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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 49 |  Reviews: 47
Reviews by DookDrinkyCrow:
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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More User Reviews:
Photo of far333
3.93/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Faded iced tea color with a half inch of beige frothy head. Biscuity aroma.

Flavor of doughey malt, buttered corn and some faint toffee, and a mild hop bite in the finish.

Mouthfeel is somewhat thin and watery, but I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt because I watched in horror as the bartender overflowed the pint glass for a full 90 seconds to get rid of all the foamed he couldn't control due to his own bad pour, thereby pouring off all the carbonation. All in all, a decent malty pale ale.

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Photo of Rootdog316
3.3/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear gold with a medium white head. A light malty/grainy aroma with some faint piney hops. Light to medium body and carbonation, and a clean mouthfeel. Balanced light maltiness and soft hop bitterness result in a refreshing, but somewhat understated APA.

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Photo of cliff1066
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%

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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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 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 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 GrandpaGeorg
4.33/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What was the old ad tagline, "Try it again for the first time?" Clay Pipe is a local company run by local resident Gregg Norris. Fantastic products. I drink them all the time at local haunts like "Beck's Pub" and at the O's games. I have them right now in the fridge--this one specifically. So why haven't I reviewed it until now? Too busy enjoying, I guess. Gorgeous copper color, nice head that lasted through the first few sips; perfect carbonation. Mostly malt with a touch of fruity hops in the nose. Taste is the same. Rich, slick malt with a hint of lip-smacking hops that lingers on the tongue. A bit of bitterness in the end. Good right down to the bottom of the glass, even improving as it warmed. Just like the "on tap" version. And as a local product, very very fresh tasting. Thanks Gregg!

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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 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 cubedbee
3.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a bright copper with a finger of dense white head and a moderate amount of lacing. Smell is sweet malt and floral hops, neither particularly strong. Taste is simple but good---a grainy malt taste with a slight caramel note followed by a fairly sharp hop finish. Body is a little on the thin side, but the mouthfeel is very smooth and goes down easily. Nothing about this APA jumps out and grabs you, but it's a solid local brew that tastes great with a simple meal.

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Photo of Proteus93
3.33/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A slightly hazy deep honey-amber. Head is almost inexistant, and even with an aggressive pour, is very short and drops to all but nothing in no time.

S: Winning back a little bit of love with the scent of herbal/floral hoppiness and a nice malty backbone Some perfumy scents - but more of a soap-perfume aroma rather than that of chemical perfume.

T: A bit of a citrusy, herbal taste of hops. A lighter malt toasting.

M + D: A sharper carbonation, though perhaps a bit watered down. Drinkable enough, though not one I could see myself actively seeking out.

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Photo of Brent
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pretty run-of-the-mill pale ale. Mildly malty nondescript hops aroma. A little thin in body, glides across the tongue without making a big impression. Slightly grainy malt, a touch sweet, followed by a hops bittering that did not hang on as it passed through. Yet another beer that is fine with a meal as a background beverage, but nothing to commend it otherwise.

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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 Dithyramb
3.51/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A completely different bird in the bottle. Bottled by someone else for them. No bottled on or freshness dating.
Beautiful out of the bottle. Tarnished bronze with a slight chill hazy. Nice, tight off white head that lasts for a bit and leaves some excellent lacing.
Smells all malt.
Bready chalky malt, accented with some European style hop finish on the beer. Had good sharp flavor on the front and back end. Not top notch, but better-n-avg
Sticky sweet mouthfeel. Good and lasting
Had this one by itself and with MD's own blue crabs. Goes well with both. Not world class, but cheap and worthy of drinking several. A pretty damn nice session brew and one that my macro friends will drink.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.78/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Part of the Poitras/VA 2004 vacation.

Enjoyed on tap at Hard Rock Cafe, Baltimore, MD.

Presented in a take-home 22oz Hard Rock pilsner glass. Off-white 1/2" head, which had reasonable retention and laced well, over a copper brew. Somewhat generic pale malt/hops aroma, with flavor resembling the nose. Extremely smooth mouthfeel, and drinkability was excellent as well. A nice choice from the BMC-heavy gang, and a pleasant surprise.

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

Tasted on 2/14/04

Appearance: Amber colour with an off white head.

Smell: Fairly nondescript, little bit of a citrus hop thing going on.

Taste: A little muddled, a noticeable hop bite on the finish.

Mouthfeel: A bit agressive, the carbonation is a touch too evident.

Drinkability: This beers saving grace is that it goes down very easily.

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

12oz brown bottle, no date information.

Orange tinged amber. Tall tan head of loosely piled mixed size bubbles. Swirling columns of sheeting carbonation. The head slowly settles to a thick coat, leaving no lacing. Lightly toasted grain, and grassy, slightly spicy hop aromas rise from the glass. Toasty malt with a touch of caramel and slightly fruity-sweet citrus toned hop flavors great the palate. The finish is more crisp and sweet than straight hop resin, but still provides a pleasant compliment. Nicely balanced with an ample malt toastiness and offsetting sweet crisp lemony orange rind. A bit of warmth accentuates the orange flavors. Medium body with bright carbonation, this is fairly smooth on the tongue. Highly drinkable and a solid pale ale.

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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 RBorsato
4.28/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice clear solid gold color with a nice creamy light beige head that lasts. Nice slow carbonation. Nice balanced malt and hop (English-dirty and American-light citrus) aroma and flavor. Medium bodied and smooth with a nicely balanced finish.

A nice American/English hybrid APA.

Per CP website: OG: 12.0 B (1.048 s.g.)
Alcohol: 5.5 % v/v
Color: Amber (~8.0 SRM)
Ingredients: 2-Row Malted Barley, 20ºL Caramel Malt, 60ºL Caramel Malt, American, English & Czech Hops

'6330' lasered on the bottom
Tasted: 06/16/07

($1.79 / 12 oz.)

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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 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 smcolw
3.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours with a thin head that leaves very light lace on the glass. The color is polished copper. There is a slight chill haze.

For a pale ale, this is a malty aroma with nearly no hop present.

When tasting, my first thought is this is a classic "amber" ale. It's malty but still dry. The hop is present but light. Astringent aftertaste. Nice full body with moderate carbonation.

This is a decent pale ale particularly on Maryland's eastern shore where good beer seems to be lacking (with the exception of this one and Dogfish Brewery).

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