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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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 338 |  Reviews: 133
Photo of ely2000k
3.03/5  rDev -10.4%
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 -17.2%
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%
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 +2.4%
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 -3.8%
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 -46.2%
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 Tone
3.3/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy, copper color. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and decent lacing. Smells of slight rye, slight metallic, slight citrus, sweet malt, and citrus hops. Fits the style of an American IPA. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, sweet citrus, hops, slight grain, and again a rye flavor. No mention of rye in the recipe, according to their website. Not sure what I was tasting and smelling, but I could have swore it was rye.

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Photo of TheSarge
3.84/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

With a careful but vigorous pour, this brew produces a finger thick head of off white into a standard pint glass. The body is cleanly filtered, which I love in an IPA, and is copper in color.

The aroma is sweet and caramel, with a hint of floral hops.

The brew is full of malty sweetness. Probably the sweetest IPA I've ever had. The caramel and toffee flavors dominate the flavor, but in the very end the spruce hops kick in to save the day from the sugar monster.

Feels medium to full in body, dry and arid. There is definitely no oiliness left over from the hops.

I like a sweeter IPA and this one does it for me.

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Photo of FreshmanPour77
4.3/5  rDev +27.2%
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 kenatbeerswap
3.58/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

poured from a 12oz bottle to a pint glass.

A: Nice copper color that poured with two finger head and had good retention.

S: I could smell the hops when I opened the bottle. Had a floral and citrusy aroma with some grassy aroma coming through.

T: Get a lot of bitterness up front followed by a citrusy sweet taste. Also has some toasty flavors coming through.

M: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation.

O: Overall its a nice IPA but does have a lot more sweetness than most of the other IPA's I've had.

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

the pour is a caramel coloured ale with a nice off white head that crumbles into a thin film. lacing dots the trail to the bottom.

the nose is bready above all. crusty caramel notes hang with just an ever so slight aromatic hop canopy. cascades and crystal are a bit status quo. smells very brew book recipe like. no flair. just tried and true standard smells.

the taste is full of the toasty bread influence that was abundant in the nose. mildly bitter, with just a pinch of hoppiness. sweet and crusty. the highly over rated cascade hops really magnify the caramel notes. cascades have the power of making people appreciate some of the more interesting cultivars, but the reviewer digresses. this feels like a brewing 101 textbook recipe. well made, but the mind and mouth are not completely blown away.

the mouthfeel is appropriate. just about medium.

overall, this feels closer to a traditional english ipa. remember the fuggle. the bread and toast and mild hop character provided by way of cascadian virtue and caramel malts are pleasant, but boldness does not apply. it is very drinkable. this particular brew, although free of flaws in quality, would likely stay on the shelf as another more dynamic version of the variety would be taken home by a thirsty hop head. solid for sure, just no glitz and no honey to draw flies. I ain't mad it it.

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Photo of daledeee
3.7/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured this one into a tulip and got a white head with gold/orange body. Not much lacing

Nose is quite floral and has some sour apple candy smell.

Taste has a good dose of hops and malt. This is listed as an American IPA but it has characteristics of an English style.

Pretty enjoyable but I have had better.

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

Brewed with 2 row pale and crystal malts. Hopped with Cascade and "select bittering hops".6.8% ABV, 80 IBU. $1.59 for a 12oz bottle at BevCo.

Pours out to a hazy burnt orange, forming a voluminous white meringue head with excellent retention and a solid sheet of sticky lace. Moderate carbonation. Nice fresh hop aroma, very much your typical cascade nose, sitting on top of green apples and a suggestion of pine. Mouthfeel is biting with a medium body. The taste opens with the green leafy hops, with pine, grapefruit, and a touch of skunk, a faint brief suggestion of fusels in the middle, then some funky green leafy bitterness in the finish. Moderately bitter. Kinda peculiar inorganic aftertaste...like PVC or plastic.

While this isn't a bad beer by any means, it doesn't do much for me, and I wouldn't really buy this again unless I were in a pinch.

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Photo of output01x
3.43/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle (no date) into a pint glass.

A moderate pour releases a billowing 2 1/2-finger off-white head that nearly pours over the edge of the glass. The body is a slightly hazy orange honey with a decent amount of carbonation bubbles creeping slowly to reinforce the extravagant head. The head slowly dies down after a few minutes to a thick, clumpy mess that never seems to disappear. Thick lacing sticks to the sides of the glass in layers.

The aroma is well balanced between floral and citrus hops and bready malts. Lemon zest, caramel, and biscuit can all be found in the nose. It is rather sweet-smelling for an IPA, but I think it plays well with the hops.

Light but sweet malts hit the tongue first with a standard earthy breadiness. This is quickly followed up by a piney, citrusy, and slightly spicy hop flavor that never truly evolves. Instead, the hops feel a little watered down and are not given an opportunity to truly present themselves. A piney bitterness creeps in at the back of the mouth a while after swallowing, but like the flavor of the hops, never truly blossoms.

Light bodied with moderate carbonation, this beer is very drinkable. However, the lack of body assists in preventing the flavors from full exposure. It is definitely thirst-quenching, but not necessarily satisfying for a hophead nor a true beer enthusiast.

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Photo of DannyDan
3.73/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A. pours out a dark amber that has a thin white head with decent retention and nice thin lacing.
S. Has a caramel, rum and sweet malts in the nose, surprisingly I can hardly pick up the usual hops in the nose of an IPA.
T. The taste starts out with some pine, caramel and rum. That follows with some citrus and more caramel and finishes off with some pine. Sweet malts seem to be in the taste throughout the drink.
M/O. A nice medium body IPA that is sticky in the mouth, easy to drink and overall a nice IPA for people that don't like them too bitter as the malts and hops are balanced in a way that makes this beer not as bitter as most IPA's. I do like this when I am in the mood for a different type of IPA, but most of the time I'll be drinking IPA's like Founders, loose cannon and Stone.

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Photo of coldriver
3.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into Sam Adams glass. Head quickly dissapated and not much lacing. Not getting much hops from the smell for an IPA. Taste is bitter like you want in an IPA, but not that citrusy or piney. Almost as if they put in plenty of bittering hops, but left out the finishing hops. Don't think I'll buy this again.

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Photo of suspect
3.3/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass. Thanks to mrmarmot for the freebie.

A: Pours a golden color with a slight amber tone. Aggressive pour leads to a sticky looking 1.5 finger head that takes minutes to fade and when it does, it fades to a sticky ring and good lacing.

S: Strong piney hops up front, more hops in the middle and hops to follow. Slight malt back end to make it interesting.

T: Wow, this could not have been more opposite of the nose if it meant to be. The hops that were present in the nose, faded to malt in a hurry. It's entirely possible that it's due to age but usually the nose fades too. Either way, this was a pretty average IPA.

M: Lightly carbonated, medium bodied. Slightly sticky mouthfeel, not as bitter as I would have hoped.

O: Overall I generally expect more from California IPAs. This one isn't terrible, but it's not great either. I won't be rushing out to get more of this.

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Photo of Samp01
3/5  rDev -11.2%
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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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.

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Photo of Mit
3.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden colour with a very short lived head.

Smells malty with a slight alcohol smell.

Some hoppy flavours...tastes like an english IPA rather than an american IPA. Def maltier than hoppy.

Heavier in keeping with the abv. Not bad at all.

Overall there are lots better IPAs out there. This is not bad...and I would try it again but it wouldn't be my first choice if there was other things to choose from.

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Photo of Rschis16
4/5  rDev +18.3%
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 zeff80
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a clear, golden amber color with a small, off-white head of bubbly foam. It had okay retention and left minimal lace.

S - It smelled very floral but there wasn't much else.

T - It tasted fairly spicy with a citrusy kick. It had an English-like maltiness with some sweet caramel.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a clean, dry finish.

O - This is an okay American IPA. It is certainly better than their Orange Blossom and Pumpkin ales.

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Photo of ckollias
2.85/5  rDev -15.7%
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 climax
2.66/5  rDev -21.3%
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 CWBlues
3.71/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: With an aggressive pour, a finger and a half head, creamy off-white in color. The beer is a dark copper. Looks good!

S: Mainly citrus, with light floral notes. Finishes off with a light amount of hops.

T: Almost like it smells. Heavily citrus, but with decently strong floral notes. Smidge of pine. Hops on the back are bitter.

M: Mouthfeel is about what I would expect from an IPA. Good carbonation. Hangs on the tongue. Maybe a bit less hop bite at the end.

O: I like this. It's not super-hoppy (though I DO like my hops...), but it's a good tasting beer. I would drink more than one of these in a sitting.

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