Prohibition Ale | Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

very good
341 Reviews
Prohibition AleProhibition Ale

Brewed by:
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
California, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Prohibition Ale is the first beer we bootlegged back in 1997. Anything but traditional and now a GABF winning brew (2013–American Amber/Red Category), Prohibition pours a deep reddish amber hue, with a fluffy tan head that leaves a beautiful lacing on the glass. A lush, complex aroma teases the senses with juicy grapefruit, citrus, pine, spice and candied caramel malts. Mouth-feel is creamy, with a silky, medium body and modest carbonation.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-27-2002

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Reviews: 341 | Ratings: 958
Photo of mattdavis452
1.95/5  rDev -49.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

A: A very nice, deep amber color, with good lace characteristics.

S: Smells slightly of roses, go figure. Other smells are difficult to detect, but retains typical smell of a well balanced APA.

T: Once I got to the taste, it threw all my positive indicators out the window. Personally, this is one of the worst-tasting beers I've ever tried (although I haven't reviewed many for I find myself at a loss for words regarding the taste of this beer. I would be tempted to say "Fat Tire gone utterly wrong," but that would insult Fat Tire Ale.

M: An average, slightly crisp mouthfeel. However, once the taste of it hit the buds on my tongue, I didn't care much to think about mouthfeel.

D: Due to the terrible taste, I didn't even finish this. As stated above, one of the worst beers I've ever tried, so I hardly consider it drinkable.

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Photo of JoshuaMason
2.09/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Vintage: 2014
Appearance: Rich, red amber; tan, bubbly head; zero lace; low visible carbonation
Smell: Caramel; Molases; Dates; Diacetyl
Taste: Cola; Citrus Hops; kinda like a cheap soda… like Shasta.
Mouth-feel: Medium Carbonation; Thin body; sticky, sugary
Overall: Not good at all. Really disappointed in this one, because I have respect for Speakeasy and generally love their beers. Too bad.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.49/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Served on-draught into a plastic cup at Speakeasy's decrepit warehouse - I mean brewpub. Reviewed from notes. Why does a brewery see fit to serve their beer into plastic cups? I may never know.

A: Pours a one finger head of fair cream and thickness, and okay retention. Colour is a dark copper.

Sm: Amber hops and other bittering hops. Perhaps too many hops for the balance? A decent aroma.

T: Amber hops and weak cream - that's it. It's simple garbage. Imbalanced and weak.

Mf: Smooth and wet. It suits the flavour okay, I guess. No real depth, layering, or complexity. It doesn't seem as though they tailored the texture to the taste at all.

Dr: Drinkable but low quality, and expensive at that. I wouldn't try it again if I had to pay for it. A disappointment from Speakeasy. As a side note, beer probably did taste this crappy during prohibition due to limited brewing methods.

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Photo of seedyone
2.5/5  rDev -34.9%

02/06/13 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Nothing outstanding. OK balance of basic tastes but doesn't impress. I'm not a fan of overt beers, but this makes me wonder 'what's the point'. Mediocre at best.

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Photo of mithrascruor
2.53/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

22 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber brown with a minimal tan head.

Smell: Unique malty aroma with coriander and cocoa.

Taste: Cocoa powder and caramel. Seriously strange.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation - I think the carbonation reinforces the thought of cocoa powder in my brain, and makes it not so smooth.

Drinkability: Moderate ABV, but strange.

Dunno if I got a bad bottle of this or not. Pretty sure I had this on tap in SF - and it was much different (and better!). Perhaps the strangest beer I've ever tasted.

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Photo of jdhilt
2.58/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours with a two-finger bubbly white head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Clear amber color. Medium bodied. Hoppy nose. Medium carbonation. The brewer says: "perfect balance between caramel maltiness and its aggressive hopping" well, the aggressive hopping dominates any caramel maltiness, there is a little sweetness in the background but not much. $2.25 for a 12oz bottle from Vintage Cellar, Blacksburg, VA.

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Photo of vitALEity
2.65/5  rDev -31%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I used to get this in bottles as a semi regular "staple" when I wanted a break from my normal IPA's but still wanted something hoppy and with a nice malt balance. This always worked for that and then all of a sudden THEY CHANGE IT! The last two times Ive had it recently the hops have all but disappeared from the aroma and taste and now its all some sort of caramel/chocalate/carafe malt. Why Speakeasy? Why!?

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Photo of DrJay
2.72/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear medium amber colour with a short cap of eggshell foam. Fair retention, some lacing. Malty aroma, mostly caramel and crackery, but there's a light hop and fruit component as well. The flavour was a lot thinner than expected. There's not a lot of malt present, which leaves the bitterness exposed and a little harsh. The hops are a little acrid in the finish, leaving an unpleasant aftertaste. The texture starts out alright, but the body falls away mid-sip leaving it watery. Light dryness at the end. I really liked the aroma, but once I took a sip things went downhill. The balance is way off and there's not enough malt to support the body and hops. Too bad.

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Photo of jbaakko
2.72/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is going to be a great review...

I bought this bottle after hearing it was great. The Shop owner said it's one of his favorites from Speakeasy.

The bottle is claimed to be a hoppy ale. It wasn't hoppy at all, and quite watery. Tasted better from the bottle than in a glass, but yet I wasn't impressed. After a short message from Speakeasy on Instagram, I'm considering trying a second bottle when I see it again. Maybe then I can re-do my review and rate it higher.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
2.77/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Pours a light amber hue with a white head that recedes to a ring. Aroma of alcohol and stale grains. The taste has faded caramel, lemon juice, and faint bitterness. Not the best tasting beer for style fairly abrasive actually. Has an oxidized note of sherry. Hop flavor helps somewhat. Light bodied, cardboard dry and not moreish in the slightest. Overall, not too good.

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Photo of
2.78/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz. bottle. Poured a slightly hazy, amber color with a medium light tan head. Smell was pine, with a touch of honey underneath. This is one of my favorite starts to an IPA, so I was expecting great things. Expectations....disappointed. The flavor was all hops at the start, I thought I had pine tree juice. The malt was present as a sweetness in the middle, but it was accompanied by a mild flavor of sulfur and maybe some burnt toast. Finish was fairly bitter, and not particularly pleasant. Body was light, carbonation was medium. I did not like the burnt notes in the flavor, and felt they were very much out of place for this style. The finish was overly bitter (this from someone who likes Ruination). Perhaps more fair to say that they flavor of the bitterness was unpleasant. I would try this again, given how different my perception is from other reviews, but only if it was given to me.

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Photo of Jwale73
2.81/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

12oz. bottle courtesy of bstyle. Served in an American Pint. Bottled on 10.31.13. Pours a translucent amber with a foamy, three-finger, light tan head. Nothing overly distinctive about the nose - toasted malt-forward with some piny/citrusy hops. Taste consistent with nose, but there is also a distinct metallic flavor. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with an even carbonation and a trace of acidity. Overall, a pretty lackluster amber. Not sure if it's just an off bottle, past its prime or just subpar. Not something I need to revisit again any time soon.

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Photo of matjack85
2.83/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I tried this on tap at Quencher's Saloon in Chicago. $5 for a pint glass.

Very clear pale red color with a ½-finger of tan head on top that didn't last that long but did leave a good amount of lacing behind.

This beer smells really hoppy with some caramel malt underneath the hops.

This is really hoppy for a red ale. If I didn't know better I would have thought someone had given me an IPA. It's mostly a mix of pine and grapefruit hops only slightly balanced with some sweet caramel and other roasted malts. Way too bitter for my liking for this style, and the bitterness continues to linger on the palate long into and even after the finish.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

It's not that it's that bad a beer. It's just not what I'm looking for in an amber/red ale.

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Photo of drpimento
2.84/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Think I might have gotten an off bottle. Poured this a bit cold with a thick, foamy, tan, head that lasts and plenty of lace. Color is a very hazy to cloudy amber. Aroma isn't too strong but is vinous, Flavor is malt, sharp hop, metallic, yeast, biscuit, hint tart. Body is decent but has some high points from the odd flavors; carbonation is good. Finish is like flavor and has those less than pleasing characteristics that last too long.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.87/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

22 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a dark reddish-brown color. The head is a two finger heavy cream shade. Retention starts off quickly, then seems to slow down as the bubbles in the head get smaller. Attractive lacing, too.

S: This has a LOT of caramel malt in it, with a slight candied tone thrown in there as well. But the more I whiff it, the more a grassy, lemony hop character comes through. Not bad.

T: Initially, this opens up very caramel-forward. Underlying all the caramel are hints of chocolate, and it finishes with some light Centennial hopping. The flavors here balance out too well - they seem to cancel out the interesting qualities they could have otherwise brought to the table. In other words, a typical amber ale.

M: There's too much sweetness on the palate, and it's too thickly textured. The lack of flavor and unctuous palate feel - combined with the slightly-too-strong carbonation - makes this one really difficult to drink.

O: This is the first offering from Speakeasy I've had, and I'm not impressed. It's the poor drinkability combined with the dreadfully boring nature that kills it for me. Others will like this, I don't - like I said before, a typical amber ale.

It does improve once it warms up, at least.

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Photo of wheelinshirt
2.9/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz brown longneck silk-screened bottle, pretty fancy but no freshness date. Poured into two small glasses.

Color looked copper to me, like an IPA rather than an amber. Modest off white head with okay retention and a little lacing. Smell was hoppy, not a lot of malt backbone coming through on the nose. Taste was a little hoppy, somewhat bitter, and very boring otherwise. Almost watery. Could have definately used some sweet malt to balance out the bitterness which wasn't huge, but was too much considering the lack of balance.

Mouthfeel was thin and unsatisfying, could have easily had another but wouldn't have wanted one. I want to try some of speakeasy's other beers, but so far they are 0 for 2 for me. I wish they had freshness dates so i could know whether these are old bottles or not. I haven't seen this at Abe's before, so I know they haven't had it long, but who knows how long it was sitting at the brewery or distributor.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
2.98/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From notes.
Poured out a dark amber with a large head. Great lace and carbonation. The smell seems pretty simple, caramel malts and some earthy hops. The taste had an almost rotten fruit flavor. There might be a beer storage factor to the taste but whatever it is, it's gross. I'll retry in a bottle or at a different bar, but my first experience was a bad one.

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Photo of matty
3/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cloudy amber beer with a rapidly fading head.Aroma is pine needles.Taste is bready,pine and a smidge of caramel.Another potentially good beer ruined by those disgusting hops.This is nothing special and something I wouldn't recommend nor purchase in the future.

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Photo of doerickson
3/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Resembles a glass of iced tea. Way overcarbonated; I couldn't pour 1/3 of this, no matter how gently, without overflowing the glass (happened with two consecutive bottles). Had to spoon out a lot of foam (okay, I'm a little impatient). Very unusual aroma; smells like fruit punch with a jar of honey and a handful of brown sugar mixed into it.

Flavor diverges significantly from the smell. Earthy, somewhat sour hop flavors in front, with apple and tea-like hops developing alongside bit of caramel and cereal maltiness. Hops dominate the top of the order; malty flavors are in the eight and nine holes. Mouthfeel is very crisp, no surprise given the *very* high carbonation.

This brew isn't really getting it done for me. One was interesting; a six-pack is overkill.

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Photo of u2carew
3.05/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A) Amber in color. Visible carbonation poured with a thin head then settles to lacing along the edge. Not completely transparent.
S) Malt sweetness with floral hop undertones. More definitive - caramel, just a touch of milk chocolate, vanilla?
T) Light sweetness. Just a touch of hoppiness - barely noticeable. Not much flavor, somewhat bland.
M) Feels thin, light, fluffy - medium body? Creamy feel from the CO2.
D) Not very impressed with this brew. The mouth feel throws it off a bit.

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Photo of montageman
3.08/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Cloudy amber with a decent amount of carbonation and a nice sturdy head that leaves a ton of lacing on the surface and the sides of the glass. Decent looking - nothing spectacular.

S: Oddly, the dominant smell reminds me of warm salty pretzels. There is a slight grassy character and some roasted notes, but the bread-like pretzel aroma is most evident.

T: Very clean, almost cleaning product like. There is a slight bitter, soapy character, which I don't mind for some reason. There is a slight sugary sweetness as well and a dry, floral finish.

M: Nice creaminess that is accentuated by the carbonation. The dryness fits well within the body of the beer.

D: A fairly average amber ale. Easy to drink, but nothing worth going wild over. Recommended for those who enjoy the style.

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Photo of Naes
3.09/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is a dark amber colored beer with orange hues. The head is rather tall and laces pretty good.
The aroma has some mildly piney hops, but is not very pungent.
The flavor starts out surprisingly sweet. It begins with some toasty malt flavors and becomes slightly bitter with citrus and piney hops.
Mouth feel is a bit watered down and actively carbonated.

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Photo of Crosling
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Sunset orange. Again I am getting a touch of honey in the aroma, just like I did with their India Pale Ale, along with a touch of caramel covered red apples, toffee and a huge resinous hop scent. Watery texture and very thin in body. Notes of caramel, toffee, bright fruits and west coast hops. Overall, just very bland.

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Photo of germaniac
3.15/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark, ruddy, amber. Head disappears pretty fast, but leaves considerable lacing.

Smells mostly of lightly citrus hops, with notes of caramel malt sweetness.

There's an initial burst of hoppy bitterness. A little bit of grapefruit citric flavor turns into chewy caramel malt sweetness pretty abruptly. Finishes thin and watery. Not too bad, just not my favorite beer from this brewery.

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Photo of afksports
3.15/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

For as popular as this shizzle-shnitz is, I thought I was gonna have me a nice relaxing brew to start off the evening.

Guess I was wrong.

Yech. All malts in the taste. Hardly a hop to be found in this bad boy. And at 6.1%, you'd think I'd find some in an amber ale.

I forgive the beer for not having a head, the bartender chopped it off because she's not a fancy beer nerd like all of us. She's just some lady that puts beer in a cup.

Anyway - smells like malt - caramel. Tastes like malt - caramel. Tiny hop presence at the front of both the smell and the taste, but dominated by the malt. And the finish - which I would love to be hoppy -- nope. It's not. It's amber. Just malty. Not a trace of hops.

I had beer on Barbados of the same exact style, and that beer was better than this.

And if you're thinking maybe I just have a malt bias... there was no complexity to it. Just sugar, burnt sugar, caramel, and water. Mouthfeel was boring, it was low carbonated, the appearance was amber with hardly any head, no lace, no carbonation again... Just overall... "meh".

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Prohibition Ale from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
3.84 out of 5 based on 958 ratings.
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