Honker's Ale | Goose Island Beer Co.

3,914 Ratings
Honker's AleHonker's Ale

Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Golden sunset color, fruity hop aroma, biscuity malt flavor, soft body.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-08-2001

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,914 |  Reviews: 1,123
Photo of SkiBum22
1/5  rDev -73.3%

Photo of JonW999
1/5  rDev -73.3%

Photo of mike02767
1/5  rDev -73.3%

Photo of SirPlunkett
1/5  rDev -73.3%

Photo of LightEnthusiast
1.03/5  rDev -72.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Wow. If you're looking for bitter beer, this is it.

I guess some have a knack for this sort of thing, but this beer to me is absolutely horrible. It ruins everything, including meals...makes me want to use mouthwash afterwards. It's like sharp cheddar meets fresh cut grass but without the freshness. I'd rather gnaw on a pine cone.

Bitter, bitter, bitter.

As I said, if you're looking for a bitter, mouth twisting, disgusting tasting beer - you've found it here.

 469 characters

Photo of jaybags
1.25/5  rDev -66.6%

Photo of javlin624
1.5/5  rDev -59.9%

Photo of miguellunarusso
2/5  rDev -46.5%

Photo of Purified
2/5  rDev -46.5%

Photo of JJFordick
2/5  rDev -46.5%

Photo of Nachos4two
2/5  rDev -46.5%

Photo of WestHam973
2/5  rDev -46.5%

Photo of coz
2/5  rDev -46.5%

Photo of joshcarls
2/5  rDev -46.5%

Photo of HeyLady
2.08/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Photo of cmspivey88
2.08/5  rDev -44.4%

Photo of Ragingbull
2.13/5  rDev -43%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Amber in color with faint prickle and a light wispy head. Faint hoppy nose. The attack is sour and so is the large preponderance of the flavor. Very grain heavy on the flavor. The sour notes just go on to enhance a strongly bitter finish and this beer doesn't need that. I really can't imagine that this beer is sold and marketed this way.

Given my recent "second experience" with another beer that had vastly improved perhaps I will throw this into a mixed six in the near future and consider an "edit" to this review if I am proved wrong. Otherwise I really don't know what all the hype is about and this would be another beer (of about a dozen) where I am WAY below the BA composite.

 688 characters

Photo of IndyHopHead
2.24/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Photo of gatorlove
2.25/5  rDev -39.8%

Photo of JJChrist
2.25/5  rDev -39.8%

Photo of chippo33
2.25/5  rDev -39.8%

Photo of cmgage
2.25/5  rDev -39.8%

Photo of ol_dirty_jaysta
2.36/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Lackluster beer, pretty good but not very flavorful.

52 characters

Photo of tr4nc3d
2.36/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12fl oz bottle into my pint glass

Pours an almost dark like copper like color with a three inch slightly off-white head. Head is rather soft like with great retention that last all throughout the beer, leaving scattered amounts of lacing sticking to the sides of my glass.

Smell is very earth and pine like with a very distinct deep caramel malt fragrance. Smells nutty(almost peanut butter like?)with some dark toasty brown bread.

Damn, this is one malty brew. Caramel malts dominate with a nutty almost peanut butter like presence as I mentioned on the smell. Slight honey comes through in the middle. As I sip even more the taste reminds me of drinking Iced Tea. So if you like Iced Tea(which I really do not)then you will like this beer.

Mouth feel is smooth and medium carbonation

I'm not a fan of the taste of this beer, come worse is that it leaves a lingering dry finish on the palate and mouth that I'm not fond of. Worst of all, it gave me a damn headache.

 985 characters

Photo of BarryMFBurton
2.41/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I have a strong feeling that this beer won’t change with Anheuser-Busch’s takeover of Goose Island – it seems like a simple beer that’s easy to keep up to standard. At any rate, I wanted to try it before too long, just in case the taste does change. Here’s Honker’s Ale:

A: Body is a dull, apple-juice yellow. With sort of a lifeless, hazy appearance, it doesn’t look very appealing. The head, off-white, comes out thin, but the lacing is nice and thick.

S: Cheap wheat, mostly. This smells mostly like an adjunct lager, to be honest. The more whiffs I take, though, bring some hidden fruit notes out (strawberry jam and tangerine, mostly). Still reminds me of Busch Light, overall. Not a good start.

T: There’s not as much processed wheat as there is in the nose, but it’s still the first thing I can taste. It’s more fresh-tasting than the nose (meaning it’s just a few steps from rotten). Other than that, there are smooth fruity textures here and there; in that area, though, it seems like they gave more of a dull half-attempt than anything else. It’s like biting into a very old pear: there’s some refreshing tartness, but the stale tastes tell you that something is seriously wrong in a way you can’t ignore. My least favorite GI taste so far.

M: Not horrible, but noticeably slimy. Once again, reminds me faintly of Busch Light.

O: Alright, I am now convinced that I do not like Goose Island. In absolutely everything I’ve taste from them (and yes, that includes BCBS), there’s an adjunct taste that give the brewery more of a faux-craft feel than anything. Beers like this make it almost seem like Goose Island sold out to AB years ago.

 1,682 characters

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Honker's Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
3.74 out of 5 based on 3,914 ratings.
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