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Notch Session Ale - Notch Brewing

Not Rated.
Notch Session AleNotch Session Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

34 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 34
Hads: 98
Avg: 3.69
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 4
Gots: 7 | 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 (16) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Notch Session Ale Alström Bros
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Reviews: 34 | Hads: 98
Photo of GregSVT
3.04/5  rDev -17.6%
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.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.1/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours medium orange with an off-white head. Some light lace, and the head reduces to a ring of foam.

Grapefruit and toasted malt aromas dominate. Hop forward.

Well, they hid the inadequate parts of the beer behind some hops. Thin toasted malt, bread and toast, some dried malt elements, grapefruit rind. Dries right out. Watery. Not a glassflull of hate, but this is barely average.

Medium-light bodied. Adequate carbonation.

Wow, glad I got a single instead of a six. There are some good elements to this, but the big picture is barely there. They tried so hard to be sessionable that they forgot to brew a good beer. I was eyeing up their pils, but i probably will wait (i.e. never try it). I can spend my money elsewhere.

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Photo of gfreed
3.12/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

For a low-ABV beer, this comes equipped with the sting of a DIPA, not to mention the puckering dryness of any beer brewed by Stone. In fact, it would be interesting to serve this Notch ale along with a Stone Levitation and see if anyone could detect a difference. Both are harshly over-hopped yet manage to be quite smooth. Not much in terms of malt, most of which is suffocated. A nice novelty which would gain favor by reducing the hops to, say, 5, down from the 11 where they are now. You made your point, guys. Now brew something that doesn't taste only like pine needles and grapefruit.

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Photo of muttyd
3.38/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a rather clear amber with a thin off-white head that persists throughout. Very good head retention. Big piney hop aroma with a slight toasted / biscuity malt backbone. Flavor is big on the hops; piney, grapefruity, and earthy. Toffee and biscuit malt sweetness help round out the flavor profile. Aromatic and earthy hops in the finish. Rather bitter brew that finishes dry. Well carbonated and prickly on the tongue. I prefer the session pils, but this is one solid APA "session" beer.

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Photo of brentk56
3.39/5  rDev -8.1%
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

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Photo of ecar027
3.39/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

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.

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Photo of portia99
3.46/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

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Photo of danmcg62
3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
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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Photo of mountdew1
3.49/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of silentjay
3.49/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

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Photo of wedge
3.52/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

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Photo of corby112
3.54/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

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Photo of ElijahRivera
3.54/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

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Photo of KarlosT
3.57/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

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Photo of gdrydenc
3.58/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

A - Pours a murky dark brown/amber with an inch of thick light tan, almost peach head. Lacing lasts well throughout.

S - Piney hops, a hint of citrus. A hint of malts comes through the nose.

T - Bitterness is the foremost taste I have. The fruitiness doesn't come out as much as it did in the smell. I may just not like the style, but this isn't a great beer in my opinion. I know it's for sessioning, but the flavor lacks a balance from malts and ends up being a slightly watery bitter beer.

M - Feels pretty good on the mouth, slightly watery, but once again, the bitterness detracts. The carbonation is spot on, though.

D - Very drinkable. For a session, this is top notch (ha!). Frankly, for me, drinkability is whether or not I can finish this beer and feel good about it, even trying another one. Considering I'm writing this review on my second (of several) I can't imagine a much better drinkability.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.66/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of betsona
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to BWX for this 12oz bottle, poured into a shaker pint. No freshness info.

A- Pours a hazy copper color with a finger and half of off-white head. Good retention throughout the drink with plenty of lacing on the glass.

S- Nice piney aroma with some citrus hops. Ever so slight hint of grapefruit. Some toasted malt that adds a bready smell, but very neutral.

T- Mainly bitter. Didn't get any of the citrus flavors that are present in the nose. Slight malt at the end that helps balance slightly. Slight lingering bitterness, but nothing that lasts for more than a minutes.

M- Light body that is almost watery. Just not much substance to this one. Has good amount of carbonation that creates a nice bite. Still too watery to wow the palate.

O- I enjoyed this one even with its faults. It is easy to drink and with a low abv I could see that as being a good and a bad thing. If this was available to me, I could see myself picking a sixer of it to bring to a friends house to watch a game.

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Photo of Omnium
3.69/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of cbutova
3.7/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.7/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notch Session Ale pours a slightly hazy copper color with a small, off white head on top.

The aroma is light with notes of pine and lemon citrus hops along with a touch of toasted malt.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is watery on the palate with moderate carbonation. The flavor is malty with amber and pale notes. Slightly metallic. Towards the end pine hop notes and some grassy bitterness help balance out the malt. Once gone the amber malt and metallic flavor lingers on the palate.

This is a pretty descent, well balanced amber ale. The flavor and aroma really come out as the beer warms. A nice session ale is hard to find and this one would be great with dinner, at a ball game, or if you just want to relax and have a beer or two.

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Photo of OldIronLungs
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up at Blanchard's where Chris, the founder, was having a tasting - nice guy. Notch is coming at an interesting angle by producing low-gravity sessionable craft beers as opposed to the wallops I usually drink.

Poured into the pint glass I got with the sixer a maple syrup amber with three fingers of light head that fades into a ring of medium sized bubbles.

Nose is grapefruit hops and sweet toasted malt.

Bitter front leading to sweeter bready notes. Medium to lighter body and medium carbonation. Light lingering hop finish but overall quite clean.

It's a session ale, so I'm rating it with that in mind. This is the type of beer you'd happily drink all day and will easily appeal to the non-craft crowd. There was enough thought put into the hop and malt profile that drinking it while mowing your lawn isn't déclassé.

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Photo of thehopsguy
3.86/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a- the pour is a nice dark golden amber color not much head( but then again i didn't pour it like a doouch)

s- light smell..maybe some cascade hops with a little more malt characteristics coming through

t- mmm..a nice crisp hoppy bite with a great balance of malts..amber..2-row for sure.. the finish kind of reminds me of a DFH 60 minute..tasty

m- alot going on here..rich malt flavors and alot of citrus/pine flavors from the hops at the finish.

D- Overall a very good session..Ill take have a few of these after a long day in the glass studio..cheers!

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Photo of puboflyons
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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Photo of tigg924
3.97/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

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first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Notch Session Ale from Notch Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 34 ratings.