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Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale - Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery

Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale AleFlying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

188 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 188
Reviews: 98
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 11.11%


Brewed by:
Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
32 IBU

(Beer added by: bobsy on 05-23-2009)
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Ratings: 188 | Reviews: 98 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BuckyBeerBeaver
BuckyBeerBeaver

Ontario (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The origin of Flying Monkey's Craft Brewery dates to its foundation in 2005 under the name Robert Simpson. Now doing business as Flying Monkeys, the brewery is known for the use of psychedelic artwork on all its bottles and draft taps.Flying Monkeys is located at 107 Dunlop Street East in Barrie, Ontario. Though I've been wanting to try their Hoptical Illusion ("HI") Almost Pale Ale for quite a while, quite frankly the psychedelic label turned me off. Doing my best to ignore the graphics (after all, it's what's inside that counts), I picked up HI in a brown 341 ml bottle, bottled Jan. 14, 2012 from my local LCBO. Hoptical Illusion is 5.0% alcohol by volume and cost $2.15 per bottle.

HI poured a clear dark amber colour with plenty of visible, fast rising bubbles. Pouring produced 1/2" of yellow/white head that died down within two minutes, leaving behind a collar of foam and thin film that left considerable lacing and some spotting down the glass. As soon as I opened the bottle its strong aroma hit me...a dominant pink grapefruit, with undertones of pine and what I believe is orange. A wonderful aroma. It's taste very much followed the aroma...pink grapefruit up front, followed by pine and a slightly sweet orange flavour, ending with a hop bitterness and a bitter aftertaste that lingered for several seconds. As the beer warmed, it's sweeter elements became a bit more noticeable. Thankfully, this was not the hop bomb that I was half expecting given the beer's name. HI had a smooth mouthfeel, appropriate carbonation for the style and was light/medium bodied. Overall, a fairly complex, hop dominated beer that doesn't go over the top with its bitterness...I very much enjoyed the citrus aromas and flavours, and Hoptical Illusion represents respectable value for money.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2014 22:41:04 | More by BuckyBeerBeaver
Photo of CalgaryFMC
CalgaryFMC

Alberta (Canada)

3.74/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Not sure why this ale is dubbed "almost pale", as it is fairly dark for the style: A red amber that belies the name but looks enticing nonetheless, with a considerable quantity of rich beige foam that leaves a nice spidery lacing on a pub glass. Aroma recalls perfumed black tea, orange rind, peppercorn spice, faint pine, and sweetish caramel malts. Smells pleasantly spicy and earthy. Palate is interesting, with a mixed red, white, and green peppercorn spice and pine leading the way, followed by a subdued white grape and citrus rind fruitiness, maybe the barest hint of tropical fruit in there somewhere: This brewery likes Citra hops. A chalky mineral note only amplifies the green, earthy, spicy bitterness. Rather light-bodied and fizzy, with a herbal piney "forest floor" finish. I am somewhat conflicted about this brew. Although the peppercorn spice and pine make for a fairly unique and ultimately gratifying combination, there was a sense that more citrus and floral elements were struggling to come through, never quite making it. The malts are downplayed and perhaps nicely sessionable but the hops are not quite salient enough on the usual American pale ale dimensions of citrus and tropical fruit. Could just be me.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2014 20:22:11 | More by CalgaryFMC
Photo of ssmack
ssmack

Ontario (Canada)

3.96/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark amber brown with a fine beige head that became a think layer of foam. Great lacing top to bottom.

Both malt and hops in the smell. Biscuit malt. Strong citrus - lemon. As I drank the aroma swung back and forth between malt and hops. Cool.

The hops take over in the taste. Citrus both grapefruit and lemon. Hay and herbs - oregano and pepper. There was a think base of biscuit malt.

A medium feel with a short tingle at the end.

This ale is better than the "almost pale ale" the label claims. Refreshing and complex hops taste.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2013 02:40:02 | More by ssmack
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

3.64/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not a bad pale ale, but nothing special here either. Starts quite bitter, with a surprising hit of earthy hops given its IBUs of just 32. Fairly pleasant biscuity malt plays nicely with the hops, while not adding much sweetness- this beer is quite dry. There is a bit of graininess that not only persists, but grows as the beer warms. The biscuit notes also continue to grow, and hops start to flag. It ends up being a better beer when cold and the ultimate flavors haven't emerged completely. Still, not bad, and nice try something different from the ever expanding Canadian craft beer scene.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2013 02:43:06 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of djoprahwinfrey
djoprahwinfrey

Manitoba (Canada)

3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - A clean copper pour with a 1/4 finger of white head which dissipated moderately quick into a thin ring of lace

S - pleasant aromas of hops, some lemon and a bit of pine, biscuity or bready with a bit of sweetness

T - This starts of strong on hops and some pine, caramel and some mild citrus, lemon, grapefruit. Enjoyable hop bitterness at the end

M - This has some chew but goes down well,velvety ,medium to high carbonation.

O - A really good brew from Flying Monkeys with a solid amount of hops and pleasant overall.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2013 10:08:09 | More by djoprahwinfrey
Photo of laituegonflable
laituegonflable

Australia

3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Johnny Farina in Ottawa.

Pours a burnished amber, slight red tinge. Head is off-white, dense up top but sparse on the sides. Looks pretty good.

Smells peppery. Lots of hops but also plenty of red and black peppercorns. Notes of some lemongrass and citrus as well. Tangy and a bit spicy. Odd but nice.

Taste starts out peppery with more of those peppercorn flavours. Red/black colour, some slight sour green notes. Hints of citrus on there, lemon with some fragrant dish detergent, but finishes hoppy and pleasant. Light and drinkable.

Decent body, bit of texture that isn't just carbonation. Alright.

Pale ale with all the right notes, and a touch of intriguing difference. I like it.

Serving type: on-tap

09-20-2013 02:32:44 | More by laituegonflable
Photo of pokerman
pokerman

Ontario (Canada)

4.6/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Such a great beer with lots of late additions. glad i found a good ipa with some malt backbone. What can I say that hasn't been said? classic or a traditional American IPA it is not but maybe more like a started one. but who cares what you call it? kills almost any other local beer hands down.Fantastic- and exceeded expectations.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2013 19:34:23 | More by pokerman
Photo of Masterkush7
Masterkush7

Alberta (Canada)

3.76/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I like this beer. May not be as hoppy as most ipa I drink but overall this is a good beer and definatly worth a try. Appearance is a nice dark haze. Taste is well balanced with both a nice malt background with hints of nuts and Caramel and a good hop finish. Will definatly enjoy again

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2013 18:59:45 | More by Masterkush7
Photo of Kremlock
Kremlock

Ontario (Canada)

4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: medium to dark copper. Has an off white head that pours to about 1/2 inch and then settles to a thin film on top of the beer. Beer is clear and not particles are visible.

S: Creamy butter toffee on the nose when swirling the beer. Has a soft citrus aroma from the hops and there is a residual biscuit smell.

T: Some grapefruit, a little bit of soft peach, caramel/tofee present.

M: Malt/hops balanced, carbonation is fantastic. A bit prickly on the tongue but it has a palate cleansing sensation. Soft bitterness in the end with a low sweetness.

O: This is a greatly balanced APA that can be drank as a session by all standards.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2013 00:11:13 | More by Kremlock
Photo of MAB
MAB

Alberta (Canada)

3.66/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I had one of these on the weekend and I was happy about it.
I'm marking the appearance down a bit because I had too much head after pouring (carefully). Thick and tan in color, the head eventually calmed down enough that I could drink it easily.
The smell was nice. Slightly malty, some good hop aroma.
The taste was better than I figured it would be. Advertised as "almost Pale Ale", I was worried that the hop bitterness would be downplayed, but I was pleasantly proven incorrect. Tasty!
Things improved once I got drinking, and my score reflects that.
Five more in the six-pack case, and I'm looking forward to them!

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2013 22:42:03 | More by MAB
Photo of BigBry
BigBry

Alberta (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle, new to the Calgary market.
Poured a deep copper color, solid head that left chunky lacing.
Nice bitter hop aroma, with some floral notes, ctrus and pine. Taste is nice balanced with a good dose of caramel malt balanced against the citrus and bitter hoppiness.
Good, hoppy finish with a slightly hop-oil aftertaste.
Body is medium, but fits the style nicely. Appropriate level of carbonation.
Well done, I have enjoyed everything from Flying Monkeys so far.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 01:22:19 | More by BigBry
Photo of jaz58
jaz58

Ontario (Canada)

4.23/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have tried a few of the brews from FM and this one is my favorite. This beer was served in a pint glass.

A nice thin head, off white in colour.

Nice deep orange colour.

Fresh hops nose with hints of Carmel.

Nice mouthfeel, almost silky.

Lemon, grapefruit beginning followed by a good balance of bitters.

Overall a good brew. Great beer anytime of the year.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2012 20:48:16 | More by jaz58
Photo of smakawhat
smakawhat

Maryland

4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip pint glass.

A nice dark amber body, pretty text book and a little clear. Head is tan yellow, with small pinhead bubbles and some very good lacing, with ringlets around the glass. Leaves a good thin puck while drinking.

Dry malts, and a good hop forward action but not crazy. Dry and slightly earthy. A small malt backbone seems to be present. Pretty simple but solid.

Palate hits with a good hop richness but nothing crazy. Herbal and a light brown sugar sense comes in the mid palate. Tea like action on the finish with a nice mild hop angle. Sweet sense of malts seem to carry a slightly hop forward brew, but it is mild and subtle. Minimal carbonation with a solid simple body that doesn't detract from the imbibing experience.

A hop forward illusional beer indeed. Nothing crazy, but a good solid simple pale ale for sure.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2012 21:35:22 | More by smakawhat
Photo of codyhotel
codyhotel

Manitoba (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours with a good 2 fingers of off-white head, dissapates down pretty quickly. A copper colour, more towards the red end (I think, tough to tell shades of red when you're colourblind).

S - Lots of hops, some citrus notes up front. Caramel and malty sweetness towards the end, with a touch of a yeasty-bread type of thing.

T - Not as hoppy as I expected from the nose, a good amount up front but gives way to the sweeter malts fairly quickly. Caramel and malt flavours grow stronger as the beer warms up. Definitely a bit of subtle spice in there that I can't quite put my finger on. Finishes with a touch of bitterness

M - Medium-moderate body, smooth carbonation. Finish is a touch oily, could be cleaner.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2012 23:00:44 | More by codyhotel
Photo of joemcgrath27
joemcgrath27

Alberta (Canada)

3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - clear dark random, two fingers of tan head, dissipated slowly leaving random blobs of lacing
S - herbal and resiny hop aromas, mild caramel and raw grain
T - a blend of herbal hop and toasted grain malt flavours, more mild grassy hops with a metallic hint
M - a little thin and light on carbonation, very mild bitterness
O - this almost pale ale is almost good, not bad but nothing outstanding, the IPA's I've tried from Flying Monkeys are a better buy

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2012 01:49:36 | More by joemcgrath27
Photo of slitherySOB
slitherySOB

Ontario (Canada)

4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark copper with plenty of bubbles that leads to a two fingers worth of head that doesn't leave. Plenty of lacing on the glass. Smells of citrus and faint pine, with a bit of herbal tea. Tastes of caramel, citrus and pine. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a bit airy. A very good pale ale, but not as good as their Smashbomb IPA.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2012 20:57:02 | More by slitherySOB
Photo of wordemupg
wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

355ml bottle poured into tall pilsner glass 3/7/12

A clear dark copper with lots of big bubbles feeding a two finger beige foam that just gets more dense as it falls and has a peak too it, there's still a thumbs width at the bottom and thick rings all the way down. looks perfect, just perfect

S citrus and faint pine with lots of caramel, just a little herbal aspect as it warms

T not much pine and still lots of caramel, well balanced for sure with both malt and hops in check, earthy finish

M lots of bubbles on the verge of foam but still airy, medium bodied and the aftertaste lingers faintly

O high marks here for how fast a 6 pack got slayed, these just poured down my throat and I didn't get board

A very nice pale for sure but on the same shelf as Smashbomb for the same price I might only slay this 6er

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2012 06:01:17 | More by wordemupg
Photo of Shrews
Shrews


4.23/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance
A 1/2 head with a ruby color.

Smell
Citrus and malty with some earthy scents.

Taste
Citrus and grapefruit taste with a complex finish. Malty and rich taste.

Mouthfeel
Pretty hoppy and bitter on the mouth yet still a smooth finish. A great feel.

Overall
A wonderful APA with an amazingly complex taste and smell. Had a grand time trying this beer while traveling for work.

Serving type: on-tap

06-29-2012 00:10:57 | More by Shrews
Photo of DaPan
DaPan

Ontario (Canada)

3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes. Hoptical pours a nice amber with medium head.

Great hop aroma on the nose.

Taste is great for a low ABV APA or (almost pale ale) as they say, however, carbonation is a bit much for me. Hops are prominent on the nose and in the taste.

Mouthfeel a bit light, though to be expected for a lighter APA.

Sadly, this beer gives me heartburn every time, so although availability has improved through the LCBO, this is not my go to beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2012 03:11:08 | More by DaPan
Photo of peensteen
peensteen

Ontario (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper colour, a little more than one finger of white fluffy head, good retention with a fair bit of lace. Smell is of soft biscuity malt, a good amount of hop, citrus, orange and grapefruit, lightly buttery at points as well. Taste is malty with a crisp bitterness, once bitterness subsides, citrus rolls in, grapefruit, mango, fairly tropical, dry finish with some more bready malt in the aftertaste. Medium carbonation, soft and lightly creamy feel, medium body overall. Fairly good stuff here, have had this many times but never reviewed this until now, I probably wont commit to a 6-pack of this too often but a couple singles or a pint at the bar I would welcome often.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2012 18:12:12 | More by peensteen
Photo of francisfilion
francisfilion

Quebec (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'd already had this but never got to sit down and drink it with my notebook. I bought a 6 pack at the LCBO and took the time to review this great APA.
The beer is amber/cooper color that is hazy. The head is a dirty beige that leaves a nice lacing.The hops really come out as fruity and floral, with a hint of pine. The taste starts with the hops but lets the caramelized malts make their way through. It is fairly well balanced between the two and it leaves a nice bitter finish. The beer is medium bodied with good carbonation. Overall a very nice APA with more hops than the average. It is quite an enjoyable beer and I come back to it every once in a while!

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2011 22:41:11 | More by francisfilion
Photo of fostachild
fostachild

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottled jul/19/2011

medium dark amber colour. good amount of white head - fades quickly into a nice film.

smell was really nice, tons of grassy hops, citrus, and bit of sweet malt.

taste is crisp, malt comes through the most here with a bit of hoppiness mixed in. well balanced and very drinkable.

overall it was quite enjoyable. i only had one but would be a great session beer - definitely worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2011 04:00:54 | More by fostachild
Photo of merlin48
merlin48

Kentucky

4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good Canadian friend brought me a couple of these recently. 12 ounce bottle pours a hazed copper amber body with a two finger beige head. Attractive patchy lacing is left behind.

Rather aggressive hop aromas for an APA, with pine, florals, and grassiness. Soft toasted caramel base.

Clean body is medium with a smooth carbonation.

Taste has a pine and floral hop bitterness that meshes well with the bready caramel malt backbone. Grassy and woodsy hop notes compliment the finish.

Nicely done and highly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2011 23:57:07 | More by merlin48
Photo of cavedave
cavedave

New York

3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to John, jager68, for throwing me this as a gift this morning.

Pours a darker than pale light brown/amber with red highlights, clear, and carrying a finger of beige head for a moment. Some thin lacicles cling to the glass. Though it clearly isn't in style here, I gave credit for the pleasing appearance.

Not much aroma, hints of citrus and pine, a touch of caramel, a bit of grassy hop, even a touch of tart yeast.

Taste is more lively than aroma. It starts with some sweet and bready, picks up citrus and grass, then pine and citrus bitter play with the sweet into an end of sip that is nicely juicy, nicely dry, quite tasty.

Mouthfeel is good, not great, a bit of resin buildup, a bit too carb.'ed, finish not as clean as one would hope.

All in all a nice beer, refreshing and interesting, from a brewery I'd never heard of before today. Would rate higher if not for so many really fine ales in this style so easily avail.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2011 17:12:00 | More by cavedave
Photo of thehyperduck
thehyperduck

Ontario (Canada)

4.26/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a translucent copper colour, topped with a finger of foamy off-white head that dies down within a few minutes, leaving behind a creamy cap and thick collar of lacing around the edge. Aroma is of fresh hops, citrusy and piney, overlaying some roasted caramel malts. This is shaping up to be one of the better APAs I've had lately.

Light hop bitterness, grapefruit and pine sap are the first things to come through. Roasted caramel and sweet nutty malts round out the profile and are a bit more prominent toward the end of the sip. A bit of bitterness lingers briefly in the finish. Silky-smooth mouthfeel; decidedly medium-bodied. Good carbonation for the style.

I enjoyed this immensely, I haven't had an APA this tasty in quite a while. Highly recommended if you are looking for a sessionable, conservatively-hopped pale ale.

[Updated April 12 2014]

Another bottle from a six-pack, bottled Mar. 6 2014. Still one of the best APAs in the Ontario market these days, at least in my opinion. Hoptical Illusion's balanced flavour profile makes it an ideal session option any time of year - this is not a hop bomb which will probably leave some people disappointed, but as far as easy-drinking pale ale or potential gateway beers go, this is still a superior option.

Final Grade: 4.26, an A-.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2011 03:07:51 | More by thehyperduck
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Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale from Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 188 ratings.