Style Details

Name
Ame­ri­can Pale Ale
Cate­go­ry
Pale Ame­ri­can Ale
BJCP Style Code
18 B
Appearan­ce
Pale gol­den to light amber. Moder­ate­ly lar­ge white to off-white head with good reten­ti­on. Gene­ral­ly qui­te clear, alt­hough dry-hop­ped ver­si­ons may be slight­ly hazy.
Aro­ma
Mode­ra­te to strong hop aro­ma from Ame­ri­can or New World hop varie­ties with a wide ran­ge of pos­si­ble cha­rac­te­ris­tics, inclu­ding citrus, flo­ral, pine, resin­ous, spi­cy, tro­pi­cal fruit, stone fruit, ber­ry, or melon. None of the­se spe­ci­fic cha­rac­te­ris­tics are requi­red, but hops should be appa­rent. Low to mode­ra­te mal­ti­ness sup­ports the hop pre­sen­ta­ti­on, and may optio­nal­ly show small amounts of spe­cial­ty malt cha­rac­ter (brea­dy, toas­ty, bis­cuit, cara­mel­ly). Frui­ty esters vary from mode­ra­te to none. Dry hop­ping (if used) may add gras­sy notes, alt­hough this cha­rac­ter should not be exces­si­ve.
Fla­vour
Mode­ra­te to high hop fla­vor, typi­cal­ly showing an Ame­ri­can or New World hop cha­rac­ter (citrus, flo­ral, pine, resin­ous, spi­cy, tro­pi­cal fruit, stone fruit, ber­ry, melon, etc.). Low to mode­ra­te clean grai­ny-malt cha­rac­ter sup­ports the hop pre­sen­ta­ti­on, and may optio­nal­ly show small amounts of spe­cial­ty malt cha­rac­ter (brea­dy, toas­ty, bis­cui­ty). The balan­ce is typi­cal­ly towards the late hops and bit­ter­ness, but the malt pre­sence should be sup­por­ti­ve, not dis­trac­ting. Cara­mel fla­vors are often absent or fair­ly restrai­ned (but are accep­ta­ble as long as they don’t clash with the hops). Frui­ty yeast esters can be mode­ra­te to none, alt­hough many hop varie­ties are qui­te frui­ty. Mode­ra­te to high hop bit­ter­ness with a medi­um to dry finish. Hop fla­vor and bit­ter­ness often lin­gers into the finish, but the after­tas­te should gene­ral­ly be clean and not har­sh. Dry hop­ping (if used) may add gras­sy notes, alt­hough this cha­rac­ter should not be exces­si­ve.
Mouth­feel
Medi­um-light to medi­um body. Mode­ra­te to high car­bo­na­ti­on. Over­all smooth finish without astrin­gen­cy and har­sh­ness.
Over­all Impres­si­on
A pale, refres­hing and hop­py ale, yet with suf­fi­ci­ent sup­por­ting malt to make the beer balan­ced and drin­ka­ble. The clean hop pre­sence can reflect clas­sic or modern Ame­ri­can or New World hop varie­ties with a wide ran­ge of cha­rac­te­ris­tics. An average-strength hop-for­ward pale Ame­ri­can craft beer, gene­ral­ly balan­ced to be more acces­si­ble than modern Ame­ri­can IPAs.
Typi­cal Ingre­dients
Pale ale malt, typi­cal­ly North Ame­ri­can two-row. Ame­ri­can or New World hops, with a wide ran­ge of allo­wa­ble cha­rac­te­ris­tics. Ame­ri­can or Eng­lish ale yeast (neu­tral to light­ly frui­ty). Spe­cial­ty grains may add cha­rac­ter and com­ple­xi­ty, but gene­ral­ly make up a rela­tively small por­ti­on of the grist. Grains that add malt fla­vor and rich­ness, light sweet­ness, and toas­ty or brea­dy notes are often used (along with late hops) to dif­fe­ren­tia­te brands.
Histo­ry
A modern Ame­ri­can craft beer era adap­t­ati­on of Eng­lish pale ale, reflec­ting indi­ge­nous ingre­dients (hops, malt, yeast, and water). Pri­or to the explo­si­on in popu­la­ri­ty of IPAs, was tra­di­tio­nal­ly the most well-known and popu­lar of Ame­ri­can craft beers.
Comments
New hop varie­ties and usa­ge methods con­ti­nue to be deve­lo­ped. Jud­ges should allow for cha­rac­te­ris­tics of modern hops in this style, as well as clas­sic varie­ties. Beco­m­ing more of an inter­na­tio­nal craft style, with local adap­t­ati­ons appearing in many coun­tries with an emer­ging craft beer mar­ket. Hop­ping styles can vary from the clas­sic lar­ge bit­ter­ness addi­ti­on, to more modern late hop-bur­sted examp­les; all varia­ti­ons are allo­wa­ble.
Com­mer­cial Examp­les
Bal­last Point Gruni­on Pale Ale, Fire­stone Wal­ker Pale 31, Gre­at Lakes Bur­ning River, Sier­ra Neva­da Pale Ale, Stone Pale Ale, Trö­egs Pale Ale
Ori­gi­nal Gra­vi­ty
1.045 - 1.060 SG
Final Gra­vi­ty
1.010 - 1.015 SG
Color
5 - 10 SRM
Alco­hol
4.0 - 6.0 %vol
Bit­ter­ness
30 - 50 IBU