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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.

3,200 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,200
Reviews: 1,023
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 11.99%
Wants: 56
Gots: 246 | 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: 3,200 | Reviews: 1,023 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beeragent
4.18/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My mother got this for me, when she was on a trip to Chicago. Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz. bottle. The beer pours a deep amber, forming a light 1/4 inch head. Medium rings of lace stick to the sides. The aroma is a nice balance of hops and malts. Not too complex, but very appealing. The taste is sweet malts, followed by a nice caramel flavor, and finishing with light smooth citrusy hops. Again, nothing really complex, but the simplicity makes this brew high enjoyable. Smooth medium mouthfeel. This is a session ale!! Great flavor and body, and decent abv. What else could you ask for in a brew. Highly recommended. The only downside to this, is once I finish the sixer, I'm out of luck on getting any more. Godbless you Mom!!!

beeragent, May 26, 2007
Photo of bluegrassbrew
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a slightly hazy ambery orange color with minimal head that drops quickly to nothing.

Smell is of sweet malts and bittering English hops.

Taste is good. Slightly sweet malt, bread and just a hint of caramel.

Just a bit too thin, but very drinkable. Overall a solid bitter that I would never turn down.

bluegrassbrew, May 19, 2007
Photo of letsgopens
4.38/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Goose Island Honker's Ale pours rich amber gold with a nice white head that fades into a bit of lace.

A Clean, slightly hoppy aroma is pleasant but not very pronounced. The flavor, thought, more than made up for the slight lack of nose.

This beer is one of the best examples of a great nutral ale that I can think out. Smooth and flavorable with a buttery, malty sweetness that fades into a nice bitter finish. A wonderful balance of of flavors.

The mouthfeel is smooth with a perfect amount of carbonation that makes for a clean and refreshing swallow. I could drink this beer everyday.

letsgopens, May 10, 2007
Photo of Phocion
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a 16 oz. tulip. Beautiful golden-amber color with a thin but bubbly white head, which doesn't last long but fades into a small frothy array of bubbles sitting on top of my beer.

Aroma is somewhat buttery and soapy with a hint of caramel and a huge collection of fruits. Apricot, grapefruit, peaches, and others. Light citric hops.

The taste is actually much better than I expected. Very fruity but only mildly sweet. Roasted and light caramel malts, with just a hint of nuttiness. Light taste of grapefruit hops, just enough for the balance.

Very crisp and zesty. This one isn't anything spectacular and there are probably better classic examples of an English bitter out there, but nonetheless it is a very mild, refreshing, and tasty easy drinker at a decent price.

Phocion, May 07, 2007
Photo of shadow1961
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Goose Island Honker's Ale pours out a finger of foam over a cloudy, peach colored
brew. The nose is barley malt, and carbonation is steady. The flavor is malt and herbal
hop. There's not much of an aftertaste- a touch of that hop is all. Mouthfeel is a bit thin,
but clean. A brew I could drink all day long. Tasty.

shadow1961, Apr 25, 2007
Photo of Illini5596
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Head was barely present, less than an inch, faded in a minute or so. Deep brown amber in color, somewhat opaque.

Smell is rather earthy and pleasant, but not very distinctive.

Taste is rather pleasant, with a decent body. Begins smooth and transitions to notes of sharpness and hops, then moves to an almost sweet and earthy taste with lingering sharpness. Very crisp, refreshing and a bit spicy with hints of citrus, and a somewhat dry aftertaste (not a bad thing).

A very pleasing beer, very drinkable. The only think that leaves to be desired is the appearance and lack of a nose to the beer. An excellent bitters, and good session beer.

Illini5596, Apr 16, 2007
Photo of jar2574
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours without any head. Appears a brown, caramel color. A relaxing looking beer.

Smells a little sweet, malty. It's a pleasant smell, though it isn't bold or strong.

Tastes delightful. Well balanced, with a hint of chocolate or sweetness. A creamy residual on your tongue.

I could drink quite a few of these. The first pint went very quickly.

jar2574, Apr 11, 2007
Photo of JoeyHotrod
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quite a beer here and one I'm revisiting after an extended layoff.

The beer upon being poured, looks amber and doesn't have much in the way of a head.

The scent is underwhelming and definitely not a strong point. Not bad per say.. just not alot of substance. There was a little malt backbone and a slight fruity aspect.

The taste however is quite good and might make me a fan of the style (a style I will admit to not sampling many of)

Dare I say near perfect hop and malt match? Neither one overpowers the other and instead they work in splendid harmony.

This is quite the session brew. The low ABV makes it ideal for such a situation and the balanced taste makes it even more so.

JoeyHotrod, Apr 09, 2007
Photo of Mickelswit
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Amber, clear, with a finger of white head that left nice lacing.

S - Malty sweetness with undertones of floral hop notes. Very nice and enticing.

T - Taste started with malty sweetness, balanced by hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Right on style for a bitter.

M - Carbonation was low, as is common for a bitter. The beer was full-bodied but smooth. It sat well in the mouth, swirling over the tongue nicely.

D - Drinkability was good. The bottle seemed to disappear quite quickly. I will definitely have this one again.

Mickelswit, Apr 08, 2007
Photo of zeff80
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an orange/amber color with a wghite, one-finger head. Left some lace.

S - It smelled of hops and grasses. Also, a slihgtly malty nose.

T - It tasted of spices, malt and some good hops. Slightly bitter, not overpowering.

M - It was crisp and dry. A medium-bodied beer.

D - Overall, I really enjoy the Honker's Ale. However, it is more reminiscent of an IPA than an English Bitter.

zeff80, Apr 07, 2007
Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received in Secret Bunny 07 trade from Vancer.

As per the bottle, dispensed into an imperial pint glass. Clear and bronze in color with a small white head that leaves abruptly but leaves lacing down the glass.

Aroma is nothing too special; smells like beer. Malts and hops. Hops smell english and earthy and I would assume they are english since this is an english bitter. Mild hop aroma. Some fruitiness but not much.

Flavor is basic as well. Malty, caramel and some fruity hops. Mild flavor overall.

A good beer and certainly a sessionable beer. Served my mood just right today. I could see this being a nice everyday beer.

SaCkErZ9, Apr 06, 2007
Photo of BlackHaddock
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Brown 35.5cl bottle, red backed front label, black rear label telling me to drink it before 07-2007, so I did. The rear label also told me to pour it into an imperial pint glass, so I did that too. Bought in Tanner's, Bridgnorth, Shropshire.

Almost cloudy, not the sparkling bitter look I was expecting, dull copper in colour, the small white head just vanished before my eyes leaving a wispy floating scum of a covering.

Malts in the aroma, sweet esters of caramel too.

Fizzy, it made me burp. Fairly bitter, none of the sweet aroma comes out in the taste, the malts are still there, but not as prominent as they were in the smell. As the beer warmed up, I enjoyed it more and the maltiness re-asserts its self.

Not a huge mouthfeel from this beer, almost watery, but that would be unfair, there is a lingering metalic feel which I don't like though.

Glad I tried it, got to see what you chaps over the pond are drinking haven't I? This isn't a typical English Bitter by any stretch of the imagination, but I would like to try it on tap one day, just to see what it's like served in a bar.

BlackHaddock, Apr 06, 2007
Photo of BigBry
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

While in Chicago, went a steak house for dinner and had to have something local. Honker's is probably the most popular and widely available local craft.
Nice clear copper color, thin white head that quickly disappears. There was some thin strings of lacing. Good sweet malty smell with a hint of citrus. Taste was well balanced between the malt and some light bitter hops. Full flavored, but not overpowering in any one area. Clean and dry finish. Smooth and light mouthfeel, good amount of carbonation. Easy to drink, a very nice sessional, and great compliment to my steak.

BigBry, Apr 02, 2007
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really enjoyed this beer at a Chicago pub. It appeared a very light amber color with a white head. Left nice lacing on the glass. Taste nicely malted and has sufficient hop bitterness and spiciness which makes it very attractive IMO and very refreshing perfectly balanced carbonation also allows for enjoyment of all the taste. Some citrusy hints dominate the initial taste of the beer. Overalll a great beer for any time of year and with any food pariring.

JoEBoBpr, Apr 01, 2007
Photo of Duster72
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a clear copper color into pint glass. Little to no lacing. Taste is predominantly carmel malts with hints of citrus and spice. Undernotes of overroasted malts are slightly out of character. Very crisp and clean. Not my favorite, but fine enough.

Duster72, Mar 23, 2007
Photo of scoobybrew
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was poured from the bottle into a pint glass. It has a hazy, golden color with a nice head that is retained well enough. There's a nice hop aroma with some malt present also. The flavor is mostly hoppy, but is balanced well enough with the malt. It has a nice gently hop finish also. It has a medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall, I think it's a very drinkable APA and I find it quite enjoyable.

scoobybrew, Mar 17, 2007
Photo of Monkeyknife
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle a warm copper color with a head that reduced quickly to about an eighth of an inch. Very light lacing was noted.

I smelled a light caramel note with a hint og grass and citrus.

Was too cold when first poured and had a bit of roasting to it which faded to citrus and some hoppiness.

Slightly carbonated and smooth.

This is a very drinkable beer which I enjoyed – but nothing spectacular.

Monkeyknife, Feb 27, 2007
Photo of BeerCheese
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Took a bottle from the fridge and poured it directly into my glass. Gold/copper color with a nice tannish white head that held on for a few minutes. I have a nasty cold, so I couldn't smell a thing. Light body and lightly carbonated. More bitter than malty flavor. Didn't really detect the alcohol. Very drinkable overall because it's so light, but rather unimpressive.

BeerCheese, Feb 07, 2007
Photo of crayphish
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Honkers Ale is a slightly hazy amber. Some carbonation with a medium head that retreats quickly. Little lacing noted. A bland malty odor with a hint of hops. Taste was malty with just a hint of bitter hops. Some fruit in there taboot. Mouthfeel was clean and refreshing. I found this to be a highly drinkable beer.

crayphish, Jan 29, 2007
Photo of montageman
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My buddy brought over a 6 pack of this last weekend for the conference championships - he left behind a few, so I thought I'd review one.

Poured into a pint glass. Clear, amber color that maintains a little lacing after the head disappears qucikly. There is a few carbonation bubbles, but nothing too major. Smell is citrusy and floral as well. There's also a little bit of roastedness present. Taste is malt up front with a dry hop finish. A good amount of roasted flavor here, too. This is quite nice. Mouthfeel is decent, slightly creamy. This is a very sessionable beer - great flavor, nothing objectionable. Recommended.

montageman, Jan 28, 2007
Photo of jamesses
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Nice coppery color, thin head that quickly disappears, some lacing.

S - Pleasant sweet malty smell with a hint of citrus.

T - Well balanced malts with some light bitter hops but certainly not overpowering.

M - Fairly light, with a nice amount of carbonation.

D - Definitely something I'll try again. Not too heavy and lends well to drinking multiple beers.

jamesses, Jan 24, 2007
Photo of wingman14
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a golden orange with a thin white head that fades quickly. Smells strongly of sweet malts with some hop presence, maybe some spices as well. Taste is similar, starts malty with some sweet, followed by the hops and bitter. The bitter lingers with the hops. The beer is balanced well with its flavor and carbonation, and easy to drink. This is a good beer, but nothing spectacular, but definitely better than average. I would recommend checking this one out, another good beer from Goose Island. Enjoy.

wingman14, Jan 20, 2007
Photo of brandtr3
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer poured a cloudy amber with barely any head. The aroma was hoppy with a hint of citrus. The hops are present without being overwhelming. There are characteristics of both an APA and an English Bitter in the beer. The notion that there's not much to it does not keep this beer from being enjoyable.

brandtr3, Jan 19, 2007
Photo of umustdrink
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Head recedes to a film. Clear orange color. Strong lacing.

S - Mostly caramely malts. Hints of citrus and dark fruits.

T - Taste is very much like the smell. Malty caramel taste at first, aftertaste has hints of spices though, some ginger or cinnamon.

M - Very crisp.

D - A nice refreshing beer, nothing stellar though.

umustdrink, Jan 19, 2007
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've had this beer before on several occasions, and think it is decent and well-balanced. However, there is nothing really outstanding I can say about it. Altogether, a pleasant but not memorable beer.

It poured a copper read color and is slightly hazy. Head formation was pretty decent.

Aroma was very malty.

Taste-wise, although this beer is categorized as a bitter here, I was under the impression from previous tries that it was an IPA. It is not very hoppy for an IPA, but the hop and malt is well balanced...so I would say this is way insufficiently hopped to be an IPA, but rather hoppy for a bitter.

Drinkability and mouthfeel were decent but not outstanding.

BeerBelcher, Jan 15, 2007
Honker's Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
81 out of 100 based on 3,200 ratings.