Alimony Ale | Buffalo Bill's Brewery

337 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

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Reviews: 132 | Ratings: 337
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 Isoruku
2.89/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Nothing much to write home about here: an IPA with good body and color, but the taste experience is wanting, with a nutty, strong aroma and taste, but little else. The experience on the palate is underwhelming and leaves me wishing I had something more rewarding (such as, say, a Two Hearted Ale). Not really in the "fun to drink" category.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.11/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A brown appearance for an ipa, what is that all about, happens all too often. Aroma was malty, nutty, and then a blotch of grapefruit.

Bitter taste, malty woody pencil shaving taste. Not all that bitter or hoppy by today's standards. Just leans English with all the toffee and woody flavors, bitterness. Old school ipa.

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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 metter98
3.49/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is hazy amber orange in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface, a collar around the edge, and some lacing down the sides.
S: Light to moderate aromas of caramel malts are present in the nose along with hints of citrusy hops.
T: The taste very much follows the smell, except that there are slight hints of malty sweetness and the hops contribute a light amount of bitterness. Slight bits of pine resin are noticeable towards the finish.
M: It feels nearly medium bodied and slightly crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I suspect that this beer might have been past its prime as the hops seemed to have diminished, but this showcases the malty undertones of the beer.

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Photo of Aaron_Ramson
3.9/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Peaches and grapefruit from the hops, cooked sugar and honey from the malts. Very balanced flavor; definitely not the acrid hop bomb that one expects from an IPA (perfect example: Stone IPA). Easy drinking and very flavorful with enough sweetness to cut the pithy bitterness.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.64/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz.

Pours a slightly hazy amber gold, inconsistent haze, more cloudy at the top and more clear at the bottom, thick off-white head over two inches dissipates slowly.

Smells of floral and piney hops with some mild honey and biscuit malts.

Flavor is of light honey and bready malts with a mild dry hop bitterness.

Medium body with a light fizzy carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

Pretty solid IPA, smells great, taste and feel are a half step down, but overall a pretty good brew worth trying.

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Photo of hhtaylor
3.69/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: golden/amber in color, pretty highly carbonated, nice lacing with high retention, just a bit cloudy

Smell: sweet, resiny sort of smell, a hint of citrus but not very hoppy smelling for an IPA

Taste: Bitterness from start to finish, sweetness wears off quickly and you're left with a bitter after taste.

Mouthfeel: Very well carbonated, relatively heavy and chewy feeling

Overall: I enjoyed it but would like the hops to add a little more flavor other than bitterness

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Photo of utopiajane
1.98/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Pours murky brownish amber with some bold and brawny foam that won’t fall down. I had to wait to taste it. Citrus hops nose with caramel malt, some floral some apple in the back and medicinal alcohol. The nose is not real big. Taste is both sweet and bitter. Alcohol on the palate and a rubbery taste that I couldn’t quite get into. I kept wondering what went wrong? Went down dry but tasted like pencil erasers and didn’t fade well. I would pass on this next time.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.72/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Coppery color with a dense, thick head this IPA sets up quite nicely. The head was roughly a fingers width, creamy and pronounced it sat atop for the entire experience.

The scent was quite simple. An almost metallic malt aroma there is a certain spiciness but far too light to discern what spice.

The taste is dry, malty and even a touch fruity. Possibly cinnamon spice with a lemon zest, the malt breadiness and cracker dryness are near the front. There is a strange metallic taste and feel near the end.

Overall a very well constructed ale that could use a few more hops to truly set it apart.

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Photo of Omnium
3.42/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle > Lagunitas Mason

A - Pours hazy copper big two finger off white head, and some nice dense lacing.
S - Big on caramel malt here, some interesting spices though, definitely a little cinnamon and some spruce, really earthy hop scents coming off this one, and a little banana at the end.
T - I really let this beer warm up to close to room temp, just a bit cool and it got better as it did. Aggressive earthy almost herbal hop bite that comes after the big sweet caramel malt wave that hits you, then you get some pine and those mixed spices. This really isnt as bad as everyone is making it out to be, that said there is a slight plastic taste to it. I dont know if there's any Belgian yeast in this, but it has a slight quality in that sense at the finish.
M - Too sticky sweet for your average IPA, but there is some lingering bitterness.
O - I dont see how everyone is making this out to be a terrible beer, no its not your standard IPA, but it sure is unique in a lot of ways. If Buffalo Bill's could find out what is causing that weird artificial or plastic taste and remove that, that'd be a great step in the right direction.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.15/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

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Photo of countrocula
1.71/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

I don't know if I got an old sixer of this stuff... and believe me... I am one to get pretty verbose in my reviews, but all that comes to mind on this wretched brew is that it STINKS. Totally gross stale malt flavor. The nose was like grandpa's rayon blend slacks that he hasn't laundered in 30 years. I almost barfed from this. First time in 15 years that I discarded 3 unopened bottles. The other two I shot with a 12 gauge.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
1.74/5  rDev -48.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of JP. Thanks bud! I had never heard of this beer before. Stamped enjoy by 022213.

Pours a moderate hazed orange with some soapy whites and some spotty oily lace.

Smells like a maltifed rubber hose.

Big caramel malts and some chalky and lightly abrasive bittering hops. Finish is all plastic tubing.

i understand this is billed as an old school IPA, but this school should be boarded up. It tastes like larger scale home-brew with the extremely off putting plastic tubing off flavor that has essentially knocked me out of homebrewing myself. Every burp tastes of tubing. Not good. Half a glass give me a wicked pud ache. Draino!

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Photo of SerialHiker
1.56/5  rDev -54%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Apperance: Copper in color and transparent…some bubble action in the middle…head that formed dissipated rather quickly, leaving a thin veil on top…(2/5)

Smell: Not very aromatic, I really had to get my nose down in there to catch anything…definitely citrus hops, but I’m not getting too much nose action here…(1/5)

Taste: Surprising amount of hoppy bitterness in the initial taste, seeing as there’s little hint of that in the smell…the malt and hops balance nicely creating a classic American IPA…citrus and piney hops, a sweet flavor mixed in with a malty finish…mild taste of alcohol lingers after finish…(2/5)

Mouthfeel: Bitter carbonation sorta burns my tongue if I let it…it’s a basic IPA flavor and feel…bitter hops lingers…(2/5)

Overall: Not too sure if I could tell this one from another…it’s good, but very non-descript…there’s no head, there’s no bubbles, it just sorta is…Eh…(1/5)

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Photo of hopsolutely
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hate to say it, but this "American classic" is a bit of a disappointment. Does not compare with the now more typical west coast APA.

Pours a murky amber with a decent head at the initial pour that dissipates quickly. Aroma is malt-forward but "bitter". Although I can't name those hops, there are mild citrus and pine elements, but the bitterness isn't as well balanced or aromatic as it could be. Likewise the flavour starts with a caramelized malt-forward body that transitions rather abruptly into "bitter" without the potential surrounding flavour palate. An appropriate analogy for divorce, but not a beer I'll seek out again.

Imagine this would have been revolutionary in the early 90's, but imo does not stand up to current Californian offerings.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.96/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

I think the more Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid about this label, the better for the brewery... Anyway, this stuff pours a clear bronze topped by a finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises onion, light pine resin, and musty biscuits in the background. Goddamn onions... The taste holds notes of musty greens, light pine resin, soapy grapefruit rind, and dry toffee. At least the onions didn't show up... The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, I can't say I enjoyed this IPA all that much, but it's far from truly bad.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.05/5  rDev -10%
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.

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Photo of lawlerj
3.23/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.

A - Pours a very murky golden brown. Two finger width white head with agressive pour.

S - Lots of caramel malt on the nose, a touch of citrus hop in the background. The caramel is really what dominates here.

T - It seems a bit muddled to me, but not altogether unpleasant. The caramel/toasty malt is there again, but hops are quite a bit more forceful when tasted. As some others noted, there's honey in the mix as well. The finish is not quite as crispy and dry as I want it to be, but the hops are there.

M - medium bodied. I was wanting it to be a little bit lighter on the palate, but not too bad.

O - Overall, an interesting beer. Definitely not the typical IPA that I've run into. I wouldn't say it's my favorite, but I might give this one another shot sometime down the line.

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Photo of yemenmocha
2.65/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a slightly murky brown with thin head that dissipates quickly. Not very appealing. Nose has black tea, spent paper coffee filter, overripe citrus. On the palate there's some citrus tingling bruised banana quality, caramel malt - lots of caramel, and an undercarbonated sensation across the palate. Finish has caramel and black tea. Can't help but wonder if the beer was indeed a mistake and hence the Alimony name - perhaps a story behind this name?

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Photo of DannyHartman
3.32/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

As I pour a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass, a nice 1+ inch head develops over a golden honey colored brew....

I take a whiff of this brew, and hoppy dominated notes with citrus come to mind.... Mostly grapefruit and orange with slight hints of honey.... The taste certainly isn't that hoppy at all....

The taste mostly consists of the orange and grapefruity citrus notes that the nose contains.... It also has a slight honey taste....

There's a medium bodied mouthfeel that leaves a less than pleasant aftertaste....

Not the worst beer I've ever had, but definitely far from the best.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12-oz. bottle into a pint glass at my house on Sept. 7, 2012 (purchased at Cost Plus World Market in Grossmont (San Diego, Calif.) for a solo price of $1.99 on Sept. 6, 2012). About 1-2 fingers of head. Poured a honey, caramel with white head. Above average retention on the sides, average on the top.

Smelled sharp whiff up front of a mix of hops. Got citrus hops - grapefruit, nectarine - and a bit of floral hops. Liked the nose a lot. Gave it a gracious 4.5.

Taste wasn’t as good as the nose. It really just didn’t come together. Got those citrus hops, but harder to tell which kind. Probably grapefruit. Very bitter. Not too appealing.

Light-to-medium body. Oily, creamy texture. Average carbonation. Long, bitter finish. Got better as it went along.

This beer definitely grew on me and I’d try it again.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.66/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into a beer mug.

A: Pours a very hazy tawny color. This is quite hazy, even for an IPA. Lots of head on this one, a three finger offwhire color that leaves plenty of thick lacing on the glass.

S: Citrus - and not just the typical mango and grapefruit rind, but out and out oranges. For better or worse, the most orange-y IPA I've ever inhaled. Strong notes of honey betray its potential sweetness level, as well.

T: Very sweet, almost like candy. Hints of citrus pop up on the finish, but this is almost totally dominated by honey and sugar. The hops only provide a generic finishing bitterness, one that fails completely to balance the sweetness.

M: Sticky, syrupy, heavy, basically all the traits I don't want in an IPA. This is very hard to imbibe; again, I need more in the way of hops and dryness. Only thing I like here is the mild carbonation.

O: This would be too sweet even for a regular amber ale, so as it stands, it's downright cloying by IPA standards. Add in its low drinkability, and there's little reason to buy this over many far superior IPAs on the market.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.41/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Murky orange with a strong feverish display of effervesce. A rocky rigid foam cream colored structure dominates the glass with a near 4 finger height with a slow rate of retreat. Patchy foamwork sticks well for lacing.

S: Sweet toasted caramel and pine. Average level of aroma, nothing that really sticks out.

T: Sweet toasted caramel, fresh grapefruit and pine. Nice flavor, sweet and bitter mix. Knock out of cypress-citrus hops is fresh, wet and bitter with a confident level of hop awareness. Dry toasted fade.

M: Nice snap of carbonation, frothy texture, medium bodied.

O: Overall, smooth sweet and bitter with a fresh wet hopping. Toasty sweet malt base, good drinkability, aside from the so-so aroma this turned out to be a fun style to down, wont knock you out complexity wise, but a good casual downer.

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Photo of EricDodge
2.47/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I was a bit let down with this brew. For being an IPA, it wasn't really to the style very well. I gave the appearance a low score because of the head... large bubbles from an over carbonation made a head that looked like you filled up a glass with water after squirting some Dawn in it. The head quickly went away except for a few uneven 'clumps' of foam on the surface rather than a thin layer across the whole thing. it didn't smell like much...just a few hints of hops, but not quite to what I'd expect from an IPA. The taste is the same... there's some hopes, but not quite what I would expect. The mouthfeel is also affected by the over carbonization. after you'd drink this, you might say to yourself "Jeesh, does everyone think that if you just have noticible hops than it's automaticaly an IPA?" because even thought it's a fine beer, I wouldn't toss it into the IPA group simply because they used more aroma hops.

All in all, it's an ok beer, but not a great IPA. I got mine on clearance for $5.99, so I'm ok with it...

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Alimony Ale from Buffalo Bill's Brewery
3.39 out of 5 based on 337 ratings.
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