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.

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Ratings: 148 |  Reviews: 98
Photo of hopheadjuice
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle, no freshness date.

Pours a near black with a big tight tan head that sticks well around the glass.

Scents of molasses, licorice, butter toffee, mocha, spicy hop aromas but in the back behind the big dark malt profile.

Taste is BIG! Huge malt profile with all of the aspects of the aroma involved. The hops in this beer are bitter and i mean bitter, huge earthy musty hop bill smacks you in the face, similar hop bill to Hedgerow Bitter. Long lingering finish

Big thick creamy mouthfeel, good carbonation with a bone dry finish that will have you asking for a glass of water.

This beer is thick and flavorful, definitely not a session beer by any means and it shouldn't be taken lightly this shit is real.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.18/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours near black with shades of brown penetrating the body in the light with about an inch of mocha colored head that is creamy and leaves a ring of lace. The smell is bitter, fruity and chocolatey with vanilla and caramel. Really bitter up front, the hop presences in most notable with sweeter aromas lingering behind a barricade of hops. The taste follows the aroma pretty well, the forefront is sweet with caramel, chocolate and fruit and finishes with bitter hops. It's really quite strange. The mouthfeel is pretty good, full and nicely carbonated, but when it comes down to it, I think this one is just a bit odd for me to really have a lot of it and want to drink it more than this one time.

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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 jlindros
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
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 ybnorml
4.71/5  rDev +21.7%
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 Mess
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

black as the ace of spades - no light penetrates. espresso crema head dissipates quickly. milk chocolate nose. first taste of chocolate coffee followed by a blissful bitter hoppiness - tangy and citrusy. prickly carbonation, yet creamy mouthfeel. damn good beer, I will pick this up again next time I'm out.

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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 ppoitras
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
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 ffejherb
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to FooFaa for sharing this bomber on 10/24/10.

A - Poured a deep brown liquid with robust garnet tones and a creamy tan head that reduced to a thin ring of retention and some spotty lace around the glass.

S - Initial aroma is quite woody with a charred, almost burnt malt character that imparts an ashy quality. A hint of citrus rind and chocolate notes emerge as the liquid warmed up a bit.

T - Ashy, woody and earthy with a hint of semi-sweet chocolate notes to add a bit of contrast. Mild tobacco leaf creeps into the mix as well. Malt character is on the nutty side, lending a bit of astringency. Finishes with an assertive hop bite.

M - Medium bodied with a creamy texture and modest carbonation providing just a hint of bristle on the tongue. Finishes with fairly aggressive, semi-dry hop bitterness that lingers for a while on the palate. Quite astringent as well.

D - Interesting but not something that I'd really want to drink again. I found this to be a bit too bitter and astringent overall, which hindered the drinkability.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
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 bonkers
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured from a bomber into a snifter, obsidian pour with a light tan head, decent lacing. Lots of earthy, bitter notes on the aroma. The beer is slightly sweeter than it smells, very heavy on grassy, earthy hops. It has a lingering finish that is fairly sweet. Medium body and low in carbonation, smooth mouthfeel. An ok brew, too "earthy" for me.

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Photo of rudzud
3.96/5  rDev +2.3%
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 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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Photo of BARFLYB
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
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 bernie879
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
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 Axic10
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
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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Photo of andrewinski1
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. Nice very dark brown color on this one. Nice light mocha colored head, about half an inch.

First impressions from the aroma are of a chocolate orange (you know the ones from the grocery store that you whack and unwrap). This smells like it will be a little sweet from the malts as well; maybe indicative of vanilla.

Well once again the aroma misleads me regarding the sweetness of the beer. This has a nice citrus start, and the malt is hardly discernible with the hop bite. Not the greatest balance here, and the malt sweetness might be there once the hops fade a bit. As it is now though, because I like hops, I enjoy this one.

Average mouthfeel, not a huge body to make a sipper, but a rather appropriate autumnal beverage. Good stuff.

I am not sure how to score this one to style because it's a style blurring beverage, but it is unique and that counts for something in my book.

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Photo of DrJay
3.43/5  rDev -11.4%
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 busterthecat
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
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 clearlydiluted
3.72/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

served in a tulip pint glass.

a- dark as dark gets, with a luscious tan two finger head.

s - caramel, earthy english hops, a slight fruitiness/spiciness that borders on...soap?

t - earthy hops up front, light flowery floral note in the front followed by a slight fruitiness and spiciness from the hops. somewhere between the woodsy nature of the fuggles (despite there being none here), and the piney american C hops sans citrus but with a hint of fruitiness still there. a bit of roast and chocolate are also in the mix. hops continue to dominate the palate even in the finish with an vegetal earthy bitter aftertaste.

as it warms the hops, roast and a hint of caramel blend together in a more balanced fashion where they each peek out without one dominating the other. the earlier floral note, which is more of a light lemon citrus, also seems to compliment the roast in the beer a bit more too.

m - medium body with a enough carbonation to make it seem lighter.

d - The clerk at the store where I bought this told me that Paquette had intended this beer to be a reaction to the whole CDA/Black IPA/IDA/etc. trend. I certainly can see this beer as a sort of English Black IPA/CDA/IDA (whatever you want to call it) as it is fresh. And in that "style", as much as I hate using that word, it's perfectly well balanced and great. However, given that this historically was meant for keeping I'd loved to see how it evolves given a little more time. Luckily I have another bottle stored away...

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at American Craft. It pours a dark color, brown to the point of black, with a frothy tan foam that stays wet-looking. It smells a lot more roasty than expected, I'd heard the dark color was due to some dark colored sugar but I do believe there is a lot of roasted malt in this beer. The background is almost stout-like but the main aroma is from strong hopping.

Same with the flavor this has 2 distinct phases, cocoa/roasted malts and citrusy hops. Maybe better meshed than in Darkness, but I guess this is really a different type of beast. A little bitterness in the aftertaste but it seems more from the malt character than anything else.

The body was cask-like even though this was a standard tap, low carbonation and a light creamy mouthfeel. Very good.

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Photo of SABERG
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
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 EPICAC
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours clear, but looks like an opaque black when viewed to the light. It's topped by a creamy and sudsy, brown head, which fades to a sudsy film leaving good lace. The aroma is roasty with notes of diacetyl, chocolate, mild toffee, a bit of fruit and a good dose of hops.

The beer has a roasty backbone throughout, a mild chocolate sweetness, bready sweetness, and toffee. The finish has a nice roasty and resiny hop bitterness. The beer is medium-bodied, and moderately carbonated.

This beer is malty but the sweetness is attenuated and balanced by nice roasted flavors and a good dose of hops.

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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