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Malefactor (Gilgamesh) - Upland Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Malefactor (Gilgamesh)Malefactor (Gilgamesh)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

70 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 70
Hads: 363
Avg: 4.23
pDev: 22.93%
Wants: 303
Gots: 136 | FT: 24
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 70 | Hads: 363
Photo of claspada
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of mrand01

Pours a slightly hazy with a bright copper/reddish-orange glow. The head is slightly off white and creamy in appearance coupled with nice lacing as it recedes.

Aromas begin with a malty breadiness followed by an earthy dankness, light sour cherries and a very light scent of oak barrel. Some bourbon and vanilla/toffee emerge more as it warms.

The tastes begin pleasant upfront with clean lactic acidity and some light Brett yeast flavors. Midway though more tannic vinous notes emerge coupled with more oakiness than I experienced in the nose. Just like the nose bourbon and vanilla emerge more as it warms. The finish rounds out with sour cherry, light sweet caramel and a stone fruit flavor and funkiness.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with light carbonation. I would have liked a little more maybe to help the flavors pop. Finish is slightly chewy and dry.

Overall this was a very well rounded beer and a nice take on the style but didn't wow me like others of the style. I don't feel the bourbon added enough flavor here to be called a Bourbon Barrel aged Flanders red. Maybe not enough contact time or the base beer was too big or the bugs are still slowly eating away at the sweet bourbony flavors, who knows. Good but not exactly what I was hoping for.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Vanilla, oak, Concord grape, red wine tannins and lacto. Definitely some traditional Flanders red qualities. Shorter finish. Earthy. More tart than straight sour. Sweetness rounds out the sharp edges. Real good.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle poured into tulip - thanks to brystmar

Pours a hazy auburn/amber color with a reddish glow. Crop of beige head retains nicely, dissipating into webbed lacing on the glass.

Funky and sour in the nose, plenty of cherry and fruit tones. Acidic hints with a glow of bourbon and toasted oak. Red wine with yeasty funk.

Snap of lactic sourness up front with splashes of juicy cherries coupled with dark fruit. Hints of red wine and grape skin, oaky tannins with a slightly earthy warmth. Hints of bourbon and vanilla, raisin and grapes. Finishes sour and dry with lingering acidic bite.

Medium body, upper level carbonation, somehow juicy and dry on the tongue with a lasting finish. I'm a fan of aging sour ales in bourbon barrels, and Upland really nailed this one. I'd definitely be interested in finding another bottle.

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Photo of dar482
4.54/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

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Photo of mltobin
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle split amongst a few friends. Excited to try a sour style beer from Upland. It pours a red-orange color with haziness. The nose of it contains red wine, vinegar, cherry and sugar. A very interesting beer so far. It tastes nice, a mix of sour, bourbon, cherry, good mix of flavors. Mouthfeel is medium, acidic to be sure, leaves you with a bit of sour face. A very good beer that is worth your time.

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Photo of krome
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is quite nice. The base beer is a very repeatable Flanders red ale with a lot going on. The bourbon barrel aging adds additional undercurrents of flavor and complexity.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

reviewed from notes on 5/20/12.

750ml cork and cage poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: mohoganey red bodied beer with 2 fingers of white head that drops down to a thin cap. Nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: sweet and tart cherries, oak, and funk.

Taste: starts off with sour cherries. The beer has a mild funk to it and a hint of vanilla, oak and earthiness. Mild bourbon.

Mouthfeel: medium body with moderate carbonation. This has some prickly and aggressive carbonation, but it drinks well with this beer. Little bit acidic and dry.

Overall: Another really good sour by Upland. Only had a few flanders red, but I do enjoy the beer style.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.2/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one was a part of cmrillo’s 40 Beers* @ 40 Birthday Bash! Shared by myself! A massive thanks goes out to my boy aasher for sending me this one as a part of a get well back after I first returned to work and was fighting my literally through physical therapy! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured a ruby red orange with a half finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, cherry, tart, and subtle funk. The flavor was of sweet malt, cherry, tart, sour, wood, cherry, and funk. It had a light feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. I really enjoyed this one as a nice followup to the 50/50 Eclipses we had previously. It did a nice job of cleansing the palate and still shining through with all its glory. The flavor was my favorite part as it was quite complex and very well balance. A definite must try regardless if you have done so or not.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes taken from a bottleshare at the Phoenix Sun in NYC. Thanks kindly to whomever brought this one for sharing.

a - identical to the wanderer that was poured just before this. deep murky amber brown.
s - sweet tart and sour cherry.
t - pretty sour. sour cherries to be precise.
m - puckeringly sour.
o - overall very tart sour cherries. nice flanders, but very much on the sour end of the spectrum.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.07/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into tulip. Thanks for sending me this one years ago, HosP! Cork date of 3/11.

A: Pours a cranberry juice red with a couple fingers of fizzy dark tan head that quickly faded into a a fuzzy collar.
S: Dry and woody notes of cherry pits, cranberry juice, musty earth, and buttery oak. Slight lacto as well.
T: Follows the nose with smooth and lightly tart flavors of ambiguous red fruits and berries. Musty attic and damp basement come through alongside a clean lactic bite, and slightly sweet Belgian sugar. Mild and sweet with a hint of grape juice. The finish is smooth with just a kiss of bourbon from the barrel.
M: Medium body, soft and mellow carb, drying but not a desert that is balanced by subtle sweetness. Drinks very well. Slightly tannic and clinging.
O: Extremely smooth and mellow. Very impressed, age has done this well. Very delicious. Thanks again, Mark!

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Photo of FosterJM
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1124th Review on BA
Bottle to Bruery Tulip
750ml C/C

2012 Bottle

Thanks to GuruDel for sharing.
Thanks to UrbanCaver for muling a couple of these for us.

App- Really looks like the color of fresh pressed cranberry juice and cherry juice mixed together. Fairly dense on the first pour but as it settles it becomes a bit more translucent and shimmery in the glass. A small half of a finger head that was a bit tan in color formed and receded pretty quickly.

Smell- A nice sour beer. Has a certain softness on the nose which was a pleasant suprise. It opens with a bit sour note and moves into a freshly pressed cherry juice note. A bit of a wine like tannin and vinegar note came across next. I really get none of the booze that should be prevalant at 10.5%. A certain dryness comes across from the bourbon but really doesnt add that initial sting on the nose or a bourbon note. Hidden and integrated quite nicely.

Taste- Really one of the most layered sour beers I have had. Gilgamesh was a very strong and assertive beer in a couple ways and then changes it around and is a bit soft. The assertive notes come from the oak and the maize. This was the flavor or feel I couldnt place last night.It has a strong flavor that is very cherry forward and that flavor was dialed in perfectly. The oak notes add another layer and you get touches of some acidity. On the flip side you get the softness of the wild microorganisms. It really added another dimension but didnt overpower the sour,oak and clean flavors.

Mouth- This was a large beer and dialing in the right feel must have been a big challange. I felt this could've a touch lighter. It was a big medium body and had a creamy medium carbonation. The flavors remain with touches of oaky, small aciditic vinegar and creamy cherry.

Drink- I enjoyed this beer a lot. The grand scale of the flavors and the combination of layers was well integrated and the final product shows that. A very large ABV but as mentioned well hidden. A good beer to share with a good drinking buddy. A well done style that isn't normally done in the States. Good to see a craft brewer in America taking a shot. I would love another bottle to sit on but the experience was good for me.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
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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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip.

4.5 A: Opaque cherry mahogany color. One and a half fingers of frothy beige head. Retention is very good, especially with the ABV and a gerthy ring of lacing is left.

4.25 S: Supremely fruity with tons of cherry and berry notes. Sweet with notes of caramel and basement funk. Not a lot of acidity, but enough to tickle the senses and give some complexity. The bourbon is found on just the most superficial level. I doubt I would have found it if I didn't know it was in here.

4.25 T: The bourbon also doesn't do much in the taste. Mild acidity, but potent taste. Super fruity with the cherry/berry combo with some plum as well. Basement funk with damp, rotting wood. Reasonably complex with plenty of depth.

4.0 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Mildly creamy and bubbly. No problems here. Super smooth.

4.25 D: It's not packing a whole lot in the sourness category, but it tastes great and if it wasn't so expensive or hard to get, you could drink it all night and be quite happy.

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Photo of Sean9689
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into Darkness tulip.

A - Pours a ruby reddish color, brown hue, cream-colored head.

S - The booze is there right from the start, yet doesn't totally overtake the rest of the beer. A nice level of tartness, oak, dark fruits, and cherries work well with the bourbon. This beer improved as it warmed.

T - Similar to the nose, bourbon and tart cherries with some oak. The booze smooths out as it warms, and everything seems to work well together. This drinks like a Double Red Poppy.

M - Medium, good carbonation, dry finish.

O - I'm a fan of this beer. I think some age will do this one some good and smooth the booze out further, which would be nice. Looking forward to trying this again in 6 months or so. If you like Red Poppy and want some more alcohol in there, this beer is for you.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
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!

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Photo of thecheapies
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Long-time want. Gilgamesh. Batch Date: 9-11. Poured into a tulip.

Deep scarlet color with very light murk. The head peaked at almost two inches; bone in color.

Red currant and tart cherry fruits, oakwood, mild vanilla, and a kiss of bourbon. Ripe, but not particularly sour in the nose. Quite the woody Flemish Red. Smells phenomenal.

Drier than I'd expected and super-tannic. A lot of un-beerlike bitterness. Vinous with some lively woody notes. I'm getting tangled up in oak and the taste of dry bourbon. Sourness has opened up a bit, but not in the vinegar-y sort of way. It's softer, lactic, and more citrusy. I taste lemon, currants, and straw. This is unlike any Flanders Red I've tasted before, and it's unreal good. All of those red grape skin tannins and the touch of whiskey make this one unique and elite brew.

Almost sandy carbonation. The body is soft, yet sour. All of that side-of-the-mouth pucker is contributed from the tannins. Lovely feel for an over-the-top, big Flanders Ale. This ABV is pretty damn sneaky.

A top-of-the-line beer... be sure of it. Not the best, but pretty damn impressive. It ranks high amongst the style. A bourbon-barrel aged Flanders Red. How can I not recommend it?

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Photo of harrymel
3.83/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Figured it was time to pop the cork.

This was a bitch to open - required the lobster claw cracker to pull the cork - but it cam with a loud pop. Pours a brown ale with cherry hues and a good broken sheet of light cream foam. Smells of sweet balsamics, some brown sugar and some oak. There is the vinegar tone, indicating the tart quality, but the nose lacks depth for me. Flavor has a nice tartness, cherries, oak, hint of bourbon, slightly bitter, and a hint of sweetness. I like the balance in this one. Medium bodied with lower carb and a dry finish. Nice beer, the nose does not match the flavor, but it is a nice beer.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle.

Pours dark amber with ruby hues in the hips of the glass. A thin but creamy head of beige persists throughout the glass with smeary lacing.

Soured apples, vineous cider, and bourbon start the nose. Hints of oak, red wine, and tart, red fruits follow through.

Medium bodied with a crisp, sharp mouthfeel. A bit lush.

Bright acid, wine-soaked apples, oaky bourbon, and cider vinegar lead off the nose. Hints of vanilla, tannins, and red wine continue on.

Finishes with a strong tartness, vineous soured fruit, and bourbon.

Nice beer. The sourness level is stronger than the fruit lambics from Upland and the bourbon barrels add some nice depth.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of Beejay
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My 700th Review, Epic Flanders-style Red Ale..

Huge thanks to RocPorterFanatic for this brew!

A: Light brown in color as it pours. In the glass it is a deeper red amber. The head is light tan in color, soft as a cloud with some fish eyes.

S: Sour notes come out first, possibly a little fresh apple cider aroma in there.There is a very mellow vinegar note. Some dark fruit and a lovely caramel sweetness with a touch of raisins. The balance of sweet and sour kinda reminds me of Duchesse. There is almost a pineapple thing in there. I didn't notice the bourbon right off the bat, but once you know it's there it's impossible to not taste.

T: Yowser! The sour notes from the aroma come out swinging. Tart, with vinegar notes as well as some nice fruitiness. There is some pear, citrus, and kumquat. Good but I wish a bit more of the sweetness pulled through from the aroma.

M: Medium in body, but the carbonation makes it feel a little lighter. The carbonation is effervescent, and extremely fine in texture.

O: Overall a pretty good beer. Definitely fills the sour void in my life. Tart, complex, and totally delicious.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Murky brownish red, hazy, little head or carbonation.

Smells true to Flanders Red style. Sour cherry, vanilla, brown sugar, funky.

Slightly sour. The oak stands out, but is not a bourbon/boozy, straight wood. Cherries and funky. Vanilla.

Medium body, leaves the tongue puckered. Sour.

Upland is hit or miss to me, this one hit. A very good representation the style.

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Photo of jmarsh123
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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Photo of brystmar
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Decent looking pour, though the aroma stands out more. Complex, fruity, hints or cinnamon too. Mild booze character in the nose as it warms. Taste follows suit with cherries at the forefront. Bourbon creeps further forward as it warms. ABV is totally hidden in the mix of flavors.

Top notch craftsmanship, though I'd expect nothing less from an Upland Reserve beer. Wish I had another bottle :(

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I’ve finally done it; I’ve crossed the $20 mark for a single bottle of beer. Granted, I’ve probably spent around $30 per bottle when it comes to the overall cost of some of my previous trades, but this was just off the shelf 27 bucks. Let’s see where all that money takes me…

Brewed eight months before the date of this tasting (gold emblem on the back of the label says “Batch Date 9-11”).

A: As soon as I popped the cork, I could tell some foam would eventually make its way to the top of the bottle. This time, though, it wasn’t a gusher – just a slow showing of light bubbles above the rim of the bottle after about five minutes. The pour pushes this thick foam into a bold two-inch head, as absolutely full and shining as vanilla yogurt. After a while, it settles to a bubbly tan retention, looking like powdered sugar on top of the hazy, toffee orange-brown body. Nice chunky lacing and some yeast flakes appear around the glass.

S: The complexity of this nose is absolutely heavenly; you can definitely recognize the barrel-aging. Fruits are full and flavorful – apple, peach, cherry, persimmon, and apricot – more fleshy and syrupy than anything. Reminds me of pie filling, especially because there’s a definite aroma of crusty, buttered bread. More complexity, even, with big, smooth oak and cherry wood over a moderate note of strong, clean alcohol. The funk is noticeable, yet balanced – musky, dusty, leathery, and herbal. Ends with an aroma of vanilla yogurt and corn. This is one hell of a nose; love it.

T: Oh god, what a supremely sour palate! Fresh fruit: lemon juice, lime pulp, cherry, and sour grape. Acetic and citric acid climbs all around the tongue, so sour and delicious; it wholly brings out the juiciness of the fruit flavors. Orange juice and peach, as well. The chewy funk of the yeast and malt backing reveals a myriad of thick flavors: corn flakes, fluffy white bread, flaky biscuits, lager yeast, and a clean herbal musk of hibiscus, guava, and leather. Bourbon is mild, especially because it is mixed with maple icing, vanilla bean, and chocolate flavors; it makes the alcohol much more woody than spicy. The aftertaste is a taste of red fruit juice and corn.

M: Lightly syrupy and smoothly refreshing. Not dry but bright in its gelatinous feel, adding to its character of fruity pie filling.

O: Ah, that bourbon barrel aging does a world of good for this beer; it mellows out an already super-sour beer. And because of that, this is one of the best Flanders ales I’ve ever had. What every brewer should aspire to when it comes to sour beer. Definitely worth the money – in fact, I think I’ll go buy another.

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Photo of Furlinator
4.19/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A strange combination of bourbon, fruit and funk in the nose. Less bourbon in the flavor with moderate tartness and lots of dark fruit. A unique and interesting brew.

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Malefactor (Gilgamesh) from Upland Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 70 ratings.