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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

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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
View: Beers (44) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 105 | Hads: 256
Photo of TheHammer
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
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."

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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.

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Photo of Long813
3.52/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First off I want to say the look on the bottle is beautiful. Nice psychedelic colours and presentation.

G: Duvel Tulip

A: Dark caramel coloured body with no head and the most minimal lacing.

S: Sweet caramel malts, biscuity, citrus and pine hops all blended well together. I do feel the aroma is quite low though

T: Same as the smell with caramel upfront and biscuity flavours. Hints of citrus and pine.

M: Medium bodied and medium-low carbonation. This beer leaves a malty finish and some dry-bitterness too.

D: Nothing offensive here, but there also isn't much that is special. Everything seems quite weak and bland. I'd much prefer to drink something else.

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Photo of seand
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a translucent reddish amber with a small amount of off white head. Just a little bit retains, not much lacing.

S: Light hops, somewhat sweet.

T: Light citrus, slightly sweet and finishes slightly hoppy. No real heavy flavors, reasonably well balanced.

M: Medium to light carbonation, medium body.

D: Drinks fairly easily.

Overall a decent beer, but not exactly exceptional.

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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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Photo of slitherySOB
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark copper with plenty of bubbles that leads to a two fingers worth of head that doesn't leave. Plenty of lacing on the glass. Smells of citrus and faint pine, with a bit of herbal tea. Tastes of caramel, citrus and pine. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a bit airy. A very good pale ale, but not as good as their Smashbomb IPA.

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Photo of ludachris
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep slightly hazy amber with a 1 finger quickly dissipating off-white head that leaves some patchy lace behind.

Piney hops, caramel, buttery malts, and a hint of vegetables in the nose, which is a bit of a turn off. Seems somewhat subdued for the style.

Herbal piney hops meshed with some toasted buttery malts, hints of caramel and a bit of biscuit. Tasty, but not overly so.

Mouthfeel is light bodied and a tad watery. Decent balance and an easy quaffer, but nothing special.

Overall, a decent brew and much better than their Confederation Ale. It's a solid alternative to macros and the generic imports, but not a standout in the style.

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Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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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.

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Photo of fostachild
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of Digimaika2
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Beautiful rich copper with a nice frothy head of beige foam. Head dissipates to a fantastic blanket lined with sporadic bubbles, that sticks around.

S: Pine hops deliciously overpowering on the nose, presence of grapefruit, caramel-like malts, and a nutty aroma. Very rich and robust smell.

T: Pine and slightly floral hops strong upfront. Citrus notes that include grapefruit and a slight sourness. Caramel malts balance this out very nicely towards the end.

M: Very good creamy and thick mouthfeel considering the ABV. Moderate carbonation.

D: Another great offering from Flying Monkeys (although I'm still partial to the Netherworld Cascadian). One of the few great Ontario breweries, and perhaps the best in my opinion.

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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 mintjellie
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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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.

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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 Stocean1
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
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

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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.

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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 EatsTacos
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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

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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!

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Photo of Ralphus
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My first Flying Monkey's brew and it's decent. That's a good sign.

It pours a dark amber brown colour, clear and with a finger and a half of foam which dissipates to a ring. Nice lacing is left down the glass as I drink.

I read that the brewer kept upping the amount of hops in each batch and given that mine is a bit later I think it's probably changed from the earlier reviews. This one has surprisingly pine like smell for an APA - I think I'd probably guess it smelled like an IPA if it was in a blind tasting. There's not much fruit to speak of.

Taste is quite light initially. Some bready malts and it finishes with a crisp hoppy bite. Again, very little fruit which is something that I quite like in a pale ale.

Mouthfeel is fairly light and I think this would aid the drink's sessionability. You could have a bunch of these in a sitting without the taste getting overwhelming.

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Photo of Kremlock
4.18/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: medium to dark copper. Has an off white head that pours to about 1/2 inch and then settles to a thin film on top of the beer. Beer is clear and not particles are visible.

S: Creamy butter toffee on the nose when swirling the beer. Has a soft citrus aroma from the hops and there is a residual biscuit smell.

T: Some grapefruit, a little bit of soft peach, caramel/tofee present.

M: Malt/hops balanced, carbonation is fantastic. A bit prickly on the tongue but it has a palate cleansing sensation. Soft bitterness in the end with a low sweetness.

O: This is a greatly balanced APA that can be drank as a session by all standards.

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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 MAB
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I had one of these on the weekend and I was happy about it.
I'm marking the appearance down a bit because I had too much head after pouring (carefully). Thick and tan in color, the head eventually calmed down enough that I could drink it easily.
The smell was nice. Slightly malty, some good hop aroma.
The taste was better than I figured it would be. Advertised as "almost Pale Ale", I was worried that the hop bitterness would be downplayed, but I was pleasantly proven incorrect. Tasty!
Things improved once I got drinking, and my score reflects that.
Five more in the six-pack case, and I'm looking forward to them!

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