Silverback Pale Ale - Wynkoop Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Silverback Pale AleSilverback Pale Ale

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95 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 95
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.4
pDev: 14.71%
Wants: 2
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Wynkoop Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BradLikesBrew on 06-29-2010

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 95 | Reviews: 37
Reviews by rsdaugherty:
Photo of rsdaugherty
2.76/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Can into pint glass
A - Somewhat muddy but vivid caramel brown/orange, 1+ finger off white head
S - Malty over-ripe citrus
T - Slightly medicinal, to a citrus/spice bread, moderately bitter finish
M - Low carbonation, squarely in the middle
D - Average but odd
Will have another, but don't think I'd pick it up at the store again.

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #45 (Oct 2010):

Brewed with Grains of Paradise, a spice native to western Africa and one that's eaten by wild gorillas in the region (50 percent of the proceeds go toward Pours a hazy amber with a tight, creamy white lacing. A bit buttery in the nose with caramel and bread. Crisp up front. Smooth underneath. Big, buttery, caramel profile (diace- tyl-like) that's both overpowering and out of place. Bready. Hoppy with some herbal flavors, peppery notes from the grains, and a husky grain, tannic edge that follows through into the dry finish. Lingering chalky, aspirin-like flavors, and dryness too. Things are simply not syncing-up on this one. Great cause and intentions; mediocre beer.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.28/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Also had on tap at the brewery. Strangely, the can had more hop character than what was on tap. Anyways, here, we, go. . .

Pours out a mostly yellow liquid, 1" white head forms over the top. Retention is average at best. Lacing, spotty. For the claims of this being dry hopped, my nose could not tell, upon multiple servings. Really just smells like a non dry hopped 90s pale ale. Some grain to it, and that's about it.

Taste, some residual sweetness, the hops pop up finally, but they're far from big and bold, this pale ale is stuck somewhere between old school British style and run of the mill American (not west coast). A little bit of breadiness prolly gives that sweetness a boost, its enjoyable for that aspect, which is a little better than the average pale, but the hopping is subpar. The biscuity like malt cracker snap is cool. Damn, why couldn't they make a double dry hop version of this? It might turn out like they think the single dry hop was supposed to.

Photo of u2carew
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz can part of the my road trip booty!
A) Poured with a two finger head then settles to a thin lacing on top. Thin, sticky lacing on the drink down. Nearly transparent bronze body.
S) Pink grapefruit. Subtle pine aroma. A pleasant aroma overall.
T) Flavor profile is a bit weak up front. Subtle caramel malt sweetness. Hints of spruce. Residual earthy bitterness lingers in the finish.
M) Fizzy. Creamy. Lighter side of medium bodied.
O) A drinkable pale ale, but was hoping to have a little more "umph".

Photo of eclaycamp
3.77/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The can beer revolution is coming, so I thought I may as well try to get ahead of the curve. This particular can, named Silverback, is from Wynkoop out in Colorado. Poured into a generic tumbler. Color is lighter than I expected for a Pale Ale, primarily straw. Quick forming head that fizzes away just as quickly. Some hints of decent head retention. Pretty hefty aroma in this guy, with hops kind of dominating the conversation. Notes after my first taste: "Oh, this is going to be a good one." And it is. I'm starting to believe that the Pale Ale style has been overlooked in recent years. Not just by me, but by the general beer public. After all, black, double and triple IPAs seem to be all the rage these days. Beers like this help jolt me back to the style, and remind me of why I got into craft beer in the first place. This beer impresses. Pretty good levels of carbonation with some nice lacing. Hops hit the palate first, lemony grapefruit, maybe pineapple if you're so inclined. They're massaging, not overpowering. And there's something awesome towards the middle. I think it's hops, but it's completely unique to this beer, and not something I've noticed previously. It's floral, like roses. Rounding things out, light toffee malt sweetness implodes the whole thing. It's actually very well done. Decent stuff, I'd go back to it if I could get it where I live.

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.92/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 fl oz. can, with no apparent canned on date present. Ordered four cans of this beer, along with some others, from recently, and my package arrived yesterday so I'm dipping into the stash. Expectations are average based on this beer's ratings.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter glass.

A - Pours a coppery orange-red body with about a finger of doughy bubbly off-white head.

S - Smell is of mild citrus, earthy spice / grains from the grains of paradise, tropical fruit notes, some skunkiness, and some bready malt backbone. Something about the nose reminds me of Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA a bit. I think it smells rather nice.

T - Taste follows the nose: earthy graininess from the grains of paradise, some hop bitterness, tropical fruit juice, and bready malts holding it all together. Nothing complex or extraordinary, but hits it's mark, I'd say.

M - Feel is smooth, crisp, and clean. Just a hint of lingering sticky fruit sweetness, and biscuit malts.

Overall, I think it's a rather nice beer. Nothing too complex going on here, but I'm digging it's simplicity. I'm also impressed by the additional flavors that the grains of paradise adds. I was expecting more of an overwhelmingly minty clove-like spice rather than dirty earthiness. Definitely a beer I would drink again. Underrated, for sure. And who doesn't love to drink and save mountain gorillas at the same time?

Wynkoop Silverback Pale Ale ---4/5.

Photo of blakelive784
2.57/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz can served in a goblet, reviewed live:

A - Pours a translucent copper orange color with a finger of cream colored, bubbly head. Retention is OK. Muted and dull.

S - Heavy caramel and a faint sweet candy note. Smells almost metallic. Faint, distant grassy, floral hops notes. They're buried and you have to search for them. I wasn't expecting a hop bomb, but it's definitely missing the fresh hoppy notes you'd look for in an APA.

T - Follows the nose very closely. A bland and messy body opens over indistinct hops notes. The bittering hops don't quite keep up with the sweet body. Did the brewers totally miss the aromatic hops addition? I'm missing the grains of paradise (or any other spice, for that matter). Sloppy brewing.

M - Thick and smooth. Almost buttery.

D - Just a poor example of the style. Not very good. I know the brewery is capable of more.

Photo of mastodonj
3.72/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The first time I had this, it was a disappointment; my expectations were different from the reality.

Now, I find myself coming back to this regularly, since it's a local beer and I guess I know what I'm getting into.

It has a nice head, one very fat finger. Good lacing.

You get a good dose of fresh floral hops initially but it doesn't linger, unfortunately.

An American Pale Ale? Not so sure. It can be very malty at times but is always very bitter which is probably why I find it very drinkable.

Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.08/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

Look: Nice copper color. Soapy cream colored head that's slow to recede. Chunks of foamy lacing.

Aroma: Piny hops, earthy malts, and apricot fruit.

Taste: Nice sweet malt beginning, solid hop body with woody, piny notes. Sweet tropical fruit finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body.

Overall: Really great balance, refreshing pale ale.

Photo of woodychandler
4.57/5  rDev +34.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The CANQuest (TM) is back on its feet and back on track following a bottle-related layoff that CAN lay off for the foreseeable future. I want to drink some CANned beer, dang it!

From the CAN: "Saving Mountain Gorillas"; "Ale Brewed with Spice"; "Proceeds from the sale of this beer benefit the Mountain Gorilla C[a]ncervation Fund. To donate $10, text "GORILLA" to 85944. More information at"; and "This Ameri[CAN] Pale Ale has hints of citrusy hops with a crisp, peppery finish derived from Grains of Paradise, a spice from Western Africa. Wild gorillas consume this rare spice found in their native habitat. Enjoy Silverback and help protect the highly endangered Mountain Gorilla."

Following the Crack, I was looking at yet another "Fill It to the Rim with Brim" beer. I definitely got my money's worth (free, a CANQuest donation from Friends of The CANQuest (TM)) on this one! The Glug evidenced some cascading action as it settled into two fingers' worth of explosive eggshell-white head with only moderate retention. Color was a slightly hazy deep-gold with flecks of black settling at the bottom of the glass. I am all about unfiltered beer and if those were evidence of the spices, even better! Nose was reminiscent of my aunt's herb garden with notes of mint, grass, lemon - spicy, but in a subtle way. Mouthfeel was big, full, creamy with a lot of flavors going on at once on the tongue. It was hoppy, but with a really subdued pine overlain with mint and lemon. It was mellow, like Celestial Teas (and somebody now has their bear as their avatar), but with some alcohol to boot. Finish had a lemon pepper bite that a previous reviewer alluded to and I have to agree. This would be muy bueno with a lemon pepper dish like chicken or fish! The lacing was also immediate and noticeable. I was really digging on this, so much so that it was gone before I realized it. I want more! This could go into the cooler any time of the year, but with food, it would be a real winner. Seek some out.

Final thoughts: RIP Dian Fossey; while I am at it, RIP Bob Fosse and thinking of you, Ray Fosse, since Pete Rose turned out to be a piece of crap who shortened your career. Also, cue The Dickies' "You Drive Me Ape, Ape (You Big Gorilla)"!

Photo of Rifugium
3.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at their brewpub

Poured a slightly hazy golden brown, with a small white head. Grainy, bready aroma, caramel malts, and a good balance of hops. Basic maltiness in the taste, grains, caramel and sugar, moderately hopped for some herbal notes, and light, peppery spice. Medium body, crisp, dry finish, and quite easily drinkable.

Photo of weller1js
3.66/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A: pours a yellow-orange, with good carbonation and light white foam, yielding a slight lacing.

S: sweet and floral hop notes, with a mild yet notable spiciness

T: Oddly departures from the scent, begins with peppery and bitter hoppiness, malt notes are mild and clean, finishes with a distinct, crisp bitterness.

O: Hops are the stand-out on this one with a duality in scent vs. taste.

Photo of champ103
4.07/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy copper/orange/red color. A two finger white head forms with lots of bubbles rising to the top. The foam recedes in a minute, and leaves a bit of patchy lace behind.
S: Grassy, floral, and citrus hops. There is a spicy note as well. A light caramel sweetness with a really good bread and biscuit balance.
T: Follows the nose. Grassy, floral, peppery, and citrus hops with a light bitterness. Sweet caramel and bread/biscuit for balance. Very enjoyable.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. Crisp and dry. Very easy to drink. Something I can quaff several of with no problem.

This is the newest canned option from the brewpub, and the owner shared a can with me. Overall a very good pale ale. Something I very much enjoyed. Recommend if you see it at the brewpub.

Photo of emmasdad
3.2/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a couple cans of this one in a mixed six pack last week, and cracked one open the other day. Pours a slightly hazy amber color, with a little white head. Somewhat citrusy on the nose, with a little malt. On the palate, light to medium bodied, a little hops, some caramel and a light breadiness.

Photo of dirtyskunk
3.63/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very light clear straw gold, nice fluffy white head with good sticking power from a can.

Smells a little spicy and generally hoppy with no real highlights.

Tastes like a nice light APA. Not as citrusy from the hops as some, but that might go against the spicy grains of paradise. Good spice from them, not over the top. Mild floral hoppiness.

Decent mouthfeel, good carbonation. Nothing spectacular.

Overall a good PA in a can. I don't know if it stands up to a Dale's, or even an old standard in a bottle like Sierra Nevada, but they're going in an interesting direction with the spice. Also slight bonus points for the charity donation, and because Wynkoop was founded by the Governor of Colorado.

Photo of Dmart1223
3.21/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

It's okay. It's meh. But it's for a good cause, so who cares?

It pours a true amber with a lumpy, quick-fading head and some sticky lacings.

The smell isn't strong, but it's pleasant. You get the slight citrusy sweetness from Western hops tied to some heartier grain.

The taste follows the smell: It's light with a slight hop bitterness and flavor mid-palate to the end. There's some malt body, as well. It's, by all accounts, a pale ale.

Overall, it's not anything special but it's definitely thirst-quenching. If the alcohol were a slight bit lower, it would be a great session. And if anything else, drink it for the gorillas.

Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.22/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had the pleasure of interviewing Wynkoop brewer Charlie Berger about this beer for our website. Here is an excerpt:

"This beer is an exciting partnership between us and the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund. The Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund (MGCF) is dedicated to the conservation and protection of the highly endangered Mountain Gorillas in Africa, their habitat, and working with the people around the National Parks. We have partnered with them in the past with a Silverback Smoked Porter, but we wanted to can a beer that has a little more mass appeal! Thus we invented a Pale Ale, brewed with an African spice, Grains of Paradise. That's the "secret" ingredient that adds a unique lemon peppery note to this very drinkable American Pale Ale.

Hopheads will appreciate the generous amounts of Centennial hops that we infuse into this beer using our pressurized hopback. The hot wort strips as much of the soluble oils that give beer that floral, citrusy aromatic as possible. The Grains of Paradise are hand ground by our in house gorillas (also known as our brewers) and added in a bag to the whirlpool and to the fermentation tank. It is light in color, heavy in flavor, and huge in aroma."

And my review:

Golden body with a white cap.

I love the aroma of this APA. Gobs of fruit, the hopback certainly did its job here. Candied orange, pineapple, passion fruit. Rich fruit aromas.

The palate starts with caramel, then come the hops come in big. Fruity and floral, but with very little bitterness. The grains of paradise lend a mild spice aroma and flavor. Its there, but it is a minor contributor, just adding a little something.

Crisp, light, refreshing body. Plenty of carbonation.

I really like this APA. The style has really been hijacked by hop bombs that would have been called IPAs 15 years ago. Not this one. Silverback is APA all the way. Hoppy, but low in bitterness and totally sessionable.

And its all for a good cause, 50% of all proceeds go to the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund.

Thanks Charlie!

Photo of Bradthoc
3.1/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a can. Poured into a DFH 2011 IPA Glass.

Appearance - Deep golden color with a soft amber tint. Slightly hazy with mot as much clarity you'd expect. Head is a pale white that receded rather quickly. Light lacing.

Smell - Citrus hop burst, with a slight earthy and wet grass hint. No noticeable malt.

Taste - More citrus hops than I expected for the style. A slight malt finish but the dryness and hops take over the overall finish. Grassy notes make a quick appearance and fade rather fast.

Mouthfeel - More of a medium feel with a little dryness.

Overall - Not a bad beer. This is my second taste of Wynkoop's line and I'm not disappointed. I feel I could have enjoyed this PA a little more if the hops (and I love hops) were cut back a little bit and the malt was a bit more noticeable.

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a hard one to review. It's a pale ale, but has some lager qualities and spices. A nice pour; clean, clear and foamy. Light golden, white foam.

Spicy aroma backed with a subtle cracker or biscuit maltiness. Zesty is a good word.

The hops on this are nice, probably cascade but I don't know. The spice is a bit odd though. They sort of drown out the hops, or maybe I'm just totally getting this wrong. There's something 'filmy' about this beer. The malt comes off as a bit thick or stale-sweet.

Crisp finish, nothing much after

Photo of Domingo
3.8/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(NOTE: I normally don't do this, but this is a re-review. The first batch I had was loaded with diacetyl issues...however I've been assured that this was a glitch and no longer an issue in future batches. This set of cans came from Marty Jones himself, which is much appreciated)

Pours a deep golden amber color with a white cap on the top. As I work my way down the glass, the foam lingers and laces it's way down the glass.
The nose starts sweet with malted pale grains, followed by traditional American hops. Citrus rind is the primary hop note. Diacetyl? There doesn't seem to be any this time.
As soon as the beer hits my palate I get peachy and pine notes from the hops, followed by pale malt sweetness (cookie-like) and a lingering bitter finish. The grains of paradise aren't really overly noticeable with every sip, but I get an occasional peppery bite here and there on the back of the palate.
Easy drinking with a pretty slick body, having a few of these is no big deal.
The 'Koop seems to have "fixed" this one and it's a pretty solid pale, no doubt about it. I think this will probably also pair well with foods without bogging anything down.

Photo of homebrew311
2.88/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Well this beer has an awesome can and an awesome cause- Save the Gorillas!!

A: slightly murky orange with very little head, no retention

S: lots of caramel and perhaps some buttery flavor, maybe it is diacetyl... definitely doesn't smell much like an APA. Little hop character, the aroma is mostly muted

T: the front has some light hop bitterness followed by a very biscuity/caramel malt profile, again the butter is coming through. Not as bad as on the nose. Pretty easy drinking, but not a whole lot of character.

MF: low carbonation- perhaps a bit under carbonated, smooth mouthfeel, medium body

D: Although the packaging and the cause is awesome, the beer is somewhat lackluster. It doesn't taste bad, but it also doesn't taste much like an APA.

Photo of iSip
3.9/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wyncoop Silverback Pale Ale: This is a live review, as I just popped the can, and the brew in glass sits before me as I type. Deep amber color is topped by an ample off-white head. Aroma is vigorous with piney hops, very nice. The Silverback is smooth, with a soft malt sweetness, hops coming through and a bit of bitter on the finish. I have been on a stout tasting cycle, so a pale ale is a refreshing change. Worthy of having again in my opinion.

Photo of Oxymoron
3.22/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a orange color with amber hues throughout. Good clarity and a soft white head with ok retention.

The nose is hop forward with more of an IPA appeal. Noticeable grassy and citrus notes. Some minor floral and herbal notes as well. No real malt aroma for backing. Some minor yeast issues. I picked up a touch of butter but not over the top.

The taste is more on par for style. Although hops really come out more than the malt with a citrus lemon and orange flavor and fresh cut grassy note. The bitterness is a bit much and lingers into the finish. The malt backs well but a big biscuit, nutty note is a bit of a distraction. A touch vegi as well that I get with lower caramel malt notes. Butter on the back end that is distracting as well.

The body is moderate and a touch sweet for style. The bitterness from the hops is a bit much. Carbonation is good. Overall nice hoppy notes but would like a touch less bittering and clean up the diacetyl.

Photo of beer2day
4.09/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gold with just a hint of orange haze in the pour. 1/2 finger tan head, fades fast. Not getting much in the way of lace.

Nose is grapefruit and passion fruit. Lots of it. Big, bold, aggressive - especially for a pale. I like it.

Lots of hop flavor here. Big on the grapefruit, but maybe even bigger on apricot and passion fruit. Dry finish with just a touch of sweetness.

Feel is about right for the style for my tastes. Others in my group thought it was too heavy.

Good solid hop-heavy pale.

Photo of afksports
4.17/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Silverback Pale Ale is a standard west coast style pale ale with a solid hoppy presence that's done in a can without apology. And none is needed; it's totally enjoyable.

Silverback pours unfiltered, copper, with a white head that sits on top of the body and dots the pint glass with spots. It smells of citrus hops and caramel malt with biscuits and bread. It's crisp, finishes clean, and drinks easy at 5.5% alcohol.

The Rams are playing the Giants while I drink this beer, but it's really too bad that I don't have more of it, because the Giants are going to win it.

Thanks go out to Dan in Colorado for hooking this one up, Cheers!

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Silverback Pale Ale from Wynkoop Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 95 ratings.