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Mbege Ale - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Mbege AleMbege Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
63
poor

42 Ratings
THE BROS
63
poor

(view ratings)
Ratings: 42
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 2.4
pDev: 27.5%
Wants: 5
Gots: 1 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Fruit / Vegetable Beer |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Popular in Eastern Africa, especially the Northern regions of Tanzania, Mbege-style beers are brewed from bananas. Mbege Ale is unfiltered.

(Beer added by: shbobdb on 12-30-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 42 | Reviews: 39 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by DoubleJ:
Photo of DoubleJ
3.45/5  rDev +43.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First off, I would like to thank Jon (Halcyondays) for encouraging me to try this beer. Had this at Beachwood BBQ. Well, on to the beer:

It looks like a darker hefeweizen...sandy blonde yet cloudy and unfiltered. the head doesn't last long on top of this one. The aroma is spicy and minty (akin to the oddball spice found in Icy Hoy), and taste...well it is completely different kind of beer that I have ever had. It kind of hints bananas, and it has that phenolic plasticy feel to it, but it reminds me of a first-aid kit in an odd, yet pleasing way. Band aids and first-aid cream, sort of spicy, and moderately peppery. Good medium mouthfeel, with a peppery feel. Drinks fairly well.

This is the most interesting beer I have had since....well, since I had DaDo's yerba mate beer when I was in Brazil last week. Get it fresh on-tap, open up your palate to a new adventure, and enjoy the ride.

DoubleJ, Jan 29, 2009
More User Reviews:
Photo of dacubz
1.83/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer was made to coincide with Milwaukee's African World Festival along with the Shakparo brew. I've never really had a bad beer from Sprecher's but this one is a candidate for that. Very strange brew in my opinion. Both the smell and taste are to be forgotten. Sprecher's is a quality brewer, but this beer is not quality at all.

dacubz, May 16, 2010
Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.68/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine April 2007.

American craft brewer goes African. Very original to say the least. Mbege is an African alcoholic beverage that's brewed using finger millet and ripe bananas. Sprecher's version uses real bananas.

Orange hazed brew is nearly cloudy. Fizzy at pour and fizzy from the head, which drops down to a minimal ring around the glass. Smells of banana taffy, cooked cereal grain and bubble gum. Crisp and slick all over, with a medium body. Banana bubble gum flavor throughout becomes tiring after a while. Cinnamon and nutmeg? Coarse grain and a mild astringency in the middle. Mineral, raw sugar cane and kosher salt come to mind, present but very faint. Spark of clove flavor towards the finish. Finishes semi-dry with a banana taffy and bubble gum flavor.

Interesting is probably the best way to describe this beer; others will love it or hate it. Share it with a few friends--16 ounces are a chore to finish, but at least it's a good conversation piece. Regardless, you have to hand it to Sprecher for their creativity and passion.

BeerAdvocate, Apr 07, 2010
Photo of orbitalr0x
1.23/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Drank this after tasting the Shakparo. This one is like it's evil step brother. Pours a clear golden color with again not much head to speak of. Aroma is simply vile to me. Old, mushy moldy bananas and rankness. Smells like a dirty washroom. Wow, just really revolting to me.

First sip is nearly unbearable. Medicinal, plastic and just downright vile. There's a touch of banana there but it's not pleasant either. I'm sorry but I just can't find any redeeming qualities about this.

Mouthfeel is again thin and doesn't really matter as this is basically undrinkable. Down the drain ya go! Not gonna was my money on that again. Give me a Black Bavarian any day.

orbitalr0x, Nov 25, 2009
Photo of Mora2000
2.68/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Big thanks to blutt59 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a yelllow color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the bananas with some bread and apples mixed in. The flavor is worse than the aroma. I get some banana as well as some vinegar notes/ Not real appetizing. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Not a good beer.

Mora2000, May 07, 2011
Photo of rhoadsrage
2.2/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

(Served in an Imperial strange)

A- This beer has a hazy caramel body with a few bubbles of head and a few random bubbles of carbonation stuck to the glass. No head regardless of a very rigorous pour.

S- The soft smell of diesel exhaust and apple juice has a slight butterscotch nose that comes through stronger as the beer warms.

T- There is a pronounced apple juice flavor with a fusel taste that is almost putrid in quality with a slight wasp spray note and a soft green flavor at the finish.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a tight fizz and a lighter fluid alcohol heat at the finish.

D- I love the tart sorghum beers of west Africa and I was excited when I bought this last week, but I was let down both when I opened it and when I checked BA and realized it was old. The putrid taste was almost intriguing but alas turn out to be undrinkable. It reminded me a bit of an open-fermented hard cider gone bad but I didn't even get any flavors/smells from the banana that they added.

rhoadsrage, May 28, 2008
Photo of pmcadamis
1.65/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Note: I submitted a request to the Bros for a change in the style. Someone listed this as an Ameican Wheat Ale when the bottle specifically says that this is brewed without any barley or wheat.

A - Diarrhea brown/orange, like really funky well water. The small tan head lasts for only a few seconds before forming a little foamy ring around the edge of the glass. This one is really murky and funky.

S - Mashed sweet potatoes and really, really ripe bananas. This smells like mashed up brown/black bananas in a brown paper sack. It also smells a lot like mashed sweet potatoes with molasses, brown sugar, and marshmallows on top. Gerber's banana baby food comes to mind also, along with tropical flowers, dark rum, and raw cane sugar. This nose is really unique, and quite remarkable really.

T - Holy shit! This is NASTY. I'm surprised that the nose can be so great, while the flavor is like old salty, sweaty, funky, skidmark stained underwear. This tastes like rotten fruit and dead roadkill with a boatload of salt thrown in for good measure.

M - Salty sweaty brine, but somehow manages to be thick enough to remind me of vomit.

D - This is only the third beer that I've ever actually poured down the drain. The first one was Dave's Cave Creek Chili Beer, because it was painfully hot, and the second was Bud Light Chelada. This beer smells really nice and tropical, but tastes like diseased Hershy squirts. I'm glad that this beer isn't actually made in Africa, or else I would be concerned about malaria, typhoid, sleeping sickness, and all of that stuff.

UNDRINKABLE.

pmcadamis, May 14, 2008
Photo of dirtylou
2.53/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

purchased as part of a mixed 6 pack...interesting enough and not entirely sure what "fire-brewed" entails

appearance: pours into an imperial pint glass...body is a couldy golden orange hue with some moderate beige froth. looks innocent enough

smell: holy bananas...aroma is somewhat artificial, banana toffee, candied aromas...hmm

taste: banana runts (my least favourite of this lovely childhood candy), marshmallow, deep banana extract. Its a damn good thing i love bananas or i would throw this against the wall - its that overpowering. Interesting little experiment but i have no clue if this resembles any sort of authenticity. if it does, then i'm glad i tried it. if it does not, then this beer sucks!

mouthfeel: very sweet, liquid banana

drinkability: yikes, i'll find a way. its not That bad

dirtylou, Jul 24, 2007
Photo of shbobdb
2.35/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

So . . . a 'fire-brewed african style mbege ale' eh? Sounds exciting!

Well, it isn't really. First off, like the generational porter, they used extract rather than fresh fruit and it shows. The banana flavouring tastes sorta like a yellow popsicle. Very artificial, very fake feel. This is the single factor that dominates both the nose and taste of the beer. Fake banana. There is also a strange, slightly bitter finish that doesn't mesh well with the rest of the drinking experience.

There is a good tasting beer underneath, it would seem. A nice round mouthfeel with a good amount of fizz to help it go down. It isn't a bad drinker, it is really just a sort of aborted soda. A bastard child between the worlds of beer and alcopop.

If I wanted to get a bunch of children drunk in the back of my ice-cream truck, this wouldn't be a bad beer to choose. If I wanted to drink, you know, a beer . . . then this really isn't a great option. When entering this beer I put down "limited release, brewed once". This is not merely my understanding, it is also my hope.

shbobdb, Dec 30, 2006
Photo of emerge077
2.98/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Split a pint bottle, into mini FFF imperial pints.

Poured a hazy orange tone, with a good finger of foam. The surface was fairly dense with a few bigger bubbles. Head thinned out after a few minutes.

Smell was slightly medicinal, and sweet with artificial banana candy. Reminded me of the fruit-flavored vitamins from my youth.

Taste was medicinal too, reminded me of a sweet mixed drink made with redbull. I wasn't able to pick out the sorghum and millet that were listed as ingredients. Aftertaste was clean, unlike other "gluten-free" beers i've tried. It had ample carbonation, which thankfully carried it quickly down the hatch. Sweetness wasn't completely cloying, but a full pint could present more of a challenge.

Although this isn't a traditional ale, it was interesting to try, and i'll be looking for the companion Shakparo on my next trip to WI.

Note: Wheat and Barley-free, NOT GLUTEN-FREE. This did not go over well with a friend that has Celiac's...

emerge077, Jul 18, 2007
Photo of BeerFMAndy
2.03/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

16 oz bottle poured into a Sprecher nonic. Nutrition facts, ingredients, 7.0%, 10064 (Julian date Mar. 4th 2010).

I was surprised to see cases of this at Sprecher's gift shop. I had it once years ago and remembered it being pretty terrible. Lets give the long-lost Sprecher a try...

A - Totally clear with a few bubbles floating up to a thin, off-white head. Low retention and bits of lace are some-what made-up for by the beautiful golden hued light amber.

S - Oy. Yeah, this might be just as gross as I remember it being. The aroma has this disgusting rotting mulch pile/vegetal thing. A hint of banana lingers behind. A swirl momentarily got rid of the grossness but it quickly returned. Just a bad funk I'm hard-pressed to describe and a faint alcohol hint to the finish.

T - This light tart thing is almost mouth-puckering and helps off-set the rank mulch-like vegetal flavor. The banana juice also helps with this but it doesn't redeem the beer at all. Lingering sweetness to the finish.

M - Smooth and round but pretty syrupy with all the sweetness. Medium-bodied with a tart finish and an unpleasant aftertaste.

D - The nose is an indescribable gross thing I can't fully put my finger on. It's also definitely as gross as I remember. Not a fan and not surprising it wasn't brewed for years. I'm sure it can't sell well at all. Not fully undrinkable but it's close.

BeerFMAndy, Mar 18, 2010
Photo of BoitSansSoif
2.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A-Pours a hazy amber w/lots of carbonation within, supporting excellent retention of off-white, creamy head.

S-Like banana bread w/sweet undertones.

T-Unpleasant shock w/rough medicinal and plastic phenols, bitter attack, banana emerging midway and carrying through offering a moment of salvation, and finishing w/slightly bitter and astringent finish.

M-Good carbonation but slightly astringent and light-bodied w/lack of balance.

D-Interesting, and I was able to finish it pleasantly w/chocolate chip cookies out of the oven, but I really don't care for it, and find the phenols overpowering.

BoitSansSoif, Jun 25, 2009
Photo of weeare138
2.4/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to hopdog for the trade...

Appears a glowing, golden orange with a burnt copper hue when held to the light. The transparent color shows a plentiful abundance of co2 bubbles quickly rising to the top of the small white cap. Tiny speckles of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of leathery, cracked grains, wild berries, apple juice, and banana chips.bi
Taste is...hmmm. A bit hard to explain this one but I'd say if you've ever had those apple & banana fruit juice blends, it's similar to those, only it would turn some away like it would be past it's prime.
Mouthfeel is sugary, syrupy, and sweet. Wow...if this one isn't cloyingly sweet like apple pie with extra sugar, I'm not sure what to call it.
Well, I wouldn't call this one a complete loss but it would be a dessert beer for me, and little more. Try pairing this one with apple struedel and vanilla ice cream. I would also serve this one in either a champagne flute, or a cordial glass. It's a sipper, much like a champagne, or riesling. No big gulps allowed due to the high sugar content.

weeare138, Apr 29, 2009
Photo of aasher
2.1/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I had to pick one of these up because I thought some of the reviews for this were pretty entertaining. I also love bananas so wanted to try this unique style. Let's see how this goes. It pours a muddied copper in color with a one finger off white head that dissipated very quickly. It smells of a banana snow cone and dust. Aside from the assault of banana flavoring (almost cotton candy esque), it has this odd musty aroma which is pretty strange. Dunkelweizen banana is one thing, fake banana aromas are another. It's like they didn't try. The flavors are that of banana syrup and sugary malt. It reminds me of an IPA that's about two years past it's prime, with artificial flavoring added. It's strange but reminds me of the Strawberry wheat that Sprecher made about three years ago. It tastes ok, but is just ok. It's that soda syrup. It's cloyingly sweet and hard to drink. I ended up pouring out the last half of my glass. I highly doubt African Mbege style beers are this "fake". I'd really want to try an authentic representation.

aasher, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of kaufmaal
2.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from 2011, picked up a bottle on the discount table for a buck. Lots of carbonation, deep amber color. The taste is a weird one. Sorghum, honey, sour grapes, apricots, and cherries. Cheap rum smell and slight taste. A bit too sweet. A good looking beer, but looks only go so far.

kaufmaal, Oct 06, 2012
Photo of lester619
1.15/5  rDev -52.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I don't know the last time they brewed this, it might not be a fresh example. A better question would be why was it ever brewed at any time. Pours a bright golden yellow orange with not much carbonation. The smell is absolutlely putrid. Harsh overripe rotten banana with some yeasty spice. I don't want to taste it but I guess I should. Yeah, it's awful. Rotten black mushy bananas with fruitflies buzzing around comes to mind. Some sour yeasty notes come out. There is some spice, cloves and anise I think. I don't care anymore, I just want this overwith. Why someone felt it was necessary to brew something like this is beyond me. A good rule of thumb is nothing should taste like bananas except bananas. Oh wow, not good.

lester619, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of sauron681
2.1/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours a peachy-tannish color with light head and very minimal, slippery lacing. Good carbonation throughout session.
Tropical fruit salad aroma, very banana-y. Also another type of fruit couldnt quite figure out. A hint of taffy aroma as well.
Starts out slightly bitter, with sweetnesss going down, and finishes very dry. A creamy light body to go with the style.
I am glad I tried this beer, but I dont feel I will try it again. It is literally for the monkeys.

sauron681, May 15, 2008
Photo of antilogic
2.53/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had this very unique beer on tap at Beachwood BBQ tonight. Good call Kyle for grabbing that keg!

First of all...very interesting. Glad I tried it. The story, of a beer brewed in the spirit of west Africa where they don't have barley (but millet and bananas) is really neat. The beer itself has an aroma of banana and other fruits. The beer is thicker body than I expected, with a taste that is barely banana, and quite unique, I can't place very well. By the end of my several ounce taster, I don't really want any more, but I am still glad I tried it. I'd rather see unique, interesting beers, with a good story, than the same old, same old...My friend placed it as more of a banana liquor...

antilogic, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of Slynger
2.6/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I don't know why I have all of these experimental fruit beers lying around, but I sure hope this one is good, that it is the last because I am getting quite sick of them.

Appearance is a cloudy bright orange with a light banana colored hue. A lacking white head of foam leaves little lacing.

The aroma is quite tropical and un-beer-like. Scratch and sniff banana's and pineapples with a hint of vanill (I may be imagining) and some peeking alcohol.

Taste is lightly bitter sweet at first, but mostly an overwhelming tartness which includes banana and sour peaches. That's really about it. Medium bodied with a mouthfeel that is somewhat slick, but undercarbonated.

This was interesting, but not good. I am glad it is retired.

Slynger, Feb 14, 2008
Photo of dalepryor
3/5  rDev +25%

dalepryor, May 08, 2013
Photo of instinct2
1.8/5  rDev -25%

instinct2, Aug 17, 2014
Photo of Exiled
2/5  rDev -16.7%

Exiled, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of Pauly2X
2.9/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A- Yellow with a dark turbid center, virtually no head.

S- Fresh bananas with hints of alcohol.

T- Quite tart, the banana comes through in the flavor accompanied by some light alcohol notes. Finishes clean.

M- Smooth decent carbonation.

D- I probalbly won't get this again.

Props to Sprecher for going extreme in a unique way. Altough this is a well crafted beer, its just not for me. If you are a fan of extreme beer give this a try, otherwise I'd recomend taking a pass.

Pauly2X, May 28, 2008
Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
2.85/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

16oz bottle directly from the brewery.

A-Hazy rusty peach color with minimal head and carbonation.

S-This smells like sweettarts and red bull. Banana aroma is definately present, but a sugary dominance overtakes it. Definitely not like any other beer I have had before.

T-The taste contains the same sweetness as the nose produces. I truly think it tastes like a wheat beer mixed with red bull. It is not horrible, but I don't quite know how to take it.

M-A chalky, grainy mouthfeel with an odd malternative finish.

D-This is in a class of its own so it is hard to say. I definitely would not drink more of this, but I can imagine that others may enjoy it. It seems a bit too full-bodied to be considered a "girl-friendly" beer, but you never know.

ALESwhatCURESya, Dec 27, 2007
Photo of uwmgdman
3.1/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours a slightly hazy golden with a thin white head-little or no lacing. The aroma is high on banana, not the banana you’d get from a freshly peeled banana, but a banana candy I remember eating as a kid, I think they were Runts--little fruit shaped pseudo-hard candies. There is also a small clove note in the aroma. The taste is quite sweet and has the Runts Banana flavor like in the aroma. The swallow is rather crisp, slightly dry and tart that combined with moderate-high carbonation gives the impression of a slightly higher bitterness than is probably in the beer. There is also a very small clove flavor in the finish. The finish of the beer is cleaner than expected, but the Banana Runts flavor still lingers. Mouthfeel is not bad as the carbonation dances around a little, medium-light body.

Overall I don’t know what to think. I would not buy this again since I don’t want my beer to remind me of Runts. However, if you had a style of banana beers, I would say this one makes sense. The finish of the beer was well done, minus the linger of banana, but again that is personal preference, it says banana on the bottle so I guess I should have expected it. Worth a try if you want to taste something very different, if you’re expecting this to fit into an accepted style you’ll be disappointed.

uwmgdman, Mar 17, 2007
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Mbege Ale from Sprecher Brewing Company
63 out of 100 based on 42 ratings.