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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

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BA SCORE
86
very good

103 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 103
Hads: 252
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 7.33%
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 (38) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 103 | Hads: 252
Photo of smakawhat
4/5  rDev +4.7%
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. (866 characters)

Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sort of a Magic Hat funky vibe going on with the label that sets the appropriate tone for the beer. Well categorized as an American Pale Ale, starts out with a sharp hops punch straigh out of the gate. Some caramel malt edges in, but the hops hold center stage. Seems a bigger beer than 5.2%. (292 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft

Appearance - The beer pours a clear copper colour with a good size foamy/fizzy off white head. There is a low amount of carbonation and an above average amount of lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Caramel, hops, citrus, malts

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and packs a fairly full bodied taste. Most of the taste is made up of hops and malts mixed with caramel. There are also notes of citrus zest and a faint woodiness. The beer finishes with bitter sweet caramel/hop aftertaste

Drink - I'm happy I got a chance to try this one on draft. It seems like Pale Ale's that taste like this are a dime a dozen in the states, but in Canada they are a rarity. An above average beer that is definetly worth a try. (783 characters)

Photo of andrenaline
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tossed this back last Christmas, but this is my first formal review and a continuation of my BlackBerry tasting notes from my trip to Ontario.

A - Pours a dark caramel colour, solid two thumbs of off-white head, solid retention and impressive lacing.

S - Lemon iced tea citrus hops followed by generous amounts of chocolate malts. Nice balance.

T - Nice caramel malts mixed with tasty iced tea lemon hops. Very nicely balanced with bready malts and bitter hops.

M - Goes down very smooth, perfectly carbonated. No complaints in this department.

D - One of the better OCB offerings I've tried to date. By no means a hop bomb, but it does strike a nice balance between the hops and malts. Could easily be a go-to beer. (723 characters)

Photo of EatsTacos
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The packaging almost put me off and made me not buy this beer, it was a little too gimmicky for me. That being said I also had a negative image of Robert Simpson beers being pretty bland

That being said this is a well crafted beer and I'll be getting it again. Good balance and certainly shows off some hops. This isn't meant to be an IPA and it isn't overly hoppy or bitter.

Good drinkability and one of the better Ontario microbrews i've had lately. Recommended (466 characters)

Photo of grac1970
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Body is a clear, dark/reddish brown in colour. A creamy coloured head - nice head retention with lacing. A bit of bubbles/carbonation are noticeable.

Smell: floral with a hint of citrus, hops are noticeable

Taste: it has a citrus/fruity taste - more than just a hint of pineapple. The hops can be detected. Very enjoyable - refreshing. Just a slight bitter taste.

Mouthfeel: smooth, not too watery. The pineapple taste seems to linger with a slight bitterness evenly present in the mouth

Drinkability: easy to drink, enjoyable! Quite a nice blend of tastes and feeling. (585 characters)

Photo of cratez
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355ml bottle from a 6-pack purchased at the Wellington & Bradley LCBO. Bronze orange in colour with golden hues, a ring of cream white head, and speckled lacing on the shaker. Smell and taste are green, grassy hops, fruity and floral aromas, biscuit, caramel backbone, a bit toasty, spicy hop finish with a mild malt astringency. Almost no bitterness, which is exactly what the brewer intended. Mouthfeel is light side of medium, good hoppy bite, tangy carbonation, tartly malted aftertaste. Bursting with Amarillo qualities on the nose, yet somehow isn't bitter. Presto change-o indeed! Bottom line is, Illusion can satisfy a hop fix while still being accessible to your non-beer geek friends. In that regard, it's a rare achievement in brewing. Keep up the great work, Peter!

EDIT (May 2011): this beer has improved substantially since it was first released and is now one of the better APAs available in Ontario. Lots of grassy, floral, citrusy, and fruity hops on the nose and palate with a balancing caramel sweetness, slight trace of diacetyl, and some tea-like flavours from the malts. Body and mouthfeel seem beefed up as well, the hops are more juicy, punchy, and resinous than before. Great thirst-quenching ale. (1,223 characters)

Photo of ZorPrime
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to liamt07 for sending me this brew in a recent trade. Cheers!

The color is amber... somewhat dark with some red notes. Head is timid. The aroma is hoppy (citrus)... Simple but I like it. Any hophead would too. Could be more intense 'tho. On the taste, it is fruity and I get some malts presence that I didn't get in the nose. It is well balanced but no complexity. However, I don't think it presents itself as a complex beer.

It is well done and a good pale ale. Wish I could get more of this brew here. No brewers in Quebec does a good american pale ale like this one. (579 characters)

Photo of canucklehead
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the Spring 2011 mixed OCB pack. A wild looking bottle especially next to the staid Wellington Pale Ale. The beer gushed all over the counter which was a surprise. The remaining beer was dark brown and almost cloudy. The nose is hops pure and simple. This is full flavoured APA with hops to burn. Great beer considering how many Canadian pales ales lack hops. Smooth finish and big mouthfeel make this a winner. Sounds like this brewery is making some waves in the Ontario craft scene. (489 characters)

Photo of DenisKolkin
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle purchased as part of a six pack from LCBO for $13.65 CDN. Served fairly cold into a pint glass.

Appearance - coppery in color, with a crystal clear clarity and bursts of effervescent bubbles rising to the surface. A dense finger and a half of white head and the lacing sticks to the sides of the glass almost as if it were coalescing.

Smell - a solid tropical citrusy smell, namely tangerine and melon. A caramel malt aroma is blended in seamlessly. Really attractive and light smelling yet aromatic.

Taste - light blend of melon and more astringent citrus fruits as with the nose, and a bit of the caramel sweetness comes through especially on the back end. A grapefruit like bitterness in its conclusion yet it is by smooth and subdued.

Mouthfeel - extremely lively carbonation adds to the otherwise medium body and mouthfeel

Overall - a great American pale ale that is one of my favourites in the style. Remarkably drinkable at any time but especially in these spring and summer months yet packs enough of a punch to definitely warrant pacing yourself. A new go to for me just wish it came at a slightly lower price point. Still a definite repeat purchase. (1,178 characters)

Photo of kwjd
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a copper colour with thick white head & lacing. Smells of citrusy hops. The taste has a nice load of hops with a great malt backbone to it. Nice carbonation level for the style and very drinkable.

I haven't had this for a few months and it seems to improve each time I have it. Certainly hoppier than I remember, which is nice. If I had reviewed this a year ago, I probably would have given it about an B-, but now it is certainly improved. (447 characters)

Photo of Shorthillsbrewer
4.04/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very well designed session beer with hops up front, malt pokes through in the middle, and finishes soft, great summer beer. A good all around sessionable IPA. (158 characters)

Photo of StephenRich
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Do you remember the Robert Simpson Brewery from Barrie Ontario? Yes? No? Well, its irrelevant now, because that brewery has changed its name to The Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery, and not only does the new name reflect a fresh and exciting approach to craft beer, but best of all, their beer does as well! Peter Chiodo, the Chief Executive Shitstirrer, as he so aptly has designated himself, is getting out there testing his beers in the Ontatio market and trying out new recipes to create better, more unique, and more delicious beers.

The Hoptical Illusion is Flying Monkeys' Almost Pale Ale, as they call it, but for the sake of classification, you can call it an Americal-Style Pale Ale. I've been lucky enough to see the Flying Monkeys crew at several beer events around Ontario in the last few weeks, and have been able to try both bottled and cask versions of the Hoptical. It really took very little convincing to get me to drink this beer, and now I might be hooked.

The Hoptical Illusion is 5.0% abv, and comes in 6 packs of 355ml bottles at most LCBOs for just under $12. This beer does fit a very specific niche in the pale ale market in Ontario that has not been properly filled - until now. Yes, there are several Pale Ales, or IPAs to choose from at the LCBO, but some err to far on the crisp hop side of things, and others can get quite expensive. The Hoptical is a freshly hoppy, clean, crisp, but malty Pale Ale that comes in with just the right amount of sweet, bitter, and citrus. This is a true Ontario Craft beer, so grab a 6 pack, throw 'em in the fridge, and enjoy em right away to best appreciate the hop freshness it has to offer.

I opened the Hoptical Illusion up cool at about 8C (45F) and poured it into a stemmed beer glass. The pour was silky smooth building a rich amber brown beer. Only halfway up it began to build foam, but eventually a thick, pillowy pure white inch and a half head built with dense carbonation on top a sturdy beer. It glowed from the inside out - deep golden brown shines dark in the transparent center of the beer, then gently warms to a ruby red and copper orange glimmering at the edges.

Slowly the head faded two about half an inch, but built in density and showed great retention. I brought the glass to my nose and was delighted with the familiar scents of caramel and pale malts, fresh floral and slightly citrus hops, touches of pine and a smooth wash of gentle biscuit and toffee. It is soft and balanced with pronounced aromas without attacking your senses.

With the sun beating down on me, I went for shade by way of the beer. The Hoptical flows gently and easily over your palate brining with it richly distinct flavors of malt and hops. It seemed like a bit of game here - as first I got a fresh citrus bite of hops, but almost instantly after that smooth warm caramel malt came in behind it and filled my mouth. It doesn't stop here though.

Hops bring back some crisp, earthy pine helping quench and refresh your palate. They aren't overly aggressive or super citrus; it is a nice elegant blend of smooth floral bitterness with the mellow touch of grapefruit peel and hints of fresh pine. But again, the malts bring contrast adding a wide biscuit and toffee sweetness which really hits the sides of my tongue and cheeks. It is gentle but really plays perfectly with the hops. A touch of fresh grain and spice lingers everywhere barely in the background adding a layer of complexity to this greatly balanced beer.

The mouthfeel is easy and relaxing with a medium body aiding a richly flavored beer (especially considering that it is only 5%). The finish is bittersweet with the continuous battle between hops and malt leaving you with a refreshed, and also very satisfied palate. This is really a wicked session pale ale, and will pair real well with a big variety of foods. Anything coming off the grill, anything deep fried, and anything meat I can guarantee will work perfectly. Come the football season and the Hoptical could be your right hand man next to chips, nachos and pretzels. (4,061 characters)

Photo of patre_tim
4.09/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Copper amber, filtered with moderate carbonation rising from the center, 5 fingers of moderate tan head with great retention. The head is foamy with large and small bubbles.

S: Floral, pineapple, tropical fruit,

T: Caramel, hard water, metallic, pineapple, tropical punch, floral.

M: Medium bready body, medium low carbonation.

O: A really nice British and American styles. Go Canada! Really loving this one. (417 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
4.11/5  rDev +7.6%
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 (822 characters)

Photo of Matt1516
4.14/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my brother who trucked this up from Toronto.

Poured into a tulip. Amber colour (not pale), one finger head that lasts 90 seconds. Lacing left on glass.

Lots of hop in smell, strong citrus notes too.

Walloping hop taste, little bit of smokiness with a sour/bitter finish that's nice and dry.

It gives the illusion of a higher ABV. Medium carbonation.

This would pair nicely with spicy Thai, gourmet cheeseburgers or shrimp. (438 characters)

Photo of Digimaika2
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Beautiful rich copper with a nice frothy head of beige foam. Head dissipates to a fantastic blanket lined with sporadic bubbles, that sticks around.

S: Pine hops deliciously overpowering on the nose, presence of grapefruit, caramel-like malts, and a nutty aroma. Very rich and robust smell.

T: Pine and slightly floral hops strong upfront. Citrus notes that include grapefruit and a slight sourness. Caramel malts balance this out very nicely towards the end.

M: Very good creamy and thick mouthfeel considering the ABV. Moderate carbonation.

D: Another great offering from Flying Monkeys (although I'm still partial to the Netherworld Cascadian). One of the few great Ontario breweries, and perhaps the best in my opinion. (732 characters)

Photo of slitherySOB
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
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. (345 characters)

Photo of Kremlock
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
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. (635 characters)

Photo of SebD
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice dark amber/copper colour to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down moderatly and there is nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of hops, caramely malts with citucy notes.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice carmely sweetness upfront with nice citrucy notes to finaly end with a nice hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice balance of flavours.

Drinkability: It's a smooth and drinkable beer accompanied with great flavours and aromas. It's an overall great and tasty Ale. Props to Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery. (601 characters)

Photo of jaz58
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
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. (364 characters)

Photo of tbeckett
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this a few times and it is often considered the benchmark for Pale Ales in Ontario.

A - Nice cloudy or creamy white head leaving lacing as it slowly goes away. Light brown or reddish colour and transparent. Minimal carbonation.

S - Nice juicy hops. Grapefruit and pine. Some breadiness to it as well.

T - Bready up front until you finish it and then it's all about the hops. Again, what I consider nice, juicy hops that show up half way through and linger nicely. Not as hoppy as I would expect from a beer by this name and a beer in this style but it does the trick nicely. There is balance in it and that's key.

M - Medium bodied with a good, small amount of carbonation. Very pleasant and smooth.

D - Total session beer right here. Good amount of hops to keep things interesting with the balance required and a low ABV. (833 characters)

Photo of Shrews
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
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. (386 characters)

Photo of uno99
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at one of my favorite Toronto dive diner - Dangerous Dans, on Queen st. Go there, and get a "big cheeze" burger. its worth sitting sitting on a '88 chev astro van captains chair for.

A: Wow this is the shit. head and lace stick around long enough to eat my enourmous burger, beautifuly deep amber beer. I noticed other reviewers don't note the same appearence. maybe its just that much better on tap.

S: perfectly balanced APA. hops come out fighting, but a nice sweet malt background is there for round 2.

T: Dosen't get too much better IMO if your looking for a nice balanced pale. nice earthy hops, cirtus, tobbacco and toffee.

M: carbonation is a little raucus at first; do what i did and eat and enourmous burger while your pint waits for you. you'll be glad you did.

D: very sessionable. This is a brew I could go the distance with.

Very nice stuff. I've always avoided buying a 6er of this because of the gaudy packaging. now I will not hesitate as much. (978 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
4.26/5  rDev +11.5%
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-. (1,299 characters)

Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale from Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 103 ratings.