American Pale Ale

Glassware: Shaker pint
  • USA
  • Ale
  • ABV = 4.5 – 6.2% (Normal)^
  • IBU = 30-50
  • SRM = 5-10

A pale, hop-forward American ale

Typically lighter in colour, with less caramel flavour and fermentation by-products than Best Bitter. There can be some overlap in color between American Pale Ale and American Amber Ale. The American Pale Ale will generally be cleaner, have a less caramelly malt profile, less body, and often more finishing hops. Less bitterness and alcohol strength than American IPA.

Appearance:

  • Colour^ = Light gold to light amber
  • Clarity = Generally clear, although dry-hopped versions may be hazy

Key Aromas & Flavours:

Aroma
  • Malt = Low to moderate; clean and grainy (Optional low level of specialty malt character: bread, toast, biscuit, caramel, if present)
  • Yeast = None to moderate; fruity, if present
  • Hops = Moderate to high; citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, or melon. (Dry hopping, if used, may add grassy notes.)
Flavour
  • Malt = Low to moderate; clean and grainy (Optional low level of specialty malt character: bready, toasty, biscuit, if present)
  • Yeast = None to moderate; fruity, if present
  • Hops = Moderate to high;  citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, or melon. (Dry hopping, if used, may add grassy notes.)
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Pronounced
  • Balance = Towards the hops (bitterness and flavour), with malt in support
Aftertaste/Finish

Medium to dry finish with lingering hop flavour and bitterness

Mouthfeel:

  • Body = Medium
  • Carbonation = Medium to high

Characteristic Ingredients/Processes:

  • Malt = Two-row or pale ale malt (May contain a small portion of specialty malt for character and complexity)
  • Yeast = American or English ale yeast with a clean or lightly fruity profile
  • Hops = American or New World hop varietals

Historical Development:

A modern American craft beer era adaptation of English pale ales, like Best Bitter, reflecting indigenous ingredients (hops, malt and yeast). Prior to the explosion in popularity of IPAs, was traditionally the most well-known and popular of American craft beers.


Commercial Examples:

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Stone Pale Ale, Firestone Walker Pale 31


^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus.
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2015 Style Guidelines.


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