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

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 MrHurmateeowish
4.27/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle from Florian's. Light amber translucent body with a quarter iinch of off-white head. Aroma is dominated by hops with a little malt. Tastes hoppy overall, with some roasted malt. Medium bodied. Very drinkable and pleasant. What else can I say? Much better than expected! I like it, definitely be getting this one again.

 331 characters

Photo of mynie
4.04/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours very light for an APA, dark gold with a bright fluffy white head. And there's these little black bits in the first I thought I had a dirty glass. I drank that beer and poured a new one into a new, freshly-washed glass. Still, little black bits. I pick them out and they smell like burnt hops. Strange, but not bad.

Smells of very rounded English hops. More sweet than bitter, with a very nice and balanced aroma. The hops dance against Boston Beer's distinctive bread yeast.

Tastes much like a less-hopped, sweeter Boston Ale than an APA. The profile is distinctly British, with the Fuggle hops taking center stage at the start of the sip and moving quickly into a sweet biscuit malt middle and finish.

It's very nice, quite solid, but I don't think this is an APA. It's too light and bitter to be an ESB, and it fit the description of an English Pale Ale almost perfectly.

No matter what, it's worth a buy.

 937 characters

Photo of dungaree
2.96/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle. Nice adequate head. Nice golden color. Smells of muted malts and a bit musty. Could have more to it as far as smell is concerned. The taste is pleasant but light hoppiness, not what I've come to expect from an American Pale Ale. Overall, decent, but Sam Adams has better brews than this one.

 322 characters

Photo of tgbljb
3.8/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a pale golden color with moderate white puffy head. Good retention.
Smell is light with a touch of sweetish malt present. Light fruitiness.
Taste matches the smell with light malt character.
Nice and refreshing without going too far.
Would be a good session beer.

 274 characters

Photo of bigpatvoodoodad
2.7/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is my bench mark for comparison to other Pale Ales. I bought this since I like pale ales. I must say that the first sip took me by surprise, and not in a good way. The aftertaste was a little off by my standards for a pale ale. The smell is ok and the mouthhfeel ok. In comparison to ther pales I've tried, this one will rank lower. However, it may suit someone else's taste. It really isn't a bad beer, just not for me. I like the more bitter after taste of SN, plus it is a bit spicier.

 511 characters

Photo of Wasatch
3.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden yellow color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tan head which quickly disappears, nice lacing afterwards. Scents of hops, malts, and spices. The taste is hoppy, and kinda sweet, with a nice clean finish. Medium body. Very drinkable, another very tasty brew from SA.

 290 characters

Photo of jasonjlewis
4.47/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the best english pale ale that I've tried. It's a fairly malty brew and I do prefer american pale ales, but I really enjoy this brew.

This brew has a great head and retention. The smell is strong of caramel malts. It's very very inviting. The taste is malty with a nice hop balance. Caramel malts are dominant.

Mouthfeel is not crisp but clings fairly well.

This is easily a sessionable brew.

 409 characters

Photo of uberabr
3.03/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light yellow/amber color, nice and clear. Carbonation is weak/absent in the glass but comes forward a bit in the mouth, creating a nice feel. A moderate head forms and dies following a hard pour leaving slight traces of lace on the glass. Aroma is of citrus and hoppy. Taste leaves much to be desired. A bitter, grassy malt.

Above average for a commercial beer, but try Sierra Nevada if you're looking for a good, easy to find APA. I just don't get the Sam Adams appeal.

 474 characters

Photo of RBorsato
4.15/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear light gold with a nice off-white head and nice active carbonation. Nice light English hop aroma at first gives way to a toasty malt character. Very nicely balanced toasted malt and English hop flavors. Light-medium bodied and nicely balanced with a light bitter finish.

More of an English Pale Ale in my mind. Fairly nice and seems better than the one time they brewed this as a one-off a few years back.

Per Label: "Fuggles and East Kent Golding hops"

Per BBC website: Blend of 2-row malts.

Enjoy Before: Sep '06
Tasted: 08/08/06

 549 characters

Photo of MDekker
4.28/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a filtered orange brown, with 2 fingers of head off a hard pour. Good lacing as the beer went down. The aroma was dry, with notes of citrus, a little banana, and hops. The taste totally did it for me: banana, a pleasant, crisp apple flavor and just the right amount of bitterness, which gave it nice balance. It felt...clean. However, the cleanliness made it feel a little watery, too, but mostly it was fine. I could and will consume more of this brew.

 463 characters

Photo of Freshie
4.08/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Didn't go into this beer expecting much. I have always found this style to be too lackluster for me, except for maybe Sierra Nevada.

Pours clear golden colur with visible carbonation. Nice head with good lacing.

Smells of light hops and some fruit/citric aromas.

Very tasty. Toasted malt character, sweet, with bitter hops coming later. Medium Body. The active carbonation lends to the dry finish very well.

Very Drinkable and enjoyable.


 461 characters

Photo of dblinkhorn
3.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - Pours with a white head that is somewhat soapy but still a decent amount of smoothness about it. The head very quickly dies away to become a thin layer of lacing on top of the brew. There is almost no lacing throughout the drink. The brew itself is a pale straw yellow color.

Smell - Slightly light, slightly roasted malt character makes the foundation of this brew's aroma. The hops smell clean, crisp, and citrusy but are far from potent. There is a slight alcohol scent from the brew, about what you would except for this ABV.

Taste - Crisp, clean, and balanced. There are obvious notes of those trademark pale ale hops, but they are quite toned down. The malt is way, way in the background on this brew, and is mainly showcased at the finish and into the aftertaste a bit. The aftertaste is also accompanied by a moderate earthy property.

Mouthfeel - Light-bodied with some moderate bite on the tongue from a level of carbonation that is a bit strong, in my opinion, for this particular brew. The brew itself is not that smooth and actually has a somewhat coarse character to it. Not too pleasant for the mouth.

Drinkability - This stuff goes down almost as easily as water. The flavors are very light, along with just about everything else with this beer. It is a typical macrobrew style ale, if not slightly better quality.

Overall, the best feature of this beer is its refreshing character and the overall crispness of drinking it. This is a beer to drink to get intoxicated, or to quench thirst (as you would do with cold water). You certainly won't be drinking this beer for its oustanding flavor, but it is decent nonetheless. Worth a try.

 1,724 characters

Photo of denjen
3.32/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dennis: The problem I always have with pale ales is that more often than not they taste just like IPA's. Much like an English brown compared to an American brown, this beer at least doesn't try to rise above it's own destiny. The hop blend is definitely something you don't come across very often. No cascade or columbia here, but rather fuggles and east kent goldings. Either way, it's easy to drink, reasonably high in alcohol (5.25%) and probably very cheap.
Jen: Samuel Adams seems to always be a good, keep in your fridge, kind of beer. This one just adds to the decent brews they put out. There is a nice blend of "not the usual" hops here which gives it a different taste than other pale ales. It has a lighter body with a fair amount of carbonation, making this an easy to drink, and easy to like beer. This light, refreshing brew is a great addition to any summer BBQ.

 879 characters

Photo of sacfly
3.32/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz, enjoy before Oct, drank Sept 2nd.
Pours a shade of yellow with particles in suspension. Head is thin, and dissipates rapidly. Aroma is on the sweet side for a pale ale with a hint of floral hops peaking through the malt. Taste follows the aroma with the hops playing a slightly larger role. Aftertaste is mildly bitter with an earthy character. Lackluster by any American pale ale standards, but not offensive. Looking closer at the bottle, it lists East Kent Goldings and Fuggles as the hop varieties. Drinks much more like an English Pale ale than American.

 566 characters

Photo of davidshamoon
3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Samuel Adams Pale Ale is no epic beer, but it's not aiming to be. What it does, it does right.

A thick, white head sets off the amber color of this refreshing ale. Its palate of flavors is fairly simple, but delicious. I tend to be sensitive to hops, so that's what dominated my tasting. Which is not to say that the hops were jarring or unpleasant -- like most other Sam Adams beers I've enjoyed, this one is expertly blended.

I have to recommend sampling this beer with some sharp, cheddar cheese. Other hard cheeses would probably be tasty, too.

 555 characters

Photo of AustinBeerLvr
4.15/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an excellent offering from the BBC. Actually, it's one of my favorite Pale Ales out there. I realize it's not nearly as hoppy or strong tasting as other Pale Ales out there, but the beer is very well balanced, and this is, in my opinion, better than just having the strongest hop flavor.

The beer pours a very distinct light orange color. As its consumed, it leaves a very nice lacing on the glass. The real distinct thing about this brew is its scent. I really can't pinpoint exactly what it smells like, but it has a very good distinct smell of some earthy hops and floral scents. Upon the first sip, I found the beer has an incredibly clean, crisp, earthy, and very refreshing taste. As it warms a little on your tongue, it finishes with a somewhat bitter hop bite mixed with some floral notes to balance everything out.

Like I said, this is by far one of my favorite (if not my favorite) pale ale out there. If you are looking for something that is an overwhelmingly hoppy beer, this is not for you. If you want a pale ale that has a fairly light to medium mouthfeel that is well balanced, this is your brew. I'm looking forward to having a few more of these this Labor Day Weekend! Cheers.

 1,210 characters

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.48/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

An enjoyable APA. Pours out to a golden hued color with a nice head of white foam that calms at around 1/2 inch. Medium carbonation. Aromas of dry hops, grains and a light maltiness. Not bad. Taste is fairly dry, with elements of grain, dry hops, herbs, fresh veggies and a leafy woodiness. Interesting. Mouthfeel is nominal, with a touch of hop oil on the tongue. Drinkability is pretty good. A nice summer offering, that would pair well with fall months as well. Worth a try.

 477 characters

Photo of rarevos
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into pint glass.

A: Pours a golden-yellow with moderate head. Head dissipates to a solid thin layer of foam across the surface.

S: Malty, mostly, with a buttered roll aroma (I'm assuming this is the diacetyl I've heard so much about?).

T: Again, buttered roll up front with a slight sweetness. Finish is lightly bitter, and features a return of the butter.

M: Light-bodied.

D: So based on the buttery component, I'm guessing this is more an English PA than an American one. It's easy to drink for sure. I'm not sure how to score this at all. While I prefer more hops in my PAs, I'm not sure docking points here is wise, since it's not an American style (read: hoppy) PA to begin with. I'd have another.

 729 characters

Photo of Enola
2.83/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer just has a hop taste that is really unpleasant. The beer looks a little lighter than a typical pale ale. The smell is bittersweet. The taste is just a hop bitterness that is not a good hoppiness. There is a harshness to the beer. The mouthfeel is overwhelming bitter. A bitter beer that is not smooth. Below average in the style.

 339 characters

Photo of Budlum
3.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with one inch of foamy white head lasting well in to the first few sips. Amber, pale body with a strong orange hue. Displays quite a bit of carbonation. Nice lacing on the glass.

Sweet and aromatic on the nose. Very fresh and clean hops mixed with a sweet and bready malt smell. The presence of pine and vanilla is notable.

Immediately loaded with fresh hops providing a pine and nutty taste. The hops are followed by sweet and toasted malty flavors. A fine balance between the malt and hops unveils some vanilla flavors. Pleasant finish with faint hops dominated by a malty sweetness.

Mouthfeel is creamy and light at the same time. Great effervesence adds to the enjoyment.

Drinkability is great. A very refreshing brew. The flavors and balance make this an enjoyable session choice.

 806 characters

Photo of flannelman808
3.06/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

not what i expected from a sam adams brew. Its an amber almost honey color and has a strong bannana smell. The beer is very sweet and not hoppy whatsoever. It seemed more like a lite beer with little taste then a pale ale. The bannana is so overpowering (and I dont like bannanas) I could barley drink it. Very dissapointing

 324 characters

Photo of kdog630
3.02/5  rDev -13%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not what I expected from a beer calling itself a pale ale. Where is the hop aroma? This poured only slightly darker than your average pils. Light gold with a decent head. Not as dark as a real pale and definitely no hops to speak of.

Flavor was malt with very little hops. I was beginning to wonder if the 6-pack was mislabled, but I don't think I'll buy another to find out. Just another disappointment from Sam Adams as far as I'm concerned.

 446 characters

Photo of jackorain
3.38/5  rDev -2.6%
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 kimcgolf
2.82/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

While Sam Adams beers generally do not rate at the top of the great beer lists (try as they might to make us think they’re craft brewers), most are pretty decent. Unfortunately, this Pale Ale was way off the mark. Had the golden orange appearance of an APA, but there was little aroma, a bland appearance, and a short, stale finish. I’ll rate this above your BMC macros, but not by much.

 389 characters

Photo of wcudwight
4.12/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden amber with a 1/4" fizzy white head that quickly recedes to a halo around the top. Thin whispy spotty lacing. Boring appearance.
Smell is of sugary malts, honey and flowers.
Pretty malty for a pale ale. But it works fine as there is just enough floral and piney hop flavors to round it all out. Also hints of honey and bananna. It's a very tasty beer.
Crisp and clean in the mouth.
This is an outstanding tasting session ale. It's a very different take on the style, but a very good brew. Somewhat similar to Highland's St. Therese PA.

 559 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.