1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

River Ale - Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

Not Rated.
River AleRiver Ale

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

199 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 199
Reviews: 119
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 10.13%
Wants: 51
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)
View: Beers (43) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of River Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 199 | Reviews: 119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
FLAbeergutinMASS

Massachusetts

3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-07-2005 16:02:09 | More by FLAbeergutinMASS
Photo of williamherbert
williamherbert

New York

3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2008 00:19:26 | More by williamherbert
Photo of lackenhauser
lackenhauser

Maryland

3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2008 00:34:04 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of mltobin
mltobin

Connecticut

3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2012 02:22:15 | More by mltobin
Photo of Urbancaver
Urbancaver

Ohio

3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
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

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2011 17:38:37 | More by Urbancaver
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2011 12:48:05 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of NEhophead
NEhophead

Massachusetts

3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
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'.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2006 21:02:07 | More by NEhophead
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

3.58/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2010 03:01:32 | More by drabmuh
Photo of mcarroll10177
mcarroll10177

Massachusetts

3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
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

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2006 12:38:05 | More by mcarroll10177
Photo of alleykatking
alleykatking

Indiana

3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2010 04:10:42 | More by alleykatking
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2003 16:25:39 | More by jdhilt
Photo of jmz62565
jmz62565

Connecticut

3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2007 22:48:38 | More by jmz62565
Photo of Macdoyal
Macdoyal

Vermont

3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2009 04:29:37 | More by Macdoyal
Photo of ClockworkOrange
ClockworkOrange

Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to brothercannon for bring me a bottle of this, and a few other Berkshires, back from VT. Poured from a 22 ounce bomber into my nonic pint glass. The ale appears a clear deep copper color with about a finger of lingering tan colored foam. Nose and flavor are of sweet caramel malts, toffee, brown sugar notes, toasted, bready grains, and some earthy bitter hops. About a notch better than medium bodied with adequate carbonation. Worth a try if you are a fan of a strong ale.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2009 04:13:38 | More by ClockworkOrange
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared with hobbie100. Thanks Richard!

A: Slightly hazy medium brown color with a little head that leaves no lacing.

S: Sweet spices, dark fruits, subtle malt.

T: Subtle dark fruits (mostly raisins and figs) with spices. The beer is decent tasting, but doesn't quite have the complexity or big flavors that would make it an awesome beer. While this is a decent brew, there are many beers out there that are better examples of beers that really shine with dark fruits/spices flavors.

M: Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with slightly low carbonation.

D: A good beer, but not one I would seek out.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2010 01:29:46 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of Citadel82
Citadel82

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brew poured from a brewery fresh 22 oz bomber.

A deep caramel brown color with a short lived white head that has nice retention and left fair lacing through out the brew. Head fades to a long lived ring at the edges. Fine carbonation.

The aroma of this brew seems to be sweet malt with highlights of alcohol and ripe fruit. Nice smelling brew.

The taste is carmel malts and fruity up front, Then sweet caramel malt notes that balance it out. Also has a bit of a alcohol and a hoppy dry finish.

Mouth feel is medium with a dryness that sticks to the back of the mouth and tongue.

Not a bad brew at all, though not as complex as their other offerings like the Coffee house porter, Rasberry Strong Ale and Imperial Stout.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2005 01:25:25 | More by Citadel82
Photo of Naugros
Naugros

New Jersey

3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Murky, coppery brown with visible dregs on the bottom. Light tan head that really lasts and coats the side, promising lacing.

Fruity nose from the wheat yeast, something akin to plums with a touch of treacle in the back. Grassy aromas waft up as well.

Taste really follows the smell with the treacle turning more to molasses. Dark fruit (again, could be plum) with a slight wheat tang to it. A little bit of a red wine sense in the aftertaste.

If you're looking for a light, bright wheat beer for a summer day, this is not it. This is right in the medium level for body and is a little sticky on the tongue.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2012 00:29:30 | More by Naugros
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nearly clear, dark amber brown, kind of like iced tea. A fine beige collar formed after the pour and there was some spotty lace. Bready and biscuity malt and caramel aromas, a bit fruity. Moderate bitterness with a bit of fruit up front. Caramel sweetness and toasted malt. Medium/low carbonation, medium plus bodied, a bit creamy and fairly smooth. Quite drinkable and pretty tasty.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2009 22:21:21 | More by DrJay
Photo of bigone4
bigone4

Rhode Island

3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love this brew around striper season on the Ct River. Mixes great for a Guiness Black and Tan. I landed a nice 33" Striper weighting in at 16lbs this season. It pours a dark cloudy red amberish hue, Thick and meaty brew. Strong malt flavor with a great sweetness. Brown sugar with some molasses smoky mapelish flavor. Has a nice hop mix in there with the malt trails. Mouth feel is very thick and full, big chewy full malty robust feel to it. Nice offering of a strong ale. I never try to let a brew so true to style get by my taste buds and this one says alot. This is a great beer! I enjoyed the other reviews and I have to say BBC makes great brews and the River Ale is one of them. Get some and keep it for a rainy day. True to style and great taste, Way to brew a winner in my book.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2006 04:19:48 | More by bigone4
Photo of ummswimmin
ummswimmin

New Jersey

3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My buddy (Naugros on the website) brought a bottle back from his trip and shared it with me to knock this style off my list. After this review I only have two left (happoshu and kvass).

I drank this beer in a wheat glass. It was deep brown with about two fingers of head that retained really well. It left some decent lacing on the glass. You can see a lot of particulates in the lower third of the glass.

In the nose I get sour, some malt, and a venous presence. The flavor is consistent with the smell. I get a little bit more malt than in the nose. I also pick up more of the sour.

This beer is a little heavy for summer. I would recommend it for the cooler months.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2012 03:56:48 | More by ummswimmin
Photo of justme
justme

Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

07-27-2013 18:33:11 | More by justme
Photo of Sailracer
Sailracer


3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

04-13-2012 00:47:20 | More by Sailracer
Photo of trevorpost
trevorpost

Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

06-01-2013 02:02:44 | More by trevorpost
Photo of WhitmansNiece
WhitmansNiece

Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

03-31-2012 03:21:43 | More by WhitmansNiece
Photo of dustinjkline
dustinjkline

Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

06-26-2014 00:09:28 | More by dustinjkline
River Ale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
88 out of 100 based on 199 ratings.