Alimony Ale | Buffalo Bill's Brewery

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Alimony AleAlimony Ale
338 Ratings
Alimony AleAlimony Ale

Brewed by:
Buffalo Bill's Brewery
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Buffalo Bill's Alimony Ale was originally brewed back in 1987 for a customer going through a divorce. It has gained reputation as one of the most eccentric brews, from reports in the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. No longer one of the bitterest beers in America, just one of the best.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-13-2000

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 338 |  Reviews: 133
Reviews by freduardo:
Photo of freduardo
3.25/5  rDev -3.8%

More User Reviews:
Photo of woodychandler
4.22/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I am now committed to reducing, if not eradicating, my backlog of bottles. This one was part of a local, in-person trade with tone77.

From the bottle: "Good beer, like true love, doesn't last long. Enjoy it while it lasts."; "It's Irreconcilably Different". Hee hee. The soundtrack to this one includes Led Zeppelin's "Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman)".

Grrr, fooled again by a screw-top cap! I took out my frustration in the frm of an aggro pour, which resulted in a pseudo-cascade. It settled into a massive three fingers of dense, tawny head with great retention. Color was a deep-amber (SRM = > 5, < 7) with NE-quality clarity. Nose was bitter, as anyone forced to pay alimony might be, with a prevalent pine odor. Now, my hophead mouth was beginning to water! Even better was the sticky lacing that the foam left behind in its wake. Mouthfeel was medium. Taste was a combination of bitter grapefruit rind and minty pine, reminding me of how and why I became a hophead in the first place. I have been subjecting myself to all manner of styles in this attempt at downsizing, but this was a welcome relief! Finish was dry and biting, fitting for both an AIPA and the thought of paying alimony.

 1,210 characters

Photo of tectactoe
3.15/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Pours a hazy amber color with some orange-ish highlight streaming along the sides of the glass. The foamy and chunky, ever-so-slightly beige cap rests quietly at about a quarter-inch as it leaves some thick and spotty lacing on the way down, especially near the top of the glass.

Alimony Ale smells pretty good. It's packed neatly with a caramel-laden network of malts; bready, sweet, and graham cracker-ish, upon which a brighter wave of hop flavors coast through your nostrils - light citrus, grapefruit, and orange peels leading the way. There's a solid balance and harmony of malt and hops, for sure, but this beer is lacking any real punchline or "it factor" that would make it stand out to me amongst a lineup of other, readily available IPAs. Maybe I'm being too hard on it... I haven't even tasted it yet.

But it tastes pretty much like I expect. Again, not a "bad" thing, in any sense of the work. Bread, light caramel, and graham cracker malt rolls out a carpet across the palate, opening with a bit of sweetness and mouth-coating stickiness. The hops aren't far behind at all, and quickly follow up with a one-two combo of grapefruit and pine resin. Pith-like and peel-y is the fruit profile as the leafy, piney, and oily nature of the hops play in the background. Medium-ish body with a slightly sticky and oily mouth feel. Medium-high carbonation provides a neat little snap on the tongue that cuts through the slick body just a bit.

I like hop profiles that are densely resinous and piney, but again - this one falls just short of packing an acceptable wallop. It doesn't cut my tongue enough. It doesn't spark my senses like an IPA should. And at 6.8% ABV, I'd rather choose a Pale Ale with less alcohol and just as much, if not MORE flavor. Alimony Ale isn't bad or offensive at all, but it gives me no reason to walk in the store and choose it over the myriad of other IPAs that I could walk away with for the same price or flavor. You get the point.

 1,970 characters

Photo of GameOfBeers
3.75/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of TTripp725
2.97/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of dgfool
1.5/5  rDev -55.6%

Photo of iemailjack
3/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of Jason
3.97/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown. Turn of the century cartoon of a small man, big mouth character holding a sign. On the sign it states, "The Bitterest BREW in America."

Appearance: Very dark with ruby edges and a nice looking thin lace that retains.

Smell: Big and malty with caramel and rum notes.

Taste: Extremely smooth, rich malt sweetness that transforms into a roasted grain dryness becoming almost tart. Hop leaf flavours finish at the end, mixing well with the complexity of malt afters.

Notes: Not the bitterest brew, but, very malty and complex. The malts definitely reign in this brew. Very unique and enjoyable.

 628 characters

Photo of merlin48
3.9/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A new arrival at the nefarious Pappy's Beer Store at the entrance of Cumberland Gap National Park. Bottle pours a slightly hazed deep amber body with a small, but lasting, offwhite head. Good sticky lacing is left behind on the glass.

Aroma is orange and pineapple marmalade, waves of caramel, and some aggressive pine hops.

Mouthfeel is nearly full thanks to a chewy maltiness. Medium carbonation.

Taste reminds me of rum raisin icecream, with additions of grapefruit and pine hops, pineapple, and chewy caramel. Solid and filling.

A bit of a headturner for me. Didn't expect such from this brewery, but this ale is bold and aggressive. Nicely done, but I wanted something lighter after this one.

 702 characters

Photo of Skye1024
2/5  rDev -40.8%

Photo of far333
3.55/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear honey copper colored with a low white head of tightly bubble foam that settles out quickly.

Aroma of tangerine and florals, though a bit muted, some cinnamon notes.

Flavors fairly match the nose, with a finish that morphs to bitter citrus rind and grapefruit. Good round mouthfeel, nice and full and creamy. Pretty drinkable.

 333 characters

Photo of acknight
3.75/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.05/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

When an old timer goes on sale for just over $1 a bottle, why not jump back into the olden days. This beer was pretty cool back in the college days (late 90s). Pours out darker than most ipa's nowadays, this was kind of a mix of red, yellow and brown. I guess that's either auburn or amber. Aroma very different than ipas of today, accentuated the nuttiness, just as much, if not more than the hops.

Taste delivers a bitter, yet for the most part, balanced beer. Its a big malt profile. A little sweet, plenty nutty and substantial, with equal parts toffee and caramel to it, carbonation just right, applying some lift to the malt, but not so much that it feels like bitter seltzer. Somewhere between an older school ipa with brown/red malt(s) possibly. Imagine if BMC decided to try duplicate Celebration Ale, they would probably dumb it down to something like this. Which isn't to say its bad, far from it. But its not the original thing. Its in a way, kind of unique now, as there aren't too many west coast ipa's with this body.

 1,034 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Buffalo Bill's has become somewhat a novelty in the craft brewing realm, let's see if their amusingly entitled American IPA Alimony Ale holds up to the challenge of being a solid West Coast IPA. Appears a pale copper hue slightly hazed with sediment, bright offwhite head forming thick with fine bubbles intricate lacing left behind, beautiful looking brew. Aromatics strong citric nature, hints of peach and biscuit pale malts. Flavors bitter just like the alimony payments, not joking this beer has a strong unrivaled bitterness, starts citric peel fruity ends abrasive earthy/dirty hop bitteriness. Mouthfeel is dry with hop bitterness hints of aspirin medicinal qualities overall bring out a nice flowing carbonation that carries this medium bodied brew without difficulty. Drinkability overall is excellent, a beer I will try fresh anytime solid West Coast example not the cream of the crop, but this beer is no slouch.

 924 characters

Photo of JasonFromLA
1.25/5  rDev -63%

Photo of RDW
4/5  rDev +18.3%

Photo of big2112
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of tdm168
3.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber with one finger of head that fades to a thick lacing. Smells heavily of malts. Taste is very malty but with a slight hop bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium body with good carbonation.

Not a bad IPA. I've definitely had better, but I'll probably have this again.

 292 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear - although bottle conditioned - and very dark brown with ruby highlights topped by a dense, creamy tan head that holds very well and leaves some exceptional lace. The aroma is rich with light fruit and caramel notes. The body is medium with a fine, median carbonation that is lightly zesty on the tongue and fairly creamy once it warms in the mouth. The flavor is bold and rich with layers of caramel, toffee, chocolate and roasted coffee notes as well as some lightly floral & grassy hoppiness. The combination of dark malts and hop acids gives a low pH that's borderline sharp but works well with the dryness of the beer. It finishes with a quick flourish of hop flavor and bitterness, then receeds with a lingering caramel maltiness. Starts well and ends well! The "most bitter beer in America" clearly refers to the alimony aspect of it, and not the IBU's, as it's really quite malty and fairly complex. Very nice! Much more than I'd expected, and well recommended.

 975 characters

Photo of RickS95
4.07/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a coppery bronzey orange. The head is mostly white and fluffy, but lasts only a short time.

Citrus smells dominate the nose, with some peppery spices in the background.

Tastes like it smells, with citrus flavors taking over with pine flavors filling in the cracks. Like in the nose, there is some pepper at play as well.

In my mind it's hard for any IPA to have a good mouthfeel and this is no exception. It's got a hoppy bite from beginning to end. The citrus only tames the hoppiness a little.

This is a really good IPA. While it's 100% IPA with it's hoppy bitterness, it's pretty tame for the type. Would go well with something salty to eat, but goes by itself just fine.

 684 characters

Photo of Cooper
3.75/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of blknikon
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was in a cheese shop when I saw this beer and started laughing. The bottle alone would make a good post divorce gift. It poured nice. It wasn't as bitter as I exspected, but it was more bitter than your standard IPA. All in all it was decent beer worthy of another round.

 273 characters

Photo of DerekP
3.58/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into an Imperial Nonic slash Weizen glass of sorts with a Leinenkugel logo.

Tarnished gold, amber-orange body. Swampy head w/ a thin egg white rim. Cloudy in appearance. Fruity & floral in the nose w/ pineapple coming to mind. Heat from the alcohol. A bit of a bready aroma; buttery. Sweet caramel in the back end.

A malty-bitter jab to the tastebuds. Alcohol is obvious, but not overbearing. An IPA on the maltier side.

Medium to heavy bodied brew w/ a slick feel. A night capper.

 504 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Clear copper with no head and very little lacing. Looks flat except for the edges of the beer.

Smell - Eh. Hop aromas come through, but it's a struggle. Hard to identify exactly which hop aromas are there. More of a bready malt smell.

Taste - Some bitter hops at the front, but a sharp, nutty flavor from the malt immediately follows. The hops don't come through in the flavor. The finish is bitter, but more unclean than appealing.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with sharp carbonation. Much more than I anticipated, given the lack of a head.

Overall - It was easy to drink, for sure. Just not what I'd choose to drink every day. Not terrible, just not great. Very average IPA.

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Alimony Ale from Buffalo Bill's Brewery
Beer rating: 3.38 out of 5 with 338 ratings