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Papier - The Bruery

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

104 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 104
Hads: 215
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 14.21%
Wants: 213
Gots: 69 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
The Bruery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  14.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Halcyondays on 05-16-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Papier is our first anniversary ale, loosely brewed in the English-style Old Ale tradition using our house Belgian yeast strain. The traditional first anniversary gift is something made of paper. The Bruery is giving their loyal fans the gift of Papier, their first anniversary ale. Layered with complex flavors of dark fruit,vanilla, oak, and burnt sugar, Papier is a robust ale, surely the perfect beer to mark our first big milestone. Best for sharing, this beer is ideal for cellaring until you have a celebration of your own…if you can wait.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 104 | Hads: 215
Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle at The Ginger Man. Black with little faint lace dots. Faint bourbon aroma. Like a chocolate burboun barleywine. Rich, but a sipper, and would need a whole meal. Not so drinkable right after work. A characteristic is that it is a bit syrupy, slick oily.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.19/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pour at the Bruery Reserve Society initiation party at The Phoenix Club in Anaheim, CA.

Pours a murky dark brown with no head and no lace. Smell is of malt, fruits, wood, and bourbon. Taste is of malt, dark fruits, wood, and bourbon flavors. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good old ale and a nice first anniversary beer.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a smooth tan head. Nose is complex and inviting. Sweet whiskey hits you first and yields to sweet fruit, molasses, vanilla and hints of sweet cherry.

Mouthfeel is big and full although some age will make it a bit "thicker." A bit thinner than one might expect but, again, age will improve this characteristic.

Flavors follow the nose with dark cooked fruit, plums and figs, brown sugar/malt and full of whiskey tones. Big, full bodied and expressive flavors with a full rich finish. This is going to be superb with some age. One can only imagine the rarer barrell aged versions which I will open as part of a tasting...a tasting soon since I'm one who likely won't be able to wait!

This is a brew worth trying now and very much worth following for as long as you can discipline yourself to hold some bottles. This is clearly one of the best quality beers from The Bruery.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on 1-12-10. Papier poured out as a light brownish color with a thin head on top. There wasn't a lot of lacing going on here. The smell was giving off a heavy amount of barrel aged aromas. I wasn't able to pick up on much bourbon though. The oak aromas overpowered most of the brew. The taste of the beer was flavorful but didn't really do much to impress me. To me this tasted a lot like a typical barley wine. The mouthfeel wasn't too bad. It had a good amount of body for a beer that's almost 15%. Overall I feel that I should have aged this brew or something. I have a feeling that it would have been much better after a year or more.

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Photo of brentk56
3.38/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle #2269

Appearance: Pours a carbonation free burnt caramel that leaves no lace

Smell: A boozy blend of brown sugar, oak, bourbon, vanilla and a range of dark fruit

Taste: Opens with a boozy blend of bourbon soaked dried fruit (raisins and prunes), cocoa powder, bruised apple, cherries and vanilla that gets hotter by mid-palate; after the swallow, the bourbon elements add increasing complexity and linger into the finish

Mouthfeel: Thick, viscous and chewy, but flat

Drinkability: Maybe this will improve in a few decades (per the label) but right now the flatness and booziness makes it hard to enjoy; I don't think the lack of carbonation from San Diego breweries is a trend that has any legs

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.29/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's pretty clear to me that this is what an Old Ale should be. A lot of complexity that derives from not-so-pretty starting elements but evolve to become rich in its maturity, varying in its age, and beautiful in its art.

The beer decants with a rusty mohogany, ruby haze, and garnet hues. Very, very low carbonation is a testiment to long term storage but does render the beer somewhat lifeless. Though carbonation, head formation, and retention are terse (to say the least), the beer shows classic brandy lacing on the glass, thus changing my mindset to expectations of port wines or liquors.

Extremely rich and bursting with flavors. The evidence of this is noticed in the heavy alcohol, fruit, and rubustness of the nose. Plumbs, figs, dates, raisons, bruised apples, grapes, cherries, prunes, and raspberries all come to life along with a rich rum-soaked fruitcake complexity, sweetness, and heartiness. Soy sauce and sherry notes give rise to the maturity of the beer and add even another layer to the unwaivering variety- virtually a new flavor with every sip. Throw in a hint of cocoa here, a dash of dustiness there, and a sprinkle of spicy cinnamon and nutmeg all about and we have a beery song that will rival the hokey pokey.

With all the flavor and smooth textures, it's easy to dismiss the low carbonation- the beer is just that good. Still, rich and lightly velvety with an unforgettable warmth and numbing to the mouth. Substantial bitterness seems part hops and part astringency from grain. Finishes with a long sweet linger of dehydrated fruits and sherry.

As wonderful and powerul as this beer is, the lack of carbonation leaves a pause mid way through that seems a bit void of vibrancy and life- maybe a bit of carbonation would help out here to help the beer making a transition from initial flavor to the long lasting aftertaste.

Thanks jlindros!

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. Beer was about a year old when consumed. Thanks to bmanning for pulling this out.

Pours a nice caramel tan color with a slight head that dissipates somewhat quickly. Fairly impressive that it was there for as long as it was. The nose brings forward a bit of booze, dark sugars, caramel, nice fruits, and some toffee. The taste really integrates everything quite well--the booze is there but there is some nice sweetness and great fruit notes in addition to some toffee. Medium feel with really nice warmth. A very nice beer that is aging quite well.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thrilled to get to pop open this black wax capped 750 last night. I seriously needed this one after a mentally trying evening. Served at cellar temp into a snifter, this one was consumed on 10/06/2009.
The pour was what I had heard about so I expected the flatness and stillness of it. Dark garnet brown in color with only a small amount of bubbles on the side of the glass that quickly faded themselves leaving a motionless and still liquid in the glass. As I sipped though it did leave some nice touches of foam down the sides of the glass so that made me happy. Aroma is very sweet, lots of vanilla and butterscotch on the nose right away. Caramel and other sweet notes dropping in behind a touch of vanilla. Very well put together I have to admit. Warming brings out a subtleness that is just sublime I have to admit. I go in for the for the first sip and a wave of toffee and butterscotch coat the tongue, again just what I am looking for here and really very nicely done. Rich notes of vanilla and caramel, earthy with a fine touch of woody flavor as well. Seemingly endlessly complex a light booziness now starts to take over. Not flat at all, just very lightly carbonated and this actually really worked quite well for me here. ABV well hidden despite the high strength and this only served to further the delightful experience.
Overall this was just what I had wanted. A finally crafter old ale that really just hit the spot. I am continued to be impressed with everything I try from the Bruery. Top notch for sure.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.79/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this beer many times, but finally giving it a review.

A: The beer pours a murky dark amber color with very minimal carbonation.

S: The booze has really settled down in this. You can actually get some of the caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and molasses. The vanilla and bourbon still come through. Quite a lot of oak is still present.

T: Lots of oak, vanilla, and bourbon are quick to hit your tongue. Still a bit boozy, but not annoyingly so. Caramel, toffee, and maple syrup give the beer its trademark sweetness.

M: Medium to full in body with a low level of carbonation.

O: Amazing how much better this beer has become in a couple years.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.29/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out a very dark brown body with a few large, migrating bubbles on top that quickly evaporate.

Smell: Rich, expressive aroma. A veritable deluge of sweet-scented notes, everything from caramel sauce to chocolate powder to those lil' charred crème brûlée tops. And such a wealth macerated fruitiness, too! Why, it's a real treat to be sniffing around this glass.

Taste: Sweet fusion of deep, dark caramel and vanilla beans with burnt, cauterized sugars and a good pinch of Dutch cocoa. The brew warms the palate nigh instantaneously and this easily makes way for the crashing waves of oaky, bourbonesque flavors to roll on in. And this one has quite a pronounced fruitiness (not that it was a surprise given the nature of the aroma) -- plenty of juicy figs, raisins, plums, and sweet cherries. Perhaps there's maybe even a small hint of smokiness in there as well. Certainly has an abundance of sweet fruitiness on the warming, heady, oak-laden finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Mild carbonation. Lightly sticky, almost chewy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A slow, but oh-so satiating sipper. Plenty of oak character, but also heaps of bourbon barrel character as well even though it only represents 25% of the blend. Definitely give this one a try if you come across it!

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Photo of jlindros
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Been holding onto this for a looooong time, original batch from 2009, had all the other anniversaries so needed to crack this one. Shared with rudzud and kyle.

Original batch from 2009, bottle number 2006.

Pours no real head, super dark maroon brown color touch of mahogany light coming through.

Nose brings tons of sweet candy malt, toffee, nutty, candy syrup, lots of aged soft malts, little nougat, etc. Some oxidation is def there, not a ton but some, little candied raisin, mild oak, toasted oak no real bourbon or vanilla.

Taste hits with sweet candy, sharp sweet candy and caramel syrup, so sweet, syrupy mess and some warming booze, nutty toffee, etc. Little candied syrupy raisin syrup, little bitterness still. Mild oxidation, not much, and a little toasted oak also not a ton. Finish is sticky sweet, little more booze, more candied raisin and syrupy candy lingering.

Mouth is fuller bod, very syrupy and sweet, no real carb either, plenty of hot booze.

Overall better than expected, some oxidation but not a ton, bit boozy and very sweet.

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Photo of russpowell
4.31/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Got this one from HopStoopid120, cheers Tony!

Bottle 3589 pours a semi-murky chestnut with a sliver of mocha colored head. Nice viscosity to this along with some shreds of head retention

S: Prunes, raisins, cherries & oaky booze, loads of port notes

T: Dark fruit, woodyness, cherries, a touch licorice schnapps & much dryness up front, some leafy hops & figs in the mix. Chocolate covered cherries, boozey figs & dryness dominate as this warms. Finishes with much oak, a little cherry, a bit more booze, & just a bit too much dryness to give 4.5, close

MF: Chewy as all get out, fairly still carbonation, pretty warming indeed

Drinks a touch slow, but spot-on for style & ABV. Maybe I should've waited, would love try this in about 4 months when the weather should be at least 35 degrees cooler; but curiosity & my sweet tooth was calling. Not bad, but I'd love to have a case or 2 of this & just see how it gets better. Not bad at all for its young age as it is...

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a real murky and clouded brown. This one is mildly hot on the flavor, but certainly not as much as you might expect. The vanilla tones are nice, and I feel like they're the most pronounced of all the character, though nothing is really screaming at me here. This is a nice sipper. I have to be honest and say that I expected more from this one. But overall, it was nice.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.34/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Have had this bottle since late 2009 or so. Heard it was a boozy mess fresh, so sat on it for a long time in a proper cellar. 750ml bottle poured into my Bruery tulip. Bottle #3628/4777..

a - Pours a murky reddish brown color with light carbonation evident and a few bubbles of dark brown head. Looks a little oxidized.

s - Smells of sweet dark fruits, alcohol, molasses, bready malts, toasted malts, light caramel malts, bourbon, roasted malts, sugar, and light cocoa. Smell is pretty good, albeit strong.

t - Tastes of sweet dark fruits, figs, plums, alcohol, molasses, burnt sugar, toasted malts, musty earthy notes, light caramel, and wood. Tastes has more alcohol present than the nose. Super boozy.

m - Thick full body and no carbonation at all. Pretty hot still.

o - Overall this is super hot, even for me who likes hot beers. The last few years have been fantastic but the first anniversary beer is a bit of a boozy mess...maybe the 100% BBAing has helped more than I thought. More fruit and less caramel, I wouldn't say this is worth seeking out, and I love their anniversary beers. Better off just buying a Cuir or Bois.

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Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into snifter.

Pours very little head. Color is a slightly hazed caramel brown with a shade of ruby in it.

Aroma: Caramel and toffee stick out the most. It is very malt forward. It has oak and vanilla with bourbon, but nothing nearing the 100% bourbon version. Has a bit of dark fruits as well.

Taste: Very similar to the nose. It does have the bourbon, but it is so faint compared to the 100% version. The oak, however, stands out more. Caramel, toffee, vanilla, and a light amount of chocolate here. Very malty, again.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, warming, and creamy. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends a tad dry.

Overall, a really nice old ale, but I still prefer the 100% -bal aged beers. It is good, no doubt about that. Great series.

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Photo of billab914
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Saved this one to open with my wife on our first anniversary Oct 1. It poured a murky brown color with noticeable sediment floating around. Almost no head and very still. Very thin tan ring around edges. Not bad for age and style, but not great either.

Rich dark fruits, oak and mild bourbon. Notes of plum and fig with a little cherry. It really comes together well and the flavors are very balanced with each other. Very nice for such bold flavors. Really great depth to it and surprisingly low on alcohol heat.

The sweet dark fruits are there throughout, but the cherry comes out even more in the taste. The oak comes out in the finish along with a hint of vanilla and bourbon. A little bit of bitterness is in the finish as well helping it from becoming cloyingly sweet. A little boozy in the finish, but very nice overall.

Mouthfeel is on the heavier side with very low carbonation. Carbonation is a little lower then ideal, but it is 4 years old.

Overall, a very good beer with a fantastic aroma. A little more barrel character in the taste could have pushed this one from really good to great though. I Wish I had one of the 100% versions to try. Very enjoyable beer to sip on for the occasion.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bman1113vr for sharing this bottle.

Bottle No. 1,377 of 4,777. The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is dark fruit, oak, vanilla, chocolate and alcohol. The flavor is caramel, toffee, oak, vanilla and bourbon. The alcohol is very well hidden for a beer that has nearly 15 percent alcohol. This is one of the most drinkable high alcohol beers I have tried. Low carbonation and medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.26/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into a taster. Bottle 1262.

Appearance - Deep murky brown. Chunky head. A few bubbles at the edge.

Smell - Oxidized sherry like flavors. Vanilla, caramel, some bourbon. Fruity. Oxidation is nice.

Taste - Oxidation is much more prevalent. Barrel less noticable. Caramel masked by lots of dark fruits. Slight acidity to it, but not oppressive.

Mouthfeel - Medium low carbonation. Slick and a touch bitter. Doesn't drink like its ABV.

Overall - These anniversary beers get better with oxidation. True solera method means later iterations could be really good in years to come.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the source in an 8 ounce serving, on to the beer:

Dark chestnut color in appearance with no head on top. The beer's aroma hits the nose with a fruity porfile at first, but then with hints of oak and vanilla. There is some alcohol felt in this beer, but this beer hides much of the 14.5%. Oak and vanilla flavors tease the palate at first. As it warms, it starts to have a more dark fruity flavor profile.

A good beer for sure. A sipper, make sure it warms up and you'll be in for a good time.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at The Bruery's 1st,

A: Pours brown with a soft bubbling of light brown bubbles.

S: Smooth and refined, with great notes of oak and vanilla, almond, noticable banana the last time I had it, quite interesting.

T: More barrel aged goodness in the flavour. Chocolate and a light roasted note. The heavy brash tannic character is done away with in the aging with some great oak notes, vanilla, caramel candy.

M: Smooth, full-bodied, viscous, though only mildly alcoholic at this high ABV.

D: This is really good just by itself. I've already gotten to try some of Papier in other barrels and am lucky to have a bottle of each to try on their own. Hopefully I'll be able to pick up a bottle of the regular Papier soon, just outstanding.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark brown with a super thin brown cap of a head with nearly no lacing sticking to the glass. The nose was pretty nice but was pretty boozy alongside vanill, dark fruit, oakiness, and burnt sugar notes. It kinda had faint raisins and caramel but it was for sure a hot boozy aroma. Upfront the booze bourbon shows its face with vanilla chocolate accents but had oak, toffee, and underlying sweet caramel flavors. The brew was medium to full body with a low amount of carbonation whcih had a sweet boozy and silky finish. It was not really drinkable due to the ABV which was really noticeable and at times was taking away from the overall taste. I had my mom try some and she thought it was straight liquor.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up at the Bruery on Saturday. I decided I'd drink a 750ml 14% beer tonight. It's not going to be good for tomorrow, but so be it.

Poured into my Darkness snifter, the beer is the color of Cabernet Sauvignon (it's roughly the same alcohol % too) with a small fizzy and tan head that quickly recedes.

The aroma is toffee with plum notes and dried fruits. There's a lot of brown and candied sugar in the nose, as well as a hint of molasses. A swirl of the glass really reanimates the aroma, bringing out vanilla, maple, oak, and almonds, as well as some tannins. There's just a touch of Bourbon in the nose.

The flavor is initially sweet. In fact, it's just sweet, not just initially but throughout. Notes of Belgian candied sugar and brown sugar are evident, as well as angel tears and toffee. Nutty and boozy, the flavor oozes with dark and dried fruits. It exhibits oak character and tannins. At 25% of the blend, the Bourbon is barely noticeable but it's there nonetheless, screaming in defiance, yet barely audible. This is very hot right now. The alcohol is something to be reckoned with. You taste every bit of the 14.5% right now. I need to get my hands on one more to cellar. The heat is holding back the flavor rating, but I have no doubt that will change in a few months.

The beer is medium bodied with a low level of carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth and vinous.

Congratulations to Patrick and The Bruery on an amazingly successful first year. They've made remarkable progress in a very short time. I'm going to have to lock up my Rye and Brandy versions of Papier and throw away the key or I'll drink them tonight.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.14/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 shared with the boys a couple weeks ago at Ditmier's house.. Picked this up in Denver during the GABF.. Thanks for hosting Eric.

Bottle #1962

Hazy deep chestnut brown... no real head... dark tan head showed with a good glass swirl... so do some EtOH legs..

Boozy.... burnt sugars... solvent alcohol... pretty hot really... some dark dried fruit seems to work it's way in... rich raisins and plum/lite prune.. deep caramel...

Palate follows the nose with some figgy sweetness and pureed golden raisin.. lite cocoa helps.. some vanilla mid palate with lite oaky tannins that milk the finish as it combines with some pretty heavy booze that helps cut through the sweetness.

Not as much carbonation as I would have hoped for... but I believe this is a keeper... a long time cellar keeper... the body is on the heavy side, but this will age like a champ.... now I just need to get more. :-)


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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.3/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a deep amberish brown color with good carbonation. Nose is dark fruits and smells like an instant bowel movement. Taste is bourbon, vanilla, figs, raisins, prunes, and caramel. Mouthfeel is hot and thin to me with bourbon notes. A bombradment of messy flavors. Not an Old Ale I would return too.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

-75% Oaked aged ale, 25% ale aged in burbon barrel. 2009 anniversary ed. Bottle #3211 14.5% abv.

A: Poured a murky, dark mahogany with a sparse soapy/bubbly head that failed to cover the surface and quickly dissipated to a polished surface.

S: The nose is filled with dry burbon with alcohol soaked vanilla bean. Hints of oaky barrel woodiness is evident coming through nicely along with sweet dried molasses. Dark fruit of prunes and whiskey soaked raisins also prevail. Overall a boozy scent with sticky dried caramel sweetness and a dry burbon finish makes for a good warming start.

T: The flavor is big and boozy with a caramel sweetness and dried burbon alcohol adding warmth. The booziness really comes through strong that transcends from the mouth to the pit of the stomach. The complexity is abundant here with a strong showing of burnt dried molasses, whiskey laced prunes and raisins, vanilla bean, creamy caramel and a oaky dry woodiness providing a deep warming sensation to go along with the boozy 14.5% abv. The finale is a big intense alcohol warming of boozy burbon that was dry and well lingering (4-5 seconds) topping things off.

M: full bodied and silky smooth, like velvet on the tongue. No carbonation was present as the beer slides effortlessly around for a very smooth experience.

d: Good drinkability but at 14.5% abv it will make an honest sipper out of you. A bomber may be a bit much and is best shared with a friend or two. No need to rush through this one, it took me an hour to tackle this behemoth monster by myself, just sit back, relax and feel the warmth and complexity, just make sure you don't have to work the next morning. The label says this beer could age for decades, no complaints there, so I would suggest at least 5-10 years to take the edge off a bit making for a more smooth and rounded experience. My advice, treat yourself to two bottles one now and one for aging, it will be worth looking forward to.

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Papier from The Bruery
89 out of 100 based on 104 ratings.