Muffin Top
Clown Shoes

Muffin TopMuffin Top
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Belgian IPA
3.84 | pDev: 12.76%
Clown Shoes
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Muffin TopMuffin Top
Notes: Muffin Top combines the attributes of a Belgian Tripel with a huge burst of American hops. Intense flavors from the Belgian yeast, reminiscent of candied fruits, mix with the hop bitterness and sweet orange peel to create a unique take on a Belgian-Style ale.
Reviews: 157 | Ratings: 709
Photo of dalahodson
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

cloudy yellow in color, small cream color head that turns to a nice lace on top. The smell is of malt, hops and a citrus background. Not to bitter. Nice mouth feel with the taste just like it smells. At 10% you would expect a stronger alcohol flavor, but it is pleasantly missing. Very easy to drink.

 300 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Yard House in Northridge, CA.

Pours a murky honey orange-brown with a foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. A foamy curtain of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, yeast, spices, and some candied fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with yeast and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice and hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with some solid aromas and flavors.

 582 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.54/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Chill hazed reddish amber colored beer with a tall white colored head.

Smells strongly malty and hoppy. Strong honeysuckle with tropical hop aromas. Pine and papaya with some pineapple and passion fruit. Coriander and a little cinnamon bark. An unusual aroma for the beer style.

Starts out sweet and a little sharp hop hit. The flavor takes a little time to settle in on the tongue. One of the more hopped up Belgian IPAs I have yet sampled. Strong wood and tea flavor. The flavor doesn't really deliver what the scent promised. Mostly this is sweet and bitter, everything else is overwhelmed.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall this is a pity the smell is so good but not the taste. Need fewer IBUs to allow the other flavors to be sensed.

 736 characters

Photo of spinrsx
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz Bottle from the Potsdam NY IGA for 8$

Appearance - Clear light copper colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for around 4-5 minutes.

Smell - Hops, malts, caramel, yeast, banana, apricots

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste caramel and hops. There is also some grapefruit, bananas, and apricots. There is also a bit of a yeasty spiciness and it ends with a hoppy aftertaste.

Overall – It tastes better than it smells. My bottle is from Feb 2012, so maybe this would be better fresh. Still good, just not great.

 673 characters

Photo of ADZA
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden hue with a creamy three finger head and similar lacing,the smell is bready belgian yeast,a slight tartness,bananna muffins,grassy hops and a touch of sherbet,the mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation and has tastes of lemon sherbet,a touch of funk,belgian bready yeast,peaches,boiled candy and finished with a grassy herbal bitterness and overall its nice and very drinkable but no standout cheers.

 428 characters

Photo of SlothB77
4.44/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a 4 oz tasting glass from 750 ML bottle.

A: Pours dark golden yellow with a fluffy white cloud head two widths of my thumb that dissipates slowly

S: lots of citrus and bitters and acid. I am already excited. honeydew, apple and pear. Floral aromas as well.

T: Nice bitter taste I love. Again the citrus fruit. Definitely a lot more tobacco in the taste than the smell. Some pine.

M: Medium-bodied, medium carbonation. Bitters aftertaste that finishes quickly, clean and dry.

O: If you don't like a lot of bitters, this may be too strong for you. A good spring or fall beer.

 590 characters

4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clown Shoes Muffin Top

Appearance: My first experience with Clown Shoes of Ipswich, Massachusetts pours a dark, rusty orange, which is crowned with a slightly off-white finger of head. The head has little retention, but it sticks around in a nice crust atop the beer. There is nice lacing, but it is somewhat limited in its staying power as well. There is evident carbonation that can just be seen through the cloudy haze of the beer. It is an interesting looking beer, while also being impressive.

Aroma: Bubblegum and medicinal aromas come through strongly, along with a grassy, piney hop character. The yeast definitely dominates, but the hops are there, just not as strongly as one would expect from an India pale ale, even one of Belgian persuasion. There is also a bit of sourness/tartness in the forefront of the taste. For comparison’s sake, it smells like a cross between Three Floyd’s Gumballhead and Alpha King, which is definitely high praise.

Taste: The taste is similar to the aroma, but the hops and malt (which was completely absent in the aroma) come through and match the strong, Belgian yeast qualities. The bubblegum is still the star of the show, but it is followed by nice, bitter hops, florals and fruitiness (in the form of mangoes, bananas, and slight grapefruit), and finishes with just a touch of astringency and malty sweetness. Black pepper is a lingering taste here, which is really pleasant to have until the next drink. The beer is a lot more well-rounded than the aroma would have the drinker believe. It is also a great example of the style, another good deviation from the aroma.

Mouthfeel: The viscosity is medium, with a slightly creamy mouthfeel and nice carbonation. More malt would be nice to give it a slight syrupiness that this reviewer finds desirable in IPAs. The qualities of a tripel are definitely here as well, but somewhat, unfortunately, muted. Still, there are really no faults to be had here, just things that could be improved.

Overall: This is my first taste of a triple style hybrid (no pun intended). It is really interesting, and quite balanced, but the niceties of the styles are lost amongst all the complexity. The alcohol (10% ABV) is notable nowhere in the drink, which is a victory for what is already a very refreshing beverage. It is unfortunate that I am drinking it in the middle of winter, as it would really fit better as a summer beer. Clown Shoes did great with the idea, though there is definitely room for improvement. Pick this one up if you see it on the shelves; it is more than worth the chance. 16/20

 2,588 characters

Photo of DovaliHops
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very cloudy, golden orange color with a medium-large white head that goes down slowly. Scent is somewhat floral at first with Belgian yeast and fruity esters. Banana with a hint of clove, orange peel, orange juice, and grass. Not as hoppy as I was expecting this one to smell. Hops are pretty mellow, whereas the floral and Belgian yeast aromas dominate. Taste is just as it smells. The Belgian profile definitely overpowers the hoppiness this beer is supposed to have. Not necessarily a bad thing. Flowers, yeast, hops, spices... Pretty spicy. Pepper and clove. Hoppy bitterness with a ton of citrus... like drinking some hoppy orange juice. Mouthfeel is full bodied and thick...almost juice-like. Alcohol is well-hidden. Drinkability is fairly high. Overall, this is a pretty tasty beer. Great option for Belgian beer lovers who are merging into the hoppier stuff.

 874 characters

Photo of WastingFreetime
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a cloudy golden color with two fingers of cream-colored foam on top that lasts for about two minutes. Medium-heavy body and carbonation levels.

Smells and tastes like candied orange peel with a side order of peach preserves and medium amounts of yeasty phenols and booze. Actually, the nose is a bit hotter with booze than it seems to present to the tongue, and the nose has more coriander than the flavor does. It's really sweet in an odd way, however, more akin to a Tripel than the bottle's claims of Belgian IPA-ness. In fact, overall, it presents as a mediocre tripel *because* of the overly citric hopping and as a poor IPA for the same reason. This beer is good evidence for why three-way mixing of styles tends to be risky business, the most common result is mediocrity.

 789 characters

Photo of Bighuge
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy golden body with a fluffy off white head. Lace is minimal. Aroma brings bright citrus and bready belgian yeastiness. Some alcohol on the nose as well. Flavor is pretty good, but the heat is noticeable in this one. Also get the bready,cakiness and birght hop tones. This is definitely a Belgian IPA kicked up a notch. I actually prefer a straight Belgian their Tramp Stamp for instance, to a higher alcohol version like this. Good beer, but definitely a sipper.

 477 characters

Photo of martyl1000
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Mason lounge (Madison). It's a nice-looking pour into a goblet, a brownish rouge, with a single finger tan head, and fairly sticky lacing on the glass.

The aroma is far out: massive floral citrus, with a subversive Bready malt.

In the mouth the citrusy hops become steel bright, with a scaffolding of zucchini bread malt. Hence, the name, "Muffin Top".

 364 characters

Photo of StraightNoChaser
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: quite hazy, almost peach in color. Decent swath of off white creamy head.
Smell: a hint of sour, mostly citrus. Pleasant though nothing outstanding.
Taste: very nice full, yeasty and citrus.
Overall: full bodied.the high abv adds nice depth. Nicely balanced citrus, malt and sour.

 293 characters

Photo of ncfranklin
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber into my Ommegang tulip (quickly becoming my favorite glass). Date of 08/2012.

A: A hazy sunshine yellow to orange with a very nice, frothy white head. Really nice looking. Lacing is excellent.

S: All Belgian yeast and hops. Bready, fruity zest, honey, spice with some citrus and grassy. Aromatics are potent.

T: Aggressive. Starts off big and bready with lots of malty sweetness before caving to a strong, peppery flavor with a hop load behind it of grapefruit citrus and grass.

M: Surprisingly light an dry for the ABV. Still has the slick and buttery feel of a tripel but finishes nice with a burst of carbonation.

O: I liked it. I liked it alot. As if someone took a pretty good tripel and tossed some hops in. It's got complexity, but remains really scary in drinkability for the ABV. Good job Clown Shoes.

 825 characters

Photo of chefhatt
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at pardise by the slice
Served in a snifter glass
It has a nice light copper body with a minual amout of head that lays down quickly. The smell had a nice citrus and belgium yeast aroma to it. The taste was kinda citrus and sweet up front then the hop bit came in around the middle to back of the tongue. The mouth feel was great, nice an smooth and overall this is another great belgium ipa.

 408 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
3.35/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pour is dark reddish copper, rather hazy with a tan bubbly head. Nose is a bit of stale rye bread with a faint spice to it. The hops are green and earthy but very light. The taste is bigger and the hops come through more. There is sticky malt and notes of caramel underneath. Hops are citrusy and herbal with faint bitterness. There is a bit of grain underneath with a slightly syrupy body, moderate carbonation, and prickly on the tongue.

 439 characters

Photo of BEERMILER12
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 6/2012

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden copper color with a fingers worth of head that settles down to a nice cap of bubbles

S: A good bit of fruitiness from the yeast is really all you get form the aroma. Light alcohol too, but nothing reminiscent of the 10%. Definitely more tripel-like than IPA in the nose

T: Really nice. Starts off sweet with the fruit and then goes into the alcohol and hop mix, with the hops imparting nice citrus notes. Get the orange peel as well. The sweetness is the main focus here, with the bitterness appearing only slightly in the finish

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Slightly cloying from the sweetness

O: The tripel style is really the main focus of this beer, with a nice addition of hops that barely justifies the IPA part of the label simply because of the large influence of the malts and Belgian yeast. Unlike most American Belgian-style IPAs, this one actually focuses much more on the Belgian aspect. Definitely respectable. If you're really looking for an American Belgian-style IPA from this brewery, go with Tramp Stamp. This one leans more on the Belgian side. Very nicely done

 1,153 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A pretty good marriage of Belgian and hops. Each sip was like manna, one can think Belgian or hoppy. Very good drinkability. Light coloured with lots of head. A bit aggressive carbonation, otherwise middling mouthfeel. Bottle from Winooski. Lemony, and yeasty. Pleasant.

 270 characters

Photo of liamt07
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle from Sammy, 650ml into a tulip

Hazy darker orange, dense offwhite head - thick lacing and fantastic creamy retention. Nose has lots of citrus/orange zest, candied malt flavours and big dry, Belgian yeast qualities. Hint of spice/clove but the American hopping and the yeast (moreso) is right at the forefront. Taste has dry yeast qualities upfront, some melon, subtle spice and bitter/herbal and citrus hop qualities. Touch of raw banana. Full feel, no alcohol (just barely) and drying. A big yeasty beer all round, fairly enjoyable.

 542 characters

Photo of oberon
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a large tulip glass a hazy peach infused lighter golden with a sticky large white head that settled slowly into a frothy mass.Yeasty phenols,overripe fruit,and citric/medicinal hop flavors,the yeast gave off quite spiced element.Again yeasty spiced flavors upfront with the hops giving off a sharp lemony note,sweet alcohol and more spiced phenols in the finish.This is a yeasty BIPA normally not my thing but this was decent,still not something I would search out again.

 483 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a cloudy caramel amber, nice fine two finger white head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, pine hops and Belgian spicing, smells good. Flavor is very malt forward, caramel malt, strong bittering hops and mild Belgian spices. Flavor is understated but well integrated. Finish Is malt with very strong bittering hops that seem to concentrate on the back of the tongue where there is no real herbal hop flavor, but a lingering hop bite. Interesting subtle flavor to start, but the finish is a bit on the astringent side. Medium bodied with pleasant creaminess; good mouth feel. A well made imperial IPA that tastes good but could use some more herbal hop flavors and a bit more flavor in the finish to balance the hop bitterness.

 796 characters

Photo of jmerloni
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - muddy caramel coloration, somewhat hazy. Head isn't very large, retains poorly, and leaves no lacing.

S - Aroma is very malt-forward. Dark malts, cherries, plums, booze. Some spices in the aroma as well.

T - Malt-foward taste. Dark malts, cherries, plums, a tart sourness reminiscent of green apples, coriander, sage, lemon rind.

M - Medium to full bodied. Not overly balanced.

D - A good beer. In the middle between a Belgian IPA and a Tripel; I'd have preferred it more if Clown Shoes had committed to either one or the other.

 538 characters

Photo of kawilliams81
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a caramel color with a 2" white head. Trails of lacing remain on the glass.

S- honey, lemon and spices

T- caramel, citrus and spices with pine bitterness. Has a citrus, acetic flavor I am no enjoying.

M- medium body and carbonation. Drinkability saves this beer. Would never know this is 10%.

O- not a bad beer but not one I would revisit.

 352 characters

Photo of Kromes
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A hazy orange color with a thick off white head that sticks to the glass.

S: There's a strong Belgain yeast aroma with some barnyard funk. A bit sour and a touch of earthy hop.

T: Continuing from the aroma, it is a bit sour at first with a noticable alcohol flavor. The funk joins in with an earthy and herbal hop. The finish is warm, bitter, clove spice and peppery from the alcohol.

M: Oily and medium bodied. Finish is dry.

O: A good Belgian IPA. The flavors are very strong and upfront. It has some good depth to it.

 527 characters

Photo of ChrisPratz
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very nice cloudy brownish golden amber color pours to 3 fingers of thick foamy had that dissipates to a half finger of light and airy foam that clings all the way down. This is what beer should look like right out of the bottle.

S: Some citrus and spices mixed with the belgian yeast. Picking up some banana esthers and sour/tart. Very enjoyable.

T: Some nice orange citrus and tart at the start with the yeast flavor coming thru. Bready biscuit malt sweetness leading to a floral hoppyness that has minimal bitterness and ends with a mild alcohol flavor.. Very well balanced all around, i'm really enjoying this. Flavors seem to blend and mellow as it warms.

M: Minimal carbonation, the biscuit malty flavors lead to a creamyness that coats your mouth and lets the mild tones and after taste linger. Slight dryness from the higher ABV but it doesn't take away from the enjoyment at all.

O: Very impressive beer. Everything balances well, with the flavors flowing into each other and mellowing out as the brew warms. Really impressed, Clown Shoes is becoming one of my favorite new breweries.

 1,101 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear golden orange to copper in color. The beer has a finger tall creamy light beige head that reduces slightly but has great retention properties - the head eventually reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer, a couple of thick patches, and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: There are aromas of citrus hops, pale malts, spice/clove, and Belgian yeast which are moderately strong. I like the smell of this beer and it entices me to want to try the beer.

T: The flavors of this beer are similar to the smell. The taste starts out slightly sweet with the pale malts and hints of caramel. That is followed by the citrus hops which are primarily bitter orange rind flavors. There are also some light citrus notes and the finish has the Belgian yeast notes and the clove/spice.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Chewy.

O: This is a very interesting styled beer, not quite what I expected from the Belgian IPA - more like a Belgian tripel merged with an IPA. I enjoyed the flavors and found the beer pretty easy to drink. I think the flavor is quite refreshing and one I would be happy to have again.

 1,234 characters

Muffin Top from Clown Shoes
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 709 ratings