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White Birch Barrel Aged Tripel - White Birch Brewing

Not Rated.
White Birch Barrel Aged TripelWhite Birch Barrel Aged Tripel

Educational use only; do not reuse.

36 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 36
Hads: 59
Avg: 3.36
pDev: 29.46%
Wants: 11
Gots: 15 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
White Birch Brewing visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Tripel |  11.65% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tai4ji2x on 10-20-2009

2009 – Our Tripel aged in a barrel for an extended period of time. Belgian esters and light fruit notes meld with a smooth vanilla and oak to create a rich smooth sipping beer. Our first batch rings in at 11.65%, medium bodied with a smooth finish.

2010 – Aged in Pinot Noir and Merlot barrels. Each of the seven barrels we used are from the same vintage of wine.

Unlike wine makers, we did not blend the contents from each barrel together. Rather choosing to let the subtle and unique differences from each barrel stand on their own.

Each barrel is recognized on the label as batch PN1 through PN6, and M1. Meaning Pinot Noir barrel 1 through Pinot Noir barrel 6. and Merlot barrel 1.

Pinot Noir barrels 1 through 3 have a nice soft fruit note. Barrels 4 through 6 have a softer wine note and more of a sharp oak flavor from the barrel. The Merlot barrel has a rich, sharp Merlot note, soften by our Tripel, with hints of oak.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 36 | Hads: 59
Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: hazy reddish amber, 2” head quickly dissipates into a thick film. S: Has some apple brandy on the nose. T: Very creamy sweet apple brandy palate joined by large pitted fruit, vanilla, and a hop finish that provides bitterness into the after taste. F: Medium to medium light body and medium low carbonation. O: With its lower carbonation this drinks like a cross between a wine and a beer. More carbonation would give it more of a beer character. It is also a little on the sweet side which additional carbonation might also tone down.

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Photo of BucketBoy
2.25/5  rDev -33%

2010 M1 - Merlot barrel-aged. Bottle 186 of 192. Thank you ShadesOfGray for this long ago extra from back when I was still in NC. Enjoyed with an Aging Room Quattro F55 Concerto and The Sopranos season 2, episode 6.

It's a shame they call this a tripel.

I'm giving this review rated mostly to style. Ordinarily I rate beers completely to style, in which in this case the score here would be much lower because it tastes nothing like a tripel. Think 1.5. However, rated as a Merlot-barrel-aged wild ale or soured Belgian pale ale this would be closer to a 3.25 (my predilection is to be a tough critic so the truly exceptional brews rise to the top).

A - Soft golden hue with just a hint of a cream-colored foam ring and no lace. Pin bubbles continuously rising from the bottom of my Bells tulip. Pretty nice looking. 3.75

S - Light pale tripel in the nose, shades of sweet green apple, oak, touch of vanilla. 3.25

T - No real tripel character other than a hint of esters in the mid-palate and finish. Instead I am greeted by some minimal sourness, Merlot, some red and white grapes, green apple, vanilla, oak. As a wine-focused beer this is fairly enjoyable. As a tripel it fails fairly miserably. 3.25 if rated not to style. 1.25 to style

M - Thin, but the smooth carbonation and slightly oily slickness give it some life. Vinous tannins lend some depth in the mouth. 3.00

O - If you drink this, go in thinking it is an American wild, in which case it is not a bad beer at all. Actually fairly enjoyable and refreshing. But it has hardly any notable characteristics that would make it come off as a tripel. Consequently, I can't help but rate it as a failure. 1.00

They should have called this an American wild or wine-barrel-aged Belgian strong pale ale. If the label was changed to call it what it ended up being, as opposed to what it started as before the barrel, the scores would be higher. I actually enjoyed the beer and would gladly sample it again. It is only lightly sour but it is refreshing on this cool Autumn eve. It is certainly wine-forward and under a different name or style it succeeds. But it is no longer a tripel. I have no idea what PN1-6 are like right now; M1 is nice though.

Regardless, glad to have the obscure tick. It is not listed as retired, but have they made this since 2010? If not, perhaps it should be deemed as no longer made.

Thanks again, Ryan.

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Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A corked and caged 750 mL from Bert's Better Beers over a year ago. Aged out nicely, I hope.

A: The tripel, I'm guessing, didn't spend time in any red wine barrels (despite the 'PN' on the label that I assumed to be Pinot Noir), a golden yellow that is radiantly clear. A wispy white head, a thin webbing, rests in the center of the glass.

S: A medicinal lactic aroma, almost Berlinner-like, leaves off. It's not exactly tripel material but it is that White Birch house aroma. The oak is fast on its heels, bringing a vanilla laiden aroma and plenty of wood to the stage. I'd go so far as to say that the age has done the beer some good.

T: Well-carbonated, the bubbles jump around quite a bit. The house flavor is here, can't really avoid it I suppose, popping up immediately after the bubbles subside and then again in the finish. The middle of the sip is the highlight, where the barrel coalesces against ale. Vanilla and oak are present, not overpowering, and help draw some of the sugary candi flavors out of the tripel. As the tripel settles in to room temperatiure, the flavors mature nicely. The tripel's sweet strength is obvious, a warmth that pairs nicely with the oak barrel. A good tripel by the end; the barrel doing nice work.

M: Easily one of the best that I've had from White Birch, the oak and tripel taking their time to emerge. When they do, the candi sugars, strength and oak come together nicely.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.34/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 10/6/2009 Batch 1 22oz wax dipped
Pours a clear solid golden color with a good sized white head that quickly dissipates to a ring on top. Smells of bourbon, vanilla and oak mostly. There's a faint aroma of light fruit and spicy yeast deep underneath. Taste is pretty complex actually. I get the barrels contribution first, lots of vanilla, oak, tannins, bourbon up front. That's followed by a sugary malt sweetness as well as some light strawberry and apple flavors. Leaves a long lingering brown sugar and fruit sweetness in the finish as well as a touch of ethanol. Medium to light body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet fruity sugary mouthfeel. Wow that beer has done well with some age on it! Clean smooth complex and flavorful, I wish I had squirreled a few more of those away.

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Photo of Phelps
3.47/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared by whiterascal, poured into a snifter.

Ephemeral color; a grayish yellow with mild haze. Head is a fizzy off-white that pops away in just a few seconds.

The aroma leads with the pinot noir — I get oodles of the herbal, minty white grape qualities of the wine. A touch of barnyard funk and saison-like spice make up the rest.

The flavor is pretty much the same. White wine leads with sweet, herbal and minty notes. Some acidic red wine, touches of pear, white pepper. Sweet white grapes; a touch of grain; clean, drying finish.

Gentle, massaging carbonation in a thin, medium-light body. Alcohol fumes come through the nose and add pepper heat to the tongue. Pretty clean.

Surprisingly, the wine-aging seems to overpower the underlying tripel in this one. It’s more like wine than beer, and more like white wine than red wine. Interesting stuff.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
2.53/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle November 2010
Batch PN1
Bottle 255 of 276

A - super pale, very champagne like, with a light straw with almost a rosy/peachy complexion, the pour wells up a huge frothy virign white head that fades away swiftly to a lacy ring fed by steady fast carbonation

S - dry, the aroma is also a la champagne, apples and grapes, particularly grapeskins, some honey like sweetness

T - fruity, at first, apples come to mind, then more beer like elements shine through, but the mild hops are fleeting into tropical fruits and a menthol like finish

M&D - effervescent and sharp, almost acrid at times, not like any other tripel I have had, perhaps it had too much age on it, although many other reviews have espoused similar characteristics, perhaps its just not a great tripel.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
1.26/5  rDev -62.5%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Pours a light and hazy yellow hue, with a sparse cap of thin white filmy froth; poor showing for a Tripel. Smells like fermented horse’s urine (or worse.) The flavor is not directly suggestive of urine or feces, as the nose is, but nonetheless it is generally very poor, like a nightmarish 'Herbed/Spiced Beer' and nothing like a Tripel, also nothing like something that has seen Pinot Noir barrels (though it allegedly has.) The smell of this beer is beyond disgusting, and far worse than anything I could’ve possibly expected. This is likely the worst beer I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, this tasting has featured two straight-up ‘F‘ beers, with the other one being Brasserie Des Rocs Grand Cru, which was just as bad, but for different reasons. Oh yeah, this was batch PN1.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
1.91/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Batch PN3, bottle 123 of 252

Appearance was most unimpressive. Hazy tannish yellow with no head, despite a rough pour, and no lacing at all.

Very yeasty smelling, along with coriander and earthy funk. OK at best.

Not too impressed with the taste. Coriander, lemon, yeast, cardboard, funk.

Feel is very poor for a tripel. Watery as hell, little carbonation, thin, watered down yeast aftertaste.

Overall it's in desperate need of some work. I see the reviews are all over the place, some stellar, some terrible, but there aren't enough of each individual batch/barrel type listed to spot an obvious trend. I suspect there's a large variation in batches. This batch wasn't good at all.

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Photo of womencantsail
1.71/5  rDev -49.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Corked and caged bottle. I got a couple of these. Thanks to those who sent them.

A: The beer pours an incredibly pale yellow color. This is a tripel?

S: The aroma is almost meaty. Quite woody with a definite coriander note. Some light spices, wet cardboard, and lemon are also present. It's also got a definite hot dog water aroma.

T: It's sweet with wet paper and cardboard flavors. A touch of yeast followed by an overwhelming flavor of hot dogs. Just a bit of pale malt and pears. This was pretty awful.

M: Very light bodied for such a big beer. It has medium carbonation.

O: Not a proper color, not supposed to smell and taste like hot dogs. Not sure much was done right on this beer.

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Photo of AgentZero
1.44/5  rDev -57.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

A - Oddly light looking beer for something that is barrel aged. Hazy yellow color, confusing more than anything else.

S - Smells like rotten vegetables, vitamins, and fusal alcohol. There's some faint wine notes also, but none of this is good.

T - This beer is bad. It's not just bad for beer, it's bad for pretty much anything. Tastes like medicinal alcohol, vitamins, rotted vegetable matter. I have no idea how this gets into a bottle, either the brewer didn't taste it, has no taste buds, or hates us.

M - Lighter bodied with some moderate carbonation and a dry finish.

O - I swear you have to be trying to make a beer this bad. Avoid.

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Photo of MasterSki
1.74/5  rDev -48.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Thanks to Mike for sharing this gem. This one was PN4. Served in a Heady Topper glass.

A - White foam settles to a thin ring, leaving a bit of haze on top and minimal lacework. Pale, slightly hazed white peach flesh body.

S - Buttery oak, watered-down wine, some alcohol.

T - Wow! I thought I'd had some bad beers from White Birch, but this may be a new low. Vitamins, medicinal notes, vomit. This actually made me gag. Sublimely terrible.

M - I couldn't drink enough to tell. I guess I'll be fair and call it "average".

D - Just horrendous. Avoid at all costs.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.16/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle purchased around, maybe Formaggio Kitchen, Cambridge, MA? Batch PN1, Bottled 10/2010, Bottle 32 of 276. Corked & caged.

Poured into a Harpoon tulip, formed a pillowy 1 1/2" white head over the slightly cloudy golden brew. Head lasts very nicely, with plentiful chunky lacing. Aroma is sour funk and meaty depth. Taste begins sweet, lightly citrus in the middle, smooth alcohol to the close, with maybe a bit of fusels in the aftertaste, with some numbness to boot. Mouthfeel is velvety, and drinkability is nice. Get by the nose sour, and you're in for a enjoyable ride.

12/16/09 - 4.5/4/4.5/4/4.5

22oz bottle received in trade from VanillaMike. Thanks for the opportunity. Batch 1, Bottled 10/6/09, Bottle 26 of 228. Red waxed cap.

Poured into a Harpoon tulip, formed a fizzy 1/2" off-white head over the cloudy amber brew. Head is gone in a flash, with heavy legs and minimal to average amounts of lace. Aroma is sweet, with dominant vanilla and alcohol character. Taste starts sweet, exhibits a peek of fruitiness in the middle, then eases into the vanilla and barrel notes, and closes with ample warmth. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is way too easy for the abv. Very good and interesting brew.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.05/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Caged and corked 750ml
Batch PN2 (means Pinot Noir barrel #2)
Bottled November 2010
Bottle 181 of 276
Alcohol = 10.5%

Pours a light straw color with a wicked good amount of haze to it, little paler than most Tripels, very small fizzy head that fades fast and leaves no lacing whatsoever, I do love me some haze though and from the first pour it's not a result of floaties.

Smell has a lemony zest to it coupled with the typical Belgian yeast spice, very citrusy and a light fruit aroma such as grapes.

Taste is more like a non-sour Berliner Weissbier was mixed with a glass of Chardonnay, the lemony citrus is very prevalent, the spiciness starts in the citrus, then after the spiciness comes a dry finish coupled with a light fruit presence of grapes and maybe pear, carbonation is high and assertive but is appropriate for the style, although the carbonation is assertive it is still very soft in the mouth, strength is well hidden other than a white wine like sharpness that hits the sides of the tongue immediately after swallowing, the body is light and crisp and the Belgian candied sweetness is not cloying so this beer always remains refreshing.

Not sure the hate going on with this beer, just because it's "barrel aged" does not mean it's "bourbon barrel" so you probably shouldn't be looking for those nonexistent flavors, although I will say the barrel aging has a light touch.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the 25 fl. oz. corked bottle dated November 2010, Batch PN1, and #93 of 276. Sampled on April 26, 2011. It has been shelved for six months. It pours a cloudy yellow tone with a short-lived fizzy white head and a whole lot of bubbling carbonation almost like champagne. The aroma is full of malts, yeast, sweet sugars, and overripe fruit. I was a bit disappointed about the thin body but the taste was also nicely balanced with malts, yeast, sweet sugar, pepper, and lemon zest. This one seems to have generated a number of bad reviews which is unusual for White Birch. I will admit that some of their beers are better but this one holds its own very well.

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Photo of jlpayne
3.7/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle 144 of 252, aged in Pinot Noir barrels.

This is the 2nd time I've had this beer. I bought two bottles in November 2010 and shared the first with friends right away. I was hugely disappointed. The beer was just terribly boring.

I actually decided to open the 2nd bottle tonight because I wanted to give it a good walloping here on BA. Much to my surprise, the beer is actually pretty damn good now. Here's the review:

A - Hazy gold. Nice carbonation and head retention.

S - First impression: Champagne. The nose is tart with mild citrus esters.

T - Bready. Mild and pleasant burn in the finish. Crisp and semi-dry. I can't find any hint of the barrel though.

M - Buttery and round.

D - The dryness and high ABV definitely limited me to 1 bomber, but I enjoyed it.

All in all, a solid Belgian from White Birch.

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Photo of Thorpe429
1.06/5  rDev -68.5%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Thanks to rpstevens for sending this bottle out my way. Opened at a tasting and served in a snifter.

The beer is ridiculously bad looking. One of the most inappropriately-colored beers I have ever seen. It's like a light berliner weisse with a lot of haze. I don't know how something barrel-aged could be this color. Much lighter than straw. After that, the nose comes through with some rotten vegetables. Really not good. Reminds me of fresh basil that has been left out way past its expiration date. The taste does not improve on this. Bigtime fail. The taste is really quite sticky. I was informed that I visibly shuddered after my first sip. The best description I can come up with for the taste is cooked asparagus. No real barrel character.

This was not even worry of a drainpour. The toilet welcomes this one. I can't believe this started out as one of the ugliest beers I've seen and then the appearance ended up being the best aspect of the beer. Very odd indeed. I was looking forward to opening this up and it did not deliver.

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Photo of rtepiak
3.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

i like this beer for its experimentation. I think its not there though. It pours as an unfiltered nightmare. Looks like pina colada. Its sort of smell like it too outside of coconut oil. and the booziness of wine in the nose. wine abv makes it feel like a wine cooler. Heavy handed pine apple sweet bread. I don't like this beer because i can tell its only the beginning to something great. Definite possibility but trapped in the questionable expensive beer should mess you up but be drinkable thing. can be quite drinkable if not so thick. but triple and wine... surprised it hasn't been done before. i wish this idea great success.

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Photo of BARFLYB
2.88/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Bottle into some snifters eating some cheese with oglmcdgl and sourbatch, bottle 29 out of 252.

WBBAT looked kinda murky from the bottle, not all together clear looking, muddled. Once the cork was popped (it took forever) the triple appeared a golden yellowish color with some hazy look, no floating sediment. A inch of white stuff, no stickies. Smell is weird. A triple of ther beaten path. The pinot does not come out much but is integrated with subtle spice and some fruit. Some basement scents. Taste was good on the first few but after a few more I was scratching my head. I get pear, begian yeast, hay, apple, and faint malt. Not very fruity for a trip. Pinot is non existant but I think the beer grabbed some bugs from the barrel, or the brewery, either or. It may be the yeast throwing this off. This does not taste good, the alcohol does not come out in taste or smell, that's a plus. Not one I will go back for.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
2.96/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A bottles split with onix1agr and sourbatchkid.

A- two fingers of bright white head that settles rather quickly leaving a few spots on top and a thin ring around the glass. Hazy light straw yellow in color that leans towards white when held to the light.

S- opens up musty and bretty with a dry grassy touch. A small hint of lemon zest.

T- bretty and funky with lots of herbal grass note and a light spice. a bit of tartness as it warms that brings some citrus zest with it.

M- light body with a light creeper carb that builds towards the finish. Bone dry. no hint of the abv on the palate.

D- tasty and interesting but not my favorite tripel. It goes its own direction and ill give it credit for that but ill have to try the non barrel aged version and see how this beer started.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.05/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, red waxed and capped, #11/228. Poured in to a snifter on New Years Eve, 2010.

Appearance: Pours a hazed, fulvous goldenrod, opaque at the center even to direct light, though definitely transparent enough around the periphery to reveal the occasional spontaneous eruption of effervescence. The head - initially one finger, proud, creamy, a little foamy, and absolutely virginally white - fades relatively quickly, though perhaps not as quickly as one would imagine a barrel aged 11.7% beer would. The remnants are pleasant - some speckled dusting and a thin, creamy collar. Lacing is runny, glittery, but has a soupcon of stick to it.

Aroma: Boozy barrel notes and graham cracker pilsen notes mingle with white pepper, coriander, cloves, and tropical fruits. Very bright, slightly spicy in both the alcohol department and elsewhere, the aroma of this beer is a pretty fair teaser of the taste - sweet, spicy, green, with a handful of chalky, oaky barrel notes.

Taste: Oak ahoy! Like a vanilla/butterscotch/coconut/oak bomb, this one. First, the base beer. It's a sweet, golden, spicy tripel, very authentic tasting, on the sweet end, but with a good amount of Belgian-y nuances. Sweet, simple, crisp golden malts, mildly biscuity - but with a huge amount of Candi sugar-like notes that suggest honey (especially when mingling with yeasty, spicy phenols) - dominate, but there are also a few light tropical fruit notes, mango predominantly, but also peach and nectarine with a dash of more traditional citrus. A few green fruit notes - nondescript in origin - mingle with Belgian yeasty phenols, cloves, coriander, and even a dash of star anise.

Now, take all that - in summary, a sweet, spicy, mildly fruity Belgian tripel - and throw it in (what tastes like) an untoasted American oak barrel. Bold move, I say. Tons of vanilla and butterscotch notes mingle with coconut and green oak with varying degrees of success. On the one hand, the coconut and oak notes mingle well with the fruity notes and spicy nuances of the base beer. On the other hand, the vanilla is a little out place, sort of running roughshod over the base malts of the Tripel, and the buttery barrel sugar notes are a little quirky too. Not really bad, but not really a masterful combination. It's interesting, at the very least.

Mouthfeel: This beer's best aspect. Very nice process control here, with a soft, smooth body that still has plenty of free sugars but has plenty of lift to it such that the end result is fluffy, relatively even, and pretty complimentary to the flavor profile (especially after it's been sitting out for about 45 minutes).

Drinkability: Not everything I was hoping, but not bad. First, the bad. This isn't the first barrel aged tripel I've had (that would be Allagash's Curieux), but this one was obviously a little different (no bourbon notes, for one), and a little lacking. One, it was a little sweeter than perhaps it should have been, so: 1) if you have this beer, hold on to it for a while longer; and 2) if it's going to be brewed again, I'd brew it either a little or dryer, or leave it in the primary a little longer. I think a dryer beer would mingle better with the barrel flavors. Additionally, and unfortunately more fundamentally, I'm pondering the wisdom of a tripel aged in American oak barrels. The flavors are good, don't get me wrong - but they're not fantastically complimentary, amazing, or groundbreaking.

So, is there a good beer here? Absolutely. Is there a great beer here? Maybe - if it's tweaked slightly. Is there a world class beer here? I unfortunately don't think it's possible. But I'd love to be proved wrong. Here's to Bill for pushing boundaries on this, New Years Eve 2010 - cheers!

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Photo of yourefragile
2.26/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 1 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

750 mL cork and caged bottle. Date November 2010, Batch PN6, Number who cares out of 252, 10.5 % ABV. From their website describing this bottling and its batches: "Each barrel is recognized on the label as batch PN1 through PN6, and M1. Meaning Pinot Noir barrel 1 through Pinot Noir barrel 6. and Merlot barrel 1." Poured into a tulip.

Color is an unappealing milky and chalky lemon with a wispy thin white head that quickly fades to a ring with thin specks of lacing. The barrel dominates the aroma with sweet grape and apricot fruitiness and light vanilla. I struggle to pick up much from the base tripel as the finish of the aroma is mildly solventy and boozy. Thicker side of medium body with very light carbonation with a slippery, wet texture. Flavor is juicy and vinous, dominated by a musky cherry and black grape fruit, with a slight herbal, grape skin taste and vanilla from the barrel. Typical tripel flavors of spice and yeast, as well the expected body aren't present. Intensity of the flavor dies out near the end of the body and finishes watery. Certainly not an offensive beer, there is much less alcohol presence than the nose suggested and the flavors that are here are in balance, but this was an extravagantly phenomenal waste of $15 and what I assume were some nice barrels. Also sounds like there is some extreme batch variability, so this review probably has a limited scope.

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Photo of jlindros
3.69/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Had this as part of the infamous White Birch tasting at the Holistic Institute of Dramming, thanks to Tim. Notes will probably be short since there were so many different beers to note, and drink.

Pinot Noir barrel PN2 from Nov. 2010.

Pours a decent fizzy fluffy 1 finger head that fades at a med pace with bubbles streaming, light foamy lacing, crystal clear light tan golden color.

Nose of musty grape skins, oak, light spices, and hints of Belgian malts and fruits, big appley pear esters, hint of booze, mild phenols and spices, mild citrus zest like, hint of banana.

Taste is brings lots of oak and wood, a light red wine flavor, juicy fruits, light citrus, creamy, and very light booze. A bit of vanilla and light orange flavors, mild spices and more fruity esters, little pear and apple, fruity. Finish is dry and bit of bitterness, more citrus peel, mild spices, mild phenolic booze.

Mouth is medium bodied and a little creamy, with lots of carbonation.

Overall it's pretty good, lower booze than expected for the abv, but some light spices and musty, interesting but not great like expected.

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Photo of donniecuffs
2.03/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Last night, at the White Birch promo at the legendary Blind Tiger Alehouse, NYC, in a tulip glass..

The best way to describe the appearance is a mimosa with no carbonation. Same milky/cloudy orange color, less than a finger of white head, which didn't retain or lace very well. Don't get me wrong...like most beergeeks, i LOVE unfiltered beer, but the obvious over-abundance of suspended yeast in this badboy had me a little skeptical.

Then the smell...I tried not to let the visual evaluation taint my nostrils, but in the end, the smell strangely smelled like a mimosa too. Lots of apricot, tangerine, and a little bit of coriander spice.

The nuances in the taste mirrored the nose, with lots of tangy citrus, most notably tangerine and apricot, with a very subtle spice in the very dry finish. Tasted imbalanced, and disjointed. I got none of the standard spice flavors that I have grown accustomed to getting from a good 'tripel', even though there was intended to be a barrel-aging flavor influence.

The feel was very thin, with a dry finish, and the high degree of tart & tangy left you with a little acidic bite on the tip of your tongue. As for sessioning...no way. One was enough.

Then my buddy and I went on to have two more beers (made by other breweries) before we called it a night. Neither of us had drunk to the point where we were remotely toasty. Then I went home, had dinner, and went to bed, but lo and behold, I woke up 3hrs later in cold sweat, shaking, and massively nautious. I barely made it to the bathroom before violently losing my cookies. I just assumed that I had gotten a mild case of food poisoning.

But then...after getting to work late because of the lack of sleep...I received a phone call from same said drinking buddy, who proceeded to describe the same exact experience that had happened to him in the middle of the night. Given the fact that neither of us (a) had the same dinner, (b) drank the same beers other than this one, and (c) were not even buzzed, we deduced that the logical culprit for our pain was this beer, which made sense, given how much suspended yeast was apparent in it, and how off-kilter it had tasted. Needless to say, I will not be touching this beer again any time soon.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a one finger white head that fades quickly, leaving no lace. Very pale, hazy amber color, yeast left in bottle. Good carbonation and light-medium bodied. Spicy, yeasty nose. Flavor is tart citrus and some yeast, no hints of bourbon, high ABV is totally hidden, the label says 11.7% but it doesn't feel like it. Seems like the Nov batch is quite different from the Oct batch. Way over priced at $16.95 for a 750ml caged & corked bottle from Bert's Better Beers Hooksett, NH. Bottled Nov 2010, bottle 3 of 192.

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Photo of glid02
3.97/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Joe - thanks!

Pours a muddy golden color with a one-finger white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of grainy light malts with good amounts of pear and lighter amount of alcohol. Also present are mild amounts of vanilla and hints of earthy oak aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Light malt flavors with good amounts of ripe pears kick things off. Midway through the sip the malt flavors turn grainy and hints of vanilla make an appearance. The ending is slightly muddled and a light alcohol burn hits the back of the throat after the sip, although at over 11.5% it's fairly well hidden.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall this is one of the better beers I've had from WB. Even so, I feel as though the base beer wasn't well-refined however the barrel smoothed it out quite a bit. Worth a shot to see for yourself.

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White Birch Barrel Aged Tripel from White Birch Brewing
78 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.