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

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Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale AleFlying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale

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BA SCORE
85
very good

247 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 247
Reviews: 104
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 12
Gots: 39 | 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 (39) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 247 | Reviews: 104
Photo of shamus
4.67/5  rDev +24.2%
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.

Photo of ssmack
3.96/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark amber brown with a fine beige head that became a think layer of foam. Great lacing top to bottom.

Both malt and hops in the smell. Biscuit malt. Strong citrus - lemon. As I drank the aroma swung back and forth between malt and hops. Cool.

The hops take over in the taste. Citrus both grapefruit and lemon. Hay and herbs - oregano and pepper. There was a think base of biscuit malt.

A medium feel with a short tingle at the end.

This ale is better than the "almost pale ale" the label claims. Refreshing and complex hops taste.

Photo of uno99
4.23/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

Photo of StephenRich
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

Photo of drinkininthewood
3.84/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Six pack from the LCBO. No freshness date noticed. Served into a pint glass.

A- Copper color with slight haze. Off white head of thick foam leaves good lacing.

S- Floral and full of citrus and pine. Pretty damn good nose actually.

T- Taste is good but isn't quite as awesome as the aroma. Nice bisquit malt backbone, touch of caramel, slight grain, citrusy hops are present and flavorfull but not as the aroma would suggest. It still surpassed my expectations.

M- Medium bodied brew. Good carbonation for the style.

D- Solid session beer.

Overall ive been meaning to try this for awhile. Not a bad beer. Worth a try. I've probably walked pass this brew 100 times at the LCBO meaning to try it and just never got around to it. Its actually a pretty decent brew with and excellent nose.

Photo of ecoastman
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's better than I expected and I'll look for it in Ontario bars and restaurants. Hoptical Illusion is an overall good "local" hoppy beer.

The colour is a slightly hazy chestnut and provides a silky head which recedes and leaves some nice spotty lace through the drink.

As expected it has a bolder nose with spicy and citric hops with some sweet malt in the balance.

The taste is good and similar to the aroma. A touch grainy and some slight courseness from the good carbonation and citric bitterness in the dry finish. The aftertaste is a nice balance of the spicy hops and sweet molasses.

Photo of a74gent
3.2/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Based on 7/22/10 notes:

This is admittedly an old bottle (6 mos) and I'd love to try this beer fresh. It is quite mellow with some hoppiness which seems nice although hops were too faded at this point I think. Very little aroma, but great mouthfeel.

Photo of BasementBer
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
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

Photo of Matt1516
4.14/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Photo of Roke87
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Photo of jaz58
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

Photo of BuckyBeerBeaver
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The origin of Flying Monkey's Craft Brewery dates to its foundation in 2005 under the name Robert Simpson. Now doing business as Flying Monkeys, the brewery is known for the use of psychedelic artwork on all its bottles and draft taps.Flying Monkeys is located at 107 Dunlop Street East in Barrie, Ontario. Though I've been wanting to try their Hoptical Illusion ("HI") Almost Pale Ale for quite a while, quite frankly the psychedelic label turned me off. Doing my best to ignore the graphics (after all, it's what's inside that counts), I picked up HI in a brown 341 ml bottle, bottled Jan. 14, 2012 from my local LCBO. Hoptical Illusion is 5.0% alcohol by volume and cost $2.15 per bottle.

HI poured a clear dark amber colour with plenty of visible, fast rising bubbles. Pouring produced 1/2" of yellow/white head that died down within two minutes, leaving behind a collar of foam and thin film that left considerable lacing and some spotting down the glass. As soon as I opened the bottle its strong aroma hit me...a dominant pink grapefruit, with undertones of pine and what I believe is orange. A wonderful aroma. It's taste very much followed the aroma...pink grapefruit up front, followed by pine and a slightly sweet orange flavour, ending with a hop bitterness and a bitter aftertaste that lingered for several seconds. As the beer warmed, it's sweeter elements became a bit more noticeable. Thankfully, this was not the hop bomb that I was half expecting given the beer's name. HI had a smooth mouthfeel, appropriate carbonation for the style and was light/medium bodied. Overall, a fairly complex, hop dominated beer that doesn't go over the top with its bitterness...I very much enjoyed the citrus aromas and flavours, and Hoptical Illusion represents respectable value for money.

Photo of nokes
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

Photo of djoprahwinfrey
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - A clean copper pour with a 1/4 finger of white head which dissipated moderately quick into a thin ring of lace

S - pleasant aromas of hops, some lemon and a bit of pine, biscuity or bready with a bit of sweetness

T - This starts of strong on hops and some pine, caramel and some mild citrus, lemon, grapefruit. Enjoyable hop bitterness at the end

M - This has some chew but goes down well,velvety ,medium to high carbonation.

O - A really good brew from Flying Monkeys with a solid amount of hops and pleasant overall.

Photo of Dna_Infinity
3.96/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle to Glass

Appearance - Copper coloured with a white head

Smell - Floral, slight tropical fruits

Taste - Light hop taste, tropical fruits, slight bitterness at the end

Overall - Well made APA that is not too hoppy, sessionable and a great summer beer

Photo of hegelec
3.82/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a nonic pint.

Clear, somewhat bleached-out amber with a finger and a bit of off-white head that sticks around for a while. A nice collar and very decent lacing.

Aroma is beautiful. That signature amarillo perfume that screams refinement. Solid caramel there too.

Taste-wise ... well this is why it's the "hoptical illusion". All the insanely spicy and flowery hop off the nose, which sets you up for a bitter-as-fuck, resiny brew, leaves you completely dumbfounded. This is only a lightly bitter, balanced, somewhat lemony ale. What this means is that the beer is *insanely* dry-hopped for aroma only. Genius. I'm still scratching my head over the incongruousness of this. The beer is a showcase for hops, but definitely not in the way you'd expect. A pronounced, tannic-like astringency on the finish is also a surprise, but not all-together a pleasant one.

The beer is thin and metallic in the mouth. However, there is a really nice, spicy carbonation that pricks and melts away.

This one is a real genre-bender. I like and will buy again, not only to revel in its weirdness, but also to snuggle close with Amarillo and take in all of its complex, aromatic qualities. The hops are the centre of attention here, but as I've said, not like you'd expect.

Photo of Shrews
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

Photo of francisfilion
3.67/5  rDev -2.4%
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!

Photo of barleywort
3.64/5  rDev -3.2%
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,

Photo of clockwerk
3.36/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm breaking form on this review, because this beer really pissed me off. Frankly, it symbolized everything that is wrong with Ontario brewers. Why? Well, because it's a pretty good beer. It's also quite boring in my opinion.

Off the bat, the packaging had me intrigued. Excellent catchy phrases and bright colours adorned the bottle and box. Once, poured, it showed good head formation and was a nice clear copper. It looked quite the winner.

Then it all started to go wrong. I couldn't help it, try as I might, but the smell and taste reminded me of a craft brewed version of Bohemian. That same smell and flavour, just better brewed. There's simply nothing interesting here. Almost Pale Ale? Come on guys. The brewers obviously have skill, and the beer is really quite good, just unexceptional. There's nothing here to capture my interest, or convince me to pay a premium for it. When I can get 6's of DFH or Rogue Dead Guy, why would I choose this? If I'm the type of drinker who is looking for something on the "easy drinking" side, I'm going to save my money and buy a 12 of Bohemian instead. It hurts to say this, because the beer is very well brewed, just boring.

The mouthfeel and drinkability were spot on however.

The bottom line for me, is that despite the flashy packaging, the beer is anything but flashy or interesting. If you're going to talk about illusions and magic, you'd better back it up with something that surprises me.

Photo of grac1970
4/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

Photo of Beers
3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

Photo of franklioni
4.38/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very surprised by this one and found a very flavourful and easy to drink little beer...

Photo of codyhotel
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours with a good 2 fingers of off-white head, dissapates down pretty quickly. A copper colour, more towards the red end (I think, tough to tell shades of red when you're colourblind).

S - Lots of hops, some citrus notes up front. Caramel and malty sweetness towards the end, with a touch of a yeasty-bread type of thing.

T - Not as hoppy as I expected from the nose, a good amount up front but gives way to the sweeter malts fairly quickly. Caramel and malt flavours grow stronger as the beer warms up. Definitely a bit of subtle spice in there that I can't quite put my finger on. Finishes with a touch of bitterness

M - Medium-moderate body, smooth carbonation. Finish is a touch oily, could be cleaner.

Photo of pokerman
4.62/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Such a great beer with lots of late additions. glad i found a good ipa with some malt backbone. What can I say that hasn't been said? classic or a traditional American IPA it is not but maybe more like a started one. but who cares what you call it? kills almost any other local beer hands down.Fantastic- and exceeded expectations.

Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale from Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 247 ratings.