Hoponius Union - Jack's Abby Brewing

Not Rated.
Hoponius UnionHoponius Union

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

316 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 316
Hads: 2,323
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 6.86%
Wants: 350
Gots: 387 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Jack's Abby Brewing visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Lager |  6.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mschofield on 08-07-2011

This lager harmoniously combines lager yeast fermentation and west coast IPA hops. Our India style Pale Lager is like a traditional IPA but with a twist - it’s fermented cold and aged for extended periods. A blend of classic American hops creates a huge tropical fruit and citrusy hop aroma. A dry finish accentuates the pleasant bitterness and hop profile. Hoponius Union uses locally grown dehulled spelt from MA.

65 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 316 | Hads: 2,323
Photo of BigGold
3.97/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at the new "Cheers," Quincy Market, Boston, Mass., on draft into a faceted mug. Would say this "IPL" is a great example of what lagers can be, except it confirms I had (have) no idea what can be done with lagers. Whatever, find this beer. It may or may not open your eyes (like mine), but you will almost certainly enjoy the experience. (343 characters)

Photo of PHBoiler
3.97/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bold yellow/orange body that is completely translucent with a crisp finger width white head. Good looking beer in the glass. Some pine and citrus on the nose. Aggressively hopped and quite bitter with a solid lager base. The lager base is my favorite part of this beer. Very well made with a great mouthfeel. The hopping is a bit too aggressively west coast for my taste. It is certainly interesting with the lager body though. Worth a try for west coast IPA fans indeed. (471 characters)

Photo of NiceTaps
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a tall lager-style glass.

A- Pours a bright and clean golden color, 2-finger white head that settles nicely leaving lots of lacing.

S- Hops all over; citrus grapefruit and orange, some pine. And some lager graniness.

T Light grass and very mild malt flavors are quickly trumped by a big dose of the citrus hop flavors.

M- Very light. Crisp. Light lager feel, mostly. Lingering hop bite and dry finish.

O- It looks and smells good, tastes OK, but has no body. It needs an element to tie it together. It is a light tasting lager one second, then a hop bomb the next. Not bad, though. (611 characters)

Photo of dheacck11
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A little stuffed up, so my senses may be a little clouded...

Pour is a lovely golden hay color with hints of melon and orange. Thick foamy head, 1 finger, soft and white. Lingers.

Nose is mostly some soft citrusy hops. Little bit of pine. Nothing too prominent.

Taste is interesting. Nice, juicy citrus hops up front, get a little grapefruit sense. This follows with a dry malty lager flavor, which rather refreshing. Seems to have a finish with a bit of dry hop.

Feel is medium thin as befitting it's name.

Maybe it's my sinuses. maybe it's the beer. It's good, I'm just not feeling incredible with this. Maybe I just want it to be an IPA too much, and I'm trying to make it something it's not... (702 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.99/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A bottled beer? From woodychandler? Yes, it's true. And what a bottle to come through with, many thanks. Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a deep golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of hops, citrus. Taste is smooth and refreshing. I could drink these all day long. Some solid hops, malts, citrus, well done. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a high quality beer. (389 characters)

Photo of biegaman
3.99/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hoponius Union has such a well polished golden tone it could fit in at Europe's most majestic cathedrals (probably museums too). It has a bright and angelic aura with pristine clarity, calm bubbles and a thin white head that appears to be soft as fleece. An immaculate appearance.

The effects of lagering are most appreciated in the mouthfeel; while this process removes a lot of the fruity esters that are by-products of fermentation, it's not always obvious from smell alone whether a beer is a lager or an ale. In this case it's even more difficult because of the abundance of hoppy citric and tropical fruit flavours and the fact that much of its 6.7% alcohol can be detected. The smart money would be on ale.

Of course, you'd be wrong. While this recipe uses the same zestful varieties of American hops as an IPA, it is in fact fermented at a cold temperature (as opposed to warm) and aged ("lagered") for an extended period. Why does this matter? Well, it has evidently led to a 'smoother' beer, one with a tighter and cleaner flavour profile (think of it as a song played with minimal distortion, or hearing that song through speakers that have minimal static).

Otherwise, however, I am inclined to say it doesn't matter much (after all, some people prefer loads of distortion). This beer offers much the same biscuity, lightly nutty maltiness and toasted bread flavours, as well as all the mango, grapefruit, lychee, and tangerine one could ask for in any hoppy beer. There's plenty of tree resin, bubblegum, and citric acidity too - IBUs aren't affected by lagering. It makes no difference to hops what temperature you ferment at.

Indeed, the only difference between Hoponius Union and a West-Coast IPA - aside from the fact that it's brewed in Massachusetts - is that it's been lagered. This offering only further reinforces my opinion that people (beer educators specifically) put far too much emphasis on the 'lager vs. ale' comparison; there's obviously so many more important factors that distinguish a beer. (2,028 characters)

Photo of HamdenHector
3.99/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: crystal clear; copper colored; 1 finger white head that receded quickly to a thin cap; moderate lacing;

S: grapefruit is predominant with a bit of pine in the background;

T: a little grapefruit up front; all pine in mid-palate; grapefruit takes over again for the finish; low to moderate bitterness from mid-palate to finish;

M: light-medium bodied; low to moderate carbonation;

O: really easy and enjoyable to drink; refreshing; (436 characters)

Photo of BobZ
3.99/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9 oz Bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Deep amber/orange with an initial 1/2" head that disappears quickly leaving only a ring, nice lacing.

Smell: A well balanced pine & citrus hoppy aroma, quite pleasant. You also get some malty sweetness beneath the hop profile.

Taste: Really clean and well balanced hoppy flavor, right at the right combination of pine and grapefruit. The bready malt flavors come through at the end.

Mouthfeel: Very nice body, again well balanced and clean on the finish.

Overall: An extremely enjoyable hoppy lager, one of the best offerings I've had from Jack's Abby. (611 characters)

Photo of migwell
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bit cloudy with a small head that persists. An IPL it is, tasting quite like many a great IPA while having a lighter body and clean finish reminiscent of a lager. This is a good drinking beer which goes down easy and doesn't pack a major ABV wallop. Very fine beer, this! (279 characters)

Photo of hagbergl
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Bottled in mid-November–perfect timing for Thanksgiving drinking.

Appearance: Towering pillowy white head atop a clear orange-yellow body. Tons of soapy lacing and serious head retention.

Smell: Candied orange, light grapefruit and some toasted bready graininess that conjures in your mind the smell of a German lager (like a Helles) that's just been hopped way up. Solid smelling beer, though certainly more muted than an ale. (As an IPA lover I do miss that piney dankness that wafts up from the freshly opened bottle. I'm not getting that here.)

Taste: Tons of crisp smooth candied orange and pink grapefruit, kiwi and pineapple in the flavor. Not as aggressive as an IPA in its hop attack but still delivers lots of hop flavor. Malt is there and more noticeable than in a regular IPA, but firmly in a supporting, minimalistic role. Very dry finish accentuates the hops and brings on the bitterness in the finish. One thing I will say about the beer is that it doesn't warm that well and loses a bit of crispness in the flavor and mouthfeel (as if the carbonation dissipated).

Mouthfeel: Clean and smooth mouthfeel with a decent medium carbonation (I do feel that the beer could have a slight bump in carbonation level). I love the dry finish, which really helps the hop flavors pop towards the end. (1,313 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to MSquared2 for sharing this one during one of our random Sunday tastings! Served from bottle into Sweetwater 15th Anniversary snifter. Poured a pale golden yellow with a half finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, earth, earth hop, marijuana, fruit hop, and pine resin. The flavor was of sweet malt, earth, marijuana, pine, pine resin, earth hop, and spicy hop. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a good brew. There were quite a few different components going on in both the nose and flavor of this one that really kept me on my toes. With having a few brews from this brewery that night I can honestly say that they have aromas pinned down. With just a little more robustness this could definitely be a standout for the style. I suggest you get your hands on some of these or other brews from them if you get the chance. You won’t regret it. (1,023 characters)

Photo of Kinsman
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fills the glass with a beautiful bright copper which is crowned nicely by a dense white head. Resinous lace rings the glass as it goes down.

Hops invite you right in with powerful grapefruit notes and a nice punch of piney goodness. All hops all the time on the nose... who said lagers were suppose to malty anyway?

Juicy citrus makes for quite a refreshing sip. Pleasantly bitter without ruining your palate. Some Cascadian pine notes in there as well. Little room left for the malt to come through.

Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than I'd like as I prefer my hoppy beer to have some substance to them but this certainly nothing to be too picky about. Refreshing and highly drinkable. I'd challenge any BA to correctly identify this as a lager in a blind taste test. (767 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to portia99 for this brew.

Poured into a Squatters True Pint glass a very nice cloudy dark golden yellow color, very nice carbonation, with a nice one-finger white creamy head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is hoppy, malty, with a nice citrus note. The taste is hoppy, nice little touch of malts, and some citrus notes. Medium body, with a nice slightly dry/bitter finish. Overall a very nice brew. Thanks Bill! (449 characters)

Photo of Flounder57
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

16.9 oz beer was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a minimal head that reduced to nothing. It is a copper color with great clarity and bubbles seen coming up through the glass.

Smell: Piney, citrus, resiny, and tropical hops. Bready and sweet pale malts in there too. Interesting.

Taste: Super hop bomb here. Malts are second in the taste with lingering chalky bitterness in the end. Bitterness eventually mellows out after a while.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, crisp, full bodied, low to medium carbonation, a little chewy, and some lingering bitterness.

Overall: Pretty solid IPL from another local brewery. I remember trying Wormtown's and was very surprised and interested with it. Good to see another local brewery bring this style up a notch. (764 characters)

Photo of argock
4.02/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a Shaker pint at Sunset Grill (Boston, MA).

A: Straw yellow with creamy 1-2 finger off-white tightly bubbled head with good retention and copious lacing.

S: AMazing hops aroma of pineapple, mango, lemon, and pine resin with a lightly bready malt component. Reminds me a little bit of sweeter lemon shortbread but with the lemon and herbal hoppiness and fruitness magnified.

T: I liked the flavor with the blast of lemon and pineapple hoppiness carrying this beer. The malting is well done -- this is a beer brewed with care. The hops, while intense, do not overwhelm and match well with the lightly sweet and bready maltiness.

M: I didn't really enjoy the mouthfeel at all, and I think it detracts a lot from the enjoyment of this beer. I am not sure if it just an unhappy marriage of lighter body, high carbonation, and intense bitter hoppiness but this has an astringent rather than crisp quality.

O: Despite the disappointment of the mouthfeel, this is a fun beer to drink with big time hoppiness in a leaner package. (1,043 characters)

Photo of Florida9
4.02/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Clear darker shade of gold in color. Forms a huge, fluffy, white head. Excellent retention and lots and lots of lacing on the way down.

S: Neither bad nor good. Really nothing much there. Maybe a blend of grassy and citrus hops. Was expecting more.

T: Well, apparently the taste is packing everything the aroma was missing. Light and crisp with some pale malt and biscuit malt notes. Maybe a little pilsner malt in the mix. Moderate sweetness plays well with the citrus-centric hops. Orange, tangerine, and just a little bit of tropical passionfruit. Long finish.

M: Lighter bodied. Very smooth. Moderate bitterness is felt mostly after the swallow. Medium carbonation.

O: This is a very nice beer. Hoppy, but sessionable by my standards. Would have liked to have experienced more hops on the nose. Not sure on the price of this one as I received it as an extra in a trade, but if I had access to this one, I could see these being a very respectable go-to beer. (972 characters)

Photo of SawDog505
4.02/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a 13 oz tulip glass, bottled on 2/12/13 FRESH! Pours a light orange, with a fluffy white head, that leaves plenty of lacing. Smell is earthy hops, citrus, cut grass, lemon, and hints of biscuit. The taste is similar, starts subtle with a grapefruit and lemon bittering finish. Body is almost medium, plenty of life, a little dry, and easy drinking. This is a nice beer and different than most. (405 characters)

Photo of ExtraStout
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. poured into a pint tumbler. Big creamy 1 finger head, lots of lacing, crystal clear pale yellow golden color. Nose had fresh hops, resins, hops oils, bit musty, some fresh citrus fruit and grapefruit, almost no lager or malts.

Taste explodes with fresh citrus hops, grapefruit and tropical fruits, light hop resins and musty fresh hop oils, a bit oily, then some light lager fruits and light pale malts, some sweet toasty malts. Light sweet honey like flavor. The it gets very bitter and slightly astringent, the hops way overpower the lager flavors and gets a bit overly on the finish, dry and very bitter finish with lingering fresh hops and citrus, light pine as well, and has a sticky almost creamy feel.

I'm an IPA guy, not a Lager guy, but bumping the IBU's to 65 seemed to work real well. I would choose this over many standard IPA's out there. (860 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at Armsby Abbey

Big creamy 1 finger head, lots of lacing, crystal clear pale yellow golden color.

Nose had fresh hops, resins, hops oils, bit musty, some fresh citrus fruit and grapefruit, almost no lager or malts.

Taste explodes with fresh citrus hops, grapefruit and tropical fruits, light hop resins and musty fresh hop oils, a bit oily, then some light lager fruits and light pale malts, some sweet toasty malts. Light sweet honey like flavor. The it gets very bitter and slightly astringent, the hops way overpower the lager flavors and gets a bit overly on the finish, dry and very bitter finish with lingering fresh hops and citrus, light pine as well, and has a weird sticky almost creamy feel.

Moth is med bodied, decent carb.

Overall good, great hop flavors but overpowers the nice lager underneath, and a weird finish as well as a bit astringent. (866 characters)

Photo of WunderLlama
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a glass boot

Solid , thick foamy four finger head . Pillows of white foam. Good lacings on the glass. Orange yellow liquid with slight but steady carbonation .

Aroma of citrus and grapefruit.

Hoppy beer with strong , sharp bitter finish. Medium mouthfeel with nice carbonation.

India Pale Lager which is indeed a "wicked hoppy lager." Good IPL loaded with citrusy hops. (393 characters)

Photo of Bierman9
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 0.5l bottle, one of a 4-pack bought at Harringtons ($12.95). Seeing July out with a nice, hoppy lager...

Filled a nonic with a deep, rich, clear golden bier. Has plentiful carbo rising rapidly, with a creamy, fine off-white head up top. Lacing is decent as well. Aroma is quite rindy, along with some biscuity malt. Mouthfeel is solid, as Hoponius is a nice medium with only light prickle hitting the tongue.

Flavor has some grainy sweetness, though light. There's lots of citrus here, with a hint of tropicality, too. Mostly, though, it's piney, pithy, resiny hoppage hitting the palate. Has plenty of bitterness, but finishes dryly. Would personally like a tad more balancing sweetness, but this is solid nonetheless. Prosit!

4.03/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1484 (817 characters)

Photo of buschbeer
4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 fl. oz. bottle
Served in a pilsner glass

A - It pours a golden amber color with about three inches of off-white head.

S - IPL's have a unique smell. This one has a citrus nose with a metallic note. It has a noble hops essence.

T - The taste is right in line with the smell. It has a strong citrus taste with a metallic bitterness on the finish. I noticed some bread/toast at the beginning, but the citrus overwhelms the malt after a few drinks.

M - It seems to have a little more body than the standard lager.

O - This is a great example of a good style of beer. I have only had a few IPL's and have enjoyed them all. I get an unusual flavor that I describe as metallic. That may not be the best descriptor. This is definitely worth buying a six pack of more. (771 characters)

Photo of Benish
4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 5-06-2-13. Smelled tropical fruits after removing bottle cap. Poured into pint glass. The beer had a clear orange golden color. Carbonation present all over glass. Not much presentation of the head, was about an inch thick but broke down quickly.

Aroma was primarily tropical fruits and floral notes. It seemed a little too faint, would prefer it more upfront.

Flavor was mostly tropical fruits - can't really pick out particular fruits on this one. It starts out pleasantly sweet and finished bitter. It's perfectly balance. As the beer started to return to room temperature, the delectable sweetness of the malt started to build up. It has a light bodied mouthfeel and oddly has this subtle tingly sensation in the mouth. Very good mouthfeel.

Overall it's a solid beer. Telling the difference from this lager and the IPA's would not be an easy task for me. I'm happy to try this at least once. Unfortunately this beer was not fresh as I hoped it would be. This is a great beer but I wonder how it would taste if it was less than 30 days old. (1,057 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The bottle backlog here at Chez Woody is not entirely of my doing. Sometimes, people bring me beer as though I need more and then I become overwhelmed by it all. This is one of those instances. The Great Bottle Eradication of 2014 continues in earnest and unabated!

From the bottle: "Jack's Abby Brewing's goal is to create truy remarkable beer that combines the strict standards of traditional German brewing with the innovative approach of American craft brewers. We specialize in lagers, which take longer to brew than ales but yield exceptionally rich flavors and smooth, crisp taste."; "All Jack's Abby lagers are unfiltered and unpasteurized. Sediment in the bottle is normal."; "Hoponius Union harmoniously combines lager yeast fermentation and West Coast IPA hops. Our India style Pale Lager is like a traditional IPA but with a twist - it's fermented cold and aged for long periods. A blend of classic American hops creates a huge tropical fruit and citrusy hop aroma. A dry finish accentuates the pleasant bitterness and hop profile. Hoponius Union uses locally sourced ingredients."

I made a solemn promise to The Old Lady last summer that if a beer in any way indicates that it is bottle-conditioned, I would treat it as gently as I would her. The fact that she would beat my ass within an inch of my life if I ever mistreated her notwithstanding, I went with a VERY gentle pour. I have said before, she is as tough as nails, which is part of the attraction for me. I got a brief skim of bone-white head across the top of the beer before it faded into mere wisps. Color was a sunshine-yellow (SRM = 4) with just the faintest of haze visible in the glass. I promise you, I was extremely gentle, but there may have been something in suspension. Nose smelled deeply of citrus-grapefruit rind hops. Wow! As a lifelong Pennsylvanian, I know the difficulty behind making a Lager and to make one that comes off with this level of hoppiness is just amazing. Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium. The taste was all hops and for a hophead, that was just fine by me. I cannot say that I would have identified it as a lager of any stripe, but perhaps that is part of the mystique. I do know that the light, spritzy mouthfeel made it very easy to drink on a Summer day, where an AIPA might have been more to handle. The finish was extremely dry and I really had a tough time believing that this was a lager. I had put the remainder of what was left in the bottle back in the reefer to settle and when I went to pour some more into the glass, I noticed that the haze had cleared! Impressive. Warming, I got some of the honey notes that I always think of as characteristic of well-made lagers, but the hops continued to carry the day. (2,727 characters)

Photo of kawilliams81
4.04/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16.9 oz bottle into a Half Acre tulip.

A- pours a bright honey color with a 2" white head. Big clumps and blotches of lacing remain on the glass.

S- straw, lemon, grapefruit, light honey and some grassy notes.

T- light malts, tart lemon, grapefruit, bitter pine.

M- light body and medium carbonation. Very dry and acidic.

O- good beer, but very bitter which makes it more dry than I would like. Leans more towards bitter pine, grassy notes than the citrus. (475 characters)

Hoponius Union from Jack's Abby Brewing
94 out of 100 based on 316 ratings.