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

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

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BA SCORE
85
very good

186 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 186
Reviews: 97
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 11.11%


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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Ratings: 186 | Reviews: 97 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2009 21:42:51 | More by biegaman
Photo of ThatWineGuy
ThatWineGuy

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2009 03:36:52 | More by ThatWineGuy
Photo of allergictomacros
allergictomacros

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2009 18:12:08 | More by allergictomacros
Photo of EatsTacos
EatsTacos

Yukon (Canada)

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

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2009 17:31:14 | More by EatsTacos
Photo of Strowlands8
Strowlands8

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2009 23:22:02 | More by Strowlands8
Photo of eat
eat

Quebec (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2009 02:06:40 | More by eat
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
CAMRAhardliner

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2009 22:41:56 | More by CAMRAhardliner
Photo of MeisterBurger
MeisterBurger

Ontario (Canada)

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."

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2009 20:37:53 | More by MeisterBurger
Photo of laituegonflable
laituegonflable

Australia

3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

09-20-2013 02:32:44 | More by laituegonflable
Photo of Shrews
Shrews


4.23/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance
A 1/2 head with a ruby color.

Smell
Citrus and malty with some earthy scents.

Taste
Citrus and grapefruit taste with a complex finish. Malty and rich taste.

Mouthfeel
Pretty hoppy and bitter on the mouth yet still a smooth finish. A great feel.

Overall
A wonderful APA with an amazingly complex taste and smell. Had a grand time trying this beer while traveling for work.

Serving type: on-tap

06-29-2012 00:10:57 | More by Shrews
Photo of dgilks
dgilks

Australia

3.7/5  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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-15-2011 11:08:17 | More by dgilks
Photo of JohnnyBarman
JohnnyBarman

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-05-2011 19:22:27 | More by JohnnyBarman
Photo of spinrsx
spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft

Appearance - The beer pours a clear copper colour with a good size foamy/fizzy off white head. There is a low amount of carbonation and an above average amount of lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Caramel, hops, citrus, malts

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and packs a fairly full bodied taste. Most of the taste is made up of hops and malts mixed with caramel. There are also notes of citrus zest and a faint woodiness. The beer finishes with bitter sweet caramel/hop aftertaste

Drink - I'm happy I got a chance to try this one on draft. It seems like Pale Ale's that taste like this are a dime a dozen in the states, but in Canada they are a rarity. An above average beer that is definetly worth a try.

Serving type: on-tap

12-20-2010 14:57:41 | More by spinrsx
Photo of Vebbster17
Vebbster17

New York

4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
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!

Serving type: on-tap

09-28-2010 01:46:37 | More by Vebbster17
Photo of WeedKing4
WeedKing4

Ontario (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev -4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

09-04-2010 06:06:05 | More by WeedKing4
Photo of pootz
pootz

Ontario (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

06-09-2010 19:51:15 | More by pootz
Photo of uno99
uno99

Ontario (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

06-05-2010 21:01:32 | More by uno99
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-17-2009 04:15:43 | More by biboergosum
Photo of Viggo
Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-25-2009 15:26:10 | More by Viggo
Photo of Derek
Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
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).

Serving type: on-tap

05-25-2009 00:55:47 | More by Derek
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev -4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-24-2009 06:18:33 | More by Sammy
Photo of bobsy
bobsy

Ontario (Canada)

3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Orange pour with a finger of white head, that showed good retention and lace. Nice citrusy aroma from the amarillo hops, with a touch of earthiness to it. Not too much behind that though, and I'm wondering where the malt is. In its flavour Hoptical Illusion doesn't go overboard with bitterness, but does have some great balance. There's some very decent orange falvours going on, and there's a decent slightly sweet malt backdrop. Medium-light body and medium carb.

Yep, I was pleasantly surprised by this one, and I look forward to seeing its appearance at the lcbo - it could make a nice session beer.

Serving type: on-tap

05-23-2009 23:00:41 | More by bobsy
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Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale from Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 186 ratings.