Alimony Ale | Buffalo Bill's Brewery

132 Reviews
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

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Reviews: 132 | Ratings: 336
Photo of DrDemento456
4.4/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours a very nice clear amber copper with at least a half inch of head

S - Smells bitter and piney. Fresh hop smells hits the nose hard.

T - Hard to believe it's 80 IBU's but it is. Starts pretty bitter but as your palate adjust you have caramel sweetness malt along side of these harsh bitter hops which mend nicely but as most west coast hop ales coats my mouth in a sort of "soap like" hop taste. Only moderate as this is balanced its not near as irritating, as say Green Flash (shudder!)

M - Light to medium, found the bitterness was like asking for seconds.

D - West coast done right, I found this at my local D's and if found cheaper than 15 dollars a sixer would drink quickly! With fresh west coast hop taste I like the bitter!

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.32/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a fun beer from the beginning. The label was cool, and the name is hilarious.

It was a nice clear red ale with a good-sized head that lasted quite a while.

The aroma was of complex hops, both aromatic and bitter, some hints of pine and citrus, but only lightly. The hops were very strong.

The taste was quite bitter, as promised, and the hop character was very pronounced. Some maltiness, but it was overshadowed.

As a hop lover, I enjoyed this one a lot, from looking at the bottle to the final swallow.

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Photo of FreshmanPour77
4.3/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 7-1-11
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A – Poured one finger of foam, nice layer of frothy foam. Carbonation is present. Dark amber color

S – Malts with a slight piney hop aroma with orange peel

T/M – Medium bodied that was well balanced between the malts and hops

D – Very drinkable brew! Wish I had more of this. I got this as an extra. Like I said this brew was a very well balanced brew. I highly recommend this brew

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Photo of brown2cu
4.28/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: wonderful appearance! A thick viscous head forms atop a blood orange body. A copious amount of lacing is present.

S: tropical hop notes corroborate with a firm malt sweetness.

T: hops take a backseat here. The malt takes over this beer is sweet and fruity and slightly candy like. Not quite sure this is an ipa but it is good just the same.

M: smooth and creamy. Heavy bodied.

O: good but no ipa!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +25.4%
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.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.22/5  rDev +24.5%
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.

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Photo of hosehead83
4.13/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a "stubby" 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Cloudy, orange-gold in appearance, with a nice cloud deck of off-white foam.
Aroma-Nice boquet of citrus hops and some toasted malt.
Taste-Tasty onrush of citrussy hops, solid toasted malt backbone, citrus rind finish.
Solid American IPA.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.08/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sierra Nevada pint glass. No readable freshness date.

A- A heavy psst! erupts when I crack the top followed by some carbonation steam. From a light pour comes a towering 8 or so inches of head so large that I can't get all the beer in the glass at first. It starts to melt around the edge and there's a hump of foam sticking up in the middle. I pour a second time and still can't get all the beer out of the bottle. Now the hump is protruding past the top of the glass. I pour a third time and almost cause foam to spill over the edge of the glass, but I'm good. Now the hump is an off-white mountain. Finally, with the fourth pour, I empty the bottle. The beer itself is a dark amber color. Crazy lacing. This is the first offering I've had from Buffalo Bill and just the appearance has me all excited.

S- Crisp, pungent hop aromas flow from the head. More herbal than piney or grassy but still has a citrus tone. Also a slight astringency is present.

T- At first there's a bitterness but, in a flash, the malts set in and tip the scales. There's an alcohol bite that's a bit unwelcome (considering the ABV) along with the bit of astringency I sensed in the aroma, but overall a well-balanced flavor profile. Also a somewhat metallic aftertaste.

M- Tingly and bright with high carbonation. Medium body is a bit on the moist side.

O- A very good IPA. I'll be seeking out more of Buffalo Bill's lineup for sure now.

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Photo of RickS95
4.07/5  rDev +20.1%
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.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.05/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This strong ale pours a ruby/brown color with a medium-sized off-white head. A strong floral hop scent rises up immediately. A nice sweet malt aroma blends in and lasts for a while.
The deep and rich malt is caramelly sweet. Flavors of toffee and sweet chocolate are in the background.
High in metallic & citrusy hops, this is indeed a bitter ale. Grapefruit, lemon zest and piney esters are in abundance. 7.5
(The Bitterest Brew in America) Get it? This is a Powerful Beer w/ lots of sweet malt, hops & alcohol vying for attention.

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Photo of BeerdedEric
4.05/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Goldish color body with a creamy white head. Looks very bubbly. The main attraction is the head becoming creamier from all the bubbles. Beautiful lacing on the glass.

There's a perfume smell to this mixed in with a bouquet of flowers and mens' cologne. Weird but interesting.

Bread and biscuit malt mixing with citrus hops. The tastes of malts and hoppiness are almost even but a metalic hop flavor at the end wins out. Quite tasty and I don't have a complaint about the taste.

The body on this is real nice. Creaminess from the head makes this feel really good in the mouth. (Wow, does that sound perverted) But it's true. Body and carbonation is light to medium.

I've had one bad experience and one average experience with Buffalo Bill's Brewery. This is definitely a nice one for a change. The creamy head made this have a pleasant mouth feel. The taste was good as well.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +18%
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.

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Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4/5  rDev +18%
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.

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Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer's name probably generates sales purely on novelty, but overall it is a quite decent IPA. Lands somewhere in the middle between an American IPA and the more traditional style, with bittering that is mid-range and a bit blunt - not a lot of complexity in the hops profie. Malt is well balanced for the level of hopping. Not something I'd be moved to buy a lot of, but enjoyable enough.

Of note, I see that earlier reviewers noted that the label proclaimed the beer "the bitterest beer in America" It no longer makes that claim - which is wise.

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Photo of Rschis16
4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice clarity in an amber beer with a big billowing head that got surprisingly big, surprisingly fast. Lots of visible carbonation from the bottom. The head sticks around for a long time and leaves heavy lacing. Very foamy off-white head. The aroma is sharp of pine hops and some nice toasty malts in the background.

Its a heavy beer in a medium body, tasting strongly of toasted malts and strong bitter hops that take over in the end. The hops finish everything off in a gritty fashion, but for some reason its very satisfying. The malts begin the taste in a heavy-handed way, but back off to make way for the heavy-handed bitter pine and grapefruit hops. The mouthfeel is on the creamy side, helping along that heavy feeling of the beer. The aftertaste is supremely hoppy and not to be reckoned with. Although not a traditional AIPA, its unique and it makes its strong flavors work well together. It drinks like a double IPA really, but just isn't quite there. Very interesting beer, worth buying if you see it around.

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Photo of lovindahops
4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a nice case to taste test and follow up on. Love these opportunities

A- pours a light amber color with a good foamy head that retreats to leave some lacing on the sides of my pint glass. Scratch that, the lacing is pretty impressive

S- an interesting buttery/biscuity citrus scent that hovers around. Even reminds me of a type of yeast from middle ages. A little citrus and maybe even soapy

T- fruity and buttery at the same time. Bitter at the end so that holds up well. It's maybe an unexpected twist on the west coast ipa scene. Same properties as the scent and I kind of like it. Definitely bitter at the end

M- good stingy carbonation with coating flavors

D- a very different type of ipa. I am enjoying the surprising properties of this brew

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Photo of JeffBlue
4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2/12/17 (draft, Buffalo Bills, Hayward) I was pleasantly surprised by this IPA. It was pretty balanced overall, leaning a tad maltier than I usually like. Will definitely give this one another spin in the near future. Very solid offering.

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Photo of Jason
3.97/5  rDev +17.1%
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.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
3.97/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz squat bottle into a pint glass. The bottle I'm pouring from is different in shape, though similar in appearance than the one pictured on this page. The beer is a golden-amber color, with minimal white head that provides little lacing when swirled.

Has a crisp citrus smell, like oranges and grapefruit, with floral and honey notes.

Has a nice, bitter citric start, that were through mid tongue before ending nicely hoppy bitter. I'm quite pleased with how wellmthe bitterness carries through the taste without being overwhelming. The beer has a leafy, earthy taste underneath the bitterness, with a mild honey sweet to keep it from being too astringent.

Medium bodied with a nice feel, with a touch of dryness in the tongue to finish.

Between the corny name and the 19th century loudmouth barrister graphic on the label, I hadn't harbored high hopes for this beer. I'm glad to say, however that this beer not only survived my motion to dismiss, but I think I will grant it a summary judgment; yes, the verdict is in, and this is a decent IPA I'd gladly have again.

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Photo of mrmuskie
3.95/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

bottle poured into a sam adams "super glass". It was a cloudy amber color with a 1 off white 1 finger head. The smell was all hop with a slight plastic smell? The taste was actually very good i would say it was a mix between a west coast ipa and a east coast Ill call it a mid-coast. lots of hoppy notes and a very very slight malt balancing act. mouthfeel was just what i like for a ipa, cleansing. like the hops are little scrubbers. It finishes with a nice little reminder that this is a west coast ipa. I was surprised this was a 80 ibu ipa seemed more like a 60 but what ever it was tasty.

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Photo of Shrews629
3.94/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Decent looking burnt orange/peach color. Hazy. Small off white head. Not much for size, retention or with the lacing, but some is there.

Smell - Nice bit of a fruity smell. The grapefruit citrus that is typical for an IPA. Some toastiness seems to be balanced well in the nose. I smell a touch of caramel and even some "woody" notes. As this beer warmed, the caramel really came through and the fruitiness moved to the background.

Taste - Some decent smatterings of bitterness with the initial taste. A bit of sticky pine. Some resinous type flavors also. Not as fruity in the flavor, but does have a medium maltn caramel characteristic that seems to be somewhat toasty.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel that does an excellent job of coating the palate. It's nicely dry and crisp. Mostly smooth with a welcome alcohol warmth at the end. The taste lingers for quite some time.

Drinkability - As I sipped on this beer and let it develope, it really started to come alive. This is a very solid brew. The citrus and fruit moved to the side and the caramel, toasty malt started to take over and really define this beer. It became almost "candy" sweet in the aroma and became more well rounded in the taste. Nice. I wouldn't have a problem sipping on this again for sure.

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Photo of yesyouam
3.94/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Alimony Ale is a very slightly hazy amber ale with a few small particles in it. It's topped with a blotchy, light khaki head that fades to a film and leaves excellent lacing on the glass. It smells like pine. Yes, pine, citrus and light grain. It's quite light bodied and foamy. The finish is clean and dry. It's pretty bitter but not really hop flavored. This is like an old school IPA. Pine resin flavor becomes juniper by the finish. There's a little hint of fruit that almost seems sweet and a note of lemon peel. It's nice, bitter and easy to drink.

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Photo of nezelrac
3.92/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from 12oz bottle into tulip

A - inviting copper orange; moderate finger of off white foam; a little lacing; decent retention

S - hoppy nose - on the pine resin and funk end; baked orange hint to the caramel note; very inviting

T - restrained palate -plenty of hop notes from start to finish, but they are all in balance; malt is supportive without taking the drivers seat; decent length; finish rises to pliant hops

M - firm edge with plenty of give in the middle; CO2 is right on

D - highly drinkable IPA; well worth a revisit

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Photo of JCaweinstein
3.91/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. There was no noticeable bottle date.

Pours a light amber color with a two finger white head, which doesn't last too terribly long. There is a lot of carbonation in this one. A small bit of lacing left at the top of the glass.

I smell oranges and pine. The smell does not seem to be the highlight of this beer as it is not very strong.

This is a very hoppy IPA. I really enjoy the taste of this one. Piney resionous hop flavor. I think I'm getting a hint of carmel from the malts but the hops are on show here.

Medium to light bodied. 6.8% but the alchohol is not detectable. Hops leave a bitter after taste which I do not mind.

This is a very drinkable IPA. On two occasions I drank 2 in a row from my sixer and wanted more. I would pick this one up again.

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Photo of merlin48
3.9/5  rDev +15%
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.

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Alimony Ale from Buffalo Bill's Brewery
3.39 out of 5 based on 336 ratings.
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