Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Alimony Ale - Buffalo Bill's Brewery

Not Rated.
Alimony AleAlimony Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

129 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 129
Hads: 328
Avg: 3.39
pDev: 16.81%
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Alimony Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 129 | Hads: 328
Photo of kenatbeerswap
3.58/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

poured from a 12oz bottle to a pint glass.

A: Nice copper color that poured with two finger head and had good retention.

S: I could smell the hops when I opened the bottle. Had a floral and citrusy aroma with some grassy aroma coming through.

T: Get a lot of bitterness up front followed by a citrusy sweet taste. Also has some toasty flavors coming through.

M: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation.

O: Overall its a nice IPA but does have a lot more sweetness than most of the other IPA's I've had.

 513 characters

Photo of SupaCelt
3.58/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

the pour is a caramel coloured ale with a nice off white head that crumbles into a thin film. lacing dots the trail to the bottom.

the nose is bready above all. crusty caramel notes hang with just an ever so slight aromatic hop canopy. cascades and crystal are a bit status quo. smells very brew book recipe like. no flair. just tried and true standard smells.

the taste is full of the toasty bread influence that was abundant in the nose. mildly bitter, with just a pinch of hoppiness. sweet and crusty. the highly over rated cascade hops really magnify the caramel notes. cascades have the power of making people appreciate some of the more interesting cultivars, but the reviewer digresses. this feels like a brewing 101 textbook recipe. well made, but the mind and mouth are not completely blown away.

the mouthfeel is appropriate. just about medium.

overall, this feels closer to a traditional english ipa. remember the fuggle. the bread and toast and mild hop character provided by way of cascadian virtue and caramel malts are pleasant, but boldness does not apply. it is very drinkable. this particular brew, although free of flaws in quality, would likely stay on the shelf as another more dynamic version of the variety would be taken home by a thirsty hop head. solid for sure, just no glitz and no honey to draw flies. I ain't mad it it.

 1,355 characters

Photo of daledeee
3.7/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured this one into a tulip and got a white head with gold/orange body. Not much lacing

Nose is quite floral and has some sour apple candy smell.

Taste has a good dose of hops and malt. This is listed as an American IPA but it has characteristics of an English style.

Pretty enjoyable but I have had better.

 312 characters

Photo of Mitchster
3.58/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brewed with 2 row pale and crystal malts. Hopped with Cascade and "select bittering hops".6.8% ABV, 80 IBU. $1.59 for a 12oz bottle at BevCo.

Pours out to a hazy burnt orange, forming a voluminous white meringue head with excellent retention and a solid sheet of sticky lace. Moderate carbonation. Nice fresh hop aroma, very much your typical cascade nose, sitting on top of green apples and a suggestion of pine. Mouthfeel is biting with a medium body. The taste opens with the green leafy hops, with pine, grapefruit, and a touch of skunk, a faint brief suggestion of fusels in the middle, then some funky green leafy bitterness in the finish. Moderately bitter. Kinda peculiar inorganic aftertaste...like PVC or plastic.

While this isn't a bad beer by any means, it doesn't do much for me, and I wouldn't really buy this again unless I were in a pinch.

 858 characters

Photo of output01x
3.43/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

 1,367 characters

Photo of DannyDan
3.73/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A. pours out a dark amber that has a thin white head with decent retention and nice thin lacing.
S. Has a caramel, rum and sweet malts in the nose, surprisingly I can hardly pick up the usual hops in the nose of an IPA.
T. The taste starts out with some pine, caramel and rum. That follows with some citrus and more caramel and finishes off with some pine. Sweet malts seem to be in the taste throughout the drink.
M/O. A nice medium body IPA that is sticky in the mouth, easy to drink and overall a nice IPA for people that don't like them too bitter as the malts and hops are balanced in a way that makes this beer not as bitter as most IPA's. I do like this when I am in the mood for a different type of IPA, but most of the time I'll be drinking IPA's like Founders, loose cannon and Stone.

 795 characters

Photo of coldriver
3.18/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into Sam Adams glass. Head quickly dissapated and not much lacing. Not getting much hops from the smell for an IPA. Taste is bitter like you want in an IPA, but not that citrusy or piney. Almost as if they put in plenty of bittering hops, but left out the finishing hops. Don't think I'll buy this again.

 317 characters

Photo of suspect
3.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass. Thanks to mrmarmot for the freebie.

A: Pours a golden color with a slight amber tone. Aggressive pour leads to a sticky looking 1.5 finger head that takes minutes to fade and when it does, it fades to a sticky ring and good lacing.

S: Strong piney hops up front, more hops in the middle and hops to follow. Slight malt back end to make it interesting.

T: Wow, this could not have been more opposite of the nose if it meant to be. The hops that were present in the nose, faded to malt in a hurry. It's entirely possible that it's due to age but usually the nose fades too. Either way, this was a pretty average IPA.

M: Lightly carbonated, medium bodied. Slightly sticky mouthfeel, not as bitter as I would have hoped.

O: Overall I generally expect more from California IPAs. This one isn't terrible, but it's not great either. I won't be rushing out to get more of this.

 941 characters

Photo of Samp01
3/5  rDev -11.5%
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

 327 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.8/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

 292 characters

Photo of Mit
3.26/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden colour with a very short lived head.

Smells malty with a slight alcohol smell.

Some hoppy flavours...tastes like an english IPA rather than an american IPA. Def maltier than hoppy.

Heavier in keeping with the abv. Not bad at all.

Overall there are lots better IPAs out there. This is not bad...and I would try it again but it wouldn't be my first choice if there was other things to choose from.

 420 characters

Photo of chodinheaven
4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice clarity in an amber beer with a big billowing head that got surprisingly big, surprisingly fast. Lots of visible carbonation from the bottom. The head sticks around for a long time and leaves heavy lacing. Very foamy off-white head. The aroma is sharp of pine hops and some nice toasty malts in the background.

Its a heavy beer in a medium body, tasting strongly of toasted malts and strong bitter hops that take over in the end. The hops finish everything off in a gritty fashion, but for some reason its very satisfying. The malts begin the taste in a heavy-handed way, but back off to make way for the heavy-handed bitter pine and grapefruit hops. The mouthfeel is on the creamy side, helping along that heavy feeling of the beer. The aftertaste is supremely hoppy and not to be reckoned with. Although not a traditional AIPA, its unique and it makes its strong flavors work well together. It drinks like a double IPA really, but just isn't quite there. Very interesting beer, worth buying if you see it around.

 1,021 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.38/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a clear, golden amber color with a small, off-white head of bubbly foam. It had okay retention and left minimal lace.

S - It smelled very floral but there wasn't much else.

T - It tasted fairly spicy with a citrusy kick. It had an English-like maltiness with some sweet caramel.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a clean, dry finish.

O - This is an okay American IPA. It is certainly better than their Orange Blossom and Pumpkin ales.

 480 characters

Photo of ckollias
2.85/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Deep orange to amber color with a huge white 3-finger frothy head after a vicious pour. Good head retention leaving a nice trail down the glass and ending with a wispy lace.

S: Mild hoppy aroma with earthy malt like background. Not your usually hopped up aroma I am used to from an IPA. It is a decent aroma but nothing I would remember it for.

T: As with the smell, the hops are not as big as I am used to with an IPA. It is a bit tart with moderate bitterness.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation

O: Just an OK IPA. Nothing really special here and nothing I would grab for again.

 646 characters

Photo of climax
2.66/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

It pours a cloudy caramel, glowing amber to the light. The head is decent and fades to a film.

The aroma doesn't seem too IPA, even though there's signs that one is in there. The flavors have too much caramel and sweet malt up front to really convince me what I'm about to drink is gonna be great. A bit of citrus hides in the back.

The flavor boasts a bit more bitterness, but those bright snappy good hop flavors aren't there. I still find myself fighting with sweet malt flavor. Once again, a bit of orange flavor seeps through and keeps things on the cut line.

The feel is medium with sharp carbonation. The dryness takes over after all is said and done and lingers a loooong time, making it the only reason I keep sipping.

I don't expect too much from BB's brewery, so perhaps the name created an impulse buy...

 824 characters

Photo of CWBlues
3.71/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: With an aggressive pour, a finger and a half head, creamy off-white in color. The beer is a dark copper. Looks good!

S: Mainly citrus, with light floral notes. Finishes off with a light amount of hops.

T: Almost like it smells. Heavily citrus, but with decently strong floral notes. Smidge of pine. Hops on the back are bitter.

M: Mouthfeel is about what I would expect from an IPA. Good carbonation. Hangs on the tongue. Maybe a bit less hop bite at the end.

O: I like this. It's not super-hoppy (though I DO like my hops...), but it's a good tasting beer. I would drink more than one of these in a sitting.

 616 characters

Photo of far333
3.55/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

 333 characters

Photo of ferrari29
3.51/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured from bottle into Pint glass

A - Caramel/dark amber colored body; clear; good amount of carbonation stems from the bottom of the glass; one finger foam; white in color; held pretty well; good quality lacing formed on the sides of the glass

S - Citrus; caramel and subtle buttery biscuit malty smell; some hops not much though; very subtle hints of pine

T - Citrus and pine flavors; mildly bitter hop taste; mild caramel flavor at the tip of the tongue and turn somewhat bitter on the back end

M - Tingly mouthfeel from typical hop bite; bitter aftertaste and bitter mucus taste after drinking; flat otherwise

D - Overall not a bad drink, but could have been enjoyed with a slightly heavier hop palate and more activity on the tongue

 748 characters

Photo of obrike
3.18/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought a sixer at HEB for 8 bucks and change.

Poured a light copper in my sam adams boston lager pint glass. Off white head, disappated fairly quickly, did leave some spotty lacing however.

For an IPA, not a very distinct hop smell at all, maybe a very buried bit of pine, but certainly nothing substantial...a little grassy at best.

Interesting taste. Again, I'm not getting much in the way of hops...some sweet, bready malt...and a bit of spice as well in the aftertaste...maybe cinnamon. Very dry, which I'm not a big fan of. This one may be worth purchasing on curiosity alone, but I'm not sure about the classification of this beer being an American IPA.

Quite crisp, carbonated well...goes down easily, but again, if you'r expecting a nice, hoppy American IPA, look elsewhere.

 786 characters

Photo of yesyouam
3.94/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Alimony Ale is a very slightly hazy amber ale with a few small particles in it. It's topped with a blotchy, light khaki head that fades to a film and leaves excellent lacing on the glass. It smells like pine. Yes, pine, citrus and light grain. It's quite light bodied and foamy. The finish is clean and dry. It's pretty bitter but not really hop flavored. This is like an old school IPA. Pine resin flavor becomes juniper by the finish. There's a little hint of fruit that almost seems sweet and a note of lemon peel. It's nice, bitter and easy to drink.

 554 characters

Photo of RickS95
4.07/5  rDev +20.1%
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.

 684 characters

Photo of wagenvolks
3.75/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a Sam Adam's Perfect Pint glass.

Alimony Ale shows a burnt copper body with a core of amber. A sizable, mottled off-white head is slow to settle thanks in part to several torrents of carbonation. The hops smell herbal and peppery with faint traces of citrus, while the malt bill adds notes of caramel and toffee. Almost English IPA-like in that respect.

A good dose of bitterness and hop flavor hits the tongue right off the bat--again, very herbal and spicy with a nice backing of toffee and a near-vanilla flavor from the malts. Bitter alpha acids linger on into the finish with pine and resinous herbs. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with carbonation; not as aggressively bubbly as I was led to expect by the appearance, thankfully. Overall, Alimony is a few notches above run-of-the-mill IPA's. Worth a try, but probably not a repeat purchase for me.

 873 characters

Photo of bort11
3.38/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a standard shaker pint glass. A thin khaki colored head leaves a surprising amount of lacing. I was not expecting as much from the initial pour. Body color is a clear copper. There isn't much in the way of carbonation activity.

Hops are tamped down in the smell. It is there, mild and earthy, but the malts are keeping the bitterness in check. What is restrained in the smell is let loose in the taste. It is a strong earthy green bitterness, a lot of pine needles, grass and dry leaves. The malts come off as mildly toasty.

Mouthfeel is mostly medium bodied, though the strong bitter hops finish adds some density. Paired with food it goes a long way. On its own it would be a little much if you are not used to heavy handed hops. When I first had this beer about six or seven years ago, it may have been the most bitter beer. Since then things have changed, so it doesn't quite live up to the label. Still a good beer.

 947 characters

Photo of lechroy
3.28/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz bottle.

A - Nice golden color with 1 finger head that fades quickly.
S - Rich caramel smell with a great malty red aroma feel.
T - Beer tastes like a red. And a good one at that. But not an IPA. I give this a great rating as a mellowed beer, but as an IPA its not up to snuff. I really do like the rich taste of malty.
M - Could use a touch more carbonation.
O - Yummy interesting taste. Really complex, but definitely not an IPA.

 453 characters

Photo of ruppert2p
3.27/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The ale poured golden amber into a standard pint glass. A vigorous pour yielded a substantial head of white foam. The foam sticks around to the end leaving nice lacing all the way down the glass. As a beer once advertised as “America’s bitterest ale” the not unexpected Northwest hop aroma (think grapefruit) wafts up from the glass. That hop presence dominates the flavor profile—perhaps a little too much for my taste. Mouthfeel is round and bubbly—a solid IPA in the West Coast style.

 497 characters

Alimony Ale from Buffalo Bill's Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 129 ratings.