Robert Simpson Confederation Ale | Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery

51 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Robert Simpson Confederation AleRobert Simpson Confederation Ale

Brewed by:
Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
Ontario, Canada

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by pootz on 01-31-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 51 | Ratings: 67
Photo of CaptainIPA
1.43/5  rDev -53.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

P: Thank you to my big sister and her family for turning me onto the Ontario Craft Brewers' Discovery Pack No. 2: 6 assorted bottles. All the way from Toronto. Nice Christmas gift, EH?
#5 in a series.

Note: The bottle reads Confederation Amber Ale, yet the label copy tells me what I hold in my hands is Confederation Ale, so I'll forgo creating an Amber Ale entry and review it under this listing.

A: Pours a pale and sickly straw color with uneven shades of light copper. No real head to speak of.

S: Strong and displeasing smell of dried apricots and fetid vegetal matter.

T: Ack! Unlike any Amber Ale I've ever experienced -- like rancid vegetables on boiled cardboard with notes of apricot. Truly repugnant. This marks the first review I've been forced to escort down the drain pipe.

M: Hard to retain in the mouth.

D: Avoid at all costs.

 852 characters

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
2.21/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This beer is very bland. It reminds me of the terrible Alexander Keith's. It pours a very light bronze with a wispy collar and a bit of lace. The aroma is watery with a wisp of malt and some mineral, very insipid. The taste is a lot like a macro lager. Not much of anything, utterly inoffensive. The hops show up for a flash in the finish. The mouthfeel is quite fizzy and thin. I dont recommend this beer.

The whole image of this brewery is contrived and cheesy. Their booth at the Toronto beer festival was like a Muskoka room crossed with a Canadian souvenir shop.

 571 characters

Photo of ThatWineGuy
2.26/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

My bottle has "Robert Simpson Confederation Amber Ale" on the label and I wonder if it's a new listing uinder the brewery's new name Flying Monkeys, the name that appears on the cap? In any event, it comes off more as a cream ale anyway. In sampling it tonight, I had hoped it would impress me as much as the brewery's other new offering, Hoptical Illusion.

Caramel head, half finger to begin with, reduces to partly cover the surface. There are a few large bubbles atop this amber-copper brew that is clear with moderate carbonation to start out with. Nose is sharp, earthy and a bit metallic. Taste also sharp, sour green apples, a bit too acidic and again a bit heavy and metallic. Hops are not making much of an appearance and there is very little by way of a malt presence either. With air, a few softer notes emerged and made it a bit more drinkable but it all went quite flat well before I finished it. I'm hard pressed to recommend this beer; from the same brewery, pick up the Hoptical Illusion instead.

 1,014 characters

Photo of Seanstoppable
2.33/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On a recent trip back to Ontario, I was greeted with an OCB mix pack, containing this and five other brews.

Pours a light amber, almost yellow color with one finger of white head. Doesn't really leave any lacing.

Smells more like a macro lager than anything else. Slightly sour.

Taste is a thin toasted grainy taste, that feels watery. Lots of carbonation further detracts from the taste.

Nothing really of interest here, it's just a sub-par amber ale.

 456 characters

Photo of kwjd
2.55/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Review from April 2009:

After pouring into a glass, it was a pale colour, without much head. I don't know exactly to describe this smell... but it was one of the worst things I have ever smelled. I thought it may be a bad bottle, but other reviews here seem to say similar things, so I'm not sure of this. It didn't taste as bad as it smells, but it still tasted bad. I had split this bottle with a friend and I couldn't even finish my half of it.
Note: This says "Amber Ale" on the bottle, but I don't think it is supposed to be an amber since it was completely pale. If I can take off marks for labeling errors, I would.

Grade: F, Scores: 2.5 1.0 1.5 3.0 1.0

Now in August 2010, I tried this again. I was scared to try it again, but I braved through and it was fine. I'm going to move up my score because I don't think my rating was an accurate reflection of the beer now.

 877 characters

Photo of bobsy
2.6/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This beer was included in a sixer aimed at promoting Ontario craft brews to the local market. So far, its the worst of the 5 I've had. I don't remember this beer being that bad in the past, but considering I've drank a lot of decent stuff since I had it 3 years ago, perhaps things have moved on.

The bottle pours a nice golden liquid which kicks up a beautifully smooth and creamy white head, which gradually fades to film and leaves some lace. The aroma is very grainy and has strong notes of bran to it, as well as sawdust. In its way it smell quite clean and healthy. Grain hits me full on in the flavour, to be rapidly followed by sweet bread and then a hint of plastic and cardboard, which we could do without. The sweetness becomes naggingly cloying and reminds me of corm syrup, although it is thankfully replaced by a clean aftertaste of grain. The sweetness does make the mouth water, which seems to lighten this drink beyond its already medium-light body. The carbonation tingles on the tongue and does help to alleviate the sweetness somewhat.

A dud. It does have some nice characteristics, but it is really let down by the flavour, which is too sweet and perhaps contains adjuncts. I won't buy this again, it just wasn't all that pleasant to drink.

 1,263 characters

Photo of ludachris
2.63/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this one courtesy of TheHammer awhile back. I think it's kind of cool they utilized the idea of Coors Light's cold label on the back. Hopefully they didn't use the same brewing techniques.

Pours a slightly hazy deep golden hue with one finger of quickly dissipating, watery white head that leaves no lace. A strong amount of carbonation makes itself visible.

Grain, sweet malt, biscuit and vegetables in the nose. Sure doesn't make me want to drink it.

Grain and biscuit are mashed with a funky canned vegetable taste, finishing off with a light buttery touch; the only redeeming aspect of this beer.

Mouthfeel is light, watery and filmy. Pour balance of less than pleasing tastes makes this a hard one to go down, but still drinks like a macro.

Keeping in mind my limited experience in the Ontario craft brew scene and the beer world in general, this is one of the worst craft's I've had to date. Their Hoptical Illusion, under its new name of course, is lightyears ahead of this stuff. I'm always open to giving a new beer a try, especially one from here, but the rest of this sucker is going down the drain.

 1,120 characters

Photo of cratez
2.63/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

355ml bottle from the brewery. I really disliked my first sample of Robert Simpson about two years ago, but after hearing about the recent recipe tweak, I was excited to revisit.

A: copper gold in colour with an off-white cap and threads of lace.
S: blood, iron, flowery hops, citrus, and toast.
T: vague and astringent spiciness, mildly citric, with some bread, caramel, and whole wheat cracker underneath.
M: medium bodied, tangy, slight bitterness, tart and malty aftertaste, parched finish.
D: honestly, I'm not sure what this beer is trying to accomplish. It loosely resembles an American Amber, yet the dry hopping fails to produce the complexity and bitterness of actual hop additions. A mediocre brew overall.

 722 characters

Photo of allergictomacros
2.65/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pale straw with a puny, weak head. Bodes poorly.

S - Sweet, corn-like aromas (n.b. label say purity law and whatnot so it shouldn't an adjunct thing). Strong notes of husky grain.

T - Definitely on the sweet side. Slightly tart up front and a teeny weeny bitterness in the aftertaste. Not much else going on here.

M - Light bodied, somewhat fizzy.

D - Falls into the drinkable, but not very exciting category. Would compare favorably to most macros, but singularly unimpressive.

The LCBO wouldn't sell me a single so I had to choose between a sixer of this and 2 others I've never tried... Seems I chose poorly (the box was all shiny and I got distracted...)

 677 characters

Photo of philipquarles
2.73/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

341ml bottle out of the OCB Discovery Pack. Pours clear gold with a smallish white head. Poor retention and non-existent lacing. Smells like wet grain--not very nice. Somewhat sweet. This carries a bit to the taste, but the malt actually takes on a bit of a toasty character that makes it more pleasant. Light-medium body with medium carbonation. Not offensive, but not much (good) character or flavor.

 402 characters

Photo of ericj551
2.87/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On the label this beer claims to be an Amber Ale, but it pours a pale golden color. The aroma is slightly malty and grainy with a hint of a bready scent. The flavor is more of the same, with an emphasis on the grainy taste. Not a terrible beer, but there's really not too much there.

 283 characters

Photo of TheHammer
2.87/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got this as part of the OCB discovery pack #2 that I bought at a Burlington LCBO.

Appearance: Pours with a half finger of air filed head that does not sustain at all and barely laces. The beer itself is a cloudy orange tinted yellow. The carbonation on this beer also seems a bit excessive, which leaves me wondering how the heck did the head disappear so fast.

Smell: I'm getting a definite buttery grain and malt scent from this beer, however not much else. There are notes of honey and an almost wood shop kind of smell going on. It's a bit odd, but not unpleasant and not overly subdued.

Taste: Has a taste that is almost too consistent as the taste of grain is apparent throughout the experience. It starts with a bit of a grain and vegetable flavor at the start, then turns to a more malt and grain experience with a slight touch of apricots, and finishes with more grain and a slight touch of bitter bread. However there is an odd mineral taste that accompanies the beer.

Mouthfeel: Well, the aftertaste of the beer is unsurprisingly more grain with that odd mineral taste but it doesn't linger at all. The carbonation is surprisingly good, despite signs of it being overwhelming. Leaves a very clean sensation in the mouth.

Drinkability: This beer is fairly refreshing, goes down smoothly isn't too heavy. However, the odd aftertaste and the fact the beer is a bit gassy once it's in the stomach, takes away from the experience. Fairly average stuff as far as putting it down

Final Thoughts: I dunno, I find this beer a little bit lacking and it's certainly not going to win over anyone used to drinking Macros. All in all, this beer exemplifies that just because it's craft brewed, doesn't make it a work of art. I'm not going to lie, this beer is only worth buying as part of a mix pack. I'd be upset if I got a case of 6.

 1,838 characters

Photo of atomicbolt
2.97/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a tallboy can at the LCBO, I'd always seen these around and decided I'd finally give it a shot. Nice looking can, complete with brewing information, a map to the brewery and a thermometer on the side (I'd only ever seen these on Coors Light cans, which isn't exactly a positive association for a premium microbrew. The thermometer hadn't turned "blue" yet when I served it - whatever, it was cool enough, I don't need it frozen.)

Poured into my mug looking pretty good - pale-medium gold, bubbly, with a healthy foamy head. Aromas of citrus fruit and honey. My first sip was a little confusing - it was crisp and sweet on the tongue, but when I swallowed it had this lingering metallic, bitter twang. Maybe it's the can? Maybe I really should've waited until the thermometer was blue? At any rate, I kept drinking and I think it improved a bit, or I just got used to the taste. There's a decent hop profile, but there's still a real lager-y, dry aftertaste to it - seems odd for a cream ale, then again based on the wide variety of cream ales I've had I think it's hard to set any uniform standards for the style.

Overall it's a decent beer, not sure if I'd buy it again though.

 1,190 characters

Photo of EatsTacos
2.97/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light clear copper with almost no head and no lacing
The aroma is very light some light hops and malts
Taste is a lot the same. Pretty simple and boring I suppose. Good balance. Mouthfeel is medium to low and the carbonation is a little high for me.

 257 characters

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

From the OCB discovery pack no. 2.
355ml bottle poured into a mug.

A - Poured a hazy golden brown with a 1/4" head that quickly dissipated. (Packaging said this beer is amber. Really?)

S - Sweet aroma of mostly caramel and some malts.

T - Sweet taste of honey, malts and a hint of rotten fruits. Very little bitter.

M - Smooth with low carbonation.

D - It's drinkable but I probably won't be having another one anytime soon. The flavor just isn't complex enough beyond the sweetness. The taste reminds me too much of a macro honey lager drunk straight from the bottle.

 573 characters

Photo of mintjellie
3.01/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I like Hoptical and really enjoyed the sample pour of the forthcoming Netherworld porter at the brewery last week, so I thought I'd give this a second look.

Pours amber-orange two fingers of fizzy white head. The head settles down to a thin blanket over the body. A fair amount of lace is left sticking to the walls of my glass. Lots of visible carbonation. Very mild aroma with notes of bread, biscuit, and milder hops in the back. What flavour there is in this slightly sweet brew consists of biscuit and butterscotch with a hint of hops in the finish. There's really not a lot to this, but nothing tastes off either. Light-bodied with peppery carbonation. It's a little thin, which is probably refreshing under the hot summer sun. I wouldn't say no, but I enjoy Hoptical and Netherworld more.


D / 2.1
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | drink: 2
rDev: -39.5%

Light amber and slightly hazed, with a thin layer of white head on top. Poor retention, no lace.

Smells like caramel, grain, and cooked veggies.

Tastes like caramel, grain, and cooked veggies.

Light bodied with smooth carbonation, and still hard to drink.

Reviewed on: 08-07-2009 17:40:17

 1,169 characters

Photo of bylerteck
3.01/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Nice golden/light copper colour. Good carbonation streaming up the glass. Bright. Two finger white head leaving good lacing.

S - Really mild. Grassy hops and malty caramel.

T - Mild malty caramel with more mild grassy hops with sort of a lemony aspect too.

M - Lot's of carbonation, light body. Really smooth.

D - 'Mild' just about sums up what this beer is like. I could drink it all day, but why would I want to? Nothing about it is offensive but it's just nothing I would reach for for flavour. That said, it's very easy to drink, but I'm not sure that makes it good.

 578 characters

Photo of NV9
3.01/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Light amber colouring, foamy head that doesn't dissipate too quickly, medium carbonation.

Sweet malty smell, some hops present in the aroma as well.

Sweet at first taste, hop taste and slightly metallic finish, a little bitterness in the finish.

Drinkable beer, was expecting more flavour from it but good for a few at a time.

 329 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.02/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Nice aroma, honeyish though sweet malt. Bit of foamy head in appearance. OK and creamy but on the thin mouthfeel side and plain taste with some honey in backdrop from yeast. There is a drop of hops and can use more of it. Drying bits of material at end. Drinkable.

 264 characters

Photo of demcorhip
3.03/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Decent enough looking amber ale. Its, surprise surprise! amber in colour. Half a finger of pale tan head formed on the pour and then subsided to leave a thin collar. Leaves decent enough lacings to start.

Aroma is decent, but nothing special. This is from last summer, its held up very well, but no noticeable citrus/dry hopping. Honey, and slightly nutty and toasted malts, meet somewhat skunky Noble hops. Meh. Seems like this beer has a decent malt base, something to work from anyways...

Interesting. Honey and crystal malt, a fairly clean, herbal hop bitterness with a mild vegetal and skunk character. A decent enough malt base to work from, im not a fan of the pronounced crystal malt character and how it plays off the Noble hops. It needs a good dose of dry hopping to play off the sweetness of the malt.

Light bodied yet has some substance. I think ive mentioned where this beer lacks according to my tastes enough times in this review... so i wont say it again in the context of mouthfeel or drinkability.

 1,019 characters

Photo of pootz
3.03/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tried this from a can recently....revisiting this ale after tasting on tap at the brewery and getting a case of the first release in bottles.

Gotta say what I tasted from that can was not the beer I tried 11/2 years ago...this was weaker in hop aroma and malt...more fluid mouth feel..very soft nothing pronounced as in the first batches...will re-try in 6 months to see if there is improvement.

 398 characters

Photo of Mandrake
3.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light gold with a decent white head that dissipates reasonably quickly and leaves little lacing. Smell is citrus and big floral hops, very pleasant, if rather unusual for a cream ale. A taste - and the hops go missing in action. Slightly grainy malts and a bit of hay, but nothing particularly interesting. Mouthfeel is decent, if rather watery, and drinkability is distinctly average. Thanks to pootz for this element of the CANBIF2 package.

 450 characters

Photo of Derek
3.09/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Crystal clear with a slight yellow hue. Pours with plenty of head, leaves a nice lace, but there's not much retention.

S: Not a lot of nose. Bread & buttery-caramel with slight hints of fresh hops and fruity esters.

T: Slightly sweet, hint of earthy hops, with some buttery/caramel flavour like caramel popcorn (diacetyl?).

M: Light to moderate body is somewhat creamy. Moderate carbonation.

D: Easily approached & initially goes down like water... but it starts to wear on me, and certainly doesn't bring me back for more.

Probably best served ice-cold.

 572 characters

Photo of francisfilion
3.09/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I bought a 6-pack of this brew at the Beer Store in Hawkesbury. I was quite surprised at this beer since it is not your typical Amber ale. It is very different and not really in the standards but Flying Monkey's is al about that.

The beer is a prune amber that looks like a brown ale since it is very little effervescent and has a thin quickly dissipating head even with semi-aggresive pour. The pine/spruce scents come out of the hops and a wild fruit/cherry scent is also present.

It starts out fruity with a sweetness that reminds me of cherry and raspberry. There is however a hoppy finish to cover it up. It has a good mouthfeel for the amount of visible carbonation and is medium bodied.

Overall this beer is quite out there and not representative of amber ales but it is still enjoyable and is worth trying. Good job for flying monkey's for making beer tasting such a pleasent surprise each time around!!

 917 characters

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

One of those beers that truly suffers in bottled form, but is quite drinkable on draft. Had this one on tap at the University of Waterloo Grad House.

Pours a light amber, leaves about 1cm of foam that quickly disappears.

Nose is of apple, spices and a bit of hops. None of the metallic flavour found in the bottle.

Not a bad little pale ale, certainly good for a session with friends. However, there's nothing exciting about it - fairly standard actually - so it won't prove to be an interesting sipper. Get it on draught if you can - the bottle is certainly subpar.

 571 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Robert Simpson Confederation Ale from Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
3.1 out of 5 based on 67 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.