AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20Chad9976 (1517) - Orlando, Florida, USA - DEC 16, 2015
of the best parts of this job is re-reviewing a beer that was
originally bad, but I now find to be pretty good. I originally reviewed
Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale back in 2010 and was not impressed by
it. In retrospect it was probably just a poorly-handled bottled.
Drinking it in 2015 I find it to be a surprisingly solid Belgian Strong
Pale Ale. It has all the qualities you want in the style; it just
doesn’t go above and beyond is all.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. I couldn’t decipher the
bottling code, though the label bears a 2015 vintage indication. It cost
$2.49 ($0.21 per ounce).
Appearance: Dark gold to orange in color. Body is initially quite clear
with consistent carbonation visible at all times. Pours to a fairly
nominal, white, foamy head which retains and laces fairly well.
Smell: The usual Belgian characteristics of banana, clove and general spice; only mild.
Taste: Looking back at it, I’m surprised I disliked this beer so much
when I first tried it. Though not exactly a shining example of the
style, I will say it at least conforms to the style pretty well. Just
like the nose, there’s flavors of banana, clove, cinnamon, and apple
cider in the palette. Though some of those components might be due to
flaws of some sort. It’s sweet but not overly so. The spiciness from the
yeast helps to balance it out, though I don’t get much in the way of
hop distinctiveness other than a subtle, dry bitterness. Alcohol is
noticeable and creates for slight rum-like flavor, but it’s tolerable.
Drinkability: Though quite big at 8.5% ABV, Holy Mackerel Special Golden
Ale is not a challenge to drink. Effervescent to be sure, though I find
the carbonation to complement the palate quite well. It helps
accentuate the spiciness. There’s warmth from the alcohol, but it is not
distracting or burning. It finishes rather dry, too, which is nice.