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 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 Thorpe429
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a wine glass and split with Jared and Amyliz4.

Pours a very dark crimson-brown color with a dark tan head and quite a bit of lacing. The nose brings some strong hops with earth and pine really standing out. There are also a few notes of light blueberry and coffee. There is a strong roast character throughout.

The taste is not quite as complex, nor as hoppy. There are some good earthy notes in there, but the pine isn't as present as in the nose. The finish is slightly dry. Medium body. Fairly tasty, with the appearance and nose acting as by far the best components.

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Photo of jlindros
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

So far the only beer by Pretty Things I wasn't a huge fan of was the Hedgerow bitter. There was nothing wrong with it, just not my style of hops. However, I want to try to get acclimated with the style at some point. I also loved every other one that they made. In the mean time continuing with Pretty Things, here is the next one.

It pours a nice thick frothy 1 finger darker colored head that fades semi slowly over just about black colored beer, no real light getting in except the very bottom where it thins.

The nose has some nice darker malts, dark crystal malts and a hint of chocolate or roast or something very dark. Slight creamy too. Some of that earthy herbal bitter hop addition that the Hedgerow also had, a UK bitter like aroma, but the nose seems to have a bit more of the earthy hop addition I tend to enjoy more.

Taste comes very fresh tasting, lots of fresh wort almost, with some varying dark malts, some sweetness but not a lot, and a nice creamy texture. A slight roasty flavor to it too. All that comes with more of the herbal earthy bitterness, somewhat bitter, adding a hint of grassy flavor, and hint of a slight briny like minerality taste too. The herbal bitterness isn't my favorite, but it's not bad. I get the taste of biting into a fresh hop pellet as well, that bitter earthy taste. It almost has an oatmeal like flavor and texture, but hard to tell. Other flavors that start to come out include some light toffee, caramel, tobacco. As it finishes it dries a bit and leaves a lot of the hop characteristics, fresh hop pellet, with more of the herbal earthy bitterness and mild grassy flavors. It's actually kinda intense.

The mouth is semi thick, pretty creamy, and decent carbonation.

Drinkability is a little lower since that heavy bitterness lingers for quite a while. It has a decent dry finish as well, and no sticky flavors, and no booziness either, but just that crazy bitterness lingering for a while.

After my review of Hedgerow I was a little turned off by the beer. After talking to Dan about it, he said that I probably wouldn't like this one as much either, as it had a similar hop profile with the earthy herbal bitterness and not the American hop flavors. However, I have to say I actually kinda liked this one. The hops were nicer than I expected, still with the earthy herbal bitterness, and pretty heavy on the bitterness, but doesn't have that same bleh hop character the other one did that turned me off. This beer is very manageable and tasty. Now I'll have to continue working on the U.K. bitter style beers and try approaching the Hedgerow again.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains hops, dark fruit, roasted malts and a bit of chocolate.

T: The taste starts out very bitter with flavors of dark chocolate and a strong hops presence. The malt character is hearty and there’s a touch of smokiness in the background but a lot of balance. It does get a bit better as it sits after pouring. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is very dry and slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style which is “A recreation of a hoppy, black ale originally brewed in London” as shown on the label, a decent beer but there are several other similar beers that I would pick first.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
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 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 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 mdfb79
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 02/09/13 notes. Had this on tap at Bukowskis in Boston, MA.

a - Pours a mahogany brown color with one finger of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of coffee, bitter chocolate, alcohol, caramel malts, some dark fruits, burnt malts.

t - Tastes of coffee, alcohol, bitter chocolate, caramel malts, toasted malts, roasted malts, molasses, dark fruits, burnt malts. More alcohol than the nose; a slight step down.

m - Medium to full body and moderate carbonation. Little bit of alcohol to it.

o - Overall a decent strong ale; I know it is a different style of beer but I preferred the 1855 porter to this one. Alcohol is more prominent here, though some nice coffee and caramel to it. Would try it again but given the choice, would go with their 1855.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty solid black color with a good sized tan head that slowly recedes and sticks itself to the glass. Smells of earthy spicy hops up front. Slight mineral twinge in there as well as some sweet toffee. Taste is sweet with a touch of alcohol at the onset but that sweetness is quickly overrun with an herbal, earthy bitterness that survives throughout most of the tasting range. Some butterscotch drops by for a second then there is some chocolaty sweet roast that tries to find a voice. Leaves a long lingering tea/hop bitterness in the finish. Full body, resinous and creamy mouthfeel, crisp carbonation. This one is different for sure, the more I drank the better I thought it was. Decent brew, probably not something I would drink often, but nice to have tried it.

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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 GarthDanielson
3.26/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint, the beer is a dark, vibrant, slightly hazed, amber-brown coloring with a frothy, foamy, off-white head that starts around an inch, but quickly settles into a filmy coating. Aromas of rich toffee sweetness on a biscuit backbone, with hints of roast and old world fruit sweetness. Some raisin and fig on the nose in highlights. Flavors are roasty, also, with date, raisin, plum, and fig blending on the forward tongue. Boozy and earthy backbone, with a tangy, bitter hops presence at the end of the palate. The end of the beer becomes a bit unbalanced, leading to a bitter and astringent aftertaste, with a very dry finish. Started off promising, but this one started to spiral towards the end.

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Photo of tempest
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
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 Mora2000
4/5  rDev +3.9%
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 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 BARFLYB
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another Pretty thing in my pretty snifter late at night watching HBO. I missed last years version so I snatched this up with the quickness.

November 15th, 1901 KK comes out the bottle looking kinda dirty, lets say a dirty red/brown color pouring out. Once in the glass a dark shade of black with red towards the edges. A nice inch of suds that is khaki colored stays on top for a bit, anice ring around the collar but no stick.

The bottle and other reviewers state this to be a black IPA and I just don't smell it. Old ale is acceptable, although I get a bunch of styles in the nose. For shorts sake lets say a nice hopping of goldings, roasted malt, dark fruits up the wazoo, caramel, cocco, french vanilla, licorice and others. There is alot going on here to say the least.

I was not digging the dark fruit in the nose, too much, thankfully it's not as prominent in the mouth, but grape and berry are there. A nice dose of roasted malt plays with the kent hops in a nice way. Under this union a whole lot of caramel, cocco, light chocolate, and vanilla. No yeasty bread from this, thats a change. Licorice palys a role with the fruit which im just not a fan of. Even with that flaw this is still tasty.

The feel is coating for a bit with a semi weird aftertaste that stays, and stays and stays. After a while I realize that is the hops, while not so big in taste they sure do make a dent afterwards. After a bit this is pretty much medium bodied beer with ample carb going for it. Feels thinner than it looks and tastes.

Another interesting beer from pretty things. A great beer to share, a great beer to dick a whole bottle to your head, just clocking in at under 8%. I liked it cold and as it warmed. While this is good now, Im going to lay a bottle down for 9-12 months to see where this goes. I will never miss one in this series again.

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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 rudzud
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tried this at Julio's New England Beerfest a few hours before the official release party. I remember this being much creamier and well, better then. I also remember being pissed off because the guy wouldnt sell any bottles, even though the flier said they were available for purchase. Finally able to pick up a bottle.

A - Poured into a tulip a healthy rich dark brown with a big fluffy light brown two figner head that left nice heavy lacing along the surface along with clumpy side lacing.

S - A few aromas that I cant quite place. There is some nice roasty malt aromas along with a very slight bitter hop aroma. Very, very interesting but interesting doesnt always equate to good.

T - The guy did say this was a black IPA and while I get some nice maltyness one has to search for that potent hop flavour. There is a typical hoppy IPA bitterness on the backend though which is nice. I've had better examples of black IPA, and while the stlye says old ale, I have to go off of what I was told.

M - Really solid carbonation. Works great with the flavor and style. Almost a light mouthfeel which is fun with this style that is normally much more creamy.

D - Overall a nice brew from pretty things. Again, could have sworn the sample I had a few weeks back was much better than this but alas, this is what I have to go off of.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-Pours a very dark brown with reddish highlights. Body seems to be clear. Head is a thin layer with a thicker center of bubbles. Consistent lacing.

S-My first thoughts are yeast and toffee. Usually a beer with 100 IBU would display much more aromatic hop potency here. Roasted coffee and burnt caramel. Not overly intense. Malt-forward.

T-Interesting flavor; unique I would say. Almost has a black licorice/anise quality to it. Its quite roasted and there is a high level of bitterness. The high IBUs are present but the actual hop flavor is very stunted. Soapy hops. A bunch of toffee and lots of brown sugar with a lingering astringent note. Burnt toast; really burnt toast.

M-Medium/full. Carbonation starts off soft then gains power. A bunch of bitterness that is drying and lingering.

O/D-A cool beer. Big but not necessarily very expressive. Pretty cool that this was what was imbibed back in 1901. A decent hybrid brew.

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Photo of tigg924
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
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 ppoitras
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA. Cap tape says "Once Upon A Time...11/15/1901".

Poured into a DFH snifter, formed a 1/2" dark brown head above the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head dwindles gradually, with coating lace. Aroma is sweet, fruity, with a bit of funk hops character.

Taste begins with a fleeting sweetness, then exits stage left to make room for the lemony citrus (think Ludens lemon cough drop), then heads to the close with ample bitterness. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, with pleasing drinkability as well. Gains complexity as it warms, this is one worth searching out.

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Photo of mltobin
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bomber of this at Yankee Spirits in Swansea.

Poured into a pint glass, the appearance is near black with 1 finger of mocha colored head. The smell is mix of brown sugar, some hops, as well as a couple other scents. Its taste has the hops, coffee, some sweetness, but not too much. Mouthfeel is just above average. Drinkability is good on this offering from Pretty Things. Overall, I found 1901 KK a solid choice.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
2.83/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter

An aggressive pours yields a chestnut brown body with a bubbly/foamy dark tan colored cap. Sheets of lace coat the sides.

Sweet citrus rind, fresh grass, licorice, molasses, toffee, cocoa powder and a good amount of roasted dark malt. Not a bad smeller, but just a little all over the place for me. I like my old ales less hoppy and more boozy.

Citrus rind hits the palate first with cocoa powder quickly in tow. Molasses and toffee through the middle before a quick burst of grapefruit and a heavy rush of carbonation that was definitely unwelcome. The aftertaste was bitter grapefruit, metal, and soap all wrapped up in that huge rush of carbonation.

Medium body and overly carbonated. This guy would sit much better with me if the carbonation wasn't so high.

Granted the flavors and aromas as a whole are good, this just did not work for me. I gave it the whole bottle to win me over, but it was largely below average.

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Photo of DrJay
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Quite dark in colour, but with a coppery orange hue around the edges. A thick, dense brown cap formed after the pour, which stuck around for a while. Clumpy lacing at first, followed by thick sheets coating the glass. The aroma is... interesting - and not something I remember running across before. It seems to be a combination of dark kilned malts and earthy hops that have a dirty citrus edge to them, not in a bad way but very unique. There's a spiciness as well, sort of cinnamon, that plays well with the fruitier notes. Rough bitterness, powerful and unrefined, piney with toffee sweetness backing it up. Malt presence was complemented by roast and dried fruit/raisin character, perhaps a bit of smoke. Again, very earthy. Hop bitterness lingered in the finish and was obviously destroying my palate. Full bodied with lowish carbonation, smooth and nearly creamy in texture, light alcohol warmth with a hint of astringency. Overall I liked it as an experiment, but the coarse nature of the bitterness was a bit much.

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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 Jwale73
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bottle served in my ST tulip. Pours the color and clarity of cola with a half inch, loose, mocha-colored head. Head eventually settles into a thin band around the edges and a soapy skim across the surface. A few spots and thin slashes of lacing are revealed during the tasting. Subdued aromas suggest a roasted character and chocolate malt. There's also a slightly metallic presence in the mix. Taste consistent with nose; however, there is a slightly acrid and burnt quality with a bitter hops presence that follows on a malty backbone. There's also some alcohol in the mix. Finish culminates in a lingering bitterness between quaffs. Mouthfeel is medium-light with an assertive carbonation and a light alcohol burn. An interesting beer with a multi-layered complexity; however, best shared amongst two or three. Definitely a beer that has cellaring potential in my opinion. I might need to pick up a bottle to sit on for a couple additional years before re-evaluating.

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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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