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Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale - Holy Mackerel Brewing

Not Rated.
Holy Mackerel Special Golden AleHoly Mackerel Special Golden Ale

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BA SCORE
76
okay

216 Ratings
THE BROS
51
awful

(view ratings)
Ratings: 216
Reviews: 139
rAvg: 3.31
pDev: 18.43%
Wants: 0
Gots: 11 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Holy Mackerel Brewing visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Jason on 06-02-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 216 | Reviews: 139 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CyBEERooster
5/5  rDev +51.1%

CyBEERooster, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of stufff
4.75/5  rDev +43.5%

stufff, Jul 18, 2014
Photo of stampfler07
4.5/5  rDev +36%

stampfler07, Feb 04, 2012
Photo of Srive009
4.5/5  rDev +36%

Srive009, May 19, 2013
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.33/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Holy Mackerel!!! Good name. Great label (I think) - it even has the year on it (2009)... ... ...DOH! It also reads that it "will mature if cellared for 2 years". Oh well. Maybe next time.

It pours a hazy golden body with an orange cast that rests lazily beneath a short head of bright white froth. Every now and then a tiny bubble can be seen rising towards the surface. The retention is average, but the lacing is very good.

The aroma is malty and spicy with a touch of honey, and perhaps a far-off hint of smoke.

In the mouth it's surprisingly supple and smooth. Well, that shouldn't be surprising because the appearance insinuates that it will be of a lower carbonation, but it's also medium-full bodied and the two combined caught me off-guard as I was kind of expecting an effervescent tripel given the appearance and aroma.

The flavor delivers a soft blanket of malt that's gently threaded through with delicate notes of spice (seemingly all from the yeast), flowers, soft fruit (apple, apricot, peach), and a hint of vanilla. Its not sweet, but there's a lot of sweetish, doughy malt there. Nor is it bitter. Only a minor bitterness lays beneath the blanket, supporting it. And despite the thick blanket of flavor, it actually finishes dry with a flicker of spicy hops and a hint of honey-drizzled wood and flowers. Interestingly, the alcohol never shows either. It's at 8.5%, and completely concealed, even at the end of the glass.

It really grows on you, opening up as it warms and displaying different flavors. About 2/3 of the way I found a bit of a smoky plastic phenolic - not much, just a touch - "underlying" let's call it, but there's some real complexity and richness there. It reminds me of a Westvleteren in that way. Had I know I would have definitely bought more of this, and I think I will try to get at least a six-pack to cellar. Well worth trying, and I think, worth seeking out as well.

NeroFiddled, Oct 20, 2009
Photo of Backer2004
4.28/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I can already say at first taste this is the best beer to come out of Florida in my opinion. Not that there's too many choices, but this one is solid all around. Great Belgian qualities abound and for only $2.75 a single here. Such a nice refreshing summer beer, with solid fruit notes and great mouthfeel. Worth a try (or two) any day.

Backer2004, Aug 22, 2009
Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.2/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale (reviewed a 2008 bottle) has a thin, cream-colored head and a very opaque, apricot-orange appearance. One can see quite a bit of bubbles streaming up the sides of the glass. The aroma is of sweet, candy-like filling, caramel, butter, dough, and other things I can not identify. The flavor is of nut shell, sweet dough, candy-caramel filling, fruit-cake, orange peel, and other unknown items. There is no bitterness present here, nor is alcohol detected in the aroma or flavor. Mouthfeel is medium, and Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale finishes wet, mild, sweet, mellow, and shockingly drinkable. This is unique, interesting, and good. I rate it at least excellent.

RJT

RonaldTheriot, Sep 16, 2012
Photo of spacechimo155
4.2/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

a darker than expected blonde, almost copper, with plenty of head that laces the glass. Less body than i expected
Smells and tastes sweet, belgian sugars hide the alchohol.
Extremely drinkable, carbonation is there, a little sweet for me, but the mouthfeel is good. Very refreshing
Great addition to Floridas local brewing scene and one of the better takes on a Belgian golden ale.

spacechimo155, Jun 30, 2009
Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.18/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a beer brewing in Florida with a ABV of 8.5%? But wait a beer now brewed in a town I lived in as a kid? Priceless. Brewed in Greenville SC. 2009 Holy Mackerel.

A- Hazy pale orange in color with small white head that falls to a minimal ring around the rim of the glass. Decent lacing when spun around in the pint glass.

S- First scents are sweet yeasty esters of alcohol. Second light citrus and starfruit.

T-M- Taste is a heavy Belgian strain of yeasty goodness followed by nice and balanced sugared grapefruit. Very warm effect of alcohol on the tongue. Textured overall feel on mouth with fizzy carbonation lingering and warm of alcohol that intriques the senses.

D- Hell for what it is i'd drink all i can find. I'll continue to seek and destroy this strong pale ale.

wesbrownyeah, Feb 01, 2010
Photo of walt4
4.1/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2009 (Thanks to the date printed up front and center)

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Brooklyn pint glassHaving only had the Mack in Black previously, I didn't know what to expect from this "Special" Golden.

A- Definitely golden in color, although a little cloudy (which was to be expected). After a slow pour, there was almost a finger's worth of bright white, clean head. Lacing was there, albeit minimal.

S- I think the aroma of this brew is great. A little of the typical Belgian "doughy" scent, but the citrus is what I pick up the most...That could be the "Florida-Twist" they describe on the label. Also, with a good whiff you can smell the alcohol. With a quick whiff, I smell sweet breads...

T- Typical Belgian, but with what I can only describe as a crisper, cleaner finish. It's almost refreshing.

D- The refreshing nature of the taste overwhelms the alcohol content of this beer, keeping the drinkability pretty high for me. The warming factor is there, but citrusy feel allows me to enjoy, even on a warmer day. Would try it again for sure...

walt4, Mar 11, 2010
Photo of Tabni
4.05/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 4-pack at Whole Foods.

Ok, so this is my first time trying the bottle. Usually get this on tap at Stage 84 and Kill Your Idol in the beach. And let me tell you, the bottle doesn't do justice to this beer.

Appearance - Cloudy orange in color.
Smell - Woody smell.
Taste/Mouthfeel - Citrus taste. Light carbonation, I'm telling y'all, got to try it from the tap.
Drinkability - Love sipping this at the bar. This is what Florida should drink in a hot day!

Tabni, Nov 04, 2010
Photo of adkirkish
4.05/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours clear, golden yellow, w/ thin creamy white head. Quickly dissipates.

A: Sweet malt presence upfront, w/ fruity esthers: (green apple and pear), no hop aroma. Not as pronounced as other belgian flavors.

F: Sweet upfront w/ a slight pear presence, no hop flavor perceived, the pear flavoring is dominant in profile, finishes dry. Not as strong belgian character as others in style.

M: Medium Bodied w/ medium carbonation, no alcohol warmth from an 8.5% abv beer is a bit interesting (but to style) ;) Creamy texture presence, finish has slight astringency.

O: The first time I tried this beer was not like this one. A much better "specimen". I would consider this beer to have "belgian notes" due to the fruit aroma perceived in aroma/taste but not as pronounced which is indicative of style. A good example to style.

adkirkish, Jun 09, 2010
Photo of DIM
4.03/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle.

a: This was a lightly hazy golden color. It poured with a fizzy head that faded quickly to a white film.

s: Not all that complex, but certainly appealing. This is warm overall and on the sweet side. I found honey and strong yeasty aromas of phenolic apricots and raisins.

t: Big, warm, and sweet. I don't know if I can say this is well made, but I really like it. Sweet honey with hints of vanilla, plus some green raisin flavors. Lots of dry, flowery yeast flavors and plenty of warmth.

m: Thick, chewy body and creamy carbonation.

d: I can't quite say why, but I'm really liking this. Big and satisfying.

DIM, May 17, 2010
Photo of danpam1024
4/5  rDev +20.8%

danpam1024, Oct 31, 2012
Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a tulip glass)
A- This beer pours a crystal clear orange body with a sea of big bubbles racing to the surface of an off-white fizzy head that soon fades.
S- The honey notes have hint of apples and a light buttery diacetyl note.
T- This beer has a carbonic acid flavor and sweet honey blend with a soft yeasty note. There is a white sugar and fruity ester notes come through at dry finish.
M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a big fizzy clean finish.
D- This beer has a nice blend of sweet fruity notes and a dry finish. Nothing is offensive but it is not real interesting.

rhoadsrage, Apr 21, 2010
Photo of Hbat68
4/5  rDev +20.8%

Hbat68, Sep 09, 2012
Photo of Gator_Nation
4/5  rDev +20.8%

Gator_Nation, Mar 15, 2014
Photo of sirdrinkwell
4/5  rDev +20.8%

sirdrinkwell, Dec 31, 2012
Photo of drpimento
4/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had a glass of this served in its own glass in Miami last year. Had a light off white head and no lace. Color was a lovely dark amber with red highlights. Aroma was fruity and malty. One of the best American attempts at a Belgian style. Killer body and carbonation. Only thing was a slight hint of contamination of bacteria. Nice finish. Super beer all in all.

drpimento, Sep 21, 2009
Photo of Cyberkedi
4/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Comes out of the tap a beautiful clear golden with a crisp, malty, somewhat fruity aroma that has a hint of honey - very inviting. Flavor is crisp and fruity - mainly of pear - and has a sharp alcohol bite and a whisper of honey sweetness. Finish is smooth and satisfying.

Cyberkedi, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of SIRIUS2
3.98/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Light gold in color; minimal head produced as poured into a chalice style glass from the bottle. Bubbles disappeared very quickly leaving not much behind.

S: Fruity with spices and a touch floral.

T: Surprisingly sweet with lots of spice flavors and citrus fruit. Sweetness not in a malty sense, but just a sort of residual sweetness, like candy.

M&D: Medium on body, probably due to the sweetness. Carbonation is light and springy. Aftertaste is too sweet, almost cloying.

When I found this in the local store I was kind of excited because I had never seen it before. I was hoping more for something in the classical sense of the golden Belgian ale. I think it was good, but, honestly, it was too sweet. I think I could enjoy one of these once in a while but not too often.

SIRIUS2, Feb 11, 2008
Photo of bcgpete
3.98/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a large wine glass.

Light copper color with very little head, just a few centimeters, that retracted within a few seconds. Nice and cloudy.

The smell has a slight alcohol aroma, almost reminding me of nail polish remover.

The taste is quite good, although I can really taste the alcohol. Slight fruit taste in there but otherwise pretty well balanced. This beer is not at all bitter but I can tell a few of them would give me heartburn like a motherbitch.

The mouth is quite good, almost chewy.

Definitely a sipping beer. Out of the four ales I was brought back from the keys (la fin du monde, victory golden ale, and two hearted ale) this one ranks only below la fin du monde. This is a beer I will try to find again to stow away for a few years.

bcgpete, Aug 05, 2009
Photo of SFLpunk
3.98/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to dimenhetfield for this one!

12oz brown glass pry-top bottle. 2010 on front label. "HMFL: 1838A" stamped on shoulder.

Appearance: A hazy amber gold with some thin bone-white head. No lacing or spotting.

Nose: Rich fruit Belgian yeast. Smells dense and creamy with some bready notes and a little spice (coriander?).

Palate: Crisp with some acidity (orange peel?). Big bold Belgian yeast and fluffy carbonation. Orange is a predominant flavor with some lemon zest backing it up. Herbal notes round things out and the finish is moderately long.

Notes: Seriously impressed with this beer. Never heard of it before, but this was a very pleasant first experience. I would happily drink this again.

SFLpunk, Aug 23, 2010
Photo of PorterLambic
3.95/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy apricot color. Decent had but dissipates quickly leaving a thin film.
Smell is malt, spice, yeast, citrus, banana, wheat.
Taste is also malt, citrus, wheat, banana, spice and yeast.
A medium to full body with a smooth finish and aftertaste.Light effervescence up front. Very good balance through out. Very nice, well worth looking for.

PorterLambic, Feb 08, 2010
Photo of Birmingham
3.9/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Complex fruity aroma with hints of pear

Appearance: Deep Orange/Golden in color with minimum head and lacing

Flavor: Light fruitiness with hints of pear and apples, light alcohol flavor in after taste.

Mouth feel: Minimum body

Overall Impression: 8.5% ABV. Refreshing, drinkable, I could easily have more than one in sitting. Thought the over all flavor is subtle, if you are looking for beer with bold flavor, this is not your beer.

Birmingham, Jan 25, 2009
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Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale from Holy Mackerel Brewing
76 out of 100 based on 216 ratings.