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River Ale - Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

Not Rated.
River AleRiver Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

221 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 221
Reviews: 122
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 9.64%
Wants: 53
Gots: 11 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Berkshire Brewing Company Inc. visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Dark Wheat Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-13-2002

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (41) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 221 | Reviews: 122
Reviews by Jesstyr:
Photo of Jesstyr
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this out at Ninety9 Bottles in Norwalk, and then bought a couple 22oz to run through at home. Good stuff, really stands up to any strong ale i've had.

Poured into a McChouffe chalice and builds a decent finger of head. Excellent lacing, definitely a strength. Pours a bright amber with significant cloudiness and sediment. Nose is sweet maltiness, with a little bit of brown sugar.

Taste is much like the nose - sweet and malty, but a little brown sugar and some chocolate. Very similar to a belgian dubble - probably closest to ommegang. Medium body, very smooth on the palate. Alcohol is well balanced in this drink, and its a great one to share and pair with a great meal.

More User Reviews:
Photo of JasonA
3.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I gave this Strong Ale a solid 4 due to its impressive cloudy (almost unfiltered) appearance. Solid brown, little head, some lacing.

Smells malts, some ABV. Im looking forward to this. Maybe some citrus, and bread.

Yummy. Malty, but not too malty. Smooth, yet some ABV to spice it up. Not a full bodied ale, but overall a solid choice.

Sits well. Nothing impressive. Down good. The ABV is not overpowering at all.

Overall a wonderfull, yet not overly impressive beer selection. Im happy to have this local fresh selection. I will definately have this beer again.

Photo of Jason
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz brown bomber with a purchase before date on the side of the label.

Appearance: Amazing lace, the head may be small but good lace counts more in my book. Light haze from the yeast in the brown brick hue.

Smell: Sweet malt all over the place, buttery and a kiss of caramel in the nose. Very aromatic in the malt department.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Smooth in a slightly viscous way due to the thick medium body. Touch of crispness opens the palate to the malt sweetness and there is a lot of it. From hits of toasted grain to layers of caramel and slight chocolate tones. Hops a meek yet through one punch of bitterness to try and waylay the sweetness. You can start to feel the alcohol about mid bottle and notice some mild esters throwing a dark fruitiness around.

Notes: A tasty malty treat, a bit strong but quite drinkable. If you like malty brews this is a must try. As for me I would not mind at all of always keeping a bottle of this around.

Photo of mcarroll10177
3.62/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a BBC pint glass

A- dark carmel brown, but with very little head just a hint of carbination

S- malts and some alcohol

T- very very sweet malts almost like a candy sweetness, which I did not really like. The alcohol was very well disguised.

M- thinner than I would have liked with very little carbination

D- this is a smooth easy drinker considering its 7% ABV, but the candy like sweetness was too much for me and it lacked the refreshment that I expect.

Overall a disappointment from my favorite brewery

Photo of shredsofautumn
3.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle purchased on 10/30/2010. I figure it's an appropriate Halloween beer due to the fact that It's entitled the "River Ale". Berkshire Brewing, based in South Deerfield, is within close proximity to the Deerfield & Mill Rivers. Crossing one of these two, I cannot remember which, is the Eunice Williams Bridge in Greenfield where numerous tragic events occured, leading to the covered bridge being one of the most haunted places in Massachusetts.

Appearance- Murky dark brown with straw hues. Not much of a head on this one, but the lacing is nice.

Smell- Earthy. Slight soil notes, huge butterscotch malts hit you in the face, very slight hopped finish.

Taste- Crisp initially. Leads into a strong lip smacking hopfest and finishing with a strong sweetness of malts and sugar. After swallowing, the heat from the alcohol warms well in this cool weather. Doesn't taste like any wheat beer I've ever had.

Mouthfeel- Thick. Full. Creamy finish.

Drinkability- Good. Tasteful, thick, quality flavors. I like it.

Photo of jmz62565
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark mahogony with a medium head with no lacing. Not bad color,but the head is smallish and there's no lacing hurting the rating. The smell is abit weak with sweet malt and some "bisquity" aromas. The taste is all sweet malt and some carmel. the alcohol is very well hidden. It's a very sweet beer,it's good,but it's really nothing special. The m/f is medium with all flavors mixing OK. Not a bad beer,but you better like malt.

Photo of Oldmankeebler
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Malty sweetness and very smooth

Photo of tempest
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice beer. It reminds me of a weizenbock for the dark fruity notes. The aroma has more malt character with a gentle toast and milk chocolate. The flavor is slightly sweet and the body is a medium weight that rolls down smoothly. Over the cocoa runs figs and a creamy rum spices. While most American wheat beers turn out fairly boring, this is a tasty dark ale that belongs in the same realm as dubbels and weizenbocks.

Photo of russpowell
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to ppotrias for this one!

Pours a semi-hazed orange/caramel with 3 fingers of cream colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Caramel & biscutty malt

T: Caramel, herbal & lemon hops, plus biscuitty malt up front. Nice fruittyness (plums, figs, cherries & other dark fruit) & intense cakeyness with Christmas pudding notes, plus toffee once warm. Finishes with some vanilla, some dryness, & loads more dark fruit & a touch of leafy hops

MF: Chewy with low, but useful carbonation. Superior balance. with a great malt backbone

Despite the heft, this dangerously drinkable. Don't cross the river if you cant swim the tide! Luckily I'm an alright swimmer, stellar strong ale!

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
3.55/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Purchased a keg for a wedding party at a "packy" across the street from the brewery. The beer was FRESH, almost a little too fresh. Heavy caramel flavor, almost sickly/syrup(y).

Being that it was a cool Cape Cod late summer evening, the beer went nicley with the weather-many of the party goers really enjoyed it. This is a great sipping beer, it is very strong, and very sweet. A great New England Ale.

Photo of KTCamm
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a pint glass. Berkshire beers are always a treat.

Pours dark amber, translucent, good thick creamy foam. Light malty smell, minimal at best. Bready. Taste is nutty (quite) with some underlying dark fruit sweetness. Hints of spices. Strong malt profile. Cinammon notes. Smooth flavor, balanced hop.

Good drinker, really flavorful. Add to the list of wins for BBC.

Photo of edchicma
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich chocolate with small head that is retained well. Smell islightly sweet with some hop undertones. Taste is rich, malty with just enough hopr presence to prevent cloying. Alcohol presence is there, but notoverpowering. Mouthfeel is rich, full-bodied, smooth. Very dinkable for a 7 abv. I wouldn't be against having a bit of chocolate cake with this offering.

Photo of alleykatking
3.62/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bottle. Review from notes...

A- Pours a golden amber color. 2 finger off white head has good retention but dies down to whisps of foam on the top. Sticky lacing on the sides of the glass but tends to slide down into the beer.

S- Tons of caramel and bready malts in this. Darker fruits come into play with a distinct grassy floral hop nose. There are a couple light spices in this and overall this makes the beer have many complex aromas.

T- Bigger caramel malts right at the front of this. Some light toffee notes come in right after with some light darker fruits. Light piney hops in the this come from the middle onto the ending. Sweet alcohol in the ending of this beer.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Light malts on the palate after teach sip with some sweet alcohol flavor in the aftertaste.
Light drying on the palate from the alcohol. Flavors were blending together well for the most part.

D- This beer was good but not all that I thought it was going to be. The flavors were good in it and for that drinking 22oz would be no problem. The sweetness in it though made it a little rough once it started to warm up.

Photo of Hagbard
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

BBC's River Ale is a strong robust beer that pours a hazy dark brown capped with a fairly thick white head. It is murky, like a river that's running low. It smells a bit like mollases with a distinct alcoholic twinge. There is a nice malty base supporting everything. The taste is interesting and complex. Loaded with brown sugar, molasses, alcohol, and finishing with a hoppy bitterness. Throughout, there is huge malty base that imparts a nice sweetness that never becomes cloying. It's a great tasting beer, the only fault is that the alcohol is too hot and harsh, especially for only 7%. The mouthfeel is nice and chewy and seems appropriately full. The drinkability is good. This is a nice beer to be sure, one that I'll definitely be revisiting.

I have 2 complaints about the packaging of this beer. First, the best buy before date was not notched. At 7% and bottle-conditioned, this probably isn't much of an issue. Still, it's frustrating to see the dates, but not a notch. Secondly, the label makes no mention of the strength or style of the beer. The picture of 2 guys rafting on a river made me buy it thinking it was a light, refreshing, maybe hoppy brew. I was a little disappointed when I opened it to find a 7% strong ale and not the refreshing brew I was expecting. This didn't affect my review of the beer itself, but I thought it was something I should mention.

Photo of puboflyons
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the bottle marked Best By 9/15/11. Sampled on July 12, 2011.The pour is an extremely heady medium amber. The aroma is alive with sweet caramel malts but not a lot of wheat, spice, or hops. It is single hopped so that might make it more subtle. The taste is also quite sweet and malty. Overall a malty beer with a tickle of hops on the tail end. Great for a hot day.

Photo of fitzy84
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber. The appearance is a dark brown-amber color with a thinned head and no real lacing. Aromas are thin but apparent with a slightly smoked malt aroma, sweet roasty caramel tones to it. Taste excels beyond what the aromas hinted at; strong sweetness of bready malts. Good mouthfeel helps smooth this drink out without hindering a solid carbonation. Overall, an excellent drink from BBC.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a weizen glass.
7% ABV, Best by 07/12/11

[Review from notes taken on 06-13-11]

Thanks Thorpe!

A - Hazed through completely, the chocolaty brown beer has golden highlights and a plump tan head. Good retention but little lace is left adorning the glass.

S - Crisp wheat aroma that's soft but full. Chocolate notes immediately set this beer apart. Nice balance of earthy, mulch-like Willamet hops. Yeasty undertones carry through to a caramel malt finish.

T - Much maltier than I had anticipated, this is loaded with chocolate and caramel tones with overlapping yeast and soft wheat. Little balance comes from the earthy hop notes.

M - Medium-bodied and soft with a clean but estery, sweeter finish. Mild spice notes add depth to the feel.

O - A very nice wheat ale with good malt tones and mild hop balance. The yeast qualities add esters and phenols that work well with the brew as a whole.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.37/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been a challenge lately to get through anything new, but I decided to let my family have a crack at a few things this weekend and pulled a sample off of each. Part of the " Random BBQ Event" at my in laws on 07/19/2009.
 
 
Appearance - Solid brown color here with only the slightest bit of reddish touches around the sides. Very smooth looking head of tan pops up on top and settles down nicely into a fine pillow. Rich side lacing and a good lacing keep up the impression that this was what I was looking for.
 
Smell - Lots of nuttiness going on here. Caramel, grassy notes, hints of nuts and bready aromas all coming together. Sweet and dark at the same time. Hints of some prunes perhaps, maybe a touch of grass in there as well, definitely had a kitchen sink mentality to it.
 
Taste - Smooth, soo smooth. Caramel comes across first, rippling and inviting all at the same time. Then it comes knocking at my door with a roasted peanut like flavor that dives with a hint of molasses. Very sweet. A bitter note pops it head up, piney maybe? Interesting, as it fades and leaves behind a nice touch of fruit and a really solid sweet flavor that continues to tug on your taste buds as it floats away.
 
Feel - Very nice here, creamy medium feel on this one. Carbonation was damn near spot on and the rich Mouthfeel was just what I was looking for. Coating as it allowed the taste to flow nearly perfectly.
 
Drinkability - It was a touch strong I do have to admit, but it was well hidden behind the copious malts that were laid down in front of it. I could have done the whole bottle by myself, but there was really no need to.
 
Overall - Again another very solid offering here and a really nice way to cap off the Berkshire session. I am very impressed with what they have to offer and would gladly do this one again.

Photo of 3Vandoo
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby robe, good foamy head, her smell is hoppy followed by malted flavours, very floral aromatized hops.

Her taste is hoppy at first, floral hops, followed by a malted finish and a spicy cherry whole.

Not a bad brew, but not typical of the style..

Photo of plaid75
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was decent retention and good lacing.

The smell featured a solid cereal grain aroma with elements of sweet caramel.

The taste was also robust and sweet with cereal grains and caramel malt. Hints of dark fruits detected. Some earthy hops kept the sweetness in check.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness for the style, which is, of course, on the fuller side.

Overall a tasty and well balanced strong ale.

Photo of auxiliary
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance - Dark amber color with a off-white head and some lace.

smell - Nice malt taste here with some caramel taste.

taste - Lots of malt here with some hops present.

mouthfeel - Medium body.

drinkability - Real nice taste, recommend this beer. Big on malt and taste here.

Photo of travduke
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep amber in color. Two fingers of white fluffy head, great lacing down my chalice.

Aroma: Its hard to really finger anything here. Ethanol and fruits stand out the most.

Taste: The nose was misleading, this is very complex. Dark fruits, sweet caramel malt. Really interesting and tasty.

Feel/Drink: Great creamy, sweet mouthfeel. Medium bodied. Drinkability is nice, enjoy this over time.

Photo of geexploitation
3.35/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours relatively clear and dark brown, with a light head that leaves a ring of lace. The aroma is not terribly complex -- some nutty malts and spicy sweetness. It reminds me of a doppelbock, or maybe a weizenbock made with American yeast. On the palate, initial sweetness gives way to thick, molasses and savory spice flavors, with an increasingly nutty, very sweet finish. Mouthfeel is very thick and a bit viscous, with minimal carbonation. Overall, this beer is OK, but it doesn't have a hook -- there's no one thing that's special about this beer. Still, it's drinkable and tasty enough.

Photo of cbutova
2.95/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Didn't think this was gonna be a 7% beer, I guess the whole bomber will be fun... proclaims itself as a "Dark American Wheat Ale" on the bottle.

A- Dark brown with a massive, creamy light tan head. Good head retention and a nice coat of lace.

S- Opens with a blast of pure banana. After that calms down I get raisins, dark roast malt and some definite wheat. Bread is big too. Kind of like chocolate banana bread. Nice at first but fades just a bit.

T- Starts out dark with raisins, dark fruit, and slightly roast nutty malt. The finish brings on a huge blast of bread and unfortunately, some alcohol. The rest of the flavor doesn't keep it in check and it throws the balance off taking away from what could have been a great beer.

MF- Moderately thick body that is somewhat creamy. Carbonation is nice, on the lowish side and works well with the strong flavor. Slightly bitter.

DB- Damn this gets alcoholic... probably the "strongest" 7% beer in existence. The aroma led me to think it was going to be very complex and smooth but the alcohol really takes away here.

Photo of LessThanHKY10
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first beer review here on BA...so here goes:

A - Pours a deep and dark, but clear amber color. Decent sized off white head quickly recedes to a well defined collar. Good amount of lacing down the side of the glass.

S - An assault of malt on the nose with hints of fruit, caramel, and a little alcohol.

T - Similar to the aromatic characteristics...roasted malty taste overall with bits of sweet caramel and alcohol towards the end. Really is a delicious brew and I can definitely understand its label of an American Strong Ale.

M - Medium mouthfeel with smooth and light carbonation.

D - Smoothness of this brew gives it decent drinkability for the style.

Overall a good brew, and one of my favorites from BBC - will buy again.

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River Ale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
88 out of 100 based on 221 ratings.