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

233 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 233
Reviews: 103
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 9
Gots: 28 | 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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 233 | Reviews: 103 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of EatsTacos
4/5  rDev +6.1%
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

Photo of Vyronian
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of bsilver87
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of steamwhistle123
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of Mr_Hoptimistic
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of grac1970
4/5  rDev +6.1%
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 cratez
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355ml bottle from a 6-pack purchased at the Wellington & Bradley LCBO. Bronze orange in colour with golden hues, a ring of cream white head, and speckled lacing on the shaker. Smell and taste are green, grassy hops, fruity and floral aromas, biscuit, caramel backbone, a bit toasty, spicy hop finish with a mild malt astringency. Almost no bitterness, which is exactly what the brewer intended. Mouthfeel is light side of medium, good hoppy bite, tangy carbonation, tartly malted aftertaste. Bursting with Amarillo qualities on the nose, yet somehow isn't bitter. Presto change-o indeed! Bottom line is, Illusion can satisfy a hop fix while still being accessible to your non-beer geek friends. In that regard, it's a rare achievement in brewing. Keep up the great work, Peter!

EDIT (May 2011): this beer has improved substantially since it was first released and is now one of the better APAs available in Ontario. Lots of grassy, floral, citrusy, and fruity hops on the nose and palate with a balancing caramel sweetness, slight trace of diacetyl, and some tea-like flavours from the malts. Body and mouthfeel seem beefed up as well, the hops are more juicy, punchy, and resinous than before. Great thirst-quenching ale.

Photo of Dna_Infinity
3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
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 codyhotel
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
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 BuckyBeerBeaver
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
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 pootz
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Photo of Jeffo
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Photo of ssmack
3.96/5  rDev +5%
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 Roke87
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
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 ThatWineGuy
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of hopsolutely
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The best "session" Pale Ale thus far in Ontario. Sufficently hoppy to be interesting in nose, flavour and finish - but might also appeal to the less hop enamored.

Delightful on draught, although a micro-brew and therefore not widely as distributed as hop fans might hope. And as an aside (and fully recognizing it has zero relevance to anything as important as taste), would also like to praise the bottle appearance. Stands out in the staid Ontario marketplace! I am still genuinely delighted every time I read a witty bottlecap saying that I hadn't seen before...

Photo of Strowlands8
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of Stocean1
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - poured a one finger head - amber copper color - sticky lacing

S - lots of floral hops - grassy - malt

T - malt followed by lots of hops but still well balanced - not overly bitter for the style - some citrus and pine notes

M - decent carbonation and medium bodied - nice amount of bitterness tinlges the mouth

O - nice APA by an Ontario brewer - this style is really starting to grow on me

Photo of mintjellie
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Photo of mooseisloose
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got sucked into a sixer of this one like a magnet at the LCBO, on an end stand no less, by the funkadelic flourescent packaging. If the beer is as good as the package it should be outstanding, let's give it a whirl. Popping the top yields the deliciously classic APA scent of citrus hops. The brew pours to a nice light bronze with a foamy tan head. The taste is also in line with the classic APA, hop bite, ever present but not a chomper some malt backbone, also ever present but as they say "doesn't beat you over the head". Definitely notice the distinction of the Amarillo hops vs. the more common Cascades. The hoppiness is citrusy but much more earthy. The malt base also is crispy and has a honey (or is that maple?) like sweetness following the up front toastiness. Good mouthfeel and finish. Very easy drinker.

Photo of BBP
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Photo of TheHammer
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I bought a six pack of this before I knew that this beer would be in the OCB mix pack #4. This would make it the fourth out of the six.

Appearance: Pours with a deep amber color that is a bit darker and on the brown side. Only a pinky finger of head, but it retained exceptionally well and produced some lacing.

Smell: Nice floral and citrus hops dominate the nose, but it's not out of control like an IPA. I'm also catching the barest notes of sweet caramel malt in the background.

Taste: Starts with a bit of a floral malt taste that the carbonation seems to enhance a bit of a spicy note too. It then shifts to a more toasted grain with a touch of pine and ends, rather whimsically with a well reigned in floral hop aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: The transition between the middle and end of the beer, seems to come out of nowhere, which is odd but not unpleasant. Carbonation seems to help out the start of the beer, but not so much the end. The hoppy aftertaste is nice and subdued well enough to not linger.

Drinkability: Well, it is still a hoppy beer, but it's not out of control like an IPA. It sits well in the stomach and is surprisingly refreshing but the hops make you give this beer a bit of space. Still, I don't feel cheated out of the extra six that I have in my cellar, so I'd say it's better then average.

Final Thoughts: This beer is weird, which is really what I think the brewery was going for. I've never had a pale ale (or almost pale ale as it markets itself as) seem so whimsical and tie several characteristics you wouldn't think would work together so seamlessly. I can see this not being for everyone, but I liked it and I would recommend it.

Photo of fostachild
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottled jul/19/2011

medium dark amber colour. good amount of white head - fades quickly into a nice film.

smell was really nice, tons of grassy hops, citrus, and bit of sweet malt.

taste is crisp, malt comes through the most here with a bit of hoppiness mixed in. well balanced and very drinkable.

overall it was quite enjoyable. i only had one but would be a great session beer - definitely worth a try.

Photo of djoprahwinfrey
3.86/5  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 JohnnyBarman
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale from Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 233 ratings.