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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

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)
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Ratings: 199 | Reviews: 119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of laituegonflable
laituegonflable

Australia

3.38/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2010 03:29:21 | More by laituegonflable
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 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 rudzud
rudzud

Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at Julio's. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a nice deep crystal clear dark amber with a creamy almost two finger head that disappeared to leave a nice creamy halo and thin wisps.

S - Dark, almost chocolatey malts, some light wheat notes and gentle sweetness.

T - Pretty good flavors. Nice light dark fruits and carmel with some light chocolate and maybe even some coconut shell.

M - Good mouthfeel. Creamy yet sharp. A sipper though.

O - Overall I enjoyed this beer. Not sure if this is something I would like to drink more than one glass of though.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2011 02:55:16 | More by rudzud
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

3.33/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2010 02:30:37 | More by maximum12
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
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
JoeyBeerBelly

New York

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

I got this beer from tzieser. Thanks Tom!

22oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - clear amber color with a cream colored head that left some thick lacing behind.

S - cocoa powder and roasted malt.

T - roasted malt and chocolate nibs, a little smokey towards the finish which is slightly dry and bittersweet.

F - medium bodied with good carbonation.

O - an all around good beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2011 22:01:16 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
Photo of tgbljb
tgbljb

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy deep copper color with massive white foamy head. Good retention and perfect lacing.
Smell is a bit mild with some mild dark fruitiness present.
Taste is superb. There is a strong dark fruit malt presence. At the back end a mild bitterness does a perfect balancing act.
Finish is sweet and very refreshing.
What a surprise when I found out this beer was 7%. So easy to drink it is scary.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2007 22:13:22 | More by tgbljb
Photo of VelvetExtract
VelvetExtract

Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a superbly clear dark brown color. Head is fluffy and off-white. The head sits in stark contrast to the beer's body and it makes River Ale a beautiful brew. Great lacing too.

S-Smell is wheat and yeasty with notes of banana bread and brown sugar. Light spiciness too. Also there are toffee and butterscotch notes as well.

T-Creamed and bread with plenty of toasted wheat. Quite sweet. Caramel, molasses and toffee. Light tobacco. Finishes with a bubblegum flavor. Tastes a bit like toast with a light caramel glaze. A peppery spice sneaks up on you.

M-Very creamy. Light, tingling carbonation. Alcohol masked incredibly well. Somewhat full in body but it also seems light during some sips.

O/D-One of Berkshire's more unique brews. I think they craft cool beer at a good price and this is no different. Not my favorite in their lineup but I must say that there should be more Dark Wheat Ales out on the market because it is a neat style. Seek this out.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2012 21:29:21 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of Darkmagus82
Darkmagus82

Virginia

4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber into pint glass

Appearance – Pours a slightly hazy brown color with a two finger off white head. The head had great retention, but eventually faded to give a nice level of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of a sweet wheat smell. The wheat is of a bready nature with the sweet being of caramel and some dark fruits. Mixed with these aromas are some lighter notes of a roasted malt and a very light citrus nature. Overall quite nice.

Taste – The taste begins sweet and roasty with a nice wheat flavor mixed within. The sweet at the front is of a caramel nature, but as the taste goes on some brown sugar and a very light citrus hop come to the tongue. As the taste advances further a subtle boozy flavor comes to the tongue. It overall creates a very nice slightly warming sweet bready aftertaste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel- The body of the beer is on the medium to just above medium side with the carbonation level being on the average side. The body is very nice for the sweeter bready flavors and really allows the boozy flavors to warm the mouth.

Overall – A great sweeter brew. Wonderful flavors and a great warming feel. Fantastic!!

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2012 00:29:03 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of jaxon53
jaxon53

Connecticut

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

Served this slightly chilled, in a pint glass, from a twenty-two ounce brown bottle. You really can't go wrong with a brew from Berkshire.

Appearance: River Ale pours out a deep, cloudy, brownish amber color that is quite dark. A somewhat vigorous pour yielded about a finger and a half of thick, creamy looking tan head. Head was made up of multisized bubbles. Head faded somewhat slowly, and left virtually no significant lace behind to speak of.

Smell: A malty monster. Thick toasted malt aromas, with maybe just a touch of hops buried beneath. A bit on the fruity side, most noticeably cherry, raisin, and plum. Notes of caramel and bread.

Taste: Loads of caramel. Plenty of dark fruit flavors. Quite malty. Touches of chocolate deep in the background. Finishes slightly bitter and dry. Pretty smooth overall. Not a real lot of noticeable alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Almost full bodied, creamy mouthfeel. Somewhat thick and coats the palate. Plenty of fizzy carbonation.

Drinkability: Very drinkable and enjoyable thanks to the lower ABV.
Another tasty brew from Berkshire.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2008 15:50:59 | More by jaxon53
Photo of flexabull
flexabull

California

4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
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!

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2010 22:15:32 | More by flexabull
Photo of cbutova
cbutova

Massachusetts

2.88/5  rDev -27.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2010 03:14:36 | More by cbutova
Photo of Dope
Dope

Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

01-06-2012 22:04:15 | More by Dope
Photo of sulldaddy
sulldaddy

Connecticut

3.84/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drinking a cold 22 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
the beer pours a chestnut and copper hue with some small flakes of precipitate. the beer is also with a soft fluffy beige head of 2 cm foaming up with some larger bubbles in the center of the foam.
Aroma is sweet malt with some brown sugar and caramel, I also get a bit of spicy character, which was unanticipated, but pleasant. Wheat twanginess comes through on the nose as well.
First sip reveals an average body with fine and very tingly carbonation. texture is smooth and easy drinking making for an enjoyable physical experience.
Flavor is some sweet fruity malt with a little red grape and some caramel mixed with wheat twang again as on the nose. Finish brings back the small amount of cinnamon that was on the nose. It is an enjoyable beer and I dont get any hop character nor any real booziness.
The beer is not overly complex, but is certainly not flawed and makes for an enjoyable evening.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2014 02:30:49 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of PittBeerGirl
PittBeerGirl

Pennsylvania

3.48/5  rDev -11.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2010 17:08:29 | More by PittBeerGirl
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 OtherShoe2
OtherShoe2

Massachusetts

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

Mahogany brew with nice off-white head. Bunch of rings, and some bubbles in the glass. When you top off, the viscosity shows. Cool.

Rich bruised fruit. Some cherry. Wood, Spice. Booze. Nice complexity.

Nothing over the top. Rich toasted malt with hints of brown sugar and alcohol soaked stone fruit. Light raisin and brown bread elements. The sweetness is offset by some light bitterness that comes and balances the sugar nicely. Some warming alcohol too.

Full bodied, in thee mouth and in the glass. Bubbles wiggle in the pint.

Great beer. Rich and enjoyable without so much alcohol that you notice (but it sneaks up on you too). You could do 2 bombers, but then, well, you'd be bombed. Not extreme, but well balanced. Good fresh beer.,

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2010 22:39:54 | More by OtherShoe2
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 KTCamm
KTCamm

New Jersey

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

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2011 16:36:33 | More by KTCamm
Photo of Fettpopps
Fettpopps

Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

03-16-2014 01:46:36 | More by Fettpopps
Photo of Burt
Burt

Rhode Island

4/5  rDev +1.3%

11-18-2011 03:26:10 | More by Burt
Photo of Gambrinus1184
Gambrinus1184

Connecticut

4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2009 15:19:41 | More by Gambrinus1184
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
River Ale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
88 out of 100 based on 199 ratings.