Hoponius Union | Jack's Abby Brewing

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368 Reviews
Hoponius UnionHoponius Union

Brewed by:
Jack's Abby Brewing
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Pale Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This lager harmoniously combines lager yeast fermentation and west coast IPA hops. Our India style Pale Lager is like a traditional IPA but with a twist - it’s fermented cold and aged for extended periods. A blend of classic American hops creates a huge tropical fruit and citrusy hop aroma. A dry finish accentuates the pleasant bitterness and hop profile. Hoponius Union uses locally grown dehulled spelt from MA.

65 IBU

Added by mschofield on 08-07-2011

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Reviews: 368 | Ratings: 2,622
Photo of cpetrone84
3.94/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is transparent amber with a lot of fluffy white head and some large bubbles. Nose is light, clean and fresh. Some grain, a touch doughy, strong hop punch, tropical fruits light, grassy and herbal. Taste is the same, well attenuated, clean grain notes, a touch doughy, with a strong hop punch. More tropical fruit, grapefruit, grassy hop behind, and light bitterness with a dry well carbonated finish and lighter body.

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Photo of koutkid41
3.94/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

A: Small head, copper in color with great clarity.

S: Piney, citrus, resiny, and tropical hops. Very fruity, kinda like a kid cocktail. Sweetness coming trough.

T: Bitterness comes trough right away. Fruity up from and the malts come in with bready notes with lingering chalky bitterness in the end. Bitterness eventually mellows out after a while. Pretty subdued flavor.

M: Smooth, crisp, medium bodied, love the dryness.

O: Pretty solid IPL. Really loved the aroma but the flavor was subdued and mostly tasted malt profile and bitterness of the hops.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with my brother.
Pours a fairly clear deep golden color with a decent sized creamy white head that dissipates rather quickly. Aromas of sweet bready malty with hint of spice and fruit with a light spicy earthy hop aroma to round it all out. The flavor holds a creamy bready malty taste with lots of spicy earthy hops to balance it out. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a slick almost sweet mouthfeel. Another great brew from Jack's, but not one I would seek out again.

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Photo of ZethOfTheNorth
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dated 5/24. My first Hoponius experience.

A: Orange/yellow. A finger of nice bright head that leaves generous lacing.

S: Fruit cocktail. Mango/peach/grapefruit, all quite light. Smell is clearly that of an IPA, but not a super aggressive one.

T: This is two months old and I'm thinking the tropical hops have faded significantly. Bittering hops steal the show; this is drinking like a bitter bomb with soft peach notes to round it out. Nice, but likely not what it could/should be.

M: Exceptionally dry, crisp, and clean.

O: Clearly from the other reviewers. this is great when fresh. With two months on it, it's something a little less than great.

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Photo of DenverHopHead
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz can with a canned on date of 9/8/16; into a pint glass.
Appearance- dark gold, evident sediment if you look hard enough and some carbonation bubbles. Head is medium thick, but quickly reduces to a thin, white layer. Lacing is decent.
Smell - faint tropical and citrus notes, but only hints. Some pale malts are also detectable.
Taste - citrus flavors are much more noticeable here, I'm getting grapefruit!
Feel - reminds of a fuller session IPA; bitter from start to finish with no watered down feel!
Overall - really good beer, though hop aromas are a little weak for me, but that's really the only thing that prevents an outstanding score for me.

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Photo of quirkzoo
3.96/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Celticfutblclub, thanks again.

Pours a very clear light orange with 1 finger of fine white head that sticks around in a thin layer.

Really nice hoppy aroma, tons of fruit, citrus and tropical fruits. Not much else to the aroma other than hops but the hops are really nice.

The taste is more of the same. A lot of nice light hops with a strong amount of bitterness, very clean aftertaste indicative of the lagering. Really smooth, though I think I would have liked to have just a bit more going on other than the hops. Couldn't really detect much malt or yeast.

The mouthfeel is light, bordering on too light. I can't decide if I like the lightness which lends drinkability or if I want it to be more substantial. Definitely lighter than your typical IPA.

Overall this is a nice beer. I had it with my dinner and it has enough flavor to stand on its own against a nice thai curry, but it is also light enough that I don't feel full after drinking it. Glad I got the chance to try it, I will definitely seek out more Jack's Abby next time I visit relatives in the NE.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.96/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

on draft

light copper golden in color, white head. nice hoppy aroma - grass, citrus, pine mix. just a bit of bready malt flavor mixed in with the hoppiness. thinner bodied.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.97/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep golden clear body. Small head. Wisps and some lacing.

Smell - Pine hops. Musty. Faint grapefruit. Slight sweetness to the pale malt.

Taste - Brighter citrus, but still has a lot of pine and resin. Bitterness builds quickly, faster than the sweetness. Finishes dry and bitter.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy and medium carbonation. Moderately bitter.

Overall - Not as good as it warmed. Better cold. Good all around.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.97/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle at Smoke & Barrel as part of the first DC bottle share/tasting. Sample pour into a large snifter glass. From notes.

A pale orange amber body, with faint very light tan off white bubbles. Minor head produced but quite thick bubbles for a collar that is left.

Nose is quite hop forward, and I guess expected. A good airy light citrus hop front, with a mild malt presence. Clean, surprisingly smells like a solid IPA. Kind of jarring but real impressive.

Palate hits with a thick pine resin, and a good mild sense of sweetness. Like a solid lager it finishes quite cleanly, almost like as if an IPA were missing something. Malt backbone seems to be missing a little but it's sort of something you don't seem to care about on this first sip. No sweetness or heat present either, or sugar rush.

Overall, a real memorable and impressive take on a style, worth trying again. Quite enjoyable would love to have more of this.

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Photo of BigGold
3.97/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at the new "Cheers," Quincy Market, Boston, Mass., on draft into a faceted mug. Would say this "IPL" is a great example of what lagers can be, except it confirms I had (have) no idea what can be done with lagers. Whatever, find this beer. It may or may not open your eyes (like mine), but you will almost certainly enjoy the experience.

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Photo of PHBoiler
3.97/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bold yellow/orange body that is completely translucent with a crisp finger width white head. Good looking beer in the glass. Some pine and citrus on the nose. Aggressively hopped and quite bitter with a solid lager base. The lager base is my favorite part of this beer. Very well made with a great mouthfeel. The hopping is a bit too aggressively west coast for my taste. It is certainly interesting with the lager body though. Worth a try for west coast IPA fans indeed.

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Photo of NiceTaps
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a tall lager-style glass.

A- Pours a bright and clean golden color, 2-finger white head that settles nicely leaving lots of lacing.

S- Hops all over; citrus grapefruit and orange, some pine. And some lager graniness.

T Light grass and very mild malt flavors are quickly trumped by a big dose of the citrus hop flavors.

M- Very light. Crisp. Light lager feel, mostly. Lingering hop bite and dry finish.

O- It looks and smells good, tastes OK, but has no body. It needs an element to tie it together. It is a light tasting lager one second, then a hop bomb the next. Not bad, though.

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Photo of dheacck11
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A little stuffed up, so my senses may be a little clouded...

Pour is a lovely golden hay color with hints of melon and orange. Thick foamy head, 1 finger, soft and white. Lingers.

Nose is mostly some soft citrusy hops. Little bit of pine. Nothing too prominent.

Taste is interesting. Nice, juicy citrus hops up front, get a little grapefruit sense. This follows with a dry malty lager flavor, which rather refreshing. Seems to have a finish with a bit of dry hop.

Feel is medium thin as befitting it's name.

Maybe it's my sinuses. maybe it's the beer. It's good, I'm just not feeling incredible with this. Maybe I just want it to be an IPA too much, and I'm trying to make it something it's not...

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Photo of tone77
3.99/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A bottled beer? From woodychandler? Yes, it's true. And what a bottle to come through with, many thanks. Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a deep golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of hops, citrus. Taste is smooth and refreshing. I could drink these all day long. Some solid hops, malts, citrus, well done. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a high quality beer.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.99/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a narrow pint glass: color is opaque copper, somewhat dense looking, head is off white, fine bubbles with dense cover and lacing left on the glass.

Smell is extremely enticing: light malt toastiness quickly followed by the well balanced floral and fruity hops, there not overpowering but more sharp than a typical pale lager to warm you up for the sharper flavor.

Taste is less malty in terms of toastingess but a little sweeter than the aroma, light malt flavor (pilsen) is overtaken by the hop bitterness, hops seem less pronounced in terms of flavor than bittering quality. Subtle hop flavors include light citrus and grass.

Mouthfeel is definitely where this beer finds its India roots, lighter malt flavor of the pilsen malt is slightly overmatched by the hops (not in a bad way). Hops linger in a pleasant way on the tongue, not too drying and leaving just the right presence to identify this as more IPL than Kellerbier.

Overall, a great beer, seemingly simple in formulation but the subtleties of hop schedule, fermentation and aging come through in the finished product.

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Photo of biegaman
3.99/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hoponius Union has such a well polished golden tone it could fit in at Europe's most majestic cathedrals (probably museums too). It has a bright and angelic aura with pristine clarity, calm bubbles and a thin white head that appears to be soft as fleece. An immaculate appearance.

The effects of lagering are most appreciated in the mouthfeel; while this process removes a lot of the fruity esters that are by-products of fermentation, it's not always obvious from smell alone whether a beer is a lager or an ale. In this case it's even more difficult because of the abundance of hoppy citric and tropical fruit flavours and the fact that much of its 6.7% alcohol can be detected. The smart money would be on ale.

Of course, you'd be wrong. While this recipe uses the same zestful varieties of American hops as an IPA, it is in fact fermented at a cold temperature (as opposed to warm) and aged ("lagered") for an extended period. Why does this matter? Well, it has evidently led to a 'smoother' beer, one with a tighter and cleaner flavour profile (think of it as a song played with minimal distortion, or hearing that song through speakers that have minimal static).

Otherwise, however, I am inclined to say it doesn't matter much (after all, some people prefer loads of distortion). This beer offers much the same biscuity, lightly nutty maltiness and toasted bread flavours, as well as all the mango, grapefruit, lychee, and tangerine one could ask for in any hoppy beer. There's plenty of tree resin, bubblegum, and citric acidity too - IBUs aren't affected by lagering. It makes no difference to hops what temperature you ferment at.

Indeed, the only difference between Hoponius Union and a West-Coast IPA - aside from the fact that it's brewed in Massachusetts - is that it's been lagered. This offering only further reinforces my opinion that people (beer educators specifically) put far too much emphasis on the 'lager vs. ale' comparison; there's obviously so many more important factors that distinguish a beer.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.99/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: crystal clear; copper colored; 1 finger white head that receded quickly to a thin cap; moderate lacing;

S: grapefruit is predominant with a bit of pine in the background;

T: a little grapefruit up front; all pine in mid-palate; grapefruit takes over again for the finish; low to moderate bitterness from mid-palate to finish;

M: light-medium bodied; low to moderate carbonation;

O: really easy and enjoyable to drink; refreshing;

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Photo of BobZ
3.99/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9 oz Bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Deep amber/orange with an initial 1/2" head that disappears quickly leaving only a ring, nice lacing.

Smell: A well balanced pine & citrus hoppy aroma, quite pleasant. You also get some malty sweetness beneath the hop profile.

Taste: Really clean and well balanced hoppy flavor, right at the right combination of pine and grapefruit. The bready malt flavors come through at the end.

Mouthfeel: Very nice body, again well balanced and clean on the finish.

Overall: An extremely enjoyable hoppy lager, one of the best offerings I've had from Jack's Abby.

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Photo of migwell
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bit cloudy with a small head that persists. An IPL it is, tasting quite like many a great IPA while having a lighter body and clean finish reminiscent of a lager. This is a good drinking beer which goes down easy and doesn't pack a major ABV wallop. Very fine beer, this!

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Photo of hagbergl
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Bottled in mid-November–perfect timing for Thanksgiving drinking.

Appearance: Towering pillowy white head atop a clear orange-yellow body. Tons of soapy lacing and serious head retention.

Smell: Candied orange, light grapefruit and some toasted bready graininess that conjures in your mind the smell of a German lager (like a Helles) that's just been hopped way up. Solid smelling beer, though certainly more muted than an ale. (As an IPA lover I do miss that piney dankness that wafts up from the freshly opened bottle. I'm not getting that here.)

Taste: Tons of crisp smooth candied orange and pink grapefruit, kiwi and pineapple in the flavor. Not as aggressive as an IPA in its hop attack but still delivers lots of hop flavor. Malt is there and more noticeable than in a regular IPA, but firmly in a supporting, minimalistic role. Very dry finish accentuates the hops and brings on the bitterness in the finish. One thing I will say about the beer is that it doesn't warm that well and loses a bit of crispness in the flavor and mouthfeel (as if the carbonation dissipated).

Mouthfeel: Clean and smooth mouthfeel with a decent medium carbonation (I do feel that the beer could have a slight bump in carbonation level). I love the dry finish, which really helps the hop flavors pop towards the end.

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Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to MSquared2 for sharing this one during one of our random Sunday tastings! Served from bottle into Sweetwater 15th Anniversary snifter. Poured a pale golden yellow with a half finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, earth, earth hop, marijuana, fruit hop, and pine resin. The flavor was of sweet malt, earth, marijuana, pine, pine resin, earth hop, and spicy hop. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a good brew. There were quite a few different components going on in both the nose and flavor of this one that really kept me on my toes. With having a few brews from this brewery that night I can honestly say that they have aromas pinned down. With just a little more robustness this could definitely be a standout for the style. I suggest you get your hands on some of these or other brews from them if you get the chance. You won’t regret it.

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Photo of Kinsman
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fills the glass with a beautiful bright copper which is crowned nicely by a dense white head. Resinous lace rings the glass as it goes down.

Hops invite you right in with powerful grapefruit notes and a nice punch of piney goodness. All hops all the time on the nose... who said lagers were suppose to malty anyway?

Juicy citrus makes for quite a refreshing sip. Pleasantly bitter without ruining your palate. Some Cascadian pine notes in there as well. Little room left for the malt to come through.

Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than I'd like as I prefer my hoppy beer to have some substance to them but this certainly nothing to be too picky about. Refreshing and highly drinkable. I'd challenge any BA to correctly identify this as a lager in a blind taste test.

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to portia99 for this brew.

Poured into a Squatters True Pint glass a very nice cloudy dark golden yellow color, very nice carbonation, with a nice one-finger white creamy head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is hoppy, malty, with a nice citrus note. The taste is hoppy, nice little touch of malts, and some citrus notes. Medium body, with a nice slightly dry/bitter finish. Overall a very nice brew. Thanks Bill!

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this india pale lager style is really taking off, and this is one of the better examples, but I hate to say like I always do, that humulus from the bruery sets the bar impossibly high for other brewers. this is excellent, until you have a humulus. it pours a nice radiant orange color with an inch of fading white fluff. a nose of crisp clean pine family hops, with a pronounced bitter close. lager yeast is evident upon the first sip, its dry but not at snappy as some. it lets the cereal grains come through a lot to balance the hops, which have a sort of punctuated citrus and pine bitterness back and forth going on. the beer would be better if it didn't come across so filling. bigger malt base than necessary here I think, fuller than most lagers, but its carbonated well and the bitter finish is quite dry, encouraging quick consumption. overall a great beer, but underwhelming in some ways, especially when put up against the gold standard for the genre.

edit: now that they are canning this one, i reckon its a superior offering, especially for those of us living a ways away from the brewery, it seems to stay fresher and brighter in this format, and i have to bump up a few ratings from the original review to reflect a much fresher beer in the can than i have ever had in the bottle. nice call on that!

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Photo of Flounder57
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

16.9 oz beer was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a minimal head that reduced to nothing. It is a copper color with great clarity and bubbles seen coming up through the glass.

Smell: Piney, citrus, resiny, and tropical hops. Bready and sweet pale malts in there too. Interesting.

Taste: Super hop bomb here. Malts are second in the taste with lingering chalky bitterness in the end. Bitterness eventually mellows out after a while.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, crisp, full bodied, low to medium carbonation, a little chewy, and some lingering bitterness.

Overall: Pretty solid IPL from another local brewery. I remember trying Wormtown's and was very surprised and interested with it. Good to see another local brewery bring this style up a notch.

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Hoponius Union from Jack's Abby Brewing
4.23 out of 5 based on 2,622 ratings.
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