DarkElf (3038) - La Jolla, California, USA - JAN 3, 2006
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
(12 oz bottle: Obtained in trade with Larry Pitonka, thanks André!) With just one small sip, the sharply bitter, acidic, grapefruity hoppiness has put my tongue in shackles, probably for the rest of the night. Wow, this is a very hoppy beer. A few more sips, and my palate has finally adjusted, or perhaps more accurately, surrendered to the hop onslaught. Fairly sweet, caramely malts try to play catch-up now, but can’t fully break through, remaining in the background. The sensation of alcohol further adds to the intensity on the palate from the hops. A bit more balance in the nose, with the hops not being quite so aggressive here, allowing lightly sweet malt aromas to come through. Medium bodied and well carbonated, but quite crisp from all the hops. The beer is quite a lovely deep ruddy amber color and only slightly hazy. Sizeable off-white head gradually settles to a filmy layer, but leaves a delicate doily of lace on the glass. I can see how hopheads might love this beer, but I need more malt to balance this bad boy out.
oldrtybastrd (3222) - Fort Walton Beach, Florida, USA - DEC 11, 2005
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Pours a reddish brown. Nice hop/malts aroma. Nice hoppy flavor with hints of fruit and caramel.
jake65 (2885) - Boise, Idaho, USA - OCT 1, 2006
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
On Tap: Reddish brown pour with a medium off white head. Taste is a well balanced hoppinness, caramels, and toasted malts. More hops than a typical amber ale and very tasty as a result.
HumbertHumbert (77) - Denver, Colorado, USA - SEP 17, 2006
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Draft- the Front Door, Boise, ID. Nice fresh hop bite, but the diacetyl was a little distracting. Better after about a half pint. Nice looking beer and would have been much better without the butter.
DJMonarch (9165) - Northwich, Cheshire, ENGLAND - MAR 14, 2006
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Barrel Draught from the jug at the GABF, Colorado Convention Center 30/09/2005
Golden amber coloured and hoppy. Very bitter lasting finish.
beerinmarch (2830) - Washington, USA - SEP 19, 2006
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
A nice little fresh harvest ale, sweet citrus hop aroma clean and crisp. Very light bitterness up front with a bold bitter finish with lots of green hop taste. Mild diacetyl hits you up front, but I don’t notice it much in the bitter finish.
OldMrCrow (2160) - Seattle, Washington, USA - SEP 30, 2006
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: OCT 19, 2006 Tap at the Latona pub in Seattle.
Pours a clear caramel brown with red highlights and nice reddish tan head. The aroma is all herb garden - mint and thyme. The flavor follows, strong herb hops, slightly oily through a middle, hints of cleaning fluid unfortunately, powerful grapefruit rind bitterness. I get some booziness on late side along with a nice lip-drying finish. There’s not a ton of balance here and the malts are basically running for cover, but this is nonetheless among the better Hales offerings that I’ve tried.
Addendum: Upon a Mid-october revisit (two pints worth) at Atlas, this one continues to grow on me. I didn’t find the cleaning fluid this time around, just a rich herbal almost cidery harvest flavor and malts that provide enough backbone to make the whole balance out very nicely. I was additionally impressed to find this one served at close to cellar temperature with quite modest carbonation that really made this feel like a great draft harvest ale. My favorite Hale’s offering by a long margin.
asteele8 (322) - Des Moines, Washington, USA - OCT 14, 2006
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle. Pours a red-brown with a slightly off-white head on top. Aroma is hoppy, citrusy, and hints of grapefruit. Flavor is full of hops. A very nice fresh hop bite from start to finish. I would classify this more as an IPA than an amber ale just off the first initial sip. A dry bitter finish at the end is very nice. A decent beer that is quite enjoyable. A nice way to celebrate the harvest season.
Walt (2449) - Austin, Texas, USA - MAR 24, 2006
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Pour is almost opaquely hazed amber with a thin tan head...smell is hoppy with lots of grapefruit and hints of bread behind it...taste is sharply bitter hoppy up front with sweet citric notes rounding out the flavor...quick sweet finish...
pinkzambia (1693) - Boise, Idaho, USA - SEP 13, 2006
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle:Murky amber color with a small off-white head. The aromas are abundantly hoppy for an amber - Sweet citrus mixed with juniper shrubs mainly. The taste is hop loaded as well. It seems to me this gets pretty close to an IPA. It has a weird aftertaste thing - kind of like cardboard mixed with a hint of anise with a tin foil finish. It isn’t to overpowering, but nevertheless there. The feel is great and it is a yummy beer to have as we enter the harvest season.