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Samurai Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Samurai AleSamurai Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

580 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 580
Reviews: 333
rAvg: 3.49
pDev: 15.76%
Wants: 16
Gots: 14 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Blonde Ale |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: ElGordo on 07-02-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 580 | Reviews: 333 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.63/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Grat divide tasting room. A natural bitterness, and yes I am getting a rice sweetness to counterbalance it. An average plus mouthfeel. Yellow colour and a bit of lace. A yeasty aroma. Not as complex as I would imagine.AN average beer overall.

Sammy, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.48/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Great Divide Tap Room in Denver, CO.

Pours a slightly hazy light yellow color with a 1/2 inch white head that fades to an oily film. No lacing whatsoever. Smell is of malt and rice aromas. Taste is rice and malt/biscuit. This beer has good carbonation with smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good but I wouldn't get it again most likely.

UCLABrewN84, Jun 15, 2011
Photo of djrn2
3.25/5  rDev -6.9%

djrn2, Jun 20, 2014
Photo of Thorpe429
2.4/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Great Divide. Pours light. Fizzy head. Rice and dry. Slight bitterness. Not a big fan of this one. Not a fan at all.

Thorpe429, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%

zestar, May 31, 2014
Photo of acurtis
3/5  rDev -14%

acurtis, Jun 30, 2013
Photo of metter98
3.4/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear golden yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation along with particles floating in suspension. It poured with a thin white head that quickly died down, leaving lacing covering the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of grainy malts, rice and lemongrass in the nose. The initial smell isn’t that pleasant but it does get a bit better as the beer warms up.
T: The taste has flavors of grainy malts along with notes of biscuits and sweetness as well has hints of lemongrass. No hop bitterness is detectable.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied, clean and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is definitely unique for the style, but I’m not sure if I would want to have one of these again when there are better offerings available. It’s definitely a cut above other beers that use rice as adjunct malts.

metter98, Feb 22, 2012
Photo of brentk56
4.1/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy straw color with a rocky white head that sits like foamy shampoo on top of the liquid leaving a few shards of lace

Smell: Dare I say it but it smells like rice pudding; pleasantly floral

Taste: Clean and crackery up front, but the rice flavor arrives by mid-palate; after the swallow, there is a pilsner like grainy hop feel but the finish is clean

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Certainly not something I would drink everyday, but a nicely crafted alternative for the light beer crowd

brentk56, Mar 22, 2008
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.9/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"A samurai should always be prepared for death... whether his own or someone else's."

--Stan Sakai

Blurry lemon topped by a wonderful looking crown of rich, creamy foam. The lid is alabaster in color and has that cobbled, pitted, semi-rocky look that all the good ones possess. It's also responsible for quite a bit of lace-like lace. Samurai could easily be mistaken for a witbier, at least in the looks department.

The aroma is fresh, clean and simple. It's also probably exactly what the brewers were shooting for. No maltiness is present (maybe a whiff of untoasted barley), just a laid back amount of grassy, lightly lemony hops.

It's obvious that this is well-crafted beer. That isn't the least bit surprising since Great Divide is one of the best breweries in the country. Having said that, I don't like Samurai nearly as much as I like the rest of their lineup. I do, however, respect their decision to brew something light and approachable, without going down the well-worn APWA path.

The pale malt backbone is surprisingly sturdy (even with rice making up at least 15-20% of the grain bill), but it still provides almost nothing in the way of flavor. I'm fine with that. The centerpiece, as in the nose, is a probable German/Czech hoppiness that gives the beer a definite pilsener vibe.

I approve of the finishing bitterness, coupled with a rice crispiness, but if maximum sales was the goal (knowing these guys, I doubt it) they probably should have whittled a few more IBUs off the top end. Warming delivers an underlying sweetness, an unripe pear tartness and a white pepper zestiness that wasn't present in the top half of the bottle. It also delivers an increase in the flavor score at no extra charge.

Mouthfeel is the attribute that separates the great craft breweries from the pretenders. This one is pretty close to perfectly calibrated for the task at hand. It's closer to medium than to light, and is pleasingly supple. It's also zestily carbonated, which works well in the grand scheme of things.

It seems to me that a beer brewed to be light, refreshing and easy drinking shouldn't have such an aggressive name. While they aren't nearly as appealing as Samurai Ale, Koi Ale (ornamental carp) or Obi Ale (a kimono sash) would be more fitting. Okay, so I like to do crossword puzzles.

BuckeyeNation, Nov 17, 2007
Photo of BEERchitect
2.23/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Something new in Lexington. I have never had a beer that boasts so much about rice additions. I'd like to know how much rice / barley is used.

The pour delivers a brighter than expected straw color, especially since the lable explains its unfiltered character. Next to null head formation and only a trace of foam at the perimeter of the glass. Its appearance could easily be mistaken for Miller Lite.

Very, very grainy in the nose- far too much for a so called craft beer. Herbal, floral hop notes swirl around a citrusy, acidic note with a regretable undermalted nose.

Flavors are nearly as grainy as in the aroma but with a faint malt pilsner malt, cracker-like taste. Citrus hops join in the frey and accompany the acidic, baking-soda taste.

The body is where the beer suffers most. Though dry, crisp, and somewhat refreshing, the astringency from the grains make the beer tough to drink. If there were any roundness or fullness to buffer the pure grain husk flavor and feel, I would try to get on board with this one.

There is some promise with a weak pilsner malt base and assertion in the hops, but the beer is a mere shell of a craft beer... basically a pretender.

BEERchitect, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%

GRG1313, Oct 28, 2013
Photo of kylehay2004
3.55/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at the brewery

A: murky straw color with a mild golden hue

S: some grain, not much else.

T: very herbal and earthy. Not getting the fruity notes. Very grainy.

M: high carbonation and light bodied

Overall: very drinkable but also light. The flavors are tough to pull out for me.

kylehay2004, Sep 30, 2011
Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%

jaydoc, Nov 23, 2013
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.43/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, yellow body with a thin, wispy white head.

Smell: Very lightly malty, sweetish aroma with notes of flowers, sake, and white bread.

Taste: Well, it's just what the aroma would have you expect of the taste. Light, sake-like fruity flavor with a drop of honey sweetness. Floral and bready hints. No more than a light bitterness. Finishes crisp and clean.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: It definitely would make for fine, summertime drinking and wasn't too bad on a grimey day in mid-December, either.

ChainGangGuy, Dec 24, 2007
Photo of Knapp85
2.78/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours like a typical pale ale. Golden yellow in color and and has a head that comes and goes shortly after it sits for a minute or two. The Aroma is a little citrusy but not like an IPA. There seems to be a smidge of funk on the nose too. The taste is a little bland, not a whole lot going on. To me it tastes like a regular beer. I was hoping to pick up some of the rice that is brewed into it. The mouthfeel reminded me of just about any other pale ale on the market, it's fairly light bodied and bubbly. I wouldn't have to have this beer again.

Knapp85, Apr 07, 2011
Photo of oberon
3.6/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint a slight hazed light yellow almost lemonade like a thinner but well sustained white head atop,very muted aromas only light toastiness and a faint passing lemon whiff.Lightly toasted flavors with a tinge of lemon oil it is quite crisp like other have noted,its toastiness is very firm and stays through to the finish,the hops stay in tune with the beer giving a faint smack of citrus in the later stages.Hey it is what it is a easy drinking blonde ale its not a no brainer either I think would be a great summer brew wich seems a long way off right now.

oberon, Dec 01, 2007
Photo of zeff80
3.43/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a cloudy, golden yellow color with a white, fizzy, one-finger head. It left small traces of lace.

S - It smelled of yeast and sweet malt.

T - This was a very sweet and spicy beer. There is also a clove-like taste.

M - This is a crisp and sharp. A light-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good blonde ale. It has a great spicy character.

zeff80, Aug 14, 2007
Photo of JAHMUR
3/5  rDev -14%

JAHMUR, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.7/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite effervescent and foamy, the Samurai tried to rise out of the glass on me! It makes for a nice appearance though as clouds of bubbles rise through the clear (?... thought it was unfiltered) golden body. And the head, of course, is impressive. It's a massive pillow of white froth that leaves tiny pillows, patches, and curtains of lace behind. Quite nice!

The aroma is malty with just a hint of hops. It's a hint grainy.

Ahhh, I now see in my final pour that it is unfiltered. It musy have sedimented pretty well though. Onward...

The flavor, not unlike the aroma, is fairly generic. It's got some nice malt that's just a tiny bit sweetish, a bit of yeasty fruitiness, and some spicy hops. Mmmm, there's some floral character as well, and a splinter of wood (soft dry cedar); and the yeast adds a bit of nutty complexity as well. It's solidly bitter, and balanced. It finishes dry with a quick note of raspy bitterness, and then it lingers, offering mainly malt, but a hint of spicy hops as well.

Overall, it's an interesting beer, but it's not compelling.

NeroFiddled, Oct 10, 2009
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light yellow color, with a short white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of light malts, some spice, fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is light and sweet with flavors of lemon, spices and grain. There's a good burst of hops bitterness that comes in next to provide a little balance. The malt character is pretty thin. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light body, medium-to-high carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not filling at all, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a nice lighter beer that you can drink quite a bit of over the course of an evening, however, personally I usually prefer something with a bit more substance.

TheManiacalOne, Dec 13, 2007
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%

RblWthACoz, Oct 21, 2012
Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev +14.6%

nickfl, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears a pale unfiltered golden with particles suspended from the rice and yeast additions. Head billows and forms a doughnut shaped dimpled layer of foam which is bright white in color with nice head retention. Lacing is fine and even on the sides of my glass with each sip.

Aromatics offer up a clean sensual experience blending pale biscuit malt fresh baked dough with a yeast rising deja' vu experience. A touch of balancing herbal hops but this is malt and rice focused. Really delicate but so pleasant at the same time, an evident layer of lemon lime dish soap in there as well without the off putting chemical solvency.

Flavor has nice full pale biscuit malt sweetness with a layer of fruity tartness blending nicely in, minimal hops but evident herbal twang gives me some earthy hop burps. Almost like a mushroom funk in the finish, sounds gross but it works.

Mouthfeel is fuller than I was expecting medium bodied good amount of girth compared to most rice adjunct brews that were used to, carbonation is lively but so naturally smooth. Really hits palate on the sides of with a semi sweet dryness.

Drinkability is pretty killer I could see this going over well as a macro crossover or a summer session lawnmower brew, take your pick. Probably a difficult brew to pull off there's no hiding your flaws with loads of hops and alcohol here, definitely a brew I would want with my American Dream roll next time I hit my local sushi joint up that's a specialty roll with Spicy Tuna, Salmon, and Yellowfin.

WVbeergeek, Mar 21, 2009
Photo of russpowell
4.05/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 5th week of may

Pours an effervescent & slightly hazed straw/golden with 3 fingers of fluffed up eggshell-white head. Crazy lacing 7 head retention

S: Lemon & grassy notes

T: Rich honey malt, a little lemon & white pepper. Breadyness + dryness comes through as this warms. plus a hint of grapefruit. Finishes crisp, citrussy & with just a hint of pepper & coriander

MF: Medium-bodied with excellent carbonation & balance

Drinks too easy, not overly complicated, but a nice blonde, none the less. A great choice for hot weather fun

russpowell, Jun 28, 2007
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.58/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Cloudy as heck, thick and yellow, beneath a slim white cap of foam.

Aroma: lemon & wheat, and...? I've smelled this before, in kellerbiers I've tried. Various citric tones, and not too much else.

Zesty appearance on the tongue, and here's where I'm getting a Belgian pale ale / Golden ale feel, without the Belgian yeast. More like a hefe weizen, but with rice. And how about that rice? It's light, fluffy, a bit creamy...I don't hate it, just doesn't add anything special for me. Makes for a refreshing drink, but adds little depth or taste.

This should be called Origami-Folder Ale, instead of Samurai. Or Sandal-Wearing Goldfish-Tender Ale. It's a nice session brew, but lacks anything resembling a spark to set it apart. Oh, well.

*8/18/10, I just reviewed this again, forgetting that I did one 2 1/2 years ago. That's how "memorable" this is.

feloniousmonk, Jan 19, 2008
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Samurai Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 580 ratings.