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Pale Ale | Okanagan Spring Brewery

75 Reviews
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Pale AlePale Ale

Brewed by:
Okanagan Spring Brewery
British Columbia, Canada | website

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Clear and copper coloured, it is fruity on the palate and hearty in hops with a nice, round finish. We are honoured that Pale Ale continues to be BC’s most popular craft brew.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-19-2003

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Reviews: 75 | Ratings: 179
Photo of Sammy
2.38/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Very pale, minimum fizzy head. Carbonation like soda. Metallic and dry, with minimal hops. Not finishable, a drain pour. More corn than malt, a drop of fruit but overridden by mustiness, and yes I did detect some brown sugar.
The whole thing is feh. Mediocre effort.

 267 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle. The 'Extra Special' seems to have been dropped from the name of this beer, as of their most recently packaging update. That said, the new label has way too much stuff going on, as the different angles of text practically make me dizzy before even partaking in the product itself.

This beer pours a clear, bright medium copper amber hue, with three fingers of puffy, foamy, and even a little creamy off-white head, which leaves some undulating streaks of cloudy lace around the glass as it quickly melts away.

It smells of semi-sweet biscuit and caramel malts, some decent, yet muddled orchard fruitiness, and a wee bit of earthy, grassy, and leafy hops. The taste is more biscuit malt, a bit of removed bready caramel, faintly astringent apple cores, and surprisingly mild earthy, weedy hops.

The carbonation is moderate, if a bit fizzy at times, the body a tame medium-light weight, and kind of blandly smooth. It finishes off-dry, with a bit more of that now dominant, yet still understated biscuity malt.

Not a particularly full-flavoured pale ale, but enjoyable enough on a warm patio, in a much warmer season and locale, as the memory of this offering will stay in my mind, if not exactly so for now, and moving forward.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.62/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured on tap into a large 20oz pint glass (god these things are huge) at le Feu Sacré in Quebec City.

Amber red to orange body, quite clear with a solid off white to caramel head. Some cola carbonation from the sides, but mostly a nice streaming crawling pin head bubbles. Not bad.

Nose is quite dry and bisquity. Fruity esters of slight cherry, with a good balance. Smells fairly inviting surprisingly.

Palate mixes most of what is expected on the nose. Toasty malt body with classic ester fruit. Mouthfeel seem rather ordinary but tolerable, with about medium carbonation. Some density in the palate but big on yeast it seems.

Overall this really reminds me more of an English style. It's alright you could do a lot worse.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.65/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mid September 2005.

Presentation- Had on tap at a pub in Invermere, BC. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance- Golden amber pour with a large white pock marked head. Lacing was average.

Smell- Nice amount of fruity scented hops with a touch of medium roasted malt.

Taste- Nicely balanced brew with the malt slightly overpowering the hops. A bit fruity with a larger hit of lighly smoky malt flavor.

Mouthfeel- Just a touch on the watery side, with about a medium carbonation level.

Drinkability- Pretty decent job for a pale ale. I would get this one again if I found in on tap again.

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Photo of liamt07
2.91/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Fanatics in Kingston, served in an imperial pint.

Pours a clear amber with a dense white head, mild retention and leave some spotty webbed lace. High carbonation visible in the body. Nose is almost nothing, some mild hops, plain pale malt and some grain. Taste is similar, some general sweetness, grain, plain malt and some odd red apple notes. Medium high carbonation and a lighter medium body. An easy drinker and unoffensive, but truly unexciting and definitive of mediocrity.

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Photo of biegaman
3.25/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Canyon Creek, in Toronto.

This is indeed pale but not exactly without colour: tanned gold, to be exact. When served to me the beer's head was inflated like a giant balloon. Like a balloon, it gradually lost its air, shriveled, and eventually contracted into nothing. That being the case, I'm sure you've figured out already that it was incapable of leaving any lacing behind.

It's a positive sign that the brewery doesn't shy off the fact that their pale ale has a more hearty, more discernible maltiness than most its commercial competitors. The fruity esters and whiff of bitterness also suggest Okanagan doesn't subscribe to the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" motto. This doesn't have a ton of character - but at least it has some.

This ale maintains its 'easy going-ness' despite having a thicker, more bitter profile than probably any other beer you're likely to find on tap at a commercial establishment. The cereal graininess here is appreciable and wholesome - that alone makes this a good alternative to the ubiquitous macro offerings. Nevermind that it also tastes much better.

Its bitterness may be practically anemic relative to many North American microbrewed pale ales, but it'd probably be considered gargantuan by anyone acclimatized to mainstream lagers. Indeed, the fruity ale yeast esters and more enunciated hop bitterness are both present in the finish, which is significantly fuller than that of a lager.

I'm glad the brewery dropped "extra special" from the beer's name because, frankly, nothing about it is. It's a middle-of-the-road pale ale with no real faults but equally little character to match. It is a decent pint but unless you're the type accustomed to ordering plainer, more mainstream beers it's doubtful you'll care much for a second.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle poured into pint glass 2/11/11

A clear light copper with lots of bubbles feeding a short lived two finger cream colored head that laves a few patches of lace

S fruity leafy hops and a little toffee, a slight metallic smell reminds me of a handful of pennies

T not far from the smell but with a little rye bread and less metal, there's more toffee and its a little more earthy

M medium bodied with lots of bubbles almost turning it to foam but just right, a slight aftertaste lingers faintly

O basic but decent, not going to excite you in any way but easy enough to drink

brings me back to my younger days when I could smell this stuff being brewed from my mothers house, it smells better after its been brewed but still not going to amaze you

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Photo of spinrsx
3.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

341ml Bottle

Appearance - Clear copper colour with an average size frothy and fizzy off-white coloured head. There is an above average amount of carbonation and there is some fair/good lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for 4 minutes before it was gone completely.

Smell - Malts, hops, caramel

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and the beer comes across as slightly watery and thin. I can taste lots of caramel sweetness and malts. There are also some notes of tea and a slight hop bitterness. The beer finishes with a malty sweet aftertaste.

Overall - Not a bad beer by any means.. just not really anything worth revisiting. I suppose I would have it again if my choices at a restaurant were limited.

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Photo of tbeckett
2.95/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a copper or dark gold colour. Bright. Mild carbonation. Half finger off white head fades to a cap fast. No lacing but the cap remains.

S - Caramel, toffee, some gentle earthy hops. Fruity malts.

T - Tobacco, some slight earthy hops, grain and caramel. A little soapy. Something seems unsettled. The aroma was much better. If this were listed as an English version of the style it would work, but as an American one it has too little hop character. Grainy and sweet for the most part.

M - Decent carbonation with a medium body. No bitterness. Overly sweet I think.

O/D - A miss for the style and not overly interesting either way. Not bad but not worth seeking out. Run of the mill.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.47/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz draft at "The Keg" in Vancouver, BC

appearance: surprisingly dark mahogany-amber...body struck me as very full for a pale ale, light tan head

smell: mostly bready malt on the nose, just some light faint hops, a little musty

taste: nutty, bready, caramel and toasted malt, not too much hop to speak of...just not a very strong APA

mouthfeel: medium bodied, above average carbonation

drinkability: decent

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Copper color with a thin off-white head and a little bit of lacing down the glass.

S: I was expecting some hops, but I got a lot of maltiness in the smell. Some grain and roasted malt aroma as well.

T: Smooth and malty but pretty one dimensional. Not something I'd get again.

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Photo of kwjd
3.27/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Splitting a pitcher of this. Pours a copper brown colour with thin off-white head. Almost no lacing. Smells of sweet caramel and very minimal hops. Flavour is quite sweet. Is this really an American pale ale? Low carbination. Ok beer to drink, but nothing special at all.

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Photo of canucklehead
3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is the best selling non-macro beer in BC and I have very mixed feelings about it. One one hand it is very drinkable with a good balance but on the other hand it is boring and safe. This beer represents all that is wrong with BC craft brewing; safe amounts of hops and no attempt to challenge the drinker. I don't this beer but I feel it represents an unability to progress like Oregon and Wash.

 399 characters

Photo of BigBry
3.5/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pint on-tap at Fogg 'n Suds in Vancouver.
Color is dark gold with a short white head that disappates quickly. Not as hoppy a smell as other Pale Ales, good mix of malt and hops. Blend of malt and a subdued hop flavor. Doesn't have the same kick as many other APAs. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, not quite full flaovered and bodied as expected. A slightly more flavorful step up from most macro offerings, and works as a option to other main stream beers.

 450 characters

Photo of beerguy101
2.98/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pale Amber color. Small head. Aroma is fruity and spicy. A medium bodied pale ale. Malty and slightly sweet, slightly hoppy. Mouthfeel is full and round. Smooth taste, full flavor. Finish is crisp and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet. Nice crisp, refreshing beer.

 267 characters

Photo of IronDjinn
3.38/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a really nice looking pale ale, a clear amber colour topped by a short tuft of creamy white head before it recedes. Aroma contains some buttery malt and with a sprig of hops added. The flavour is somewhat subdued, but it is a subdued blend of malt and hops. In fact the flavour tends to become more pronounced as the ale starts to warm. It all starts to redeem again from a satisfying full mouthfeel. Would make a good summer session ale while standing in front of the barbecue.

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Photo of safaricook
3.49/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

English style pale ale with a delicate flowery aroma and a slightly caramelly malt backbone and a somewhat minerally, sharp bitterness. Light body and a little overcarbonated for the style (at least from the tab at the Mariott in Downtown Toronto)

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.25/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bottle that claims this to be BC's #1 craft brew; this APA is a clear copper colour without much of a head (I feel that this was probably a result of my pouring style though). A thin island of foam in the center fights a losing battle to maintain cohesion. Some lacing on the sides, but not much. Looks fairly heavily carbonated. Smell is very faint but otherwise ok; pale malts, light caramel sweetness, maybe some floral hops but that could be my imagination.

Taste is nice but nothing exciting. Despite the fact that malts dominate the smell, there is an acceptable (if muted) hop presence throughout the sip. Grainy malts and faint caramel notes mix with this slight hoppy bitterness, which lingers for a bit in the finish. Earthy is a good way to describe the overall profile. Light to medium-bodied with a good bite from the carbonation.

I like this, but as other reviewers have noted there is nothing Extra Special about it, which I suppose could be why it was removed from the name. The flavour could be described as both balanced and bland, and both adjectives are equally accurate. Worth one try; very sessionable, and potentially a good gateway beer, but will probably not impress serious beer geeks.

[Updated Sept. 7 2015]

I picked up a brewery sampler with 3 bottles of this inside it, and figured I'd give it a brief comment - I only seem to drink this beer every two years or so, anyway. This pale ale is not even remotely interesting, but it is inoffensive and easy to drink. I've updated this review a few times now and previously left the original score intact, but this beer just doesn't impress me these days. Mediocre, but still better than a lot of the pseudo-macro ales (Rickard's, Keith's, etc.), although I'd probably take any one of those AK single hop ales over this.

Final Grade: 3.25, a C+.

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Photo of chickenm
2.96/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a medium amber color with a thin white head that leaves a bit of lacing on the glass. This had very little aroma, with a tiny bit of caramel sweetness and some faint floral hops. The taste again is fairly mild and bland with caramel malt and a slightly bitter finish. The mouthfeel is decent with a medium-light body. Overall this this isn't too bad of a beer, but it's boring with very little character.

 410 characters

Photo of mick303
3.28/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beer is a nice full copper brown, with strong carbonation and about two finger head, which is jut off-white.

The nose is quite fruity, also picking up a lot of malt. Nice bit of kick, sort of light toffee apple.

The taste has got a nice body of caramel malt, with apple fruitiness. Balance from the hops is alright, if understated. Drinks quite nicely, good flavour intensity but something feels like its missing.

Mouthfeel is alright, mostly carbonation though. Some dry malts to the end. Generally light bodied, and the aftertaste is malty and a bit stale.

Easy to drink, quite refreshing. Has some assets but could improve to make it more impressive, no glaring faults, and has a good amount of malty character to it.

 727 characters

Photo of DenisKolkin
2.77/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

341 ml bottle served cold into a pint glass. Received as part of a gift pack for a birthday gift.

Appearance - clear rich golden color with some amber hues. Few visible bubbles and a small one finger white head with mediocre retention. No lacing left behind either.

Smell - mild mealtimes with a slight sweet vega give hoppy funk. Not unpleasant but not nearly as crisp almost pale ales. A little bit macro- ish.

Taste - an adjunct like sweet corn flavor followed by a brief earthy hop flavor. Some tea like characteristics in there. Not what I'm looking for in a pale ale.

Mouthfeel - a little flat on the plate and on the tongue, thin bodied and a bit watery.

Overall - a mediocre pale ale that has more macro- ish charactistics than just about any other playable I've had.

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Photo of hopsolutely
3.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not an inspiring "American" styled ale and without any hint of hops that I can discern, but would probably serve as a good gateway for a macro lager drinker into a world of better brewing / quality ingredients?

Bright amber colour with decent head and lacing - looks appealing. Mouthfeel is light, but carbonation level pleasant. Aroma is uncomplicated and simply of sweet caramelized malts. This translates directly into the flavour, which doesn't have a lot of complexity either. Not a hint of a "west coast" or "c" hop to be found - more disappointing given the brewery's geographic location.

Not a beer I’d purchase again unless choices were truly limited.

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Photo of leaddog
3.53/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a copper hue with a finger width of bubbly white head.

Smell - Earthy hops, hint of lemon/citrus, slight nuttiness.

Taste - Nice balance of earthy, fruity, and nutty flavours. Leaves a pleasant light bitterness on the palate.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. A little watery, but still nice body.

Overall - An enjoyable APA by Okanagan. I like that it is lightly hopped. Also quite enjoy the nutty hints of flavour. Not something I would drink sessionally, but still better than the macros out there.

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Photo of kjyost
3.41/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Purchased as part of a mixed 'craft' sampler pack put out by the brewery (3 of 4). Undated. Poured into a tulip

A: Copper, clear. White head that descends quickly but left blobs of lacing.

S: Fruity esters, mainly apple. Not much else going on here. Personally I would like a bit of hop presence in the nose. As time passes an earthy presence emerged, along with a bit of malt sweetness (caramel / toffee).

T: Initially came through as quite malty, without being cloying or sweet. Some earthyiness and next to no esters oddly enough. Not much hop presence is a major disadvantage.

M: Low carb, feels a little thin

D: Surprisingly good. I wasn't expecting this. It is in no way as good as an SN Pale, but it is a good pale by macro standards and could be a decent baby-step away from macro for some...

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.42/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a shaker pint glass, snagged from a mixed pack. This pale ale is a coppery brown color with a decent amount of biege foam, maybe two or three inches upon initial pour. Aroma evokes some dark bread, musty grape, hints of citrus rind (mostly lemon). The malts are more assertive on the nose than the hops. Ditto on the palate. Initial taste is dark crust, some caramel, nut shells or old rancid walnut meat, dusty white peppercorn, lemon and watermelon rind but these are particularly subtle. There's a hint of hard candy fruitiness and some peppery spice but surprisingly little hop flavor for an APA. Rather tannic as well, with some grain husk emerging in the dryish finish. Highly carbonated and on the thin side for the style. I don't know, I am not sold on this one (or this brewery for that matter). It is too malty and in a coarse "cheap lager" way, and the hops are OK from an earthy bitterness standpoint but rather lacking in the flavor department.

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Pale Ale from Okanagan Spring Brewery
76 out of 100 based on 75 ratings.
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