

 379 characters

Photo of aaronh
3.4/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This pale ale was not quite what I expected, but it is good. I was under the impression it was an APA, so I expected a nice bitterness and a stronger aroma. It has a nice head, and a smooth flavor, but is just an average pale ale. Perhaps I've been spoiled by my recent SIerra Nevadas and Burning Rivers. I agree with some of the previous posts: an average beer from a company that could do more. Perhaps the bitterness is subdued to appeal to the mass market.

 464 characters

Photo of JAStheAce
3.39/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a light, clear dirty-gold with barely any head. Smells hoppy but otherwise like any standard beer in that nothing sticks out in my nose. Tastes hoppy, fruity, and bitter and leaves a light bitter aftertaste. Creamy mouthfeel and a balanced carbonation. A solid beer, nothing exemplary but I'd have another.

 316 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of the summer variety pack. Poured into a pint glass, it was a dark yellow with a medium head and a little bit of lacing. Aroma was some sweet grain, not anything else. Mildly hoppy taste. While it was crisp and refreshing as advertised, I didn't think it was that outstanding.

 282 characters

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sam Adams- Pale Ale

A- Nice clear golden orange with a thick frothy head. Some lacing along the top of the glass.
S- Light crisp caramel malt and a touch of citrus.
T- Sweet light citrus with an even blend of buttery malt.
M- A quick sweet pinch followed by buttery malt and ending dry.

Overall- A little light on the flavors but enjoyable and easy to drink. A good addition to the summer variety pack.

 404 characters

Photo of nimrod979
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, Pours a slightly hazy straw yellow. Small one finger white head that dissipates quickly.
Slight floral and fruity hop aroma. Pale malt. Nothing to crazy.
Taste is some pale malt with a nice touch of hops flavor. Nothing overwhelming. Has a little fruity sweetness. Nothing too complex but a solid English pale.
Medium bodied with good carbonation. Easy to drink. Quick finish a little metallicy.

 403 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz from part of the Sam Adams Summer Mix-Pack. Poured into my shaped Sam Adams glass.

3 finger head dies back leaving pretty nice lacing. Brew is crystal clear golden straw.

Aroma is pale malts and spicy hops... maybe some background toasty notes.. maybe not.

Flavor mirrors the aroma.. but with a subtle yeasty fruitiness.

Body is lite/medium with ever present carbonation.

I would probably pick this up a couple times a year if it was available in 6'ers.

 463 characters

Photo of jsanford
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass

A - Pours a pale, slightly hazy amber with a 1/2 finger head that dissipates quickly. No lacing.

S - Mild notes of light sweet malt and earthy hops. Little bit of spice and lemon.

T - Light citrus and more earthy hops with a light malt backbone.

M - High carbonation and a light body.

D - Easy drinker, could have a few. Definitely not complex, but a good summer drink nonetheless. Quenching.

 422 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light yellow-orange color. Very active carbonation, but not enough to sustain the initial one-finger head.

Aroma is faintly of malt and yeast, nothing off there, but nothing that great either.

Taste is pretty pleasant. Not a whole lot of malt, but enough to taste easily and it's a nice combo with the bubbly mouthfeel. Relatively, there's more hop presence which is the most distinctive part of this brew, and yet it is just average, maybe slightly above average.

Clean mouthfeel, not exactly crisp, the hops leave a soft bitterness which is rather noteworthy.

A good summer drinker with burgers, dogs, and all the fixins!

 635 characters

Photo of jackorain
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A-Poured this beer into a pint glass creating a 2 inch off white head that dwindled to a thin coat very quickly, quicker than it took to jot down a note on the appearance. Some lacing left on glass by the thin coat/ring of foam. pale golden color, rather clear.

S-mild hop aroma, green Id's say maybe pine, no citrus aroma at all. some malt comes through amybe a little bready like quality to the nose.

T-Green and pine hops hit 1st, not overpowering or even string but there none the less. There is a bitter green hop finish with a little malty sweetness on the finish. Overall, I can't fault the flavor too much, but the same qualities stronger with the same balance would be nice. Odd it is listed as an APA but is more like an english Pale Ale. Is only becuase it si brewed on our side of the pond?

M-watery, no hop oils here, very light body

D-I would have no problem drinking many of these. If my one of my macro lovin' buddies had this on hand at a party as an alternative, I would be very pleasantly suprised and then looking for a ride home.

 1,062 characters

Photo of July2Nov
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pale golden ale with a little head and moderate lace.
S: A bit sweet and malty upfront
T&M: Light to begin with...A bit bitter...then has a crisp earthen feel to it. Peaks near the end and then slowly trails off to a mellow mouthfeel.
D: Not the best pale ale that I've had...nothing to remarkable, but at the same time, not horrible. Probably wouldn't go out of my way to find this...but if I was offered it, I certainly wouldn't turn it down.

 447 characters

Photo of UncleJimbo
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled from a 12 oz longneck bottle from the Brewmaster's collection sixpack.

This ale poured a clear, light amber color with white foam that settled but clung to the glass a bit. The smell was very modest: lightly malty with a touch of grain. The taste was lightly malty with a hint of citrus and a slight tanginess and medium hoppiness, though the hop bitterness did linger. The mouthfeel was smooth and dry with medium body and medium-low carbonation. The aftertaste was lightly malty with a lingering mild bitterness. This was an OK plae ale, but nothing to go out of your way for.

 589 characters

Samuel Adams Pale Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.48 out of 5 based on 911 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.
  • Our Events

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

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