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Robert Simpson Confederation Ale - Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery

Not Rated.
Robert Simpson Confederation AleRobert Simpson Confederation Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

51 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 51
Hads: 67
Avg: 3.1
pDev: 16.13%
Wants: 1
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: pootz on 01-31-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (43) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 51 | Hads: 67
Photo of Sammy
3.02/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Nice aroma, honeyish though sweet malt. Bit of foamy head in appearance. OK and creamy but on the thin mouthfeel side and plain taste with some honey in backdrop from yeast. There is a drop of hops and can use more of it. Drying bits of material at end. Drinkable.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.32/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a golden color ale with a medium light foamy white head with good retention. Aroma of floral hops is mix with grassy malt. Taste is a bit more interesting then expected with grassy feels mix with something quite salty. Without being great this is an above average golden ale with some character.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

355ml bottle, procured via a trade with Ontario local tbeckett - cheers!

This beer pours a clear, medium golden copper hue, with one finger of soapy pale beige head, which leaves some streaky arched lace as it quickly recedes. It smells of sweet bready, pastry-like malt, some mild wild citrus, and grassy, weedy hops. The taste is malty, to be sure, the breadiness not in question - however, an overriding, if still underwhelming, zingy grassy, earthy hoppiness pervades. The carbonation is on the low side of average, the body equally south of medium weight, but not egregiously so, and a little too edgy to be considered smooth. It finishes off-dry, the breadiness and waning, underachieving hops sticking in.

An adequate enough offering, especially given the style. I wouldn't be put off if offered this at the proverbial lake, but I wouldn't/won't be seeking it out.

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Photo of biegaman
3.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The ale may be more toasty golden than amber, but it's a decent looking beer whatever colour you decide to call it. A tanned complexion and lightly pressing chill haze don't obstruct clarity nor do they restrict visibility of those acrobatic little bubbles. Its head has depleted plenty since the pour although a scrap of it still floats secluded over the center.

Hot damn I smell hops! Forgive the sudden outburst but I really wasn't expecting any. When it was introduced, Robert Simpson Confederation (not yet Amber) Ale was about as toneless and ordinary as beer can get. This newer draft, however, smells of out-of-the-oven cookies baked with rose water and drizzled in a candied fruit reduction. Yum!

It is no surprise, therefore, that the taste is also far improved. Flavours of wafer and graham cracker are complimented by a sweet toffee note and accompanying hints of citrus zest and piths and herbal flowers. Although pleasant, it's a tad faint and unassertive (still it strikes me as something you might find in the south of France in pie form).

So the beer tastes good, we've confirmed that, but why aren't I falling over myself for the next sip? Mostly because this is too light in malt department. Despite that it imparts a sensational fruity/floral bitterness, the beer's mouthfeel is quick to disassemble and, although that makes it infinitely quenching, it takes away from the beer's overall character.

The (seemingly extensive) use of crystal malts pays off as the honey and biscuits combination, in union with the light citric hoppiness, makes for a toothsome aftertaste. That is partly spoiled, however, by a prevailing irony note. Treating the water differently to make it softer, less mineral-rich might benefit the beer's easy-going effervescence.

Before the recipe was re-tweaked and the brewery changed its name to Flying Monkeys, Robert Simpson Confederation Ale was about as lifeless as the late Robert Simpson himself. This revamped version, however, is no longer the beer for dead white guys - it's convivial and contemporary, an excellent quaff for (very much alive) beer geeks anywhere.

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Photo of Derek
3.09/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Crystal clear with a slight yellow hue. Pours with plenty of head, leaves a nice lace, but there's not much retention.

S: Not a lot of nose. Bread & buttery-caramel with slight hints of fresh hops and fruity esters.

T: Slightly sweet, hint of earthy hops, with some buttery/caramel flavour like caramel popcorn (diacetyl?).

M: Light to moderate body is somewhat creamy. Moderate carbonation.

D: Easily approached & initially goes down like water... but it starts to wear on me, and certainly doesn't bring me back for more.

Probably best served ice-cold.

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Photo of DrJay
3.12/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Slightly hazy golden colour topped by a thin off-white head. Grainy malt aroma with a little sweetness, moderate fruity character, and floral hops. Fairly balanced, with sweetness and fruit up front followed by mild citrus at the finish. Light body, moderate carbonation, and just a bit slick.

355 mL green, UV-protected bottle, freshness date stamped into the label on the neck.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


Appearance - Amber/copper colour with an average size frothy off-white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some good lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for 4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel, nuts, light hops

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, a caramel sweetness and a bit of hop bitterness. There is also a touch of a nuttiness. It ends with a malty slightly sweet aftertaste.

Overall – Nothing that will blow you away, but it's a nice drinkable amber. The flavours are subtle which would allow for it to be pretty sessionable. Considering my limited choices for draft beer at the restaurant, it worked well.

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Photo of tbeckett
3.01/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Nice golden/light copper colour. Good carbonation streaming up the glass. Bright. Two finger white head leaving good lacing.

S - Really mild. Grassy hops and malty caramel.

T - Mild malty caramel with more mild grassy hops with sort of a lemony aspect too.

M - Lot's of carbonation, light body. Really smooth.

D - 'Mild' just about sums up what this beer is like. I could drink it all day, but why would I want to? Nothing about it is offensive but it's just nothing I would reach for for flavour. That said, it's very easy to drink, but I'm not sure that makes it good.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on the beach at my old mans place on Lake Superior.

A - Pours a nice amber colour, thin finger of head with solid rentention, leaving a nice shiny island of bubbles after a few minutes, and some fine sticky lacing throughout.

S - Some sweet citrus hops off the top and followed by some caramel malts, though it is a little light and could be a bit stronger.

T - The sweet caramel malts dominate the palette, with some bready malts and citrus hops lingering on the palette. The finish is a little more bitter than I expected.

M - A bit on the watery side, could use a little more carbonation to liven it up a bit, and give it a bit of lift.

D - Overall, a pretty tasty offering and I would easily go through a 6-er of this if it were readily available in Alberta. Recommended to any Amber Ale fan looking for a tasty OCB version of the style.

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Photo of kwjd
2.55/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Review from April 2009:

After pouring into a glass, it was a pale colour, without much head. I don't know exactly to describe this smell... but it was one of the worst things I have ever smelled. I thought it may be a bad bottle, but other reviews here seem to say similar things, so I'm not sure of this. It didn't taste as bad as it smells, but it still tasted bad. I had split this bottle with a friend and I couldn't even finish my half of it.
Note: This says "Amber Ale" on the bottle, but I don't think it is supposed to be an amber since it was completely pale. If I can take off marks for labeling errors, I would.

Grade: F, Scores: 2.5 1.0 1.5 3.0 1.0

Now in August 2010, I tried this again. I was scared to try it again, but I braved through and it was fine. I'm going to move up my score because I don't think my rating was an accurate reflection of the beer now.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a can of this brew when in Canada. I am pouring a chilled sample into a pint glass. The beer pours a bright clear color with several streams of carbonation rising to the surface. Fluffy bleached white head of 4 cm fades slowly leaving craters as it goes. Aroma is clean caramel malt and some grainy cereal. Fairly mild on the nose overall.
First sip reveals a light body and genlte rolling carbonation. Flavor is a little grainy and some caramel too. Gets a little husky on the finish and then rolls to herbal and drying finish. Nice easy drinker when sitting in the sun poolside.

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Photo of bobsy
2.6/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This beer was included in a sixer aimed at promoting Ontario craft brews to the local market. So far, its the worst of the 5 I've had. I don't remember this beer being that bad in the past, but considering I've drank a lot of decent stuff since I had it 3 years ago, perhaps things have moved on.

The bottle pours a nice golden liquid which kicks up a beautifully smooth and creamy white head, which gradually fades to film and leaves some lace. The aroma is very grainy and has strong notes of bran to it, as well as sawdust. In its way it smell quite clean and healthy. Grain hits me full on in the flavour, to be rapidly followed by sweet bread and then a hint of plastic and cardboard, which we could do without. The sweetness becomes naggingly cloying and reminds me of corm syrup, although it is thankfully replaced by a clean aftertaste of grain. The sweetness does make the mouth water, which seems to lighten this drink beyond its already medium-light body. The carbonation tingles on the tongue and does help to alleviate the sweetness somewhat.

A dud. It does have some nice characteristics, but it is really let down by the flavour, which is too sweet and perhaps contains adjuncts. I won't buy this again, it just wasn't all that pleasant to drink.

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Photo of SebD
3.51/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice yellow/orange/golden color to it. It has a nice thick off-white head that dies down moderately and leaves nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of sweet toasty caramelly malts with earthy, piney and citrusy hops.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice sweet malt character giving out some caramelly notes with some nice citrusy, piney and earthy hops and a slight nuttiness.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good light flavors and aromas.

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Photo of pootz
3.03/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tried this from a can recently....revisiting this ale after tasting on tap at the brewery and getting a case of the first release in bottles.

Gotta say what I tasted from that can was not the beer I tried 11/2 years ago...this was weaker in hop aroma and malt...more fluid mouth feel..very soft nothing pronounced as in the first batches...will re-try in 6 months to see if there is improvement.

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Photo of TerryW
3.79/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A pretty average looking beer, ginger ale gold with precious little by way of head or lace.

Probably the best thing about this one is the smell. Lots of flowery hops, a little resiny, grapefruit or juniper. Quite appetizing.

Sweet malts up front. Hops are dominant in the taste and give it an almost green character. Lots of grapefruit. Has a tgentle lingering bitterness. A tad too sprity on the palate and can be mildly harsh when it settles in.

I've had several sixes of this beer as I've come to like it as a good work-a-day beer, but I've noticed that it can be a little uneven, probably due to the green bottle.

Worth trying just for the aroma alone, good regular drinkin' beer.

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Photo of allergictomacros
2.65/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pale straw with a puny, weak head. Bodes poorly.

S - Sweet, corn-like aromas (n.b. label say purity law and whatnot so it shouldn't an adjunct thing). Strong notes of husky grain.

T - Definitely on the sweet side. Slightly tart up front and a teeny weeny bitterness in the aftertaste. Not much else going on here.

M - Light bodied, somewhat fizzy.

D - Falls into the drinkable, but not very exciting category. Would compare favorably to most macros, but singularly unimpressive.

The LCBO wouldn't sell me a single so I had to choose between a sixer of this and 2 others I've never tried... Seems I chose poorly (the box was all shiny and I got distracted...)

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.68/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The most drinkable Cream Ale I've ever encountered. Pours out to a frosty yellow color with a respectable head of white foam that remains consistant. No lace, and a medium level of carbonation. Aromas of light husky corn and grains, with some malty sweet notes. Taste is smooth, crisp, simple and enjoyable; light malty sweetness mixes with rich corn grain flavors and oh so subtle hops. Some herby notes as well, but very faint, and almost overshadowed by the smooth malty veggie character that is present. Mouthfeel is good; i've got to say it's quite enjoyable for such a shunned style; crisp, smooth, refreshing, totally quaffable. A great summer, or even year round brew. I like to think of Robert Simpson as the Orville Reddenbacher of beers; they do one thing (Cream Ale), and do it better than anyone else. Highly Recommended. Special thanks to Derek for the sample.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
2.21/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This beer is very bland. It reminds me of the terrible Alexander Keith's. It pours a very light bronze with a wispy collar and a bit of lace. The aroma is watery with a wisp of malt and some mineral, very insipid. The taste is a lot like a macro lager. Not much of anything, utterly inoffensive. The hops show up for a flash in the finish. The mouthfeel is quite fizzy and thin. I dont recommend this beer.

The whole image of this brewery is contrived and cheesy. Their booth at the Toronto beer festival was like a Muskoka room crossed with a Canadian souvenir shop.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

One of those beers that truly suffers in bottled form, but is quite drinkable on draft. Had this one on tap at the University of Waterloo Grad House.

Pours a light amber, leaves about 1cm of foam that quickly disappears.

Nose is of apple, spices and a bit of hops. None of the metallic flavour found in the bottle.

Not a bad little pale ale, certainly good for a session with friends. However, there's nothing exciting about it - fairly standard actually - so it won't prove to be an interesting sipper. Get it on draught if you can - the bottle is certainly subpar.

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Photo of korguy123
3.5/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into tumbler.

A- Crystal clear amber pour (makes sense) Finger and a half dense white head that won't quit. Lacing is okay.

S- Definite sweet biscuit. There is a hint of the Saaz hops but it really is faint. There isn't much else happening.

T- Saaz hops, sour dough bread and slight cookie sweetness. Earthy and floral in the finish.

M- Light to medium bodied, good carbonation.

O- There isn't much to say about this. It's good for what it is; a "sit on the deck and bbq with a bunch of these in the cooler" beer.

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Photo of ericj551
2.87/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On the label this beer claims to be an Amber Ale, but it pours a pale golden color. The aroma is slightly malty and grainy with a hint of a bready scent. The flavor is more of the same, with an emphasis on the grainy taste. Not a terrible beer, but there's really not too much there.

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Photo of TheHammer
2.87/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got this as part of the OCB discovery pack #2 that I bought at a Burlington LCBO.

Appearance: Pours with a half finger of air filed head that does not sustain at all and barely laces. The beer itself is a cloudy orange tinted yellow. The carbonation on this beer also seems a bit excessive, which leaves me wondering how the heck did the head disappear so fast.

Smell: I'm getting a definite buttery grain and malt scent from this beer, however not much else. There are notes of honey and an almost wood shop kind of smell going on. It's a bit odd, but not unpleasant and not overly subdued.

Taste: Has a taste that is almost too consistent as the taste of grain is apparent throughout the experience. It starts with a bit of a grain and vegetable flavor at the start, then turns to a more malt and grain experience with a slight touch of apricots, and finishes with more grain and a slight touch of bitter bread. However there is an odd mineral taste that accompanies the beer.

Mouthfeel: Well, the aftertaste of the beer is unsurprisingly more grain with that odd mineral taste but it doesn't linger at all. The carbonation is surprisingly good, despite signs of it being overwhelming. Leaves a very clean sensation in the mouth.

Drinkability: This beer is fairly refreshing, goes down smoothly isn't too heavy. However, the odd aftertaste and the fact the beer is a bit gassy once it's in the stomach, takes away from the experience. Fairly average stuff as far as putting it down

Final Thoughts: I dunno, I find this beer a little bit lacking and it's certainly not going to win over anyone used to drinking Macros. All in all, this beer exemplifies that just because it's craft brewed, doesn't make it a work of art. I'm not going to lie, this beer is only worth buying as part of a mix pack. I'd be upset if I got a case of 6.

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Photo of philipquarles
2.73/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

341ml bottle out of the OCB Discovery Pack. Pours clear gold with a smallish white head. Poor retention and non-existent lacing. Smells like wet grain--not very nice. Somewhat sweet. This carries a bit to the taste, but the malt actually takes on a bit of a toasty character that makes it more pleasant. Light-medium body with medium carbonation. Not offensive, but not much (good) character or flavor.

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Photo of crwills
3.27/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tallboy can purchased at the LCBO. Relatively light yellow/gold with a small white head that fades a bit. No lacing. Faint aromas of neutral, slightly grassy malts. Flavour is initially really, really metallic - what's up with this can? After that, mild but drinkable, with semi-sweet malts and decent, if subtle, hop flavour (tart and planty, but not citrusy). Would probably be a lot better on tap or cask.

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Photo of ludachris
2.63/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this one courtesy of TheHammer awhile back. I think it's kind of cool they utilized the idea of Coors Light's cold label on the back. Hopefully they didn't use the same brewing techniques.

Pours a slightly hazy deep golden hue with one finger of quickly dissipating, watery white head that leaves no lace. A strong amount of carbonation makes itself visible.

Grain, sweet malt, biscuit and vegetables in the nose. Sure doesn't make me want to drink it.

Grain and biscuit are mashed with a funky canned vegetable taste, finishing off with a light buttery touch; the only redeeming aspect of this beer.

Mouthfeel is light, watery and filmy. Pour balance of less than pleasing tastes makes this a hard one to go down, but still drinks like a macro.

Keeping in mind my limited experience in the Ontario craft brew scene and the beer world in general, this is one of the worst craft's I've had to date. Their Hoptical Illusion, under its new name of course, is lightyears ahead of this stuff. I'm always open to giving a new beer a try, especially one from here, but the rest of this sucker is going down the drain.

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Robert Simpson Confederation Ale from Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
74 out of 100 based on 51 ratings.