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 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 Gmann
3.56/5  rDev -7.5%
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 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 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 Florida9
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Black. Only the faintest bit of light showing through the bottom of the glass. Forms a large, tight, deep tan head with good retention and lacing.

S: A mix of citrus and floral hops and dark roasted malts.

T: A hit of citrus on the front end, then chocolate, roasted malts, cocoa, and coffee. Finishes with a citrus bitterness. Flavors are pronounced, but not overpowering.

M: Full bodies and lightly viscous with a smooth creaminess to it. Lower carbonation levels.

D: A very curious beer. Much more than a black IPA, but not necessarily a stout. Very tasty with a easy drinkability to it.

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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 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 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 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 albern
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I'm not really enamored with this offering. It's not Pretty Things best by a long shot. The beer looks really good with a thick brown creamy head, tons of lacing, and a very nice head that lasts and lasts. You can't get much better. The nose is leafy hop. If you close your eyes you would think that you are getting the aroma of a pretty hopped up IPA. It's all leafy hop, maybe some piney notes in there too.

The taste is just too hoppy and not dark malty enough for me. The beer tries to blend the best of a porter and an IPA. Too much of the latter and not enough of the former. There is also a very drying, biting, leafy IPA hop to the beer and it lacks some of the estery juices and orange burst that I appreciate. The dark malts are underwhelming and really only show up in some warming ABV on the back end. The consistency of the beer is very creamy and smooth, like a good porter should be, but those darn hops just take over everything. Not a well balanced beer.

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Photo of steve8robin
2.88/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've been really looking forward to trying this brew. Not sure exactly why, but have had a good feeling after seeing this one released. Let's see how my instincts fair. 22oz bottle...

A: Super thick black with absolutely no light shining through. A humongous 2 inch mocha head that fades slowly. This is an old ale? Looks like a stout. Very good.

S: I get some coriander and mustard scents upfront. some bready lunch meat in the middle. Sheesh. Some very slight cherries. Kind of weird.

T: I get some sweet faint cinnamon, sparkling water, and spices upfront. A little roasty chocolate in the middle with some grassy bitterness. Ok. Guess my instinct radar is a little off today.

M: Full bodied with a huge carbonation. Kind of a dry finish. Decent.

D: Once you get past the heavy carbonation. This goes down.

All in all, this is very over carbonated. I guess my instincts are a little off today. Ah, can't win them all. I think that if you like sparkling water, then you will enjoy this, otherwise nothing to offer to the style.

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

Rich thick brown head. Very dark brown, almost black opaque body.

Dark sugar molasses sweetness in the nose. Can also pick up burned or charred notes.

There is a sharp acrid bitterness in the flavor that is more than just hop bitterness. It's a long lingering unpleasant bitterness, but intriguing nonetheless. I wonder how they do it. Is this from the "caramelized brewing sugars"?

Anyway, the mouth feel is cloying and coats the mouth, so I don't find it to be very drinkable at this point.

However, I do believe there is something here. My gut tells me that after a year in the cellar this could be a fantastic beer. So I will rate it "as is" for now, and re-rate a year from now.

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Photo of getgetgettleman
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes 10/12/10

A-Nice mahogany color. Healthy strong lace.

S-Friendly aroma. Roasted sweet malt. Reminded me of cocoa and malted milk ball candy.

T-Impressive malt and bitter cocoa without overpowering the hopps. Semi bitter. Fruity finish. Raisins, carmelized plum, and mild clove. I look forward to see how these flavors age in the extra bottles I purchased.

M-Immediate warmth on the front of the palette. Finish equelly warming with nice bitterness.

D-Enjoyable Winter season dark ale. Very good accompanied with a cheese board of medium aged smoked blue cheese of Wisconsin and medium aged blended varieties from Spain. A Cow, Sheep, and Goat blend like Iberico works well.

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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 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 perrymarcus
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

bomber served in a nonic. review from notes of 11/20/10.

pours a mahogany tone with a creamy, mocha-colored head, about 2 fingers of which... decent retention and lacing.

the nose is strong and offers roasted malt, caramel, molasses, and hops notes.

first sip touches your lips and you know this is a bitter forward beer... has a strong floral, nutty presence... big malt notes too, along with more subdued citrus flavors from the hops. finishes on a dry, bitter note. for me, a decidedly ok-tasting beer. definitely quaffable but not great; a little too bitter for my personal taste.

medium-bodied, moderately carbed. i probably wouldn't seek out more than the one even if it was available, so not extremely drinakable.

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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 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 xnicknj
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at devils den in philly

Pours a deep brown, almost black with a coffee brown fluffy head. Retains pretty well with some spotty lacing on the glass.

Scents of roasted malt, caramel sweetness and some hoppy flair.

Begins with dark, rich malt and caramel sweetness. Some molasses and syrup character creeps in with a punch of roasted coffee. Bitter hops reveal themselves with pleasant character. Finishes a little dry and bitter alongside some sweet tones.

Fuller body, a little sticky on the palate. Decent drinking and interesting flavors, true to Pretty Things form. ABV is masked pretty well with the bold flavors as well.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.

Pours opaque black with a two inch head of tan foam. A solid skim coat remained for the duration of the glass along with some soapy lacing.

Aromatics lead off with acrid char, pine resin, spruce needles, and grapefruit-rubbed roasted bark. Quite earthy and hoppy, in an odd kind of way.

On the fuller side of medium bodied with a velvety, lush mouthfeel. Chewy and gummy with a crispish edge.

Black, charred malt and clove-studded hops start the palate. Hints of spearmint, spruce, dusty cedar boards, and coffee gounds follow through.

Finishes with lingering roast, menthol, and a resiny bite.

I guess this would be kind of a Belgian/English Style Black IPA in my book.
Plenty of English malt character, but the high level of phenols gives a Belgian nod.
I'm not really getting any of the typical characteristics of an old ale. Very unique either way.

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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 axeman9182
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, poured into my Bruery tulip.

KK pours black, but almost seems to be more of a dark brown when directly backlit. The light tan cap comes up to about two fingers in height, and has decent retention. There are thin rings of lacing running down the glass, but the lacing is not abundant. The beer smells like brown sugar and herbal English hops, overall it's fairly pleasant. I pick up predominantly those same flavors on my palate, with the addition of a hint of roasty malt flavors up front and a relatively mellow (but present) interlude of hop bitterness. To me the malty/sweet flavors only serve to highlight the characteristics of the hops, and KK is unique in how utterly earthy it tastes. This beer's got a great mouthfeel. It's rich and creamy without becoming syrupy, and absurdly smooth for a beer that doesn't mention oats on the label (though I suppose there could still be oats in the grain bill). The carbonation is present enough to help get the job done and elevate the hops, but gets out of the way beyond that. The second in Pretty Things' Once Upon A Tme... series drinks very nicely, with a solid balance between malt and hops. The bottle hints that it may be suitable for aging, but I think this beer will be best fresh. The hop flavor really guides the beer as a whole, and I'm not sure there's enough going on in the malt half to really carry this beer. Still, another fine brew for Pretty Things.

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Photo of EtOHMD
2.85/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Was excited for this one given how good this brewery is. Very nice appearance. Opaque deep brown with burgundy edges and chocolate colored head which dissipates quickly. Intense aroma - floral, nutty, spicy. Had half of 22oz prior to eating and really didn't like it. Had really odd and annoying aftertaste that overpowered initial taste. Had second half with food and was much better. Slight cramel, dry chocolaten cherry. Ultimately too dry and too much of an aftertaste for my liking. Will stick with just one.

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Photo of CliffBrake
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Cambridge Common, 5 Nov.

Served in a stemmed glass, quite full with a small fine head. Grapefruits on the nose preceed a full citrusy hop flavor with a sharp bitterness and a strong roasted flavor from the malts. Lingering bitterness at the finish.

The bitterness didn't seem to complement the roasted malts. Although it was a good accompaniment to a delicious stuffed burger, I was not inspired to order another.

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Photo of telecomz
2.16/5  rDev -43.9%
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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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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