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: 779
Photo of Sammy
3.77/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

An interesting American pale, with grapefuit from Chinook hops aroma. Very fresh and crisp at Smokeless Joe's, out-of-box styling, a bit like a pils. Pale appearance. Higher than average carbonation, typical for a pale. Floral herbal probably a turn-off for some, better for others.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.67/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

5% abv. This is 1 of 21 DFH beers tasted 6/13/09 in Los Angeles.

Pours a clear medium honey color with a nice white head; yeasty/biscuit nose.

Pleasant yeast/white bread flavors with a nice balance of malt and hops. A bit thin in body but all around drinks nicely.

A beer that would "go with anything" and is a pleasant "regular" drink. This is clearly the "white bread" of the Dogfish Head line.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at the brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, DE

A: thin head on a clear golden with amber hues
Body. Some lacing.

S: aroma is very very light with mostly orange citrus and caramel malts.

T: sweet caramel malts, brown sugar, candied citrus and light herbal hop notes.

M: lighter side of medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: not very aromatous or flavorful. Very simple and drinkable but I wouldn't have this one again.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.62/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pale ale pours out as a golden yellow color with a pretty nice white head. The smell of the beer has a good balance of malt and hops. The aroma of the beer is pretty standard for a pale ale. The flavor is also pretty typical with a tasty malt flavor upfront and a pretty good bitter aftertaste. The mouthfeel is light to medium, good carbonation. Overall its a good common brew for the every day drinker.

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Photo of metter98
3.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is golden amber in color and has a thin head. Judging from the amount of bubbles rising to the surface, there appears to be a light to moderate level of carbonation.
S: There are gentle aromas of pale malts with some hints of floral hops.
T: There are a lot of malty and nutty flavors and the finish is somewhat dry. Overall, there's a good balance between the malt and hops.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate.
D: This is very easy to drink and is easily sessionable. I would definitely drink this again and particularly have it with food.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.3/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It's a nice beer. Its sweetness is not the spicy floral typle this is found in most APAs. Instead, the fruitiness is of ripe or fresh fruits--not so acidic or lactic. It has some spiciness, but without the sharpness or peppery like from most APA hopping. It's profile is smoother, more rifined, but less crisp or carbonated. It's a little more herbally, earthy, and with a small yeast bite in the finish. There may be some alternate sugar sources with the barley, like honey or camamile. It's a different type of APA. If I expect nothing else from Dogfish Head, I expect them to challenge my senses; even with their small beers.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.96/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Beerandblues2: Poured a light clear amber color ale with a nice big foamy head with average retention. Aroma of light hops and weak caramel malt. Taste is a mix between some caramel malt with a light bitter finish. Body is a bit watery with medium carbonation. I never thought I would end up saying this about a Dogfish beer but this one is seriously lacking character.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.33/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Falls Church brewpub.

A: Slightly-hazy golden copper with an okay head.

S: Some hops there in addition to the pale malt. Nothing special.

T: Slightly more hoppy than the smell. Definitely hoppier than out of the bottle. Refreshing.

M: Fairly light-bodied. Nothing terribly special.

D: Pretty good in this department, but no reason to ever go for this over the 60 minute.

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Photo of oberon
3.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured a deep orange with a soapy like top not much head to speak of but I liked the rich full color,aroma was very grainy and some toastedness maybe a little buttery note but faint.The beer was served to me ice cold (litteraly)so I had to wait a few minutes to get anything from this brew but when I did it was mainly malt some fruit and an astrigent taste I couldnt pin down like sour bad fruit?Not much of a beer from DFH at least compared to others in there line.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.33/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear, golden-amber in color with a thin, creamy, off-white head. The aroma is of a lightly fruity malt with very little to no hop aroma. The body is medium/light with a restrained carbonation that's fairly smooth in the mouth. The flavor combines a grainy & lightly caramel malt with grassy & piney hop flavors backed by a resonating bitterness. The finish is dry with a lingering bitterness and some gently nutty maltiness.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.65/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light golden brown color, with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, citrus, and some of hops.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of caramel and citrus, followed by a decent burst of hops bitterness. The malt character is on the thin side for the style but it's pretty well-balanced overall. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, there are better APA's out there, but this is still a decent beer that is worth sessionning with for a while.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.2/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First had: Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, Rehoboth Beach, DE

A very simple beer, extremely drinkable and not at all threatening. A supreme alternative to the Lawnmower Ale. Served exclusively at the Dogfish Head Brewpub.

Poured golden with a slight haze, and a bit of a white head. Aroma was of malts, grass, and light citrus. Taste was similar, light hops, smooth malts, crisp and grassy with a tad of citrus. Light body and easily drinkable. Not something I'd get when there's so much more better on tap, but a good beer for the less adventurous.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.83/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

"Oh a storm is threat'ning
My very life today
If I don't get some shelter (pale ale)
Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away"

--'Gimme Shelter' by The Rolling Stones

Okay, so maybe Mick and the boys weren't really singing about Dogfish Head beer. Burnished golden amber with a pronounced orange cast. The cream-colored head is respectably dense and is fairly long-lived. It deflates to a creamy one finger disk and leaves no more than a thick, short collar of lace.

I'm less impressed with the nose. Must be the Willamette hops. I know what Columbus hops smell like and I can't really appreciate their contribution at all. The beer is primarily malty and spicy, not really hoppy at all. It doesn't smell like it belongs to the APA family. Actually, it doesn't smell like an especially well-brewed beer at all.

Uh-oh, the flavor follows the nose into less-than-stellar territory. This tastes most like a sub-par amber ale to me. Again, grainy malt is in the forefront, with a spicy hop presence that can't come close to saving the day. The flavor profile doesn't hang together well at all. Hops try to make more of a statement on the finish, but Columbus still hasn't come ashore. The mouthfeel is neither light nor full. Unremarkable, but acceptable.

Shelter Pale Ale is not one of Dogfish Head's better offerings; not by a long shot. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of American pale ales in circulation that have this one beat. 'Gimme Shelter' indeed. Gimme shelter from disappointing beer.

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Photo of billab914
3.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish shaped pint glass. Poured amber in color with a frothy white head covering the top of the beer and sticking to the sides of the glass. The head retention was pretty good and the lacing on the glass was very good.

The aroma has some sweet graininess along with some caramel coming through. A modest amount of hops show through as well. Not a bad aroma but also not a very exciting one either.

The taste is similar to the nose in that it has a sweet grainy flavor along with some caramel malty flavors. A bit of hoppiness comes through in the finish with some bitterness to balance it out a bit. Pretty clean and straight forward flavor and pretty well balanced.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side for the style, but still a moderately light beer overall. Drinkability isn't bad, it was a easy drinking beer with some moderate flavors. It was decent overall but nothing outstanding.

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

Poured from a bottle into a DFH pint glass

A: Pours an amber color with a small head and very little lacing down the glass.

S: The smell is overwhelmingly malty. There are notes of caramel and molasses. There is a slight metallic note and no hop/citrus smell which is the norm in DFH 60/90.

T: I love most DFH beers, and while this is not one of my favorites, it is serviceable. It is an easy go to beer when I am at the brewpub and don't feel like anything heavier or high in abv. You can taste the caramel malt the entire time, and especially on the back end.

M/D: Its pretty easy drinking, but I would say its a little heavier than a typical pale ale. It does not have a lot of carbonation. It is certainly a a gateway beer into the world of DFH and what I would give to someone who usually drinks BMC.

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Photo of smcolw
3.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark golden in color (light amber?), clear, partial lace and permanent single bubble head (poured nearly two fingers).

Interesting minute amount barnyard aroma, similar to Duvel. Pale ale malt aroma is stronger than the floral hop.

Bittering hop comes across slightly harsh although the malt is still present. This bitterness continues through the aftertaste which comes across as very dry. The carbonation is high.

A decent beer that doesn't stand out in any dramatic way. There are many more complex pale ales available, but this one is pleasant enough in a pinch.

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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 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 TMoney2591
3.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Pours a kinda hazy pale (surprise!) straw, with a bit of white foamy head that doesn't leave much lacing at all behind. The smell is somewhat sour, though still densely populated by hoppy citrus notes. These notes are also prevalent in the taste, but there's a lot more pine here as well, followed by a modicum of wheat. The body is nicely light, though nearing an almost watery texture, making for a pretty drinkable brew.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.85/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A – Clear amber gold. Nice off-white head.

S – Wheat crackers and a touch of lemon, followed by an interesting herbal note that carries some tarragon, but more distinctly dandelion and fresh cut grass. You can pick up some allspice and Chinese five-spice as well.

T – Light grass and faintly floral. Nice, restrained, bready malt center. Soft lemon pith and pink peppercorn highlights.

M – Light, almost Champaign-like carbonation. Dry finish. Light body.

O – Nice flavor and drinkability.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After trying most of the Dogfish Head specialty beers like WWS, 90 min IPA, Midas Touch, I just want to try some of their regular line up. The Shelter Pale Ale pours a copper amber tone with a cream toned head that is sticking around fairly well, and is also clinging to the glass. From the aroma I am getting a lot of cereal/grassy notes, and a very mild hop character in the background of the sweetness. Smells like a bowl of Wheaties, in a good way, very pleasan and appealing to my senses. The hops become much more evident in the flavor, but I am glad to say that the malt sticks around to finish this beers flavor off to balance things out nicely. A very well built beer, with a medium to light body very nice session brew. I will look for this one on tap, and I see that Dogfish Head nows how to brew a good solid all around beer. On the other hand would Dogfish Head be as widely known if they didn't push the envelope, I don't think so. Very drinkable beer, I am not dissapointed by any means, good beer.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.67/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured on tap at the Quarry House Silver Spring Maryland into a shaker pint glass.

A cloudy kind of dull amber body, with an off white head of a solid one finger size. Rising carbonation hard to see, but hints of orange body color and some sticking while drinking. Kind of ordinary...

Muted cream, and a light bread sense and simple malt nose. Kind of easy going, but nothing too much exciting, it's alright.

Taste is at first less obvious than the very light body mouthfeel, very borderline wet. Quick airy malt, but also a nice wet fruit orange almost like and ESB, and a small bread swallow.

Overall kind of a very unique pale ale, but one that is sort of muted and downplayed. Could drink again no problem.

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Photo of Billolick
3.4/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a mini growler pour, purchased at DeCiccio's in Ardsley, NY. Pours typical almond amber, minor off white head and moderate spotty lacing. Nose of mild malt and perhaps a hint of hops, on the tame side so far. Nose flows into the flavor expectadly and reveals this to be a smooth and balanced ale, not very dogfish like and this one oozes "session beer". Pleasant enough, just lacks the expected DFH punch of flavor, interest and headyness. DFH with training wheels.

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Photo of jwc215
2.77/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours amber with a thin head that becomes a lasting patch.

The smell is of toffee, dough, slight fruitiness.. Smells candyish - not bad in itself, though not quite expected from a pale ale.

The taste is of toffee and dough. Slight metallic tinge. Buttery. Seems like too much yeast, and not enough to balance it out. Abrupt finish leaves the mouth dry, but where did the flavor go?

Thin feel, though it doesn't fall apart. But, an annoying astringency from the rather harsh carbonation brings it down.

The hops seem lost in the shuffle. The initial malr loses its potential early on. Too doughy and buttery. There is something that keeps it from being terrible, but, for me there is too small annoyances and not enough full flavor for me to be interested in this one.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
2.91/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A light amber color atop a big, creamy, bubbly head. Aroma is, unfortunately, blase. Vegetal, herbal notes, perhaps, but nothing in the fruit department, not much in the way of hops. I can already tell what they're shooting for, before I sip, a bland session ale. And, bravo, they did it, but by sacrificing flavor, and body, and taste and anything else we like to look for in a beer. There's some ale-like substance here, but not very much. Certainly nothing I'd consider a "pale Ale', in the face of so many great American versions.

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Shelter Pale Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.38 out of 5 based on 779 ratings.
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