Bracia - Thornbridge Brewery

Not Rated.
BraciaBracia

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

131 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 131
Reviews: 38
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 41
Gots: 24 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Thornbridge Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Strong Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tempest on 04-16-2009

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 131 | Reviews: 38
Photo of woosterbill
3.19/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Prime 16, served in a B. United goblet.

A: Black body, one finger of dense light brown head. Great retention and lacing. Darker than I expected, but lovely.

S: Intensely malty and roasty, with dark chocolate, licorice, and smoky char being the biggest components. Some dark fruit and spicy booze, too. Bold, but too astringent.

T: Follows the nose, with the addition of some floral bitterness and additional emphasis on the fig-like dark fruit notes. Astringent roastiness still dominates up front, with alcohol brining up the back end. Not pleasant, sad to say.

M: Creamy medium-full body with lots of soft carbonation. Great.

O: I was really looking forward to this one, being a big fan of the brewery, but this was a disappointment. More sweetness would have gone a long way toward allowing the complexity to shine without the more...assertive...flavors absolutely taking over. Perhaps a bottle with some age on it would make a better impression? I'd love to revisit it, but probably won't considering how expensive bottles are.

Cheers!

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.28/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dark brown color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma consists of dry fruits with dry toffee notes are quite unique and quite strong. Taste is a strange mix between some dry toffee notes with caramel malt with some molasses notes with some light fruity ester and some chestnut. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very complex beer with maybe a tad too much going on.

Photo of brother_rebus
3.58/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

DARK. Smells maple-y. Taste honey up front and nut as F on the after. Which is surprising for a dark beer this dark. Bit of a boozy afterbreath. Trails off with a clovy/spicelike taste. Leaves chocolate taste in mouth. Overall pleased. Probably wouldnt buy again. Not because its not good. Just not my cup of meat.

Photo of Tone
3.58/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a black color. 1/4 inch head of a tan color. Great retention and good lacing. Smells of anise/licorice, sweet malt, dry hop, hint of pale malt, hint of floral hops, alcohol, honey, and tea. Fits the style of an English Strong Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of dry hops, sweet malt, hint of roasted malt, alcohol, honey, hint of hops, and tea. Overall, good appearance, decent aroma, blend, and body.

Photo of Immortale25
3.68/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Had on-tap at Avenue Pub New Orleans. Served in a wine-style glass.

A- Pours a fully opaque black color with a 1/4 inch light brown head that doesn't retain long before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and

S- Some faint dark roasted malt and a lot of wet cardboard...uh-oh. Glassy with a bit of booze.

T- The flavor is sort of the same. A good amount of dark roast with some wet cardboard in the middle and a lingering bitter aftertaste. Drinks more like a porter or light stout than anything. I will say the alcohol is quite well masked but there's still that glassy flavor that was detected in the aroma. As the drink progresses, the roasty bitterness starts to dominate and this beer shows its true colors. Strong and assertive with notes of pumpernickel, coffee and a bit of bourbon.

M- Certainly the best part of this beer. Creamy, soft and smooth. Medium carbonation and a full body.

O- There are things I like about this beer but there are almost just as many things that I don't like. Kind of all over the place.

Photo of illidurit
3.73/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle from the free table at Woodshop 5.0. Pours dark brown with a thin tan head. Aroma is licorice, black malts, and an odd note that took me forever to figure out but that I believe is soy sauce (I wrote 'fishy' in my initial notes, but that's not quite it). Flavor is much better, with tons of roast and vivid dark chocolate. Peat is mild, and I don't really get any honey. Caramel and chalk make an appearance. Thick, bitter, and dry.

Photo of Child_Pugh
3.79/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

L - gorgeous, black, silky
S - Get a strange maple scent, very sickly sweet
T - much more bitter than the scent would indicate, hints of coffee and some maple after taste.
F - incredibly smooth, easy on the palate

Photo of Doppelbockulus
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In the glass it appears opaque because it is so dark, but the pour reveals a very dark red. The head is a very creamy brown.

Smell is heavy with nuts (makes sense since it is a chestnut beer), wood, coffee, and burned marshmallows. There is also some funk that is very hard to describe in the smell, but this could be part of the chestnut smell.

The flavor is different. It exhibits some thick and heavy stout characteristics, but there is some tartness that sets it apart and brings it down below the level of a stout. There is certainly a healthy presence of coffee in the flavor, as well a a little alcohol, kind of like a bourbon.

The feeling is not thick like a stout. There is a lot of body in the flavor, but not as much in the feel. There is a light vinous feel to it.

Photo of heygeebee
3.87/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

True to style English Strong Ale... A la amped up Old Peculiar. All treacle, burnt toffee, and in this instance you can taste the added honey. Quite warmly alcoholic. All very dry tho on the finish, which lessens drinkability.
One of those beers you can appreciate the complexity without necessarily enjoying the taste,

Photo of seand
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque dark brown with a small amount of dark tan head. Just a ring around the edge of the glass retains, which leaves small sheets of lacing.

S: Sweet and malty; somewhat scotch-like, smoky and peaty.

T: Quite sweet and somewhat whiskey-like. Thick malt, with roasted smokey notes and a thick aftertaste.

M: Full body, medium carbonation.

Overall, thick, nice, and whiskey-like. It's quite strong, but a good flavor combination.

Photo of Sammy
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Lakeview Liquors. A stout and a mead. Black with a bubbly head. New Zealand honey is a noticeably premium honey and here. Lacey. Wickedly Smooth mouthfeel. Chestnuts, a bit intense flavour in the finish. Good drinkability, something unique and special.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.94/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

9% ABV per the label.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy super dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, char, earth, molasses, smoke, and slight citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa powder, char, peat, smoke, and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast and smoke bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a nice mix of ingredients in the smell and taste, but the carbonation level on this one is a bit too low to me.

Serving type: bottle.

Photo of rarbring
3.99/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark dark brown beer, a light brown head, slowly settling leaving good lacing, good curtains.

Smelling a bit metallic, sherry, nuts, coffee.

Starting sweet brown sugar and burned bread crust, chocolate and liqueur, soy sauce, some bitter orange peel.

Little carbonation, smooth, thick and sticky, a dry finish.

Some misses in the smell is well compensated in the taste.

Photo of zaphodchak
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light brown head, dark brown body. Trace of lace.

Nose is deep with malt and some peat.

Thick taste-- caramel a bit of nuttiness, a bit of licorice. Quite nice and rich, but still pretty dry. Bold flavor with some wood and peat on the finish. Trace of coffee.

Thickish, with a bit of foam.

Outstanding and rich without being cloying. Bold flavor and in a different way than other English beers.

Photo of Jeffo
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this one at Geers in Gent a while back. Awesome beer run!

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter.
Best Before 25 November 2016

APPEARANCE: A dark brown pour yields a one finger, medium, looser looking, mocha colored head with very good retention. Black body with medium carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a full wisp and sticks to the sides of the glass. A faint wisp remains until the end and leaves some nice lacing down the glass. Pretty stuff.

SMELL: Definite sweet, pure honey and nuts on the nose. Very apparent. Notes of dark chocolate as well as some peaty smoke notes too. The adjuncts certainly show up, though the result is an interesting array of aromas on this one.

TASTE: Very interesting and unique, as the nose promised. Lots of nuts and sweet, pure honey at the beginning, with dark malts and peaty smoke notes at the swallow. Big and lingering aftertaste of caramel and honey sweetness, with some dark, bitter chocolate and coffee flavors. Definite peat lingers as well. Lots of complex flavors for sure.

PALATE: Medium-full body with medium carbonation. Very creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes quite sticky. Very appropriate for the style.

OVERALL: This one was really tough to score. It’s very unique and extremely flavorful, with lots going on and plenty to contemplate, but the aggressiveness does make it somewhat difficult to enjoy an entire half litre yourself. Perhaps this is something better off shared with a buddy. Regardless, this brew has definitely made me interesting in trying more of their stuff. Very impressive. If the opportunity arises, don’t pass this one up. Highly recommended.

Photo of FLima
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep black color that completely shields light with a one finger thick caramel head with good retention.
Bold aroma of chestnuts, licorice, wood and roasted malts. Hints of earth and pine-urinal deodorizer.
Strong flavor of honey with lots of sorachi ace hops and chestnuts with notes of licorice, pine, whiskey and burnt wood. Hints of pepper, flowers and plums with peel. Dry and bitter aftertaste with a lingering hoppy, cappuccino and ash note.
Full body with low carbonation, smooth but also sticky. 10% ABV hides in its flavors.
Very complex beer with a unique flavor, all notes are potent, they come and go giving space to the next one. Thornbridge is one of my favorite’s breweries and this is an interesting brew to wake up your senses.

Photo of ngeunit1
4.16/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown-black with a finger of frothy chocolate colored head. Fades fairly slowly.

S - Sweet dark caramel and toffee malts, dark fruits, honey, smoke, nuttiness, vanilla, oak, bit of booze.

T - Sweet dark caramel and toffee malts, dark fruits, honey, vanilla, oak, smoke, nuttiness, black licorice, and a bit of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a sweet, warming finish.

D - Nice complex and balanced English Strong Ale.

Photo of tempest
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the label:

Bracia is the Celtic name for a beverage brewed in Iron Age Europe with reference found on a Roman inscription at Haddon Hall,Derbyshire. Little is known about this except it was high in alcohol, brewed with cereals and, most probably, honey. Thornbridge's Bracia has been infused with a generous amount of dark and bitter Chestnut Honey. This was sourced by Head Brewer Stefano Cossi from Beekeeper Onelia Pin in the Alpine foothills of North East Italy. Aromas are of chestnut, honey, cappuccino, white chocolate, dark fruits, vibrant fresh peel. The mouthfeel is velvety and rich, with notes of coffee, chocolate, liquorice and hazelnuts with warming alcohol, cocoa and a little peat in the finish.

The honey and hazelnuts are obvious in the aroma and flavor. While chocolate roast and cocoa dominate the flavor. Yum Appears pitch black with a milk chocolate head. There's a long, espresso aftertaste. Hot damn, this is good beer. There's a paler malt notes that pop up in the aftertaste, but there's a whole lot of roasted malt going on that dives into roast chestnuts, honey, and spicy British hops. Delicious.

Photo of jlindros
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark 1 finger thick frothy and rich head, with some nice lacing, over pitch black beer, no light coming through at all, and thick enough to leave trace legs on the sides.

Nose is interesting, a toasty but dark malt aroma, plenty of roasted malts, some espresso, a bit of dark chocolate, a light toasty saw dust like aroma blended with some toasted chestnuts for an interesting aroma, light flaked oats, a hint of licorice and hint of harsh smoke, a nutty aroma, and just a touch of herbal hops.

Taste is rich, some roasted malts to start, fairly rich and thick but fluffy, a bit of espresso, chewy malts, quite a bit of smoked wood flavors, toasted saw dust, and light toasted chestnuts, a bit of dark chocolate, light caramel, hint of warming booze, light herbal hops, some flaked oats, a bit of chocolate milk and nougat, a light cinnamon and hazelnut, slightly sweet. Finishes with a bit more warming booze, some hot spices with cinnamon and nutty flavors lingering, hints of roast, coffee, dark chocolate, a bit of licorice, and more smoke on the finish.

Mouth is heavier, rich, smooth, some warming booze, and tons of carbonation to back it up, almost too much but it plays well with the fluffy and oatmeal demeanor.

Overall pretty good, the only issue I see is the peat smoke always gives it a weird flavor, the more beer I have with peat smoke the more I don't like it in beer (and I'm a peat-o-phile when it comes to scotch), but nice flavors otherwise, great dark malts, oats, light nuts and spices, chocolate and roast, the sawdust flavor I think comes from the peat smoke but not sure, which is also not the best flavor, if regular smoked malts instead of peat I think this would be an A.

Photo of beerdrifter
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at my favorite beer store in Belgium, Dranken Geers. Deep black pour with a gorgeous two finger caramel-colored head with good retention and great lacing. Very unique roasty, nutty, and subtly sweet nose with hints of dark chocolate, espresso, licorice, molasses and peat. The taste is complex and unique. A lot going on that I've never experienced. Lots of roasty espresso and dark chocolate along with hints of dark fruit, specifically black cherries, licorice, peat, tobacco, and hazelnuts. There's something else in there that I just can't put my finger on. Perhaps it's the chestnut honey, which I'm unfamiliar with. The mouthfeel is thick, chewy, and oily with a bittersweet finish. Very smooth and drinkable for a 10% beer. It's a little expensive, but definitely another unique and great offering from Thornbridge!

Photo of mikeyv35
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Date: 02/09/2012
Type: 16.9oz. Bottle
Vintage: 2011
Glass: SH Large Snifter

Have to agree w/ the previous listing by Masterski. This brew really could fit in any 1 of 3 categories, this one really blurs the lines. I think this brew has the most qualities in common w/ an Imperial Stout.

At almost $2/oz., this one better be good!

Pours a dark midnight black in color w/ a 1/2 finger tan head that produces nice amounts of sticky lacing. Aromas of chocolate, espresso, peat, and some nuttiness. The taste started w/ sweet chocolate and molasses/black liquorice up front, leading into dry espresso and peat, and finishing w/ subtle hop bite and honey. Full bodied and lush. Pretty drinkable, as this brew is ultra smooth and complex, plus the 9% ABV is well hidden.

Overall, a pleasure to sample and I am glad I had the opportunity, but at the price I don't think I will again. However, this is a fantastic beer!

Photo of MasterSki
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First things first - I've amended the style for this beer from American Imperial Stout to English Strong Ale, as this sure ain't no stout. Consumed this while watching improv at Studio Be. Served in a classy plastic cup.

A - Creamy and ample dark tan foam settles to a thick cap, leaving plenty of splotchy lacework. Body is black, although it was hard to tell if there was any coloration in the low lighting through the plastic.

S - Peat, smoked meats, cereal grains, pumpernickel bread, yeast, bitter nuts - predominantly hazelnut, and a hint of black malt. Evocative of honey-glzed ham. Very complex and unusual - almost Rauchbier-esque is some ways.

T - The taste has more semisweet chocolate and floral honey character mingling with smoked meats and peated malts. There's some light anise and espresso bitterness in the finish, as well as a touch of char. The Sorachi Ace hops actually make themselves known in the periphery, and there's a hint of red licorice as the beer warms up. The alcohol is quite well-hidden until this reaches room temperature.

M - Creamy, medium-full body, with smooth, chewy, and viscous texture. The finish is slightly dry with a mild roasty, tannic character to it as well. There's a bit of warming alcohol near the end of the 500ml bottle.

D - I've been in a English sort of mood, having had this and Courage RIS on back-to-back days. This doesn't have the brett character of the Courage, but it's got that well-attenuated dryness and quintessential English character to it in spades. Unique and somewhat hard to categorize - more of a smoked beer than a strong ale or stout, but with elements of all of them. I was initially slightly turned off by the aroma, but this grew on me quite a bit over the course of a half-liter (yes, I drank it all by myself). Pricey, challenging, but ultimately rewarding.

Photo of metter98
4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a quarter finger high mocha colored head that quickly died down and left patches of bubbles on the surface and a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of chestnuts in the nose along with hints of cappuccino and sweet honey.
T: The taste is quite complex and similar to the smell with flavors of chestnuts and honey. The nutty flavors become stronger as the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium-bodied, rich and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very well balanced and complex even though it is not a full-bodied beer.

Photo of mdagnew
4.36/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle bought from Beermerchants.com... bottle 1499...

Poured pitch black with no hint of colour even when held up to the light. Burnt brown head poured incredibly thick and foamy with very small bubbles and a meringue like topping... a good one finger of foam remained throughout.. some thick lacing lines...

Aroma - Lots of roasted chocolate malts backed with cigar and peat smokiness, lots of toasted nuts - hazlenuts mainly, very earthy, strong coffee, some citrus notes, liquorice, burnt (brown) sugar, honey notes, some sourness, light vegetal traces...

Taste - Bitter chocolate, liquorice, roasted malts, cappuccino coffee, cocoa, definitely some peaty smoke just coming through, dark fruits (black cherries and currents), nut brittle, treacle / molasses, warming alcohol is noticeable..

Feel - Smooth and velvety with just a little sharpness underneath... full bodied... pretty drinkable for an 9% brew..

Overall - A superb example of an imperial stout... could maybe do with a few more months just to mellow things out a little but definitely recommended...

Photo of Ale-ienation
4.36/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black as midnight with a thick and creamy toasted-beige head that retains well.

S: Toasted chestnuts, roasted malt, dark chocolate.

T: Sweet malts and honey up front balanced by a pleasant roasty bitterness. A rich nuttiness abounds in the middle; chestnuts, walnuts, almonds. The slightest floral note of sage also comes through with the clean and bitter finish. Profoundly blended and delicious.

M: Full bodied, creamy and silky smooth.

O: Beautifully complex dark ale that benefited from the firkin treatment.

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Bracia from Thornbridge Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 131 ratings.