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 ColdPoncho
3.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 6/29/11

A - Golden copper body, quite clear, loose white foam quickly fades.

S - Light fruity hops and malt profile. Decent.

T - Malt forward, toffee, caramel, lightly roasted notes, with a citrus back up.

M - Medium body, smooth.

O (D) - very drinkable. Not spectacular, but not bad either.

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Photo of Rschis16
3.11/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Slightly hazy burnt orange color with a healthy head on top, some lacing, and good retention. Smell is noted by a faint twinge of floral hops and some barley malts. Faint floral hops as well.

The taste follows the nose pretty well, but the beer has a good overall balance. Malted barley is the first taste you get, followed by that light twinge of floral hops, followed by a small dose of bitterness. It gives you a full feeling as it has a decent amount of carbonation, but it also has a sort of creamy mouthfeel with little pops of hops dancing around inside of it. For the style of APA, there are better beers out there, but this isn't bad. Its just rather plain when you consider DFH's usual off the wall beers. But in reality, this isn't a bad beer, just a little more on the average side.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
3.72/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Golden brown with good lacing. Pretty thick.

Smell: Very nutty and caramel-like. Almost no hops. Maybe a bit of pineyness?

Taste/Mouthfeel: Basically nuttyness throughout. Not the most balanced beer, but a good gateway. Mouthfeel is definitely too thin for the flavor combination.

Drinkability: A good autumn beer.

Overall: Very tame by Dogfish Head standards.

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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 Yagman3000
3.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

Smells a little maltier than I'd expect from this beer. A little musty peach comes through but a dull odor. Tiny head remains with some surprising effervescence.

Taste is a little uneventful. :( Not picking up too many hops in this pale ale but maybe I'm just a jaded IPA fan. :)

Mouthfeel isn't anything magnificent either. A little creamy but short as an experience.

I adore DFH beers but I've always avoided this beer, thinking it the "bottom level" of their hop experiences. I was right....

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Photo of nukem5
3.88/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Great copper pour with tan cap lacing down the glass through-out drinking.

S: Sweet barley and hops little more.

T: Straight forward good barley malted and brewed into a great beer with a balance of hops .

M: Nice medium bodied with just the right amount of carbonation.

O: Would definitley drink again and again, as always good to go brew crew at Dogfish.

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Photo of bubseymour
3.76/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - very cloudy, murky bronse/golden color. Lots of yeast, carbonation action like some Belgians I've had. Perfectly crafted 2 finger fluffy head that holds great retention.

Smell - some faint floral notes and spice. Not too much smell to it.

Taste - Very surprisingly good and refreshing as well. Extremely well balanced. Flavoring is light on the pallet but enough to provide some enjoyment to the senses. No funky yeasty flavors as I was expecting based on the appearance and smell. Taste is nothing like appearance/smell. There is a crispness with slight hop bite in the finish with very light linger on aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Fluffy head is creamy on the lip and the drink itself is light but not too watery.

Overall - This beer is not as strong flavored/hopped as the 60/90's. This Shelter Ale is actually quite refreshing drink offering just enough flavor to enjoy. I was quite surprised at how well balanced this beer was as well as most DFH's have a more pronounced hop bite to them. Nice beer option when your pallet needs a break from hop shock or from a high ABV. Good offering from DFH for a lighter flavored/more refreshing offering.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
2.93/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Thanks for the bottle, Matt!

Appearance -- Pours a coppery orange hue with slim fizzy white head. No lacing to speak of, and the head wastes no time in fizzling out. Good color, though.

Smell -- Damp pale malt, earthy and floral hops, and a smudge of amber malt sweetness. A bit drab.

Taste -- Pretty dull: Pale malt, mild cane juice sweetness, earthy hops, modicum of floral hop presence. Finish is pale malt and earthy hops.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-light with sharp fizzy carbonation. Reminiscent of soda. Finish is incredibly chalky. Meh.

Overall -- Now I know why I never find this stuff on shelves - It's so ho-hum that liquor stores don't want to lose 60min shelf space. While there aren't many outstanding flaws, there's nothing much to get excited about with this particular APA. No hop assertiveness or malt complexity to give dimension to the beer. Glad I tried it, but it's not something I'd hunt down.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.46/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

not sure why this one gets such low scores... sure its not stellar but its certainly better than the C that the bros gave it. Growler courtesy of CooperEllis.

Pours a golden orange with a good amount of white head. Looks pretty solid. Smell is a bit off putting... some malt on the nose but not a lot of hops. Tastes similarly underwhelming. The mouthfeel is solid and its very drinkable so overall halfway decent

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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 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 Spider889
3.07/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Finally got a sixer of this when I visited the brewery last month.

Nice amber color, with a decent white head. Leaves pretty good swaths of droopy lacing. Nice clarity.

Smells weak on the hops, with the muddled leafy property that many lagers have. It's not skunked but the hops are such that it smells similar.

The taste is rather interesting for a pale. Very malty, biscuity, but with a nice moderate hop backbone. However, there are much bolder and more satisfying pale ales out there. Lots of caramel sweetness.

A little heavy with strong carbonation. Overall not bad, but probably the DFH offering I am least likely to ever purchase again.

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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 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 Naugros
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

What I first thought was a chill haze clouds this orange-amber beer, but I realized that it's a little cloudy even when warmer. The head is an off-white sudsy deal with not a lot of retention and minimal lacing. Carbonation is evident.

I was really expecting a much different hop profile than this, knowing that the first hop listed on the bottle was Columbus, but I got no citrus from it. Instead it seems that the Willamette took over and pine and floral aromas dominate. The malts do a nice job of supporting the hops, but with the muddled mess of the hops it's hard to get a good read on them. The whole thing exhibits some vegetal qualities. The numbers neck indicate that this was bottled over 4 months ago, so oxidation is a possibility, but not a high likelihood.

The taste is marginally better, but the vegetal sense is still there, giving off some celery notes. The hops continue to be a mumbo-jumbo of wood and floral/herbal flavors, masking most of what the malts might have done to redeem this beer. Instead, the barley comes off almost as rye due to the Willamette hops throwing off the funky floral/herbal notes. Incidentally, the taste is the reason I allowed this to warm up. It was not conscious; I was just not in any hurry to finish this one.

The highlight here is the mouthfeel. It's bright and crisp which means that the potential oxidation mentioned above is even less of a likelihood. I can see why this is perhaps the least-celebrated of all of DFH's brews. With all their skill and bravery you think they'd rework this one.

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Photo of AdamBear
3.24/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A-orange golden with a thin white head

S-smells like sweet barley, almost like something between an adjunct and belgian. decent strength

T-it comes in with what surprisingly reminds me of belgian malts. it then transforms in to the sweet barley taste and ends with a decent bitterness. its not what one would expect from an APA, but its not bad. the flavors are definitely strong and decent.

M-medium to high carbonation with a dry finish

D-well to be honest, i could drink this all night long. the ABV is perfect and the tastes are large.

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Photo of Franz4
3.71/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

bottled 1/10/11 poured into a perfect pint glass

A- pours a yellow-reddish copper, color is differentiated as you move up the body of the glass and less light is able to pass through. Head has a little substance and leaves better than expected lace on the way down.

S- lemon and grass in the nose with a slightly biscuity character to it, picking up on a different kind of yeastiness in the nose.

T- Lemon and biscuits again, but they seem to be better balanced here. Taste is definitely better than the nose. Crisp up front with a finish that lags behind a little bit. Some bitterness at the end but not much. Slightly buttery taste is noticed, more prominent as the beer warms.

M- seems average here, nothing light/med body with a little higher than average carbonation.

O- This is an average beer, nothing really bad about it, but not much of a reason to go back to it. I think it could pair well with many meals, on it's own I think there are better pales our there.

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Photo of Janderson91
3.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Sent to me as an extra from slvrmon82, so big thanks to Matt for the opportunity. Bottled on 11/17/10. Enjoyed on 03/21/11.

A - Pours a light amber color, somewhat cloudy. Has a one finger white head with pretty good lacing.

S - Very citrusy hops and nutty malts. Some yeast aroma is present as well.

T - A citrusy hoppiness and that nutty DFH malt found in the 60 and 90 Minutes. Good crisp and clean finish.

M - Mouthfeel is perfect. A little more full bodied than normal with good carbonation. 5 in this department.

O - Overall this is just a slightly above average pale ale. I love everything DFH does but this just didn't do anything to set it apart.

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Photo of Hopfenpeter
3.32/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured deep golden blond, with a white head about half inch. It dissipates fast and leaves little lacing.
Smell announces grain, dough, bread, malt.
Tasting the beer those flavors are confirmed. Dough and bread with grain up front, malty sweetness, little citrus in the middle and backed by a good amount of hops.
Not bad, but I know Dogfish knows how to do better.
Good carbonation, but probably would not drink more than one.

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Photo of rjochman
3.57/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy orange/copper color. Has a small amount of brownish off white head that dissipates very quickly. Leaves a small amount of lacing on the sides of the glass. Smell of toasted grain and hops with a hint of citrus. Smell isn't overwhelming and doesn't stick with you. Medium body/ good amount of carbonation with a very crisp taste. A decent brew from DFH imo.

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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 Bouleboubier
3.46/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

relatively fresh - bottled 01/10/11

This may have been the first time I tried this - not sure if I ever sampled it at the brewpub. What a strange brew. Doesn't scream "Dogfish Head!" to me.

Its appearance is normal enough: big foamy white head, moderately dense boobles, and a pale brownish amber more like a pilsner than a pale ale. Probably the cleanest-looking DFH ale.

The smell is where I start to get puzzled. Wheat? It's almost hefeweizen-like in the first moments after the pour, later allowing some of the toasty grain features and I guess hops (or radicchio?) to come out as it warms. Yeah, wait, it's hops - shrubby and floral perhaps but not nearly as citrusy as I would have expected from NW hops.

Flavor-wise, it's a bit of an anomaly to the style. Tart, though not citrus/fruity, with kind of a plant-like essence or something like a dried-out corn stalk or peanut shell in the beginning. These mellow out in not too much time, revealing more characteristic lightly nutty grain, mild toasted biscuit, and an even fainter almost imperceptible English estery fruitiness.

The balance isn't bad, but this drinks decidedly like something better paired food than enjoyed on its own. By the end, I was enjoying it I suppose. It drinks clean and crisp and moderately refreshing. I'm definitely going to have one with maybe their turkey burger or one of their pizzas next time I visit the brewpub in Rehoboth.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
2.81/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: little head, dissipates quickly, clear copper color with little carbonation
S: Whew this baby stinks, like a macrobrew on steroids
T: bitter, highly hopped, not sweet; caramel and diet coke with grass sprinkled throughout
M: not bad overall

Dogfish has done better

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

Pours a golden yellow color with cap of white bubbles, ok retention and lacing. Scent is very grassy (both fresh cut and dried hay) with a faint faint hint of lemon. Taste is bitter filled with extremely grassy hops, tastes of vegtable stalk and root, light roasted nuts, light hints of a metallic taste. Medium bodied, bright carbonation, slightly oily. Unique, with my reaction ranging from good to curious as each sip passes - wouldnt say its bad like others have, just different.

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