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Honker's Ale | Goose Island Beer Co.

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1,107 Reviews
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,107 | Ratings: 3,847
Photo of woodychandler
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This had a decent, bone-white head above a slightly cloudy, medium-amber colored liquid. The nose was nicely sweet. It had a medium mouthfeel with a tea-flavored hoppiness on the palate. The finish was lightly dry with a slight intermingling of sweetness. This was a good beer and it surely beat a lot of the other beers on draft at the small MKE beer where I drank it while waiting on a friend.

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Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazed orange copper, with a dense two finger head. Half-way decent retention leaves only weak lacing. American pine needles and german hop nose, matched with a caramel and butterscotch malt aroma. Low attentuated crystal malt sweetness upfront, with a noble hop bite and resinous pine flavor that lingers into the aftertaste. High carbonation and light body lend a crispness to combat the very mild diacetyl that creeps up in the finish. No quite a session ale, but still highly drinkable with a satisfying taste.

 521 characters

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Released from a bottle into a glass with a slightly hazy dim amber hue, loaded with rising bubbles topped with a spotty sticky thin beige headcap.

Balanced scents of gummi bear malt and hops.

First swigs: A blend of sweet table sugar tea malt and light hoppy balance. Some diluted watery aspect prevails, but overall, this is just an easy balance. Some juicy fruit gum and apple middle with a lingering fruit meld.

Feel is totally a zinger! Crisp and dandy. Sparkling. A linger of gum, but an easy balanced ale that really finishes with a clean balance. Maybe 60/40 balance on the hops side.

Last swigs: Glad that I found it in the grocery store in Carmel, IN to get me thru the night.

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Photo of metallistout
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a copper color with a decent head that left a lace in the glass for most of the duration of me drinking it.
Smells of malt and citrus hops a little floral.
Tastes very crisp, grapefruit, nice hop balance, with a good mouthfeel.Sweet malt flavor, but not too sweet.
Overall I would say that this is a good beer and I will definately be buying more six packs of this in the future.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This ale is golden orange, with moderate clarity but not much head. The smell is fresh and piney, and the floral hops remind me of summer. The taste is not sweet, mostly hoppy with a moderate bitterness. It has a light, clean and crisp feel with good carbonation. Not a lot of balance here but if you like hops you will enjoy it.

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Photo of paterlodie
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

BB 01-07-06. Some head and a cupper/amber beercollor. Nose is green piney hops, litle caramellic, malty but sweet whee note underneath that spoils fresh feeling. Still more then decent as taste is. Laying to the dry side there still is some sweetness in there, ambermaltlike before going into a bitter aftertaste. Quiet good performance but IMO misses a spark of freshness, maybe cause of age. Still plesantly drinking and enjoyable to me as we europeans don't get that often the chance to obtain US craftbrews.

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Photo of Billolick
4.01/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle tried, comes with freshness dating, pours clear, medium honey/almond with an off white medium tight head, that shows good retentive powers. leaves well scattered, fine , sticky lacing. nice looking beer. Nose veers towards the piney hop side. This is, as advertized, a well balanced, flavorful ale. Very pleasant quaffer, fine sessioner, nothing too exciting, but surely a decent, crowd pleasing brew. I have yet to drink anything from Goose Island that has been anything less then top rate and to style. Well done.

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Photo of hero27
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best when consumed by: 03/06

Served in an imperial pint glass, as it suggests on the back of the label. Pours a clear burnt orange. Head holds steady long into the brew, leaving spotty lacing. Aroma is fairly hoppy, but there's definitely a solid malt profile paired with it. Nice floral hop taste combined with the caramel and toffee malts. Good flavor (without being over-the-top) makes this a very drinkable beer also.

Had this on-tap not too long ago and I don't remember it being near this hoppy or flavorful..maybe the keg or lines had gone south. Overall, a pretty solid pale ale for a pretty fair cost. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
3.12/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a copper/orange color with a nice off-white thick layer of foam. The nose is hoppy and clean with a healthy pale ale smell. It tastes of bitter and tangy hops, with a strong malt backbone thats especially evident in the finish. I've had better tasting beers, but this one is not bad at all. I do notice it gets considerably more watery as it warms. Very smooth mouthfeel. Moderate to medium bodied I suppose. Good drinking beer, I'm sure I could have quite a few before really desiring something else. Good Beer.

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Photo of warriorsoul
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Eyedrinkale for this one...
Pours a clear copper color with two fingers of off-white head...a decent amount of thick lacing forms with outstanding cling.
Spiced up hops with a generous balance of sweet malt...nothing over the top in the nose, but peeking my interest.
The taste is smooth and enjoyable...a generous hop bite yet not overly bitter as I was expecting...perhaps due to the fact that it is a couple months past it's prime.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is perfect...could easily throw back a number of these with no effort.
My first experience with Goose Island and a good one at that...looking forward to trying a few more of their offerings in the future.

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Photo of PopeJonPaul
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber orange "pale-ale" color, almost no head and not much smell either. Edgy hops dominate with the flavor of grapefruit and bitters, mixed with a good fruity mildness. Has a tangly, clean aftertaste, a good beer but it doesn't really stand out against other ales I've had, I'd rank it up with a Sierra Nevada or some such, would grab a 6-pack but wouldn't bring it to a beer tasting.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This brew pours a clear amber color with a small white head. The aroma is quite balanced, malty and hoppy. It is a bit faint though. The taste is a lot more assertive than teh aroma. It is balanced, but leans a little more toward the hoppy side. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with ample carbonation. Overall, this is a very drinkable brew; great for sessions.

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Photo of 67cuda
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer poured a nice amber color, with two fingers of off-white head. It smells a bit like caramel, with some hops, and a bit of sweetness as well... an intriguing mix. As for taste, it has a good amount of hops bitterness, with some malt notes present, and a little citrus as well. The mouthfeel is OK, the carbonation almost made it seem a bit fizzy to me however, otherwise it was nice and creamy. This beer isn't terribly exciting, but it isn't terrible either. It's a quite drinkable beer, however.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first from Goose Island. Poured out to an amber / orange color with a beautiful, dense foamy head of about half an inch. Lace was present in the glass, nearly to the bottom of the pint. Aromas of herbs and hops, with some spice sweetness. Taste was fresh and mild; flavors of fruits, hops, malts and herbs blended well, with a touch of sourness and bitterness. Mouthfeel was substantial enough for the drinker to know that this was a craft brew, yet light enough for it to be enjoyable throughout the year. Drinkability is good, as this could be a session beer for some beer lovers. Overall, a quality offering from Goose Island. I look forward to trying their other offerings. Recommended.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.18/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After probing the BA website for many months, as well as taking the alstrom bros. and the BA members advice. I've learned that drinking your beer in a glass enhances the flavor, smell and mouthfeel of the beer you are drinking. I usuaully drink honkers from a glass. But whenever I would drink this bitter straight from the bottle. Almost no flavor was lost or hindered as a result of my heathenist drink from bottle ways. This beer is not a complex beer. Or a beer that will win the accolades of the beer community over. But this good ol' chicago suburb boy, Honkers Ale is my regular drinkiing beer. I always get at least one twelve pack a week for my regular after work beer. The amber beer has an excellent hoppy mouthfeel with a citrus start and a semi-butter finish. If anyone takes a trip to chicago. I would definetly recommend getting a pint or two of Goose Island's flagship beer.

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Photo of meathookjones
3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out an orange amber with a white foamy head. The head drops quickly leaving sparse lacing. Light overall aroma with a good mix of citric and grassy hops with some sweet caramel malt. Flavor stared with some sweet caramel and earthy grassy hops. Light citric bitterness. Light bitter finish. Very smooth and crisp. Easy drinking and very sessionable I could see having several of these in a sitting.

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Photo of jamesdergen
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: better then a golden sunset. The golden/amber shade is delightful.

Smell: hints of carmel and nuttiness

Taste: the first sip is bitter and hoppy. Followed by hits of citrus (grapefruit).

Mouthfeel: More carbonated than I expected, yet not too much. It is bold, but not overbearing. Leaves mouth feeling dry.

Drinkability: 2, and I'm out. Sits a little heavy.

A decent beer, but nothing out of the ordinary. The Honker's Ale is somewhat similar to the 312 Urban Wheat that GI makes, but I would take the 312 over this one in a heartbeat.

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Photo of tjthresh
2.58/5  rDev -31%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Honker's Ale is one of the beers that got me interested in drinking craft beer. These day I consider it pretty middle of the road. Light hop flavor and aroma. Light malt sweetness, and light on the bitterness. Everything about this beer anymore is pretty uninspiring, yet good enough for a everyday staple beer.

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Photo of sopor
3.42/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear amber with a creamy one-finger head. Good bubbles rising with a rocky flm left over. Smells of crisp hoppy spicyness.

Delicate malt profile is quickly taken by a crisp herbal hoppy spiciness. Not exactly balanced, but good bitter.

Moderately light body with fine carbonation.

Drinkable, fine example of a bitter, but nothing extraordinary.

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Photo of scooter231
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Gingerman. Poured a very pretty amber color with tons of head and lacing, very appealing. Smelled lightly hopped, citrusy, and piney. Woody, even. Woody and citrus. Interesting.

Malts, hops, caramel. It's like... a malty caramel sweetness followed by a woody, slightly soured hoppy, woody flavor. Almost too much going on, but it's not tooo much. Nearing the border, though.

Mouthfeel is very light and easy, and this is way drinkable. A good beer for warm days, certainly. I'd get it again. Plus, the taps are gooses! Geeses! How cool is that?

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Photo of Gritsak
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- bright golden copper with an off white head that laces well.

S- some fruit hints such as apricot. some hop aroma as well

T- clean balanced hop bitterness with some underlying fruit flavor. only problem i had was the metalic aftertaste.

M- good amount of carbonation with a light to medium body.

D- very easy to drink. taste is not overpowering so it would be easy to consume a lot of these.

overall- pretty decent beer that is readily avalaible. clean refreshing flavor. worth a shot

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
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 Xadoor
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark copper colour into the glass. The thick beige head disappears quickly down to a thin white layer with very little lace left on the sides. Mild hoppy flavours and aroma with only slight bitterness and a bit of a dry finish. Medium smooth mouthfeel with low carbonation. A decent drinkable beer, but it didn't get me all that exited and left me in the mood for an IPA.

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Photo of whartontallboy
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out coppery amber with a medium white head and a crystal-clear body. Little to no head retention.

Malty smell with a light bite from a little bit of bitter hoppiness. Not much else going on.

Flavor is similarly malty, but the hops come out a bit better and add a layer of grapefruit and other citrus, maybe even a bit of peach, on top of the big doughy malt. Bitterness lingers in the finish.

Mouthfeel is pretty standard, thin and crisp on the tongue.

Overall: Not going to knock anyone's socks off, but a pretty solid little brew that has a nice hop-malt dynamic in it.

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Photo of ybnorml
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A amber beer with a very slight haze. Has a big creamy off white head. The aroma starts with a light carmel note within an easy going malt character with a hint of fruity sweetness in the background. The bitterness wakes up your tongue to be quickly followed by the easy going malt with just a hint of caramel in the background. There is a quick hint of pine in the smooth finish. Definitely a good session beer.

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Honker's Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
3.74 out of 5 based on 3,847 ratings.
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