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Drake Tail India Pale Ale - AleWerks Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Drake Tail India Pale AleDrake Tail India Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

184 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 184
Reviews: 94
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 12.05%
Wants: 2
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
AleWerks Brewing Company visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Westsidethreat on 11-08-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 184 | Reviews: 94 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Risser09


3.05/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pilsner - fridge - 2009

Appearance: Pours a copper orange and yellow color with a slight haze. Bubbles slowly move to the surface of the beer. A 1" light yellow head builds and shows decent retention. A coat of lace sticks around.

Smell: Heavy caramel malt and some pellet hop aroma. Very sweet sugar is toffee-like and heavy.

Taste: An immediate combination of hops and caramel malts mixes on the tongue. Sweet toffee and nougat overlap a somewhat stale citrus hop flavor. A lingering bitterness of citrus.

Mouthfeel: Sweet, almost cloying, but offset by the hop bitterness. Pretty heavily bodied for an IPA. With a package of carbonation and some alcohol.

Drinkability: A decent brew that needs works. The hops don't taste fresh, and the beer needs to attenuate a little more to loosen the grip that sweetness has on it. Decent.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2009 12:10:33 | More by Risser09
Photo of argock


3.08/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served on-tap at 12th Street Taphouse in a 20oz clear pint glass.

A: Clear amber-red with thin cap of off-white head. Some lace streaks the glass.

S: Aroma is a bit slow to come, but it opens up some as it warms. Thick toffee and caramel are met with floral and pine hops.

T: Flavor is good, but overly sweet. If a beer can be overmalted, this is it, but maybe underhopped is a better call. The sweetness of the caramel and pale malts is not matched adequately by the hops flavors of light orange, floral, and pine character. In the end, it comes off as cloying and very bitter.

M: The mouthfeel is very viscous and nectarlike which only plays more into the cloying nature of this IPA. THe alcohol is also evident. Carbonation is not active enough -- almost none.

D: AleWerks could tweak this recipe with more hops, slightly more carbonation, and a little less body and a have a very nice DIPA (or barleywine for that matter). At this point though, this beer is tough to choke down because of its extreme sweetness, thick body, and harsh bitterness.

Serving type: on-tap

06-30-2009 03:53:08 | More by argock
Photo of Proteus93


3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a rather deep hue... bronzish with perhaps a little touch of chill haze. Head was about a half finger tall... rather short, but it's fairly rich and retains well.

S: An intriguing herbal and lemon zest aroma along with something that reminds me of apple pie or something... sweet apples. It's quite a pleasant scent, with a nice note of malts making it come across as a little more English like in some ways.

T + M + D: Quite a pungent hoppiness, with a sticky body - for comparisons sake, this kind of reminds me of the Sam Adams Longshot DIPA in flavour. It's on the big side for an IPA, but I'm not complaining! Quite a tasty brew, with that herbal and 'resinous' flavour of hops along with a bit of sweetness that I do NOT find in the Sam Adams. It does end up being quite chewy... in some ways, it's a bit of a beast to take down, but all in all, it's a fine beer. I'd gladly pick it up again, though maybe only on those days when I am after something bigger.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2009 03:21:48 | More by Proteus93
Photo of clayrock81


3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a orangish-gold body with two finger white head on top of a citric and soft hop smell (not like a Stone or something where a floral hop smell grabs you by the balls). A medium-bodied and smooth IPA that has subtle fruit and hop flavors for a tasty beer that is balanced well and has a slightly crisp backbite. Some caramel and other sweet malts tucked in there. A decent IPA to relax with.

Serving type: on-tap

04-28-2009 17:15:33 | More by clayrock81
Photo of blackie


4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

apparently reformulated since our last encounter, I've been looking forward to giving this local IPA another shot

a: ale the color of prehistoric amber, a rich blend of copper and orange hues, topped with a light head that recedes to only a ring

s: pulpy tropical fruit hops with crisp grapefruit roll over a big and grainy caramel malt body, mango, passionfruit, sweet tree fruits, a nice malt-heavy IPA with the hop aroma to back it up

m: carbonation on the low side of medium, medium-full body

t: sweet caramel grains introduce a big tropical fruit hop presence that gradually turns towards the pine side as a formidable bitterness steps in to balance the full malts, lingering long into the finish

d: no problem, a very nice IPA

single from the brewery

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2009 03:57:09 | More by blackie
Photo of Durge


4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12-ounce bottle into a pint glass at room temperature this brew shows a hazy carmel color with an out of control oatmeal colored head and layers of lacing. The aroma is a really nice sweet malt and herbal hops. Very thick smell with an edible quality that also notes thick brown bread and apple. The taste is a nice medium bodied tartness with some dry hops blended with caramel malt. Pretty chewy stuff for an IPA, almost a mild DIPA with some alcohol noted. Midland drinkable, definitely worth a try but just short of spectacular.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2009 06:10:06 | More by Durge
Photo of beer2day

North Carolina

3.1/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours much darker than expected with a thick head. Way more malt in the nose and in the mouthfeel than expected as well - almost smoky in both smell and taste. All of the beers I've had from the Aleworks appear to be beyond their prime. Don't know if that's bad luck on my part or theirs.

The hops here are good, but totally tempered by the excessive maltiness of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2009 02:41:06 | More by beer2day
Photo of mdcrouser


4.15/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A solid head provides a cap for a beautifully woody and oaken hoppiness eminating from this beer, matched with the deep amber and brown accents, solidly locked within the confines of the glass. Smooth and sweet on the tongue, exploding with citrus, tobacco, and floral notes, rounded out with a velvety hoppiness that rolls to the back of the tongue - not fiery at all, just really enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2008 23:30:07 | More by mdcrouser
Photo of Applesauce1


3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up as part of mix six-pack at the Westover Market in Arlington.

Smells of hops primarily. The taste is unique. Kinda like your standard IPA taste (bitter with the hops dominating the malt) with something else on the after taste....it seems kinda like mint....hmmm...anyhow, good medium body feel and a nice drinkability (could do 2 in a night).

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2008 21:08:04 | More by Applesauce1
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: slightly cloudy orange in color with a two finger head. Some spotty lacing developed.

Smell: caramel, citrus, and some soft pine are easily detectable.

Taste: overall this is a mellower IPA as caramel is balanced with some softer citrus tones and mild bitterness. A bit of pine lingers in the background.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Crisp throughout. Aftertaste is short-lived.

Drinkability: decent but the mellower IPA version grows a bit boring after a while.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2008 13:11:56 | More by Gavage
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

2.38/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a surprisingly cloudy amber color with a robust head (regretably, the best thing about the beer) that drops some nice lace around the pint

Smell: Liquid caramel with some piney bitter tones

Taste: Loads of caramel on the opening, almost wort-like as the piney bitter elements have a hard time peeking through; after the swallow, there is a touch more bitterness and it is obvious that the beer has been well hopped, but the underattenuation is a big problem

Mouthfeel: Thick like apricot nectar with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Wow, either this is a bad batch or there are some real problems with the brewing techniques (batch 084011, if anybody cares)

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2008 22:54:58 | More by brentk56
Photo of jwc215


3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours murky dirty copper brownish with a thin off-white head that lasts and leaves sticky lacing. Head retention and plenty of lacing make up for rather lackluster/dull color (to a point).

The smell is caramel with some piney resin and some citrus.

The taste is of caramel sweetness (slightly burnt as it progresses) that turns to a bitterish resiny/citric finish. Slight touch of alcohol comes through late, though well-hidden/integrated for the abv (which is not listed on bottle, and was slightly surprised to see here at 7.50).

Creamy, medium body - slightly oily.

A sweeter IPA - Hops present more in flavor than in bitterness (though there is some in the finish). Very smooth. Drinks well despite not being anything "great" or particularly unique. Usually, I don't prefer the caramel to stand out quite so much in my Am. IPA's, but this has a nice, smooth drinkability to it (despite abv). Despite just a touch of burnt caramel, it's good for a sweeter (though with some balance) IPA.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2008 16:09:57 | More by jwc215
Photo of BrewMaven

New York

4.13/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this and a few others while visting Colonial Williamsburg.

Has a nice deep reddish amber hue (Not exactly the palest pale ale.) and a monsterous head that never really goes away. Abundant lacing.

I got a nose full of hops here.

Starts out with green apples, a malty middle and a nice hoppy finish. Viscous mouthfeel and average carbonation.

Definitely would be a repeat buy if I lived in Virginia.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2008 03:16:15 | More by BrewMaven
Photo of wagenvolks


2.95/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Daps and handshakes to atsprings on the freebie.

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass produces a copper/amber body that's a little too dark per the style. The thin cap of creamy, custard foam is attractive, and a fervent carbonation level does its best to keep the retention going. I will commend Drake Tail for leaving behind some of the thickest, most impenetrable lacing I've seen in a while. The aroma is an interesting blend of resinous, tangerine hops with a touch of pine, balanced by sweet caramel malt and a hint of woodiness.

At this point, the beer went downhill for me. The flavor profile starts out with a little malty sweetness and mineral undertone, but one the whole it seems a bit empty and flat. Suddenly, a stampede of bitter, medicinal hops washes across the sides and back of the palate, effectively ruining any chance of this IPA achieving a decent balance. The lingering hoppiness is overtly bitter and fairly unpleasant. Usually, my tastebuds love a good, hoppy thrashing, but the hops have to be done right. In this case, they weren't. This wasn't an un-drinkable beer, as it certainly had a few merits, but I won't be looking to try it again any time soon.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2008 19:19:38 | More by wagenvolks
Photo of Hojaminbag


3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber to copper colored body with a huge, lumpy, off-white head. Great retention, lots of sticky lacing. Pretty beer.

Lots of sweet malts in the nose with a little bit of hops.

A sweet malty IPA, but still with a decent hop balance. Bitterness with a good backbone to it. Creamy mouthfeel.

Rather drinkable IPA.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2008 23:45:49 | More by Hojaminbag
Photo of timtim

District of Columbia

3.05/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

the looks of this beer are definitely the high point. clear reddish amber with a huge, rocky, tan head that holds very well and leaves okay lace. it just goes downhill from here. caramel in the nose. very sweet smelling for the style actually. citrus and pine in the background. smells a bit like homebrew and plastic buckets. i hate to say it, and i thought it was just suggestive perception from another ba, but it's there for sure. very bitter taste with medicine and metal in the finish as well. not terrible, but not what i believe should be included in my fridge, and certainly not what i would use to convince anyone that craft beer is worthwhile. kind of sticky mouthfeel. left me feeling more thirsty. sorry guys... maybe you can revamp.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2008 22:25:01 | More by timtim
Photo of alexgash


3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle picked up at Chevy Chase Liquors.

Slightly hazy, darkish copper body. Small, filmy, dirty light khaki head. Butterscotch malt on the nose with some caramel-y fruits and resinous hops. It's either lean on the hops, or it's been sitting around a little too long (but since there's no Born On Date I have no idea...). Taste follows the trend of the aroma: plenty of butterscotch and caramel-fruit malt and a little weak on the hop flavors. Still, it's a tasty beer. Almost more of a strong English IPA now. Solid hop bitterness in the finish. Medium-bodied with a creamy feel. Would like to try this fresher, but this bottle isn't too shabby as is.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2008 23:01:46 | More by alexgash
Photo of Redwood21


3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have so far been very impressed with the beers from the Alewerks this is no exception.

A: I love it. has a head that lasts and sticks the whole drink with a nice amber color. This is how beer should look.

S: i can't smell too much, so i cant rank it too high, but it definitely doesn't smell off or anything like that.

T: very hoppy with a bitter finish that isn't overpowering. this is not the beer that redefines the style, merely the one that follows the style extremely well. It has a very clean taste.

I like it the best of all the beers i have tried from the alewerks thus far.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2008 03:35:58 | More by Redwood21
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clearish amber body with a small, frothy, ivory-colored head.

Smell: Candyish caramel aroma with notes of citrusy orange peels, pine, and three cardboard boxes.

Taste: Sweetish caramel malts transitions into a sharp, fruity citrus hop juice taste that provides a medium bitterness and is, I dare say, a lil' citric. Hint of Moving Day. Bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: An A-OK IPA.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2008 19:05:52 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of boston2bburg


3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First off, as a Boston area transplant to southwest Virginia I'm always rooting for Virginia breweries to succeed and produce quality beers. That said I was pleased to see the AleWerks beers on the shelves of several area beer shops the past few weeks, and after tasting the Drake Trail Ale consider myself a fan.

Poured a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass and was immediately encouraged by the thickness of the ale and head. I'm not sure what to call it, but I love seeing big old bubbles rolling in the glass as I pour. The head is a thick thumb, and maintains a layer to the bottom of the glass while leaving some sticky thin lacing on the glass. Color is dark and reddish with some slight haze.

Smell is almost all malt, caramel and some toasty biscuit notes, as well as some faint piney hops. This does not translate much at all to the flavor, which was far more bitter than sweet. The caramel flavor does remain some, and I'd describe the hops as piney and floral. As others noticed, balance is not really optimal, but better to err in this direction than the other.

The mouthfeel is thick and chewy, which may turn some off but is just the way I like it. I'm impressed that it was 7.5%; alcohol is hidden by the bitterness, which I imagine I would get used to if sessioning with this beer. Got this 6-pack as a Beer of the Month Club purchase, but will certainly go back to it. Nice job.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2008 01:36:55 | More by boston2bburg
Photo of tgbljb


3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep copper color with way too large a head that escaped the glass several times. Tan chunky head present.
Smell is lighty caramel with distinct hop notes also present.
Taste has the hops in the front, presenting with a strong citrusy bitterness that completely overwhelms and malt character.
Finishes with more dryness.
Not very balanced. Alcohol is well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2007 22:48:41 | More by tgbljb
Photo of OWSLEY069


2/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a deep copper color with a nice tan head. Aromas of fruitiness, and a very light bitter. As in the taste, it has the bitter, but a sweet fruitiness. A big body mouthfeel, and a bitter dry aftertaste. Not that great for an IPA, it is bitter, but the fruitiness throws me off. More of a sweet fruity ale, with a nice bitter taste, but the fruit covers the bitter taste as it warmed up.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2007 16:14:21 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of atsprings

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy dark amber with a thin slowly diminishing head. The aroma caramel and some pine hops. The taste was a very interesting blend of caramel malts and deep pine hops with a hint of citrus, an interesting balance as the malts actually slightly overpower, but the hops are still aggressive. The beer is medium bodied and very refreshing with well hidden alcohol. I'm glad to see there is some good beer coming out of the home of a major AB production site.

Update July 4, 2008: Picked up some more after another visit to Busch Gardens, this years is almost like a completely different beer, I don't know if it was affected by the hop shortage or what, but now the beer us way too malty and less enjoyable than before, my rating has been adjusted accordingly.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2007 03:33:57 | More by atsprings
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.05/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours with an almost four-finger thick, amber-hued, tan colored head that sits atop a brilliantly clear, reddish tinged, amber-copper colored beer. The aroma has a pronounced caramel character that is redolent of crystal malt; caramel, toasted bread, biscuit notes and a crusty bread character are all quite noticeable. There is some hop aromatics here as well, but not nearly as much as I would expect from a beer labeled IPA; herbal hop notes are noticeable with a touch of sweet citrus and perhaps a hint of pine.

Quite bitter tasting with a lasting, lingering bitterness. This bitterness helps to offset a thickish, chewy, caramel malt character & body that would otherwise dominate the beer. Instead the aggressive hop bitterness is the dominant note; it becomes astringent at times, especially in the finish. The bitterness is a bit too harsh for the rest of the beer, which is saying quite a bit considering that this has a cloying amount of crystal malt character too. As my palate gets used to the bitterness and crystal malt flavors I can taste a bit of hop fruit flavors that lean towards sweet citrus notes. This is not a bad tasting beer, it is just way out of balance.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2007 02:11:14 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Atlas1


3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've been impressed so far with the beers coming out of the AleWerks brewery in Williamsburg so far. They're relatively new to the DC area (as far as I know, and I like to think I'm in the know) but they've made me a fan in a short time. Nothing flashy. Just good, solid beers with lots of flavor and character. Now on to the Drake Tail Ale IPA.

Pours a dark, dense-looking copper/amber color, with a sticky, clumpy-looking reddish head of foam on top that leaves plenty of lace to comment on. Displays a rich ruby/orange color when held up to natural window light. This is a fine looking beer from the get-go. The nose contains a lot of piney hops. I like this aroma. I'm a hophead, admittedly, and though I've been stuck in a summer ale/lager mindset lately (it is hot, after all) I can't resist the temptation to try a new IPA when I see one. The aroma here is, like I said, piney, with some grapefruit citrusiness (is that a word?) boiled in for good measure. A nice aroma for sure. The Drake Tail definitely tastes like an IPA, but the high alcohol content (a surprising 7.5% ABV) is masked quite well. Nicely balanced, it blends some pleasant fruitiness with an obvious hop presence, and finishes up with a sweetish bitter kick to the back of the cheeks. This goes down the way an IPA should go down, in my opinion. At times, the mouthfeel is a bit syrupy, which detracts only slightly. Otherwise, this is a fine, highly drinkable beer. I wish it, and its brewers, well.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2007 22:15:37 | More by Atlas1
Drake Tail India Pale Ale from AleWerks Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 184 ratings.