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: 223
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 6.87%
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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 121 | Hads: 223
Photo of ThirstyBird
2.93/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served on tap at Track 84 in Warwick RI
A - Light amber with an off white head
S - Cherry cough syrup, malt
T - The cherry cough syrup prevailed with the sweet malt backbone. It got better as with warmed but couldn't get past the cough syrup flavor.
M/F - Very smooth. Medium body
D - Nice body but will need to re-sample as the flavor was one dimensional on this draft plus I have always enjoyed Berkshire's offerings in the past. (431 characters)

Photo of cbutova
2.95/5  rDev -24.9%
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. (1,071 characters)

Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
2.97/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served on tap at Bison County in Waltham in a pint tulip glass.

Appearance: aptly named River Ale. Slightly hazy, brown, indistinct foam on the top not really resembling a head of beer, negligible lacing.

Aroma: sweet and nutty, hint of toffee and spicy hops

Flavor: typical crystal malt, dull mouthfeel

Drinkability: didn't finish this one. (345 characters)

Photo of ipogios
2.97/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Easy to drink any time with average taste and smell. I have to admit thought that look for an alternative if i was to enjoy a beer in a pub. If no other alternative, being a beer fan i would drink it and not complain about it (225 characters)

Photo of hopdog
3/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle acquired in trade with ppoitras (thanks!).

Poured light brown, almost a deeper orange color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of caramel, chocolate and nuts. Tastes of caramel, chocoalte, nuts and had a sugary sweetness as well.. Thinner body. Although this had the typical Brown Ale profile, I found the tastes and aromas didn't really mesh together well. It was as if they were each fighting each other and and definitely did not blend.

Notes from 1/16/07 (484 characters)

Photo of maximum12
3.31/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to AdamDC for sending this along. I've been happily surprised & healthily disappointed at various point by BBC brews, so who knows where this will lead.

Poured into two Darkness snifters for my wife & I. Tons of sludge...not just sludge, but actual chunks, in the bottom. Leave those there! A deeply burnished, spit-shined copper ale sits here with me. You look real purty comin' outta that mouth. Smell is subdued to the point of non-existence. A touch of alcohol, memory of fruits.

River Ale packs a lot of heat for its 7% ABV. The sweetness & alcohol is out front, wearing the number 7 & probably sporting Nikes. After the unexpected blast of alcohol, there is a bouquet of funeral fruits, tied to the caramel malts. Very sweet. No hops to be found, which might have dialed some of the sweetness back into a better area code.

Good enough brew, but too sweet for my taste. Really struck me as a borderline fruit beer more than a strong ale. (955 characters)

Photo of geexploitation
3.35/5  rDev -14.8%
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. (591 characters)

Photo of smcolw
3.35/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark amber and very cloudy; decent tight-bubbled head (long lasting). A touch of lace on the glass.

Dark burnt-sugar malty aromas; light hop, like a spice. Some yeasty smells as well. Inviting.

Simply put, this reminds me of a really good homebrew--complete with the yeasty flavors and sweet malts. There is very little bittering hop and the aftertaste is largely sweetness. Nice body. This seems to be a hybrid of Scotch and Brown Ales. Worthy of a tasting. (464 characters)

Photo of laituegonflable
3.42/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to my Vermontish mate Charlie for sharing this one with me.

Pours a ruby/golden hybrid with pleasant off-white head that sinks quickly, leaving a ring of bubbles and some specks in the middle. Lacing is sticky but not very plentiful. Looks nice, but not great.

Nose is very malty and kind of English in character, lots of toffee notes and some pleasant floral hops. A hint of mint, lavender and rosewater on there, and a hint of some brandy alcohol as well, a little bit phenolic. Pleasant, herbal & fresh, with a good malt backbone.

Tastes quite nutty, with a lot of cashew and marzipan character on the front. Gets malty quickly with more toffee character and a hint of diacetyl buttery goodness raising the sweetness just a bit too much on the mid. Finish is quite spicy with a noticeable alcohol twang, and some slightly chewy notes on the back. A bit overly boozey with not quite enough flavour to cover it. Maybe too attenuated? Or just not hoppy enough...

A decent body to this but a bit of harshness from the booze. A bit drying on the back, but yeah, good texture.

Not a bad drop, but just needs more flavour to keep me interested. Fair punch but not enough flourish. (1,192 characters)

Photo of GJ40
3.46/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on cask at Doherty's in Pawtucket, RI.

A - Light brown and hazy with a moderate beige head and good lacing.

S - Some nutty and bready malts but not a lot of aroma.

T - A flat somewhat bland start with a smoky, earthy flavor that develops midway through. There's not much room to hide with a cask presentation. This one doesn't have any off flavors that detract from it but it didn't have much that stood out either.

M - A nice smooth and creamy texture.

D - This was a pleasant, easy to drink beer. At 7%, it's not much of a strong ale but it was enjoyable enough. (577 characters)

Photo of lackenhauser
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Muddy, reddish color. Not very carbonated. I noticed a caramel aroma the minute I poured this out. Quite malty smelling. Good solid malty flavor. Somewhat caramel flavor. Minor astringency in the backround knocks it down a peg. Bitterness upfront quickly fades. Decent body. A good enough beer. The astringency tends to overshadow it a bit for me. At 7% I dont think it is from the alcohol but maybe. Worth a try for sure. (422 characters)

Photo of Stimack
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Brew poured from a 22 oz (normal presentation from BBC) bomber to a deep brown color with a smallish head that has nice retention and left fair lacing through out the brew. The aroma of this brew seems to be sweet with highlights of alcohol and fruit. Nice smelling brew and it smells like it would be at 7%! The taste is very sweet and fruity up front, maybe a little too much? The middle has a bread/malt flavor that tries to balance it out. Also has a bit of a alcohol on the very end of the experience. Not a bad brew but once again it does not seem to be as rounded as their other offerings like the Coffee house, Imperial Stout or the Lost Sailor. (If you read my reviews you would see I really liked them!) (713 characters)

Photo of williamherbert
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy deep orange color. Big puffy head. Minor spotty lace. Thin jetsam of carbonation.

The aroma is an inoffensive but weak ale smell. Ale yeast and malt, slightly pale. Some mild, almost pilsnery bitter hops.

The taste is almost like a lager: Crisp, bitterish light malt. Like a thick all-malt lager. Very nondescript but not bad.

The feel is thick and creamy...and very malty. A good, decent ale. Not a ton of flavor, but easy drinking. (441 characters)

Photo of mltobin
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle purchased in CT, split w/ a friend.

Appearance is brown with one finger of head. Its` nose contains malt, caramel, nuts and some fruit. River Ale tastes of wheat, more caramel, syrup, caramel, but also some hops in there. A pleasant mouthfeel, smooth, balanced for its` characteristics. This is one of the better options from this brewery out of Western Mass. (376 characters)

Photo of Urbancaver
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear brown with a lot of light head. Smells wheaty and fairly nondescript. It's exactly as mild as I expected. Tastes sweet and malty. A nice wheat presence with some fruits of some sort. Raisins perhaps? Overall pretty good for what it is. Nothing crazy but solid (273 characters)

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- This is a really good looking beer. Body is a crystal clear dark, rich amber hue. Bubbles can be seen steadily rising to the top. Pours with a 1-2 finger foamy slightly off-white head that eventually fades to a thick collar and has good retention from there. Some lacing sticks all the way down the glass.

S-Nose is good. Rich caramel malt is the main character, molasses is heavy in there as well. A big earthy presence is also there as well as a slightly metallic scent.

T-Taste is mild upfront and offers a mild earthy dirt presence. Some caramel malt and toffee are also there. The finish offers a touch of earthy hops, a touch of roasted malt, toffee, and a big metallic flavor-which is kind of a turn off.

M-Medium to high carbonation and a medium weight body. Slightly oily and pretty smooth.

D- Pretty interesting brew. Looks great, smells great, tastes ok. Decent brew from BBC overall. The only turnoff is that weird metallic presence across the board. The mouthfeel is great and ABV completely hidden. I have a bunch more BBC brews to try around the house and am looking forward to them. (1,105 characters)

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
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. (407 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
3.56/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A random and much appreciated gift from Huhzubendah. 22 ounce bomber without an obvious born on date. Oh well. Beer is dark amber and clear with a nice off white head of small bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Carbonation is steady and moderate. Looks good. Whoops, this is a strong ale.

Aroma is pretty mild and this is in a wine glass. Its mildly sweet and has a very very mild roast in the nose.

Beer has a subtle roast to it and is mildly sweet. Its kind of like an unbittered brown porter. Its not overly sweet, the flavors overall are a little subdued. There is some mild fruitiness to this beer. I don't know how old it is, it could be past its prime but the most likely conclusion is that this is just a boring strong ale. Too bad. (753 characters)

Photo of jmz62565
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
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. (441 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this bottle up at Julio's before EBF. Served in my SAVOR snifter at the Jackie O's One Funky Afternoon release.

Pours a light brown color with a light head and just a touch of lacing. Color is like toffee. The nose brings some light caramel and a slight nuttiness. There is a bit of light milk chocolate there as well. The flavor is a bit plain, much like the nose. Not much there really doing great things. Light chocolate, nuttiness, mild caramel, and a bit of lightly-sweet malt. Body is smooth and creamy, the best aspect of the beer. Overall, not bad at all, though not something I would seek out again. (616 characters)

Photo of NEhophead
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1 pt 6 fl oz brown bottle.
No best before date notched.

Pours a murky maple in color. Half-inch, creamy off-white head that lasts as a whispy sheet with pools of bubbles. Thin and spotted lacing with a decent hold.

Sweet caramel and toffee malts; hints of fruity esters: apple, lemon, and plum. Caramelized brown sugar.

Semi-sweet toasted malt character; big wheat and grain presence that is rather clean. A background of fresh fruit: apple, grape, cherry, plum; all of which aren't tart at all. Hints of alcohol lead to the aftertaste of semi-sweet brown sugar, fruit, and wheat.

Almost full in body; smooth, near creamy on the palate. A nice balance of malt and hops.

A pleasasnt offering with nice qualities, but rather reserved in terms of flavor and abv %, when I think of a 'Strong Ale'. (811 characters)

Photo of Macdoyal
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Alrighty here we go.

Appearance: A dense white head that goes fast and leaves excellent lacing on the glass. The color is that of a copper or leather.

Smell: Sweet smell of malt and almost caramel with a sharp hops bite at the end.

Taste: Bold taste of malt with a roasted note that is a little bitter. The hops add another layer of bite thou not a lot. Overall it's nice but it's that roasted note i can do with out.

Mouthfeel: Not a lot of carbonationwhich works well. It's got a thicker mouthfeel the best of which i can explain as saying Velvety.

Drinkability: It's good stuff and i could drink a couple of these but there are other beers by these guys i prefer. (673 characters)

Photo of mcarroll10177
3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
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 (551 characters)

Photo of alleykatking
3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
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. (1,168 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a good head that stays, some lace, slightly cloudy reddish amber color and a sweet maltly nose. Carbonation is very limited. Begins with good malt flavor and finishes smooth. Medium bodied - not dry. Decent ABV - 7% - but it isn't noticeable. (253 characters)

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