Drake Tail India Pale Ale | AleWerks Brewing Company

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Drake Tail India Pale AleDrake Tail India Pale Ale

Brewed by:
AleWerks Brewing Company
Virginia, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Westsidethreat on 11-08-2006

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Reviews: 103 | Ratings: 260
Photo of beer2day
3.11/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours much darker than expected with a thick head. Way more malt in the nose and in the mouthfeel than expected as well - almost smoky in both smell and taste. All of the beers I've had from the Aleworks appear to be beyond their prime. Don't know if that's bad luck on my part or theirs.

The hops here are good, but totally tempered by the excessive maltiness of this beer.

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Photo of mdcrouser
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A solid head provides a cap for a beautifully woody and oaken hoppiness eminating from this beer, matched with the deep amber and brown accents, solidly locked within the confines of the glass. Smooth and sweet on the tongue, exploding with citrus, tobacco, and floral notes, rounded out with a velvety hoppiness that rolls to the back of the tongue - not fiery at all, just really enjoyable.

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Photo of Applesauce1
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up as part of mix six-pack at the Westover Market in Arlington.

Smells of hops primarily. The taste is unique. Kinda like your standard IPA taste (bitter with the hops dominating the malt) with something else on the after taste....it seems kinda like mint....hmmm...anyhow, good medium body feel and a nice drinkability (could do 2 in a night).

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Photo of Gavage
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: slightly cloudy orange in color with a two finger head. Some spotty lacing developed.

Smell: caramel, citrus, and some soft pine are easily detectable.

Taste: overall this is a mellower IPA as caramel is balanced with some softer citrus tones and mild bitterness. A bit of pine lingers in the background.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Crisp throughout. Aftertaste is short-lived.

Drinkability: decent but the mellower IPA version grows a bit boring after a while.

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Photo of brentk56
2.45/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a surprisingly cloudy amber color with a robust head (regretably, the best thing about the beer) that drops some nice lace around the pint

Smell: Liquid caramel with some piney bitter tones

Taste: Loads of caramel on the opening, almost wort-like as the piney bitter elements have a hard time peeking through; after the swallow, there is a touch more bitterness and it is obvious that the beer has been well hopped, but the underattenuation is a big problem

Mouthfeel: Thick like apricot nectar with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Wow, either this is a bad batch or there are some real problems with the brewing techniques (batch 084011, if anybody cares)

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Photo of jwc215
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours murky dirty copper brownish with a thin off-white head that lasts and leaves sticky lacing. Head retention and plenty of lacing make up for rather lackluster/dull color (to a point).

The smell is caramel with some piney resin and some citrus.

The taste is of caramel sweetness (slightly burnt as it progresses) that turns to a bitterish resiny/citric finish. Slight touch of alcohol comes through late, though well-hidden/integrated for the abv (which is not listed on bottle, and was slightly surprised to see here at 7.50).

Creamy, medium body - slightly oily.

A sweeter IPA - Hops present more in flavor than in bitterness (though there is some in the finish). Very smooth. Drinks well despite not being anything "great" or particularly unique. Usually, I don't prefer the caramel to stand out quite so much in my Am. IPA's, but this has a nice, smooth drinkability to it (despite abv). Despite just a touch of burnt caramel, it's good for a sweeter (though with some balance) IPA.

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Photo of BrewMaven
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this and a few others while visting Colonial Williamsburg.

Has a nice deep reddish amber hue (Not exactly the palest pale ale.) and a monsterous head that never really goes away. Abundant lacing.

I got a nose full of hops here.

Starts out with green apples, a malty middle and a nice hoppy finish. Viscous mouthfeel and average carbonation.

Definitely would be a repeat buy if I lived in Virginia.

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Photo of wagenvolks
2.98/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Daps and handshakes to atsprings on the freebie.

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass produces a copper/amber body that's a little too dark per the style. The thin cap of creamy, custard foam is attractive, and a fervent carbonation level does its best to keep the retention going. I will commend Drake Tail for leaving behind some of the thickest, most impenetrable lacing I've seen in a while. The aroma is an interesting blend of resinous, tangerine hops with a touch of pine, balanced by sweet caramel malt and a hint of woodiness.

At this point, the beer went downhill for me. The flavor profile starts out with a little malty sweetness and mineral undertone, but one the whole it seems a bit empty and flat. Suddenly, a stampede of bitter, medicinal hops washes across the sides and back of the palate, effectively ruining any chance of this IPA achieving a decent balance. The lingering hoppiness is overtly bitter and fairly unpleasant. Usually, my tastebuds love a good, hoppy thrashing, but the hops have to be done right. In this case, they weren't. This wasn't an un-drinkable beer, as it certainly had a few merits, but I won't be looking to try it again any time soon.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.49/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber to copper colored body with a huge, lumpy, off-white head. Great retention, lots of sticky lacing. Pretty beer.

Lots of sweet malts in the nose with a little bit of hops.

A sweet malty IPA, but still with a decent hop balance. Bitterness with a good backbone to it. Creamy mouthfeel.

Rather drinkable IPA.

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Photo of timtim
3.06/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

the looks of this beer are definitely the high point. clear reddish amber with a huge, rocky, tan head that holds very well and leaves okay lace. it just goes downhill from here. caramel in the nose. very sweet smelling for the style actually. citrus and pine in the background. smells a bit like homebrew and plastic buckets. i hate to say it, and i thought it was just suggestive perception from another ba, but it's there for sure. very bitter taste with medicine and metal in the finish as well. not terrible, but not what i believe should be included in my fridge, and certainly not what i would use to convince anyone that craft beer is worthwhile. kind of sticky mouthfeel. left me feeling more thirsty. sorry guys... maybe you can revamp.

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Photo of alexgash
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle picked up at Chevy Chase Liquors.

Slightly hazy, darkish copper body. Small, filmy, dirty light khaki head. Butterscotch malt on the nose with some caramel-y fruits and resinous hops. It's either lean on the hops, or it's been sitting around a little too long (but since there's no Born On Date I have no idea...). Taste follows the trend of the aroma: plenty of butterscotch and caramel-fruit malt and a little weak on the hop flavors. Still, it's a tasty beer. Almost more of a strong English IPA now. Solid hop bitterness in the finish. Medium-bodied with a creamy feel. Would like to try this fresher, but this bottle isn't too shabby as is.

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Photo of Redwood21
3.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have so far been very impressed with the beers from the Alewerks this is no exception.

A: I love it. has a head that lasts and sticks the whole drink with a nice amber color. This is how beer should look.

S: i can't smell too much, so i cant rank it too high, but it definitely doesn't smell off or anything like that.

T: very hoppy with a bitter finish that isn't overpowering. this is not the beer that redefines the style, merely the one that follows the style extremely well. It has a very clean taste.

I like it the best of all the beers i have tried from the alewerks thus far.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clearish amber body with a small, frothy, ivory-colored head.

Smell: Candyish caramel aroma with notes of citrusy orange peels, pine, and three cardboard boxes.

Taste: Sweetish caramel malts transitions into a sharp, fruity citrus hop juice taste that provides a medium bitterness and is, I dare say, a lil' citric. Hint of Moving Day. Bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: An A-OK IPA.

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Photo of boston2bburg
3.64/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First off, as a Boston area transplant to southwest Virginia I'm always rooting for Virginia breweries to succeed and produce quality beers. That said I was pleased to see the AleWerks beers on the shelves of several area beer shops the past few weeks, and after tasting the Drake Trail Ale consider myself a fan.

Poured a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass and was immediately encouraged by the thickness of the ale and head. I'm not sure what to call it, but I love seeing big old bubbles rolling in the glass as I pour. The head is a thick thumb, and maintains a layer to the bottom of the glass while leaving some sticky thin lacing on the glass. Color is dark and reddish with some slight haze.

Smell is almost all malt, caramel and some toasty biscuit notes, as well as some faint piney hops. This does not translate much at all to the flavor, which was far more bitter than sweet. The caramel flavor does remain some, and I'd describe the hops as piney and floral. As others noticed, balance is not really optimal, but better to err in this direction than the other.

The mouthfeel is thick and chewy, which may turn some off but is just the way I like it. I'm impressed that it was 7.5%; alcohol is hidden by the bitterness, which I imagine I would get used to if sessioning with this beer. Got this 6-pack as a Beer of the Month Club purchase, but will certainly go back to it. Nice job.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep copper color with way too large a head that escaped the glass several times. Tan chunky head present.
Smell is lighty caramel with distinct hop notes also present.
Taste has the hops in the front, presenting with a strong citrusy bitterness that completely overwhelms and malt character.
Finishes with more dryness.
Not very balanced. Alcohol is well hidden.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
2.01/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a deep copper color with a nice tan head. Aromas of fruitiness, and a very light bitter. As in the taste, it has the bitter, but a sweet fruitiness. A big body mouthfeel, and a bitter dry aftertaste. Not that great for an IPA, it is bitter, but the fruitiness throws me off. More of a sweet fruity ale, with a nice bitter taste, but the fruit covers the bitter taste as it warmed up.

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Photo of atsprings
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy dark amber with a thin slowly diminishing head. The aroma caramel and some pine hops. The taste was a very interesting blend of caramel malts and deep pine hops with a hint of citrus, an interesting balance as the malts actually slightly overpower, but the hops are still aggressive. The beer is medium bodied and very refreshing with well hidden alcohol. I'm glad to see there is some good beer coming out of the home of a major AB production site.

Update July 4, 2008: Picked up some more after another visit to Busch Gardens, this years is almost like a completely different beer, I don't know if it was affected by the hop shortage or what, but now the beer us way too malty and less enjoyable than before, my rating has been adjusted accordingly.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.06/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours with an almost four-finger thick, amber-hued, tan colored head that sits atop a brilliantly clear, reddish tinged, amber-copper colored beer. The aroma has a pronounced caramel character that is redolent of crystal malt; caramel, toasted bread, biscuit notes and a crusty bread character are all quite noticeable. There is some hop aromatics here as well, but not nearly as much as I would expect from a beer labeled IPA; herbal hop notes are noticeable with a touch of sweet citrus and perhaps a hint of pine.

Quite bitter tasting with a lasting, lingering bitterness. This bitterness helps to offset a thickish, chewy, caramel malt character & body that would otherwise dominate the beer. Instead the aggressive hop bitterness is the dominant note; it becomes astringent at times, especially in the finish. The bitterness is a bit too harsh for the rest of the beer, which is saying quite a bit considering that this has a cloying amount of crystal malt character too. As my palate gets used to the bitterness and crystal malt flavors I can taste a bit of hop fruit flavors that lean towards sweet citrus notes. This is not a bad tasting beer, it is just way out of balance.

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Photo of Atlas1
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've been impressed so far with the beers coming out of the AleWerks brewery in Williamsburg so far. They're relatively new to the DC area (as far as I know, and I like to think I'm in the know) but they've made me a fan in a short time. Nothing flashy. Just good, solid beers with lots of flavor and character. Now on to the Drake Tail Ale IPA.

Pours a dark, dense-looking copper/amber color, with a sticky, clumpy-looking reddish head of foam on top that leaves plenty of lace to comment on. Displays a rich ruby/orange color when held up to natural window light. This is a fine looking beer from the get-go. The nose contains a lot of piney hops. I like this aroma. I'm a hophead, admittedly, and though I've been stuck in a summer ale/lager mindset lately (it is hot, after all) I can't resist the temptation to try a new IPA when I see one. The aroma here is, like I said, piney, with some grapefruit citrusiness (is that a word?) boiled in for good measure. A nice aroma for sure. The Drake Tail definitely tastes like an IPA, but the high alcohol content (a surprising 7.5% ABV) is masked quite well. Nicely balanced, it blends some pleasant fruitiness with an obvious hop presence, and finishes up with a sweetish bitter kick to the back of the cheeks. This goes down the way an IPA should go down, in my opinion. At times, the mouthfeel is a bit syrupy, which detracts only slightly. Otherwise, this is a fine, highly drinkable beer. I wish it, and its brewers, well.

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Photo of shivtim
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew is ruddy, clear, deep amber, with a pretty decent whitish head. Good lacing too. Nose is mostly toffee malts, but there's some hops and citrus in there too. Taste is quite hoppy on the finish, with bits of orange and maybe even some sweet berries. Strong sweet malts carry throughout. Mouthfeel fits the beer, it feels like an IPA but a bit thicker. Drinkability is high. This is an interesting IPA, quite unique.

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Photo of akorsak
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle from a trade with guinnessfan.

A: The IPA is surprisingly dark, darker brown even than the amber bottle it came in. The head was ginormous as well, requiring three separate pours to fill my glass. Each time, a voluminous head erumpted and overflowed. The head quickly receded but the size left nice lacing in the glass.

S: The nose is very grainy, caramel and toffee aroma predominantly. Some spicy citrus hops come through that ESB-like body.

T: A hop presence comes out of the body that was nowhere to be found in the nose. It is a strong citrus flavor, full of pineapple and apricot along with some piney resiny thickness. The hops sit atop, and completely dominate a nut brown, toffee malt body. An interesting combination of big hops and toffee sweetness.

M: This is an amped up ESB, IMHO. The hops are quite lively, making a sip a real event.

D: The malts are a little too strong and filling to really hunker down and get into this. Despite that, one glass is a treat.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.37/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle - brewed with Cascade and Amarillo hops. It pours deep amber, with a light to medium bead that leads up to a half-inch head which deposits little lace. There are both citric hops and sweet malts in the nose, along with hints of caramel, molasses, and red berries (currant, cherry, strawberry?). The body has a big bitterness that slowly creeps to the back of the mouth, revealing notes of piney/citric and earthy hops, lightly balanced by fruity, caramelly, earthy, and perhaps buttery malts. It feels nice and smooth, almost creamy on the palate, with low carbonation and a long finish. An interesting brew - the flavor starts like an English pale, but it soon reveals the American IPA hiding within.

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Photo of SwillBilly
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle:

Appearance: Pours a deep rich amber, the color of strong ice tea. Nice and clear with a sturdy off white head capping the pour. Sheets of lacing cling to the sides of the pint glass as the beer is emptied.

Smell: Nice and malty upfront with hints of caramel and dark fruit that gives way to a subtle, citrusy hoppiness.

Taste: Drake Tail IPA starts with a malty sweetness with plenty of caramel, dark brown sugar and dark fruit. The middle moves the beer along to a really nice hoppiness that isn't overpowering but nicely balances out the hops. Has a nice grapefruity, citrusy bitterness that lingers on the tongue after the swallow.

Mouthfeel: Medium and somewhat creamy with plenty of carbonation to keep things lively.

Drinkability/Notes: A really nice and different IPA from the folks at Williamsburg Alewerks. Plenty of crystal malt upfront lending the ale to its darker color and caramel/brown sugar like sweetness. The hops nicely balance the malt with plenty of citrusy bitterness. I really nice beer that I would definitely buy again. These guys are doing some good things at this brewery, glad I can get it locally. Recommended, Seek and Enjoy !

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Photo of Braudog
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Another goodie from the new local WAW. This poured with a gigantic shield of off-white bubbles over a dark red brew. It produced a nice dirty hop aroma ... very much an invitation to attack the glass. Stark, warming earthy hop bitterness is the predominate sense here ... bit of pineapple rind, too. Only downside on this wonderfully flavored beer is a bit of a light body.

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Photo of dedrinker
3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured dark golden to amber. Smell sweet malt and floral hops. Taste is more sweet malt and decent hop presence if the malt wasn't so sweet. Poorly attenuated for the style - could use either more hops or a more thorough fermentation. It was good though it became cloying towards the end with all the sweet malt going on. I don't think I could have more than one.

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Drake Tail India Pale Ale from AleWerks Brewing Company
3.67 out of 5 based on 260 ratings.
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