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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.

3,188 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,188
Reviews: 1,022
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 11.99%
Wants: 55
Gots: 244 | 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: 3,188 | Reviews: 1,022 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of yemenmocha
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours medium amber, clear, with fine sized bubbles and plenty of lace.

Nose is toasted matchstick, dry wood, and citrusy hops.

Palate throws in grapefruity hops, bread-like malt, and a drying hoppy component that fades well into the finish. Hops are at the beginning and the end, but the middle is a mysterious bready/biscuity scene. Medium bodied.

Finish has more of the toasted matchstick, maybe dry forest twig. (in a good way)

yemenmocha, Dec 29, 2007
Photo of champ103
4.3/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Orange/Copper in color. A fair white head forms and recedes pretty fast, though it leaves good lace.
S: A nice floral nose with some citrus fruit. Very fruity actually. Sweet caramel malt in the nose. Bread and biscuit. Soft, but very well balanced.
T: Good malt and hop character. A nice floral hop flavor. Subtle fruits. Sweet caramel and bread/biscuit.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. Crisp, dry and refreshing. Very easy and smooth to drink. One of my favorite session beers.

An excellent bitter. I always enjoy this when I get a chance. This use to be my go to beer when I lived in Illinois. Something I highly recommend.

champ103, Dec 20, 2007
Photo of DrainBamage
2.78/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark copper color with moderate carbonation and a thin lace of head with a little more lingered to the edge of the glass. Smell is slightly sweet, but mostly hoppy. Taste is very tea-like and starts off with only slightly bitter aftertaste, but increases with each sip. Mouthfeel is smooth and is moderately carbonated. This is an average beer, but not too special. I'm not sure if I'd buy this again.

DrainBamage, Dec 18, 2007
Photo of Strix
3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Yellowish-tan with lacing that trails down the glass.

Smells a bit hoppy, and a bit like tea.

I have to say right now that I really do not like iced tea. This beer has an aftertaste that is reminiscent of iced tea. If you like iced tea, maybe that's a good thing. Personally, I don't.

Mouthfeel adequate

The drinkability on this is going to suffer mainly because I don't like iced tea. It's a well-enough crafted beer, but not my thing.

Strix, Dec 18, 2007
Photo of WhiteDog2006
4.55/5  rDev +24%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tried this beer for the first time out of a bottle, into a frosted mug.
The appearance was good, nice dark copper look, and the head stayed true the whole mug through (remember the mug was frosted).
The smell was average at best. Really had no distinction from other beers of the same color.
The tase was magnifacent! I was sold on that alone (of course it was ice cold...could have had something to do with it).
The drinkability went right along with the tase in my book; I could drink this beer all night.

WhiteDog2006, Dec 14, 2007
Photo of jackorain
2.98/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-Poured an orange amber color with a 3/4 inch head that fell rahter quickly but had decent cling.

S-not much in the nose, a little caramel malt and some grains.

T-Malty and sweet up front, Caramel malt. Very fruity with some dicetyl in there as well. There is a southern comfort taste here that puts me off. No real bitterness or hops to speak of.

M-light to medium body with a fizzy carbonation.


Overall-I read the stle description and some other reviews and this beer I am drinking just doesn't seem to be the same beer. As far as style goes, there was no hops to found and the carbonation was higher than described. As far as others reviews, some do talk of hops but I didn't find 'em

jackorain, Nov 13, 2007
Photo of bluejacket74
4.33/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, best before 4/1/2008. Served in a Sam Adams BL glass, the beer pours a slightly cloudy amber color with about an inch white head. Head retention is OK, lacing is good. It smells like piney hops and caramel malt, it's a good, clean pleasant aroma. The beer tastes the same way it smells, and finishes with a mildly sweet aftertaste, enough to make you want to drink some more quickly. Mouthfeel is light/medium, crisp, and leaves a slight coating. Drinkability is very good, it's smooth and pretty easy to drink. I think this would be a pretty good choice for a session beer, I could drink quite a few of these in a sitting. I'll definitely buy this again.

bluejacket74, Nov 12, 2007
Photo of NJpadreFan
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Goose Island- Honker's Ale

The 1st of many beers acquired from Pimpp<--awesome trader!

A- Light copper brown with a small frothy head. 1 ring lacing in my glass.
S- Iced tea. Lemon, tea leaves, and buttery malt.
T- Big buttery malt with a sweet lemon tea flavor. Very light floral hop finish.
M- Sweet and buttery throughout with a slighty bitter finish.

Overall- My 1st Goose Island and definitely a good 1. Mild, with a light almost subdued flavor but easily a beer I could drink all night. Almost too easy to drink.

NJpadreFan, Nov 07, 2007
Photo of BradLikesBrew
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"best when consumed by 012908"

a: Clear copper with white head that quickly disappears.

s: piney, floral notes that typically come from well hopped beers.

t: toasted malt, but mostly I taste the hops.

m: light mouthfeel that adds to drinkability. Maybe a bit thin.

d: Nothing extraordinary, just a nice, well rounded bitter. Not too rich or too hoppy, a good session beer.

BradLikesBrew, Nov 03, 2007
Photo of shererjt
3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear copper color with light carbonation but a thick, off-white head. Malty, fruity nose with a good bit of hop scent. Flavor was middle-of-the-road. Some bitterness but fairly well balanced overall. Mouthfeel was good, as was the drinkability.

Pretty decent bitter. Nothing really stands out about it, but it's well-rounded and drinkable.

shererjt, Nov 02, 2007
Photo of 1fastz28
3.13/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

one of my go-to beers at my fave local bar, only decent beer they have on draft. this one is out of a bottle though and it is a night and day difference,
looks the same, has a nice orange (beer) color, just looks like a beer should. smell is kinda off out of the bottle, corn and malt instead of hops like on draft. taste is average at best, again.. not like on draft. on draft it has a much more prominent hop taste while in the bottle i taste more malt than anything, still ok, but much better on draft. i still like this beer and glad it is regularly available

btw this is my 100th beer i've rated. :)

1fastz28, Oct 09, 2007
Photo of DaveUK
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - deep, woody amber with a moderate head containing small bubbles.

Aroma - strong spicy/piny hops with a floral undertone.

Taste - Rich malt and bitter but not agressive hops. A malty to spicy hop finish.

Mouthfeel - medium, with a mildly sweet, sugary feel.

Drinkability - Good beer packed full of flavour and well balanced.

DaveUK, Oct 06, 2007
Photo of JayQue
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A pretty average beer. Pours a slightly cloudy amber color...needs a hard pour to get any kind of head. The head does not hold up well. Leaves a fair amount of lacing on the glass. Fairly good malty aroma. The taste is pretty bland, a bit malty with a slight hops bitterness at the end. Not really crisp, mouthfeel a bit watery. Drinkability isn't bad, but mainly because there are no offensive qualities. I would not seek this beer out.

JayQue, Oct 06, 2007
Photo of burtonbe
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is a nice copper toned, slightly cloudy brew, with a decent head of a single finger. Aroma is very pleasant, hop profile is low and hidden, but what is detectable is exceptional. More than acceptable for an English Bitter.

Taste is solid. Good malty flavor, almost perfectly balanced with bitterness. The hop profile on the taste is simple, but one of quality. Carbonation is within limits for the style. Aftertaste is where this one shines. Every time I swallow I want another sip. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is just what I was expecting from the style. I can't ask for much more in this category.

This brew is very drinkable and very sessionable. The aftertaste just forces my tastebuds to yearn for another sip. I could drink this one all night.

burtonbe, Sep 28, 2007
Photo of balconybrew
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, an orange liquid with a good white head that left lacing. The aroma is of sweet malt and light citrus. Good beer up front, hops and carmel malt. Light in the body and all around drinkable. This is beer was usually available and was my fall back.

balconybrew, Sep 26, 2007
Photo of Sigmund
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

355 ml (12 fl oz) bottle, bought at Peckham’s, Glasgow. ABV is 5.0%. Amber colour, large to moderate head with an orange hue. Nice sweetish aroma of malts and plenty of fruity hops, hints of molasses. The flavour is surprisingly short, some fruity hops but a moderate bitterness, biscuity notes.

Sigmund, Sep 15, 2007
Photo of genog
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy color with a creamy white head. Smell is a little sweet with some earthy notes in the background. Tastes a little hoppy but mostly smooth with a light caramel flavor. Not too much carbonation on this one. Had this one while we were browsing around whole foods. Another solid offering from Goose Island, but the style is not my favorite.

genog, Sep 11, 2007
Photo of hustlesworth
4.33/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- pours into my pilsener mug a slightly hazy orange copper amber with 1in of very light orange-cream colored (like an orange julius) bubbly soapy head that settles to a thin layer with bubble constellations and wispy pellet like lace.

S- warm citrus, earthy fragrant red wood with an herbal kick, malty sweet and tropical with some wine traits like a cream sherry.

T- mandarin orange sweet & fruity yeast and caramel malt up front with salt water taffy and earthy meaty mushroom that gives way to a pleasant mild bitter floral hops with some herbal earthy spicy woody qualities just like the smell. some more bitter hops were desired over the lingering sour caramel toffee malt aftertaste.

MF- sugary and coating with a slight oily and syrupy consistancy. nevertheless, it's well balanced and refreshing to say the least with its mild to medium carbonation.

D- a great go to beer for all seasons, its mild yet flavorful taste and low ABV makes it easy to knock back without ever desiring something else. even fizzy yellow beer drinkers can gulp this down and say "wow that's not too bad". to step it up a notch in the hops department, try goose island harvest ale if you can find it. it's like honkers ale +5

hustlesworth, Sep 04, 2007
Photo of morimech
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a nice copper colored with a thin white head. Seems to be heavily carbonated with a constant release of bubbles long after the pour.

S- This is a great smelling beer. Very appetizing and you can't wait to take a sip. Smells citrusy with maybe a touch of alcohol and malt.

T- It definately smells better than it tastes. Nothing overly complex here but still a fine bitters. I would of prefered more hop bite.

M- Tastes light and doesn't linger in the mouth for long. I like the carbonation. No aftertaste at all.

D- This would be a good session beer. Tastes lighter than it actually is and could give a decent buzz after a couple. My first Goose Island beer and this will definately give me reason to try more.

morimech, Sep 02, 2007
Photo of atsprings
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ordered with lunch at a small pub on Michigan Ave. Poured a decent amber with a thin diminishing head. The aroma was of some sweet and caramel malts, but not strong at all. The beer did have a nice bitterness that balanced out the malts nicely without overpowering at all. The beer was light and crisp and decently refreshing. This one would make for a decent session.

atsprings, Aug 27, 2007
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a cloudy dark beige color ale with a medium foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of dry malt with some English hops. Taste is also dominated by some malt presence with a dry finish from what I believe are English hops. Body was quite full with some good carbonation. A bit too dry for my liking but very enjoyable nonetheless.

Phyl21ca, Aug 23, 2007
Photo of gotweid
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle with a best by 11/22/07 date. Rich, dark golden copper, hazy look with a nice, white, foamy 1" head. Some lacing. Head has good retention. Smells of sweet citrus. Very mild, slight citrus taste with a nice crispness. Fine grains involved. Very smooth, somewhat creamy, not bitter, a touch of sweetness. Nice, light carbonation and light mouthfeel. Very enjoyable and also very drinkable. Buy this and enjoy.

gotweid, Aug 17, 2007
Photo of bboven
3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Great orange-brown color, very clear in the shaker, a bit of lacing but overall thin head.

Smell is spot- on, malty, buiscity, and tempting.

Taste is not rated so high because you can taste and feel the alcohol in this one and you should not be able to in this style. [usually around 3.5 ABV I believe]

Mouthfeel is pretty poor. I tried to roll the first sip around to get a good taste and ended up getting tons of foam. Maybe keep this one pretty cold in storage and then let it warm and breathe for tn minutes to let some of that gas escape. As I type now ten minutes after opening th bottle I'm still seeing streams of bubbles reminiscent of High Life shooting up the glass.

Pretty drinkable with a great malt backbone, but the alcohol tinge detracts from what could be a great session beer.

bboven, Aug 08, 2007
Photo of Brianmerrilyn
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm always interested in Chicago based micro/craft brewers and was happy to have a pint of this pulled for me last night. Poured a ambers style red and a appealing frothy head. I tasted accents of fruit, of which i'm not sure which one. This was one of the smoothes bitters I've ever quafed and highly recommend to fellow beer geeks.

Brianmerrilyn, Aug 08, 2007
Photo of irish53b
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tried on tap in a pint glass. Hazy golden brown in color. Thin head that lingered throughout

S: Hints of corriander and citrus
T: Matches the smell, orange hints and mild alcoholic sting
M: Very thin and little carbonation
D: Highly drinkable, smooth, easily its best characteristic

Overall, this ale was not what I expected. It was a bit weak and had an almost white ale like nature. A good session beer since its highly drinkable and doesn't have that heavy mouthfeel or alcohol sting.

irish53b, Aug 06, 2007
Honker's Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
83 out of 100 based on 3,188 ratings.