Thornbridge Brewery

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Thornbridge Brewery
England, United Kingdom
English Strong Ale
Ranked #1
Ranked #2,669
4.23 | pDev: 10.17%
May 18, 2023
Apr 16, 2009
Notes: Bracia is the Celtic name for a beverage brewed in Iron Age Europe with reference found on a Roman inscription at Haddon Hall, Derbyshire. Little is known about this except it was high in alcohol, brewed with cereals and, most probably, honey.

Thornbridge's Bracia has been infused with a generous amount of dark and bitter Chestnut Honey sourced from the Alpine foothills of North East Italy.
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Photo of GreesyFizeek
Reviewed by GreesyFizeek from New York

4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
This one pours a fairly dark black color, with a small head, and a bit of lacing.

This smells like heavily roasted malt, peat, light smoke, caramel, nuttiness, dark chocolate, and honey.

This is classified as a strong ale, but it’s really, really reminiscent of an imperial stout. There’s a ton of roast here, and just the lightest hint of earthy peat and dark smokiness. There’s some chocolate and a definite rustic nuttiness, along with heavily roasted coffee and caramel. The honey adds a pleasant sweetness that helps offset the bitterness here.

This is medium bodied and fairly creamy, with no real booziness to it.

I imagine this would take really well to barrel aging, given the sharp edges. I do really enjoy the sharp edges, however.
May 18, 2023
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Reviewed by Rug from Massachusetts

4.26/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
I stumbled upon this one almost entirely by accident today at a local store that I haven’t been to in quite some time. I knew the name looked familiar when I saw it on the shelf, so I just had to check. As soon as I did, I grabbed a bottle. Let’s see what the highest rated English Strong Ale on BA is all about

Pours a very dark brown with a finger of tan head that fades to a ring and leaves minimal lacing

Oh man, this has an awesome blend of sweet malt and fruit notes in the nose that I’m really digging. I’m picking up on aromas of dates, sweet caramel, golden raisin, molasses, brown sugar, dark bread, port wine, toffee, light tobacco, and honey

While I still very much enjoy the taste of this, it doesn’t quite hit the same beautiful sweetness on display in the nose, opting for something a tad more boozy. On the front end of the sip I’m tasting tobacco, brown sugar, sweet honey, fusel alcohol, raisin, molasses, light toffee, and dry oak. The swallow brings notes of golden raisin, molasses, toffee, dark toast, sweet honey, fig, black tea, light tobacco, and a touch of cocoa powder

A medium body pairs with gentle carbonation, resulting in a slick beer. Finishes a tad watery but with a nice fruitiness to amp it up a bit

This is definitely a unique beer. Such an interesting blend of notes going on here that makes for something awesome. I might have to pick up some more
Jan 12, 2023
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Reviewed by REVZEB from Illinois

4.42/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Managed to find a bottle, no idea the year though, but by the taste I am guessing younger. Very dark brown pour with a tan head. Just as described in the menu: hazelnut, earth, honey, dark chocolate, mild roasted malts and a big finishing chestnut. Smell has some licorice and light raisin lingering in the honey, but otherwise similar though sweeter as the roast and nuts depth doesn't translate as much as in the taste. Malty the whole way, thicker than expected, smooth, very warm, and rich for style
Sep 23, 2022
Rated: 4.38 by cozmo from New York

Sep 11, 2022
Rated: 4.33 by Dentist666 from Russian Federation

Aug 28, 2022
Rated: 4.21 by Tmappin from Canada (NS)

Aug 23, 2022
Rated: 4.16 by _Adam_ from Maryland

Feb 19, 2022
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Reviewed by Sigmund from Norway

4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
500 ml bottle, as Thornbridge Hall Bracia, at Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. ABV is 10%. Pitch black colour, large brown head. Mildly roasty, nutty and malty aroma, hints of honey and chocolate. Smooth and rich flavour with loads of malty sweetness, but not cloying. Roasty notes / mild coffee, also notes of chocolate, honey and nuts. Decent hops in the finish and aftertaste, which also has faint notes of peat smoke. Excellent beer!
Jun 07, 2021
Rated: 3 by prisdefer from New York

Mar 11, 2020
Rated: 4.25 by paulish from New York

Mar 10, 2020
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Reviewed by Beersnake1 from California

4.29/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Poured from fridge temp. This one looks really nice. Pours jet black with tan head. Nose is charred wood, licorice, raisin, coffee, and dark chocolate. Taste is black licorice (dominates), chocolate, lactose, malts, sweetness, slight bitterness, and honey. Mouthfeel is thick and viscous. Overall, an amazing stout.
Aug 04, 2019
Rated: 3.99 by Duncian from Pennsylvania

May 16, 2019
Rated: 3.85 by DOCRW from Washington

Apr 01, 2019
Rated: 4.38 by Chuckdiesel24 from Illinois

Nov 05, 2018
Rated: 4.21 by HopBelT from Belgium

Mar 18, 2018
Photo of stevoj
Reviewed by stevoj from Idaho

4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Bottle from Bottle Shop- Druid St. Dark and smoky, near black with bubbly brown head. Aroma is campfire, taste is more stout-y, some chocolate. Warmth sneaks up and makes you glow. Once acclimated, this one rocks.
Mar 05, 2018
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Reviewed by MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Poured from 1 pint .9 fluid ounce bottle into glass. No dating information found on bottle or label.
Opaque black body. Fizzy tan head settles to ring fed by bubbles. No lacing.
Aroma of dark fruit, caramel, licorice, coffee, a little chocolate, and sweetness. Peaty.
Taste is sweet honey, along with chocolate, coffee, licorice, toffee, and dark fruit/pear. Also bitter hops. Peat as it trails off.
Full mouth feel, somewhat coating, kind of hot.
A beer like a liqueur, lots of tastes involved, quite rich and heavy. Honey sweetness is balanced by the dark notes. I like the peat.
Feb 11, 2018
Photo of clayrock81
Reviewed by clayrock81 from Florida

4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Poured a blackish body with minimal tan head that sticks around. Aroma is basically dark fruits like figs/raisins/prunes and some sugariness which I assume is honey. Beer is sticky, strong and slightly boozy so you get noes of dark fruits, honey/toffee, and also minimal notes of dryness like nuts and bitter chocolate and/or coffee.
Jan 18, 2018
Rated: 4.32 by TheCrowsEye from California

Jan 13, 2018
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Reviewed by drmeto from Germany

4.58/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75
-pours a dark brown with faint ruby tinges and a small to medium,foamy,beige head
-light to medium carbonation
-medium to full body
-alcohol noticeable
A fantastic Dessert Beer.Not too sweet, not too boozy.Perfect for Winter.
Fans of Imperial Stouts should get this.
Dec 29, 2017
Rated: 4 by Fettpopps from Massachusetts

Sep 18, 2017
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Reviewed by josanguapo from Spain

4.52/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
From elcervecero. In Teku glass. Playing A Foretold Affair. Really nice roastyness, with chocolate, coffee and molasses. Important alcohol presence well integrated,not bothering but forcing slow drinking
Sep 01, 2017
Rated: 4.25 by Casey_L from Texas

Jul 22, 2017
Rated: 4.25 by shelby415 from Oregon

Jun 17, 2017
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Reviewed by VoxRationis from New York

4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
Decanted from a 500 ml bottle into a conical pint (I have a collect, just saying').
A: Opaque brown with being truly black; mocha color head which was 1/4 inch and persisted. Not much in the way of legs.
S: Dark malts, with dark chocolate, caramel, and toffee notes.
T: Black coffee, dark chocolate, and hazelnut. Bitterness, nicely balanced with malt.
M: Medium to full bodies; persistent effervescence.
O: Wow! Not inexpensive, but really an exceptional drinking experience. More for dessert than the main course. Gift it to friends who can truly appreciate it.
Apr 09, 2017
Photo of Bruno74200
Reviewed by Bruno74200 from France

4.63/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
This is a big beer we've got here. Very bold with roasted malts, chestnuts, and citrusy/sprucey hops. Umami. It goes perfectly together in balance in great complexity. The mouthfeel is thick and nicely carbonated. This beer is strong and made for special occasion. Take care of it.
Mar 05, 2017
Photo of bshefftz
Reviewed by bshefftz from California

4.83/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Delightfully unique beer, I think due to the honey flavor. Not overly sweet, nice balance of honey sweetness and bitter-herbal flavors. Looks like a stout but defies categories. Will pick up again.
Feb 08, 2017
Photo of Spike
Reviewed by Spike from England

4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
From a 500ml bottle.
L: Black. Even when held against a light, very little shows through. Just some faint, red edging. Two fingers of mocha coloured foam (lots of big, open bubbles) recedes slowly to a 2mm cap. Leaves a few bars of crema-like lacing.
S: Piles of dark fruit steeped in sherry.
T: Coffee, liquorice, Islay whisky, oak. Sweet malt and bitter hops are perfectly balanced
F: Rich & unctuous. Hint of creamy carbonation. Finish is dry, long and boozy.
O: Outstanding. At nearly ten quid a bottle, this is a "treat yourself to something special" beer. Fortunately, it makes the mark. Rich, warming, luscious, boozy. Definitely a sipper.
Dec 05, 2016
Rated: 4.1 by UniversitateaDeBere from Romania

Oct 31, 2016
Rated: 4.33 by poskok from Croatia (Hrvatska)

Sep 30, 2016
Rated: 4.23 by BeerForMuscle from New Jersey

Jul 22, 2016
Photo of Beginner2
Reviewed by Beginner2 from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
The first time I Had Bracia, I enjoyed its richness, but did not think I could stomach the price/quality ratio.
Yet, here we are again.
I am Looking at an opaque ale. Its nose is very dense and rich and full of coffee, chocolate figs and the rest is mostly malt. Tastes are largely the same with some hops making the presence known... but nicely. Mouth Feel is suitable, although I personally would appreciate fewer bubbles. Maybe I'll get that if a hold the rest for tomorrow. Now, that is one way to get my moneys worth !

Listed on the "1001", I suppose it deserves to be on the list since Thornbridge is an innovative crafter and the work that goes into Bracia certainly proves that point.
May 22, 2016
Rated: 4.5 by Zekenyce from New Jersey

Apr 02, 2016
Rated: 4.24 by Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

Feb 23, 2016
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Reviewed by jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
A - Dark brown opaque pour with a thin, bubbly, lacing ring.

S - Caramelized malt, cherries, some chocolate, vanilla molasses, oak.

T - Toasted caramel from start to finish with a subtle citrus nuance on the finish.

M - Thick medium, silky feel, very sticky on the lips.

O - Balanced and elegant.
Feb 23, 2016
Rated: 4.21 by PhineasMcClintock from Massachusetts

Feb 23, 2016
Rated: 4.1 by Silke_Neryn from Sweden

Feb 18, 2016
Rated: 4.27 by steverx8 from England

Jan 30, 2016
Rated: 4.08 by stephenlee from England

Dec 25, 2015
Rated: 3.75 by jheezee from Texas

Dec 12, 2015
Bracia from Thornbridge Brewery
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 180 ratings