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 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 korguy123
3.5/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into tumbler.

A- Crystal clear amber pour (makes sense) Finger and a half dense white head that won't quit. Lacing is okay.

S- Definite sweet biscuit. There is a hint of the Saaz hops but it really is faint. There isn't much else happening.

T- Saaz hops, sour dough bread and slight cookie sweetness. Earthy and floral in the finish.

M- Light to medium bodied, good carbonation.

O- There isn't much to say about this. It's good for what it is; a "sit on the deck and bbq with a bunch of these in the cooler" beer.

 525 characters

Photo of SebD
3.51/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice yellow/orange/golden color to it. It has a nice thick off-white head that dies down moderately and leaves nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of sweet toasty caramelly malts with earthy, piney and citrusy hops.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice sweet malt character giving out some caramelly notes with some nice citrusy, piney and earthy hops and a slight nuttiness.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good light flavors and aromas.

 596 characters

Photo of spinrsx
3.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


Appearance - Amber/copper colour with an average size frothy off-white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some good lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for 4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel, nuts, light hops

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, a caramel sweetness and a bit of hop bitterness. There is also a touch of a nuttiness. It ends with a malty slightly sweet aftertaste.

Overall – Nothing that will blow you away, but it's a nice drinkable amber. The flavours are subtle which would allow for it to be pretty sessionable. Considering my limited choices for draft beer at the restaurant, it worked well.

 739 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 biboergosum
3.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

355ml bottle, procured via a trade with Ontario local tbeckett - cheers!

This beer pours a clear, medium golden copper hue, with one finger of soapy pale beige head, which leaves some streaky arched lace as it quickly recedes. It smells of sweet bready, pastry-like malt, some mild wild citrus, and grassy, weedy hops. The taste is malty, to be sure, the breadiness not in question - however, an overriding, if still underwhelming, zingy grassy, earthy hoppiness pervades. The carbonation is on the low side of average, the body equally south of medium weight, but not egregiously so, and a little too edgy to be considered smooth. It finishes off-dry, the breadiness and waning, underachieving hops sticking in.

An adequate enough offering, especially given the style. I wouldn't be put off if offered this at the proverbial lake, but I wouldn't/won't be seeking it out.

 873 characters

Photo of heebes
3.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

355 ml bottle.
Now known as Flying Monkey's Amber Ale. New logo to boot.
Bottled Jun 07/2011 (glad to see they are usuing the date right on the neck of all bottles!)

Pours a slightly hazy orange amber, thin head dissipates to nothing quickly....appears to be floating particles (huh?!) all over this beer. Nose is crispy breaded malt, biscuity, spicy yeast, some grain, faint hop presence which is hardly noticeable. Taste is malt, grain, grass/wheat, not much in the way of an amber ale. I think this must be FM reaching out to brew a middle of the road beer for the macro drinkers, it must sell well for them, though I'm not sure craft beer drinkers will find much to enjoy from this beer. Mouthfeel is light bodied, not much carbonation from this bottle. Overall, one of the weaker options from Flying Monkey's, an up and coming brewery trying new things.

 859 characters

Photo of Stocean1
3.75/5  rDev +21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Note - this is bottled as Flying Monkeys Amber Ale (not Robert Simpson but it appears to be the same brew)

A - 1 finger head with some lacing - slightly cloudy amber/copper colour

S - Malty with some hops coming through (pine)

T - Malt - some sweet notes - hops coming through strong - pine and floral - a little spicy

M - medium body with some carbonation - very smooth

O - a decent brew that was better than I expected and I would certainly grab this again

 463 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 bryehn
3.49/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy, almost pencil yellow colour with a surprisingly frothy and creamy head. Nice lacing and retention here.

I'm getting a very "bright" hoppy aroma here with strong citrus notes as well as some mild earthy tones and a bit of pepper.

There is a nice tang to the initial mouthfeel that transitions to creamy, almost chewy on the way down.

The taste is rather bitter up front and seems to stay dry throughout. Getting a great balance between sweet and sour, like graham cracker and citrus.

There is a very mild sweetness that comes through in the finish and aftertaste. I find the taste a bit of a letdown compared to the aroma, but it's very drinkable to be sure.

Robert Simpson Confederation Ale isn't as exciting as Hoptical Illusion or Netherworld Cascadian Ale from the Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery, but it is definitely a quality brew worth trying.

 878 characters

Photo of andrenaline
3.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on the beach at my old mans place on Lake Superior.

A - Pours a nice amber colour, thin finger of head with solid rentention, leaving a nice shiny island of bubbles after a few minutes, and some fine sticky lacing throughout.

S - Some sweet citrus hops off the top and followed by some caramel malts, though it is a little light and could be a bit stronger.

T - The sweet caramel malts dominate the palette, with some bready malts and citrus hops lingering on the palette. The finish is a little more bitter than I expected.

M - A bit on the watery side, could use a little more carbonation to liven it up a bit, and give it a bit of lift.

D - Overall, a pretty tasty offering and I would easily go through a 6-er of this if it were readily available in Alberta. Recommended to any Amber Ale fan looking for a tasty OCB version of the style.

 854 characters

Photo of shamus
3.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I bought this because it was loose on the shelf and has a Flying Monkey cap. I thought this was a different beer, but it's by Flying Monkey Breweries. Pours just fine. It's an amber colour with a nice chill haze. It's not a bad little beer at all. It's got a nice hops definition and a good balance between the malts and hops as well. i'd happily drink this again.

 364 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The ale may be more toasty golden than amber, but it's a decent looking beer whatever colour you decide to call it. A tanned complexion and lightly pressing chill haze don't obstruct clarity nor do they restrict visibility of those acrobatic little bubbles. Its head has depleted plenty since the pour although a scrap of it still floats secluded over the center.

Hot damn I smell hops! Forgive the sudden outburst but I really wasn't expecting any. When it was introduced, Robert Simpson Confederation (not yet Amber) Ale was about as toneless and ordinary as beer can get. This newer draft, however, smells of out-of-the-oven cookies baked with rose water and drizzled in a candied fruit reduction. Yum!

It is no surprise, therefore, that the taste is also far improved. Flavours of wafer and graham cracker are complimented by a sweet toffee note and accompanying hints of citrus zest and piths and herbal flowers. Although pleasant, it's a tad faint and unassertive (still it strikes me as something you might find in the south of France in pie form).

So the beer tastes good, we've confirmed that, but why aren't I falling over myself for the next sip? Mostly because this is too light in malt department. Despite that it imparts a sensational fruity/floral bitterness, the beer's mouthfeel is quick to disassemble and, although that makes it infinitely quenching, it takes away from the beer's overall character.

The (seemingly extensive) use of crystal malts pays off as the honey and biscuits combination, in union with the light citric hoppiness, makes for a toothsome aftertaste. That is partly spoiled, however, by a prevailing irony note. Treating the water differently to make it softer, less mineral-rich might benefit the beer's easy-going effervescence.

Before the recipe was re-tweaked and the brewery changed its name to Flying Monkeys, Robert Simpson Confederation Ale was about as lifeless as the late Robert Simpson himself. This revamped version, however, is no longer the beer for dead white guys - it's convivial and contemporary, an excellent quaff for (very much alive) beer geeks anywhere.

 2,126 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 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 hegelec
3.67/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Lightyears ahead of what this beer once was. I think Peter's been running this shit through the Hoppopotamus, because it can easily rival the aromatic, hoppy goodness of his Hoptical Illusion. Glad I gave it another try.

Amber/copper beer; minimal white head which settles quickly. Leaves some lacing.

Smell is sweet caramel, honey, and piney, resiny hop. Def more C-hop than the Amarillo that characterises the Hoptical.

Taste follows smell. Starts, end, and finishes the same ... piney grapefruit and caramel all the way through. Semi-dry, medium mouthfeel. Moderate bitterness. Decent carbonation, refreshing. Stupidly drinkable.

Peter, you took a duffer and made it winner. Not a complex brew, but the essence of a decently hoppy, session ale. Good stuff.

 763 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 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

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 Stonepot
3.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The bottle and serving box has changed but the beer is still the same old Robert Simpson I love. This beer has been a part of my family for several years now, like a little brother who is so full of life but has only one leg. It is not the best beer in the world, nor is it the even close to the best in Ontario, but it has been with me through thick and thin. Dog bless you Robert Simpson, dog bless you.

 405 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 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 Bestuurder
3.28/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This came in a sample pack at the LCBO of Ontario Craft Brewers.

Colour is fantastic with a light and fluffy head with a pleasant texture. The colour was a medium amber with heavy carbonation rising. Head remained throughout the experience of consumption.

The aroma was pleasant to the olfactory, but slightly off; possibly a metallic finish is to come. Well-balanced hops and firm roasted malt present.

The taste is good. Not great, but still enjoyable with pork or duck. Carbonation is very high, almost to say soda-like presence.

Definitely too carbonated for my liking, but still smooth in texture.

Sure, I could have another, but I think I would stop there.

 667 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

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

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.