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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very good

105 Reviews
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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
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 105 | Hads: 256
Photo of bobsy
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

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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 grub
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
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?

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

Review from notes. Hoptical pours a nice amber with medium head.

Great hop aroma on the nose.

Taste is great for a low ABV APA or (almost pale ale) as they say, however, carbonation is a bit much for me. Hops are prominent on the nose and in the taste.

Mouthfeel a bit light, though to be expected for a lighter APA.

Sadly, this beer gives me heartburn every time, so although availability has improved through the LCBO, this is not my go to beer.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.09/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Copper amber, filtered with moderate carbonation rising from the center, 5 fingers of moderate tan head with great retention. The head is foamy with large and small bubbles.

S: Floral, pineapple, tropical fruit,

T: Caramel, hard water, metallic, pineapple, tropical punch, floral.

M: Medium bready body, medium low carbonation.

O: A really nice British and American styles. Go Canada! Really loving this one.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - clear dark random, two fingers of tan head, dissipated slowly leaving random blobs of lacing
S - herbal and resiny hop aromas, mild caramel and raw grain
T - a blend of herbal hop and toasted grain malt flavours, more mild grassy hops with a metallic hint
M - a little thin and light on carbonation, very mild bitterness
O - this almost pale ale is almost good, not bad but nothing outstanding, the IPA's I've tried from Flying Monkeys are a better buy

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Photo of SebD
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice dark amber/copper colour to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down moderatly and there is nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of hops, caramely malts with citucy notes.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice carmely sweetness upfront with nice citrucy notes to finaly end with a nice hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice balance of flavours.

Drinkability: It's a smooth and drinkable beer accompanied with great flavours and aromas. It's an overall great and tasty Ale. Props to Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery.

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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.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.26/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a translucent copper colour, topped with a finger of foamy off-white head that dies down within a few minutes, leaving behind a creamy cap and thick collar of lacing around the edge. Aroma is of fresh hops, citrusy and piney, overlaying some roasted caramel malts. This is shaping up to be one of the better APAs I've had lately.

Light hop bitterness, grapefruit and pine sap are the first things to come through. Roasted caramel and sweet nutty malts round out the profile and are a bit more prominent toward the end of the sip. A bit of bitterness lingers briefly in the finish. Silky-smooth mouthfeel; decidedly medium-bodied. Good carbonation for the style.

I enjoyed this immensely, I haven't had an APA this tasty in quite a while. Highly recommended if you are looking for a sessionable, conservatively-hopped pale ale.

[Updated April 12 2014]

Another bottle from a six-pack, bottled Mar. 6 2014. Still one of the best APAs in the Ontario market these days, at least in my opinion. Hoptical Illusion's balanced flavour profile makes it an ideal session option any time of year - this is not a hop bomb which will probably leave some people disappointed, but as far as easy-drinking pale ale or potential gateway beers go, this is still a superior option.

Final Grade: 4.26, an A-.

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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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...

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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 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.

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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 NightINgale
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle purchased as part of a six pack from LCBO for $13.65 CDN. Served fairly cold into a pint glass.

Appearance - coppery in color, with a crystal clear clarity and bursts of effervescent bubbles rising to the surface. A dense finger and a half of white head and the lacing sticks to the sides of the glass almost as if it were coalescing.

Smell - a solid tropical citrusy smell, namely tangerine and melon. A caramel malt aroma is blended in seamlessly. Really attractive and light smelling yet aromatic.

Taste - light blend of melon and more astringent citrus fruits as with the nose, and a bit of the caramel sweetness comes through especially on the back end. A grapefruit like bitterness in its conclusion yet it is by smooth and subdued.

Mouthfeel - extremely lively carbonation adds to the otherwise medium body and mouthfeel

Overall - a great American pale ale that is one of my favourites in the style. Remarkably drinkable at any time but especially in these spring and summer months yet packs enough of a punch to definitely warrant pacing yourself. A new go to for me just wish it came at a slightly lower price point. Still a definite repeat purchase.

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Photo of Gosox8787
3.59/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

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Photo of ericj551
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

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Photo of ZorPrime
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to liamt07 for sending me this brew in a recent trade. Cheers!

The color is amber... somewhat dark with some red notes. Head is timid. The aroma is hoppy (citrus)... Simple but I like it. Any hophead would too. Could be more intense 'tho. On the taste, it is fruity and I get some malts presence that I didn't get in the nose. It is well balanced but no complexity. However, I don't think it presents itself as a complex beer.

It is well done and a good pale ale. Wish I could get more of this brew here. No brewers in Quebec does a good american pale ale like this one.

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Photo of mrmanning
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

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Photo of cavedave
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to John, jager68, for throwing me this as a gift this morning.

Pours a darker than pale light brown/amber with red highlights, clear, and carrying a finger of beige head for a moment. Some thin lacicles cling to the glass. Though it clearly isn't in style here, I gave credit for the pleasing appearance.

Not much aroma, hints of citrus and pine, a touch of caramel, a bit of grassy hop, even a touch of tart yeast.

Taste is more lively than aroma. It starts with some sweet and bready, picks up citrus and grass, then pine and citrus bitter play with the sweet into an end of sip that is nicely juicy, nicely dry, quite tasty.

Mouthfeel is good, not great, a bit of resin buildup, a bit too carb.'ed, finish not as clean as one would hope.

All in all a nice beer, refreshing and interesting, from a brewery I'd never heard of before today. Would rate higher if not for so many really fine ales in this style so easily avail.

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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 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.

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