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 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 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 Ryan011235
1.82/5  rDev -46.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip on 8/19/11

Pours a bit of a papery yellow and settles as a cloudy honey-brown. Poofy two finger head is riddled with pores, slowly collapsing. Impressive head retention - holds right around 1/3rd inch. Thick clumps of lace, too.

Smells not so hot. Dirty hops - vegetal (namely wild onion) and earthy. Kind of floral as it warms but even that smells dirty. Maybe some stray pine nips. Some faint candied fruit hints. Caramel, bread and yeast.

Oh man, tastes just as bad. Maybe worse. A quick hit of pine succumbs to a lingering bitterness (just shy of aspirin) and a slew of palate unpleasantries. Rotten citrus peel, earth, dirt, tea leaves, veggies, watery caramel and bread.

Basically medium body with a penchant for the watery side. Vigorous carbonation takes up way too much space and allows the bitterness to roam unchecked. The feel is far too coating, as well.

Alimony Ale is a terrible IPA and a lousy beer. Aside for great retention and lace, this one is plagued by issues, not the least of which are off-tones across the aroma and flavor profile. I dumped half the glass.

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Photo of C20Percent
1.91/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

*Review taken from notes*

A: Slightly hazy golden bronze with a fine amount of cream colored head.

S: Very subtle citrus-hop aroma. Would prefer something with more aroma.

T: This is not good to me. You know the smell or fresh plastic -- like when you first open an iPad or camera? That's what this taste like. I'm not sure what they were going for -- citrus? -- but this is not working. A bitter finish.

M: Light to medium body.

O: Won't be drinking this again. Fail all over. I seriously considered pouring this down the drain as it was hard to drink. Thought it might be better as the beer warmed. Nope.

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Photo of Floydster
1.96/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Sampled on 1/23/09, reviewed from notes, the fact that they claim this is the most bitter beer in the United States is more than laughable, bad enough that they even call it an IPA, color is golden amber with some lighter highlights, 3/4 inch bubbly white head that settles very quickly, no retention or lacing, was told it was brewed a few days before so it was fresh, so no excuses there, aroma is very weak and is almost all malt, lots of grain too along with some citrus and sweetness, flavor is malty and has minimal hops too, sweet flavor with undesirable fruit presence, got sweeter as it warmed, sweet and grainy mouthfeel, medium bodied, overly carbonated, could not and would not drink much of this, sweetness is filling and takes away from the smoothness, again where are the hops, thought this was going to be something worth drinking but I came up empty handed, would not drink again, not recommended

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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 alleykatking
2.38/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 12oz bottle. Thanks to VinnieVanGogh for this beer.

A- Poured a coppery brown color. Half finger off white head showed poor retention. No lace left on the sides of the glass.

S- Light citrus hops in the front but barely there in the aroma. Huge bready sweet caramel malts dominate most of the aroma. Earthy hops like the citrus come through but not in any dominate matter. Light sweet alcohol in the ending of the aroma.

T- Sweet malts right off the bat. Caramel bready malts show more than the citrus hops that came in the ending of the front. There was a light earthy hop in the ending with the same semi-sweet malt overtones in the front of the beer. Sweet alcohol in the ending of the beer.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Lots of malts left on the palate. Aftertaste is light sweet alcohol, bready caramel malts, and hints of earthy hops. Flavors were more malt forward and I didn't think it was balanced for the style. No off flavors were present but a little too sweet which threw me off as an odd flavor. Light alcohol drying on the palate.

O- Nothing at all like a IPA in my personal opinion. Not really anything like an English IPA either. The ABV didn't show really but the sweetness just is a little over the top for me. Not my favorite beer by a long shot but also at the same time not my least favorite.

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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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Photo of B967ierhunter177
2.53/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a slightly hazy amber with no head or lace. The aroma is of caramel and citrus, not much more. It's flavor has grapefruit, lemon, grass and toffee notes. The mouthfeel is light, slightly sticky, and leaves a lasting hoppy aftertaste.Buffalo Bills Alimony Ale is an average brew. Mild for an American IPA. Recommended.

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Photo of letsgopens
2.61/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep apricot amber with slightly brighter highlights. Off-white, thin foam head fades quickly and leaves sparse lacing.

Some slightly toasted, husky malt mixed with mild, generic fruit and some citrus hops. Hints of grapefruit and soapy pine. Farley muttled and mild but appetizing. No dominant character really.

Sweet and malty initially, slightly toasted malt with hints of tart cherry, apple juice and pear. Some mild and dumbed down citrus hop with hints of said soapy pine. Lingering honey sweetness mixed with toffee and juicy fruit. Some lingering bitterness and noticeable booze. Not my opinion of a quality IPA. Not looking for a hop bomb but I would have liked so see more pronounced and clean flavors in a more balanced version.

Matted with short lived, lower carbonation. Dry but with some lingering fruit tartness and a bit of bitterness. Not bad but far from a top tier rendition.

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Photo of bstave
2.64/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle

A- Hazy copper pour with nice 1.5 finger head and nice lacing.

S- Smell is pretty muted. Not much going on here. Little citrus and malt.

T- Taste starts with light citrus hops. I am getting some lemon. The finish is pretty bitter. I am getting also alcohol on this too.

M- Medium mouthfeel with nice carbonation.

O- This falls below average for me on IPAs. It's not bad, but it's certainly not good either. I get an astringent flavor with this that is a little off putting. Won't seek out again.

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Photo of viverlee
2.64/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A challenging brew, intended to be as such. I struggled with it, and maybe it got the best of me today.

STYLE: American IPA

ABV: 6.8%

LOOK: Ridiculously carbonated, the head quickly fills half the glass and nearly spills all over the baby shower thank you cards. Settles to a dark caramel supporting a light but voluminous foam nest.

NOSE: Astringent honey, you have to wonder if they opted for finishing sweetener instead of finishing hops.

MOUTH: Not quite IPA, there’s an almost Belgian Strong Dark Ale quality to it. Rose water, plums, milk chocolate, and honey, right up front. Short-lived hops bite right in the middle, and the finish is curious — bittersweet and metallic and oily. An excellent beer if it were more focused on what it could be instead of what it is.

Beeradvocate Rating: 79

Hayward Abbey Rating: 73

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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 climax
2.66/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

It pours a cloudy caramel, glowing amber to the light. The head is decent and fades to a film.

The aroma doesn't seem too IPA, even though there's signs that one is in there. The flavors have too much caramel and sweet malt up front to really convince me what I'm about to drink is gonna be great. A bit of citrus hides in the back.

The flavor boasts a bit more bitterness, but those bright snappy good hop flavors aren't there. I still find myself fighting with sweet malt flavor. Once again, a bit of orange flavor seeps through and keeps things on the cut line.

The feel is medium with sharp carbonation. The dryness takes over after all is said and done and lingers a loooong time, making it the only reason I keep sipping.

I don't expect too much from BB's brewery, so perhaps the name created an impulse buy...

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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 WesWes
2.8/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours a hazy amber color with a towering off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is average. It has a decent malt scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts. It's sweet and fruity with loads of yeast character. The hop aroma is average. It's mildly bitter with a piney hop character. The taste is poor. The flavors are all over the place. First, it's sweet with caramel malts while also being bitter with piney hop notes. The yeast provides a dry, fruity soapy character that is undesirable and off-putting. The mouthfeel is average as well. It is a medium/full bodied beer with a little too much carbonation. This is a forgettable IPA. It's a slow drinker that will most likely result in a drain pour.

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Photo of ckollias
2.85/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Deep orange to amber color with a huge white 3-finger frothy head after a vicious pour. Good head retention leaving a nice trail down the glass and ending with a wispy lace.

S: Mild hoppy aroma with earthy malt like background. Not your usually hopped up aroma I am used to from an IPA. It is a decent aroma but nothing I would remember it for.

T: As with the smell, the hops are not as big as I am used to with an IPA. It is a bit tart with moderate bitterness.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation

O: Just an OK IPA. Nothing really special here and nothing I would grab for again.

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Photo of hopdog
2.86/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle.

Poured like no other IPA I've seen; dark, dark brown (almost black) with a small sized off white head. Earthy and dirty aroma with roasted nuts. Almost reminded me of freshly dug up earthworms. Tastes of caramel, chocolate, and maple with a medium sweetness to it.

Notes from: 11/11/05

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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 weeare138
2.91/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to hopdog...
Appears a dark murkey brown with a scattered tan lace. Looks like a porter to me.
Smell is of roasted nuts, muddled hops, maple, cocoa, bitter sweetness, and prunes.
Taste is sweet, perhaps too sweet, with some dying hops, along with a tad bit of sour maple.
Mouthfeel is sugary sweet with syrupy maple and some fizzy funk.
Drinkability...a bit past it's prime but an experience.

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Photo of Knapp85
2.95/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Loved the artwork on the bottle. That's what made me pick this up in the first place. The pour was nice it didn't overflow with head like some beers do. The aroma is of mostly west coast hops at first that almost switches into more malty aromas after it warms up. The color is a light copper with yellow highlights. The flavor has enough hops to say "yes I am an IPA". The taste is sweet upfront and finished dry which bring you in for another sip. This is a pretty solid brew.

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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 Alieniloquium
3/5  rDev -11.5%
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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Photo of Samp01
3/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A dark amber pou rwith a nice off whitehead. Aroma is of citrusy floral hops, nice fruity aromas and some maltiness. Taste is malty fruittiness with some citrus floral hops. Palate is a medium body with moderate carbonation. Finish is sweet caramel malt, with some floral hops. There are better IPA’s. Overall an average brew

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