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

103 Ratings
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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
Photo of Lemke10
2.6/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I bought a single bottle of this from Woodman's in Janesville, WI for $1.79 in Fall 2011.

Pours a clear, light amber color with not too much of a head due to the lack of carbonation. Scents of banannas and some spices are evident. The texture of the beer is watery and the taste is not too inviting. The taste has hints of banannas and dry malts with a slight lemon zest. Overall that taste is very dry and chalky feeling. Perhaps this is good for a gluten free beer, but I'll take my next beer without sorghum thank you.

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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 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 cdkrenz
2.65/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A - Light and white quick lived (its already gone) head. Body is a cloudy brownish orange with nothing at the surface reminding me that head was once there.

S - The aromas of banana, fig, and bubble gum make for an inviting scent.

T - There's a strange clove-live flavor in this brew that's rather overwhelming near the beginning. It's not a true clove but almost a cross between clove and smoke. There's some banana to note as well.

M - The feel is smooth, soft and easy.

~ White it smells and feels the part, the flavor holds the most weight here and unfortunately I can't say its something I'll every purchase again, nor will I recommend this beverage to a friend.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
2.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 16 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a silty, cloudy amber, with an almost muddy look to it. A 1/2" head reduces to a 1/8" lid that is being fed with active carbonation.

Has a heavy banana and clove aroma, with hints of ginger and cinnamon. In fact, it almost smells like carrot cake.

Has a tangy, peachy taste, with hints of apricot. A slightly sour ending, the lack of malt in this beer leaves it feeling like there's a hole in this beer's taste.

Medium bodied, there's a slight creaminess that is buried beneath the sour fruit.

Well, I really wanted to like this gluten-free beer. And, as it is the only one I've ever had, I can't say if it is any better or worse than other gluten free beers. However, I can say that I'm not planning having another any time soon.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.91/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a hazy orange yellow with a very light fizzy white head, light lace.

S: Heavy banana and wheat, bubblegum, nice smell.

T: Assorted grain character with a lot of banana and bubblegum. A very estery flavour, quite good.

M: Medium-bodied, fairly smooth, soft carbonation, quite easy drinking.

O: A beer that is very much in the hefe category, but as with Mbege, Sprecher has made a very good African-style version of one. I've had it before, and I always enjoy this beer.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.15/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Who doesn't love crazy-ass beer recipes? I know I do (ask around). This one pours a cloudy, sediment-filled amber-straw topped by a very short-lived half-finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises coriander, wheat, orange peel, and a strong sense of something akin to strawberries and red grapes. It's as though a mild wit were blended with a framboise or something, with less-than-stellar results. Nose-wise, anyway. The taste, though, continues this idea, with the orange peel coming off as a bit old, slightly musty. The strawberry remains, and a bunch of really dry wheat makes up the foundation. Altogether, it just doesn't work for me. The body is a hefty light, with a light moderate carbonation and a grainy feel. Overall, a decent-ish beer, but not one I'd really reach for very often at all. Not my cup o' beer.

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Photo of WesWes
3.28/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a cloudy dark golden/amber color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is average. It has a fruity/sour scent along with a mild sorghum/millet aroma. This style is a little new to me, but it's pretty light and refreshing. The taste is decent. It's fruity as hell and the taste isn't close to that of a malted beer. It's an easy drinker with a unique flavor. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a beer I'm glad I had the opportunity to try, but will not seek out again.

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Photo of tim9887
3.65/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice slightly hazy golden-orange with white foamy head. Aroma is on the pungent side, big notes of banana and clove similar to that of a hefeweizen. Belgian yeast-esque spice to it as well. Similar characteristics in the flavor as well. Very tart juicy fruit (orange/pear?) character to it. Very faint, subtle bitterness in the finish. Bright, bubbly carbonation. Interesting stuff. My first foray into gluten-free beer.

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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 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 KBomb
3.19/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pale copper color that's quite cloudy. One finger of soapy head pops up, but disappears to nothing within moments. Smells like a dry champagne; grapes and green apple. There is a hint of something a little sour and musty, but its not too bad. Yeasty and fruity smells are a precursor to yeasty and fruity flavor. Citrus flavors are paired with a little spice (ginger?). What starts a little crisp and sweet turns a bit sour on the back of the tongue. MF is quite dry, prickly high carbonation. A little filling. Not exceptionally drinkable.

I don't really dislike the flavors, but its just a little too different for me to really appreciate all that much. Glad I tried it, but I don't anticipate having it again.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
2.78/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A 16 ounce bottle purchased at the Craft Ale House for around $2 (to-go). Poured into an Imperial pint glass. Appears a cloudy bright golden yellow with a light jade green tint around the edges with an inch of off white foam. The head quickly fades into a thin layer, leaving no lacing. The nose consists of apples and lightly toasted grains of some sort. Tastes medicinal and sweet with notes of green apple, lemon. Unique to say the least. Thin bodied with barely any carbonation. I drank just enough to form an opinion of this beer, the remainder went down the drain. Although, I'm glad I had the chance to try it I guess.

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Photo of AdmiralDiaz
3.97/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to pint glass.

A: Pours a semi-hazy orange with a decent sized off-white head. looks similar to a hefeweizen.

S: My first though when I smelled this was sake...the weird thing is that I'm sure there is no rice in there. Anywho strong fruit along with a clove scent

T: Tastes is definitely odd for the style...I'm fairly sure that this is only classified as a red/amber because there is not defined name for the style? Strong fruit flavor; bananas, apple, apricot. Notable spiciness from a good amount of clove. If I didn't know any better I would have thought this was some sort of hefeweien or some other fruity german lager.

Overall: Mouthfeel was well carbonated and very smooth. Pretty drinkable, however the taste is a bit intense, I would only do a few of these. This is unique, that's for sure.

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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 WJVII
2.94/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass this brew has a wheat color that is really cloudy (states on the bottle unfiltered). There is a slight head with an aggressive pour that fades to a ring around the brew with a good amount of visible carbonation. The aroma is so unusual. Hard to put my finger on but smells stale (not skunky) or like a wet dog with some spice and citrus aroma. Although the aroma is not all that appealing I have nothing to compare the style to so I want to be fair with my review. As far as the taste goes it is a little sweet upfront but then has a stale aftertaste. The carbonation accents the citrus flavor, but again with nothing to compare it too hard to discredit the authenticity of this brew. Coming from Milwaukee, and having been on the Sprecher tour (learning the history of this brewery) I tip my hat to the boldness of attempting to recreate this brew. At the very least worth a try...I mean it has NO WHEAT or BARELY and made with MILLET...give it a try!

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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 wheatyweiss
2.52/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle.

Pours a light honey with a smallish head that disappears quickly.

Aroma is of apples and citrus, small grain aroma is overpowered by the sweetness.

Flavor is phenolic and medicinal, strange and cloying. I'm not sure what millet tastes like but if that is the predominant flavor I'm getting I really don't think I like it. Green apple flavor fights with the medicinal tastes that fights with the estery alcohol flavors. The sweetness is a strange dry sweetness that belies the normal sweetness. I can only think of chemical tainted cider when I drink.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy and is one redeeming quality.

I may get through the pint, but this may be my first "drain pour" I just don't have the palette to appreciate the flavors I'm getting.

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Photo of PiecefulToker
2.33/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a cloudy amber rubycolor with a thin head that dissipates rather quickly. Little lacing.

S: Not much here, can't put my finger on anything in particular.

T: Blech, I do not like this. Tastes like thin fermented grain water, but in a bad way. It is metallic and has very sharp citrus sourness in the aftertaste. Maybe one could develop a taste for this, but I would rather turn to better offerings.

M: Thin and watery.

D: Very low... this stuff is gross to me.

I am thankful that I am not allergic to wheat or barley!

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Photo of nick76
2.26/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

The aroma is metallic, with yeast, funk, grains, and rotten fruit. The appearance is cloudy gold with a small but persistent head. The flavor is gross and like the aroma. The palate is smooth. This is hard to drink. I won't be having another one of these.

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Photo of Soneast
2.43/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Hmm...this is an interesting beer. Like others I wasn't sure what I was getting into.

Poured a golden color with a bit of cloudiness. About a fingers width of white head that disappeared with a few seconds, with no lacing.

Smell is similar to a wheat beer, although apparently it is not brewed with any wheat or barley. Yeasty with a hint of citrus.

Taste is...lets just say unique. Seems pretty dry. It has this weird aftertaste that I can't put my finger on (almost like rubbing alcohol or some sort of antiseptic)...suffice to say, it's not a flavor I feel belongs in beer.

Decent carbonation, feels good in my mouth has a crisp refreshing quality.

Overall...hey i tried something new...I didn't much like it and I'm sure I'll never get it again. I also definitely would not classify this style as an American amber/red ale. It's in a category all its own (Fire Brewed African Style I guess).

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Photo of dsa7783
3.02/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I really had no idea what to expect with this one here... All I can say is that this certainly does not qualify as an American Amber... To be quite frank, I don't know what style I would label this brew...
"Ale made from Sorghum and Millet"... "Brewed without wheat or barley" on the front logo sticker...
Appearance: Clear, light-copper, deep golden hue...
Smell: Fruity and effervescent...
Taste: Light, heavy on the fruit notes... More malt with slight hops... Candied citrus, lemons, and green apples...
Light mouthfeel...
Can't say I'd drink too many of these in a single setting...

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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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Photo of jwinship83
1.71/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A- golden yellow with a small white head. looks very much like a tripel. very odd, for an amber.

S- uhhhh pretty gross. yeasty, mildly fruity, and something i cant put my nose on because it doesnt smell like its supposed to be consumed.

T- tastes very much like it smells and slightly sour.

M- medium bodied and well carbonated.

D- never again. maybe its because of the lesser used grains, but something about this one comes off as horribly wrong.

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Shakparo (Fire-Brewed African Style-Ale) from Sprecher Brewing Company
3.07 out of 5 based on 103 ratings.
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