1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Honker's Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Honker's AleHonker's Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,454 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,454
Reviews: 1,049
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 12.02%
Wants: 65
Gots: 409 | FT: 1
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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 3,454 | Reviews: 1,049
Photo of slk22
3.31/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden color with high carbonation observable, yet no head formation. Aroma is mild with notes of crystal malt and a bit of bread. Reminds me of natural light. Flavor is light as well with rice and corn detectable not unlike Budweiser. There is also a sourness that lingers into the finish along with a bit of a metallic taste. Body is medium and smooth, the most likable aspect of this beer to me. Overall, this is an easy beer to drink, maybe refreshing after mowing the lawn, but not very enticing.

Photo of Misfit138
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass

A- Cloudy burnt orange with a two finger head

S- Sweet malt followed by hint of citrus

T- A blend of malt followed with a tart bitterness

M- Medium bodied with a crisp finish

D- I know that this is rather drinkable beer from a recent trip to Chicago. I had to bring some home with me.

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


A: Copper color with thin head that dissapates with some good lacing.

S: Caramel sweetness mixed with good hops and malt.

T: Good English bitter with the hops up front. Secondary tastes are where the hops and malts come through. Aftertaste leaves a nice caramel sweetness.

M: Smooth with good carbonation

D: Medium: Great beer in moderation

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

12oz bottle poured into a shaker pint.

A - Amber-orange with fine bubbles and a half inch of rocky, off-white head.

S - Bready, crusty malt, a bit of apple, with fruity and earthy hop aromas. Nicely balanced.

T - Solid bready malt profile with notes of caramel and toffee. There's an understated fruitiness from the yeast, and just the right level of hop bitterness. The finish is long and balanced.

M - Light body, soft on the palate.

D - Very good. This is a hell of a session beer.

Photo of AgentZero
3.41/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Amber colored, nothing special. Decent, large bubbled two finger head with some nice lacing on the sides. Dissipated too quickly.

S - Hops and malt, pretty straight foward, smells like a standard bitter.

T - Had this in bottles before, but it is much better on tap. Nice malts lead to a bitter hop finish that leaves cleanly. I like this because it's not overly sweet, allowing you to focus on a good bitter twist.

M - Overly fizzy, lighter side of medium bodied.

D - Can drink a lot of these, but the fizz makes you feel full after a while.

Photo of beerman207
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I have been enjoying all of the Goose Island brews as of late so decided to give this a try.

A-Amber with a decent head and nice lacing left behind

S-Biscuit malt presence with some hops coming through.

T-Malty with a nice hop presence in the brew. Refreshing

M-Pretty light carbonation.

D-Tasty beer. Nothing special but gets the job done very well.

Photo of Josievan
3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Standard amber color. I'm mainly surprised at the amount of lacing this retains: a thick ring around almost the whole circumference of the glass.

Smell: Little hops here, little malt there: not too noteworthy.

Taste: It is bitter like the style implies. However, the hops are balanced with malt in such a way that is enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: I'm waiting for a sting on the finish from the bitterness that never comes. Very smooth! Pretty highly carbonated.

Drinkability: Seems to be pretty high for an English bitter, especially at 4.2%.

Notes: This review comes with very little experience with English bitters. Bitterness ain't exactly my cup of meat, but this beer was still smooth and pleasant. I've noticed that I view other beers from Goose Island similar to my interpretation of this one: they are usally solid examples of the style, but nothing to get excited about. I've been meaning to try one of their limtied-batch offerings, such as Bourbon County Stout, Matilda, or Pere Jacques, to see if they can push past mediocrity to excellence.

Photo of cudmud
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Carmel color to the body and a bright white head. The head is one finger thick. Overall, the beer has poor lacing.

Smell: A slight hint of hops and malt.

Taste: Light flavor of hops and malt. I detect a strong metallic aftertase. The aftertase does have pleasant hop flavors. The best feature of this beer are hop flavored burps.

Mothfeel and drinkability: This beer has medium carbonation. It's hard to get excited about this beer. It is wet and does quench a thirst.

Photo of thedrewski86
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass, 1/2" white head, leaves about a line of lacing. Smells like oranges and maybe apricots? Definitely oranges. Taste is mildly citrusy and somewhat bitter/spicy. Not overly malty or hoppy. The hop presence is there but not over bearing, a little bit of a malt undertone. Good carbonation, an excellent standard. If I could, I would have this on hand all the time with Sam Adams lager, Fat Tire Amber, and anything from 3Floyds! I don't see how anyone could not enjoy this beer.

Photo of Beast35
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a hell of a session beer. A good crisp mouth feel with the right amount of carbonation. Very drinkable with a ABV of 4.2%. You can go through a sixer pretty fast. This is my second Goose Island brew and I have to say I am impressed with it. As i Cubs fan can't wait to hit up the Goose Island Wrigleyville establishment.

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

A: A nice reddish amber color, with decent head, though it doesn't stay around for very long.

S: Grassy hops,and little bit of malt. But very very strong grassy notes. I think I would like a bit more from this one.

T: Nice, good sweet malt backbone, with grassy hops dominating.

M: Nothing wrong here. Medium bodied, and appropriate carbonation for the style.

D: Good, drinkable, but not a favorite. A good back up beer that many different palates will find enjoyable A beer for when I need to grab something but am out of better options.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a semi-hazy reddish orange color. Hard pour gave a 1 finger off-white had that dies down to foam skimming the top of the beer. Light watery lacing on the sides of the glass that just slids down after a second or two.

S- Nice sweet malts blend in with a citrus hop with a pinch of pine in there. It smells a little of sweet potatoes. I had others smell it and they said the same thing. Weird....

T- Nice bitter hops on the front end of this. This opens up to a sweet middle with malts and a lemon like flavor. It ends on a nice bitter hop kick. A lot better than the aroma would have suggested.

M- Medium-light mouthfeel. Carbonation is still a little bit off for me like most Goose Island beers. This just fizzes away in the mouth more like a macro style beer. Nice lemon taste left on the palate. Crisp and clean....a little watery.

D- This is a very drinkable bitter that surprised the hell out of me. This just might be my favorite out of the year around releases from Goose Island.

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

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. From the 12oz bottle brewed on 5/28 to an imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a thin off-white head that sticks around for some time.

Smell: Pine hops and spices.

Taste: Interesting lemon flavor with the hops dominating in a nice way.

Mouthfeel: Thin to medium-bodied, crisp and well carbonated. The flavors sat on my tongue for a while.

Drinkability: Solid brew. Not GI's best offering, but still a solid brew and nice to have around.

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

Had this at Ziggys Bar located in Amherst Ohio. Pouured from tap into beer glass. About 1/2 inch of head. Pleasantly suprised with the flovor.Very solid taste with excellent drinkability. Smell was about average nothing special and same with apperance.

Photo of PaleAlien2
4.02/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy amber in color. Short, fizzy head that retains well.

A lot of subtleties in the smell. Nice hop character with some citrus and spices in there. Wood smoke as well.

This is such a good session beer. Malty with a nice bitter sting in the finish. Nothing real great or remarkable here, just a really solid ale. Perfect if you're planning on downing a six pack of something.

Finish is crisp and dry.

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

Pours a darkish amber with a good sized white head that recedes into a thin film of bubbles covering the surface of the beer. Leaves some lacing. Smell is lightly hopped with classic Goldings bitterness and a spicy herbal note, underlaid with a solid malt structure of sweet caramel and toast. Mild fruitiness, grapefruit and apple. Taste is not as strong, much of the hop bitterness getting lost and a watery component coming through. Mouthfeel is still good, reasonable body and a good level of carbonation, and drinkability is good, but not exceptional for the style. Not a bad effort, but not a great one either.

Photo of sholland119
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at the Harry Caray's in Midway Airport. I somehow only expected to see Bud products here...

A-Pale amber with a foamy tan head and nice sheets of lacing.

S-Solid biscuit malt presence with an appealing light floral hop.

T-Smooth crisp maltiness with a subtle hop finish. An enjoyable rendition of the style.

M-On the light side of medium bodied. Well carbonated.

D-Really nice. Sessionable and tasty.


Photo of zoso493
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a straight-sided pint glass.

Appearance: A vigorous pour produced a large, foamy, two-finger head on top of a golden-colored brew. Leaves a touch of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Sweet malts and some spicy hops are all I'm getting out of it.

Taste: Biscuity malts with a slight hop bitterness towards the end.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied ale that finishes pretty dry.

Drinkability: This would be a great session beer, in my opinion. Has a nice mouthfeel, is fairly light but still interesting enough.

Overall, this is a pretty solid brew and definitely a good session beer. If this ever makes its way to my part of North Carolina, I'll definitely pick up a sixer.

Photo of GordonQuid
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap Daddy-O's, pint glass.

Gldoen, clear with a rocky one inch head, ample lace.

Smells fresh of citrus hops and carapil malts; biscuit notes also apparent.

Taste is smooth and satisfying blend of malts and noble varity hops. Exceptionally balanced and quaffable.

Photo of vishneda
3.77/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass on 21 Sept 2009.

Honker's is a steady if not predictable little brew. It pours to a nice golden color, though it looks a bit like apple juice in the glass. The light lemon colored head fades pretty quickly. The aroma is flowery and maybe a little on the pine tree side, but there are a few notes in there that also remind me of fresh blueberries.

It's a little sweet on impact with the flavor trending to a strong grain presence in the middle. The finish imparts a pine bitterness. The overall flavor is not very dynamic. I don't want to say boring... but it's certainly not exciting.

Honker's leaves a little lacing as the beer goes down. It has a light bodied feel and leaves very sharp. As a bitter it's not meant to be refreshing, but it is a very drinkable pub standard brew.

Photo of Hoagie1973
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Hazy amber with a full cream colored head. Good retention and lacing.

Aroma is pretty straight forward; malty with just a hint of hops.

Flavor is well balanced, with the malt on the front side giving a decent sweetness through the middle that fades into a pleasant spicy hop bitterness that lingers in a crisp, dry finish.

Mouthfeel is crisp with a bit of prickly carbonation. Medium body.

Pretty basic overall. Nothing at all wrong with this one, but nothing fancy either. A solid drinkable beer.

Photo of dstc
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color with a big, foamy off white head. Slow to fall, nice lace.

Big spicy hop aroma.

Mild sweet malts hit the tongue first then it is followed by big hop flavor. Slight bitter finish.

Medium bodied in the mouth with moderate carbonation.

Nice easy drinking brew, I like it.

Photo of yesyouam
4.01/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Goose Island Honker's Ale is a clear, solid amber ale with a soft, creamy, off white whipped fluff of a head that has outstanding retention and lacing. The aroma is fruity, wooden, botanical and dank with a hint of sweetness. It's medium bodied, smooth and fluffy and the finish is a little gritty. It's not sweet or dry with nice balance all around. There are flavor notes of wood resin, wild flowers and a green bitterness. This makes for a high quality session ale.

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

12oz, poured into a standard pint glass.

A: orange/light copper color, clear, some lacing, thin head

S: mild hops and malt aroma.

T: has a pretty good, fresh, malty taste. slightly bitter ending, but definitely not overpowering or bold.

MF: medium bodied, low carbonation.

Drinkability: very good session style beer. drinks real easy. good balance of malts and hops that won't leave you with a hop mouth or tired of drinking malty brew.

Photo of samie85
4.12/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a transparent orange, amber color with a nice two finger white head.

S-Toasty, bready notes along with some hop aroma.

T-Starts off with toasty malts and ends with a crisp, slightly bitter finish.

M- I would say this pretty good example of a medium-bodied beer. Pretty smooth and not too thin feeling as others in this style can be.

D- This is a pretty good session beer. I had this a couple years ago and remember it being really bitter and not enjoying it at all. I had avoided it for so long as a result, and I wish I hadn't. I think this is gonna be a beer that I come back to with some regularity. My how the times change.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Honker's Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
83 out of 100 based on 3,454 ratings.