Overview for the English Pale Ale

The English Pale Ale would simply be known as a Bitter in England and the name of the style actually originates in North America. Therefore most of the beers of this style are actually brewed outside the British Isles. Its color ranges from gold to amber and exhibits good clarity and head retention. Its alcohol strength ranges from sessionable to moderate. Its ingredients are typically English in origin and offer a variety of aromas and flavors that can be hoppy, earthy, fruity, buttery, and malty. Comparatively, the English Pale Ale has more malt in the balance and less alcohol than the American Pale Ale.

Style Expectations

Low gravity, low alcohol levels, and low carbonation make this an easy-drinking session beer. The malt profile can vary in flavor and intensity, but should never override the overall bitter impression. Drinkability is a critical component of the style.


Pale amber to light copper color. Good to brilliant clarity. Low to moderate white to off-white head. May have very little head due to low carbonation.


Low to moderate malt aroma, often (but not always) with a light caramel quality. Bready, biscuity, or lightly toasty malt complexity is common. Mild to moderate fruitiness. Hop aroma can range from moderate to none, typically with a floral, earthy, resiny, and/or fruity character. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.


Medium to moderately high bitterness. Moderately low to moderately high fruity esters. Moderate to low hop flavor, typically with an earthy, resiny, fruity, and/or floral character. Low to medium maltiness with a dry finish. The malt profile is typically bready, biscuity, or lightly toasty. Low to moderate caramel or toffee flavors are optional. Balance is often decidedly bitter, although the bitterness should not completely overpower the malt flavor, esters and hop flavor. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.


Light to medium-light body. Low carbonation, although bottled examples can have moderate carbonation.


Fuller’s London Pride

English Pale Ale  •  Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Fuller’s London Pride is an English Pale Ale brewed by Fuller Smith & Turner PLC that blends toasted bread, orange, and toffee with floral and earthy hops. Read More

Hopleaf Pale Ale

English Pale Ale  •  Simonds Farsons Cisk Plc.

Hopleaf Pale Ale, an English-style Pale Ale by Simonds Farsons Cisk Plc. is a sessionable brew of baked bread, nut, grassy hops, lemon, and apricot. Read More

Shoals Pale Ale

English Pale Ale  •  Smuttynose Brewing Company

Shoals Pale Ale is an English-style Pale Ale by Smuttynose Brewing Company that tastes as wonderful as it is complex. An absolute masterpiece. Read More

Brooklyn Summer Ale

English Pale Ale  •  Brooklyn Brewery

Brooklyn Summer Ale is an English-style Pale Ale brewed by Brooklyn Brewery that’s low on bite but high on refreshment. Read More


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