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Pipe Organ Pale Ale - Church Brew Works

Not Rated.
Pipe Organ Pale AlePipe Organ Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

79 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 79
Hads: 161
Avg: 3.17
pDev: 21.77%
Wants: 0
Gots: 20 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Church Brew Works visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  4.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-24-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 79 | Hads: 161
Photo of Sammy
3.43/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Shinitribe's bottle. More of a malt play, caramel malts with orange fruitiness. Middle mouthfeel, High carbonation. Goldings hops, but understated hops, this pale pales in what is the standard-bearer today. Not a bad beer though, but a training-wheels.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.63/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bronzed orange rind with brighter rust orange highlights beneath a thin slice of decently creamy, beige colored foam that faded much too quickly. It's no surprise that the glass isn't exactly swimming with lace.

Given the ingredients (caramel malt, pale malt, East Kent Goldings hops), it's easy to tell how the nose *should* smell. Trouble is, it doesn't smell like much of anything. Warming results in a whiff of caramel and some musky-earthiness, but that's it.

CBW Pipe Organ Pale Ale is not well-brewed beer. It's undermalted, excessively bitter, borderline metallic, thin and too sharply bubbled. It might sound like the score should be even lower, but it's all a matter of degree. Could this really be how Church Brew Works sees the English pale ale style?

Specifics include unsweet caramel, tangy fruit, bitter tea dregs, citrus zest and a flash of stainless steel. Warming helps round off the initial flavor clash to some extent, though it doesn't make it all the way to flavor cooperation.

The mouthfeel is probably an appropriate size given the ABV. However, the carbonation that was too sharp-edged to start is now softer... and still has a short half-life. Not a good combination no matter how you slice it.

This bottle of Pipe Organ Pale Ale might be old (though raging bitterness argues against it) or it might be from a bad batch. It's hard to believe that any craft brewery would be satisfied putting their label and cap on beer like this on purpose.

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Photo of oberon
3.21/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dull slight hazed lighter copper with a nice from the cask head,nothing really going on aroma wise really a light sweet biscuit-like aroma hints of leafy hop but very faint.With lack of a better word this ale even cask conditioned was bland lightly sweet and toasted with not much hop presence to be had a touch of citrus in the finish but you really have to stretch to get it.Not much here to write home about I was hoping for more of a hop presence and just more flavor over all.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.06/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up a couple of these in a recent BIF. Having never had anything at all from the brewery I was thrilled to be able to try something. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one started off the mini tasting with my brother in law on Friday.

The pour was nice, darker then I would have thought for the style with a big head of foam on top that faded quite quickly leaving behind some decent lacing. The aroma was light and heavy on the grain for sure. Lots of bready notes with only a token hoppiness to be found inside. Not really sure where this was going to be honest. As I took the first taste, again not really sure where this was going. Lots of bready and grain notes, hints of light, very light piney hops and a weird, almost grassy taste, it was ok, but not really what I was expecting. Decent carbonation, a little full for a pale ale, but not bad.

Overall I just think the style is off. It was way too malty and the hops are almost vanished underneath of this. Again, not really bad, I just would not go there again.

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Photo of oline73
2.66/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

Appearance: Pours a clear copper amber color with a finger of off white head that fades to a thin layer on top of the pour. This is a dark beer given the style.

Smell: Bready sweet malt, I'm getting some caramel and cherries. This one is a bit too far on the malty side.

Taste: Again, I'm not sure this should be classified as a pale ale. At least there are some hops here, but I feel like they are fighting against the malt taste. The caramel and cherries from the smell show up, but the finish is bitter from citrus peel hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This isn't a terrible beer, but it's not very well thought out. They need to lighten up the malt profile to make it a good pale.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at the brewery

Pretty standard offering. Poured a copper color, slightly hazy, with a small and somewhat short-lived head. Simple aroma: toasted grains, sweet malts, low-key hoppage. Taste follows the aroma, as expected, grains, sweet malts, vaguely caramel, pine and citrus notes and a bit of earth. A bit bland in the aftertaste. Light-medium body, fairly drinkable. A slightly above average APA here, nothing special, but nothing really too bad.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.08/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear amber. Another boring nose. Flavor is kind of sweet and also carries a minor earth edge. A wee bit of almost spicy edge. Feel is standard. Easy to drink, but certainly not very interesting. And this is an English Pale Ale? Okay. If you say so.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.75/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a copper amber gold tone with a nice formed white head leaves nice even lacing, not bad. Toasted malts with hop pellets forms the aroma here the hop tone is eerily similar to straight cascade hop pellets smells like my first homebrew with a mild fruity edge thrown in there. The hops taste of once again the cascade hop pellets with a grainy sweetness lackluster all around. Light-medium in body mild carbonation drinks pretty smoothly. As for ordering this beer again I have to say that from now on it's a rule to stick with their specialties rather than their regulars.

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Photo of stakem
2.68/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle from a friend visiting from Pittsburgh. No indication of freshness on the bottle via dating or date code but I trust it is relatively fresh considering it was picked up at the brewpub.

Pours a slightly hazed orange color with 2 fingers of white head that has a tint of yellow about it. The head fades leaving quite a bit of sticky lace that clings in patches to the glass.

The aroma of the pipe organ smells of grassy hops minorly reminescent of a mixture of fruity rind caught somewhere inbetween grapefruit and oranges. As it warms, the amount of fruity hop character smelling like grapefruit meets oranges increases.

The taste of this brew is hoppy upfront tasting of the predescribed rind of both grapefruit and orange. Through the body is a bit of toasty malt that accents the bitterness of the hops that at this point start to cling inside the mouth more than I am use to for a pale. Throughout the body of this brew is a taste that I can only describe as being "green." It is a flavor that reminds me of when I first started homebrewing and bottled a few batches prematurely. It is a flavor of yeast that just doesn't go away and clings inside the mouth that is quite distracting and is borderline offputting with a flavor that is on the urge of tasting like plastic and bandaids.

This is a medium to light bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. The alcohol is well hidden and it lends itself as a could-be session beer but one was enough for me and I dont know if I will be able to finish the entire glass. I would not recommend this to anyone.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This poured with a light, off-white head that quickly dissipated to wispiness. The nose had an interesting mix of light hoppiness and a buiscut-y smell. The color was a beautifully clear copper. The mouthfeel struck me as somewhat thin and I didn't get a whole lot of hoppiness out of it. Instead, I sensed that same buscuit-y maltiness that I mentioned on the nose. The finish tended towards dry and I continued to taste more malt than hops. It was not the best beer that I've had from CBW, but not one that I would neccesarily steer clear of, either. I think that if I had some mild cheese and some crackers to go with it, I might enjoy it more.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.67/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A. Pours a hazy dark gold with tons of bubbles floating to the surface and an absolutely massive head (even with a patient pour) with good retention as well. Leaves behind some sticky lace.

S. Bready Malts and some spicy hop prescence. Definately alot going on in the nose.

T. A pretty well balanced beer with a malt backbone and some piney hops to even it out. Its a tad bitter, but not bad. As it warms a sweet caramel note sticks out. Very nice.

M. Medium body that goes down fairly well and leaves a bit of a dry and sour aftertaste.

D. Has an odd creaminess about it. I dig it. At 4.3 ABV its highly sessionable.

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Photo of biegaman
3.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Patchy foam would quickly assemble, then crumble within minutes. No bubbles no lacing. Sickly appearance. Uneven tones dress the body, which we can consider (mostly) mahogany coloured.

A strongly nutty scent with light caramel from the malts and faint notes of pine via the hops. Weak. Almost fooled me into believing I had a cold.

The mouthfeel has a coarse, mineral texture. Some residual stickiness from the malts that forms a minor aftertaste. Not even enough body to consider this quenching, quickly repeated sips are needed as much as to satisfy the thirst as they are to be reminded of the flavour.

The flavour mimics the aroma with a nutty character as well as light caramel and pine. Bit of butterscotch. These flavours too are extremely faint and nearly non-existent. The texture and aftertaste remind me of fluoride.

This is a very easy going pale ale, maybe too easy going. It's not that it lacks the bells and whistles of other contemporary American examples, it's the fact that this offers the drinker very little to enjoy - no sight worth looking over, no smells to savour and no flavours to relish.

About my only appreciation of this beer is for the man who gave it to me, thanks leftmindedrighty!

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Photo of rhoadsrage
2.93/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a warm copper colored clear body with a sudsy white head of foam that sticks to the glass as it disappears. There is a good carbonation of bubbles gliding to the surface.

S- This beer has a very clean smell with a light white plastic note and a faint green hop hint. Even as the beer warms the smell is a clean.

T- This beer has a soft soapy flavor that gives way to pale malt notes and a soft dry toast hint the comes through more as the beer warms. There is a mellow bitter hop finish with a soft plastic note that turns into more of a melon flavor.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a tight fizzy finish.

D- The odd plastic note increases as the beer warms and the bittering hops are the only real flavors that stand out in this beer. Not much depth to the hops or malt flavors to support it.

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Photo of akorsak
3/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: The ale is a golden-to-copper colored beer with a small head that does not last for long.

S: There is a malty sweet grain aroma and a slight hint of hops.

T: The hops in the ale are subtle and low key, adding just a hint of earthy flavor to the beer. The malts are grainy and ill-defined, preventing the beer from finding its way.

M: Mouthfeel is alright, if unspectacular. Both the hops and the malts fall a little short in realizing their potential.

D: The ale is light enough that having a few is not a problem; just don’t expect a full flavor.

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Photo of ppoitras
4/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased as part of a mixed case from Wide-Lo Beverage, Somerset, PA, while on vacation.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" beige head over the clear orangey amber brew. Head fades gradually, with plenty of lasting lace. Aroma is is balanced with a reaosnable hop character presence. Flavor follows the nose, actually more hops bitterness than I usually expect for the style. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinking is nice. Nothing bad to say here. Enjoy.

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Photo of Derek
3.29/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Copper-bronze, off-white head, no retention or lace.

S: Candied fruit, cider, brown sugar.

T: Caramel-corn, butterscotch, light bread, metallic earthyness, good bitterness, slightly grassy hops.

M: Moderate body & carbonation.

D: Decent.

Commercial description:
"When the British introduced draught pale ale to America, the Pipe Organ Pale Ale is what they had intended. It is truly British in character. Brewed with pale ale malt and a touch of caramel malt, it has a light copper color and subtle body. The maltiness is carefully balanced with only the best English hops - East Kent Goldings. Although this beer has a fair amount of hops, the caramel maltiness perfectly balances its profile. Alcohol by Volume - 4.9%

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.93/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a nice dark amber with an inch of head

S - A bit hoppy with a bit of pale malt. Smells pretty good.

T - Not bad. It's a pretty smooth English pale ale and I know since it has sort of a medicinal taste to it in the back but the hops (which are pine in taste) and malt (sort of candy like) play well to make it tolerable. Very nice.

M - Very light yet bitter.

D - Well I couldn't enjoy more than one but it really was pretty nice. I loved how hoppy it was even though it was an English pale ale which are usually more malt based. Nice ale.

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Photo of Dogbrick
2.8/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sample at the brewpub. Light gold/amber color with a weak ivory head and very little lacing. Aroma of earthy malt and hops. Fairly light body, with a bland floral hops flavor and not much else. The finish is lightly bitter hops with a touch of citrus in the aftertaste. This brew doesn’t really have much going for it.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
2.5/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clean orange-ish/ yellow color with an off white head. Aromas of a semi sweet malt and just a hint of fruit. In the taste, clean, yet not much taste at all. A small bitter mouthfeel and a small hoppy aftertaste. A bit watery and kind of homebrewish, but ok. Seems a bit lighter than I remember.

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Photo of RBorsato
2.76/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Golden peach-ish color with a decent off-white head. Decent carbonation when fresh but a bit overcarbonated if you wait any time to drink the bottles. Primarily a malt-based English Style Pale Ale in both aroma and flavor with little noticeable hop character. Unfortunately, oxidation sets in quickly on these bottlings. Light-medium bodied and a bit airy when older.

Quite possibly one of the most boring Pale Ales I've tried... I had multiple bottles and they went bad quickly in a short period of time.

Per CBW website: OG 13o Plato. IBU's 30. Color 6oL Pale Amber/Copper. Alcohol 3.3% w/w. Approx. Calories per 16 oz. Pint 230. Approx. Alcohol Content 4.3% by volume.

Grain Pale, Aromatic, Cara Pils, Other Caramel Malts
Hops Perle, East Kent Goldings

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Photo of BMMillsy
2.82/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Draft at the brewery on a Pittsburgh visit. Pours clear golden colored with a very small soft white head. Aroma is light fruits, some light grassiness, and not much else. Flavor follows with lightly sweet citrus, sweet light malts, hay, nearly no hop presence whatsoever. Light bodied with medium low carbonation. Meh.

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Photo of hopdog
3/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle acquired in trade with CMUBEERMAN (thanks!).

Opened to a loud PSST and proceeded to pour almost all head. Settled into a medium and see through orange color. Softer aromas of caramel, citrus, and floral. Tastes start of with caramel giving way to citrus. Slightly lively body (I would have expected it to be over carbonated with the way it opened and poured, but it wasn't).

Notes from: 11/24/06

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Photo of prototypic
2.53/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pipe Organ Pale Ale pours a lighter gold color. Looks like a brighter yellow color when held to light. It’s crystal clear, save for all the bubbles rising to the surface. A soft, white collection of bubbles rises just above the surface and falls back just as quickly. Very short retention. Lacing was also extremely light. Barely worth mentioning.

The nose is not very good. It’s weak and really needs more strength. There’s a slight bit of caramel malt there. Smells a little sweet. It honestly smells earthy and grainy more than anything. That’s a bit odd. There might be a bit of grassy, earthy hops, but it’s tough to tell. Not much else going on. Alcohol is masked pretty well and goes unnoticed for what it’s worth.

The flavor is not any better. It kicks off with an earthy, grainy flavor that’s quite prominent throughout. Not a fan of that at all. There is a bit of light, caramel malt flavor, but it seems far too light for an American Pale. It’s a little sweet, but not all that much. Hops are subtle, but are noted. They taste mostly grassy and earthy. They’re definitely bitter though. I don’t think there’s enough malt there to provide much balance.

The body is definitely on the lighter side of medium. Carbonation is active, but doesn’t seem buzzy. Nevertheless, it feels too thin and isn’t smooth. Needs more malt in a bad way. If it tasted better, it’d be really easy drinking. It needs more in that department though.

Pipe Organ Pale Ale is quite disappointing. Its biggest problem is easy to identify – it needs more of everything. More aromatics, more malt, more hops, more body, you name it. There’s nothing overtly repulsive about it, it’s just not good beer. There are many, many American Pales that put this one to shame. I’d take a pass on this one. Much better out there if you’re in the market for the style.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a medium amber color with moderate white puffy head.
Smell is light with slight hops notes. Some sweetnes also detected.
Taste is also mild with a light malt sweetness and a slight hoppiness.
Finishes light and refreshing.
As middle-of-the-road as you can get. Might make a nice crossover beer for your macro-drinking friends.

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Photo of Deuane
3.25/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-Bright copper with a thin off-white head that quickly fades to nothing.

S-Some sweet malt and earthiness, light on all accounts.

T-Sweet cornlike flavours with a bit of spicy hops...a bit. After a bit of warming the last few sips did produce a bit more of the sharp bitterness I wish it had clear through. Mostly bready malty for the most part.

M-Medium-light body with decent carbonation...nothing exciting.

D-This is ok...certainly drinkable but nothing stellar. I was hoping for a more solid English style PA...not here!

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Pipe Organ Pale Ale from Church Brew Works
74 out of 100 based on 79 ratings.