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Conflux No. 1 (Collage) - Deschutes Brewery

Not Rated.
Conflux No. 1 (Collage)Conflux No. 1 (Collage)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

758 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 758
Reviews: 206
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 112
Gots: 282 | FT: 33
Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  11.60% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Deschutes Brewery and Hair of The Dog Brewing Company join forces to weave The Dissident and The Stoic and Fred and Adam into an artistic collage of cask-aging alchemy.

Barrel Aging: Rye Whiskey, Cognac, Sherry, Pinot Noir, Bourbon, new American Oak, and new Oregon Oak

Released in May 2012 (12 oz. bottles)

(Beer added by: msubulldog25 on 05-01-2012)
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Ratings: 758 | Reviews: 206 | Display Reviews Only:
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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The coup de grace of our Conflux No. 1 tasting, we enjoyed this out of a 12 oz brown bottle with a "best after" date of 4/30/13. Even though I've had this beer before, it will be interesting to see if I can pick out the various components from the blended beers--Fred, Adam, Stoic, Dissident. Poured into an old fashioned glass.

Appearance (4.25) - I really expected this one to look a bit muddled with the various styles being included, but it pours a gorgeous chestnut hue of brown with some reddish tints and a tiny bit of haze, but less haze than I expected. Atop the body sits a finger of ecru foam that shows moderate retention before fizzling away to a ringlet and spots of film on the surface. Lacing is subdued and faint.

Smell (4.25) - Here is where I start to recognize the various notes of the beers I just drank. There are notes of both light and dark fruits, also a hint of pomegranate tartness that pairs up well with the balsamic acidity to balance the richer notes of leather and dried tobacco that peek through from the Adam. I really didn't expect to be able to detect components of each beer so distinctly, but here we are. So far this is a massive success.

Taste (4.5) - Much like the smell, the component beers are each well-represented, with none really overpowering the others. Here, the fruitiness becomes a little more distinct, with notes of golden raisin and dried fig, as well as some black plum. I don't get the pomegranate as much at this phase, but there is a semi-sweet tartness on the finish that provides just a touch of bite. Any more and it would ruin the more savory and sweet elements of the taste, but as it is, it's just a point of subtle interest. There are earthy undertones and wet bark going on here as well, and just hints of bitterness that somehow help to balance out all the disparate components.

Mouthfeel (4.0) - Medium-bodied and moderate carbonation, with a slightly creamy feel and just a pinch of puckering on the tongue.

Overall (4.25), this is one of the oddest and most interesting (in a good way) beers I've ever had. While it's far from the first blended beer I've sampled, I think it may be the first where the beers used were so stylistically stratified. A golden strong ale, an old ale, a quad and an oud bruin aren't a combination that I would have imagined myself. Then throwing it into seven different barrels... crazy. In some ways, it's amazing that it turned out as well as it did--with so many elements, there were many places along the way where something could have gone very wrong. Cheers to HOTD and Deschutes for showing ambition and kudos to them for it paying off. I will certainly buy this beer anytime I run across it sitting on a shelf, even if it's $10 for 12 oz.

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5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ordered a bottle at HoTD tasting room. Poured into a tulip, best after date 4-30-13. Enjoyed 8-3-14 :)
A- pours a reddish brown color. No head but some foam and bubbles.
S- cherry, dark fruit, cranberry, brown sugar, chocolate
T- the dissident has definitely taken over with a nice tart finish. I predominately taste The Dissident and The Stoic with Adam and Fred complimenting those flavors with vanilla, chocolate, dark fruit, sweet fruit, orange, brown sugar, perfect tart finish, and booze that warms up as it goes down. Very very smooth for such high abv.
O- absolutely incredible blend by two very different but world class breweries. You can easily make out every beer and the barrel age notes. Well done

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4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Collage is the first of Deschutes' Conflux brewery collaboration series, but is actually premiering second. Conflux No. 2, a White IPA made with Boulevard Brewing of Kansas City, hit shelves in July 2011. Collage was brewed first but took some additional time to age and blend -- two years and more than 100 rounds of mixing and sampling, according to brewers. It's made up of two beers from each brewery: Hair of the Dog Adam, Hair of the Dog Fred, Deschutes The Dissident and Deschutes The Stoic. To make Collage, the Dissident and Adam were placed in oak barrels that had formerly held Oregon pinot noir. The Stoic was aged in rye whiskey barrels, while Fred was aged in bourbon barrels.

Poured into a tulip or snifter, Collage is the color of rosewood, clear but dark, topped with a finger of feathery khaki foam. The nose is a dance between two partners: the Stoic and the Dissident, which lend aromas of white grapes, biting balsamic and a touch of green apple. Oak is huge here, fresh and untoasted. Deeper inspection reveals weird stuff -- pencil shavings and the lightest hint of leather.

Were I given beer-naming privileges, I might have gone with Mosaic. It's like an image crafted of smaller images -- discernible and enjoyable as a whole, but easily broken into its contributing parts when you focus on them. Here's the Stoic, lending vinous oak, white wine and green apple; there's the Dissident with dark vinegar and cherries. Adam contributes savory leather and dark fruits, while bourbon-aged Fred delivers toffee, vanilla, grapefruit pith and bitterness. There's no getting around the alcohol flavor, but it works well here.

With the combined strength of these brews and the hefty alcohol content they carry, you'd expect an equally hefty body, but this isn't the case. The liquid's actually rather delicate, peppered with just a bit of silky carbonation and pretty well-hidden alcohol. The combination makes the brew surprisingly light and drinkable -- it goes down far more easily than the ABV should allow.

Collage's combination of beers and aging platforms makes for a very interesting sensory experience -- though if I'm being honest, I expected a little more. I think this is too heavy on the Stoic and needs more Adam and bourbon. The bottle advises that it'll taste best a year from now, so we'll see how I feel about it after the malts have had some time to mature and the souring yeast takes more hold.

VINTAGE NOTES
Bottle with a best after date of 4-30-13, enjoyed 5-22-13.

The aroma, once packed with green oak, biting balsamic and tart apples, has become smoother, sweeter and more savory. Leather, vanilla, butterscotch, chocolate, dark cherries. Damn fine.

Bourbon has come more into the fore, which is exactly what I was waiting for. The flavors are better-blended and harder to pick apart. Musky leather is nice and big; smoky oak and morello cherries are as well.

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Conflux No. 1 (Collage) from Deschutes Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 758 ratings.