Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale | Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers "the garage project"

Liked This Beer
3.29 w/ 243 ratings

Brewed by:
Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers "the garage project"
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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 243 |  Reviews: 145
Photo of mullenite
3.16/5  rDev -4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2008 Vintage

Pours a a clear orange in color with a half finger off white fizzy head that dissipated quickly to nothing. The beer leaves no lacing down the glass.

Smell is fruity and alcoholic, plums and pears stand out the most. The alcohol smell is not harsh by any means and is spot on in comparison to other BSPA's I've had. Wanted a bit more spice to match the intensity of the fruit.

Taste is more like a sparkling pear wine than any beer I've ever had. Sweet fruits from the smell are extreme in the taste with a strong lingering alcohol bite. Very little of the plum smell comes though. Based on the taste this would probably be a good candidate to age, a couple years at most.

Mouthfeel is thin (not watery) with sharp, tight carbonation.

It's a bit too sweet to be easily drinkable, but it is not bad.

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Photo of cottonkoozie
3.74/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep honey golden color, some slight cloudiness. Not much head or lacing though.

S - Strong fruit and coriander smells, also smell the alcohol.

T - Much like the smell. I taste pretty much all fruit, and somewhat of a fermented boozy fruit taste. Unlike any beer i have tasted. Almost reminds me of wine in a way.

M - Nice feel, doesn't look very carbonated in appearance, but has a very full carbonated feel.

D - Pretty drinkable, especially considering the high alcohol content.

At first sip, I didn't think I was going to like this, but it grow on you quickly. A pretty good beer, and very unique. Worth a try definitely.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.29/5  rDev 0%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received as an extra in a recent trade with Kiefdog. Thanks!

Pours a murky deep gold with a very small head on top. No retention, no lacing. Smells of banana's, pineapple, cherry, and yeasty bread. Mouthfeel is crisp and bubbly. Carbonation level is med-high. Flavor is fruity right off the bat with pineapple and some plum. But this mellows to a warm breadiness. I'm not huge into Belgians, which is maybe why this tamed down version one sits well with me. Not bad.

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Photo of bhalter8
3.35/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A toss in on a recent trade, I am always excited to try something new. This one pours a clear pale orange color, with a small white head, which quickly dissipates. To be honest, it looks like a BMC. Smell is faint, as well, some sweet fruit hints attempting to cover the apparent alcohol. Tastes ok, again some fruit sweetness, orange and bananas maybe, but not enough to balance out the strong alcohol. A rather crisp ale, the carbonation and alcohol make it not very enticing to savor in your mouth. Rather drinkable given the alcohol, but doubt I will drink much more. Gordash really has yet to do much for me.

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Photo of glid02
3.45/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this on-tap at Trappeze in Athens, GA.

Pours a slightly hazy gold color with a one-finger white head that recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving webbed lacing.

Smells of candi sugar with husky light fruit aromas. The fruits don't taste dried as in most light Belgians, but rather like they've been cut fresh and soaked in booze.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweetness up front, followed by booze soaked light fruits - bananas and pears with hints of raisins.

Mouthfeel is good. It's a bit on the thin side, though the carbonation is solid.

Drinkability is good. I enjoyed this one, but it's not good enough to make me want another one.

Overall this is a middle-of-the-road Belgian Pale. It's worth a shot, though don't expect anything noteworthy.

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Photo of hoplover82
3.08/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep hazy golden with a small white head that dissapates quickly with little spotty lace.

Smell is very fruity esthery and sweet caramel malts.

The flavor is very malty and hot with booz. Big minus in mjy book. Only to get hotter as it warms.

Medium bodied and harsh alcohol.

Not very drinkble.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
2.7/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a weak head. Orange color

Smell is of sweet malts and very few esters and spices.

This beer isn't worthy of a big descriptive review. It's boozy, the esters aren't there, the malts are sweet, it lacks dryness of the style.

Crisp and dry mouthfeel

This is a poorly done example of the style, it could be worse but I won't bother with this again.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.78/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 Bottle Vintage; Sampled January 2009
A solid pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a two-finger thick, pale tan colored head. The beer is a light amber hue that shows a deep gold, brilliantly clear hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of cracker like grain, honey-like malt, a touch of spiciness and it has a backdrop of fruitiness to it. I am able to isolate notes of pear, ripening melon, white pepper, clove, a touch of young ginger, green apple towards the end and crushed pale grain. As the beer warms the clove notes become more noticeable and in fact dominant. The aroma is not bad, not incredibly interesting, but definitely solid.

Sweet tasting up front with a bit of golden raisin flavor to it (as well as a touch of herbal honey character). This morphs into a mix of green apple and ripe pear that lingers on in the finish. The carbonation provides a bit of texture and carries / conveys some spicy esters and phenolics as well as providing a peppery bite. The spicy notes don't quite balance the sweetness, but do provide flavors of white pepper, lingering clove and a touch of herbal spiciness (fennel and nettle perhaps). In addition to the sweetness the malt character also provides a subtle cracker like grain note towards the finish that tends to give this an almost chewy finish. This beer does have some heft to it, I wouldn't quite call it heavy, but it has a certain viscousness and body that makes it amenable to sipping.

The sweet fruit notes are definitely the most dominant flavors here, but there is a nice spiciness that doesn't quite reach the level that I would like to see for balancing purposes. This is a solid Belgian styled Golden Ale, but it could use a boost of fermentation complexity and definitely would benefit from a lower (drier) final gravity. Still this is an enjoyable brew and it is easily the best thing I have had out of the Florida Beer Company so far.

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Photo of Birmingham
3.86/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Complex fruity aroma with hints of pear

Appearance: Deep Orange/Golden in color with minimum head and lacing

Flavor: Light fruitiness with hints of pear and apples, light alcohol flavor in after taste.

Mouth feel: Minimum body

Overall Impression: 8.5% ABV. Refreshing, drinkable, I could easily have more than one in sitting. Thought the over all flavor is subtle, if you are looking for beer with bold flavor, this is not your beer.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Comes out of the tap a beautiful clear golden with a crisp, malty, somewhat fruity aroma that has a hint of honey - very inviting. Flavor is crisp and fruity - mainly of pear - and has a sharp alcohol bite and a whisper of honey sweetness. Finish is smooth and satisfying.

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Photo of biggmike
3.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dirty-orange color with little head that dissipated quickly leaving a thin film at the top of the beer. Aroma is very fruity, but which kind of fruits is hard to nail down; I think maybe pear. The belgian yeast is also detectable. Mouthfeel is a little thin. It does hide the the 8.5% abv very well. Drinkability is okay, but taste is sort of one-dimensional sweetness. Decent, nothing more.

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Photo of kkipple
3.24/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Grabbed a bottle of this at the Charleston Beer Exchange recently. Never had it. Figured why not? At $2 and change the price was right.

Goes into my beloved Tripel Karmeliet glass pretty quietly, I keep waiting for the head and pour this pretty vigorously, alas, very little is forthcoming. The brew is an unfiltered bland watery brown-orange. Hmm! I can forgive the color, but more head is needed here. Needless to say, there's no lace. Bummer.

Things pick up a bit with the nose, it's quite sweet and full of pear and banana esters - nice. There's a little metal, perhaps from the hops, and a vague Belgian yeast character that could be more full and rich. A bit of grass and pepper spice round this off. I confess Holy M. smells messy, but it's not bad.

The flavor is... middling.
The good: decent fruity esters, honey, spice, pear, a little graininess, yeast strain adds needed character, lots of flavor.
The bad: too sweet by far, seems under attenuated. Mouthfeel is limp and lifeless, where is the crackling carbonation? Booze doesn't show up in the flavor much, but is terrifically warming for only an 8.5% brew. A little restraint would be appreciated.

The problems with this Holy Mackerel drag it down; sadly, most are cosmetic or easily fixed. Up the carbonation level significantly, tack a fine head on here, ferment out more sugar, dial back the booze heat and you'd have a perfectly drinkable American take on a great style. Gordash has the right idea here, and this brew is still worth a shot, but it could be so much better! So it goes.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.47/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Piraat tulip glass. Beer is dark golden and slightly hazy with a small white head. A good amount of lacing is present but the retention is a bit drab.

Aroma is full of bubble gum and a touch of vegetation. A touch of Belgian candi sugar and not much else.

Very sweet upfront with about one second of goodness: bubblegum fruitiness, banana. Immediately becomes very chalky and weird. Sour and almost like a dry, bark-like characteristic (yes, I had bark as a child).

Really weird and odd mouthfeel. ABV is noticeable and isnt very pleasant. This is the first beer I can remember that was above average on appearance and aroma yet went completely into the tank on everything else. Barely finishable. Sweet and chalky and like liquid bubblegum. I dont care for this one at all.

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Photo of gford217
3.2/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a hazy golden orange with little head. The aroma is slightly sweet with Belgian yeast and some lighter fruits as well. The taste is not much different with a pretty one-dimensional sweetness that dominates throughout. The mouthfeel is clean but slightly thinner than I would like. This one is only OK and definitely not one I will try again.

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Photo of avalon07
3.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had an orange color and a cloudy consistency. Not much head or lacing or lacing to speak of.

S: Aroma of fruit, esters, malt and Belgian yeast.

T: Tasted of sweet malt, Belgian yeast, pears and esters. A little thin, with an unpleasant mustiness going down.

M: A decent amount of carbonation and a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: This is a pretty uneven beer. Belgian beers aren't easy to imitate, and this one misses the mark.

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Photo of beveritt
3.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From notes.

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a pint glass. Label depicts a fish (Mackerel I assume) holding a chalice of beer. Label recommends cellaring for 2-3 years. 8.5 % ABV.

Appearance: Pours with 1 finger of nearly white head. Not as big as most Belgians. This settles to a few islands of foam. The beer itself is the color of honey and cloudy enough that you can't see through it.

Smell: Nutty malt with notes of banana and sunflower seeds.

Taste: Sweet malt with honey and bubblegum esters. Slightly warming alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Lower than average carbonation. Body is okay.

Drinkability: An average example of the style. Maybe lacking a little in carbonation and complexity.

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Photo of corby112
3.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type: bottle.

Pours a golden pilsner color with a thin foamy white head. Spicy aroma with hints of light, crisp fruit and alcohol. Flavor is spicy and contains a bit of citrus peel and peppery zestl as well as hints of apple and pear. Slightly dry finish.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.85/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to jw347 for the chance to try this beer from FL. Sampled on a 30 degree November day.

A - nice slightly hazy rich golden brew wiht a nice white head.

S - belgian yeasts, fruity notes, sweet malts a hint of abv warmth.

T - belgian yeast notes, fruit, golden liquid caramel and a hint of pear.

M - medium full bodied, nicely carbonated, some esters and a smoothness which invites you back for more.

D - approachable, engaging with a nice finish.

I had this over dinner with some spicy buffalo wings. It more than held it's own and I've got another bottle to stash in the cellar and see what it turns into with some added time under it's belt.

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Photo of krkearney
3.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, 2008 vintage. Pours golden with a slight orange hue, capped with a fairly large off-white head. Aroma is fairly sweet with notes of tropical fruit, honey, banana and yeast. Flavor is sweet as well, with citrus and tropical fruit. White pepper and spice round out the palate and stick around for a fairly long finish. Drinkable, but a bit too sweet for me.

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Photo of tmoneyba
3.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft at Lost Kangaroo.

Poured dark hazy amber with average rocky off-white head tkat mostly lasted with god lacing. Medium sweet malty aroma of citrus. Medium body with a sticky texture. Medium sweet flavor and small hops and light alcohol bite for a finish.

Good brew and high ABV.

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Photo of ATPete
3.13/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle

Pours a hazy orange color with a small white head that leaves an oily sticking on the glass. A floatie or 2 is spotted in suspension. Sweet malts and candi sugar are right up front, bready yeast, prunes, raison, sweet and spicy hops, corn syrup and under tones of earth, soap and machine funk. Sticky to the lips and coating to the mouth. Very lazy carbonation through out the glass, this beer needs to be way brighter to counter act its immense sweetness and medium body. Very dull but it says it will improve with age. I barely got through this bottle, safe to say i'm going to let my other bottle sit for a long while.

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Photo of LordofTime25
3.8/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours to light golden amber slightly cloudy with a small white head. Lacing present.

You can smell sweet fruit with some spice or citrus.

You can taste the sweetness of the honey and fruit used with a good hops balance!

This is a smooth drinking beer with decent flavor.

If avalible to me I would probably drink it now and then.

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Photo of rtratzlaff
3.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Holy Mackerel pours a light golden ale with a 1/2" white head that leaves little lacing.

Smells are sweet fruit slight spice and citrus.

Taste is sweet up front with orange like fruit quality and a slight hop balance. The mouthfeel is on the slick side for a BSPA. It could probably benefit from a bit more carbonation and more spice kick.

Overall there's nothing amazing, but still a very drinkable brew.

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Photo of tiger88
3.3/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2007 edition. By the way, the guy who said Mr. Limpet...dead on!

Pours a deep honey-gold with little head and no lacing as it drains from the glass. Smells pretty good. Lots of malty sweet aromas coming out. The taste is aerage for a Belgian style golden ale. Really sweet as it warms with a decent amount of carbonation. Alcohol does not dominate the taste at all. Barely recognizable, to be honest. Mouthfeel and drinkability are also average. Nothing too special to report. Not a bad beer but nothing too special to make me want another.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
2.75/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a very light yellow in color. Not a whole lot of head on the pour, but plenty of carbonation. Smell is almost "lagerish". Completely not what I was expecting. Taste was a little off as well. Some hops were present in the taste. Very thin on the mouthfeel. A little tough to finish.

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Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale from Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers "the garage project"
Beer rating: 23% out of 100 with 243 ratings
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