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

Not Rated.
Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale AleFlying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

105 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 105
Hads: 255
Avg: 3.79
pDev: 17.41%
Wants: 12
Gots: 42 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: bobsy on 05-23-2009

32 IBU
View: Beers (45) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 105 | Hads: 255
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.65/5  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.

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Photo of seand
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a translucent reddish amber with a small amount of off white head. Just a little bit retains, not much lacing.

S: Light hops, somewhat sweet.

T: Light citrus, slightly sweet and finishes slightly hoppy. No real heavy flavors, reasonably well balanced.

M: Medium to light carbonation, medium body.

D: Drinks fairly easily.

Overall a decent beer, but not exactly exceptional.

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Photo of MAB
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
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!

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Photo of barleywort
3.64/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a light coppery colour, more orange than red in my opinion: akin to your favourite pumpkin ales. Off-white head that takes on a bit of the orange colour itself; poured a thicker head than expected, but dissipated quickly, leaving only thin cover to shield what was beneath. Impressive staying power for the beer lace.

Smell: Biscuity sweet smell, with slight caramel tones. No real indication of citrusy hops, which is interesting given its "not quite" pale ale status. A bit lacking in this department, and definitely not indicative of the taste (whether that's a good thing or bad thing is open to interpretation).

Taste: Initial buscuity malt taste gives way to a slight citrusy grapefruit hop taste that lingers momentarily and disappears behind a number of other fleeting flavours: grassy tones, sweet licorice tones (typically not a fan, but this taste is inoffensive), even hints of bubblegum at points, a la Karmeliet.

Mouthfeel: thin and crisp are good words to describe this beer. What can only be described as "expertly carbonated" because it gives the impression of high carbonation at first sip, but that is far from the case.

Drinkability: Not something I would session personally, but it offers an interesting take on the typical (and crowded) American pale ale style. That being said,

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Photo of nokes
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

OK...the bottle is just a little overstated. I gotta say I'm skeptical. Let's see how it goes...

Well! Poured very nicely, a clear copper-apricot with a decent head that lasted...and lasted...and lasted. Very nice. It's a pretty beer, no question. Better than I expected, for sure.

The smell is good. Nicely balanced between malty sweetness and hoppy freshness. Good balance. This is much better than expected so far.

Taste...hey. Well, all the components are there to balance reasonably well. There seems to be a battle back and forth with the malts bringing the caramelly sweetness, and the hops fighting back with citrus and spice. In the end, the hops triumph (barely) with a mild bitter finish and I'm glad of it. Hard to describe, but I welcomed them by the time they came on. It's a bit odd, but not bad odd. Just odd, and good...I guess. Yeah. I like it.

Mouthfeel is moderate, and good. I like the carbonation level, bit I find myself thinking they could have made this a bit more buttery and it would have fit better.

Drinkability is quite good. Easy drinking beer.

OK...I was skeptical, and this far exceeded my expectations. If I can handle the kitsch, I'll buy it again. Happy to drink it.

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Photo of WeedKing4
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at a local pub. Its not as terrible as I was expecting. Pours a clear dark amber brown. This actually had a little hop taste to it, with no shitty after taste. It needs more flavour though, but when there is no options of what to drink, you can do worse. Alright beer overall.

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Photo of Gosox8787
3.59/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle poured into my snifter glass.

Appearance is deep ruby and mahogany with a one finger beige head. Good retention as a nice lacing is present throughout the entire brew. Smell is caramel and pine. The bitterness of each is utilized, but teh sweetness of the malt and the citrus of the hops are underrepresented. Taste is a lot more complex. The first flavor to hit is nice mild malt and citrus hops. Taste becomes more bittering toward the end of each sip. Leaves a nice bitter after taste. Some licorice is even present in small doses. Mouthfeel is light and crisp, a nice combination for this type of beer. Drinkability is good, solid flavors and low ot moderate ABV make this really drinkable.

Overall, a really sessionable brew with some great hop and malt interplay. My biggest criticism is that a beer with this beer should be hoppier.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This new Robert Simpson beer has a very stylized, dayglo label, it reminds me of Boulder Brewing labels a bit. Lets hope the stuff inside is as good as the artwork.

The pour reveals a dark copper liquid with a waifish, patchy head that musters up a respectable amount of lace. Malt and citrus flavors mixing with some herbal notes makes up the taste. Its pretty well balanced and has a nice malt profile. I would have expected some roasty flavors based on the color, but they werent there. Lemony hops are in the back, providing satisfactory balance. The mouthfeel is lightly carbonated and medium bodied. Some bitterness lingers in the finish.

This is a good beer and an easy quaffer, but its a bit lacking in the hop department. A little more bitterness and this would be a great APA.

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Photo of Ralphus
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My first Flying Monkey's brew and it's decent. That's a good sign.

It pours a dark amber brown colour, clear and with a finger and a half of foam which dissipates to a ring. Nice lacing is left down the glass as I drink.

I read that the brewer kept upping the amount of hops in each batch and given that mine is a bit later I think it's probably changed from the earlier reviews. This one has surprisingly pine like smell for an APA - I think I'd probably guess it smelled like an IPA if it was in a blind tasting. There's not much fruit to speak of.

Taste is quite light initially. Some bready malts and it finishes with a crisp hoppy bite. Again, very little fruit which is something that I quite like in a pale ale.

Mouthfeel is fairly light and I think this would aid the drink's sessionability. You could have a bunch of these in a sitting without the taste getting overwhelming.

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Photo of kjyost
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Undated bottle. Purchased at the LCBO and poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a rich reddish orange with a light head that does not lace. Aromas are nice, dominated by citrus dryhops. The taste is schizophrenic, with little of the malty sweetness expected from the colour. It is at times very enjoyable hoppy & citrusy, but other times seems bland and thin. Carbonation was enjoyable, but once again sometimes disappeared feeling watery in the mouth. With a little more body this beer would be great.

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Photo of DaPan
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

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Photo of ludachris
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep slightly hazy amber with a 1 finger quickly dissipating off-white head that leaves some patchy lace behind.

Piney hops, caramel, buttery malts, and a hint of vegetables in the nose, which is a bit of a turn off. Seems somewhat subdued for the style.

Herbal piney hops meshed with some toasted buttery malts, hints of caramel and a bit of biscuit. Tasty, but not overly so.

Mouthfeel is light bodied and a tad watery. Decent balance and an easy quaffer, but nothing special.

Overall, a decent brew and much better than their Confederation Ale. It's a solid alternative to macros and the generic imports, but not a standout in the style.

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Photo of heebes
3.54/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium amber with good amount of head and no lacing.
The smell is flowery with a slight fruit touch, citrus.
Tastes similiar with the floral coming through and a bit of fruitiness, there is a definite hop taste too which is nice.
Has a light mouthfeel and seems kinda watery but gos down quite smooth.
Overall this is allright for a pale ale. Will need to check out more from the Flying Monkies.

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Photo of cavedave
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

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Photo of bobsy
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Orange pour with a finger of white head, that showed good retention and lace. Nice citrusy aroma from the amarillo hops, with a touch of earthiness to it. Not too much behind that though, and I'm wondering where the malt is. In its flavour Hoptical Illusion doesn't go overboard with bitterness, but does have some great balance. There's some very decent orange falvours going on, and there's a decent slightly sweet malt backdrop. Medium-light body and medium carb.

Yep, I was pleasantly surprised by this one, and I look forward to seeing its appearance at the lcbo - it could make a nice session beer.

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Photo of Long813
3.52/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First off I want to say the look on the bottle is beautiful. Nice psychedelic colours and presentation.

G: Duvel Tulip

A: Dark caramel coloured body with no head and the most minimal lacing.

S: Sweet caramel malts, biscuity, citrus and pine hops all blended well together. I do feel the aroma is quite low though

T: Same as the smell with caramel upfront and biscuity flavours. Hints of citrus and pine.

M: Medium bodied and medium-low carbonation. This beer leaves a malty finish and some dry-bitterness too.

D: Nothing offensive here, but there also isn't much that is special. Everything seems quite weak and bland. I'd much prefer to drink something else.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dancing on the line where amber ale meets pale ale, the Flying Monkeys showcase a breadth of hops to balance its rich malt sweetness to even-keel perfection- making this and all occasion beer.

Hoptical Illusion pours with the deep hues of winter's honey- hazy amber and reddish. Its whipped meringue froth sheds juicy hop aromas with a tropical, citrus and orchard blossom type of floralness. Its taste is layered with caramel, honey and biscotti-like to start.

But over the middle palate, the balance is stricken with equal parts malt and hops. Sweet caramel, biscuit and honey coat the mouth ahead of the piquant fruitiness of hops- pink grapefruit, freshly zested orange, pineapple and lemon that rival the plump malty center. As the two flavors intertwine upon the palate, late development of grassy and herbal flavors cast a tea-like sassafras character.

Medium and moderate through and through, the ale's waning moments allow the resinous nature of American hops to peak through the malt barrier and take a slight lead. An aftertaste of honey-kissed citrus and fresh pine shavings extend shortly after the beer's finish.

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Photo of Viggo
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at C'Est What?

Pours a lightly hazy dark copper/amber, thick off white head forms, some decent retention, leaves lace rings on the glass as it settles down. Smell is okay, floral, some fruitiness, bit of toasty malt and light caramel sweetness, grapefruit, smells alright but is a little underwhelming for me. Taste is similar, biscuity and sweet, some orange, grapefruit, floral, pretty balanced bitterness, but again underwhelming. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation, easy drinking but not something I would choose. Kind of hyped up and didn't live up to it for me.

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Photo of NightINgale
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Copper body with a nice creamy beige head. Some lively carbonation can be seen. Decent head retention and pretty good lacing.

S - Pretty solid pine-like hoppiness, with a touch of citrus, and a good malt backbone, with toffee and caramel notes. Smells like a real APA to me. A little bit of spiciness and grassiness can also be noticed.

T - Starts out with a moderate hop bite, with some resinous pine notes and a bit of caramel. The finish, however, is rather bland and watery, with a little bit of bitterness lingering on.

M - Light-to-medium body, but closer to being light. Some effervescence and a hint of peppery spiciness on the tongue.

D - Good, being quite light, this is a decent session APA.

I think of it as a toned-down version of Mill St Tankhouse ale.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper amber with one finger of head that dies down leaving good head retention and lacing.

The aroma is a slight piney hop against a toasty, caramel malt, with hints of fresh cut anjour pear.

The taste follows the aroma, with a crisp Amariillo hop bite--citrus pith and pine--against a nice toasted malt and just the right amount of caramel malt. The flavor of the amarillio is interesting, adding some orange, herbs, pine and almost a medicinal aspect to the beer. There's a slight hint of chocolate in the malt and there's a nice lingering bitterness in the finish.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice crispness from the carbonation.

This is an American Pale Ale that's dialed way, way back. Considering this is brewed in and for a province that seems to have a hop phobia, it's easy to criticize them for it but at the same time kind of hard to blame them.

One area where this beer excels in in the packaging. It's worth picking up for the entertainment value alone, as you scour the box and bottles for all the little details, and fun textual blurbs, and just when you think you're done you crack one open only to realize that the inside of the caps have little sayings like, "Beer & Calculus don't mix. Don't drink and derive" or "If things seem to be going well you've overlooked something."

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper with solid foam. Nose is caramel, some fruit and light lemon/citrus hops. Buttery, nutty flavour. Husky grain, mild hops and a hint of toast. Mouthfeel is dry and somewhat oily and good carbonation level isn't too fizzy. Overall, a fairly easy drinking brew. Not quite what I expected, but tasty enough. Could use a bit more sweetness.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
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

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Photo of Beers
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I like that I see this beer around. I live in Barrie, and it's often around in restaurants etc. It's nice to be able to buy something a little different on tap around here. Barrie is not a huge beer town.

This beer definitely has its merits. Not exactly in the box so to say.

Decent color. Not quite a huge fluffy head. Not a head that sticks around. smells of hops. A bit of malt.

Taste. This beer is covered in hops. I like hops just like the next guy. I also like a little more malt along with them. The hops wait it out and chill with the residual sweetness. This beer is like a shirt that is incorrectly buttoned up. The top and bottom aren't quite aligned correctly, and as a result the whole thing is just a bit uncomfortable. It's still a nice shirt, but it was done up a little hastily and is being worn incorrectly. At least it's not inside out.

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Photo of mrmanning
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle- A deep amber pour with a nice foamy cap of froth. Good lace here. Nose is floral and hoppy with the Amarillo really coming forward. Good earthy malts and fruit too. Sweet fruity flavour with caramel malts and good fresh floral hops and marked bitterness. Well balanced and very tasty. Ill be buying more.

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Photo of ericj551
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was looking for a good hoppy beer so I picked this up at the suggestion of some other BA's. It pours a clear light amber with a thin head that doesn't stick around. The aroma is a bit of citrusy hops with some dry, toasted malt aroma. The flavor has the same citrusy hops upfront with a hint of sweetness. The maltiness is dry, with a bit of caramel and some nutty, toasted flavor maybe from a small amount of chocolate malt. Overall this isn't a bad beer, but the hops and malt don't really blend well together.

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Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale from Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 105 ratings.