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Bran Reserva | Birrificio Montegioco

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Bran ReservaBran Reserva
Very Good
34 Ratings
Bran ReservaBran Reserva

Brewed by:
Birrificio Montegioco

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Crosling on 06-09-2008

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 34 |  Reviews: 23
Reviews by GeezLynn:
Photo of GeezLynn
3.52/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark chocolate brown with slight red hue to it, almost like a raisin. Sparse tan head appears briefly before receding to the sides of the wine glass.

S: Ripe, vinous berry smell, along with some oak and some musty funk. Just a little caramel malt in there, but not much in the way of typical beer smell. The aroma reminds me of Jolly Pumpkin's La Roja.

T: Oak and funk are most apparent initially. There is also a good dose of acetic tartness, tannins and fruity red wine flavors. Along with the tartness, it's a little sweet, but the malt is really hidden behind the other big flavors.

M: Body is full and the carbonation starts out almost frothy. As it loses carbonation, it becomes a little thinner and more wine-like.

This was an interesting beer. Very flavorful and worth trying. Not all that drinkable though and not something I would go for again. Would rather just have a nice glass of cabernet.

 910 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of Sammy
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Jon for bringing. Brown with white bubbles in the head; lacey. Sourish from the cherry which is a bit of acid requiring food, under average mouthfeel. Malty including chocolate malt. Kind of sweetish. It said barleywine, but this category is the suitable one. Pricey for a just OK Belgian.

 296 characters

Photo of Bung
2.83/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

375ml. Very dark brown/burgundy pour. Pretty much no head, just a few tan bubbles.

Aroma is straight up acidic grape, with some oak hints. Fairly boozy.

Taste is also very vinuous. Plum, black cherry red wine vinagrette. Just a slight earth, peat and dark chocolate in the finish, very brief finish.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied, but there is zero carbonation. Sweet, sour, dry and short. Definetely warming. Struggled to finish half of this quite honestly.

This just leaves me asking where's the beer? If I wanted a merlot I would buy a bottle of it. For the cost of a 750ml bottle of merlot, I would expect more as well. I guess you could call this a sour, but it is listed as a Strong Dark.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a cloudy and opaque deep burgundy color ale with light bubbly head with minimal retention. Aroma of sour and oak notes are pretty intense with distinctive sweet barley notes also noticeable. Taste is a unique mix between some vinous tart notes with light cherry (which may originated from the oak) and some sweet barley notes. Carbonation is low with a full non-filtrated body and no alcohol was showing. Very particular, complex and challenging.

 461 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review from 3/2011 notes. Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Pours a dark red brown amber. Moderate medium tan head and light lacing. Whoa! Very vinous, dark fruit and wood aroma. Flavor is very similar to a red wine, with tannins, a bit sour, grape and light and dark fruits. Carbonation not very noticeable and neither is the malt. The vinous quality doesn't really work for me. Nicely made, but not that much to my taste.

 427 characters

Photo of DrBier
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of GeorgiaBeerGuy
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of TheBeerDad
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of Derek
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black with a tan head, very little retention, good lacing.

S: Alcohol, dark fruit, cherries, woody with a jube-jube fruitiness.

T: Jube-jubes come through in the flavour, with a great fruitiness; cherry, chocolate, dark fruit.

M: Moderate body is very smooth, carbonation is low for the style, slight acidity.

D: Very interesting/intriguing.

 349 characters

Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a goblet. Had a dark brown color and a thick, murky consistency. There was a small amount of foamy, tan-colored head that quickly dissipated. OK lacing.

S: An interesting aroma of malt, yeast and a vinous quality.

T: First and foremost, the vinous quality dominates the flavor. It gives the beer an almost wine-like quality. There are also traces of malt, Belgian, and mild fruits. Very unusual, but oddly tasty.

M: A solid amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: Definitely not your typical Belgian Strong Dark Ale, but drinkable. Will not please everyone, but still worth a try if you're looking for something unusual.

 670 characters

Photo of GClarkage
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of Phelps
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bran Reserva is the barrel-aged version of Raven Ale, a tasty brown. After six months in used Barbera red wine barrels, it becomes Bran Reserva. Poured into a globe.

Opaque in appearance, but there are purple highlights at the edges. Looks almost flat at the pour — a very thin, tan layer is all I get in the way of bubbles.

Deep, oaky nose. Red wine, cherries, fig, vanilla, a little balsamic vinegar.

In the flavor, vinous oak, green apple and tart cherries add to the acidity as the brew warms. The brown ale beneath us noticeable through notes of caramel and brown sugar. A touch of funk emerges as well. The finish is less tart and more malty, smoothing things out and leaving the overall impression of red wine.

Light, tingly carbonation with no fizz. The big medium body likewise reminds of red wine.

I’ve been wanting to try this forever, and am glad I got the opportunity. A very nice, flavorful Italian brew.

 929 characters

Photo of Domingo
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this per a recommendation from the staff at the Tampa Whole Foods. I've never seen this before or after.
Pours a reddish brown color without much of a head. You can pick some foam up with a swirl or when you sip, but it's minimal. The color is really unusual. It's pretty vinous as the red has some nearly purplish highlights.
The smell is of a Belgian sour ale, like a Flanders Red or Oud Bruin. Citric and a little bit funky, but with some sweet dark grain notes. The nose on this in particular is potent, and nice.
The flavor falls somewhere in between the styles I noted earlier. Sweet and sour, with balsamic flavors. Vinous flavors are there, along with a little citric and leather. There's a hint of wood that comes out with some sips, too. However most of the flavors hit initially and the finish is bone dry and lacking a bit. Strange.
Mouthfeel's as expected. Slick, but with a little bit of foamy texture to add substance.
I split a 16oz bottle and that was a fair serving.
Not bad, but the abrupt finish is a hair disappointing. Seems like a middle ground between the two Flanders beer styles.

 1,109 characters

Photo of clickpush
3.69/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour: 375ml bottle to wide-mouthed glass. Beautiful rich color, red and brown, the color of horse-chestnut skin. Very nice color. I'm not overly impressed, however, but the still nature of the beer. I would like to see some sparkle in this - I have had plenty of barrel aged beers that don't lose all their carbonation, and that would have contributed greatly to the experience with this beer.

Nose: Great aroma, right upon opening the bottle. Fruit, barrel aged funkiness, almost like a subdued Rodenbach. A hint of vinegar, but nothing offensive.

Mouth: Flavors are very surprising. Not as sour as the aroma would have you believe, but much more by way of roasted malts. You have the touch of wild yeast, you have remnants of a porter-type beer, vanilla and tannins from the barrel. Definitely complex. Still nature of the beer warrants a detraction though. Would love to have the flavors pounded into my tongue by carbonation. I'm used to these wild ales being over carbonated, and there's a reason for that... it works!

Good beer, overall. Perhaps would have liked to have drank this fresh. I'd guess it's about to years old.

 1,132 characters

Photo of ATPete
3.54/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

375ml bottle

Pours a dark mahogony brown color with a small tan head. Burnt malt, tart cherry, charred wood and a certain sweetness i cant quite place. Low carbonation, the beer lays boarderline thin in the mouth. Overall very sweet with a vinegary sourness and a late acrid bitterness/metallic quality i didnt find very enjoyable. Easy enough to drink, definitely interesting but not something i would pick up again, especially due to its very steep price tag.

 462 characters

Photo of DmanGTR
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes during our blind tasting. Thanks to Bob for bringing this!

Dark brown with maroon highlights. Beige head and pretty clear, a few particles of sediment here and there. The nose is rather confusing actually. Sour cherries, prunes, oak tannins, and an undertone of caramel, raisins, and light roast. The roast is especially present in the finish. Alcohol is nearly indetectible. Is this an oak aged sour porter? It doesn't seem sour enough to be an intentional lacto or aceto inoculation, yet the dark fruit + sour cherry flavor is definitely there. So smooth and delicious. Unveiled, this is a completely new beer to me. Will look out for this next time.

 664 characters

Photo of corby112
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes:

Pours a dark plum/chestnut brown color with a thin beige foam head that had good retention, slowly fading to a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing.

Earthy aroma with lots of oak/wood character as well as plenty of vinous dark fruit, candy sugar and chocolate malt. Hints of grape and other dark berries.

Medium bodied and very well balanced with the dark malt flavor countering the sweet and tart notes. Complex with chocolate malt, vinous dark, oak and vanilla flavors complimenting each other nicely. Hints of grape, currant and other dark berries. A touch too vinous but overall this beer is very flavorful and extremely quaffable.

 652 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.44/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle; Sampled January 2009
As I pour this I get a solid note of chewy, berry driven, tobacco edged red wine that is reasonably oaked. The beer pours into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip with a frothy, large bubbled, initially half-finger thick, browned, tan colored head. The beer is a dark, well burnt amber color that shows an almost opaque hue to it when held up to the light, but if held just right flashes of deep ruby show through. This is incredibly wine like in the nose, there is also a soft backdrop of funky, ripe cheese and the oak provides a spiciness to this beer that accentuates the alcohol just a bit. Jam-like berry notes, full red currants and concentrated red wine notes are joined by a touch of buttery oak, some solid vanillin notes and a raw, freshly cut oak note. This has got to have been aged in Red Wine barrels of some sort. I am really digging the nose on this beer, it is incredibly complex, though I suppose much of the malt / hop character has been consumed by its stay in the barrel. I really like the touch of funkiness in the aroma that this has picked up.

Lightly carbonated the beer has a lightness to it that makes it seem a cross between a red wine and a strong Belgian Ale. It has a touch of viscous heft to it as well as a light sweetness that accentuates some dark fruit notes of black currants, tannic cherries, concentrated blackberries and perhaps a touch of raspberry. The beer finishes with a nice oak character that is in well balance with the other flavor components; some tannic, spicy oak, a solid woody bite and a bit of buttery oak character in the finish. This has a touch of tartness to it that is wrapped up in the wine-notes somehow. I have finally noticed a bit of beer character here as this beer has a toasted malt middle to it as well as a hint of caramel and toffee, these last mix in with the buttery oak character. There is a certain nuttiness here that seems to be a product of the malt and oak character (this last almost tastes of coconut at times). Perhaps a hint of cocoa is noticeable at times, but this is quite subtle.

This is one marriage of wine and beer that is more on the wine side of the aisle. Definitely surprising given that this is a malt / hop product, and while this is incredibly tasty, even fantastic, the weakness of this beer is that it does not taste enough like a beer. Still I will happily consume this any day.

 2,412 characters

Photo of tpd975
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ibrew2or3 for this one.

A: Pours a brownish black hue with a very small head. Little to no retention with no lace.

S: Very wine like vineous earthy notes with a touch of roasted malt. Hints of sour as well.

T: Light sourness at the start. Hints of yeast, roasted malt and chocolate. Oaky wine like finish with notes of dark fruits.

M: Medium in body, very low on the carbonation.

D: Not bad we had the non reserva version a week ago which tasted a bit better.

 475 characters

Photo of drpimento
2.9/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Opened the interesting bottle cap with a plastic sealing plug mounted inside it with a nice "pop". Poured with at first no head, and then, a very fine light brown, fine foam and no lace. Color is an almost opaque, clear very dark brown with garnet highlights. Aroma is heavy red wine and malt, sour, and a little dark ripe fruit. No hop. Flavor is the same, but in a way kind of two dimensional. Body is ok, but maybe better carbonation could have made this beer a little more interesting. Finish is dominated by the tart wine characteristics. Not a session.

 558 characters

Photo of Bighuge
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark plum body. Bubbly brown head. Lace is minimal in this high octane brew. Complex nose of brown sugar, rice vinegar, port, grapes and sherry. The flavor is pretty rich and also reminds me of port and sherry. The low carbonation doesn't hurt in that respect either. Some dark rum and plum and oaky tannin like characteristics kick in first. But it also has some acidity to it as well and an interesting tangy lingering that's reminiscent of a flanders red or oud bruin. And it's quite dry. This is quite the interesting brew. Complex and deep.

 545 characters

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of BeerNemesis
2.71/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bran Reserva | 375 ml. | 8.5% ABV | 2010

Brewer: Birrificio Montegioco
Style: Supposedly it's a Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Glass: wine glass

Between Coca-Cola and vinegar. No head, no lacing.

Very tannic, vinegary, like red-wine.

The vinous quality comes to the forefront, quickly followed by an unpleasant acetic undertone, and a slightly malty finish.

The was a "pop" upon opening, but virtually no carbonation to speak of.

There is very little harmony here. Vinegar dominates, while all other flavors take second fiddle. The tannic quality is at first interesting, but ultimately you realize it's monodimensional.

Would I get it again?:
No. It's an awkward hybrid between wine and beer that retains the weaker qualities of both, and the virtues of neither.

 819 characters

Photo of adkrogue
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

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Bran Reserva from Birrificio Montegioco
Beer rating: 3.79 out of 5 with 34 ratings
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