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White Birch Tavern Ale - White Birch Brewing

Not Rated.
White Birch Tavern AleWhite Birch Tavern Ale

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BA SCORE
85
very good

37 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 37
Hads: 81
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 13.23%
Wants: 6
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
White Birch Brewing visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Smoked Beer |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: womencantsail on 02-11-2011

Butter’s Tavern was a fixture of Concord, NH in the eighteenth century. Inspired by their loggerhead ale, we’ve created a Smoked Imperial Brown Ale. Hearty malts, with a nuanced smokiness and smooth finish create our interpretation of this historic ale. We hope you enjoy this slice of New Hampshire history.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 37 | Hads: 81
Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours brilliant deep chestnut under a 1” light tan, finely bubbled, clingy foam collar. S: Brown ale nose, big sugary malt, some smoke, nutty. T: The malt flavors are more caramel to chocolate – not a lot of roast and it has a pleasant nuttiness. The smoke is light and adds character. F: Medium full body and an exceptional soft, creamy texture and a slight alcohol warmth. O: A big tasty beer that is too easy to drink. (429 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle, Winter 2014 vintage (Batch One, bottle count of 6000, 8.0% ABV). Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours dark brown with about a half inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. The brew smells like smoked malt, caramel, chocolate, and roasted malt. I think the taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some nuttiness noticeable. The smoke seems stronger in the flavor in comparision to the amount of smoke in the aroma, and the smokiness lingers in the finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's smooth and a bit coating with moderate carbonation. I thought this was good, definitely worth picking up! $6.99 a bomber. (663 characters)

Photo of JAFoley
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Dark opaque body with foamy tan head. Nice retention and lacing.

S - Citrus, caramel, and yeasty bread.

T - Slight citrus hop. Dark chocolate, caramel, and coffee.

M - Full body, with fine carbonation. Smooth and creamy.

O - Not bad. Good flavors, and nice creamy mouth feel. (287 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.74/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is very dark brown in color (black when viewed from afar) and has red visible near the bottom of the glass when it is held up to a bright light. It poured with a two finger high dark beige colored head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of smoky malts are present in the nose along with some faint hints of licorice.
T: Like the smell, the taste is pretty much dominated by flavors of smoked malts, although these aren't too strong or overpower the beer. Slight hints of chocolate malts are also perceptible. While no bitterness is perceptible, there are just enough hops to prevent the malts from having any sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I thought that this beer had a good balance and wasn't overly smoky. This could be a nice beer to try if you want some smoke but aren't looking for the intensity of a rauchbier.

Note: Batch #4 (December 2011) (1,026 characters)

Photo of Arbitrator
2.08/5  rDev -45%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass, courtesy of ShogoKawada. Thanks, Phil!

A: Dark brown, very small and short-lived head.

S: Immediately out of the cold bottle, this had a nice, smoky roasted grain aroma. A few minutes later, as it warmed up, it brought burnt plastic and cigarettes to the party. You could kind of overlook them, so I can't say it's the worst aroma ever. I get the feeling this would be an ok beer without (I'm guessing) QC issues.

T: Plastic, smoke, and cigarette ash. A little bit of chocolate, earth, and roasted grain are found too; it's almost stout-like, but with enough nuttiness to suggest a brown ale variant. This could be a pretty interesting beer, actually...

M: Medium-bodied, but low carbonation.

O: White Birch has shifted from "trainwreck" to just shy of mediocre. It is actually a positive trend, but I don't understand why they release most of what they have made... (904 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Winooski. Could be the best WB I have had. Significant smoke and not overpowering, with great malt base, chocolate,Dry hopped. It works. Very Good drinkability. Middling mouthfeel. BBQ aroma. Dark brown bodied with some retained head and lace. (255 characters)

Photo of davey101
3.16/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber into a pint glass, January 2012, Batch One, Bottle Count 1152.

A - Dark brown/black body that lets no light through. Silky one ginger high light mocha head. Great lacing and retention.

S - Subtle smoked malts, dark fruits, chocolate, cigarette ash.

T - Smokey malts and a layer of chocolate and nutty flavors. Finishes ashy with an acrid red wine like flavor. Mouth feel is smooth and medium bodied.

O - Sub-par beer. This beer is more ashy than smokey with an oddly harsh aftertaste.Its drinkable, but not very tasty. (536 characters)

Photo of heatherishoppin
4.53/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a really fantastic dark beer. I am still a bit confused about why it is still considered a brown ale? I taste a LOT like a porter. Never the less it is really fantastic. It has an overall really nice and smooth smoky taste with a bit of a sourness.

This beer is great for anyone who loves this style and definitely worth trying! (338 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.87/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Smoked Imperial Brown Ale is perfectly descriptive. Nearly opaque dark brown with a decent head. A pleasant fizzy mouthfeel. Just a bit of the sticky, but rather dry on the whole.

Woody flavor sets the teeth on edge. Fairly assertive hops. Smoke is quite nice, provides a sensual richness to the dark fruit and roasted malt. Nice smokey nose as you sip, but not overly bitter. Seems to have a buttery component. Some sweetness follows through until that dry finish.

Over a year old (Feb 2011) but flavors seem clean. Apparently just the one batch #1 (Bottle count 1032). From the 22 oz bottle bought at (604 characters)

Photo of smcolw
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown color where light does not pass. Thick, three finger head with some staying power, leaves lots of streaky lace.

Dark, earthy smells of richly toasted malt is the first impression. Mild smoke at the end of the sniff.

Surprising chocolate to the taste--I didn't detect it in the smell. Semisweet cocoa flavor in the swallow. Rich bodied with a decent carbonation level. Not much smoke to the taste. Easy to drink and deceptively mild. (447 characters)

Photo of Ego
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Batch 5
Bottle Count 1092

eyes...
barely any head whatsoever, whatever head there was disappears faster than the plot in the twilight movies, very dark brown, almost opaque save for the bubbles (very few) traveling up the draft. nothing much to look at here...

nose...
dark molasses and fruit (prunes), bitter chocolate, the smoke is rather subdued, if it was more forward this would be much better imo. the more it sits the more the smoke does come out though.

taste etc...
is this more of an ash taste or smoke? mixed in are some bitter chocolate notes that really linger. the carbonation is as expected by the pour - very underwhelming. The body is medium and is neither here nor there. after sipping some more of this the smoke is really more of an ash flavor and detracts from the brew.

verdict?
this beer is OK, it has slightly above average taste points but overall is pretty average. looking at the reviews (especially on the head) it seems this may not be consistent batch to batch. (995 characters)

Photo of Gavage
3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark brown color with a wispy head that disappears immediately.

Smell: roasted malt, a bit of chocolate , and a soft smokiness creates a pleasant aroma.

Taste: roasted malt, dark chocolate, prunes, and mellow smoked flavor creates a well balanced beer. Bitterness is mild.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp at the start, smoother and a bit dry at the finish. The smokey tones linger in the mouth a long time.

Overall: a nice flavored brown ale with just enough smoke to make it tasty alongside some BBQ. (539 characters)

Photo of jneiswender
3.81/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a pint and a half bottle into a medium sized tasting glass. Very dark garnet color with a dark tan head. Chocolate and faint campfire smoke. First sip is a bit coarse. Second sip reveals an elusive smoke flavor here. Just when you want to say "there it is", it leaves you. Its kind of like a smoke and chocolate punching match. One hits you and before you can realize it, the other flavor hits you. After awhile of drinking you taste pizza crust and some alcohol. Slick and full mouthfeel. Very different take on the old Rauchbier. If you like smoked beer you should give this a try. Nice. (603 characters)

Photo of mvanaskie13
3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a mini pint glass, color is dark brown with light tan head that presents bout 1/2 inch thick then laces nicely.

Smell is lightly sweet, some rosted malt and hints of chocolate with a nice light smokiness.

Taste is a sweet malt that smoothes to a roasted flavor followed by a mild smokiness, more beachwood type smoke.

Mouthfeel is a little strong on the tongue, sitting on the tongue strongly, a touch cloying.

Overall, an ok smoked ale, flavors are not too out of sync, but a little sweet and not quite enough smokiness is the right places (nose). (564 characters)

Photo of larryi86
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you Cstromberg57 for this
22 oz bomber, 12/2011 batch 4, poured into a tulip

A- Dark brown, almost black, with a small dark brown head that fades quickly.

S- Roasted malts, caramel, cocoa, smokey.

T- Richer than the nose, getting more smoke, chocolate malts, caramel malts, roasted malts. Good, not overpowering.

M- Smooth, medium body.

O- A nice smoked beer that I enjoyed, definitely a nice extra. I feel this would be worth trading for again. (456 characters)

Photo of far333
4.19/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark mahogany with a light brown head of foam that sizzles down fairly quickly leaving no lace. Rich aroma of molasses and brown sugar, some espresso and cocoa.

Rich and pungent flavors of roasty malt, cocoa, espresso, root beer, leather, charred oak, dark bread, slight cherry twang. Lots of flavors moving in an out, nothing overpowering, well balanced. Moderate bitterness offsets the malt, no hop flavors detected.

Full and creamy mouthfeel, finishes with a carbonation bite. Cocoa, smoke and leather lingers. Great beer. (527 characters)

Photo of billab914
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. 22oz bottle shared at a recent tasting. It poured a dark brown color with a decent sized, off-white head to it. Pretty nice retention.

The aroma shows a lighter smokiness to it with more of a woody, slightly burnt flavor to it. I get some nice malty sweetness coming through with some caramel and brown sugar notes to it. The smokiness is really nice in it, it's not overpowering but adds some very nice depth to it for me.

The taste also has some very nice smokiness to it throughout the flavor. It blends very well into the malty, sweeter flavors of the brown ale. A little bit of a burnt, bitter flavor comes through in the finish. Very nice flavor overall, I loved the smokiness to it.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being moderate. Overall I thought it was a very good beer. I really loved the smokiness and how well it blended into the base beer flavors. The smokiness wasn't overwhelming either, typically I love smoke but the milder smokiness really worked well for this one. Very enjoyable beer overall (1,055 characters)

Photo of armock
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hiphop1 for hooking this bottle up in the 666 BIF.

A - Poured a brown color with a tan head that leaves some lacing behind

S - Is of light roasted malt and a good bit of smoked malt

T - Like the nose theres some roastyness but mostly good a smokey flavor

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

O - I enjoyed this beer quite a bit as I love smoked beer so to me this one was very easy to drink with its good taste worth trying if you see it around (484 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
3.06/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle share by ChrisPro who called this the "second best White Birch beer he's ever had." That could mean anything.

A - Dark brown beer with a khaki head that left some spots and other stuff on the side of the glass.

S - This smells almost exactly like a Tootsie Roll. It has a little smoke in there as well, so I guess it's a smoked Tootsie Roll.

T - Tastes like a Tootsie Roll, with a little more smoke and roast than the nose had. The taste is really heavy and gets fatiguing fast, but unlike a lot of White Birch beers I didn't have to spit it out or supress my gag reflex.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The big taste makes it seem heavier than it really is.

O - Well it wasn't a complete disaster like I'm used to from White Birch. I didn't really like it as there was just too much Tootsie Roll flavor but it wasn't horrible. Wouldn't likely drink again. (882 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by ChrisPro - thanks man! This is from Batch 2, but there is no bottle number. Served in a Cantillon tulip.

A - A tan foam settles to a thick collar, leaving spotty lace and wisps on top. Dark brown body.

S - Tootsie roll, caramel, molasses, and chocolate malt mingle with smoke and meat.

T - Taste is smokier, with some char and dark chocolate bitterness. There's some mild astringency and plastic in the finish as well. Otherwise it smells much like it tastes.

M - Moderate carbonation, medium-thin body, and well-hidden alcohol like all White Birch beers. Solid, but unexceptional.

D - A passable smoked beer. It's in the top tier of White Birch beers I've had, which renders it tolerable. (711 characters)

Photo of greenmonstah
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottled Feb 2011. Poured into large snifter

A - Pours a very dark brown with a finger of light tan head.

S - Smokey, but subtley so. Surprising amount of chocolate. A bit sweet. Some dark fruit.

T - Smokier in the flavor, for sure. Smoked meat and malt flavors come in, along with a roast characteristic and a bit of chocolate. Finish is a strong char flavor. No alcohol flavor

M - Medium body with average carbonation and a slightly dry flavor. A bit shapeless in feel, it is somewhat hard to place.

O - Overall I enjoy how the smoked flavor isn't too overwhelming. I think it does a great job of complementing the other flavors without drowning them out. The smoke goes well with the roast, chocolate, and sweet malt flavors, making for a real treat. I couldn't justify higher category scores, but overall I really enjoy this beer. I'd love to have it on a cold night in late Autumn by a camp fire, or perhaps in a ski lodge next to a roaring fireplace. (968 characters)

Photo of rudzud
2.86/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Picked up when this first came out at Julio's Liquors batch 1 bottled in February 2011.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a deep dark muddy brown with a creamy two finger head that fades slowly to leave nice side lacing and good residual head.

S - This has a slightly smokey aroma but somehow drowns out all other scents. There's a light hop note on the back but mostly smoke.

T - Similar to the nose in that there is a smoky note that masks most if what makes a good brown ale. Lacking sweet malts with just a hint of hops. Rather average.

M - Easily the worst part of this beer. Super thin with not much carbonation. Watery and the higher abv really shines through due to that.

O - Overall I find this beer to be quite mediocre. There are so many better brown ales that aren't overpowered by smoke or as thin as a glass of water. Worst White Birch I've had to date by far. (876 characters)

Photo of sethmeister
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Batch 3, bottled March 2011.

Pours very dark brown with a fizzy khaki colored head. Held to the light a glimmer of red at the edges. Minimal lacing, head drops to a ring.

Scent is first caramel and molasses and then woodsmoke and charred, peat like notes underneath

Taste is sweet with dense dark chocolate and molasses. Sweet like bacon drizzled with maple syrup. Dark fruit, plums? The smoke is very subtle and not at all overpowering. (I actually would welcome stronger smoke flavors. See what Islay scotch does to you?) Builds gently in the background. A hint of black licorice.

Mouth is a bit disappointing. Starts a little too fizzy and ends a little too watery. Would like to see this with a creamier fuller body. Mild alcohol warming in the throat.

I love smoked beers so I was intrigued and had to try this. A solid brew. (835 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 3 Bottled 3/2011
Pours a deep shade of brown that barely lets any light through except faint ruby highlights when light is shined through it. Fluffy tan head shows some promise but is almost gone after the first sip. Smoky the bear would be proud to drink this, smells like smoked wood and a hint of ash. There's a spicy component that I can't quite put my finger on. Chocolate and caramel and some dark fruits lie deep in the background but are present. Quite a complex nose here. Taste is smokey up front but leads into a rich milk chocolate, caramel, and toffee flavor. There's a slight astringent bite that I can't distinguish as smokey phenols or hops. Finishes with an earthy almost herbal character and a smokey chocolatey finish. Smooth creamy mouthfeel, light to medium level of carbonation, medium to full bodied. Wow this is good! The smoke is a nice addition to a thick creamy chocolatey imperial brown ale. Great Job White Birch (948 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A new one from a brewery I have always had great luck with, I jumped at the chance to try this one. Pours out a nice dark brown with a head of tan that reaches a height of around an inch or so before settling back down and leaving some nice lacing along the sides.

Aroma is full of campfire smoke right off the bat. I had been expecting it but it really came off quite strong and full. Really nicely done here I have to admit. Nice notes of light chocolate and big roasted malts are always a welcome treat. Flavor carries this over quite well as the chocolate and earthy notes lay underneath that wonderful smoky campfire like flavor that leaves a long finish with rich development across the tongue.

Overall a very fine example of the style (743 characters)

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White Birch Tavern Ale from White Birch Brewing
85 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.