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

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.

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Reviews: 98 | Ratings: 148
Photo of Weidman26
4.85/5  rDev +26%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If I were alive 100 years ago and having a draught by the sea in any of the island nations about the european north...This is what I would be having.

That is the thought conjured by this brew. Yet I am alive and well in this time and loving it quite well enough.

I would love to break down the particulars of this beer but truthfully that feels like a denegration to the overall masterpiece that is this beer I will simply sum up and hope that everyone will give this gem an effort

dark bitter hoppy murky enigmatic foggy briney obsidian seaworthy fortitude

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Photo of ybnorml
4.71/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours dark brown but is pretty much solid black in the glass. Has a big thick brown head and leaves marvelous lace. Notes of molasses and spicey hops in the aroma. The flavor is intense, bittersweet chocolate, hints of molasses, earthy, spicey hops, light notes of black cherries, licorice and a hint of tobacco on the finish. Damn this would be fantastic with a ploughmans lunch or any hearty British pub food. I Love It!

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Photo of Pahn
4.56/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Free pour yields a two inch, frothy tan head that dissipates slowly leaving solid lacing walls. Pours a solid black and leaves spots, streaks, and walls of lacing. Looks serious.

Smell: Smells serious too... wow, they put a lot of hops in, didn't they? Great, somewhat citrusy, floral, hop dominant aroma with a sugary cupcake backbone supporting it. Some mild and pleasant booziness comes out with warmth, emphasizing some of the spicier hop aromas. While not dank, it smells as hop-forward as the silliest of west coast American DIPAs.

Taste: Whoa. Giant hops. I can't find the IBUs anywhere online (probably because the information isn't normally that useful for consumers anyway...), but I would be unsurprised if I learned that this was hitting 100~ IBU. Heavy hop bitterness tamed by the sweet caramel & cookie dough like malt.

The bitterness is all hops, no roast; it's not like a stout. I doubt they used any roasted malt at all. The closest analogues I can find to this beer are Ithaca's Cascazilla (turned up to 11), or Stone's Arrogant Bastard or Double Bastard, but no pineapple / grapefruit hops, just tons and tons of Goldings.

The flavor is very sweet, very bitter, with a mild heat running through it. The masterful balance of bold flavors yields another Stone comparison for me, because only Stone consistently turns the boldness up so high with such perfected balance.

Despite its boldness and balance, it's not simplistic. With warmth the flavor develops some beautiful molasses notes, some savory tang, more chocolate and decadent pastry-like malt flavors, and constantly changing (but forefronted and balanced) hop flavors. It would not be hard to convince me to give this beer a 5 for taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, but silky smooth (despite the enormous hop bitterness!). Mild but sufficient carbonation. Semi-dry, long, satisfying finish. Can't imagine improving the feel.

Overall: If people were drinking like this in 1901, good for them. This Burton style needs to come back, and this beer needs to be brewed by Pretty Things again. I love the mix of intense hops, sweet and complex English brown ale malt, medium body, and lack of any roast, smoke, or wood flavors. Unique, and full of character and flavor.

Drinking this beer puts me in mind of when I first had Fantôme Saison, and felt like the brewers were giving me a real gift. Very well done, Pretty Things.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a New Belgium globe.

A: Pours a muddy dark brown with a thick brown head. Great retention. Sticky rings of lacing.

S: Big dose of floral and grassy English hops up front. A bit of an herbal edge to the hop profile too. Tobacco. Whiffs of rich caramel and toffee. Slight charred wood and a hint of smoke. Fruitiness comes out more as the beer warms.

T: Tastes of sweet caramel at the outset. Plum, raisin, and fig cross the palate quickly before charred wood and smokey tastes overwhelm them. Coffee and bitter dark chocolate emerge after the smokey tastes mellow a bit. Grassy and floral hops cut through the malt tastes briefly, and the substantial bitterness adds a welcome balance. Quick flash of citrus. Lingering finish of coffee and char.

M: Medium bodied. Deceptively light considering the bold flavors at play, but it works well. Creamy and extremely smooth. It almost melts in your mouth.

O: This beer is excellent. Very well made, and hits all of my beer G-spots.

Notes: These historical recreations by Pretty Things have been a huge hit. The EIP was excellent too. At this point, they have solidified themselves in my book as one of the top New England brands.

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

poured into tulip glass.

A- Dark tan head quickly fades. Beer is a think velvety texture. Almost Black in color.

S- Hops upfront. light fruit, candy. Sweet roasted malt undertones.

T- Very interesting. Flowery hops on the tongue. Lots of sweet toffee and caramel. Mild toasted malt. Less intense then expected. Well balanced. Great meld of flavors.

M- Very pleasant. Smooth, mild. Hops rest of front of tongue.

D- Very easy to drink, enjoyable. No alcohol burn present. Will buy more asap.

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Photo of smcolw
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Solid and foamy head: two-fingers thick. Settles to a frothy dome; leaves ample amounts of ring lace. The color is deep ruby brown. No light shines through, like a stout.

Dark chocolate and lots of caramel aromas. Light mocha in the background. Darkly sweet like caramelized sugar just before burning.

Lightly sweet with a strong bite of burnt malt; shows up in the swallow. The aftertaste is similar to burnt toast, lasting a long time. There's an element of coffee grounds, too. The body is fairly rich, but it may be because the carbonation is on the low side. This could pass for a dry stout.

I can't decide if this one of the best beers or if I like it enough to give it that accolade. It is extremely flavorful, complex and interesting. It isn't my favorite style. So, I'll err on rating too highly.

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Photo of jbertsch
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is black with a billowly khaki-colored head that sticks, laces, and hangs out until the end.

Aroma provides plenty of malt in the realm of pumpernickel bread. Plenty of farmhouse-funky hops gives this a bitterswet sense.

I taste bittersweet coffee malt upfront that's a bit more sweet in the middle of the palate. Non-citrous fruit notes can be found uderneath it all. Bitter finish.

Enough carbonation is there but this is definitely smooth and silky. Drinkabilty is nice at a slow pace.

I really enjoyed this one! Drinks like a smoother black IPA.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, back story of the brew is explained on the label.

appears black, with khaki tan colored head. good head retention and a little lacing.

if you blindfolded me, it'd say IPA. but a pleasant hop aroma. not too piney or too citrusy.

very unique tasting. it's hoppy, but also has the dry roasted malt flavor of an irish stout or english porter. very well balanced though. lower carbonation, smooth and creamy.

definitely hard to categorize, but its quite good. and easy to drink.

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Photo of plaid75
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown hue with a two finger frothy tan head. There was good retention and very good lacing.

The smell featured a sweet caramel malt quickly followed by a strong herbal hop.

The taste was initially sweet with some caramel and dark fruit. The full blown herbal hop quickly overpowered the flavor and blended with a light smokiness aNd roasted malt at the finish.

The mouthfeel was light for the style and finished dry.

Overall a very good hop driven ale.

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Photo of BeerMusketeer
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was, to my taste, a pretty awesome Black IPA/Cascadian dark ale. Almost black in appearance, a delicate whispy head leaves good lacing. The smell is burnt sugar and aggressive piney and fruity hops. Would love to be able to see how close this tastes to the real thing, but minus a time machine, I guess we just haveta trust Mr. Paquette.

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Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
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 orbitalr0x
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
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 bernie879
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pouring this into a Duvel tulip, had I not done it myself I would have though I was going to be drinking a chocolate stout as the beer is black in the truest sense beneath a mocha colored head.
The aromatic euphoric onslaught was of danky chocolate malted hops, creating a combination I found perplexing yet fueling the mystery and intrigue. The beer was silky smooth, medium-heavy bodied with what seemed like high carbonation while also fitting the style (whatever that may be) of the beer. A roasted chocolaty taste meets the hops which are somewhat earthy but I am hesitant to put them within classification as the hops comethrough in a way I am not familiar with.

This is a really different beer than others I have had and I am open to try almost any. It defies any style or combination for that matter. It should be allowed to stand on its own and drank as an experience of the unknown. I highly recommend the beer, perhaps it is not for everyone or something to be drank often but it is a supurb experience all should try.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a beer that defines as 'darker than most porters that user more hops than a modern IPA.' I suppose its a cascade? I would say it works out as a modern interpretation of an english strong ale. Pour of something somewhat sticky mocha head. Nose of strawberry yogart, toasted malt, and crystal malt. Palate is a bitter smoky finish. Like that of a very lightly sweeten assam tea. A tad english breakfast caramel in there and a green pepper vegative quality in the bitter finish.

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Photo of bcm119
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
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 robwestcott
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a great big thanks to ahelm for sending this fantastic and unexpected treat my way.

received today and poured cold form the bottle a bit too aggressively a deep dark chocolate black with a 2 1/2 finger deep tan long lasting head that leaves lace all the way to the rim of it's dogfish head shaped pint glass.

aroma of somewhat fruity, though a bit grassy(?) hops and toffee melding into an interesting combination i've not experienced before.

muted coffee bitter up front with a burnt caramel and dark toffee after - again, quite novel. somewhat hotter than expected on its way down, esp. for a brew that comes in at just under 8% abv.

smooth, medium bodied, medium carbonation, mildly bitter fading to sweet.

drinkable - sure, no problem finishing up a bomber by your lonesome.

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Photo of SABERG
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass.
A - Looks great, dark, nice foamy head, lacing is delicate.
S - Malt, juniper?, hops hidden back there.
T - Up front has all the profile or a porter, then alot happens. Some malt, some spice, then a nice tight finish. The overall taste is confounding, indeed.
M - silky, and dry. well balanced
D - A really nice beer, drinkable with a wide range of foods (fall season timing).

Recommended highly

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Photo of BenjieK
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Black at first but red and brown on closer inspection around the edges in the light

S: Coffee, roast, oak, dark fruits.

T: A blast of piney hops. Don't taste as much dark malt as I thought I would, but has some milk chocolate.

M: Lighter than expected but nice and silky

D: Very. a really great dark beer.

I am really enjoying trying the ABA's, Black IPA's, dark beers, etc. This one was unique and delicious.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
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 gory4d
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, chalky brown with a big tan head, nice cap, lots of lacing. Smell is pine, dandelion, gingerbread. Taste is heavy on the pine, sweet gingerbread in the middle, with one heck of a bitter finish - very herbal and mineral at once. It's a little chalky in consistency, thick, bubbly - a lot going on here. Great beer, that's kept very well since I got it. Wish I had another stashed away.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer showed up at my local shop so I grabbed a bottle. The beer poured out as a really dark brown color. Quite pleasing to my eye. The head was big and tan with a soapy look to it. The smell of the beer surprised me, it was much hoppier than most of the other Pretty Things I've had before. The aromas of roast malts and chocolate were there too. The taste of the beer was really nice, the dark malts and the citrus hops blended together really well. The mouthfeel was pretty thick and had a really nice pine needle sting to it on the tongue. Overall this beer was really nice, I would drink it again if I get the chance to. If I recall correctly the price wasn't too bad either.

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Photo of hreb
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
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 Hojaminbag
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

November 15, 1901 KK is a great looking beer. The body is a very dark brown and the head is also brown, but a much lighter shade. The head is at least three fingers tall and is creamy and rocky. Lacing stays behind in sheets.

The aroma is very interesting, and definitely unique. Earthy and fruity hops mix with charred malt, sweetness, fruit and a bit of smoke.

1901 KK has a flavor that is just as distinctive and just a new to me as the aroma. There are tons of hops up front with a bit of citrus, a bit of pine, and lots of earthy characteristics. These various hop flavors bring with them a boat load of bitterness. The hops clearly dominate, but eventually I notice the malt base, which once again has a charred, roasted character to it, as well as toffee and a bit of chocolate. Hints and suggestions of smoke are fleeting, but I do notice them. There is also a bit of dark fruit, which can best be described as a raisin flavor. The finish brings with it more bitterness. My only complaint is that I was hoping for a little more malt in this one, but really that is a problem with my expectations and not the beer I guess.

A bit of a creamy body, but with tongue lashing bitterness and a dry finish.

After trying thousands of beers, it isn't often that I come across a new beer that is nothing like other things that I have tried before, but 1901 KK falls into that category. I had no problem polishing off the bomber, and this a beer that I definitely recommend.

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Photo of Derek
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I couldn't wait to taste this historic recreation, but I do have a bottle for proper keeping as well.

A: Black with a huge tan head, great retention & lace.

S: Huge citrus rind aroma, marmalade, treacle, rum, hints of licorice.

T: Bitter bakers chocolate, resiny orange rind, roasted nut, caramalized raisins, rye bread, earthy mineral, treacle, licorice, strong bitterness, hints of sherry.

M: Well-attenuated (more than some historic KK's), moderate body has a light acidity.

D: Hop-forward while it's fresh, but a surprisingly good drinker for its weight.

With an OG of 1.075 and 7.8% abv, the final gravity would be around 1.016. This seems to be one of the bigger examples of the day.

I think final gravities often hovered around 1.020, with the alcohol around 7%, which would give this style a different balance (more porter/old ale than 'black IPA'). Especially when it was 'kept'.

At 5 months it's quite different. The hops have really faded and it's a lot more like a porter. Really great stuff.

An Edwardian brewpub would be really neat!

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Photo of Axic10
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've generally been impressed with Pretty Things for the two beers of theirs that I've had. I hope this streak continues. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours dark brown/black with a finger of fluffy mocha colored head.

Smell: Very sweet nose. Some hops, brown sugar, molasses, caramel.

Taste: Earthy hops, caramel sweetness, molasses, very sweet aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and carbonated nicely.

Drinkability: A very unique beer. Pretty Things has continued to impress me as I buy more and more of their beers. Probably the most complex I've had from them.

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Once Upon A Time 1901 KK from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
3.85 out of 5 based on 148 ratings.
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