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

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Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale AleFlying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
Ontario, Canada

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

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Reviews: 109 | Ratings: 272
Photo of thehyperduck
4.26/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a translucent copper colour, topped with a finger of foamy off-white head that dies down within a few minutes, leaving behind a creamy cap and thick collar of lacing around the edge. Aroma is of fresh hops, citrusy and piney, overlaying some roasted caramel malts. This is shaping up to be one of the better APAs I've had lately.

Light hop bitterness, grapefruit and pine sap are the first things to come through. Roasted caramel and sweet nutty malts round out the profile and are a bit more prominent toward the end of the sip. A bit of bitterness lingers briefly in the finish. Silky-smooth mouthfeel; decidedly medium-bodied. Good carbonation for the style.

I enjoyed this immensely, I haven't had an APA this tasty in quite a while. Highly recommended if you are looking for a sessionable, conservatively-hopped pale ale.

[Updated April 12 2014]

Another bottle from a six-pack, bottled Mar. 6 2014. Still one of the best APAs in the Ontario market these days, at least in my opinion. Hoptical Illusion's balanced flavour profile makes it an ideal session option any time of year - this is not a hop bomb which will probably leave some people disappointed, but as far as easy-drinking pale ale or potential gateway beers go, this is still a superior option.

Final Grade: 4.26, an A-.

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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.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draught at Kickoff Waterloo. This was my first BA review many months back, and I wanted to re-evaluate it with so many other APA's under my belt.

Pours a deep copper-amber with a thin, white head. Some lacing, good retention. Nice looking rbew.

Nose is grapefruit, mango, citrussy hops, a bit of earth, nice caramel malt. Solid APA.

Smashbomb has long been my standard Ontario IPA, which I always treated as being an amped up version of Hoptical. But now I see how these are two completely different brews. Hoptical his a nice malt profile, good - but not overpowering - citrussy hops, a bit of resin, earth and tropical fruit. Surprisingly complex. Carbonation is a bit aggressive, but it has a nice crispness to it and a good body.

Hoptical still holds its own as one of Ontario's best pale ales. Flying Monkeys oriented their restructuring around this brew, and it has paid remarkable dividents, as the brewery has quickly become the darling of Ontario's craft breweries in terms of its experimentation and assertive use of hops. This brew tends to get lost amongst the Smashbombs, Super Colliders and Alpha Fornications, but it is no slouch. Hoptical is a solid APA and a damned decent brew.

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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 Stocean1
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - poured a one finger head - amber copper color - sticky lacing

S - lots of floral hops - grassy - malt

T - malt followed by lots of hops but still well balanced - not overly bitter for the style - some citrus and pine notes

M - decent carbonation and medium bodied - nice amount of bitterness tinlges the mouth

O - nice APA by an Ontario brewer - this style is really starting to grow on me

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Photo of cheffu
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A. Lightly cloudy amber, pours just about a finger of head that disappears quick.

S. grassy and a subtle citrus with a nutty malt

T.Grassy and bitter low acid tooth feel

M. lightly carbonated smooth feel

O. Hoptical Illusion is a great entry to the world of APA's. Good flavours and well crafted Beer.

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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.

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Photo of Digimaika2
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Beautiful rich copper with a nice frothy head of beige foam. Head dissipates to a fantastic blanket lined with sporadic bubbles, that sticks around.

S: Pine hops deliciously overpowering on the nose, presence of grapefruit, caramel-like malts, and a nutty aroma. Very rich and robust smell.

T: Pine and slightly floral hops strong upfront. Citrus notes that include grapefruit and a slight sourness. Caramel malts balance this out very nicely towards the end.

M: Very good creamy and thick mouthfeel considering the ABV. Moderate carbonation.

D: Another great offering from Flying Monkeys (although I'm still partial to the Netherworld Cascadian). One of the few great Ontario breweries, and perhaps the best in my opinion.

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Photo of shamus
4.67/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a really good beer. Despite the god-awful psychedelic day-glow packaging that looks like clown vomit this is proof that it's what's inside that counts. This is a beautifully hopped beer. It's crisp and clean and goes down serenely. I could go on to describe t but if you like a good APA like Sierra Nevada then you will like this. I've been waiting a decade for something like this to be available locally. If they would just come up with some packaging that didn't scream "junk" then this would be a near perfect beer for me.

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Photo of SebD
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice dark amber/copper colour to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down moderatly and there is nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of hops, caramely malts with citucy notes.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice carmely sweetness upfront with nice citrucy notes to finaly end with a nice hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice balance of flavours.

Drinkability: It's a smooth and drinkable beer accompanied with great flavours and aromas. It's an overall great and tasty Ale. Props to Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery.

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Photo of Roke87
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

355 mL bottle, chilled, and poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Poured a decent one and a half finger white head, which slowly dissipates to a thin ring, I got lots of nice sticky lacing throughout the glass all the way down to the end. Has a nice dark amber colour to it

Smell- Pine and hops hit you right away, with some fruity smells coming through as well. As compared to most American hop beers it can seem a little light on the hops and more malty.

Taste- Is floral hops and pine, just like the smell you know what you’re going to get from the taste, some citrus tastes come through in the end as well paired with a nice added sweetness to it.

Mouthfeel- Light to medium body with moderate carbonation, it kind of does feel like it should have a higher ABV from the taste, but alas it’s only 5.2%

Overall- A very solid American pale ale offered here from a very solid Ontario craft brewery. The tastes are all there I just wish it had a higher ABV. All in all a very good, smooth, and easy drinking “almost pale ale” that I would definitely drink again.

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Photo of BasementBer
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Don't know who the demographic is for this marketing design.

A: Head leaves little to be desired. Nothing lasting, no lacing. Surprised frankly. Haven't seen a head of foam drop that fast in a while.

S: Smells great, nutty. Nothing overly hoppy, more malt based.

T: Great nutty taste with a follow up of bitterness. Glad to taste a beer without the metallic overhang.

M: Lingering flavor. And works the tongue quite well.

D: I enjoy this, but not what i would go to for an american IPA. But id drink again.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of marty21
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New arrival to MlCC

A: Pours a clear copper with one finger worth of off white head. Settles to a thin cap and left a decent amount of even lacing.

S: Citrus and piney hops with a nice biscuit malt backbone.

T: Lot's of caramel malt with a some piney and citrus hops. It actually reminds me a lot of Half Pints Sweet Nikki Brown.

M: Medium carbonation with a medium body.

D: I'll admit the label (not to mention the new arrival sign below them) got me to actually look at this beer. I'm glad it caught my attention though. It would be a perfect session beer and I'll gladly pick this up again.

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Photo of Matt1516
4.14/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my brother who trucked this up from Toronto.

Poured into a tulip. Amber colour (not pale), one finger head that lasts 90 seconds. Lacing left on glass.

Lots of hop in smell, strong citrus notes too.

Walloping hop taste, little bit of smokiness with a sour/bitter finish that's nice and dry.

It gives the illusion of a higher ABV. Medium carbonation.

This would pair nicely with spicy Thai, gourmet cheeseburgers or shrimp.

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

Tasting notes from 1/10/11
Poured in to pint glass

A - Amber with a small amount of white head.

S - Floral and citrus hops with a small sweet caramel malt backbone. A nice nose for a pale ale.

T - Follows the nose. Floral citrus hops with a caramel sweetness from the malts.

M - Light to medium body. Moderate carbonation.

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

Sort of a Magic Hat funky vibe going on with the label that sets the appropriate tone for the beer. Well categorized as an American Pale Ale, starts out with a sharp hops punch straigh out of the gate. Some caramel malt edges in, but the hops hold center stage. Seems a bigger beer than 5.2%.

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


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

Thanks to liamt07 for sending me this brew in a recent trade. Cheers!

The color is amber... somewhat dark with some red notes. Head is timid. The aroma is hoppy (citrus)... Simple but I like it. Any hophead would too. Could be more intense 'tho. On the taste, it is fruity and I get some malts presence that I didn't get in the nose. It is well balanced but no complexity. However, I don't think it presents itself as a complex beer.

It is well done and a good pale ale. Wish I could get more of this brew here. No brewers in Quebec does a good american pale ale like this one.

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Photo of decimator
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle into a pint glass.

A - Poured a deep copper with amber hues. 3cm off-white head slowly dissipated. Good amount of lacing is produced.

S - Pine upfront with citrus fruit and caramel in the background.

T - Very light caramel sweetness, some citrus tang in the middle and a good dose of bitter hops that continue into the aftertaste. Flavour improves a bit as the beer warms up.

M - Average carbonation, smooth, lighter than expected, a bit watery, sticky, and the finish is dominated by the aftertaste.

D - Simple yet flavourful. Easy to drink a few in a sitting.

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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.

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Photo of Swedes21
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355 ml served in a chilled glass..

Appearance - This beer pours with a nice brown/white head that has a creamy appearance. The beer is a clear auburn and it is hard to tell the carbonation levels. There is a slight amount of lacing that is occurring.

Smell - STRONG hope smell as well a citrus base. Very strong hops present, this beer is a nice smelling beer.

Taste - nice tasting beer with a decent aftertaste that lingers for a short period of time. Citrus in tasting, there may be a hint of caramel in there as well. Not a heavy tasting beer either.

Mouthfeel - Increased levels of carbonation that bring the hops fwd, the citrus is also present near the end. The beer has a nice aftertaste as well once all the carbonation kicks in.

Drinkability - One of my better beers, this is what Craft beers are here for! They are delicious and nice to drink, makes me happy to be trying beers from around the world!

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

The best "session" Pale Ale thus far in Ontario. Sufficently hoppy to be interesting in nose, flavour and finish - but might also appeal to the less hop enamored.

Delightful on draught, although a micro-brew and therefore not widely as distributed as hop fans might hope. And as an aside (and fully recognizing it has zero relevance to anything as important as taste), would also like to praise the bottle appearance. Stands out in the staid Ontario marketplace! I am still genuinely delighted every time I read a witty bottlecap saying that I hadn't seen before...

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Photo of Vebbster17
4.34/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First of all I chose 5.0 for drinkability because I enjoyed this beer very much. I had no idea what to expect when I ordered this beer. The waitress only said it was dark. Upon first tasting this beer I immediately told my friends how delicious and hoppy it was. When the waitresses changed shifts the new girl told me that it was called Hoptical illusion. I could drink this beer all day!

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Photo of heebes
3.54/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium amber with good amount of head and no lacing.
The smell is flowery with a slight fruit touch, citrus.
Tastes similiar with the floral coming through and a bit of fruitiness, there is a definite hop taste too which is nice.
Has a light mouthfeel and seems kinda watery but gos down quite smooth.
Overall this is allright for a pale ale. Will need to check out more from the Flying Monkies.

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Photo of grac1970
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Body is a clear, dark/reddish brown in colour. A creamy coloured head - nice head retention with lacing. A bit of bubbles/carbonation are noticeable.

Smell: floral with a hint of citrus, hops are noticeable

Taste: it has a citrus/fruity taste - more than just a hint of pineapple. The hops can be detected. Very enjoyable - refreshing. Just a slight bitter taste.

Mouthfeel: smooth, not too watery. The pineapple taste seems to linger with a slight bitterness evenly present in the mouth

Drinkability: easy to drink, enjoyable! Quite a nice blend of tastes and feeling.

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Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale from Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
3.78 out of 5 based on 272 ratings.
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