Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

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

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Samuel Adams Pale AleSamuel Adams Pale Ale
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 911 |  Reviews: 571
Photo of ndekke39
3.45/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 12 oz. bottle with a November 2006 freshness date. Poured a clear, golden yellow with a thick white head. Heavy lacing on the glass. Smells of bananas and floral hops. Taste begins with hints of honey at first, then some pleasant maltiness on the tongue, and finishing with some late-blooming hops. Light carbonation and flavors leave this beer lacking a little character, but it's refreshing and easily drinkable overall.

 436 characters

Photo of tonistruth
3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- golden straw in color with a slight orangish tint, two finger bright white head, retent is nothing to brag about, settles to a little white ring, lace is on glass.

S- sweet, crisp scent, fruit in the nose, as well as floral hops.

T- sweetness from malts, along with some faint, dry, fruit like flavor, very pleasant aftertaste, crisp floral hop flavor. Tea like finish as beer warms.

M- smooth, slighlty dry finish, sports a nice body and good carbonation

D- pretty mellow brew, good flavor throughout entire consumption, quite enjoyable, without a doubt sessionable. I wouldnt turn this beer down, but i wouldnt go running for it. Well brewed and a good English pale, dont get me wrong.

 702 characters

Photo of Applesauce1
3.91/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

got the Sam Adams Pale Ale at the Pit Stop in Nelsonville, Oh.

I've have this a few times before, but have never reviewed it.

Pours a gold-straw color with about a 1 inch head into my glass pint. Looks pretty good.

Smell - not much there, couldn't detect hops (most APAs I can)
Taste - really different for an APA; some hops in the aftertaste, but not nearly as hoppy as most APAs; it seems to have that caramel taste you get from Sam's Boston Ale and Boston Lager. hints of sweetness in there; overall, though, a good taste

Mouthfeel - really good; perfect carbonation, light-to-medium bodied
Drinkability - could drink a few in a night; doesn't fill you up

 672 characters

Photo of Poser
3.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sam Adams brings another great brew -- pours a good golden color with a nice head. Smells woodsy but very crisp. Taste is good on the hops with a little sediment.

Overall, a very solid pale ale. I think this one may be a little under-rated because Jim Kock does commercials now. This one is always a safe bet and is available in most areas that generally specialize in the BMC crowd.

 386 characters

Photo of DogFood11
4.27/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This highly filtered brew is a shiney yellow with some light copper towards the core. Medium carbonation roll to the top under a Ivory white, tight head that retains well and leaves ring lacing.

My first impression was that this is an English Pale Ale as the hop twang is mellow and more of a drying effect and slightly bitter. I don't get any of the citrus, hop dominance that occurs in most American versions. Hell with style's, this is a fine brew, mellow, smooth, crisp and clean. Nothing is dominant, the malt bill is of some sweetened grain and a snappy, cleansing hops.

Notes: Ummmm this should be in my stable at all times. Perfect on a hot day and enough character to be consumed on any occassion. I believe this is the best "year round and year to year" beer that they make.

 791 characters

Photo of thelagerheads
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Most of the pale ales that I have had have been so off-putting and/or blandly plain that I reject them offhandedly. But with Samuel Adams I expected what I got: a smoooth and I reiterate smoooth beer with none of the acrid aftertaste of listerine in the bite back. Like a good melon that you can lick the sweat off its forehead and then bite into the fruit without reprecussions of bitter or brunt. Then again those other pale ales could double as holistic urine therapy for the incurably sick.

 494 characters

Photo of chOAKbarrell
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Attractive golden color on the darker side. Sweetish malty nose, not hoppy like I'd expect. Smooth, unintrusive taste. The first impression I had of this beer was that it seemed to be more in the English Pale Ale style. The beer had some of the metallic characteristics of other English pale ales, like Samuel Smith's. This is as good as any other Sam Adams beer, but also what some people may interpret as being middle-of-the-road and forgettable.

 448 characters

3.83/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'll be honest...I really did not think much of this when I drank the first bottle, but by the 6th it really grew on me....this is me reviewing the 6th bottle.

A- Clear gold color, with a nice 1/2 inch white head....the lace was very sticky and left rings around the glass...very long lasting.

S- Crisp, refreshing....citrus, slight spiciness, and a hint of pine.

T- The hops hit early on in the tip of the sip and they stay with the body though its entirety...long lasting bitter finish and again just a hint of pine.

M/D- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation....definitely a session beer.

 607 characters

3.38/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - 1" white head that falls away some and then retains at 1/4". Straw gold colored pale ale with a tornado of carbonation rushing up from the etched glass bottom. Nice full lacing.

S - Herbal and fruity hop aroma. Subdued overall.

T - Very herbal hops in the flavor. Tea leaves. Light malts. Touch of bitterness in the finish. Fairly well balanced.

M - Light bodied, but not really thin. Mid-level carbonation. Dry finish.

D - Easy drinking and pleasant. More of an English style Pale Ale. Multiply the intensity of the flavor by 2 or 3 and we have a winner.

 571 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.48/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Rich golden amber with a definite orangish hue. The cap is pastel lemon parchment in color and is frothysoft, yet is sticky enough to hang around and to throw up a pretty good looking lace display. A classic English pale look that, hopefully, gives some indication of good things to come.

I wish that the nose was more bold because what's appreciated is pretty nice. Let's get the style question out of the way first. As far as I'm concerned, any pale ale that uses Fuggles and East Kent Goldings is an English pale ale. Period. It's hard to get more English than those two varieties. The aroma is soft, golden fruity and lightly earthy.

I like the beer just fine even though it lacks much of any excitement on the palate. Lightly toasted pale malt? Check. Fruity-herbal-earthy-citric, gently bitter hops? Check. Balance and drinkability? Check. So why, I wonder, doesn't Samuel Adams Pale Ale give me warm fuzzies? Dunno.

It might be because there isn't an abundance of ingredients in the bottle. Balance is all well and good if malt and hops are both well-represented; not so good if neither one is all that interested in standing up for itself. This is a fairly well-made, unchallenging beer that everyone and his brother should be able to get his taste buds around. Why isn't it more widely distributed?

The body is pale ale medium, perhaps a half-notch lighter, and the mouthfeel is soft. It was never well-bubbled to begin with--despite the fairly large head--and is beginning to feel a bit lackluster in the mouth by the final few ounces. Passable, easy going, almost in line with the rest of the beer's attributes, but not a standout.

I've been looking for this particular beer for a while now and have never been able to figure out why it's so hard to find. I would think that an easy drinking English pale would be one of BBC's most widely distributed offerings. In any case, I give them credit for not releasing yet another Cascade-hopped APA (even though I love them). Too bad that this one doesn't have a bit more charisma.

 2,051 characters

Photo of lackenhauser
3.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pale golden in color-has a nice head that is gone by the time you set the bottle down from pouring it. Slight hoppy aroma-very faint. Ok malty flavor with a slight balancing hop flavor. No real hop presence to define it as a US Pale Ale. Good body-perhaps its best characteristic actually. An ok beer-I am a big Sam Adams fan but this one falls way short. Just really never gets off the ground in any way, shape or form.

 420 characters

Photo of AChamberlain
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The color was a nice yellowish gold. The taste up front was sweet--a hint of honey. The aftertaste had a synthetic essence and was very disappointing. For three second this was a great beer. If it were not for the aftertaste, this would have gotten much better results.

 269 characters

Photo of DuqTroops
3.35/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - golden yellow in color. little white head.

Smell - hoppy and fruity to smell! excellent pale ale scent.

Taste - great balance of malts and hops. like a circus in your mouth.

Mouthfeel - see above.

Drinkability - great to have a few throughout the evening, but remember moderation.

 305 characters

Photo of abcsofbeer
3.1/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle with Sept 06 freshness date. After a heary pour, the resulting head was about 2 fingers high, white in color and rocky. The head leaves thick, sticky rings of lace.

The color is a pale yellow-orange that is relatively clear.

The aroma is slightly fruity, but, I can't tell which fruit. I detect some graininess in the smell along with a touch of pepper, and, some butter.

The taste is hoppy in the backend with a small amount of malts in the frontside. I don't get much from this beer, but, it is an easy drinker.

 545 characters

Photo of jmbranum
3.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm drinking this as part of a sampler pack.

Golden color, small head.

Sweet aroma with maybe a hint of honey.

Like all of the S.A. offerings I've had so far tonight, the mouthfeel is more on the light side with a pleasant amount of carbonation.

The taste is surprisingly mellow, not as hoppy as I would have expected from an American Pale Ale. I actually enjoy the flavor but have marked it down .5 on taste because it doesn't even remotely fit the style that I think of as being an APA. (as in the hops should be bold enough to smack you in the face) This should be called Samuel Adams Golden Ale or maybe Samuel Adams English Pale Ale.

 650 characters

Photo of orfeu
3.21/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Much more toward the golden side of golden-amber. Sparse carbonation; meager dishwater-suds-colored foam cap. Slight fruit and spice from hops in the aroma -- sorta bleak, to be honest. Taste is firstly fruit (peach/citrus juice), then bitter orange acridity, followed by a toasty biscuit malt finish and an earthy-fruit aftertaste. Certainly seems to be more of an English Pale Ale than a hoppy American version. Mouthfeel is lively with nicely attenuated carbonation -- probably the most impressive aspect of this beer. Drinkability? Eh, I guess, but there are so many more Pale Ales out there (both English and American) that do the job with more style and flavor that this one just oughta be passed up more often than not. Worth a try, I suppose.

 750 characters

Photo of Franchise
4.23/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at Nerax:

This beer poured a deep orange brown leaving a surprisingly large head from the cask. The aroma is very sweet, candied fruit, mild hops, grass, and a wonderful bouquet of flowers. The taste is similiar to the nose, very malty upfront, delicious sweetness balanced with a mild grassy, citrus hop background but malt dominate.

Note: Similiar to the Harpoon Dark, this SA-Pale Ale on cask surprised me and could very well be the surprise/best beer of the night IMO.

 487 characters

Photo of plaid75
3/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a light copper hue with a one finger creamy head. Poor head retention and lacing.

The smell was very subtle. Light traces of hop. Light citrus aroma.

The taste was likewise subtle. Good malt base with light citrus hop character. Has that trademark Sam Adams biscuity/bready aftertaste, which I enjoy.

The mouthfeel was nice. Relatively dry and again, nice aftertaste.

A drinkable ale.

I prefer a bit more hop in an APA. A good beer nonetheless, but not a great example of the style.

 505 characters

Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - the Sammy A offering pours a true golden color, with a lighter tan head that was half a finger thick and slowly laced

S - the hoppy aroma is what hits my nose first, and there is a definite fruity aroma, like cherry or maybe twizzlers, very inviting

T - thankfully, the taste is more blanced than i had predicted, a light malty sweetness with a great hoppy kick, pretty good for a more mass produced Pale Ale

M - decent, would like a slightly stronger hop bite but still pretty good, balance could use it

D - this is high due to its sweetness, i could see it being very easy to pound

 599 characters

Photo of cheers2beers
4.01/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This beer pours a light amber hue with a snow white head that rose about one finger then it disapated rapidly. Lots of beading floating vigorously to the top.

Smell: Grassy and piney hops are present with a slight stench of corn and sour fruits.

Taste: The flavors are much like the nose, grassy and pines,light in malts,sour apples and pears with just hint of alcohol.Not bad just nothing to rave about.

Mouthfeel: Thin bodied,medium carbonation, clean, crisp with slight dry after taste.

Drinkability: I like this beer.Has been a good sessionable beer for me in the past.Not the best, but by far the worst Pale ale.


 657 characters

Photo of JasonCoop
4.05/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

curious to try this, one of the sam adams brews you don't see around as often.

pours a crystal clear yellowish amber color. looks light. nice white foam to it. looks ok.

smells pretty malty for a pale ale. interesting. only subtly hoppy. little earthy hops. a bit roasty even.

taste- not at all what i expected. nicely malty, but not malty sweet. more roasty. balanced out with a nice hop kick. not your typical highly hopped APA at all. hops have earthy slightly piney flavor. a very interesting interpretation. props to sam adams for trying something different. this tastes nice and balanced with a great malt character. finishes crisp and fairly dry.

mouthfeel is fair. about medium. nice dry finish keeps it drinkable. recommended to fans of English brewing. overall better than i expected.

 806 characters

Photo of ryanms3030
2.8/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

At this point, I would never intentionally buy any Sam Adams beers. But a co-worker owed me a six pack for a favor I did him and I requested Sierra Nevada because I know the places around where we work don't have much selection and they didn't even have that so he figured another Pale Ale from Sam Adams would be a good substitute.

Well, it is beer and it was free so I can't complain. I give this beer a score of "average" across the boards except for drinkablility which I would rank below average. There is something about the taste that just didn't sit well for a drinking beer. I had trouble even drinking two of these in one sitting because the more of it I drank the less enjoyable it was going down.

It definately has a hoppy aroma and flavor but in comparison to Sierra Nevada it's not nearly as hoppy and the flavor doesn't compare.

I would never go out of my way to get this beer but in certain situations where maybe you're in a bar or liqour store in some depraved part of the world where this is the only alternative to Bud, Miller and Coors then it would be an ok option.

 1,097 characters

Photo of scottoale
3.23/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. brown bottle with a purchased before date notched: May...2004. It wasn't cellared per se, I just bought it old. It pours a nice gold-amber with a half inch of off-white head that leaves quickly, with very little lacing.

Smells of slightly roasted malts with hints of hops in the background, definitely has that Sam Adam's malt character to it.

Tastes of light roasty and a bit nutty malts, semi-sweet at first, then tones down to a bitter, astringent finish. Feels good in the mouth, a little creamy, with light in body and carbonation as well. It actually tastes pretty good and fits the style. Nuthin fancy, just an easy drinkin, average pale ale from a big craft brewery that's consistant.

 704 characters

Photo of acarroll413
2.48/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a glass.

A- It had an amber color, a bit darker than I was expecting but that's a step in the right direction. Nice and crisp looking anyway, with a big fluffy "mother-of-pearl" head. Good color for a pale.

S- Wow, this may have been one of the worst smelling beers I've ever had. It smelled really really strong and was very unpleasant. I'm sorry I can't describe this any more but all I can say is whew!

T- Strong wheat flavor and light hops flavor. Not as potent as I had expected but certainly not bad.

M- Tasted just fine in the mouth, went down smoothly but was a little bit thin, even for an APA.

D- I wouldn't drink it again, but I'm glad I tried it. Definitely not the best APA. If you can find it, go for the Berkshire APA or EPA.

 787 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.15/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's beer. That's about all you can say. Nothing outstanding, but not much wrong. Lacking of character when compared to other great Pale Ales. Lightly toasty, yeasty, and spicy, but not enough to make a statement. Aromas are light, but refreshing. Flavors are a bit bland (maybe I've been spoiled with bigger pale ales.) Caramel and barley malt in low levels. Hops add a light metalic luster. Light and refreshing body with crisp carbonation. Finishes lightly dry and airy with a mild sweetness. Good beer, just don't expect much.

 530 characters

Samuel Adams Pale Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.47 out of 5 with 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.