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Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale - Holy Mackerel Brewing

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

210 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 210
Reviews: 139
rAvg: 3.3
pDev: 18.18%
Wants: 0
Gots: 9 | FT: 2
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)
View: Beers (6) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 210 | Reviews: 139 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of alcstradamus


2.68/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Murky brownish gold pour with a thick, sticky head. Not much nose, just some very faint hints of clove and spice. The taste is much more bold, but unfortunately also a bit waxy. Strong spiciness up front with the crayon wax coming in on the finish. Not horrible I guess, but definitely not good. This one just turned me away from the get-go.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2009 22:15:03 | More by alcstradamus
Photo of scottyshades


3.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a slightly hazy but transparent golden color that produces a small head that doesn't hold for too long. Lacing is not too great either. Lots of bubbles rising from the bottom, so I assume this will be pretty damn carbonated.

S: Strong Belgian yeast notes; candy, bubblegum, spearmint, and come spices that smell like coriander and cloves.

T: Very similar to the nose, not very complex at all, in fact its pretty one dimensional. Very yeasty, bubblegum, spearmint, cloves, and some candy sweetness.

MF/D: As the pour suggested, a little over carbonated, light in body, smooth and long spicy finish.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2009 00:37:01 | More by scottyshades
Photo of Backer2004

North Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +29.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2009 01:15:09 | More by Backer2004
Photo of bcgpete


3.98/5  rDev +20.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2009 23:49:17 | More by bcgpete
Photo of CampusCrew


3.78/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: golden with little head retention for a belgian

smell: sweet, carmael

taste: not bad. but a weak one if you compare to other in this category

mouthfeel: light to medium bodied

drinkability: overall I appreciate it and it's a solid belgian pale

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2009 03:00:55 | More by CampusCrew
Photo of drabmuh


3.7/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had a bottle of Holy Mackerel last night as part of my farewell FL tour of beer. Served in a Holy Mackeral glass (wine glass), the beer is light in color, cloudy, with a minimal head and steady carbonation. No lacing on the glass to speak of. The aroma is interesting, a hint of yeast, possibly nuts. The flavor is almost slightly yeasty or nutty. Easy to drink, but overall unremarkable (ironic that I am remarking on it in that case).

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2009 17:29:25 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Seanibus


3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours hazy copper with a medium head that falls away quickly to poor lacing. The aroma is strong and floral, with a little mediciney bite. It is overripe and note terribly appealing. The flavor is strong, apricot and clove, but tending toward medicinal and boozy, not particularly refreshing or pleasant. It has a phenolic, slightly spicy feeling, but lacking in the kind of balance that makes this a pleasant characteristic in Belgian beers. The mouthfeel is fairly slick, leaving a spicy prickle along the tongue.

This comes close to being a good beer, but its lack of subtlety and balance torpedo it.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2009 19:19:51 | More by Seanibus
Photo of spacechimo155


4.2/5  rDev +27.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2009 04:33:44 | More by spacechimo155
Photo of ClockworkOrange


3.25/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12 ounce bottle poured into my standard shaker glass. The ale appears a hazed golden yellow color with about a finger of off white foam. Nose and flavor are of fruits such as apples and pears, both sweet, sour and dry as well, lightly toasted grains/biscuits. Nicely carbonated, but a bit thin bodied, especially considering the ABV. Worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2009 04:48:48 | More by ClockworkOrange
Photo of wagenvolks


3.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle courtesy of JDV. Thanks Deniz!

The 2008 edition of Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale pours a copper-blond hue with a fleeting bone white head that ends up as a scant ring of bubbles. Good aroma of floral hops, fresh grass, and apple juice with a sweet balance of biscuit & nutty malts.

Nothing too exciting flavor-wise...typical Belgian sweetness with some spice and a touch of grassy hops. A light fruitiness of pear and flavored booze in the background. Body feels watered down and the saccharin-sugar sweetness creates an artificial finish. All in all, I found this Belgian unimpressive and overly sweet. It tries to be complex, but the flavors just don't mesh well. Pass...

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2009 02:38:21 | More by wagenvolks
Photo of KBoudreau66


2.75/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received via trade with Kiefdog.

Poured into a snifter. Dark gold in color with basically no head. It seems to be quite carbonated.

There's no born on date for this beer, so I can't tell if it is older, but the aroma isn't very pleasant at all. It has a strong sweet, and caramel malt aroma, with a slight metallic aroma in the background.

The taste is very similar to the smell. Caramel malts, very sweet, and has a strange, funky metallic backbone.

I don't know if this is old or just tainted via the shipping process? There's no date on the bottle, so as far as I'm concerned the bottle is still good.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2009 01:58:24 | More by KBoudreau66
Photo of jwhawkins81


3.65/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Aroma - Malty sweetness with a Belgian spice

Appearance - Light pale orange with a good amount of carbonation.

Taste - Light with a definite Belgian yeast influence. The taste has some fruit like qualities I did enjoy.

Notes - Good mouthfeel. I've had this beer three times now and every time I really like it at the beginning but by the end I'm tired of the spice. So that's why drinkability takes a hit.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2009 01:05:52 | More by jwhawkins81
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.05/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a pale orange with a flat creamy, bone white head that didn't bother to stick around long. No real lacing to speak of, while a very faint and sporadic effervesce is observed lending this to just an ordinary appearance.

S: musky dry oranges, old bread and dry lemon peels. Light to moderate in strength there was a touch of musky booziness, and a sterile, almost phenolic nature of fermented fruit.

T: sour and musky, oranges and lemons, dry with a boozy alcohol notes. Sour green apples and fruitiness along with a pharmaceutical phenolic taste. The beer finishes with a bittering dry, sour funky citrus hopping and sweet orange candy notes. Overall didn't find the flavor particularly enticing or inviting.

M: pretty full, slightly creamy and smooth with a musky dry bittering finish.

D: Average drinkability, one better consumed rather quickly. Cant recommend a six pack here.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2009 22:14:16 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of belgbeerdrinker


2.73/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

a: light orange color, head never really appears, lots of bubbles around the edge, little lacing
s: hard to discern; hoppy aroma to start with some sweet malts coming out
t: sweet fruits, belgian yeast with some light hops, finishes weakly with mix of bitterness and strong alcohol
m: medium body with some carbonation but a little too flat
d: decent flavors, just doesn't come together well for a highly drinkable brew

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2009 01:07:40 | More by belgbeerdrinker
Photo of jwc215


3.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brewed in 2009, poured into glass chalice:

Pours orangeish amber with a thin head that becomes a wispy patch. Trailing lace slides down the glass. Tight, small bubbles rise to the top.

The smell is of bubblegum, cotton candy and just a small hint of a grassy touch.

The taste is of bubblegum, cotton candy - fruity with just a slight touch of grass. Sweet with a bready, slightly funky, dryness in the finish.

The feel is carbonated - almost effervescent. Body holds up. Sweet, but not cloying.

Alcohol isn't exactly covered, but not too sharp or dominating. Leans towards too sweet, but has some dryness in the finish. It has some characteristics that put it as a "Belgian-esque" brew. Not a bad American attempt, could be more refreshing, though has some refreshing quality.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2009 00:54:00 | More by jwc215
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

2.28/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2008 bottling

Appearance: Pours a clear golden/rust color with one of the sorriest heads I have ever seen on a Belgian style - less than a finger, despite a hard pour, and it had disappeared within a minute; it did manage to leave a few shards of lace

Smell: Fruity esters of pear and apple, along with an undertone of juicy fruit gum

Taste: Sweet and fruity up front, with peach, pear and apple, followed by juicy fruit gum and a bit of hot cinnamon spice; a little yeasty, after the swallow, with banana and candy flavors

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, almost syrupy, with moderate to low carbonation

Drinkability: Time to start over on this one, guys, if you are planning to brew in the Belgian style; needs better attenuation, a more complex yeast profile and much more carbonation

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2009 00:36:14 | More by brentk56
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

3.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 2009 version poured a crystal clear golden yellow color with a 2" head that lasts a bit. Some mild lacing develops.

Smell: yeast and some woodiness provides a strang aroma that is a bit of a turnoff.

Taste: bready malt profile. Some citrus, soft pepper spice, and a hint of coriander and some soft earthy / woody tones linger in the background. Saaz hops provides some bite. Alcohol is mildly noticeable.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp throughout. Some dryness arrives late. Medium bodied. Aftertaste is long and sticks on the tongue for a while.

Drinkability: decent but this one was a bit of a slow sipper with some mildly refreshing qualities.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2009 22:49:26 | More by Gavage
Photo of mullenite


3.15/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2008 Vintage

Pours a a clear orange in color with a half finger off white fizzy head that dissipated quickly to nothing. The beer leaves no lacing down the glass.

Smell is fruity and alcoholic, plums and pears stand out the most. The alcohol smell is not harsh by any means and is spot on in comparison to other BSPA's I've had. Wanted a bit more spice to match the intensity of the fruit.

Taste is more like a sparkling pear wine than any beer I've ever had. Sweet fruits from the smell are extreme in the taste with a strong lingering alcohol bite. Very little of the plum smell comes though. Based on the taste this would probably be a good candidate to age, a couple years at most.

Mouthfeel is thin (not watery) with sharp, tight carbonation.

It's a bit too sweet to be easily drinkable, but it is not bad.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2009 14:01:23 | More by mullenite
Photo of cottonkoozie

North Carolina

3.73/5  rDev +13%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep honey golden color, some slight cloudiness. Not much head or lacing though.

S - Strong fruit and coriander smells, also smell the alcohol.

T - Much like the smell. I taste pretty much all fruit, and somewhat of a fermented boozy fruit taste. Unlike any beer i have tasted. Almost reminds me of wine in a way.

M - Nice feel, doesn't look very carbonated in appearance, but has a very full carbonated feel.

D - Pretty drinkable, especially considering the high alcohol content.

At first sip, I didn't think I was going to like this, but it grow on you quickly. A pretty good beer, and very unique. Worth a try definitely.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2009 23:09:20 | More by cottonkoozie
Photo of Onenote81

North Carolina

3.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received as an extra in a recent trade with Kiefdog. Thanks!

Pours a murky deep gold with a very small head on top. No retention, no lacing. Smells of banana's, pineapple, cherry, and yeasty bread. Mouthfeel is crisp and bubbly. Carbonation level is med-high. Flavor is fruity right off the bat with pineapple and some plum. But this mellows to a warm breadiness. I'm not huge into Belgians, which is maybe why this tamed down version one sits well with me. Not bad.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2009 15:44:41 | More by Onenote81
Photo of bhalter8


3.38/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A toss in on a recent trade, I am always excited to try something new. This one pours a clear pale orange color, with a small white head, which quickly dissipates. To be honest, it looks like a BMC. Smell is faint, as well, some sweet fruit hints attempting to cover the apparent alcohol. Tastes ok, again some fruit sweetness, orange and bananas maybe, but not enough to balance out the strong alcohol. A rather crisp ale, the carbonation and alcohol make it not very enticing to savor in your mouth. Rather drinkable given the alcohol, but doubt I will drink much more. Gordash really has yet to do much for me.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2009 13:04:16 | More by bhalter8
Photo of glid02


3.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this on-tap at Trappeze in Athens, GA.

Pours a slightly hazy gold color with a one-finger white head that recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving webbed lacing.

Smells of candi sugar with husky light fruit aromas. The fruits don't taste dried as in most light Belgians, but rather like they've been cut fresh and soaked in booze.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweetness up front, followed by booze soaked light fruits - bananas and pears with hints of raisins.

Mouthfeel is good. It's a bit on the thin side, though the carbonation is solid.

Drinkability is good. I enjoyed this one, but it's not good enough to make me want another one.

Overall this is a middle-of-the-road Belgian Pale. It's worth a shot, though don't expect anything noteworthy.

Serving type: on-tap

02-10-2009 15:03:00 | More by glid02
Photo of hoplover82


3.1/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep hazy golden with a small white head that dissapates quickly with little spotty lace.

Smell is very fruity esthery and sweet caramel malts.

The flavor is very malty and hot with booz. Big minus in mjy book. Only to get hotter as it warms.

Medium bodied and harsh alcohol.

Not very drinkble.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2009 21:38:51 | More by hoplover82
Photo of jasonjlewis


2.68/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a weak head. Orange color

Smell is of sweet malts and very few esters and spices.

This beer isn't worthy of a big descriptive review. It's boozy, the esters aren't there, the malts are sweet, it lacks dryness of the style.

Crisp and dry mouthfeel

This is a poorly done example of the style, it could be worse but I won't bother with this again.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2009 21:22:42 | More by jasonjlewis
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.8/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 Bottle Vintage; Sampled January 2009
A solid pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a two-finger thick, pale tan colored head. The beer is a light amber hue that shows a deep gold, brilliantly clear hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of cracker like grain, honey-like malt, a touch of spiciness and it has a backdrop of fruitiness to it. I am able to isolate notes of pear, ripening melon, white pepper, clove, a touch of young ginger, green apple towards the end and crushed pale grain. As the beer warms the clove notes become more noticeable and in fact dominant. The aroma is not bad, not incredibly interesting, but definitely solid.

Sweet tasting up front with a bit of golden raisin flavor to it (as well as a touch of herbal honey character). This morphs into a mix of green apple and ripe pear that lingers on in the finish. The carbonation provides a bit of texture and carries / conveys some spicy esters and phenolics as well as providing a peppery bite. The spicy notes don't quite balance the sweetness, but do provide flavors of white pepper, lingering clove and a touch of herbal spiciness (fennel and nettle perhaps). In addition to the sweetness the malt character also provides a subtle cracker like grain note towards the finish that tends to give this an almost chewy finish. This beer does have some heft to it, I wouldn't quite call it heavy, but it has a certain viscousness and body that makes it amenable to sipping.

The sweet fruit notes are definitely the most dominant flavors here, but there is a nice spiciness that doesn't quite reach the level that I would like to see for balancing purposes. This is a solid Belgian styled Golden Ale, but it could use a boost of fermentation complexity and definitely would benefit from a lower (drier) final gravity. Still this is an enjoyable brew and it is easily the best thing I have had out of the Florida Beer Company so far.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2009 03:19:42 | More by Gueuzedude
Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale from Holy Mackerel Brewing
76 out of 100 based on 210 ratings.