John H. R. Molson & Bros. 1908 Historic Pale Ale
Molson Coors Canada

John H. R. Molson & Bros. 1908 Historic Pale AleJohn H. R. Molson & Bros. 1908 Historic Pale Ale
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Pale Ale - American
3.74 | pDev: 14.44%
Molson Coors Canada
Ontario, Canada
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
John H. R. Molson & Bros. 1908 Historic Pale AleJohn H. R. Molson & Bros. 1908 Historic Pale Ale
Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 65 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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TheHammer from Canada (ON)

3.81/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I'll be, forgot I had this one in my fridge, how about that.

Appearance: Poured with two fingers of head that stay around and produced an ample amount of lacing. The body on the other hand, while boasting amply thin carbonation, seems to be constantly stirring up this finer then sand particulate matter that clouds the beer a brownish orange.

Smell: It's stops just short of tame as far as potency, but solid regardless. Caramel malt, lemon accented by floral and herbal hops. While it's not overly exciting, it strikes me as what solid ale should smell like. It's not trying to wow you, but it's subtle and confident in what it is.

Taste: This is a bit odd, normally the bitter kick of hops appear during the finish, but here the herbals and floral hops seem to be front and center and then gives way to a good dose of caramel malt which then turns to the lemon and citrus hops. I kind of like it, as it seems to spread the hopping a bit more evenly for this pale ale, as opposed to just being a mild IPA clone.

Mouthfeel: The transition isn't the greatest, as it's like starting on a hop peak, falling into a malt gully and quickly rising back up to the hop end. The carbonation seems to help out the tail end of the beer, but it still present throughout. The aftertaste is kinda clingy and plastic like with herbal hops foremost.

Drinkability: I didn't have any problems getting it down, or keeping it down as the carbonation isn't late to the game. It's a lot more refreshing then most pale ales, but interesting enough. It really does taste like a pale ale that was designed to have a broader appeal from back in the old days, but not with weird qualities that sometimes plague "older style" beers.

Final Thoughts: Most "older style" beers I've had, usually end up tasting like a muddy mess. This one though is a milder pale ale with a broad appeal. I was presently surprised by this one, and I guess it goes to show you how Molson became the beer giant it is today, from solid work back then. Sadly the generic lager they brew now while still a good measuring stick, isn't much more then that, but I digress. Solid brew, hopefully it sold well enough and the brewery starts looking back more to its past.

Feb 11, 2017
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taxandbeerguy from Canada (ON)

3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

625 ml bottle served cold into a pint glass. Purchased from the LCBO for a reasonable $3.95 CDN.

Appearance - pours a hazy honey brown coloured beer, topped with a finger and a bit of white head, and there's some gold and yellow hues to the beer too. Plentiful carbonation. Some lacing left behind. Browner than most but a good looking beer.

Smell - not the biggest aroma, but some earthy and slightly citrusy hops. Lemon comes to mind. There's also a deep rooted caramel pillar in the background. Balanced.

Taste - earthy and fairly bitter. Not a lot of sweetness, just enough to prevent an all-in on the bitterness. Flavours are fairly bready as well, sourdough comes to mind here but it's a little different than that. Just a hint of lemon too.

Mouthfeel - carbonation is high, and is a little on The heavier side but this is a higher ABV beer.

Overall - molson's historic 1908 pale ale, is probably one of the best beers the brewery has ever come out with. Drinks easy and is full of flavor and has a lot going for it than if it was manufactured under any other label, it would easily pass for craft. Worth a try and decent bang for your buck as far as larger containers go.

Sep 15, 2016
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matthiasbrau from New York

4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted 9/2/16 at our AirBnB apartment in Montréal, reviewed from notes. 625ml bottle. Hard pour into Hoegaarden tumbler reveals 1 finger of fine-bubble foam, settling to a thin white cap, some lacing as I drink; amber-orange color, slightly cloudy; bready aroma; herbal hop and grain taste, balanced flavors; medium carbonation is style-appropriate. Overall, this is a subtle and delicious, classy pale ale with pleasant bitterness. I'm glad I grabbed 3 more big bottles of this before leaving Montréal and I look forward to enjoying them as autumn sets in here at home in New York.

I'm thrilled that this is a Molson; during college in upstate New York (not quite as long ago as 1908), any beer from north of the border was considered cool, but Molson was a personal favorite.

Translating from an article in Québec beer magazine Bières et Plaisirs, the original recipe used in making this beer is that of Molson's india pale ale from 1908, but the company rebaptized the beer as a pale ale, in order that it corresponds more to today's (style) standards. The article goes on to say that Molson is thinking of resurrecting other historic recipes. I hope they are all as tasty as this one.

Sep 13, 2016
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TerryW from Canada (ON)

3.24/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Moderate head settle to film, good lacing. Burnt orange in colour. Hardly anything on the nose, just a little caramel. Malty without being excessively sweet. Dry and hoppy. Lingering bitter finish. Slightly metallic at the end. Lots of individual things happening, but no real harmony. Actually kind of harsh stuff to drink to my mind. Not for me. Doesn't hang together right.

Jul 25, 2016
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BIGGIE101 from Canada (ON)

3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Once poured. Like most Molson, brown with a flat head. But the flavour, light malt, caramel and fresh oranges. A mild hop bitterness and a short dry finish. It's not a bad beer at all. Totally surprised with Molson's effort on this.

Jul 19, 2016
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Molson2000 from Canada (ON)

2.89/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Slight caramel malt aroma with some corn. Lots of caramel malt is about the only flavour. A touch of hops in the finish. Lingering aftertaste is an unpleasant burn. Not good.

Jul 07, 2016
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robnews from Canada (NB)

3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Molson decided to brew a beer. It's got it's own distinct personality. Not stellar but solid and unique. A repeated purchase. Thanks for brewing a nice mild IPA.

Jun 17, 2016
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a medium amber color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of light dry bitter hops notes with light caramel malt is pleasant enough. Taste is a mix of light dry hoppy notes with some floral undertones notes and some caramel malt. Body is about average with good carbonation. Doesn’t break any new ground but well done nonetheless.

Jun 17, 2016
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.19/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

625 ml bottle bought and consumed in Nova Scotia.

Pours with a slightly hazy, copper-colored body topped by a durable bone-colored head that leaves patterned sticky lacing.

The earthy, moldy, hoppy aroma leads to a better flavor.

Feel: soft carbonation in a medium body.
Overall: Interesting and fairly easy to drink; worth trying once.

Jun 01, 2016
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Organdrew from Canada (QC)

4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bought a few bottles as it was a "limited edition" beer. I'm always up for trying new beers. Didn't know what to expect from the Molson company. Apparently this is an old archived recipe... we'll have to find out...

Look: Opened a tall 625 ml bottle. Poured into a beer glass, came out light like a lager at first, but as the glass filled, it became dark orange-to-reddish. Dark, but semi-opaque. Not much head (<1cm), and looks a little thin to me. Medium carbonation. Doesn't look like a "pale" ale, but more of a red ale.

Smell: Smells like regular beer to me. Some notes of orange perhaps. Smell leads me to believe it is slightly malty. Not picking up much of any smell, besides smelling like a lager/draft.

Taste: This is where it shines. A strong hop-forward beer that sits bitter on the tongue. Slight malty undertones, just enough to offset the bitterness somewhat, yet still on the bitter side. Oak (and smoke?) comes through noticeably if searched for on the finish. Copper/iron bitterness. Taste lingers for up to ten seconds. Fairly balanced, not too much complexity. Alcohol not very noticeable for a strong beer.

Mouthfeel: Some carbonation dances on the tongue. Feels somewhat thin, but also somewhat viscous. I guess medium-bodied.

Overall: I like this beer, but then again I like hoppy beers. This might be a little too strong or hoppy for some. A good, well-balanced beer that gives a medium-to strong drinking experience. Maltiness is noticeable, but not dominant. As a strong beer, the alcohol would creep up on you (no taste of alcohol. Would drink again and recommend. A better ale II have tried.

May 21, 2016
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MaltyPythonsHopCircus from Canada (BC)

3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great noble hop aroma and flavour. Neutral yeast and mild malt sweetness. Very approachable and sessionable. Makes me regain some faith in macro brands.

May 02, 2016
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MikeRotten from Canada (ON)

1.68/5  rDev -55.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

It poured nice and cloudy with a great head that stayed a while.
Aroma was nice, bit floral and hoppy. It really appeared to be an impressive brew by Molson...
Tasted like garbage and stale booze. I couldn't finish it.

Apr 30, 2016
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PorterPro125 from Canada (NB)

4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type: An oddly sized 625 mL Bottle

A- Pours a hazy burnt orange colour topped by a creamy white head that has incredible retention. Rings of lacing coat the glass.

S- Mostly malt sweetness, caramel, with a background of citrusy hops. Nice and subtle.

T- Lots of grainy, malty sweetness upfront followed by caramel. Finishing off with a citrus hop flavour that ties everything together very nicely.

M- Medium Body and low-moderate carbonation

O- I was less than optimistic when I saw "Molson" on the body but what I found was very unlike their other brews; it had a depth of aroma and flavour that is not found in any of their other in-house beers. Give it a try and I'm positive you won't be disappointed.

Apr 23, 2016
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kevofficiel from Canada (QC)

4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

John H. R. Molson & Bros. 1908 Historic Pale Ale

Look: Orange amber. Thick white head about a finger.

Smell: Sweet malt, caramel, red ale caramel, citrus and on the background some hops.

Taste: Lots of hop, a mix of caramel and citrus.

Feels: Close to an IPA

Overall: Yes give it a try. From Molson it is a really good beer, maybe one of the best beer they made.

Mar 23, 2016
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Poljazz22 from Canada (QC)

3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

As others have mentioned this is a surprisingly good beer from the Molson family. Molson Export was the first beer I ever had almost 45 years ago. This 1908 is much better! I have a personal relationship with the Molson's as my grandmother Grace MacDonald spent her summer holidays near the Molson family cottage and her older brothers were friends of John and Percival.
The beer is a pale cloudy yellow orange color, has a very pleasant hoppy bitterness , a persistent white collar and a malty mouth. Alcohol is well hidden and it is not overly sweet.
At $4.00 Can it is a bargain. I'll buy some more. Well done Molson!.

Mar 20, 2016
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Borbly from Canada ()

4.39/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden-amber body with a good amount of soapy white head. The scent brings up nice bittering hop notes along with some well-defined malt backbone and some floral hints as well. The taste is immediately quite bitter from the hops, with some very faint amounts of citrus and a great maltiness still kicking in. It has a very nice feel as well. Nice to see someone bringing up such a nice English-style pale ale and keeping to the tradition of hoppy beer, as pentuple-hopped IPAs get quite old after a while. Awesome beer.

Mar 20, 2016
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Derek from Canada (BC)

3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a huge head, good retention and lace.

Floral aroma is a bit soapy (like many of their brews), underlying citrus.

Is it really 47 IBU? I suppose they have the lab. Alcohol is a bit forward, floral, citrus and tropical fruit.

Light to moderate body is drying.

A good drinker.

Mar 15, 2016
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ChrisCage from Canada (AB)

4.07/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Pours a cloudy copper color due to some yeast hazing and has a super white puffy head that is dense and retains very well! The carbonation appears to be average for this style of beer and the lacing is very cloud like and sticks to the side for the glass very well!

S- The aromas are very sweet and of malty biscuits....yeast creaminess, mild strawberry fruit, assorted unmalted grains, and some subtle hop bitterness on the finish.

T- The flavors follow the aromas closely, with well balanced notes of sweet grainy malts, caramel/toffee/molasses, grassy, slightly of citrus fruit, yeasty bread/cracker fullness, and the finish is hopped up quite well, but it isn't overpowering....I agree with a previous review that this has very much of a traditional English Ale.

M/O- Medium in mouthfeel and the carbonation is relatively smooth in nature, this is a very enjoyable and drinkable Ale! I wouldn't mind this Molson product as a regular session ale if it was available on a regular basis....I recommend this one!

Mar 12, 2016
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Mindsquall from Canada (ON)

3.99/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured with a cloudy amber with a ton of thick off white head. Smell is mostly of hops, taste is hop forward with a malt finish, mouthfeel is thick but smooth.

If I didn't know any better, I'd think this to be a genuine English pale ale, not quite of the calibre of London Pride but still respectable. This is what happens when a large brewer actually puts forward the effort to make something actually worth drinking. Would recommend.

Mar 11, 2016
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Svingjo from Canada (BC)

3.91/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a slightly hazy copper colour with a thick bubbly head that has pretty good retention. The nose leads with malt, earthy hops and a slightly citrus edge. The malts take a bit of a back seat to a more earthy pine hop on the tongue and then come forward before being replaced by a slight bitterness in the end. The carbonation is in the mid-range and compliments the medium mouthfeel creating a nice beer. Better than most of the other products from this brewery

Mar 07, 2016
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wordemupg from Canada (AB)

3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

341m bottle poured into tulip 6/3/2016

A first thing I noticed was this isn't clear yellow fizz, hazy amber liquid with two fingers of foam that have decent retention leaving a partial ring

S orchard fruit, herbal hops, some honey, bread, and a hint of citrus

T not far from the smell, a little yeasty, some sweet malt, still lots of herbal notes, not bad really

M has some body, creams up stopping short of foam, a little grit on the palate, bruised apple lingers

O much too my surprise Molson's brewed a respectable beer, well concealed booze, enough going on to please and I'd be lying if I said I didn't like it

Interesting concept brewing old recipes and it worked out rather well, perhaps the best beer I've ever had from Molson. I'm not saying run out and drink it but if at a macro tap bar where there's no craft this one would work

Mar 06, 2016
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ledjip from Canada (QC)

3.94/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bought a 625ml bottle.

Very good pale ale, light hop taste,not your typical americain IPA, defenitely english. Malt taste is present and well balanced. Very creamy in the mouth and you don't feel the strongness of alcohol. Overall a really good product, macro or micro.

Mar 05, 2016
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thehyperduck from Canada (ON)

3.69/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

341 mL bottle from a 12-pack picked up at TBS; dated Jan 13 2016 and served well-chilled.

Pours hazy amber-orange, with one finger of creamy, bone white-coloured froth situated atop. The head fades continuously over the next few minutes, generating a small quantity of lace as it is steadily reduced to a narrow collar and thin, wispy film on the surface. The aroma is immediately reminiscent of an English pale, consisting of some doughy, grainy pale malts and floral, grassy hops. Very light hints of citrus zest and caramelized sugar.

Shockingly well made - almost makes me think they really DID find and reproduce an old-timey recipe that had been buried deep in the archives. The malts have a grainy, doughy flavour to them, as well as a light caramelized sugar sweetness. British-style hops dominate the back end, imparting a leafy, floral bitterness of the sort you really wouldn't expect from a Molson product. Finishes with a lightly citric, pithy bitterness and one last gasp of clean pale malts; near-dry aftertaste. Light-medium in body, with moderate carbonation levels and a prickly, crisp mouthfeel. It's almost 7%, but the alcohol is quite well-integrated, making this a rather dangerous beer.

Final Grade: 3.69, a well-earned B. Molson's 1908 Historic Pale Ale represents a refreshing (and promising) deviation from this company's typical output. This is a genuinely quaffable pale ale that has been skilfully brewed, without any of the usual adjunct-assisted corner-cutting - rather, the malt bill tastes clean and full, and is in perfect balance with the traditional English bittering hops. This pale ale isn't anything too exciting, but you can't deny that they actually put effort in to this one. Better than I expected, and worth a try.

Mar 05, 2016
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Shadman from Canada (AB)

3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I too am a sucker for excellent packaging and an intriguing background story.

And thankfully Molson/Coors didn't pull a PT Barnum on this brew. Quite possibly the best thing they've done on their own in recent memory. If you're expecting an Ami pale ale you'll be disappointed. It's true to it's English roots through and through. Malt forward with enough grassy hops to give it character.

Glad I took the chance. Pleasantly surprised.

Feb 28, 2016
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headlessparrot from Canada (ON)

3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I am a sucker for beautiful packaging and--everything else aside--this is just a beautiful, well-designed bottle. And for the price (which, yeah, Molson can afford to eat a loss per bottle if it's taking shelf-space away from micros, but . . .), I had to try it.

And it's good. Not just Molson good. It's actually *good*. Not transcendent, but the kind of beer that you'd put in regular rotation if it *weren't* a Molson product, and if the style so suited you (which, by the way, this is much more English than American Pale Ale, something that should be obvious even just historically speaking). So credit where credit is due.

Cloudy amber colour. Tons of persistent, pillow-y, super beautiful head. Looks lovely. Smells malty, English hops. Caramel, fruity ale esters, bitter greens. Slight cracker, slight pepper. Shockingly, the flavour profile I associate with Export is actually here, but it's GOOD. And the same goes for the taste: initial sweetness with fruity Export-esque ale esters, then some caramel and bread malt and an actual decent English hop bitterness--herbal, bitter greens. Surprisingly creamy body, decent crispness, balanced body and moderate carbonation.

I am not even really a fan of the English Pale Ale style, but this is downright tasty. Credit where credit is due, Molson. Now let's see if you put this (or something *like* this) into regular rotation. It would earn you a solid amount of cred if you did.

Feb 28, 2016
John H. R. Molson & Bros. 1908 Historic Pale Ale from Molson Coors Canada
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 65 ratings