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Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale | Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers

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143 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers
Florida, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 06-02-2008

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Reviews: 143 | Ratings: 241
Photo of John_M
3.82/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another beer that grew on me as I drank it.

The beer pours an orange honey color, but with minimal head retention and lacing. On the nose it's apparent this is going to be a very sweet beer. The nose is all honey, cream and butter. Flavors on the palate replicate the nose, but there's a bit of underlying bitterness from the hops which helps to cut some of the sweetness. Mouthfeel is decent on this beer, though it's a bit syrupy. Abv. is noticeable, but is not obtrusive or tiring. However, the combination of sweetness and relatively high abv. detracts a bit from the drinkability of this beer.

While not outstanding, this beer was still enjoyable to drink. The next time I'm in Florida, I wouldn't hesitate to order this beer if ever I see it on the beer list.

 767 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.22/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My first Floridian bottled effort to sample, I had a couple Jacksonville Brewpub down at the Landing that were pretty effin' unremarkable. This one appears a honey golden hue kinda glows with a bright orange tint bright white head and fine speckled lacing forming as it dwindles. Aromatics come with sweet honey & tropical fruit, bubblegum esters nice tones with yeast spicines, pale malts provide biscuit like qualities. Low herbal hop flow with a mineral note added, is what I'm getting. Flavor has syrupy sweetness with Belgian candi sugar added fruit esters thrive with pear and tropical fruit some herbal perfumey spices with minimal hop notes, warming alcohol in the finish. Mouthfeel is sticky with a medium body not cloyingly sweet or syrupy carbonation flows well but can't touch the effervescence that most Belgians have to offer. Very good sipping Belgian style especially outta Melbourne FL, I'm glad a took a stab at it decent offering.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
3.12/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 brown bottle,served into a flared tulip glass.

Hazy,glowing reddish orange with golden highlights. Very thin white head,turned quickly into a thin collar on the inside of the glass,leaving no lacing.Had a good stream of bubbles stringing from the center of the glass.

Moderate aromas,fruity,bubble gum with hints of a Belgian,and some yeasty notes.

Fruity, with hints of Belgian character. Very sweet throughout,sugary,candy-like with somewhat of a honey-like presence. Slightly tart and sour with a drying,hop bite at the end.The alcohol was well hidden,probably buried beneath the sweetness. Hard to tell the style by the taste,seemed like a combined style. Not like any of the other Belgian strong pale ales i've tried.

Medium bodied with some sticky cloying feel. Decent beer, easy to drink,no problem finishing this one. Was just a bit to sweet for my tastes.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.85/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden/ yellow color with a white head. In the aroma, fruity notes and a small sweetness. In the taste, a dry fruitiness, somewhat green apple like. A smooth malty mouthfeel, and a dry fruity aftertaste. Nice dry fruitiness, yet smooth and easy to drink. Hides the alcohol quite well. Not too shabby.

 308 characters

Photo of Torch
2.53/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I bought this beer in a 4-pack in Sandestin, Florida. I'm was in town visiting and wanted to try something from Florida.

This beer was a disappointment overall. The appearance and smell are less than average, especially the smell. I do like Belgium style ale OK but this beer, although hinting at its roots just doesn't quite live up.

OK overall but not one I would recommend.

 378 characters

Photo of NJpadreFan
3/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Holy Mackerel

Strange looking beer from Florida, so i had to buy.

A- Light copper orange/ brown with no head.
S- Sweet grape and lemon aroma. Hints of straw and honey.
T- Sweet honey with lemon and grape. Plenty of raw sugar present.
M- Sweet, sweet, sweet. Sighty flat with a honey/ mead like finish?!

Overall- This is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale?! Seemed more like a mediocre American rendition of a tripal. Nothing special here other than the name and weird fish on the label.

 480 characters

Photo of hoppymeal
3.59/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very light copper to gold in color, perfectly clear, with a small white head that fades quickly to a faint covering. Smell is a strong lemon and honey sweetness that shows a bit of alcohol, also a more subtle banana bread sweetness behind this. Taste follows suit with a nice bready sweetness in the background blending with the lemon and honey. Mouthfeel is medium and slightly cloying sweetness, small amount of hoppy dryness in the finish. A good beer, a little thick for my preferences within the style, has hints of crispness and dryness that try to cut through. Look forward to seeing how a little age affects this one.

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Photo of jspruit
3.62/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle I received as a gift from family in Florida. Plenty of carbonation in the pour with lots of little bubbles but didnt amount too a large head-a small white one really.

Smells of a fruity ale-a bit like you would expect from a Belgian, but not quite as full.

Initial taste is a bit of a Belgian with some wheat hints. There are some sweet hints too and it is a bit malty. 8.5% ABV comes through a bit strong. Hops come through when the beer lowers in temp a bit and it is a nice drink.

Drinkability is nice, but because it does come off a bit strong, I wouldnt select this as a session beer. I would definitely have another if given the opportunity-I like the idea of local Florida made beer.

 724 characters

Photo of hunteraw
3.34/5  rDev 0%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Purchased at the Whole Foods in Coral Springs, FL. Glad to be the 10th reviewer and gave this one a WR.

Appearance: surprisingly yellow in the glass with a small head and poor retention. Would benefit from either more color, or less - as is, not very attractive. Wheat malt to increase head retention?

Smell: As advertised, Belgian yeast aroma. Fruity with just a bit of spice.

Taste: Too sweet, candi flavor. Slight citrus.

Mouthfeel is at least medium - heavier than expected for the style, borderline syrupy. Carbonation on the light side.

Drinkability: Mediocre.

 572 characters

Photo of daliandragon
3.47/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was advertised as a Belgian Beer with a Florida twist. I'll admit I was slghtly intriqued. Also claimed on the label to use German Pilsner malt and Saaz hops.

Poured a dark golden color reminiscent of a quality Belgian but the head was lacking, dissipating to almost nothing within nanoseconds. That familiar pilsner smell does rise from this beer, along with a weighty malt nose and some tendrils of yeast and alcohol both.

The taste is interesting, with the promised heavy malt and expected alcohol notes. Buttery, thick texture with an oily finish. Not Belgian but maybe "Belgianesque". This is a cool beer if you can find it. Not awesome but worth trying and has a nice kick.

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Photo of bluegrassbrew
3.42/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a goblet.

Pours a dirty looking gold with no head to speak of.

Smell is a bit of bubble gum and some percievable alcohol.

Taste is again sweet bubble gum, and just a hint of hops. Let this one warm and open up and it becomes much more enjoyable.

A bit watery.

Alcohol, though noticable on the nose, is well hidden. Overall, a decent version of a BSPA. I would not go out of my way to get it, but it is worth trying.

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Photo of IPAcraig
3.49/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Picked up this beer in Panama City, I was in the area to see my friend from Sweden and his family. Poured into my De Garre snifter.

A - Pours a golde yellow, with a bit of haze but not enough to not see through. Not a bit of head even after a vigourous pour. No lacing.

S - Nice aroma, though nothing great. Smells a bit spicey, with a hint of sweet malt. A tiny bit of that Belgian yeast aroma.

T - Nice tasting beer. A bit too sweet for me, and not enough of a yeasty presence, but it is actually noticeable. A little bit of spice, perhaps coriander and orange peel; a bit "wittish".

M - Very light and crisp.

D - Exceptionally drinkable. Despite the low ranking I give this beer, I could definitely drink several of these in a sitting. I will pick this up again if given the chance.

 800 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.56/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A - Light gold color, good clarity, somewhat small head for the style.

S- sweet, malty, honey like aroma. Some nice yeasty esters as it warms up.

T - Malty, grainy flavor. A little bit of hops. Definitely some belgian golden flavor here, but the sweetness is distracting. Sweet syrupy finish.

M - Thick and sweet. Way too heavy for the style, not quite enough carbonation to lift it off the palate.

D - Overall not bad. It is too thick and sweet for the style and a sad substitute for Duvel flavor wise as well. An ok effort, about the same level of quality as the rest of FBC's beers.... at least they are trying something new.

 640 characters

Photo of
2.88/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz. bottle. 2007 version.

Poured a clear, light gold color. Small, creamy, white head.

Belgian character in the nose -- earthy and citrus. Spicy, maybe pepper and coriander. Floral notes. Appealing.

Taste was all about sweet candi sugar. Alcohol, quite noticeable, was next. Bready in the middle. Finished with some floral/herbal notes. Didn't seem to be particularly complex or put together very well.

Medium body. Low to medium carbonation, increasing would improve, IMO. Not dry at all.

To me, fits within style, just not a very good attempt. Too sweet and hot, and not particularly well integrated. The bottle suggested aging, and it certainly couldn't hurt.

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Photo of Drew966
3.26/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Holy Mackeral pours a golden color with a white head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. The aroma is lacking, in that there isn't much of one. A bit of malt, perhaps a bit of esters. Same goes for the taste, it's not bad, just lacking. The Belgian yeast character is there, some hops are noticeable, and I'm getting almost a wheat beer flavor, banana or clove type thing. There are some estery flavors. Overall, it's okay, worth a try.

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Photo of jettjon
3.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this one up at a local pub in Florida that is pretty good about getting new stuff in.

From a 12 oz bottle marked "2007," into a pint glass (unfortunately). This one would have benefited from some decent, non-frosty glassware, but oh well. Hard pour yields a 1-finger white head that fades quickly leaving a thin ring and no real lacing. Hazy golden color with no carbonation. Average appearance at best. No real nose either; serving suggestion is 45 degrees, but the beer's character doesn't come out until it warms quite a bit. Just a touch of sweet malt on the nose and a vague, sweet fruity aroma. Taste is straight up strong pale ale, instantly recognizable and actually rather well done. Up to this point, I was not terribly impressed, but as the beer warms, the flavor and mouthfeel come into their own. Firm alcohol warmth (8.5%) asserts up front, followed by a good, middle-of-the-road hop burn, balanced nicely against a malt backbone that follows it down to a rich, malty finish. Notes of citrus/grapefruit and hints of coriander. Mouth is unassuming yet definitely present in the form of a semi-creamy, lightly and crisply carbonated slick liquid. Drinkability is good; the taste and mouth really bring things together, though the ABV precludes having too many too fast.

Overall: A good interpretation of the style, but not exemplary. Best served warmer than the suggested 45 degrees. Definitely worth a try, if you can find one.

 1,453 characters

Photo of ohmybock
3.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a new beer out of Florida which seems to be quite hard to find.

I bought some recently, and the bottles say it is a "2007 Special Golden Ale". I'm not usually a huge fan of (Belgian) golden ales, but I went ahead and bought some bottles anyway. Thankfully, I was happily surprised by what I got. The bottle says, "Brewed in Melbourne, Florida this golden ale is Belgian-style yet with a Florida twist. Handcrafted in small batches using the finest all natural ingredients, including German pilsner malt and Czech saaz hops. Quite a refreshing, yet complex beer, that will only mature if cellared for 2-3 years. Ideal serving tempurature 45F."

Again, I'm not a *huge* fan of Belgian golden ales, but I thought this brew was quite good. It has a Belgian-y character from (the yeast?) along with some subtle spices...maybe a touch of coriander along with something else? I wouldn't mind going for another one of these at some point.

If nothing else, it's really nice to see something a bit unusual and quite respectable coming out of Florida!

 1,051 characters

Photo of meadhead
3.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

the winner of some home brewing contest
apparently in the late nineties

is actually brewed by Gordash Brewing
under an agreement to the Florida Beer Company

a self proclaimed belgian style ale with a florida twist
is noted to include German Pilsner malt, Czech Saaz hops
and the finest all natural ingredients

Pours a slight hazy tan
with not much of a head
although a fine lace
lingers around the edge

smells of the grain pilsner malts
and a slight tartish yeast
not the typical profile
has its own

The taste is really a hybrid
a few things going on
spice pepper hops
sweet grain malt
very slight yeast apricot ester
that have a hard to place feel
as they're blended together

has a nice carbonation
balance of sweet and bitter
a little hint of wild funk
and also zinging pleasure

seems like a saison
a pilsner and Duvel
all in one with
a mouthfeel reminescent
of some dogfish head™
midas touch

yet thats just my take
really is worth a try

I had the 2007 batch
and think again
I will buy

 1,052 characters

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Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale from Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers
3.34 out of 5 based on 241 ratings.
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