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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 341 | Ratings: 958
Photo of richj1970
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%

A: Pours a deep golden amber color with a one finger white head. Reasonably heavy lacing.

S: Toasted bread. Caramel. Touch of dark fruits.

T: Mainly bready malts with a hint of citrus and fruits.

M: Full body.

O: Decent amber ale. Easy drinking, but nothing really outstanding about it.

 297 characters

Photo of Phigg1102
3.34/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Clear deep orange to light brown in color with a thin head and not much retention. Caramel and toast in the aroma, not much hop presence.taste has a strange astringency. Hops are a bit more pronounced, with subtle spicy and floral notes.toasted malts are strong in the taste and balance the hops well. Mouthfeel is quite thin and could use more carbonation.

 357 characters

Photo of mikeg67
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours dark amber with tall, long lasting, fluffy white head and nice lacing. Aroma is of citrusy hops, ripe fruit and caramel malt. Body is full and crisp. Caramel malt, citrusy hops and red berries nicely balanced on the pallet. Finish is long, dry, and bitter. Very tasty brew.

 293 characters

Photo of DavidLosAngeles323
4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew is awesome. The bottle Is different, a more thug like art and feel. I've had in bottle and glass, prefer bottle as it given its natural fruit flavor. Smells great and unlike citrus ale's is given a lot more different fruit flavors. Beer is great I've had it on multiple occasions I rather have the ipa version though. Suggest everyone to try

 351 characters

Photo of arizcards
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from Total Wine back in early March for $2.29. Bottled on 10/31/13...a bit of a risk buying a bottle that old.

Beer poured amber-red with a beautiful off white head that has settled down to flotsam.

Nose is bready and citrusy.

Taste is bready malts with some toastiness; hops are citrus with some pine. Pretty well balanced although there is some residual hops in the after taste.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with some decent carbonation.

Overall this is the type of smaller red i have not seen in awhile, quite tasty despite being almost 7 months old. I will definitely look for this one again!

 618 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle. There seems to be a spate of Prohibition-themed brews available of late - at least it looks like these guys have been doing it for a long while.

This beer pours a clear, dark red-brick amber hue, with three fat fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and bubbly beige head, which leaves some decent dispersing cloud pattern lace around the glass as it slowly sinks away.

It smells of biscuity, crackery, and toasted bready caramel malt, orange and grapefruit rind, musty pine needles, a dry oily nuttiness, and the suggestion of some burbling alcohol underneath it all. The taste is more grainy, toasty caramel malt, rather dry citrus peel notes - grapefruit, orange, and kiwi - pithy nuts, subtle pine forest floor detritus, and a certain flinty, almost metallic alcohol edge.

The carbonation is moderate in its goings-on, if a bit tightly frothy at times, the body punching in at a sturdy middleweight, and mostly smooth, but for a bit of stoney flintiness, one that I can no longer attribute to the booze. It finishes with a strong drying kick, the roasted character of the malt starting to show its collusion with the wets, er, I mean, the encroaching bitterness of the general public's wanton desire for all things hoppy.

A pleasant enough amber ale, the hops certainly doing their thing, and doing it well. Far be it from me, an avowed hop-head, to complain, but, ok, I'm also a fan of balance, and the way the malt showed up here, shook its frilly bits and bobs, and then left with the first goomba with a big, um bankroll, kind of bugs me. Stay and fight the good fight, ya coward! Anyways, a tasty affair, just somewhat underwhelming, right where it shouldn't be, y'know?

 1,690 characters

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.

 783 characters

Photo of ihaveajob
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Having this on tap at The Creamery, in San Francisco. Cherry wood color, caramel aroma and mouth feel. Not too much head, probably because of the sugar content. A bit heavy at 7% ABV for a happy hour. I can feel a hangover coming after 3 of these babies!

 254 characters

Photo of farrago
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice, big fluffy head, over two fingers of deep tan foam, mottled surface, good portion of larger bubbles, the lacking streaks are thick and stick strongly. The liquid is a noticeably dark amber, red base which leans more towards a bright brown than orange, very clear but as “opaque” as this style of beer can get, hardly any bubbles visible at all. Chocolate and caramel get the nose started, like a German chocolate cake, stiffens with grains, quinine and pine sap, with a brush of white grapefruit you’d almost start thinking it is a weird sort of IPA, the golden raisin, peach, yellow apple, fig fruit subdued, ends with a sort of dampened campfire smokiness. Medium-bodied, creamy attack, plush and soft, not much prickle in the carbonation. Lots of coconut oil, cocoa and cola bean through the attack but not that sweet. Something like sweet cigar wrapper next to the metallic earth, fallen wood and hops, the white grapefruit and orange citrus comes and goes but bites when it is there. As in the nose, the peach, apricot, raisin fruit waits until the end to begin to strut. Displays good personality and switches things up frequently enough to keep you interested.

 1,179 characters

Photo of dacrza1
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

DATE TASTED: March 3, 2014... GLASSWARE: Kisatsky's Tavern pint.. OCCASION: a Strat and Game of Thrones night... APPEARANCE: intimidating dark amber body; thick, creamy, beige two-finger head that proudly sits a good duration... AROMA: beautiful balance of caramel malts and bright West Coat hops; low citrus, more aromatic and flowery...PALATE: good beer/head mix in the sip, with the creamy viscosity rounding full-bodied impact...TASTE: a BIG pale ale, as old and well-intentioned as the 18th amendment itself; big pine cone bite, warm and malty late... OVERALL: I came back to this beer a decade after I introduced it at a house party (it was wildly successful that afternoon)--and after taking it to a poker night, I found a similarly positive reaction; strong, demanding pale ale that gently shakes the teeth and smooth out the throat; the caramel especially sweetens the end...

 884 characters

Photo of Celtics17
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L - deep reddish-amber with a huge creamy beige head that holds excellent retention and leaves crazy lacing on the glass
S - caramel, toasted grain, earthy hops, citrus,
T - caramel and a little burnt caramel, toasted grain, some pine,mild citrus, sweet but bitter, nice flavors
F - medium body, creamy, smooth, bitterness builds

Overall, enjoyed this Amber Ale, loved the caramel, burnt, woodsy feel of this beer. Smooth, and easy to drink Amber Ale. One of the best.

 470 characters

Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a reddish-brown body with decent head and lace. A minimal amount of caramel malt sweetness balances with a large dose of citric hops in the aroma and this repeats itself in the beer. Light to medium bodied, smooth, the beer is rather simple and there isn't too much going on but what is happening is good. Well-balanced sweet and bready malts with citric hops give the beer a hoppy and yet also malty taste and it finishes a little dry and bitter from malts and hops.

 474 characters

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.

 401 characters

Photo of FLima
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mahogany color with a beige thin and thick head with medium retention and leaving some laces.
Nice malty caramel and citrus grapefruit aroma, soft pine, nuts and biscuit malt. Hints of creamy chocolate.
Pleasant flavor of high grade cocoa chocolate, American amber yeast and humid wood. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Smooth medium body with perfect carbonation.
Pretty good Amber, Red or Brown Ale, you pick.

 405 characters

Photo of barnzy78
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz, bottled on 09/11/13
L - deep reddish-amber with a huge creamy beige head that holds excellent retention and leaves crazy lacing on the glass
S - caramel, toasted grain, earthy hops, citrus,
T - caramel and a little burnt caramel, bread crust, toasted grain, pine, citrus, sweet but bitter, nice flavors
F - medium body, creamy, smooth, bitterness builds
O - really good hoppy amber ale. Great bold taste with plenty of bitterness balanced with a hefty malt backbone.

 475 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was inspired, yesterday, on a Snow Day at the high school where I teach English/ Communications Arts, to drink the Speakeasy oeuvre and imagine myself as writing the reviews during Prohibition. I am currently reading "Chicago Noir", which serves as further inspiration and this is really the beer that I should have started with, but I will make sure that it all blends seamlessly into a cohesive narrative. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, allow me to journey on a flight of fancy, courtesy of Speakeasy Ales & Lagers and my local speakeasy, The Fridge, to the misguided period of U. S. history known as Prohibition.

From the bottle: "Legit Since 1997"; "Demand Prohibition"; "Hand Crafted Amber Ale"; "Prohibition Ale is a boldly hopped amber ale that strikes a perfect balance between caramel maltiness and its aggressive hopping."; "Independently owned & operated".

The Old Lady and I rolled up to the door, marked with a blindfolded tiger, rapped twice, and when the peephole slid open to reveal two inquisitive eyes, I whispered the day's password, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and the door swung open to allow us to enter. I sauntered up to the bar with The Doll on my arm, slinky and feline as ever. Bottles were proffered and accepted so I popped the caps and began the pour for us. My aggro pour really bothers The Old Lady for some reason, but since it was my tab, it was my call. Prohibition never looked so good! There was a pseudo-cascade, followed by the creation of slightly better than two fingers of dense, light-tan head with great retention. Color was a deep reddish-orange (SRM = > 22, < 27) with NE-quality clarity, but we were in PA, so it was almost time to wet our whistles. Nose evinced an interesting admixture of grapefruit and caramel and my mouth was beginning to water. The Old Lady was tugging at my sleeve, anxious to get started, as she always seems to be. Mouthfeel was very soft, almost as if it were flat (which it definitely was NOT), but it really allowed the hops and malt to shine. The citrus hops feinted and jabbed and then the malt hit with a nice 1-2 punch on the tongue. This led to a cool finish, semi-dry as the hops asserted themselves, especially on the extreme finish. If this was Prohibition, I know that I will be staying for a while!

My original, on-tap review was dtd 06-24-2010 with scores of 4; 3.5; 4.5; 3.5 and 4 follows:

Ah, the benefits of being back in The City ... They are legion, but being able to find Speakeasy beers on draft has to rank among them. From notes, taken July 2009.

This arrived with a finger of off-white head with decent retention. Nose was slightly caramel-ish. Color was a deep copper with NE-quality clarity. Mouthfeel was medium with a malty, caramel taste on the tongue. Finish was mild, not sweet at all. AmeriCAN Amber/Red Ale?!? This was much more like a classic English Pale Ale, IMHO. Well done and totally unexpected!

 2,962 characters

Photo of Sprint
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12 ounce bottle

Ruby red in color with foamy head with lacing that dissapates somewhat quickly.

Smell is a nice caramel biscuit with some grassy notes.

Taste is very nice. Hops are assertive, but nicely balanced with a strong malt backbone. Malt could be a little more matured and roasty but is still nice even if a little cloying. Hops are grassy and citrusy with a hit of grapefruit rind on the back of the throat. Finishes dry. I would appreciate a little less bitterness and a little more conditioning regarding the malt, but it's still a nice hoppy red ale, almost a red IPA. Alcohol is not overly noticeable.

satisfying body with full moutfeel though more towards medium than full. I find it sessionable.

Overall quality craft brewed Amercan Amber/Red ale. I'm a fan of speak easy and find them to be a little more balanced in their approach to hopping than other west coast breweries. I will get this beer again.

 947 characters

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.

 559 characters

Photo of DATAfiend
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I'm still a novice "craft" beer drinker, but I've noticed the ones that are particularly dark (in this case red) are definitely my preference. It's definitely got the hops (what do you expect from these guys) and I'm definitely looking for this at bevmo. Overall, excellent.

 274 characters

Photo of ADZA
3.42/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a ruby red hue with a one finger bubbly head and some nice subtle lacing and definitely a red ale on eye,the smell is a heap of resinous piney hops mixed with strawberries and a slight herbalness it's a hopped red that's for sure,feel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation and really sets the sessionability on the high end and with that massive hopfest first encountered on smell it's nicely balanced with sweet sticky toffee mid palette and on the finish the hops are still there but it's only a light herbal bitterness and overall it's one of those beers that u have to try but Im not rushing out to grab again as i still prefer Riverside's 44 but also could happily drink if offered cheers.

 705 characters

Photo of Act25
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Compares well with SF-based 21st Amendment Bitter American. A bitter, woody, flavorful and sessionable ale.

A: Pours light reddish brown color, with a thick, lumpy off-tan head that lasts and laces on the glass.

S: The powerful, smoky aroma is of caramelized malts, roasted nuts, hop pine, and citrusy hops. Very nutty, a bit wet woods. Plenty of it, a real muscly beer.

T: Powerful. Follows the smoky smell. The taste is malty and sweet up front followed by caramel, grass, pine, & citrus and with forest charcoal smokiness. There's a nice complimentary hops presence that provides a good balance. The after-taste is bitter sweet. Unusual, plenty of flavor. Almost gravy like, mushroomy.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is ok

D: Totally a must try. Original.

 796 characters

Photo of elNopalero
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours an intense, solid caramel-amber grapefruit red. Looks fantastic with great foam.
There’s a thick piney grapefruit hop aroma with a nice rounded hop note. The flavor is hoppy and dank with some chewy pine. It’s a hop bomb for sure. Forgot how good this one is.

 274 characters

Photo of Auraan
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured a clear red with a half-finger off-white head that dissipated to a thin ring of white leaving no lacing. A good looking red ale, but nothing amazing. Scents of lemon juice, lemon zest, sweet citrus and orange. A very citrus forward aroma, dominated a bit more by the sweeter aromas than the lemon. Very good though. Flavor is extremely hop forward, though the actual bitterness level of the hops is low. The hop profile is floral, citrus pith, grapefruit pith and pine resin, balanced by faint hints of toasted and grainy malt. The finish is dry and bitter. Very good for a nice, hop forward amber, with hints of malt. I liked it. Mouthfeel is light bodied with moderate carbonation, a smooth feel and a drying finish. A good session ale mouthfeel, despite the ABV. Overall this is a good, hop forward amber ale. Its got a nice citrusy aroma and a good hop profile, with just enough malt to keep it from being too bitter. I enjoyed it a lot and would drink it again.

 973 characters

Photo of Dsimenson
3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured rather aggressively from a bottle into a 16 oz champaign flute. It develops 1" head that settles down to 1/2" after a minute. The color is a clear deep golden honey. Aroma is wonderful, fruity and hops. Flavor is a bit disappointing--hops, pine, a little caramel, where did the fruit go? The flavor got better and better with each sip. Mouth feel is medium. Overall this is very good, maybe outstanding. I agree with micromaniac129, below.

 446 characters

Photo of micromaniac129
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 7/13.
The color was deep ruby amber with a small head and medium lacing.
The aroma was quite pronounced and fruity with mangos and peaches and tropicals.
Taste was malty sweet with light hops. It finishes sem dry and bitter.
A really, really good beer.

 260 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.