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Expedition Ale - Drake's Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Expedition AleExpedition Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

88 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 88
Reviews: 69
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 9.39%
Wants: 15
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Drake's Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Mark on 04-19-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 88 | Reviews: 69 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of avaldivia
4.62/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured Into a Chimay glass.

A: Nice dark, hazy amber color. Very nice off white head and lacing.

S: Caramel malt. Some citrus hops notes. Great blend of smell.

T: Very floral hop at first. Then the sweet caramel maltiness comes in. There a nice roasted or burnt caramel flavor. This tastes amazing. Everything I would want from a Red Ale.

M: Medium to heavy. Nice creamy mouthfeel.

O: This is why I love amber ales. When they are done well, they are one of my favorite styles. This is done beautifully. I have found my favorite in the style.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.55/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ooh, yeah. I love it when a red ale pours a genuinely red colour. This is one of those, a brilliantly deep ruby hue, with a filmy but exceptionally fine head of creamy off-white. Lacing forms in rings and is pleasantly persistent. Body is heavy but fluid, leaving tiny bubbles of carbonation when swirled. Looks great.

Nose is fantastic. Wonderful blend of slightly dark, caramelised malt characters with a bright hop crispness that brings it into a wonderful melange—mixing hops and malt in a way that accentuates both, but also complements. Biting with slight resin, but subtle with biscuity depth. Lovely.

The taste is probably even better. Here the lightly grainy malt character comes through giving a basis on which are layered jammy, fruity hop characters, always tempered with a brisk bitterness to cut through on the finish. A tiny bit more body would help it a little, but this is a real nitpick. It's a lovely brew.

Exceptionally drinkable, and absolutely characterising what I love in an American Red Ale. It has the fresh, bright hoppiness, the mellow malt character, and blends the two superbly. I already regarded Drake's well, and yet this beer just made them shoot up even further in my opinion.

Photo of nygannon
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

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

12oz Bottle / 6.8% ABV
Pours a hazy amber color with a thin layer of off-white creamy head.
Great dark malty aroma that's supplemented nicely by a kiss of citrusy grapefruit hops.
Some fruity notes of golden raisins liven up the malt base that has a pleasant graham cracker tone and some subtle spiced cinnimon stick.
Medium bodied, creamy carbonated mouthfeel. A chewy malt base of lightly spicy bread crusts, honey and a hint of raisin start out on the palate, but this fades refreshingly into a powerful high alpha hop dry finish. Not overly done, the hops are both powerful enough to satisfy a hop craving, but able to allow the malts to provide a fantasticly dark, somewhat toasty, rich base.
This is a great choice for the indecisive - it does everything well.

Photo of jpcool9
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of DoubleJ
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Part of a pre-set mix pack from Cost Plus, on to the beer:

Very foamy at first pour, I had to chop off the head repededly to get all the beer in my pint glass. The beer's appearance is deep copper with a good sticky head. The aroma is a nosefull of hops and notes of caramel. Taste begins fruity befroe a kick of hops and tropical flavor knocks it down. Burnt sugar is tasted on the palate too. Very very tasty red ale and one worth looking for. Comparable to Bear Republic's Red Rocket Ale, although this is a little better balanced.

Photo of Skidz
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out copper and sits crimson-brown in the glass with a large off-white head, fading to a good skim with lacings abound.

Smells rich and full of caramel tones paired with citrus and resiny hops. Grapefruit and pine stand with sugary, molten brown sugar.

Moderately bitter up front, gaining in intensity with piney sap flavors in every corner. Fairly well toasted malt flavors come through, beneath the load of citric hops. Hints of walnut buried deep beneath. Finishes with moderate-assertive hops bitterness, sticky and resiny.

Crisp and clean in the mouth with moderate carbonation and a medium body.

This is probably one of the most dynamic and interesting pairings of a Red Ale and an IPA that I've ever had. I'd proably say it shares more traits with some Double IPAs than it does with most IPAs (Think about the malt/hop profiles of Dreadnaught and then dumb it down a notch). All in all, the effort put into this makes for one delicious and hop quenching beer.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This sh*^ is DARK..
Pours a really dark red amber with a single finger tan head that melts to nice heavy lacing.
Aroma is barely suseptible toasted malt.
Taste is initially sweet from the toasted malt then nice and hoppy....nice bitter rich American Red....very assertive.
Aftertaste of grapefruit citrus hops with a slight malt cloying.
Mouthfeel is thick with carbonation....sharp with hops...very satistying.
Pretty sessionable....drying which makes you want to take another drink, but still very quenching

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dirty pumpkin that becomes dark cranberry when backlit. This might be the single darkest amber ale that I've ever seen (if it's really an amber ale). The khaki colored cap is tight-bubbled, long-lived, and is beginning to lay down thick sheets of lace. What's not to like?

The aroma is exactly as advertised. It features dark malts (not too dark) and what smells like a copious amount of hops. We're not talking porter or dunkel, just seriously toasted malt that still (barely) fits within the amber ale guidelines.

Expedition Ale is beautiful, beautiful beer. These guys can flat-out brew their asses off! This is my third Drake's beer and is the third one that has been exceptional. Why can't more craft brewers figure out that an abundant amount of quality ingredients results in delicious, drinkable beer? It also helps to have the imagination to create what is basically a combination brown ale, amber ale and IPA.

Flavors include lightly toasted brown bread coated with orange marmalade and honey, a light sprinking of cocoa powder, and plenty of pink grapefruit zest. Great choice on the hop bill... whatever it is. The perfect storm of sweet and bitter is out of this world and has resulted in a glass that is now almost empty. More please!

The mouthfeel is all kinds of wonderful. It's bigger than expected and is gloriously, glassy smooth. This stuff is a treat for the mouth in more ways than one.

Drake's may not crack the upper tier of 'best breweries in California', but they deserve a huge shout-out for the undeniable quality of their products. Impressive... impressive... impressive. Bottom line: this is an Expedition that is well worth taking.

Photo of Viggo
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to fartingdog for sending this my way for BC2.

Pours a clear dark red/brown hints, coppery, thick off white head, eggshell almost, nice chunky lacing, good retention, looks great. Smell is sweet, rich toffee, fruits, citrus/floral, some grapefruit, neat grainy date aroma, smells very good. Taste is sweet and malty, lots of toffee, bread, grains, grapefruit, floral, chocolate roastiness in the finish, lots of bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. Very nice, very drinkable, tons of flavour. I dig! Thanks Dave!

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this beer occasionally over the years, but never reviewed it before now. I think Drake's in general is an under regarded brewery that has some interesting selections, including barrel aged stuff that doesn't get a lot of notice. I'm not saying it is on par with Russian River or Lost Abbey- its not- but it does seem amazing to me that this beer that has been around for years has less than three dozen reviews. It pours nicely enough, with a dark brown color, good clarity, and although the head fades somewhat quickly to a thin cap, it leaves behind some very nice lacing. Nice aromas for the style as well- spicy sweet with cinnamon, dry malt, some fresh grain, and some bright fruit like pear and apple, but subtle. A touch of smoke and roasted grain as well, but again, it is subtle. The taste is similar with a firm layer of dry malt, and a surprisingly hoppy overlay of nice earthy bitterness that lingers. This coupled with a slight sweetness makes for a delicious combination. Some slight spice creeps in on the end. Firm and smooth in the mouth, with a spicy hop bite on the finish. Very full flavored, which keeps my interest as I drink it, but the alcohol level is reasonable as well, so the flavor is especially appreciated. Definitely an underrated beer.

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

Pours a dark red with a hint of brown-and is unfiltered with a off white head. Pine resin hop aroma is significant. Taste is malty sweet with a slight burnt malt character. Mouthfeel is smooth and drinkability is high-this beer is one that I think is one of Drakes best beers-fantastic.

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

This was one interesting beer. It's an amber ale with IPA overtones. It was a dark amber, head and lacing were very good. Nice malty aroma hid what was to come. taste was a full throttled hop attack that was very IPA like, yet tasted like a amber! I don't know if I'm explaining it well enough but this was a darn fine beer. I like this Brewery even though it's difficult to find their product. I will be looking for more of this.

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

Pours a hazy brown with a medium khaki head. Nose is fresh toasty malt and some earthy, vegetal hops.

Taste is rich toasty malt but with a bitter balance. The malt flavors are present but without the malt sweetness; the profile is dominated by a heavy hop flavor. After the initial bitter bite, more roast malt character comes forward further into the glass. Some light citrusy lemon elements along with hints of some dry black chocolate malt. Finish is bitterly malty and dry.

Mouthfeel is medium and clean, balanced enough to be easily drinkable. Overall impression is a little rough, like an award-winning homebrew, which is a refreshing quality to find in commercial products. Heavier on the malt than most American IPAs, I like this one.

Photo of merlin48
4.27/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A strange brew here but very enjoyable. 12 oz bottle pours a hazy copper body with a thick beige head that tops out at two centimeters. Excellent retention with moderate patch lacing.

Aroma is very interesting. Citrusy pink grapefruit is brash and assertive, but soon met with malty notes of toffee and burnt caramel. Hints of orange pulp and milk chocolate are very suggestive.

Mouthfeel is well carbonated and the body is almost full from a malt base that is almost chewy.

Taste is somewhere between a good amber and an excellent IPA. Some notes of roasty chocolate blend well with the citrusy and rind hop bitterness. Finsishes with a grapefruit flourish accented by a kiss of chocolate maltiness.

A very interesting ale here. A deft combination of an American amber ale and an IPA, enlivened by some roasty dark malts. Very drinkable! Thanks to IntriqKen for the opportunity.

Photo of veinless
4.26/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the new bombers that just hit shelves - I like the art on this one.

Pours dark reddish amber, approaching maroon, but with good clarity and a glassy body. Head is voluminous and foamy, gushing to the top of the glass. Lace is extensive and beautiful, and the head retains forever, turning rocky as it dissipates. One of the best looking beers I've seen.

Nose is of tropical mango and orange citrus, with a caramel sweetness thrown in. Candied fruit is most apt, with the touch of pine adding a little extra to the package. Very crisp, yet full, aroma.

Taste has a lot more citrus versus tropical fruit, as it starts with rindy grapefruit and a good deal of pine. Maltiness isn't really sweet - it's more of a full graininess that complements the hops well. A brief dank resin note adds another flavor, while dry, softly bitter hops round it out.

Mouthfeel isn't thick or heavy, but isn't thin either. A good balance between the two goes well with the dry finish and crisp nature of the brew. Carbonation is average. Drinkability is great for the 7% abv, as the alcohol is hidden completely and the finish sets up each sip nicely. Citrus and pine are strongly flavored without getting out of control as well. Another solid base hit by Drake's.

Photo of rkhaze
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was explained on the bottle as blending deep roasted dark malts with the hops of an IPA. Well...let's see.
Pours a clear deep amber with reddish hues. Big creamy beige head that had good retention and lace. Great looking beer.
Big roasted malt aroma with plenty of caramel and fruit, backed by a clean, citrusy hop smell. Smelled like a dry hopped amber ale.
The flavor was nicely roasted malt, dark caramel sweetness and some fruit. Finished with a crisp and dry fresh hop bitterness. The hops lingered but left a biting hint of white pepper on the back of the tongue and throat.
Medium bodied with a full rich mouthfeel and good carbonation.
Great drinikability. First time I've seen this, but it won't be the last!

Photo of MrGone
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Pours a deep garnet red amber. Fine off-white to light tan head with nice lacing. Looks good. Full aroma of herbal hops and toasty malt. Flavor follows with a somewhat complex hop flavor balanced with toasty and a touch of caramel malt. Finishes semi-dry with a strong grapefruit and slight pine hop bitterness. Very tasty, just what I like to see in a hoppy red ale. Very nicely made.

Photo of WestValleyIPA
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber color, a finger and 1/2 of head poured into my Ommegang wine glass. Nose of tea, hops, and a heavy beef bouillion scent. Lingering mild bitter finish, gamey. Medium Dry, medium/heavy body. A bit of soy sauce on the palate. Not disappointing at all. This is actually my first Drake's brew, and it's time I extended them a welcome hand.

Photo of colforbin73
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured out of a 22oz into a stemmed goblet. 7% ABV on the label.

IT'S BACK! in way better packaging, like all their brews... someone update that pic!

pours a dark ruby red -- you can't see though it -- foams up nicely and leaves a decent sticky lace on the glass.

smell is malty and sweet - not very much hops, but good and deep, resinous aroma. the taste is excellent and rich -- raisins and bitter dried fruit give way to a slick roasty sweet malt base -- the hops provide solid bitterness.... but they are the accent to the malty profile -- not the show.

the mouthfeel is absolutely delicious -- very silky smooth and fresh.

i'll be buying this again.... a very worthy brew!

Photo of ExplosivoSR
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

A - Deep, deep, DEEP ruby red. Two finger head with good lacing.

S - Toasted malt, toffee, a pinch of lemon. Not as sweet as I was expecting, which I was totally fine with.

T - Sweetness shows up, but not for long as the malt character shows itself with a great roasted flavor. This fades into a coffee bitterness on the back end which I totally was not expecting. Definitely interesting and unique.

M - Medium body, and light/medium carbonation. Nice and dry finish.

O - Definitely worth a try. One of the better reds I've had.

Photo of Drinkerofales
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear coppery red, with a big poofy densely bubbled head leaves all kinds of lacing.

Smells of roasted malts, caramel, lightly sweet, nice tangy hops.

Tastes of fruitiness up front, like fruit cocktail, sweet roasted malts, and a pithy bitter finish.

Texture is very smooth from start to long finish. A of dryness on the end makes for a easy to drink beer that is carbonated well.

A nice beer, texture and taste are the highlights. I wouldn't have any problems drinking or recommending this.


Photo of popery
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drake's Expedition Ale is a very nice amber ale with strong flavors of caramel malt and hops. The beer pours a darkened persimmon color with a creamy beige head. The aroma shows off a strong dose of caramel malt of a mildly roasted, somewhat fruity character. The hops are floral and fairly strong. I actually prefer the hop character of this beer to Drake's IPA. The flavor has strong bitterness from the hops and a strong caramel sweetness from malt. There are light touches of grapes and apricots in the malt. The hops are more bitterly citric than floral on the palate. The mouthfeel is fairly round and full. The beer tastes bigger than the listed 6.5% abv, in a good way. There's just a bit too much going on to merit a higher score.

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Expedition Ale from Drake's Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 88 ratings.