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Billy The Mountain - Upright Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Billy The MountainBilly The Mountain

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

95 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 95
Reviews: 34
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 17.6%
Wants: 32
Gots: 23 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Upright Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  9.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jdense on 12-23-2009

Inspired by the great Prize Old Ale once brewed by Gales in England, this beer is deeply malty and full of ripe fruit, leather, wine and oak flavors. The Billy is partially barrel aged with brettanomyces yeast, lending a distinct twang and developing unique aromas over time. Bottled still and best served at about 55F to be finished at room temperature. Cellar for up to five years.

"Billy the Mountain - A traditional English-style Old Ale, having undergone over five months of oak barrel aging and another several months in the bottle."

Malts: organic pale, ashburne mild, caramel
Unmalted: black barley
Also: molasses
Yeasts: London ESB and brettanomyces clausennii

First Release - January 2010
Second Release - January 2011
Third Release - December 2011
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 95 | Reviews: 34
Reviews by spdyfire83:
Photo of spdyfire83
3.3/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

281st Review
75cl bottle poured into a tulip glass
Vintage: January 2011

From notes. Enjoyed a while back at a tasting hosted by Doodler (whom probably supplied this as well). Cheers, amigo!

A: Hazy medium brown; almost a tint of burgundy. Single (tan) fingernail head on gentle pour.

S: Smells of dark cherry, tannins, slight funk, and touch of leather. Very interesting. Can’t decide if the nose is enjoyable or the opposite, but that’s how it goes with experiments like this.

T: Nearly prune juice-esque with mix of mashed dark cherry and currants. Oak. Nice tart funkiness here with a touch of sweet brown sugar the fades to the finish. Dies quickly and leaves a weird after taste as well. This beer changed quite a bit as it warmed. ABV is well hidden though.

M: Medium/full bodied with medium carbonation.

O: An interesting beer to say the least. I enjoyed the slight funk, but I think the fruits could stand to be a bit more balanced. Maybe it’ll get more rounded (and better) with age, but I’m not sure that we’ll cross paths again. Either way, fun to try.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Beaver13
3.6/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle. Pours murky brown with a medium creamy light tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is cocoa malts, dark fruits, and a little roasty alcohol.

The flavor is sweet chocolate and toffee malts, figs, cola, oak and some roasty bitter alcohol in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, reminds me a lot of Great Divide's Hibernation, but more pricey and not quite as good. It's a little too sweet and cola like. Was surprised to see this had some brett, didn't pick that up at all.

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bu11zeye for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a hazy brown color with a tan head. The aroma is full of dark fruit with some nice toffee notes mixed in. The flavor is more of the same with a few welcome additions. I get a lot of dark fruit, but there is some nice tartness to it. I also get some toffee and alcohol. As the beer warms, I get some flavors that resemble dry red wine as well as some brett notes. Medium to thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Very nice.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.45/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2010 bottle, batch 1.

Appearance - Cloudy murky pond water looking brown body. Big off-white head. Thick chunky collar.

Smell - Huge molasses aroma. A little acidic. Kinda bretty. Mostly molasses.

Taste - Bretty and lightly tart. Lots of molasses, but no real sweetness. Kinda nutty. Caramel and a brighter, just lightly tart finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy body. High carbonation.

Overall - This is a lot better than I remember it. I just remember an acetic mess last time I had a bottle. This has a much more controlled brett flavor with an enormous amount of molasses.

Photo of hopsbreath
2.67/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

TulipSnifter and I each had a glass on tap at Grain & Gristle on New Years Eve. Paired with the burger served with house made pickles. The burger was great! The beer... Not so much.

A: Dark brown prune juice, wisp ring, no lacing. 2.5/5

S: Alcoholic raisins, a touch of smoke, lightly tart. Its not typical to the style, but not bad either. 3/5

T: More of the sweet prunes that the appearance promised, black tea, and tart cherry juice fermented in oak. Its not as complex as I like, and perhaps a little boring. 2/5

M: Lowly carbonated, moderate body, dry on the tongue but a little sticky on the soft palate. 3/5

D: The drinkability is highly enhanced by boring nature of this beer. The lack of complexities makes this easy to drink without thinking about it. That and the 9.1% ABV never really shows up in all its glory. Since the alcohol is well hidden, I'm going to call this "slightly above average". 3.5/5

Photo of emerge077
3.42/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served in a tapered sampling glass, review from written notes.

Pours a murky reddish copper, some light gets through, giving it a reddish highlight in the bottom of the glass. Thin ring of wispy skim around the edges.

Winey nose, some tangy cherry, and woody notes of dry sawdust.

Tart cherry, tangy and vinous, with ample bitter tannins in the dry finish. Some funky leathery qualities, along with the tartness suggests more of an Oud Bruin impression. Not too drinkable though as the bitter/tart/tangy/funk elements never seem to blend cohesively. Interesting experiment to try, sample it with an open mind.

Thanks to Eric for sharing this!

Photo of Docer
3.28/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle purchased at The Beer Mongers some months back.... grading based on memory here... have a grade, not too much to say.

- Nice dark and super foamy brew... can't see much through it, murky brown with a huge light mocha fuzz... had to wait quite awhile to get it to calm down.... must have still been working hard in the bottle...

- Yeast and brett character dominates... bready, biscuit.. farmhouse funk.... and subtle sweetness, herbal qualities... grassy.

- Smooth, slightly sweet... biscuit, and yeast madness. Little bit of funk, tart quality.... slight spice, and more herbal hops.. grassy,.

- Medium bodied, and plenty well carbonated. Let it warm a bit too... and it is just kind of a wild drink.

- Overall the Saison qualities sat heavy, while the other qualities I was looking for... weren't there... like a more barleywine dominance. Overall it was too carbonated for my liking... and the yeast/brett took over. Worth the try, but I can't see giving this an A. Sofar I am a much bigger fan of Uprights lighter brews... 4... Alcohol was well hidden though I might add.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.15/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle courtesy of fthomasl. Pours a clear copper color with a small tan foam. Light lacing to a nice collar.

Nose is sugary and fruity with some spicy yeast esters. Cinnamon, caramel and toffee. Malty brew, but the sugar aromas are killing me.

Taste is lightly tart with a dark fruit and caramel flavor. Bitter on the finish...and I dont think it is the hops. I want to say some spices are involved here, but I cant be entirely sure. By far my least favorite of the (usually outstanding) Upright beers I have had. Tough for me to even finish my half of the 750.

Photo of jedwards
4.62/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to msubulldog25 for the trade!

Love the labels on these Upright seasonals. Active head that settles quickly into a dense, pillowy foam. The beer itself is a murky brown that doesn't settle out. Smell is unusual -- prune and caramel with slight brett funk. Taste leads with vanilla and a slight tartness followed by brown sugar/toffee, characteristic dark fruit, and a long vinous finish. Mouthfeel is smooth but not slick and carbonation is high but dense. This beer is really, really terrific -- almost like a Belgian old ale, whatever that might be. Will have to track down some more bottles, would love to see what another year or five does to this.

Photo of vkv822
4.37/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into tulip snifter.
2011 release.

Pours near black with deep red hues and a frothy tan head.

The aroma is quite complex. It starts with a cherry and vinous tartness, followed by some caramel and molasses sweetness. Slight leathery notes.

Again, more vinous and lightly earthy, Bretty tartness, followed by dark fruits, a light leathery character. Notes of oak come through as well in the transition from tart and Brett to dark fruit.

A medium body, with fairly low carbonation.

A very unique and enjoyable beer. A seasonal I will definitely look forward to each year now.

Photo of sweemzander
2.8/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

750mL bottle poured into a tulip. Thanks to Jason for the bottle!

(A)- Pours a very murky/cloudy cola brown color. Produced some good tan froth. Some lace.

(S)- Alot going on with this. A dense woody dryness with equally dense malty profile: cocoa, raisin, and dark fruits. Mildly yeasty.

(T)- Similar to the smell in the malt profile. Very very dense in a raisin, cocoa, clay, and a bit heavier yeast presence than in the smell. Alot of dry wood too somehow.

(M)- A good carbonation level. Very dense overall. Its really too heavy in a coarse/grainy core; abrasive really.

(D)- I appreciated the effort, but not exactly Upright's best. A little disjointed and coarse. Also, a bit different than your average old ale.

Photo of John_M
3.44/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

On tap at the Grain and Gristle this evening.

The beer pours a dark chocolate brown color with virtually no head or lacing. The nose is kind of bizarre, and I assume what I get reflects some extended aging in barrels. In any event, I get a melange of celery salt, dry sherry, nuts, wood, light vanilla, prunes and molasses. The flavor profile replicates the nose fairly closely, but is clearly dominated by the molasses and prunes, as well as the dry sherry and more wood. The finish is fairly dry and sherry filled in this otherwise moderately sweet, full flavored beer. Drinkability is where this beer really falls apart, and in fact I was unable to finish even the 8 ounce wine glass serving I received at the G&G. While not hot, the beer is heavy and a bit tiring on the palate, and it was just a chore to get this beer down given the sweetness, wood and sherry flavors.

Interesting beer, no doubt, but I'm not sure this is a beer I'll want to revisit any time soon.

Photo of Ale-ienation
3.19/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A: Pours an opaque dark brown with amber highlights, with a tan head that dissipates quickly. No lacing.

S: Lots of dark fruit esters abound; figs, prunes, stewed red apples. Rich malts blend with a potent acidic tartness; rather vinous.

T: Very tart and acidic throughout, with notes of sour cherries and prunes. Very sharp finish where a strong presence of brett comes to the fore.

M: Medium bodied with light carbonation.

O: An interesting beer, but could benefit from some balance to round out the very sharp tartness.

Photo of pgreenx
4.43/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Age has been kind to this beer; the Brett charter has brought dark fruits fwd while imparting leather and English saddle to nose

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

For my 2,500th rating/review I'm going with my favorite style: old ale--a bottle I picked up from the brewery in 2012.

2011 bottle. Spent 1 1/2 years in cellar temp, 1 year in cold fridge

Pours a deep chestnut brown and mahogany. Clean and bright. Off tan head is dense, thick and gooey. 1 finger depth. Looks like a nitro pour, but it ain't. Sticky, creamy lacing

Aroma is sharp orchard fruit. Red apple skin and pulp. Nothing too complex, going to let it warm up a bit. Perhaps a bit of oxidation as hints of cherry come through. Booze is present, but falls short of being obtrusive. Fruit is main attraction here, with hints of acidity and tannin. Seems a bit closer to a Belgian dubbel, without the sweetness. This beer is becoming...odd as the tartness turns more to sourness

At first sip the red apple transfers to a dark grape or berry. Carbonation is noticeable, which is good as it distracts from the booze and the tartness of some of those fruits. Shows borderline infection, but not enough to declare it so.

Feel is good, but for the style would like to see less carbonation

Photo of Phelps
3.34/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip.

Murky cola-brown, with almost no head. Not a lot of carbonation here. A glassful of mud.

This doesn't smell much like an old ale -- more like an oud bruin. Nice cola sweetness, brown sugar, toffee, a bit of sour cherry.

Caramel, toffee and alcohol in the front, plus touches of vanilla and dark chocolate. The swallow brings a flash of sour cherries and a hint of balsamic. Some sips are great, a nice blend of sweet and sour. Others are too sour. Tartness grabs onto the back sides of the tongue between sips.

As thought, there's almost no carbonation. Body is medium light; alcohol is just a bit of heat on the tongue.

Not good as an old ale, but good as a beer.

Photo of clearlydiluted
3.28/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

8 oz glass @ Grain & Gristle

Pours a dark brown with ruby hints. smells slightly funky with hints of dark fruit. the taste is slightly sweet with hints sherry, balsamic notes, and an sour acetic hit in the finish. the aftertaste is anchored by an earthy bittering with hints of dark fruit and some fruity funky notes from the brett. the body is medium-thin with no hint of the 9.1% alcohol.

truthfully I think this leans more towards an oud bruin rather than a brett inflected English old ale, which is too bad as I was expecting more dark fruits and malt in the beer overall. still, I'd love to see how it ages out in the bottle.

Photo of HopHead84
3.7/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

9/5/11

My curry farts herald the coming of dawn as I pour batch one Billy the Mountain into my snifter. This bottle has been sitting in my fridge for what seems like forever, sent to me in a time beyond time. I'm happy to finally free it from its imprisonment. The bottle opens with a sinister hiss.

A: The body is red kissed dark brown with a finger of beige froth. Retention is good.

S: I'm greeted by a strong bready malt foundation, upon which is built a small village of dark fruits. Plum melds with grape and prune. The nose is lightly tart, with a little leather and must.

T: The flavor opens with earth and prune, segueing into a restrained brown sugar essence. Malt is bready. Grape, currant, and prune are evident, accompanying a dry earthy leathery bitterness. The beer possesses a light acetic acidity, with oak and tannins in the finish.

M: Medium in body with upper moderate carbonation.

Overall: An interesting beer, to be sure. Definitely worth a try. I guess this is the first beer made by Upright, so I have in my glass a piece of Portland history.

Photo of cpetrone84
1.85/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pour is murky and muddy dark brown with virtually no head. Nose is heavy dark malt, molasses, caramel, brown sugar, dark berries all mixed together and not really working well as a group. Taste is brutal, overly sweet and messy. Malts sugars with burnt grain and burnt caramel, overly sweet berries with just way too much sugar. Body is full adding to the unpleasantly with virtually no carbonation.

Photo of Pecorasc
4.29/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750mL green bottle poured into pint glasses and split two ways with Boothbeer. The bottle was almost filled to the cap. Like their other seasonal releases, this bottle has great artwork.

A- The head starts crackling and fizzing as soon as the beer hits the glass. It makes you think its going to fizzle down to nothing, but it eventually settles into a dark tan, dense foam that shows little activity. With no light behind this, it looks dark brown and murky, but when held to light it is actually deep orange to red with some haze and plenty of beading.

S- Brett character is dominant in the nose: tart and funky, wet horse blanket. There is almost a limoncello character to this, probably from the yeast and alcohol. The alcohol is restrained, but noticeable. Everything is layered on top of a flowery yeast character and a dark carmel-like malt backbone. Not your typical old ale, but wow does this have character!

T- Starts out with a very slight brett character, that is much more restrained than in the aroma, and a tangy lemon flavor. A moment later, dust and cardboard shows themselves along with a chewy carmel and toffee flavor. The next transition is to alcohol and a residual sweetness that clings to the palate. The sweetness in the aftertaste is a combination of toffee and chocolate malt. Judging by the aroma, I thought this would be more brett influenced; a fantastic transition of flavors.

M- Smooth with a medium body and a dry finish. This does have a high level of carbonation, but less than their other offerings. The mouthfeel really allows for the great drinkability.

D- 9%? Really? One of the most sessionable beers at this high level of alcohol that I've experienced. In hindsight, I didn't need to and shouldn't have split this one. The alcohol was so restrained, but did build moderately after 3/4 of the pint. Very nice beer, but I would like to see some age on it and find out what direction the brett goes... maybe next year!

Photo of Arbitrator
1.89/5  rDev -47.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Chilled 750mL bottle into a glass. Purchased at the brewery with ramnuts' help back in March, I think. Thanks, Frank.

A: Pours a murky brown body, translucent at the edges but dark in the center. The head is two fingers of light tan foam that recedes quickly into a short-lived cap and then a moderate collar at the edges. Some lacing as I sip.

S: This beer evolves quite a bit as it warms. At first, it's molasses and nuts; the beer later adopts a light leather character, then finally nuts once more. It's not altogether pungent, though.

T: Wood, molasses. Some caramel and leather, with a touch of hay (funk) and tannins in the finish. The flavors are not well integrated, piling on in random orders and wavering strengths. In the finish, the flavors simply drop out and leave a small, lingering alcohol burn that isn't particularly pleasant.

M: The beer is thin, with a watery flavor that is accentuated by the strong tannic character as it warms. Well carbed. There is an alcohol burn in the finish that detracts from the experience. If it were thicker, it would mute the burn, but its thinness makes the experience harsh overall.

D: It's not undrinkable, but it's uninteresting. Kind of has an experimental homebrew vibe right now.

Photo of lighthabit
2.16/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

a sampler from my bro, i suspect something went wrong. thin pour, weak head dies down to nil, just a bit around the edges. leaves a decent bit of lacing. nose is cherry/bit of leather/vinegar. appears a bit hazy, a deep reddish brown. a dry mouth feel makes me think of wine more than beer, and again i pick up a tartness that say "vinegar and old cardboard" far more than anything pleasant. maybe it's supposed to be like this, but i'm not finishing it.

update 5/5/13 seems this isn't my style, as friends of my brother are saying what i got was representative of the brew, and they like it, so . . . ymmv.

Photo of loren01
3.67/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours into a snifter a murky red/plum color, not much head and no lacing
S: Smell is dark fruit, sour funk and earthiness.
T: Fruity sweetness up front followed by red wine, merlot like dryness. Slight sour flavor in there as well.
M: Medium bodied finishes dry, could use a bit more carbonation.
O: Old ale meets a sour unlike any beer I've ever had before....pretty good I'd buy this again.

Photo of yuichituba
1.79/5  rDev -50%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Bought this early July at the brewery. Brewey-only release.

Smells like a good old ale.
Tastes like an infected old ale with a veggie after taste.
Finishes overly dry like bad wine, extremely carbonated and boozy.

I regret buying two of these...I highly recommend not to buy it.

Photo of wisrarebeer
2.36/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

I was expecting interesting tastes from this brew but Upright missed the mark. I've read countless articles of tart/sour English porters but an old ale? And this sour? The beer was incredibly unbalanced and, unfortunately, non-drinkable. Hints of something lurking behind the sourness was evident, my suggestion, leave the sourness to the Belgians.

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Billy The Mountain from Upright Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 95 ratings.