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Bois - The Bruery

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

142 Reviews
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Reviews: 142
Hads: 1,277
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 9.26%
Wants: 124
Gots: 539 | FT: 98
Brewed by:
The Bruery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  15.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: OBeerMeGreatOne on 05-14-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

The traditional fifth anniversary gift is something made of wood, or "Bois" in French.

Bois is our fifth anniversary ale, loosely brewed in the English-style Old Ale tradition using our house Belgian yeast strain and then blended using the solera method. A portion of each of our anniversary ales is saved in our barrels and blended in with the next year's production, providing more complexity and depth of character that comes with age. Layered with complex flavors of dark fruit,vanilla, oak, and burnt sugar, Bois is a robust ale, surely the perfect beer to mark this major milestone.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 142 | Hads: 1,277
Photo of 120minuteman
2.9/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Overall I found the aroma of this beer far outweighed its taste. It smelled very fruity (plums, raisins, apricots). However, the taste did not deliver. I found this beer to have a very bitter taste to it, which prevented me from enjoying it.

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Photo of kojevergas
3/5  rDev -30.6%

1 pint 9.4 fl oz thick brown glass bottle with beeswax-ed over pry-off pressure cap acquired at a bottle shop in the L.A. area years ago for $30.00 USD and served into an Odell stem-tulip in me friend's gaff in high altitude Fort Collins, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are average; I've tried other beers in this solera series and they disappointed. 15% ABV. 2013 anniversary. Reviewed as an old ale because the label clearly identifies it as such.

Served cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: One finger wide. Pale light khaki colour. Okay consistency. Smooth. Somewhat even. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Retention is awful - about 40 seconds - but it's forgivable given the 15% ABV.

BODY: Dark opaque brown-black. Nontransparent; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears aptly carbonated. Not unique or special for the style. It's not unappealing...

AROMA: Chewy fig, appealing bourbon (replete with vanilla and a kiss of oak), burnt sugars, hint of molasses, caramel, toffee, raisin, and some medicinal notes (e.g. a hint of grape).

An inoffensive aroma of average strength. Not particularly appealing, but the bourbon is nice.

No yeast character or hop notes are detectable. Fruity booziness is present throughout.

TASTE: Chewy raisin, warm boozy fig, molasses, caramel. Some muted reticent bourbon character, including a hint of vanilla. No rich oak character comes through. Treacle. Depleted dark fruits. A kiss of sweet port. Sugarcane. Rum-soaked alcohol-redolent fruit. Dates. A flavour I'd assert is tobacco - though I've never really smoked.

It's boozy as all hell, and has no balance whatsoever; it's a chaotic mess. Incohesive, and certainly not gestalt.

Complicated, but not intricate in a refined sense. Lacks subtlety. Very overt and heavy-handed, lacking a focus.

INTENSE flavours. But they're not really deep. Flavour duration is well above average.

TEXTURE: Chewy, smooth, relatively dry, withered....it feels like caramelized candied raisin. Tough. Heavy. Full-bodied. Unnecessarily heavy and weighty on the palate. Sticky. Lightly syrupy. Overcarbonated (in spite of its age and ABV). This is overbearing on the palate and impedes drinkability. Certainly not refreshing.

Poor presence on the palate. This texture fits in with the conventions of an old ale, but does a poor job attempting to complement the taste.

OVERALL: Hmm. She's a sipper, and the booziness is obvious from the first sip. This is yet another overpriced overrated mess of a solera beer from The Bruery, and isn't a beer I'd recommend to anyone. I'm glad I have help from a friend trying to finish this bottle; I'd hate to try to take one down alone. Not sure why people seem to love this. And can we get a moratorium on bottling difficult-to-drink dessert beers in large format bottles?

This emperor has no clothes. Fucking acrid.

High C

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Photo of kscaldef
3/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tasted as part of a horizontal of all 5 Bois treatments.

This one is again just hot, hot, hot. Dominated by booziness that overwhelms all other smells and flavors.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.03/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle into a tulip. From notes.

A: Pours a murky dark brown color. There's a one finger khaki head that retains horribly - in other words, par for the course from a 15% monster. No lacing is left behind, either.

S: Very intense, mostly in a good way. The vanilla is huge, the bourbon is huge, the oaky notes are huge, and the dark fruits are huge. I even get some faint coconut touches. On the first whiffs, the booze is very intense, only to calm down as it warms up. My subconscious tells me the actual flavor is going to be WAY too sweet, but even still, this aroma works well.

T: Dark fruits open this one up in a big way. It doesn't take long, however, to realize just how fuckin' sweet this one is. Holy shit, this is like drinking bourbon spiked with brown sugar - about six tbsp's worth, to be precise. The finish tries to negate all dat sugar with some oaky and bourbon-y notes; it's not particularly successful. All it really does is inject a bit of unnecessary harshness into the massively cloying beer without really balancing it out. On the plus side, it *does* become slightly less harsh as more is imbibed. That does NOT make all the ridiculous sweetness any more palatable: it's far too moronic and out-of-wack throughout. It's not even that complex, either.

M: This practically burns going down. Cripes on a stick, this one feels rough. It's too carbonated, too thin, and too sweet all at the same time. It seems like The Bruery was trying to give this good drinkability for the style, and they honestly succeeded - but at what cost? The slender feel clashes badly with the incredible sweetness, so it's not like it's that drinkable.

O: When I sip this, I'm seriously contemplating dumping it - it's that overwhelming. This is a textbook example of a beer that's over-the-top big in all the wrong ways. A big beer that's structured well can be a beautiful thing (see: Black Albert), and this just isn't. It's not HORRIBLE per se, just hugely disappointing for over $30 (!) a bottle. Emperor Bois, you have no clothes, plain and simple.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.23/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a nosing glass. From notes. Reviewed 31 January 2015.

3.5A: Muddy light brown.

3.5S: Burnt brown sugar.

3T: Whoah that's harsh and bright and not very to my taste. Hint of tartness at the edges.

3.25M: A little thin. Vaguely sparkly but not too much.

3.25O: It's fine but not good. Would not recommend.

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Photo of John_M
3.24/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Given how expensive this beer is, I was very glad it was available for only $5 for a 4 ounce pour at PIB.

The beer pours a copper amber color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is impressive, as I pick up considerable dates, rum raisans, coconut, vanilla, pineapple, caramel and light chocolate. The beer smells as if it will be rich and sweet, but on the palate, I found this to be an absolute train wreck. Granted, the flavor profile replicates the nose for the most part, but this beer was so sweet and boozy, it was setting off my gag reflex. I've tried a number of these barrel aged nectar bombs in the past (Coton, 5 golden rings, cuir, etc.), but nothing really compares to this in terms of sweetness. Next to the word cloying in the dictionary, they should have a picture of this beer. Mouthfeel was full, with a long, sweet, soft boozy finish.

I thought it was tough to get through a bottle of Black Tuesday, but that beer is almost sessionable in comparison to this monstrousity. An interesting effort, but I think from now on I'm going to give these barrel aged old ales from Bruery a pass.

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Photo of yamar68
3.51/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks cw577enfield!

Dark swampy brown body capped with a thick, dense layer of khaki carbonation. Plenty of booze legging.

Certainly smells sweet. Caramel/toffee, powdery cocoa, molasses, mushy fruit, maple, bourbon heat... complex. Big.

God that is a big fucking beer. It's muted at first but after a second or two on the palate I'm overwhelmed with massive bourbon sweetness and intense red fruits, almost tart in some ways... papery tobacco flavor at the tip of the tongue. It finishes out sticky and sweet with a lingering burn in the back of my mouth. Kind of a mess, to be honest.

I took down BT and M3 solo, so I thought this wouldn't be an issue. But... alas. This might take a while.

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Photo of Charliechu
3.68/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I been seeing these around Northern California so I thought it would give it a shot.
For one, this is a very expensive bottle, anywhere from $30-$40 a piece.

First impression was the overwhelming smell. Personally I thought it smelled a bit like fish sauce, if you guys know what I mean. The pour was very nice, great head! The first taste came a bit extra boozy, but its finished finished pretty smoothly. Definitely serve this in a sniffer . Overall, I thought it was a decent beer, but for the price I think there are much better ones other there.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
3.77/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Slightly nervous about doing this, but I think my friend Adam wanted me to do this for him as he shared this with me tonight.
Both pours were in snifters.
The appearance was dark brown to black with a somewhat of a head that dies immediately.
The smell had a whole lot of oaky/cherry/brown sugar/raisens/figs/oak/bourbon/vanilla and ends up adding a decent dark roasted caramel close to the end of the warming period.
The taste was actually slightly boozy with a semi medium to heavy sort of body.
Sessionability, this one's got it.
On the palate, it sits about at a medium and I'm starting to feel the effects of the brew (is this perhaps because of the fact that I don't entirely know what I'm doing just yet)
Overall, hey, well, I like this one despite what anyone says about style and/or opinion of who makes this brew. Would I have this again? I'm pretty sure I would.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.82/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750ml waxed and capped bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 2 finger frothy cream colored head with moderate retention. Beer is a dark, almost opaque brown. Lacing is thick but sticks close to the head. Oily legs. Real nice.

Nose is sweet booze. Molasses, brown sugar, caramel and oak. Deep and enticing.

Opens molasses, honey, dark plum and prunes. Brown sugar, leather and booze in the middle. Oak, caramel, toffee, and more molasses at the finish. Ends sweet and hot with a sweet, caramel and molasses aftertaste. Solid.

Full bodied with low carbonation. Slick and oily in the mouth and goes down hot and sticky. Finishes messy with a lingering aftertaste that coats the mouth. A touch thin.

Pretty par for the course for a Bruery Anniversary big. Big and bold with accented sweet flavors. Pretty straightforward but still enjoyable.

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Photo of stakem
3.82/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml bottle pours a clouded mahogany color with absolutely no head despite a vigourous pour. Some swirling releases a few large bubbles that collapse quick. The alcohol legs creep down the side of the glass.

The aroma is pungent of that typical bourbon tang coupled with residual sugary belgian candy. Faint hints of coconut, vanilla and oak all mingle together with a hint of caramel. No doubt the bourbon is center stage and the biggest attribute of the nose.

The taste continues with prominent notes of tangy bourbon. A slight fruity almost orange rind character before fading to a striking amount of oxidation. Some herbal bitterness is felt underneath the big boozy impact and sticky residual sugars.

This is a medium bodied brew with a light amount of carbonation. It tastes like it has been aged quite awhile. Perhaps the solera method is really starting to showcase the older aspects of the blend? It surely tasted oxidized moreso than I expected. Compared to the other barrel versions, this one is easily the most alcohol forward and hot. Not my least favorite but nowhere near as good as the whiskey and brandy version.

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Photo of vonnegut21
3.84/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a dark, rich brown/black with hints of ruby as light hits the edges. Minimal head that dissipates quickly.

S: Big caramel and toffee aroma. Lots of alcohol and sweetness. Hints of wood, leather and tobacco notes follow.

T: Wow, this is a big, boozy sweetness bomb. I guess I shouldn't be surprised with it coming from the Bruery. Lots of caramel notes, brown sugar, vanilla, and a punch of alcohol heat. Deep, complex leather and tobacco notes follow. Not bad, just way, way too sweet.

M: A bit thin, but creamy. Very hot. Nicely carbonated.

O: This is a big, complex beer. Decent, but it needs to sit a while. I'm looking forward to trying to try some of the other variants for sure.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.85/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark caramel color and opaque. It has a viscous and flat appearance.

Huge boozy notes of bourbon... Oak, vanilla, caramel, toffee.

The cloying sweetness is just too much. It's boozy as hell, but I can appreciate that. Caramel, toffee, and vanilla with just a touch of dry wood.

Mouthfeel is syrupy and sugary sweet. Very thick.

This was just way too sweet for my liking. The flavor profile was nice, but fighting through even as pint was a chore. That, combined with the price point, makes me suggest pass on it.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.88/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Hops and Pie. Nice orange color, small head at first, then it's gone. Aroma is a bit if booze. Flavor is a delicious bourbon barrel barley wine, rich, great bourbon flavors, sweet but then it gets a little too sugary. This was really tasty but it's so sweet and so strong that I can't imagine drinking a whole glass of this.

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Photo of Dope
3.89/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice mahogany with a decent sized but fizzy light light brown head. Head fizzes away fast, almost soda-like. Decent retention but zero lacing.

S: Huge, huge, huge sickly sweet caramel. Toffee and boozy raisins. Sharp, stinging alcohol when swirled. Basically a bourbon and sherry combo at first glance.

T: Super sweet caramel and toffee up front. I can't overstate how sweet this is. I have had some seriously sweet beers in my day, I can practically mainline creme brulee but this is over the top. It's like caramel syrup with some toffee and molasses. Heavy, heavy on the rum soaked raisins. Burnt sugars in there too. In the finish, very drying oak and alcohol in the aftertaste sucks all of the moisture out of your mouth.

M: Heavy, heavy, cloyingly sweet and syrupy.

O: I've had Cuir, Fruet and now Bois. I loved the first two but this one just isn't hitting me right. I just re-read my review on Fruet and I mentioned at how well the 15% ABV was hidden. This beer is the opposite, it's a booze bomb. It's honestly hard to drink, a sipper for sure. It's still good, don't get me wrong, it's just that the booze and the sweetness overpowers everything in this beer. I might not be in the right mood for this one tonight, that's all I can think. Luckily I have a bottle of the rye version of this to try another day, maybe I will be ready for that one.

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Photo of n2185
3.91/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a murky brown with a finger of beige head that fades into a frothy ring with no lacing.

S: lots of sweetness here: caramel, vanilla, brown and burnt sugar, and a little toffee. There are some oak notes and dark fruit underneath, but mostly it's a barrage of sweet smells.

T: sweetness dominates here as well. Caramelized sugar, caramel, vanilla, toffee, and brown sugar. Oak and sweet bread come through bsfore a moderately boozy finish.

M: medium-thick body with lowish carbonation, this beer is sticky sweet and a bit hot.

O: a good beer overall, but so sweet and boozy that it's difficult to drink more than a few ounces. I'm glad I could try it on tap and not have to tackle a whole or half a bottle.

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Photo of Gmann
3.96/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brown color with a slight reddish hue. The head is short and dense and settles into a light ring.

The aroma is sweet. Big vanilla, bourbon, brown sugar and caramel notes. There is a boozy tart cherry aroma.

The taste is of a brown bread malt. Plenty of sweetness to go around. There is a big dark berry sweetness that is quite noticeable. It's a bit tart as well. Caramel and subtle bourbon, some vanilla. Cherry? Lots of booze could use more of an earthy malt presence. Little too sweet.

The feel is moderate with semi soft carbonation. Quite sweet and boozy on the palate. Sticky in the finish. Slight belly burn.

A good but not great big beer. A little one dimensional.

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Photo of DrewskiWhit
3.98/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 4/2/13
Poured into a snifter

A poured about a 1 finger head which dissipated and left a foam ring which hung around throughout. Lots of legs on this thing. Deep hazy brownish red color. Sorta resembles fat bastards stool sample

S lots of strong scents. A very strong aroma. Its familiar but I can't place it. Definitely oaky, almonds, some alcohol is detectable. Maybe a touch of coffee or chocolate. Definitely smells complex

T follows the nose for the most part. the taste starts with an oaky almond thing followed by lots of sweet dark fruits on the back. Can taste the alcohol and definitely feel a warming in the chest. Again its complex and the flavors are very strong I just don't love it. Its a sipper.

M more carbonated than I was expecting which I think really helps the drinkability and to mellow the beer out a bit.

O this is clearly a very well crafted beer but personally I just don't love the flavors. I enjoyed it but couldn't give it an "outstanding" rating as I doubt I'd drink it again.

Bottom Line: a well crafted unique beer with flavors that just aren't my thing

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Photo of ckollias
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this large bomber bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours a brownish hue with amber highlights and a tan head that lasts forever ending in a wispy lace and not trail.

S: Syrup malt aroma with some oak and dark fruit scents.

T: Strong alcoholic burn with a malty syrup flavor and complex dark fruity flavor.

M: Heavy body and medium carbonation

O: Great brew – lots of complex flavors and aromas.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.01/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to stakem for sharing this. enjoyed chilled in a tulip.

The color is dark murky brown with small head fine bead and no lace. The smell is intensely malty with nice vanilla and spice notes with moderate wood and strong caramel odor with light toast and alcohol soaked raisins. The feel is great, lots of bourbon with smooth maltiness and dark sugrar with some yeast tanginess with light woody tannin and moderately high aclohcol in the drying finish.

The flavor is intense with lots of wood which is supported by the malt which includes flavors of toffee and caramel with dark sugar and toasted notes and light raisin in the yeast flavor with subtle spice with alcohol moderately high as it finishes dry. Overall this is a great old ale, I loved the barrel flavor in this. I recommend this to anyone who likes strong ale with woody character -nice complexity.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.02/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into a wine glass.

Appearance - Dark and murky reddish brown. Not much of a head. Nothing after a while.

Smell - Bourbon, toffee, buckets of caramel. Quite fruity.

Taste - Sweet and bourbony. Even fruitier. Toffee and caramel. Boozy. Even a little bitter. Maybe that's just an abundance of alcohol.

Mouthfeel - A sipper. Boozy as hell. Medium heavy, not as syrupy as I thought it might be.

Overall - Way over the top, but good. I always like these beers.

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Photo of maximum12
4.02/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle in Hudson, which I wouldn't have done, for $32. But Fruet was so damn good that I just couldn't resist. 750ML melee' weapon split with my wife, who did the actual shopping & picking up of the now open bottle.

Pour clocks in at a ruddy, sunburnt brown, with a touch more carbonation than expected, like a Coke that's been open for a half-hour. The nose leans on the indescribable. Looming bourbon notes, thick caramel, & heavy vanilla dominate, but there are dark fruits muddled in underneath. Oh, & the alcohol sting. My eyes are watering already.

Bois is a boozy Ali jab to the palate, after which it kicks you in the lungs. Wow. Alcohol is prime-time, leaving a warm, fuzzy trail from my tongue all the way into my intestines. Beyond that is a beer fairly different that the smell. The barrel is still big & bad, but close behind is a flair of mission figs, dates, plums, & all that jazz. A wave of boozy caramel washes the mid-section clean, before the alcohol & mouthfeel seize the finish. The mouth on this is notable: sticky & cloying to the point of Elmer's. Nonetheless, my curiosity to see where all this is going has lead me to devour this too quickly.

High point here is a sterling tasting experience, but it doesn't quite live up to my lofty expectations. Very interesting, very good, but not the powerhouse that some of the Bruery's big beers are. I would have run out for more Fruet were I able; this one, I'll be able to leave on the shelves. Still. Wouldn't turn one down. Ever.

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Photo of SierraFlight
4.02/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at The Bruery poured into taster. Deep brown color with a fleeting tan head that vanished. Some streaky legs, though. Aroma is toffee, bourbon, vanilla, wood, dark fruits, and booze. Taste is similar with roasty malts and brown sugar sweetness heavy up front. A tiny bit of woody/nutty bitterness comes through. There’s some nice alcohol warming, too. Medium-full bodied, slick textured, low-moderate carbonation, boozy finish.

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Photo of rand
4.03/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Knb Del Cerro, poured into small goblet

A: Deep mahogany-red, viscous. Almost no head, but the beverage leaves patches of lacing around the glass.

S: Booze, oak, cherries, honey-coated multi-grain bread. The bouquet is large and district, with alcohol warming the nose.

T: Big toffee-sweetness at the front, backed by notes ripe fruit, especially cherries and raisins. Oaky as can be, the alcohol and wood notes dry the palate. Spicy and tingly toward the back, as it finishes sweet with lingering notes of cherry.

M: Rich and chewy, but the balanced flavors keep things from feeling too weighty.

I don't want to overrate the Bruery but it seems like the last several brews I've sampled have been approaching near-perfection. This has so much flavor and so much potential to go off-the-rails, but all of the aspects are so well contained and reined in, making a 15% ABV Old Ale as drinkable as possible.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.03/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle split with my dad.

A dark brown, clear at first, with a dense, light brown head with decent retention and nice legs, this looks solid. The nose is great, as is usual for the series. Boozy caramel sweetness with vanilla, bourbon, dark fruit and brown sugar, this smells great. The palate opens full and sticky sweet with a big bourbon booziness, vanilla, mild oak tannins and fruit. Candied figs, prunes, brown sugar, jaggery are all present. Full in body with moderate carbonation, this beer has a long, sweet finish. Enjoyable.

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Bois from The Bruery
95 out of 100 based on 142 ratings.