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Pale Ale | Okanagan Spring Brewery

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Pale AlePale Ale

Brewed by:
Okanagan Spring Brewery
British Columbia, Canada

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: 76 | Ratings: 182
Photo of evlu1441
3.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is becoming increasingly popular in western canada. It's now easy to find in almost any liquor store and many restaurants. One of the "classic" craft brews in this country. It's been a long while since I've had it.

It pours a transparent orange-amber colour. There is a goof amount of bubbles floating up to the top, culminating in a thing creamy-ish head. It's fairly standard looking, but in to way is that a bad thing.

The aroma is warm and malty, though it ventures dangerously close to wet/grainy. there is some slightly fruity hops coming through too. Not bad at all.

The flavour is slightly underwhelming. Slight toasty malts up front to start, it fades into some faint hoppy aroma that comes through as the malty notes become sweet. It finishes with some faint bitterness.

Overall, I can see why this beer is so popular. Sadly, it seems to be because it is kind of inoffensive on all counts, while being slightly more of an adventure for people who are into Alexander Keith's, etc. I'm not thrilled with this one, but maybe my expectations were too high.

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Photo of bylerteck
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 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 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 Matt1516
3.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3


I tried to bring the wife to a new brewpub in Laval but when it seemed too much like a dive--we redirected to an NDG pub with good food but mediocre on-tap offerings.

This was the least offensive available: A golden appearance with slight head (could be barkeep's doing) and no lacing.

Smells of graininess and honey.

Not too complicated taste: roasted grains and light maltiness--very little hop action. Slick after-taste.

A perfectly acceptable hot-weather patio beer--pair with hot wings.

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Photo of cyrenaica
2.61/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

341ml bottle
5.0% ABV
I tried this beer on April 5, 2011 after purchasing a 6-pack from one of my local LCBO outlets. The beer poured a tyranbsulcent copper colour with a 1" light brown head. The aroma was floral hops and grainy malt. The mouthfeel was medium bodied with medium carbonation. The flavour was grainy malt with some residual sweetness that didn't sit well with me.

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

Now re-branded as "Pale Ale" and sports a completely different look than currently listed. Says it was first brewed in B.C. in '89 and recommends a serving temperature of 9-11C.

Nice honey-copper colour with a big tan head that leaves a moderate amount of lace and settles as a long-lasting collar.

This really reminds me of the two 40-50s-style ales McAuslan from Montreal makes. Extra sweet, overripe fruits, toasted malts, a smoky woodiness. Sort of chalkiness. Honey comes through after warming.

Quite sweet. Lots of malt with a decent dryness. Nice buttery note in the finish. Hoppy crispness/tartness comes through long after it warms. Definitely tastes best warm.

Malty, yet crisp. fairly low in carbonation, but the long-lasting film creates a nice creaminess on the back-end.

Would make a better modern red lager/amber than a "pale ale" that most people these days associate with a hop blowout, however this is a pleasant old-school North American take on the style. Maybe a bit pricey to be a regular, but could be a hit at dinner parties with less, but somewhat adventurous buddies tired of Kieth's.

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

A: This beer looks more like an ale than a pale ale, it has a nice golden-brown colour.

S: Hmm, something interesting is going on with the smell, it’s quite complex. I can make out malts, and maybe fruits.

T: It tastes hoppy and fruity and it has a not-too-bitter aftertaste. Unfortunately, it tastes watered down, it would be excellent otherwise.

M: It has a medium body and medium carbonation; it feels creamy and crisp.

O: This is nothing horrible but nothing that great either. I would put it on par with macro “pale” ales, but it would be much much much better if it weren’t watered down.

PS. How does this have a lower rating than Okanagan Spring’s 1516 Bavarian Lager? I disagree with everybody’s opinion but my own.

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Photo of GodOfBeer
3.43/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber with a thin white head, decent lacing. Not very pale for a "Pale Ale."

Smells pretty nutty and malty, not to the style of pale ale at all.

Tastes nutty, some caramel and finishes slightly hoppy. This is more like a Nut Brown Ale or an Amber Ale, not a Pale Ale!

If this were a Amber Ale it would be decent, but for a Pale Ale it falls short.

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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 Mit
3.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a-pours a dark clear amber...very little head.

s-citrus...malts....kinda thin though.

t-hmmmm...some hoppy bitterness at the back of my throught. Very mild malt...kinda thin and unimpressive as the smell indicated.

m-pretty good for the abv.

d-a nice lawn mower beer....I would get this again for sure.

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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 shamus
2.88/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I love Pale Ale, but I do not love this. There is something tinny and rubbery in the flavour of this bottle. it looks fine and has a nice foamy head but it's lacking in the hops and malt departments so really that makes some kind of beery water. Too bad.

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Photo of mountsnow1010
3.16/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

First time with the new system so bear with me.

A - Amber with a thin white head that dissipates quickly.
S - Not too much, a bit of a floral aroma, but nothing extremely notable.
T - Nice balance of hops and malts; I would have to say that the flavors are somewhat muted.
MF - Clean and crisp. Real easy drinker, pairs very well with fish and chips. Cuts through the grease really nicely.
O - Nice, but nothing to write home about. C+.

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Photo of CrazyMike
4/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber-copper apperance with medium head that sticks around for awhile, decent lace. Has a carmel, grain smell with a hint of malt.

Taste is overpowered by malt and carmel. Small hint of brown sugar And grass. Very earthy taste overall. Moderate body with moderate carbonation. Aftertaste has a lingering maltiness.

Overall, a this is a decent and well rounded pale ale. Nothing spectacular or bad, just good to drink. Would highly recommend.

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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 marty21
3.38/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear copper with a fingers worth of white head. Settles to a nice cap and left quite a bit of lacing.

S: Maybe some caramel malt but mostly got some grains.

T: Mostly caramel malt with some faint grainy notes.

M: Light carbonation with a light to medium body.

D: This is not really a Pale Ale but for whatever it is it's not too bad. I would easily drink it again if offered.

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Photo of Methodd
4.1/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is not an APA or Pale Ale of any sort as far as I can tell. If I were to rate this as an APA I'd have to give it a failing grade. If I were to rate this as an Amber or Red Ale I'd have to say it's pretty darn good. I like this beer and from now on if I buy it again I'll be buying it as an Amber. It's got a nice amber color and produces lots of off-white head and leaves little to no lacing. Carbonation is moderate with very little after taste. They really should rename this as an Amber or Red.

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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 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 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.

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Photo of DoctorStrangiato
3.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured a 341-ml bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - copper, as the name suggests. A moderate pour created a 1/2 inch soda-like head that subsided quickly. Some surface bubbles remain as a result of the high carbonation.

Smell - sweet, creamy malt aromas with the slightest detectable of cotton candy, believe it or not. Fairly gentle nose with just a hint of alcohol.

Taste - some active sweetness up front that gives way to a modest taste profile of sweet malt and a fading finish. Subsequent tastings suggest a near-fruit flavour toward the end.

Mouthfeel - on the whole a little too active and lacking balance. Goes from peppery to an extended sweetness - not a great segue.

Drinkability - nothing wrong with this brew but not the best and nothing special either. I've enjoyed a few and likely would have it again if offered.

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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 JohnnyBarman
3.14/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at McGinnis FrontRow in Waterloo. My third choice bar of the evening (the other two were full), and, having been given a slate of boring macros available on tap, was given a rare chance to try something different.

Poured an amber hue, left about an inch of head, and surprisingly, it stuck around, at least in the form of a ring around the glass until the end. Actually, nothing wrong with it appearance wise.

The smell was non-existent. Maybe got a bit of malt and floral notes, but almost nothing. Not offensive, just...nothing.

The taste wasn't bad. Never found it offensive, and considering the horrible alternatives, I was rather pleased with this brew. A bit of skunkiness, but generally a good mix of malts, caramel and lemon. Not exciting, but decent.

Mouthfeel was thin, but it did the trick.

Actually, not a bad beer. Had no problems getting this one down, nothing offensive. A good pitcher beer, and one I'll probably get again. Like running into a friend after leaving a bad blind date, this beer wasn't exactly what I wanted, but it saved the evening.

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Photo of Grunewald
3.6/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - poured from a bottle into a weizen glass. It pours clear amber with a white head. The head leaves some drippy lacing at the top of the glass.

S - malt, honey, flowery hops and a hint of cherry

T - malt and some mildly astringent hops, no astringency in the finish though

M - medium body, light carbonation, and a moist finish

D - enjoyable

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Pale Ale from Okanagan Spring Brewery
3.27 out of 5 based on 182 ratings.
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