Gnaw Bone Pale Ale
Oaken Barrel Brewing Company

Gnaw Bone Pale AleGnaw Bone Pale Ale
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Pale Ale - American
Ranked #1,627
Ranked #33,560
3.76 | pDev: 11.97%
Oaken Barrel Brewing Company
Indiana, United States
Very Good
Gnaw Bone Pale AleGnaw Bone Pale Ale
Reviews: 60 | Ratings: 121 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by cameraman:
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cameraman from Kentucky

2.87/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

An amber color, with an quater inch off white color head forms, that laces down slowly an d leaves a thin layer on top. The scent starts with a quick hit of malt, that is soon overtaken by a grassy, citrusy aroma, that dominates till the end. The malt comes out at the start of the flavor, the gradual growth of a citrus bitterness reaches its peak at the end. A slightly watery mouthfeel at the start, that blends itself to a more medium bodied feel. There is the slight foaming sensation on the palate, at the end, from the carboantion. A decent pale ale, the aroma was good, I was expecting more from the flavor, and the mouthfeel was a bit of a let down.

Nov 22, 2007
More User Reviews:
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Brent from Kentucky

4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wonderfully floral hopping is the signature note for this pale ale. A nice rest from Cascades hops-laden pale ales, this beer focused on a light and airy aromatic hopping. Like Goose Island's IPA, this beer called to mind bergamot and Earl Grey tea. Quite flavorful without excess, and light-bodied without being watery. I was quite taken with this well-made beer.

Dec 17, 2003
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Viking from Indiana

4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Overall, this is a pretty good brew, from a solid brewery. Unfortunately, I seem to be overlooking this one lately...

Golden-copper colored, slightly hazy. Nice thick head that dissolves into a thin lace. Leaves lace trail on glass. Spicy hop aroma that carries into the flavor. Nice bitter hop flavor, with a lingering bitter finish. Nice, smooth beer. Now I just need a hockey game to enjoy.

By the way, I'm pretty sure this brew is named for the small Indiana town of Gnaw Bone, which was named for Narbonne, France. Gotta love that Hoosier dialect!

Mar 30, 2002
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marcobrau from Illinois

4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gnaw Bone: an unusual name for a pale ale; for some reason the name suggests a barleywine-style ale to me, but whatever.

This beer poured with a ton of carbonation. Big, loose bubbles filled half the glass. When the foam never really settles, leaving a bone white, rocky head. The aroma is fantastic: lemon verbena mixed in among a more general floral aroma; almost like a perfume. The brewer describes the aroma as "nose rattling" which sounds a bit violent. It wasn't that huge for me, but I really liked the initial smell of this beer.

The flavors are a bit more mellower thane expected, but good. Citric hops mixed in with a toasted malt and oaken flavor. Perhaps aged or fermented in barrels? (There's no indication of this on the brewery's website, so perhaps it's just the suggestion of the name.) This beer gets a bit musty towards the finish, which I find sort of appealing (perhaps because I like this character in Belgian-style ales), but seems out of place. The finish is toasty dry and a bit bitter and hot, but this doesn't detract from the overall enjoyment of this brew. Overall, a decent pale ale that is more drinkable than it's nearly 6 percent alcohol content would suggest.

Thanks to RedBaron for the trade.

Sep 10, 2008
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jreitman from California

4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first thing I noticed was the unmistakeable smell of fresh hops, the kind of smell you get when you open the vacuum sealed bags when homebrewing. The smell reminded me a lot of the Cascades I have previously used. Not much else came through for me in the nose. Pours a hazy iced tea like color with a head made up of fairly large bubbles. Head dissipates fairly quickly leaving only a trace left on the top during consumption. Flavor is largely dominated by hops, but the hops are not overly assertive. Noted some citrus and piney flavors. Finishes bitter and leaves a hoppy, slightly bitter aftertaste.

Feb 03, 2003
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zerk from California

4.62/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden copper, slighly hazy, with maybe the most magnificent head I've come across... I poured this one about 10 minutes ago, and I still have more than an inch of foam! The aroma is beautiful, with an estery hop presence... notes of citrus, sour apples, and a spice I can't quite identify. Not so much targeted to the hop head, the flavor of this APA is more balanced, leaning to hops, but with a detectable maltiness as well. Finishes with a spciness, and a bitter bite. Has a very nice medium body. This is everything an APA should be... pleasing to all senses... hell, even the sound of the bottle opening was music to my ears!

Aug 20, 2002
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Mark-Leggett from Missouri

4.17/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap: Reddish orange with a good sized head that hangs around throughout and has great lacing. Smells of pine and malt. Taste follows the smell. Everything really comes together here and this is a really good pale ale.

Aug 30, 2019
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RBorsato from Virginia

3.43/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tasting #2:

Golden with a decent light beige head, good carbonation, and decent lace. Very different almost all malt English-style Pale Ale in comparison to the old version. A touch of that bitter hop intensity but not nearly as bad. Possibly due to the 13 to 14 Plato increase per bottle label ... ? Medium bodied and smooth with a creamy malt sensation and a bitter hop finish.

Per Label: OG = 14 P

'4262' lasered on bottom
Tasted: 11/23/05

Tasting #1 (written: 12/19/02) - scores were: 3, 3.5, 3, 3, 3

Light golden color and unfiltered with a huge rocky light tan head. This beer was way overcarbonated as it took me 5 minutes to pour it. Crisp, perfumey, flowery hop aroma was decent. Taste was all hops with little to no malt backing (bitter, bitter, bitter). Not well balanced. Light bodied and so airy it had almost no mouthfeel at all.

Per Label: OG = 13 P
Lasered Date (bottled): '2014'

Dec 19, 2002
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mschofield from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy amber-brown, topped with a one finger white head, leaves webs of lacing.
Caramel and floral aroma, biscuit, and overall fruity.
Fruity with caramel, toffee, floral, pine, biscuit and a light citrus taste. Grass and more citrus zest in the aftertaste.
Medium bodied, smooth and very easy drinking. Thanks to Qarre for the sample.

Mar 22, 2005
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winomark from Missouri

3/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a medium copper with a quickly fading bone white head. Good sweet malt and mild hop citrus fight for my attention. Hops win by a nose. Malt dominates the front and mid palate, but the hops have a firm hold in the dry, crisp finish. Good balance of malt sweetness and hop bitterness throughout the mouth. Overall, a solid beer. Nothing too spectacular, but worth a try.

Jun 30, 2004
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wlhagan3 from Indiana

3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Yellowish-copper in the glass. A bit of chill-haze and yeast from the bottom of the bottle floating around. Not much in the way of a head or lace for that matter at the half way point. Plenty of bubbles though. Very citrus nose to it (Here comes the hops!!). Extremely bitter and not much mouth feel. Taste definitely lingers in mouth. This beer is good for a couple unless you really are a hop-head. Starting the evening with this and switching later on would be tough!!

FYI - I purchased the six pack from the local grocery store, so I am kind of suspect as to how long it has been sitting there.

Jan 31, 2003
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AtLagerHeads from Ohio

3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well this is really nice. Great looking brew that pours out a gorgeous cloudy apricot color with a huge, tightly built ivory head. Good retention and nice lacing that is lasting. The nose is all hops and the hops carry through in the taste. I consider the hops on this bottle to fairly herbal in character. There is substantial malt underlying the hops, but the malt really doesn't come through strongly against the hops. The feel is full and creamy, but not balanced well enough to create any crispness in the end. A good pale ale that is close to being very good.

Apr 18, 2003
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karengarys from Indiana

3.3/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This pours rich amber, leaving minimal head - just a small ring. No lacing, but the thick substance sticks to the glass.

Smells VERY alcohol+floral and sweet.

Taste is sweet, but it has a very bitter bite that is a little awkward. I'm noticing pear like fruit, but the bitter is more like tar.

Mouthfeel is okay. Slightly creamy with an oily finish.

This is an acceptable pale ale, but not a favorite of mine due to that bitterness.

May 30, 2005
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schoolcb from Texas

3.79/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


This has to be the best offering at Oaken Barrel. What an awesome American Pale Ale. Light copper in color and very clear. Medium bodied. Great malt backbone, and hops hops hops. Cascades in the nose, in the flavor (nice fresh citrusy american hop flavor) that carry through to the aftertaste. This is one of the best American Pale Ale's out there.

Jul 18, 2007
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soper2000 from Texas

4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the first true six pack that i've picked up in a long time after being on a huge singles kick. I've only had a few of Oaken Barrel's brews but I've never been let down or truly overwhelmed. It pours a nice orange with a large white head with many fine bubbles and doesn't immediately disappear! Aroma is very hop-centric. Large notes of citrus and maybe a little bit of pine. Taste was nice and full of citrus bite followed by a sweet but faint caramel finish. A very respectable Pale Ale and it's availability in my region can't be beat.

Sep 29, 2004
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Boilermaker88 from California

4.06/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had hoped to get to the Oaken Barrel Brewing Co. while staying with family in Greenwood, IN. After all, it was only a few miles away. Unfortunately, a flu bug struck and derailed any chance of getting there as I helped tend to some pretty sick nephews. However, I was fortunate enough to find Gnaw Bone in a local liquor store and fortify myself against the nasty little bugs infecting my kin.
Gnaw Bone poured an inviting hazy apricot color with a ton of tiny bubbles supporting a firm, foamy white head. The head hung around and was the last thing left in the bottom of the glass despite leaving clumps behind in sheets. The smell was firmly of grainy malt and caramel with a pleasant dose of citrus mixed in. The taste had a modest caramel malt backbone well matched to the strong hops profile. Interestingly, the hops bite mellowed to a lightly bittered finish. The feel was medium-bodied and smooth despite the large volume of carbonation.
I found Gnaw Bone to be a pretty tasty APA. I polished off one in no time and had to get a second to really sit back with and mull over. This brew from Oaken Barrel Brewing is a well-balanced pale ale with no over-the-top hopped-out flavor more like an IPA. Wish I could have stopped into the brewpub to try it on tap.

Nov 07, 2003
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GreenWBush from Oregon

3.69/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is one of those beers I have routinely avoided because of its packaging. It comes to you, the consumer, in an ugly black 12-year old photoshop nightmare. Skull and cross bones, ugly oaken barrels, bad lettering. Ugh. The positive reviews on this site were the only things that made me even consider trying the brew.

After finishing a few of these beers, I couldn't get away from the analogy that this beer is the grittier, unwashed version of Sierra Nevada Pale. It sounds like a diss, but it is actually a complement. The beer pours out with a similar hue to Sierra Nevada, but a little bit darker with more yeast granules visible. The lacing is impressive - it looks like a stretched out landscape.

The beer is hoppy to the smell, but in a strange and unique way. When you take your first taste, you can't shake the feeling that the person who threw in the hops might just have been wearing too much cologne. There is a raw feeling to the hops, a spicy and perfumed taste that sort of shocks the tastebuds.

I would say that this beer is distinctive, but it appeals to a lesser audience than even the SNPA, which is surprising since it comes from Indiana. With a little more impressive maltiness, this beer would have gotten amazing ratings. On a related note, the mouthfeel was also a bit lacking. Watch out for the burps from this beer, they are intense!

Dec 13, 2003
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flaminghomer from Indiana

3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pretty good looking beer. a light gold copper color and a very good head. everything is pretty much a standard high quality pale ale. very nice hoppy aroma and taste. some spicy apple smell in the nose. very crisp and clean taste. better than Indiana Amber, i'm glad i bought it.

Jun 19, 2004
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merlin48 from Kentucky

3.81/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at The Keg, in Clarksville, Indiana, as a single, my first sampling of a brew from this small, Hoosier brewery. Pours a hazy, orange/golden body with a rowdy, four finger, offwhite head that overflows the pint glass. Excellent retention and generous patch lacing. Aroma is interesting, with grassy straw, pine, and grapefruit hops, some earthiness, and an odd note of cardboard that is fleeting. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with plenty of carbonation. Taste is mildly dry and bitter, mostly citrusy grapefruit with a note of earthy pine needles. Malt presence is subtle but well executed. Very nice taste is much better than the aroma portends. Very sessionable. Wish I lived closer to this brewery so I could have this on tap..

Jun 03, 2006
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FormatKid from Tennessee

3.87/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Another brew received thanks to BIF XII. The packaging is a standard 12oz bottle, with a label that I cannot decide upon if it is cool or lame. Guess it really doesn’t matter so I’ll judge on the contents therein.

First thing I notice upon pouring it out is it seems a shade or two lighter than your average APA. Seems a bit more, watery..maybe. Not much head to speak of at all, what is there as I try to coax one out recedes very quickly to a sparse greasy film on top. The body of the brew is a bit more hazy than normal for the style, but some large carbonation bubbles can be seen floating lackadaisically to the top.

The smell is pretty good, and rather right on for a Pale Ale. Hoppy citrusy bite jumps out and snaps at you right up front. Under lied by the base of sweet caramelly malts.

The taste is nice and hoppy. The hops are juicy and citrusey followed by a vibrating and piny flat bitterness. It seems almost like that is all there is too it though, no malt base backing it sufficiently. Being somewhat of a hop-head I don’t mind it that much, but to really be a great Pale I would like to see more of a backbone to it. Also the mouthfeel is a little too light.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a hoppy Pale Ale! There just seems to need to be more substance to this beer. Gnaw Bone Pale is very sessionable and refreshing though and is going great with my meal. If it were available locally I could see myself going to it again for sure.

Thanks qarre!

Sep 11, 2004
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SupaCelt from Michigan

3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A honey coloured brew with a metric inch of off white head. This head reduces itself to a spit and lingers atop the surface producing some lace.

The nose is quite caramel malted with a decent amount of hop cluster. Smells very sweet and a bit toasted around the edges. Pleasant indeed.

The taste delivers the solid malt character that is evidenced in the nose. A good amount of bitterness ensues after the delicious toasted caramel and sugar aspects pass down the alimentary canal. Solid. This one seems to lose malt flavour intensity as I reach the depths of the glass. The bitterness seems to hold on for the long haul. A bit of yeasty character shows up in this time of lessened flavour. This brew is a nice pale that dances on the edge of identitiy crisis as it ponders being an Inda pale. At any rate it is enjoyable.

The mouthfeel seemed to transform into a thinner entity along with the malt flavours. It started out around medium with a good sugar heft and ended on a lighter note. Strange but still enjoyable.

The drinkability is good. Lip smacking sweetness from the malt body coupled with the hop character makes this an addicitve taste treat. Overall a nicely constructed brew.

Aug 02, 2005
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oracle from Indiana

2.89/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Beer poured clear medium copper with low density thin head. Very little lacing left on the glass.

Smell was pretty typical pale ale, hoppy, but not overpoweringly so. Mostly citrus scents with a little pine.

Taste was sharp, hoppy, piney and bitter, all the things I like in a pale ale.
Nice clean finish

Aug 16, 2004
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durwood64 from Ohio

1.5/5  rDev -60.1%

Dec 30, 2011
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swid from Missouri

3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Beer #3 (of 13) from my beer purchase in Indiana.

Gnaw Bone Pale Ale pours a bright gold color into my glass; slightly opaque. A 3/4", off-white head forms, then slowly collapses. Moderate carbonation; light lacing. The aroma is appropriately hoppy, with citrus, herbs, and a hint of juniper. A sweet caramel malt base complements the aroma nicely.

The initial taste, like the aroma. is dominated by the hops. The first flavors encountered are the pine and citrus bitterness provided by the hops; after a little bit, the caramel and sweet toasted flavors of the malt come through. The taste eventually becomes slightly acidic. The mouthfeel is moderately dry; this beer is far thinner than one would expect otherwise. Finishes crisp, with a mild lingering bitterness.

A decent pale ale, one that lies on the border between APA and American IPA. However, its thin mouthfeel keeps it from being a good to great beer. Still, it's worth checking out; I can see this being a good beer for food pairings.

Nov 23, 2005
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rhoadsrage from Illinois

3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer is a warm dark orange body that is crystal clear with a cascade of tiny bubbles rising to the top. The head is a creamy off-white that last for a bit and then turns into big rocky bubbles.

S- The smell of fresh green hops is strong with a faint lightly toasted sweet malt in the background. The hops have notes of pineapple grass and a faint skunk note but in a very nice way with a hint of pine resin in the background. This beer does not smell "skunked" it is just the hops have a faint skunk earthiness. The bottles were picked up from the brewery yesterday.

T- There is a nice fresh hop flavor that is grapefruit and earthy flavors that have a nice depth. The hops are quickly followed by a faint slightly sweet malt in the background. After a few sips the malt is not noticed anymore just the burst of hops remains. The finish is neutral with some nice green hops lingering in the mouth.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a strong tight fizz in the texture and the finish. It adds a bit to the hops but it feels like an overall distraction.

D- The bottle says the O.G. is 14 Plato which is a nice fact but it would be nice to know the IBU's if I was shopping for APAs. The beer has nice hop flavors that are a bit earthy had have some good flavors. There are some light caramel note in the malts but the taste buds quickly loose hold of them and just taste hops. This is a good solid beer and I will have to have some fresh from the brewery next time I am through that way.

Apr 03, 2006
Gnaw Bone Pale Ale from Oaken Barrel Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 121 ratings