River Ale - Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

Not Rated.
River AleRiver Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

223 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 223
Reviews: 122
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 9.64%
Wants: 54
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 223 | Reviews: 122
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Photo of bobbypaulson
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle thanks for davey101!!!! The beer poured out of a bottle into a townhall cuved pint glass. Nice murky cloudy light redish brown color with a nice froathy white head. The head tapered off quick to a nice white top on the beer. smell is yeasty and sweet. taste is roasty and that same sweetness. This beer is a very nice starting beer, nice on the palate and very smooth. A very enjoyable beer to say the least. Thanks for sharing it Davey101 my buddy and I really enjoyed it!!!

Photo of rudzud
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Photo of perrymarcus
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber served in a pilsner glass.
best by date 10/13/11. (year is a bit smudged, at least i think/hope that's an "11")

pours a translucent, dark amber tone while yielding a finger and a half of a creamy/foamy beige head. decent retention and lacing; overall a beautiful looking beer.

nose is appetizing. very wheaty with a big sweet malty presence to it.

taste is exceeds the nose. bold notes of wheat, caramel, brown sugar, and a underlying fruitiness i can quite pin down. pretty damn fantastic. medium bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall, a real pleasant surprise. did not expect to enjoy this beer as much as i am. just really flavorful and tasty. hands down my favorite offering to date from berkshire.

Photo of puboflyons
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

Photo of davey101
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber poured into a tall pilsner glass. Never heard of this beer style before, and I was a bit shocked to see that it was the #1 beer under the style. It says its similar to a dunkel weisse, I'm soldl!

A - Deep brownish red. A good sized white head formed that is still sitting high ten minutes later. This beer looks perfect in this glass.

S - Sweet malts and a certain honey/candy quality. There is a bit of faint hops in there as well. Really great aromas.

T - Sweet malts. I hate to copy the aroma, but there is just this great honey sweetness to it. The hops leave a nice little bitterness in the end that balances out the sweetness. Smooth carbonation and medium mouth feel. 7% abv? Ya right!

O - This is my first american dark wheat ale and I'm in love. I was gonna either grab this or the coffee house porter which I've had numerous times. I made the right decision. BBC is a real gem of a brewery. Always amazingly fresh and well crafted beers, and I can find bombers everywhere for under $4. Seek this out!!

Photo of abgba121
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Light brown with about an inch of white head that recedes slowly and leaves a light lacing over the top of the entire brew.

S: wheat and sweet, reminds of toffee

T: A sweet beer, but well balanced with the hop additions, which leave a good crisp finish. Very tasty.

M: Medium body and good carbonation, easy to drink.

O: I was pleasantly surprised by this dark wheat, a great job by BBC and at a great price of 3.99 a bomber. I will surely have more of these.

Photo of jamescain
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tasting glass, thanks texasclimber for sharing this one

Appearance: Light brown with a white head about 2 centimeters thick that faded into a thin lacing on the top of the beer.

Aroma: Slightly hoppy, pine and citrus, with sweet toffee malt coming though.

Taste: Slight bitterness but mostly malty. A little sweet for my taste, but balanced with a nice addition of hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation and a light to medium body, easy to drink, with a lingering bitterness.

Overall: I thought it was good, having not knowing anything about this beer before I drank it, I enjoyed it.

Photo of SeussMD
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

i have liked just about everything BBC has put out. And my brother-in-law spoke highly of this beer. So it already had quite a bit going for it. But you can't write about beer you never drank. Let's open this 22 oz. bomber and address that problem.

Poured into: A Yuengling pint glass. Whatever you might think of the beer, Yuengling's label KICKS ASS. Classy script lettering and a BAMF bald eagle (really, is there any other kind?) with a barrel of beer. Timeless.

Appearance: good 1 1/2-inch head receedes to about a half inch. A lovely golden brown, the color of the crust of a freshly-baked loaf of bread, with a yellowish-creamy offwhite head. Very interesting.

Smell: Wheat. Surprise! And honey and caramel.

Taste: Lovely malt sweetness. Wheat bread, and a slight hint of the Willamette hops. A little touch of biscuit. And yet with a crisp finish. Quite tasty. I don't recall any other beer this sweet tasting this good.

Mouthfeel: fairly well carbonated, nice dryness, both of which offset the sweet malted character.

Overall: It's like drinking a loaf of delicious home-baked bread. And who doesn't love home-baked bread? OK, except for people with gluten issues, who doesn't love home-baked bread? Another winner for the folks at BBC. Big ups to Western Mass!

Photo of BeerMaverick
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
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!

Photo of Thorpe429
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

Photo of mnrider
3.77/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brown Bomber--->Pint Glass. No Freshness Date

A: Pours a brownish color with a red hue. Small off white head, with some lacing.

S: Sweet creamy malts with a slight alcohol kick. Mostly malts.

T/M: Medium bodied and smooth. Malts are sweet and have hints of caramel and toasted goodness. The higher alcohol aroma is prevalent right off the bat. A taste of wheat and a light hop bitterness is also mixed in.

O: If malty brews with a kick of wheat is what you like than this one is for you. The malts taste great, however I would have liked a little more hop balance to even it out.

Cheers!!

Photo of Urbancaver
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
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

Photo of KTCamm
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

Photo of ksimons
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-a cloudy brown amber with a finger's worth of white fluffy head

S-sweet malts, wheat, caramel

T-much like the nose, sweet malts, bready wheat, caramel, and something a little fruity

M-medium body, medium amount of carbonation, smooth

D-a nice mellow dark wheat beer, very easy to drink

Photo of KajII
3.72/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

[Best served in a Dimpled mug]

Poured a cloudy medium brown with a large frothy off white head that was mostly diminishing and had excellent lacing.The aroma was heavy of roasted caramel malts, molasses with nice hints of an earthy yeast, toffee and raisons. It tasted sweetly smooth and mildly acidic in the beginning then progressed to a nice sweet malty flavor and had notes of caramel and dried fruit with the flavor lasting a nice while. Mouthfeel was medium in body and nice and creamy in texture with a nice mild carbonation. Overall a fantastic tasting Dark Wheat Ale, very drinkable.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Photo of flexabull
4.18/5  rDev +6.1%
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!

Photo of cbutova
2.95/5  rDev -25.1%
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.

Photo of shredsofautumn
3.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle purchased on 10/30/2010. I figure it's an appropriate Halloween beer due to the fact that It's entitled the "River Ale". Berkshire Brewing, based in South Deerfield, is within close proximity to the Deerfield & Mill Rivers. Crossing one of these two, I cannot remember which, is the Eunice Williams Bridge in Greenfield where numerous tragic events occured, leading to the covered bridge being one of the most haunted places in Massachusetts.

Appearance- Murky dark brown with straw hues. Not much of a head on this one, but the lacing is nice.

Smell- Earthy. Slight soil notes, huge butterscotch malts hit you in the face, very slight hopped finish.

Taste- Crisp initially. Leads into a strong lip smacking hopfest and finishing with a strong sweetness of malts and sugar. After swallowing, the heat from the alcohol warms well in this cool weather. Doesn't taste like any wheat beer I've ever had.

Mouthfeel- Thick. Full. Creamy finish.

Drinkability- Good. Tasteful, thick, quality flavors. I like it.

Photo of drabmuh
3.56/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

Photo of Sam21
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into pint glass.Appearance - Pours deep amber with a creamy tan head. Doesn't retain as well as I thought it would. Leaves good lacing.

Smell - Malt driven. There is a sweet malty toffee-like character that is mixed with some sugary dark fruits. No noticeable hops.

Taste - The malty sweetness really controls this beer. There is a nice complexity here. Dark fruits, light bready malt, and subtle sweet (chocolate?) notes add depth. Picking up some nuttiness. Light spice in the finish, most likely coming from both the hops and wheat, lingers for a short while. I'm picking up a little alcohol tingle in the background.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with a thick consistency. Really creamy carbonation. Nice feel.

Drinkability - A malty treat that is very easy to drink. There is something unique about this beer that I am having trouble putting my finger on. Malty, warming, and lightly spicy. Comes across as a strong malty Brown ale with a little something extra. Another well-balanced and well-crafted beer from Berkshire Brewing Co.

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
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.,

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

Photo of LessThanHKY10
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

River Ale from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
88 out of 100 based on 223 ratings.