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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

121 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 121
Hads: 224
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 9.16%
Wants: 56
Gots: 12 | 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 (50) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 121 | Hads: 224
Photo of BeerMaverick
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this both on-tap at BBC and in bombers. Both were fantastic, but my review is based on the 22 ounce bottle.

A - Now I see what they mean by a "DARK wheat ale"...very dark indeed for a wheat beer. Similar in shade to a brown ale, but more greyish...I've never seen a beer this color before. I guess it resembles a scotch ale, but with less lively colors. Frothy inch-and-a-half darker head that complements the beer. Good level of lacing on the shaker pint glass...to be expected from BBC. Some sediment present obscuring the clarity which is typical for a wheat beer.

S - The bready/biscuity aromas of a wheat beer are present, but there is also a musty/rustic feel to the esters.

T - Fantastic and perfectly representative of the style with added unexpected kicks. Tastes like a wheat beer (the usual spicy/bitter flavor), but loads and loads of malt to sweeten things up. In terms of fruity notes, I'm getting grapes and raisins mainly. On the sweeter side I'm picking up brown sugar and caramel.

M - Provides the spicyness that wheat-beer-lovers crave. Medium to full-bodied beer that also satisfies the sweet tooth.

O - This is my favorite beer by BBC (the coffee house porter is a close second). The alcohol is detectable, but doesn't deter. I could easily down two of these bad boys in the springtime...and here I go! (1,332 characters)

Photo of flexabull
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of gn0sis, thanks again!

Pours a dark amber/brown color, clear, bright, with a nice off white head and good lacing. Looks good.

Aromas aren't strong, but they are pleasant. Light chocolate, cocoa, and dark baked bread.

Taste is nice, this is a flavorful beer. Lots of cocoa and chocolate notes, roasted malts, toasted bread, and light creamy sweetness. Finish is crisp and dry, with a nice mineral hoppy bite that cuts the malts nicely.

Mouthfeel is good, very full, yet quite smooth.

Drinkability is great. This was a pleasant surprise, very tasty and easy to drink. Nicely done Berkshire, this is a keeper! (629 characters)

Photo of mikeys01
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The River Ale was definitely a sleeper...it had been hiding in my beer closet lurking for a while, I wasn't quite sure what to expect of it, but it proved to be an excellent offering from BBC..now I must search for more. Pours out a brownish amber color, just a bit of off white head, fairly hazy. Aroma is fairly unassuming while cold, but blossoms into a medley of sweet malt and orchard peaches, pears. Taste is sweet and very fruity tart, surprisingly so, and quite delicious. Excellent balance between the fruity esters and good bready and caramely malt flavors. Undertones of vanilla and a little bit of nuttiness. Finish is a bit spicy and warming as the alcohol becomes apparent. Body is rather full and mouthfeel is quite smooth, very drinkable and enjoyable. (768 characters)

Photo of Hhawk06
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rarely disappointed by a Berkshire selection, this brew did not either. Slightly amberish in color, but definitely a brown hue emerges when held to the light. Alas, not much head but the smell is great. Like a mix between coffee and a chocolate bar. It has a pale malty flavor with chocolate notes. I was pleasantly surprised by this beer, didn't even know what style it was going in. It finishes creamy and quenching. Perfect! (427 characters)

Photo of match1112
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to davey101 for sending this to me! bomber pours into a mug a dark wheat bread color, weird huh. smells and tastes like warm bread from the oven. full wheat body with hints of yeast a little hops . some burnt sugar and alochol is also detectable. full body, good carbonation, smooth creamy body with a slight hop bite on the finish. really like this beer. after receiving this i realized i needed it to knock out the style and what a solid representation of the style it is. (481 characters)

Photo of Jason
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
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. (959 characters)

Photo of edchicma
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
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. (369 characters)

Photo of flagmantho
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had this beer on-tap in a pint glass at Stone's Public House in Ashland, MA.

Appearance: nutty brown hue with a moderate haze and almost no head as poured. Still pretty attractive.

Smell: light chocolatiness and a hint of wheaty malt that leaves me wanting a taste.

Taste: rich chocolatey flavor with a nice hint of raisins and toffee. It almost reminds me of a mix between a double chocolate stout (without the roast) and a toffee-laden nut brown ale. This beer does dark wheat ales real justice!

Mouthfeel: rich, smooth, soft creaminess that really soothes the soul. Just wonderful.

Overall: this beer absolutely rubs me the right way. More please!! (661 characters)

Photo of beernut7
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have rarely been disappointed by a Berkshire brew and this ale is definitely not a downfall. Deep nut-brown pour with and impressive creamy head wafting the aromas of peach fruit and caramel malt. The smooth body supports the presence of an extremely well-balanced caramel malt and a mild rounded British hop spice. The smoothness of the entire brew gives a 22 oz. bomber the easy quick feel of a mere 12 ounces. (414 characters)

Photo of Dopplebock
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I feel that this is a very under-rated beer from the BBC. Brownish-Amber in color with minimal lacing. Like most strong ales, the alcohol is very apparent in this beer. The sweet, toasted malt character of the beer is enhanced by hidden flavors of dark fruit. One can draw similarities between this style and the belgian strong ales. I believe that the American Strong Ale is a slightly subdued version. For beer drinkers that want a local favorite, give River Ale a try! Behind the coffee house porter, this is probably my favorite offering by the Berkshire Brewing Company. (575 characters)

Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22-ounce bomber into a Ro's Restaurant pint glass.

A: Poured a deep, ruby red and amber brown color with a thick, fluffy head of off white foam which lent some nice sticky lace to the glass.

S: Smells fruity and complex, with a slight peppery aroma and a dizzying whiff of dextrose and alcohol.

T: Very sweet and fruit-laden maltiness at first. A big, slick sugary caramel malt flavor is complicated with deep berry and fruit flavors ranging from grape, plum and cherry to strawberries and raspberries. A slight alcoholic burn and herbal hop complex intensify the flavor. It comes together a bit more as the ale warms, but it's a sipper to be sure.

M: Mouthfeel is heavy and sweet with a stinging, slightly cloying feel.

D: Definitely one to share with a buddy. AT 7% and with a character as complex as this ale has, you should sip it in limited quantities. Very interesting and a fruity ale flavor fanatics dream. Quite good. (945 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

best dark wheat beer ive had in ages upon ages. needed this one bad, missing four nights of further at red rocks for an academic conference in western mass. funny they should have a lost sailor and saint of circumstance ipa, but that's for later on. enjoying the live stream though. enough, this pours a decadent caramel color with a lovely but short lived khaki head. the nose assaults me the second I crack the bomber, rich copper and toffee notes from the English malt, and an almost german banana or plantain character from the yeast, a really delicious autumn combination. the taste is just identical to the nose, perfect from one to the other, the banana over the darker wheat malt is just sensational. feel is also exquisite, with a fuller body, soft in feel but still well carbonated. this impressed the hell out of me for less than 5 bucks a bomber. really this is great stuff. dying to crack the ipa I got too, go Berkshire brewing! hell of a first impression! never would guess its 7% abv either, drinks like 4% (1,022 characters)

Photo of MistahBeah
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a weizen glass. Clear dark brown amber with a nice finger of borderline kahki head. Lots of carbonation and streaky lacing. Decent retention

Smells of roasted malts. Fresh baked bread. Some dried figs perhaps? Chestnuts. Some faint cocoa

Taste follows the nose. Roasted malts steal the show. Bready, nutty, and slightly earthy. Yeasty doughy bread provides much of the backbone here. Roasted chestnuts. Some dark fruit sweetness throughout. Cocoa again is faint. The finish is earthy with very mild bitterness

Feels medium bodied and crisp with a smooth finish

Overall a very nice beer. Combines the crispness and light body of a wheat beer with the robust malty smoothness of say a dopplebock. One of my favorites from Berkshire (745 characters)

Photo of jbsteiny
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy reddish-brown with 1 cm of off-white thick head. Fair retention. Attractive.

Smelled of rich malts (caramel, chocolate), dried dark fruit (raisins, currants), and grain. I wrote that it was reminiscent of an Aventinus (which I'd had the night before). Tasted on the sweet side, but it's a strong ale -- it's allowed. Some herbal hops, but mostly fruit, malt, and grain flavors. Certainly warming alcohol presence. Somewhat dry finish keeps it from being cloying.

A very tasty beer from BBC for any malthead -- probably my new fav from one of my favorite New England breweries. I was actually surprised to read on the site that it's only 7% (they don't list the ABV on the bottle) -- from the taste, I thought it would be more. A delicious warmer to have on hand, especially in this season, but I prefer to split this bomber with a friend! (856 characters)

Photo of paceyourself
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I thought this was going to be my weakest selection of my last beer haul but i was very wrong. Bershire surprised me again with this refreshing brew. This brown brew produced very little head and carbonation. The aroma was fruity with a little vanilla in the background. Mango and banana fruit flavors jump out at first then a coffee and sweet bread softly sneak in before the hops balance it out. I think River Ale would be very drinkable in the summer like other american wheat brews around here. (498 characters)

Photo of mostpoetsdo
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A deep ruby amber with a nice off white head, leaves some pretty good lacing.

S: Toasted malt, fruit, and a bit of sweetness.

T: Really fruity and malty up front, with a caramel like sweetness. Also a bit of a hop bite to it, bitter. There is quite a bit going on here. A great tasting American Strong Ale, but unusually fruity, it works though and is delicious.

M: Creamy and silky smooth, very enjoyable, with a medium body and a low carbonation that worked in its favor.

D: This is yet another great offer by Berkshire, in the description, the bar considered it the East Coast version of "Fat Tire." Suggest this highly. (630 characters)

Photo of puboflyons
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (370 characters)

Photo of fitzy84
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (396 characters)

Photo of travduke
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (406 characters)

Photo of LessThanHKY10
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (736 characters)

Photo of aquatonex
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown-red with a small lacey, creamy head. Very nice color. Smells a bit of acrid alcohol with powerful fruit tones. I couldn't quite place what kind of fruit. Perhaps berries and maybe a little peach? It wasn't so clear cut, must have been some mix. Taste was dominated by the odd fruit mix, I would have liked a more distinct flavor that I could pinpoint, though it was good. Also, it had a creamy bready flavor. #9 is better though. Mouthfeel was very smooth. Didn't have too much of an aftertaste either. (519 characters)

Photo of garuda
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Ruby, off white head has nice retention with some lacing.

S - A little light on the nose with fresh baked bread and a touch of floral hops.

T - Depths of malt in this one with baked bread, hints of chocolate, molasses, nuttiness... a little wheat twang. Minimal hop presence, finishes a little sweet with some booze heat. Nice.

M - Medium body, silky smooth carbonation and mouthfeel. Finishes dry with some booze.

O - My first of the style, but I reckon its a pretty good one. (485 characters)

Photo of Duff27
4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Half inch white head recedes to a cap. Brown red body. Lotsa lacing going on.

Not a whole lot going on with the smell. Slight sweet wheat perhaps.

Some banana sweetness but not overpowering. Very drinkable.

Medium mouthfeel, adequate carbonation.

Drinkability is the name of River Ales game. No flavor is over eatin which I feel is an asset here. Recommended for fan is the style. Thanks ru94conn. (401 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
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. (921 characters)

Photo of shaebs99
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another solid offering from BBC. I haven't had this in over a year now.

I wish I gave a more vigorous pour. I seem to remember a better head and head retention in the past. Decent lacing ( I poured my share second so I got the majority of the yeast sediment which settled fairly quickyl to the bottom)

Aroma is of sweet malts with a light fruitiness and something about it reminds me of higher ABV beers, but you dont really sense alcohol in nose.

Taste, not surprisingly, features sweet and toasted malts. Light caramel notes with a good balance. Maybe a hint of alcohol or it could be the aroma invoking memories of higher abv beers. There is a nice crisp carbonation about it. Not slick or oily, but a decent amount of carbonation to give it a fairly crisp mouthfeel, but I can imagine this gentle crispness disappearing if one were to drink it with a little age on it.

Overall another solid offering from Berkshire. I don't know if they make the best beer in MA, but they are my favorite brewery in MA. (1,010 characters)

River Ale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
88 out of 100 based on 121 ratings.