DarkElf (3033) - La Jolla, California, USA - APR 19, 2006
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
(12 oz bottle: BevMo in La Jolla, CA) Okay, I have no doubt now that, along with AleSmith, Pizza Port, Stone and Russian River, Drakeís is one of my five favorite breweries in the state of California. Is it even conceivable that Rodger and Melissa can brew a bad beer, or even a mediocre one? I think not. Expedition Ale is simply amazing. I bought a sixer figuring Iíd rate one and send the other five out in trades, but I have my sincere doubts that any of the other bottles will make it til my next trade. Pouring the beer, itís amber-brown in color with excellent clarity. The off-white head rises enthusiastically to about an inch in height and settles slowly to a thin but complete layer atop the beer, depositing significant amounts of patchy lacing on the glass. But wait, it gets better, much better! This is an exceptionally flavorful amber ale. Actually, even before tasting the beer, just bringing the glass to my mouth, the gregarious hop aroma bursts out of the glass and tantalizes my senses. Sweet, floral fruitiness and dry, toasty maltiness accompany the hops aroma, making one magnificent bouquet to savor to the fullest. And did I say this was tasty? Fine, Iíll say it again, wow, I canít stop gushing over this beer. Beautifully malty, fairly roasty, lightly toasty, dry and earthy, yet only lightly sweet in the grand scheme of things. The bright, bitter, citrusy, herbal, and floral hops is more than up to the task of balancing the supreme maltiness, yet the beer stays balanced from start to finish. Amazing balance from start to finish, as well as a finish that doesnít even begin to thin out. Body is medium-full from start to finish, yet has a dry, clean, crisp, refreshing and quite well-carbonated mouthfeel. Maybe this makes me a pussy, but this beer is so good, it brings tears to my eyes, and I mean that quite literally. I canít say this any other way, or any clearer, this is an exceptional beer, at the top of its class. I rarely buy six-packs, and havenít purchased a full case of 12-ounce bottles in, well, I think ever. I just might buy a full case of this. Iím THAT blown away.
SDbruboy (1864) - San Diego, California, USA - APR 16, 2006
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
12 oz. bottle, thanks to DarkElf for this one! Pours a deep, clear mahogany color with a large, beige head. Aroma of lightly roasty malts, molasses, nice floral and citrus hops with some juniper as well. Flavor is congruent with the aroma, more roasty malts and molasses, bitter herbs, lovely floral hops and spiciness. Medium body and creamy carbonation. This is another nice one from Drakes.
zathrus13 (1703) - Mount Laurel, New Jersey, USA - APR 10, 2006
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours deep amber, with an off white head. Aromas are citrus, caramel, and some roasted malt. Flavors are citrus (stronger the the aroma), brown sugar, chocolate, and slightly smokey malt. Ends dry. Thanks to Davecooks for this bottle.
GG (2039) - NorCal, California, USA - APR 7, 2006
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
An absolute pleasure to consume. The aroma is piney and citrusy, with a touch of sweetness. Appearance is just absolutely incredible with a sunset reddish/purple color and a nice fluffy head. Mouthfeel is medium to full. Flavor is roasty, hoppy, citrusy, and malty. A lovely beer.
smcd (366) - USA - MAR 27, 2006
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
(12oz Bottle. 03/2006) Dark amber with fast dissipating off-hwite head. Caramelly notes in the aroma with some hints of roasty, maybe chocolately, aromas too. Hops come through, but frankly, it was more malty aromas than hops. That is not the case for the flavor: a bit malty up front followed by an avalanche of hoppiness all the way across the palate. Medium-full bodied, this bee finishes with a lingering astringency and just a hint of stickiness on the lips.
ChillCoat (1029) - Concord, California, USA - MAR 27, 2006
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottled. pours a dark amber color with an ivory head. Over the top bitter aroma. NIce light maltiness with a huge hop bitterness. Definitely a west coast amber- more like an IPA really.
FlacoAlto (3759) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - FEB 25, 2006
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours with a frothy, amber-tinged, tan colored head that has a bit of a creamy texture to it. The beer is quite dark, hints of ruby show through when held up to the light, but in general it is a deep concentrated amber color. The aroma of this beer is quite hoppy; it is dominated by notes of pine and herbs, perhaps a hint of citrus as well. There is quite a bit of malt in the aroma as well; sweet carmalized fruit notes are joined by a bit of toasted malt character.
The beer is lightly sweet up front, but quickly moves to a hoppy almost tart note that finishes quite dry in the end. Of course this beer is hop dominated throughout; a bit herbal, a bit raw, with definite notes of pine. While the hops dominate there is quite a bit of malt here as well; notes of raisins, caramel and toffee are evident. As the beer warms up fruity hop notes become much more evident; notes of lychee and grapefruit really help to balance the raw hop notes.
This is quite a nice beer, my biggest complaint is that this beer seems to disappear a bit faster than I would like. One last sip and its gone, quite tasty indeed.
grant (842) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - JUL 3, 2005
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
My second Drakeís beer, and I continue to be impressed. This and their IPA both have phenomenal malt character, particularly in the aroma. Iím not sure what this beer is, but I really like it. Itís a very dark brown but is hopped like an IPA. Aroma is lightly doughy with molasses and some bourbon notes. Smells very woody, slightly floral and with a very rich freshly-baked dessert bread (raisin nut bread?) character. Starts off with a round mouthful of the wonderful base maltiness hinted at in the aroma, followed by a slightly charred sensation from the darker malts (roasted barley? darker crystal malts?) Hop flavors blend in very smoothly, consisting mainly of piney and apricot/peach notes. Nice body which coats the tongue well on the finish. My only complaint about this beer is that the sharpness of the dark malts and hop bitterness combine to make the finish very dry, but well, thatís just what youíre going to get when you make a beer like this.
Sickboy282 (1115) - San Diego, California, USA - JUN 22, 2005
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 13/20
Pours a hazy orange/amber hue with no head. Aromas of oak, honey, a little rubbing alcohol with a light aplle note. Flavors of oats , more rubbing alcohol witha thick finish.
5000 (6180) - Hardened Liver, Washington, USA - JUN 21, 2005
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle: Ruby Brown, large foamy sand colored head, thick lacing, soft carbonation. † Subtle hop nose, yet stronger than your average Amber. † Bit oí sweet dark malts as well. † Also emits a sort of Tea like sweetness. † Smooth malt base, definite sweet tea like flavor, with touch of hops and pine needles... enough to give it a little bite. † The 6.8% ABV is well hidden. † Moderate to full body, with a definite full mouthfeel. † This stuff is quite smooth on the tongue. † Very clean finish, semi-dry.  This Amber remains on the lighter side, yet its quite well rounded. † Thanks for the tasty freebie Ernie!