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: 778
Photo of RoyalT
2.06/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance – Nice, clear, light orange in color but little head.

Smell – Faint, almost nasty grainy grassy aroma. This one smells like shit.

Taste – This is a tremendous disappointment. The cheap grain and sucrose tastes like a bad macro.

Mouthfeel – Thin and light in the body.

Sinkability – This one stayed out of the sink by a hair.

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Photo of Bitterbill
2.06/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

I got this in a trade with Wasatch. Thanks, John!

It pours from 12oz bottle a clear gold with a good head of foam that shrinks to a fine broken layer by the end of my session.

The smell is rather delicate. I get a bit of floral hops but that's about it.

The taste has some good malty graininess up front with a touch of bitterness that moves in about midway through and that's, pretty much, the highlight of this APA. I won't mention the "D" word but yeah, it gets overpowering for my taste buds and I'm having a rather tough time drinking this brew. In fact, I can't finish my glass.
Dogfish Head makes some great brews so my not liking this one is neither here or there, if you catch my drift. ;^)

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
2.07/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A- Crystal clear rusty amber colored body with thick white head that fades slowly to 1/2 finger. Plenty of lacing is left behind in the glass. Nice-looking beer.

S- whoa. very musty and biscuity with an added macro-hop potency. Not very appealing at all.

T- Lots of crass biscuity malt and barley upfront with a bitterness from hops but no taste of hops. Burnt Biscuit taste. The finish is clean with a burnt bitterness that lingers on and on.

M- High carbonation and a light body. My overall impression was the crassness.

D- It looks good, but the smell and taste are quite the opposite. When I grab an APA I'm not looking for something that tastes like a burnt biscut. I was rather disappointed with this offering from Dogfish Head since they are such a great brewery. I won't have this again.

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Photo of charlesw
2.14/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Pours a very clear, pale orange color. Dense and long-lasting cream-colored head.
The, ah, aroma really really put me off. Ok, I've got another bottle in the fridge and I'll give it a go and maybe change this rating, but, really, it was simply horrible for this bottle. But, well, how? Ok, uh, well, it smelled sour - a mixture of (sickly sweet) fruity citrus and something gone bad. The question is, of course, -what- gone bad? (Sorry - I was unable to decide!)
After that I was quite surprised to find that it doesn't taste bad! It is a light and fruity pale ale. By 'light' here I mean light on the bitterness and light on the malt but a pale ale should be at least one of those! I give it a lower note on taste for that fruitiness which I find both off-style and offputting.
I won't restock this one after I finish that other bottle.

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Photo of Bighuge
2.18/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a hazy dark golden color. Carbonation is at a high level. A very fizzy head develops on the pour and is gone in seconds. I get some flowery hop notes on the nose but I also get a bad soapy smell. I'm not sure if this is an old sample or just not my type, but I don't care for the taste much. (The "packaged on" notch is not visible.) Pretty light body and a bit fizzy in the mouth. Taste is void of almost anything to speak of except for maybe some of the Willamette and Columbus accents. And there is a bit of the soapiness in the taste also.

Not a good start on my run of Dogfish Head brews over the next week or so. (Although, I'd be willing to bet that better things are ahead as I've got the Raison d'etre, Immort, 90 min IPA and World Wide Stout still to go.)

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Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
2.27/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Date: 22 January 2011
Glass: Standard 10oz snifter
Type: 12fl oz bottle

Bottle date: 2 December 2010

Poured aggressively giving a 2-finger head, reduces to hazy film, lacing is better-than-average. Aroma of stale pale malt and butter. Taste of diacetyl and some skunk. Palate is overwhelmed with diacetyl flavor. So close to pouring this one down the drain. Sorry DFH....not sure what you were going for in this beer.

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Photo of abents
2.38/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear yellow pour with nice white head and great lacing. Smells of not too much here, no real big hops aroma as I was expecting. More smooth malty nose than hops here. Not much else. Taste is also in the ehhh department. It just kinda sits in the mouth with no real great taste here. Wow, the taste here is hard to even find its just a smooth bland kind of beer. Little hop notes, slight malty finish, but it sucks. I suppose this is the one dogfish head I can finish a 6 of in one night, but why would I? It's really not that great.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
2.41/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a clear deep copper with a thin, persistent, creamy ivory head. Sheeting lace. Smells of herbal fruity hops, earthy malt.

Bitter herbal hops, earthy malt. Lemony and astringent. Not particularly tasty. Some metallic flavors. Mouth is a bit thin and limp. Not so hot, a below average pale ale (surprisingly) from Dogfish Head.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
2.42/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Reviewed 10/30/2007 (bottle):

Pours a clear light brown color, big foarmy off-white head, lasting. Skunky hoppy aroma, some malts, but mostly skunk. Sweet and some flowers. Malty, light flavor, some bitter, but balanced. Nutty taste, very light flavor. Bland with a dry mouthfeel. Some fruity taste as it warms up, not as bad. Almost like a cherry taste. Not too bad, a light session.

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Photo of 99bottles
2.43/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I tried this recently while at the beach, where it's near impossible to find a decent beer. The beer was a faint amber color with a small quickly dying head of white lace. The smell was surprisingly bland. Light malt and barely noticeable hops come through the nose. The taste was very disappointing. Malts are sort of all over the place and the main flavor is gross buttery diacetyl. For a pale ale, I felt the use of hops was also very poorly done in the whole scheme of things. Thin mouth. I wouldn't want to drink this ever again, but I guess it wasn't difficult to down, per se. The absolute worst beer from otherwise one of my favorite breweries. Stay away.

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Photo of B967ierhunter177
2.46/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a clear gold with a rapidly fading head and no lace. The aroma is of caramel and grass. It's flavor has caramel, honey, and nutty notes. It has a light-medium mouthfeel and is smooth and balanced. Dogfish Head Shelter Pale is an average beer, very drinkable. Recommended.

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Photo of heidelbeerg
2.48/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a deep golden honey with little head that disappears rather quickly. The smell is grain and hops. The taste is also rather ordinary. Tastes The only thing that makes this one notch better than your average mass produced beer is the increased hop flavor adding a touch of bitterness and giving it a crisp feel. Very thin mouthfeel. This is an easy drinking beer that is nothing to get excited about but if someone offers one to you, drink it ! Great brewery. Average beer.

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Photo of klewis
2.48/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottled on 4/26/06

A: Pours a clear gold with a moderate sized foamy head.

S: Weak aromas of barley and corn.

T: A bit of bitterness in the back, but very little hop presence overall. The taste is bland and uninteresting and reminds me more of a BMC brew than one by DFH.

M: Light bodied with moderate carbonation.

D: Barely drinkable at best. Pass on this one.

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Photo of DefenCorps
2.49/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

$1.99 single that I picked up at the Village Pump the other day. Bottled 02 Dec 2010, consumed in my Founders 10th anniversary pint glass.

A clear copper with a dense, off-white head that recedes to a disk leaving some lacing, this looks solid for the style. The nose is a little disappointing. Initially vegetal, this develops an aspirin-like medicinal note. Hoppy with citrus and grapefruit, there's a mild caramel character as well. However, I just can't get past the aspirin here.

The palate opens with a rather noticeable green, grassy, vegetal hop character with grapefruit pith and orange peel. Bitterness is low, and rather disappointingly, so is the hop flavor. A little sweet on the mid-palate with a pilsner-like sweetness, this does dry out a little on the finish. Bitterness is mild,this beer is medium-light in body with moderate carbonation. Decent on the palate, this just isn't very good IMO. The hops are just too grassy and vegetal.

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Photo of oracle
2.51/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Another 6 pack purchased when I should have known better. Label on the side indicates it was packaged in April. Bought in October, drunk in early November.

Looked pretty good. Kind of a golden/brown/orange color. The absolutely monstrously huge head, another indication that this may have spent too much time in the bottle.

Smell was was a little off. Mild citrus hops, but also a almost sour winey aroma.

Taste was kind of off as well. Not as much citrus as in the nose, more malty and slighy sweet, but again the age appeared to be showing up.
The finish was downright bad.

Mouthfeel was far too heavily carbonated.

I'll try this one again with a fresher 6 pack.

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Photo of jdhilt
2.53/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a two-fingered white head that fades quickly leaving some lace. Cloudy amber color. Hoppy nose. Light carbonation and light bodied. Definitely a hoppy overtone, particularly at the finish. A typical pale. $1.75 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits, Acton, Ma.

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Photo of callmemickey
2.53/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Golden orange body with a minimal head.

S: Soft pale malts and a cloudy fruit/bitter profile that is kind of off (not skunked).

T: Follows the aroma... this is kind of murky and the flavors aren't very discernible from each other... the malts blend into hops in a muddled way

M: A thick, cream-like mouthfeel with a bit of carbonation here and there... leaves a film in the mouth.

O: A pass.

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2.55/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From bottle to pint glass. Bottled on 2/25/10. Consumed about 6 weeks afterward. Shelter Pale Ale is Dogfish Head's original beer and as I understand, was brewed to appeal to a wider spectrum of beer drinkers and to create the financial means necessary to begin brewing the "Off-Centered" beers that they are known for now. Being "approachable" and "highly quaffable" (from DFH's website), this brew certainly has a distinct purpose and therefore has it's rightful place in a stellar but overshadowing lineup. This pale ale is more Brittish style than it is American.

A: Pours with a large 3 finger off-white head that is rocky, creamy and lasts forever. Eventually the head evens out as it continues to recede. The caramel colored body is crystal clear. Looking through it is like looking through sepia toned sunglasses. This beer looks gorgeous.

S: The aromas are plentiful. I'm just not so sure they constitute the nose of a pale ale. At all. Right away you can tell that the heavy malts bury the hops. To say that the malts are the backbone is a severe understatement. The bill consists of toasted nuts (peanuts and walnuts), caramel, grain, cereal and molasses. The hops are very far in the background and are grassy if anything. Even on the nose, a metallic note seeps through.

T & M: Many of the aromas come through to the palate. Additional flavors of wood and spice. A touch of the mere 5% alcohol is apparent. The flavor is lightly sweet and the duration is short lived. More of that metallic flavor... The mouthfeel is medium with an average level of carbonation.

D: I bought a sixpack and was wayyy more willing to share than I normally am if that is any indication of the drinkability. Like I said before, I understand the concept of this beer and I think DFH *needs* to have an offering like this. I'm sure Shelter Pale Ale provides a great sense of nostalgia as well and I can certainly appreciate the value in that.

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Photo of nlmartin
2.56/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle into a pub glass.

Appearance: Poured a nice dark amber coloration. The head was a nice creamy white color that left to soon.

Smell: Herbal, floral yeasty and grainy mixed together.

Taste: Something is out of balance. I think its the yeast giving it some odd flavors but this reduces the over all enjoyment of other flavors present in the beer.

Mouthfeel: Light to meduim bodied low carbonation.

Drinkability: If the taste was cleaner this would be high. The cost of the beer versus over all goodness also reduces overall on this beer. There are better products available at this price.

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Photo of perfectkaos
2.58/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Picked this one up as part of a mix a micro six pack special at my local six pack shop.

pours a light orange color into a pint glass. Big foam head to start, but it quickly dissipates into a small foam ring.

smells bready, not too hoppy, almost get an american lager feel from the aroma

taste isn't too much of anything... a little bit of hop bitterness, some buttery notes in there as well. nothing spectacular.

Definitely sub par by Dogfish Head standards, tastes more like a macro than a craft brew. I don't think I'm going to seek this one out again.

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Photo of woemad
2.58/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle purchased at Jim’s Homebrew in Spokane for $2.11. “Packaged in 4 [April]”
according to the label (no year indicated).

Poured a slightly hazy copper color. Not much of a head (even after a vigorous pour).
Very little lace.

Smell is one of weak maltiness.

Taste is no better than the smell. There’s a small bit of maltiness and a slight dry note
indicative of hops, but no hop flavor. Perhaps this is a bad bottle. If not, it’s just a bad

This is a light bodied beer, but when it tastes like this, who cares about such

If this isn’t a bad or old bottle, then it’s no better than a macro, and is actually less
drinkable than some macros out there. Unless someone convinces me this is not how it
normally tastes, I shan’t have another

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Photo of Oxymoron
2.61/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

No, I don't need insurance, now leave me alone. Pours a light amber with stronger golden hues throughout. Crystal clear, with decent head and retention but limited lacing and did not last through the tasting.

The nose is limited, would like more character. Some hop aromas come out with more of a floral aroma but some lighter herbal notes as well. A generic malt aroma with hints of toffee and bready notes. Some minor yeast notes with metallic and soapy notes but light. Overall the nose is light

The taste comes out more versus the nose overall but still limited. Some malty notes come out with a sweet caramel and nutty note. Some grainy malt notes but limited depth wise. The hops back off with a slight bitterness and limited finishing hops. More of a spicy and floral mix but some minor butyric and metallic notes gives a slight earthy quality. Some lingering hop notes but a slight soapiness as well. Mostly clean fro the yeast.

The body is light and really falls off. I would just like a bit more complexity with this. Carbonation is slightly high but ok and helps the bitterness a bit. Overall just limited with some noticeable faults.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
2.62/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

What doesn't belong (and why)...

Hazy orange body, with steady bubble streams rising. A foamy less-than two finger head, with drops and disipates quickly but laces nicely. A very faint, very vague fruity aroma. A nice lead malt caramel taste. A good hop twang in the finish, but also a metallic aftertaste. The gas needed to pop-up that head remains in the beer, and the high carbonation drags down the mouthfeel a tad.

What doesn't belong (and why)...Look over the list of Dogfish Head beers, and this jumps out of the pack. It looks like it was added to the wrong brewery. While the rest of the line seems to be the work of a mad scientist, this comes across as the "before" sample. Bland and boring and a less than average pale ale.

Aquired in the Philly Gathering Beer Exchange.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
2.63/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Spider889 for this sample. Somehow I've seen this in Pittsburgh but past it up.

Ropey lace. The beer is a clear copper color with lots of rising bubbles.

The first thing that took me was an almost buttery aroma of doughy malts. The hops come in as a secondary and are quite floral.

Overall the flavor profile here is sweet and grainy. A little bit of light citrus doesn't do much for bittering, that's left up to the quick flash of pine. A strong flavor of steeped grains presides.

Very dry, and full bodied, especially for the style.

A forgettable example of a forgettable style. Whaddya know!?

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Photo of PorterLambic
2.64/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice clear, amber color with a god head and leaves some lace.
Smell is weak and consists of just a little hops aroma & a hint of citrus. Quite disappointing.
Taste is a bit better, some hops, a hint of citrus again and a touch of alcohol.
Crisp with a fairly clean finish, little aftertaste. Nowhere near the standards of the style in quality. Not what I expect from a pale ale nor from the folks at Dogfish Head.

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Shelter Pale Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.38 out of 5 based on 778 ratings.
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