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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

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

224 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 224
Reviews: 102
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 9
Gots: 23 | 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:
32 IBU

(Beer added by: bobsy on 05-23-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 224 | Reviews: 102 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

C'est What Spring Festival of brewers. Surprisingly good, one of the winners this night. Lightly hop aroma and taste. Orangey colour and lacey. A nice bitterness from the Amarillo. Reasonable pale ale, at only 18 IBU. An underdog crafting achievement.

Sammy, May 24, 2009
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a copper color ale with a generous head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of medium bitter hops with some floral notes is actually better then I had hoped. Taste is also a very nice balanced mix between some caramel malt notes with a nice touch of citrus and bitter hoppy notes. Body is just about right with good carbonation. Well done for the style with good quaffing quality.

Phyl21ca, Mar 12, 2010
Photo of biboergosum
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 16oz Yankee pint (wait, what?) at C'est What in downtown Torranna.

This beer appears a clear medium reddish brick amber hue, with a single skinny finger of bubbly, foamy, and somehow creamy off-white head, which leaves a broken wall of pockmarked lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of biscuity caramel malt, a pithy lemon and orange citrus fruitiness, and earthy, weedy hops. The taste is gritty pale and lightly toasted caramel malt, a touch of stale lemon juice, and oily, bitterly herbal, leafy hops.

The carbonation is a bit high, the body fairly round, medium-light in weight, and somewhat tacky in its smoothness. It finishes dry, with a light puckering effect from a Hail-Mary-like rush of what seems like piney, IPA-worthy hops.

Overall, I'd have to say that this is a decent pale ale all on its own, yet one aspiring a little too hard to be an IPA. Hard to tell where this one ends, and Smashbomb begins, unless I were to have a sample of both, side by side. Meh, I'm a hop-whore, so I'm sure I don't really freaking care.

biboergosum, Aug 17, 2009
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.64/5  rDev -4%
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.

Georgiabeer, Oct 31, 2013
Photo of smakawhat
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

smakawhat, Sep 28, 2012
Photo of mdaschaf
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to korguy123 for this one. Poured into a Flying Monkey pint glass, also compliments of Matt!

A: Pours a clear reddish/brown with a one finger white head with decent retention. Some bubbles rising up from the bottom, a little bit of lacing down the side of the glass.

S: A little bit of hops and floral aromas, but a lot more of the pale malts on the nose for me.

T: A little bit of floral hops up front and then a lot more malt on the back end, similar to the nose. Ends nice and sweet. A very tasty APA.

M/D: Medium bodied, pretty easy drinking, a refreshing brew. Overall, a nice offering from Flying Monkeys.

mdaschaf, Sep 17, 2010
Photo of biegaman
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Illusions, Micheal! Tricks are something a whore does for money."
- GOB Bluth, Arrested Development.

Almost? Hoptical Illusion isn't even close to being pale. It is a classic, toasty mahogany stain that, despite its near flawless clarity, should not be considered anything less than deep-set with reference to colour. This looks as though it should be a most hearty and flavourful beer. And it's quite attractive too, even despite its rather inconsequential capping.

The aura of rank citrus and budding resins is definitely no misconception - that's the smell of Amarillo hops. While it is a more restrained dosage than the often typical administering of this pungent variety, a rather brawny fruitiness still protrudes. The bouquet suits well the caramel malts and naturally fruity strain of ale yeast.

The taste captures a lot more hop character than the aroma (which is funny because I believe it may be dry-hopped). Quite vivid flavours of candied grapefruit, chocolate covered orange peels and brandy-macerated plums give this a deliciously citric persona. The hops also lend a distinctly floral tinge, imparting a slight resemblance to green tea.

Those fruity and floral flavours, as well as the light biscuity and toffee-like ones of the malts, are easily appreciated because of the unusual lack of bitterness. An uncommon sweetness prevails which, along with the appropriately set level of carbonation, makes for an exceptionally sessionable ale. Hell, I'm ready for another one already!

I guess that's why they call it 'Hoptical Illusion' - it seems hoppy but it's only a measly 18 IBUs! I must confess that at first I thought the idea of marketing a beer with artisan level hopping and industrial level bitterness had 'marketing ploy' written all over it (just like the brewery's coinciding name change from 'Robert Simpson Brewery' to 'Flying Monkeys'). Turns out I was wrong - this is surprisingly good and I like it. A lot.

biegaman, Sep 02, 2009
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.

Viggo, May 25, 2009
Photo of Derek
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Copper-bronze with an off-white head, good retention & lacing.

S: Nice apricot aroma with hints of a grassy spicing & herbs.

T: Apricot with a nice spiciness, north american pale malt (slightly biscuity with hints of grain), nice bitterness (I thought this was reformulated to ~30IBU, but it seems a little mellower than that).

M: Well-attenuated, light-to-moderate body has a slightly dry finish. The carbonation on the keg was a little higher than average.

D: Quite drinkable (a little mellower & drier than a Tankhouse).

Derek, May 25, 2009
Photo of wordemupg
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
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

wordemupg, Jul 04, 2012
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.

TheSevenDuffs, Jan 15, 2011
Photo of spinrsx
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

spinrsx, Dec 20, 2010
Photo of dgilks
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

dgilks, Aug 15, 2011
Photo of tbeckett
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

tbeckett, Sep 18, 2010
Photo of laituegonflable
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

laituegonflable, Sep 20, 2013
Photo of EgadBananas
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

EgadBananas, Jun 04, 2011
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%.

Brent, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of canucklehead
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

canucklehead, Jun 23, 2011
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.

merlin48, Sep 16, 2011
Photo of andrenaline
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

andrenaline, Aug 25, 2010
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.

bobsy, May 24, 2009
Photo of oldp0rt
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

oldp0rt, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of kwjd
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

kwjd, Apr 18, 2010
Photo of grub
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. sampled feb 6/2010.

pours deep orangey amber with just a hint of haze. a small dense off-white head forms, dropping slowly and leaving lots of lace behind.

aroma is nice. light herbal and spicy note. hint of citrus. wheat bread. cracker and a touch of biscuit. light alcohol. bit fruity.

taste is ok. what happened to the hops that were in the aroma? i mean, they weren't exactly dominant there, but now they've completely evaporated. the bit of biscuit character is more of the dog variety - yeah, i've chomped on a milkbone at some point, who hasn't? touch of alcohol. light caramel.

mouthfeel is good. medium body. medium-light carbonation level.

dirnkability is pretty good. nice balance, pretty good aroma... the taste was a letdown. when are ontario brewers really going to start USING hops?

grub, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of Jeffo
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got this at the local LCBO this summer. Pretty cool, psychadelic label on this one. The picture here doesn't do it justice.

From a bottle into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger medium looking white head with decent retention. Maroon red/brown in color, perfectly clear with absolutely zero carbonation evident. Head quickly recedes to a thin film. A slight wisp remains but leaves no lacing down the glass. A very dark and beautiful color for a pale ale. Granted, the brewers do call it an "Almost Pale Ale."

SMELL: Lots of hops in the nose. Floral and piney aromas with touches of citrus and pineapple as well. Some pale malts come through, but the hops are definitely in the forefront. A bold and hoppy nose, especially for the lower ABV.

TASTE: Pale malts start off, with some floral and piney hops coming through the middle. Finishes with some malt sweetness, pineapple, and a decent dose of floral hops and bitterness. A mild but longer lasting aftertaste is plenty flavorful, with some bitter floral hops and hints of sweet malt for balance. Quite tasty and very hop forward, especially for the ABV.

PALATE: Medium body and medium, prickly carbonation. Semi-creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes slightly dry on the palate. Somewhat lighter on the palate, but feels refreshing.

OVERALL: Really enjoyed this one. It's probably best served cold on a hot day actually. A very tasty pale ale, and the nose was certainly one of the bolder ones in the style. The palate could be a little creamier and smoother, but nevertheless, this is one of the better examples available to Ontario beer enthusiasts. One that will become a staple whenever I'm home.

Jeffo, Aug 25, 2010
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Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale from Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 224 ratings.