Alimony Ale - Buffalo Bill's Brewery

Not Rated.
Alimony AleAlimony Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

326 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 326
Reviews: 129
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 16.86%
Wants: 7
Gots: 14 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Buffalo Bill's Brewery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-13-2000

Buffalo Bill's Alimony Ale was originally brewed back in 1987 for a customer going through a divorce. It has gained reputation as one of the most eccentric brews, from reports in the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. No longer one of the bitterest beers in America, just one of the best.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 326 | Reviews: 129
Reviews by Cylinsier:
Photo of Cylinsier
3.64/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz.

Pours a slightly hazy amber gold, inconsistent haze, more cloudy at the top and more clear at the bottom, thick off-white head over two inches dissipates slowly.

Smells of floral and piney hops with some mild honey and biscuit malts.

Flavor is of light honey and bready malts with a mild dry hop bitterness.

Medium body with a light fizzy carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

Pretty solid IPA, smells great, taste and feel are a half step down, but overall a pretty good brew worth trying.

More User Reviews:
Photo of woodychandler
4.22/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I am now committed to reducing, if not eradicating, my backlog of bottles. This one was part of a local, in-person trade with tone77.

From the bottle: "Good beer, like true love, doesn't last long. Enjoy it while it lasts."; "It's Irreconcilably Different". Hee hee. The soundtrack to this one includes Led Zeppelin's "Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman)".

Grrr, fooled again by a screw-top cap! I took out my frustration in the frm of an aggro pour, which resulted in a pseudo-cascade. It settled into a massive three fingers of dense, tawny head with great retention. Color was a deep-amber (SRM = > 5, < 7) with NE-quality clarity. Nose was bitter, as anyone forced to pay alimony might be, with a prevalent pine odor. Now, my hophead mouth was beginning to water! Even better was the sticky lacing that the foam left behind in its wake. Mouthfeel was medium. Taste was a combination of bitter grapefruit rind and minty pine, reminding me of how and why I became a hophead in the first place. I have been subjecting myself to all manner of styles in this attempt at downsizing, but this was a welcome relief! Finish was dry and biting, fitting for both an AIPA and the thought of paying alimony.

Photo of tectactoe
3.15/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Pours a hazy amber color with some orange-ish highlight streaming along the sides of the glass. The foamy and chunky, ever-so-slightly beige cap rests quietly at about a quarter-inch as it leaves some thick and spotty lacing on the way down, especially near the top of the glass.

Alimony Ale smells pretty good. It's packed neatly with a caramel-laden network of malts; bready, sweet, and graham cracker-ish, upon which a brighter wave of hop flavors coast through your nostrils - light citrus, grapefruit, and orange peels leading the way. There's a solid balance and harmony of malt and hops, for sure, but this beer is lacking any real punchline or "it factor" that would make it stand out to me amongst a lineup of other, readily available IPAs. Maybe I'm being too hard on it... I haven't even tasted it yet.

But it tastes pretty much like I expect. Again, not a "bad" thing, in any sense of the work. Bread, light caramel, and graham cracker malt rolls out a carpet across the palate, opening with a bit of sweetness and mouth-coating stickiness. The hops aren't far behind at all, and quickly follow up with a one-two combo of grapefruit and pine resin. Pith-like and peel-y is the fruit profile as the leafy, piney, and oily nature of the hops play in the background. Medium-ish body with a slightly sticky and oily mouth feel. Medium-high carbonation provides a neat little snap on the tongue that cuts through the slick body just a bit.

I like hop profiles that are densely resinous and piney, but again - this one falls just short of packing an acceptable wallop. It doesn't cut my tongue enough. It doesn't spark my senses like an IPA should. And at 6.8% ABV, I'd rather choose a Pale Ale with less alcohol and just as much, if not MORE flavor. Alimony Ale isn't bad or offensive at all, but it gives me no reason to walk in the store and choose it over the myriad of other IPAs that I could walk away with for the same price or flavor. You get the point.

Photo of Jason
3.97/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown. Turn of the century cartoon of a small man, big mouth character holding a sign. On the sign it states, "The Bitterest BREW in America."

Appearance: Very dark with ruby edges and a nice looking thin lace that retains.

Smell: Big and malty with caramel and rum notes.

Taste: Extremely smooth, rich malt sweetness that transforms into a roasted grain dryness becoming almost tart. Hop leaf flavours finish at the end, mixing well with the complexity of malt afters.

Notes: Not the bitterest brew, but, very malty and complex. The malts definitely reign in this brew. Very unique and enjoyable.

Photo of merlin48
3.9/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A new arrival at the nefarious Pappy's Beer Store at the entrance of Cumberland Gap National Park. Bottle pours a slightly hazed deep amber body with a small, but lasting, offwhite head. Good sticky lacing is left behind on the glass.

Aroma is orange and pineapple marmalade, waves of caramel, and some aggressive pine hops.

Mouthfeel is nearly full thanks to a chewy maltiness. Medium carbonation.

Taste reminds me of rum raisin icecream, with additions of grapefruit and pine hops, pineapple, and chewy caramel. Solid and filling.

A bit of a headturner for me. Didn't expect such from this brewery, but this ale is bold and aggressive. Nicely done, but I wanted something lighter after this one.

Photo of far333
3.55/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear honey copper colored with a low white head of tightly bubble foam that settles out quickly.

Aroma of tangerine and florals, though a bit muted, some cinnamon notes.

Flavors fairly match the nose, with a finish that morphs to bitter citrus rind and grapefruit. Good round mouthfeel, nice and full and creamy. Pretty drinkable.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.05/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

When an old timer goes on sale for just over $1 a bottle, why not jump back into the olden days. This beer was pretty cool back in the college days (late 90s). Pours out darker than most ipa's nowadays, this was kind of a mix of red, yellow and brown. I guess that's either auburn or amber. Aroma very different than ipas of today, accentuated the nuttiness, just as much, if not more than the hops.

Taste delivers a bitter, yet for the most part, balanced beer. Its a big malt profile. A little sweet, plenty nutty and substantial, with equal parts toffee and caramel to it, carbonation just right, applying some lift to the malt, but not so much that it feels like bitter seltzer. Somewhere between an older school ipa with brown/red malt(s) possibly. Imagine if BMC decided to try duplicate Celebration Ale, they would probably dumb it down to something like this. Which isn't to say its bad, far from it. But its not the original thing. Its in a way, kind of unique now, as there aren't too many west coast ipa's with this body.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Buffalo Bill's has become somewhat a novelty in the craft brewing realm, let's see if their amusingly entitled American IPA Alimony Ale holds up to the challenge of being a solid West Coast IPA. Appears a pale copper hue slightly hazed with sediment, bright offwhite head forming thick with fine bubbles intricate lacing left behind, beautiful looking brew. Aromatics strong citric nature, hints of peach and biscuit pale malts. Flavors bitter just like the alimony payments, not joking this beer has a strong unrivaled bitterness, starts citric peel fruity ends abrasive earthy/dirty hop bitteriness. Mouthfeel is dry with hop bitterness hints of aspirin medicinal qualities overall bring out a nice flowing carbonation that carries this medium bodied brew without difficulty. Drinkability overall is excellent, a beer I will try fresh anytime solid West Coast example not the cream of the crop, but this beer is no slouch.

Photo of tdm168
3.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber with one finger of head that fades to a thick lacing. Smells heavily of malts. Taste is very malty but with a slight hop bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium body with good carbonation.

Not a bad IPA. I've definitely had better, but I'll probably have this again.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear - although bottle conditioned - and very dark brown with ruby highlights topped by a dense, creamy tan head that holds very well and leaves some exceptional lace. The aroma is rich with light fruit and caramel notes. The body is medium with a fine, median carbonation that is lightly zesty on the tongue and fairly creamy once it warms in the mouth. The flavor is bold and rich with layers of caramel, toffee, chocolate and roasted coffee notes as well as some lightly floral & grassy hoppiness. The combination of dark malts and hop acids gives a low pH that's borderline sharp but works well with the dryness of the beer. It finishes with a quick flourish of hop flavor and bitterness, then receeds with a lingering caramel maltiness. Starts well and ends well! The "most bitter beer in America" clearly refers to the alimony aspect of it, and not the IBU's, as it's really quite malty and fairly complex. Very nice! Much more than I'd expected, and well recommended.

Photo of RickS95
4.07/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a coppery bronzey orange. The head is mostly white and fluffy, but lasts only a short time.

Citrus smells dominate the nose, with some peppery spices in the background.

Tastes like it smells, with citrus flavors taking over with pine flavors filling in the cracks. Like in the nose, there is some pepper at play as well.

In my mind it's hard for any IPA to have a good mouthfeel and this is no exception. It's got a hoppy bite from beginning to end. The citrus only tames the hoppiness a little.

This is a really good IPA. While it's 100% IPA with it's hoppy bitterness, it's pretty tame for the type. Would go well with something salty to eat, but goes by itself just fine.

Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was in a cheese shop when I saw this beer and started laughing. The bottle alone would make a good post divorce gift. It poured nice. It wasn't as bitter as I exspected, but it was more bitter than your standard IPA. All in all it was decent beer worthy of another round.

Photo of DerekP
3.58/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into an Imperial Nonic slash Weizen glass of sorts with a Leinenkugel logo.

Tarnished gold, amber-orange body. Swampy head w/ a thin egg white rim. Cloudy in appearance. Fruity & floral in the nose w/ pineapple coming to mind. Heat from the alcohol. A bit of a bready aroma; buttery. Sweet caramel in the back end.

A malty-bitter jab to the tastebuds. Alcohol is obvious, but not overbearing. An IPA on the maltier side.

Medium to heavy bodied brew w/ a slick feel. A night capper.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Clear copper with no head and very little lacing. Looks flat except for the edges of the beer.

Smell - Eh. Hop aromas come through, but it's a struggle. Hard to identify exactly which hop aromas are there. More of a bready malt smell.

Taste - Some bitter hops at the front, but a sharp, nutty flavor from the malt immediately follows. The hops don't come through in the flavor. The finish is bitter, but more unclean than appealing.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with sharp carbonation. Much more than I anticipated, given the lack of a head.

Overall - It was easy to drink, for sure. Just not what I'd choose to drink every day. Not terrible, just not great. Very average IPA.

Photo of russpowell
3.58/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with 3+ fingers of cream colored head. Good head retention

S: Some grassy & wooody hop presence

T: Grassy & herbal hop bitterness along with a little pineyness & just a touch of breadyness up front. A little bit of caramel fights through woody & piney bitterness. Finishes with a bready sweetness intertwined with much wooody hop bitterness

MF: Medium bodied, fairly smooth carbonation, fairly good balance

Not a bad AIPA, I'm sure there was a time when this was considered very hoppy, now days, not so much. Might buy this again if the price was right, otherwise I stick with something from Stone, Odell, Founders or Bells. Not a bad flyer I took on this one a part of a mixed sixer

Photo of lawlerj
3.23/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.

A - Pours a very murky golden brown. Two finger width white head with agressive pour.

S - Lots of caramel malt on the nose, a touch of citrus hop in the background. The caramel is really what dominates here.

T - It seems a bit muddled to me, but not altogether unpleasant. The caramel/toasty malt is there again, but hops are quite a bit more forceful when tasted. As some others noted, there's honey in the mix as well. The finish is not quite as crispy and dry as I want it to be, but the hops are there.

M - medium bodied. I was wanting it to be a little bit lighter on the palate, but not too bad.

O - Overall, an interesting beer. Definitely not the typical IPA that I've run into. I wouldn't say it's my favorite, but I might give this one another shot sometime down the line.

Photo of nickthetick
3.7/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a clear mahogany into a DFH signature glass with a finger and a half of khaki head.

S: a lot of dark citrus, floral, earthy.

T: huge citrus notes! A lot of grapefruit, curacao oranges, tangerines. Its balanced with some sweet malt and earthy undertones.

MF: heavy, great effervescence, astringent as hell, and dry.

O: not bad but there are some pretty good qualities. The mouthfeel is great, as is the nose but the taste leaves a bit wanting.

Photo of output01x
3.43/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle (no date) into a pint glass.

A moderate pour releases a billowing 2 1/2-finger off-white head that nearly pours over the edge of the glass. The body is a slightly hazy orange honey with a decent amount of carbonation bubbles creeping slowly to reinforce the extravagant head. The head slowly dies down after a few minutes to a thick, clumpy mess that never seems to disappear. Thick lacing sticks to the sides of the glass in layers.

The aroma is well balanced between floral and citrus hops and bready malts. Lemon zest, caramel, and biscuit can all be found in the nose. It is rather sweet-smelling for an IPA, but I think it plays well with the hops.

Light but sweet malts hit the tongue first with a standard earthy breadiness. This is quickly followed up by a piney, citrusy, and slightly spicy hop flavor that never truly evolves. Instead, the hops feel a little watered down and are not given an opportunity to truly present themselves. A piney bitterness creeps in at the back of the mouth a while after swallowing, but like the flavor of the hops, never truly blossoms.

Light bodied with moderate carbonation, this beer is very drinkable. However, the lack of body assists in preventing the flavors from full exposure. It is definitely thirst-quenching, but not necessarily satisfying for a hophead nor a true beer enthusiast.

Photo of KTCamm
3.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours very cloudy medium brown. Red tinged. Low foam. Malty smell, some pine, toffee. Full bitter taste that blows up and disappears into a light sweet malt.Interesting juxtaposition. Light fruit at the finish too. And the bitter holds.

Photo of alleykatking
2.38/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 12oz bottle. Thanks to VinnieVanGogh for this beer.

A- Poured a coppery brown color. Half finger off white head showed poor retention. No lace left on the sides of the glass.

S- Light citrus hops in the front but barely there in the aroma. Huge bready sweet caramel malts dominate most of the aroma. Earthy hops like the citrus come through but not in any dominate matter. Light sweet alcohol in the ending of the aroma.

T- Sweet malts right off the bat. Caramel bready malts show more than the citrus hops that came in the ending of the front. There was a light earthy hop in the ending with the same semi-sweet malt overtones in the front of the beer. Sweet alcohol in the ending of the beer.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Lots of malts left on the palate. Aftertaste is light sweet alcohol, bready caramel malts, and hints of earthy hops. Flavors were more malt forward and I didn't think it was balanced for the style. No off flavors were present but a little too sweet which threw me off as an odd flavor. Light alcohol drying on the palate.

O- Nothing at all like a IPA in my personal opinion. Not really anything like an English IPA either. The ABV didn't show really but the sweetness just is a little over the top for me. Not my favorite beer by a long shot but also at the same time not my least favorite.

Photo of KYGunner
3.72/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Coppery color with a dense, thick head this IPA sets up quite nicely. The head was roughly a fingers width, creamy and pronounced it sat atop for the entire experience.

The scent was quite simple. An almost metallic malt aroma there is a certain spiciness but far too light to discern what spice.

The taste is dry, malty and even a touch fruity. Possibly cinnamon spice with a lemon zest, the malt breadiness and cracker dryness are near the front. There is a strange metallic taste and feel near the end.

Overall a very well constructed ale that could use a few more hops to truly set it apart.

Photo of Samp01
3/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A dark amber pou rwith a nice off whitehead. Aroma is of citrusy floral hops, nice fruity aromas and some maltiness. Taste is malty fruittiness with some citrus floral hops. Palate is a medium body with moderate carbonation. Finish is sweet caramel malt, with some floral hops. There are better IPA’s. Overall an average brew

Photo of beerthulhu
3.41/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Murky orange with a strong feverish display of effervesce. A rocky rigid foam cream colored structure dominates the glass with a near 4 finger height with a slow rate of retreat. Patchy foamwork sticks well for lacing.

S: Sweet toasted caramel and pine. Average level of aroma, nothing that really sticks out.

T: Sweet toasted caramel, fresh grapefruit and pine. Nice flavor, sweet and bitter mix. Knock out of cypress-citrus hops is fresh, wet and bitter with a confident level of hop awareness. Dry toasted fade.

M: Nice snap of carbonation, frothy texture, medium bodied.

O: Overall, smooth sweet and bitter with a fresh wet hopping. Toasty sweet malt base, good drinkability, aside from the so-so aroma this turned out to be a fun style to down, wont knock you out complexity wise, but a good casual downer.

Photo of B967ierhunter177
2.53/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a slightly hazy amber with no head or lace. The aroma is of caramel and citrus, not much more. It's flavor has grapefruit, lemon, grass and toffee notes. The mouthfeel is light, slightly sticky, and leaves a lasting hoppy aftertaste.Buffalo Bills Alimony Ale is an average brew. Mild for an American IPA. Recommended.

Photo of matjack85
3.89/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I found this single 12oz brown bottle at the Binny's store in Plainfiled, IL for $1.49. No freshness date or any other information about the beer on the label.

The beer poured a dark amber color and made 1-finger's worth of white head that dissipated in less than a minute and left only minimal lacing.

Nice hoppy citrus nose to this one along with plenty of caramel malt.

Malty sweet flavor with a ton of grapefruit flavored hops to compete with the malts for dominance. Not sure which one wins - I'll call it a tie.. Not much else going on here, but not sure there needs to be. It's decent as it is.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied with a medium high carbonation level.

This beer used to say "World's bitterest beer". It's far from being that, but at 80 IBU's it still packs a decent bitter punch which lasts thru the finish and beyond.

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Alimony Ale from Buffalo Bill's Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 326 ratings.