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Once Upon A Time 1901 KK - Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

Once Upon A Time 1901 KKOnce Upon A Time 1901 KK

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

139 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 139
Reviews: 98
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 14.21%

Brewed by:
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
English Strong Ale |  7.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
English Strong / Old Ale, or thereabouts.

(Beer added by: EPICAC on 10-12-2010)
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Ratings: 139 | Reviews: 98 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of MRsojourner


3.86/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

from notes at the armsby abbey
the aroma was herbal and piney with hints of chocolate
deep dark brown color with a thick head that sustained throughout the glass.
the taste was a mild roast with chocolate with a bite of alcohol and finishes with a piney and herbal bitterness that stays with you but beckons for another sip. this beer was very good

Serving type: on-tap

01-19-2013 12:42:50 | More by MRsojourner
Photo of Dreadnaught33

District of Columbia

3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this bottle at Pizzaria Paradiso a while ago, perhaps in early March...

A: Looks like a robust stout with a jet black color and a nice smooth brown head. Nice.

S: Crazy smell with tropical fruit and grass hops mixed almost 50/50 with dark grainy malts. Some bakers chocolate.

T: Definite tropical, mago, and pineapple fruit juicy hops slapped up against dry grainy malts. Bitter chocolate back. Very interesting beer that I would say is some sort of very early Black IPA and certainly has a taste of a beer before the modern ones of today.

M: Ok feel, thinner than hoped but nice carbonation and a bitter finish.

D: Nice stuff. Cool beer.

Serving type: on-tap

04-16-2011 14:52:43 | More by Dreadnaught33
Photo of Bmoyer0301


3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Served in a standard pint glass. Pours very dark brown almost black but not quite there. There is no haze or chunks floating around which is always a plus. A one finger thick dark mocha colored head that hung around for the whole pint. As I give a quick swirl the viscosity pretty standard, not light but definitely not heavy.


Whoa, hop bomb alert...huge nose of pine, citrus and earthy moss. There are decent amounts of roast complimented by a kiss of sweetness. It could be the glassware but I am also pulling out some soapy aromas. In the finish there is toasty biscuits and absolutely no heat alcohol.


Old Ale? I would put my money on a black IPA here. Very bright pine presence almost like drinking your Christmas tree water base. Some earthy tones followed by coffee, cocoa and black tea. A little astringent on the finish once you can get past the heat alcohol.


Not bad, It took me a little bit to sip this one down because it got pretty bitter at some points but another solid beer from pretty things. Worth a shot

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2010 13:00:42 | More by Bmoyer0301
Photo of plaid75

New York

4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown hue with a two finger frothy tan head. There was good retention and very good lacing.

The smell featured a sweet caramel malt quickly followed by a strong herbal hop.

The taste was initially sweet with some caramel and dark fruit. The full blown herbal hop quickly overpowered the flavor and blended with a light smokiness aNd roasted malt at the finish.

The mouthfeel was light for the style and finished dry.

Overall a very good hop driven ale.

Serving type: on-tap

12-02-2010 01:44:54 | More by plaid75
Photo of xnicknj


4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at devils den in philly

Pours a deep brown, almost black with a coffee brown fluffy head. Retains pretty well with some spotty lacing on the glass.

Scents of roasted malt, caramel sweetness and some hoppy flair.

Begins with dark, rich malt and caramel sweetness. Some molasses and syrup character creeps in with a punch of roasted coffee. Bitter hops reveal themselves with pleasant character. Finishes a little dry and bitter alongside some sweet tones.

Fuller body, a little sticky on the palate. Decent drinking and interesting flavors, true to Pretty Things form. ABV is masked pretty well with the bold flavors as well.

Serving type: on-tap

11-15-2010 16:28:37 | More by xnicknj
Photo of CliffBrake

New Hampshire

3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Cambridge Common, 5 Nov.

Served in a stemmed glass, quite full with a small fine head. Grapefruits on the nose preceed a full citrusy hop flavor with a sharp bitterness and a strong roasted flavor from the malts. Lingering bitterness at the finish.

The bitterness didn't seem to complement the roasted malts. Although it was a good accompaniment to a delicious stuffed burger, I was not inspired to order another.

Serving type: on-tap

11-08-2010 01:30:18 | More by CliffBrake
Photo of gregshead


2.65/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A: Brown/Black with a light brown head. Head dissipates over a couple minutes.

S: Chocolate and wet laundry.

T: Sourish black IPA hops but the sour isn't a good sour in this one. The funk/sour taste and the hoppy floral bitterness didn't come together right in this one for me

M: A large amount of carbonation was the saving grace of this beer for me.

D: Not a fan of this beer. The funk/sourness is off the charts with the strange intermixing of floral bitterness didn't work for my palate.

Serving type: on-tap

10-25-2010 05:13:12 | More by gregshead
Photo of TurdFurgison


4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at American Craft. It pours a dark color, brown to the point of black, with a frothy tan foam that stays wet-looking. It smells a lot more roasty than expected, I'd heard the dark color was due to some dark colored sugar but I do believe there is a lot of roasted malt in this beer. The background is almost stout-like but the main aroma is from strong hopping.

Same with the flavor this has 2 distinct phases, cocoa/roasted malts and citrusy hops. Maybe better meshed than in Darkness, but I guess this is really a different type of beast. A little bitterness in the aftertaste but it seems more from the malt character than anything else.

The body was cask-like even though this was a standard tap, low carbonation and a light creamy mouthfeel. Very good.

Serving type: on-tap

10-13-2010 11:44:05 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of July2Nov


3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The "k" represents a "kept" beer & glad I did just that. The appearance is a beauty, w/ a frothy beige head & deep brown hue. Smells of chocolate nougat & overripe plums. True to the label description; it's a hoppy black ale. The blending of the dark malt w/ the English hops is the key to this beer. Really digging the aftertaste. Roasted bitter chocolate sweetness on the end....the best part, because it makes you come back for more. Love this series of historical recreations.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2013 05:49:24 | More by July2Nov
Photo of GarthDanielson

North Carolina

3.23/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint, the beer is a dark, vibrant, slightly hazed, amber-brown coloring with a frothy, foamy, off-white head that starts around an inch, but quickly settles into a filmy coating. Aromas of rich toffee sweetness on a biscuit backbone, with hints of roast and old world fruit sweetness. Some raisin and fig on the nose in highlights. Flavors are roasty, also, with date, raisin, plum, and fig blending on the forward tongue. Boozy and earthy backbone, with a tangy, bitter hops presence at the end of the palate. The end of the beer becomes a bit unbalanced, leading to a bitter and astringent aftertaste, with a very dry finish. Started off promising, but this one started to spiral towards the end.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2013 22:34:15 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of mdfb79

New York

3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 02/09/13 notes. Had this on tap at Bukowskis in Boston, MA.

a - Pours a mahogany brown color with one finger of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of coffee, bitter chocolate, alcohol, caramel malts, some dark fruits, burnt malts.

t - Tastes of coffee, alcohol, bitter chocolate, caramel malts, toasted malts, roasted malts, molasses, dark fruits, burnt malts. More alcohol than the nose; a slight step down.

m - Medium to full body and moderate carbonation. Little bit of alcohol to it.

o - Overall a decent strong ale; I know it is a different style of beer but I preferred the 1855 porter to this one. Alcohol is more prominent here, though some nice coffee and caramel to it. Would try it again but given the choice, would go with their 1855.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2013 17:49:54 | More by mdfb79
Photo of Gatch


4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is interesting stuff.

A: Deep brown with shades of dark red when held up to light. Fizzy, foamy, light brown head that builds and fades pretty quickly leaving behind great lace but little retention.

S: Burnt/smoked/roasted malt with hints of hops, raisins, and molasses/caramelized sugar.

T: Malt character is strong and unique. Fairly hoppy up front with plenty of smoked and roasted malt in the finish that is enjoyable and lingers.

M: Pretty light body for the style and ABV. The flavors are strong and well developed and the alcohol complements everything. Smooth and creamy. And roasty and smokey.

O: An enjoyable drinking experience and it shows yet again that "back in the day" they were drinking much better beer than expected. While drinking this, I picture people slamming pints or metal mugs together drinking this in the dreary London pubs in the 18th and 19th Centuries.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2013 03:40:23 | More by Gatch
Photo of VelvetExtract


3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-Pours a very dark brown with reddish highlights. Body seems to be clear. Head is a thin layer with a thicker center of bubbles. Consistent lacing.

S-My first thoughts are yeast and toffee. Usually a beer with 100 IBU would display much more aromatic hop potency here. Roasted coffee and burnt caramel. Not overly intense. Malt-forward.

T-Interesting flavor; unique I would say. Almost has a black licorice/anise quality to it. Its quite roasted and there is a high level of bitterness. The high IBUs are present but the actual hop flavor is very stunted. Soapy hops. A bunch of toffee and lots of brown sugar with a lingering astringent note. Burnt toast; really burnt toast.

M-Medium/full. Carbonation starts off soft then gains power. A bunch of bitterness that is drying and lingering.

O/D-A cool beer. Big but not necessarily very expressive. Pretty cool that this was what was imbibed back in 1901. A decent hybrid brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2013 23:15:31 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of spokeydonkey

New York

3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber on 01/12/2013 (bottled in Nov. 2012) into a tulip glass.

Dark, almost stout-like in color. Held up to a light it's a deep, deep amber color. A thick, rocky tan head on it. The aroma is roasty with an almost metallic, rusty twang to it. Some fruity notes: apples, plums. Despite this being an outrageously hoppy beer, there's not much hop aroma coming across (or not what I'm used to from modern IPAs). Tastes interesting. Definitely some chocolate, roastiness, and a husky graininess to it. Very earthy hop character that finishes off with a piney, lingering, somewhat harsh bitterness. Just a touch of sweetness to balance it out--not quite enough to counter the aggressive hopping. Body is on the heavier side with moderate carbonation and just a touch of astringency.

Overall, I this is an interesting beer. It's quite unique and unlike any modern black IPA I've tried. I'm not a big fan of roast grain character or sweetness in my beers, and this one has only a touch of each. The bittering is a bit harsh and lingering though. It gets bonus points for novelty and unique flavors I haven't experienced in modern beers, but the more I drink, the less exciting it is. Might buy again if they release it next year, but not on a regular basis.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2013 22:49:34 | More by spokeydonkey
Photo of PeterIngemi


3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pretty things stemmed beer glass

A: pours a dark brown with a fat finger lightly tanned head. Records quickly to a film, some nice spots of lacing.

S: earthy piney hops and citrus notes, light toffee sweetness and charred toast...

T: citrusy, sweet, hoppy, piney, bitter resins, a bit of chared burnt coffee, pretty tasty.

M: medium bodied, lush and bitter, with a lingering bitter/char aftertaste that I am not particuarly fond of.

O: great balance of sweet and bitter going on here, and after reason a bit about this one I noticed it was brewed without roasted malts and got its color mostly from sugars. I never would have guessed there was no roasted or toasted or even burnt malt on here... A very tasty, very interesting brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2012 02:38:34 | More by PeterIngemi
Photo of greenengineer


4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

OK, last one of the night. First two have been disappointing.

Label looks different than the picture. Bomber into my Notch 0.5L shaker. Probably chilled a little too much for the style.

A - dark brown but a little light makes it through. Head subsides quickly, but lacings persist.
S - yeasty malt, like a beer should smell
T - malty bitterness, almost a porter. Hints of pepper? dark malts, a little yeasty.
M - a little chewiness, carbonation persists
O - I like, Would have ordered another in 1901. Finally tonight a beer I can enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2012 03:21:38 | More by greenengineer
Photo of BostonHops


3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bomber served in a nonic.

pours a mahogany tone with a creamy, mocha-colored head, about 2 fingers of which; decent retention and lacing.

the nose is strong and offers roasted malt, caramel, molasses, and hops notes. the first sip touches your lips and you know this is a bitter beer. has a strong floral, nutty presence with malt blending with a relatively mild hoppiness. finishes on a dry, bitter note. for me, a decidedly ok-tasting beer. definitely quaffable but not great; a little too bitter for my personal taste.

medium-bodied, moderately carbed. drinks well enough, just not up my alley. not my favorite from pretty things, though i could see where others may appreciate it more. worth a try.

originally reviewed: 11-21-2010

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2012 21:49:04 | More by BostonHops
Photo of FosterJM


3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1106th Review on BA
Bottle to Mug

Thanks to CPAbeer and StormKing47 for this bottle.

App- A very dark dark brown pour bordering on black and resembling a good baltic porter. Had a 1 finger very pancake looking khaki head. Very little in terms of lacing/cling.

Smell- I didnt get much off of this one. Even when warm it was a bit lacking. Maybe call it some malts with a little bit of dough and some charcoal notes. Just really not sure on this one.

Taste- I enjoyed the fullness of this. The mixing of what I call a black ipa/baltic porter mix was really pretty taste. A bit muddled at points but some damp earthy hops with some bitter and what almost came across as a blending of cocoa powder and orange.

Mouth- I really got a interesting mix of light vs medium feel with a fairly medium carbonation level. Residual malty, cocoa type of flavor.

Drink- Pretty good. A little bit more of a black IPA than I was thinking but still had good flavors. Probably wouldnt go back to it but thats okay.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2012 15:39:09 | More by FosterJM
Photo of Weidman26


4.88/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If I were alive 100 years ago and having a draught by the sea in any of the island nations about the european north...This is what I would be having.

That is the thought conjured by this brew. Yet I am alive and well in this time and loving it quite well enough.

I would love to break down the particulars of this beer but truthfully that feels like a denegration to the overall masterpiece that is this beer I will simply sum up and hope that everyone will give this gem an effort

dark bitter hoppy murky enigmatic foggy briney obsidian seaworthy fortitude

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2011 07:16:23 | More by Weidman26
Photo of donkeyrunner


3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Billowing clay colored head spills from the glass like a cone of insulation foam. Pours dark brown and sits opaque black. Thick foam layer of retention rides down to glass bottom, depositing swatches of lace along the way.

Aroma is damp, earthen hops. Mildly citrusy?

After awhile in the cellar KK still has some heat to it. Maybe not heat, aggressive warmth shall we say? The beer may look black but it doesn't taste like a black beer. There's some fruity dark malt flavor without any char or roast character.

Not my thing but I could see where a Black IPA fan could dig this.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2011 17:54:44 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of gory4d

New York

4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, chalky brown with a big tan head, nice cap, lots of lacing. Smell is pine, dandelion, gingerbread. Taste is heavy on the pine, sweet gingerbread in the middle, with one heck of a bitter finish - very herbal and mineral at once. It's a little chalky in consistency, thick, bubbly - a lot going on here. Great beer, that's kept very well since I got it. Wish I had another stashed away.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2011 23:32:42 | More by gory4d
Photo of mdaschaf


3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes.

A: Pours a deep brown color with a one finger beige head on top, on the foamy side, with nice retention that leaves thin lacing behind.

S: The aroma is rather sweet, almost candy-sweet. There is a bit of dark fruit, some caramel, toffee, and chocolate.

T: On the sweet side, with some caramel and toffee. There is a little bit of roast and coffee along with some dark chocolate.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Slightly sticky finish.

O: Not really sure what is going on with this beer. It's not bad, but not as good as others I have had from Pretty Things. I like that they are recreating these older recipes, but this one just wasn't as good as I was hoping.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2011 14:50:44 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of THECPJ


3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown black with a 2 finger tan head

smell: sweet, toffee, roast, malts

taste: toffee, sweet, roasted malts

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: better then what I was expecting and I think it had to do with the sweetness. glad I got to try it.


Serving type: bottle

09-01-2011 15:27:52 | More by THECPJ
Photo of scottfrie


3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to a generous BA for sending me this.

A: Pours a very dark reddish brown with a thin wispy head that left spots of soapy lacing down the snifter.
S: Sweet smelling with notes of dark roasted malts and a good dose of bitter grassy hops.
T: Bitter hops, coffee, roasted malt, a hint of chocolate and a touch of grapefruit and weed.
M: Medium body with fizzy carbonation and a drying finish.
O: Interesting beer but strange. I’m not sure I loved the flavor profile of this one.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2011 20:21:13 | More by scottfrie
Photo of ryan1788a5


4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a New Belgium globe.

A: Pours a muddy dark brown with a thick brown head. Great retention. Sticky rings of lacing.

S: Big dose of floral and grassy English hops up front. A bit of an herbal edge to the hop profile too. Tobacco. Whiffs of rich caramel and toffee. Slight charred wood and a hint of smoke. Fruitiness comes out more as the beer warms.

T: Tastes of sweet caramel at the outset. Plum, raisin, and fig cross the palate quickly before charred wood and smokey tastes overwhelm them. Coffee and bitter dark chocolate emerge after the smokey tastes mellow a bit. Grassy and floral hops cut through the malt tastes briefly, and the substantial bitterness adds a welcome balance. Quick flash of citrus. Lingering finish of coffee and char.

M: Medium bodied. Deceptively light considering the bold flavors at play, but it works well. Creamy and extremely smooth. It almost melts in your mouth.

O: This beer is excellent. Very well made, and hits all of my beer G-spots.

Notes: These historical recreations by Pretty Things have been a huge hit. The EIP was excellent too. At this point, they have solidified themselves in my book as one of the top New England brands.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2011 17:18:05 | More by ryan1788a5
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Once Upon A Time 1901 KK from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
87 out of 100 based on 139 ratings.