Backfin Pale Ale | Clay Pipe Brewing Company

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Backfin Pale AleBackfin Pale Ale
49 Ratings
Backfin Pale AleBackfin Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Clay Pipe Brewing Company
Maryland, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by DarthMalt on 06-24-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 49 |  Reviews: 47
Photo of cliff1066
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of onedogtwodog
4/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of AleWatcher
2.95/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

beer #2 in the Blind Beers BIF-- thanks to Neorunner!

Poured into a pint glass-- reviewed from notes.

This pours a deep coppery color almost showing some brown hues. More brown than amber, but still in the copper family. It has a 1 and half finger of real tight head with great retention. I guessed IPA at this point.

Smell has very little hops. I only get a slight floral hop presence... this leads me to think it is an English IPA, or perhaps an English Pale Ale... This is certainly not a big hoppy monster. Some sweet malts, but nothing to get carried away over. I'm narrowing it down to an EPA at this point. ADDED NOTE: towards the end of the glass I start to get a pleasant citrus note in here.

Taste follows nose-- some sweet nondescript malts and a slight floral and citrus hop bite. Very little bitterness.

The mouthfeel is a little over medium-- medium-well, if you will. Good carbonation level with a slight oily/resiny feel to it.

Drinkability isn't bad-- but the flavor isn't really impressing me.
--- reveals what the beer is---
OK. So it is an APA? hmmm. These East Coast pales don't seem to be as hoppy as the midwest/west coast. I wonder if that is due to the historical ties to England? Their pales are American versions that are modeled after the English ones just enough to not be solid examples of the American style?
as an English Pale, it would score-- 3.5/3.5/3.5/2.5/3

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Photo of tone77
3.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a caramel color with a small head. Smell is mild, hops and malts. Taste is good, well balanced hops and malts. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this makes for a good quality beer.

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Photo of Seanibus
3.35/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ok, but not excellent - it's distressingly thin on the finish.

Pours a pretty hazy golden with a nice head, though it falls away too quickly. The aroma has a sweet, malty character, but with a slightly sour edge to it as it warms. The flavor is malty, with a decent floral hop finish, but the who effect is a bit watery. The mouthfeel is watery and slight.

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Photo of Mardukk
3.16/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a typical APA copper color with quickly dissipating white head.

Smells of caramel malt and a bit of citrus hops.

The taste is quite unusual. There is the typical APA citrus hop taste however it is dominated by a butterscotch/bready malt taste that just seems off. A lingering sour aftertaste continues.

The mouthfeel is medium and a little syrupy in the finish.

I suppose the drinkability is ok if you can ignore a few off tasting characteristics.

Overall, not a very well made APA...I'll pass in the future.

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Photo of JayQue
3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on on tap Saturday at the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge Md. Got to enjoy it by the fire on a cold afternoon. Pours a clear copper color. Medium size off white head. Less than average retention but leaves a covering on top of the beer and some lacing.

Smell is ok, some hops bitterness. Tastes good. Strong hops up front, maltiness to back it up and a little funkiness...maybe a hint of belgian yeast or some other astringent flavor that reminded me of a Belgian.

Mouthfeel is rich enough for the style. Drinkability is good. I was getting ready for the office holiday party and couldn't swill a whole lot, but I could have enjoyed a few more. There are better pale ales out there but this one was not bad.

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Photo of bamadog
3.97/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mkroadrush for throwing this one in as an extra - a great trader to be sure. Review is from notes taken on 12/23/09 and poured from the bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a light orange to moderate coppery in color; starts with a 1/2 finger slightly off-white head that fades quickly to a thin and uneven skim across the surface; body is slightly hazy and shows strong carbonation; spotty lacing is left here and there along the sides of the glass.

Smell: A great blend of bitter hoppiness that is citric in nature (orange peel and grapefruit) with a sweet malty backing; pretty simple and straightforward.

Taste: Much like the smell, very straight forward with solid bitter and ciric hopes (more grapefruit than orange peel, but they're both present) that dominate the palate; well-blended though with just a slight malty backing.

Mouthfeel: Solid carbonation that is strong, but not sharp; body is medium in weight - not heavy at all, but certainly not thin/watery; a moderately sticky coating is left on the roof of the mouth.

Drinkability: You know, this is really an all-day kind of beer. I was a little saddened to see it's got a B- overall (at least at the time of my review, who knows if and when that will change), as I thought it was solid -- certainly not quite of Alpha King quality, but it holds its own and I'm glad I got to try it.

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Photo of jlindros
3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired while visiting a friend down in MD.

A: A decent 1 finger head forms as it pours. A pretty clear pale amber orange color reveals small bubbles rising to refresh a slowly fading head.

N: Crisp pale ale like aromas, very clean crisp ale aromas to start. A slight hop bitterness strikes, but very lightly. It has a slight fresh hop aroma, but mostly grassy and slightly earthy.

T: Taste starts with a slight earthy bitter hop flavor. Somewhat fresh hop taste that was probably a lot stronger before. It's fairly pale which is pretty nice. Some crisp amber ale flavors round the edges, but not much. A slight fruity hop and yeast combination adds to it. Some crystal malt flavors give a slight backbone, but still pretty light.

M: Medium body with decent carbonation.

F: FInishes pretty bitter, a clean bitter with touches of earthy hop flavor. A pretty good bitterness but still somewhat bland. A slight grassy and fruity flavor develops more after the swallow. It's not as clean finishing as I thought it would be. A cascade or amarillo like hop flavor seems to stick around once everything else finally fades. Pretty refreshing and drinkable actually.

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Photo of squirrelpirate
3.3/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clay Pipe Backfin Pale Ale poured a slightly cloudy, light copper color, with a very small head that barely got to half an inch tall. The aroma is a nice balance of citrusy hops and a bready malt note.

I was surprised at the maltiness of the beer. There is a nutty, bready taste that pushes through that beginning, with hops emerging in the middle and lingering at the end. I found the aftertaste unpleasant, with what I found to be an astringent bitterness rather than hops.

The mouthfeel is very nice, it's a medium body with light carbonation, and is a drinkable beer, but I don't think I'll be picking up any more of this.

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Photo of morimech
2.93/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear amber color with two inches of white head that had good retention. The head settles to a thick cap. Moderate amount of sticky lacing is left on the glass. The malt dominates the aroma with hints of mint and citrus from the hops. Almost has a toasted character as well. Has a bit of a weird flavor. It could be some DMS giving some cook vegatable flavor. The malt that seems appealling in the aroma totally disappears in the flavor. Some bitterness and citrus flavor from the hops. Not very well put together. The body is good for an APA but nothing special. I would probably pass on this beer in the future. Comes off as not well crafted.

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Photo of jackorain
2.7/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Amber color, crystal clear. 1/4 inch head fell quickly and left only thin coat and small ring, no lace.

Smells of caramel malt and slight citrus hop. Smells quite sweet.

Tastes of caramel malt and slight citrus hops in the middle followed by more malt. Odd sour ending. There is also a cooked vegtable flavor that comes and goes

Light in body and too fizzy

I really don't want anymore, this beer is not that good.

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Photo of BeerisfoodLLC
3.08/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had a few pints of this on tap:

A - Coppery reddish hue, very clear, not cloudy. Thinish head.

S - Pungeant aroma, hoppy citrusy tones

T - Hoppy taste, pretty typical pale ale. Not overwhelming. I bit of a lingering aftertase.

M - Goes down well, smooth not too carbonated.

D - I think I had 6 or so in one sitting so I would say it is drinkable although nothing too special.

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Photo of KCHopHead
3.58/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A - I was very impressed with how translucent this beer was with as much flavor as it put out. The head was thin though but it did leave a decent amount of lacing as I drank.

S - Hop smell is very abundant. If I could pick out hops by smell this one would be very obvious.

T - A good sharp hop taste that is bitter up front, but not much else going on.

M - Very smooth, not much to say.

D - I could put a few of these back while sitting at the Inner-Harbor area of Baltimore.

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Photo of DookDrinkyCrow
4.35/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance and the smell was surprising for a pale ale with toasted wheat and malt, and undetectable hops.

Medium bodied and lightly carbonated.

Starts out malty but finishes with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

I had to try this beer because Clay Pipe Brewing Co. is just around the corner and i also have enjoyed Hop-ocalypse.

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Photo of deereless
3.1/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: A copper to pink grapefruit color, half a pencil thickness of relatively dense head - 3.75, S: Quite bready aroma, a touch of bubblegum, a little herbal smell - 3.50, T: Somewhat grainy, noticeable hop bitterness, not a lot happening on the palate - 2.75, M: Unusual mouthfeel that comes across as oily - 2.75, D: A very standard APA, nothing to necessarily seek out but certainly drinkable - 3.00

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Photo of Risser09
3.15/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter - fridge - 2009

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy copper brown/orange with a 1/2" creamy, yellow head. Not much retention, but there is some stringy lace remaining. Not much carbonation activity.

Smell: Earthy, nutty malt aroma with very little hops. Fresh split cherry wood, cereal grain and caramel malt.

Taste: A basic malt and hop combination that doesn't have many hop attributes. Pinchy bitterness is earthy, slight and lingering. The pale malt is heavier than expected, and doesn't have too much sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, nicely carbonated, a touch of bitterness, and a wet finish. The bitterness goes down into the belly.

Drinkability: A decent beer that isn't very much of a pale ale. It needs a better, stronger hop profile to offset the malts. Worth a try.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.02/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle purchased at Shawan Liquors in MD. Poured into a standard shaker glass. Appears a hazed golden yellow color with around a finger of bone white foam. Smells and tastes of grassy lemony hops, lightly toasted grains, bread, and sweet malt. Tasty stuff with a nice, straightforward flavor. Medium bodied and amply carbonated for a pale ale. A great beer to enjoy while at the shore.

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Photo of Jerzdevil1116
3.97/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle drank from a pint glass.

A: Clear, deep golden/ almost amber body. Light carbonation rising in the glass. Minimal white head. No lacing.

S: Nice caramel and bready malt. Herbal and piney hop backing.

T: More hops than I was expecting. Spicy bitterness balanced by a light bready maltiness.

M: Light to medium bodied. Crisp and tingly.

D: A good tasting beer. It would be easy to session this beer.

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Photo of hwwty4
3.03/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Rob for leaving this for me after our last tasting. I think he has a BA handle I just don't know what it is.

Poured a 12oz bottle into my New Belgium globe. This beer pours a deep copper with a small 1 inch head that disappeared into nothingness leaving no lacing as the head disappeared. The aroma is mildly hoppy with a nice sweet caramel malt background. The flavor is pretty much the same. I wish this beer had more of a hop presence to it. The caramel malt really drowns out any hop flavor. Also there is a subtle bitterness to it. The mouthfeel is light and decently carbonated. This beer is just alright. Something to drink if the beer selection at a bar isn't too hot.

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Photo of auxiliary
4.03/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance - Nice golden color with a good size head and lots of lace.

smell - Sweet malt, some caramel. I think it smells good.

taste - Nice taste of malt up front and then goes down with a hoppy taste.

mouthfeel - Medium body.

drinkability - Nice beer to have with those ood ol blue crabs. nice drikning beer. Do i think it is a nice balance? I think so, but it does have some bite to it. I do like this one, might be one of the best APA's i have.

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Photo of Applesauce1
4.23/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I picked this up at the Westover Market in Arlington. Looked interesting, and I'm always into trying some local brews, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Appearance: copper-amber color, hazy, nice 1/2" off-white head on the pour...looks great
Smell: hops and hint of cinnamon...seems a little strange...but good nonetheless
Taste: nice, not overpowering, balanced...hops, pale malt, slight citrus...hmmm...hint of cinnamon actually
Mouthfeel: light to medium body
Drinkability: great, i just got off work and already on #2 from the sixer

Overall, an impressive beer. I'll have to buy this one again....maybe even check out the brewery.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.43/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice clear amber color, with a fairly strong light tan head. Sticky lacing abounds on my pint glass as the head slowly fades. Some lazy bubbles make their way up from the bottom of the glass.

Pine-scented hops surround an earthy-good maltiness, together promising only good things to come. Taste is of rugged yet subtle piney hops. I love adjectives. Really, this is on the low end for hop flavor in an APA, but it's got good flavor nonetheless. Some caramel and malt notes fritter away in the background. Good balance but all on the low end. I want more bang.

It's got good body and a good smooth feel with a slight carbonation burn at the end. I could drink a sixer no problem, which is probably not what you are looking for in your APA.

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Photo of BeerSox
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into nonic.

Slightly dark amber hue with a one finger off white head that slowly settles to a thin rim along the glass. Spotty lacing.

Some light bready malts with sharp and peppery hop notes.

Light sweet malts that give off a little bit of brown sugar. The hops are citrusy and slowly fade after each sip. Full bodied with good carbonation.

A middle of the road pale ale. I'd say the flavor shows hints of an Amber Ale with the brown sugar flavors.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.68/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap a couple days ago at Obrycki's Restaurant, Terminal B of Baltimore's BWI Airport. $5.25 for a full 16 oz. pint, not bad for Airport pricing.

Pours a clear orange amber color with a quickly dissipating half inch of head, and offers some random lacing. Glass was spun in some ice prior to pouring likely diminishing what might have been a different head/retention situation.

Some orange/tangerine citrus hop notes couple with moderate malts on the nose. Mid-glass, hops become more evident as does an amber sweetness to the malt structure. Taste is lightly malty with a hint of orange oil hop on the finish. Not too sweet and quite drinkable. Feel is also good. Carbonation was a bit low for my preference given the beer, otherwise I'd have given a 4.5 on the drinkability. Understandably, this may be the tap line as opposed to the beer itself.

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Backfin Pale Ale from Clay Pipe Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.48 out of 5 with 49 ratings