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: 256
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 105 | Hads: 256
Photo of papat444
3.14/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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

Poured from a 341ml. bottle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 1,032 characters

Photo of Swedes21
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355 ml served in a chilled glass..

Appearance - This beer pours with a nice brown/white head that has a creamy appearance. The beer is a clear auburn and it is hard to tell the carbonation levels. There is a slight amount of lacing that is occurring.

Smell - STRONG hope smell as well a citrus base. Very strong hops present, this beer is a nice smelling beer.

Taste - nice tasting beer with a decent aftertaste that lingers for a short period of time. Citrus in tasting, there may be a hint of caramel in there as well. Not a heavy tasting beer either.

Mouthfeel - Increased levels of carbonation that bring the hops fwd, the citrus is also present near the end. The beer has a nice aftertaste as well once all the carbonation kicks in.

Drinkability - One of my better beers, this is what Craft beers are here for! They are delicious and nice to drink, makes me happy to be trying beers from around the world!

 917 characters

Photo of hopsolutely
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
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...

 567 characters

Photo of Vebbster17
4.34/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First of all I chose 5.0 for drinkability because I enjoyed this beer very much. I had no idea what to expect when I ordered this beer. The waitress only said it was dark. Upon first tasting this beer I immediately told my friends how delicious and hoppy it was. When the waitresses changed shifts the new girl told me that it was called Hoptical illusion. I could drink this beer all day!

 389 characters

Photo of heebes
3.54/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium amber with good amount of head and no lacing.
The smell is flowery with a slight fruit touch, citrus.
Tastes similiar with the floral coming through and a bit of fruitiness, there is a definite hop taste too which is nice.
Has a light mouthfeel and seems kinda watery but gos down quite smooth.
Overall this is allright for a pale ale. Will need to check out more from the Flying Monkies.

 403 characters

Photo of grac1970
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

 585 characters

Photo of tbeckett
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this a few times and it is often considered the benchmark for Pale Ales in Ontario.

A - Nice cloudy or creamy white head leaving lacing as it slowly goes away. Light brown or reddish colour and transparent. Minimal carbonation.

S - Nice juicy hops. Grapefruit and pine. Some breadiness to it as well.

T - Bready up front until you finish it and then it's all about the hops. Again, what I consider nice, juicy hops that show up half way through and linger nicely. Not as hoppy as I would expect from a beer by this name and a beer in this style but it does the trick nicely. There is balance in it and that's key.

M - Medium bodied with a good, small amount of carbonation. Very pleasant and smooth.

D - Total session beer right here. Good amount of hops to keep things interesting with the balance required and a low ABV.

 833 characters

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.

 625 characters

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

 422 characters

Photo of WeedKing4
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at a local pub. Its not as terrible as I was expecting. Pours a clear dark amber brown. This actually had a little hop taste to it, with no shitty after taste. It needs more flavour though, but when there is no options of what to drink, you can do worse. Alright beer overall.

 292 characters

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.

 681 characters

Photo of a74gent
3.2/5  rDev -15.6%
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.

 250 characters

Photo of kjyost
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Undated bottle. Purchased at the LCBO and poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a rich reddish orange with a light head that does not lace. Aromas are nice, dominated by citrus dryhops. The taste is schizophrenic, with little of the malty sweetness expected from the colour. It is at times very enjoyable hoppy & citrusy, but other times seems bland and thin. Carbonation was enjoyable, but once again sometimes disappeared feeling watery in the mouth. With a little more body this beer would be great.

 498 characters

Photo of Jeffo
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got this at the local LCBO this summer. Pretty cool, psychadelic label on this one. The picture here doesn't do it justice.

From a bottle into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger medium looking white head with decent retention. Maroon red/brown in color, perfectly clear with absolutely zero carbonation evident. Head quickly recedes to a thin film. A slight wisp remains but leaves no lacing down the glass. A very dark and beautiful color for a pale ale. Granted, the brewers do call it an "Almost Pale Ale."

SMELL: Lots of hops in the nose. Floral and piney aromas with touches of citrus and pineapple as well. Some pale malts come through, but the hops are definitely in the forefront. A bold and hoppy nose, especially for the lower ABV.

TASTE: Pale malts start off, with some floral and piney hops coming through the middle. Finishes with some malt sweetness, pineapple, and a decent dose of floral hops and bitterness. A mild but longer lasting aftertaste is plenty flavorful, with some bitter floral hops and hints of sweet malt for balance. Quite tasty and very hop forward, especially for the ABV.

PALATE: Medium body and medium, prickly carbonation. Semi-creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes slightly dry on the palate. Somewhat lighter on the palate, but feels refreshing.

OVERALL: Really enjoyed this one. It's probably best served cold on a hot day actually. A very tasty pale ale, and the nose was certainly one of the bolder ones in the style. The palate could be a little creamier and smoother, but nevertheless, this is one of the better examples available to Ontario beer enthusiasts. One that will become a staple whenever I'm home.

 1,681 characters

Photo of andrenaline
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tossed this back last Christmas, but this is my first formal review and a continuation of my BlackBerry tasting notes from my trip to Ontario.

A - Pours a dark caramel colour, solid two thumbs of off-white head, solid retention and impressive lacing.

S - Lemon iced tea citrus hops followed by generous amounts of chocolate malts. Nice balance.

T - Nice caramel malts mixed with tasty iced tea lemon hops. Very nicely balanced with bready malts and bitter hops.

M - Goes down very smooth, perfectly carbonated. No complaints in this department.

D - One of the better OCB offerings I've tried to date. By no means a hop bomb, but it does strike a nice balance between the hops and malts. Could easily be a go-to beer.

 723 characters

Photo of StephenRich
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

 4,061 characters

Photo of nokes
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

 1,210 characters

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

Tap sample from the brewery:

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

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

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

 431 characters

Photo of uno99
4.23/5  rDev +11.6%
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.

 978 characters

Photo of mooseisloose
3.89/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

 819 characters

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.

 791 characters

Photo of kwjd
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a copper colour with thick white head & lacing. Smells of citrusy hops. The taste has a nice load of hops with a great malt backbone to it. Nice carbonation level for the style and very drinkable.

I haven't had this for a few months and it seems to improve each time I have it. Certainly hoppier than I remember, which is nice. If I had reviewed this a year ago, I probably would have given it about an B-, but now it is certainly improved.

 447 characters

Photo of cratez
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

 1,223 characters

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.

 594 characters

Photo of berley31
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured with a small-to-moderate, white head that diminished pretty quickly to a thin film. Body is amber colored and slightly hazy. Not much lacing.

S: Aroma had very slight hop presence... a bit of a soapish smell to it as well, but this may have been due to the glass at the bar.

T: Flavor was mostly malty and slightly caramelly at first, then finished slightly dry with a bit of a hop bite. Not high on the hops for an APA, but maybe that's where their name is coming from.

M: Light-bodied, moderate carbonation, thin texture.

D: Drinkable, but definitely nothing special.

 583 characters

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