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

243 Ratings
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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

For Trade:
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Ratings: 243 |  Reviews: 145
Photo of mooseisloose
3.72/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First sampled at the local beer vending establishment, where the brewmeister was showing his wares. Tasty, so I picked some up for enjoyment and further review. Smell is yeasty with a zesty hoppiness on top of a light malt base. Pours to a hearty golden colour with not much head. Mouthfeel is very thick and heavy like a beer of the style warrants. Carbonation is present and accounted for but not overly done. Flavor is sweet then then tart with a good sweet but zesty hop taste that finishes mildly bitter and slightly dry. Definite excellent use of local flavors, orange and lime. Yeast taste is present throughout. A good HG Belgian for the hot climate. A little pricy but hey, with the AC it's a 2 for 1.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A 12 oz. bottle poured to a La Chouffe tulip glass; this is the '2007' edition. I mistook this for having a twist-off cap and was surprised when it actually turned pretty easily without releasing...even though it was meant to be pried off. Hmmm, that doesn't bode well for cellaring for the 2-3 years suggested on the bottle (by the way, who in Florida actually HAS a cellar?!?!).

German pilsner malt and Czech Saaz hops are used in this 'Belgian-style' golden 'with a Florida twist'(???).

Among the least attractive labels I've seen; think Don Knotts' 'Mr. Limpet' from the 1960s; add buckteeth, dreadlocks and an operable fin capable of hoisting a small goblet. Also add sunshine yellow (hand)lettering (with fishtail-like 'Y' and 'K', cute) and you've got an empty bottle I'm keeping because it's: a) my first reviewed Florida beer, b) so. eff-ing. ugly.

So onto the beer:

A: Look is attractive - a 'shiny copper penny' orange capped with a finger-worth of sudsy, off-white cream. Light haziness, plenty of rising carbonation. Decent lacing dropping in a thin veil.

S: Light sweet aroma of fruit (sugary peaches & pears; think 'fruit cup'), an odd whiff of bubblegum, a hint of yeasty tartness.

T: Livelier fruit - pears are juicy and sweet, apple is crisp and slightly buttery. Yeasty doughiness is wrapped in another sweet/tart fruit flavor: orange marmalade? Hints of woodiness in a finish that holds onto sweetness before drying just a little.

M: Creamy smoothness with a little carbonated tingle lingering at the tip of the tongue. Nice consistency but a bit thin/watery finish, which is a little surprising from a malty, high-gravity beer style like this. Slight alcohol warmth.

D: Overall, pretty tasty and easy to enjoy. This won't beat most Belgians of the style, but the effort is there. Glad to have tried this; wouldn't mind another but not something I'd seek out either.

This bottle came to Oregon courtesy of my man, Metalmonk. Thanks Jeff!

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Photo of YankChef
3.8/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into a tulip glass

Apperance: Hazy dark orange with some paler hues, head quickly dissipates and doesn't hold up very well.

Smell: Sweet on the nose with some berry and maybe even some subtle stone fruit. Slightly yeasty and bready as well but the aroma in general is relatively mild.

Taste: This beer is sweet, that is the first thing that is clearly apparent is the sweetness level, hop prescence is mild and the flavor of saaz clearly comes through. Enjoyable, however it feels like a desert beer.

Overall: Within this style it doesn't really fit, most belgian pales are outstanding at balance and this is not balanced the malt is slightly overwhelming and is not really dealt with. Still an enjoyable beer and would pair well with dessert or as an after dinner beer.

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

i am not real sure but i think this one was brewed with orange blosom honney, any way this one is good, it is darker almost orange for a golden. this one has a strong alcohol flavor at the end but that is to be expected with this tipe of ale. i think that this one will cellar very well and will have to get my hands on more of theese in the near future. if you see this one try it, its good!

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Photo of aubuc1
3.62/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured in to a goblet.

Pours a orange/brown with a quickly disapating head.

Smells of sweet malt with banana and yeast.

Tastes of bread, banana and clove. The alcohol is present.

Nice mouthfeel, but nothing special.

Pretty sweet to be too drinkable, but a recommendable FL beer.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2008 edition

12oz bottle. Pours a dark golden orange color with an off-white head. The aroma is almost a mixture between a Saison and a Belgian Strong Pale Ale and a hefeweizen, strange sounding I'm sure but it is the first thing that came to mind. The nose features sweet fruity malts and spices with some banana and clove. The taste is very similar to the aroma sweet malt up front with some spices. After trying Mack in Black and not being impressed at all, this is definitely a solid offering no question. Overall, Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale is a pretty decent brew that is worth a shot. Nothing spectacular, but it is a pretty decent beer.

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Photo of SigEp
2.61/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours clear and golden but with less carbonation than this style deserves. In the nose, belgiany fruitiness and malt and...peanut butter??!!??? what the hell is that? Don't taste any diacetyl but damn if it doesn't smell like peanut butter!

Not horrible for a belgian golden strong but not great by any means. It tastes a little watery, with some malty background, however the fizz is not high enough to toss those dynamic belgian yeast characteristics about on my palate.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.42/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

The ugly-ass label jumped out at me in all its yellow glory. Since I'd never in my life had a beer from Florida, the price was decent, and it's a Belgian-style golden ale, I sprung for a 4-pack.

A standard-looking Belgian golden ale, which is to say it's got a nice orange-y glow. The head may not be huge but it sticks around a long time. Lots of bubbles and generous lacing. Pretty much par for the course.

Aroma hits the mark. Nothing too unique or complex, but if it's trying to mimic Duvel, Judas and/or Lucifer, it's not a bad try. The alcohol is just slightly too-obvious, the fruitiness is on the sour end, but overall it recalls some wonderful Belgian beers.

Flavor-wise it gets pretty close to tripel territory, with some exotic spice character peeking through, huge sweetness, and a mouthful of warming alcohol that thankfully doesn't burn. It's very fruity, some apple, some peach, lots of pear. I miss the more assertive Belgian yeast presence of other, better beers in this style, but there's still plenty to enjoy. The only flaw, and it's a fairly major one, is that the alcohol overstays its welcome after only a few sips and a few minutes of warming. From the finish to the ghost of aftertaste, it starts to feel more like you just drank aftershave and not a great ale. The first sip was impressive, the second pretty good, and by the third I started to feel violated. Damn you, mackerel.

The mouthfeel is a real winner, providing a succulent creaminess that glides and slides you through one sip to the next. A texture much like many of its Belgian counterparts. I won't let the iffy flavor keep me from enjoying this aspect of the beer.

Flawed in terms of balance, or its lack thereof. But it's not even a bad beer in its current state. Somehow it reminded me in places of Victory's Golden Monkey: strong, sweet, unsubtle. If they could just mask the weird alcohol aftertaste and let the yeast do some talking, they'd have a pretty great beer here.

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Photo of drunkmonk
3.6/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cloudy golden bronze, with thin creamy head. Thin sheet of lace. Spicy corriander and some bannanna, tofee and some earthy hops. Flavor follows suite with some sweet malt and corriander and spices. No hop presence. Finishes a bit on the sweet side. Alchohol is very well intergrated. Light and crisp, maybe a little to light, with ample carbonation. Overall an easy drinker, but a bit on the sweeter side. Not bad

Thanks to Paulthebeerguru for the throw in.

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

I picked this one up at Dorn's Liquor in Gainesville, hadn't heard of it before. I generally enjoy the native Florida beers like Hurricane Reef and Dunnedin. This had some pretty good flavor. Poured a nice dark amber color, darker on the top and fading a little lighter on the bottom. Smelled fruity with a hint of yeast, mostly green raisins. Taste was pretty fruit with a bit tartness, pretty well balanced and a hansome ABV.

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Photo of number1bum
3.53/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of NEPA BC split #13.

Poured into a Chimay goblet it's an orangey golden color with decent clarity and about a finger of off-white head. Keeps a thin lace and leaves some stick on the sides.

Smells of sweet malt, some yeast, quite fruity with a buttery/bubble gum like aroma.

Taste is sweet and quite fruity. A bit too one dimensional in the sweetness, which seems to have some honey in addition to the pale malt, but the multi-layered fruitiness (passion fruit especially) helps. There's a buttery quality to it, and not much in the way of spice or yeast. Mouthfeel is a hefty medium body, pretty slick on the palate. It feels sort of chewy and bready in the mouth even from the abundance of sweet malt.

Not too bad...a bit too sweet and not very complex, but it's drinkable. Not something I'd go out of my way for again, but it's worth a try.

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Photo of oberon
3.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Its been awhile since I had some Florida wares at least 3-4 years,this Belgian goldan style poured into an oversized wine glass a dull light to medium golden with a well defined 1/2 finger white head atop leaving spotty lace as it settled.A little phenolic bubble gum quality in the nose along with some juicy fruit with a tinge of smoke again from the phenols,pretty basic flavors quite fruity like overripe pineapple and mango phenols produce a bit of clove and ginger-like spice but its held in check pretty well.Basic but not bad really the alcohol is very well hidden,I wouldnt go out of the way to get it but its decent.

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Photo of AgingWarrior
3.54/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice golden color into a tulip glass with a nice white head that held up pretty well with plenty of lacing.

You can smell fruits and hops with the first whiff. The taste is crisp with plenty of hoppiness, a good front end and a better finish. Fruity and light on the front, with the hops coming in on the finish. This is a pretty sweet tasting brew, which is not my standard fare, but not unpleasant.

Decent mouthfeel, maybe a bit on the thin side.

I could drink a couple of these on a hot day, as it was I enjoyed the heck out of the one that I drank.

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Photo of paulthebeerguru
3.15/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 bottle

Poured into a snifter. Slightly hazed orange/yellow color, with a nice white head on top that drops rather quick but rides out at about an eighth of an inch. Decent lacing, but it tends to drop back into the beer. Aromas are strong banana, clove, yeast, some apple and a little bit of plum. Very nice tasting for a Florida beer. Its just too sweet. Hints of banana, clove, and faint plum. Nice clean palate, good carbonation level. A little too sweet on the palate though. Its a nice golden ale, and not really a session beer at 8.5%, but its enjoyable if you like your beers a little sweeter.

note: it is less sweet than the 2007 bottle, but not by much.

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Photo of jenbys2001
1.18/5  rDev -64.7%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

As a native Floridian, I support local brewers whenever possible. Unfortunately I was greatly disappointed in this beer. I poured small glasses for a group of friends, who all have fairly discriminating tastes, and our unanimous reaction was disgust. Although I recognize this is meant to be a "loud" beer, the features have been exaggerated to the point that is it undrinkable. It was extremely sweet and syrupy, with a truly unpleasant flavor. We actually poured it out, and that is unheard of in our beer loving household.

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Photo of GatorBeerNerd
3.77/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a reddish brown color that looks similar to a glass of apple juice but slightly darker. There was a thin amount of head that quickly disappeared into a thin ring.

S: The classic Belgian yeast aroma dominates this one. I really don't pick up much of anything else except a fruity tone. However, since I love that Belgian yeast smell I give it high marks. Might as well smell like what you are, a Belgian beer.

T: It starts out sweet and changes to a slightly bitter taste pretty quickly. Then the alcohol kicks in when swallowed. This beer isn't anything special, but I give it slightly better than average marks because of the varied flavors.

M: It feels a little thin an lacks in mouth carbonation, but I really like the spicing that tingles the tongue.

D: This one is very easy to consume. Nothing is objectionable in the taste.

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Photo of rebel1771
3/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a very light copper color with a small quickly disappearing head.

Sweet caramel aroma jumps out first with what seems like a slight grape smell.

Heavy sweet flavor of ripe grapes jump out along with honey flavors and a bit of dryness at the end.

This brew might be a bit to sweet for me. I was expecting a little more from this brew.

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Photo of 484dan
2.68/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nothing really exciting going on here. Pale orange in color with very little lace on the glass. Sweet to the lips with just a hint of spice. Other than that, it was sort of disappointing. I plan on "cellaring" a few- maybe it will get better with age.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
1.73/5  rDev -48.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Acquired via trade from paulthebeerguru, so a big Thank You goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light amber color, with a very thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is a little pungent and contains light malts, Belgian yeast, some fruit and some spice.

T: The taste is sweet up front with flavors of apples, bananas and spices, then some harsh flavors of Belgian yeast and hops come and cause a nasty bitterness. None of the flavors seem to compliment each other at all. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Crisp but not smooth at all, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: I didn't find it tasty and it did not go down very well, not too filling, good kick, not a good representation of style, I would not choose this beer again under any circumstances.

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Photo of McDiddyPop
3.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I had a 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

The color was a golden amber color with a bit of cloudiness. A small head on the pour that diminished quickly into almost nothing. It smelled sweet, like a honey-citrusy aroma. The taste was also pretty sweet, like honey with an aftertaste of yeast and a small bit of alcohol. Not enough carbonation for my taste. It left a sour bready flavor in my mouth for a bit afterwards. Definitely not a clean finish.

I don't think I will be picking this one up in the future, but I have definitely had worse.

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Photo of atsprings
3.82/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crisp pale yellow with a thin head that quickly diminishes to a ring. Aroma is sweet malts, citrus hops and slight spice. The taste is citrus hops in front with sweet malts and Belgian yeast right behind. The beer is medium bodied and a little on the gelatin side. This one is somewhat enjoyable, but a certainly a sipper.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.11/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, orange body with a small, off-white head.

Smell: Sugar-coated honey malt aroma with notes of orange peel, bananas, and a whiff of fusel alcohol.

Taste: Lightly malty with a sharply honey candy sweetness. Meager pinch of spice. Orange and banana fruitines. A hint of bitterness struggles to temper the sweetness. Light yeastiness. Semi-dry, boozey finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation. Quite warming.

Drinkability: This may come to the surprise of many here, but I didn't really care for this beer.

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Photo of SIRIUS2
3.97/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Light gold in color; minimal head produced as poured into a chalice style glass from the bottle. Bubbles disappeared very quickly leaving not much behind.

S: Fruity with spices and a touch floral.

T: Surprisingly sweet with lots of spice flavors and citrus fruit. Sweetness not in a malty sense, but just a sort of residual sweetness, like candy.

M&D: Medium on body, probably due to the sweetness. Carbonation is light and springy. Aftertaste is too sweet, almost cloying.

When I found this in the local store I was kind of excited because I had never seen it before. I was hoping more for something in the classical sense of the golden Belgian ale. I think it was good, but, honestly, it was too sweet. I think I could enjoy one of these once in a while but not too often.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.75/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very slightly foggy light orange amber with a thin white head that falls fast. Nose is strong with yeast and dough. Kind of overpowering though. Flavor is bright with citrus tones. Noticeable sugar. Minor spice tones. Overall a very vibrant flavor profile. Feel has a good carbonation to it, but the liquid is a bit sticky. The verdict is that this is actually a pretty decent BSPA. I have certainly had some real bombs of this style when produced in the U.S., but this is not too bad. Round the edges out a bit, and you've got one hell of an ale. Much potential.

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Photo of weeare138
3.47/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a transparent gold with a small white head that quickly fades into a small collar. Mild speckles of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of apricots, apples, meyer lemons, cloves, coriander, doughy bread, nectarines, and caramel.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with more of an estery flavor that reminds me a little bit of the Unibroue yeast strain with a pilsner malt base.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, hot of alcohol, spicy, and yeasty.
This one is in need of some age.

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Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale from Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers "the garage project"
3.34 out of 5 based on 243 ratings.
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