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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: 255
Avg: 3.79
pDev: 17.41%
Wants: 12
Gots: 42 | 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 (45) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 105 | Hads: 255
Photo of Derek
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
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).

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Photo of BBP
3.84/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- A cherry brown color with modest head. Slight carbonation.

S- Really couldn't pick much smell up from it. All I could detect was hops and citrus.

T- Caramel and citrus tastes lead along with hops. Secondary tastes are more pine resin and malty. More of a bittersweet aftertaste. Very pronounced pine taste after a while (almost as much as the hop taste.)

M- Good and creamy. A bit light.

D- Hits the spot and goes down easy. Light, but not weak at the same time. Wouldn't hold it's own against heavier IPA's though. Nonetheless it's still good and it would make for a good starter to warm you up to the more hop intense beers. Pretty good amount of flavor for the low ABV.

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Photo of drinkininthewood
3.84/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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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 mdaschaf
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of hegelec
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of GodOfBeer
3.81/5  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.

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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 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 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 Masterkush7
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I like this beer. May not be as hoppy as most ipa I drink but overall this is a good beer and definatly worth a try. Appearance is a nice dark haze. Taste is well balanced with both a nice malt background with hints of nuts and Caramel and a good hop finish. Will definatly enjoy again

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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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Photo of DaveBar
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Purchased at the LCBO as a single. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- 4.0- Opens well and pours a good head that lasts

S- 3.75- Very good. Lots of hops. Carmel and malt.

T- 3.75- Pretty good and not overpowering. Nice refreshing break

M- 3.75- Very good. Light for an IPA.

O- 3.82- This is what I feel this beer is. Would like to try on tap.

Food Pairing

This nice little beer went well with...... Sushi


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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 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 CalgaryFMC
3.74/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Not sure why this ale is dubbed "almost pale", as it is fairly dark for the style: A red amber that belies the name but looks enticing nonetheless, with a considerable quantity of rich beige foam that leaves a nice spidery lacing on a pub glass. Aroma recalls perfumed black tea, orange rind, peppercorn spice, faint pine, and sweetish caramel malts. Smells pleasantly spicy and earthy. Palate is interesting, with a mixed red, white, and green peppercorn spice and pine leading the way, followed by a subdued white grape and citrus rind fruitiness, maybe the barest hint of tropical fruit in there somewhere: This brewery likes Citra hops. A chalky mineral note only amplifies the green, earthy, spicy bitterness. Rather light-bodied and fizzy, with a herbal piney "forest floor" finish. I am somewhat conflicted about this brew. Although the peppercorn spice and pine make for a fairly unique and ultimately gratifying combination, there was a sense that more citrus and floral elements were struggling to come through, never quite making it. The malts are downplayed and perhaps nicely sessionable but the hops are not quite salient enough on the usual American pale ale dimensions of citrus and tropical fruit. Could just be me.

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Photo of biegaman
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

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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 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 Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of beerpirates
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

33 cl bottel poured into my cantillon glass

A : nice dark copper red with a 1 finger white head, lots of lacing,

S : very hoppy , some toasty grains, caramel malt undertones and some citrus notes to finish it off.

T : Hoppy and malty to begin with, some citrus and pineapple , Nice bitterness . Still a very balanced beer.

M : Nice smooth mouthfeel, aftertaste is to watery , not full of flavour and disappearce fast

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Photo of ecoastman
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

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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 Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

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Photo of eat
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

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