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Copperhead Pale Ale | Free State Brewing Co.

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67 Reviews
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Copperhead Pale AleCopperhead Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Free State Brewing Co.
Kansas, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Silver Medal Winner 1997 World Beer Championships - India Pale Ales.

While walking through a field and enjoying a lazy summer evening, our head brewer Steve stepped on a stick that popped up and nicked his leg.

Or so he thought, until he found two puncture marks on his ankle. The copperhead bite may have caused a trip to the hospital for Steve, but it also provided just the inspiration he and Chuck needed to name their new beer – yep, one lowly snake in the grass is the namesake of one of our most popular beers.

53 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-16-2001

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Reviews: 67 | Ratings: 234
Photo of klotzilla
5/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

27 reviews and an A- overall rating testify to this beer's worthiness.

This is one of the marquee beers for Free State and it is always available on tap year-round.

It's a great American IPA. It reminds me of Samuel Smith's IPA from the UK, and that's high enough praise.

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Photo of mmthompson33
4.9/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The name says it all. It's unique copper color and strong hoppy aroma and taste give this beer a distinct personality. Nothing in a bottle is quite like a fresh Copperhead poured from a tap.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.47/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Warmly glowing coppery apricot. This is beautiful beer that is especially attractive because it's filling my genuine Free State logo pint glass. The toasted almond colored cap was never very large, but it's a looker. The upper surface is moonscape-like and is depositing some pretty impressive looking lace... that isn't as clingy as it first appeared to be.

The aroma's only real fault is its shyness. Maybe it will become more bold at the beer gains a few degrees (it does). The malty portion of the nose is nicely butter caramel-like. The hoppy portion features the citric, cheesy, weedy, citric qualities of Cascade more than the pure grapefruit pithiness of Centennial. Since I like them both, all is well.

Copperhead Pale Ale is a fantastic American IPA (APA? IPA?... doesn't matter). I was pretty sure it would be, which is why I brought home this growler. Only $6.25 for refills? Are you kidding me?! I know where I'd be most days if I lived in Lawrence. I'm amazed at how much better beer this is than the two Free State offerings that I had at the brewpub last week.

Again, buttery smooth caramel malt provides sweet, toffee-like flavors and keeps thing from being a pure hopfest. I normally like my IPAs to feature nothing other than hop flavors, but there are exceptions. This is one of those exceptions. The malt gives the beer a solid foundation and a depth that lesser versions lack.

Hops, of course, are the stars of this blockbuster of a show. The Cascade are still dominant and have been used to great effect, both in terms of flavor and bitterness. Caramel and pine sap-soaked grapefruit chunks, along with freshly zested lemons and oranges, give CPA a hop oily, resinous deliciousness that only truly fresh beer can manage.

I don't understand how this mouthfeel can be so superior to the mouthfeels on the rye beer and the oatmeal stout. A softer carbonation (cask) might have something to do with it. This may not be the biggest IPA on the block, but it's considerably creamy, supremely silky and lingeringly sticky. Sorry, I couldn't manage another alliteration on that last one.

Free State's Copperhead Pale Ale has exceeded the high hopes that I had when I decided to make it my one growler purchase. It's a fantastic IPA that I plan to savor over the rest of this rainy, dreary November Sunday. The only trouble is, I now feel the need to head back down to Kansas sooner rather than later. This stuff was well worth the trip.

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Photo of zeff80
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a nice amber color with a thick, tan, one-finger head. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass as I drank it down.

S - It smelled of grasses and hops. Also, a roasted malt aroma.

T - It had a good bitter hop flavor at first sip. The roasted maltiness was understated but clearly a presence. The hoppiness maintained its bitter bite throughout.

M - It was crisp and very sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - A very good beer. Possibly the finest regular brew at the Free State.

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Photo of beernut7
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color of deep copper under a light white lace. The bold aroma is significantly spicy. Hop heads would really enjoy this one. Right up front is the aggressive spicy hopping supported by a good malt backup. The hops definitely come out more than the sweetness, but the hops made it good.

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Photo of bditty187
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, coppery-tawny-gold in hue; the liquid was pleasant in appearance. It was served with almost two fingers of frothy off-white head. Head retention was excellent, a half finger cap lasted the entire consumption. There was a tremendous amount of subsequent, sticky lacing. On cask this Pale Ale looks great. It is eye candy for the beer fiend.

The nose is powerful with a hoppy blast that only cask beer can offer. It is citrusy-grapefruit and piney with a fruity underbelly. The malt backbone is solid; it supplies a toasty but soft caramel biscuit aroma. Solid potency. I found the bouquet to be very inviting.

The palate is the same wonderful combination as the nose. This Pale Ale is put together perfectly… it is a cask queen. The hops are assertive; they just jumped down my throat. They were bitter and flavorful with grapefruit rinds, orange zest, and pine needles/spruce bark. Yeast fruitiness. The belly is malty; caramel and toasty biscuits. The aftertaste is long and relaxing. This beer was so damn tasty on cask.

Medium in body, the cask-conditioning created a low but natural carbonation level and it produced a pliable and relaxing mouthfeel.

Drinkable? Yell yeah. I order two of these and I’m not sure I set my glass down. It was quaffed at the brewpub in Lawrence, KS. I wish this were on cask every time I went... this is a “must try” if you see this beer on cask. Yum.

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Photo of marc77
4.37/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Attractive clear copper color. Off white, soapy, yet persistent head leaves rough, frothy lace. Assertive, but clean citrusy Cascade nose dominates the aroma, with agreeable hints of pine sap secondary. Definitely dry - hopped. Token medium caramel malt sweetness with faint biscuit notes is offset by assertive, but clean hop bitterness. The carbonation is fairly high, leaving a slightly prickly mouthfeel. Sharp, but enjoyable grapefruit hop flavor is tapered by a firm, dextrinous malt backbone. The body is fairly light overall, but this adds to the drinkability of this brew. Finishes quite dry, crisp and lightly toffeeish. Copperhead is one tasty and well brewed APA, and certainly straddles the boundary between pales and IPAs. Unique, and certainly well crafted.

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Photo of damuraus
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An impressive deep amber, almost reddish hue. The nose was fruity with hops coming through. Taste of grapefruit at the front. The finish was smooth and while there was sufficient hops, there wasn't much bitterness at the end. Mouth feel was substantial enough to support all the flavors. A very pleasant quaff.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An ideal Pale in the middle of nowhere. Had with the Brewery's blackbean quesadilla. Perhaps not the best accompaniment, but it works.

Little head, which makes it drink easier. Just enough bite to notice, but not overwhelming. Same with a hint of malt. Just when you think its thin, it bodies up and gives a good aftertaste.

Taste is better if not served straight from their tap as they use freshly washed glasses (unchilled) which are warm. Get a growler and chill it for a day. You'll finish the bottle toot sweet.

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Photo of JEdmund
4.29/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Rusty amber, small head that settles quickly

S: Big spicy hop presence; familiar Free State quality that's hard to describe (house yeast?); some light biscuity malts and maybe a touch of honey. Very nice

T & M: Initial flavor is a balanced mix of hops and malts, but then the hops blast ahead and the beer finishes with a pronounced bitterness. They're calling it a pale ale, but its hop levels sure seem in IPA territory. The hop bill really works in this beer (Cascade, Columbus, Chinook): I'm getting primarily spicy and herbal qualities. The body is light-medium, further allowing those hops to shine. Finish is really crisp.

O: This is my favorite Free State mainstay, and I think a lot of other people's too. Only recently have they come out with some IPAs that I think are better. Definitely worth seeking out and trying. So nice to see these in bottles finally!

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of russpowell. Thanks Russ!

Best by the 4th week of June.

A nice golden amber coloured PA with a small head of foam and some lacing.

It has a pretty hoppy smell to it; lemon citrus, possibly a light nose of grapefruit, some malt comes through with a touch of a sweet note or 2.

The taste, well, is awesome. Very well balanced taste with both the malt and hops working pretty much perfectly together. Sweet, bitter, smooth throughout. Gawd, this is so good. Noticing a bit of pine now. Yum.

Medium bodied, carbonation on the lighter side of medium....very nice mouth feel and very damn drinkable. A hidden gem is what I have here. Thanks again, Russ!

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Photo of mvforegonian
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass

Oh Freestate your genius never ceases to quench my thirst. Hops all the way through to a lingering finish. Pours a beautiful dark golden with aromas of American hops done up right! This beer is wonderful both bottled and off tap.

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Photo of midwestbrewers
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: pours with a nice copper color and has a small one finger head

S: slightly citric with a malt note. Grapefruit almost

T: the taste is wonderful. Very hoppy but not too overpowering. Wonderful grapefruit taste and very smooth. Slight malty notes throughout, just enough to keep you satisfied.

At first glance, and review I thought this was just a pale ale. I'm not a big drinker of IPA's as they are just too bitter for me. I prefer not to not have my mouth abused by my beer. That being said, this is a perfect example of what I'm looking for in an IPA. I am astounded at the quality of this beer. It all goes so well together and doesn't overpower you in any one area. Goes great with spicy dishes, like gumbo or Mexican cuisine. I will buy this beer again. GREAT BEER FREESTATE!!!!

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Photo of bfields4
4.19/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very nice amber body. A frothy head fades fast.

Very pungent sweet citrus hops and rich caramel from the malt.

The taste provides a more floral hop bite, but the caramel and toffee dominate the taste. It was a little cold when I first started, but as it warms these flavors really start to pop. The malts flavors are more impressive than the hops.

A very nice smooth body. The hops provide a nice IPA bite, but the real quality of this beer is the smooth malty body. The carbonation is right on point. I'm so glad free state started bottling. Makes living in Kansas a little more bearable.

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Photo of brentk56
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a clear amber color and a sturdy head that sheets the pint glass with lace

Smell: Citrusy aroma with toasted malt undertones

Taste: Toasty up front, with a burst of citrusy and grainy bitterness that appears by mid-palate; after the swallow, the flavor profile is fruity with a balanced aftertaste of hop and malt flavors

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Refreshing and quaffable; a nicely balanced beer that clearly has wide appeal to those who have imbibed

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Photo of karst
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Although not as tasty as their Smoke Hille Ale - Copperhead has ample characteristics to reccomend it.

Pours a bright copper with white head and lace that persists on the Schlafly pint glass. Cascade dry hopping pays big dividends in this APA. Biscuit and Victory malts support the Cascade and Chinook bitterness and flavor. Tap version is much brighter in aroma and flavor and seems better balanced. Medium body and 2 atmosphere carbonation level makes this a showy brew with nice mouthfeel and drinkability. Higher carbonation may offset my objection to caramel sweetness that was a little overpowering in the growler.

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Photo of wnh
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Farmers Gastropub in Springfield, MO.

Pours a bright, clear copper, capped by a frothy off-white head.

First whiff tells me this isn't a simple pale ale. The nose is packed with citrus and pine resin, almost to the exclusion of anything else. Mouthwatering.

Citrus up front on the palate, but a strong undercurrent of caramel malt balances the hops a bit. Finish is bold and spicy. Tasty and drinkable, though hop bitterness slows things down a bit.

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Photo of jokelahoma
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one poured a new penny coper color, with a good substantive head that lasted the entire beer.

The aroma is quite nice. It's almost a fresh hop smell, pungent, biting, citrusy. Very good. There's little malt in the nose of this beer at all.

The taste is initially all hops. It's not all that bitter, but very big on hop flavor. The malt does come in to balance the beer after the initial taste, then slowly dies away, but the hoppiness never fades. Very good, clean hop flavors, too, not like licking the bottom of a lawnmower. There's no coarseness in this at all. Really very well done for an American IPA. Crisp, clean, refreshing, and not a macro. Whodathunkit?

The mouthfeel is a tad heavier than one may expect, but not so much so as to be distracting. Just... hearty, would be a good word, I think.

This is a well-made beer. Well worth seeking out, as are all the Free State offerings.

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Photo of Deuane
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Deep copper with a medium tan head. Head reduced to leave nice lacing.

S-Wonderful dry-hopped aroma with pungent citrus and pine scent blasting from the glass. A bit of roasty, sweet malt sneaks in behind the hops.

T-Sharp, bitter hop bite upfront. Roasty malt takes a backseat but is certainly present.

M-Medium body with a sharp, crisp feel. Very nice with lingering bitterness.

D - A very good beer, called a pale ale in house but this is certainly an American IPA. Sharp, crisp hop bite dominates and the dry-hopped aroma is wonderful. Nice job!

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Photo of eclaycamp
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle. Pours a bright orange with small amounds of head. The first thing I notice about this beer is the clarity - there's little to no cloudiness whatsoever. The aroma reminds me of slightly damp hay bales with some light cereal notes in the background. Has a lightly carbonated mouth texture, with a nice balance of hop bitterness and malt sweetness. I've been drawn back towards Pale Ales after spending the last several months chasing stronger and stronger IPAs; Copperhead is one of the better that I've had, even though it's technically in the IPA category. The taste hits you with a very sweet malt presence up front followed by a lemon peel and grapefruit lingering hop bitterness in the back. The entire process is quite clean and straightforward, though everything works very well together. It's actually quite good, especially for a Pale Ale.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed via the magical medium of a growler, coutesy of that gentleman, marc77...
Appearance: pure copper color, with a rustic reddish hue atop, and a thick, pale brownish head, soon simmering down to a tight, white ring.
Aroma: softy and distinctly malty, creamy, with toffeeish notes, hints of fruit, refined, restrained, and sophisticated.
On the palate, light and smooth, but fully loaded with flavor, rich, full and super-malty. Not too much from the hop department here, but the abscence is not missed so much when in the company of so much flavor as is in such abundant supply here. And in this sampling, I had a 64 0z. supply of flavor and never tired of it for a moment. The growler was empty before the morning broke!
Mild, mellow, smooth, but jam-packed with luscious taste! An excellent session ale, in my humble, and a Huge Thanks to Marc77 for allowing me the priveledge of trying it out!

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Photo of dreadnatty08
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Free State has rotating cask offerings, and they are always best bets. This is their standard pale ale, and the cask gives it a super mellowed carbonation, cloudy appearance and grassy, fruity flavor. Hops are not particular predominant as the brew goes down. Maltiness is more pronounced as with the pear-like finish. A beautiful brew to have with a meal as the flatness reduces fullness. Have yet to try on tap, but cask is just too hard to resist.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

906th Review on BA
Bottle to Pint
12 oz

Purchased at: On the Rocks, Lawrence, KS

App- A dark burnt orange with a nice fast receding head and had a small amount of cling. Such a great color to this one.

Smell- A big rich aromatic aroma of caramel malts with some softer citrus. A bit bitter.

Taste- This was a good pale. I forgot how much I liked this one off of a sampler a few years back. A good blend of caramel malts with some thicker citrus. A touch spicy and bitter.

Mouth- A medium body and a medium carbonation level. A bit thick citrus with some spicy caramel.

Drink- A pretty bigger taste with some good balance and finishing flavors. A little more bitter would have kicked this up a notch.

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Photo of DelMontiac
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle (best by 2nd week of October) into a pint glass.

Copperhead has a nice clear amber/copper color. A hasty pour produces a two finger off-white head that lingers then dwindles, but never leaves the scene. Good ammount of lace marks every gulp.

Aroma is reminescent of the IPAs of the Northwestern U.S. Great foral and citrus hops aromas over slightly sweet caramel and breadcrust.

Nice flavors from the Cascade and Centennial hops complimenting a mild caramel backbone and lightly toasted grains. Something in there grabs me as a bit lemony as well.

Near perfect feel with medium body. Nice balance.

Copperhead is a well balanced easy drinking American IPA. I'll definitely be a repeat customer as these guys make great brew at a reasonable price.

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Photo of russpowell
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

BBD of the 4th week of June

Pours amber/copper with 2 fingers of tan head. Good lacing & average head retention

S: Pineyness, floral notes, lemons & herbal hop, plus a touch of malt sweetness once warm, plus just a bit of sulphur

T: Herbal & piney hops, slight biscuitty malt up front, plus herbal hop bitterness, a touch of mineral/dryness. Pears apricot, mix with herbal & woody hops, plus dryness when warmed up. Finishes dry, crisp, with a touch of minerals, sulphur, pine & a touch of honey

MF: Medium bodied, crisp carbonation, great balance

I liked this better on draft, but will happily buy this again when I find myself in Kansas, which is at least a few times a year

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Copperhead Pale Ale from Free State Brewing Co.
3.84 out of 5 based on 234 ratings.
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