Hopback Amber Ale | Tröegs Brewing Company

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Hopback Amber AleHopback Amber Ale
Very Good
3,118 Ratings
Hopback Amber AleHopback Amber Ale

Brewed by:
Tröegs Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Standing 12 ft. tall at the center of the brew deck is our HopBack vessel; here, whole flower hops swirl in hot wort coaxing hop oil into aromas of grapefruit pith and pinesap. This bright hop nose is counterbalanced with malt tones of toffee and Caramel.

Hops: Cascade, Willamette, Nugget, Crystal

55 IBU

Added by Maestro on 09-29-2002

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,118 |  Reviews: 1,176
Photo of msubulldog25
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. brown bottle, 'BOTTLED 041311' on the neck. Uncapped then poured to a pint. One of several 'favorite' bottles from various area brewers sent by BA benetoh ~ thanks, Ben.

A: Pours very clear and epitomizes 'amber', a vague rosy glow. Decent carbonation, steadily rising and spaced regularly, refreshing a wispy ivory head (barely a half-finger at its apex). Undulating ribbons of drippy lace are a big plus, fracturing into fading freckles.

S: Baked bread, a bit like pretzel dough. Sweeter fumes and a dash of herbal hops lend aroma notes that could start or finish a meal (green salad or dessert). Not so bold, just pleasant to inhale between sips.

T: Nutty and caramel-ly base with a fair covering of grassy hops. Something like 'tropical fruit' (melon, mango?) at times, then hops tug the reins and pull it back in line. Dry bread crust and a bounty of cereal graininess. Grows more complex given time to ruminate.

M: Smooth feel, soft carbonation, almost silky. Medium-light body. A little lip-smacking maltiness prolongs the finish.

O: Generally, both likeable and easy-drinking... seemingly session-worthy despite a 6% abv . Not doing back-flips over this (nor do I usually for this style), but it's a nice version and it disappeared *remarkably* quickly.

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Photo of obywan59
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours crystal clear with a pale tan 2 1/2 finger head that leaves some thick lacing. Coppery-orange in color.

A very fresh grassy/herbal aroma upfront. Superb hop presence. As it warms, I get light metallics and later a sweet caramel malt aroma develops.

Sweet malt leads off, followed by the tart bitterness of the hops.

Surprisingly sticky for the clarity and the medium-light feel.

A good brew. It feels more substantial than it looks

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap from a 16oz plastic cup last night at Sovereign Bank Stadium (PA Road Warriors Vs. York Revolution). I’ve had this beer before from a 12 oz. bottle, but it was a few months beyond the best-by date (as with many craft beers from the local distributors here).

Look: Deep copper with a resiny appearance as it swirled in the glass (plastic cup). Head was present but dissolved within a few minutes. Lacing was nice and consistent.

Smell: Noticed some sweeter malts at first – then became more hop-forward as it sat (almost like an IPA).

Taste: A sticky mount feel with the malts hitting the tongue first. Hops followed with some citrus bitterness to balance with the initial malts. Finish seemed to maintain the bitterness. I found this to be unusual for an amber ale. But it was nice.

This is a solid beer that follows suit with other Tröegs beers I’ve had. The extra hoppiness was certainly a bonus here. I noticed the same surprise in Tröegs’ Pale Ale.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Viva Bistro last night, poured into a standard 16 ounce pint glass. I can't believe I've never had this beer before but now seemed like better than ever to give it a go.

A: Clear and deep amber colored body with some hues of golden brown. A pretty creamy white head faded quickly but left some great retention and some awesome, sticky lacing.

S: The caramel malt base to this beer is most evident initially. Sweeter brown sugar and some citrus hop notes come through also. A slight pine fragrance also displays but nothing really stands out or on it's own in terms of flavors.

T: Once again, a sweet caramel malt foundation is laid and this time really allows the flavors to showcase. An initial juicy pineapple flavor came through, followed by a very sappy note. The bready malt comes back again to cleanse everything, leaving it quite crisp and flavorful in the finish.

M: Crisp, medium-bodied, carbonation is spot-on. A very nice a refreshing Amber Ale.

The Hopback appears to be a cousin to Nugget Nectar, not as hoppy or citrusy yet extremely delicious. For being a basic Amber Ale, this is very well done.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at the ark in point. somehow i haven't reviewed this.

Pours a clear amber color with some burnt golden hues. A fairly thick white head fades into spotty film with layers of ringed lacing on the glass while drinking.

Solid hop presence with sweet caramel and solid malted base. Citrus and bitterness as well.

Punch of juicy hops right up front with citrus. Slightly bitter before the malt backbone kicks in. Bready with caramel notes, but very smooth and soft from top to bottom. Sweetness with some fruity notes, finishes with a nice splash of bitter hops.

Medium body, nicely carbonated, sticky and bitter on the tongue. Drinks really well, sessionable at 6% (IMO), and an excellent balance of malt and hops. This was one of my favorite beers when I first got into craft and it remains today.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a crimson hue with pretty burnt orange highlights. The head is small but the lacing it leaves behind is quite attractive.

S-Nose is surprisingly lighter than I would have expected. Behind the sweet malts is some pleasant pine and floral aromas. Not very impressed by the nose but the taste is always the most important aspect of the beer.

T-The flavor is better than the nose. Piney bitterness and floral hoppiness play well with the deep malty sweetness. The bitter aftertaste lasts for quite a while. I get a tea-like flavor as well which is pleasant. The beer is balanced and flavored well.

M-Lighter side of a medium body. Carbonation is vibrant. Slightly resinous.

O/D-Pretty good. I would consider buying another 6 pack. Maybe a bit fresher would make this one come to life on the palate more. But I love the style, and I love Troegs. No Nugget Nectar, but that goes for most beers. Happy with the results.

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Photo of derekmorris7
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Medium amber with thick, dens off white head that sticks to the sides. Citrus hop aroma. Medium sweet maltiness that finishes well with a spicy floral hop bite (but not a huge hop bite). Bit heavier mouthfeel. I had to give this a lower drinkability due to the malty heaviness. That's not a bad characteristic but I would have a hard time with more than two of these.

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Photo of richkrull
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this one in N00b BIF 4 from Crabbicuss. Thanks a lot!

Poured an orangish amber color with quite a bit of off-white head on it.

Smell was mostly caramel malts. Not much hops coming through for me.

Taste was sweet and malty. Maybe a hint of spice upfront.

Mouthfeel was fairly light. This was a pretty refreshing beer, went down smooth.

Overall a very good amber. I enjoyed it and would drink it again.

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Photo of dball
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Troegs is a dependable brewery and this is a consistently good beer. It is a bright amber color. I would not call this a red ale at all. It is an amber that has a strong hop character but not overwhelming in IBUs and is not bitter. It also has a musky hint in the feel and flavor that I like very much. It smells lovely with a hint of blooming flowers and has a unique thing about it that makes me keep coming back. Maybe it's a pinch of spice or something....

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Photo of psuKinger
3.81/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from my own 1/6 barrel keg, poured into a standard curved pint glass. I like this beer enough to buy it by the sixtel again-and-again, so I know going in that this will review pretty well.

A: A really nice reddish-orange hue that is barely translucent, with a thick creamy off-white head on top, that has formed those big "pancake batter" type bubbles on top that I like.

S: Earthy smells and some cotton-candy malt sweetness dominate the nose, with the underlying smell of hops.

T: The hops are more present in the taste than the were in the nose, but still not overpowering. This is a wonderfully balanced, easy-drinkin Ale. Light and creamy with good carbonation that moves towards a strong malt backbone before finishing with a hop bitterness (mild grapefruit) that come in to help balance the sweetness out. This beer is weighing a touch on the sweet side right now, just off of center for what I believe is it's norm... probably a sign that it's not quite as fresh as it should be. I've had problems with kegs from Vecenie not being at optimal freshness in the past, and I think they've done it to me again here.

M: Light, creamy, and bubbly, and finishes with a good mouth-coating of sweetness and hops.

D: Quite drinkable. This is a balanced, smooth, ale with a lot of flavor, none of which is "overwhelming". Very repeatable.

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Photo of wcintula
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled the 119th day of 2011 is what I got from the bottle stamp.

I have to say the first thing I noticed about this beer that really grabbed me was the temperature at which it was served. 'Bullshots' in Bay Ridge did well to keep their coolers a bit on the higher side.

Poured into a tumbler, the beer has a reddish/amber body with an off-white/ecru colored head, about a finger deep that descends pretty quickly. Decent lacing on the glass. Very sweet smelling with a good, but not overwhelming hop smell. There's a caramel-like sweetness in the malt and is very supportive to the hop-flavor in the beer. Well balanced on the sweeter side if that's not too contradictory for you. Velvety mouthfeel with a well hidden ABV. Easy drinking, especially at the perfect serving temperature. Love.

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Photo of ash111
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a few of these the other day from the bottle, so I can't say anything about the appearance. Troegs calls this their signature beer, and I'd agree. I've had several beers from Troegs, and I've liked them all.

Hopback was refreshing, easy to drink and delicious. I'm looking forward to trying it poured into a pint glass so I can ge more aroma from it, but I would recommend it to anyone.

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Photo of phiberoptik
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep rich amber with a small finger or so of light head.

Clear hoppiness in the nose along with some caramel maltiness and slight yeasty aroma as well. Smells nice and sweet and the hops give it a nice citrus touch.

The taste is a little more on the malt and yeast side. I get a hint of the spiciness the label talks about but nothing profound. The hops are more subdued in the taste than the nose. Just a touch of bitterness in the finish.

It has a nice smoothness across the tongue with a hint off resinous character coating the tongue. A nice beer to stake your name on.. oh wait, they do!

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Photo of Groomsy
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into Sam Adams Perfect Pint. Neck of bottle is marked, "Bottled 041311." Purchased as a single for $2.09 at Ozzy's in Waverly, OH.

Appearance: The body is a deep, rich amber color with faint hints of gold when held to the light. It's topped by a two-finger head of frothy beige-colored head, slowly fading to a complete cap of foam. Steady and persistent carbonation bubbles rise to the top of the body, and as the beer is consumed, it leaves loose, fractured lacing behind. Great looking beer, though I would have liked a little more lacing.

Smell: Citrus, pine, and floral scents from the hops, all very well balanced with each other. A little bit of tropical fruit emerges. Almost smells like an IPA. Some sugary caramel malt provides a sturdy backing to the hops. An excellent nose on this beer - this should the standard for amber ales, in my opinion.

Taste: Some caramel malt sweetness hits the front of the tongue - the malt profile of this is much sweeter than I anticipated on the nose. This sweetness is followed by a quick flash of grapefruit, some tropical fruit, and a little bit of pine on the way down. The finish brings out some spicy and floral flavors balanced by some bready notes from the malt. Clean finish and a very balanced beer. A layered and complex hop character is what makes this beer great to me, and the caramel sweetness on its own is delectable.

Mouthfeel: Exceptional. Smooth and creamy with a low carbonation kick, so the drinkability here is through the roof. Moderately drying finish with lingering grassy/floral flavors. The beer is on the heavier side of medium bodied, which makes it very drinkable for the fall and winter months.

Overall: Wish I had gotten a hold of this sooner, this is really great. This is the type of beer I can see having in my fridge on a regular basis. Fairly low ABV, fantastic flavor, and great drinkability. A winner, in my book. Excellent balance.

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Photo of sethmeister
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

120z bottle marked "bottled 042811"

Clear copper body with a touch of ruby. An aggressive pour raises two fingers of cream colored head which sinks fast and leaves streaks of lace.

Scent is primarily caramel with a fruity note that wafts. Some fresh warm bread notes.

Taste is first spicy hops, then pine resin. Slightly sweet / fruity. Earthy, peppery notes. A hint of bitter tea. Toffee and caramel malt base.

Mouthfeel is oily with some weight to it. Low carbonation - just enough.

Drinkability is good.

This is a very satisfying amber with a spicy hop profile and substantial mouthfeel.

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Photo of betsona
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams' Perfect Pint. Best had by August 2011.

A- Pours a clear dark copper color with a finger worth of slightly off white head. Head dissipated into a few blobs of circular pools. Minimal fractured lacing on the glass.

S- Has a mixture of sweet caramel malt with some grassy and citrus hops. Nothing overpowering about this one with nothing off putting.

T- Bunch of mild malt flavors upfront: toffee and some caramel sweetness. Mid taste a mixture of more dominant grass hops with some citrus orange notes. Extremely balanced beer that doesn't have a single dominant flavor, which leads to an easy drink, but doesn't make it all that memorable.

M- Little heavier than I expected at a medium body with just enough carbonation. It wasn't that crisp, leaving a lot of lingering heaviness on the palate. A none distinct malt lingers.

O- This is still a good beer. Maybe I had a slightly subpar bottle, but it was still an enjoyable drink. It sits heavy on the palate which hurts the drinkability. It is so well balanced it might actually detract from its flavor profile. Very drinkable.

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Photo of WSB
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a nice dark, healthy looking amber, as the name suggests. Two fingers of nice thick white head form, but dissipate quickly, leaving a thin lacing that grabs the glass.

Smell is modest- malt, slight hops.

Mouthfeel is exceptional! This beer is smooth, silky, creamy. Not expected, and awesome. Warmness from the spicy hops tops it off perfectly.

Taste is great- warm, malty sweetness from the caramel malt is balanced off beautifully by the hops, but its not overpowered of bitter. Finish is smooth.

I freaking loved this brew.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brew poured out as a clean crisp looking amber color with a thin cream colored head. The smell of the beer is hoppy and slightly sweet. It's a good mix of citrus and sugar. The taste is about half the hoppiness of the Nugget Nectar. This is a more standard drinking beer for a more common drinker. Regardless it's still got a good flavor to it and it's a quality Amber Ale for sure. The mouthfeel is carbonated, and medium bodied. Overall I'd prefer the Nugget Nectar but this is a pretty decent alternative.

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Photo of ONUMello
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep red-amber. One-finger quickly dissipating head.

S: Initially citrus aromas, with caramel undertones.

T: Caramel backbone with distinct citrus hop notes, but everything is very well integrated and balanced.

M: This is surprisingly mellow and smooth. I was expecting more bitterness given how pronounced the hops are, but like the taste, everything is extremely balanced. Very enjoyable to sip.

O: This is a very nice beer. Nothing is overpowering, and between the caramel malt but distinct but not overpowering hops, this has something everyone can enjoy.

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Photo of greybeardloon
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on April 8, 2011.

A: Very dark, clear amber with a thin head that fades quickly leaving very little lacing.

S: Caramel with faint, piney hops.

T: Caramel maltiness with some fruity and faintly piney hops and a quick, mild bitterness on the aftertaste. The hops are pretty subdued and very well integrated with the malt. The flavors meld nicely, but the beer is still fairly sweet, especially as it warms. The hops are far less prominent than the name and label art suggest.

M: Creamy, with nicely prickly carbonation.

O: The sweetness impedes drinkabilty, although the maltiness pairs well with spicy food. I would be interested in trying this beer when fresher, even though I wouldn't expect a beer billed as an amber ale to pass its prime in slightly over than a month.

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Photo of jayhawk73
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- A medium brown w/ crimson orange highlights. Nice one finger off white/caramel head that quickly disappears into a sliver. Carbonation and lacing are average. Darker than I was expecting, but pleasantly surprised.

S- Smell is that of hops, fruit, w/ a big whiff of malt and some sweetness. Very nice blend to the nose, and I almost want to give it a 4.5.... Not quite though. Sugared fruit is the real sweet smell.

T- Very similar to that of the nose, although the sweetness is much more subdued. Big time malt flavor on this one, although not overpowering- fairly balanced flavors w/ all work together to make for a tasty Amber Ale. This is a little darker than I anticipated, but it's a good one. Troegs makes some tasty beer.

M- This one is fairly dry, and smooth as well. Very sessionable, and very easy on the palate. Very nice sweet/hop aftertaste that's fairly mild.

O- Troegs never disappoints me, and this is another example of a really good beer out of their brewery. Highly recommended for anyone who is a fan of the style.

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Photo of stevenstofen
3.71/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A superb amber-reddish color; it's a very beautiful beer. Only has about a 1/4 of an inch head which dissipates rather quickly. Very little lacing.

S: Has a slight caramel scent to it. Also, it has traces of pine when you just pour it out of the bottle and the head is still prominent.

T: Has a good bitterness to it from the hops, but the caramel is also somewhat noticeable throughout the experience - especially in the after taste.

M: Light to medium bodied. It gives a pleasant "tickle" from the carbonation even though there is little to no head left a few minutes into the indulgence.

O: Overall it is a pretty good beer. I think I was expecting too much after having Troegs Nugget Nectar (one of my favorites) but this was a pretty good substitute. A very different flavor than the NN - but enjoyable nonetheless.

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Photo of BuxMontBeerLover
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle was part of a Troegs Variety Case.

Printed on the carton: Best if enjoyed by August 11, 2011

Enjoyed in a DFH Signature Glass.

A - Pours a semi-translucent deep amber-reddish color. A very slight head upon the initial pour which didn't last very long. Lots of carbonation bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass. Spotty lacing left on the side of the glass.

S - A semi-sweet malty, caramel like aroma. Not overpowering.

T - A rather malty beer with a good bite from the hops. A sweet background that taste like burnt caramel. There is a bitter aftertaste but is not overpowering. The alcohol is barely noticeable.

M - A rather carbonated, tingly mouthfeel. A thinnish to medium consistency.

O - A decent beer. This is a great beer for those that love the maltiness along with a nice hop bitterness. A very sessionable beer. Enjoyable. My first beer from Troegs and was impressed.


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Photo of bubseymour
3.86/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a very sessionable well balanced beer with good flavoring yet not over the top. Copper clear color with 2 finger head. Perhaps the one I bought wasn't fress as I didn't notice much hop aromas but the taste was a nice blend of hop, spice, pine notes. This tastes like it would be a great beer to pair with seafood or New England style cuisine. I had it with Chinese and it held its own, but I really could picture myself drinking this beer in a rustic raw bar somewhere downing some mussels, clam chowder or oysters with it. Troegs makes another fine product.

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Photo of ReelBigwigFish
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle in my 12 variety pack. Dated 4/21/11.

A: Dark amber/copper color, very clean looking. A frothy cream colored head formed and seems to be coating the side of the glass with heaps of lace.

S: Smells of a bouquet of hops, dry citrus, floral, sweet fruit, and a little pine. Sweet caramel malts in there too.

T: A very balanced flavor of hops and malt. Sweet malts hit you first with the hops kind of flowering in your mouth after a second or two. The hops have a bit of dryness to them, but merely enough to add to the flavor rather than detract.

M: A light-medium body that seems a bit thin at first but finishes on the creamy side. Very sessionable.

O: Aside from Troegs Nugget Nectar which is basically the exponent of this beer, Hopback is one of the best versions of an amber ale I've had. Nothing over the top, but enough ingredients to really bring out the flavor.

On a side note, I'm really glad I got this fresh; I had a chance to taste this at beerfest in AC and I could tell they were serving a very old batch of hopback. It was completely lacking hop flavor and almost skunky.

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Hopback Amber Ale from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.97 out of 5 with 3,118 ratings