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Splinter Brown - Tröegs Brewing Company

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Splinter Brown
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Reviews: 9
Hads: 64
Avg: 3.97
pDev: 12.09%
Wants: 3
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Tröegs Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Flanders Oud Bruin |  8.40% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: orangesol on 11-01-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

NOTE: Splinter Brown is highly-carbonated – so high the pressure has pushed corks out of the bottling during the aging process. For safety reasons, this beer will only be served for on-premise consumption and all bottles must be opened by Troegs servers.

Splinter Brown’s roots extend to July 2010 with the brewing of Scratch #34, a Belgian-style Dubbel. Some of this wort made it into a “funk” tank to ferment with bacteria and a blend of ale, Brett and sherry yeasts, but a large quantity was bottled in one of the brewery’s earliest bottle-conditioning projects. When the bottles didn’t carbonate properly, a resourceful brewer blended nearly 100 cases of beer with the original “funk” tank beer and transferred it into oak barrels. Fast forward to 2013, and this beer has aged with a finely developed Brett character, but only minimal tartness. Splinter Brown’s third flavor profile was created by blending the barrel-aged beer with a fresh-brewed sour mash fermented with a Belgian yeast strain and aged for six months in French and Hungarian oak wine barrels. This unique merger of flavors has resulted in a wonderfully complex Sour Brown Ale that is truly a labor of love. Cheers!
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 9 | Hads: 64
Photo of MikeWard
4.11/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Had a bottle to meself at the brewery. Bottled August 2013. As mentioned in previous posts, only available at the brewery for consumption at the brewery. Staff removed the cork, then handed me the bottle with two nice looking glasses. (Wife used the other one for her lemon-lime, she took a sip of the Splinter and passed on it) $22.95 for the bottle, an ouch for a guy like me who pretty much sticks to 12 ouncers.

First experience with a Flanders ale, so bear with me. I will likely state the obvious and stupid to those who know the style.

Appearance was a bit of a concern to me. Deep thick red wine color with brownish tones, and a small head that dissipated almost immediately. Looks flat. No lacing.

On the nose, hello, this smells pretty good. Wine, dried fruit, sweetness, even smells sour.

From the first mouthful I know I'm gonna love this. A sour wash throughout the mouth, picking up the dried fruit taste. Highly carbonated, even fizzy in the mouth. (What a noob) Faint feel of the wood, not much at all, and I like the strongwood flavor of oak aged beers. A refreshing flavor on a hot day. Loved the feel in the mouth, sour and fizzy.

Was able to pour the beer carefully enough so that a fair bit of sediment was left in the last 3/4 inch or so of the bottle. Dumped that into the wifes now empty glass and watch some funky reactions. Looked like it was growing.

Overall, really enjoyed this, and would love to find more in the style. Was pretty buzzed by the end of the bottle (90 minutes or so), so perhaps best shared with a friend.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle at the source. Pour is dark hazed chestnut brown with a tight bubbly tan head. The nose has a lot of wood, some light vanilla notes, sour cherries and a hint of bandaid. Taste is fairly sour with high carbonation and a medium to light body. Taste has a fair bit wood and some vanilla undertones. Hints of brown malt meld with a strong balance of cherry, berry brett.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Split this one with BMart and dfhhead25 at the brewpub. Thanks guys!

Funny that Troegs won't sell this because of the cork bullet issues. Good thing 3F doesn't have the same regulations! Still, I honor their request.

Dirty mahogany-brown pour with a fizzy, off-white cap, that seemed like it should dissipate, but never truly did, keeping a solid ring through the session; minimal lacing left on the glass. Fairly musty aroma, yeasty, with a good hit of waterlogged wood, earth, toasted caramel. Taste was good, more mustiness, very woody, caramel, char, vinous, notes of dark fruits, with a moderate tart snap to it. However, underlying everything was what came off to me as an off-flavor indicative of infection. I'm not saying it was, but it seemed to be heading in that direction. Either that or the wood character was simply too intense. If the former is true, this beer should be consumed as soon as possible. If the latter, then maybe let it sit for a while more. But I don't know which it was, so I'll just say, "I don't really know what was up with this beer, but something just didn't sit right with me." Oddly, I thought the final, somewhat yeasty pour from the bottle was the best-tasting, lending a little more fruit and spice to the mix. Medium body, solid mouthfeel with a decent tanginess to it, but always that hint of infection. Definitely worth a try, and I'd actually like to try it again.

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Photo of stakem
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Nice to see this project/burden of a brew finally come to fruition for Troegs. Somewhat comical that originally this brew was a flat dud and now it is being released with concern of being over-carbonated. 750ml bottle served at the Troegs taproom. Served in a snifter, the brew appears a hazy brown to mahogany color with a rich yellowish tan cap. The fizzy head fades down to a half finger. Rising carbonation maintains the cap throughout the entire duration.

The aroma has a deep layering of burnt oak and raw woody character. A little toasty with suggestions of caramel and toffee. It is fruity and mildly vinous before getting more earthen. It is quite funky as it warms up which borders on being musty.

The taste has lots of barrel upfront. It is raw and toasty barrel character with layers of earth, funk and must. It is tart and vinous with almost a meaty mineral edge to it. Some leather into the aftertaste. As it warms up it has a lot of dark fruity aspects like raisin, plum and even some brown sugar and molasses without getting sweet. Some herbal hop bitterness is thrown in there as well towards the finish.

This is a medium bodied brew with an effervescent amount of carbonation. It is pretty decent overall but a little rough around the edges with some interesting elements that I dont think really form a cohesive brew. I really dont understand Troeg's decision to continually use virgin barrels in their aging and blending. Raw oak is quite harsh and does not intrgrate that well in any of the beers they have released to date: Splinter Black, Gold batch 2 and now Splinter Brown all have a distracting wood presence instead of enjoyable complimenting aspect.

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Photo of 1sophrosyne1
3.71/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle at the brewery poured into a tulip glass…could not finish without "help."

The appearance is a flat medium brown, with wooden opacity. Very little light passes through a full pour, but testarossa highlights shine through about halfway into a glass. It sports a large bubbly, almost sizzling tan head full of carbonation. But it falls rather quickly, and evenly, with fast off-gassing. Lines of lacing break up and drop into remaining tea-like pour that keeps just a veiled cap.
Smells much like a tart cider, leafy and bright. There's a leathery note that fits with the experience of a young red wine, and blueberry and cherry notes punctuate that mimicry. But yeast and brine along with subtle orange and nutmeg in the air mark it as a true brew. Metallic and earthen depth round out a great nose that settles down with warming.
The start of a taste is almost perfection, with a thick fizz that alludes to the coming sour. Apple and cranberry sticking to a malt-sweet center...but it breaks down into tart acids very fast. The sourness cuts through the first third of a mouthful and thereby cuts short the unfolding of those more subtle aromatic elements. Only alcohol and a touch of Brett-funk pushes through in the end. The result is the taste of a rose wine with a caramel-soiled ending that lingers on tannins instead of needed bitterness and oils of beer.
Above average carbonation is the right entree to a sour brew like this. But the body not thick enough to give proper length that ends up filled with astringency instead of a more savory experience I'd crave. Without more helpful heft, this taste profile is piquantly ponderous to consume.
Overall, this was a worthwhile experiment, but on its own, Splinter is off kilter. It might actually do well with time in the bottle to allow tannins to soften and the malt that is there to round off the excess sour. Unfortunately, the boys won't let you take it home. So, in current form, this brown has been a little Lam-bic-basted!

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Photo of taylor714914
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Ordered at the Troegs tasting room, bottle is for in house consumption only. Despite asking the bartender to not remove the cork via pulling down on the bottle and up on the cork, she did so anyway, dang near losing the bottle. After asking to pour it, she said it was not allowed as people try to walk out with the bottles. I explained my Splinter Gold incident where the bartender glugged away when pouring allowing all sorts of sediment to come into my glass. Though I asked, and she acknowledged, she still managed to chug away pouring the beer that amounted to about ¾ head. Anyway, back to the review.

At first glance, this looks like an abbey dubbel, and smells like a mix of a dubbel and oude bruin. Tart dark cherries, a hint of lactic acid, tobacco, and some leather are present in the nose. The taste is similar, with the initial sip being a well-balanced hit of lactic acid and fruit, like a mix of dark cherries and figs. There is also something reminiscent of a Bordeaux wine. I’m not sure if it was the sherry yeast or oak or vinous flavor that seems to mingle with the other fruit flavors, but it’s there, albeit subtle. That is really all that is going on until you swallow and the finish brings out tobacco, leather, and a bit of earth. Some oak creeps in, providing a bit of dryness.

Mouthfeel was nice. Maybe we had a less than carbonated bottle or the bartender helped dissipate most of the carbonation, but I didn’t think these bottles were over carbonated in the least bit.

Overall, not my favorite of the Splinter series, but a solid offering. Like another review said, I think given another 6 months to a year in the bottle, this baby would really shine and start to round out nicely.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had this at the brewery tasting room chilled from the corked and caged bottle

the color is deep walnut brown with opaque shade, thick quick falling medium brown cap with fine bead. The smell is very tart with dark fruit like sour cherry and light vinous aroma with a slight vinegar tinge. The feel is great, lots of carbonation brings the tartness forward with mild sweet foundation and a drying alcohol in the finish.

The flavor has a lot of wood and tart cherry flavor very flanders-esque with a nice hint of lactic acid and some gentle vanilla from the oak, light citrus and spice weaves in near the finish with a sweet and sour push/pull til the end with lingering enamel degrading intensity and mild alcohol warms the throat. Overall I really grew to like this more as it nears cellar temp, at first the carbonation made it seem harsh, but it has more malt quality as it warms with a fruity yeast taste which brings the complexity of wood in the flavor out more.

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Photo of orangesol
4.11/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle at the brewery.

A - Pours murky brown with a big bubbly two and a half finger tall off white head, dissipating down to a light film, leaving very little trails of lace down parts of the glass. The carbonation is evident immediately.

S - Smells of strong lactic sourness, very light brett funk, damp earthy must, woody oak, dark fruits like figs and maybe some dark cherries as well as some mild caramel and toffee sweetness from the base Dubbel. Smells really sour when first opened but it gets more balanced as it comes up to room temperature.

T - Starts off with the strong tartness but it quickly gives way to the earthy/funky must, mild sugary sweetness, dark fruits and a good bit of oak. Finish is quite dry with a bit of booze burn, lingering on the palate long after the finish. It took me awhile to finish the whole bottle by myself but I never felt like I wouldn’t be able to.

M - Medium body with moderately high carbonation. Sour, woody feel fades away as quickly as it appeared. The carbonation is definitely high in this one but I never felt like it really affected it all that much.

O - A fine example of a sour brown / Oude Bruin. It has all of the flavors I would want but it never really borders on being overbearing. I just wish I could have gotten a couple bottles to cellar, I think this one would age beautifully.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle consumed at Troegs.

Looks like a dubbel with a clearing mahogany rose body and an overflowing fizzy light tan head that faded to a thin collar. Rich nose of sweet cherry, vanilla, oak tannin, citrus and leather. Flavor improves with warming the beer and killing some if the carbonation. Dark cherry fruit and sweet Abbey yeast initially dominate with a creeping lactic tartness. Leather and vinous oak earthiness build through the flavor into a dry, slightly tart finish. Medium full body that feels thin from the over the top carbonation. Not really enjoyable to drink per se, the flavor never really cones together and the sweet and tart flavors constantly seem in conflict, but much better than the Idiot's Drool style disaster I was expecting (that is, resurrecting a dead beer through the magick of barrels and rarity). As it warms I get a slight metallic, aluminum foil taste from the finish which knocks this down about a half point overall for me

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Splinter Brown from Tröegs Brewing Company
- out of 100 based on 9 ratings.