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Mbege Ale | Sprecher Brewing Company

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Mbege AleMbege Ale
42 Ratings
Mbege AleMbege Ale

Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Fruit and Field Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Popular in Eastern Africa, especially the Northern regions of Tanzania, Mbege-style beers are brewed from bananas. Mbege Ale is unfiltered.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 42 |  Reviews: 39
Photo of instinct2
1.8/5  rDev -25.6%

Photo of dalepryor
3/5  rDev +24%

Photo of kaufmaal
2.44/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from 2011, picked up a bottle on the discount table for a buck. Lots of carbonation, deep amber color. The taste is a weird one. Sorghum, honey, sour grapes, apricots, and cherries. Cheap rum smell and slight taste. A bit too sweet. A good looking beer, but looks only go so far.

 286 characters

Photo of Exiled
2/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of Mora2000
2.7/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Big thanks to blutt59 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a yelllow color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the bananas with some bread and apples mixed in. The flavor is worse than the aroma. I get some banana as well as some vinegar notes/ Not real appetizing. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Not a good beer.

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Photo of aasher
2.12/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I had to pick one of these up because I thought some of the reviews for this were pretty entertaining. I also love bananas so wanted to try this unique style. Let's see how this goes. It pours a muddied copper in color with a one finger off white head that dissipated very quickly. It smells of a banana snow cone and dust. Aside from the assault of banana flavoring (almost cotton candy esque), it has this odd musty aroma which is pretty strange. Dunkelweizen banana is one thing, fake banana aromas are another. It's like they didn't try. The flavors are that of banana syrup and sugary malt. It reminds me of an IPA that's about two years past it's prime, with artificial flavoring added. It's strange but reminds me of the Strawberry wheat that Sprecher made about three years ago. It tastes ok, but is just ok. It's that soda syrup. It's cloyingly sweet and hard to drink. I ended up pouring out the last half of my glass. I highly doubt African Mbege style beers are this "fake". I'd really want to try an authentic representation.

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Photo of boudreaux
3.08/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Light copper, with a half finger head of rapidly dissipating fizz

S: Alcohol, sweet bananas, citrusy crisp; a tinge of overripe/sourness in the the flavors

T: Mostly citrus, melon, some banana; kinda overly-sweet pungent fruitiness; alcohol present; Belgian sour with a citrus, melon, fruity, sweet flavor profile, lightness on the palate and nice acid balance

M: to oily to be good; a touch of creamy warmness from alcohol, but the rest of the drink is just trying to get it over with

D: Sour and not too much fun to drink more than once

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Photo of dacubz
1.84/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer was made to coincide with Milwaukee's African World Festival along with the Shakparo brew. I've never really had a bad beer from Sprecher's but this one is a candidate for that. Very strange brew in my opinion. Both the smell and taste are to be forgotten. Sprecher's is a quality brewer, but this beer is not quality at all.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.69/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine April 2007.

American craft brewer goes African. Very original to say the least. Mbege is an African alcoholic beverage that's brewed using finger millet and ripe bananas. Sprecher's version uses real bananas.

Orange hazed brew is nearly cloudy. Fizzy at pour and fizzy from the head, which drops down to a minimal ring around the glass. Smells of banana taffy, cooked cereal grain and bubble gum. Crisp and slick all over, with a medium body. Banana bubble gum flavor throughout becomes tiring after a while. Cinnamon and nutmeg? Coarse grain and a mild astringency in the middle. Mineral, raw sugar cane and kosher salt come to mind, present but very faint. Spark of clove flavor towards the finish. Finishes semi-dry with a banana taffy and bubble gum flavor.

Interesting is probably the best way to describe this beer; others will love it or hate it. Share it with a few friends--16 ounces are a chore to finish, but at least it's a good conversation piece. Regardless, you have to hand it to Sprecher for their creativity and passion.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
2.02/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

16 oz bottle poured into a Sprecher nonic. Nutrition facts, ingredients, 7.0%, 10064 (Julian date Mar. 4th 2010).

I was surprised to see cases of this at Sprecher's gift shop. I had it once years ago and remembered it being pretty terrible. Lets give the long-lost Sprecher a try...

A - Totally clear with a few bubbles floating up to a thin, off-white head. Low retention and bits of lace are some-what made-up for by the beautiful golden hued light amber.

S - Oy. Yeah, this might be just as gross as I remember it being. The aroma has this disgusting rotting mulch pile/vegetal thing. A hint of banana lingers behind. A swirl momentarily got rid of the grossness but it quickly returned. Just a bad funk I'm hard-pressed to describe and a faint alcohol hint to the finish.

T - This light tart thing is almost mouth-puckering and helps off-set the rank mulch-like vegetal flavor. The banana juice also helps with this but it doesn't redeem the beer at all. Lingering sweetness to the finish.

M - Smooth and round but pretty syrupy with all the sweetness. Medium-bodied with a tart finish and an unpleasant aftertaste.

D - The nose is an indescribable gross thing I can't fully put my finger on. It's also definitely as gross as I remember. Not a fan and not surprising it wasn't brewed for years. I'm sure it can't sell well at all. Not fully undrinkable but it's close.

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Photo of backfat
1.34/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

yikes! this was weird. i love weird beer, but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. the smell is very unpleasant. like cleaning out your grandparents house and getting a face full of 1950's dust and debris. you also get very strong cloves and spices and a sort of soda-syrup banana flavour. the taste is a very strong and spicy flavour where banana's dominate throughout. hint's of band-aids. haha, that sentence made me laugh out loud. couldn't get past the first drink with this one. only a couple beers in my life have done that. don't stop being creative sprecher! i love your root beer, but leave the bananas on the tree.

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Photo of callmescraps
1.63/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

A throw-in with a store-made mix pack. I would have never even considered this beer on its' own. Now I'm curious. And a little scared.

Appearance- A deep, cloudy copper color. A white half inch of head that dissipates completely in moments. No lacing.

Smell- Weird. Banana bread. Lots of banana, some clove, spice, and a little boozy? Banana daiquiri. Odd. Not in a good way.

Taste- Not so pleasant. Plenty of banana, and a bit more hard apple cider than expected. It has that cider wang, but also a little sour and boozy. More cider than expected. A little sour on the end. It's like old apples with some banana. It's at least interesting...

Mouthfeel- Quite carbonated. Too much so.

Drinkability- This will be a challenge to finish, honestly.

I might, and I repeat might, put this in a punch or something. Otherwise it's not really fit for human consumption. I ended up having to drain pour the rest, something I almost never do.

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Photo of lester619
1.17/5  rDev -51.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I don't know the last time they brewed this, it might not be a fresh example. A better question would be why was it ever brewed at any time. Pours a bright golden yellow orange with not much carbonation. The smell is absolutlely putrid. Harsh overripe rotten banana with some yeasty spice. I don't want to taste it but I guess I should. Yeah, it's awful. Rotten black mushy bananas with fruitflies buzzing around comes to mind. Some sour yeasty notes come out. There is some spice, cloves and anise I think. I don't care anymore, I just want this overwith. Why someone felt it was necessary to brew something like this is beyond me. A good rule of thumb is nothing should taste like bananas except bananas. Oh wow, not good.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
1.24/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Drank this after tasting the Shakparo. This one is like it's evil step brother. Pours a clear golden color with again not much head to speak of. Aroma is simply vile to me. Old, mushy moldy bananas and rankness. Smells like a dirty washroom. Wow, just really revolting to me.

First sip is nearly unbearable. Medicinal, plastic and just downright vile. There's a touch of banana there but it's not pleasant either. I'm sorry but I just can't find any redeeming qualities about this.

Mouthfeel is again thin and doesn't really matter as this is basically undrinkable. Down the drain ya go! Not gonna was my money on that again. Give me a Black Bavarian any day.

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Photo of BoitSansSoif
2.53/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A-Pours a hazy amber w/lots of carbonation within, supporting excellent retention of off-white, creamy head.

S-Like banana bread w/sweet undertones.

T-Unpleasant shock w/rough medicinal and plastic phenols, bitter attack, banana emerging midway and carrying through offering a moment of salvation, and finishing w/slightly bitter and astringent finish.

M-Good carbonation but slightly astringent and light-bodied w/lack of balance.

D-Interesting, and I was able to finish it pleasantly w/chocolate chip cookies out of the oven, but I really don't care for it, and find the phenols overpowering.

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Photo of tpd975
2.13/5  rDev -12%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

No idea why I punished myself with this beer. I knew what I was getting going in.

A: Pours a nice golden hue with no head or lace.

S: Horrid aroama. This one is a mixture of fresh banana, paint thinner, and card board. To be honest it is worse than that, but I can't describe it.

T: Similar horrible flavor. Thin banana macro brew infused with a hodge podge of industrial chemicals. Yum!

M: Sort of on the thinner side, fizzy.

D: Don't even think about it.

Not the worst beer in the world but not far from it.

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Photo of weeare138
2.45/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to hopdog for the trade...

Appears a glowing, golden orange with a burnt copper hue when held to the light. The transparent color shows a plentiful abundance of co2 bubbles quickly rising to the top of the small white cap. Tiny speckles of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of leathery, cracked grains, wild berries, apple juice, and banana chips.bi
Taste is...hmmm. A bit hard to explain this one but I'd say if you've ever had those apple & banana fruit juice blends, it's similar to those, only it would turn some away like it would be past it's prime.
Mouthfeel is sugary, syrupy, and sweet. Wow...if this one isn't cloyingly sweet like apple pie with extra sugar, I'm not sure what to call it.
Well, I wouldn't call this one a complete loss but it would be a dessert beer for me, and little more. Try pairing this one with apple struedel and vanilla ice cream. I would also serve this one in either a champagne flute, or a cordial glass. It's a sipper, much like a champagne, or riesling. No big gulps allowed due to the high sugar content.

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Photo of Floydster
2.82/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Sampled at Beachwood BBQ a few days ago, had to try this beer after hearing the guys talk about it for weeks now, like nothing I have had before, certainly the first African banana gluten-free beer I have heard of, color is

taste reminds me more of a thick cider, too hard to describe at times, Gabe mentioned that people had been blending this and a chocolate porter and that would actually make this more enjoyable, by itself it is unique to say the least but it comes up short on being a good beer,

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.43/5  rDev +41.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First off, I would like to thank Jon (Halcyondays) for encouraging me to try this beer. Had this at Beachwood BBQ. Well, on to the beer:

It looks like a darker hefeweizen...sandy blonde yet cloudy and unfiltered. the head doesn't last long on top of this one. The aroma is spicy and minty (akin to the oddball spice found in Icy Hoy), and taste...well it is completely different kind of beer that I have ever had. It kind of hints bananas, and it has that phenolic plasticy feel to it, but it reminds me of a first-aid kit in an odd, yet pleasing way. Band aids and first-aid cream, sort of spicy, and moderately peppery. Good medium mouthfeel, with a peppery feel. Drinks fairly well.

This is the most interesting beer I have had since....well, since I had DaDo's yerba mate beer when I was in Brazil last week. Get it fresh on-tap, open up your palate to a new adventure, and enjoy the ride.

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Photo of antilogic
2.62/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had this very unique beer on tap at Beachwood BBQ tonight. Good call Kyle for grabbing that keg!

First of all...very interesting. Glad I tried it. The story, of a beer brewed in the spirit of west Africa where they don't have barley (but millet and bananas) is really neat. The beer itself has an aroma of banana and other fruits. The beer is thicker body than I expected, with a taste that is barely banana, and quite unique, I can't place very well. By the end of my several ounce taster, I don't really want any more, but I am still glad I tried it. I'd rather see unique, interesting beers, with a good story, than the same old, same old...My friend placed it as more of a banana liquor...

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.2/5  rDev +73.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ, gluten free too apparently along with being brewed with bananas, I have always wanted to try this, it seems like an interesting idea,

A: Pours a murky cloudy orange, definitely unfiltered, an authentic rustic look.

S: Banana puree, assorted citrus fruit.

T: Definitely has a banana flavour, but it's different than the banana esters one finds in a hefeweizen. Tropical fruit salad, mandarin orange is cleary evident, perhaps a bit of kiwi, definitely a fruit flavour, but it's hard to pin down. Very tasty and unique.

M: The carbonation is light and prickly, almost a soda feel, though it still has a good body. Definitely has an acidity, a citric acid acidity as opposed to a lactic acidity from a lambic.

D: For the anthropological aspect alone I wanted to try this beer, even though the previous ratings weren't very good. This was fresh out of the tap, and think that really helped it to be what it was supposed to be. I found it to be a quite interesting experiment and a tasty beverage. You're not going to get a beer in the traditional sense, the guy who was sitting next to me likened it to a cocktail and I think that describes it pretty well. If it's available a must try in my opinion.

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Photo of orangemoustache
2.74/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy tangerine orange with a small thin white head that dissipates rapidly leaving a paper thin covering,but no lace. The nose is full of fruit apple,banana,pineapple and pear. I was warned about this one a while back and told it was pretty bad,I was pleasantly surprised at how fresh this tasted after sitting in my cellar for at least seven months,I'm sure the slightly above average ABV of 7% helped. This tastes like sour over ripened banana and sugary yellow gumballs. It is a bit salty and not all that drinkable either,but I have had way worse.

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Photo of mynie
2.48/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bought this at the brewery a few days ago. Don't know how old it is but I'm guessing since it was a one-off and the last review was from late May this might have been getting on a bit. Still, it's got a high enough ABV to hold up to some aging. Or, at least it should. Hypothetically. There's really no way of me being able to say anything worthwhile about this beer, seeing as I know nothing of the style and have never tried it before. I go no standards against which I can judge it. This is pure gut reaction, more or less.

Pours very thick looking, like some kind of health drink. Maybe a smoothie, maybe some hand-squeezed juice. Dark fruitbrown with shades of yellow and a big head that dies away fairly quickly. On the one hand it's kind of pretty but on the other hand it's kind of scary looking.

Smells very intense. Strong alcoholic yeast is predominate but there are also some very big nodes of fruit. Not really picking up any of the banana nodes the label promised me (and when the tourguide at the brewery described it I for some reason kept picturing it as a very bananay hefe, even though the point of this beer is that there's no wheat or barely in it). The intensity is almost offputting; honestly I can't believe this only supposed to be 7%. But still I can't fully say that I dislike it. I guess I'm just weird like that.

Tastes much more tame than it smells. The burn of yeast is strong upfront but it only lasts a second and it shoots quickly into some really refreshing nodes of straight up fruit juice, sweet bananas and pears. The end is spicy and yeasty like a Belgian Dubble.

All this sounds nice, and it should be nice. But for some reason the beer just doesn't work for me. I have no idea why--there's no off nodes or anything. It just does not work.

A sipper for sure, but drinkable.

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Photo of Pauly2X
2.91/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A- Yellow with a dark turbid center, virtually no head.

S- Fresh bananas with hints of alcohol.

T- Quite tart, the banana comes through in the flavor accompanied by some light alcohol notes. Finishes clean.

M- Smooth decent carbonation.

D- I probalbly won't get this again.

Props to Sprecher for going extreme in a unique way. Altough this is a well crafted beer, its just not for me. If you are a fan of extreme beer give this a try, otherwise I'd recomend taking a pass.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
2.2/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

(Served in an Imperial strange)

A- This beer has a hazy caramel body with a few bubbles of head and a few random bubbles of carbonation stuck to the glass. No head regardless of a very rigorous pour.

S- The soft smell of diesel exhaust and apple juice has a slight butterscotch nose that comes through stronger as the beer warms.

T- There is a pronounced apple juice flavor with a fusel taste that is almost putrid in quality with a slight wasp spray note and a soft green flavor at the finish.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a tight fizz and a lighter fluid alcohol heat at the finish.

D- I love the tart sorghum beers of west Africa and I was excited when I bought this last week, but I was let down both when I opened it and when I checked BA and realized it was old. The putrid taste was almost intriguing but alas turn out to be undrinkable. It reminded me a bit of an open-fermented hard cider gone bad but I didn't even get any flavors/smells from the banana that they added.

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Mbege Ale from Sprecher Brewing Company
Beer rating: 2.42 out of 5 with 42 ratings