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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.

3,115 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,115
Reviews: 1,020
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 11.99%
Wants: 53
Gots: 219 | 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: 3,115 | Reviews: 1,020 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Brodirt
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clean, clear, copper colored bitter with a nice rich head. I find this beer really easy to drink...I think the style, bitter, is a bit low on carbonation, but not so that it tastes flat, and that makes it real easy to down.

Nice malty sweetness, a bit of citrus and a dry bitter finish.

With every one of Goose Islands offerings I try they come closer and closer to Dogfish Head as my favorite overall brewery.

Brodirt, Jan 24, 2006
Photo of dirtylou
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz single, Woodman's

I'm from chicago, most of my family is still in the chicago area, this is what you drink (other than old style!) when you grow up north of I-88

appearance: a clear copper-amber pour, thick and foamy beige head with decent lacing left behind

smell: toasted grain, sweet and smooth caramel malt, peppery, spicy, buttery biscuit, soft earthy and floral hops behind the toasty malt aroma structure

taste: lots of toasted grain, buttery biscuit, sweet caramel malt, some nice fruit - apple, pear....lots of peppery spiciness in this one. tastes like summer nights in chicago

mouthfeel: definitely finishes dry...medium body, smooth

drinkability: very drinkable, a north-side session beer

dirtylou, Jan 14, 2006
Photo of murphysbleachers
3.03/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from a mixed 12 into a pint glass.
A: Orangey golden, nice head, not so great retention.
S: Not a very strong odor. Slight bready malt and floral hops, but only after sticking my nose in the glass for a minute, looking for something to write down.
T: Slight hop bitterness. That's it.
M: Nothing wrong, nothing special.
D: Easy drinking and I'll drink it again because of availability in Chicago. Not worth putting too much effort into finding this.

murphysbleachers, Jan 08, 2006
Photo of beerceller99
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Clyborne location. Has a clear amber with not much head. A beautifully spiced,earthy sweet smell wafts up from the shaker glass. light bodied with a watery mouthfeel. A mild, but decent malty grainy taste prevails. Very easy drinking and a good thirst quencher.

beerceller99, Dec 24, 2005
Photo of woodychandler
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This had a decent, bone-white head above a slightly cloudy, medium-amber colored liquid. The nose was nicely sweet. It had a medium mouthfeel with a tea-flavored hoppiness on the palate. The finish was lightly dry with a slight intermingling of sweetness. This was a good beer and it surely beat a lot of the other beers on draft at the small MKE beer where I drank it while waiting on a friend.

woodychandler, Dec 23, 2005
Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazed orange copper, with a dense two finger head. Half-way decent retention leaves only weak lacing. American pine needles and german hop nose, matched with a caramel and butterscotch malt aroma. Low attentuated crystal malt sweetness upfront, with a noble hop bite and resinous pine flavor that lingers into the aftertaste. High carbonation and light body lend a crispness to combat the very mild diacetyl that creeps up in the finish. No quite a session ale, but still highly drinkable with a satisfying taste.

PBRstreetgang, Dec 23, 2005
Photo of blitheringidiot
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Released from a bottle into a glass with a slightly hazy dim amber hue, loaded with rising bubbles topped with a spotty sticky thin beige headcap.

Balanced scents of gummi bear malt and hops.

First swigs: A blend of sweet table sugar tea malt and light hoppy balance. Some diluted watery aspect prevails, but overall, this is just an easy balance. Some juicy fruit gum and apple middle with a lingering fruit meld.

Feel is totally a zinger! Crisp and dandy. Sparkling. A linger of gum, but an easy balanced ale that really finishes with a clean balance. Maybe 60/40 balance on the hops side.

Last swigs: Glad that I found it in the grocery store in Carmel, IN to get me thru the night.

blitheringidiot, Dec 23, 2005
Photo of metallistout
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a copper color with a decent head that left a lace in the glass for most of the duration of me drinking it.
Smells of malt and citrus hops a little floral.
Tastes very crisp, grapefruit, nice hop balance, with a good mouthfeel.Sweet malt flavor, but not too sweet.
Overall I would say that this is a good beer and I will definately be buying more six packs of this in the future.

metallistout, Dec 22, 2005
Photo of bennetj17
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This ale is golden orange, with moderate clarity but not much head. The smell is fresh and piney, and the floral hops remind me of summer. The taste is not sweet, mostly hoppy with a moderate bitterness. It has a light, clean and crisp feel with good carbonation. Not a lot of balance here but if you like hops you will enjoy it.

bennetj17, Dec 21, 2005
Photo of paterlodie
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

BB 01-07-06. Some head and a cupper/amber beercollor. Nose is green piney hops, litle caramellic, malty but sweet whee note underneath that spoils fresh feeling. Still more then decent as taste is. Laying to the dry side there still is some sweetness in there, ambermaltlike before going into a bitter aftertaste. Quiet good performance but IMO misses a spark of freshness, maybe cause of age. Still plesantly drinking and enjoyable to me as we europeans don't get that often the chance to obtain US craftbrews.

paterlodie, Dec 13, 2005
Photo of Billolick
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle tried, comes with freshness dating, pours clear, medium honey/almond with an off white medium tight head, that shows good retentive powers. leaves well scattered, fine , sticky lacing. nice looking beer. Nose veers towards the piney hop side. This is, as advertized, a well balanced, flavorful ale. Very pleasant quaffer, fine sessioner, nothing too exciting, but surely a decent, crowd pleasing brew. I have yet to drink anything from Goose Island that has been anything less then top rate and to style. Well done.

Billolick, Dec 08, 2005
Photo of hero27
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best when consumed by: 03/06

Served in an imperial pint glass, as it suggests on the back of the label. Pours a clear burnt orange. Head holds steady long into the brew, leaving spotty lacing. Aroma is fairly hoppy, but there's definitely a solid malt profile paired with it. Nice floral hop taste combined with the caramel and toffee malts. Good flavor (without being over-the-top) makes this a very drinkable beer also.

Had this on-tap not too long ago and I don't remember it being near this hoppy or flavorful..maybe the keg or lines had gone south. Overall, a pretty solid pale ale for a pretty fair cost. Definitely worth a try.

hero27, Nov 20, 2005
Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper/orange color with a nice off-white thick layer of foam. The nose is hoppy and clean with a healthy pale ale smell. It tastes of bitter and tangy hops, with a strong malt backbone thats especially evident in the finish. I've had better tasting beers, but this one is not bad at all. I do notice it gets considerably more watery as it warms. Very smooth mouthfeel. Moderate to medium bodied I suppose. Good drinking beer, I'm sure I could have quite a few before really desiring something else. Good Beer.

jasonpeckins32, Nov 12, 2005
Photo of warriorsoul
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Eyedrinkale for this one...
Pours a clear copper color with two fingers of off-white head...a decent amount of thick lacing forms with outstanding cling.
Spiced up hops with a generous balance of sweet malt...nothing over the top in the nose, but peeking my interest.
The taste is smooth and enjoyable...a generous hop bite yet not overly bitter as I was expecting...perhaps due to the fact that it is a couple months past it's prime.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is perfect...could easily throw back a number of these with no effort.
My first experience with Goose Island and a good one at that...looking forward to trying a few more of their offerings in the future.

warriorsoul, Nov 08, 2005
Photo of PopeJonPaul
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber orange "pale-ale" color, almost no head and not much smell either. Edgy hops dominate with the flavor of grapefruit and bitters, mixed with a good fruity mildness. Has a tangly, clean aftertaste, a good beer but it doesn't really stand out against other ales I've had, I'd rank it up with a Sierra Nevada or some such, would grab a 6-pack but wouldn't bring it to a beer tasting.

PopeJonPaul, Nov 03, 2005
Photo of KarlHungus
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This brew pours a clear amber color with a small white head. The aroma is quite balanced, malty and hoppy. It is a bit faint though. The taste is a lot more assertive than teh aroma. It is balanced, but leans a little more toward the hoppy side. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with ample carbonation. Overall, this is a very drinkable brew; great for sessions.

KarlHungus, Oct 22, 2005
Photo of 67cuda
3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer poured a nice amber color, with two fingers of off-white head. It smells a bit like caramel, with some hops, and a bit of sweetness as well... an intriguing mix. As for taste, it has a good amount of hops bitterness, with some malt notes present, and a little citrus as well. The mouthfeel is OK, the carbonation almost made it seem a bit fizzy to me however, otherwise it was nice and creamy. This beer isn't terribly exciting, but it isn't terrible either. It's a quite drinkable beer, however.

67cuda, Oct 19, 2005
Photo of Frozensoul327
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first from Goose Island. Poured out to an amber / orange color with a beautiful, dense foamy head of about half an inch. Lace was present in the glass, nearly to the bottom of the pint. Aromas of herbs and hops, with some spice sweetness. Taste was fresh and mild; flavors of fruits, hops, malts and herbs blended well, with a touch of sourness and bitterness. Mouthfeel was substantial enough for the drinker to know that this was a craft brew, yet light enough for it to be enjoyable throughout the year. Drinkability is good, as this could be a session beer for some beer lovers. Overall, a quality offering from Goose Island. I look forward to trying their other offerings. Recommended.

Frozensoul327, Oct 18, 2005
Photo of scruffwhor
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After probing the BA website for many months, as well as taking the alstrom bros. and the BA members advice. I've learned that drinking your beer in a glass enhances the flavor, smell and mouthfeel of the beer you are drinking. I usuaully drink honkers from a glass. But whenever I would drink this bitter straight from the bottle. Almost no flavor was lost or hindered as a result of my heathenist drink from bottle ways. This beer is not a complex beer. Or a beer that will win the accolades of the beer community over. But this good ol' chicago suburb boy, Honkers Ale is my regular drinkiing beer. I always get at least one twelve pack a week for my regular after work beer. The amber beer has an excellent hoppy mouthfeel with a citrus start and a semi-butter finish. If anyone takes a trip to chicago. I would definetly recommend getting a pint or two of Goose Island's flagship beer.

scruffwhor, Oct 06, 2005
Photo of meathookjones
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out an orange amber with a white foamy head. The head drops quickly leaving sparse lacing. Light overall aroma with a good mix of citric and grassy hops with some sweet caramel malt. Flavor stared with some sweet caramel and earthy grassy hops. Light citric bitterness. Light bitter finish. Very smooth and crisp. Easy drinking and very sessionable I could see having several of these in a sitting.

meathookjones, Oct 05, 2005
Photo of jamesdergen
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: better then a golden sunset. The golden/amber shade is delightful.

Smell: hints of carmel and nuttiness

Taste: the first sip is bitter and hoppy. Followed by hits of citrus (grapefruit).

Mouthfeel: More carbonated than I expected, yet not too much. It is bold, but not overbearing. Leaves mouth feeling dry.

Drinkability: 2, and I'm out. Sits a little heavy.

A decent beer, but nothing out of the ordinary. The Honker's Ale is somewhat similar to the 312 Urban Wheat that GI makes, but I would take the 312 over this one in a heartbeat.

jamesdergen, Sep 28, 2005
Photo of tjthresh
2.55/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Honker's Ale is one of the beers that got me interested in drinking craft beer. These day I consider it pretty middle of the road. Light hop flavor and aroma. Light malt sweetness, and light on the bitterness. Everything about this beer anymore is pretty uninspiring, yet good enough for a everyday staple beer.

tjthresh, Aug 31, 2005
Photo of sopor
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear amber with a creamy one-finger head. Good bubbles rising with a rocky flm left over. Smells of crisp hoppy spicyness.

Delicate malt profile is quickly taken by a crisp herbal hoppy spiciness. Not exactly balanced, but good bitter.

Moderately light body with fine carbonation.

Drinkable, fine example of a bitter, but nothing extraordinary.

sopor, Aug 29, 2005
Photo of scooter231
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Gingerman. Poured a very pretty amber color with tons of head and lacing, very appealing. Smelled lightly hopped, citrusy, and piney. Woody, even. Woody and citrus. Interesting.

Malts, hops, caramel. It's like... a malty caramel sweetness followed by a woody, slightly soured hoppy, woody flavor. Almost too much going on, but it's not tooo much. Nearing the border, though.

Mouthfeel is very light and easy, and this is way drinkable. A good beer for warm days, certainly. I'd get it again. Plus, the taps are gooses! Geeses! How cool is that?

scooter231, Aug 26, 2005
Photo of Gritsak
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- bright golden copper with an off white head that laces well.

S- some fruit hints such as apricot. some hop aroma as well

T- clean balanced hop bitterness with some underlying fruit flavor. only problem i had was the metalic aftertaste.

M- good amount of carbonation with a light to medium body.

D- very easy to drink. taste is not overpowering so it would be easy to consume a lot of these.

overall- pretty decent beer that is readily avalaible. clean refreshing flavor. worth a shot

Gritsak, Aug 15, 2005
Honker's Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
83 out of 100 based on 3,115 ratings.