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Melange No. 3 - The Bruery

Not Rated.
Melange No. 3Melange No. 3

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

240 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 240
Hads: 1,682
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 3.93%
Wants: 832
Gots: 696 | FT: 77
Brewed by:
The Bruery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  15.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Floydster on 02-14-2009

A blend of Black Tuesday, anniversary ale, and White Oak Sap.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 240 | Hads: 1,682
Photo of papat444
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to F2brewers for this one. ***2013 Vintage***

***My 1000th review on BA***

Decent small head with a dark leather brown body, aroma is of sweet bourbon. Taste is deep; brown sugar, caramel, strong maple tones. Almost no carbonation which kills the mood a bit but overall very enjoyable nonetheless. (310 characters)

Photo of JamesStreet
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours a murky-looking, copperish amber color with a fingers worth of off-white head that dissipates in the blink of an eye.
S- The first notes are of sweet bourbon oakiness, pecans, caramelized nuts, toffee. Secondary aromas are of raisins, dates, figs, some apple. Complex for sure. Another swirl and more of the booze-infused burnt caramel comes through.
T- Way more fruity sweetness than expected! The apple cider, pear, maybe some grapes, make their presence known again. Really boozy heat comes through as well, though not surprisingly at 16.9%ABV. The toffee and caramel notes tend to not be as prevalent in the taste here as they are in the nose. Not getting any chocolate at all from the Chocolate Rain blend. A typical "Old Ale" leathery, woodiness comes through on the back end of the sip.
M- Lighter mouthfeel with some moderate carbonation. Not much bitterness and some heat from the booze adds a little burn.
O- Amazingly complex beer! A bit on the boozier side but still a nice sipper. (1,007 characters)

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

Kinda blurred the lines between barrel-aged liqueur and beer for me, but can't deny it was tasty as hell, offering rich caramel/chocolate notes, mixed in with a touch of bourbony coconut. It's strong, to be sure, but not boozy hot either. Really an achievement of a brew. (271 characters)

Photo of M_chav
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Pours a transparent rust color and aroma suggests a BA barleywine. The booze is strong, definitely a sipping beer to share with friends. Lots of wine barrel flavors with the sweet bourbon profile is nice but not what I expected. I get a lot of pine/earthy flavors deeper into the pour but the sweetness is intense, almost too intense. Still a beer to be appreciated and shared. (377 characters)

Photo of artoolemomo
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Pours about a finger's worth of head which is gone in about a minute. The head is a light to medium beige while the body is a light chestnut brown that gives off tones of deep maroon in the light. No lacing has been left behind so far. Leaves no lacing.

Nose- A captivating and very promising aroma. Lush red fruits and figs are the dominant notes but that isn't all- this beer has one complex nose. Prunes, raisins, vinous notes, red grape. Some chocolate, caramel, tobacco, and toasted coconut from the bottle at the beginning but this fades into an ever more sharply fruit profile- think pears and apples. Some coffee and tobacco from the glass. Swirling shows more pear which has a more dominant presence than I would have expected. I wonder if it is the Cuir. Some heat, a little bourbon.

Taste- Starts off with a light touch of pear and then the tongue is assaulted with actual melange of heavy notes very reminiscent of the nose but the heat is much stronger. Lots of bourbon, candied fruits, and stone fruits. Good amounts of vanilla, caramel, coconut, and toffee. Some chocolate in the background. A good amount of oak and a whole lot of booze. A bold mix of bourbon and an earthy red. Nice amounts of tobacco and smoke make this beer really interesting. I'm not sure how old this bottle is (it's at least a year and a half) but it's still very spunky and brash. I could see this being cellared for quite some time. Does mellow a bit and begins to blend. Heavy cinnamon on the tongue after the finish. Easily a very good beer, maybe even great. I'm thinking A, A+ right now. It almost tastes like what I imagine my ideal imperial dubbel would taste like.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied which is a little surprising for such a rich odor and aroma. However, it doesn't really seem thin. I think the lively carbonation that lightly tickles the tongue and matches the booze well, prevents this. Slight hints of syrup also smooth out the feel.

Drinkability- The fair amount of heat is mostly a positive- this would be very dangerous otherwise. I don't know if I would pay 30 dollars a second time for this but it seems reasonable for a first time buy. I would definitely take Bois over this.

Overall- Very good to great beer but I think the booze knocks it down a notch. Definitely worth a try if you don't mind the hit to the wallet. But I could see how some one could pass on this deliciousness. (2,455 characters)

Photo of stephenjmoore
4.41/5  rDev +1.8%

A- Dark, muddy brown body that let's some light shine through. Thin ring of off-white bubbles coat the edge of the glass, but virtually no head to speak of.

S- Lots of toffee and booze on the nose. Hints of caramel and bourbon. Big, full nose that has a lot of strong aromas and a lot of alcohol.

T- Big flavors that really come out and hit you. Bourbon, caramel, toffee, sugary syrup, roasted malts, some roasted coconut, hints of dark fruits. A really huge sipper.

M- Full bodied, boozy, low carbonation, sugary and syrupy.

O- Just a huge beer that has a lot of complex flavors. I thought it would be slightly darker and more roasty, but it really does not disappoint. (674 characters)

Photo of macrosmatic
4.14/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from notes. 2013 vintage. Poured from 750 mL bottle into a Peg's snifter.

A: Pours a caramelly brown color with a thin off-white head and low visible carbonation. Very hazy.

S: Bourbon, caramel, vanilla. Quite sweet, moderately boozy. Some sticky malts, dry tannins from the barrel.

T: Bourbon and barrel character with huge vanilla and dry tannins. Toasted caramel, sweet roasted malts, a moderate dark fruit character. As it warms, some mixed sticky fruit flavors come out - reminds me of what I would expect a fruitcake would taste like, although I've never tried one. Finishes drier/less sweet than expected, but still possesses some ethanol sweet burning character.

M: Medium-bodied, carbonation sensation on the low side. Alcohol presence is obvious but seems well-hidden with respect to the listed ABV.

O: I enjoyed this one. It was a surprisingly easy driver for such a huge beer. Nothing I'd always need on hand, but a nice blend for sure. Glad to have tried it finally. (993 characters)

Photo of BarrytheBear
2/5  rDev -53.8%

Courtesy of Kyle..thanks for the chance bud!

In a few words...a complete mess. Silly abv, cloying bomb of sweet syrupy alcohol that rockets then crash lands in spectacular disunion. A blend not worth a celebration...a bottle worthy of the drain. Not good... (259 characters)

Photo of LambicPentameter
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BA Black_Rider for the hookup on this bottle as part of a massive trade. I've been curious to try this one for awhile and it did not disappoint. Enjoyed out of a brown 750 mL bottle with a thick coating of burgundy wax around the neck and crown and a bottling date of 10/28/13 engraved on the side. Poured into a comically large 30+ oz snifter glass.

Appearance - A fairly aggressive pour yields a finger of fluffy khaki foam that dissipates in no time at all--maybe 60 seconds, and leaves just a smattering of film intermittently along the surface of the liquid and a ringlet that eventually disappears as well. Body is a deep sienna brown that looks even darker without holding the glass up to the light. Lacing is completely nonexistent.

Smell - There is a nice blend of sweeter aromas along the lines of toffee, caramel and coconut, but there is also a pretty noticeable booziness that gives an impression reminiscent of harder liquors, with some astringency and a little bit of bit that clears the sinuses. Interestingly enough, when I first caught a waft of the aroma coming out of the neck of the bottle, I thought I picked up on a bit of tartness, but smelling it out of the glass, no such impression is present.

Taste - More of the wonderfully sweet suggestions of the aroma come out in the taste, with strong notes of caramel and coconut, and a slightly more subdued impression of toffee. There is also a nice bitterness that reminds me of burnt sugar, but not overpowering, sort of like the light char you get on marshmallows that you keep over the fire just a bit too lone. And there is a rye-like sourness to the flavor as well--not like you'd expect from lacto or any kind of infection, but a rounder, more bready sourness. It provides a nice counterpoint to the sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Medium-to-full bodied, with low carbonation; just enough to give it a dynamic feel on the tongue. There is also a slight viscosity--a little oily--to the feel.

Overall, this is a wonderful beer. I know every non-sour barrel-aged beer from The Bruery seems to be a crapshoot these days, and I must admit to some reservations knowing that Melange No. 3 included a portion of White Oak "sap", but I'm extremely happy that I took the time to procure this beer. It's easily one of the best blended ales I've had the opportunity to sample, and I only wish I had tried to grab another bottle of it. (2,406 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.83/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by yours truly at Curran's tasting.

Pours a murky dark brown, almost like liquid Werther's candy, with no head or lacing.

Smells like sweet bourbon, caramel liqueur (if that exists?), brown sugar, toffee, and booze. Smells decadent and sweet, which is how it translates flavor-wise.

This one is a world-beater, so unbelievably tasty. So much caramel and toffee here, the chocolate monstrosity that is Black Tuesday is in full force, but it is overshadowed by the caramel/toffee invasion that is supplied by White Oak Sap and the anniversary ale. So much vanilla and oak as well, as well as the expected bourbon push, sweet, slightly smoky, but full of coconut and vanilla goodness. Just out of words to describe how good this is.

Full bodied, but not too thick, creamy, sweet mouthfeel. Very low carbonation.

This one absolutely blew me away. Bravo! (868 characters)

Photo of JulioH
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

One of those great beers, it's greatness laying in the fact that you need to share this bottle.

Pours a dark beer. A few bubbles form at the top. Smells like fortified old wine. Tastes like wine too, but bitter. It is an ale and it has a lot of strength. A bit heady, sure to knock you out. Mouth feel is a bit syrupy and thick. (329 characters)

Photo of Thepleasantimbiber
4.93/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2011 vintage purchased during The Bruery's anniversary month. Poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance- Thin dark caramel-brown color, surprisingly light considering the ABV, as well as the dark cloudiness that both BT and their anniversary beers display on their own. Slight head.

Smell- Luscious sweet aroma, the toffee and toasted sugar aromas are definitely there along with a lot of bourbon. No alcohol burn, the years of aging have definitely mellowed this out.

Taste- Incredible. I've had & enjoyed this beer fresh, but the taste present here is on another level. All of the normal flavors (the bourbon, the sweet chocolate maltiness from the BT and the toasty sweetness from the anniversary beers) have coalesced beautifully. There's zero of the booziness that's so present in fresh BA Bruery beers. The smoothness makes it dangerously easy to drink.

Mouthfeel: Lighter than you'd expect, as previously stated. Coats the inside of the mouth, where those wonderful flavors just hang around. No complaints here.

Overall- I really enjoyed this beer fresh, but the aged vintage is incredible and definitely the way to go if you can get it or have the patients to sit one down for a few years before cracking it open. (1,222 characters)

Photo of john0721
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

color: dark brown

head: very thin, off white, fades very quickly

nose: caramel, dark fruit

flavor: caramel, dark fruit ( Raisin, Prune), brown sugar, light bourbon.

Some booziness in the finish, but overall a surprisingly un-boozy for such a high ABV.

Overall an excellent American Strong Ale. I've tasted this one several times, and will continue to revisit it.

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update: 5/24/15

2012 vintage

Aging seems to have diminished the nose, I didn't find dark fruit, but noticed some oak and nuttiness.

Noticed some oak in the flavor, flavors noted early persist except the bourbon, but are more subtle.

The sweetness is dominating the flavor.

I liked it better fresh. (732 characters)

Photo of Mikeypnh
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark brown, thin, small bubbly head that goes away quickly. Smell is strong. Caramel, dark fruits, bourbon, booze. Booze hits right up front with a strong alcohol burn. Tastes like Licorice, toffee, vanilla, caramel, oak, bourbon, cola. Just so many flavors. Much like the other big bruery beers I've had the mouthfeel is thinner than I expected, but it's good for this being an almost 17 perfect beer. Makes it easyish to drink. Some nice carbonation. The aftertaste lingers for a while, booze and a nice combo of the all the flavors. Very impressive beer. (568 characters)

Photo of ISmith87
4.34/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - 3.75 - In all honest the muddy brown appearance is a little wierd, but it does have a nice initial tan head, which on the other hand dissipates pretty quick
S - 4.75 - Reminds me mostly of a great English barleywine. Caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, oak barrels, coconut, fig newtons, plums, apricots, raisins.
T - 4.25 - Definitely the better of the two Melange beers I've tried so far (1 and 3), caramel, figs, maple syrup, vanilla, toasted coconut, brown sugar, sweet booze, but not quite to the smoothness I'd want to see from an oak aged beer. Also, I'm disappointed in these beers that are blended with Black Tuesday. I think they're using a TINY percentage of Black Tuesday, and just putting the name on there for marketing.
M - 4.25 - Alc present but appropriate @ 16.8%, aftertaste is syrupy, caramel and vanilla. Mouthfeel is medium, syrupy, sticky.
O - 4.25 - Not as good as I'd expect with a 98 rating. I'm going to save 2/3's of this bottle and blend it with a nice robust imperial stout. I think that'll give me more of the flavor I'd want in a big beer like this, especially one that leads you on to think it's going to have flavors from the Black Tuesday in there (which it doesn't). (1,205 characters)

Photo of rand
4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From 750 mL to snifter.

A: Dark brown in color with little apparent carbonation. Looks heavy and viscous, too weighty to form a head.

S: Boozy and complex bouquet. Malt-forward with toasty, caramelly notes right at the front. Booze immediately warms, carrying nuanced tones of oak and maple and bourbon. Toward the edges of the bouquet, floral hops linger. Along with booze.

T: As complex as the nose is, even more nuanced on the palate. Clove and cherries join the maple-y notes. Oak is blended with tones of caramel and warming booze. Actually, less boozy than the nose, but there is still plenty of alcohol that closes with a smidge of hop astringency. Finishes long and sweet with lingering alcohol.

M: Stodgy mouthfeel, really chewy. Not as oily as I'd figured from the appearance, but chewy as hell. Gets into every crevice of the palate...might as we'll be beer stew.

A simply decadent brew. Very complex, takes some time to work through the flavor profiles. Needs to be sipped slowly and shared, but something you'll want to go back to again. (1,060 characters)

Photo of MacTeo
4.55/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The appearance was very dark muddy brown with a centimeter of head. It smells fruity and nutty with the addition of booze on the nose. It tasted great, fig, plum, and a nicely balance hops and booze. Very earthy. Overall, great with bbq as I had it... Ready to have another bottle. (281 characters)

Photo of chugalug06
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep ruby red color. Very little head. No legs or lacing.

Tons of earthy, malty, agave, raisin (tons), vanilla, spice, pear, red apple, ginger, red wine, slight tartness.

Sweetness is mellowed by great boozieness. Amazingly blended. Nearly perfect in mouthfeel, but slight sharpness overtakes at the the on set. A bit raisin and green. Lots going on. Booze is forward, yet mild. Carbonation is very light and compliments nicely. Red wine barrel is nice.

Dances a smooth sweet line. Just before you see the booze the sweetness kicks in. A damn fine brew. I would love to treat this brew again. Highly recommended. Thanks for the share Bigaltemple!! (653 characters)

Photo of beerdrifter
4.76/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Picked this up from a great trade with Mike! Dark mahogany pour with a two finger beige head that faded quickly with minimal lacing. Huge oak and dark fruit notes in the nose along with hints of vanilla, toffee, leather, tobacco, and molasses. The taste is really complex and mirrors the nose with tons of wood and dark fruit along with hints of vanilla, maple, coconut, bourbon, tobacco, prunes, figs, raisins, caramel, molasses, and toffee. The mouthfeel is rich and smooth with almost no alcohol burn, which is crazy for a 15% ABV beer. The carbonation was on the low side, but it really suited this beer. Overall, this was a huge, flavorful, and extremely drinkable beer. It leans to the sweet side, but it's far from cloying. This drinks and tastes more like a Barley Wine for me. However you classify it, it's an incredible beer that I'm glad I was able to taste! (869 characters)

Photo of TheCuriograph
4.66/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is not the cheapest growler I've ever bought, but I figured this was my best shot of having Melange #3 in New York.

A - Solid ruby brown with a nice amber-red frame when placed against the light. Thin light tan head.

S - Aged oak, pipe tobacco, hazelnut, rich milk chocolate, blackberry jam, and woodsmoke. Like a campfire with s'mores and someone smoking a pipe next to you. Yeah. Like that.

T - The bourbon is subtle, mostly evident in the hazelnut and vanilla notes. The main event is a berry/plum/cherry medley with light coffee, cocoa, nougat, and a hint of lemon zest. finishes with a smokey sweetness.

M - Sticky and medium heavy. It coats your mouth anew with each sip. The alcohol stings just a bit.

O - This is one opulent SOB. I've never had Black Tuesday, but this is definitely my favorite of the Bruery beers, a perfect night ender. Reminds me of an old-world barleywine, but the flavor wallop and many different notes make it hard to classify. What it is is frigging delectable. (1,003 characters)

Photo of Damian
4.58/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 1 pint 9.4 fl. oz/750 ml wax dipped bottle acquired in a trade with surge1311
2012
Served in a tulip

The liquid poured a deep, translucent mahogany color and was topped by a one-finger, creamy, bubbly, light tan crown. Within seconds, the head faded to a clingy, frothy ring. Decent retention for something with such a high ABV. Spotty droplets of lacing trickled down the glass.

The nose was more subtle than I anticipated. Boozy, whiskey-like notes dominated initially. Lots of intense woodiness. Dark fruit notes (currants and raisins) were also quite apparent. With time, some sweet bourbon and brown sugar notes came forth as well. As the beer warmed, the aroma became much punchier and more interesting. The boozy, bourbon notes really intensified. Lots of vanilla, brown sugar and spices as well.

There was definitely more going on in the flavor profile than in the aroma. Loads of bourbon and vanilla goodness hit hard right off the bat. Intense brown sugar notes and dark fruit flavors. Raisins and plums came through strongest. Good dose of caramel and maple syrup as well. The finish was quite boozy but surprisingly mellow for a beer of this magnitude. All in all, super tasty and surprisingly drinkable.

The liquid contained a fine, mild effervescence and was creamy, smooth and supple on the palate. Given the beer's high ABV, I was expecting something much more syrupy and viscous.

In many ways, this beer seemed far "smaller" than its 15% ABV would indicate, but its intense and complex flavor profile was outstanding. The blending of three different beers in this "black & tan" seemed to lend a number of interesting characteristics to this brew. The folks at The Bruery really do know how to make consistently excellent high ABV beers better than anyone else. (1,795 characters)

Photo of Neorebel
4.76/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Melange No. 3... a brewery only selection I am lucky to be enjoying thanks to a very good friend of mine. A mixture of Black Tuesday, Anniversary Ale and White Oak Sap, weighing in at 15.5%- this one will make it truly a night to remember! In the glass, this concoction is a deep garnet, yet still manages to let some light through. A tan ring encircles the glass. Very alluring indeed.

The aroma is an intoxicating hodgepodge of earthy sweetness... Vanilla, bourbon, molasses, oak barrel, leather, coffee, cinnamon & spices, milk chocolate, and bold malts. It's simply incredible. As the flavors blissfully overwhelm my palate, I am nearly at a loss for words. This is one godlike beverage! It begins with a juicy, syrupy sweetness, before the warm, roasty, and strong alcohol waves envelop the taste buds. Everything previously mentioned aspect somehow balances out... It's a minor miracle. The Bruery says this a black and tan... what a joke. Black and Tan for your last wish on this earth perhaps! It doesn't *feel* heavy, but as soon as it goes down I'm left with a sensation that says, boy was that strong! It feels so silky and velvety in the mouth though!

Overall, I would recommend this for anyone who loves barrel aged beer, sweet, or strong ales. Very unique blend of astounding components. Loving life right now, Happy New Year 2014! (1,349 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.52/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ruby-brown pour into a snifter, a half-finger of dense tan head sank to a ringlet, leaving some spots on the glass. A lot of sweetness in the nose, fruit and sugars, notes of burnt caramel, black cherry, with a decent vanilla component, woody, though not overly boozy. Taste of dark sugars--brown sugar, caramel--sweet and artificially fruity, cherry cough syrup, rum raisin, notes of vanilla, slight coconut, pretty thick with booze. Kind of messy, and though while there was some heat, it didn't nearly feel like a 15% beer. Body was medium, mouthfeel was slick. A decent offering. (583 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

pretty wild beer here, their version of a black and tan, what a gas! the color is red and caramel mixed together, very thick like sludge, dense, minimal but lasting light brown head. I smell everything, no joke. rich malts, darker grains than the color shows, aggressive sugars, whiskey barrel, vanilla, clove, rye malt, booze, and molasses. what I don't smell or taste in this, is yeast. it is mysteriously absent from the flavor profile, not that this beer is hurting for complexity, this is a hell of a blend. dried fruit and sugar, as well as the best richest elements of black Tuesday are what I taste here. its oaky and rich, almost too much really, but the booze is not that obvious for something so high. this goes way beyond beer to something else entirely, more of a barleywine than anything, just so much happening, and such a heavy buzz from even small quantities of this. good carbonation for the size, and about all the body you can pack in. this is not my favorite beer from the bruery, but it is yet another example of their expertise in all aspects of beer making. a blend like no other, worth trying for lovers of huge brews and the bruery more generally. (1,173 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.2/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2011 Release, Sampled March 2012
A soft pour into my small tulip glass produces a fat-two-finger thick, pale brown tinged, dirty tan colored head. The ber is a concentrated brown / amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, cranberry-ruby hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells quite alcoholic, but has lots of other notes as well, but that is certainly prominent. Notes of vanillin, toasted coconut, Sherry, lots of nut like notes, toasted caramel, sweet caramelized brown bread. The sherry character is actually quite striking, both the alcohol, the rich, sweet nutty notes and the oxidized malt contribute to this really smelling quite a bit like sherry. This definitely smells like desert in a glass.

As expected, from the nose, this beer is quite sweet; the sweetness seems a touch simplistic / sugary as opposed to really rich, concentrated malt like in character, by which I mean there seems to be a fair amount of residual, simple sugars left in this beer. The body is certainly viscous, but actually somehow seems light for a beer of this strength; much of the, perceived, lightness is likely contributed by the amply noticeable, warming and even hot, alcohol notes that play a prominent role in the flavor. Ample flavors of sweet coconut, vanillin, sugar coated / toasted nuts, sweet sherry, amaretto, and perhaps a touch of brandy like fruit character are noticeable. Woody oak, with a touch of astringency and some spiciness comes into and lingers through the finish; the alcohol also lends to the spiciness and heat in the finish. There is a definite fruitiness here as well, it is sort of evocative of prune juice, perhaps a touch of fig and raisin as well. Other flavors of maple syrup, toasted oak, brown sugar syrup, touches of roasted bitterness in the finish, and a toasted, brown bread note add some character.

This is definitely a HOT beer, at this alcohol level that is not unexpected, but I can’t say that I necessarily appreciate that either. The sweetness is also a bit too simplistic in this beer; I would have been more appreciative if the malt character was less simple sugar focused and had more of a dense, almost savory, concentrated malt character. Interestingly enough, given how hot this beer is, I don’t get as much Bourbon character as I was expecting; more of the vanillin, spicy oak, and toasted oak come out individually rather than reminiscent of actual Bourbon. Not a bad beer if you are only having a couple ounces as a nightcap, but anything more for me is just a bit underwhelming (not complex enough in flavor) and overwhelming (in the hot alcohol and sugary sweetness) at the same time. I must say that I really like the oxidized malt character / sherry notes that are on display here (is this the anniversary old ale contribution), it really adds an extra dimension that keeps me much more interested than I otherwise would be. Drinkable and even enjoyable in small amounts if I am not critically evaluating the beer. Before cracking this beer, I had not reallized how strong it was going to be, I wish I had, as I would have planned to use the rest of the beer for cooking of some sort; I could imagine this being used quite well in a “rum” cake recipe, or even a dense fruit cake would likely be a perfect use (just make sure to reduce the level of sugar called out for in the recipe to account). I am planning on this already with the bottle of Black Tuesday that I am opening; in fact I am almost more excited about the Imperial chocolate stout cake that I am going to make than actually drinking the beer :-). (3,582 characters)

Melange No. 3 from The Bruery
96 out of 100 based on 240 ratings.