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Notch Session Ale - Notch Brewing

Not Rated.
Notch Session AleNotch Session Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

97 Ratings
THE BROS
80
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 97
Reviews: 34
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 4
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Notch Brewing visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: albern on 03-12-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (13) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 97 | Reviews: 34
Photo of puboflyons
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle into a shaker glass. sampled on April 26, 2014.

The pour looks correct with its copper-amber color, modest off-white head, and slightly unfiltered haziness.

Nice composite of aromas including roasted caramel, toffee, biscuit, and fragrant grassy, earthy hops.

The body is a bit better than medium.

The taste brings out a quick malty flavor at first and then a quick eruption of hop bitterness that balances it all off in a complex and enjoyable fashion. It lives up to its title of a session beer.

Photo of Bitterbill
4.3/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Thanks go out to Yamar 18 for the 2 bottles. Cheers, Kevin!

A huge billowy head of foam sitting on a medium golden brew, there's lots of nice lacing.

I get a flowery type of hop aroma backed up by some grain and a bit of sweet malt.

The taste is gracefully balanced with notes of caramel and grainy malt and a flowery hop flavour. A light presence of earth shows up after a few sips in. Dang, this is good.

On the light side of medium bodied with a bit too much carbonation for my liking else the mouthfeel
would be great.

This is one heck of a good session ale at 4.5% abv! Highly recommended.

Photo of brentk56
3.39/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A slow gusher, with a huge head plopped above the hazy amber liquid; as one would expect, the head grows craggy and leaves a lot of lace behind

Smell: Bready, with a lemon edge

Taste: The bready malts form a base upon which the lemony and somewhat grassy hops linger; somewhat herbal, particularly after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body; overcarbonated and aqueous

Overall: Although I love good session beers, I am afraid I am not a fan of the flavor profile or the mouthfeel here

Photo of Omnium
3.69/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Clear yellow with a ton of head, definitely over carbonated, lots of thick patchy lacing.
S - Grassy hops, pale and bread malt, a hint of citrus zest.
T - Very thin flavor, has the traits mentioned in the aroma, but that its very watery.
M - Thin, lacking feel.
O - Session ale? sure is, but its not big on flavor.

Photo of wedge
3.52/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an orange-amber color with a quality, tight, creamy looking head. Mellow grassy and floral hop aromas mix with some toasted caramel malt and a trailing slight leafy, resinous note. Light, spicy citrus bitterness, malt, a little tea, and fruity yeast. A little watery, but tasty enough to be a decent session beer. Light bodied and dry with an earthy bitterness.

Photo of ElijahRivera
3.54/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce Bottle with no “best by” date.

A- Transparent, dark amber in color with lots of visible carbonation, and bubbles clinging to the side of the glass. Nice big, fluffy, off white/tan head with very irregular bubble sizes that dies down quickly leaving an attractive lacing pattern.

S- Sweet, caramel malts balanced with a spicy, floral hop aroma. I also detect some citrus fruit aromas, and even some other possibly tropical fruit aromas.

T- The flavors aren't super complex, and they are almost a letdown compared to what I was smelling. It has a decent maltiness that stands up to and at the same time seamlessly blends into a hoppy bitter finish. Not too sweet up front, and not too bitter on the finish. Nothing too compelling, but certainly nothing off putting.

M- Enough carbonation to satisfy, and a light to mid body. Goes down smooth, and doesn't leave any sort of film or residue on the tongue.

O- This is a tasty little beer that is impressive, because it succeeds at what it is trying to do. It isn't a beer that will “wow” you, but, if you want a subtle, balanced, tasty ale that will be easy to knock back a whole six pack without skipping a beat, this beer should do the trick.

Photo of mountdew1
3.49/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a darker amber, with a thick foamy white head. A bit of lacing from the head as it diminished. Tons of streams of carbonation rose from the bottom. Aroma was primarily floral, with a bit of hoppiness in the back end. Flavor was fairly subtle, a bit of white bread of front, with a slight bitter hoppy finish. Ok in the mouth, a bit overly tingly on the mouth, but a decent bit of coat. Overall not bad. Nothing outstanding, could definitely have a bit more flavor.

Photo of ecar027
3.39/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Very light amber, unusually so. Whiskey coloured. Not super bright but clear enough.

Smell: Nice, clean grapefruit citrus notes on the hops, maybe some lightly roasted coffee on the malt side.

Taste: The grapefruit citrus hops comes through again in the taste. I don't get much of the malt at all but maybe some light toast. Balanced.

Mouthfeel: This is where the beer goes from average to bad. My first bottle was dead flat, no hiss on opening and the cap was loose. No carbonation at all, I had to dump it. I tried another couple bottles and found that they were carbonated, but not very and it felt to me like all the caps came off too easily. I can understand that this is a session beer so maybe that implies low carbonation but I wonder if I got a dud batch. I like my beers on the unfizzy end of the spectrum but I really felt that this could have been carried by some more carbonation. Very watery mouth-feel even in the most carbonated bottle. It ruined the beer.

UPDATE:
The next beer had much better carbonation. The first three I tried yesterday were on the same side of the 6-pack so perhaps on that side the bottles had been clipped during handling? Who knows but the carbonation was much better on tonight's beer and the mouthfeel was much better. I've bumped the score accordingly for this bottle and chalked the carbonation problem up to bad luck.

Photo of Maxwell
4.04/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a nice hazy amber brown with some slight golden highlights. The head on this beer is big and creamy but it has some rockier patches. The beer’s body is clean but very hazy, and there are only haphazard bubbles traveling up the glass. The beer’s lacing is fluffy and dry, leaving spider webs across the glass. On the nose, the beer smells of caramel malts and bitter hops with a slight onion character, which is probably due to the older hops. The malt smells warmly caramelly and welcoming, which actually has me thinking of a bigger beer than this actually is. On the tongue, the beer tastes sweet with a touch of light grassy bitters, but some great malt character shinning through. The taste begins with light watery malt, but quickly opens into caramel malts that meet a middling grassy bitter flavor and melds nicely together. The malt eventually reaches an almost creamy finish, touching briefly upon whole grain bread notes before washing away to leave a lingering light medicinal bitter taste. I actually really like this beer’s flavors and complexity, and I could absolutely drink a lot of it. On the mouth, the beer feels just barely above light in body, with nice mellow carbonation that leaves a brief, slight prickle. The tongue is left dry but the sides of the mouth have nice amounts of saliva on them. Overall, this beer is what I imagine people drinking in The Lord of the Rings and other fantastical tales. Yes, I realize there are way too many hops in this beer for the medieval time period, but it just feels like that to me. The malts are sweet and complex while still being subdued, and the mouthfeel is perfect for knocking back. I like this beer. You should try it.

Photo of KarlosT
3.57/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this beer at the Amesbury Beer Festival on Sep 22 2012.

Most of the beers were served from bottles into small 3oz plastic dixie cups.

Although I took notes on the 20+ different beers that I tried, it is difficult to remember all of the details associated with each beer. My apologies to readers of these notes. However, I did pay attention to my overall scores, and noted what I thought were unique positives and negatives w/ each beer.

Note that for me:
< 2.5 = probably would not finish the beer
3.0 = drinkable beer, but likely would not buy again or look for
>3.5 = will try to buy again in the future

Very good W.Coast style IPA. Could definitely tell that there were Cascade and other citrusy type hops.

Photo of JaredKent
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Amber in color, just under a light brown ale. The head was strong and filled the glass. Lasts throughout the quaffing as well.

Scent: Upfront there’s an extremely pleasant American hop aroma. I get spice. I get citrus. I get a little pine. I love this combination, whatever they are using I just decided what I’m using for my next brew. There’s a hint of malt to balance it out, but not much.

Taste: The hops once again come through up front. Pine stands out the most. A hint of bitter on the finish. The hops are upfront but not powerful enough to be an IPA. The malt is disappointing. There isn’t much, go figure. Not quite enough to balance out the hops. It just kind of falls short.

Mouthfeel: Very light body. Short presence on the palate. Carbonation is medium level.

Overall: Easy to drink and the hop profile is awesome. Unfortunately the malt just isn’t there to balance it out. I guess this is to be expected from a low gravity session beer. I found myself wishing for more body, but you can only do so much when trying to keep the ABV low. Definitely a great tasting and flavorful session beer. I love the philosophy that Notch stands behind and it’s one I try to stick close to when homebrewing. An awesome beer that is easily drinkable throughout a long summers day.

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.66/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A-This beer pours a slightly hazy orange/copper color. Tons of bubbles rise to a massive head. Head retains masterfully. Specks of lacing are left.

S-Sweet breaded malt is the foremost aroma. Not much in the way of hoppiness. Mostly sweet, but somewhat pleasant.

T-Light citrus hops lead and transform into a decent grassy flavor. The sweet caramel and bread backs up the surprising hop flavors. Lightly floral too. Not too bitter.

M-Light and "sessionable". Soothing carbonation. A bit slick.

O/D-I liked this much, much better than their Session Pils. This one is a decent APA. Wouldn't buy a six-pack, but it was better than I had expected.

Photo of BeerResearcher
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a 16 oz. standard pint glass at Yard House, Dedham.
Pours a hazy tannish amber color with a firm 2" khaki head and fairly substantial amount of lacing.
The smells are a balanced mix of grain, bread dough, resinous and citrusy hops, with a slight whiff of wild flowers.
This little ale provides a surprising variety of flavors, without a lot of sweetness in the mix. The separation of a crisp grainy malty taste plays well with the edgy hoppiness. Citrusy, resinous and a slightly metallic hop bite provide plenty of zesty flavors.
Even as it warms, the flavors maintain their individuality, and that's cool for such a small beer.

Photo of GregSVT
3.04/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a super murky brown with a huge eggshell white head that fades to a layering and leaves some good lacing on the glass. The murky color isn't what I was expecting from a Pale Ale.

S: The nose is a bit of roasty malts with a bready aroma and a tiny bit of cocoa.

T: The taste is a bit of bready malt and a bit of hops with a cocoa flavor in the background.

M: The feel is actually on the lighter side of medium which I was not expecting.

O: I enjoyed the Pilsener a bit more. The flavors in this one were much more muted and you could tell this was a lighter ABV beer.

Photo of silentjay
3.49/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

hazy, murky amber copper color with a huge khaki head that raises well above the rim of the glass, sticks around forever, and laces very well.

kind of faint aroma of crackery and caramelly malts, herbal and a touch of citric hops, as well as some fruity sweetness.

grains and bitter hops come first followed by the caramel and cracker flavored malts.

medium bodied with a nice, subtle carbonation that gives a slight prickle on the tongue and leaves a slight bitterness on the palate.

its good, but not as easy drinking as I would want in a session ale. the graininess and lack of hop flavor in exchange for hop bitterness make this an unremarkable pale ale.

Photo of cbutova
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fresh on the shelves in Central MA, perfect mix-a-six candidate.

A- Pours a fairly dark amber into my pint glass. A two-finger off-white head builds up and retains decently. Spotty webs of lace on the glass.

S- A nice hop and malt element. Malt brings me some toasted nut and biscuit hints. Hops are floral, earthy and slightly fruity.

T- Once again, a noticeable malt and hop presence. The malt is darker than I would expect in an APA, it feels like a light nut brown, toasted nuts and such. The hops are very earthy as well as spicy, herbal and floral. A bit of fruit and apple as well.

MF- Lighter-end body with a nice creaminess to it. It feels very crisp and clean with high carbonation. A slightly bitter finish.

Hmm, hard to call this a classic pale but at the same time it is too light to really be anything else. I like the earthy hops and nutty malt interplay. Not what I expected but it is a nice ale.

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Bukowski’s in Cambridge.

Pours a clear light amber color with a white head that leaves decent lacing.

Smells of crisp caramel malts with hints of breadiness and leafy hops. Also present are slight amounts of indistinct medium fruits.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Grainy caramel malt flavors up front are joined quickly by mild amounts of bready flavors. Midway through slight hints of medium fruits come into play before being pushed aside by leafy and slightly earthy hops that carry through to a moderately bitter ending. Mouthfeel is good, with solid carbonation.

Overall I think this beer is closer to an ESB than an APA and is certainly a better ESB than it is an APA. An easy-drinking beer that’s worth a shot.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #52 (May 2011):

Brewed to help inspire the creation of a session beer culture in the US. Weathered brass color and good clarity. The head is quick to foam and stays for the duration. The nose is a mélange of American hops, citric and minty herbals, with a mild fruitiness from the yeast and hint of caramel from the malt. Hoppy to start, bitterness is there, and pretty forward at that. Citric and scraping herbal flavors. Kiss of caramel, nutty yeast and a vague mineral salt. Fruitiness beyond the hops, toasted grain flavors as well. Very dry finish. Good drinking, sort of a middle-of-the-pack ale—meaning it’s noth- ing earth shattering, though if you are worried about a percent or so of alcohol, then this might be for you.

Photo of DrinkingDrake
4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Light golden brown with a lot of carbonation leaving a big bubbly head that dissipated to a slight small blanket across the top. Toasty malts balanced with lighter caramel malts. Earth and fruity citrus hop nose. Crisp and light body with a large toasted caramel flavor. Citrus hops are up front but get fruitier and then finish with an earth and malt tang. Goes down smooth with a lot of flavor packed into such a light body. The sixer was a bit pricey for 4.5% abv which is the only thing preventing me from buying this often.

Photo of smcolw
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The name did not disappoint. This is a full flavored beer regardless of the alcohol content.

Starts with a three-finger head, which settles very slowly. The beer has a muddy, amber appearance. The lace coats the glass.

Excellent and unexpected floral hop nose. There's also pale malt notes.

This starts mild but soon there's a peppery hop takes over. There's a long peppery aftertaste. There's also a hint of sweetness that creates good balance. My only complaint comes with the body, which is thin and spritzy.

Photo of portia99
3.46/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Russian River stemmed glass.

A - Highly sedimented and a bit lumpy with yeast. Pours a medium amber color with a thick finger of foamy cream colored head with pretty good staying power.

S - Honestly, this smells like a Snapple lemon iced tea. Sweet, artificial-ish lemon, and powdered iced tea mix aromas. With a bit of a struggle, I get some grassiness and a touch more citrus...still saying iced tea though.

T - Tastes better than the aroma indicates at first. Actually has a good sharp bitterness and some fresh hop flavors. Citrus is still there with lemon taking the lead (and there is still a noticeable tea-like aspect to it as well). Grassy hops, a dry and slightly medicinal bitter finish and some graininess in the middle.

M - Good firm carbonation that tingles the mouth over the lighter side of medium body. Lingering medicinal bitterness and a very dry finish. Crisp and somewhat refreshing overall.

O - Once past the initial dominant impression of iced tea, this beer is actually pretty good for a lighter session type ale. Hops are in the front of the flavor profile which is a plus in my book. I can't totally escape the iced tea-ness of this beer (but I do like iced tea...so it kinda works anyway)...not gonna run out and buy a case, but I would easily have another of these if offered.

Photo of corby112
3.54/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received in a recent trade with mkabull. Thanks a lot Alec!

Pours a dark amber color with golden orange edges and a two finger frothy off-white head that slowly settles into a thick lasting ring. Streaks and splotches of soapy lacing left behind.

Sweet malt aroma with faint floral hops. Slightly toasted with hints of caramel and toffee. There's also a slight buttery diaceytl presence in the nose.

Full bodied with a nice bitter, earthy hop presence up front that lingers over the sweet malt backbone into a nice spicy, dry finish. Floral with resinous pine notes followed by hints of caramel, rye and toffee. Much more hop forward than the aroma suggests but still well balanced with a nice malt backbone that doesn't take away from the hop flavor.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 6/17/2011 at Yard House in Dedham, MA, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep golden brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains earthy hops, caramelized malts and some citrus.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of citrus and caramel. Then a decent hops bitterness comes in. The malt character is heart but not too heavy and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, solid beer to drink for a long time.

Photo of tigg924
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/2 inch head, orange-brown in color, hazy, medium carbonation

Smell: light toasted malt, orange, and citrus hops

Taste: light toasted malt, caramel, orange, and citrus hops

Mouthfeel: high carbonation, light bodied, sweet start with a slightly dry bitter middle and a bitter aftertaste.

Overall: It packs a lot of flavor into a 4.5% beer. An above average to good pale ale that I would consider over others due to the abv. I will pick up a couple more singles of this at some point.

Photo of danmcg62
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a dark amber color with a solid index finger width head that stays around for a while.

S-A dark toasty, hoppy smell at first whiff. Grainy and a bit fruity.

T-Mild hops, not too much, not too little. A bit tangy at the back of the mouth.

M-Feels a bit liquidy and tangy in the mouth.

O-Overall this is a decent APA. Would definitely get this again.

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Notch Session Ale from Notch Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 97 ratings.