Shakparo (Fire-Brewed African Style-Ale) | Sprecher Brewing Company

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Shakparo (Fire-Brewed African Style-Ale)Shakparo (Fire-Brewed African Style-Ale)
103 Ratings
Shakparo (Fire-Brewed African Style-Ale)Shakparo (Fire-Brewed African Style-Ale)

Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Shakparo Ale is a West African Shakparo-style beer brewed from sorghum & millet. Unfiltered ale. Gluten-free (not wheat or barley).

Added by shbobdb on 01-15-2007

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Ratings: 103 |  Reviews: 68
Reviews by uwmgdman:
Photo of uwmgdman
3.84/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a cloudy golden-orange with a thin white head. There is a decent amount of suspended yeast, partially on purpose, I poured aggressively. The aroma has a moderate amount of clove, and trace amounts of banana, it actually smells a lot like Weihenstephan Weizen yeast. The taste is predominately clove, a little residual sweetness, low bitterness, and no hop flavor. The finish is a little crisp and tart, rather refreshing. The carbonation is moderate and body is light to medium-light. This is the first beer I’ve had with sorghum. Overall this is by far the better of the two African beer offerings by Sprecher. The aroma and taste are both solid, a lot like a Hefeweizen. The finish is crisp and refreshing. I don’t know how much of the yeasty/clove aroma taste was a result of a nice aggressive pour, but if I have another one, I’ll do it again. Not too bad, grab a bottle and try it out.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.08/5  rDev +32.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz twist-off bottle poured into a Sprecher Pokal glass.
6.3% ABV

A - Sprecher's unfiltered take on a Gluten Free beer pours faintly hazy with a tint of orange appearing in the golden-yellow. The soft stark white head which crowns the top is retained well, leaving

S - Surprisingly aromatic, Shakparo smells like a German hefeweizen with notes of ripe banana and Bubble Tape bubblegum with a slight funk of wet straw to it. Despite the lack of wheat or barley malt, there's a nose reminiscent of grainy pale malt which gives this gluten free beer a certain appeal.

T - Following in the footsteps of the aroma, Shakparo relies heavily on this German hefeweizen style yeast strain that brings offerings of ripe banana and a subtle nod to clove and bubblegum to the table which, for any normal beer drinker, does a good job of distracting from the lack of malt. The sorghum and millet combination certainly isn't awful but, in league with a touch of artificial sweetness, it brings a slightly husky, earthy finish that lingers, transitioning into a green apple-like cider flavor that's not bad at all.

M - Crisp carbonation dances on the tongue while this light-bodied beer finishes dry and with a tiny splash of sweetness, like the flavor, reminiscent of a cider.

O - Some times it's hard as "regular" beer drinkers to take a step back and objectively look at gluten free beer, but I view Shakparo as a huge step in the right direction for beer available to those who normally can't partake. With an overall flavor like a hefeweizen, this gluten free beer manages to pull together essences of beer that tastes like, well, beer; one style in particular. It's not for everyone but it's great for those who have my deepest condolences; people with Celiac's or who live gluten free.

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Photo of Tiernan
3.75/5  rDev +22.1%

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine April 2007.

Shakparo is a sorghum beer that's traditionally brewed in West Africa using wild yeast. Sprecher went the Belgian-yeast route--talk about going out on a limb for craft beer in the US. American brewers know no bounds. We love it.

Tiny bubbled lace stays for the duration, and does not cling to the glass at all. Very cloudy orange-beige opaque appearance. Herbal phenols all over the aroma; slight plum fruitiness with a hay-like nose. Slick and smooth with a crisp back end and a flush medium body. Sweet, to fruity, to grainy. Plum and cherry fruitiness with an astringent husk. Bubble gum? Hops are mild. Earth, mineral, faint salt, lemon, medicinal herb and cereal grain throughout. Long, faded, astringent finish actually makes this beer a bit more interesting.

Interesting enough to be enjoyable, perhaps too interesting to drink the whole bottle alone. We went with a mild basil and chili pepper dry-rubbed flank steak with fried plantains for the pairing. Perhaps one of the best pairings yet.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
2.25/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

16oz bottle pours a clear straw yellow with a hint of orange. Not real head just some fizzy bubbles. Aroma is rather off putting quite frankly. Light toasted grain and an odd fruity scent. A touch of a syrupy accent as well.

First sip brings lightly toasted grains again along with an odd conglomeration of fruit flavors. Some grape skin and apple. I get the syrupy twist on the way down again. Really light and a bit biting on the palate. Flavors just don't work for me here.

Mouthfeel is thin and fizzy overall. Hard to drink as the flavor is quite a punch in the mouth. Can't say I really enjoyed this one but the concept is cool. Will stick with my other Sprecher faves.

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Photo of zook74
3.78/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It's really tough to judge this beer by traditional standards simply because it's a huge departure from any kind of "norm" we may have in mind, so let me preface this review by saying that I really do enjoy this beer.

This beer drinks much more like a sake than it does a beer. Reasonable enough since it's not brewed from any traditional grains, but rather from sorghum and millet.

Definitely interesting. I picked up a single bottle to try and liked it enoughto pick up a four pack the next time I was out so could enjoy it again and also so that I could share it with the wifey.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
2.8/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a hazy orangish-yellow body with a white head made up of micro-bubbles. This beer has a strong carbonation of big bubbles.

S- The smell of baker’s yeast has a strong note of dry apple cider.

T- The taste of yeast and apple cider is mild with no tartness or sour notes at all. There is a light raw corn and soap note that is not really offensive and is followed by a taste of stale water. The finish is a note of chewed bubble gum that might be just latex?

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a slight sticky texture and a pretty clean finish.

D- I really like sour sorghum beers and wild beers but this has none of those flavors. No fresh raw grain, sour and tart notes or even any funky hints. This beer is very bland and the only real flavors are a bit off. I couldn’t finish this beer which is pretty uncommon.

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Photo of DerekQXQX
3.5/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I loved this beer for the uniqueness of the idea. It was strange and bitter, so the taste wasn't great but I loved the idea of it. I have never had nor heard of an African style ale. I think that is something to be lauded and praised. Good for you Sprecher!

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.48/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Reading the label, I get the feeling this is mis-categorized here on BA. And pouring assures me of that. There's no amber or red to be found in the appearance, just a cloudy peach-yellow color with a wispy head and mellow bubble activity (although the healthy cap-opening "zisss!" assures it's fresh enough).

Smell is an odd one. Musty (like a wet basement) with faint traces of peach, pear and apple. Yeasty and earthy, with a very light white pepper character in the background.

Taste features a kind of spicy attack that gives the illusion Shakparo is much stronger than 5.7%. The fruity elements are propped up and shining, especially big green apple, as is a hint of white pepper and even the ghost of some sort of chili. The yeast has a decidedly Belgian character to it, and knowing Sprecher has attempted Belgian styles, maybe it's an authentic strain of some sort. All in all, the beer carries a pretty exotic flair, which I guess is thanks to, uh, I don't know, whatever is making these characteristics pop...probably the sorghum and millet? Interesting, and pretty enjoyable too.

Unfortunately the feel is the downfall of this beer. It's all spritz, like soda-pop. Not good.

Lots of different things happening here, and I'm really glad I tried it. Very different. There are definitely lesser beers out there for gluten-allergic beer lovers, but I'm still grateful I'm not one of them.

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Photo of tdm168
3.56/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - copper; big, dense, white head; good retention

S - grainy, sweet, apples

T - yeasty, apples, caramel, spicy

M - medium body, smooth, crisp

This isn't bad as far as gluten free beers go. It has that typical sweet, apple character that I find off putting. My wife who can only drink gluten free beers ranks this among her favorites.

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Photo of tempest
2.22/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

OK, "fire-brewed" may sound cool, but that's where the cool train stops. It looks and smells like beer with sweet caramel. For a split second, it even tastes like beer, but then a unpleasant sweet and sour tang kicks in that reminds me of bad macro lager. I commend Sprecher for making a gluten free beer and a beer that's just plain different. This one's not for me.

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Photo of eliz108
4/5  rDev +30.3%

Photo of russpowell
3.31/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review based on notes

Pours a hazed caramel with a modicum of fast falling cream colored head. No head retention or lacing

S: Fruitty with cereal & gluey type smells

T: Grapes, booze & peach up front. Grainyness, green banana & green apple skins as this warms. Finishes with some figgyness

MF: Juicy with medium body & low carbonation. Becomes puckery as this warms

Drinks a bit slow, not to my taste. Cut this some slack as far as the style being attempted, could drink a few if pressed

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Photo of PaBeerLover
3.5/5  rDev +14%

Photo of shbobdb
4.09/5  rDev +33.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It pours a pleasant red-gold with a head that quickly collapses into a faint ring-around-the-beer-glass.

It smells, well, like bananas. It smells very weizen-y, but without any of the wheat spiciness. Granted, this isn't a wheat beer so I can't dock it for that. I just found it one dimensional (fortunately, it was a good dimension).

The taste is like the smell, but the sweetness from the weizen yeast, as well as the grains really work well together. I like the taste of this beer a lot. It has all the estery elements of a weizen, but it has a little bit of extra pizzaz from the unusual grains.

The mouthfeel . . . well, it is quite good for an ale, but I am used to the creamy thick mouthfeel of a weizen. I guess I'm just spoiled -- when I think of Weizen esters, I think of that mouthfeel. But the mouthfeel is still quite pleasant. Rich and full -- it would be cloying but there is enough carbonation to cut it. Rather like a soda-pop. It is very nice.

Drinkability? I only bought one? Pity. A four-pack would have been nice. More than a four-pack? Ehhhh . . . maybe.

Not Sprecher's best beer, but I wouldn't mind too much if they added it to their regular line-up. Quite nice. Perhaps too sweet, but quite nice.

This is also easily the best gluten free beer I've ever had.

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Photo of tone77
2.69/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. has a light golden color with a 1/2 inch head, lots of carbonation. Smell is grains, mild fruits. Taste is like sour cider, and not in a good way. Bitter, an unusual aftertaste that is hard to describe. Yes, this beer is hanging around in the glass for a while. Feels light in the mouth and overall, while unique, is not very good.

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Photo of emerge077
3.72/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Silhouette of African animals walking together, that lion must have had his dinner already. The scene is very Lion King, Hakuna-Matata...

Hazy orange pour into a pint glass. Two fingers of foam at first, which dwindle down to a skimpy ring of tiny bubbles. Some sediment in the bottle, which clouded up the ale when poured.

First impression is of funky apples, ripe and rotting in the orchard. Some unidentified spice in there as well.

Well carbonated at first, but seems to lose steam after awhile. Tart, citrusy at first, lemon or cider suggestion, with a dry, papery, herbal finish. I'm guessing the sorghum is responsible for the mild sweetness. I'm not sure how millet tastes, but it could be the dry herbal/grainy side to this.

When served cold, this is pretty refreshing. Don't let it warm up too much. It's an acquired taste, but isn't too hard to get used to. Two in a sitting was easy.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.25/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of mikesgroove
2.22/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Picked up this bottle as an extra in a trade and just now got around to trying it. Not really sure what to make of it to be honest, but here it goes. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 2/22/2009.

The pour was average at best. Medium light amber with a nearly crystal clear body on this one. Nice carbonation coming up from the bottom. The head was small, white, and fleating. The aroma was dull, ginger maybe, hints of light grain and a nasty acidic tone to it. The flavor though was where I almost gagged. It had an astringent taste that just did nothing for me. Grainy, almost chewey with a stale peanut butter like finish. Light body and crisp, but just wrong. This was not an enjoyable expiernce for me to say the least. I will pass.

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Photo of rallison
3.56/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was curious to try this beer - and am glad I did. I believe this is my first gluten-free beer.

Pours a golden amber color with a fizz 1 finger head that mostly dies. Smell is a bit disappointing - some semi-artificial smelling tropical fruits - banana, etc.

Taste improves. While not extremely complex, and still with a touch of that artificial tropical fruit sweetness, it is quite drinkable. I guess it lacks the familiar barley malt base, but this still tastes like beer. Kind of like one of those slightly too sweet and not complex enough Belgian pales. Which means this isn't half bad - it's just not great.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are both good.

A new experience for me. If I run into someone with celiac disease who misses beer, I'll definitely point them toward this. Recommended.

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Photo of Big_Dave
2.25/5  rDev -26.7%

Photo of Ragingbull
2.22/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Fire brewed ale made from sorghum and millet instead of wheat or barley. Dark gold and cloudy in appearance. Very faint prickle that doesn't quite break through the surface. Almost brown looking down in the center like there is a cloud within the beer. Light grain nose of either the sorghum or the millet but I couldn't tell you which. Attack and flavor is reminiscent of malt liquor. The finish manages to be clean. The mouthfeel is more "soda pop" like than it is beer like. It is very unique. I would dare say this is one of the beers that reveals the minor flaw with how reviews are done here. The style is not on the list, but rather than having the capability to add styles, the reviewers just pick a style. So if you are comparing this to an American Amber or Red its not all that great, but if it were a truly "african" style beer it might be very good for that type. As it is, I didn't really care all that much for it.

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Photo of tvv375ia
3.03/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 16oz bottle into pint glass

A-What head there was disappeared before I Could tell if it was over a finger or not. Amber apple juice color

S-Strange, almost like a sour apple

T-hard cider flavors, a lot of apple that tastes better than the smell.

M-carbonation leaves very quickly any the beer seems flat

O-Actually came across a fairly drinkable if you like hard cider once you get past the strange smell. In the glass it simply looks like hard cider since there is no head retention or lacing when I first smelled it I was sure it was going to be a drain pour but it is not bad, not sure if I would get another one but I did finish this one.

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Photo of CWhite
4/5  rDev +30.3%

Photo of supercolter
3.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

So this is an interesting beer if nothing else. Appearance is lackluster. No stand out features, no head or lacing. A nice orange color.
Smell is almost none existent, a bit of malt and fruity notes.
Taste is a bit more pronounced, some dark fruity notes.
Mouthfeel average for the style.
Drinkability is ok, but one was enough.

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Shakparo (Fire-Brewed African Style-Ale) from Sprecher Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.07 out of 5 with 103 ratings