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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.
BA SCORE
77
okay

218 Ratings
THE BROS
51
awful

(view ratings)
Ratings: 218
Reviews: 139
rAvg: 3.31
pDev: 18.43%
Wants: 0
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 218 | Reviews: 139 | Display Reviews Only:
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 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 mikesgroove
3.9/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one as an extra recently and decided to open it up last night. Served cold and poured into a wine glass, this one was consumed on 01/03/2010.

The pour was very nice, better then I expected with a light golden color that was capped by a nice head of of white that reached a height of around three inches before it settled back down to earth leaving a ton of lacing up and down the sides of the glass. Aroma is light bready notes with hints of apricot and pear that seem to get stronger the warmer it gets. Nicely done I have to admit, but it could have been a bit stronger. First sip is clean and crisp with a smooth and well rounded flavor. Nice touches of light fruit and grassy hops lead the way here, light grain touches as well now coming into play. Decent carbonation as well all lends itself very well to a great combination of flavors, light easy to drink and the alcohol is hidden very well.

Overall a nice, and highly drinkable example of the style. I would have no issue with hitting this one up again.

mikesgroove, Jan 03, 2010
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 Jmoore50
3.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sometimes you can judge a beer by its label. This is one of them. The label does not look very professional and the beer inside looks like a home brew.

The appearance is a super hazy golden color. There is little sediment in the bottom of the glass, but the bottle warned me, so I am not angry. The head is crisp and white, and leaves no doubtingly because of the ABV.

The smell is of Belgian yeasts with citrus and vodka. The vodka is from the high alcohol smell. You can tell the 8.5%.

The taste is no less than okay. Orange alcoholic Belgian yeast. The Belgian bread flavor is present with a mild citrus flavor as well. Once again the ABV is very present and the aftertaste is much like a cheap vodka.

I would not recommend to anyone.

J

Jmoore50, Oct 20, 2009
Photo of mikey711
2.65/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Cloudy and golden with a big thick head that is about two fingers thick. lacing is quite good.

S: Slightly sulfery and maybe a touch of grains and sweetness. It smells a bit like cardboard

T: It has a yeasty and spicy taste up front with not alot of sweetness, only the slightest bit of caramel. It isn't sour but just bland in that it does not feel like there are alot of sugars there...

M: It is very watery maybe a little bit of creaminess.

D: I will pass

mikey711, Sep 30, 2009
Photo of ImusBeer
3.3/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cellared three and poured one staight into tulip in a single pour.

Appearance was Orange-Yellow or Golden, slightly hazy with about a finger and half of white head that died quickly with a little lacing forming on the glass as I drank.

The nose is grain, bready and lemon.

A very Belgiany beer, you can clearly taste the alcohol, grain as well. All the flavours are very sharp, this will be much better in six months or a year.

Very heavy carbonation, alcohol feel in the mouth. Somewhat sharp hop at end.

Enjoyed this beer but I know it will be better after a bit of cellaring.

ImusBeer, Sep 26, 2009
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 alcstradamus
2.68/5  rDev -19%
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.

alcstradamus, Sep 20, 2009
Photo of scottyshades
3.58/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

scottyshades, Sep 05, 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 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 CampusCrew
3.78/5  rDev +14.2%
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

CampusCrew, Aug 03, 2009
Photo of drabmuh
3.7/5  rDev +11.8%
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).

drabmuh, Jul 22, 2009
Photo of Seanibus
3/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

Seanibus, Jul 16, 2009
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 ClockworkOrange
3.25/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

ClockworkOrange, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of wagenvolks
3.23/5  rDev -2.4%
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...

wagenvolks, May 25, 2009
Photo of KBoudreau66
2.75/5  rDev -16.9%
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.

KBoudreau66, May 23, 2009
Photo of jwhawkins81
3.65/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

jwhawkins81, May 22, 2009
Photo of beerthulhu
3.05/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

beerthulhu, May 14, 2009
Photo of belgbeerdrinker
2.73/5  rDev -17.5%
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

belgbeerdrinker, May 05, 2009
Photo of jwc215
3.5/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

jwc215, May 05, 2009
Photo of brentk56
2.28/5  rDev -31.1%
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

brentk56, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of Gavage
3.45/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Gavage, Apr 17, 2009
Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale from Holy Mackerel Brewing
77 out of 100 based on 218 ratings.