Once Upon A Time 1901 KK | Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

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Once Upon A Time 1901 KKOnce Upon A Time 1901 KK
Very Good
148 Ratings
Once Upon A Time 1901 KKOnce Upon A Time 1901 KK

Brewed by:
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Massachusetts, United States

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
English Strong / Old Ale, or thereabouts.

Added by EPICAC on 10-12-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 148 |  Reviews: 98
Reviews by olradetbalder:
Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

More User Reviews:
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into my glass a deep, charcoal black with a healthy half inch of creamy tan foam on top of the brew. Aromas of big malt, caramel, deep molasses, burnt sugar along with some marshmallow. Big herbal hops with dark fruit undertones and a touch of licorice. Really unique and unlike anything I've come across before.

First sip brings rich, semi-sweet malts upfront. Molasses and burnt sugars meld with a licorice undertone. Caramel accents and dark fruits. Herbal hop bitterness kicks in and makes its presence known. Finishes dry and smooth. Solid brew.

Mouthfeel is big and chewy with good carbonation. Goes down smooth. Overall, this is a really tasty brew that comes together well with some unique flavors. Really glad to have had the chance to sample it. Thanks Josh!

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Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Happy to find this one flowing into my 32 ounce "growler" at DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY. Nice looking brew, near black, head is large and lovely, med. mocha, long lasting and going to a thick collar, fine, thin film and leaving well developed lacing and low riding sheeting. Dark malt and some light earthyness in the nose. Flavorful, easy drinking and enjoyable brew. Dark malts, milk stout like sweetness, oatmeal stout like silkyness. Oozing with bitter dark chocolate and coffee notes. Smoothley citric hops add a snap of bitterness late. Add it up and comes out as a true stunner from PT. Well worth seeking this one out, It'd be nice if this one went into regular production, not sure if it will. Well done...

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Photo of tigg924
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, opaque, black in color

Smell: roasted malt and chocolate--not overly complex

Taste: roasted malt, charred wood, coffee, and citrus hops at the end

Mouthfeel: sweet start with a very bitter finish, medium body, moderate carbonation

Drinkability: An interesting brew that I would seek out again. This tastes borderline Black IPA. The beer is super dry but the flavors come together nicely.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle. This is review No. 1,600.

The beer pours a very dark brown color with red highlights and a tan head. The aroma is cherries, chocolate and some sherry. A very nice, dark fruit aroma is also present.

The flavor is chocolate, dark fruit, roasted malt and a little bit of alcohol. The flavor is not quite as nice as the aroma, but they are both very nice.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of virinow
5/5  rDev +29.2%

Photo of doremite
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of BranfordBound
3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle with no known freshness date into a DFH shaped pint.

Pours inky colored with a two finger tan head. OK Lacing and head is tough to form sometimes.

Mild aroma of roasted malts and a touch of sweetness.

Fairly complex taste here. Starts bready with the roasted malt, then, if the beer is warm, very sweet, chocolate and ripe fruits. Finally, it finishes very charred like charcoal with a pronounced earthy hop note.

Higher end of medium bodied, no alcohol apparent.

Once again, I find myself finishing the bomber after quite some time. There are some metallic notes when cold and the charred and hop note get to be a little much in the end, but still an awesome brew.

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Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of mdaschaf
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes.

A: Pours a deep brown color with a one finger beige head on top, on the foamy side, with nice retention that leaves thin lacing behind.

S: The aroma is rather sweet, almost candy-sweet. There is a bit of dark fruit, some caramel, toffee, and chocolate.

T: On the sweet side, with some caramel and toffee. There is a little bit of roast and coffee along with some dark chocolate.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Slightly sticky finish.

O: Not really sure what is going on with this beer. It's not bad, but not as good as others I have had from Pretty Things. I like that they are recreating these older recipes, but this one just wasn't as good as I was hoping.

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Photo of hreb
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cold 22oz bottle poured into wide-mouth chalice. Beer pours a super dark brown, not black, with nearly no head, but merely an island of chestnut bubbles on top. (A significantly larger head results from pouring the beer after it warms up a bit.) Aroma is of both big hops and big toast.

After the initial sip of carbonation (I'm sure only because I've served it too cold) there's yet another big flavor: unmistakably coffee, then nuttiness, then a sweeter treacle (molasses) flavor, and finally a drier, purer barley malt flavor, brought out with the hops, and elevated by the gentle carbonation. Oh, and a touch of alcohol, though no more than can be expected from the 7.8% brew. Although so far I could be describing an imperial stout, this beer is relatively light on the mouth, not creamy or thick/syrupy.

Quite possibly the best beer from Pretty Things yet.

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Photo of telecomz
2.16/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm a Pretty Things fan-boy and a New Englander to boot. Love the Kk story, but the tatse doesn't match the narrative.

A: Very dark. Little head.

S: Hard to say. Not much here.

T: Worst black IPA I've ever had. There is a slight polystyrene aftertaste to this beer. Not good.

M: Good carbo. Moderate weight.

D: Besides the bad taste, this beer is medium weight without any perceived impact of the ABV

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Photo of Photekut
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of tempest
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber for $7.50 at Abe's Cold Beer. While this was tasty, it was more interesting than anything else. I think I've had a similar beer just once, the Edward Ale from Craftsman Brewing. This also reminded me of the Middle Ages beers, maybe this has Ringwood in it. Anyways there was a good kick of spicy hops and a creamy cocoa malt and yeast (I think that was from the yeast) character. For a second I thought it tasted a bit oxidized, but I think that was just the unusual recipe. Check this out.

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Photo of Rappaman
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Gmann
3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very deep brown color with lighter brown highlights at the edges. The head was a toasted khaki color, dense and foamy, which slowly settled into a sparse cap but left a solid wall of lacing on the glass. The aroma seems to be of a doughy/bready malt, some toffee and candied honey. Perhaps a touch of grassy hops. The taste starts off with a bit of a fusel alcohol punch, the kind that vapors through your nose, which is followed by a bitter hop presence. A bit of an odd combination. There seems to be some roasted flavors in there and a caramel sweetness and a hint of butter. Some herbal notes as well. Not sure about the old ale style but perhaps it will work into it with age. No boozy cherry, raisin or plum flavors. Moderate to full feel with tingly carbonation; finishes quite bitter from the hops and malt. Certainly the most hoppy "old ale" I have had. I definitely think this one needs to age for a bit before you drink it. The hop bitterness needs to soften, the vapory alcohol needs settle and the malt needs to take on a more fruity flavor. I will try to buy another and age it and re-review.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of philbe311
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A very intense looking brew... Three fingers worth of rich creamy full dark brown colored head... Stellar retention... A very deep dark crimson red color teetering on dark brown... A wee bit of light leaks in around the edges of the glass... Still from a distance... Upon closer examination there are some small mixed paced carbonation bubbles deep within... Some lacing clings to the glass as the session proceeds...

S - Dark breads... Cocoa powder... A touch of licorice... A hint of strawberries... Dark cherries... Raisins... A touch of vanilla... Some woody notes... A complex and challenging aroma...

T - A surprising piney hop bitterness to start things off... This is followed by a parade of complex flavors in rapid succession... Bitter espresso... Wood... Tart strawberries... A bit of alcoholic heat... Licorice... The bitterness grows sharper on the finish...

M - Medium bodied... Sturdy... Starts mildly lush but finishes quite dry... Good carbonation that is a bit on the aggressive side...

D - A interesting sipper that is loaded with complexity and proves challenging for even the most advanced of palettes... I grew to appreciate Dan and Pretty Things with each brew I try...

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Photo of spokeydonkey
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber on 01/12/2013 (bottled in Nov. 2012) into a tulip glass.

Dark, almost stout-like in color. Held up to a light it's a deep, deep amber color. A thick, rocky tan head on it. The aroma is roasty with an almost metallic, rusty twang to it. Some fruity notes: apples, plums. Despite this being an outrageously hoppy beer, there's not much hop aroma coming across (or not what I'm used to from modern IPAs). Tastes interesting. Definitely some chocolate, roastiness, and a husky graininess to it. Very earthy hop character that finishes off with a piney, lingering, somewhat harsh bitterness. Just a touch of sweetness to balance it out--not quite enough to counter the aggressive hopping. Body is on the heavier side with moderate carbonation and just a touch of astringency.

Overall, I this is an interesting beer. It's quite unique and unlike any modern black IPA I've tried. I'm not a big fan of roast grain character or sweetness in my beers, and this one has only a touch of each. The bittering is a bit harsh and lingering though. It gets bonus points for novelty and unique flavors I haven't experienced in modern beers, but the more I drink, the less exciting it is. Might buy again if they release it next year, but not on a regular basis.

 1,267 characters

Photo of bcm119
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep brown color with a frothy tan head. Roasty, smokey aroma. Roasted malt and leafy green hop bitterness. Earthy malt flavors with hints of baking spice and burnt molasses. Hops are plentiful and lend a clean, pine/lemon bitterness that lingers well beyond the finish. Chewy mouthfeel with a long, hoppy finish. A very tasty and complex beer.

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Photo of gregshead
2.67/5  rDev -31%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A: Brown/Black with a light brown head. Head dissipates over a couple minutes.

S: Chocolate and wet laundry.

T: Sourish black IPA hops but the sour isn't a good sour in this one. The funk/sour taste and the hoppy floral bitterness didn't come together right in this one for me

M: A large amount of carbonation was the saving grace of this beer for me.

D: Not a fan of this beer. The funk/sourness is off the charts with the strange intermixing of floral bitterness didn't work for my palate.

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4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bomber to pint glass. $10.00 for the bottle.

From the website: "...the second installment of our "Once Upon a Time" historical beer series we have once again teamed up with historian Ron Pattinson of Amsterdam to recreate a beer from Britain's past."

A: A foamy/frothy head of 2 fingers with a color something like 'Red Cedar Meets Mocha.' The head deposits a sticky sheet of lace throughout its slow demise. An everlasting film remains. The body is pitch black with absolutely no clarity. Lacing from the body continues to impress. Two-thirds of the glass is coated with 100% contiguous sheets which, when dry, resemble the pointillism of a Seurat painting. I am amazed at the appearance...but not surprised; Pretty Things consistently produces excellent looking brews.

S & T: Dark malts are roasty and present strong aromas and flavors of chocolate, cereal and bread crust. Bramling Cross and Kent Goldings hops are heavy and contribute notes that are both grassy and herbal. There is a corresponding leafy yeastiness to the nose. Light scents of cardboard are detectable. The mildest fruity component is noticeably on the palate as the beer nears room temperature. The same warming also increases the already high level of bitterness. Lightly sour. Finishes dry, acrid and heavily bitter.

M: Medium body with a very minerally, gritty texture. The carbonation is fizzy and of average intensity. Light alcoholic warmth comes from the belly up.

D: This beer has great flavor and has been a pleasure to drink but long term enjoyment is nearly impossible given the dryness and lingering bitterness of this recreated old world brew.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

nice, deep, dark brown with lots of ruby tones mixed in throughout. A nice sized two finger head of light tan came up through the top and settled down quickly, leaving behind a nice film across the top and a good amount of side glass lace. The aroma was rich, candy sweet and mixed with a touch of alcohol. Light bready aroma lying underneath gave way to a very pronounced candied sugar like malt in the middle. Some light touches of fruit, but this was a caramel malt driven monster. Hints of alcohol in the finish, but a really nice medium body that was more then adequately carbonated was the real treat here. A very nice evening sipper that I would have no issue with repeating in the future.

Overall I thought this was excellent.

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Photo of richbrew
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown/black color with a huge fluffy tan head, fades really slow, leaves a decent cap on top and some patchy lacing in its path down.

Smell is immediately hoppy, but after that you get a strange sweetness, molasses most likely, which blends in rather nicely with the large roasted malt presence.

Taste reminds me of either a hoppy porter or a black IPA, an old ale this does not taste like, the hops aren't as noticeable on the tongue as they were in the nose but they still demand respect, the roasted malt provides a solid backbone and finishes with a nice bitterness that doesn't overstay its welcome, good body to it thanks to the carbonation which is active but not sharp, lends itself to a decent creaminess when not too active, alcohol is hardly present in the taste which is rather surprising for an "old ale".

This beer, as it says on the label, confounds "expectations". I'm sure it did back in the day, but now it'd be considered a black IPA (regardless of the brewer's own expectations).

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Once Upon A Time 1901 KK from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 148 ratings