Samurai Ale | Great Divide Brewing Company

334 Reviews
Samurai AleSamurai Ale

Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Blonde Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ElGordo on 07-02-2006

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Reviews: 334 | Ratings: 596
Photo of Sammy
3.62/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Grat divide tasting room. A natural bitterness, and yes I am getting a rice sweetness to counterbalance it. An average plus mouthfeel. Yellow colour and a bit of lace. A yeasty aroma. Not as complex as I would imagine.AN average beer overall.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.55/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at the brewery

A: murky straw color with a mild golden hue

S: some grain, not much else.

T: very herbal and earthy. Not getting the fruity notes. Very grainy.

M: high carbonation and light bodied

Overall: very drinkable but also light. The flavors are tough to pull out for me.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.47/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Great Divide Tap Room in Denver, CO.

Pours a slightly hazy light yellow color with a 1/2 inch white head that fades to an oily film. No lacing whatsoever. Smell is of malt and rice aromas. Taste is rice and malt/biscuit. This beer has good carbonation with smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good but I wouldn't get it again most likely.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.4/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

an interesting one. pours clearish for an unfiltered beer, maybe didnt rouse the sediment enough in the pour, small white head. nose is grains and something differentdy, a sweet alcohol smell. taste is as described on the bottle, sessionable but sits oddly in the belly. didnt fill me up, but was a little weird in that way. medium body on this one with some sweetness in the finish, i could see it pairing excellently with asian dishes like stir frys and teriyaki. not bad

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Photo of Knapp85
2.8/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours like a typical pale ale. Golden yellow in color and and has a head that comes and goes shortly after it sits for a minute or two. The Aroma is a little citrusy but not like an IPA. There seems to be a smidge of funk on the nose too. The taste is a little bland, not a whole lot going on. To me it tastes like a regular beer. I was hoping to pick up some of the rice that is brewed into it. The mouthfeel reminded me of just about any other pale ale on the market, it's fairly light bodied and bubbly. I wouldn't have to have this beer again.

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Photo of metter98
3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear golden yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation along with particles floating in suspension. It poured with a thin white head that quickly died down, leaving lacing covering the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of grainy malts, rice and lemongrass in the nose. The initial smell isn’t that pleasant but it does get a bit better as the beer warms up.
T: The taste has flavors of grainy malts along with notes of biscuits and sweetness as well has hints of lemongrass. No hop bitterness is detectable.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied, clean and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is definitely unique for the style, but I’m not sure if I would want to have one of these again when there are better offerings available. It’s definitely a cut above other beers that use rice as adjunct malts.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.72/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

One of the better blonde ales I've had. It's crisp and refreshing as hell, and you can smell/taste the rice used in the process. It has a much better taste than just being an adjunct like BMC uses it for and I think it works well. Another good beer from Great Divide as this one was nice sitting out by the fire.

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Photo of BEERchitect
2.25/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Something new in Lexington. I have never had a beer that boasts so much about rice additions. I'd like to know how much rice / barley is used.

The pour delivers a brighter than expected straw color, especially since the lable explains its unfiltered character. Next to null head formation and only a trace of foam at the perimeter of the glass. Its appearance could easily be mistaken for Miller Lite.

Very, very grainy in the nose- far too much for a so called craft beer. Herbal, floral hop notes swirl around a citrusy, acidic note with a regretable undermalted nose.

Flavors are nearly as grainy as in the aroma but with a faint malt pilsner malt, cracker-like taste. Citrus hops join in the frey and accompany the acidic, baking-soda taste.

The body is where the beer suffers most. Though dry, crisp, and somewhat refreshing, the astringency from the grains make the beer tough to drink. If there were any roundness or fullness to buffer the pure grain husk flavor and feel, I would try to get on board with this one.

There is some promise with a weak pilsner malt base and assertion in the hops, but the beer is a mere shell of a craft beer... basically a pretender.

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Photo of brentk56
4.1/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy straw color with a rocky white head that sits like foamy shampoo on top of the liquid leaving a few shards of lace

Smell: Dare I say it but it smells like rice pudding; pleasantly floral

Taste: Clean and crackery up front, but the rice flavor arrives by mid-palate; after the swallow, there is a pilsner like grainy hop feel but the finish is clean

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Certainly not something I would drink everyday, but a nicely crafted alternative for the light beer crowd

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Photo of zeff80
3.42/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a cloudy, golden yellow color with a white, fizzy, one-finger head. It left small traces of lace.

S - It smelled of yeast and sweet malt.

T - This was a very sweet and spicy beer. There is also a clove-like taste.

M - This is a crisp and sharp. A light-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good blonde ale. It has a great spicy character.

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Photo of oberon
3.58/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint a slight hazed light yellow almost lemonade like a thinner but well sustained white head atop,very muted aromas only light toastiness and a faint passing lemon whiff.Lightly toasted flavors with a tinge of lemon oil it is quite crisp like other have noted,its toastiness is very firm and stays through to the finish,the hops stay in tune with the beer giving a faint smack of citrus in the later stages.Hey it is what it is a easy drinking blonde ale its not a no brainer either I think would be a great summer brew wich seems a long way off right now.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.71/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite effervescent and foamy, the Samurai tried to rise out of the glass on me! It makes for a nice appearance though as clouds of bubbles rise through the clear (?... thought it was unfiltered) golden body. And the head, of course, is impressive. It's a massive pillow of white froth that leaves tiny pillows, patches, and curtains of lace behind. Quite nice!

The aroma is malty with just a hint of hops. It's a hint grainy.

Ahhh, I now see in my final pour that it is unfiltered. It musy have sedimented pretty well though. Onward...

The flavor, not unlike the aroma, is fairly generic. It's got some nice malt that's just a tiny bit sweetish, a bit of yeasty fruitiness, and some spicy hops. Mmmm, there's some floral character as well, and a splinter of wood (soft dry cedar); and the yeast adds a bit of nutty complexity as well. It's solidly bitter, and balanced. It finishes dry with a quick note of raspy bitterness, and then it lingers, offering mainly malt, but a hint of spicy hops as well.

Overall, it's an interesting beer, but it's not compelling.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light yellow color, with a short white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of light malts, some spice, fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is light and sweet with flavors of lemon, spices and grain. There's a good burst of hops bitterness that comes in next to provide a little balance. The malt character is pretty thin. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light body, medium-to-high carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not filling at all, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a nice lighter beer that you can drink quite a bit of over the course of an evening, however, personally I usually prefer something with a bit more substance.

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Photo of mactrail
3.08/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Light bodied, a hazy pale blonde in the tall Stella glass. Attractive head. Rather bitter and quite dry. Long taste of hay with some earthy flavors. A bare hint of usual maltiness. Quite mineral tasting, to me. It seems to get more austere and dry and you sip. I don't detect any hops beyond the modest but clinging bitterness.

Here's another less-common flavor that I suspect is very much a matter of personal taste. The beer seems well made, and certainly has a flavor of its own, but it's not one I plan to try again.

12 oz bottle from Best Damn in San Diego.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.41/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, yellow body with a thin, wispy white head.

Smell: Very lightly malty, sweetish aroma with notes of flowers, sake, and white bread.

Taste: Well, it's just what the aroma would have you expect of the taste. Light, sake-like fruity flavor with a drop of honey sweetness. Floral and bready hints. No more than a light bitterness. Finishes crisp and clean.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: It definitely would make for fine, summertime drinking and wasn't too bad on a grimey day in mid-December, either.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"A samurai should always be prepared for death... whether his own or someone else's."

--Stan Sakai

Blurry lemon topped by a wonderful looking crown of rich, creamy foam. The lid is alabaster in color and has that cobbled, pitted, semi-rocky look that all the good ones possess. It's also responsible for quite a bit of lace-like lace. Samurai could easily be mistaken for a witbier, at least in the looks department.

The aroma is fresh, clean and simple. It's also probably exactly what the brewers were shooting for. No maltiness is present (maybe a whiff of untoasted barley), just a laid back amount of grassy, lightly lemony hops.

It's obvious that this is well-crafted beer. That isn't the least bit surprising since Great Divide is one of the best breweries in the country. Having said that, I don't like Samurai nearly as much as I like the rest of their lineup. I do, however, respect their decision to brew something light and approachable, without going down the well-worn APWA path.

The pale malt backbone is surprisingly sturdy (even with rice making up at least 15-20% of the grain bill), but it still provides almost nothing in the way of flavor. I'm fine with that. The centerpiece, as in the nose, is a probable German/Czech hoppiness that gives the beer a definite pilsener vibe.

I approve of the finishing bitterness, coupled with a rice crispiness, but if maximum sales was the goal (knowing these guys, I doubt it) they probably should have whittled a few more IBUs off the top end. Warming delivers an underlying sweetness, an unripe pear tartness and a white pepper zestiness that wasn't present in the top half of the bottle. It also delivers an increase in the flavor score at no extra charge.

Mouthfeel is the attribute that separates the great craft breweries from the pretenders. This one is pretty close to perfectly calibrated for the task at hand. It's closer to medium than to light, and is pleasingly supple. It's also zestily carbonated, which works well in the grand scheme of things.

It seems to me that a beer brewed to be light, refreshing and easy drinking shouldn't have such an aggressive name. While they aren't nearly as appealing as Samurai Ale, Koi Ale (ornamental carp) or Obi Ale (a kimono sash) would be more fitting. Okay, so I like to do crossword puzzles.

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Photo of russpowell
4.04/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 5th week of may

Pours an effervescent & slightly hazed straw/golden with 3 fingers of fluffed up eggshell-white head. Crazy lacing 7 head retention

S: Lemon & grassy notes

T: Rich honey malt, a little lemon & white pepper. Breadyness + dryness comes through as this warms. plus a hint of grapefruit. Finishes crisp, citrussy & with just a hint of pepper & coriander

MF: Medium-bodied with excellent carbonation & balance

Drinks too easy, not overly complicated, but a nice blonde, none the less. A great choice for hot weather fun

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Photo of Slatetank
4.08/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked this up from Al's of Hamdpen as part of a mix-a-six. Poured chilled into a 1/2pint.

The color is golden clear like white grape juice with a thick white rocky cap w/ very tight bead. The lace clings very well and in a streamer pattern w/ carbonation visible in the liquid. The smell is strong with grainy aroma and slight sweetness of puffed rice w/ mild toasted scent and subtle yeast ester. The feel is dry with a high carbonation level with mildly spiced accent and mild creamy element from the adjunct and malt gives a nice edge to the effervescent quality.

A pretty tasty brew -the rice quality adds a lot while not detracting from the flavor of the beer w/ a mild yeast flavor and light grainy accent w/ very faint hop in the taste w/ dry palate cleansing finish. The taste is cereal oriented, but not tasteless like rice krispies, enough attention to the rice in the beer is paid that it just seems to add crisp dimension without sacrificing flavor IMO. The overall experience for me was very good, I would probably buy this by the six pack since I did enjoy it with my turkey and bacon hoagie, it is definitely a good change from other adjunct beers!

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Photo of smcolw
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pale straw in color with a significant amount of chill haze. Very good head with a long lasting time (it settles to a full finger thick!). Good lace, but not nearly as much as I would expect given the head.

Flaws are easy to find in lighter beers like this one. This one seems to free of them. This has a mild bouquet of lighter malts and subtle hop. Crisp, refreshing and inviting.

Good flavor for the style, but not necessarily delicate enough to place it at the top of the pack. A little heavy on the hop, but it doesn't dominate the aftertaste as it might. There is some nice fruitiness to the palate--mostly sour cherry. My initial thought on the body was that it was too light, but it is growing on me.

This is an easy beer to drink and certainly an excellent alternative to the typical lawn mower offerings.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.66/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears a pale unfiltered golden with particles suspended from the rice and yeast additions. Head billows and forms a doughnut shaped dimpled layer of foam which is bright white in color with nice head retention. Lacing is fine and even on the sides of my glass with each sip.

Aromatics offer up a clean sensual experience blending pale biscuit malt fresh baked dough with a yeast rising deja' vu experience. A touch of balancing herbal hops but this is malt and rice focused. Really delicate but so pleasant at the same time, an evident layer of lemon lime dish soap in there as well without the off putting chemical solvency.

Flavor has nice full pale biscuit malt sweetness with a layer of fruity tartness blending nicely in, minimal hops but evident herbal twang gives me some earthy hop burps. Almost like a mushroom funk in the finish, sounds gross but it works.

Mouthfeel is fuller than I was expecting medium bodied good amount of girth compared to most rice adjunct brews that were used to, carbonation is lively but so naturally smooth. Really hits palate on the sides of with a semi sweet dryness.

Drinkability is pretty killer I could see this going over well as a macro crossover or a summer session lawnmower brew, take your pick. Probably a difficult brew to pull off there's no hiding your flaws with loads of hops and alcohol here, definitely a brew I would want with my American Dream roll next time I hit my local sushi joint up that's a specialty roll with Spicy Tuna, Salmon, and Yellowfin.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.43/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Bottled on Aug 30th 2011. Oh geez another American Blonde Ale, let's see how this goes...

Straw pale colored and extremely light body appearance but also kind of hazy and cloudy (unfiltered), can't quite see through this. Head is shocking white and foamy but seems to have some good retention.

Weak grain on the nose, that's about it. Really nothing much going on here. It's a very faint not sure why (rice content?). At least it isn't Kass makeju you know what I am talking about?? Some mild hints of barley and brown rice.

Taste? What taste, oh wait a minute... there it is on the swallow. A real nice bready finish of white bread on the swallow, but mid palate doesn't give much. Palate feels incredibly neutral with not much going on. Mouthfeel is fine although hints at a syrupy adjunct sense even though there probably isn't any corn in this. The bottle suggests fruity taste, I don't think so.

Overall, it feels like a standard lawnmower beer but just a step up, but nothing really malt or anything I would want to buy a sixer and finish off.

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Photo of jwc215
3.13/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Wasatch for this one.

Brewed and bottled third week of April, as per notching on the label.

Pours straw yellow with an overly foamy large white head that fizzles down to a manageable size, leaving patches of lacing.

The smell is of a mild sweetness, a bit yeasty. Inoffensive.

The taste is of sweet grain with a vague grassy bitterness balancing some of the sweetness. A hint of lemon and yeast come through. Pretty crisp, though not quite clean.

A craft attempt at a "lawn-mowing" beer I suppose. A bit different than the typical brewpub blonde ale, but can't say I enjoyed it much more. Another one to add to the list of "easy refreshers", I suppose. While I can enjoy a mild easy-drinking brew, this seems a bit over-done in that direction (with a few "things" going on, yet not quite coming together, yet under-done, in that nothing really stands out to make me appreciate it.
Worth trying for a quick refresher, but not really worth returning to, IMO.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.58/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Cloudy as heck, thick and yellow, beneath a slim white cap of foam.

Aroma: lemon & wheat, and...? I've smelled this before, in kellerbiers I've tried. Various citric tones, and not too much else.

Zesty appearance on the tongue, and here's where I'm getting a Belgian pale ale / Golden ale feel, without the Belgian yeast. More like a hefe weizen, but with rice. And how about that rice? It's light, fluffy, a bit creamy...I don't hate it, just doesn't add anything special for me. Makes for a refreshing drink, but adds little depth or taste.

This should be called Origami-Folder Ale, instead of Samurai. Or Sandal-Wearing Goldfish-Tender Ale. It's a nice session brew, but lacks anything resembling a spark to set it apart. Oh, well.

*8/18/10, I just reviewed this again, forgetting that I did one 2 1/2 years ago. That's how "memorable" this is.

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Photo of Tone
4.01/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy golden color. There's a lot of suspended yeast. One inch head (white) with decent retention and decent lacing. Smells of sweet malt, rice(adjunct), and some slight fruit. Fits the style of an American Blonde Ale, though also a rice beer. Has a smooth and crisp mouth feel with low carbonation levels. Tastes of sweet malt, strong rice is noticeable, some fruit is present, and some slight hops. Overall, this was a surprisingly good beer - worth a try.

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Photo of drabmuh
2.34/5  rDev -33%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle poured into a stange glass. Beer is yellow and completely hazy with a two finger white head of small and medium bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is grainy and watery.

Beer is thin and harsh with a strong rice-y aftertaste with a harsh acidic twang at the back of the mouth. This beer is gross.

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Samurai Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
3.49 out of 5 based on 596 ratings.
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