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Grail Pale Ale | Franconia Notch Brewing Company

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Grail Pale AleGrail Pale Ale
Very Good
15 Ratings
Grail Pale AleGrail Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Franconia Notch Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Puddleglum on 12-02-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 15 |  Reviews: 15
Reviews by eclectic:
Photo of eclectic
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy golden/amber with massive head...hoppy nose.. well balanced hoppy citrus flavor, the hops are mild and smooth enough to make this a very easy to drink ale.. there is an interesting flavor in this beer that really makes it unique and enjoyable..

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More User Reviews:
Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Strange would be the word, but good. Nice amber color and head. But it has a percular taste. Sort of a wild zesty taste that linger in your mouth. It frightens you on the first sip, but as you get used to the beer you start to enjoy it. A good beer.

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Photo of greebz
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had a couple of pints while dining at the Clamshell restaurant - right next door to the "brewery". This brew had a nice amber color and decent head and left a nice lace down the glass. Fresh hops certainly influenced flavor and the aroma. It was easy to enjoy with the dinner and I had another for dessert. Wish I could find some in bottles to enjoy at home.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.41/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1L swing-top bottle purchased at Julio's, Westboro, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" off-white head over the clear golden brew. Head lasts reasonably well, with foamy lacing. Aroma is minimal, lightly of hops. The taste is upfront with a sweet pale maltiness, then gives way to a somewhat earthy yet slightly fruity bitterness. Mouthfeel is a bit bit prickly with the bitterness, and drinkability is okay as well. Not quite what I was hoping for here, but not a bad offering either, just a slight let-down.

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Photo of Puddleglum
5/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I find no fault with this beer. It is truly exceptional. The hops taste fresh and floral with just the right amount of bitterness. There are some hints of fruityness. The finish is smooth. It lights up the sides of your tongue with its zingy hops without masking the nice, rich, malt base and the aroma alone is worth making the trip.

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Photo of jdhilt
2.97/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Pours an off-white, one-finger head that vanishes instantly leaving no lace. Nearly clear amber color. Almost no carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is a citrus hop. Starts with a good mix of malts and hops, the hops dominate, lingering hoppy aftertaste. The lack of carbonation is not typical, we had some Grail from a keg at the brewery which was much better. $5 for a 1 liter bottle tapped from the tank at the brewery Littleton, NH.

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Photo of Jacobob10
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pint-sized serving poured from a 1L bottle. Huge frothy white head with large bubbles. It almost reminded me of the head on a cask-conditioned beer. Little bits of lacing left on the glass on the way down. Lively carbonation. Cloudy orange color but particle-free. The aroma is powerful. Lemon and spruce hops with a yeasty overtone. Light to medium bodied with an oily texture. Slightly bitter finish that affected the mouthfeel a bit. Still a very drinkable brew. Very glad I had the chance to enjoy this beer while I still can.

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Photo of UnionMade
3.32/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I found a growler of this at a "beer and cigs" store while working in NH. Clear glass growler, with a sticker label and plain screw top. The beer is filled to the brim, almost no air. The screw top was on there damn tight. I had to use a rubber glove to get it off.
The beer is a very attractive, pouring a coppery burnt orange color. A bit of haziness, with a little yeast sitting on the bottom of the growler. A short white head tops the liquid, dissipating quickly to a thin misting. Some lacework, a few scattered patches clinging to the glass.
The first thing i could smell was a slight lightstruck aroma. I did ask the girl at the counter if the beer was fresh, and she assured me that they just restocked it a couple days ago. Hops are still slightly herbal underneath the skunkiness, not too badly ruined. A solid malt background, with aromas of pear and apple must.
The skunk is much less noticable in the flavor. Sweet, estery pale malt backs up a solid herbal hopping, which comes through in the middle and finishes the beer with a moderate bitterness. Only a light skunky sourness comes through. A hint of apple and pear, with a strange odd farminess. Medium bodied and very smooth, with tight, small bubbling that does a Fred Astaire across your tongue. A touch of graininess at the end, with a spicy herbal aftertaste. Some skunkiness lingers on your tongue, which isn't all that pleasant.
If the beer was fresh, I'm sure this would be outstanding. In my experience, a beer skunking can happen rather quickly, particularly in clear glass. It could have even gotten skunked on the car ride home, if it had sunlight on it. I'd like to try this again, and I hope they switch to brown glass, for everyone else's sake.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Second hazy beer of the night. Poured a yellowish haze. Lots of spongey head and spotted lace. Came in a big ol' swing top bottle. Thick hoppy nose to this beer. Hints of pine too. At first I thought the flavor was all out of balance, but then I took a second shot at it and realized it was very well balanced with a subtle sweet malt base with an omnipresent hop flavor. Also some fruit flavors, kind of like an overripe peach. Mouthfeel is very full flavored, but the beer seems to be fighting a slight watered down textured. It is almost there, but not quite. Tough to put this beer down. Great beer to help beat the heat on this hot night.

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Photo of PatandDavid
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this twice on cask at the Coat of Arms pub in Portsmouth yesterday. Nice find, 'cause where else would you find this on cask? Cloudy tangerine when served in a proper 20 oz pint glass, it came topped with a creamy half-inch of head. The head lingered through-out my glass. Aroma was surprisingly tangy citrus. This was reflected in the taste, my notes tell me: tangy citrus, with some bitterness in the finish. Almost seemed likek a light and easy summer style brew, rather than a pale al, but perhaps the cask version softened things up a bit. Pleasant beer.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on cask at the Coat of Arms Pub in Portsmouth, NH, Oct. 2004.

This pale ale poured a slightly hazy golden-amber color with creamy, white foam that persisted. The smell was mildly fruity and floral hops with some malt behind. The taste was malty with some mild, fruity and floral hops. The taste was somewhat complex for a pale ale. The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy with medium body and low carbonation. The flavors really lingered nicely. This was an enjoyable pale ale.

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Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at the coat of arms pub in Portsmouth, NH. Light amber with a nice off-white head of smallish foam. Aromas of sweet malt and sweet, freshly dried hops. The taste is hoppy up front, and herbal in nature with some nice backing bready malts as well. Good stuff. Mouthfeel is good for cask, but not the best, and the same goes for the drinkability. Still an interesting hand-pulled pint in a very unsuspecting atmosphere.

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Photo of cracker
4.17/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm very impressed with this beer. What a spectacular example of a pale ale. Pours somewhat cloudy with a hazy yellow hue (clearly lots of yeast in suspension but that does't distract me). Smells of freshly spent grains with a hint of sweetness and floral hops. Taste is dry, with a stringent but yet pleasant hop bitterness. Seems to have an element of taste associated with wheat beers (? maybe some wheat in this one?). Well balanced and refreshing. Would love to have loads of this around as a 'session' beer.

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Photo of Truh
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fought the Knights of Nicht with this one on 6/19/2004. 16-oz. cask pour at the Coat of Arms Pub in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Poured with a protective carbonation shell to start, like solidified caramel on a banana split. Hue was milky yellow with an absinthe-like green haze to it. Sweet hop aroma came bounding out of the Coat of Arms stamped imperial pint glass – don’t see those too often it seems, so that was a nice twist. Lemongrass also came through in the nose. Cool, even hop bite despite the big nose; perhaps the cask mellows it a bit. Lime and lemon tartness followed the initial whack of bitterness. Overall mouthfeel is quite smooth – I wonder what this would taste like on regular draught. This was a quality pale ale.

Despite how drinkable this one was, I was left with a sour taste while finishing it as a result of Embree giving up a two run homer in the eighth to San Francisco, a game they eventually went on to lose.

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Photo of MrSeth
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

App. The top blasts off sounding like a champagne cork sending a wet hay aroma wafting across the table. Once poured it is a semi-opaque orange with earthy tones at the center. A big 4+ inch head forms and stays for quite a few minutes before it becomes a 1/2 inch tan head.

Sm. It smells wonderful. Very clean yeasty and orange peel aromas remind me of Orval. It's not the musky smell that first emerged at all, this is as clean as it gets.

Ta. Starts very dry and softly bitter. Fills out across the palate, but never gets very sweet. This is far from the candyish APAs on so many liquor store shelves. The malt and hops reveal themsleves gracefully, melodic.

Mf. Great length! Especially for an ale that is not overstated in any way. The complexity gives way to a huge, tart finish which lingers perfectly on the palate.

Comment. This is a great choice of ales for late summer evenings. It would pair well with food or make an excellent session ale. Enjoy!

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Grail Pale Ale from Franconia Notch Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.88 out of 5 with 15 ratings
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