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River Ale - Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

Not Rated.
River AleRiver Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

203 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 203
Reviews: 119
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 9.87%
Wants: 52
Gots: 9 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-13-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 203 | Reviews: 119 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by travduke:
Photo of travduke
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%

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.

travduke, Apr 06, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of JasonA
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%

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.

JasonA, Mar 27, 2007
Photo of 40451
4/5  rDev +1.3%

40451, May 19, 2012
Photo of Doomcifer
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Doomcifer, Aug 01, 2014
Photo of Jason
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%

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.

Jason, Dec 09, 2003
Photo of mctizzz
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

mctizzz, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of OBIrish24
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

OBIrish24, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of mcarroll10177
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%

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

mcarroll10177, Sep 28, 2006
Photo of justme
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

justme, Jul 27, 2013
Photo of shredsofautumn
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%

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.

shredsofautumn, Oct 30, 2010
Photo of DrewBest
2.5/5  rDev -36.7%

DrewBest, Feb 24, 2013
Photo of jmz62565
3.63/5  rDev -8.1%

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.

jmz62565, Jan 06, 2007
Photo of alamode
4/5  rDev +1.3%

alamode, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of tempest
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%

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.

tempest, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of russpowell
4.53/5  rDev +14.7%

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!

russpowell, Apr 13, 2008
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
3.53/5  rDev -10.6%

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.

FLAbeergutinMASS, Mar 07, 2005
Photo of KTCamm
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%

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.

KTCamm, Mar 20, 2011
Photo of edchicma
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%

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.

edchicma, Dec 25, 2009
Photo of alleykatking
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%

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.

alleykatking, May 11, 2010
Photo of Sailracer
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Sailracer, Apr 13, 2012
Photo of trevorpost
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

trevorpost, Jun 01, 2013
Photo of Hagbard
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%

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.

Hagbard, Feb 17, 2006
Photo of Ajlvt
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Ajlvt, Apr 20, 2012
Photo of puboflyons
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%

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.

puboflyons, Jul 12, 2011
Photo of fitzy84
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%

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.

fitzy84, Jul 09, 2008
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River Ale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
88 out of 100 based on 203 ratings.