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
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 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 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 tgbljb
4.23/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a cloudy apricot color with moderate white puffy head. Nice lacing present. Smell is minimal with a slight summer fruitiness noted. Taste is exceptionally enjoyable with with the fruity maltiness combining with the background hops in perfect proportions. Ending is also a nice balance of malt and hops. Great session beer or perfect for a hot summer afternoon.

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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 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 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 onedogtwodog
4/5  rDev +14.9%

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

A near perfect appearance here. Bright and clear golden orange with a decent and lively carbonation and topped with a small foamy head. The aroma is different and appealing to me. Buttery, lemony, nearly floral with a touch of tannic nuttiness. Maybe butternut(whatever that is) or hazlenut? The taste has a citric and acidic bite, with a definitive bitterness that stings the tongue, then engulfs the palate. This is a lightly bodied beer that ends up being easily drinkable. I like the nutty quality in this beer. Also has toffee/caramel like notes. Finishes dry, clean and lightly crisp. Enjoyable and tasty.

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Photo of brentk56
3.76/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Nothing like the appearance of a cask ale - cloudy apricot with a pillowy head; great retention and sheets of lace

Smell: Tangerine citrus

Taste: Tangerine fruit up front, with a stone fruit roundness; joined by a bit of malt after the swallow, but the citrus flavor dominates and then is gone in a flash

Mouthfeel: Medium to full creamy body with soft carbonation

Drinkability: A very nice cask beer with a disappointingly brief finish

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