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Bog Water - Beau's All Natural Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Bog WaterBog Water

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

39 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 39
Hads: 97
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 7.1%
Wants: 4
Gots: 12 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Beau's All Natural Brewing Company visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale |  6.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: CanuckRover on 02-18-2008

Malty, with a plum-like fruitiness that is offset by spicy, earthy bitterness.
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Reviews: 39 | Hads: 97
Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.42/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Haven't had a good chance to scratch my gruit itch recently (other than from the Historic Ales of Scotland pack), so it was very nice to see this offering from Beau's hit the shelves. I've been meaning to try this for quite some time, but their distribution has only really taken off this year. Still, quite glad to pick up a bottle.

Kudos to Beau's for their dating info - not many Ontario brewers do this consistently. Bottled on November 30th, served in a dimpled ale glass on a disgustingly wet, boggy December afternoon.

The name "bog water" conjures up images of stagnant Ontario lakes fillled with lilies, reeds and dank, brown water. And that's precisely the image that Bog Water seeks to replicate. Dank, chestnut brown, slightly hazy, light brown when given some sun. The head is negligible, quickly dissolving into a thin ring. Eh, the beer is called Bog Water - what do you expect?

Nose is slightly spicy, but the dominant smell I detect is that of a dunkelweizen - cocoa, dark malt and a bit of over-ripe banana. It's faint, but it's there.

This brew is extra malty, with a big caramel-chocolate sweetness rushing out of the gate. But that same over-ripe banana continues to nag at my tastebuds. It's not until the finish that the gruit begins to show, with a nice herbal bitterness. Slightly flat, oily, and with a tangy carbonation kick. Surprisingly dry on the tongue.

Not exactly what I was expecting, but an interesting brew nonetheless. And hell, it's almost 7% - always a plus in my book. But not really the gruit fix I was hoping for. Worth a try at any rate. (1,587 characters)

Photo of Foddz
3.49/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A dark, hazy, caramel brown. A finger and a half of medium bodied foam that subsides to a thin rim around the glass. No lacing to speak of.

S: Dark, earthy, and a herbal spiciness to it. Ripe banana and other dark fruits. An underlying sweetness to it all.

T: More fruit. Reminds me a little of banana bread. Ripe bananas, malty bread notes, and a nice bit of herbal zing from the bog myrtle that the hops have been replaced with. Nicely balanced between sweet and bitter. A little weak on flavour in the back end.

M: A little thin, but nice and smooth. Mediocre carbonation. Not much to it.

O/D: Quite a pleasant brew, but under-performs in a couple of areas. Would benefit from a more robust late-taste/aftertaste, more carbonation, and a little more substance. That said, one could enjoy a few of these in a sitting without too much difficulty at all. (861 characters)

Photo of ludachris
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Taking the name into consideration, its hazy deep caramel body is quite fitting. About a finger's worth of tightly knit, creamy off white head forms after a sturdy pour, leaving no lace as it dies down.

Big, over-ripe banana streams from the glass with a musty, slightly sour backing I can't quite put my finger on. Cooked tomatoes and celery come through but moreso in a hardy, stew-like way. DMS in a less off putting form I suppose.

The taste is quite interesting. A smooth, mellowed out banana sweetness coats the palate. It reminds me of sugar coated bananas without being cloyingly sweet. A unique earthy, hardy, slightly peppery character follows close behind. There's a quick flash of spice midway through. A touch vegetal in the finish but much less pronounced than the nose. The last impression, extending beyond the finish, is both earthy and minerally laced with a soft sweetness. The pepper quality becomes more pronounced as the beer warms.

Carbonation is a tad below average, helping to accentuate the sweet banana character while still being able to impart a stern dryness that prevents the sweetness from getting carried away. Medium bodied with a bit of a watery feel.

This is one of the more interesting and unique Ontario offerings I've had to date. With that being said, it's not an exceptional one. I prefer their Kolsch over this. I'd still say this is worth a try. (1,393 characters)

Photo of tbeckett
3.34/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled November 30 so nice and fresh.

A - Pours a murky looking deepy ruby red colour. The head came out as a fizzy light brown but fizzled away really fast. Good carbonation coming up. The colour sure looks like a bog. No retention obviously and no lace. The murky looking element of this saves it from failing miserably.

S - A Sahti-like aroma with lot's of herbal notes, candied fruits, berries, and twigs.

T - Much the same with more berry notes, dark fruits, twigs, candied fruits, herbal notes. Alot like Sahti actually. Interesting.

M - Nice fizzy carbonation with a light to medium body and a sweet finish.

O/D - Interesting. Not overly pleasant though. A small sample would have done. The Sahti similarity is cool and the novelty of it scores it points, but more malt backbone would have dones this good with caramel or bready notes. (849 characters)

Photo of bryehn
4.04/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 600 mL bottle delivered straight from the brewery by their BYBO service. Bottled a week ago (Nov. 30). Sampling in a 24 oz pilsener glass.

Appearance certainly lives up to its name. Pours a murky, sludgy rust red and copper brown mixture. The off white head burns off almost immediately, leaving a scant thread ring and almost no lace.

Very smooth and appealing aroma anchored by earthy grains, grasses and malts. Sweet flowers, raisin, spices and a bit of an overripe pear note.

Tastes of honey sweetened flowers with a syrupy malt backing. A solid bitterness takes over, then grassy and flowery tones come through in the finish.

Medium-bodied with a very low carbonation. Both syrupy and a bit yeasty on the tongue. The aftertaste is bitter, with a floral taste and a sort of medicinal quality.

Reminds me of their Dunkel Buck a bit. A very nice wild ale that, for me, ranks as the brewery's best seasonal. Easygoing, but satisfying. (946 characters)

Photo of StephenRich
3.01/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

There are many different types of brewers and beer lovers out there. Some people are looking for the cleanest and smoothest beer they can create, other strive for the wildest and most extreme beer imaginable. Some target the style specifically and try to hit the nail on the head, and more still are inventing new styles every day. There is another group of enthusiasts who love the history and tradition of beer; it is both lucky and unlucky for them that people have been been brewing beers for thousands of years in all sorts of conditions with a massive range of ingredients and techniques. Unlucky then because it is hard to find many traditional styles of beer that have gone by the wayside, but lucky because it opens the doors for unique and exciting experimental recreation. Enter the Beau's Bog Water Gruit Ale.

In modern beer hops are what is used primarily (and almost exclusively) to add bitterness to beer to balance the sweetness of malted barley. This was not always the case though, and in the long history of beer hops are a relatively young ingredient first being introduced to society somewhere in the 1400s. Before then brewers would use an herbal mixture to bitter and flavor the beer called gruit. Today, there are many avid home brewers and a few enthusiastic breweries who still produce beers in this manner, known as gruit beers, or gruit ales. Beau's Bog Water is exactly that, a Gruit Ale brewed with Belgian influenced malts, and an herb used extensively in brewing until the acceptance of hops called bog myrtle.

The Bog Water is 6.6% abv, and I have no clue how to even consider the Bittering Units it may have. Thanks to my good friends at Beau's I have had this 1.8L jug of Bog Water in my fridge just waiting for me and some friends to enjoy it. The Bog Water is a seasonal brew and is only available on tap at select pubs, and from the Brewery store in Vankleek Hill. I opened the Bog Water up cool around 10C (50F) and emptied the jug into several snifter glasses. The pour was very smooth and gentle only building froth towards the end of the fall. It did eventually create a very striking beer that glowed deeply; totally opaque and hiding somewhere between brown and purple the Bog Water showed me murky mahogany, dark amber browns and only faint bits of red into the light. The dense and very creamy head was impressive at first, but very quickly faded to a mere film on the beer.

The nose was unusual at first, but I sat there and tried to dissect it. The malt is smooth and mellow with a soft strength that comes through with some presence, but not power. It is faintly fruity and shows hints of roast and cocoa, but is clean and thin like a pilsner. The herbal remedy used in the seasoning of this beer is certainly pronounced adding a tea-like sweetness and a wild melange of spices and herbs. Its quite earthy and shows a slight bitterness - it definitely smells like bog myrtle... Whatever that is.

The first sip was similar to my first smell; confusing. Again, I tried to break the beer down piece by piece so that I could make more sense of it. The malt is very nice actually showing me easy and simple caramel, fruit and toffee flavors. Its got that Belgian Dubbel kind of roundness to it with a significantly lighter mouthfeel and body. Beau's states that the beer was brewed with Munich, Caramunich, Carafa and Pilsner malt - I expect Pils was the greatest proponent here contributing to its light body, but Munich malts to add a reasonable depth of flavor, and the Carafa bring hints of roast and wood across the top of my mouth.

All this though is pretty idle when compared to the unique spicing that the Bog creates. Remember, no hops here, so all the herbal, rustic, easrthy, mulled spice and wild flavors that you absorb from this beer are derived from the gruit. It does add well enough bitterness to balance off the beer, but adds no freshness or cleaning factor the way hops tend to. The beer is left with a bit of a flat finish in my mouth, but is interestingly satisfying.

As it probably sounds, I was, and am having a very hard time pinning down if I enjoyed this beer or not. Really though, I did - it has challenged me more than many beers have recently, and provided me with a new beer experience - something I am always looking for in beer. Thus, this is a welcomed seasonal brew from Beaus, and makes me very excited for their just unveiled Bog Father - and 8% version of the Bog Water.

Pics at: http://definitionale.com/2011/01/24/tasting-the-beaus-bog-water-gruit-ale/ (4,544 characters)

Photo of kwjd
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On cask at C'est What. Pours a murky orange colour with hints of brown/amber. Head starts out thick, but dissipates to small ring on the top. Some lacing down the glass. Smells of berries and spices, can't quite put my finger on exactly what I'm smelling. Very sweet flavour, but still some tartness. Smooth mouthfeel. Quite a different beer, but nice. (352 characters)

Photo of pootz
4.04/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at Mondial:

Puts a turbid rusty-brown ale in the glass, small 1finger tan cap laces modestly.. Lightly carbonated.

Pungent aroma: musty-toffee-citrusy-floral, dried fruit-herbs, spices, smoked almonds...wonderful mélange of aromas. Like a herbal brown ale.

Flavor profile is almost replica of the aroma but more intense: toasty-nutty-toffee malts provide a base to balance off lemony-herbal bittering and a wonderful complexity of musty-spicy-malty-fruity-nutty flavors....long wet finish.

This has a wonderfully quirky complexity that is sure to be misunderstood by unseasoned palates but for those who can appreciate the melding of a number of uncommon complimentary flavors, this is a brew you can relish and not be shy about having a couple. (762 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.32/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at BeerBistro.

This beer appears a hazy reddish brown colour, with no head, and no lace. It smells herbal, floral, and organic, like the center of a sunflower, and a bit medicinal. The taste is floral, vegetal, and weedy, with some mild sour cherry and earthy nuttiness. The carbonation is quite low, the body lighter, but not light, and a bit prickly, and it finishes dry, earthy, and um, boggy, but yet fairly clean overall.

Weird olden-times brews like this are neat to try, and I would probably drink more of this if hops were to suddenly vanish, but in the meantime, one is enough for my new-fangled palate. (621 characters)

Photo of Viggo
3.87/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On cask at Volo.

Pours a relatively clear dark reddish brown, slight bit of muddiness, thin off white head forms, quickly settles to a thin ring around the glass, a few spots stick around.

Smell is neat, sweet, spicy, old school cola/medicinal aroma, licorice, caramel, sugary, very earthy, root beer, pepper, quite medicinal, pretty cool.

Taste is neat as well, similar to aroma, sweet at first, brown sugar and caramel, light maltiness, peppery spice and cola, licorice and a touch of vanilla, earthy, medicinal, light bitterness but still on the sweet end.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with low carbonation. I dug this one, good stab at the style. (661 characters)

Photo of Derek
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'd classify this as a "Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale", and a very good one at that!

A: Reddish-brown with a tan head, light retention, some lacing.

S: Wildberries with a unique mossy/wet-land aroma. Pleasant bready maltyness.

T: Bread, wild berries, an indistinguishable herbalness, dark fruit & hints of fruity esters, nut & spice. Alcohol is well-hidden & the sweetness is really well-balanced.

M: Moderate body is very smooth, with a dry finish.

D: Very drinkable for it's weight (and lack of hops!). (515 characters)

Photo of Sammy
2.64/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

myrtle is lemony and adds a citrus tang to tea. As a hop replacement, this is odd and different and queer. Dark brown with off-white soapy head, and lacey. Horse smell in there, vegetable aroma and in taste. Medium mouthfeel and aggressive carbonation. (252 characters)

Photo of shamus
3.82/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this at the Black Tomato in Ottawa. I liked the Beau's Lug Tread which had a fresh cut grass or hay flavour, so I was more than willing to give this a try. The waiter told me it was made with gale which is an aromatic bog myrtle. I had no idea what to expect. It starts with a minty taste that soon wahse into something like ginger and licorice.it actually reminded me somewhat of a real root beer. I'm not sure that i would drink more than a pint of this at a go, but with a meal it was a very welcomed beer. (515 characters)

Photo of CanuckRover
4.36/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is Beau's first seasonal and second brew after their flagship Lugtread. The beer is made with bog myrtle or sweet gale. Sweet gale was a popular plant for flavouring beer in Northwest Europe up until the 16th Century. The brewery harvested the plant from Northern Quebec. As far as I can tell, this is pretty unique today, the only other one I can find on BA is Porse Guld from Denmark, and that seems to be a completely different style than this. Steve from Beau's let me try a pod from the plant and it offered a very interesting taste. Very aromatic, slightly medicinal with a huge peppery punch.

They call this a strong and spicy dirty brown ale. This is a pretty tough beer to nail down. Thank god for the herb/spiced beer category! Growler was filled at the brewery. Beer is unfiltered and they said it was aged 6 weeks. True to the description, the beer pours a dark, dirty brown. Offers a finger thick off white head, spotty lacings. Unfiltered, the beer is slightly cloudy and has an orangey tint.

This beer has some nose on it. A grassy sweetness, similar to heather. Sweet gale is apparently a traditional inclusion in bouquets and pot-purri and it shows. Strong floral note with a very spicy, herbal backing. Slightly astringent evergreen holds the overall sweetness from a very strong malt backbone at bay.

I find it hard to take this beer apart. Many herbed beers rely on the special ingredient, in this case the myrtle simply takes the place of hops, the malt is still a star in its own right. Medicinal herbs fill the mouth and nose and hang around while the tongue picks its way through the four continental malts. When I tasted it yesterday I got alot of stout qualities from it, not so much this time. Very bitter chocolate. Slightly burnt caramel. Bitterness from the mytle comes on quick and coats the tongue with pepper and the herbal notes. A little bit of spice, almost Belgian, cloves standing out the most. Alcohol is well contained.

Mouthfeel, thinner than I had thought it would be. Carbonation offers a tingle to go with the myrtle bitterness, but not too much. This goes down pretty easy, especially for the ABV.

A standout beer, especially in Ontario. Beau's has taken an ancient tradition and used it in a completely different style. Ottawans can say they've got a beer nobody else does. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy... or it could have been the beer. (2,400 characters)

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Bog Water from Beau's All Natural Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.