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Honker's Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Honker's AleHonker's Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,380 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,380
Reviews: 1,037
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 12.02%
Wants: 64
Gots: 340 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-08-2001

Golden sunset color, fruity hop aroma, biscuity malt flavor, soft body.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,380 | Reviews: 1,037 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jdizzel
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a-looks like a great beer to be had

s-smells a good esb

t-this beer has great flavor good thing i bought a sixer real malty

m-very very smooth on the palate

d-one of the easiest beers to brink for me

deffinetly a good one by the goose island brewery almost perfect for its style will definetly be drinking more of these

Photo of rtepiak
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

easy drinking with a lemon and stale apple nose. with a light body. brownish light amber. with small head. palate of light lemon, german stale apple, and a mild smokey leather and a mild bitter. this beer has a nice breadiness. light body and very mild. easy drinking.

Photo of Durge
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was surprised to see this on tap at the Torches On The Hudson restaurant in Newburgh, NY. And at first look and smell I was expecting big things. It had an amber-copper hue with a very purposeful sized white head and globby lacing a plenty. The aroma suggested a full bodied brew with some malt character and citrus and brown bread. However, I was disappointed in tasting it to find a surprisingly watery citrus/grass hop concoction lost in a somewhat sweet but wishy-washy malt. It just seemed odd that the same beer that looked and smelled good would taste so whimpy. It was not a bad beer, I could see the connection as a bitter, but it was not something I would buy again based upon this sample. Worthy of a try if you like a thin bitter that is easy drinking. I pick up a bit of grass on this that just is not my favorite flavor for any style brew.

Photo of mothman
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass.

Pours a 1 and 1/2 finger head. Kind of fizzy and off-white. Color is a golden copper; pretty much clear.

Aroma is of carmel, musky hops, and some bready notes.

The taste is very balanced. Nice earthy hops mixed with bready and carmel malts. There is also some kind of zest in the background.

Mouthfeel starts out bitter on the palate then it gets more smooth and easier to drink. Leaves a very dry aftertaste. Low carbonation in the glass.

Overall, this is a very easy to drink beer. Another sessionable beer from GI. However this isn't anything too special about it (not saying that's a bad thing).

Photo of rkinsella
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottling date was less than 2 months ago. Plus, I love the fact that Goose Island doesn't pasteurize their bottles.

Appearance - Light amber with a slight haze, better than average head, with okay retention and lacing. Bubbles rising for the whole glass.

Smell - Bread/crackers, with a touch of floral hops. A bit of brown sugar too.

Taste - Almost exactly as it smells. Biscuit maltiness, sweetness, evened out with sturdy hops. Slight grapefruit on the finish. Slight citrus aftertaste. Very clean and fresh.

Mouthfeel - Creamy, lower carbonation, medium body.

Drinkability - 2 or 3 would be the absolute minimum for this beer. Excellent session beer that keeps your interest.

This is a near perfect English Style Bitter for me. Perhaps a bit on the hop side, but it seems to have a little bit of everything. And the hops might even keep the interest of a "hop head" for a brew or two. Can't wait to try it on tap.

Photo of shanem
3.47/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: copper/amber

S: slightly malty with a bit of hop scent

T: light flavor, carried the hops and had a touch of citrus. well balanced by the malt and a bit dry

M: pretty light

D: smooth, and could go through several, probably a good session for the style, personal drinkabilty would be a little lower as I didn't find anything incredible about it.

Photo of elniko
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A: Nice amber coloring, head minimal. Mild carbonation. Solid looking brew but nothing spectacular.

S: Clean smelling with just a hint of hops and malts. Very nice nose.

T & M: Malt is not as apparent as I would expect it be me. The finish is definitely on the hoppy side but not overwhelmingly so. I agree with other reviews that this brew is a little off balance but that it is not necessarily a bad thing.

D: Very drinkable and sessionable. I wish I could get this brew in DFW, unfortunately had to drink to pick on road trip to Arkansas. Hopefully someday it will be available in the metroplex.

Photo of hardy008
3.47/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a medium to dark amber color with less than a 1/4 inch head which dissipated quickly. No lacing.

Smell - Slight malt aroma.

Taste - Sweet and malty. Light hops present. Slight bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Light bodied with low carbonation.

Drinkability - A decent drinkable beer, not overpowering at all. Somewhat above average.

Photo of naterock
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a perfect pint glass. Displays a nice two finger head and keeps a good filmy head all the way down with a good lacing. medium copper with a brownish hue.

smell is malty and sweet with a twinge of eyast and maybe some alcohol. I get a slight grassy hop aroma.

Tastes quite fair. well balanced with a toffee notes and a earthy and grassy hop. A good slightly citrusy nuance in the aftertaste must mean there is some domestic hops in here.

mouth is crisp and a litle overcarbonated but is necessary for the bitterness. Drinkability is high and is refreshing.

Photo of WakeandBake
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A cloudy copper color with a two finger offwhite head . Aroma of spicy hops and a nice sweet toasted malt. Flavor starts slightly sweet and turns to spicy/piny hops with a mild bitterness. A very clean and fresh mouthfeel and finish. light body, light carbonation. A very nice session beer.

Photo of gpogo
3.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Hazed copper with a cream off-white head. Lots of visible carbonation.

A- Light hoppy grapefruit aroma and slight malt aroma.

T- Moderately high hoppiness with a slight phenolic taste. Nice malt flavor, I'm getting some toasty biscuits and a bit of caramel sweetness. Finishes on the sweet side. Despite that I feel it has a very interesting flavor, not so one-dimensional.

M- Medium bodied with moderately high carbonation. I would have liked the carbonation to be toned down.

D- It's definitely a tasty beverage, there are a few stylistic flaws. Carbonation too high, sweet finish, haze.

Photo of JoeBloe
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

had a couple of these on tap last nite @ 12 grapes in peekskill -
this was certainly the standout choice amongst the others available - looks nice in the glass, amber with a tight 2 finger head - faint aroma of fruit and maltiness - a nice and well balanced ale, goes down real easy - smooth and tasty, without feeling heavy - good stuff.

Photo of greengorilla
4.45/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I poured a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass. The color was a light brownish orange with a decent white head and good lacing.

The smell was good with a citris and hoppy scent.

The taste also was good with citris and medium hops presence.

The mouthfeel was smooth.

This beer is very drinkable. I could drink several in a session. This is a beer that I can see myself keeping on hand most of the time.

Photo of projectflam86
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Nice deep amber color with a thin white foamy head that leaves some lacing.

S- Nutty malted hops makeup the nose with a hoppy citrus scent coming through.

T- Carmel malt flavor with some of the citrus flavor emerging in the aftertaste. The malt is well balanced with hops initially but they subside to the malt.

M- Medium bodied that was a little low on carbonation for the overall feel.

D- Highly drinkable with a nice taste.

Photo of ruckus232
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 Ounce brown bottle

Appearance: Slightly cloudy copper color, but it is still possible to see through it without it being super clear

Smell: A very tart citrus smell with a slight hint of sweetness

Taste: A medium bodied beer with a smoky/woody flavor that finishes off with a tart citrus and bitter flavor that doesn't stay too long. Very unique with the initial flavor but a very good taste.

Photo of Naugled
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle served in goblet

A: a good looking beer. quick tan head, but lacing is good and the deep clear copper color is very eye pleasing

S: caramel in your face, almost cola like but more malty, no detectable hops to me

T: good malty caramel flavor that is announced by the nose. very little finish, but some hop bitterness there. candy like sweetness

M: smooth medium body. carbonation is good, gives it just enough bite

D: very drinkable, good solid session beer. a winner in my book

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.52/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a slightly hazy light orange color with a thick, frothy white head. Retention and lacing are excellent.

Smells pretty damn good. Light, fresh floral and citrus hops. Very soft, fluffy malts and mild fruitiness hinting at papayas and passion fruit. Also has a bit of British minerality to it that helps keep it on track as a bitter.

Wow, this may be one of the ultimate session beers. So smooth and chugable. I dont find it to be all that bitter, but it does have great grassy hop flavor. Malts are there, but they are so soft and silky, the beer just glides down the throat. This would be a mainstay in my fridge if it was available in Tejas.

Photo of DoctorDog
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into (as the label suggests) and imperial pint glass. "Bottled on 12/1708" stamped on back label.

A- Hazy yellowish-copper color. Pours with 2 fingers tan/off white head, which fades fairly fairly slowly to a thin cap. Moderate lacing noted.

S- Slightly fruity, with some notes of bread and minerals.

T- Fair amount of caramel/malty sweetness. Fruity hops noted, with bitterness is that is moderate on the finish. Good balance.

M- Medium body with moderate carbonation. Good crispness on the front, and moderately dry on the finish.

D- Quite a sessionable beer, no doubt. Low ABV% with solid, solidly balanced flavors. Another case where the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts.

Future outlook: This is a very nice quality "tame" beer IMO, that would well serve a wide scope of "drinking purposes," and also hit a nice broad audience. Not a "knock my socks off" beer that I'll be pining over, but I will gladly have again.

Photo of KTCamm
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Red label different than the one pictured above.

Light copper color with 1-2 fingers of cramy foam. Lacing down the side.

Smell is of hops and malt (what else?) - theres a slightly spicy note to the hop that jumps out on some smells.

Taste is lightly bittered malt - the hop is evident throughout but balanced very nicely. Can be a tad watery in the mouth, but not enough to sidetrack the taste.

Very drinkable. The house brew of GIBC, and well done.

Photo of dismal
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a light copper color with about a one finger head with ok retention. The taste is bitter and hoppy, and a little sweet but fairly well balanced, making it very drinkable. I've always enjoyed Goose Island and Honkers Ale is one I like picking up from time to time.

Photo of TheDeuce
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Goose Island Honkers Ale..

Appearance-dark red, heavy head appears but runs away quickly.

Smell-balanced aroma, malt first, followed by alcohol and a small mix of spices and hops.

Taste/Mouthfeel-again fairly balanced taste sweetness is offset by hops, decent malt flavors as well. Nothing jumps out, all go together very well.

Drinkability- very sessionable, and enjoyable.

Overall- solid balanced session beer, well-made and enjoyable.

Photo of littleshamrocks
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep amber with one finger of rocky white foam. Very clear and bright with noticeable carbonation bubbles. Head quickly dissipates to a thin ring. Inviting.

S: Aroma is a mixture of grainy/ cereal malts and floral/ citrus hops. Fruity esters.

T&M: Medium body with an excellent balance to the ingredients. Mostly grainy with a touch of sweet malts that are constantly intertwined with the floral hops and finishing pleasantly on the citrus-y side. Solid amount of carbonation for the style.

D: This is Goose Island's flagship beer for a reason. It is highly drinkable and extremely tasty. I really appreciate lighter style brews that can attain this level of balance. Very well made. A fine sessionable beer that would also go good with many different types of food. Enjoyable.

Photo of darklordlager
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a brown-ruby red, with a minimal head.

S-Hops and sweet malt. Nothing too complex, but very smooth.

T- A burst of citrusy hops up front, with some sweet malt finishing it out. Solid.

M-Light and carbonated--refreshing, and good with food.

D-Overall, very non-offensive. Sessionable, although not all that interesting.

Photo of brentk56
4.13/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a frothy head that leaves shards of lace and displays great retention

Smell: Nicely balanced between the biscuity malt and the orange citrusy hops

Taste: Malt forward on the front end, with a nice biscuity flavor that is joined, mid-palate, but an orange citrusy hop profile that has a hint of grapefruit; after the swallow, the malt and hops nicely balance one another and both flavors can be easily discerned

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: More of an American take on an English bitter (these hops are clearly American), this is just a very satisfying session ale

Thanks, Wadsey, for the opportunity

Photo of Jayli
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served a relatively clear amber color (haze is very minimal) with about a one finger of white head. Head retention is decent with sticky lacing that coated the glass the entire way down. Nose is slightly malty with some citrusy hops poking through. For the most part the nose was slightly muted. Taste makes up for the muted smell. Taste is more of the citrusy hops, slight graininess and sweet malts. Very crisp and dry feel to the mouth. This beer is light to medium body and goes down very easily. I would definitely sit with this one for a session.

Honker's Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
83 out of 100 based on 3,380 ratings.