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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.

3,026 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,026
Reviews: 1,011
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 11.72%
Wants: 51
Gots: 176 | 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: 3,026 | Reviews: 1,011 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jasonpeckins32


4.05/5  rDev +10.4%

Pours a copper/orange color with a nice off-white thick layer of foam. The nose is hoppy and clean with a healthy pale ale smell. It tastes of bitter and tangy hops, with a strong malt backbone thats especially evident in the finish. I've had better tasting beers, but this one is not bad at all. I do notice it gets considerably more watery as it warms. Very smooth mouthfeel. Moderate to medium bodied I suppose. Good drinking beer, I'm sure I could have quite a few before really desiring something else. Good Beer.

11-12-2005 01:40:05 | More by jasonpeckins32
Photo of warriorsoul


3.9/5  rDev +6.3%

Thanks to Eyedrinkale for this one...
Pours a clear copper color with two fingers of off-white head...a decent amount of thick lacing forms with outstanding cling.
Spiced up hops with a generous balance of sweet malt...nothing over the top in the nose, but peeking my interest.
The taste is smooth and enjoyable...a generous hop bite yet not overly bitter as I was expecting...perhaps due to the fact that it is a couple months past it's prime.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is perfect...could easily throw back a number of these with no effort.
My first experience with Goose Island and a good one at that...looking forward to trying a few more of their offerings in the future.

11-08-2005 00:16:13 | More by warriorsoul
Photo of PopeJonPaul


3.78/5  rDev +3%

Amber orange "pale-ale" color, almost no head and not much smell either. Edgy hops dominate with the flavor of grapefruit and bitters, mixed with a good fruity mildness. Has a tangly, clean aftertaste, a good beer but it doesn't really stand out against other ales I've had, I'd rank it up with a Sierra Nevada or some such, would grab a 6-pack but wouldn't bring it to a beer tasting.

11-03-2005 02:57:16 | More by PopeJonPaul
Photo of KarlHungus


4.1/5  rDev +11.7%

This brew pours a clear amber color with a small white head. The aroma is quite balanced, malty and hoppy. It is a bit faint though. The taste is a lot more assertive than teh aroma. It is balanced, but leans a little more toward the hoppy side. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with ample carbonation. Overall, this is a very drinkable brew; great for sessions.

10-22-2005 18:54:55 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of 67cuda


3.33/5  rDev -9.3%

This beer poured a nice amber color, with two fingers of off-white head. It smells a bit like caramel, with some hops, and a bit of sweetness as well... an intriguing mix. As for taste, it has a good amount of hops bitterness, with some malt notes present, and a little citrus as well. The mouthfeel is OK, the carbonation almost made it seem a bit fizzy to me however, otherwise it was nice and creamy. This beer isn't terribly exciting, but it isn't terrible either. It's a quite drinkable beer, however.

10-19-2005 05:36:27 | More by 67cuda
Photo of Frozensoul327


3.9/5  rDev +6.3%

My first from Goose Island. Poured out to an amber / orange color with a beautiful, dense foamy head of about half an inch. Lace was present in the glass, nearly to the bottom of the pint. Aromas of herbs and hops, with some spice sweetness. Taste was fresh and mild; flavors of fruits, hops, malts and herbs blended well, with a touch of sourness and bitterness. Mouthfeel was substantial enough for the drinker to know that this was a craft brew, yet light enough for it to be enjoyable throughout the year. Drinkability is good, as this could be a session beer for some beer lovers. Overall, a quality offering from Goose Island. I look forward to trying their other offerings. Recommended.

10-18-2005 00:01:51 | More by Frozensoul327
Photo of scruffwhor


4.2/5  rDev +14.4%

After probing the BA website for many months, as well as taking the alstrom bros. and the BA members advice. I've learned that drinking your beer in a glass enhances the flavor, smell and mouthfeel of the beer you are drinking. I usuaully drink honkers from a glass. But whenever I would drink this bitter straight from the bottle. Almost no flavor was lost or hindered as a result of my heathenist drink from bottle ways. This beer is not a complex beer. Or a beer that will win the accolades of the beer community over. But this good ol' chicago suburb boy, Honkers Ale is my regular drinkiing beer. I always get at least one twelve pack a week for my regular after work beer. The amber beer has an excellent hoppy mouthfeel with a citrus start and a semi-butter finish. If anyone takes a trip to chicago. I would definetly recommend getting a pint or two of Goose Island's flagship beer.

10-06-2005 01:11:27 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of meathookjones


3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Pours out an orange amber with a white foamy head. The head drops quickly leaving sparse lacing. Light overall aroma with a good mix of citric and grassy hops with some sweet caramel malt. Flavor stared with some sweet caramel and earthy grassy hops. Light citric bitterness. Light bitter finish. Very smooth and crisp. Easy drinking and very sessionable I could see having several of these in a sitting.

10-05-2005 15:38:50 | More by meathookjones
Photo of jamesdergen


3.38/5  rDev -7.9%

Appearance: better then a golden sunset. The golden/amber shade is delightful.

Smell: hints of carmel and nuttiness

Taste: the first sip is bitter and hoppy. Followed by hits of citrus (grapefruit).

Mouthfeel: More carbonated than I expected, yet not too much. It is bold, but not overbearing. Leaves mouth feeling dry.

Drinkability: 2, and I'm out. Sits a little heavy.

A decent beer, but nothing out of the ordinary. The Honker's Ale is somewhat similar to the 312 Urban Wheat that GI makes, but I would take the 312 over this one in a heartbeat.

09-28-2005 21:45:17 | More by jamesdergen
Photo of tjthresh


2.55/5  rDev -30.5%

Honker's Ale is one of the beers that got me interested in drinking craft beer. These day I consider it pretty middle of the road. Light hop flavor and aroma. Light malt sweetness, and light on the bitterness. Everything about this beer anymore is pretty uninspiring, yet good enough for a everyday staple beer.

08-31-2005 13:06:59 | More by tjthresh
Photo of sopor


3.38/5  rDev -7.9%

Crystal clear amber with a creamy one-finger head. Good bubbles rising with a rocky flm left over. Smells of crisp hoppy spicyness.

Delicate malt profile is quickly taken by a crisp herbal hoppy spiciness. Not exactly balanced, but good bitter.

Moderately light body with fine carbonation.

Drinkable, fine example of a bitter, but nothing extraordinary.

08-29-2005 19:12:56 | More by sopor
Photo of scooter231

New York

4/5  rDev +9%

On tap at the Gingerman. Poured a very pretty amber color with tons of head and lacing, very appealing. Smelled lightly hopped, citrusy, and piney. Woody, even. Woody and citrus. Interesting.

Malts, hops, caramel. It's like... a malty caramel sweetness followed by a woody, slightly soured hoppy, woody flavor. Almost too much going on, but it's not tooo much. Nearing the border, though.

Mouthfeel is very light and easy, and this is way drinkable. A good beer for warm days, certainly. I'd get it again. Plus, the taps are gooses! Geeses! How cool is that?

08-26-2005 05:21:44 | More by scooter231
Photo of Gritsak

West Virginia

3.68/5  rDev +0.3%

A- bright golden copper with an off white head that laces well.

S- some fruit hints such as apricot. some hop aroma as well

T- clean balanced hop bitterness with some underlying fruit flavor. only problem i had was the metalic aftertaste.

M- good amount of carbonation with a light to medium body.

D- very easy to drink. taste is not overpowering so it would be easy to consume a lot of these.

overall- pretty decent beer that is readily avalaible. clean refreshing flavor. worth a shot

08-15-2005 03:59:07 | More by Gritsak
Photo of BEERchitect


3.53/5  rDev -3.8%

With true British gentleman demeanor, Goose Island captures the regal balance of plump malt, refined earthen flavor, and exquisite hop bitterness that makes English bitters so appealing.

This extra special bitter pours with a bright copper or chestnut coloration without any hint of haze. The beer builds a creamy off white head that shows tremendous staying power and lacing segments that exceeds its understated initial head formation.

Starting caramel, but weaving in the aromas of peanuts, butterscotch, mild toast, and freshly kilned barley the beer's plump character begins to make headway. Decorated with the broad spicy character of freshly mulled grasses, soft pine, and an overall earthy character, the beer's delicate balance is on proper display.

Deliciously juicy with the toffeeish caramel and nutty overtones that comes together with the taste of Cracker Jacks candy with medium sweetness and an overall hearty malt starchness. Superbly balanced with the grassy and earthy notes that are brought over from the aromas. Slight and nondescript fruit flavors of apples and peaches accent the sweetness with built-in finesse and complexity. As the beers malt sweetness waives and the moderate earthy hop flavors develop into a broad woody bitterness, the beer closes with a crisp, elegant, and elevated balance.

Medium bodied, the understated character of the beer continues as the beers supple early creaminess develops past a semi-starchy mid palate and into a dry malt-accented finish with the soft resin character of hops, minty warmth of alcohol, and fleeting malt textures.

Stately and elegant, Honker's ale speaks to British brewing traditions as well as any could expect. With restrained bitterness and ample malt character, the balance on display can only be improved with true cask condition effect.

08-11-2005 16:16:06 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Xadoor


3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Pours a nice dark copper colour into the glass. The thick beige head disappears quickly down to a thin white layer with very little lace left on the sides. Mild hoppy flavours and aroma with only slight bitterness and a bit of a dry finish. Medium smooth mouthfeel with low carbonation. A decent drinkable beer, but it didn't get me all that exited and left me in the mood for an IPA.

08-10-2005 03:36:53 | More by Xadoor
Photo of whartontallboy

New York

3.4/5  rDev -7.4%

Pours out coppery amber with a medium white head and a crystal-clear body. Little to no head retention.

Malty smell with a light bite from a little bit of bitter hoppiness. Not much else going on.

Flavor is similarly malty, but the hops come out a bit better and add a layer of grapefruit and other citrus, maybe even a bit of peach, on top of the big doughy malt. Bitterness lingers in the finish.

Mouthfeel is pretty standard, thin and crisp on the tongue.

Overall: Not going to knock anyone's socks off, but a pretty solid little brew that has a nice hop-malt dynamic in it.

08-07-2005 21:39:48 | More by whartontallboy
Photo of ybnorml

Rhode Island

3.6/5  rDev -1.9%

A amber beer with a very slight haze. Has a big creamy off white head. The aroma starts with a light carmel note within an easy going malt character with a hint of fruity sweetness in the background. The bitterness wakes up your tongue to be quickly followed by the easy going malt with just a hint of caramel in the background. There is a quick hint of pine in the smooth finish. Definitely a good session beer.

08-06-2005 16:56:38 | More by ybnorml
Photo of mjohn27603


3.83/5  rDev +4.4%

Pours copper in color into glass. No chill haze clear and easy to see through. A very white head develops and a less than 1 finger head remains for over several minutes. Aroma is of hops and a bit of sweetness detected also. Sip reveals less hops bitterness than I would expect and more of a malty taste. The smell reminded me of an IPA but the taste doesn't support it. That being said there is a slight bitterness around the edge of the tongue with a liberal swallow. Beautiful lace being left behind as the beverage is drank. A solid session beer. I could see drinking several of these.

07-23-2005 03:43:09 | More by mjohn27603
Photo of dauss


3.53/5  rDev -3.8%

Bought this at Chicaco O'Hare while waiting for my next flight, at 8:30 am.

Appearance: Crystal clear golden amber. A light tan thick head rests on top, great retention, and good lacing.

Smell: Citrusy American hops, not overpowering like an IPA or APA, but its noticible. A touch of malt and caramel.

Taste: First is a nice malt profile, a faint bitterness than fades into a malty and american hop flavor. The finish starts to increase bitterness again with more hop flavor and a touch of alcohol.

Notes: The body is a bit on the thin side, and the carbonation is really strong, which made it hard to drink quickly when the boarding annoucement was made. Overall, its a beginner APA, low bitterness, and just enough citrusy american hop flavor to call it one.

07-21-2005 08:52:35 | More by dauss
Photo of RedwoodGeorge


3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

This one's nicely crafted little beer though nothing really outstanding.

The pour was disappointing - low carbonation with very little head and only a smidge of lacing along the glass. A nice deep golden color helped bring this back up to average.

The nose was quite restrained - this is certainly a non-aggressive Pale Ale. Some sweet malty odors and a few light grassy hops. Pleasant but very reserved.

The taste is quite similar - bready malt notes, slightly sweet and certainly a serious malt backbone to balance the beer. Hops are refined and are either very light American hops or mellow Golding or Fuggle for a more British approach. Sadly the hops are mild enough it's somewhat hard to tell.

Mouthfeel is fine but nothing to write home about. Again, not enough carbonation leaves the beer feeling 'ehh' on the palate.

I'd drink it again when I was looking for a 'soft' beer (not every brew needs to be a challenging drink like a double rye IPA, does it?) One thing I did really like was the low ABV (4.3%) which would make this an excellent session beer. Also a good place to start a macro drinker down the path of good craft beer.

07-13-2005 05:10:55 | More by RedwoodGeorge
Photo of Bierguy5


3.8/5  rDev +3.5%

Clear copper color. Thick white dense foamy head. Tiny bubbles streaming up from the bottom of the glass. Good head retention. Citrusy & slight herbal nose. Biscuity malt, slight earthy and fruity flavors. Finishes dry. Bitterness is present, but restrained. Medium body, a bit too much carbonation. Pretty refreshing. Solid beer.

07-10-2005 03:41:15 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of redmosquito


3.58/5  rDev -2.5%

The Goose. Copper to amber in color with an off white head. The aroma is not as hoppy as I remember, but there is a nice caramelly malt aroma with a light floral hop in the background. The flavor is plenty bitter, with good balancing malt that is reminiscent of slightly toasted bread and light caramel. The body is good and the finish good. Overall, this is a well made beer, exactly what I expect from Goose Island.

07-05-2005 20:12:21 | More by redmosquito
Photo of HardTarget


3.43/5  rDev -6.5%

Bottle Inspection: Best by date (04/26/05) that we missed by about a month.

Aroma: Subtle notes of noble bittering hops, a whiff of tap water, and some light grapefruit notes.

Appearance: Orange/amber glass topped by a crown of off white that laces

Flavor: Very tea like, hops edge out the malt just slightly in a balanced act. Some citric flavor comes in as well, assumed from the hops.

Mouthfeel: Bit fizzy, medium light body.

Overall Impression: Mild and enjoyable. No flaws, but little flavor. Nobel hops are a high point and well presented.

Thanks to eyedrinkale for the karma beer!

07-03-2005 06:03:52 | More by HardTarget
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4.2/5  rDev +14.4%

Pours a light brown/orange, clear, big head stays with plenty of lacing. Smells like citrusy hops, some floral hops, malty and refreshing. For taste the maltiness comes right out, then moves to a pleasant floral hop flavour with a little bitterness in the finish. Light to medium bodied, smooth, low carb, a very refreshing beer, not too complex but a very good drink for someone into beer. Everyday consumption!

06-26-2005 15:46:46 | More by Viggo
Photo of karst


3.88/5  rDev +5.7%

Pint glass clear copper with small head emitting a moderate hop aroma. Taste from it malt body is good and well balanced with hops. Medium mouthfeel. Good drinkability. No diacetyl. Good pale ale reminding me of a weaker hopped SNPA. Not sure I am having an English Bitter or just a low ABV Pale Ale.

Paired well with the P.L.T. sandwitch and fries from Charles-Ale-House.

06-22-2005 05:18:33 | More by karst
Honker's Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
83 out of 100 based on 3,026 ratings.