Clown Shoes

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Strong Ale - American
3.39 | pDev: 21.53%
Clown Shoes
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Reviews: 34 | Ratings: 76 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SHODriver
SHODriver from North Carolina

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

Overall this one isn't terrible. It has some definite lactic undertones, but it's fairly drinkable as long as you can stand a little acididty. The sourness doesn't overwhelm the base beer so the beer isn't one note and it still has some decent complexity.

Aug 25, 2020
Photo of thegreatnicoli
thegreatnicoli from Texas

1.96/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

First time I've ever poured a beer down the sink. I made my account specifically for rating this beer because it was undrinkable. I will stay though, I like this place.

Apr 10, 2019
Photo of BarrelAgedG
BarrelAgedG from California

2/5  rDev -41%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Tough break being too drunk after the Chico Beerfest yesterday to be bothered to look this beer up and realize it was infected before I bought it... oh well.. don’t make the same mistake as me.. IT’S INFECTED

Apr 16, 2018
Photo of daliandragon
daliandragon from Maryland

2.14/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.25

So I was pumped when I bought this, with the pedigreed brewer and cool name and awesome artwork on the label and cellared it for six months. Now, it appears the bomber I paid fifteen bones for is well known as infected. Uncool.

This appears as a strong dark ale, with a big beige head. Nose is heavily malty , with dark fruit, vanilla, and whiskey.

Oh, yeah. Definitely infected. Yeast and sour is all I taste. I don't think I can finish ths. What a waste.

Oct 08, 2017
Photo of oberon
oberon from North Carolina

3.31/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Bottled on 8/1/ some age here.Pours into an impy nonic slightly murky amber color with lacey off white head atop.Muted caramel/biscuit aromas are about all I get,no hops and no whiskey to speak of.Somewhat lactic on the palate with caramel and mild whiskey notes,no hop profile really going on here.I'am a big fan of Clown Shoes beers (although the not of some of the labels)but this not so good to put it plainly.

Apr 24, 2017
Photo of pat61
pat61 from Minnesota

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

L: It pours a hazy opaque reddish brown with streams of slowly rising bubbles. Has a thin, light tan cap with poor retention.

S: a whiff of whiskey, fruit, light berries and mild alcohol.

T: This bottle has a trace of lactobacillus giving the beer a tart and sweet palate over caramel. It is like an Irish Red married a Flanders Red. It has the Irish Red's grainy malt flavors and some of the caramel but these are somewhat muted. It also has the Flanders Red tart berry to cherry flavors and some yeasty notes. The yeasty berry flavors are above average. A bran flakes sweet flavor follows the berries and then the beer finishes with a grainy, oak drying astringency leading to a lingering bran flakes and tart dried cherry aftertaste.

F: The feel starts creamy and then ends with a lactobacillus acidic prickliness. The body is medium to medium full. This interesting, complex beer is not what Clown Shoes intended but it sort of works.

O: As an Irish Red it disapoints as the anticipated big, rich malt flavors with a light whiskey note are not there. Had Clown Shoes intended a Flanders Red, the brewer would have pushed the beer form more fruit flavors and a slightly darker, molassey malt character. Despite this, the result is an interesting, drinkable beer.

Mar 28, 2017
Photo of h4ger
h4ger from Connecticut

3.59/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was excited about this beer and on the pour she looked really good. Unfortunately it didn't live up to expectations.

It started with a slight booziness, which turned to a tart, acidic flavor. Not a lot of barrel flavor but it does have a slight whiskey flavor on the finish and nose. Overall, It reminded me of homemade wine that was a bit off. One of the few brews from Clown Shoes that i have not loved. Drinkable, but not something I would seek out again.

Mar 18, 2017
Photo of darktronica
darktronica from Indiana

3.03/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Unfortunately, this has been confirmed as infected by Clown Shoes. I had one when first released and hesitated to rate it, but their customer service team was great when I contacted them. After six months, I tried another bottle to see if it had evolved into something still-infected but better; it had gone in the opposite direction, to my dismay. Even for a fan of sours, I wouldn't say that this is even accidentally decent. The one bad experience I've had from what is otherwise a favorite brewery.

Feb 11, 2017
Photo of AdmiralOzone
AdmiralOzone from Minnesota

3.01/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 1 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

This is not a good looking beer, muddy ice tea with a beer head is what it reminds me of. The aroma is pretty good but the flavor is sour (infected?). I wouldn't recommend.

Feb 05, 2017
Photo of Sabtos
Sabtos from Ohio

2.86/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear burnt red with a moderate khaki head.

Smell is wet, aged, mossy oak, caramel and an appley tartness.

It's a confusing combo overall I'm not sure I've had in anything, but the overall essence I get from this is red caramel apple.

Dec 20, 2016
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

3.06/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

decent fluffy foamy head fades at a med pace, decent foamy lacing, darker murky mahogany reddish brown color

Nose starts pretty sweet, candy sugary malts, caramel, toffee, rich nutty, light grassy floral hops, a touch if possible fruity infection but barely, mild whisky and wood

Taste starts fruity, a mild infected like fruity flavor, tangy, with sweet casbah malts, syrupy, caramel, candy syrup, faint grassy hop, a touch of whisky mostly the heat, and a woody ester thing, finish tangy reddish malt, fruity infection, some whisky barrel heat.

Mouth is med bod and syrupy, lighter carb, mild warming booze.

Overall mild infection thing, still syrupy messy thing before that, and little whiskey or barrel, for a clown shoes beer this is a big let down

Nov 24, 2016
Photo of ThickNStout
ThickNStout from Georgia

3.61/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle from Bullock's (Marietta, GA). 10.99. Bottled 7/25/16. Served in a Clown Shoes snifter.

Pours a bright but hazy orangish crimson with a finger and a half of fine ecrue froth and a consistent trail of bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass. A persistent, patchy haze reaches out to the broad collar which imparts some scattered lacing.

Smells of whiskey, wet oaken funk, peat, caramel and a little vanilla. It's an interesting almost sickly sweet blend.

The flavor confirms rumors I've heard of this souring. Luckily I don't feel it was to calamitous effect. Soft whiskey, lightly sour tamarind, peat, gently tart cherry, slight vanilla, caramel, a mild barrel funk and a nip of alcohol. Overall the taste definitely leans more towards a wild ale than a red ale.

Creamy, smooth, medium body with moderately soft carbonation. Tart cherry, oaky barrel funk, tamarind and a hint of whiskey.

Quite by accident, it seems that Clown Shoes has finally released their first wild/ sour ale. At this point I don't think Archdruid can reasonably pass for a red ale. Had I not been warned of the infection and been expecting a barrel aged red ale I probably would have been pretty pissed but this actually turned out to be an interesting brew.

Nov 09, 2016
Photo of bobhits
bobhits from Kentucky

3.04/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a merky brown color. I'm not going to call this one red. More of a muddy orange perhaps? It has a tall off white head, a bit darker than a pale ale would give and it seems to retain itself well.

The nose has some sugars, brown sugar, caramel, slight fruity note, and a hint of some acidic fruit notes. I'm not getting any barrel and I'm not getting hops, which I'd have expected from a red ale.

The beer opens with a sugary mild opening, not much to say about it. It then turns towards some acidic cherries and back to some more malty slightly dark notes.

Very well carbonated with a medium to almost light body, the burn from the acid.

Based on the reviews, I'm thinking this might be the result of an infection as I'm seeing things like "woody and peaty" along with a lot more references to sweetness. At the same time i see a lot of notes of it being sour. I'm not sure what the deal is there. I don't get enough "off" notes to think this is infected vs intentionally being sour but the other reviews are making me rethink that. There might be some oak on the back end but I don't get whiskey or even a vanilla note. And don't think vinegar sour either, it's sour enough for me to call it a sour, but not a high acidity one.

I'm honestly not sure what to make of this one. 12 bucks for a bomber, way too much to pay if this is infected.

Overall It's not bad. The price point makes me less than thrilled with it and the lack of indications I'd be getting a sour are a bit odd. I'd drink another glass if you're buying. But I'm done with this one on my dime.

Nov 01, 2016
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy from Georgia

1.99/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

22 ounce bottle - Bullock's Wine & Spirits in Marietta, Georgia.

Bottled On 07/25/16.

Appearance: Pours a dulled, amber-tan body with a smallish, short-lived, light beige head.

Smell: Sugar-encrusted toasted malts, soured tart fruits, soiled bedding and a spoonful of whiskey.

Taste: Sugary caramel, toast and a boatload of tart cherries with high lactic, vinegary overtones. A bit of brown sugar and whiskey amongst all those off flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Well carbonated. Tongue-coating mouthfeel.

Overall: Infected.

Oct 28, 2016
Photo of russpowell
russpowell from Arkansas

3.37/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an effervescent orange./honey color with a thin beige head. Head dissapears & no lacing

S: Faint peatyness

T: Faint peatyness, a little woodyness & boozeyness up front. Rich cakeynesss, peatyness,herbal & woody hops & oaky dryness as this warms. Finishes woody & dry, with a little toastyness

MF: Medium body, thins out a bit, near zero carbonation

Drinks okay, this one of the few beers from this brewery that has failed to satisfy me. I could take or leave this

Oct 24, 2016
Photo of Brutaltruth
Brutaltruth from Ohio

3.85/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the 22 oz bottle in a snifter. This interesting ale pours a murky red tinged
mahogany with a nice head of off white foam that subsides to a thick ring, thin layer,
and features some nice lacing. Nose of subtle bourbon barrel, light sweet malts, and
tangy cherry notes like a Rodenbach as noted in other reviews. Flavors follow the
nose with tangy sweet and tart light cherry and grapefruit notes mingling with
light brown sugars and cherry pulp with a touch of vanilla and bourbon. Nice mouth
feel, lightly carbonated and a nice tart dry finish. Overall, I would choose this to try side
by side with a Rodenbach Grand Cru and a light plate of dry sharp cheese. Nice


Oct 14, 2016
Photo of stephens101
stephens101 from Oklahoma

2.15/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Burgundy with a fleeting tan froth. Smells of Sour fruit and candy. Grainy, sweet and tart with little to no body to speak of. Thin and troublesome. A monster. Happy Halloween.

Oct 10, 2016
Photo of DeanMoriarty
DeanMoriarty from California

1/5  rDev -70.5%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Look: Murky brown low tide at the bay.
Aroma: Acetic
Flavor: Acetic, butyric, barrel tannins
Feel: Slick and over-carbonated
Overall: Can't believe they allowed this to hit the public market. Obvious infection.

Drain pour.

Oct 03, 2016
Photo of MJSFS
MJSFS from Florida

4.34/5  rDev +28%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Murky rust colored body with a thin tightly packed head and non-clinging spotty lacing. Aroma is sweet brown sugar, cherries, and faint whiskey barrel. Taste is sour cherries, caramel, and whiskey barrel. Mouthfeel is light, carbonated, and drying. Overall this is a very enjoyable beer to me because I love wild ales. Clown Shoes is calling this a red ale, and I think that is misleading other reviewers who are giving this beer a bad score. Wether Clown Shoes intended this brew to be a wild/sour ale, or it has been infected by some kind of souring bacteria, I'm enjoying it, and would buy it again.

Oct 02, 2016
Photo of trevorpost
trevorpost from Massachusetts

2.93/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Flavor isn't so much sour as the other reviews suggest as off. It has all of the big flavors of something like Rodenbach but without the acid. Something is definitely off here though. Not at all what I expected and not in a good way.

Sep 30, 2016
Photo of puboflyons
puboflyons from New Hampshire

3.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From the 650 ml. bottle, which was bottled on 08/01/16. Sampled on September 28, 2016.

It is nice to look at with its red hued amber color underneath a modest off-white head that fades and laces.

While the roam does emit a lot of yeast and malt sensations, surprisingly it also brings out a kind of wild ale, tart cherry, and sour character too. No alcohol or whiskey barrels that I can smell.

Medium or better body.

The taste has a bready malt forward flavor but everything turns sour and tart. Not the overly pucker-up kind but a definite overripe fruitiness to end this off. Dry ending.

Sep 28, 2016
Photo of tbryan5
tbryan5 from Louisiana

3.27/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I was excited about this beer until I popped the cap. It had the beginnings of an infection with a tart, cherry medicine like aroma and flavor. This is my first below average clown shoes. Still one of my favorite breweries.

Sep 17, 2016
Photo of ClavisAurea
ClavisAurea from New York

3.09/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

08/2016 bottling served cold in a teku

Appearance: like all Clown Shoes beers, the bottle art is bonkers and the story is always worth reading (even though it doesn't tell me shit about the beer really). Poured a pretty thin light brown to copper color with a foamy khaki head of tiny, tiny bubbles. Almost looks muddled.

Nose: chemical cleaner, sweet alcohol, cherries, quasi-funky character, maybe an off flavor, little to no barrel character, not impressive at all

Taste: At first the taste is not so good. Very thin mouthfeel for a 9.5% BA ale. As I get accustomed to the beer it starts tasting a bit better but nothing worth writing home about. I do get a lot of fruity esters like cherry, berry and most notably strawberry (weirdly). No classic barrel aging character at all. Taste followed the nose pretty well and I think there is a bit of a chalky aftertaste.

Overall: I would not have guessed this was barrel aged at all and if you told me it was I'd say it was some sort of red wine barrel but most certainly not an Irish Whiskey barrels. I found it quite disappointing considering how well Clown Shoes has done barrel aged beers in the past (Flight of the Angry Beast, Rexx, Bluegrass Billionaire and Pierre Ferrand Billionaire are the ones I've had thus far). Not a hit in my book but I'm nowhere near writing them off. Lets try again next time.

Edit: Clown Shoes has admitted having some quality control issues with this beer on their website. I do believe I got a hold of one of the bad bottles. The rating above should be viewed in that light.

Sep 12, 2016
Photo of superspak
superspak from Ohio

3.9/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 7/25/2016. Pours slightly hazy ruby red/copper color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, toffee, raisin, plum, cherry, apple, berry, and toasted biscuit; with lighter notes of chocolate, nuttiness, whiskey, vanilla, coconut, oak, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and light-moderate whiskey barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, toffee, raisin, plum, cherry, apple, berry, and toasted biscuit; with lighter notes of chocolate, nuttiness, whiskey, vanilla, coconut, oak, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light herbal bitterness and whiskey/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, dark fruit, toasted biscuit, coconut, vanilla, whiskey, oak, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and light-moderate whiskey barrel flavors; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky, and slightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Minimal warming alcohol for 9%. Overall this is a very nice barrel aged imperial Irish red ale. All around nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and light-moderate whiskey barrel flavors; very smooth and easy to sip on for the ABV. Was hoping for a bit more barrel presence; but it still had nice amounts in the background flavor. A very enjoyable offering.

Sep 10, 2016
Photo of johnnnniee
johnnnniee from New Hampshire

2.81/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Bottle from East Derry
Dark brown a bit murky with a huge bubbly off white head that slowly recedes. Caramel and tart cherry on the nose mostly. Flavor is quite tart, we have some lacto or pedio at work here. There's a bit of malty caramel to offset, but a strong tart cherry fruitiness going on without much in the way of oak character. Not horrible, but not what I was expecting either.

Sep 10, 2016
Archdruid from Clown Shoes
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 76 ratings