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 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 KTCamm
3.48/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours very cloudy medium brown. Red tinged. Low foam. Malty smell, some pine, toffee. Full bitter taste that blows up and disappears into a light sweet malt.Interesting juxtaposition. Light fruit at the finish too. And the bitter holds.

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

The beer poured a cloudy copper with a big foamy head that lasted for a little while. The smell is a mix of citrusy and piney hops. The taste is pretty close to the smell, with a bit of grassiness at the end to cap it off. A lot of different hop flavors, but could use a little more sweetness to balance it. The mouthfeel is slightly thick with a little bit of that hop oil slickness. Not a bad grab for $1.30 a bottle.

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Photo of Amalak
3.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

"Good beer, like true love, doesn't last long. Enjoy it while it lasts."

This has an intense honey and lemon taste. There's a floralness there, but taste more like a traditional ale--think a much sweeter Sam Adams--than an IPA, as there isn't much of a bitter taste. Dryness to it. A strong feel of citrus. More of a traditional ale than IPA.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass; no decipherable freshness dating noted. Light amber colored body that is slightly hazy. Big three-finger off-white head that settles into a nice cap and leaves decent lacing.

Light aroma of citrus hops and caramel malt. Not much else going on here.

The flavor is on the lighter side of typical IPA fare these days. Some citrus hop notes blending with a sweet, bready malt flavor, but nothing that jumps out at you. Actually, that may be the thing that makes this very drinkable -- it's not in your face bitter.

Medium to light mouthfeel and, as previously mentioned, very drinkable. Could be a good starter IPA for newbs.

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Photo of Nerudamann
3.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Look – solid amber color, clear, with slow carbonation and about half a finger’s worth of foam that dissipates quickly.

Smell – fairly hoppy, as you’d expect from an IPA. Maybe a hint of citrus or ginger.

Taste – as with the smell, and as you’d expect, very hoppy (both in presence and in taste). I can’t quite tell what hops are being used, but probably American, so probably Cascade. There is a subtle sweetness to it that you can only discern just after the initial taste. But that’s following by the bite and then by the bitterness itself that lingers well into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel – pretty well balanced, not leaning more toward the watery or creamy sides.

Overall – Not a bad brew overall. Decent hoppy bite, although not terribly intriguing.

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Photo of DavidST
3.62/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, unknown bottled date. This pours a hazy Orangish color with a nice foamy off white head impressive for buffalo bill's. The smells are of hops, pine, citrus, sweetness. The feel is medium to light. Taste is not bad, an okay amount of bitterness and a bunch of sweetness, way better than their other stuff (which doesn't say much).

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

Alimony hits my pint glass with a pale amber hue and a rocky eggshell head. Retention is good and some lace is left behind.

This is pretty standard IPA fare. Citrus hops with a hint of pine dominate. Malts add a toasted sweetbread quality. The bitterness is a touch above moderate. It lingers nicely through the finish. The medium body is slightly sticky.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.02/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a bottle at Belmont Station. First time I ever noticed it.
12oz bottle poured into a Pint glass.

A - Pours a cloudy orange with a big light cream colored head, that fades slowly. Good lacing.

S - Orange citrus and some pine.

T - Bitter orange - almost artificial tasting.

D - Good carbonation and an average body. Bitter.

O - Flavor is just fake tasting, hard to place.

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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 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 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 nickthetick
3.7/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a clear mahogany into a DFH signature glass with a finger and a half of khaki head.

S: a lot of dark citrus, floral, earthy.

T: huge citrus notes! A lot of grapefruit, curacao oranges, tangerines. Its balanced with some sweet malt and earthy undertones.

MF: heavy, great effervescence, astringent as hell, and dry.

O: not bad but there are some pretty good qualities. The mouthfeel is great, as is the nose but the taste leaves a bit wanting.

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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 ArrogantB
3.46/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle that cost about $1.75. Bright orange yellow color with good head and good lace, fits the style. Smells like a touch of citrus hops and not much else. Taste is bitter, citrus, hoppy, solid IPA but just doesn't wow me when compared to everything out there these days.

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Photo of russpowell
3.58/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with 3+ fingers of cream colored head. Good head retention

S: Some grassy & wooody hop presence

T: Grassy & herbal hop bitterness along with a little pineyness & just a touch of breadyness up front. A little bit of caramel fights through woody & piney bitterness. Finishes with a bready sweetness intertwined with much wooody hop bitterness

MF: Medium bodied, fairly smooth carbonation, fairly good balance

Not a bad AIPA, I'm sure there was a time when this was considered very hoppy, now days, not so much. Might buy this again if the price was right, otherwise I stick with something from Stone, Odell, Founders or Bells. Not a bad flyer I took on this one a part of a mixed sixer

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Photo of matjack85
3.89/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I found this single 12oz brown bottle at the Binny's store in Plainfiled, IL for $1.49. No freshness date or any other information about the beer on the label.

The beer poured a dark amber color and made 1-finger's worth of white head that dissipated in less than a minute and left only minimal lacing.

Nice hoppy citrus nose to this one along with plenty of caramel malt.

Malty sweet flavor with a ton of grapefruit flavored hops to compete with the malts for dominance. Not sure which one wins - I'll call it a tie.. Not much else going on here, but not sure there needs to be. It's decent as it is.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied with a medium high carbonation level.

This beer used to say "World's bitterest beer". It's far from being that, but at 80 IBU's it still packs a decent bitter punch which lasts thru the finish and beyond.

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Photo of ely2000k
3.03/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- Honey color, decent head, dissipation is fairly quick, carbonation looks good overall. Looks clean. Unlike some other reviewers, I didn't really have any lacing. Looking appetizing overall, but a bit generic.

S- Smell of mild hops, a bit of a cirtusy smell, orange perhaps. Some thing fairly sweet smelling in there, but not overwhelming. Smell is mild.

T- Piney, with a bit of sweet, but nothing too overwhelming in either direction. Finishes crisp. Overall I think the taste is the best part of this beer, but it does remind me of a "genric IPA" taste, with a little bit more sweetness.

M- Feels thin, watery. Carbonation is good. The thinness is a bit off putting, would prefer a bit more of weight, especially for the alcohol content of it.

Overall- I like it overall, but it's nothing special. Appearance and taste were average to good, but the smell and mouthfeel were a bit lacking for me. I think it is pretty good overall, but lacking that last little bit of something to separate from other generic IPAs.

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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 CFHMagnet
3.38/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Started my pour off medium-style, then turned it up quite a bit. Only got half a finger of head out of it. Body is a boring looking amber color. Head takes a couple minutes to die down, I'm left with an eighth of an inch of fluff. A nice bit of lacing around the glass too.

Floral hops with a hint of pine. Strong smells of caramel and bread.

Very much pine flavoring on the tongue with only a hint of the floral quality. Sweet malt meets this flavor and transitions into a wheat bread with a touch of spice and a whisper of rye.

Medium bodied, it's better if you sip it. This lets you feel it and lets the flavors come out a little more. A decent bitter taste builds up on the back of the tongue, which coincides with a very wet and refreshing feeling in the same area.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.46/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow, Alimony Ale. I haven't seen this on a store shelf since about 1995. Anyway, poured into a Val Dieu chalice: It's a nice copper-colored beer, with a moderate initial head. The nose is disappointing: faint citrus hops--very faint, with a light malt. The hops do show up in the taste: a lot of bitterness up front, though hop flavor (which seems mostly floral noble-type hops) doesn't contribute a lot. Sweet malt comes through clearly. The finish is very dry.

I remember liking this beer a lot a decade and half ago. There weren't many excessively hopped beers on the market then--Sierra Nevada was about the only competitor, and you had to wait for their celebration to get a real load of hops.

However, after a decade of intense experimentation on what hops can do, this beer comes across as actually pretty bland, apart from high bittering hops. It's now a bit of a relic from the medium-early days of micros.

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Photo of Crossmd
3.25/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured 45 degrees Fahrenheit into a Sam Adams pint glass. No born on date.

Pours a reddish-amber in the bulb, copper on the bottom with a one finger porous head that hovers for a while around a third of an inch.

Smells of earth, moss, and tea, some pine and caramel, chives as it warms. Really Interesting, actually.

Tastes of oversteeped tea, alcohol, and a lot of wild onion. Btterness builds towards and through the finish in a sharp, almost disrespectful sort of way. Captivating, but only in that its interesting, that I wasnt expecting it. I can already tell that I do not really want another one of these, and I am a huge American IPA fan.

Mouthfeel is thin and oily, Coating the mouth, generally not super pleasant.

Honestly, veritably bizzare. Im wondering who really this is for, and how many people could see themselves buying a six pack. Ironically, just as the label describes, it is irreconcilablly different, and maybe not in the best of ways.


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