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Melange No. 3 | The Bruery

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Melange No. 3Melange No. 3

Brewed by:
The Bruery
California, United States | website

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A blend of Black Tuesday, anniversary ale, and White Oak Sap.

Added by Floydster on 02-14-2009

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Reviews: 256 | Ratings: 1,809
Photo of DefenCorps
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from bardwashrind. Thank you, Andre, both for the trade and a fun afternoon drinking at The Falling Rock!

They say that when all you have is a hammer, all your problems start resembling nails. Right now, all I have at home (apart from a couple of gueuzes) are some ginormous beers from the Bruery and FiftyFifty. This makes these beers seem like appropriate summer beers. Strangely, though, this beer doesn't look like one. It's a mildly muddy, ruddy brown with a dense, light brown head that rises briefly before falling off to a ring, leaving little lacing in my Great Divide tulip. The nose is rather excellent, just what I was hoping for. Significantly better than the kegged version I had at Monk's a year back, this is immediately dominated by a blend of brown sugar, toffee, leather and bourbon. Moderately fruity with port-soaked raisins, vanilla sugar, a definite woody, oaky character and maybe some molasses? The alcohol is remarkably well-hidden. To some extent, there's a red grape character as well, which brings to mind brandy.

The palate opens with not nearly as deft a touch, with a strong, boozy heat immediately noticeable. Immediately after is the remarkable sweetness that this beer has.The Papier/Coton contribution is most noticeable with the big bourbon along with the brown sugar and vanilla making this rather decadent. The BT adds a layer of cocoa and chocolate to the palate. And then, there's the raisin and grape character that lends a definite brandy note to the palate. The toffee character does lend a lightness to the palate, a mild boozy beer. Medium-full in body with soft carbonation, this beer has a boozy finish with a blend of bourbon, brandy and brown sugar. Excellent stuff, though I have to admit that it will take me 3 nights to finish this damn bottle.

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Photo of Tripphop
3.22/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a neutral brown color, some haze but mostly translucent. Whisps of bubbles appear, but this just looks like maple syrup. Smells of caramel and wood, vanilla is present, but just smells sweet. I would put this on my ice cream, but its not something that I enjoy forcing down my gullet. Flavor is very complex, but tastes like someone had a bag of mixed candies, left it in the trunk of their car all summer, and poured it into my glass. Very tough to drink, sickeningly sweet and resinous, It took me 6 hours to drink my half of the bottle.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 03/12/11 notes. Had at EBF up in Boston, MA. Was excited to see this on the list.

a - Pours a dark brown color with a reddish tint, light carbonation evident, and one inch of white head.

s - Smells of chocolate, alcohol, bourbon, oak, alcohol, vanilla, roasted malts. Alcohol is pretty strong.

t - Tastes of sweet vanilla and fruit, alcohol, oak, chocolate, and roasted malts. Lots of alcohol and a little too sweet, but still decent.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Thick body.

d - A decent beer but nowhere near the level of Black Tuesday. I have a bottle of Papier but haven't had it yet as I've heard it is very boozy, and I imagine it would be like this. Would give this another shot but wouldn't seek it out again; I'd imagine with more time it will get better, whereas BT is good to go right now.


EDIT 09/25/12: Drinking a 2011 vintage in late 2012.

While there is a still a little bit of alcohol to it, it is nowhere near as boozy as it the first time I had it. Tons of vanilla, caramel, and chocolate to it, as well as bourbon. Nose is a tiny bit too sweet, but the taste and mouthfeel are amazing. Really nice beer; looking forward to getting a few more bottles of this this year and sitting on them a while.


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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the 2011 RS party. Lighter than BT, a light brown, deep caramel color. Aroma was very much vanilla, super reminiscient of BT.

The % of BT in this beer really dominated the taste profile, I didn't taste much, if any of the other beers. The tree sap and/or white oak came in soft. Maybe a little more dark sugar and fruit feel to it, but it was barely above negligible. Drinkable enough, was smooth, probably hid its alcohol slightly better than BT, which is saying quite a bit.

The BT and Coton parts just dominate this beer, the white oak doesn't come across as much as I'd hoped. But with so much BT, its a damn good beer, and somehow hid the Coton heat more than Coton itself, maybe that's the role the white oak beer played in this one, other than the slight wood feel to it, but that could have been from the others too.

Toffee and caramel just all over this one.

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Photo of vissai
4.94/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I actually had this out of the bottle and tap during the same tasting. Bruery Clusterfork tasting #1.

A: A lot lighter in color than I remember. It was noticeably lighter than Oude Tart with sour cherries. Almost no head. looked oily and slick.
S: Black Tuesday is what jumps out at me first. The beautiful sweet boozy vanilla slap you next. Can I get this in a cologne??
T: Black tuesday is what pops out in the taste also. I taste barrel notes and vanilla also. Very pleasant booziness.
M: Very chewy moutfeel. Carbonation is very low, which I enjoy.
D: All day everyday. Goes with being a a sibling of Black Tuesday. 15% abv is hardly noticed.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle poured into a plastic cup at the Central Waters 13th Anniversary party. My one and only tick for the evening started quite early.

Thanks to BALcstradamus for sharing this one with us! I was a day away from sampling it at the Bruery during one of their parties and always wanted to get a sip.

A - Clear dark brown with a dense tan head. Low retention from high alcohol but nice lace is left behind on the cup.

S - Rich, thick aroma of smooth vanilla and bourbon with chocolate and roasted malt. Mmmm.

S - Rich, thick bourbon is hot with chocolate roasted malts and molasses with cocoa and a mocha finish. Absolutely delicious!

T - Smooth but syrupy with a hot alcohol finish and low carbonation.

D - If I had a bottle of this I wouldn't open it around any less than three other guys, if not more, much like Adam did. This beer's booze level just begs to cause trouble for those partaking.

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Photo of garbercury
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared with Reed415...Pre-Super Bowl beer. Figured might be better than trying to deal with it during the game...

A--Reddish black with not much lacing. What was there faded pretty quickly...

S--Booze, oak, the bourbon is really coming out in this guy. Fruity esters come out, mainly from the White Oak I would guess.

T--Bourbon, chocolate, more bourbon, this sucker is boozy. There is a sweetness that might be a little bit much, but complex.

M--Nice feel.

D--One pour into a snifter and I am feeling this sucker after a few ounces, strong as hell, and I am a big beer drinker. I am glad I was able to get a hold of a bottle of this, but would not seek it out again. Guess for the meantime, as close as I will get to the elusive Black Tuesday...

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Photo of sweemzander
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750mL waxed top bottle poured into a snifter. A major thanks to the ever generous Adam for sharing!

(A)- Pours a thick black color that produced a good frothy tan head that dissipated quickly; surprising considering the ABV on this one.

(S)- A nice rich profile of cocoa, oak, molasses, raisin, licorice, and hints at orange peel or something.

(T)- Similar to the smell. A really nice chocolatey/molasses/licorice/toffee/ oaky bourbon notes.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Rather smooth for the ABV level. Rich for sure, but not over the top either.

(D)- Definitely a strong, sipping beer great on a winters night. The blending definitely made this a bit more complex and possibly smoother.

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Photo of beerwolf77
3.48/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to adam for sharing this one.

A: Dark brown nearing black. No head no lace. Some legs form with swirls.

S: Bourbon dipped chocolate, booze soaked dark fruit, sweet and rich.

T: Pretty much a mirror of the nose. Loads of dark chocolate and roasty malt. Booze soaked dark fruits and wet wood.

M: Thick and syrupy body. Modest carbonation.

D: Just another big boozy beer to check off my list of big boozy beers I never have to drink again.

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a small head

Aroma is boozy chocolate and a nice oakiness.

The flavor is a wonderful bourbon chocolate and oak. Just blends so well and is smooth despite the high abv.

The body is medium full and carbonation is high. Overall this is phenomenal, well worth the acclaim.

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.51/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Dark maroon color. Smelled mostly like Black Tuesday. Sweet, syrupy, bourbon and heat from the alcohol. Some toasted coconut and vanillin.

Taste had figs, dates, glazed raisins all rolled into one with a splash of high gravity sweet wort. Tangy wheat flavor and chocolate dipped oranges. Raisins in the finish. Very hot and very sweet. I suppose BT could not hide the heat in Papier. The mouthfeel was thinner than I expected.

Interesting but hard to drink that much of.

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Photo of hopsbreath
3.19/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to moosington for hooking me up with a bottle of this in a great extra laden package. Shared at ramnuts house with our host, Black13, TulipSnifter, Bird, Mini, and Growler on 1-15-11. Review from notes.

A: Murky dark brown, no head, no lacing, no legs.

S: Lots of -bal, sweet vanilla, honey mead, Goldshlager.

T: Cinnamon, sweet heat, what's that caramel vanilla candy? This has that going on.

M: Moderately carbonated, moderate viscosity, sticky finish.

D: Eh... Compared to some of the other -bal aged beers we had that night, this one was lacking. I loved BA Coton straight up as well as Black Tuesday. The blend of those two with White Oak sap just doesn't do it for me though.

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Photo of brentk56
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Burnt caramel color with a thin foam that quickly fades to a ringlet; while there is not much lacing, there are legs (not unexpected for 15.5%)

Smell: Very boozy, with bourbon, vanilla, caramel, honey and cinnamon elements

Taste: At the outset, the bourbon, rum-soaked raisin, prune, honey, pear, caramel, vanilla and cinnamon elements lay down the gauntlet and build in alcoholic intensity by mid-palate; after the swallow, the flavors meld together, with a mouth-puckering, oaky intensity in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with low carbonation and considerable warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: Considerable complexity and a fascinating range of flavor; while not particularly drinkable I am very impressed

Thanks, ptykozoon, for the opportunity and to sj3324, for the opportunity to revisit

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Photo of FosterJM
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

177th review on BA
on tap at RS party

App- It was slightly lighter than the Choc rain only because of the pairing of the two beers. A nice dark beer with little head with no laces

Smell- For a big beer it smelled great as it should. Red fruits with some chocolate and of course the booziness. Nice smell

Taste- This was a close second to Choc rain being the highlight of the day for me. It has the taste of being just great. The red fruits came through with some soft flavor profiles. (Vanilla and others mostly)

Mouth- A very heavy beer with a low carbonation but at the same time was very creamy

Drink- I think at 17% its a bit dangerous in my hands. That whole bottle would stand a chance and I wouldn't be standing anymore.

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Photo of kbutler1
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Bruery Reserve Initiation party 2011. Pours a reddish hued mahagony dark brown murky color with a tan head. Oaky notes in the nose along with some roast, vanilla, with an odd mix of fruit notes. Not sure on the nose or not and if I like it. The taste to me is heavy on the Black Tuesday, either that of those flavors just dominate the whole thing. The blending works though and I am enjoying this. What I would say is that on a day like this, trying so many great beers, this one sort of gets lost in the mix and doesn't stand out for me. I'll have to try it again on its own and re-rate I think. Medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from tap into a Bruery sampler imperial pint glass at the Reserve Society Party. Poured a deep dark brown with a minimal tan head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, chocolate, vanilla, and maple syrup. The flavor was of sweet malt, chocolate, vanilla, and cream. It had a heavy feel on the palate with low carbonation. Overall impression... Effing wow! This brew was just plain excellent in all aspects. The flavor was more toward the sweet side without being overly sweet. The 17% ABV was NOWHERE to be found... This one is a must try without any doubt and I'm definitely glad I got to try it...

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.72/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Received bottles from Alen and Nick3. Thanks guys.

Re-review off a bottle I opened to share with some non-BAs. I wanted some perspective that didn't come from hype or rarity, so I was curious to see what they would think.

My impression was very similar to the first time I had this beer. It was boozier than I remembered, slightly harsh with a nail-polish feel that others also remarked on.

The aroma was outstanding. I loved the vivid bouquet of chocolate, grapes, toffee, vanilla, and molasses. The taste was a little less impressive; the finer points were harder to pick out, and the beer bludgeoned me with chocolate, brandy, and molasses for the most part. Tannins were noticeable and balancing in the finish. I found this sweet and rich. One bottle among 4 people was way too much. I'm very glad I got to try this, but I probably won't go out of my way for it again.


Original comments:

Shared by dbuckingham. Thanks, David.

A: Pours a reddish brown (puce?) with just a light film of foam on top of the brew. Not much of a collar; no lace. It's more of a leggy beer with some obvious sugars here. I will give it points on the legs. For a 17% beer I don't expect much carbonation.

S: This smells like Brandy Old Stock. I don't think anything in here was aged in brandy barrels, but it has that toffee, caramel, dark fruit (grapes, figs) aroma that I remember. Vanilla, oak, molasses. A substantial, thick aroma that promises a great dessert experience.

T: And the taste absolutely nails the promise of the nose. Again, the Brandy Old Stock comparison is warranted. Rum-soaked raisins, toffee, caramel, figs, vanilla, oak, molasses. I guess this has some Black Tuesday mixed in, but I can't really pick up any strong bourbon. I get some molasses, though. Overall, an incredibly sweet taste that drives home the Bruery's signature style. I couldn't have this in large quantities, but I appreciate the glass.

M: Medium-bodied; I expected it to be heftier considering the sugars and ABV. Low carbonation. It is quite smooth, creamy, with a moderate heat to it. I don't normally enjoy boozy beers, but I appreciate it when the heat is well-integrated; it works fairly well here.

D: Idiotic decision to release this in 750mLs. I'm not shy about saying it. That being said, I'd be willing to try finishing a bottle of this on my own.

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Photo of teamizm
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a RRBC tulip.

A - maple syrup colors - nice, dark amber with a little head with no laces

S - cherries, figs, chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, and a little amaretto.

T - taste like it smells - just delicious. It's like a cherry bourbon vanilla candy.

M - low carbonation, very creamy

D - 17% but I could easily put this down. I really love this beer, its so complex and a perfect cigar beer or a cold day in front of the fireplace type of beer.

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Photo of portia99
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle courtesy of a great trade with barrydotcom. Big thanks for this Barry! Poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours a very dark brown color, mostly opaque but when held to a light shows its color nicely. No real head, just a thick collar around the glass. No lacing. For a 17% beer, I'm not expecting much head retention.

S - A bit on the boozy, bourbon is prominant. A good amount of caramel, sherry, prunes, a bit of vanilla, some oak, a bit buttery too.

T - This is nice...very complex. Bourbon, vanilla, caramel, raisins, dates (maybe), a bit of astringency, oak, sugar. This is really good...

M - On the thick and full side. Carbonation is low...gives a good and creamy feel. This is quite syrupy and rich...

D - Definitely a slow sipper, but this is highly enjoyable. Glad I am sharing the bottle with several BA's. Really enjoying, but too much of this will really hurt in the morning.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A *huge* thanks to drazzamatazz to busting this bad boy out. I owe ya one for this. ~8oz into taster glass.

A- Dark! go figure. W/ black tuesday in the mix, it's not really surprising. Some bubbles, but no head.

S- Dark cocoa some almond/vanilla notes come through. Faint coffee. The booze is there, too.

T- Boozy! big and brash. The black tuesday takes the center stage, but the other 2 beers help cut it a bit to where it's a bit more drinkable than BT on its own. Undefined fruity malts, a lot more caramel and toffee.

M- Heavy, lethargic, and opulent. Yes, this is a beer for kings. To be sipped on.

D- Moderately high given the ABV. Once we got to try it solo we started blending it... the consensus was Melange 3 makes everything taste better. Gotta give points for that. I love this beer.

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to OlieIPA.

Pours a turbid, diarrhea brown color with minuscule head and nearly no lacing.

Scent of rich perfume like alcohol and sugar up front, sweet caramel, candy, maple syrup, vanilla, oak, molasses some chocolate. A great scent, but the alcohol is still a bit too strong.

Taste of maple syrup, sugar, chocolate, vanilla, oak, caramel, tobacco, tart dark fruit, a hint of earth, and some alcohol. Finishes with cloying sugar and drying alcohol.

Mouthfeel is smooth, lightly sticky and heavy with the lightest touch of carbonation, wonderful.

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Photo of sisuspeed
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a generous BA for this one!

Pours a dark brown with a ruby red hue. Thin off-white film across the top. Light lacing. This beer has some decent legs to it as well.

Toffee, caramel and dark fruits rise up from the glass. Touch of alcohol heat. Figs and caramelized apples. Quite sweet. Lots of vanilla and a little bit of oakiness. Great nose.

Sweet cherries, figs and grapes dance across the tongue. Caramel with bready malt. Almost has some Trappist-like qualities to it. Vanilla and a touch of spice, possibly cinnamon. Bittersweet dark chocolate and some alcohol round out the finish. Good mixture of dark fruit, vanilla and spice.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a touch of spice. Carbonation is spot on for the style. Nice warming alcohol. Somewhat chewy, but not too thick.

This is surprisingly drinkable for the ABV. Definitely a sipper, but a quick one. The flavor, aroma and mouthfeel are all great. This is a finely crafted brew and one of the best stong ales I have ever had. A perfect brew to sip on next to the fire on a cold winter's night. I'm really excited to see how the other bottle ages. Nice work Patrick!

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Photo of TheJollyHop
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ours a deep & clear toffee brown with red hues; no head and wine-like legs.

Toasted sugar, cherries, large amount of alcohol, molasses, oak, vanilla, raisins, and some sugar again.

Viscous, rich caramel, supple chocolate middle, all bathed in alcohol. Cherries and vanilla do come to the show as well. Just a phenomenal mix of flavors and indeed complex. Velvety smooth with milk chocolate and cocoa as well. Ends malt forward but surprisingly balanced from a good deal of spiciness.

The mouthfeel on this beer definitely propels it to a word class American Strong Ale; remarkably drinkable given the potent ABV.

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Photo of domtronzero
4.84/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Bruery. From notes.

A - slightly murky dark ruby brown color. Low tan head with high retention. Lots of lacing.

S - boozy bourbon. Dark malts with a little toffee. Raisins and alcohol.

F/M - caramel and toffee and dark fruity raisins. Big alcohol flavor with a touch of bourbon. Vanilla and prunes. Low bitterness. Full bodied with decent carbonation. Nice lingering aftertaste of dark fruits and bourbon.

D - exceptionally good for such a huge beer. The clean alcohol and well-balanced flavors make this an easy drinker for being such a big bold beer.

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Photo of koopa
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by beerloco at our 6 Great Brews mini-tasting last weekend.

Appearance: Pours crimson to mahogany with minimal kahki crown that quickly recedes into a thin ring. Little to know lace going on here.

Smell: Lots of big flavors here. Slightly solvent like alcohol, big caramel notes, some deep roast malt, hints of smoke, rum soaked raisins, and vanilla.

Taste: Same flavors as what were going on in the nose but I'm really impressed by how well they work together. Layers that compliment each other. Very well crafted.

Mouthfeel: Thick with decent carbonation.

Drinkability: Not bad considering how massive the flavors and the abv are.

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Melange No. 3 from The Bruery
96 out of 100 based on 256 ratings.