Is Joker IPA Any Good – Williams Bros

This beer comes from a brewery that brews an ancient recipe heather beer called Fraoch. The brewery in question is Williams Bros Brewing Co. based in Scotland, UK. So, is Joker IPA any good?

As you would expect Joker IPA is one of the Williams Bros brews and they say it is wickedly hoppy. However did it live up to their claims?

Is Joker IPA Any Good?

It doesn’t quite live up to the hoppy claim, but it is a good beer all the same. It pours a clear amber gold with a moderate foamy white head. The nose does throw up some fruity citrus hops with a distinct sweet malt base. The taste is fruity too with a citrus orange/grapefruit buzz over a sweet caramel malt. It is not as hoppy as I was expecting, but it is a decent beer and scores a rate my beer of 4.5 – 5.0.

I’d say it is a well balanced smooth and fresh beer that I would happily drink again.

William Bros Brewing Co.

As the name suggests the brewery is owned and run by brothers, two brothers in fact, Bruce and Scott.

It all started in a Home brew shop, a family business, and of course they were passionate home brewers too.

In 1988 a lady entered the shop with an old recipe for heather beer, it is said to have been handed down through family generations.

Apparently heather beer dates back some 4000 years, so it is safe to say this is an old recipe. It was also banned in the 1700’s which is supposed to still stand.

Although heather ale is firmly associated with Scotland, there is an Irish connection too. A debate that could go on and on. There is a good post about this on Martyn Cornell’s blog Zythophile.

Anyway Bruce set to work to reproduce the old recipe and make heather beer once again. The result was a good one and the demand saw him and his brother Scott build a brewery off the back of it.

They now produce many beers including a Gooseberry ale, an Elderberry black ale and a Seaweed ale. However there are plenty of pale ales, IPA’s lagers and stouts too.

Is Joker IPA Any Good?

The bottle caught my eye on a store shelf, it is that kind of bottle. The brown bottle itself is beautifully embossed with what looks like the breweries logo wrapped around the neck and the brewery name underneath.

Then there is the funky label with a silver black Joker in the background. The forefront has the beers name in large white letters and the brewery’s name and logo in bright green.

The words ‘Wickedly Hoppy’ lay under the name of the beer. However this could be a mistake because it sets an expectation. One I feel doesn’t quite get delivered, although hoppy, it is not wickedly hoppy.

Having said that, it is a good beer.

Drinking Joker IPA

Is Joker IPA Any Good

It is a pleasing bottle and set me up for an exciting experience. The pour settles to a perfect clear golden amber beer. The head is a moderate clean white foam that does fade to just a thin cover.

On the nose it is pretty subtle but does give some fruity citrus notes over a sweet malt base.

Likewise in the mouth it starts with a citrus fruit front that first tasted like sweet orange, but then turned to a citrus grapefruit. This lays over a solid malt base laced with caramel and a light coffee like latte.

It has a medium carbonation with a slight bitterness, but all ends in a smooth creamy latte finish.

For me it stands out as a decent medium bodied beer that feels well balanced, smooth and fresh. However at 5.0% Vol it is worthy of a second pint.

I like it and of course would love to find it on tap, it gets a decent rate my beer score of 4.5% – 5.0 for a decent beer.

M’Lady likes it too, in fact she likes it a lot, Lou scored it 4.7 – 5.0, but then she is a Joker 🙂

Williams Bros Range

Is Joker IPA Any Good

For a brewery that started out producing an ancient recipe heather beer, they have got quite the range. It is a big range of beers from lager through pale ales, IPA’s and rich stouts.

That is not forgetting their seaweed or honey beer. Vibrant labels and unusual beers make up the vast range from the Williams Bros Brewery.

I will feature a few that have caught my eye and made my hit list.

Caesar Augustus

This beer is a bit out there and is a lager IPA. Yea you read it right a lager/IPA hybrid. A clear crisp lager finishes with the bitterness of a good IPA.

Maybe this one should have been called the Joker. Or maybe there was a malfunction at the brewery and this was the result. Perhaps they liked it and decided to brew in on purpose.

At 4.1% Vol it fits snuggly as a session beer. Does it work though? I will find out when I try it out.


Bolo is a blood orange IPA with an ingredients list that includes orange peel and blood orange puree. It promises to be a fruity number with a bitter hop ending.

Sounds good to me and is one I will be looking out for. It weighs in at an out of session 5.2% Vol.

I quite fancy a Bolo.

Profanity Stout

Does this respect the stout style or is this just obscene?

This rich black stout is floral and fruity with a deep roasted malt flavor over a bitter hoppy finish. It sounds like a stout you would only want one of, and at 7.0% Vol its strength confirms this.

Final Thoughts

It is plain to see that the William Bros brewery is one that likes to experiment. However although some of their beers are a little out there, quality and taste seem the most important aspect.

I really liked the Joker IPA and it has sparked a big interest in this Scottish brewery. Therefore I will be looking out for and trying more of their brews.

How about you? Have you tried Joker IPA or any of the other many Williams beers, if so then do share your thoughts below.

2 thoughts on “Is Joker IPA Any Good – Williams Bros”

    • I haven’t tried 7 Giraffes IPA yet, but it is now on my radar. Living in West Yorkshire you have a good selection of breweries and beer to choose from, a great place for beer.



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