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Honker's Ale | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Honker's AleHonker's Ale
3,930 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: 3,930 |  Reviews: 1,127
Photo of BeerBuilder
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Honker’s ale is copper in color with an off-white head that lasts. It leaves a bit of lacing while sipped down. The aroma is grainy, with a slight spicy hop aroma. The flavor has a semi-sweet caramel malt flavor and a bit of spicy hop flavor. The bitterness is minimal in this one. Overall it is an easy drinking session ale.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.44/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The color is a rosey amber/bronze, and the head is disappointingly short and small. Aroma explodes with hops and suggestions of fruit, with notes of grapefruit, pears, peach, apricot, melons, ...or am I just rambling? It's a tasty blizzard of hops, no matter how flung my imagination! Medium body, soft texture, a wonderful play on the tongue, a whirlwind of hop liveliness. Malt is a perfect match, holding it all together. Refreshing, delicious taste, some toasty, caramel notes showing up in the middle. Is it a pale ale, or more of an amber? Feels like a flavorful version of English bitter, for it would make an excellent session beer for those who don't compromise on taste. This is a delicious American ale, and one that does nothing but incite happiness!

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Photo of maxpower
3/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear bright copper color, small white head, sweet light malt aroma, kind of nutty. Light malt flavors, some hops noticable in the finish, clean. This pale ale is very light in body and on the tongue, a little watery, otherwise has some good light flavor, maybe a good sesssion beer.

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Photo of brakspear
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a nice average beer, nothing that really jumps out at you, but no obvious flaws either. It pours a medium copper body with a slight head that lingers. The aroma is a mild malty or biscuity base followed by some hop spiciness. The taste is also rather mellow and my bottle tasted a bit oxidized. I have preferred many of the other fine Goose Island beers over this rather tame offering.

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Photo of Gusler
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A pretty copper color as it rest in my glass, the head a modest crown, somewhat creamy in texture, and the lace nice covering sheets. Sweet malt dominated nose, fresh and pleasant with the start malt and also somewhat sweet, the top middling in feel. Mild hop presence, carbonation middling and the aftertaste quite dry, and a beer if more readily available here would be a nice session beer as I like its crisp and clean refreshing taste.

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Photo of BeerAngel
4.12/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear copper color with a medium off-white head that seems to last. The smell of hops is dominant with a light malty bread background. Smells very refreshing! The taste consists of pungent hops with a piney and slight citrusy taste with light malt. This is a light bodied brew that finishes just a slight tad dry. Different, but I enjoyed this quite a bit! Cheers!

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Photo of Winter
4.18/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear amber with a thin off-white head. Pleasant aroma consisted of roasted malts, hops and caramel. Taste up front was lacking, but it had a delicious roasted finish. A bit of a light ale, but rich in flavor. Honkers Ale seemed to have similar qualities to their fuller-flavored Oktoberfest in taste and aroma, just a lighter version of it. This is one I would definitely enjoy again.

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Photo of zerk
3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly chill hazed copper amber, with a 1/4 inch white head. Aroma of carmel and grainy malt, with a touch of citrusy hops. Beer is medium bodied, with low to meduim carbonation... very smooth. Flavor begins with toasted malt and some citrus bitterness... followed by a biscuity flavor that lingers on the tongue. This is a great session brew.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.19/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I would have rated this as an ESB. Perfect interpretation of the style in my mind.

Dark Gold to Light Copper with a low head & low retention. Nice balanced aroma and flavor. Nice hoppiness when fresh with moderate bitterness. Medium bodied and creamy.

A great session beer.

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Photo of doerickson
4.11/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Amber coloring with a white head that displays adequate retention. Nose is primarily light citric hops. The taste is more balanced, with fruity hop flavors balanced by a malty undertone that becomes more pronounced as the brew warms. Rates off the charts in drinkability--a session beer that can hold its own with the best of them.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.28/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This one was a little disappointing to me because it was not too heavy in the hops department. I don't know if that is a regional thing (west coast APAs seem to have more bite) but this is still a well rounded and smooth offering from Goose Island.

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Photo of packetknife
3.22/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Slightly cloudy reddish-brown. Bleached white head that held for proper time. Grapefruit peel on the nose. Served quite cool it was refreshing, biitterness of a grapefruit (lightly). It was refreshing but not quite what I'd want in a beer, maybe in iced-tea. I can't give it a poor rating but I can't give it much above average.

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Photo of ryanocerus
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Burnt orange in color with minimal head. The aroma was slightly malty, yet well balanced with the hops. The initial malt flavor is quickly overtaken by the bitter hops finish. It had high carbonation and long lasting flavor, but it was a bit thin (if that makes sense). Overall, very refreshing.

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Photo of jreitman
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a whole lot going on here. Nice copper color with a decent head. Tasted some nuts (hazelnut) in there with some malt sweetness that was well hidden. Hops were not present or so well hidden that I could not find them. A decent beer.

Update 12/28/03: After having this a couple times in Chicago (Blackhawks game, the Bennigans across street from Art Institue), I must say that I like it quite a bit more. It's a good solid beer with a nice malt/hop balance that definitely loses something with shipping and age. Quite enjoyable and quenching. Upgraded tatse from 3.0 - 4.0 and smell from 3.0 - 3.5.

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Photo of Todd
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A hazy orange-y amber beer with a thick, creamy, white foam head that retains quite well.

Aroma is citrusy, grapefruit-like, rindy with strong notes of fresh grain.

Crisp and dry from the get go, followed by a flash of citrus hop flavour, salt, hop spice and a woody/earthy/herbal-like character. Body is light, thin. Grain flavours, bitty mouthfeel. Malt sweetness is low, but there's a toasted flavour that pulls what little sweetness there is to the front for a brief moment. This then turns into a distinct fresh bready/biscuit character that fades into the finish ... which is full of hop residuals, some oils and a dry grainy feel.

Just a bit too thin for my liking and slightly unbalanced in the malt department, however this a decent ale and a very enjoyable one at that. It's flaw (in my book) also makes it quite unique ... so I guess that's not bad thing at all. I'd simply recommend letting the beer warm up a bit to get a more diserable malt character.

Summary: Yep, I like this beer.

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Photo of proc
4.02/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Is this a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale? No. Is it a Bell's Pale Ale? No. But, with that said, I must admit it is a refreshing little hop quaffer. Pours out to a good-looking amber in the glass, with a decent head. Taste is that of malt with a nice hop finish that lets you know you are having a Pale. If you are a fan of the Pale Ale style, give this a try. Underrated.

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

Appearance: Beautiful deep copper color with a very decent head, excellent lace.

Aroma: Pleasant aroma of caramel malts, caramel, and slight herbal hops.

Taste: Taste begins with a moment of intensely sweet malts, followed by caramel, toasted malts, and a wonderful hop flourish. The balance between the malts and hops makes this beer supremely drinkable, each balances the other perfectly.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, and pleasant, with a hint of zesty carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: Very distinctive, a standout for its style. I'll definitely buy this one again.

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Photo of chilidog
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good looking beer, dark amber/orange color.I also had short lived head with some glass lace.It leaves the mouth alittle bitter, alittle dry.This was good but I would say a Sam Adams Boston ale could be more entertaining in the glass.Leave this one in the bottle and serve it cold,you won't go wrong.

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Photo of Jason
3.86/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown twist off long neck bottle with a “Best When Consumed By” date on the back label.

Appearance: Bright pale copper colour with a thing head delicious looking off white lace.

Smell: Slight malty aroma with hints of caramel and toasted husk, touch of woody hop in there also.

Taste: Moderately bodied with a smooth mouth feel that gets joggled from the dryness. Soft toasted malt flavours surround the taste buds, touch of caramel within the short lived sweetness. Hops give an even woody and citric twang and give the brew a near perfect balance. Big drying finish with toasted grain and a fermented malt twang comes to the tongue in a clean way.

Notes: American session beer? I think so, pretty damn good if I do say so myself. Light enough to go down easy but right the right amount of flavour to be able to hold up against bar snack and the like.

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

I'm review this as a Pale Ale (not the Red Ale category that it was placed in.)

The beer was almost copper in color. Very clear. Nice hop boquet on the nose. Taste is very nice. Definitely not in the style of the West Coast PAs with a huge hop domination. This does have some nice hop character, but it isn't dominating. The malt body is good. The drinkability factor is high. Good pale ale.

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Photo of mophie
3.21/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a good-looking beer, nice copper color, full rich head that lasts throughout the glass. Beyond that, however, there is really very little to distinguish this beer from others like it. Smell is slightly hoppy, with a very faint malt presence, but you really have to search for discernible aromas. Taste is also rather lackluster; there is a slight floral hoppiness, balanced by a mildly fruity sweetness, but again flavors are slight. Overall, it's not a bad beer, and it is easy to drink. It just does not knock my socks off.

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Photo of Wildman
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Another beer I had at a gathering. I found the beer to be quite a nice beer that would do well if your trying to get your friends to break from the Bud/Miller brigade. I haven't tried some of the other Goose Island beers, but if this is any indication, they would be worth a try.

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Photo of jackndan
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Honkers Ale: In the bottle, freshness date clearly marked. This is Goose Island’s every day beer. Deep honey color, with a pale, tannish head that lasts throughout. Lots of hops bite. Wonderful long lasting aftertaste. Very nice American beer, but I think Sammy’s lager has it by a nose in the every day category.

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

Playful white laced head. Golden orange color, consistent throughout the brew. Aroma is citrus citrus citrus, though not at all sharp in the nose. Not a distinct hop like Cascade. I was expecting big hop bitterness from this, but was not the case. Great hop flavor.

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Photo of budgood1
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

the dark amber color is very inviting.....nice pleasant floral hops in the nose....taste is very balanced between malt and hops with some crispness in the end. tasty, easy to drink and very refreshing.

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Honker's Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 3.66 out of 5 with 3,930 ratings
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