Hit The Trail Ale | Long Trail Brewing Co.

199 Ratings

Brewed by:
Long Trail Brewing Co.
Vermont, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hit the Trail is a deep amber ale with a rich and smooth flavor. Malty undertones of vanilla and caramel are kept in check by the addition of Northern Brewer hops.

24 IBU

Added by Jason on 12-31-2002

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 199 |  Reviews: 91
Photo of cooter
3.6/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Strong, strong smell and flavor of chocolate--specifically, milk chocolate with added sugar, like a candy bar. Also smells of crispness, slight hops, and evenhanded malts.

Tastes of that sugared milk chocolate. In fact, taste is just like the smell. Slight nuttiness, and the back end lacks some backbone--ie, some wateriness.

It looks beautiful, by the by, in that it laces amazingly and has solid smattering of foam: not a full covering, but a robust miniscus and a heavy dusting across the top. Fully off-white. Bubbles vary in size.

Very drinkable. Little aftertaste, and what does remain is a back-throated chocolaty, nutty, sugary enticement. Mouthfeel punches its carbonation quick, strong, and promptly exits stage left, leaving only pleasantries. The front is unassuming and calm.

For a beer, it's good. For an English brown, it's good (exemplifies quiet but smooth but tasty and pleasant characteristics). But it's not my preference when it comes to brown ales in general--I want more nutty, more complex chocolate, more of a transition of flavors (see my Ithaca Cascazilla review), and it needs just a little work on aftertaste and multidimensional flavor. How's that for a vague hippy review? Solid beer, excellent transition beer, beautiful artisanship, but needs depth. Hooray Beer!

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Photo of Suds
3.6/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a beautiful brown color that’s tinted with an amber-bronze tone. The head is a little shallow and unremarkable, but the appearance of the liquid is truly enticing. The smell of this beer grows on you as you work though the glass…toasted malt and grains come out in waves. There’s just a little hops, and a nut and bread-crust character that’s terrific. Caramel as well. It’s a fairly dry beer, with a nice balancing bitterness. There’s bit of metallic taste. The body is a little light, borderline watery. All in all, though, it’s a very enjoyable and drinkable brew.

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Photo of ColForbin
3.55/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My bottle of Hit the Trail Ale is dated 10/06/05, so it is perhaps a little past its prime. It pours a crystal clear brown with a tinge of red and a uniform white head. Aroma is some slight floral hops, along with some nutty and chocolatey flavors. Taste is nutty and malty and roasted. Finish is off-dry with some undefined bitterness. Mouthfeel is rather thin. Goes down easy, but a pretty unexceptional brew. Not to say that it is bad, but this is not my first choice among Long Trail's offerings.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.6/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured a medium amber color with moderrate white head that fell to a thin coating. Left very nice lacing on the side of the glass. Smell is toasty, carmelly, with some fruitiness also present. Taste is strong on malt with some more caramel showing through. Finished sweet and fruity. A good , easy to dring beer. Good example of an English Brown Ale.

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Photo of Gattopardo
3.46/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Thick frothy head with solid bubbly lacing that stays nicely present. Dark copper color with plenty of carbonation.

Smell: Light malt aroma.

Taste: Nutty flavor with just a touch of bitterness on the finish that rounds it out nicely. Hops flavor becomes more pronounced as it warms, creating a pleasant balance.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, leaves a pleasant sensation on the palate.

Drinkability: More of a nutty than a fruity brown ale, easy to drink but doesn’t leave one with much.

The bottle specifies that this beer is a northern English style brown, and as such is intended to be drier and hoppier than the southern variety, and this brand seems to fulfill those characteristics.

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Photo of Gavage
3.38/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Super crystal clear orange and light brown in color. Thick 2" head with big fluffy bubbles. Some spotty lacing develops. The aroma is extremely mild, as only some soft caramel is discernable. The flavor is mild caramel, bread, light bitterness, and hints of butter.

Mouthfeel is slighty towards the watery side, and lightly crisp at the start and finish. Drinkability is OK, but this is a little weak and dull on the tastebuds. If you want a very mellow brew for a session, this is one to get.

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Photo of Ego
3.98/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(music: Richard Johston - Foothill Stomp)

this seems to be readily available in south jersey (I found this in long branch but have seen it in red bank also)

not much head, subsides quickly, it is a brown ale.. and guess what.. it's brown. clear and clean looking like most long trail stuff. waves breaking on the shore slowly lacing... very solid.

chocolate coffee (not espresso), some sweetness from all the malt, burnt choc notes as well, maybe not the most complex thing I have quaffed but damn, I really like it.

taste etc...
light but not watery, the carbonation keeps it afloat for you to taste the bitter/sweet balance in the lingering aftertaste. The burnt notes are not apparent in the taste at all except maybe a HINT in the aftertaste if you really concentrate on the back corners of the mouth. I swear I can taste the vermont water when I drink long trail... it has a refreshing flair as well which isnt always associated with a brown. This beer doesnt go over the top in any way. The balance is well appreciated and respected here. You get a hint of the hopier long trail signature in there but it is more like a reminder than a sledgehammer to the head.

I would buy this again in a heartbeat for regular hanging out. Sure, it isnt as challenging as belgians etc but it is a damn fine drinking brew with enough to satisfy the beer dork within you when you arent being hardcore writing down ratings etc. I would serve this with something hearty like beef stew or ribs, maybe even italian red fare like chicken parm or caccitore.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Creamy, slightly rocky off white head that fades to an almost intact sheet after a few moments. Spotted and condensed lacing with good strength. Rustic copper with a few shades of deep brown in color.

Sweet caramel and molasses with an earthen, musty odor. Also, hints of floral hops.

Semi-sweet caramel and toffee flavored malt character. The floral hop character adds an astringency and prolonged bitterness from beginning to end. The finish is slightly dry followed by a musty and bitter caramel aftertaste.

Medium bodied; thin on the palate. The candied sugar feel seems to really lighten the body of this Enlish Brown. Grainy for the style.

A very mild version of the style. Odd combination of flavors, but nothing too unpleasant. Another?...I'll pass.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.28/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Brown filtered pour topped by an ivory ½” frothy cap.

Sugary “brown” scents pervade. Plenty of pancake malts to go around.

First swigs: Toasted malts and candied fruit. Cake malts. Dry signature LONG TRAIL Alt flavors. Stale root beer and some maple syrup.Spice wafer.

Last swigs: Basic brown spice wafer. Let’s not get too excited.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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Photo of shippos
3.29/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

poured a clear brillant amber red witha a thin weak watery head. hints of chewy malt in the aroma along with some toasted and chocolate and caramel grain. More carbonation than expected witha thin mouthfeel...over all nothing great about this, it's ok if nothing else is available.

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Photo of scooter231
3.41/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very pretty golden amber color with a slight layer of light head. Smells and tastes quite dry for a brown ale. Slight bits of sweetness make their way through, but you're left with a lingering sort of metalic aftertaste, and aftersmell as well.

Feels kind of watery and a bit chewy all at once, as if it can't make up its mind which direction it wants to go in. Decently drinkable, but I can see the metalic qualities become increasingly annoying and unappetizing. Not a bad beer by far, but certainly not one of my favorites. If you're going for Long Trail, check out their other beers first.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
3.77/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So far, the least sweet tasting brown ale I've had... which is kind of nice.
Finishes very, very dry; maybe too dry for the style? but I like it. I find it adds to the drinkability. Some sweet malt flavors are found, but hops are much more dominant. Not a piney kind of hops... not very sharp... but very drying.
Another solid offering from Long Trail... worth a try.

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Photo of TheDeuce
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Hit the Trail Ale....

Appearance-really dark brown color one finger of head that dissapears quickly, the dark color looks nice enough though.

Smell-a malty aroma with sugary flavors peppered throughout, not all that permeating immediately though, it took some work to find as the beer warmed up.

Taste-rather light on the beginning with sweet malt and a dark finish, effortlessly smooth and drinkable, this is not a hard beer to drink.

Mouthfeel-light, malty and smooth without much of an aftertaste, seems a fairly easy beer to put down.

Drinkability-only 4.4% alcohol and with all the characteristics above I think one would find this very drinkable.

Overall-while not the most breathtakingly flavorful brown ale out there this ale is refreshingly smooth and incredibly easy to drink for the style. Recommended to those new to the style or to craft beer.

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Photo of MrSeth
4.3/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 1/4" tan head forms while pouring, but it doesn't stay long. Now there's just a tiny ring of suds around the glass and a few patches on the surface. The color is a dark amber as duly noted already. The smell of rich malt is present over the ale. In the flavor this maltiness opens up into a hugely complex taste. There aren't any apparent esters, so the malts and wheat in the flavor taste like what they are. Hit the Trail has a thin bodied mouthfeel. It's perfect for an early spring session.. but it would be acceptable in any season.

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Photo of scriabin
3.6/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a dark amber color. The head is a bit on the thin side, but the smell is quite nice and sweet. The flavor is sweet, a little hoppy, and slightly on the bitter side but very nice. The feel - at least this batch - is a little on the flat side, but goes down quite smoothly. A very enjoyable english style ale.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
3.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Although they don't put out the most daring products, Long Trail still remains one of my favourite New England breweries, and thus I was happy to be able to sample ther new(ish) Hit the Trail Ale.

It pours a nice but simple amber colour with a fairly thin beige head that is somewhat sticky overall.

The smell is primarily earthy and malty with some sweet buttery notes and some roasted malt aromas as well.

The flavour is very much like the smell but a touch sweeter, especially at the finish. Malt flavour is apparent throughout, with maybe even a touch of chocolate. Earth notes are less apparent in the flavour than they are in the smell, as this is not a hearty brown ale by any means.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin and watery at times, though overall this one is very smooth and a touch creamy. I can't say that I was thrilled with it, but was far from disappointed as well. It's basically a solid, above average session-type brew from LT, which is not so surprising. I'm not running back to this one anytime soon, but I'd be happy to drink it from time to time as well.

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Photo of Hagbard
3.96/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with nice ruby highlights. A small white head forms and a nice continual stream of carbonation winds up from the bottom of the glass. The aroma is sweet with malt and touches of brown sugar. To be honest, the aroma is the worst part of this beer, because I love the taste. This seems to be a theme for me with Long Trail beers, I wonder why? The first thing I taste is brown sugar. This firms up into a beautiful malt backbone that has definite caramel highlights. The aftertaste hits almost as hard as the beer itself with the same malt composition. Even though all the tastes I've described are "sweet" smells, the beer itself isn't very sweet at all. This is a great attribute, sweet beers tend to be off-putting to me. The tastes are there without the cloying sweetness. This beer really surprised me in a good way. I wasn't expecting much, but this is a really great session ale that goes down easily and is never offensive.

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Photo of Billolick
3.13/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ouncer tried, with bottled on dating on the label. Clear almond flows out of the bottle, insipid white head, dissolving to nothing, no lacing to write about. Nose is fairly weak, just perhaps a wiff of doughness. Not getting a great amount of malt/hops/flavor/complexity here. Clearly a subtle, British style Brown ale. Not impressed, LT makes better stuff then this.

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Photo of ProudBeerSnob
3.71/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in trad. pint glass. Color is a nice copper, not much aroma at all, slight brown ale type smell. This tasting is not as good as the last time I sampled this beer. Flavor and tatse are somewhat underwhelming. Very light bodied, especially compared to the Rogue brown I tried last night. Drinkability is good, simply because it does nothing to offend and does offer a fair attempt at the style.
I had come to expect more from Long Trail.

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Photo of Hibernator
3.83/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle with a 11/11/04 bottled on date marked.

I poured this into a imperial pint glass. Pours a light brown body and fluffy head. Head rentention is wholesome at first, but settles into a sticky lacing.

Aroma of toasted malts, caramel and sugar. Slight backdrop of fruit in there too.

Very smooth flowing brown ale with a sugary sweetness. Emphasis on a roasted malt and caramel flavor blend. Mini hop snap on the finish.

A bit more robust in comparison to the Long Trail Ale. As with most other LT beers, this would work as a good session beer.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one poured out a nice clear brown with a one-finger head.

The aroma was of medium-dark malts with a slightly roasted aroma.

The taste was slightly bitter, lightly roasted, and a hint of caramel. Overall a very nice beer. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and recommend it highly.

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Photo of mschofield
3.4/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear coppery brown, topped with a one finger khaki head, leaves partial webs of lacing.
Toffee, tea and bread aroma, wood, brown sugar, a touch tannic with nut and cream notes.
Toffee and bread taste, sweet, brown sugar or molasses note, nuts, chocolate note.
Medium bodied, easy to drink but a bit too sweet.

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Photo of Citadel82
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good session brew. I could drink loads of this stuff. Not overpowering in any aspect.

Pours a rich copper brown with two fingers of rocky white head. Abundant lacing is evident. The smell is sweetish malt with a hint of floral/citrus. The taste is slightly sweet at first with a short dry finish. Very mush a good specimen of an English brown or a German Alt. Not sure what the difference would be except maybe the hop profile.

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Photo of bditty187
3.28/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear, ruby-brown in hue with a bronzy highlight, what a beautiful color. The head developed poorly, at the apex it was a half finger in height but quickly dissipated to a thin cap. After a few moments the cap faded to a collar. There was no subsequent lacing. The nose has its charm, it does lack in potency a bit thus I can’t completely grasp the aromas. I do detect some toasty, caramel malts. I absolutely adore this in Brown Ales. But I do not welcome the buttery, butterscotch notes. Strange sweet, flowery, fruity notes too. Airy finish. The bouquet is fair, not inviting but not off-putting. I’m curious to take a sip even though I hardly know what to expect. I like my Brown Ales to taste like small porters. This one does not. So I will judge it accordingly. There is a wide butterscotch flavor that muddles the palate, IMO. This forces the toasty, caramel flavors to the background. Some sweetness is found at the back, towards the finish before a charred taste emerges. This odd combination lingers into the aftertaste. I can tolerate it but I don’t love it. Weak hop bitterness; any true flavors contributed are not discernible. Overall, the palate is good enough but it needs to be paired with some grilled foods or at least some sharp cheddar cheese. Medium/medium-light in body, low carbonation but the mouthfeel is still pleasant. I like this beer. It is okay. But one 12-ounce bottle was enough for me. Thanks for the sample UnionMade… and the glass!

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Photo of UnionMade
3.41/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours a dark coppery amber, kind of like weathered gold, topped with a frothy cream colored head. Decent head retention, keeping a thin foam through most of the pint, with some sticky cobwebs of lace.
The aroma is mainly a sweet caramel maltiness, a bit of toasted and crystal malt, with mild esters. A slight hint of chocolate. The esters are odd and indistinct, just kind of fruity/floral with no specific fruit flavors standing out. Some mellow, subdued hops, perhaps fuggles. A moderate diacetyl butterscotch aroma, with husky graininess.
The flavor starts with some toasty caramel maltiness, more toasty than caramel, traveling into a mild esteriness with hints of red ripe apple and some of that juicyfruit gum flavor. Some mild diacetyl butterscotch blends and enhances the caramel maltiness. Smooth, easy going carbonation, with a lightish medium body. Some mild herbal hopping comes through towards the end, with some spicy, earthy english hop flavor right in the finish. The caramel and diacetyl build through the sip, becoming quite strong in the end, balancing the hoppiness well. Some rough graininess in the finish, a hint of chocolate malt, lingering into the aftertaste with some butterscotch.
A decent beer, definitely one of Long Trail's better offerings, but nothing I'd go out of my way to buy again. I've had this beer a couple times, and it seems a bit different with each bottle. Retrying it, the diacetyl is less pronounced, with stronger hop flavor and graininess. In keeping with Long Trail's rough hewn sort of flavor, but with perhaps a little more complexity to keep you interested. A bit muddy, with an indistinct style, as is the case with most of Long Trail's beers. I just reviewed it for what it was, not following any sort of style guideline.

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Hit The Trail Ale from Long Trail Brewing Co.
3.58 out of 5 based on 199 ratings.
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