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

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67 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 67 | Ratings: 103
Photo of tempest
2.22/5  rDev -28.2%
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 brentk56
3.07/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a lemony hazy with a bubbly head; not much retention or lacing

Smell: Lemony and herbal with a medicine character

Taste: Starts with a somewhat sweet but medicinal herbacious lemon character; after the swallow, the herbal qualities build

Mouthfeel: More like a soda than a beer

Drinkability: Kudos to Sprecher for brewing this but it is just too foreign for me to consume

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Photo of Tballz420
3.87/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Straw pale color at the bottom of the glass, towards the top of the beer its a darker yellowish orange color. Hazy throughout, lots of little bubbles on the lower part of the glass rise constantly. Small white head. Much lighter colored beer than I was expecting to see in a "american amber/red ale" category. Scent is light malts with lemony zest, some grass smell. Initial taste is very tart, eventually a light malt essence comes forth. Earthy tones. I don't know what the hell it is, but its pretty refreshing. Light bodied. I'll leave it to the experts to tell you what the hell is going on with this one, not bad though.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
2.8/5  rDev -9.4%
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 emerge077
3.72/5  rDev +20.4%
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 feloniousmonk
3.3/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

ale made from sorghum & millet, brewed without wheat or barley, fire-brewed, African-style...with a label featuring a trio of African pals, giraffe, lion, and elephant traveling together against an African sunset without once mauling or stampeding one another...hakuna matata!

16 ounce bottle, 5.7% abv.
Poured into a Delirium Tremens tulip glass. Elephants going back to Africa, so to speak.

Very hazy apricot appearance, disappearing head...

Slightly sour and funky aroma, at first...smells like a spiced wheat beer, though we know it isn't. Reminds me of a yeasty Belgian pale ale, oddly enough.

Bright flash of flavor in the mouth. Citrusy feel, then softly fading, leaving a faint lemony ring behind. Feel almost hefe weizen-like at times, though there's no wheat here...so this is what sorghum beer tastes like, eh? Not bad...
Although for a while, it gets too acidic and astringent for me...

got to say, not the sort of thing I'd want to have too often...

...there you have it...

Wonder why I liked this less than the others who liked Mbege less, though...interesting...

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Photo of Atron67
3.88/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured a foggy golden yellow with a foamy white head that faded quickly

- smells of slight esters some slightly sour scents, sweet, no hop

T- a smooth tartness, reminiscent of a german wheat beer, however slightly sour flavors due to the sorghum and millum

M- slightly heavy body, delayed carbonation that gives it a slightly acidic burst

D- pretty good, its a damn solid beer and i admire their willingness to try something so different.

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Photo of scruffwhor
2.64/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

The allure around this beer is just so intrigueing. African style beer. No wheat or barely ehhhh. Poursa s ort of hazey, sltraw and amber color with hardly any head. But very good bubbling I must say. The smell is a tart almost creamy lactose and bitter fruit aroma., very foreign and unique. The flavor is also unique, but a bit too awkward in the tartness department. Hints of clove, young orange and some sweat. Different, slightly complex, but just out of my "will buy again range." The palate is still a bit too dr and tart and grapey for my taste. But,way to stretch the boundaries on beer.

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Photo of drpimento
2.15/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Hmmm, interesting experiment on their part. can't say as I'd want them to repeat it though. It does resemble their claim of spicy. But there's a lot of other funky flavors too. And a strange cloying quality in the body. I don't even think I'd want to cook with it. Has a little head, no lace. A hazy light amber. Spicy aroma and taste. Lots of strange esters in flavor. Finish isn't so good either, bu thanfully not too long. Lakefront's new grist is much better.

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Photo of rallison
3.56/5  rDev +15.2%
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 aforbes10
3.88/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this in Milwaukee. Opened it with some trepidation due to not really knowing what the heck this is supposed to be. Pours orangey yellow with not much of a head. Smell is sweet, like cooked yams or sweet potatoes. hints of honey, grains, and orange juice. Taste is pretty strange. one of those beers that challanges a palate which expects particular flavors from a beer. Tart, somewhat cady-corn like flavor with sweet grain on the finish ("like sweet milo," my wife says, which is, of course, accurate based on what they make it with). Reminds me of other gluten free beers but tastes better than most of those that i've had. Way to go, Sprecher, for going a bit outside the box with this one.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.84/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bold kumquat with ripe lemon trim. I expected to see more haze since the beer is unfiltered. However, a sparse cloud of fine yeast can be seen on closer inspection. The pale orangish ecru cap persists nicely, but qualifies as unattractive in terms of texture. It's soft, mealy and unsticky, leaving the glass virtually untouched. I'm sure the ingredients are mostly, if not entirely, responsible.

Shakparo smells like an especially clove-intensive hefe weizen. There may be other spices present as well, it's hard to say. The beer is also nicely fruit, as advertised, with bananas at the head of the line as far as my nose knows.

This 'Fire-Brewed, African-Style' beer is the best gluten-free ale that I've ever had, hands down. I now wonder why the others were so distasteful, relatively speaking. I don't think there's any question that sorghum and millet are inferior to barley malt when it comes to the brewing of beer. For those who have no other choices, though, this is damn good stuff. It's too bad Sprecher doesn't distribute nationwide.

The secret to Shakparo's success is, I believe, the abundance of fruit and spice that covers up the potential unpleasant graininess of the atypical grains. As noted two paragraphs up, the hefe weizen comparison is right on the money. If I hadn't known better, I don't think I would have been able to identify this as a barley-free beer.

The mouthfeel is where the absence of barley malt is felt most keenly. Not its lightness so much as its lightly oily slickness. It's far from unpleasant, however, and is easily managed given what's happening on the taste buds.

Shakparo is vastly superior to Sprecher's other recently released African beer, the abysmal Mbege Ale. I'm amazed at how good this offering is under the circumstances. I try never to say 'never, but I doubt that I'll have a better gluten-free beer... ever. This is the first one that I'd consider drinking again. For those who have celiac disease, I would think the drinkability score would be a 5.0.

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Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
2.74/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Purchased this directly from Sprecher.

A-Murky, hazy, orange with no sign of head, lacing, or carbonation.

S-This one smells a bit like their Abbey Tripel. Raw yeast is predominant. A hint of banana lingers.

T-Interesting to say the least. It is quite different than any other beer I have had. A rough, sandy texture covers any discerning flavor. This one is hard to pin-point

M-Grainy through and through with a semi-sweet finish. This one seems to have some qualities of the Tripel, but not in place.

D-This is a one-timer for me. I totally commend Randy Sprecher for brewing a beer that he probably knew would not be welcomed by many, but I would have rather had him do something like a Saison or Biere de Garde for something new in the lineup.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.15/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Orange body. Cloudy and murky. Thin ivory white head with little stick. This beer's got a big banana nose. Like their hefe-weizen. Same yeast?? On the buds, I actually do get a bit of a "fire roasted" character. Odd to say the least. Otherwise, the beer's musty and dank. Got some of that weizen yeastiness going on with the banana and pepper. But this one just doesn't appeal to me a lot. Quite weird.

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Photo of uwmgdman
3.84/5  rDev +24.3%
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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Photo of soulgrowl
3.44/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Hazy yellow-amber with an audibly fizzy white head that roars like a crowd. Mediocre retention.

Smell: Hefe/dunkel-esque yeast, with lots of bananas and clove, light apple cider, and mild honey-like sweetness.

Taste: Tangy and dry and ever so slightly spicy. On the bland side, and could use a stronger malt foundation. Most of the flavor comes from yeast and hops; sorghum lends a light, fresh wheaty character. There is a sweet, citric edge, reminiscent of oranges, and a dry, clean finish with a slight edge of yeast.

Mouthfeel: Way too thin, but well-carbonated and crisp.

Drinkability: This isn't bad, it's just kind of boring. It needs a bit more depth of flavor and a bit more hefty body. It's worth a try, just don't expect to be blown away.

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Photo of shbobdb
4.09/5  rDev +32.4%
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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Shakparo (Fire-Brewed African Style-Ale) from Sprecher Brewing Company
3.09 out of 5 based on 103 ratings.
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