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River Ale - Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

River AleRiver Ale

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

191 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 191
Reviews: 119
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 9.87%


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)
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Ratings: 191 | Reviews: 119 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.38/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2009 15:53:31 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a cloudy ice tea brown color and a loong-lasting head that provides decent lacing

Smell: Modest caramel and chocolate with a fruity peach element

Taste: Caramel and milk chocolate up front with fruity flavors arriving mid-palate; a really interesting finish with herbal bitterness, banana and chocolate

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with soft carbonation

Drinkability: Rich with deep fruity flavors and a complex finish - excellent

Serving type: cask

08-02-2007 01:45:21 | More by brentk56
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 ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark amber-hued body with a big, vast, off-white head.

Smell: Moderately sweet-scented aroma of brown sugar, caramel, and toasted bread crusts, a small note of fruitiness, and the stingiest dash of dried bitter herbs.

Taste: Malty tastes of light-colored caramel and brown sugar with lesser, lighter touches of toasted wheat and cocoa powder. Slight touch of vaguely berry accented fruitiness. Very faint herbal hop traces with a low level of bitterness. Sweetish, nutty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A simple, malty, sweet-leaning beer that goes down with ease. However, at 7%, you might not want to just plow through the bomber, though I couldn't help do so.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2011 18:05:25 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a bright reddish brown color with a short off-white head that fades at a decent rate and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is a well-blended combination of creamy chocolate, dark fruit, roasted malt and a good amount of hops.

T: The malty taste starts out with the same creamy chocolate flavor that you get in the smell, but it’s not overdone. Following up are light but complimentary flavors of dark fruit, some spice and a mild hops presence. The after-taste is slightly sweet. Despite being an ale, this one tastes a lot like a Dopplebock.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, slightly filling but there’s no trace of the 7.00% ABV. I had wanted to try this beer for a while and then had it at a tasting about a month ago. Even after the tasting, I wasn’t quite sure how much I would like it, but I gave BBC the benefit of the doubt because they haven’t steered me wrong yet. It was a wise decision, because I liked this beer a lot.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2007 03:17:24 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

4.53/5  rDev +14.7%
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!

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2008 05:05:47 | More by russpowell
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 jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Super fizzy 1 finger head fades quickly, over a hazy dark molasses auburn rosy red color w/ a billion bubbles floating up.

N: Toasty malts w/ caramel, a little syrup, malty sweetness, slight roastiness, and a slight sour tanginess that is a little odd

T: Lots of malts, a decent sweetness too, with more syrupy molasses, brown sugar, little caramel... with all that is a sour flavor, like it was a soured mash or slightly infected beer that hasn't really taken control yet. Aside from that is more toasted malts, some roast, little wheaty and reminiscent of a bock.

M: Lighter but syrupy, and tons of carbonation.

F: Still semi sweet, more syrupy malt with some sour lingering malt flavor, more like a soured malt than an infection, but its def. there. Little toasty and a hint of spiciness, with a touch of bitterness round off the finish.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2010 01:30:05 | More by jlindros
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

3.3/5  rDev -16.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2005 00:04:08 | More by smcolw
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
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%

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2013 04:33:07 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

3.98/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2012 01:57:12 | More by tempest
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 Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2003 05:04:36 | More by Jason
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to goodbyeohio for this brew.

Pours a brownish color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy off-white head, some nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is sweet, malty, with a lot of caramel. The taste is sweet/malty, and some caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a nice tasty ASA, but it just does not have the kick of other ASAs. Recommended though.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2007 01:31:54 | More by Wasatch
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The pour resulted in a finger's worth of ecru head with good retention. The color was a cloudy golden amber. The nose was mildly sweet, sort of like butterscotch, but not in a bad way. The mouthfeel was medium with a solid caramel taste on the tongue. The finish was lingeringly caramel-like. It really masked its alcohol well, but the sweetness was a bit overpowering for a hophead such as myself.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2008 08:50:07 | More by woodychandler
Photo of plaid75
plaid75

New York

3.98/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2007 03:03:34 | More by plaid75
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 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 Brad007
Brad007

Vermont

4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown color with a very, very thin head if any. Aroma is nice and malty upfront. Taste is much of the same except there's a nice raisin/currant taste upfront. A second sip confirms a bold maltiness that dances on the tongue (fancy words but it's true). Aftertaste has a lot of raisin and malt and not a lot of bitterness to be found.

It's definitely strong but not in the sense that I expected. It reminds me of Arrogant Bastard but with the exception that there's a different character to it. The alcohol is never too overwhelming and allows the other flavors to come through.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2007 03:12:04 | More by Brad007
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2013 14:36:08 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of flagmantho
flagmantho

Washington

4.16/5  rDev +5.3%
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!!

Serving type: on-tap

06-09-2013 00:50:48 | More by flagmantho
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a Duvel tulip. The #1-rated American Dark Wheat Ale - one more best-of-style tick down, far too many to go.

A: Clear dark caramel body under two fingers of dense tan foam. Good retention, decent lace. Very good.

S: Breadiness is the first thing I notice, resembling a well-toasted multi-grain bagel. As my nose dips deeper into the glass, I'm met with some major hop notes - lots of earth and spice. Tangy wheat finally shows up on the back end. Quite complex, thoroughly enjoyable, and definitely to style.

T: Follows the nose quite precisely. Nutty, bready malts are up front, spicy wheat and hops show up a bit later, and it ends with a clean, spicy, mildly bitter finish. Slight chalky minerality on the aftertaste. The sweet/spicy/bitter combination of disparate flavors is really pleasant, but the aftertaste is a bit oppressive. Quite good overall, though.

M: Soft, luxurious, creamy medium body. Perfect.

O: Every other beer of this style I've had has been god awful. This is really tasty - it really is like a Weizenbock done with American ale yeast. Great stuff.

Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2012 02:25:22 | More by woosterbill
Photo of FosterJM
FosterJM

California

4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1342nd Review on BA
Bottle to Spiegelau Wheat glass
22oz

Thanks to BA RudZud for this one

App- Has a lot of color in the glass. A mix of browns and yellows and crimsons. A small cascading look to it with the falling colors. A very good two finger head with a small cling.

Smell- A good bit of wheat with a caramel candy note flavor. A bit sweet and malty. Like a smaller roggenbier. Nice small aromatics that blend nicely.

Taste- Flavorful little beer. A good sweetness meets a small wheat and fruit flavor but for 7% hits you on the finish. A nice bit of what seems like a rye/spice note. Seemingly prickly but not like A barrel aged prickly.

Mouth- A nice medium body with a creamy medium carbonation. Residual wheat and spice remain with a touch of malts and candy esque flavors.

Drink- A nice beer. Nice layers, good flavors and a unique style. Better than an average wheat. I wouldn't mind another bottle to sip on.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2012 02:34:14 | More by FosterJM
Photo of Jwale73
Jwale73

Rhode Island

4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in my BBC pint. Poured the color of unpasteurized apple cider with a one inch dense, off-white cap that eventually dissipates into a consistent skim. Murky clarity with bands of thick lacing that were revealed after each quaff. Nose is caramel and pale malts, as well as some sugar and light fruity esters (perhaps pear). Taste follows nose as well as a bready character. Mouthfeel is light to medium and well-balanced with a nice amount of carbonation to round it all out. Some of the breadiness in the taste lingers at the finish. Easy drinking and flavorful brew. BBC doesn't make a bad beer in my opinion, and this is definitely one of my favorites.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2008 17:46:52 | More by Jwale73
Photo of hopdog
hopdog

Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -24.1%
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

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2008 16:39:40 | More by hopdog
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River Ale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
88 out of 100 based on 191 ratings.