Monday, April 28, 2014

Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1088) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 28, 2014
I poured a 12oz bottle into a mug. It came as part of a mix pack for $15.99 ($1.33 per bottle or $0.11 per ounce).

Appearance: Surprisingly dark brown with a honey glow. Hazy with carbonation initially present. Pours to a small, white, foamy head which retains and laces well.

Smell: Slightly fruity scent, but distinctly malty. A hint of hops.

Taste: Not too many American breweries do an English-style pale ale, and those that do don’t tend to do them too well. While Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale may not be an exact authentic replica of a British brew, it’s most definitely not American, either. The malts are actually the star of the show, here, though there’s still plenty of hop character you expect in a pale ale.

Up front I notice a sweet malt flavor with notes of toast, muffins and orange marmalade. The hops are present as well, but don’t reveal themselves until the finish. The beer has a consistent slightly dry bitterness throughout, which really complements the darker malt flavor. Perhaps a hint of citrus from the hops can be detected, which is nice. A mild bitter bite as it goes down keeps the palette well-balanced and interesting. It’s not Fuller’s, but it’ll do.

Drinkability: The pale ale is supposed to be overtly drinkable, especially compared to the IPA, and Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale definitely succeeds in this aspect. The mouthfeel is perfectly medium all around. Robust enough flavor to keep it interesting, but still crisp and smooth to make it easy to quaff down. This beer weighs in at 5.6% ABV, which seems just about right (maybe a tad high). A little too big to session, but strong enough to enjoy as a standalone serving. 
Grade: 7/10

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