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Honker's Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Honker's AleHonker's Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

3,110 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,110
Reviews: 1,019
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 11.99%
Wants: 53
Gots: 216 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
English Bitter |  4.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Golden sunset color, fruity hop aroma, biscuity malt flavor, soft body.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-08-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,110 | Reviews: 1,019 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by mikerieder:
Photo of mikerieder
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

mikerieder, Feb 22, 2014
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%

I drank this alot back in the day and was dumbfounded to see it on tap at a local restaurant here in Greensboro,what..how..when?Anyways poured into a standard pint glass a clear copper/amber with a thinner but well sustained head atop.Aromas of nutty malt with light caramel sweetness,there is a subtle leafy hop note as well.True to style it's malt driven with a mix of nutty and sweet biscuit malt with underlying leafy hops that show up more in the finish.An easy drinking bitter that I used to drink alot of back in Michigan,Iam still trying to find out how it got here in North Carolina.

oberon, Dec 28, 2012
Photo of davemarc87
4/5  rDev +9%

davemarc87, Mar 10, 2014
Photo of mojohawk21
3/5  rDev -18.3%

mojohawk21, May 24, 2014
Photo of Turbo
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Turbo, Nov 23, 2013
Photo of tectactoe
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%

Pours a solid amber color with some burnt orange highlights streaming across it. The beer is super hazy and opaque for the most part, just a little bit of light is allowed to peek through. A creamy, eggshell-colored head forms on the top and leaves some generous lacing in its wake.

Aroma is super malty and gives off a slew melted caramel, toasted nuts, and lightly boozy toffee. Earthy aromas are derived from the hops, which also lend a slight leafy character. Though many people compliment this beer's excellent balance, the aromas shows much favor on the malt side of things. Some other aroma I'm getting include candied barley and very subtle brown sugar. Smells heavier than 4.3% ABV, and there are a surprisingly large amount of things going on, that it's almost hard to pick them all out.

The body on this is quite watery and light - it hits first with a mild nuttiness, much less sweet than perceived in the aroma. Light toffee and caramel combines immediately with a touch of hop earthiness; dirt, grass, toast, and faint wood in the background. Bitterness is actually pretty low, retaining drinkability well. There's a mild, woodsy musk flavor in the middle, that dries out the palate for a brief moment. The aftertaste is heavy with caramel covered toast and roasted nuts. A pretty specific descriptor, but that's the best I could come up with. Near the end of the brew, the finish starts having a heavier yeast flavor with some more wet wood notes.

Definitely packs a good amount of shit into a little 4.3% ABV beer, no doubt about that. It's drinkable and goes down easily, though I would have liked the aroma and flavor to synchronize a little better.

tectactoe, Mar 21, 2013
Photo of ExtraStout
2.86/5  rDev -22.1%

Had this on tap in Cedar's @ Foxwood's Casino.

Appearance: A fine looking ale without any outsanding characteristics.
Smell: Very lightly malty.
Taste: Was not offensive but somewhat watery and malty, this beer is not overwhelming.
Mouthfeel: Easy in the mouth and going down but too thin.
Drinkabilty: This beer will bore me after a few sips.

ExtraStout, May 10, 2013
Photo of MadScientist
4.6/5  rDev +25.3%

The beer is a light copper with a warm light red glow and brillant clarity. It has a half an inch of off-white head with a decently log retention.

There is a soft carmel malt aroma with a light fruitiness and a low hops aroma. The hops so mostly floral and a slight hint of lemon. A light malt of graham crackers shows up after a few moments.

A moderate bitterness with a moderately high fruit esters mostly of peach and mild lemon but not the strong American hops citrus flavor. There is a little bit of malt support in there but this is defiantly a bitter beer with a dry finish.

It has medium light body with a medium-low carbonation.

Beers like this can lead the way in the session beer revolution. Don't get me wrong, I still love my imperial fill in the blank palate wreckers but it's great to have a flavorful beer at a reasonable alcohol level too.

MadScientist, Jun 19, 2012
Photo of jono0101
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

jono0101, May 18, 2013
Photo of MaxT
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

MaxT, Jul 28, 2013
Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.43/5  rDev +20.7%

Chances are, you've had a beer like this before, but you shouldn't mind having another. Under a big, lovely creamy head, we have here a simple, balanced ale with a light, smooth, and lively character that borders on lager territory. Nose is ripe with classic British ale esters, a dusting of spicy hop, and a whiff of crystal caramel goodness. Taste brings more of the same but hops play a suprisinly forward role. Kind of like a maltier version of Sam Adams Boston Lager. This is a bit over carbed to be true to style I think but still very drinkable.

JudgeRoughneck, Aug 04, 2006
Photo of Tiernan
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Tiernan, Mar 12, 2013
Photo of GreaseShark
4/5  rDev +9%

GreaseShark, Oct 17, 2013
Photo of tbryan5
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

tbryan5, Mar 27, 2013
Photo of ajkiser12
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

ajkiser12, Nov 27, 2012
Photo of sgoodship
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%

A: Hazy apple cider color. Head dissipated to nothing very quickly.

S: Basic english bitter smell. Caramel malt, sourness and some hop.

M: Full side of medium bodied. Medium carbonation.

T: Floral hop and bready caramel malt. A little thin in the finish.

D: I think this is a solid beer. Goose Island makes great beers. In full disclosure, I no longer enjoy English Bitters. They just taste too generic. Maybe it's because I drank so much of them in the UK growing up. I have nothing against beers that aren't big but this beer does absolutely nothing for me and I routinely avoid it on tap - even though it is often one of the few craft beers available in macro bars. My wife really likes it, so maybe it is just me.

sgoodship, Sep 01, 2009
Photo of SkiBum22
1/5  rDev -72.8%

SkiBum22, Aug 21, 2014
Photo of Kidshelleen51
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%

They call this a brew in the style of an English Bitter. Having had many pints of bitter across many pubs in the south and middle of England, I don't think it compares. For me, it's a bit too malty to be considered a pint of bitter. It's not a bad beer by any means but I find it more like a brown ale than anything else. And since I'm a true IPA guy this beer left me disappointed.

Kidshelleen51, Jan 21, 2014
Photo of BJ1833
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%

Presentation:

Appearance: Thick white three-finger head. Hazy copper body with visible floating sediment (decanted entire bottle into pint glass).

Aroma: Sweet malt smell with sipcy, citrusy-hop aromas.

Taste: Biscuit-like malt flavors. A unrecognizable spice-like flavor present. Well balanced hop bitterness makes this refreshing and easy to drink.

Overall: Very tasty. My favorite from the Goose Island brewery. A great pale ale.

BJ1833, Sep 20, 2004
Photo of skybluewater
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%

12-oz bottle from a Pub Pak, freshness date "011705". Pours a very average amber color. Grapefruit dominates in the smell. Taste is of pink grapefruit. Mouthfeel is a bit thin (as is with most Goose Island beers, IMO).

Nevertheless, this is a good choice as a session ale, another average but highly drinkable Goose Island brew. Nothing really special, but you could drink it all night if you had to.

skybluewater, Oct 03, 2004
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%

Golden amber pour with hints of red and a bubbly off white head. Quite a nice aroma on this one...citric hoppiness mixes with some piney tones and a nice sweetness. I'm impressed.

Crisp, sweet caramel and pale malts meld with some nice citric and slightly piney hop flavors. A bit of bready flavor along with some nice bitterness on the way down. A nice showing from Goose Island.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with some nice carbonation. This is an APA that I could easily session...it rivals my favorite SNPA. I dunno why I didn't try this one earlier!

orbitalr0x, Feb 02, 2005
Photo of loose5682
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

loose5682, Apr 18, 2013
Photo of mediumrare
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%

mediumrare, Sep 08, 2014
Photo of blitz134
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%

I've been looking forward to this tasting. This beer was my first craft beer a couple of years back and I'm sure my preferences have changed substantially since then.

Clear caramel colored body, lots of carbonation bubbles rise to the surface to support an off-white head. Initially this was about 1" thick but held at 1/2" for quite a while. Nice lacing grips the glass on the way down.

Bread and biscuit malts really come through in the aroma as expected. Herbal and grassy hops work in nicely as well. A touch of caramelization is evident towards the end of a whiff.

Nice biscuit character to start with and then the crispness from the carbonation is evident. Finishes earthy and herbal with a strong dark bread maltiness like a bitter should. Flavor lingers for a bit with a fair amount of bitterness. Good mouthfeel for the style, nearing medium body.

A nicely done ESB that seems true to the style. I can see why the hops were a bit over the top when I first had this a while back; I don't think I was quite accustomed to the English style hop yet.

blitz134, Jul 03, 2006
Photo of danthehopslamman
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

danthehopslamman, Aug 13, 2012
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Honker's Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
83 out of 100 based on 3,110 ratings.