Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale | Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery

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85
very good
280 Ratings
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Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale AleFlying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
Ontario, Canada
theflyingmonkeys.ca

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
32 IBU

Added by bobsy on 05-23-2009

BEER STATS
Ratings:
280
Reviews:
111
Avg:
3.78
pDev:
11.38%
 
 
Wants:
14
Gots:
58
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 280 |  Reviews: 111
Photo of biegaman
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Illusions, Micheal! Tricks are something a whore does for money."
- GOB Bluth, Arrested Development.

Almost? Hoptical Illusion isn't even close to being pale. It is a classic, toasty mahogany stain that, despite its near flawless clarity, should not be considered anything less than deep-set with reference to colour. This looks as though it should be a most hearty and flavourful beer. And it's quite attractive too, even despite its rather inconsequential capping.

The aura of rank citrus and budding resins is definitely no misconception - that's the smell of Amarillo hops. While it is a more restrained dosage than the often typical administering of this pungent variety, a rather brawny fruitiness still protrudes. The bouquet suits well the caramel malts and naturally fruity strain of ale yeast.

The taste captures a lot more hop character than the aroma (which is funny because I believe it may be dry-hopped). Quite vivid flavours of candied grapefruit, chocolate covered orange peels and brandy-macerated plums give this a deliciously citric persona. The hops also lend a distinctly floral tinge, imparting a slight resemblance to green tea.

Those fruity and floral flavours, as well as the light biscuity and toffee-like ones of the malts, are easily appreciated because of the unusual lack of bitterness. An uncommon sweetness prevails which, along with the appropriately set level of carbonation, makes for an exceptionally sessionable ale. Hell, I'm ready for another one already!

I guess that's why they call it 'Hoptical Illusion' - it seems hoppy but it's only a measly 18 IBUs! I must confess that at first I thought the idea of marketing a beer with artisan level hopping and industrial level bitterness had 'marketing ploy' written all over it (just like the brewery's coinciding name change from 'Robert Simpson Brewery' to 'Flying Monkeys'). Turns out I was wrong - this is surprisingly good and I like it. A lot.

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Photo of Derek
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Copper-bronze with an off-white head, good retention & lacing.

S: Nice apricot aroma with hints of a grassy spicing & herbs.

T: Apricot with a nice spiciness, north american pale malt (slightly biscuity with hints of grain), nice bitterness (I thought this was reformulated to ~30IBU, but it seems a little mellower than that).

M: Well-attenuated, light-to-moderate body has a slightly dry finish. The carbonation on the keg was a little higher than average.

D: Quite drinkable (a little mellower & drier than a Tankhouse).

 530 characters

Photo of spinrsx
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft

Appearance - The beer pours a clear copper colour with a good size foamy/fizzy off white head. There is a low amount of carbonation and an above average amount of lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Caramel, hops, citrus, malts

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and packs a fairly full bodied taste. Most of the taste is made up of hops and malts mixed with caramel. There are also notes of citrus zest and a faint woodiness. The beer finishes with bitter sweet caramel/hop aftertaste

Drink - I'm happy I got a chance to try this one on draft. It seems like Pale Ale's that taste like this are a dime a dozen in the states, but in Canada they are a rarity. An above average beer that is definetly worth a try.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.11/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

355ml bottle poured into tall pilsner glass 3/7/12

A clear dark copper with lots of big bubbles feeding a two finger beige foam that just gets more dense as it falls and has a peak too it, there's still a thumbs width at the bottom and thick rings all the way down. looks perfect, just perfect

S citrus and faint pine with lots of caramel, just a little herbal aspect as it warms

T not much pine and still lots of caramel, well balanced for sure with both malt and hops in check, earthy finish

M lots of bubbles on the verge of foam but still airy, medium bodied and the aftertaste lingers faintly

O high marks here for how fast a 6 pack got slayed, these just poured down my throat and I didn't get board

A very nice pale for sure but on the same shelf as Smashbomb for the same price I might only slay this 6er

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Photo of bylerteck
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this a few times and it is often considered the benchmark for Pale Ales in Ontario.

A - Nice cloudy or creamy white head leaving lacing as it slowly goes away. Light brown or reddish colour and transparent. Minimal carbonation.

S - Nice juicy hops. Grapefruit and pine. Some breadiness to it as well.

T - Bready up front until you finish it and then it's all about the hops. Again, what I consider nice, juicy hops that show up half way through and linger nicely. Not as hoppy as I would expect from a beer by this name and a beer in this style but it does the trick nicely. There is balance in it and that's key.

M - Medium bodied with a good, small amount of carbonation. Very pleasant and smooth.

D - Total session beer right here. Good amount of hops to keep things interesting with the balance required and a low ABV.

 833 characters

Photo of Howlader
3/5  rDev -20.6%

Photo of Viggo
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at C'Est What?

Pours a lightly hazy dark copper/amber, thick off white head forms, some decent retention, leaves lace rings on the glass as it settles down. Smell is okay, floral, some fruitiness, bit of toasty malt and light caramel sweetness, grapefruit, smells alright but is a little underwhelming for me. Taste is similar, biscuity and sweet, some orange, grapefruit, floral, pretty balanced bitterness, but again underwhelming. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation, easy drinking but not something I would choose. Kind of hyped up and didn't live up to it for me.

 600 characters

Photo of dgilks
3.71/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear copper colour with a large creamy light tan head. Good head retention.

Deep caramel and toffee aroma with some nice piney notes. Not hoppy enough really.

Smooth, toasted caramel notes with a touch of citrus hops. Some floral character but the hop flavour doesn't really sing.

Medium light body with moderate carbonation. Quite silky.

A nice hoppy pale ale with good flavour. Lacking in a bit of hop character for my tastes.

 433 characters

Photo of andrenaline
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tossed this back last Christmas, but this is my first formal review and a continuation of my BlackBerry tasting notes from my trip to Ontario.

A - Pours a dark caramel colour, solid two thumbs of off-white head, solid retention and impressive lacing.

S - Lemon iced tea citrus hops followed by generous amounts of chocolate malts. Nice balance.

T - Nice caramel malts mixed with tasty iced tea lemon hops. Very nicely balanced with bready malts and bitter hops.

M - Goes down very smooth, perfectly carbonated. No complaints in this department.

D - One of the better OCB offerings I've tried to date. By no means a hop bomb, but it does strike a nice balance between the hops and malts. Could easily be a go-to beer.

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Photo of papat444
3.14/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to SlovakSniper (ratebeer) for this one. Had it with my supper last night, sausages with broccoli & raisin salad.

Poured from a 341ml. bottle.

Appearance: Doesn't pour pale really but more of a copper color with a generous 3 finger off-white head that sticks around for awhile and leaves some lacing. Looks more like an IPA that an APA.

Smell: A bit disappointed as i get wisps of citrus & grapefruit but the aroma is too light for my liking.

Taste: Creamy with an afterthought of grapefruit. A dry tea-like character presents itself as it warms. I find their is not enough flavor in here.

Mouthfeel: Smoothness reminds me almost as if i'm drinking this from a nitro tap. Carbonation is active and the body feels thin at first but ends fuller. A little bit disjointed.

Drinkability: Would have liked more oomph in the taste to keep me coming back but it would be a decent alternative to BMC in a bar.

Overall: Tries to straddle the line between an APA & an IPA but the lack of intensity makes this an average beer IMO.

 1,032 characters

Photo of deonreds
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of schopenhauerale
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of Mattias
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of laituegonflable
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Johnny Farina in Ottawa.

Pours a burnished amber, slight red tinge. Head is off-white, dense up top but sparse on the sides. Looks pretty good.

Smells peppery. Lots of hops but also plenty of red and black peppercorns. Notes of some lemongrass and citrus as well. Tangy and a bit spicy. Odd but nice.

Taste starts out peppery with more of those peppercorn flavours. Red/black colour, some slight sour green notes. Hints of citrus on there, lemon with some fragrant dish detergent, but finishes hoppy and pleasant. Light and drinkable.

Decent body, bit of texture that isn't just carbonation. Alright.

Pale ale with all the right notes, and a touch of intriguing difference. I like it.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.99/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got this at the local LCBO this summer. Pretty cool, psychadelic label on this one. The picture here doesn't do it justice.

From a bottle into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger medium looking white head with decent retention. Maroon red/brown in color, perfectly clear with absolutely zero carbonation evident. Head quickly recedes to a thin film. A slight wisp remains but leaves no lacing down the glass. A very dark and beautiful color for a pale ale. Granted, the brewers do call it an "Almost Pale Ale."

SMELL: Lots of hops in the nose. Floral and piney aromas with touches of citrus and pineapple as well. Some pale malts come through, but the hops are definitely in the forefront. A bold and hoppy nose, especially for the lower ABV.

TASTE: Pale malts start off, with some floral and piney hops coming through the middle. Finishes with some malt sweetness, pineapple, and a decent dose of floral hops and bitterness. A mild but longer lasting aftertaste is plenty flavorful, with some bitter floral hops and hints of sweet malt for balance. Quite tasty and very hop forward, especially for the ABV.

PALATE: Medium body and medium, prickly carbonation. Semi-creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes slightly dry on the palate. Somewhat lighter on the palate, but feels refreshing.

OVERALL: Really enjoyed this one. It's probably best served cold on a hot day actually. A very tasty pale ale, and the nose was certainly one of the bolder ones in the style. The palate could be a little creamier and smoother, but nevertheless, this is one of the better examples available to Ontario beer enthusiasts. One that will become a staple whenever I'm home.

 1,681 characters

Photo of Molson2000
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of Kmat10
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of kwjd
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a copper colour with thick white head & lacing. Smells of citrusy hops. The taste has a nice load of hops with a great malt backbone to it. Nice carbonation level for the style and very drinkable.

I haven't had this for a few months and it seems to improve each time I have it. Certainly hoppier than I remember, which is nice. If I had reviewed this a year ago, I probably would have given it about an B-, but now it is certainly improved.

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Photo of peensteen
3.71/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper colour, a little more than one finger of white fluffy head, good retention with a fair bit of lace. Smell is of soft biscuity malt, a good amount of hop, citrus, orange and grapefruit, lightly buttery at points as well. Taste is malty with a crisp bitterness, once bitterness subsides, citrus rolls in, grapefruit, mango, fairly tropical, dry finish with some more bready malt in the aftertaste. Medium carbonation, soft and lightly creamy feel, medium body overall. Fairly good stuff here, have had this many times but never reviewed this until now, I probably wont commit to a 6-pack of this too often but a couple singles or a pint at the bar I would welcome often.

 675 characters

Photo of sirsteve42
3/5  rDev -20.6%

Photo of EgadBananas
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to korguy123 for this Ontario local!

Pours a beautiful ambery bronze color. Head was a light tan, solid finger and a half, and it just coats the glass with sticky, webby lacing! Wonderful.

Plenty of juicy, sweet citrus hops comes through on the nose, and there is an ample backing malt structure holding it up nicely. Malts are nice and bready, with some caramel in there as well.

The taste has a nice bitter bite up front, moving to those juicy citrus fruits as with the aroma. Malt profile is a bit slighter than with the aroma, but pretty good nonetheless.

Feel is a bit on the lighter side, with a crisp carbonation bite.

Overall this is a good, solid APA. Drinkability is good, and I'd definitely put a few away at a time.

 745 characters

Photo of canucklehead
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the Spring 2011 mixed OCB pack. A wild looking bottle especially next to the staid Wellington Pale Ale. The beer gushed all over the counter which was a surprise. The remaining beer was dark brown and almost cloudy. The nose is hops pure and simple. This is full flavoured APA with hops to burn. Great beer considering how many Canadian pales ales lack hops. Smooth finish and big mouthfeel make this a winner. Sounds like this brewery is making some waves in the Ontario craft scene.

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Photo of BdM
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of DaPan
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes. Hoptical pours a nice amber with medium head.

Great hop aroma on the nose.

Taste is great for a low ABV APA or (almost pale ale) as they say, however, carbonation is a bit much for me. Hops are prominent on the nose and in the taste.

Mouthfeel a bit light, though to be expected for a lighter APA.

Sadly, this beer gives me heartburn every time, so although availability has improved through the LCBO, this is not my go to beer.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.09/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Copper amber, filtered with moderate carbonation rising from the center, 5 fingers of moderate tan head with great retention. The head is foamy with large and small bubbles.

S: Floral, pineapple, tropical fruit,

T: Caramel, hard water, metallic, pineapple, tropical punch, floral.

M: Medium bready body, medium low carbonation.

O: A really nice British and American styles. Go Canada! Really loving this one.

 417 characters

Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale from Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
3.78 out of 5 based on 280 ratings.
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