Hop Thief Ale - Malt Shovel Brewery
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 48 | Reviews: 33 | Display Reviews Only:
3.43/5 rDev -8.5%
Here he is: James Squire's attempt at an American Pale Ale... a brewery that runs the gamut from ham-fisted mass-market beers (150 Lashes to be specific) and decent examples of how Australians really can brew a classic old world style (i.e. their IPA). Hop-fully (see what I did there) their Hop Thief falls into that second category. Also noted is the hop bill of Simcoe & Columbus hops suggesting this is actually a seasonal brew.
Poured from a 345ml bottle into a nonic pint.
A: The body is a clear deep rust colour with a slight beige foamy head, smack bang in APA territory right now.
S: Full and fruity hops present a passion-fruit and pine nose, with a big sweet caramel malt middle and a lingering earthy background note... it actually smells on par with a big name APA like Sierra Nevada so top marks there Mr. Squire.
T: Flavour lets it down a little bit - the promise of hops was bold in the aroma and unfortunately Mr. Squire is writing cheques that my tongue can't cash, to borrow a quote from Top Gun, plus there is a certain grain element in there that is a little bit distracting... like a cowboy at a rodeo in a Hawaiian shirt. Taste is pine/grapefruit hops with a certain earthiness and that odd wheat-bix note where delicious caramel malt should be. The finish is also too dry for an APA (should be bitter dammit!).
M: Mid to light bodied with a light carbonation (though that could be because it was drunk at room temp).
D: Overall a disappointment, however not because it was mass-market pandering but more like it was disjointed, hideously scarred for some reason, a real brewers Frankenstein, which is a shame because I do like Mr. Squire and his menagerie of attempts at making typical beer styles, and although he is hit-and-miss at times James's heart is always in the right place. Perhaps the next one will be better James?
Food match: Despite being weird in the malt department this brew is pretty balanced, I would say a grain-fed steak, fries and Diane sauce would suit this well... I've got grain on the mind now.
05-26-2014 07:57:22 | More by doktorhops
3.78/5 rDev +0.8%
Reviewing Hop Thief 6 (simcoe and columbus hops) from memory - had a few hours ago, with a hearty imperial stout in between. BB date of Jan 2015.
Clear, bronze with a decent frothy head. Fruity (tropical - passionfruit) and floral odours, taste was surprisingly fruity with a muted bitterness. A little bit thin and watery, moderate carbonation
Decent APA, but the nose is better than the taste. Better than most other James Squire range, if you can grab this at the same price like I did.
05-16-2014 08:37:56 | More by chogm54
4/5 rDev +6.7%
Hop Thief 6 (2014)
Pours an attractive amber with a hint of copper, almost a hint of purple. I like the colour, head recedes a little rapidly.
There's a pininess from when I first cracked the bottle- there's also a subtle paw paw and mango. There's a dose of James Squire's house character and also a pronounced "meatiness" I'm not accustomed to- not sure if it's from hops, yeast or malt. Almost has an odd note of port or fermented berries to it.
Taste is decently hoppy but in a soft way that slowly fills the palate- more mango and pine here. Also a hint of those fermenting berries (blackberries?)
Mouthfeel actually has a hint of sourness- perhaps I'm thinking of blackberry leaves? Also solid bitterness and mineral character, hops.
Both a hoppy and otherwise strange and unique beer. Definitely recommend trying this year's, will grab some more bottles if my fridge has room.
05-14-2014 09:19:22 | More by danieelol
3.53/5 rDev -5.9%
Growler from Warners. Many thanks to MrKennedy for sourcing.
Pours a completely clear dark amber. Fluffy white head. Lines of lace.
Aromas of peaches, mango, tangerines.
Taste is a fruit salad hit on the front palate, then a somewhat duller back palate. Hint of honey sweetness. Hops are there, but not in a zesty crisp way on back palate. After a while a certain staleness grows, sadly. Big plus - flavour lingers for a looong while.
Mouthfeel is a little oily, unusual for the low ABV. Medium weight. Carbonation a little low, maybe from the growler.
Definitely up there at the top of the James Squire range, if not the Mad Brewers...
10-17-2012 09:04:26 | More by heygeebee
3.08/5 rDev -17.9%
16oz pour at 30 Knots.
Pours amber in colour with some golden highlights. White foam on top provides some spotty lacing and retains well.
It has a nice passionfruit aroma, strong to start with and stays with it for some time. Not a lot else to compliment it though.
Taste is a bit of a mix. At first it was a little metallic, then some stale passionfruit, before improving with fresh passionfruit and a little bit of chalky sherbet. A little tangy later on as the sort of stale passionfruit back end has an encore. Good at times. Not good at others.
Medium bodied, decent bitterness and consistent with it. A little chalky which helps it. But the tang of the stale passionfruit comes back to haunt it and hurt the drinkability.
Decent, but done staleness really does hurt this beer. Could be quite good, shame this wasn't at that level though.
09-13-2012 08:29:48 | More by MrKennedy
3.53/5 rDev -5.9%
There’s been a touch of hype around this beer in the past and from what I can see on this tasting mostly well founded. Fluffy head on pouring but fairly short lived; leaves a residual spotty frothy cover. Bouquet is very encouraging with very lifted aromatic notes of fresh tropical fruits and passion fruit…loads of character but not powerful like you might see in an equivalent US micro. More subdued in the mouth but still shows the very attractive fruity, aromatic hop character. More passionfruit early but the palate sharpens up (as expected) with a firm bitter finish and just a slightly bitter, hop resin ending. Good stuff from a generally over-rated (IMHO) brewer.
07-31-2011 13:03:55 | More by Stew41
3.9/5 rDev +4%
Drank from my Duvel Tulip
A - Pours a dark honey colour with a large bubbled white head that reduces to a film.
S - Plenty oh piney notes here.
T - Hops, hops and more hops with a hint of sweetness at the finish. Mostly piney flavours balanced out by a little malt honey.
M - Light to medium body with well balanced carbonation.
D - The best one limited release from James Squires so far.
06-03-2010 14:51:35 | More by eric5bellies
3.7/5 rDev -1.3%
Pours a crystal clear copper colour with lots of visible bubbles flowing through the beer. Tight, lingering, 1 finger pale tan head with nice lacing.
Good aroma with grapefruit, passionfruit and a hint of menthol in the background. Sweet and juicy.
The flavour is good but disappointing compared to the aroma. Thin front palate with just a hint of malt and bitterness flows into a light, grapefruit hop flavour. The finish is a lingering bitterness. I can't help but feel that there is too little mid-palate depth to hold up to the back-palate finish.
Medium body with vibrant, above-average carbonation.
A tasty beer that just lacks a bit of depth through the mid-palate. Nonetheless, refreshing and worth a shot.
10-02-2009 03:24:15 | More by dgilks
3.85/5 rDev +2.7%
Appearance - Red, 1 finger of head which reduced. Good retention.
Smell - Plenty of fruity esters, mostly kiwi fruit.
Taste - Sort of like a milder version of the IPA, but here they have done a better job with the hop balance, creating a strong, bitter grapefruit flavour. The malt content is also higher than usual for an APA, but the malts don't stand out in the taste.
Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, carbonation is a little too high.
Drinkability - Again, like JS IPA but easier to drink.
Overall - Another very good beer from Malt Shovel.
08-27-2009 12:26:08 | More by Cs1987
3.6/5 rDev -4%
Hop Thief Ale from Malt Shovel Brewery (2009)
A = Poured a dark copper with a thin foam head.
S = You couldnt smell the Hops at first. But as the beer warmed, the aroma of the hops and a hint of citrus started to come out.
T = For a JS beer this beer is definitely hoppy. The hop profile this year is not as crisp as the other years.
There is also a malt backbone to this beer with a hint of citrus orange. I cant help but feel, that this beer is nice but somehow lacking from other years.
M = Carbonated but not over carbonated. Good.
D = Very drinkable. Great to drink on a hot day.
07-20-2009 17:41:08 | More by BeerNutta
Hop Thief Ale from Malt Shovel Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 48 ratings.