Muffin Top | Clown Shoes

very good
157 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Muffin TopMuffin Top

Brewed by:
Clown Shoes
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Belgian IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Reagan1984 on 09-02-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 157 | Ratings: 709
Photo of fmccormi
4.21/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Straight pour from a 22oz pry-off bottle dated to August, 2011 (“BOTTLED 8/11” printed on the label, underneath the barcode) to my Belgian Independence Day stemmed tulip.

Appearance (4.5): Wow, this is an unexpectedly beautiful pour. Body is a very murky honey-orange and it’s protected by a very, very tight three finger head that dissolves into fat bubbles, a rocky surface and heavy lacing all around the sides. Excellent, to be honest.

Smell (3.5): Very heavy on the tripel aspect of this beer (it is a “Belgian-style Tripel India Pale Ale,” after all), which is fine by me. It was bottled a few months ago and it’s meant to be big and Belgian. So, coriander and apples in the nose, mixed with some lighter tropical American hop notes. Interesting, definitely decent.

Taste (4.5): Lots and lots of hop character still left in this mother. It’s spicy, rich, and slightly fruity thanks to the Belgian-ness of this brew, but then a very strong herbal, citrus pithy bitterness overwhelms that side of the beer and takes its sweet time finishing. The hop finish just doesn’t end. This is great. The malt body almost gets lost underneath all that yeast and hop goodness, but it’s moderately sweet, like just a little bit of caramel drizzled on a plain sugar cookie. Only a small amount of booze comes through—surprisingly well-hidden. This is brewed with sweet orange peel, according to the label, and it comes out much more as it warms, though it blends very nicely with the sweetness of the malt and the bitter tang of the hops. Regardless, I am enjoying this quite a bit.

Mouthfeel (4.0): No question that this is a fuller bodied brew, but not heavy by any means. It finishes rather dry, thanks to the ABV, no doubt. This carbonation is very nice—active, evenly distributed, rich but just slightly prickly, it complements the yeast spiciness very well.

Overall (4.5): Damn. I did NOT see this coming. This is really an excellent beer if you ask me, and I’d be delighted to ever see it in a bar. Full disclosure, I picked up this bottle for about $1.50 on discount from my favorite local store, because they had bunches of it and it just wasn’t moving. I am so, so glad I picked this up. It’s a surprisingly solid tripel brewed with sweet orange peel and a shitload of hops; a Double India Pale Tripel might sound like a potential disaster, but evidently this was executed very well. Clown Shoes, please release this at least once a year, and preferably in 12oz 4-packs!

 2,508 characters

Photo of rinhaak
2.7/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I found this to be a tremendously disappointing offering from Clown Shoes. While they can be very, very good at their best (Clementine, for example), they can also be quite bad at their worst. And sadly, for my tastes, this beer is among their worst offerings.

While I applaud their experimental efforts, this particular experiment needs a lot more time to work out the kinks. For beginners, it is neither an IPA nor a Belgian Tripel. Very little hop profile, it was way too sweet and tasted predominantly of canned mandarin oranges. None of the yeasty breadiness that one expects in a tripel, nor any of the hop zing one expects in an IPA. In short, it's a fruity, sweet, unbalanced beer.

A word of advice: don't bother with it.

 731 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.08/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a three finger cream head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Ugly, muddy amber color, big mistake pouring all in glass - tons of floaties that don't settle plus a ton of yeast left in bottle. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Grapefruit nose, sweetened grapefruit flavor, dry bitter finish. Disappointing Belgian triple IPA. $9.60 for a 22oz bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

 414 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 22 ounce bottle into a Clown Shoes shaker pint, because I can. At the time of this review, this is the #38 top Belgian IPA on the "Top Beers - Belgian IPA" list.

Beer is orange / amber, really hazy, nice tight off white head, lots of lacing, moderate carbonation.

I really feel like I was there when this style exploded onto the scene and this has the exact aroma I've come to expect from Belgian IPAs. The hops are earthy, mildly piny, mildly citrusy, the yeast and breadiness comes through well.

Beer is a little dry on the finish, light in body, earthy, sweet, bready, biscuit, aromatic, nice. Carbonation dances on the tongue. A good Belgian IPA but nothing makes it stand out. Just another BIPA. But I really enjoyed it.

 743 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.67/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

Another Clown Shoes brew to prep for an upcoming tasting. It pours a partly cloudy sunset golden-straw topped by a finger of white foam. The nose comprises honeydew, pine resin, light balsa, grapefruit, orange zest, coriander, clove, banana peel, and sweet honey. The taste brings in more of the same, but the citrus fruits are now favoring their rinds and peels, bringing out a decidedly more bitter situation. It's not too bitter, but I think the new lack of fruitiness is a general detriment. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly dry finish. Overall, a generally solid BIPA, but one that falls just shy of making me really happy with it.

 724 characters

Photo of Pencible
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This poured an opaque dark gold with a little white head and chunky sediment.
S: It smelled like mango and apricot and citrus zest, with some white peppercorn and rye bread.
T: It tasted like dried mango and fresh apricot, with some citrus zest and green peppercorn and rye bread. It had a bitter and clean aftertaste with a little lingering sweetness.
M: It was oily with smooth natural carbonation. Nice delicate body.
D: This was a very nice IPA, but not very Belgian. It had an enjoyable scent and taste, with very good body. The alcohol was well hidden, so it was easy to drink. Maybe not one of the better examples of this style, but a very enjoyable drink anyway. I say give it a shot!

 695 characters

Photo of JayAre46
3.13/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber poured into a pint glass very transparent yellow orange color with a finger of white head falling to a thin ring. the nose initially is of sweet fruit and light hops with some citrus. upon first whiff its almost like a citra bomb but then you realize no no, not even close. bubble gum, yeast, candied sugar minimal citrus. wishful thinking. im slightly afraid from the amount of sweetness this one gives off but here goes, the taste is like the clash of an unstoppable force and an immovable object with belgian yeast and american hops fighting til death. some sweet sugars, tangerine, and hoppy a bite. alcohol is swarming. the body is medium and lightly carbonated not a bad mouthfeel but rather difficult to drink. overall this is too much to handle, this one needs to finish much more bitter and dry. Belgian-Style triple Ipa! what kind of yeast makes it through this?!?!?not sure how im going to finish, will this be the first drain pour of 2012??? stay tuned after theses messages.

nope. almost, but not quite.

 1,030 characters

Photo of ThickNStout
3.33/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle from Total Wine (Kennesaw, GA). 7.99. Served in my Founders snifter. 

Pours a deep hazy amber w/ 2 fingers pale head. Nice lacing as I drink it down.  

Smells of citris hops, orange and are those some mild spices I detect?

Sharp Belgian fruity/yeasty bite up front with the hops taking over by the end. Interesting mix of flavors- much different than the strait up DIPAs that I typically drink. Fairly dry crisp finish. 

Medium mouthfeel. Low carbonation- works pretty well. 

Not the best Imperial IPA, but that's not what it is! I've only had a few Belgian-style IPAs but this is certainly one I'll be coming back to. This is the 4th Clown Shoes beer I've tried and they continue to impress me. I sure hope some Vampire Slayer finds it's way to GA...

 772 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is strong, fruity and yeasty with a hoppy note and just a hint of caramel. It pours a pretty clear golden with a fairly thick and fluffy ivory head that leaves substantial lacing. Fruity flavor is mainly apple with a note of pear and malty and yeasty tones plus a subtle hoppy undertone. Smooth, firm-bodied texture is edgy and lively, leaving a fizzy, fruity and malty finish.

 383 characters

Photo of NEhophead
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 fl oz brown bottle served in a snifter.

Murky dark peach in color beneath a foamy white head. The head fades to a semi-intact, whispy sheet which leaves thin lacing around the snifter.

Sweet candied sugar with notes of vanilla. The hop aroma is pretty hefty, not quite fresh, but filled with a nice Belgian yeast quality.

Intense hop flavor characterized by a stiff, musty citrus flavor. The sweet Belgian candied sugar adds an unexpected balance to the big hops. The alcohol flavor is warm and surprisingly kept in check by the rounded Belgian sweetness and tempered American hops.

Medium bodied; smooth, somewhat dry. The carbonation is really mellow, which is surprising for a 10% Belgian IPA.

This style can be pretty hit or miss in my experience. Fortunately, this one is well balanced in taste and texture, and it's flavors really shine especially for the alcohol content.

 886 characters

Photo of bens0n
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear caramelly color with copious amounts of creamy off-white head that leaves tons of lacing on the glass.

On the nose its slightly boozy and sweet. Has some caramelly notes, but theres not much hoppyness to it.

Flavor wise it starts out pretty sweet and subtle with a caramelly note that comes in towards the end and it finishes with a slight hoppy bite. Its not too boozy tasting but the bitter hops just coat your tongue inbetween sips.

Its a pretty thick and smooth beer, very low level of carbonation.

 529 characters

Photo of Ratman197
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured a cloudy gold with a lasting ivory head. Aromas of grapefruit, yeast, straw, candied orange, lemon zest, light mint and a hint of licorice. Mouthfeel was medium bodied and smooth with a dry finish. Flavors of yeast, straw, grapefruit, lemon zest, ligt candied orange and light mint with a smooth dry bitter lingering citrus finish.

 345 characters

Photo of jsulko
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a tulip glass

Orangish gold color with a slight haze. Head is slightly off white and lingers.

Smell is Sugar with a hint of orange. Yeasty.

Heavy alcohol on the taste. Orange notes also come through. Not tasting the "IPA" part of the equation much, may have faded a bit.

An interesting beer that I might try and get fresher to see if the hops/IPA comes through.

 384 characters

Photo of brewcrew76
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 8/11

A - Hazy burnt orange with a thin white head and sticky islands of lace.

S - Candy sugar and sweet orange peel. I feel like I can pick up some sweet malt and hops but can't tell if that is just the sugar and orange peel.

T - Starts sweet with candy sugar, orange peel, citrus hops and some yeasty notes and then becomes bitter with more sugar and orange.

M - Medium body with some warming alcohol.

D - A little too sweet and a tad over spiced with orange peel.

 478 characters

Photo of DrJay
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gold/amber with some haze and a thin whitish cap. Decent head retention and lacing. Hops were apparent as soon as the bottle was opened. Fruit candy aroma, pineapple and citrus, dry malt and bread, hint of phenols and alcohol. Sweetness in the flavour was mostly caramel with some sugar and malt. Bitterness was more prominent in the finish, along with alcohol warmth and peppery spice. Grassy, citrus, a bit fruity. Full bodied, lowish carbonation, smooth, almost creamy texture. Not bad at all, but a little on the sweet side.

 528 characters

Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a light slightly orange gold color with a small 1/4" head of fizzy white bubbles that was quite active at first, but settled to a pretty substantial ring where the beer meets the glass, being maintained by lots of bubbles rising.

Aroma: Lots of clean American citrusy hops mixed with some light caramel notes that really reminds me of your good "typical" IPA. It is surprising that it has 10%ABV from the aroma as there is no heat in the nose of the cold beer at all. It is nice to be so concealed.

Taste: The flavor departs from the aroma of the cold beer quite a bit in that you can pick up the alcohol quickly as warming and spice and this is supported by a light bodied beer for being this strong. The finish has a good bit of carbonation, but the light body and high alcohol really make this beer dry on the finish. The bittering hops seem mild in comparrison to the rest of the ingredients, and this is a good thing as it would make the beer undrinkable if it was overly bitter too.

Opinion: Overall this is a pretty good beer, though the alcohol is so high that I am really drinking water to compensate. It dries you out a bit. Either way, this is good beer and if you are a big fan of American DIPA variations, you should definitely give this one a shot. That said, I wouldn't put it above Great Divide Hercules or DogFish 90Min, but still it is a good brew.

 1,387 characters

Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Mugs Alehouse, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is very dark yellowish orange in color. It poured with a thin white head that gradually died down, leaving lacing on the surface and down the sides of the glass.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of pale malts and citrusy hops in the nose along with some hints of cloves.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has a slight amount of bitterness and flavors of spices in the finish.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and is also chewy with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer has a very interesting taste and has a much fuller bodied compared to other beers in the style.

 659 characters

Photo of Amalak
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is such a unique taste. There is a high alcohol taste and some wheat. There's a bite of watermelon. I'm tasting blueberry in there. The hops provide for a bitter after taste. Cotton candy taste. This is one of the most unique tasting beers I've had in a while. I can't drink too many, but it's uniqueness make it a must try.

 329 characters

Photo of TTAmod
4.62/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The label on this bottle is epic! This is the hardest Clown Shoes beer to find in my experiences. This is actually my first CS beer, so I'm fairly excited.

22 oz. poured into Chimay chalice.

A: Vigorous pour yields a hazy light brown liquid with a thick off-white head that leaves behind a very nice lace.

S: Whew...smell is very heavy hops. It also has a bit of a spicy clove-like radiance coming out of it. Also smells of heavy yeast.

T: Wow. Really heavy minty/piney hops up front. It's very brief, though, and then the spiciness and yeast of the tripel kick in. The front of the brew is DIPA and the latter half is tripel. This brew is very sweet and extremely tasty.

There is also bit of warming in the throat.

M: Pretty much exactly medium. The carbonation is really nice and what you'd get with a tripel.

O: Haven't had hops like these in awhile. These tasted very strongly of mint and pine; they had a very odd cooling effect, which offset the warming of the alcohol. Quite an interesting experience. Nice change of pace from the heavy grapefruit flavor that a lot of DIPAs have.

There is a lot of complexity here. The IPA they used is extremely interesting and the tripel was damn good. I hate to say it, but I think I like this one more than Le Freak, so I'll grade accordingly.

This is the first CS brew I've had, and it makes me want to try others. It is really an interesting take on the style, mostly because of the DIPA used. This is one of the harder-to-find CS brews, but it's definitely worth a shot for hopheads and pretty much any beer enthusiast.

 1,580 characters

Photo of OBTSkipper
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was expecting it to be darker with more sediment for a triple IPA. They must not roast their grains too much for it and they have to let it sit/filter it a bit to get it as clean looking as it is. It had moderate head retention, dissipating in about two minutes. You can definitely taste a lot of hops but not in such a way that tries to rip your tongue out. There is a slight fruity/citrus taste and it blends well with the hops for a very smooth mouthfeel. The aroma wasn't very potent and after the head dissipated I couldn't get much of any smell. Overall as a huge hop head I really am enjoying this beer and at the $9 I paid for it I may have to start stocking up on it. The 10% abv helps a lot as I am only a quarter of the way through the pint and I am feeling its strength. I would recommend this beer to anyone who enjoys good heavy hop beer.

(Initially it poured very clear but I shook it up some to see if there was any sediment in the bottle and on my second pour it was quite hazy just as other reviews claim. And it improved the taste as well!)

 1,062 characters

Photo of Immortale25
3.64/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Delirium Tremens snifter. No readable freshness date.

A- Pours a dark amber color with a 1/2 inch head and later an 1/8 inch head. Some lacing and sporadic bubbles on the surface.

S- Astringent hop aroma that's brought on, no doubt, by the ABV. Smells a bit piney and a tad spicy.

T- A strong, almost tart hop presence with not much Belgian yeast showing. It's there but is drowned out by the thick, sharp bitterness of the hops. Smooths out after a few sips which also provide a warming. After the initial hurdle of bitterness is overcome, it's easier to handle but still kind of a chore to drink.

M- Medium-high carbonation that's felt with every exhilarating sip. High alcohol and generous amounts of hop notes make this a rollercoaster ride of a beer that brings a prickly feel to the tongue. Some burn in the back of the throat but is fair game for a beer with such a high ABV.

O- Basically, a pretty extreme beer that didn't quite hit the mark. The alcohol is pretty well-masked but the hoppiness is a bit too much. I'll stick with the Tramp Stamp (as ridiculous as that may sound).

 1,107 characters

Photo of nycbeerfreak
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours quite hazy with a big, Belgian-esque head. The head is big with very cool lacing

S-Nice aroma. Fruity hops and yeast. The hops are so lively in the aroma. A bit of booze. Smells quite nice. Attractive, and it entices me to try.

T-Very tasty. Very powerful flavors of super fresh fruity hops. The hops for some reason really hit me as being unique and delicious. The yeast and malt plays well with the hops. I usually do not love Belgian IPAs, I usually leave that to the Americans. But this beer is pretty delicious.

M-Medium bodied. Nice carbonation. Enjoyable. Dry finish

D-Clown Shoes is very sweet to this guy !!! you will never think this is a 10% ABV beer ...amazing

 684 characters

Photo of corby112
3.13/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy dark golden orange color with a frothy two finger yellowish-beige head that slowly settles into a thick lasting ring. Large streaks and chunks of soapy lacing left behind.

Floral hop aroma with a ton of citrus and tropical fruit along with estery light fruit notes and candy sugar. Huge grapefruit presence along with orange peel and pineapple. There's also some earthy, grassy pine needle before the pale malt and Belgian characteristics come through in the nose.

Medium bodied with a blast of dry, bitter hops up front that lingers over the sweeter and spicy notes into a dry, boozy finish. The hop profile isn't as complex as the aroma suggests with only faint fruit sweetness. Instead, it's mostly dominated by a dry, earthy presence with resinous oils and grassy pine. As it warms I'm picking up more citrus, notably orange zest but it's still subtle. The slickness from the hops are complimented by candy sugar. Other than that there aren't many Belgian qualities. Finishes with lots of sweet, boozy heat. The ABV is not well masked leaving lots of warmth in the chest.

 1,092 characters

Photo of ryanonline
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this beer pours a deep amber and cloudy with some seriously rocky off-white head that leaves some trace lacing.

smells very pineappley with some serious caramel and candy scent from the malt. it even has some decent heat.

whoa, the taste is much more piney and bitter, however the malts still bring quite a lot of sweet candy flavor also. super bitter finish though.

mouthfeel is somewhat dry with some heavy carbonation. somewhat thick too.

overall, I'm not super impressed. too much going on and not enough focus on what it wants to be.

 542 characters

Photo of Wh0IsMrX
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a cloudy copper with a good one-finger light tan head. Slight to moderate lacing throughout.

S: The nose is dominated by Belgian yeast, hops, and orange peel.

T: Wonderfuly complex. Muffin Top bills itself as a "Belgian-style Tripel IPA," and truthfully, I did not know what to expect as I poured this beer from a 22oz bottle into my favorite glass. Muffin Top had a spicy taste up front, but finished with a bitter splash of hops and citrus fruits. As it warmed, the bitterness started to mellow and the various fruit flavors really began to stand out on the tongue and in the finish.

M: Nothing to rave about, but good. The moderate carbonation suits the beer and does not overwhelm. Very drinkable and finishes smooth.

O: Very enjoyable. I'll admit that I'm not the biggest fan of Belgian-style IPAs, but Clown Shoe's Tramp Stamp had made me a believer in the style long ago. Muffin Top carries on the tradition by taking the style to new heights and I found everything about it to be very enjoyable. Muffin Top is a delicious, complex brew.

 1,057 characters

Muffin Top from Clown Shoes
3.87 out of 5 based on 709 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.