Malefactor (Gilgamesh) - Upland Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Malefactor (Gilgamesh)Malefactor (Gilgamesh)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

326 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 326
Reviews: 66
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 10.12%
Wants: 296
Gots: 135 | FT: 20
Brewed by:
Upland Brewing Company visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
Flanders Red Ale |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: claaark13 on 02-05-2012

A stronger version of a Flanders Red Ale aged in previously beer-stored bourbon barrels for some light oak/bourbon character.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 326 | Reviews: 66
Photo of brentk56
4.88/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Pours a cloudy auburn color with a very impressive head that leaves a pattern of lace remindful of the Matisse cutouts

Smell: Oaked tart cherries with layers of caramel

Taste: The caramel layer arrives first and buttresses the tart fruit flavors; an explosion of tart cherry, green apple and honeydew in the middle; after the swallow, the oak barrel adds subtle complexity with a hint of Bourbon and vanilla

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and creamy, with moderate carbonation

Overall: Pretty darn close to perfection; right up there with the best beers I have ever tasted

Thanks, duels, for the opportunity

Photo of Jho3325
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The best take on a Flanders Red I have had. Truly Epic.

Photo of machostacos
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased 4 of these bad boys from the Upland Tasting Room in Indianapolis. Served at cellar temp in my favorite tulip glass.

A: Pours a beautiful crystal-clear ruby color with a quarter-inch cream-colored, frothy head that doesn't stick around very long. Thick, sticky lacing. Lots of microbubbles streaking around. I spotted some cork particles floating around, but that's not really a concern of mine. This looks fantastic. (Took a peek at the bottom of the bottle after it was empty - sweet bottle-conditioned goodness!!! Incredible clarity.)

S: The aroma is pretty much exactly what a Flanders Red should smell like - tons of tart cherries and fresh black cherries (as in straight-off-the-tree-in-Traverse-City, MI-sort-of-fresh-black-cherries), a healthy twang of vinegar acidity, luscious oaky wood and vanilla notes, a tiny bit of booze, and a touch of band-aid on the end. A veritable fog of aromas. The bourbon is basically hidden - I feel like I'm almost imagining it, but I'll give the benefit of the doubt and say that the bourbon character is there, but just barely peeking through.

T: This is an onslaught of incredible flavors. The sweetness of the fruity cherry flavors bathed in rich oak and vanilla hit your tongue first, but are immediately overwhelmed by a biting flash of sourness and acidity. The sweet oak and vanilla-coated cherry returns in perfect balance with the sourness and mingles with a subtle dryness from the bourbon which cleanses the palate for an incredible, long and wonderfully drawn-out finish. The aftertaste of this beer is truly one of its greatest characteristics. It's where the bourbon truly shines. Just amazing. This is absurdly drinkable for being 10.5% ABV.

M: Quite full-bodied and almost silky. This is an incredibly dangerous beer! Easily the most drinkable sour I've ever had. It keeps getting better as it warms. It's literally lip-licking good! Everything in this beer is in perfect balance. Just...wow.

O: Upland simply outdid themselves with Gilgamesh. I was a bit skeptical at first to be honest - a truly legitimate Flanders-style Red Ale from Indiana? Really? Well, let me quell your fears: Upland ROCKED this Flanders-style Red. In fact, it just ousted the Duchesse as my favorite of the style. A word to the wise - let this beer warm up to almost room temperatures before enjoying - I know it's going to be difficult, but you will be rewarded with the way it opens up and everything melds together in perfect harmony. Easily the best beer I've ever had from Upland. BRAVO!!! SO happy I bought 4 of these!

This beer is perfect by itself, but it would compliment a cherry sauce braised pork chop like nobody's business. My next bottle is on the menu! Can't wait. Again, Upland - incredibly impressive. You nailed this beer, and you nailed the style. Legit Flanders Reds in Indiana! Who'dathunkit?!

Photo of ehammond1
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle (2012)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, barkingelectron!

Dark crimson and ruby with a moderately sized light khaki colored head with great retention (for the style and the relatively high ABV), that leaves streaks of messy, dotted stick down the glass. Very pretty.

Incredible and complex aroma; this remains true to style while also remaining unique and interesting--quite the accomplishment. The oak character, sour fruit (cherry?), and more big sour, acidic notes combine together strongly, with also just a bit of an earthy vanilla character.

The flavor follows a similar road as the aroma, with sour cherry and oak playing the dominant roles, along with strong acidic sour character and an earthy vanilla. The lingering oak/vanilla/cherry/mild bourbon finish is what separates this beer from others in its style. Balanced but explosive. Drinkable but extreme.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Wonderful. Incredibly drinkable. Alcohol presence is non-existent.

Perhaps my favorite American-brewed Flanders Red. This stuff was out of sight!

I've opened three bottles of this (one roughly 6 months ago, another 3 months ago, and another last night). Each bottle has gotten progressively better (and more sour). This one still might not even be at its peak yet. Exciting stuff!

Photo of mrand01
4.64/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: A hazy brownish red that pours with about 1/4" of off-white head that quickly dissipates. Spotty lacing with decent head retention.

S: Cherries, vanilla, oak, with just a hint of alcohol.

T: Initial taste is sour cherry, quickly followed by some fruity sweetness and some vanilla/oak tones from the bourbon barrel. The booze is pretty subdued, just a hint of bourbon.

M: Medium to heavy body with light carbonation.

O: An excellent example of the style. Blows away Marron Acidifie for sure and I'd venture to say I like it better than Oerbier Riserva!

Photo of NickSD
4.63/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This had the perfect balance of tart and sweet.

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.56/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - This may be the best looking sour beer I have seen. Brick red, opaque, with an orange tan head, lacing too.

S - Acidic smash in the nose, which seems right for an epic sour, a touch of wood, alcohol burn.

T - Amp up a Rodenbach - this hits many of the same notes as this classic, but more fiercely. The sourness is full and rounded, fruit notes in the form of cherry and tart plums. A touch of wood, a bit of bourbon alcohol, and a slight bitter note in the close.

M - Bright, moderate puckering, with a slight drying in the close.

O - This is a sour from Upland I can unequivocally get behind. Takes the classic Flanders red and turns it to 11, but without destroying the fundamental qualities of the original. Big, fat sour notes, fruits and oak, this is as epic as its name suggests. Excellent.

Photo of dar482
4.54/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer offers sour cherry, lots of vinegar flavor with apple cider and balsamic, a good amount of funk, lots of sweet plums and figs, a dry finish with some oak finishing the beer.

The beer is quite traditional with its complex qualities and tart. A reminder of a Flanders Red or more intense Rodenbach.

Photo of JohnCassillo
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was able to grab a bottle on a recent trip to Indianapolis, and this is probably the best Flanders Red I've had. Moderately tart in taste, smell and feel, with a whole lot of cherry and bourbon, it strikes a fantastic balance with every sip. Obviously the bourbon element is what packs the biggest punch in the ABV, but it's not overwhelming at all. This is a beer worth locating and then waiting on for a bit if you can.

Photo of jmarsh123
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky dark red with some copper hues and a big 2 finger creamy off-white head.

Aroma is sour just like a flanders should be. Notes of vinegar and cherries along with a little oak. Not much bourbon in the nose.

Starts out with a vinegar sourness and some tart cherry flavor. A little bit of sweet bourbon comes on pretty quickly and is present throughout, but rather subdued. More sour fruit notes combine equally with the bourbon finishing sweet & sour. The bourbon adds a nice complexity to balance the sour.

Fairly creamy mouthfeel and medium-high carbonation levels.

I love flanders reds and the bourbon adds a unique twist to this classic. I was afraid the bourbon would be overpowering, but it really is delicate and subtle making it work.

Photo of Sparty1224
4.44/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Serving: 750mL bottle poured into a snifter. No bottled on date, but I believe this is from the end of last year. So maybe near 6 months or so old at this point.

A: Pours a hazy, ruby red or dark violet color. 1/4 finger off-white that sticks around.

S: Getting a lot of floral notes, ripe apple, cheese danish. Not a whole lot of bourbon or oak.

T: Big acidic notes up front, very tart. Beneath all the sourness lies some tart apple, tart cherry, oak, and a hint of bourbon sweetness.

M: Sour, but not extremely sour. It's a very pleasant mouthfeel for the style. Not boozy at all. Great carbonation.

O: Been really into sours lately, but this darker, more malty style of the Flanders Red isn't the most appetizing for me. It's nice and very balanced, very complex. But it's just a tad "heavy" for me. I also like the bourbon-barrel aging on this one, but would've liked to have had a touch more barrel presence in the final product. Overall, this is a great effort from the Upland sour program, and really makes me excited to explore the rest of their sours.

Recommendation: Apparently these Upland sours are by lottery only? Would definitely trade for this, or any sour from Upland.

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

750ml corked and caged poured into tulip with Mattsander and alpineclimber, bottle sent out by Masterski and Sean9689 cheers fellows

A glows a ruby red when held to the light, some sediment and just a few slow bubbles feeding a short lived tan finger of foam that leaves lace where it existed

S vanilla hits me first, a little booze, faint cigar smoke and toffee, the barrels strong and it works very well, some overripe fruits as it warms, complex and very enjoyable nose

T much like the smell but it has a strange spice I can’t quite place but I like it, the bourbon notes are nice with a touch of sweetness and a little sour at the same time. Lots going on with everything I smell but there’s a little less vanilla in the mouth

M slightly sour with the burnt brown sugar lingering on the finish, medium-full with very faint heat, it could use a few more bubbles but its far from flat

O very interesting stuff that I could drink myself stupid with, the barrel works well for it and it has mellowed out nicely at this point

I can’t think of anything to compare this one to but I’m loving it, very interesting brew that’s worth seeking out

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

A: poured a dark burgundy with brownish highlights and really no head which left virtually no lacing sticking to the glass.

S: lots of fruit aroma was coming out on the nose such as plum, apples, slight citrus but with a little bourbon vanilla character and acidic vinegar notes as well.

T: the bourbon barrel character was not as pronounced on the palate but had lots of fruit flavors like nose consisting of dark fruit, slight apple, a touch of citrus, acidic vinegar notes and vanilla accents.

M: the brew was medium in body with a low amount of carbonation which had a sweet, fruity, mild boozey and tart finish.

O: really good flanders brew and was glad to have been able to try a bourbon barreled flanders.

Photo of eclipse54
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A corked/caged 750 mL bottle from fvernon; many thanks for this one! A batch code of "9-11" is embossed in gold on the back of the label. Split into tulip glasses at cellar temperature.

Pours a rocky brown color that glows with blood orange hues where the light pushes through. An inch of foamy, khaki head rests atop the liquid. It diminishes to a frothy ring over the course of a few minutes, leaving scattered spots of lacing.

The aroma is of tart cherry and date, with some acidic tangerine thrown in as well. A bit of funky yeast, light grains, and biscuity scents float up in the middle. Notes of dry oak and and candied apple make an appearance as well.

The nose leaves no doubt that this one will be sour, and the taste follows through. Dry, acidic cherry, date, and tangerine scour the palate around flavors of oak, faint vanilla, raisin, and tart grapes. The flavor places more emphasis on the wood than the nose, and brings out a bit more of the yeasty funk. Various light grains and faint grassy notes round it out.

The mouth is seemingly thinned by the acids, but ample citrus and carbonation keep it lively and almost champagne-like. Finish is vehemently dry and puckering.

Overall, this is a great Flanders-style ale and tremendous sour. The fact that the bourbon barrels used to treat this beer were previously used for another brew shows, as I had a hard time finding any bourbon notes. The faint vanilla and overall "woodiness" seem to be the dominant contributions from the barrel treatment. Ultimately, I would love to have this again, and would say it’s worth the effort to seek out.

Photo of mdfb79
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 04/08/12 notes. Split this one on Easter with my brother, poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a murky medium nut brown color with two fingers of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of soured fruits, dark fruits, bourbon, roasted malts, acedic, tannis, light wine, oak, and light vinegar. Very nice nose, an awesome mix of sour fruits and bourbon.

t - Tastes of sour dark fruits, fruity malts, funk, vinegar, acedic, oak, bourbon, and light wine. Taste is sourer then the nose, and less bourbon. Again, very great; better then the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation, acidic body. Pretty nice.

o - Overall I liked this one a lot. The nose has a very nice mix of bourbon and sour dark fruits, whilt eh taste is funkier and sourer, which I love. One of the better Upland sours so far and pretty interesting, glad I have another bottle of it.

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

Bottle shared by craytonic. Thanks Matt.

The beer is brown to ruby hued with an off white head that leaves sparse lacing in its wake. The aroma offers fruit, particularly cherries, oak, and a healthy dose of booze. Powerful flavor, with a strong showing from both the booze and fruit. Plenty of tartness and a bold acetic finish. Impressive. This exceeded my expectations. Would be very happy to try this one again. Recommended.

Photo of uvachief
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark ruby color with tan head that lingered. Lots of lingering lacing as well. Aromas of oak, sour fruit (guessing cherries?) with more sour notes. Tastes much the same. Sour cherry with overtones of oak and acidic flavors. Little touch of vanilla maybe. Bourbon. Very complex and balanced. Drinkable. Moderate carbonation. ABV hidden extremely well. Kind of beer that can sneak up and knock you out. This was aged about 6 months and it was very smooth.

Photo of Cubatobaco
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%

This was a bottle from 2010. It tasted as if the sour had gone away and started to come back around. Very well-balanced beer that is worth the patience. Thoroughly enjoyed!

Photo of claaark13
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed a little below room temp. Poured into a HF tulip.

A - Very deep ruby with a thick head. It slowly dies down to a thin coating over the top.

S - Sour black cherries with mild oak. A hint of vanilla. Strong, pleasant nose.

T - Tart dark cherries, oak, slight vanilla, some leather. The barrel is mild and smooth. The tartness seems right on point...present, but subtle. Very balanced flavors. The finish smoothly carries the cherries and leather without much, if any, dryness.

M - Medium body, medium carbonation. Great for the style. So drinkable.

O - For me, this is the best beer Upland has pushed out. I personally love this style and I really think they nailed it. The flavors expected for the style are on point. The finish is great. I actually think the back end of the flavor is what sets this apart from other Flanders Red. This instantly stormed into the top 3 for the style in my book.

Photo of standardcherry
4.36/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle served into my trusty Lawson's snifter.

A: Dark red/brown color.
S: Sweet tartness, oak and cherries.
T: Sour cherry, oak and a boozy taste. Lots of wine characteristics.
M: Light, nice carbonation. Very sour after taste. Alcohol is well hidden.
O: Very nice flanders but not my favorite.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml caged and corked bottle, batch date of 9-11 stamped on the back label. Served in a Unibroue tulip, the beer pours a murky reddish/amber color with an inch light tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is nice, it smells like vinegar, tart and sweet cherries, wood, green sour apples, funk and a bit of vanilla. Taste is similar to the aroma. It tastes like tart and sweet cherries, vinegar, lemon peel, funk, wood, vanilla and bourbon. The bourbon flavor isn't strong in this brew at all, but I think the subtle bourbon taste works well with the tartness. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit syrupy and slick with moderate carbonation. It's also smooth and easy to drink. I think it's a pretty nice overall brew. Yeah, it was $24.99 a bottle, but after drinking it I don't feel like I paid too much for it. Good thing I bought 2 bottles!

Photo of Thorpe429
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to craytonic for sharing this bottle at last night's tasting. Served in a SAVOR wine glass. Why doesn't Upland make a specialty glass? For shame.

Pours a nice brown-amber color with good red highlights. A nice off-white head and some good lacing on the way down. The nose carries a really nice bit of dark and stone fruits plus some berries. Really a good dosing of fruit in a nice melody. Light bid of malt there as well. There's a fair amount of acidity there as well.

The flavor comes through and really pops. A standard flanders red with a good bit of the bourbon barrel and a heavy fruit component. I was a bit skeptical upon hearing what this one was, but I really enjoyed it. The fruit really stood out to me.

Medium body with a slight bit of booze, but not nearly that 10.5% that is listed. Good acidity coming through after a medium body that created a nice malt base. Perhaps my favorite Upland sour to date.

Photo of WillCarrera
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, poured into a snifter, thanks Abe!

A- Pours a hazy reddish brown color, topped with a thin white head, leaves some spotty lacing.

S- Tart aroma, funk, with lots of cherry and other fruit, oak and some caramel.

T- Great lactic and acetic tartness, the cherry fruitiness is restrained, with a nice amount of funk, bourbon, vanilla and oak remain mild but more noticeable towards the finish. Very tasty.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth feel, dry, tart finish with a bit of alcohol sweetness.

O- A really nice Flemish-red-ish beer, the subtle fruit and barrel flavors are great. This was my first sour from Upland and was very impressed.

Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep reddish brown into my snifter. A small, 1.5 finger head forms and retains about 1 cm very well. Lacing is a really solid wall down the side of the glass. The body looks even more red in the glass and gives an overall mahogany color to the beer.

S- Strong acidic sour notes hit the nose first. The overall impression of the sour is potent, but somewhat faint, like it is somewhat diluted. Still, huge sour cherry and whiskey barrel note ring through, On the back end the whiskey barrel takes over with some spiciness and just a touch of sweetness as the scent fades away.

T- The taste starts off with a medium to moderate sour bang. Cherries and acidic base beer make up the sour flavor profile, with a slight tilt towards the juicy cherries. The sour flavors calm down a bit in the middle and a slightly bitter and spicy whiskey flavor moves in. The whiskey and barrel flavors warm up the drink and then start to move the flavor profile towards a drier flavor before the vanilla and oak picks up. Semi-sweet vanilla and spicy oak ramp up at the end and linger on the tongue.

M- This beer is somewhere between slick and smooth on the palate to me. There is very little carbonation despite the relatively active head when poured. The alcohol definitely wamrs this up a bit and the sour flavor lends this to be sipped. Overall, I would describe the feel as oily, with some thick and smooth qualities, but also some thinner, slick feel to it as well.

Overall, this is a very good beer. The whiskey barrel aging adds a dimension to this beer that most Flanders do not have. The barrel warmth and whiskey flavors mellow what would otherwise be a very sour beer to make a more drinkable end product.

Photo of rlee1390
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-Deep ruby, cloudy, two finger off white head and well carbonated.

S-Funk, leather, cherries oak.

T-Nice and sour, cherries, oak, leather and plums.

M-Lighter and not as much carbonation as I was expecting.

O-The best Upland sour I've had so far. Perfectly balanced, a tad more carbonation would make this a lot better. Although they might have to change the name due to some lawyer-y stuff.

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Malefactor (Gilgamesh) from Upland Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 326 ratings.