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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: 257
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 (43) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 105 | Hads: 257
Photo of wordemupg
4.11/5  rDev +8.4%
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

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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 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 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 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.

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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.

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Photo of papat444
3.14/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to SlovakSniper (ratebeer) for this one. Had it with my supper last night, sausages with broccoli & raisin salad.

Poured from a 341ml. bottle.

Appearance: Doesn't pour pale really but more of a copper color with a generous 3 finger off-white head that sticks around for awhile and leaves some lacing. Looks more like an IPA that an APA.

Smell: A bit disappointed as i get wisps of citrus & grapefruit but the aroma is too light for my liking.

Taste: Creamy with an afterthought of grapefruit. A dry tea-like character presents itself as it warms. I find their is not enough flavor in here.

Mouthfeel: Smoothness reminds me almost as if i'm drinking this from a nitro tap. Carbonation is active and the body feels thin at first but ends fuller. A little bit disjointed.

Drinkability: Would have liked more oomph in the taste to keep me coming back but it would be a decent alternative to BMC in a bar.

Overall: Tries to straddle the line between an APA & an IPA but the lack of intensity makes this an average beer IMO.

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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.

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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 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 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 kwjd
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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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 Jeffo
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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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 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 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 BigBry
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

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Photo of grub
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
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?

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Photo of patre_tim
4.09/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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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 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 pootz
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap sample from the brewery:

Deep amber lightly hazed ale with a decent cap that lasts. Soft natural carbonation.

Aroma is sweet caramalts with a distinct Amarillo hop aroma - spicey citrus. Lovely dose of biscuity malts in the front are instantly matched by a pine-citrus resinous hop rush, creamy mouth feel, drying finish gets mildly bitter. Nice !

If I closed my eyes I'd have thought I was drinking a Propeller pale ale.

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