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

Shakparo (Fire-Brewed African Style-Ale)Shakparo (Fire-Brewed African Style-Ale)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

83 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 83
Reviews: 65
rAvg: 3.16
pDev: 20.89%

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)
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Ratings: 83 | Reviews: 65 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of dmfrench


2.28/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Strange tart thing to avoid.

A: Cigarette stain amber body with a fleeting one finger nicotine white head that I had to hard pour to generate. A few yeast chunks, losing points.

S: Potent, funky. Sharp, bitter and sour apple/pear, some amber-like spice, sugary plum, a bit of butter, not much hops to speak of. Strange and not too reminiscent of beer.

T: I hate to say it, but this is pretty gross. Having a hard time drinking enough to get a fair review in. Tart white grape dominates. Fuck it. I can't take it anymore.

M: Thin with a soda like carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2013 00:50:04 | More by dmfrench
Photo of Abcabc


4.33/5  rDev +37%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2013 22:53:19 | More by Abcabc
Photo of tone77


2.64/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. has a light golden color with a 1/2 inch head, lots of carbonation. Smell is grains, mild fruits. Taste is like sour cider, and not in a good way. Bitter, an unusual aftertaste that is hard to describe. Yes, this beer is hanging around in the glass for a while. Feels light in the mouth and overall, while unique, is not very good.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2013 13:44:14 | More by tone77
Photo of WissBrauSean


4.33/5  rDev +37%
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!

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2013 02:51:32 | More by WissBrauSean
Photo of UCLABrewN84


2.33/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bottle pour at the BevMo Holiday Beerfest held at Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a murky orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of grain, fermented pineapple, and strong alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick and a funky flavor on the finish. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a poor beer with some pretty foul aromas and flavors.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 21:33:26 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

3.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - copper; big, dense, white head; good retention

S - grainy, sweet, apples

T - yeasty, apples, caramel, spicy

M - medium body, smooth, crisp

This isn't bad as far as gluten free beers go. It has that typical sweet, apple character that I find off putting. My wife who can only drink gluten free beers ranks this among her favorites.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2012 15:45:31 | More by tdm168
Photo of WastingFreetime


3.15/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A. Lightly clouded straw yellow color with no head or lacing of any sort.

S. At first sniff it smells somewhat like a cross between a sake and a riesling's aroma! More probing pulls out a sort of semi acidic-soured apples, bananas, and pears aroma.

T. The major flavor component is musty soured green apples, secondary flavors seems to include a light psuedo-belgian fruit ester and bubblegum spectrum. Medium levels of phenolics persist towards the back end of the sip.

M. Incredibly astringent and mouth-drying finish, yet paradoxically it has a creamy texture on the medium body. Bizarre!

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2012 13:12:52 | More by WastingFreetime
Photo of comfortablynumb1


2.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

16oz bottle into a Stone IRS snifter...

A - Pours a light amber with a one finger off white head that dissipates very quickly. Lacing is minimal...

S - Lots of sweet fruit notes with some spice in the mix...

T - Apple, banana, pear, and a good spice kick. Spice and yeast come through in the finish...

M - Light bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Thin and fizzy feel...

O - Interesting drink, but not something that I will be revisiting...


Serving type: bottle

04-15-2012 19:36:00 | More by comfortablynumb1
Photo of mactrail


2.78/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This is pretty far outside the Beeriodic Table. It's like discovering a new rare and radioactive element. Looks like beer, foams up and has carbonation like beer, but it tastes like Dr. Pepper mixed with Xango. Or some kind of Chinese medicinal concoction. Maybe this is traditional or gives us a glimpse into other cultures, but I don't have to like it. First sip give you that spoiled fruit taste with the forgot-to-take-out-the-garbage smell. A little edge of banana pith. Eventually it goes down easier, but my next beer is going to be a double IPA to get the taste out of my mouth.

I'd say we need a separate style category for this sort of stuff. It is in fact beer-like, but to call it an amber is silly. If there are wheat beer categories, there ought to be one for millet or other sugar sources.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2012 05:31:03 | More by mactrail
Photo of JohnnyHopps


3.53/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From Sprecher gluten-free beer line, Shakparo is the most easily available of the beers. However, Mbege is the superior offering. When either are available at the brewery, it is advisable to stock up.

Poured into a pint glass, I was surprised by the vinegar odor. Having drank this many times before, I do not remember this issue. Allowing the ale to air out, this became less of a disturbance. With little head, the ale is a golden orange color. The initial taste brings cider to mind. Notes of sour apples and various spices are noteable. This is an easy drinker with not much carbonation and disappears into a pleasing slightly sour taste. It is not a drink for everybody, but it is a nice change of pace.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2012 23:24:30 | More by JohnnyHopps
Photo of Lemke10


2.58/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I bought a single bottle of this from Woodman's in Janesville, WI for $1.79 in Fall 2011.

Pours a clear, light amber color with not too much of a head due to the lack of carbonation. Scents of banannas and some spices are evident. The texture of the beer is watery and the taste is not too inviting. The taste has hints of banannas and dry malts with a slight lemon zest. Overall that taste is very dry and chalky feeling. Perhaps this is good for a gluten free beer, but I'll take my next beer without sorghum thank you.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2011 06:07:10 | More by Lemke10
Photo of Metalmonk

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Reading the label, I get the feeling this is mis-categorized here on BA. And pouring assures me of that. There's no amber or red to be found in the appearance, just a cloudy peach-yellow color with a wispy head and mellow bubble activity (although the healthy cap-opening "zisss!" assures it's fresh enough).

Smell is an odd one. Musty (like a wet basement) with faint traces of peach, pear and apple. Yeasty and earthy, with a very light white pepper character in the background.

Taste features a kind of spicy attack that gives the illusion Shakparo is much stronger than 5.7%. The fruity elements are propped up and shining, especially big green apple, as is a hint of white pepper and even the ghost of some sort of chili. The yeast has a decidedly Belgian character to it, and knowing Sprecher has attempted Belgian styles, maybe it's an authentic strain of some sort. All in all, the beer carries a pretty exotic flair, which I guess is thanks to, uh, I don't know, whatever is making these characteristics pop...probably the sorghum and millet? Interesting, and pretty enjoyable too.

Unfortunately the feel is the downfall of this beer. It's all spritz, like soda-pop. Not good.

Lots of different things happening here, and I'm really glad I tried it. Very different. There are definitely lesser beers out there for gluten-allergic beer lovers, but I'm still grateful I'm not one of them.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2011 22:31:24 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of tvv375ia


3.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 16oz bottle into pint glass

A-What head there was disappeared before I Could tell if it was over a finger or not. Amber apple juice color

S-Strange, almost like a sour apple

T-hard cider flavors, a lot of apple that tastes better than the smell.

M-carbonation leaves very quickly any the beer seems flat

O-Actually came across a fairly drinkable if you like hard cider once you get past the strange smell. In the glass it simply looks like hard cider since there is no head retention or lacing when I first smelled it I was sure it was going to be a drain pour but it is not bad, not sure if I would get another one but I did finish this one.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2011 23:10:46 | More by tvv375ia
Photo of cdkrenz


2.58/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A - Light and white quick lived (its already gone) head. Body is a cloudy brownish orange with nothing at the surface reminding me that head was once there.

S - The aromas of banana, fig, and bubble gum make for an inviting scent.

T - There's a strange clove-live flavor in this brew that's rather overwhelming near the beginning. It's not a true clove but almost a cross between clove and smoke. There's some banana to note as well.

M - The feel is smooth, soft and easy.

~ White it smells and feels the part, the flavor holds the most weight here and unfortunately I can't say its something I'll every purchase again, nor will I recommend this beverage to a friend.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2011 22:41:12 | More by cdkrenz
Photo of TheHoppiest


2.8/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 16 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a silty, cloudy amber, with an almost muddy look to it. A 1/2" head reduces to a 1/8" lid that is being fed with active carbonation.

Has a heavy banana and clove aroma, with hints of ginger and cinnamon. In fact, it almost smells like carrot cake.

Has a tangy, peachy taste, with hints of apricot. A slightly sour ending, the lack of malt in this beer leaves it feeling like there's a hole in this beer's taste.

Medium bodied, there's a slight creaminess that is buried beneath the sour fruit.

Well, I really wanted to like this gluten-free beer. And, as it is the only one I've ever had, I can't say if it is any better or worse than other gluten free beers. However, I can say that I'm not planning having another any time soon.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2011 02:14:44 | More by TheHoppiest
Photo of Halcyondays


3.93/5  rDev +24.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2011 04:39:11 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of TMoney2591


3.15/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Who doesn't love crazy-ass beer recipes? I know I do (ask around). This one pours a cloudy, sediment-filled amber-straw topped by a very short-lived half-finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises coriander, wheat, orange peel, and a strong sense of something akin to strawberries and red grapes. It's as though a mild wit were blended with a framboise or something, with less-than-stellar results. Nose-wise, anyway. The taste, though, continues this idea, with the orange peel coming off as a bit old, slightly musty. The strawberry remains, and a bunch of really dry wheat makes up the foundation. Altogether, it just doesn't work for me. The body is a hefty light, with a light moderate carbonation and a grainy feel. Overall, a decent-ish beer, but not one I'd really reach for very often at all. Not my cup o' beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2011 23:51:51 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a cloudy dark golden/amber color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is average. It has a fruity/sour scent along with a mild sorghum/millet aroma. This style is a little new to me, but it's pretty light and refreshing. The taste is decent. It's fruity as hell and the taste isn't close to that of a malted beer. It's an easy drinker with a unique flavor. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a beer I'm glad I had the opportunity to try, but will not seek out again.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2010 21:57:25 | More by WesWes
Photo of tim9887


3.65/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2010 03:56:53 | More by tim9887
Photo of BeerAdvocate


3.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine April 2007.

Shakparo is a sorghum beer that's traditionally brewed in West Africa using wild yeast. Sprecher went the Belgian-yeast route--talk about going out on a limb for craft beer in the US. American brewers know no bounds. We love it.

Tiny bubbled lace stays for the duration, and does not cling to the glass at all. Very cloudy orange-beige opaque appearance. Herbal phenols all over the aroma; slight plum fruitiness with a hay-like nose. Slick and smooth with a crisp back end and a flush medium body. Sweet, to fruity, to grainy. Plum and cherry fruitiness with an astringent husk. Bubble gum? Hops are mild. Earth, mineral, faint salt, lemon, medicinal herb and cereal grain throughout. Long, faded, astringent finish actually makes this beer a bit more interesting.

Interesting enough to be enjoyable, perhaps too interesting to drink the whole bottle alone. We went with a mild basil and chili pepper dry-rubbed flank steak with fried plantains for the pairing. Perhaps one of the best pairings yet.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2010 20:48:01 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of BeerFMAndy


3.48/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

16 oz bottle poured into a Sprecher Nonic. 09338 on the neck. Nutrition facts and Ingredients listed as well.

A - Sprecher's take on a Gluten Free beer pours out a little cloudy. A tinge of orange appears in the golden-yellow color and a subtle off-white head crowns the top. Loud and poorly retained, it sank to a thin film and ring with no lace.

S - Shakparo smells surprisingly like a hefeweiss, granted, with a weird fink. A dry straw grainy aroma outlines the nose and encloses the yeasty banana and light spice characteristics.

T - Again, it's sort of reminiscent of a hefeweiss but this low medicinal thing invites itself in a sticks around longer than you'd like it to which in turn disrupts the good flow going on. An artificial sweetener flavor pops up right away and is married by dry straw, yeast, and banana with a mild spice hint. Not ad for being Gluten Free.

M - Medium-bodied with a lengthy sweetness and carbonation kick to the finish but unfortunately, it's got that medicinal feel to the end.

D - If I had celiac's, I'd be all over this one, but because I don't, I don't know that I'll have it again. Last time I had it was when Mbege was out about 5 years ago. Really though, it's not a bad beer, even for this Ba.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2010 23:54:48 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of orbitalr0x


2.23/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

16oz bottle pours a clear straw yellow with a hint of orange. Not real head just some fizzy bubbles. Aroma is rather off putting quite frankly. Light toasted grain and an odd fruity scent. A touch of a syrupy accent as well.

First sip brings lightly toasted grains again along with an odd conglomeration of fruit flavors. Some grape skin and apple. I get the syrupy twist on the way down again. Really light and a bit biting on the palate. Flavors just don't work for me here.

Mouthfeel is thin and fizzy overall. Hard to drink as the flavor is quite a punch in the mouth. Can't say I really enjoyed this one but the concept is cool. Will stick with my other Sprecher faves.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2009 23:46:24 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of Ragingbull


2.2/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Fire brewed ale made from sorghum and millet instead of wheat or barley. Dark gold and cloudy in appearance. Very faint prickle that doesn't quite break through the surface. Almost brown looking down in the center like there is a cloud within the beer. Light grain nose of either the sorghum or the millet but I couldn't tell you which. Attack and flavor is reminiscent of malt liquor. The finish manages to be clean. The mouthfeel is more "soda pop" like than it is beer like. It is very unique. I would dare say this is one of the beers that reveals the minor flaw with how reviews are done here. The style is not on the list, but rather than having the capability to add styles, the reviewers just pick a style. So if you are comparing this to an American Amber or Red its not all that great, but if it were a truly "african" style beer it might be very good for that type. As it is, I didn't really care all that much for it.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2009 13:45:36 | More by Ragingbull
Photo of KBomb


3.18/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pale copper color that's quite cloudy. One finger of soapy head pops up, but disappears to nothing within moments. Smells like a dry champagne; grapes and green apple. There is a hint of something a little sour and musty, but its not too bad. Yeasty and fruity smells are a precursor to yeasty and fruity flavor. Citrus flavors are paired with a little spice (ginger?). What starts a little crisp and sweet turns a bit sour on the back of the tongue. MF is quite dry, prickly high carbonation. A little filling. Not exceptionally drinkable.

I don't really dislike the flavors, but its just a little too different for me to really appreciate all that much. Glad I tried it, but I don't anticipate having it again.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2009 02:51:59 | More by KBomb
Photo of ClockworkOrange


2.78/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A 16 ounce bottle purchased at the Craft Ale House for around $2 (to-go). Poured into an Imperial pint glass. Appears a cloudy bright golden yellow with a light jade green tint around the edges with an inch of off white foam. The head quickly fades into a thin layer, leaving no lacing. The nose consists of apples and lightly toasted grains of some sort. Tastes medicinal and sweet with notes of green apple, lemon. Unique to say the least. Thin bodied with barely any carbonation. I drank just enough to form an opinion of this beer, the remainder went down the drain. Although, I'm glad I had the chance to try it I guess.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2009 02:52:28 | More by ClockworkOrange
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Shakparo (Fire-Brewed African Style-Ale) from Sprecher Brewing Company
74 out of 100 based on 83 ratings.