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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
86
very good

228 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 228
Reviews: 102
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 10.58%
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: 228 | Reviews: 102 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
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 NightINgale
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Copper body with a nice creamy beige head. Some lively carbonation can be seen. Decent head retention and pretty good lacing.

S - Pretty solid pine-like hoppiness, with a touch of citrus, and a good malt backbone, with toffee and caramel notes. Smells like a real APA to me. A little bit of spiciness and grassiness can also be noticed.

T - Starts out with a moderate hop bite, with some resinous pine notes and a bit of caramel. The finish, however, is rather bland and watery, with a little bit of bitterness lingering on.

M - Light-to-medium body, but closer to being light. Some effervescence and a hint of peppery spiciness on the tongue.

D - Good, being quite light, this is a decent session APA.

I think of it as a toned-down version of Mill St Tankhouse ale.

NightINgale, Feb 25, 2010
Photo of seand
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a translucent reddish amber with a small amount of off white head. Just a little bit retains, not much lacing.

S: Light hops, somewhat sweet.

T: Light citrus, slightly sweet and finishes slightly hoppy. No real heavy flavors, reasonably well balanced.

M: Medium to light carbonation, medium body.

D: Drinks fairly easily.

Overall a decent beer, but not exactly exceptional.

seand, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of grub
3.23/5  rDev -14.6%
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 ludachris
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep slightly hazy amber with a 1 finger quickly dissipating off-white head that leaves some patchy lace behind.

Piney hops, caramel, buttery malts, and a hint of vegetables in the nose, which is a bit of a turn off. Seems somewhat subdued for the style.

Herbal piney hops meshed with some toasted buttery malts, hints of caramel and a bit of biscuit. Tasty, but not overly so.

Mouthfeel is light bodied and a tad watery. Decent balance and an easy quaffer, but nothing special.

Overall, a decent brew and much better than their Confederation Ale. It's a solid alternative to macros and the generic imports, but not a standout in the style.

ludachris, Jan 19, 2010
Photo of Long813
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First off I want to say the look on the bottle is beautiful. Nice psychedelic colours and presentation.

G: Duvel Tulip

A: Dark caramel coloured body with no head and the most minimal lacing.

S: Sweet caramel malts, biscuity, citrus and pine hops all blended well together. I do feel the aroma is quite low though

T: Same as the smell with caramel upfront and biscuity flavours. Hints of citrus and pine.

M: Medium bodied and medium-low carbonation. This beer leaves a malty finish and some dry-bitterness too.

D: Nothing offensive here, but there also isn't much that is special. Everything seems quite weak and bland. I'd much prefer to drink something else.

Long813, Dec 16, 2009
Photo of Gosox8787
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle poured into my snifter glass.

Appearance is deep ruby and mahogany with a one finger beige head. Good retention as a nice lacing is present throughout the entire brew. Smell is caramel and pine. The bitterness of each is utilized, but teh sweetness of the malt and the citrus of the hops are underrepresented. Taste is a lot more complex. The first flavor to hit is nice mild malt and citrus hops. Taste becomes more bittering toward the end of each sip. Leaves a nice bitter after taste. Some licorice is even present in small doses. Mouthfeel is light and crisp, a nice combination for this type of beer. Drinkability is good, solid flavors and low ot moderate ABV make this really drinkable.

Overall, a really sessionable brew with some great hop and malt interplay. My biggest criticism is that a beer with this beer should be hoppier.

Gosox8787, Dec 11, 2009
Photo of Beers
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
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.

Beers, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of clockwerk
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
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.

clockwerk, Nov 25, 2009
Photo of ericj551
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was looking for a good hoppy beer so I picked this up at the suggestion of some other BA's. It pours a clear light amber with a thin head that doesn't stick around. The aroma is a bit of citrusy hops with some dry, toasted malt aroma. The flavor has the same citrusy hops upfront with a hint of sweetness. The maltiness is dry, with a bit of caramel and some nutty, toasted flavor maybe from a small amount of chocolate malt. Overall this isn't a bad beer, but the hops and malt don't really blend well together.

ericj551, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of barleywort
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
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,

barleywort, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of mrmanning
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle- A deep amber pour with a nice foamy cap of froth. Good lace here. Nose is floral and hoppy with the Amarillo really coming forward. Good earthy malts and fruit too. Sweet fruity flavour with caramel malts and good fresh floral hops and marked bitterness. Well balanced and very tasty. Ill be buying more.

mrmanning, Oct 29, 2009
Photo of GodOfBeer
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I saw this box sitting on the shelves, this beer called my name,I just had to buy it, the artwork is fantastic.

The beer pours a nice dark copper red with a thick off-white head, lots of lacing, very nice looking beer indeed.

Smells hoppy upfront, some toasty grains, caramel malt undertones and some citrus notes to finish it off.

Nice and malty to begin with, some breadiness and a citrus nice hop finish. Considering the name of this beer, I was expecting it would be a lot hoppier, but I was wrong. Still a very decent and balanced beer.

Nice smooth mouthfeel, and this is a highly drinkable beer which could compare to Mill street Tankhouse really well.

GodOfBeer, Oct 21, 2009
Photo of Ralphus
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My first Flying Monkey's brew and it's decent. That's a good sign.

It pours a dark amber brown colour, clear and with a finger and a half of foam which dissipates to a ring. Nice lacing is left down the glass as I drink.

I read that the brewer kept upping the amount of hops in each batch and given that mine is a bit later I think it's probably changed from the earlier reviews. This one has surprisingly pine like smell for an APA - I think I'd probably guess it smelled like an IPA if it was in a blind tasting. There's not much fruit to speak of.

Taste is quite light initially. Some bready malts and it finishes with a crisp hoppy bite. Again, very little fruit which is something that I quite like in a pale ale.

Mouthfeel is fairly light and I think this would aid the drink's sessionability. You could have a bunch of these in a sitting without the taste getting overwhelming.

Ralphus, Oct 20, 2009
Photo of mintjellie
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep copper bodied with two fingers worth of retentive beige head leaves behind a pretty lace. It smells toast, pine, citrus, and caramel. Nice caramel malt base, slightly nutty, with lemon and grapefruit in the finish. Bitterness is toward the lower end of the scale, but has a nice lingering quality to it. Medium-bodied with somewhat light carbonation. It feels smooth and leaves your mouth feeling a little bit resinous after swallowing. Having been previously disappointed by their Confederation Ale, I approached this with low expectations. This has won me over though. Monkeys aren't the only thing flying high at the old Simpson brewery.

mintjellie, Sep 20, 2009
Photo of biegaman
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
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 ThatWineGuy
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Although not yet pictured on BA, this bottle features a very psychadelic funky-looking label that I initially mistook for an American import - unusual for an Ontario beer label, kudos to the Brewery for pushing the envelope on that one. The appearance of the beer when poured was also pleasing: an amber colour, one finger creamy tan head with large bubble presence and good retention. The lace slid down the glass in ribbons and a lot of it stuck to the glass. Moderate carbonation. So far, so good.

Smell and taste, however, distinguished it from its more hoppy American counterparts. Although there was a fruit zest, orange peel smell, it was generally subdued by comparison. Taste of tangerine, just a hint of grapefruit, and bitterness on the low side. Moderately hoppy presence in the mouth with a creamier texture than I expected, smooth with just a bit of spiciness in the background and a mild, earthy finish. As far as smell, taste and mouthfeel are concerned, I found it hard to decide on 3.5 or 4.0, somewhere in between would have been closer to the mark. However, since it really tasted quite good, I was more generous on that score to reflect that favourable impression.

Overall, I was pleased with this purchase. It does not match similar beers from south of the border but it stands out in Ontario as a nice alternative when the other worthier and hoppier craft brew products remain not all that accessible. Easily a session beer and something I would definitely buy again.

ThatWineGuy, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of allergictomacros
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

allergictomacros, Aug 25, 2009
Photo of EatsTacos
4/5  rDev +5.8%
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

EatsTacos, Aug 23, 2009
Photo of biboergosum
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
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 Strowlands8
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Found a 6 pack of it at the LCBO and really enjoyed it. Not quite hoppy enough for me but there was a good depth of flavour that made up for it. Also very sessionable, I could really drink it all night. Also just love the packaging a marketing of it, really just makes it a much more intriguing beer to drink.

Strowlands8, Aug 17, 2009
Photo of eat
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Eye-catching psychadelic bottle. Pours a clear dark-red/amber and leaves a small amount of head after an initial one-finger pour. Really nice colour.

Minerals, burnt molasses, grain and faint hops - a pretty unique smelling beer.

For a beer called Hoptical Illusion I was sure expecting more hops than this, though it tastes pretty good anyway. Maybe the illusion is that you expect a lot of hops and don't find them. This beer still presents a solid showing of hops and is actually quite balanced. The label made me think it would be a hop bomb but it's not at all. Lots of grain, some bready yeast, a touch of smoky malt and tingly bitter hops on the finish. It's not a very complex beer but it's definitely a tasty beer.

Decent feel, nothing special. Medium-thin body with medium-light carbonation.

Though I'm pretty into the bitterness of this one, it would be more drinkable if it was a little less bitter. I wouldn't be able to session this; the bitterness would get to me after a while - but I'm not saying it's bad. This is my first experience with Flying Monkeys and they make a solid almost pale ale. I think I'll be buying this again.

eat, Aug 16, 2009
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This new Robert Simpson beer has a very stylized, dayglo label, it reminds me of Boulder Brewing labels a bit. Lets hope the stuff inside is as good as the artwork.

The pour reveals a dark copper liquid with a waifish, patchy head that musters up a respectable amount of lace. Malt and citrus flavors mixing with some herbal notes makes up the taste. Its pretty well balanced and has a nice malt profile. I would have expected some roasty flavors based on the color, but they werent there. Lemony hops are in the back, providing satisfactory balance. The mouthfeel is lightly carbonated and medium bodied. Some bitterness lingers in the finish.

This is a good beer and an easy quaffer, but its a bit lacking in the hop department. A little more bitterness and this would be a great APA.

CAMRAhardliner, Aug 09, 2009
Photo of MeisterBurger
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper amber with one finger of head that dies down leaving good head retention and lacing.

The aroma is a slight piney hop against a toasty, caramel malt, with hints of fresh cut anjour pear.

The taste follows the aroma, with a crisp Amariillo hop bite--citrus pith and pine--against a nice toasted malt and just the right amount of caramel malt. The flavor of the amarillio is interesting, adding some orange, herbs, pine and almost a medicinal aspect to the beer. There's a slight hint of chocolate in the malt and there's a nice lingering bitterness in the finish.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice crispness from the carbonation.

This is an American Pale Ale that's dialed way, way back. Considering this is brewed in and for a province that seems to have a hop phobia, it's easy to criticize them for it but at the same time kind of hard to blame them.

One area where this beer excels in in the packaging. It's worth picking up for the entertainment value alone, as you scour the box and bottles for all the little details, and fun textual blurbs, and just when you think you're done you crack one open only to realize that the inside of the caps have little sayings like, "Beer & Calculus don't mix. Don't drink and derive" or "If things seem to be going well you've overlooked something."

MeisterBurger, Aug 02, 2009
Photo of Viggo
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
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
Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale from Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 228 ratings.