Billy The Mountain - Upright Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Billy The MountainBilly The Mountain

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92 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 92
Reviews: 33
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 17.93%
Wants: 32
Gots: 21 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Upright Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  9.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: jdense on 12-23-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 92 | Reviews: 33 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of spycow
3.25/5  rDev -9%

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev +5%

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of acurtis
3.25/5  rDev -9%

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev +5%

Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of emerge077
3.4/5  rDev -4.8%
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 StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

such a strange beer here, almost like a stingo, with the tannic acidity of the wine, and a funk to it beyond what we are used to in barleywine and old ale as we know them. murky dark brown amber colored beer, thick and sludgy, but still rather carbonated by the looks of it, with a nice tall chai tea latte colored head. the nose is really barrel influenced. tons of red grape character, and if i was told this was made with must or juice, i wouldn't argue it. light acidity from the vino, lots of fruit. the grain marries in well, but this is different from almost anything I've ever had, its not sweet at all, instead super dry. carbonation is enormous too, which you almost never see in this style, but its already nothing like anything in the old ale style I've seen. burnt cherry and dark caramel and toffee flavors from the grain and wine barrel, mellow oaken middle, with a zippy and tannic finish. this must be first use barrels, or have spent eons in the barrels, its just so wine forward. its rare these days that i find a beer that challenges me like this, its always cool to find something so unfamiliar and well put together. i don't like it half as much as the saisons upright does, but i have to tip my hat and commend this beer, there is really nothing like it. i see this as post thanksgiving dinner beer, maybe i will revisit it in that context. pricey but worth checking out if you have a curious palate.

Photo of JAHMUR
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of Mora2000
4.22/5  rDev +18.2%
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 Gueuzedude
3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer has a murky light brown / amber color, that shows a very hazed, pale brown color when held up to the in light. The beer is not quite still, as a careful pour manages to produce a few bubbles, but very low in carbonation. Just to see if I could, I vigorously poured a small amount into another glass and was able to scare up a half finger thick, nicely brown tinged, dark tan colored, large bubbled head. The aroma smells most predominantly of spicy oak that is backed by a touch of red-wine like fruitiness. There is a soft, buttery oak like character as well as perhaps a hint of toasted grain if you really dig for it. After tasting the beer, the Brettanomyces character becomes quite a bit more apparent in the nose as well; it is a fairly soft Brett character, but well representative of Brett C. with a oak-spice accentuating, slightly earthy phenolic character and spiciness as well as a touch of medicinal plastic.

Lightly tart tasting up front, and this has an earthy funkiness that seems quite characteristic of Brettanomyces Clausenii (or something similar); a slight, almost, but not quite medicinal character, touches of plastic and maybe even a slight smokiness that leans more towards burnt plastic. The beer has some texture to it, there is actually just enough carbonation to this beer keep it from seeming flat, and there is some viscousnous to the body that contributes to a medium'ish heft. Up front there is a touch of sweetness, it is not a whole lot, but is enough to suggest a berry like red wine character as well as just a general fruitiness. Despite not mentioning it yet, there is quite a bit of oak that comes through in the flavor; notes of spicy, plank like wood, perhaps a hint of buttery oak character, and a spiciness that provides some heat a bit like Bourbon. The malt character is quite a bit more subtle than I ever would have expected; there is perhaps a suggestion of toasted malt character here and perhaps a bit of brown bread like character, but I feel like I should be able to taste a lot more malt character than ends up in this beer.

This beer could definitely use a bit more carbonation; a bit more liveliness would really help the flavors and aromas pop too. The aroma, especially, and the flavor are a little too dominated by the oak character. The oak character is significantly spicy enough that it seems to drown out the complexity of the base beer; the malt especially seems to be quite a bit more reduced than one would expect from a beer of this color and gravity. In the end the oak and the Brett, and a little bit of the Wine, contribute more to the profile of this beer than the base beer does. This is certainly not a bad beer, but I could see this recipe and oak aging process being dialed in a lot more tightly; I wouldn't be surprised if a great beer is hiding here somewhere and I would love for Upright to keep trying to improve this beer so that they can get there.

Photo of Gonzoillini
3.75/5  rDev +5%

Photo of barleywinefiend
1.85/5  rDev -48.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A: Poured a lighter brownish color with no carbonation leaving two bubbles, no lacing and for get the head. This beer is flatter than a board!

S: Funky notes, hints of old wood, molasses and toffee but rather mute

T: I am completely disappointed in this beer. Flat mouthfeel, no carbonation leaves funk, sugar and old musty caramel notes with two year old chocolates. Tannins, cardboard coming. Old wood, molasses is subdued and dirt rounds it out.

M: No carbonation, nothing to feel out, thin with booze

O: Extremely disappointed. I snagged this bottle from Apex's cooler just three days ago.

Photo of afsdan
3.75/5  rDev +5%

Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev +12%

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.64/5  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 iL0VEbeer
4.25/5  rDev +19%

Photo of John_M
3.43/5  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 HopHead84
3.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


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 Alieniloquium
3.44/5  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 chippo33
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of ccrida
4.05/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is murky dark brown with a big, very tight, creamy light tan head that leaves scattered, foamy lace. Probably my favorite of Ezra's labels.

Smell is big raisiny malt (special b?), toffee, a little bretty funk. Major bourbon as it warms, huge caramel and vanilla, some fruity esters, grapes. Drastically improved as it warmed to room temp, but then again, I'm a bourbon lover. A total shift from the nose at fridge temp, with plenty of Belgian characteristics as well.

Taste is not as rich, the brett seems to have dulled it down a bit, although it's not overly funky, just a little horseblanket on the clean finish. The palate is not as drastically changed as it warmed, although the malts really come out more, a really nice slightly funked BSDA. Loving it quite a bit by the end, but still note as much as the nose.

Mouthfeel is medium light, not creamy or well carbonated though, which I expected from the pour.

Drinkability is good. It's a pretty smooth strong ale, more BSDA then old ale, but I realize that is how Upright billed it, so no really complaints about the style designation. I'd drink this one now if you're holding it in the cellar, the richness of the malt will only continue to thin by the brett. It started out kind of boring, but the depth increased as it warmed, and the smoothness speaks to the execution, particularly due to the obtuse style.

Photo of aasher
3.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of kscaldef
4/5  rDev +12%

Photo of Axnjxn
3.75/5  rDev +5%

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Billy The Mountain from Upright Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 92 ratings.