The Cannibal | Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

very good
18 Reviews
no score
Send samples
The CannibalThe Cannibal

Brewed by:
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Belgian-style golden ale with a complex, dry sweetness, balancing bitterness and a spicy finish.

Added by NeroFiddled on 07-22-2005

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 28
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

  None found.

More User Reviews:
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A hazy golden body with an orange cast is topped by a short head of bright white foam that fades readily to a thin collar and leaves little more than a few spots of lace about the glass.

The nose is limited, but offers fruit, yeast, a touch of spicy alcohol and an occassional whiff of light vanilla.

The body is medium; and it's lightly crisp and alcohol-smooth across the palate.

The flavor is straightforward malty and yeasty, with fruit, spice, and alcohol. It's not quite as tropical as a Piraat or Biere du Bouchaneer; but it's not as hot either. Nor does it have the sweetness or candy character of so many examples. And it's not as yeasty and intense as say, a Heavyweight Lunacy. It's clean and nice, but kind of lack-luster. It finishes as it began... dry, spicy, and alcoholic with some lingering fruit.

It's enjoyable, and recommended, but not one of their best offerings.

 897 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured an orangey-brass, similar to their saison with a frothy, thin, bubbly covered head resting atop. Visible carbonation was slow and steady, following a slow leisure pace in single file fashion. Retention was short, dissipating in the first minute lapsing to a pathchy covering.

S: Tangerines on the nose are mixed with some Belgian candy sweetness. The hop strength was well refrained with only some spiciness peeking out at times, but really made you work for it.

T: Sweet, dry and alcohol fueled probably best sums this up, perhaps a bit more so then its 7.5% label leads to believe. Things are wrapped up by some dry tropical fruitiness, oranges, Belgian candy sugar and a bit of dry but spicy citra hops.

M: Lax mouthful with only the slightest indication of effervesce. Some spiciness on the fade and swallow of dry oranges and some alcohol mentions.

D: Alcohol seems to be or at least appear to be, a bit higher then advertised, finishing with a dry bite and feel. Definitely worth a gander on your next visit but wouldnt make a special trip.

 1,071 characters

Photo of akorsak
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A corked and caged 750 mL bottle that I picked up at the Lancaster restaurant.

A: The ale is very duvel-esque, a pale straw color, not too terribly light, with a crystal clear body. A finger of head has left patches of lace.

S: Candi sugars and pale malts drive the nose, with spices and mild hoppiness along for the ride.

T: The first sip is a bit of a letdown, sweet but not too powerful or deep. Candi sugars mix with anise to create a pungent flavor. Citrus flavors, orange in particular, come through with a sweetness that nearly overpowers. Pepper adds a redeeming flourish near the end of the sip but overall the flavor remains flat and unpleasant.

M: The mouthfeel has it moments, times when the flavor coalesces into a solid Belgian ale. Most of the time though it won't get its act together, too bad.

D: Pretty hefty for a mediocre brew.

 852 characters

Photo of buzzy
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of mikesgroove
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I received this one as part of a random box the other week. Not sure why I decided to grab it out of the fridge last night, but just went ahead with it. Served chilled into an oversized wine glass, this one was consumed on 12/27/2009.
The pour was bright, very hazy and cloudy with a golden hay color to it. Large head of white then rose up and over the top, settling down gently but not before depositing a good bit of lacing down the sides of the glass which stayed with it throughout the session. In addition there were very active streams of carbonation that were rippling up towards the surface throughout, giving it a very carbonated and very lively look to it. Aroma is light, hints of pears, light tart apples and loads of grape skins coming at me all at once. Warming brings out light grain notes as well as a nice touch of light grass. Flavor is light, very tight and well put together. Tons of carbonation here as it bubbles up towards the surface, pricking the tongue and rushing across the palate with loads of fine bubbles. Crisp and clean with a nice balance between grainy flavors and light tart fruit notes. Nice dry finish with no hint of ABV at all.
Overall a very solid, and very drinkable Belgian. Reminds me of Duvel at times, but other times just a nice, lightly tart pale ale. Was very enjoyable with dinner and would not mind seeing this one come around again.

 1,395 characters

Photo of weeare138
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

At the Philly BA Gathering...
Appears a hazy gold with a small white head and tiny bits of lacing left around the glass.
Smell is of sugary candy sugar, orange peel, with hints of vanilla, caramel, and clove coming through with the Belgian yeast.
Taste is a sugary blast of Belgian yeast with subtle fruit and apple flavors swirling around.
Mouthfeel is mildly thin, with the candy sugar, and orange peel hanging on and making for a dry finish.

 448 characters

Photo of kernalklink
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great brew on reserve at the Wilmington location. Poured a light cloudy orange with some yeasty haze, and a bubbly head. Great aromas- fruity belgian yeasts, slightly spicy notes and a good amount of malt. Not as overpowering as pure euro strong ales in the fruity characters, but the sweetness is definately there. Nice spice characteristics, warming allspice and alcoholic vanilla. Very light bodied, making it too easy to drink a growler by yourself. Great stuff.

 466 characters

Photo of woodychandler
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

For a long time, the only way to get Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant beers for takeaway were to fill growlers or buy their massive corked & caged bottles, neither of which were CANducive to my purposes. I am glad to see them beginning to make the CANsition over to CANs & it will be even better if they get a Crowler machine in there.

From the CAN: "A golden Belgian-style ale. Its complex flavors and dry finish are accented by a nose of tropical fruit and dry spice." The label seems inCANgruous since the beer is named for Eddie "The Cannibal" Merycx, a Belgian bicyclist and has nothing to do with scuba diving.

The Crack! produced a light spray across my fingertips and since it came in a pounder 16-fl. oz. CAN, I did not feel like CANducting anything more than a gentle Glug. Once I had acCANplished this, I gave it a swirl to raise a finger of foamy, eggshell-white head with moderate retention. Color was Yellow-Gold (SRM = 4 - 5) with NE-quality, prompting a visit from The Gelt Gang of Mammon, Croesus & Midas. Nose was both fruity and musty. It smelled of bananas, tangerines and toasted coconut along with a bundle of old newspapers found up in the attic after many years. Hmmm. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, but the low carbonation made it seem kind of thick and full on the tongue. The taste was an odd admixture of banana, pineapple, tangerine & coconut along with that yeast-driven mustiness that I caught on the nose. It wasn't bad, per se, just very different from what I both expected & remembered. I am sure that I had it on-tap at one point over the years. Finish was very dry, thanks to the yeast having really done its job. Phew! That may be my last for the evening.

 1,691 characters

Photo of Biscuit033
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Hazy golden with minimal head that falls to a ring atop the beer and spotty lacing.

S: Sweet and yeasty in the nose with a bit of pepper and orange peel.

T: Pepper and spices, candied orange peel, and some slight yeasty funk and a bit of tartness.

M: A little effervescent tingle with a crisp dry finish.

D: Better than average drinkability but not much. The alcohol is well hidden, however. This is something that I would like to see get oaked.

 452 characters

Photo of Deuane
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to vickster529 and sholland119 for a 750 ml of this. I have been sitting on it for a little while.

A-Bright, clear, golden yellow with a thin white head. Head hangs on fairly well and leaves some spotty lace.

S-Sharp and spicy yeast notes with hints of black pepper and cedar. Light notes of orange rind and sweet biscuit malt.

T-Blast of spicy Belgian yeast that comes of rather peppery. Pleasant backing of bitter, citrus orange rind and lightly sweet honey malt. Not overly complex but the flavours work well together.

M-Medium-light bodied, quite crisp and dry. Spicy notes linger on and on.

D-A totally solid, light, dry and crisp Belgian spice bomb. A very refreshing and drinkable brew. Will certainly seek this one out again.

 745 characters

Photo of QueerBeer
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of brentk56
3.66/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy honey color with a massive head that would stand up to any Belgian; foams clumps all around the tulip

Smell: Bready malt and peppery spice, with undertones of horseblanket and candi sugar

Taste: Crusty bread, with a growing spicy yeast character that adds herbacious bitterness by mid-palate, along with a pear and tart apple fruity element; after the swallow, the herbal, peppery flavors dominate, along with some fusel alcohol in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation; really captures the Belgian mouthfeel

Drinkability: There is a lot to like about this BSPA, but I have a quibble with the fusel alcohol and herbacious character that doesn't quite cut it for me

Thanks, Hophead101, for the opportunity

 767 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Paul Rutheford for the chance to taste this fine ale, shared w/ tenderbranson69. Decanted chilled into a tulip

A - Appears like pear nectar w/ a spacious 2 finger cap of white. The lacing is thick and clings generously. The bead that is present after the head recedes is very fine like a pin point. The haze of the ale is attractive under the light w/ golden hues

S - A fragrant Belgian yeast and malt odor w/ gentle spice and an alcoholic aroma w/ crisp fruit notes

M- Very mild malt and crisp carbonation w/ accent on spice and the booze in the feel that adds a bit of complexity to the dry malt texture

T- Very fresh and tantalizing spice and malt flavors. The yeast contributes a great deal to this w/ hints of pear and citrus w/ spice note that is peppery like dried coriander and a hint of woody hops and gentle funk w/ nutty grainy malt tingers and slightly twiggy in the hop flavor.

D - A very delicious and full flavored Belgian strong Pale, full of complex flavors. I enjoyed the dry aspect and felt this was very well made. Thanks again to Paul from Iron Hill for the gift of good ale. I enjoyed every sip, I can't wait to try this again.

 1,165 characters

Photo of sholland119
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the West Chester location.

A-Pours a very clear golden yellow, with a bit of daffodil or goldenrod. Thin white head. A deeper yellow than I am used to for the style but not a bad thing.

S-Strong notes of Belgian yeast and spices along with some orangey citrus notes. Very appealing.

T-A delicious beer. Lots of Belgian yeast and spice, a bit peppery and citrusy. Nicely complex.

M-Crisp and a bit dry.

D-Served in a 10oz. glass, I would certainly enjoy more than one of these. We will head back to grab some more, and some bottles when they are ready.

IH-West Chester does a very nice job on Belgians generally. While the Saison won GABF gold this year (and is very nice), this one is my favorite offering.


 726 characters

Photo of JAXSON
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle, pours a straw gold with a large, rocky head. Nose is first of a sweet tripel, bready, yeasty, sweet light pear, green melon. Nicely tight and attenuated in the mouth. Surprisingly dry which is very pleasant. Still lots of pear and green melon, bread crust. Maybe a touch of oxidation in the back. This is not my favorite style at all but it's pretty nice.

 370 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage bottle (I believe); Sampled August 2010
A steady pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a four-finger thick, pale, off-white colored head. The beer is a light honey color that shows a brilliantly clear, madly bubble filled, pale gold hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of green apples, pear, cracker like malt in the finish and once you start digging around a very interesting, vibrant fruit character that reminds me of orange soda, and exactly like orange soda.

The taste is pretty dry, in fact definitely dry and it has a fizzy, carbonic texture that certainly helps this perception. A soft, cracker like grain character is found in the middle and is joined by a suggesting of pale malt character that is not quite sweetness, but sort of there. The beer has a fairly light body, especially for its strength, but doesn't seem to quite achieve the light bodied character of Duvel; this is still quite quaffable though. There is a touch of fruitiness to the flavor, but nothing like the levels that were noticeable in the nose. There is a touch of dusty grain character in the finish, that might be the only real sign of age at this point, though there is perhaps a touch of a boost to the malt complexity found in this beer, both of these are slight though and this beer is certainly holding up quite well.

A solid example in the Duvel style; there is not anything new or exciting about this, but if I was in the mood for a Duvel'ish beer I could definitely see considering this instead of a Duvel (for varieties sake).

 1,548 characters

Photo of Texasfan549
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of JamesGrove
3.51/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Knapp85
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cannibal was the reason why I took a trip to Iron Hill, I wanted to get a bottle of this really bad and managed to get one to bring home. The cork exploded out of the neck seconds after the first few twisted of the cage. The beer erupted with foam and I began poured out into glasses immediately. The head was massive white and very foamy. The smell of the beer had some nice fruity spice aromas along with some Belgian yeast. The taste of the beer was floral, a little hoppy, some nice vanilla flavors in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel was smooth and soft to drink. Overall I found it to be very good. Definitely worth having again!

 632 characters

Photo of Durandal_777
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of rolltide8425
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Tucquan
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2016-09-23 in Lancaster, PA at the brew pub.

Very tasty. Somewhat like La Fin Du Monde with less alcohol. Worth seeking out.

139 characters

Photo of dtivp
3.03/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled this beer last year at the Ommegang Belgium Beerfest and really enjoyed it. So I was happy to obtain a bottle, however, my second tasting of the beer was not as enjoyable as the first.

Appearance: hazy golden color, nice white head which
dissipated quickly, some lacing.

Smell: malt with some citrus fruit with some spice

Taste: slight orange, pepper and malt.

Mouth feel: lots of carbonation, crisp and a little dry

Drinkability: OK, Iron Hill does have better selections

 487 characters

Photo of BeerThursdays
4/5  rDev +5.5%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
The Cannibal from Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
3.79 out of 5 based on 28 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.