Copperhead Pale Ale | Free State Brewing Co.

very good
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: 235
Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Orange-red and clear with a fair head and decent lacing. Very pretty color.

Quite fruity with plenty of hops to go around. Floral and citrus mix well with a dash of great caramel malts. Smells and tastes really nice, I'm liking this beer.

Body was wonderful, great tang from the perfect carbonation and a lightly sweet and fruity aftertaste.

This is a really nice beer. I'd love to get this one in sixers.

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Photo of DelMontiac
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
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 fltmedic
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 12 oz bottle to my favorite mug pours the Copperhead Pale Ale. A fluffy off white head forms up to about 2 fingers and a nice collar hangs on for quite a while. The color is an orangy amber and I can see lots of tiny bubbles rising throughout.

The nose is light with floral and citrus notes. There is a nice orange juice sweetness in the smell, but it is subtle and balances well.

The entry is a mouthful of hops, big and bold and complex. This holds through the body of the beer which has the orange zest that the nose hints at. The fade is all bitter hops but not so much that you forget the body of the beer.

The feel is medium body but crisp and the carbonation comes through at the end. It seems similar to may ambers in feel.

Overall this is a good dinner beer. Since I am not a big IPA fan, this probably won't become my beer of choice. But it is definitely worth keeping on hand for hophead friends or a change of pace.

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Photo of mvforegonian
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
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 Bitterbill
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
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 Monkeyknife
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a clear copper-gold with two fingers of large-bubbled white head with no lacing left behind.

Aroma of tangerine and grapefruit hops and sweet caramel malts.

Nice citrus taste of tangerine and grapefruit along with a sweet caramel maltiness for a good balance. Bitter bite to the finish.

Lighter bodied and wet with a moderate carbonation.

A nice American IPA from Free State. I'll try to grab more next time and will try to find it on-tap.

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a muddy amber with a thin off white head.

Caramel malt and American hops form a rather standard APA aroma.

Malty sweetness offers a caramel feel that is balanced by medium hop bitterness. Hop flavor extends to the dry finish with notes of citrus, pine, maybe a little mint.

Medium to full bodied.

Interesting malt profile, but other than that Copperhead does little to distinguish itself from the sea of American Pale Ales. I see that BA and Free State call this an American IPA. I don't see it. My experience here seems at odds with other BAs whose opinions I have come to respect. My bottle is right up against its best buy date, maybe this one just needs to be fresher. I'll be sure to try it again and report back.

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Photo of russpowell
4.02/5  rDev +5%
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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Photo of Kegatron
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass. This is from a selection of Free State Brewing beers send to me by JeepCop. Thanks Dale!

Pours a crystal clear copper, with a finger of bright-white head. This retains with more of a thin and fizzier looking layer that hangs tough and soaps the sides of the glass with rich spotty foam. The aroma is grassy, spicy, and bitter, with some green citric hop character. This is backed by some stiff smelling grainy malt but the hops really push the nose here with a fresh and moderately vibrant feel.

The taste is similar, with an assertive citric bite that spreads pithy bitterness and green fruit out into the mouth. This is well balanced by sweet toasted grains of the pale malts and a splash of caramel but the hops definitely control this, with bitter fruit stretching into the finish along with some light drying spice. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a crisp creamy bubbly feel that fills up the mouth with some presence but then remains slick on the backend and helps this staying relatively easy.

Nothing wrong with this at all. Just a flavorful and crisp IPA (although this one really kind of towed the line between that and an assertive APA) that kept the focus on the hops while still keeping this balanced and drinkable. Really nice stuff. I'd like to try this one on draft as well.

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Photo of jmvecchio1
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a bottle with a best by date of the 4th week of March.

Appearance is amber with a thick and rocky off-white head. The head retention is strong and hearty. The smell is a loud mix of sweet rich malts as well as earthy and piney hops (smells like the kitchen after a day of homebrewing). The beer tastes like smooth sweet malts up front, but you get the citrus hop punch on the swallow. Moments after the swallow, you get piney hop oils lingering on the tongue. The mouthfeel is medium with a pleasant amount carbonation. Even though the ABV is unreleased, it drinks like something around a 5% beer. For hop-heads, this is a beer worthy of looking up if you're in the Midwest.

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Photo of midwestbrewers
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
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 BigHeavy
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a slender Free State pint glass. Beer consumed shortly after pouring.

A: Beer pours a brilliant coppery red, just a beautiful looking color. A fairly vigorous pour yielded maybe a 1/2 head which disappeared within about 20 seconds. It is a perfectly clear beer which showcased some pretty aggressive carbonation.

S: Aroma is obviously hop forward, with a mix of some citrusy and piney varieties, though citrus dominates the nose. Faint caramel sweetness as the beer warmed a little.

T: Your tongue is smacked with the hops at first, but the taste is more piney than citrusy, the opposite of the aroma. After a brief onslaught of hops, some malty sweetness shines through which helps balance the beer out. Sweetness gives way to a dry finish and lingering hop bitterness. As it warms, the sweetness lingers a little longer. More of a balanced IPA (as balanced as one can be, almost). It runs you through a range of flavors in a hurry.

M: Effervescent, very bubbly. Carbonation helps spread the flavor around the mouth. A little more substantial than some other IPAs I have had recently.

D: Not quite as easy drinking as Single Wide, and the alcohol stared to creep up on me. Carbonation makes it easier to drink. Could easily go back to the fridge for a second, or maybe third.

O: An incredibly solid IPA from a local brewery. One of their original four in bottles, Free State has created a more balanced IPA which doesn't quite smack you with the hops as others do. Though I prefer it on tap at the brewpub, the bottles have a fairly regular home in my fridge.

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Photo of Soonami
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Based on taste and appearance, I would've thought that Copperhead Pale Ale from Free State would be an English Pale Ale, so I was of course very surprised to come on BA and find this listed as an AIPA (neck label on bottle calls it an "American Pale Ale"). This was a nice copper color with a bit of foam consisting of tiny bubbles. The beer had a bit of woody hop aroma and sweet malt that were both repeated in the taste. Furthermore, the hop flavor wasn't that sprucy, grapefruit, fruity west coast hops, but more of a minty, herbal, earthy English hop thing. Overall, this was a tasty beer, but definitely not up-to-snuff for an American IPA.

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Photo of capra12
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Special thanks to Matt for this extra, poured into a weyerbacher pint glass.

Appearance: this pours a 1 finger head with a clear and deep brown/copper. Minimal weblike and spotty lacing.

Smell: I get a bunch of caramel malts with a hint of grassy hops. A slight twinge of metallic comes and goes.

Taste: Opens with a mild floral hop along with a mild malt profile. A one dimensional American IPA, with a mildly hoppy after taste.

Mouthfeel: light bodied, medium carbonation with a slightly coarse

Drinkability: I would have this at a bar which serves BMC and there arent other choices. I recommend this to those seeking an amber with a mild hop profile.

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Photo of jaycount
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

In comparison to the Ad Astra, this beer was certainly more bitter but had alot more flavors alongside it, I couldn't put my finger on it but it seemed to have a light citrusy flavor, maybe oranges. Definitely a stronger, more bitter taste than the Ad Astra. Was delicious no less, a great one to alternate with the Ad Astra.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. On tap in August 2009.

Pours.a nice copper color with a white head and a pretty good dose of lacing. Nose is fairly strong notes of C-hops with a bit of caramel malt in the background. Taste is not quite as hopcentric and some more caramel comes through. Good body with nice bitterness. Drinks well and was my favorite of the day.

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Photo of bfields4
4.19/5  rDev +9.4%
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 crusian
2.88/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

bottle from awesome girlfriend from lawrence, actually. Pours a light amber color with litle head, but large bubbles, seems like it was force carbonated.
nose doesnt have much on it. bottle says best by 1-1 so I assume this is semi-fresh... but the hop presence seems to be faded or just was never really there to begin with.
taste tells me more of the same. it does have a bitter finish, but no real hop profile up front. taste is sweet and thin with some caramel malt character, but overall this isnt that great. This bird on the label is freakin me out a bit too... why is he so squat and fat? lol.
Oh, and the category is wrong, it is a pale ale, not an American IPA.

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Photo of klotzilla
5/5  rDev +30.5%
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 eclaycamp
4.1/5  rDev +7%
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 wnh
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
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 JEdmund
4.29/5  rDev +12%
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 COBeerBuff
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from one of the first bottles to roll off the line from their East Lawrence bottling line into a Free State pint glass...

Appearance: Pours a great clear orange amber with 2 fingers of head consisting mostly of larger bubbles. Pretty solid staying power, and tons of beautiful lacing as the glass goes down.

Smell: Amazing fresh cone hops hit the nose right off the bat. This is followed closely by heavy scents of citrus and grapefruit. Not much in the way of malty sweetness, but then, this beer was never about balance.

Taste: Tart citrus and hop bitterness are the names of this game. Definitely can pick up the floral notes from the C-hops in this beer. The malty sweetness that was absent in the nose makes its presence known on the backside of this beer. Definitely rounds the beer off nicely, and provides a nice counterpunch to the fruity flavors upfront.

Mouthfeel: Initially, this beer begins as a fairly crisp example of the style, but the pale ale malts on the backend make for a slightly sticky finish. Overall, the stickiness isn't off-putting, and this beer definitely causes you to take sip after sip.

Drinkability: The website lists this beer as having a higher level of alcohol, but to be honest, it's very well masked if it is there. This has been, and will continue to be, a very solid brew from Free State. When I'm looking for a drinkable IPA, Copperhead Pale Ale has now entered my stables of go-to beers. I'm stoked that their bottling line is up and running, and I'll no longer have to make the journey to Lawrence and Mass Street to sample their concoctions (but I probably still will).

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Photo of beertunes
3.36/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Consumed after a friends recent visit to Kansas. Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a great sharp copper color without much head, likely due to transportation reasons.

This brew had a sharp hop scent, with what smelled like a solid malt base. The flavors were just like the aromas, just fuller and expanded on.

Good solid body, typical for the style, and not heavy. A very drinkable beer if this were locally available to me it would be in my regular rotation of go-to brews.

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Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Thanks, jmueller216, for the chance to revisit

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Copperhead Pale Ale from Free State Brewing Co.
3.83 out of 5 based on 235 ratings.
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