Special Effects Hoppy Amber
Brooklyn Brewery

Special Effects Hoppy AmberSpecial Effects Hoppy Amber
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States
Low-Alcohol Beer
Ranked #18
Ranked #26,771
3.53 | pDev: 15.86%
Monday at 12:04 AM
Nov 16, 2018
Special Effects Hoppy AmberSpecial Effects Hoppy Amber
Notes: Brooklyn Special Effects Hoppy Amber tastes just like a regular beer, but therein lies the special effect: it’s not. We use a special fermentation method that develops the flavors, aromas & character of beer with none of the alcohol, and a generous dry hopping resulting in lively hop notes and a clean finish.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of Sigmund
2.09/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2
by Sigmund from Norway

355 ml bottle, from Rema 1000, Tau. ABV is 0.4%. Clear reddish amber colour, moderate coarse white head. Aroma of grain and dust. The flavour is medium dry, slightly citrussy with hints of wort and caramel. Some slightly metallic hop bitterness in the finish.

Monday at 12:04 AM
3.5 by BSEDS from Illinois on May 13, 2022
Photo of Lucular
4.1/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
by Lucular from Maryland

12 oz can poured into a tulip pint glass. It looks like beer, it smells like beer, it even tastes almost exactly like beer. Easily the best NA beer I've had. My only complaint is that it isn't dark enough to be an amber, and the flavor also trends in the direction of a pils. But the main point is, it's a pleasure to drink which is more than I can say about the limited number of other NA beers I've had.

Jan 28, 2022
3.35 by TMoney2591 from Illinois on Jan 25, 2022
3.58 by Parsifalstaff from New York on Jan 18, 2022
Photo of larryi86
3.88/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by larryi86 from Delaware

12 oz can poured into a pint glass

A- A clear golden amber with a small white head.

S- Wheat, honey, tea, earth, touch of citrus.

T- Wheat, toasted sweet bread, earth, some citrus, herbal tea.

M- Smooth, light to medium body, high carbonation.

O- Honestly this is a tasty amber and easy to drink. Flavors a slightly on the lighter side but still well done.

Jan 15, 2022
3.58 by BuddyZ from Pennsylvania on Dec 12, 2021
3.7 by Shatik from California on Nov 11, 2021
Photo of Tucquan
3.46/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by Tucquan from Pennsylvania

Had this on 2021-10-30 near Pittsburgh, PA from a 12oz can

A - Clear gold with a 1-finger white head that drops quickly leaving light lace

S - Apple cider, light malt,

T - Lightly toasted bread, mild pine, lemon, tea, earthy spice.

M - Light body and medium carbonation.

O - It's pleasant enough tasting but isn't as close to seeming like alcohol-laden craft beer as the couple NAs I've had from Athletic Brewing this week. I'd get this again though.

Oct 30, 2021
3.63 by JTuomi from Finland on Oct 22, 2021
3.52 by Meddwol from Michigan on Sep 25, 2021
Photo of dbrauneis
3.24/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25
by dbrauneis from North Carolina

A: Pours a clear medium amber in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising quickly from the bottom of the glass and moderate medium golden yellow + honey + peach colored highlights. The beer has a two finger tall sudsy foamy beige head that reduces to a medium to large sized patch of medium thick film covering a little less than 50% of the surface of the beer and a ,medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Slightly stronger than moderate aromas of worty toasted + bready + caramel malts with a moderate amount of caramel sweetness and light to moderate aromas of floral + citrus/grapefruit + pine hops. Light aromas of minerality + lager yeast.

T: Upfront there are slightly stronger than moderate flavors of worty toasted + bready + caramel malts with a moderate amount of caramel sweetness. That is followed by light flavors of minerality + lager yeast. Finally there are light flavors of floral + citrus/grapefruit + pine hops which impart a light amount of lingering bitterness.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly crisp upfront and slightly thin/watery in the finish.

O: Easy to drink with a pleasant crispness to the mouthfeel. Enjoyable and flavorful (for an NA beer) with a decent hoppiness though there is still that worty presence.

Sep 25, 2021
Photo of Dave1999
3.82/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by Dave1999 from North Carolina

A genuinely good na beer!

Jul 16, 2021
Photo of jlindros
3.72/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by jlindros from Massachusetts

I think it says Best By 05/2020, if so I need to re-review this if it's bad
Pours a large frothy 2 finger head with moderate retention, very clear pale tan honey orange color

Nose is decent, some sweet malt and fresh wort aroma, little grainy and toasty, plenty of hops as well, fruity, citrusy, a little herbal tea,

Taste more fresh wort, light grainy toasty sweet malts, copper/amber malt character, more herbal tea hops, with some general fruity notes, note quite citrusy this time I think due to age, light pine late, light bitterness, drier finish

Mouth is med to a little lighter bod, med foamy carb

Overall I want to try it again fresh, but otherwise a pretty good N/A beer

Jul 06, 2021
Photo of Skywave
3.3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
by Skywave from Oklahoma

Beautiful looking; Thick frothy buff head and clear copper color.

Sweet tea, raisin bran, piney hops.

Sweet tea, crystal malt wort, light resiny bitterness.

Medium, nominal CO2, but a tiny bit astringent.

Not bad as NAs go, Nice and thick, but the flavors are quite odd. Stick with Athletic.

Jul 04, 2021
3.24 by Rich-Ry from California on Jun 16, 2021
Photo of ribby
3.73/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by ribby from Michigan

I stopped drinking alcohol while training for a marathon in 2019. The only two drinkable NA brews readily available to me at the time were Heinie 0.0 and Labatt Blue NA, both flawed but drinkable. Blue NA avoids some of the bad tastes common to NAs by having almost no taste at all. That is a distinct improvement on O'Douls. Heinie 0.0 is lager style, mildly hopped, and with malt flavor mostly free of the bad aftertaste common to NAs, but not quite there. Still drinkable but flawed.

Since then some higher quality NAs have come to the hood. This is a comparison of the Athletic Brewing Upside Dawn and Brooklyn Special Effects. I chose to compare these two since they are not IPAs.

Special Effects calls itself a "Hoppy Brew" and that is accurate. In color it is medium brown, and while it is hoppy, it also shows some distinct malt flavor. How good is the malt flavor? It is very good. It tastes like a reasonably balanced pale ale, and I have definitely had worse pale ales. I can't say definitively that the malt flavor is free of the bad vegetal aftertaste that plagues many NAs, but it is damn close to being free of it. It is definitely superior to Heinie 0.0 in that regard.If you are looking for an enjoyable NA brew, you should try it.

Upside Dawn is moderately hoppy, acceptably carbonated, and has a very clean taste. It reminds me a lot of it's big brother, Athletic's Run Wild IPA, with the flavor not only dominated by hops, but with almost no apparent malt flavor. It is still very drinkable and tasty, and generally comes across as a light flavored craft brew. Between these two, I rate them even in overall quality; the main difference is the style.

Added August 8, 2021: I drank a cold Special Effects today after bicycling 25 miles in 80+ degrees at midday. It was perfect.

Added October 22, 2021: Did a head to head with Athletic Oktoberfest. Visually, Oktoberfest is lighter, a little cloudier, and less carbonated. But the taste is more intense and very good.

Jun 03, 2021
Photo of BerkeleyBeerSleuth
4.18/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by BerkeleyBeerSleuth from California

Light amber body with faint creamy head. Aroma of pine, citrus, herb, and tea. Taste is slightly sweet with just a bite of bitterness. Slight resiny piney hopes with a hint of citrus and honey. Nice malty backbone, doughy. Nice mouthfeel. Well balanced and goes down really clean.

May 27, 2021
Photo of MichaelInMA
4.49/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5
by MichaelInMA from Massachusetts

Kind of like an IPA that is a lager. You barely know it is a lager. (Warning: This is very much like my review of Brooklyn's Special Effects IPA). Against other IPA's it is a little bit above average. I have had many worse craft IPA's I have had many better. That is quite an accomplishment. Against other Low Alcohol beers it has got to be near the top.

I rated the feel on this higher than their IPA version. They are really much the same. For a larger it is suppose to feel this way.

Apr 11, 2021
Photo of GavinFitzgerald
4.93/5  rDev +39.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by GavinFitzgerald from England

Best AF sampled out of about 20 “craft” found so far. 5 star sober chimp!

Mar 21, 2021
Photo of Harrison8
3.38/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
by Harrison8 from Missouri

Pours a translucent golden copper color with a finger of white foam. Head retention is fair. Aroma is herbal, resiny, dank hops with bready malts behind. It does have a wort note that rings throughout. Flavor profile is more wort. It tastes like you stepped into a brewery. Herbal, resin, dank hops with bready, earthy malts. Mouth feel is medium-thin with a soft effervescence. Overall, aside from the heavy wort aroma and taste, it delivers quality hop notes.

Jan 20, 2021
Photo of mynie
4.23/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by mynie from Maryland

Judging by the rDev of my reviews, I seem to like non-alcoholic beers more than most. This is, however, my first foray into a self-styled "hoppy" NA beer, one that isn't modeled after a plain ol' euro pils.

The pour is promising, actually quite pretty: pils-looking dark gold, filtered and sparkly with a wonderfully retentive, bone white head.

Aroma is that of a hoppy session IPA, with clear nodes of citra. A bit one-note, but for the style it's quite nice, and even judging it in a vacuum, devoid of stylistic expectations, it's still pretty darn good.

Flavor is great up front: hoppy citrus, then it turns into a nice cereal mash that tastes the way it smells when you tour a brewery, but then the back end is, predictably, flat and watery. It takes a few sips to adjust my pallet but before I'm even halfway through I begin to really dig it. There's actually a good amount of complexity going on in the finish; it's just not what I'm used to. The malt is surprisingly bright and it mingles excellently with the lingering citrus nodes of the fruity hops.

Best of all, while this doesn't produce anything close to an alcohol buzz, there's still a mild euphoric effect from the hops. Maybe it's just psychosomatic, I dunno, but I swear I feel noticably more chilled out and very slightly spacey after drinking it.

So, yeah... I guess this is going to be a curiosity for most people. But if you're like me and you're doing a "white month" to try and reset your tolerance after the holidays, this is an excellent beverage to pair with meals.

Jan 12, 2021
Photo of CanConPhilly
3.77/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5
by CanConPhilly from Pennsylvania

L - 1-finger offwhite head recedes rapidly, leaving a small halo of thick lacing. Body is a translucent autumn orange.

S - orange, lemon/lime candy, faint caramel. Smells like an old-school east-coast ipa.

T - lemon/lime to start, followed by licorice, orange, a little earthiness, a little sour rotting fruit, and some floral incense. No bitterness. Low sweetness.

F - light body with higher carb.

O - strikes me more as a mildly-sour gose than an ipa. There is no bitterness here at all. That being said I can taste the hops, which is appreciated. I also really dig the nose on this. If they up the boil hops to give this a more meaty ibu, this could be a winner. Worth trying though.

Jan 09, 2021
Photo of brother_rebus
4.12/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by brother_rebus from Maine

Best N./A. hoppy that i’ve had by far, which admittedly is only a handful. But it’s the most accurate to an actual IPA. None of that dirt flavor I gat frum others. Good body on it too. Will certainly buy more.

Dec 30, 2020
Photo of tigg924
3.59/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by tigg924 from Massachusetts

Pours clear, gold in color with 1/3 inch head. Taste is honey, Earl Grey tea, and graham cracker. Light bodied, slightly sweet with medium-high carbonation. Makes for a tasty, malty treat. I prefer other non-alcoholic beer but nice ager.

Dec 06, 2020
Photo of digitalflood
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by digitalflood from New York

Poured from a can into a standard pint glass. Amber brown body with good carbonation and middle sized bubbles. Fairly active in carbonation. Head froth builds to a good level with very good uneven face featuring open/closed bubbles of various sizes. Reduces to very good lacing on the face after several minutes.

Aromas of malt biscuit, caramel, grapefruit rind, and pine needles. Opens up decently in the glass and has a very pleasing aroma that matches the amber IPA style expectations.

On the front palette lots of cookie dough, fresh biscuits, grapefruit rinds, lemon grass, a hint of orange rind, and some pine notes. MId-palette is lots of malt with fresh biscuits, cookie dough, malt balls, and just a touch of hops that comes through a grapefruit rind, pine needles, and herbal hibiscus notes. Back palette has lots of hibiscus, herbal notes, and grapefruit rind with a bit of malt biscuit dough. After taste is lingering pine, grapefruit, and flower/herb notes. A bit of caramel and biscuit. Very nice overall.

Mouthfeel leans thicker, but not full. Has a definitive body to it, but not "chewy" per say. I would say it is consistent with an amber ale and in line with the style if not a good example of it. Crisp after taste with a slight wetness to it. Again as expected.

Overall this is a very good amber IPA and a very good NA IPA. I can't really compare it to something similar though it does evoke a bit of Fat Tire amber ale in my mind. There is some sweetness, but its not overall sugary. There is a bit of hops but nowhere near its Special Effects IPA brother. This is basically more malty. More roasted barley notes. More roasted barley mouthfeel, but it isn't heavy or syrupy. Very nice malt to hops balance. 3.75 out of 5. Very good. Recommended. Pairs really nice with sharp cheddar cheese and charcuterie meats.

Nov 20, 2020
3.63 by Lukass from Ohio on Aug 16, 2020
3.5 by paulish from New York on Aug 04, 2020
Photo of Smakawhat
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by Smakawhat from Maryland

Poured from the can into a nonik pint glass. Best before Jan 2021.

Absolutely crystal clear as a bell, like a mirror practically. Pale amber color with a big brassy shine. Fluffy topped three finger head, with a very pale ale looking appearance. Chunky bubbles and some decent staying power. Real nice looking beer.

Light touches of sweetened tea like aromas, muted senses of citrus as well. Faint grainy sweetness also that comes with an NA, could be a little bit of orange perkelating but fairly muted.

The palate manages to just by a hair get into places most NA beers don’t. Sweetened tea like flavors on first sip, with just a faint touch of hop bitterness. Light caramel finish and some actual fruity hop finish that while not dominant does manage to get out. Still some light cereal grains, and wort taste but with still some surprising light bitterness. Not wet or watery either.

A certainly better than the average bear beer I'd say.

Jul 29, 2020
Photo of beer_beer
4.39/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by beer_beer from Finland

Online Tasting: Non-Alcoholic Beers (Jan 14-16) 2022:

Brooklyn Special Effects hoppy lager / amber. Probably the most well spread American branded NA beer here. This one is physically brewed and bottled by Carlsberg supply company in Falkenberg Sweden, when you read the fine print on the bottle :slight_smile:

Hoppy, just as I often like a beer to be. A bit of citrus, medium bodied. Can definitively recommend!

Jul 17, 2020
Photo of Beerluvinmonkey
4.59/5  rDev +30%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by Beerluvinmonkey from Pennsylvania

Outstanding NA option. Tastes like a regular beer but better than most regular beers. Highly recommend for anyone looking for a quality NA beer.

Jul 09, 2020
3.38 by brutalist from Pennsylvania on May 29, 2020
4 by Robertas from Lithuania on May 27, 2020
4.04 by bmaggot from Lithuania on May 20, 2020
3.36 by rangerred from Tennessee on May 03, 2020
Photo of descobar
2.57/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75
by descobar from Florida

my first foray in NA beers.
Look: pale to deep golden. good clarity. white head with avg retention
Smell: wow. very sweet. honey-like, almost like unfermented wort.
Feel: medium light body. moderate carb. rich texture. no astringency whatsoever
Taste: slight malt sweetness. low to no bitterness. Finish is smooth and with lingering sweetness
Overall: disappointing to say the least from Brooklyn. why even do this? just meh. a weird NA malt beverage but will not satisfy any beer drinker.

May 03, 2020
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.22/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25
by ChainGangGuy from Georgia

Appearance: Pours an amber-gold body with crystalline clarity and nice, inch-high (albeit fastly deflating), near white head.

Smell: Black tea note, minute breadiness and faint touches of grapefruit, apricot and sweetening agents.

Taste: Flash of crust, then some sugared sweet tea with a light metallic twang. The hops are appreciably light, though does manage to give a little bitter herb and citrus with a scant soapiness in the background.

Mouthfeel: Thin-bodied. Medium-light carbonation.

Overall: Acceptable for it is, though it's not something I would purchase, as I was gifted the can (were they trying to imply something by their NA donation?).

Mar 28, 2020
Photo of HoppingMadMonk
3.59/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

Medium bodied with about medium carbonation .
Aroma is light malt,caramel, light citrus, grain, bread
Taste for the most part is in sync with the aroma.
I thoroughly enjoyed this but take my review with a grain if salt. I still have a bad taste in my mouth from some alcohol free beer I've tried before and thought it was terrible

Mar 19, 2020
Photo of DoctorZombies
3.29/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25
by DoctorZombies from Florida

This one is not bad...malty lemongrass nose; lite hop bitterness and semi sweet malt taste; thin, but not watery; great looking deep gold, excellent clarity, white head, ok cap retention, solid ring, and soapy lace. Overall very drinkable with no off flavors; I’d drink again.

Mar 04, 2020
Photo of mikeinportc
3.26/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25
by mikeinportc from New York

BB date of 08/07/2020

Clear coppery orange with moderate quickly-dissipating pale tan head. Looks like a thinner Nugget Nectar.

Smell is light citrus rind and maybe a touch of pine (think old-school IPA, but milder & fainter), some bready malt, and a touch of caramel(4.0) . Most of that fades with the head, leaving a barely-there bread crust aroma(2.0). I'll split the difference (3.0) .

Taste is toasted bread, with a hint of dried orange rind, and moderate drying bitterness.

Feel light , with fine , sharp, carbonation tingle.

Overall, not bad, nothing wrong with it, but also not something I'd want very often.

Feb 22, 2020
Special Effects Hoppy Amber from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 55 ratings