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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

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 105
Hads: 259
Avg: 3.79
pDev: 17.41%
Wants: 12
Gots: 43 | 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 (44) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 105 | Hads: 259
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 peensteen
3.71/5  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.

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Photo of francisfilion
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
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!

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Photo of fostachild
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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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 thehyperduck
4.26/5  rDev +12.4%
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-.

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Photo of dgilks
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear copper colour with a large creamy light tan head. Good head retention.

Deep caramel and toffee aroma with some nice piney notes. Not hoppy enough really.

Smooth, toasted caramel notes with a touch of citrus hops. Some floral character but the hop flavour doesn't really sing.

Medium light body with moderate carbonation. Quite silky.

A nice hoppy pale ale with good flavour. Lacking in a bit of hop character for my tastes.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draught at Kickoff Waterloo. This was my first BA review many months back, and I wanted to re-evaluate it with so many other APA's under my belt.

Pours a deep copper-amber with a thin, white head. Some lacing, good retention. Nice looking rbew.

Nose is grapefruit, mango, citrussy hops, a bit of earth, nice caramel malt. Solid APA.

Smashbomb has long been my standard Ontario IPA, which I always treated as being an amped up version of Hoptical. But now I see how these are two completely different brews. Hoptical his a nice malt profile, good - but not overpowering - citrussy hops, a bit of resin, earth and tropical fruit. Surprisingly complex. Carbonation is a bit aggressive, but it has a nice crispness to it and a good body.

Hoptical still holds its own as one of Ontario's best pale ales. Flying Monkeys oriented their restructuring around this brew, and it has paid remarkable dividents, as the brewery has quickly become the darling of Ontario's craft breweries in terms of its experimentation and assertive use of hops. This brew tends to get lost amongst the Smashbombs, Super Colliders and Alpha Fornications, but it is no slouch. Hoptical is a solid APA and a damned decent brew.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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Photo of Stocean1
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - poured a one finger head - amber copper color - sticky lacing

S - lots of floral hops - grassy - malt

T - malt followed by lots of hops but still well balanced - not overly bitter for the style - some citrus and pine notes

M - decent carbonation and medium bodied - nice amount of bitterness tinlges the mouth

O - nice APA by an Ontario brewer - this style is really starting to grow on me

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

A. Lightly cloudy amber, pours just about a finger of head that disappears quick.

S. grassy and a subtle citrus with a nutty malt

T.Grassy and bitter low acid tooth feel

M. lightly carbonated smooth feel

O. Hoptical Illusion is a great entry to the world of APA's. Good flavours and well crafted Beer.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to korguy123 for this Ontario local!

Pours a beautiful ambery bronze color. Head was a light tan, solid finger and a half, and it just coats the glass with sticky, webby lacing! Wonderful.

Plenty of juicy, sweet citrus hops comes through on the nose, and there is an ample backing malt structure holding it up nicely. Malts are nice and bready, with some caramel in there as well.

The taste has a nice bitter bite up front, moving to those juicy citrus fruits as with the aroma. Malt profile is a bit slighter than with the aroma, but pretty good nonetheless.

Feel is a bit on the lighter side, with a crisp carbonation bite.

Overall this is a good, solid APA. Drinkability is good, and I'd definitely put a few away at a time.

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Photo of Digimaika2
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

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Photo of shamus
4.67/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a really good beer. Despite the god-awful psychedelic day-glow packaging that looks like clown vomit this is proof that it's what's inside that counts. This is a beautifully hopped beer. It's crisp and clean and goes down serenely. I could go on to describe t but if you like a good APA like Sierra Nevada then you will like this. I've been waiting a decade for something like this to be available locally. If they would just come up with some packaging that didn't scream "junk" then this would be a near perfect beer for me.

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Photo of SebD
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

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Photo of Roke87
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

355 mL bottle, chilled, and poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Poured a decent one and a half finger white head, which slowly dissipates to a thin ring, I got lots of nice sticky lacing throughout the glass all the way down to the end. Has a nice dark amber colour to it

Smell- Pine and hops hit you right away, with some fruity smells coming through as well. As compared to most American hop beers it can seem a little light on the hops and more malty.

Taste- Is floral hops and pine, just like the smell you know what you’re going to get from the taste, some citrus tastes come through in the end as well paired with a nice added sweetness to it.

Mouthfeel- Light to medium body with moderate carbonation, it kind of does feel like it should have a higher ABV from the taste, but alas it’s only 5.2%

Overall- A very solid American pale ale offered here from a very solid Ontario craft brewery. The tastes are all there I just wish it had a higher ABV. All in all a very good, smooth, and easy drinking “almost pale ale” that I would definitely drink again.

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Photo of BasementBer
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Don't know who the demographic is for this marketing design.

A: Head leaves little to be desired. Nothing lasting, no lacing. Surprised frankly. Haven't seen a head of foam drop that fast in a while.

S: Smells great, nutty. Nothing overly hoppy, more malt based.

T: Great nutty taste with a follow up of bitterness. Glad to taste a beer without the metallic overhang.

M: Lingering flavor. And works the tongue quite well.

D: I enjoy this, but not what i would go to for an american IPA. But id drink again.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of marty21
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New arrival to MlCC

A: Pours a clear copper with one finger worth of off white head. Settles to a thin cap and left a decent amount of even lacing.

S: Citrus and piney hops with a nice biscuit malt backbone.

T: Lot's of caramel malt with a some piney and citrus hops. It actually reminds me a lot of Half Pints Sweet Nikki Brown.

M: Medium carbonation with a medium body.

D: I'll admit the label (not to mention the new arrival sign below them) got me to actually look at this beer. I'm glad it caught my attention though. It would be a perfect session beer and I'll gladly pick this up again.

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Photo of Matt1516
4.14/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

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

Tasting notes from 1/10/11
Poured in to pint glass

A - Amber with a small amount of white head.

S - Floral and citrus hops with a small sweet caramel malt backbone. A nice nose for a pale ale.

T - Follows the nose. Floral citrus hops with a caramel sweetness from the malts.

M - Light to medium body. Moderate carbonation.

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Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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%.

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


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.

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Photo of ZorPrime
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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Photo of decimator
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle into a pint glass.

A - Poured a deep copper with amber hues. 3cm off-white head slowly dissipated. Good amount of lacing is produced.

S - Pine upfront with citrus fruit and caramel in the background.

T - Very light caramel sweetness, some citrus tang in the middle and a good dose of bitter hops that continue into the aftertaste. Flavour improves a bit as the beer warms up.

M - Average carbonation, smooth, lighter than expected, a bit watery, sticky, and the finish is dominated by the aftertaste.

D - Simple yet flavourful. Easy to drink a few in a sitting.

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