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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: 364
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: 364
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 Duff27
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One inch tan head on a deep red body. Very nice head retention with some lacing.  

Sour nose with a hint of sweet cherries.

Medium sourness comparitavely speking With just enough cherries to keep it fruity. Would guess at 7%abv

Nice mouthfeel, medium. Very carbonated.

Very tasty flemish red, although I'm not picking up a lot if barrel notes. Worth a try. Thanks 4DAloveofSTOUT!

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared at bu11zeye's 10,000th rating tasting.

The beer pours a light brown color with a white head. The aroma has a lot of toffee and caramel malt, as well as some tart cherries and oak notes. The flavor is similar, with some lightly tart cherries, oak, leather and vanilla. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of eclipse54
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

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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 davey101
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not sure how to distinguish the vintage. The back label has a gold stamp saying "Batch Date 9-11" and the cork is stamped " 3-11". Regardless, its the first release. 750ml C+C bottle into a tulip glass. Opens with a loud pop and a very slow rise of foam up the neck. Huge thanks to muskabeatz for BIF'ing me this want!

A - Dark red body with an almost brown hue. Tall light khaki head dies down to a neat solid cap. Great lacing and retention. Looks pretty stereo typically Flanders.

S - Cherries and oak. Vinegar and soft acetic acid. There is a slight bourbon element happening in the background with some vanilla and char. There is some booze on the nose.

T - Lots of great Flanders notes. Soft acetic acid and vinegar followed by sour cherries and some Christmas spices. Light oak and vanilla on the finish with some warming alcohol present. Lingering tartness with a nearly dry end. Smooth and medium mouth feel.

O - A nice take on the Flanders style. I was surprised to learn that this was aged in bourbon barrels for a year. The bourbon notes are very tame, but they do mesh well with the softness of the bugs and the tartness of the cherries. Very good wild ale.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

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Photo of mothman
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a khaki head. Color is a caramel amber.

Aroma: Sour cherries, caramel, and candied sugar. brown sugar. Funky and fruity.

Taste: Sour cherries again. Medicinal with a bit of band-aid flavor. Caramel and bready malts. Candied sugar. Light vinegar.

Mouthfeel Tart and bland. Light bodied with a high amount of carbonation. Ends clean.

Overall, a decent flanders, but nothing too crazy. Enjoyable, however.

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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 machostacos
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%
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?!

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

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Photo of aasher
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This beer pours a medium bodied dirty brown with auburn highlights and a slight off white lacing around the glass. 4.5/5
Aroma:  Its nose is light and tart with some oak, tart cherries, acetic acid, and sweet malt.  The bourbon isn't really present even as it warms.  It definitely has a pronounced fruit character to go with the almost creamy type of sour or tart indicative of the style. 4/5
Taste:  The flavors are initially light and slightly fruity.  I get dark berry alongwith tart cherry.  There is some oak as well as a dark malty sweetness.  It begins slightly sweet and then goes into a tart and then ends with a light sour and an odd bitterness.  The odd bitterness eventually feels like a bourbon esque burn, but this beer isn't really hot by any means. 4/5
Mouthfeel: It drinks medium in body and leaves that odd burn at the back of your palate leading into your throat.  This isn't a bad thing but you notice it nonetheless. 4/5
Overall:  This is a fine representation of the style but a little expensive.  The bourbon isn't very noticeable so perhaps the base beer was stronger than I anticipated.  This is a nice beer to try but for $25 it's a little expensive for what it is.  If you're a big fan of the style, this is a must try.  4.5/5

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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 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 drabmuh
4.12/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Craytonic, served from a bottle into a snifter. Beer is brown and hazy with a thin tan head of small bubbles, moderate carbonation, some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is a little acetic but not overly so, mild oak and bourbon, power of suggestion on the bourbon possibly.

Beer is medium to light in body, mildly sweet and liquor on the front portion of the palate nad the finish is lactic, succinic, and acetic with a little brightness there. Nice beer overall, hard for me to put this in the "Flanders Red" box with the forward palate but a good beer none-the-less.

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

Appearance: muddled ruby-mahogany brown, decent tan head and lacing

Smell: Dark fruits, berries, cherry, vanilla, oak.

Taste: acidic, but not overly slow, lots of dark fruits, cherries, oak and vanilla. Flanders red on steroids, although the bourbon is very light.

Mouthfeel: medium-full body with light carbonation

Overall: good upland offering, they keep getting better and better.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of mrand01
4.64/5  rDev +9.7%
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!

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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 claaark13
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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