Honker's Ale | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Honker's AleHonker's Ale
3,950 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,950 |  Reviews: 1,133
Photo of Sammy
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice white head, light orange. Medium and soft moutheel. lagerish ale. Tad of lace left.Smarty hopped, acidic bite and overcarbonated.Bit of yeast and malt and hops in the aroma, bit of C hop and a little fruity and spicey. Drying aftertaste.

 250 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: two finger thick head on a clear copper body.

S: brown sugar, subtle tropical fruitiness and some caramel malts. mildly sweet overall.

T: toasted caramel malts, burnt toast with earthy and biscuity hops. Very mildly bitter.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: very drinkable and nicely on par for the style.

 328 characters

Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the BevMo Holiday Beerfest held at Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, citrus fruit, and citrus zest. Taste is much the same with a mild hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty beer but I think it smells better than it tastes.

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Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

as advertised, a good mix of malt and hops. pours redish amber in color, with a fizzy and frothy white head of large bubbles, good retention, mostly clear. the nose is way more malt than hops, english in nature, maybe some caramunich as well, got that sweet drivey punch to it. flavor is much more balanced, with the sweeter hops being easily and geniously tamed by hefty floral and citric hop additions. not too lemony or anything, but there is a mild acidity to the hops which cuts the sugars perfectly. long harmonious finish, kind of fresh baked pretzely malt on the final note, and definite red malt trails. the carbonation is quite excited, but it gives this brew a lot of life. body is medium to drink, but feels a little heavier once its down in the stomach. maybe a tough six pack to get through, but as one or two i think its just right for this time of year. it didnt knock my socks off, but its a nice full flavored beer worthy of a spot in my fridge.

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Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of Knapp85
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a deep looking amber color with a cream colored head on top. The smell was biscuity with some hops on the nose too. The taste of the beer was malty, dry, bitter in the finish. The mouthfeel was dry, medium bodied, lower carbonation. Overall this beer was pretty good, I was able to pick up on some of the English notes but I think that the hops may have been too "Americanized". Worth trying regardless.

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Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -18%

Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of metter98
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured amber in color with a nice head. The head died down considerably within a few minutes, but the remnants covered the top for the whole time. Lots of carbonation in this one.
S: Not very aromatic but hints of malt and hops are evident.
T: Malty flavors of caramel and toffee dominate your taste buds.
M: The beer feels smooth - a bit on the light side in terms of body with some bitterness in the taste. There is good balance between the malt and hops and the aftertaste is more malty than bitter.
D: The taste is very refreshing; this is a very easy beer to drink multiple servings of.

 594 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An American pint (I think) at the GI airport lounge while in layover purgatory at O'Hare.

This beer appears a clear, medium bronzed amber hue, with two fingers of puffy, tightly foamy, and rather bubbly ecru head, which renders a wall of pockmarked limestone lace around the glass as it evenly settles.

It smells of crisply biscuity grain, a stoic caramel malt, a touch of warm butter, fleshy citrus, and tangy leafy, earthy hops. The taste is more biscuity caramel malt, a certain dry graininess, perky orange and lemon citrus notes, a minor hard water flintiness, and floral, somewhat weedy hops.

The carbonation is moderate, just a pleasantly lilting frothiness for the most part, the body a decent medium weight, well smooth, and somewhat airily creamy. It finishes fairly off-dry, that robust maltiness ticking along on all cylinders, with the leafy citrus bitterness kicking it up a notch as well.

Enjoyable and very drinkable, especially with its full flavour and low ABV - I could see putting back a number of these, were I in a place and time to do so. Quite the bang-on bitter - right malt, right hops, right on.

 1,129 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

With true British gentleman demeanor, Goose Island captures the regal balance of plump malt, refined earthen flavor, and exquisite hop bitterness that makes English bitters so appealing.

This extra special bitter pours with a bright copper or chestnut coloration without any hint of haze. The beer builds a creamy off white head that shows tremendous staying power and lacing segments that exceeds its understated initial head formation.

Starting caramel, but weaving in the aromas of peanuts, butterscotch, mild toast, and freshly kilned barley the beer's plump character begins to make headway. Decorated with the broad spicy character of freshly mulled grasses, soft pine, and an overall earthy character, the beer's delicate balance is on proper display.

Deliciously juicy with the toffeeish caramel and nutty overtones that comes together with the taste of Cracker Jacks candy with medium sweetness and an overall hearty malt starchness. Superbly balanced with the grassy and earthy notes that are brought over from the aromas. Slight and nondescript fruit flavors of apples and peaches accent the sweetness with built-in finesse and complexity. As the beers malt sweetness waives and the moderate earthy hop flavors develop into a broad woody bitterness, the beer closes with a crisp, elegant, and elevated balance.

Medium bodied, the understated character of the beer continues as the beers supple early creaminess develops past a semi-starchy mid palate and into a dry malt-accented finish with the soft resin character of hops, minty warmth of alcohol, and fleeting malt textures.

Stately and elegant, Honker's ale speaks to British brewing traditions as well as any could expect. With restrained bitterness and ample malt character, the balance on display can only be improved with true cask condition effect.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-draught into a hefeweissbier glass at Buffalo Wild Wings in Mall of American, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were high given Goose Island's reputation.

A: Pours a one finger head of fair cream, good thickness, and pretty good retention. Colour is a transparent textbook copper.

Sm: Cream, caramel, light hops (chinook?), and malted barley.

T: Malted barley foundation, very light caramel, and light cream. a bit imbalanced. Pretty simple and rather boring. Strangely built. I do enjoy it, though. The malt is extremely well handled. There's a milky cream note on the side that complements the profile nicely.

Mf: Extraordinarily smooth and wet. Quite crisp in a smack-your-lips fashion. Really the best aspect of this beer.

Dr: Pairs extremely well with food due to its slick mouthfeel and high drinkability. It's expensive, but I'd have on draught at a better price. It hides its ABV well.

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 12/3/2013. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy copper amber color with a 2 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, biscuit, orange zest, herbal, grass, pepper, light pear/apple, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance of malt, hop, and yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of caramel, toast, biscuit, orange zest, herbal, grass, pepper, light pear/apple, and toast/yeast earthiness. Good amount of earthy herbal/pepper bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, biscuit, orange zest, herbal, grass, pepper, and toast/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance of malt, hop, and light-moderate yeast flavors; with good robustness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbontion and light-medium bodied; with a smooth, crisp, and slightly bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish as expected of 4.2%. Overall this is a very nice English bitter style. All around good robustness and balance of malt, hop, and light-moderate yeast ester flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,357 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.87/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an orange/amber color with a wghite, one-finger head. Left some lace.

S - It smelled of hops and grasses. Also, a slihgtly malty nose.

T - It tasted of spices, malt and some good hops. Slightly bitter, not overpowering.

M - It was crisp and dry. A medium-bodied beer.

D - Overall, I really enjoy the Honker's Ale. However, it is more reminiscent of an IPA than an English Bitter.

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Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a frothy head that leaves shards of lace and displays great retention

Smell: Nicely balanced between the biscuity malt and the orange citrusy hops

Taste: Malt forward on the front end, with a nice biscuity flavor that is joined, mid-palate, but an orange citrusy hop profile that has a hint of grapefruit; after the swallow, the malt and hops nicely balance one another and both flavors can be easily discerned

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: More of an American take on an English bitter (these hops are clearly American), this is just a very satisfying session ale

Thanks, Wadsey, for the opportunity

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Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of Kurmaraja
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

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Honker's Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 3.66 out of 5 with 3,950 ratings