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Once Upon A Time 1879 East India Pale Ale | Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

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Once Upon A Time 1879 East India Pale AleOnce Upon A Time 1879 East India Pale Ale

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

Style: English India Pale Ale (IPA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by PeterIngemi on 12-22-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 11 | Ratings: 45
Photo of PeterIngemi
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle Into a pretty things stemmed beer glass.

A: pours a hazy golden orange with a touch of amber. About half an inch of frothy looking white head, after a normal pour, that dissapates nicley to a film, very nice lacing... Looks refreshing.

S: nice dank grapefruity citrus, nice hop aroma, looks and smells remarkably similar to some west coast citrus forward ipa's you see today.

T: wow, this is really tasty, great chewy grapefruit citrus, along with some light piney and earthy hop notes, great hop blend. Wow is put this up against most current day ipa's, had I not gone into this knowing, I never would have thought this recipie was from 1879.

M: nice full medium body, with some very nice creamy carbonation, a dry finish with a lasting grapefruity resinous hop aftertaste that coats the mouth.

O: this is a delicious beer regardless of when the recipie originated. Absolutly delicious , Not what I was expecting at all. Thank you pretty things for brewing up this one. Loved it

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Photo of NiceTaps
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- It's a pale golden-orange color with a 1-plus finger fluffy white head, curtains of lacing.
It looks like a pale ale to me.

S- Biscuity pale malts and some spicy and floral hop aromas. A slight note of citrus hop, no sweetness.

T- Pale malts, bready, floral and citrus hops. Spicy, not overly hoppy.

M- Good carbonation, and fuller body for the style, perhaps from the bready pale malts. Some hop tang without too much bitterness. Balanced.

O- Spot on for the style, a true English IPA. It delivers lots of taste @ 5.9% abv and that makes for drinkable beer. I enjoyed it.

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Photo of jlindros
4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

last one in my ancient recipe series from them, for now, which makes me kinda sad as I love trying these experimental stuff.

Pours a nice fluffy 1.5 finger head that fades semi slowly as it's reinforced by nice stream of bubbles from the etch at the bottom, with nice soapy lacing, quite clear straw honey colored beer.

Nose brings plenty of hops, but doesn't seem overly bitter at least from the nose, grassy hops mostly, earthy and slightly spicy hop as well, with some light grainy malt base, a mild sweetness, with a touch of an herbal and slightly fruity citrus hops on the back end.

Taste starts with grainy sweet malts, a little biscuity and chewy malt like but mostly clean, and quickly the hops come up. Fairly bitter right out and increases as it goes. The hops bring lots of herbal earthy flavors, grassy and a little spicy even. The hops get chewy and really spicy the more it goes, but quite bitter and borderline astringent and slightly salty like. Finish is long bitter, but not astringent or over bitter, but lingering grassy earthy spicy hops, and not much else, and fairly dry.

Mouth is med bodied, nice fluffy carbonation.

Overall fairly interesting, not a whole lot of complexity, as I'm sure most recipes from the 1800s were fairly straight forward with very few other ingredients to make it with, but it does have a nice flavor. However, it packs nice flavor and aroma into the little ingredients they have, and I can see how this led to most English IPAs as well as eventual rise of the American IPA, it's almost like a bridge between them.

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Photo of jondeelee
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Once Upon A Time 1879 East India Pale Ale opens to a lightly hoppy nose, with good amounts of grains and breads. The hops bring lemon, pink grapefruit, and touches of pine in light, but nicely detectable quantities, lending the beer a pleasant bitter citrus overtone. The grains, present in almost equal strength to the hops, bring toast crust, biscuit, Grape Nuts cereal, and touches of wet hay and grass. Add to this a handful of brown sugar and thick caramel, and a selection of berry, orange, and apricot fruit esters, and the result is an appealing pale ale that, while light in aromas, features a wide variety of aromas that have been nicely balanced, the brown sugars and caramel playing especially nicely off of the light grains and citrusy hops to lend the beer a sweet overall base, with lovely bits of citrus and bread adding texture.

On the tongue, the hops prove far more bitter than the nose implied, the immediate notes being bitter grapefruit rind and dandelion stem, with lesser notes of pine resin, lemon oil, anise, pepper, and menthol, the hops being especially noticeable in the burning sensation they cause on the tongue and soft palate. Beneath these is a good counter of breads and sugars, the former adding toast crust and biscuit that, mixing with the peppery hops, comes across like rye bread; and the latter bringing brown sugar and caramel (though it lesser quantities than implied by the aromas), as well as berry, orange, and apricot fruit esters. Overall, however, this is very much a hop-forward beer, the stinging sensation on the mouth’s soft tissues alone evidence of a few shovelfuls of hops per barrel. Unlike many IPAs, however, the hops here are very peppery, bitter, and astringent in their presence, coming across not necessarily as flavorful, but medicinal, the menthol, lemon oil, and dandelion stem especially adding punch. This is not to say that the experience isn’t enjoyable, but it certainly packs a wallop, lasting well into the aftertaste, which lingers on the tongue for a very long time. Mouthfeel is medium-light to medium, and carbonation is medium to medium-high, fizzing on the tongue and adding to the burning sensation.

Overall, this is good IPA, and while it is fairly interesting because of its historicity, it’s also worthy in its own right, featuring a surprisingly large flavor profile for a beer that only clocks in at 5.9% ABV. It is perhaps too hop-strong for its own good, the medicinal quality of the hops being exceedingly potent, but still offers a good selection of sugars and breads, and is delicious.

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Photo of Gatch
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Clear, golden yellow with a fluffy, pillowy, foamy white head. Great lace and little retention.

S: Great balanced aromas from the hops and malt.

T: Delicious, balanced flavor full of slightly spicy hops and sweet, sugary malt. Very English. Dry, bitter, a bit skunky (in a good way).

M: Crazy smooth. Super creamy. Very tasty. Malt can be a bit cloying as it warms when several sips are taken quickly.

O: Awesome recipe. Unique and very enjoyable. They were drinking well back in the day.

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Photo of hopley
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - looks great, nice straw color with 1.5 inches of foam which settles and laces nicely

S - smells more like a lager - doesn't do much for me either way

T - bitterness comes through all around, maybe a little too much on the back end

M - light mouthfeel

O - I wouldn't buy it again, but as a recreation of an 1879 Yorkshire IPA, it was worth it and I'm eager to try Pretty Things next in line in this series as I love the brewery and all their other beers

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Photo of CarlKnerr
3.96/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Took a chance as I've never heard of this brewery or this beer.I was pleasantly rewarded. I love tons of bitter and minimal sweet. This delivered with excellent and low on the sweet. A little sour, but don't let that dissuade you at all. I really enjoyed it and will be looking for it again.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a clear amber hue. Head is a nimbus cloud of white fluff. It dies off but still manages to sat and about two inches tall. Head leaves moon-like crater marks along the glass. All things considered, this beer is very pretty.

S-English all over the place. Steeped tea hops and boiled floral hops. Shares a similar (albeit less muscular) hop profile to their Meadowlark IPA. Some sweet citrus. This is all balanced by sweet, wet Animal Crackers and honey-drizzled biscuit. No mistaking its English origins.

T-The flavor is noticeably better than the nose. Much more pine, grass and citrus. This actually has a serious bitterness level. So if this is what the Brits drank back in the day then they must have been hopheads. Floral and tea hops join the pine, citrus and veggies. Hey, there is still a bunch of malt backing here. Fluffy bread and liquified caramel. The flavor was a full standard deviation above the nose.

M-Feels bigger than its ABV. Creamy and mostly bitter. Like most English ales, this would be a wet dream through a cask. Sneaky carbonation.

O/D-Definitely skeptical at first. Then I smelled it. Unimpressed. Then I tasted it. Much more impressed. I love the idea behind their "Once Upon A Time" line of brews. If the recipe really stands true to its ancestral lines, the boys of yester-year definitely sipped on some hoppy suds. I liked this better than Meadowlark by the way.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.76/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a hazy, golden-copper coloring with a frothy, filmy, bright white head that eventually settles into a filmy coating. Nose of biscuits in the backbone, with a toffee sweetness, a touch of grapefruit tart, and a hint of hops bitter. The nose is very sweet, but very blended. Flavors are balanced, too, but lend more to the bitter side. Initially toasty, with a lemon and grapefruit citrus blend that overcomes the palate rapidly, with a bitter and peppery hops following shortly behind. The bitterness is bold, and helps to clean the palate. The aftertaste is a bit on the bitter side, with the citrus tart still present, but slightly overpowered. The original biscuit backbone is a little lost, leading to a slightly astringent finish. Mid-bodied, which works to support the flavors, but the bitterness may "do in" some drinkers who are not fans of the hops, or accustomed to more bold flavorings. Interesting brew, nonetheless. I really like this series so far, it's been fun getting to know these brews.

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Photo of smcolw
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy, dirty gold color. Modest head, but it has some lasting power that leaves a solid ring of lace.

Good blend where the strongest smell is slightly sour. Light floral hop.

Far more bitter than the smell suggests. Very brief malt flavor. Completely peppery in the finish and aftertaste. Moderate body and carbonation.

I like the historical perspective; one can envision the need for the high-hopped brew to travel through the warm climates on the way to India. This is a pleasant beer that comes across with the basic elements of malt and hop and little complexity.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.06/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Very minor chill haze on a deep gold color. Head is bright-white, creamy, and thick. Drops to a small, creamy cap that sticks around for the duration. Nice sheets of lacing. Moderate carbonation pulls from the bottom.

Smell: Mellow malt body. Some pale malt paired with a mild backing breadiness. Vague toasted notes. Hops are just as mellow, pushing a bit of a floral edge laced with some herbal notes. Very minor sweetness. Incredibly clean. Some mealy fruit, like pear underripe banana, or even apricot. Touches of citrus.

Taste: Slight medicinal overtone. Backing fruitiness is pronounced and builds as the beer warms. Barely ripe pear. Banana candy. Pale biscuity malts with an almost aspirin edge to it. Hops are decidedly floral with a solid herbal component. Oddly sweet. Seems a little off balance. A bit grassy and nutty on the finish. Warming smooths out some of the rougher edges, but it finishes a bit leafy overall.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and soft. Moderate carbonation on a medium body. Almost creamy, but manages not to cross that line.

Overall: History is full of lies!

Decent. That's really all there is to it.

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Once Upon A Time 1879 East India Pale Ale from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
86 out of 100 based on 11 ratings.