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Shakparo (Fire-Brewed African Style-Ale) - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Shakparo (Fire-Brewed African Style-Ale)Shakparo (Fire-Brewed African Style-Ale)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

92 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 92
Reviews: 67
rAvg: 3.12
pDev: 22.76%
Wants: 6
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  5.70% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Shakparo Ale is a West African Shakparo-style beer brewed from sorghum & millet. Unfiltered ale. Gluten-free (not wheat or barley).

(Beer added by: shbobdb on 01-15-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 92 | Reviews: 67 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TimRasmussen
5/5  rDev +60.3%

TimRasmussen, Jun 01, 2012
Photo of Abcabc
4.33/5  rDev +38.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - copper; white head; mild retention and long lasting lacing.

S - light sweetness, apples, with hints of orange peel.

T - apples, caramel, spicy with light tartness. No bitterness.

M - light to medium body, smooth, crisp

This is excellent as a gluten-free beer and has far more flavor than the big brand American beers. It has a slight sweet, apple character that makes it an excellant session beer.

I would prefer more body, although most beers need this for my taste.

Abcabc, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of WissBrauSean
4.33/5  rDev +38.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I was loving this 16 oz. bottle until I opened it and found out it was screw top. Booo! It's a cool bottle and a nice label otherwise. It's a pretty affordable beer though, so that is good.

The beer poured a mostly clear light brown/amber in color with a full one finger head that immediately dissipated to non-existant pretty quick. This seems to be the norm for gluten free's.

I immediately smelled sour upon opening, it wasn't strong, but released all of a sudden. As I drink it, that has mellowed but still apparent. Indeed it does have an apple note to it but there is also a faint caramel aroma associated with it.

I don't know what they mean by "Fire Roasted" in the description of the beer, perhaps that pertains to the millet adjunct used to flavor the beer. The beer starts off mildly cider-like and as it moves across your tongue it moves into caramel apple with, indeed, a very mildly apparent fire roasted flavor and then a slightly dry mega mild hoppy finish with black pepper notes at the very end. Lots of beers have this in common. There is also a lingering mildly grassy and yeasty taste. It's really good and mildly complex and warming with alcohol when drinking on an empty stomach. It's not easy picking out these flavours, but they are there. It's just a little thin. The roasted flavor is quite noticeable between sips. It's F@CKING GOOD!

Mouthfeel and Body are kind of like those difficult terms to describe like "Ethereal" or even "Surreal" and it takes a while to really discern them. When people mention them don't get discouraged and just try and see what they mean by trying that beer as well. You can think of it as sweet and syrupy or thin like lemonade in one respect, but it encompasses a wide range of how it makes your mouth feel. Sometimes it is as simple as that. This beer is thin for a beer like an ale like bass ale, but more full than say a coors light. So I call it thin to moderate. Something syrupy might be like a Belgian Tripel or something like a La Fin Du Monde (if you haven't tried that, you are missing out). Mouthfeel also describes how the carbonation of the beer feels on your tongue or whether or not the carbonation carries flavors and smells along with it as the bubbles burst. This beer is only mildly carbonated which is nice. Sometimes higher carbonated Gluten Free beers will taste like champagne on the tongue and in your nose.

As Gluten free beers go, this is one of the best that I have had so far. The roasted flavor really tips this beer over the edge and I feel that this is going to be, or has been, an award winning beer. I highly recommend it! It's only downfall is it's lack of head and lightly thin body and I have to give average scores for those. How the "sorghum problem" was handled in this beer is excellent and definitely world class! CHEERS!

WissBrauSean, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of shbobdb
4.15/5  rDev +33%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It pours a pleasant red-gold with a head that quickly collapses into a faint ring-around-the-beer-glass.

It smells, well, like bananas. It smells very weizen-y, but without any of the wheat spiciness. Granted, this isn't a wheat beer so I can't dock it for that. I just found it one dimensional (fortunately, it was a good dimension).

The taste is like the smell, but the sweetness from the weizen yeast, as well as the grains really work well together. I like the taste of this beer a lot. It has all the estery elements of a weizen, but it has a little bit of extra pizzaz from the unusual grains.

The mouthfeel . . . well, it is quite good for an ale, but I am used to the creamy thick mouthfeel of a weizen. I guess I'm just spoiled -- when I think of Weizen esters, I think of that mouthfeel. But the mouthfeel is still quite pleasant. Rich and full -- it would be cloying but there is enough carbonation to cut it. Rather like a soda-pop. It is very nice.

Drinkability? I only bought one? Pity. A four-pack would have been nice. More than a four-pack? Ehhhh . . . maybe.

Not Sprecher's best beer, but I wouldn't mind too much if they added it to their regular line-up. Quite nice. Perhaps too sweet, but quite nice.

This is also easily the best gluten free beer I've ever had.

shbobdb, Jan 15, 2007
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.06/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz twist-off bottle poured into a Sprecher Pokal glass.
6.3% ABV

A - Sprecher's unfiltered take on a Gluten Free beer pours faintly hazy with a tint of orange appearing in the golden-yellow. The soft stark white head which crowns the top is retained well, leaving

S - Surprisingly aromatic, Shakparo smells like a German hefeweizen with notes of ripe banana and Bubble Tape bubblegum with a slight funk of wet straw to it. Despite the lack of wheat or barley malt, there's a nose reminiscent of grainy pale malt which gives this gluten free beer a certain appeal.

T - Following in the footsteps of the aroma, Shakparo relies heavily on this German hefeweizen style yeast strain that brings offerings of ripe banana and a subtle nod to clove and bubblegum to the table which, for any normal beer drinker, does a good job of distracting from the lack of malt. The sorghum and millet combination certainly isn't awful but, in league with a touch of artificial sweetness, it brings a slightly husky, earthy finish that lingers, transitioning into a green apple-like cider flavor that's not bad at all.

M - Crisp carbonation dances on the tongue while this light-bodied beer finishes dry and with a tiny splash of sweetness, like the flavor, reminiscent of a cider.

O - Some times it's hard as "regular" beer drinkers to take a step back and objectively look at gluten free beer, but I view Shakparo as a huge step in the right direction for beer available to those who normally can't partake. With an overall flavor like a hefeweizen, this gluten free beer manages to pull together essences of beer that tastes like, well, beer; one style in particular. It's not for everyone but it's great for those who have my deepest condolences; people with Celiac's or who live gluten free.

BeerFMAndy, May 13, 2014
Photo of eliz108
4/5  rDev +28.2%

eliz108, May 17, 2013
Photo of CWhite
4/5  rDev +28.2%

CWhite, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of kevbie
4/5  rDev +28.2%

kevbie, Sep 12, 2014
Photo of grahamboudreaux
4/5  rDev +28.2%

grahamboudreaux, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of AdmiralDiaz
3.98/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to pint glass.

A: Pours a semi-hazy orange with a decent sized off-white head. looks similar to a hefeweizen.

S: My first though when I smelled this was sake...the weird thing is that I'm sure there is no rice in there. Anywho strong fruit along with a clove scent

T: Tastes is definitely odd for the style...I'm fairly sure that this is only classified as a red/amber because there is not defined name for the style? Strong fruit flavor; bananas, apple, apricot. Notable spiciness from a good amount of clove. If I didn't know any better I would have thought this was some sort of hefeweien or some other fruity german lager.

Overall: Mouthfeel was well carbonated and very smooth. Pretty drinkable, however the taste is a bit intense, I would only do a few of these. This is unique, that's for sure.

AdmiralDiaz, Apr 22, 2009
Photo of Halcyondays
3.93/5  rDev +26%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a hazy orange yellow with a very light fizzy white head, light lace.

S: Heavy banana and wheat, bubblegum, nice smell.

T: Assorted grain character with a lot of banana and bubblegum. A very estery flavour, quite good.

M: Medium-bodied, fairly smooth, soft carbonation, quite easy drinking.

O: A beer that is very much in the hefe category, but as with Mbege, Sprecher has made a very good African-style version of one. I've had it before, and I always enjoy this beer.

Halcyondays, Jun 04, 2011
Photo of aforbes10
3.9/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this in Milwaukee. Opened it with some trepidation due to not really knowing what the heck this is supposed to be. Pours orangey yellow with not much of a head. Smell is sweet, like cooked yams or sweet potatoes. hints of honey, grains, and orange juice. Taste is pretty strange. one of those beers that challanges a palate which expects particular flavors from a beer. Tart, somewhat cady-corn like flavor with sweet grain on the finish ("like sweet milo," my wife says, which is, of course, accurate based on what they make it with). Reminds me of other gluten free beers but tastes better than most of those that i've had. Way to go, Sprecher, for going a bit outside the box with this one.

aforbes10, Jun 12, 2007
Photo of Atron67
3.9/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured a foggy golden yellow with a foamy white head that faded quickly

- smells of slight esters some slightly sour scents, sweet, no hop

T- a smooth tartness, reminiscent of a german wheat beer, however slightly sour flavors due to the sorghum and millum

M- slightly heavy body, delayed carbonation that gives it a slightly acidic burst

D- pretty good, its a damn solid beer and i admire their willingness to try something so different.

Atron67, Aug 04, 2007
Photo of Tballz420
3.88/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Straw pale color at the bottom of the glass, towards the top of the beer its a darker yellowish orange color. Hazy throughout, lots of little bubbles on the lower part of the glass rise constantly. Small white head. Much lighter colored beer than I was expecting to see in a "american amber/red ale" category. Scent is light malts with lemony zest, some grass smell. Initial taste is very tart, eventually a light malt essence comes forth. Earthy tones. I don't know what the hell it is, but its pretty refreshing. Light bodied. I'll leave it to the experts to tell you what the hell is going on with this one, not bad though.

Tballz420, Sep 13, 2007
Photo of uwmgdman
3.85/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a cloudy golden-orange with a thin white head. There is a decent amount of suspended yeast, partially on purpose, I poured aggressively. The aroma has a moderate amount of clove, and trace amounts of banana, it actually smells a lot like Weihenstephan Weizen yeast. The taste is predominately clove, a little residual sweetness, low bitterness, and no hop flavor. The finish is a little crisp and tart, rather refreshing. The carbonation is moderate and body is light to medium-light. This is the first beer I’ve had with sorghum. Overall this is by far the better of the two African beer offerings by Sprecher. The aroma and taste are both solid, a lot like a Hefeweizen. The finish is crisp and refreshing. I don’t know how much of the yeasty/clove aroma taste was a result of a nice aggressive pour, but if I have another one, I’ll do it again. Not too bad, grab a bottle and try it out.

uwmgdman, Mar 20, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.85/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bold kumquat with ripe lemon trim. I expected to see more haze since the beer is unfiltered. However, a sparse cloud of fine yeast can be seen on closer inspection. The pale orangish ecru cap persists nicely, but qualifies as unattractive in terms of texture. It's soft, mealy and unsticky, leaving the glass virtually untouched. I'm sure the ingredients are mostly, if not entirely, responsible.

Shakparo smells like an especially clove-intensive hefe weizen. There may be other spices present as well, it's hard to say. The beer is also nicely fruit, as advertised, with bananas at the head of the line as far as my nose knows.

This 'Fire-Brewed, African-Style' beer is the best gluten-free ale that I've ever had, hands down. I now wonder why the others were so distasteful, relatively speaking. I don't think there's any question that sorghum and millet are inferior to barley malt when it comes to the brewing of beer. For those who have no other choices, though, this is damn good stuff. It's too bad Sprecher doesn't distribute nationwide.

The secret to Shakparo's success is, I believe, the abundance of fruit and spice that covers up the potential unpleasant graininess of the atypical grains. As noted two paragraphs up, the hefe weizen comparison is right on the money. If I hadn't known better, I don't think I would have been able to identify this as a barley-free beer.

The mouthfeel is where the absence of barley malt is felt most keenly. Not its lightness so much as its lightly oily slickness. It's far from unpleasant, however, and is easily managed given what's happening on the taste buds.

Shakparo is vastly superior to Sprecher's other recently released African beer, the abysmal Mbege Ale. I'm amazed at how good this offering is under the circumstances. I try never to say 'never, but I doubt that I'll have a better gluten-free beer... ever. This is the first one that I'd consider drinking again. For those who have celiac disease, I would think the drinkability score would be a 5.0.

BuckeyeNation, May 07, 2007
Photo of zook74
3.8/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It's really tough to judge this beer by traditional standards simply because it's a huge departure from any kind of "norm" we may have in mind, so let me preface this review by saying that I really do enjoy this beer.

This beer drinks much more like a sake than it does a beer. Reasonable enough since it's not brewed from any traditional grains, but rather from sorghum and millet.

Definitely interesting. I picked up a single bottle to try and liked it enoughto pick up a four pack the next time I was out so could enjoy it again and also so that I could share it with the wifey.

zook74, May 18, 2008
Photo of hwwty4
3.8/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to RblWitACoz for this one (and thanks to my wife for letting me drink one).

Poured a 16oz bottle into my Chimay chalice. This beer pours an orangey, reddish amber with just a slight bit of head that disappears quickly. The aroma is interesting. Vinegar and sour apples come out with just a bit sweet malt at the tail. The taste is sour/sweet combination. It tastes more like a really dry cider than beer. It surprises me how sour it actually is. Really interesting. The mouthfeel is light and crisp. It's interesting. I really appreciate, having a gluten intolerant wife, that an established beer brewery thought it important enough to try out an recipe like this. It gives some options to the gluten free crowd. With that being said, I don't know if I could drink more than 1 at a sitting.

hwwty4, Aug 06, 2008
Photo of Tiernan
3.75/5  rDev +20.2%

Tiernan, Aug 19, 2014
Photo of TripelMark
3.75/5  rDev +20.2%

TripelMark, Apr 14, 2013
Photo of m0ntels
3.75/5  rDev +20.2%

m0ntels, Oct 18, 2012
Photo of emerge077
3.7/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Silhouette of African animals walking together, that lion must have had his dinner already. The scene is very Lion King, Hakuna-Matata...

Hazy orange pour into a pint glass. Two fingers of foam at first, which dwindle down to a skimpy ring of tiny bubbles. Some sediment in the bottle, which clouded up the ale when poured.

First impression is of funky apples, ripe and rotting in the orchard. Some unidentified spice in there as well.

Well carbonated at first, but seems to lose steam after awhile. Tart, citrusy at first, lemon or cider suggestion, with a dry, papery, herbal finish. I'm guessing the sorghum is responsible for the mild sweetness. I'm not sure how millet tastes, but it could be the dry herbal/grainy side to this.

When served cold, this is pretty refreshing. Don't let it warm up too much. It's an acquired taste, but isn't too hard to get used to. Two in a sitting was easy.

emerge077, Aug 21, 2007
Photo of brdc
3.7/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Small capped bottle poured into a pint.

Slightly hazy golden brew with a decent white head, average retention.
Aroma is unexpectedly nice, quite fruity, spicy, reminiscent of some wine coolers. Different.
Easy going and refreshing, fruity, nicely carbonated, with multiple fruity notes.
This is an interesting "extreme" beer, quite light and refreshing. Not a great beer but an interesting alternative, I might even revisit during summer. Better than expected.

brdc, Mar 12, 2008
Photo of tim9887
3.65/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice slightly hazy golden-orange with white foamy head. Aroma is on the pungent side, big notes of banana and clove similar to that of a hefeweizen. Belgian yeast-esque spice to it as well. Similar characteristics in the flavor as well. Very tart juicy fruit (orange/pear?) character to it. Very faint, subtle bitterness in the finish. Bright, bubbly carbonation. Interesting stuff. My first foray into gluten-free beer.

tim9887, May 11, 2010
Photo of rallison
3.58/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was curious to try this beer - and am glad I did. I believe this is my first gluten-free beer.

Pours a golden amber color with a fizz 1 finger head that mostly dies. Smell is a bit disappointing - some semi-artificial smelling tropical fruits - banana, etc.

Taste improves. While not extremely complex, and still with a touch of that artificial tropical fruit sweetness, it is quite drinkable. I guess it lacks the familiar barley malt base, but this still tastes like beer. Kind of like one of those slightly too sweet and not complex enough Belgian pales. Which means this isn't half bad - it's just not great.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are both good.

A new experience for me. If I run into someone with celiac disease who misses beer, I'll definitely point them toward this. Recommended.

rallison, Jun 13, 2007
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Shakparo (Fire-Brewed African Style-Ale) from Sprecher Brewing Company
73 out of 100 based on 92 ratings.