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Black Orchard - The Bruery

Not Rated.
Black OrchardBlack Orchard

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

311 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 311
Reviews: 226
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 14.48%
Wants: 28
Gots: 17 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
The Bruery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Dark Ale |  5.70% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: DoubleJ on 05-11-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 311 | Reviews: 226 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.68/5  rDev +2.5%

Black body with off-brown enormous head. Malty and oatmeal aroma. Fluffy mouthfeel, but also patent Bruery aggressive carbonation. Taste is cerial and some spice, and mollasses, roastiness and cocoa. Only so drinkable, needs to be shared. This BTW was a gusher.

08-09-2009 20:34:24 | More by Sammy
Photo of t0rin0


3.5/5  rDev -2.5%

03-01-2013 15:21:28 | More by t0rin0
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3/5  rDev -16.4%

I opened this bottle and it gushed all over the kitchen sink. Something tells me this might be bad.

Pours a super dark crimson brown, almost black, with a ridiculous 4 inch head that takes forever to go down. I had to pour and wait for the head to go down a few times before I even got half a glass of actual beer. Zero lacing on the glass. Smells of plum, cherry, faint wheat, and metal. The metal smell really gives this a weird scent. Tastes of sour cherry, vinegar, plum, with a wheat aftertaste. Almost like a lambic taste to this beer. Carbonation is extremely high but somehow works with the taste. Very bubbly and crisp in the mouth. Overall, I am pretty sure this might be infected. The infection doesn't totally kill this beer but it definitely is not wanted.

03-19-2011 00:02:53 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of djrn2

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +11.4%

11-27-2011 06:06:00 | More by djrn2
Photo of Thorpe429


3.78/5  rDev +5.3%

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a near black color with a nice head. Pretty good lacing on the way down. The nose is quite aromatic, with some nice pepper, roasted malt, light citrus, and a bit of coffee. The taste brings in some really nice spice and yeast as well as some mild roast. Good, light mouthfeel with nice carbonation. Really a unique bear and another success.

10-23-2010 02:44:20 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of BuckeyeNation


2.88/5  rDev -19.8%

Murky cherry cola with a lousy looking crown of sandstone colored foam that isn't the least bit sticky and doesn't leave even a scrap of lace. A loud 'pffft' on crown cracking allowed me to catch what began flowing out of the bottle neck within seconds. That same foam is currently erupting in slow motion all over my kitchen counter. Not a good start.

The Bruery designed Black Orchard as a black witbier. That's an intriguing concept, but it doesn't really smell like one. The beer is dark malty, earthy and spicy. No orange peel or chamomile is appreciated. Coriander is questionable. Nothing is very well-defined and the aroma is more interesting than good.

As always, it's hard to ignore a craptastic mouthfeel to assess the flavor on its own terms. First, a nearly flat Autumn Maple. Now a thin, fizzy Black Orchard. These guys better get their quality control in order if they have any hope of being a successful craft brewery.

Although it never really comes together into anything worthwhile, the building blocks of a pretty good beer are in there somewhere. Specifics include brown bread, steely caramel, anise, ground clove, tart citrus peel (not recognizable as orange) and a spiciness that is most likely a combination of chamomile and coriander. An opportunity lost... yet again.

As is usually the case with excessively bubbled beer, the carbonation went from frenetic to nearly flat without spending any time in the acceptable zone. I can't even guess what an optimally bubbled ale would feel like since this one is so far from optimal.

What else is there to say? On one hand, I feel bad about giving such low scores to a beer that isn't as the brewers intended. On the other hand, I've given a significant amount of money to The Bruery and have been burned twice. As always... caveat emptor!

02-24-2009 22:45:25 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

3.25/5  rDev -9.5%

Appearance: Pours a black coffee color with an overflowing head (the bottle was a gusher) that fades quickly without much retention or lace

Smell: Brown bread aroma with hints of oatmeal cookies, licorice, milk chocolate and plums

Taste: Very bready, up front, with a combination of brown bread and oatmeal spice cake flavors; by mid-palate, a sour citrus and green apple flavor starts to dominate and, after the swallow, earthy and mineral tones enter the fray

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body but ubstructively fizzy

Drinkability: While the beer is ambitious I fear The Bruery doesn't have everything down pat on this one; the flavors don't come together, in large part, as the fizzy mouthfeel obstructs the flavor profile; I would like to try a good bottle of this, sometime

11-01-2009 18:01:17 | More by brentk56
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.1/5  rDev -13.6%

Found this bottle at the local Green's for 7 dollars so I thought I would pick it up and give it a shot. Served chilled and poured into a large wine glass, this one was consumed on 1/16/10.

The pour was huge, massively carbonated with head filling three quarters of the glass on the first pour.Dark black in color and the head a mild tan, it looked the part right away. Head faded back and left really no lace in its wake but kept a nice cap on top. Aroma was light,nearly non existent at times, but when it was picked up it was light oats, touches of dark fruit and a hint of cocoa. Again though the big problem here was how light it came across. Flavor was more of the same, it just was too light and when you picked it up it was going in too many different directions which really caused it to come across as slightly a mess. But Mess is a strong word it was more bland then anything. Still well carbonated but I just could not get past searching for the flavor.

Overall the weekest of what I have had from the bruery by far.

01-17-2010 15:35:29 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.65/5  rDev +1.7%

Bottle: Poured a deep hazy brown color ale with a quite large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of funky yeast with some fruity ester and some great Belgian malt also noticeable. Taste is a very well balanced mix between some floral malt with notes of funky yeast ester and a great malt backbone. The spices are well integrated in the mix and don't play such a prominent role. Body is quite full with great carbonation. Very well done and definitely underrated from this fine brewer.

08-22-2009 03:22:42 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of womencantsail


3.2/5  rDev -10.9%

A: Black in color with a nice tan head.

S: Roasted malt and slight spice. Not too much happening here.

T: More complex than the nose, but not overly so. Again, the roasted malts, a bit of coffee, and some ever so slight sweetness.

M: Decent body, very plentiful carbonation.

D: Certainly not bad, but not something I'd want to drink a full 750 of. Better than the Orchard White.

07-25-2009 01:31:35 | More by womencantsail
Photo of zestar


3.5/5  rDev -2.5%

10-24-2013 07:55:42 | More by zestar
Photo of spycow


4/5  rDev +11.4%

12-14-2011 00:14:03 | More by spycow
Photo of GRG1313


3.75/5  rDev +4.5%

05-26-2013 01:16:34 | More by GRG1313
Photo of TMoney2591


3.51/5  rDev -2.2%

Served in a Sloeber tulip glass.

Was it really necessary to bring race into this? Regardless, this stuff pours a dark black-brown topped by a finger or so of light khaki foam. The nose comprises dark fruits, clove, cardamom, light black pepper, a hint of cocoa powder, and a bit of toast. The taste brings in more of the same, with the fruits and spices trading haymakers against my tongue, all under the supervision of stronger bits of cocoa and toasted rye bread. The body is a lithe medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid-ish feel. Overall, imagine a witbier that had turned to the dark side in every way. You've got this here thing. It's pretty good, though not really something I'm gonna get very often in the future.

08-30-2013 00:01:25 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr


3.25/5  rDev -9.5%

11-14-2011 22:30:36 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of JAHMUR


4/5  rDev +11.4%

11-14-2011 22:47:56 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of largadeer


2.75/5  rDev -23.4%

02-27-2013 21:25:26 | More by largadeer
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.2/5  rDev +17%

A: Black body. Tan Head. Creamy cap. Good head retention. Spotty lace.

S: Dark malts. Roastiness. Hop. Chocolate. Subtle spice - clove, pepper. Banana. Citrus. Plum. ... ... interesting!

T: The flavor follows the aroma, and chocolate/cocoa and clove/candy battle it out! One side comes up on top, only to fall to the other. Then, after a short roll and a few rabbit-punches it regaining the upper position again in the next sip. Along the way the fruit, spice, roastiness, and dark malt acidity spur them on!

M: Medium-light in body and gently bristling on the tongue.

D: Surprisingly full-flavored and complex, but far from overdone! Easily drinkable, and compelling. Very nicely done!

03-20-2009 02:08:28 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of nickfl


4/5  rDev +11.4%

11-16-2011 05:53:54 | More by nickfl
Photo of drabmuh


3.15/5  rDev -12.3%

Beer served in a Bruery tulip because I can. Beer is brown and clear with a big brown head of medium and large bubbles that rallies to form some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is sweet and mild overall, it smells kind of like candy.

I wish they would bring this beer back. The Bruery is too young to have retired beers. Beer is light in body and has a roasty back end, not much sweetness up front but there is an odd almost lactic note to the back of this beer. Carbonation is moderate on the palate but the more I drink / allow it to warm up, the less I am enjoying this beer. Ultimately I don't finish it and just go to bed.

09-23-2010 02:24:09 | More by drabmuh
Photo of jlindros


3.63/5  rDev +1.1%

A: Huge honkin head, which is good for The Bruery. Head fades quickly. Very dark brown color with a little light coming through and hints of ruby red.

N: Some Belgian Ale like aromas, sweet malts, hints of yeast, hints of dark roast and coffee, a little oat, and light fruit.

T: Taste is much lighter than I thought. Some sweet malts, Belgian malts, light sugar, some boozy taste which is weird for less than 6%. Some roast and coffee, hints of black patent and oats. Slight spices, but light.

M: Much lighter than I thought on the mouth. Good carbonation.

F: Still semi sweet and syupy. Spices come through a lot more on the finish. The roasted malts also do well at the finish as they did before. Slight spicy hop presence. It dries off well after the swallow.

01-07-2010 22:43:34 | More by jlindros
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.88/5  rDev +8.1%

The beer pours a dark brown/black color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has decent malt character that boasts of pale, roasted, and crystal malts along with a killer yeast aroma. It's dry and spicy with some really nice fruit notes. The taste is decent. It has a solid malt base of crystal/chocolate/roasted malts along with a kick ass yeast character. It's got some citrus along with a spicy/fruity feel; very nice. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a good drinking beer. It's very complex and awfully tastey. Nice job!

06-23-2009 12:47:48 | More by WesWes
Photo of Mora2000


3.63/5  rDev +1.1%

Thanks to djrn2 for sending this bottle my way. Sampled at the same time as Orchard White.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is roasted malt, chocolate, Belgian yeast and coriander. I don't get much citrus. The flavor is very similar with an earthy flavor as well as the chocolate and coriander. High, fizzy carbonation and a medium mouthfeel. A black wit is an interesting beer but I think the darker malts overpowered the lighter, more delicate wit flavors.

05-27-2010 01:38:16 | More by Mora2000
Photo of oline73


3/5  rDev -16.4%

11-15-2011 03:31:29 | More by oline73
Photo of mactrail


2.79/5  rDev -22.3%

Brewer says this is a "Belgian style ale with spices, wheat, and oats." Sounds like a great style but tastes like dishwatery home brew, the dark style. There is a hint of spoiled fruit, and overall it is just too suspiciously bitter. Plus it kept foaming insistently out of the beautiful green champagne bottle. I would give it an "A" for effort, but it is just too tough to drink.

From the 22 oz bottle bought at Baron's Marketplace on Point Loma Drive. [transcribed from notes; tasted October 28, 2008]

02-17-2013 05:04:16 | More by mactrail
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Black Orchard from The Bruery
81 out of 100 based on 311 ratings.