Karma Belgian Style Pale Ale | Avery Brewing Company

490 Reviews
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Karma Belgian Style Pale AleKarma Belgian Style Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-08-2005

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Reviews: 490 | Ratings: 992
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"As the blazing fire reduces wood to ashes, similarly, the fire of self-knowledge reduces karma to ashes."

--Bhagavad Gita

Tangerine-copper with amber edges and a virtual absence of visible carbonation. The dense, orangish beige cap collapses fairly quickly to a fat one finger, when it appears to think better of making such a hasty exit. A small amount of thin, feathery lace makes its way to the glass.

The nose is okay, but is nothing like a Belgian pale ale. A Colorado pale ale perhaps? It smells like the beer is well-balanced between caramel malt and orange fruity, slightly earthy hops. Since Sterling hops are a Saaz variant, I expected, but didn't get, any noble characteristics whatsoever. Avery claims that a true Belgian yeast strain is used, but you'd never know it. Confusion reigns.

After several mouthfuls, the resemblance to a beer of the stated style is starting to make a little more sense. Still, I don't think any serious comparisons can be made to the best Belgian pale ales. I can at least taste what Avery was shooting for, even if they're wide of the mark. The beer is still exceptionally well-balanced, with caramel malt underpinnings and orange-like top notes.

The biggest problem is that there's too much hop flavor, without much hop bitterness, and not enough flavor from the yeast. Belgian beer (and Belgian-style beer) is, in my mind, defined by its yeast. If a brewer uses a lackluster strain, or doesn't possess the skill and/or experience to utilize it effectively, the result can only be lackluster beer. I wouldn't go so far as to describe Karma as lackluster, but neither is it overly lustrous.

There's a modest spiciness, especially on the finish, that probably has as much to do with hops as with yeast. Nothing really changes with warming; more of the same, just warmer. The mouthfeel is solidly medium with a firm feel rather than a lush or creamy one. It's well-bubbled for a Colorado pale ale and underbubbled for a Belgian pale ale.

Karma tastes like a balanced, caramel malty APA brewed with a less than delicious, third-tier hop. As a Belgian knockoff, it's a failure. As a decent, drinkable beer, it's a success.

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Photo of merlin48
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle pours a clear and radiant orange/copper body with two inches of beige head. Retention is good and plenty of patch lace is left behind. Aroma is muted, with notes of bread dough, vague spices, apricot, and a hint of lime. Mouthfeel is light medium bodied with soft moderated carbonation and some yeast chalkiness. Taste has notes of spicy raisinbread, hints of pepper and coriander, and some apricot fruitiness. There is an earthy yeast character that is chalky at times. Spicy hops bitterness is pervasive. An interesting offering from Avery. Very average when compared with most Belgian brewed examples of the style.

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Photo of Hop2it
4.02/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Light chestnut brown, clean white 1" head with good retention. Smells very inviting. Sweet and estery and a gentle grapefruit bouquet.

Very soft on the tongue. Smooth malts of a medium body. Slight bitterness excite the sides of my mouth. It certainly has achieved Karmic balance of malts and hops - both are in perfect harmony.

Very enjoyable, it is somewhat light in body and texture, though this could prove to be a great session beer. Lack of mouthfeel could be a freshness issue, as it falls somewhat flat after a full glass.

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Photo of PatYoda
3.04/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle erupted upon opening. I gotta remember to let these sit for a minute before opening. Appearance is a hazy orangey brown with a little ring of foam. Smell is really good. Very sweet and carmelly with some spices in there. Also a strong nutty smell and a little toffee. Unfortunately it goes downhill from there. The mouthfeel is very watery and the taste is very blandly sweet with some vague sourness throughout. Even a veggie taste at times. The aftertaste isn't bad though as the toffee makes a reappearance. Overall, this is a very weird beer. The flavors definitely don't blend well together and it really lacks focus. I'm glad I only bought one bottle.

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

Courtesy of bditty187.

Poured a dark orange color with a thin head that receded to a slight ring with pretty decent lacing.

Smell was of orange zest, spices, mild hops.

Taste was orange, belgian yeast, spices and mild caramel malt flavor. An easy drinking Belgian style ale, though quite what I would expect from the style. The flavors and aroma were more subdued than I had anticipated. It was still a pretty decent beer though.

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Photo of cubedbee
3.8/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark coppery brown with a finger of fizzy off-white head. Light hoppy floral nose with a bit of spices and a faint fruity note. Taste is a light yeast malt with a slightly nutty note and a nice grassy hop finish. Medium bodied with a crisp dryness. This is a decent enough beer, tastes like a good american pale wheat ale, certainly not was I was expecting from a Belgian pale.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.63/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer arrived on the table crystal clear pale golden amber with an off-white and frothy head which lasted well to lace the glass.

The aroma was light hop aroma with a light spice character and some wheat.

The flavor was bittering hop most prevalent and a light wheat flavor.

The finish was dry with lasting bittering into the aftertaste. The body was medium. While drinking this beer I suspected it was an American Wheat and cannot imagine it as a Belgian Pale Ale as listed here.

Pint at 42nd Street Oyster Bar.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.24/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle purchased as part of a six-pack somewhere in NoVA, either WF/Vienna, WF/Annadale, Norm's, or Rick's.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1 1/4" light beige head over the copper brew. Frothy foam head lasts well, with provides nice, plentiful lacing. Aroma is somewhat nondescript, nothing notable. Taste kind of disappointingly follows the nose, with light malt sweetness to start, the faintest glimmer of spicing, and a touch of fruity hops. Mouthfeel and drinkability are okay for a generic beer, but lacking for the style. I expected so much more.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.63/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear, golden hued, vastly effervescent, ample dollup of rocky white froth atop.

Mild aroma, lightly hoppy, faint fruit, ...acceptable.

Taste: Clean, and easy on the palate. Malt is here in good amount, and met by hops in good agreement, a happy pair. Juicy and grainy in equal amounts, lightish body, soft finish. Not a big beer by any means, a gentle quaffer, an genial session ale, minimal attack from the various parts, meant merely to charm one with it's let-the-good-times-roll nature and pass the time easily, crossing no boundaries of taste and tolerance.

Not bad, not bad...

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Photo of MattBrooks
3.08/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Busily going through a major sampler of beers from all over, I came to Karma from Avery Brewing Co. The color when poured was a golden/orange mix and the bitter bite left me searching for more. The head small, and the finish a little tart with some flower characteristics showing through the whole experience. Still, it is a decent brew; and I am intigued now to try other ones from this brewery.

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Photo of Xadoor
3.03/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark copper into the glass with a good head that disipated into a thin covering. Aroma is sweet and slightly earthy. Taste is a little sweet and a bit grassy but finished slightly sour. Its an okay beer with a unique flavour. Probably not one that I will buy more of, but I'll certainly finish what I have of it.

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Photo of karst
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber with 3 finger dense white head that was persistant and left a great deal of lace on the Paulaner WeiBbier 0.5 Rastal glass walls.
Aroma was nutty with biscuit and fruity esters and taste was toasted caramel malt with a little grass from the understated Sterling hops. I was prepared for a much more traditional Belgian Ale. Avery claims this to be part farmhouse ale part pale ale. I think it is a pale ale with mild Belgium yeast and very understated belgium flavors (coriander and citrus/orange zest oil). Finish is semisweet with caramel malt. Easy drinking at 5.2% abv it is certainly a candidate for a session beer.

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Photo of Fish113d
2.92/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Getting this brew from a variety case, I pour it into a pint glass at room temperature. It pours an amber to copper color with 1" of cream colored frothy, clingy head, which then dissipated to a nice surface layer; very clean look.

Aroma is of earthy hops along with grainy malts; some sweet vinegar aroma as well. Doesn't represent the style well IMO; yuck!

Taste is of some sweet and grassy hops along with a very grainy base; bitter to the finish; reminded me of fresh cut grass and some sour grapes. Aftertaste is where I mainly found any sweetness of grapes. Average at best.

Mild carbonation with a bit of bite on the front of my tongue with a medium body and some slight alcohol on the finish. I'd say that mouthfeel was the best thing about this brew.

Drinkable? Sure, but definitely not my favorite. Next time they brew a style of beer, they should make sure it represents the style. However, that's just my opinion. Probably worth a try however.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.13/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am sampling a chilled bottle of this beer in a pint glass. The beer pours a clear amber color with a fluffy eggshel white colored head, which is very tightly packed.
The aroma is grassy hay and caramel with a bit of butteryness in there.
First sip reveals a soft creamy texture and very gentle rolling carbonation.
Flavor is mild with some sweet toffee up front and a bit of grainy malt coming through later. The beer is smooth and easy to drink but overall the flavor is mild and a little boring, not much of a belgian style pale IMO. It is easy to drink, but I am glad I dont ahve a whole case of this one!

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Photo of WesWes
3.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a fine malt scent that boasts of pale and light crystal malts along with a peppery/coriander aroma. It's dry with some light fruitiness. The taste is decent. It has a weak malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry with some mustiness. It is slightly fruity with a lemony zest and a bit of coriander. The mouthfeel is decent also. It is a low/medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an above average beer, but not much for a Belgian style. It drinks well, but it's not one to seek out again.

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Photo of mentor
4.45/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle obtained from the brewery and consumed a couple days later. Pours a finger and a half light tan fluffy clingy head over a nearly clear light rust-orange liquid. Smells caramel, chocolate, hop floral. Hops are floral like First Gold, but also have a gentle grapefruity pith and orange oil. Taste is caramel, apricot, mildly hop citrus flavor and bitter (grapefruit pith). Goodness, this is a light and refreshing summer beer that's totally drinkable. It tastes like a candy I've had...dippin' sticks? Plus some oily orange hop mixing with fruity esters. Esters are apricot (I mentioned this before), blackberry, strawberry, a touch of dried hay, and honey. Belgian funk is at a minimum and there is a hint of toasted grains. Light body, but the sugars flow thicker than the beer weighs. Md carbonation, which works well with the flavors. This was a really tasty beer, bordering on complex. Well done.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle that bore no best before or freshness dates. Glassware used was a tulip glass. Karma Ale had a clear coppery color and a frothy bone-white head the dissipated rather quickly, leaving no lace.
The nose had a fruity, spicy aroma. Apples, orange peels, coriander and pepper. Hints of alcohol were present as was a slightly perfumey aroma. Combined, the smells had me thinking this was a pale ale-meets-a-witbier hybrid.
The taste furthered my thoughts as to what this beer might be. Malts come across more and have a bready quality. Yeast taste is there, too. Then the fruitiness of apple skins and tart green grapes came through. Lastly, a spicy hops bite surfaced with white pepper the most prominant. The feel was medium/light and crisp.
Overall, an okay brew; not something I'd go for a lot, though. Karma Ale seemed like it couldn't make up its mind to be a pale ale or a quasi-witbier. Worth trying but it won't be a regular visitor to my DBF.

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Photo of Jason
3.71/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

A- Deep copper hue, very sticky lace ... this is what I like to see.

S- Nutty biscuity aroma. Fruity and spicy with suggestions of plums and black pepper.

T- Nutty toasted caramel palate with a yeasty mildly fruity mix. Light hopping balances but does not get in the way. Semi-sweet finish with a long trail of caramel and toasted flavors.

M- Great crispness for a summer seasonal, solid moderate body.

D- Reminds me of De Koninck in a way ... with that said it is very drinkable.

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Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nicely hopped but somewhat off funky tasting Belgian pale. There is fruitiness there. Minty toothpaste drying aftertaste, with pepper and coriander. Some yeast aroma. Orange copper colour. Still nicely drinkable, something different on humid evening.

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Photo of blackie
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The head is white and the beer is a dark amber color.

Smells pretty malty and sweet. There is some notable fruitiness, as well as some esters present.

The carbonation is moderate and the mouthfeel is smooth.

Not as much malt/sweet flavor is present on the tongue as the nose would suggest. The hop profile is low.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.85/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a medium slightly cloudy copper color with attractive white head. Smell is mostly of malt with a nice hoppy background. Taste is first of hops with is overpowered by the caramel maltiness. Leaves a pleasant dry finish. An enjoyable beer that I will definitely trt again.

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Photo of bditty187
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lightly hazy, amber-gold in hue with a peachy-bronze infusion. I really like the shading of this ale. The head was off-white in color; at its highest point the frothy bubbles compacted to form a half-finger head. Head retention was fair; it slowly faded to a chunky cap. I would expect a bigger head and better retention on a Belgian-style beer. The same holds true for the subsequent lacing. Nevertheless this beer looks well enough.

The nose has some nice attributes but it doesn’t really jump out of the glass to grab my attention. Sweet malts but they are kind of curt. Caramel. Apples. There is a spiced wheat aroma that I really like and it is vaguely bready. It is herbal at the finish with a kiss of lemon. I am disappointed with the nose. I’ve come to notice that Avery beers usually lack a good bouquet. By default it is inviting but the aromas could be so much more complex.

The palate is light and agreeable. This beer is summery. I don’t think this beer would fend-off much competition, particularly if I look at this beer as a Farmhouse Ale, which it is suppose to be an interpretation of. Still, I like what I taste but I am far from being “wowed.” I like the sweet caramel and biscuit maltiness. This does make it taste somewhat Belgian Pale Ale-ish. Nice. There is a light spicy, herbal twist in the middle, citrusy at the back. The finish is juicy with a mild tropical, berry fruitiness. Basic yet tasty… the aftertaste is surprisingly bitter with a hint of wheaty-yeast residue. This Belgian-style beer is good, nothing more and nothing less. Actually this is a surprisingly calm beer from Avery.

Medium in body, the carbonation is light and ticklish. I do feel the bubbles trying to scrub my tongue as it passes over it. “E” for effort. The mouthfeel is relaxing and agreeable.

I must admit; this beer is very enjoyable to drink. This is a great summertime quaffer. It seems to be a sessionable Belgian Ale. I like it. I am very glad I procured a six-pack of this. I was only going to buy a single but sixers were on sale. I purchased it in Boulder, CO. Worth a try.

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Photo of mntlover
3.68/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light copper color with a nice cream colored head that falls to scum, feed by tiny rising bubbles.

Aroma is light wheat malts hints of banana some spice and light earthy yeast.

Taste is toasted malt light lemon like tartness for a second moving to lightly chaulky earthy yeast flavors some light clove mixed with mellow hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel is good approaching medium, nice carbonation with this one.

Drinkability is good a decent enough try at the style that doesn't quite make it. Will not be buying more of these but also will have no trouble finishing the sixer.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
3.33/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Vigorous pour produced a fairly thick, creamy looking head that faded slowly leaving a solid coat of lace. Slightly hazy, amber colored beer with no signs of carbonation within. Notes of butterscotch and apricot in the aroma. Body is light, and the mouthfeel is somewhere between watery and crisp. Beer is mildly sweet and quite refreshing with its lightly fruity flavors. There might be some floral hops in there, but other then that there isn't a whole going on. According to the label it's supposed to be somewhere between a "Farmhouse Ale" and a Belgain Pale Ale. It's got the fruitiness of the pale ale, and that's about it. Not a bad beer, but there is a good amount of fruity flavor without and malt or hops to balance.

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Photo of hobbes2112
2.58/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle in a Chimay glass

Pours a pale orange with a slight haze. Smallish head with fairly short retention. No lacing of any significance.

Smell is sweet, surprisingly sweet acutally. Holiday cookie spices and alcohol make an appearance.

Taste is sweet fruit, pepper and yeasty, oddly lacking the cookie spices that I noticed in the nose. The back end is somewhat sour, which suits this beer well.

Mouthfeel is off. The carbonation is too thin and the flavors are only loosely tied together.

This beer is certainly drinkable, but I wouldn't seek it out or choose it over other Belgian Pales.

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Karma Belgian Style Pale Ale from Avery Brewing Company
3.4 out of 5 based on 992 ratings.
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