Extra Pale Ale | Almanac Beer Co.

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Extra Pale AleExtra Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our Belgian-style Extra Pale Ale is brewed with heaps of sweet Mandarin oranges from Blossom Bluff Farms and California two-row barley. We dry-hop with generous doses of aromatic Cascade and Columbus hops and finish the beer with a hint of lightly toasted American oak. Enjoyed best with your favorite seasonal fare.

Added by drgarage on 08-23-2012

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Reviews: 34 | Ratings: 156
Photo of largadeer
2.46/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: The body is an attractive clear filtered gold. Pours with two fingers of lasting head.

Smell: Pretty yeasty, like a hopped up (and fruited) Belgian pale ale. Brings to mind orange flavored hard candy. Some chalkiness is present, presumably from the yeast, and plenty of zesty citrus. There's a touch of oak in here, too, which brings a note of vanilla that works well with the strong orange presence. This feels a bit muddled with so many different elements, but to it's credit there aren't any overbearing qualities either.

Taste & mouthfeel: Drying, somewhat astringent citrus rind flavor up front. The punchy hop bitterness and oak intensifies this effect. It's plenty yeasty, too. Chalky, phenolic, peppery, this has a bit of a farmhouse yeast quality to it. While the aroma is decent, I'm not a fan of this beer on the palate. The combination of heavy-handed bittering hops, oak and pithy orange creates a wearying astringency that beats the tongue down after half a glass.

Overall: OK stuff. It has potential, but the recipe needs some work.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.51/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 2

"Extra Pale Ale." "Ale brewed with Mandarin Oranges and American Oak." Sounds innovative for a pale ale. Dry hopped with Cascade and Columbus. I'm a big fan of Columbus hops so this is sounding pretty appealing.

6.0% ABV confirmed. I like the label; stylish green etching on brown glass. 12 fl oz bottle with branded pressure cap served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Acquired as part of a four pack.

Served straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a four finger white-khaki colour head of fair cream, pretty good thickness, decent froth, and good (~4 minute) retention for the above average ABV. Colour colour is a clear light copper; translucent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Thin lacing as the head recedes; far from enough to impress. Looks pretty standard for the style; there's nothing unique or special here and it isn't particularly vibrant, but there are no overt flaws. Meh.

Sm: I do get some light mandarin orange character; there's definitely some sweetness and faux-orange there. Pale malts. Light nectary honey; it lacks the freshness and presence I want from honey, but it's there. A unique if underplayed aroma. It should be so much more than it is. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable. A mild strength aroma.

T/Mf: Oh boy. Poorly executed dry hopping really did a number to this one. Unnatural rolling smoothness then an awful coarsening effect on the climax. Texture feels artificial, and even gives dry mouth on the finish. A bit overcarbonated to boot. Pale malts are dominant, but never feel evocative or refreshing. How could it be refreshing with that horribly done mouthfeel? This is sort of a master class in how to screw up a pale ale. No yeast comes through. Not too sweet, maybe a bit too bitter. The hopping is just poorly done. Mandarin orange bleeds in a bit, but it's really forgettable. Palate presence is awful; I feel like the mouthfeel is preventing the flavours from coming through. Perhaps the worst mouthfeel I've ever experienced in a pale ale. Though the thickness could be worse. This is simple and bland. The honey adds little to save it, but I suspect it has something to do with the poor mouthfeel.

Dr: Eh. I'll finish it, but I wouldn't call it drinkable - which is criminal for a pale ale. This one clearly went awry. It's a shame; it sounded interesting. Looks like I'm 0 for 2 on Almanac. They've got one more chance sitting in my fridge. So far it's been nothing but disappointing.

High D+

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Photo of rastamendi
2.93/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Poured carefully from a 12oz bottle into a .5L glass. Bottle indicates batch 758, with what I assume is a date of 7/11/13. Consumed 9/15/13

Appearance: Exhibits a copper hue, with almost brilliant clarity. Head dissipates to a thin layer that persists. 3.5/5

Smell: Caramel malt dominates, with background notes of oak-like character, pine, and pepper. It doesn't seem like any of the flavors compliment each other. 2.75/5

Taste: Discombobulated is how I felt while drinking this beer. It has the base character of an american pale ale, but to me, the hops listed on their website seem absent (I went to their website after taking a few sips...just to figure out what they were going for). Caramel malt, firm bitterness, with a pleasant, albeit subdued, hop character - but with an oak character that simply disrupts. 2.75/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body, appropriate carbonation. 3.5/5

Overall: There were no flaws in this beer that indicated a shortcoming of brewing acumen. However, the flavor profile just seemed to conflict with itself. For me, the beer was a dumper. 2.75/5

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.08/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Bottle opened on 8.16.13

A - Pours a hazy light orange with a small off-white head with decent retention.

S - Pine, grass, bitter citrus.

T - Bitter orange rind and earthy.

D - Decent carbonation with a medium body.

O - Bland, boring and bitter. Not something I would have again.

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Photo of VincentFrey
3.12/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pour / Appearance: A hazy orange, with a bit of reddish tinge. Looks a bit more like a wit than a pale, if only it weren't for the clarity as the beer sits a few moments. Bottle was very highly carbonated, and on the verge of gushing. Had to let the head settle a few times to get the whole bottom, even in a 16oz tulip. A good bit of head settles on top of the beer.

Aroma: Heavy, pungent orange. I believe oranges are actually added to this beer, so that's no surprise. Otherwise very floral, citrusy hops, with hints of earth (although that's likely from the malt). Almost smells like a cascade bomb in a lot of ways.

Taste: Well, it tastes a good bit like a cascade bomb. Or, maybe that's just the citric acid from the oranges plus light hops, as there is no heavy bitterness here. It's very refreshing and light at 6%, and I'm content with it as a nice after work beer. That said, there's really not much special here. I don't get the Belgian appellate Beer Advocate has applied, as outside a few yeast esters it's much more in the East Coast Pale Ale vein.

Overall: It's a good beer. It's not a great beer, by any means, and probably not worth the price I paid to order it, but if it was local it'd be a nice sixer to bring to a party or pick up after work.

Bottom Line: Buy if you like (hopefully) cheap, interesting pales, and American attempts at Belgian yeast spicing without the actual yeast presence. Try if you just want a nice sipper. Disregard if you already have a favorite pale and don't want to try the orange-ade version.

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Photo of EspressoGuy
3.21/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: Golden orange
S: earthy, pine med-low intensity hops balanced with some malt. Pleasant but not complex.
T: Noticeable bitterness from beginning to end ... and not much else. I think if I was to have this with a full-bodied meal (they recommend "braised pork and spicy Mexican dishes") it would nicely cut through. On it's own it's a too much...
M: medium bodied
O: I'd only order it again if I was having the right food to balance the bitterness.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.24/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Deep, semi-hazy copper. Thin white head, big bubbles, almost no lace, ok retention.

S - Apricot, lemon zest, apple skin, wheat.

T - Green plant stem bitterness, yellow peppers, bok choy, touch of malt.

M - Light frame, relatively light carbonation.

O - Fairly one demential. The flavors focus on a green bitter note, which isn't bad, but there isn't much else.

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Photo of flexabull
3.32/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Pours a bright and clear gold color with a pretty nice off white head.

Aromas are floral and grassy with some orange citrus notes.

Taste is pine like and slightly bitter up front. Grassy and floral. Finish is dry, with very faint citrus notes. Not a bad tasting beer, but there isn't much going on.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, nice body and good carbonation.

Overall, a decent beer, but pretty one demensional and kind of boring. Honestly, I am a bit disappointed.

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Photo of jibbyvonjibb
3.43/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Obviously some herbs were used here: something citrusy like coriander or bitter orange, like used for Wit beers. I personally dislike too many herbs because it often makes a flavor stand out above all others, which makes it seem one-note and artificial. Taste is actually pretty good and mild. Slight citrus. Fairly dry, but not thin. Slightly bitter aftertaste. Medium-high carbonation. Overall, a decent light, drinkable beer. I would categorize this as a Wit because the citrusy herbs overpower any hops that may be there.

It's interesting that they don't mention any herbs in the descriptions, which is misleading in my opinion. It's just too blatant. They do mention mandarins, and if they indeed used them, i think it's a waste of money because they do not make an appearance at all.

Buy again? Maybe. It's fairly cheap ($3 / 12oz). It's light. Just not too crazy about the wit-like smell.

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Photo of Nugganooch
3.43/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a taster nonic style glass
Notes taken 08/22/13

A: Dark and cluttered caramel color body with some honey golden hues. Half a glass of heady froth formatted with large bubbles that pop and cling to the glass leaving a sticky matrix of lace left behind.

S: The nose is comprised of bready pale malts with some light hop presence that is mostly citrus fruits and pine. Tangerine and orange peel. Does not reveal much Belgian yeast character if at all. Closer to an APA in aroma which is fairly nice none the less.

T: Solid base of bready pale malt laid down with a dash of caramel character but not sweet. There is a musty yeast character developing with some grassy hay mixed in on top of those citrus flavors and piney hops. I get some light spice and woodsy notes but this does not really strike me as a Belgian. The beer has an actual higher level of scrubbing bitterness and the alcohol is completely masked. Seems more American in style and perhaps even just some Brett thrown in? Definitely a lot going on with little to show for it.

M: Light to moderate body with a creamy consistency and upper level of carbonation. Bit of astringent bitter bite with a very dry tannic finish that exits rather clean.

D: As an American Pale Ale this is decent and drinkable with some bready pale malt paired with nice citrus and pine notes. As a Belgian-Style Extra Pale Ale brewed with Mandarin Oranges and then dry-hopped with Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, Simcoe and Galaxy hops as well as lightly toasted oak…seems like a lot of great efforts to pull off a fairly mediocre brew.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.44/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: Poured a hazed copper color with decent carbonation leaving a mediocre white cap and some lacing

S: Biscuits, fruits and grass.

T: Fruits and grains, some fresh field flowers with a dash of spice as well

M: Light-medium body, well carbonated

O: Not bad, not great, not something I would seek out again

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Photo of snaotheus
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured slowly into a tulip. And I mean really slowly. It was a bit of a gusher -- got beer all over my counter right after opening, even though it's been at rest in the fridge for a week or so. If there's a bottle code or anything, I don't see it.

Pours on the orange side of amber, cloudy, with a monstrous head. Smell is citrus, yeast. Dampness.

Taste is mild, orange peel bitter, soapy water, some kind of greenery.

Mouthfeel is medium and slick. Overall...it's fine.

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Photo of Bierliebhaber3
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First beer I’ve ever tried from this NorCal brewery. This is an American Pale Ale and it is very heavily hopped as per usual for California IPA variants. It is a darker amber color then the typical APA and has a fizzier head than usual. It starts with a pleasing strongly orange taste with more subtle flavors that are more typically found in Belgians. The aftertaste, however, is all over hopped APA leaving a bitter, astringent taste in my mouth. Lovers of IPAs would probably be into this, but I can really only appreciate the more balanced versions. The initial flavor keeps it from being too bad, but I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to have this beer again.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.52/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Bottle I brought to share at jmgrub's tasting.

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy beige head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, citrus, spices, and yeast. Taste is much the same with an earthy hop finish. There is a mild amount of spice and hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer with a good smell but some really earthy flavors that are fairly bland.

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Photo of lazydayspoiler
3.54/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tulip glass out of the bottle

A - orange /light copper, streaky lacing

S - mellow dry citrus, fruit leather

T - Earthy citrus strong with orange rind

M - Smooth, not very carbonated, growing bitterness on the finish

O - Good beer, better than expected, nothing fancy. Reminiscent of Anderson Valley IPA, with more citrus, and not quite as polished.

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Photo of mactrail
3.61/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Attractive amber color. Pleasing white foam. Quite spritzy in the mouth. Light body. Interesting aromatics

They say this is brewed with Mandarin oranges, but it's quite subtle. Mostly it's bitter. The Astringent green tea for the aftertaste. After you let this sit for a few minutes, the Belgian flavors are very striking. It gets so dry, and between the yeast and the hops it's something the monks might drink for penance. Still, it's very interesting and a style I hope more people will try-- flavorful but lighter Belgian-influenced brews. This one is too much like an over-hopped Pale Ale with the malt scoured out by an agressive yeast.

From the 12 oz bottle sold in four-packs at Bine and Vine in San Diego.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.62/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Almanac might be the first brewery which I've seen to take advantage of the inevitable "farm to bottle" marketing, which is seen on the bottle. They're certainly not afraid to shout out about it. Here comes an extra pale ale brewed with mandarin oranges and aged in a little oak. Let's see how it was executed. On to the beer:

Looking copper colored with a tint of orange coloring and topped with a half-inch of creamyish head on top. This one provides a good lacing show to the eyes. The aroma is clean and grassy, which was a refreshing first impression to the nose. I also get a dry hoppiness with potential. I also get raw barley and earthy notes, so perhaps it's not crisp and clean as I first though, but still has a pleasant nose.

Much of what I got in the aroma makes its way into the taste, which starts off somewhat clean and grassy. It has a very earthy taste, so perhaps Almanac was right when they say "farm to bottle", because I might have tasted a bit of the farm itself. The resin I get adds a bitterness which throws the beer a little out of balance. Kiss of toffee is provided from the malt. Sorry, I can't find any orange or oak anywhere, so that's a little disappointing. Beer is medium bodied with a modest crispness.

Pleasant enough pale ale. Regarding the marketing, being "farm to bottle" doesn't do much when the consumer is not provided a freshness date.

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Photo of mick303
3.62/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a small white head with pretty good lacing, retention left a bit to be desired. Colour was a surprisingly dark medium brown amber colour.

S- an upfront maltiness with a lot of light fruitiness. Strong orange character, a bit of earthy character. Hops has a strong citrus fruity character. Pretty good.

T- an initial sweetness, then more orange oily bitterness. Maltness is lightly toasty, somewhat light. Hops are there more toward the end, lots of fruity, vegetal character. Flavourful, but could be more balanced and a bit more crisp to it. Finish is mildly bitter and holds on, but tastes a bit messy and mineraly.

M- carbonation is moderate, light body, pretty refreshing, though seems a bit minerally on the end. Could be more crisp. Works decently well, balance is not bad, could be better to be more sessionable.

A good beer, glad I picked it up. A definite diversion on the style, not exactly pale, and also has oranges, which work remarkably well, though not amazingly; leaving the beer a bit unbalanced toward the orange side. Still worth checking out.

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Photo of DerelictPI
3.64/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

"Extra Pale Ale" is definitely a good name for this beer!

Smell - Lots of citrus comes through. More on the bitter end, than the sweet.

Taste - Follows the nose. I get a lot of citrus (grapefruit, orange rind), and not much in the malt-balance. The mouthfeel is pleasant, full, with a slight dryness from the hops.

I would definitely drink this again but I wouldn't go out of my way to hunt it down.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.69/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a clear, somewhat still, golden amber with a thin white head that dissipates to a persistang thin film and ring around the glass, leaving lacing. Aroma of tangerine and orange, grassy and pine hops, mild sweet malt. Flavor starts with orange rind, citrus hops, citrus and tropical fruit finishes with lingering hop bitterness, citrus rind and a light, distinct mandarin orange component. Light to medium bodied with light carbonation. An interesting exploration of the orange citrus family, with distinct orange and orange rind flavors. The Belgian character is subtle. Finish is bitter from both citrus rind and hops and is a bit astringent in the finish. An interesting and unusual take on a pale ale.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.69/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Paccamacca for this sweet extra!

poured into tulip glass.

No trace of bottled on date.

Appearance: Golden orange bodied beer with 2 fingers of soapy off white head. Head has some staying power and the beer leaves behind a spotty lace.

Smell: This nose is awesome! Citrusy and really zesty! Bready malts that are also toasty. Chalky and earthy hops. Slightly yeasty too.

Taste: Short burst of orange sweetness then right into a lot of deep earthy hops. Grassy, chalky, herbal, orange and grapefruit rinds, light oak notes, and some peppery spicey yeast notes to round it all out. Chalky, grassy, and citrus rind linger forever in the aftertaste of this beer.

Mouthfeel: light bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Its actually kind of boozey which I cant believe that I am saying this about an APA, but its definately there. Its surprisingly quite a dry beer too.

Overall: An belgian style extra pale ale that is brewed with mandarin oranges, dry hopped, and was "toasted with american Oak". I was left a little dissapointed by this one, but it has a lot of potential with some tweaking. If you could taste more of the citrusy sweetness from the mandarin oranges and make this beer a bit less earthy, I think this beer would have a cult following like Zombie Dust or PsuedoSue. It was an interesting beer none the less and I really appreciate what the brewer tried to do here.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a finger of head on a clear copper colored body.
The aroma is loaded with pine and grapefruit... it's like putting the hop cone right up to your nose.
The taste is moderate pine bitterness, then tapers off to a mildly sweet malt finish.
The texture is crisp with some softness around the edges.
Enjoyable to drink.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into SN ipa glass.

A: Pours a clear honey gold with a huge greasy off-white head that slowly faded into a thick melted vanilla ice-cream style film that left sticky rings of lace down the glass.
S: Bready malt and fresh notes of mint, orange pith and a hint of freshly cut grass.
T: Follows the nose with flavors of citrus rind, bready malt, and a great splash of oranges and faint Belgian yeast. The finish is full of oranges and lightly bitter rind, and the aftertaste is bready.
M: Medium body, refreshing and crisp mouthfeel, soft carbonation.
O: Drinkable but nothing epic. Worth checking out, but there are better

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From what I read on the bottle, this is more of a Belgian style ale.

Overall, I find this a consistent beer, though it could use a boost in the flavor department. Kind of inky and Earthy, with minimal fruit tones showing. There are mandarin oranges in this? I can hardly tell. Whatever is there seems overpowered by the earthy tones from what seem like malts and the minimal spices from hops. The bottom line is this is a decent ale, but not really doing a whole lot for me. I have something in the back of my mind telling me that Almanac beers seem to be tasting the same, and at this point, I have tried them all.

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Photo of Lothore
3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a beautiful dark orange hue with a 2 finger head that sticks around for quite a while.

S - candied sugar, apple, lemon zest

T - lemon zest, dark fruit, Belgian yeast,deep bitterness on the back end.

M - thick with ample carbonation

D - decent brew. Definitely worth a try.

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Extra Pale Ale from Almanac Beer Co.
3.55 out of 5 based on 156 ratings.
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