1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Honker's Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Honker's AleHonker's Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

3,309 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,309
Reviews: 1,027
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 12.02%
Wants: 60
Gots: 281 | 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)
View: Beers (211) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Honker's Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,309 | Reviews: 1,027 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of seaoflament
4.13/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to SPLITGRIN for the six pack. I haven't had this beer in a while now and it was one of my first craft beers that got me hooked onto this scene. I thought I would revisit this one for old time sake.

Pours a golden color with some hints of brown, almost a butterscotch color or apple juice. The pour also produced a nice inch of egg-shell colored foam.

The aroma is at first a little citrus and spicy from the hops and then I get the toast and slightly nutty malt with a hint of wheat. There is a bit of a grain aroma that quickly turns into bread. A little raw on the aroma and earthy, and still a spicy/citrus twist to it. Very little to no diacetyl in this bitter, some sweet maltiness aroma could pass as buttery but it could be the grain bill. After about half the glass I begin to pick up a bit of chocolate late in the aroma, maybe some roasted barley.

Taste is again a mixture of grain/wheat with some earthy and slightly spicy, woodsy hop flavors. Some small amounts of toast but mostly nutty malts with a little caramel maybe. Clean tasting and crisp, making this one very easy to session. Still one of my favorite session beers.

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

Poured a clear amber color with thin white head. Aroma was sweet and citrusy, with a hint of vanilla.

Taste also has a mild citrus bite with a toffee-like maltiness and and clean finish. Toasted caramel present as well. Very nicely balanced and a pleasure to drink. Very nice session beer.

Photo of hwwty4
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a 12oz bottle into my Chimay chalice. Pours a reddish amber with a 1 finger white head that disappeared quickly into a thin layer on the top of the beer. This beer had poor retention and left little lacing. The aroma is toffee, and caramelized brown sugar. The taste is sweet up front with brown sugar and caramel and finishes with just a slight bitterness to it. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a strangely dry finish. I just didn't think that the finish went very well with the beer. This isn't a beer I think I would seek out for a sixer but I would definitely think about ordering one at a bar.

Photo of avaulteriam
3.33/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First off, tap is far superior to the bottle for this beer, especially if you find a fresh tap. This is one of my favorites. I find it very well balanced. Not too sweet, not too bitter, nice smooth taste. Goes great by itself, or with a burger. no complaints here!

Photo of far333
2.9/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Hazy apricot-honey colored with an orangey-beige head that doesn't rise up much, and settles quickly leaving some spotty bubbles.

Aroma of doughey malt, some sweetness, and mild citric notes.

Flavor of caramel and toffee, some brown sugar. Followed by floral hops, but understated. Some yeasty notes in the finish.

Mouthfeel is initially full and creamy, a bit slick in the middle, and then finishes tingly.

I really expected more from this one.

Photo of wheatyweiss
4.13/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint.

Pours a medium honey with an impressive pillow head that retains well. Head leaves sticky rings and lace all around.

Aroma is subdued malt and slight hops, not very strong in the aroma department pretty subdued.

Flavor is fruity, berries and cherries. Hops are light and fruity. The malt is subdued, but there. Very upfront fruit flavor with a hop profile that stings the tongue. Very tasty!!

Mouthfeel is crisp and complimentary, very good for the flavor.

Drinkability is very good, these would session very well!

Very good beer, the first I've had from Goose Island and I am impressed and will seek out more.

Photo of Larrytown
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Has a light brown color with orange tint. Not much head or lacing on this one. Aroma seems to be mostly malt.

The taste on this one is very solid. It's very nicely balanced with just enough hops to keep it interesting. It has a crisp but reasonably full feel in the mouth. I could see picking it up again out at the bar, but doubt I'd pick up a six-pack anytime soon.

Photo of jayrod20
4.47/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice white head, light orange. Medium and soft moutheel. lagerish ale. Tad of lace left, smartly hopped, acidic bite and over carbonated.Bit of yeast and malt and hops in the aroma, bit of C hop and a little fruity and spicy. Drying aftertaste.

Again a beer too easy to overdue it with happily.

Photo of tgbljb
4.38/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served as a medium amber colored beer with moderate white puffy head.

Smell is light and malty, so as to be very restrained.

The taste truly surpasses the smell, A strong caramel malt combined with enough balancing hops create an extraordinary beer.

This would be a perfect session beer. There is enough flavor to keep it interesting, and a low enough alcohol content to allow an adequate consumption. Top Notch beer!

Photo of Rzzzzz
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Cloudy amber with a foamy white head that left rings of lacing all down the glass. Malty aroma, with a floral hops background and notes of plum and grapefruit. Taste is very even--sweet malt balanced nicely with hop bitterness, nothing overpowering but an overall busicuity flavor with just a slight metallic tinge. Clean dry finish. Medium to light bodied, maybe a little harsher carbonation than I'd prefer but overall a good drinker.

Photo of semihobo
3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

After having consumed countless pints and bottles of this around Chicago, it is time to officially review one.

Pours an apricot color with a short but dense head with extremely fine bubbles. Bubbling in the body is robust. Head retention is weak but lacing down the sides is persistent.

The aroma is strong, predominantly hops, with both modest bittering hops and a slight west coast kick.

Taste is crisp, beginning with a slightly toasted maltiness before abruptly switching to bitter and grassy hops. The hops drift off toward minty bittersweetness on the finish. Dry and brisk.

Carbonation is brash -- talks a lot of crap and usually backs it up. The aggressive mouthfeel forms a portion of this beer's backbone and impedes my attempts to drink many in a short time frame... say, at an open bar downtown.

Dry, bubbly, and bitter. I find the taste pleasant and feel that this beer is pretty decent, but the overclocked carbonation disrupts the natural order of things. I find that drinking more than two in a row becomes a chore... for me, not very sessionable out of the bottle, although it is friendlier on tap.

Photo of ElGrecoVerde
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright orange, a bit cloudy, though mostly clear.

Smell was very mild, but appealing. Some sweet citrus aromas and a faint flowery hop smell was present.

Taste was crisp and light, like the aroma. More mild citrus flavors, and a bready aftertaste. Has a toasted flavor that tames the hops well.

This is a very easy to drink ale. Light, crisp and smooth making it great for warm weather days.

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

I poured this one from a 12oz brown bottle...

A= This beer poured a slightly hazy orange color. With a very aggressive pour I could produce a 1/2 inch white head which quicjly dissipated to a skim. Beautiful lacing down the glass!

S= I found the smell to be good but too muted. What I did get was aromas of citrus fruit, slight caramel, and grain.

T= Like the aroma, this brew has complex yet subtle flavors. I found up front citrus hop flavor, caramel maltiness, and the slightly dry hop finish. Somewhere in the middle to end of a swallow there is a dry-ish toasted nut biscuit flavor that really adds to the enjoyment of this ale.

MF= This one has a rather light-medium body. The carbonation is moderate, causing a nice mouthfeel.

D= This is a good beer. I drink it often!

Photo of kzoobrew
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Very drinkable beer. While I am a huge fan of any big beer,while Honkers doe not fit the category, this is a good everyday beer.

Amber in color, pours with a light head.

Refreshingly bitter balanced very well with sweet malty flavor.

Smell is as balanced as the taste. Grassy hops compliment a yeast/dough malt smell.

Solid choice for a break from the big beers. Good baseball beer, too many IPA would do me in going into extra innings.

Photo of Offa
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a really nice ale and one of the best American attempts at really making an English-style bitter that I have so far encountered.

Amber, it has a thin off-white head that steadily dissipates to a foamy ring.

In smell, it's malty grain, yeasty dough, with hints of pine, earthm and sawdust, overall rather English and pleasant.

The taste is both malty and hoppy, with some sweetness and bitterness, and a slightly bitter finish before a nice toasty grain aftertaste. After the first few sips, the flavours improve and blend together nicely, making it great to drink over time.

In the end, this is a solid, tasty, smooth, very drinkable beer. It's a solid recreation of a good English bitter but with a slightly less rich orcomplex character and slightly more hop.

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

Pours a reddish golden color with a nice inch of head at the top.

Smells primarily of hops with some light underlying notes of citrus.

The hops, while still present, are a bit more mellow in the mouth; the notes of citrus are a bit more prominant on the tongue than the nose.

A bit watery in the mouth, but a smooth drink. Definately worth multiple purchases.

Photo of Gehrig
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'd passed on Honker's Ale for no particular reason, choosing instead plenty of other beers in more enticing styles. I won't pass on Honker's Ale again. Very good brew, a very pleasant surprise earlier this afternoon.

The head was a bit thin on a dark golden body. Much to consider in the nose, offering more hops than expected, but also some caramel malt that was quite pleasant. The taste was superb, creamy smooth with bitter overtones but nothing that would lead me to think this was a Bitter. It's a distinct representative of the style, with robust caramel, some chocolate, hazelnut, and citrus flavors in harmony. Terrific.

Smoother than I expected, it meshes well with what bitters are here. Eminently drinkable, Honker's Ale is excellent, a good eye-opener and another must-grab from Goose Island.

Photo of Gmann
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear light copper color with a smallish dense off-white head that dissipates rather quickly into a slight cap. The aroma is of light caramel malt, some hop spiciness, and a touch of grain. The taste is of sweet caramel malt, with a spicy/earthy hop which leads to an overall honey biscuit flavor. There is a ghost like metallic flavor the runs through out. A nice moderate feel, that sits well, soft to tingly carbonation and finishes with a slight hop bitterness. A pretty decent brew, nothing outstanding.

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

This beer poured a nice amber color with a 1" creamy head. It was moderately carbonated and the bubbles weren't in any hurry to escape.

Smells like some hops and some malts, quite a bit of malt, with a little caramel.

It tasted like malt and had a rather low amount of bite from the hops. This beer is better as it warms up, so don't drink it too cold.

It has a medium/low body.

I can drink these all night!

Photo of ckeegan04
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pale copper color with small white head. Light lacing in the glass.

S - Citrusy hop smell as well as some graininess.

T - Hop bite up front. Citrusy. Some light sweetness to balance it off.

M/D - A little thin on the mouthfeel but still a decent beer.

Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and sticky lacing.

The smell featured a heavy cereal grain with elements of grassy hops.

The taste featured an upfront soft grainy malt. There was a good earthy hop presence as well.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness for the style.

Overall a tasty and easy drinking ale.

Photo of Lexluthor33
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orange with decent head. Aroma is of hops. The taste is hops,citrus with some biscuit notes and slight bitterness.
This beer is light ,dry and low on malts. It has a an overall good taste and for the style an acceptable brew.I thought this beer was in need of more hops and more malts,but it was well balanced and respectable indeed.

Notes: The flaw I found in this beer was not something everyone will agree with. I simply thought it was not interesting enough. Light and simply a bit boring for my taste. That said, I do think this is a decent session brew.

Photo of soupyman10
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one on tap, and had to set about warming up the chilled glass before I actually got to partake of it. Appearance is a nice amber, no complaints, but no real lacing. Nose is light, malt and a nice hit of hops too. This one's got a bit of a salty flavor, but its a nice hit of hops that I wasn't expecting. Not sure if that works if the style, though. The flavor itself is fairly mild, but not terrible. Body is a little thin, but not bad.

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

This is great English-style bitter ale. Just the right amount of malts to balance the bitterness of the hops, yet the hops are not too bitter. Great color, small head, minimal lacing, fantastic smell, delicious taste. All in all a good beer that goes down smooth and easy and I could quite easily put a few of these back in one sitting. Yum.

Cheers x

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

this is a good beer. pours darker orange with very good head and carbonation. nice lace in the glass. smells of bitter and hop. taste is nice as a bitter. dry finish.

malt was overshadowed by the bitter hops - which is fine by me.

suckem up and movem out!

giblet

Honker's Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
83 out of 100 based on 3,309 ratings.