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: 957
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.59/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

nice relatively hoppy amber. the pour is deep brick red, clear though, with an inch of khaki head, foamy and lasting. it smells like dryer, but still semi sweet red malts, ale yeast, and a good dose of American west coast hops. the taste matches, yeasty for a red, and the best of both red worlds here, dry and clean, also sweet and rich, its a contrast but a good one. carbonated well, and very easy drinking, I would have guessed 4.5% abv, this is easy going. medium body and a hint of smoke. I don't know what is prohibition about this, it makes me want another. good not great, but aren't most of them? my first brew from speakeasy is good enough to make me want another, so good on them. on tap at renegade publik house.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a Dogfish Head pint glass. Pours a medium to dark reddish amber with a half finger off-white head with good retention and light lacing. Aroma of bready malt and the citrus and floral influence of Centennial and Cascade hops. Flavor of citrus and floral hops, neutral malt and light citrus rind. Finishes with citrus bitterness. Nice medium creamy body. A nicely made red ale that seemed a hair balanced towards the hops than malt, but the creamy body made up for it. Lingering citrus hop bitterness. Enjoyable, but somehow I think prohibition ales weren't quite this tasty.

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Photo of MikeWard
3.32/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass. Bottled date of 05/06/13, so pushing toward 5 months old.

Poured a deep clear reddish amber color, quite a bit darker than I expected. A little below 2 fingers of off white head, with some fairly large bubbles. Lots of carbonation, though much of it stuck to the side of the glass. Lacing was pretty sparse. Head dissolved to a thin covering with a thin ring.

Smell was all about caramel and sweet malt. no hop signature, possibly due to the age of the beer.

Taste was again all malt. It tasted to me more like a scottish ale than an amber ale.

Mouth was around medium. Unfortunately there was a rather unpleasant aftertaste, though it did disappear quite quickly.

As mentioned above, this had the look, aroma, and taste more of a scottish ale than an amber ale. And unfortunately, not that good a one. Wouldn't reccomend this offering, though the label is pretty good looking.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a shaker pint.

Beautiful amber color with 2 fingers of light tan head that dissipates slowly. Excellent clarity with light carbonation.

Caramel, candy sugar, grapefruit and tangerine.

Caramel and toasted biscuit with hints of candy sugar and toffee. Very balanced with well integrated hop notes. Grapefruit pith, pine needles and tangerine zest.

Medium bodied and smooth with crisp carbonation.

Nicely balanced and easy drinking. Tasty stuff!

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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 homebrew311
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle poured into snifter. Upon opening, bottle gushes out as I quickly get it into a glass. The appearance is a deep clear read with tan head that retains nicely and heavy lacing. Nose starts with heavy cereal grain malt, backed up by toast, caramel, and earthy hops. The taste is moderately malty up front with a nice herbal hoppiness that comes through and takes some hop bitterness to the finish. Decent balance of flavors here with an emphasis on the malt profile. Mouthfeel is moderate with decent carbonation. Overall, this brew features a nice balance of flavors, but is overall somewhat forgettable.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a lighter amber color with a thin layer of foam.

Slight caramel sweetness with piney and citrus hop aroma.

Piney/earthy hop bitterness, slight caramel/toffee sweetness, and a hint of grapefruit.

Light-bodied, medium carbonation.

Overall, another fantastic brew from Speakeasy.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.46/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

No freshness dating.

A=pours a deep ruby color with a half finger of off white head on it that leaves some decent lacing.

S= has a deeper darker smell of hops. Seems like it may be a little past it's prime. Definitely a hopped up amber though.

T=the taste is filled with a hop punch along with some strange toasty malt taste. The hops are thick and resinous leading to a strong bitter bite.

M= feels great

O= this isn't a bad beer at all but the toasty malts threw me for a loop. Not the most hopped up amber but a little more ambery than a hopped up amber. Not bad.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Good Beer in New York, NY

A: Pours a clear medium amber in color with moderate amounts of visible carbonation and some light ruby red highlights. The beer has a finger tall foamy beige head that slowly reduces to a thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a couple of small thicker patches and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of citrus/grapefruit pith and pine hops over a moderate caramel malt body.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of caramel malts with light to moderate amounts of sweetness. That is followed by light to moderate flavors of citrus/grapefruit pith, citrus/orange, and pine hops which contribute a moderate amount of bitterness which lingers.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Crisp.

O: Fairly well balanced between the sweetness of the malts and the bitterness of the hops so that neither really dominates the palate. Pretty easy to drink and enjoyable.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.54/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Firestone restaurant pint glass
From: World Market in Las Mesa (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $1.99
Purchased: Aug. 1, 2013
Consumed: Aug. 6, 2013
Misc.: Bottled on Feb. 21, 2013

Poured a mahogany color with about two fingers of bubbly khaki tan head. Sporadic spots of average lacing on the sides. Average retention on the top.

Lots of different smells right away. Hops seemed to rule the day with floral, rye, citrus and grass. Then got the malts, mainly caramel, roasty, toasted bread and faint cocoa. Got a little bit of iced tea, too. The hops seemed to be go away a bit after a few more sniffs.

Malts took over the hops in the taste. Grassy, rye, toasty bread, yeast, wheat, caramel, buttery and lemon.

Medium-to-light body. Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Longer finish.

Not quite as good as I hoped it would be. Was still decent though.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Served on-tap at the brewery.

Good lacing. Clear auburn. The taste is unobjectionable, a kind of malty, nutty, lightly fruity thing. The smell is citrus but the hops are only evident in the scent not the taste.

It's a decent beer. But nothing special. I couldn't recommend it.

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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 KFBR392
3.32/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pours with a very thin head which was not present while drinking. Low carbonation. Regular amber color, clearly can see through the brew.

Smell: The front is filled with spices. The malt is extremely bright, almost too much so. An oaky aroma lingers and there is an added kick from the alcohol. Maple syrup and a slight medicinal accent lingers on the undertones.

Taste: Smooth front with low carbonation. A amber malt body lingers but does not have lasting power. There is quite a bit of hop presence in this brew for being a amber ale though. Hops are definitely on the darker end, but provide a spicy character to the body. Finish is a decent combination of hops and malt, comes off with a syrupy texture.

Mouthfeel: Hops and malt go well together and create an interesting mouthfeel. The finish is slightly dry.

Overall: A solid brew but needs more body and complexity. Just comes off too light, leaves the palette begging for more.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.66/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours reddish amber with scant remaining white foam. Some clings around the ring of the glass. Bready nose, slightly nutty. Some vanilla. Taste opens slightly sweet, with a tangy pine hop. Bittering is aggressive, as advertised. Good underlying flavor, but perhaps too aggressive. Back down!

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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 BryanCarey
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

With a memorable nose of caramel, citrus, and floral notes, Prohibition Ale impresses right from the start. The color of the beer is a deep shade of copper/red, the foam looks nice, and the beer leaves a good amount of lacing as you drink.

The positive qualities continue as you consume. Caramel malt greets the palate first and it is quickly followed by the taste of citrus, toffee, and some resiny hops. Search a little deeper and you discover some nuts, toasted malt, and an overall cleanliness and smoothness that makes it highly quaffable and drinkable.

Amber ales are a highly varied style, but Prohibition Ale seems to have nailed the qualities I expect in an amber ale as well or better than most I have sampled. The beer has a good deal of complexity and yet it still manages to maintain a smoothness that goes down easy. A very nice appearance and other factors combine to make this an amber that I highly recommend.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A finger and half of head on a clear, copper colored body.
The aroma is a malty smell quickly followed by a lemon candy scent.
The taste starts off with moderate sweetness, backed up by a lemon bitterness.
A crisp texture with moderate carbonation and medium body.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up at ShopRite last week, having never tried this before. I wasn't sure if this would be like Brooklyn Lager, in the sense that the recipe and feel of this would be a bit more traditional in nature. It certainly had that feel to it even though this was a bit more aggressive in the alcohol department than I expected. As many have alluded to on here, this was nicely well-balanced and a great example of the style, even if it was just a bit darker in body and taste than other American Ambers and Reds that I've had before.

The pour was indeed dark, with an almond hue, good head and nearly-clear appearance. Mostly caramel malt in the nose, followed by a nice, solid hop punch in the taste. Pine, citrus, a bit of lemon zest, and more caramel followed up in the mouthfeel, with the dry hops coming out in the aftertaste. This felt quite earthy in taste and was a lot more stickier and cloying than it first appeared to be. Each sip had to be savored and only when I worked my way through the bottle could I feel how present the alcohol was.

This was strong enough to be an American Amber/Red Ale even though it looked and felt darker than others that I've had before. Most of those were too hoppy but this had balance like a good ESB. Even though the packaging was a bit over the top like the posters for "Gangster Squad", the product on the inside matched up with what appeared on the outside. This is a great beer to go to when something full is called for without being weak or generic.

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Photo of TheMarkE
4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Excellent. They call it an amber ale, but there is a boatload of hops in here. They tossed in enough bready malts to make it perfectly balanced, but I would call it a pale ale. The classification is the only quibble I have, however. This is a darn good beer. Complex, balanced, and delicious.

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Photo of cyclonece09
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured aggressively from a 12 oz bottle into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Pours a nice cloudy amber red color with a nice fluffy off white head. Smells of some dark roasted malt but is greatly dominated by piney hops. Tastes of piney hops and a little malt, but not much, a little more hop bite than normally expected in an amber. Beer is carbonated perfectly and goes down smooth with no real aftertastes, very refreshing. Overall, a very good beer.

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Photo of jimilayne
4.81/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap frequently at the Black Horse Pub in Brooklyn.

One of the better beers you'll ever have, in my opinion.

Beautiful rustic red color with a perfect 2 finger head.

Citrusy and hoppy with tastes of caramel and malt. Tastes, So incredibly drinkable and it packs a punch.

Goes down incredibly smoothly. This is one beer I introduce to people who aren't necessarily "beer people" and it's a continual winner.

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Photo of ExtraStout
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this at Scoma's in San Francisco. It pours a medium-hued amber orange, with a minimal head but some lace is present.

Smells hoppy, like many west-coast pale ales are. This is cascade all the way, no doubt about it. The citric aroma is up front and aggressive.

Taste is also a bit hoppy. Maybe a bit, but it's bold and it makes a statement. There is some sweet sugary flavors but not much can be detected through the damn hops. I like cascade though, so this beer is very refreshing.

Mouthfeel is a bit chunky. Little carbonation but the hops leave such a film in my mouth that it's a little oily. Not too bad, but not good either. Certainly above average.

A really refreshing pale ale. Aggressive and bold, but not balanced enough for me to really give it props. Still, a solid beer.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.3/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1543rd Review on BA
Draft to Pint

Paired with Hawaiian Mahi-Mahi
@BJs Newark, CA

App- The color of rust with a good bit pf murky crimson and reds mixed. Very hazy and thick in the glass. 1/2" of head that left some amazing cling. Webbing all over the place.

Smell- Its a red ale but more sweet and savory. A bit like a cake batter with a touch of sweet and flour. The creamy malts are more upfront.

Taste- I still cant get into reds. Has a nice flavor but the overwhelming malts lacks balance and the small pepper is like a thick Dr. Pepper and needs a bit more balance and less thick.

Mouth- This borders a very thin line between a low body and a fuller medium with a filling medium carbonation. Malts, sweet and pepper are residual flavors.

Drink- I wanted to like it more. Still a red ale. Paired nicely with my fish though.

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Photo of albertjr21
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Into a pint glass, brew pours a clear body and dull dirty copper color under a dense foam cap. Sweet aroma of lemon citrus comes forward in a friendly hop directed nose. A desirable amount of bitter and lightly sour lemon citrus nicely envelopes a complementary caramel malt body. Toasted biscuit and earthy citrus rind blend into a dry resonating finish.

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

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Reviewed live.

A- Finger width cream-colored head. Nice creamy lacing. Deep auburn color with minimal clarity. Fine looking ale.

S- Caramel malt body, floral hops. Simple but well balanced.

T- Caramel malts and subtle but floral hops. Again, well balanced. Flavorful, bit of a kick, and just all-around above average.

M- Thick, creamy and filling.

O- Quite a well-developed and complete beer. I'm very pleased with it.

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Prohibition Ale from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
3.84 out of 5 based on 957 ratings.
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