Shelter Pale Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Shelter Pale AleShelter Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with a premium barley and northwestern Williamette and Columbus hops, Shelter Pale Ale has a fine malt backbone and a slightly nutty flavor. It's a versatile and quaffable beer.

We named this beer Shelter Pale Ale because we think of a shelter as being a place you come home to. It just made sense for this Dogfish original.

30 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-16-2001

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Reviews: 477 | Ratings: 777
Photo of AtlasBrew
4.78/5  rDev +41.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Color: A gorgeous amber color with an off white fluffy head that stays for awhile and leaves lacy rings as it slowly fades. Crystal clear!

Aroma: Fruity and a bit floral with just a hint of spice and steely-ness (if that is a word, I don't think it is.) There is a very faint hint of caramel also. It's a lovely aroma.

Taste: A mildly sweet caramel flavor up front that melds ever so gently into a spicy, fruity flavor in the middle. A mild steely bitterness greets you at the exit door and bids you farewell with a pleasant semi-dry finish.

Overall: I've tried many Pale Ales in the past several years. Some are overly caramel flavored, some try to mask there poor quality with large doses of dry-hopping. Some just miss entirely. But, I can tell you this; I have not had a better Pale Ale than Shelter Pale. It is a fantastic example of what a session-able Pale Ale should be. Not too much alcohol, not too malty, and not too bitter. Just right.

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Photo of Sipchue
4.62/5  rDev +36.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

DFH never said that they're shooting for a particular style. You could argue that it's a Pale Ale, so it should act like one. It does, but in it's own, unique, refreshing way. The color is pleasantly light with good lacing. The aroma is fresh and round - not overwhelming on the malt or the hops. I rated the taste as exceptional, not because it fulfills any particular style parameters, but because it pleases me a great deal. In fact, the well-roundness of the flavor profile is what truly makes this brew stand out. The flavors coated my buds for a good 10-15 minutes after the last sip, with no regrets at both refrigerator temperature and at rest. Good job, Dogfish Head!

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Photo of Tomdee74
4.57/5  rDev +35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I read these reviews and I'm amazed this beer was ranked so low. This stuff flies off the shelves here. I think the color is great and it goes down like a softdrink. It's very drinkable. Very few beers make me do a backflip but this is one of them!

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Photo of schoolboy
4.57/5  rDev +35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this both on tap and in bottle. The bottle does the tap justice. Unfortunately I can't normally get this, and I have consumed the supply I brought back from Delaware (to Ohio).

It's a very nice IPA/APA. A bit on the tame side (balanced), and thus extremely drinkable. One could consume a mess of these and not loose one's mind or palate (you could eat too!).

I need to find an excuse to go back to Delaware to get more.

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Photo of Heatwave33
4.45/5  rDev +31.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a Dogfish Head Snifter.

Color: Slighltly hazy golden orange with a white head.

Smell: Caramel malts, hops and citrus.

Taste: Caramel malts, citrus and hops.

Mouthfeel: Great carbonation, smooth with a mid dryness.

Overall: Finally the one that started it all! Well balanced, crisp and a nice citrus tone. A great subtle brew to relax with. Cheers!

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Photo of gbontrag
4.42/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice whiff of grain sack. Also fruity hops mingling with dry hop flowers. Smells like honey and weed.

Low key carb-bite balances nicely with dusty malt sugars, and lightly flowery, drying, bittering hops. Malt rises with each sip, stroking the back of my throat with a lust parting hug. Hops growing along the floor... This is a nice, sunroom kinda beer. Beautifully made.

tight froth, lacy, light clear orange. Fantastic!

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Photo of korguy123
4.35/5  rDev +28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz into DFH Signature Glass.
Special thanks to mdaschaf for both!
Bottle Date 8/25/10

A- Orange/copper pour. Finger and a half fluffy white head. Shrinks to a quarter inch cap across the top of the glass. Lacing is wonderful.

S- Faint grassy tones, toasted malts. Subtle strawberries, and sweet citrus notes.

T- Malts and grassy hops well balanced. very full flavored for a pale ale. Faint woody notes in the back end. Not bitter enough to make it very sessionable.

M- Creamy and juicy. Slight bitter aftertaste.

D- Super balance in this. Probably my new favorite pale ale. I think this is something I could by a case and enjoy the first and last equally as much if not more.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.34/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served cold in a Nonic at the brewpub in Rehobeth.
A - A light amber w/ a small white head. Practically no lace is formed from this ale.

S - Sweet odors of malt and hops. Very herbal smells bordering on, but not getting into perfumy territory. Slightly citric scents w/ nutty malt and a slight tinge of spice if I sniff hard.

M - Mellow feel from hop bitterness. Light carbonation and fruitiness. Sweet with a subtle spiciness in the finish.

T - Floral hop tastes overwhelms the palate w/ light malty flavors adding substance. Mellow bitterness w/ a dry flavor in the finish. Very delicate, yet flavorful w/ hops from start to finish. Not overly bitter and a taste that made me want to take large gulps. Very smooth quaffing.

D - A good Pale ale w/ high drinkablility for me. Highly quaffable, pleasant bitterness and a lower abv add to the overall experience. I enjoy that you can taste the hops instead of just feel the bitterness. The english style is hinted at a the blend of hops is heavenly. I could drink this in sessions, I really love this ale.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.33/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale poured an amber color, with a lacy head, that was of good size, and stayed with the beer. It had a eartly hoppy smell to it. It taste similar to the 60 min, but lighter. It was easy to drink, low abv, and one of the lighter dogfish head beers out there. Overall a good beer, not the best from dogfish head, but it was lighter and refreshing.

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Photo of tugdriver7
4.3/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Gaithersburg Alehouse. Nice gold/orange color, slight hops with malt edge in nose, with a bit of head retention (others at the table seemed to have a bit more). Taste was wonderfully balanced malt with a nice APA hop bite that just lingered enough to lend drinkability to the beer. A bit slick on the downside, but a great fresh flavor that held right to the last bit in the glass. Nothing like the often fiery IPAs Dogfish Head is famous for, but for me that was a good thing. Great with their fish and chips, by the way.

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.3/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle dated 7/15/09, poured into a Unibroue tulip. Finger thick head lasts for a few moments, then recesses into the golden body. Nice, citrusy hoppy aroma with some malt sweetness. Taste is also nicely hopped with some backbone to it. This beer needs to be reviewed for what it is. Dogfish's interpretation of a pale ale. It is unfair to review it against all of the other beers in Dogfish's portfolio. Yes, it pales (no pun intended) in comparison to most of their other offerings but it would be unfair to review it against anything other than pale ales. This one is delicious, and more delicious than the average pale ale on the market.

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Photo of HagueBrook
4.3/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint glass (with Mayor Quimby etched into the glass!)

Appearance= Nice copperish color and a lacy head that lingered on the side of the glass.

Smell = A nutty sweet smell.

Taste = A light malty taste with a touch of sweetness. The hops come through right at the tail end.

Mouthfeel = Light body and little carbonation

Drinkability = Would have been better on a hot summer night (easier said than done with 4' of snow on the ground). Overall, I would say "quaffable, but not transcendent."

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Photo of ultralarry2006
4.25/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle marked "bottled on 01/10/07". Leaves a one finger tan head that has very good retention, and some good lacing. Body is a clear amber. Looks good.

Smell - grassy herbal hops. Toasty malt biscuits, apples, and some butterscotch.

Taste - exactly like the smell. Grassy herbal hops washing over toasty malt biscuits, apples, and butterscotch.

Mouthfeel - full bodied, and smooth. Semi-dry from the hop bitterness.

Drinkability - this is a very good ale, and very sessionable.

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Photo of barleynvinebrew
4.23/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a transparent light amber color with a 1" white head that leaves some lacing in my pint glass. Smell a light sweet malt and moderate hops. Taste starts with a touch of hops and some of that sweet barley malt, then finishes with a hop bitterness. Aftertaste is sweet though, I like that. Mouthfeel very good with light carbonation. Overall, it's a great beer. I really like beer because it doesn't really blow me away. If I was anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic states and stopped somewhere for dinner and they were serving DFH this would definitely be an option for me.

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Photo of Jacobob10
4.21/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On-tap @ Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth Beach, DE.

Lots of "off-centered" offerings at the brewpub, but I decided to go with the original pale ale, first released in 1995, that is currently only available on draft in Delaware.

Served in a pint glass, it arrives medium amber with a slight haziness and a firm white head. Light, fresh biscuit and caramel malt in the nose combined with bright, floral hops. Really well-balanced flavor with a bittersweet finish. Medium bodied, soft carbonation, clean, and very smooth.

Overall, this was a winner for me. Maybe having it fresh at the source helped, but kudos to Dogfish Head if that's the case. Made for a great accompaniment to the wings, pretzel bites, and fried pickles we shared at the table.

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Photo of FordBrewing
4.2/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I've had this in a bottle as well as on-tap at DFH Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth.

This beer pours an average size off-white head with good lacing. It displays a clear body and an amber/orange color. It has a nice light malt aroma and a decent hop scent with hints of grass and resin. It is light-bodied with a thin texture, above-average carbonation and a bitter but enjoyable finish. The flavor lasts long enough to make you look forward to the next sip.

This is a great alternative to drinking light beer if you are not in the mood for an IPA or strong ale. It has good taste, and solid but not overpowering hop flavor.

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Photo of jamesclark
4.18/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Golden amber color, very slight cloudiness, with a thick cream-colored head which shrank quickly to a very thin layer of bubbles

Smells floral and hoppy.

Taste is citrusy and hoppy, also mildly sweet and floral. Some barley flavor as well. Very light feel, going down easily with a moderately lingering citrus flavor. The hop flavor is very enjoyable.

Dogfish Head is definitely my favorite brewery - of all their beers, this is not my favorite, nonetheless I love this beer. It is refreshing, crisp, and drinkable - with great flavor.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.17/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

hazy burnt amber orange with a big white frothy head that slowly faded and left behind a multitude of lacey goodness in its wake. Smell is very malty. Slight hint of a citrus hoppiness in the back but main flavors were grain and musty malty bread. Taste followed a similar route, crisp clean, and the finish was very light and orange tinged in flavor. Overall this was a very quality brew and a fine pale ale.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.15/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a red amber hued beer with a solid inch of nice bubbly head.

S - Smells of sweet grains, caramel sweetness, and a touch of floral hops.

T - Huh. It's pretty nice. I get a solid wheat and lemon? Tastes pretty balanced in terms that the grain and hop bitterness is low. Weird how it kinda drinks like a Hefeweizen...

M - Light and enjoyable I found myself sipping and enjoying.

D - May have to check prices on cases since it is a pretty solid brew. Hoppy yet sweet and balanced with a bit of grain and wheat. I have been looking to try this for months and glad it wasn't a let down when I actually tried it (like stones pale ale was. Solid A brew!

Edit: to all those who rated below a B you should have checked your freshness date mine was marked (1/11/11) so bottled about a month ago, but still drinking great!

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Photo of Dewey0603
4.12/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very nice dark amber color,but the head was a little small and disappeared too fast.This smells very earthy with a good mixture of hops and barley.I can taste a little sweetness in the aftertaste,almost carmel like.This is a medium/light ale that could be an everyday beer.

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Photo of Redwood21
4.12/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have read a few poor reviews of this beer, maybe its just opinion but i thought it was a pretty good pale ale. The head was dissapointing, barely showing up for the party, but the beer color is a nice amber hue. the smell ws faint, with a bit of hop to it. Taste wise, if you were expecting a strong pale ale i could understand the dissapointment, it more smooth and clean tasting than hoppy or bitter, not that those are needed imho. There is a hoppy flavor, it hits you most if you swirl the beer in our mouth, its just not super prominent. Looking at this beer just as a beer its enjoyable clean smooth and tasty. It may not be the best example of a pale ale, but it is good and im enjoying it.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.1/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Single, twelve-ounce bottle just copped from New Beer Distributors on Chrystie Street in Manhattan...
This one from Dogfish has eluded me for a while...
"Brewed in little batches ussing Delaware grown barley and whole leaf Willamette and Columbus hops for ballast" on the front logo sticker...
Pours a deep, dark-orange, ruddy, copper hue with a decent-sized foamy head...
Smell: Raw, leafy, earthy, grainy notes on the nose...
Taste: Crisp, clean, refreshing... Not too big on flavor or depth, yet a solid APA nonetheless...
Unlike many of Dogfish's eccentric, big, bold brews, this one is a much more tempered, easily drinkable brew...
Medium-bodied mouthfeel...
Easily drinkable... Certainly a good session beer...
Worth a shot...

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Photo of czfreeman
4.1/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shelter Pale pours out a light amber tone of brown, light head settles down quickly, looks easy and enjoyable.
Light malty aromas,some apricot-like sweetness, touch of fresh hoppiness, light citric spikes. Very light, subdued, and already smells like an insanely good session ale.
Taste is little malty, little hoppy,little citrusy, not extrodinarily complex, but I feel this is not the purpose it was brewed for. Mouthfeel is light, brisk, and drish on the finish. Drank side by side with the 60 minute shows the extrem amount of talen exibited by Dogfish Head in their ability to control the flavor of their brews down to the minute amount. They can make a full out Hop Hydrogen bomb (120 minute) or a little firecracker like this. This is a fantastic session.

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Photo of far333
4.09/5  rDev +21%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bright apricot color, with a large off-white lingering head. A cloud of yeast sediment descends through the head into the glass. Spicy aroma with hints of citrus, flowers, and honey, and a bit of yeast. Highly carbonated, which can be felt upon tasting. Full creamy mouthfeel that envelopes the palete. The taste is reminscent of a belgian ale, and has accents that match the aroma. Not my idea of a pale ale, but I would drink this again.

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Photo of bosco7
4.08/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick and creamy head that leaves a blanket of lace on the glass' sides. Golden orange in color. Inviting.

Preserved peaches, orange, caramel, wild flowers and some almond in the nose.

Tastes much like it smells, starts with some caramel and almond flavors, then the peachy/apricoty flavors from the hops shine. The finish is floral and dry. Some bitterness to balance the sweet. Plenty of flavor to go around.

I love what DFH is doing with it's "session" beers, full of flavor at a low ABV. Recommended.

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Shelter Pale Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.38 out of 5 based on 777 ratings.
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