Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

Drake Tail India Pale Ale - AleWerks Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

100 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 100
Hads: 239
Avg: 3.66
pDev: 17.76%
Wants: 3
Gots: 36 | 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:
Beer added by: Westsidethreat on 11-08-2006

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
firstprev| 26-50 | 51-75 | 76-100  | next → last
Reviews: 100 | Hads: 239
Photo of Gavage
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

 480 characters

Photo of brentk56
2.45/5  rDev -33.1%
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)

 681 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

 994 characters

Photo of BrewMaven
4.08/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

 405 characters

Photo of wagenvolks
2.98/5  rDev -18.6%
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.

 1,179 characters

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.49/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

 314 characters

Photo of timtim
3.06/5  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.

 746 characters

Photo of alexgash
3.55/5  rDev -3%
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.

 660 characters

Photo of Redwood21
3.91/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

 590 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

 447 characters

Photo of boston2bburg
3.64/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

 1,397 characters

Photo of tgbljb
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
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.

 372 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
2.01/5  rDev -45.1%
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.

 389 characters

Photo of atsprings
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

 774 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.06/5  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.

 1,185 characters

Photo of Atlas1
3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

 1,479 characters

Photo of shivtim
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew is ruddy, clear, deep amber, with a pretty decent whitish head. Good lacing too. Nose is mostly toffee malts, but there's some hops and citrus in there too. Taste is quite hoppy on the finish, with bits of orange and maybe even some sweet berries. Strong sweet malts carry throughout. Mouthfeel fits the beer, it feels like an IPA but a bit thicker. Drinkability is high. This is an interesting IPA, quite unique.

 423 characters

Photo of akorsak
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle from a trade with guinnessfan.

A: The IPA is surprisingly dark, darker brown even than the amber bottle it came in. The head was ginormous as well, requiring three separate pours to fill my glass. Each time, a voluminous head erumpted and overflowed. The head quickly receded but the size left nice lacing in the glass.

S: The nose is very grainy, caramel and toffee aroma predominantly. Some spicy citrus hops come through that ESB-like body.

T: A hop presence comes out of the body that was nowhere to be found in the nose. It is a strong citrus flavor, full of pineapple and apricot along with some piney resiny thickness. The hops sit atop, and completely dominate a nut brown, toffee malt body. An interesting combination of big hops and toffee sweetness.

M: This is an amped up ESB, IMHO. The hops are quite lively, making a sip a real event.

D: The malts are a little too strong and filling to really hunker down and get into this. Despite that, one glass is a treat.

 1,004 characters

Photo of mmmbeer
4.37/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle - brewed with Cascade and Amarillo hops. It pours deep amber, with a light to medium bead that leads up to a half-inch head which deposits little lace. There are both citric hops and sweet malts in the nose, along with hints of caramel, molasses, and red berries (currant, cherry, strawberry?). The body has a big bitterness that slowly creeps to the back of the mouth, revealing notes of piney/citric and earthy hops, lightly balanced by fruity, caramelly, earthy, and perhaps buttery malts. It feels nice and smooth, almost creamy on the palate, with low carbonation and a long finish. An interesting brew - the flavor starts like an English pale, but it soon reveals the American IPA hiding within.

 715 characters

Photo of SwillBilly
4.08/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle:

Appearance: Pours a deep rich amber, the color of strong ice tea. Nice and clear with a sturdy off white head capping the pour. Sheets of lacing cling to the sides of the pint glass as the beer is emptied.

Smell: Nice and malty upfront with hints of caramel and dark fruit that gives way to a subtle, citrusy hoppiness.

Taste: Drake Tail IPA starts with a malty sweetness with plenty of caramel, dark brown sugar and dark fruit. The middle moves the beer along to a really nice hoppiness that isn't overpowering but nicely balances out the hops. Has a nice grapefruity, citrusy bitterness that lingers on the tongue after the swallow.

Mouthfeel: Medium and somewhat creamy with plenty of carbonation to keep things lively.

Drinkability/Notes: A really nice and different IPA from the folks at Williamsburg Alewerks. Plenty of crystal malt upfront lending the ale to its darker color and caramel/brown sugar like sweetness. The hops nicely balance the malt with plenty of citrusy bitterness. I really nice beer that I would definitely buy again. These guys are doing some good things at this brewery, glad I can get it locally. Recommended, Seek and Enjoy !

 1,197 characters

Photo of Braudog
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Another goodie from the new local WAW. This poured with a gigantic shield of off-white bubbles over a dark red brew. It produced a nice dirty hop aroma ... very much an invitation to attack the glass. Stark, warming earthy hop bitterness is the predominate sense here ... bit of pineapple rind, too. Only downside on this wonderfully flavored beer is a bit of a light body.

 373 characters

Photo of dedrinker
3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured dark golden to amber. Smell sweet malt and floral hops. Taste is more sweet malt and decent hop presence if the malt wasn't so sweet. Poorly attenuated for the style - could use either more hops or a more thorough fermentation. It was good though it became cloying towards the end with all the sweet malt going on. I don't think I could have more than one.

 363 characters

Photo of guinnessfan
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh 12 oz. bottle from 6'er purchased at the brewery, poured into Das Festhaus pint glass.

A: Beautiful, clear, deep copper color, with a nice pillowy, 4-finger head. Great lacing and retention.

S: Nice hop, malt and a slight citrusy aroma.

T: Bitter hops and citrus zest, combined with a caramelized malty goodness. Good and interesting balance. Dry hop finish.

M: Somewhat thicker and creamier than normal. Crisp ending clean taste.

D: Great beer but perhaps a little too strong to session. Definately one of the two beers from the Alewerks that I really liked.

Good beer that I hope they make available on cask. The guy at the brewery said it may be a possibility in the future.

 701 characters

Photo of Saunapoika
4.23/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A very good-looking beer. It's got a great deep (more red than amber)-copper color that's very clear. Just looking at this brew makes me want to drink it. Off-white clingy receding head.

S: I can smell the hoppiness at the crack of the bottle. Overtones of dry (crisp) clean citrus. It takes a few sniffs to get to the citrus, but it's there. Very slight scent of alcohol.

T: Outstanding. Before the intense hoppiness hits you, there's a slight caramel/biscuit taste there. Once that's over, it's a mouthfull of bitter hops. Dry and true to its style.

M: Seems a bit heavy. There's a lot going on in this beer. Smooth initially but towards the end, I almost want to pucker up a bit - not due to a sour taste but due to the dryness. Very, very crisp.

D: I am an IPA fan and this one is the complete package. Most likely, this one will be a mainstay in my home.

 876 characters

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to GenCornwallis for this opportunity

A: Somewhere between cranberry juice and rootbeer...quite thick looking. Lots of little bubbles meander from the bottom of the glass to the top. Head is fairly creamy, light beige with a greenish tint. Its fallen quite a bit but some good swatches lay across the top of the body and a quality ring remains around the sides of the glass.

S: Sweet malts and citrus...you know this is gonna be good. Some pineapple, earthy pine hops and a touch of OJ.

T: Begins with an interesting flavor right on the tip of the tongue. Mixture of sap, hoppy oils and bittered orange peel. Moves towards juicy grapefruit and some earthy, dirty bitterness. A huge blanket of pine bittering hops move and streak right down the center of the tongue leaving a wake of destruction in its path. Aftertaste has a bit of red berry off the vine and more serious hops.

M: Medium body, a bit thinner than I would have suspected

D: This beer could easilly pass as an xmas ale IMO. Only drawback is the dirty bitterness that plagues this (and so many other) beers. At least its not cookie cutter and can stand out in a crowded IPA marketplace.

 1,172 characters

firstprev| 26-50 | 51-75 | 76-100  | next → last
Drake Tail India Pale Ale from AleWerks Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 100 ratings.