How Does Ghost Ship Alcohol Free Pale Ale Score Against Its Alcoholic Sibling? (Full Review)

I am not a fan of alcohol free beers and those of yesteryear are just dreadful. However I do understand the trend towards AF beer. Plus they are improving dramatically, some even taste like beer. So how does Ghost Ship Alcohol Free Pale Ale stack up?

The regular Ghost Ship Pale Ale is a decent beer, a real go to session beer. So can its AF sibling even stand next to it as a beer?

Ghost Ship Alcohol Free Pale Ale is not bad. For a 0.5% ABV beer, it is one of the better ones. It pours a mid gold with a one finger white top. On the nose it has more than expected with hoppy citrus notes of grapefruit and lime. The taste has a caramel malt sweet base with a hoppy citrus body. The grapefruit flavour shines out with a slight bitter finish. For an AF beer it is pretty good and scores 4.3 out of 5.0.

It is closer to its 4.5% ABV sibling than I expected, but it’s just not the same.

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Adnams Brewery

Adnams are an old school brewery with over 150 years of brewing under their belt. However although still brewing some traditional ales. They are not a brewery to get stuck in the past.

Innovation and a passion for their trade they move with the times and are riding their own craft beer wave. A good range of craft beers come from this brewery, as well as some great collaborations with some renowned craft brewers.

The brewery sits in the heart of the seaside town of Southwold, Suffolk England. Still and independent outfit, Adnams say they are in it for the long term. So expect a lot more from this historic brewery, they are not going anywhere.

Although a fair jaunt from where I live, Adnams is high on my list of breweries to visit in the coming year.

Ghost Ship Alcohol Free Pale Ale

So I am a big fan of the Ghost Ship Citrus Pale Ale 4.5% ABV, its a great beer. One of those beers that fit any mood, it’s just a great go to session beer.

A low or alcohol free beer has its place and is a growing trend for all the right reasons. However as I mentioned earlier, I am not a fan.

So when a brewery such as Adnams make a 0.5% Vol version of one of their popular beers, you have to give it a try. Not to be converted, but to see how it stacks up with the real thing.

The 0.5% version is brewed in the same way as its full strength sibling. However Adnams have a dealcoholisation system (sounds expensive). It’s a reverse osmosis system that removes the alcohol after normal fermentation. A bit like removing the salt from sea water.

It’s a science thing, anyway how does Ghost Ship 0.5% stack up.

Drinking Ghost Ship Alcohol Free Pale Ale

It sits in the same brown bottle as its sibling with the same scene of a ghost ship. The only difference is the time of day, the 4.5% Ghost Ship is a night time scene. But the 05% Ghost Ship is a sunrise, or perhaps a sunset scene.

It pours a mid chestnut brown settling with a one finger foamy white head. This soon fades to a thin covering just about containing the beer below.

On the nose, there is more than I expected. Hoppy citrus notes float from the rim of the glass carrying aromas of grapefruit and lime.

The taste is also not bad with a caramel malt base that carries a fair amount of sweetness. However to balance that, there is a nice hoppy citrus kick of grapefruit that lends to a nice bitter finish.

It hasn’t got the depth of flavour that the original has, a little thin on the body and less bitterness. Having said that, as far as I can taste it is all there, just without the oomph.

It is a great effort from Adnams because it does taste like Ghost Ship, albeit a lighter version (which is what you expect). It deserves a decent score and gets one, 4.3 out of 5.0.

M’Lady is not so keen saying “A caramel malty beer with a little citrus kick and a slight bitter finish. A bit flat compared to the real Ghost Ship.” Lou scores it a little less at 3.9 out of 5.0.

I get what Lou is saying, however it must beer near on impossible to replicate an alcoholic beer perfectly in a AF version. But Adnams have got as close as I expect you can get, so well done.

More Beers

Adnams Beer Range

Beer Range From Adnams Brewery

Adnams are flying with their beers, not only do they brew more traditional cask ales, but have an array of new craft style beers too.

Lagers, pale ales, IPA’s, Mild, Bitter and stouts all bless the Adnams range, as well as cider too. It’s a long list of beer that I am sure will expand further.

Here are a few to be getting on with.

Dry Hopped Lager

As the name suggests this is a dry hopped lager brewed with pale malts and Galaxy hops. It has a fruity citrus edge with a crisp bitter finish.

At just 4.2% ABV it is a sessionable lager that has a light crisp refreshing fruity flavour with a little citrus bitterness. Sounds like a great lager that I will be looking to get soon, it could be the macro crusher.

Southwold Bitter

What could be better than a good old pint of bitter, a straightforward nonsense beer to be savoured. Well the Southwold Bitter sounds like it fits that bill perfectly.

A caramel biscuit malt base with a light hoppy bitterness. Notes of grassy herbal and a hint of mint come from the late added Fuggles hops.

At just 4.1% ABV you can sit back and relax while enjoying a few of these straight down the line beers. Sounds like a plan to me.

Blackshore Stout

This black beauty of a beer is inspired by the fisherman’s huts on the shore at Southwold. It has a generous malt bill giving a complex and smooth flavour.

Think roasted coffee, chocolate and liquorice notes alongside some subtle fruits and a smooth bitter finish. A stout lovers dream it comes in at a surprisingly low 4.2% ABV.

Sounds like a whole lot of stout that deserves ones whole attention.

Final Thoughts

It is plain to see that there is no chink in the armour of Adnams brewery. They continue to offer a wide range of beers, traditional ales to zippy modern pales and IPA’s.

The real Ghost Ship provides a wonderful session punch, while its younger, lighter sibling lacks a little oomph. Having said that, for a 0.5% ABV beer, it is something to be celebrated because it is close to the real thing.

But that does not convert me, give me the real thing every day of the week. If you have tried either Ghost Ship then do share your thoughts below. What do you think?

Related: More Beer Reviews By Brewery

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