"400" Ale
Alewerks Brewing Company

"400" Ale"400" Ale
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American Brown Ale
not listed
3.62 | pDev: 20.17%
Alewerks Brewing Company
Virginia, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
"400" Ale"400" Ale
Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 19 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of ocelot2500
2.26/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a nice deep mahogany brown with a little light brown head. No lacing to speak of.

Smell is a little bready/malty .

Taste is a sour taste that ruins anything else. It starts sour, then there is some sweetness and a little roasted flavor in the end. The underlying flavors seem more appropriate, but the sourness is unpleasant.

The mouthfeel is ok, a little thin. Fair amount of carbonation.

This is not drinkable because of the sour taste.

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Photo of jwc215
3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Presumably bottled in 2007, as it commemorates the 400th Anniversary of Jamestown, this 22 ounce "Imperial Brown Ale" was brought back for me from Virginia by a friend of mine:

Pours dark brown with ruby highlights towards the bottom. A thick tan head gradually descends to a patchy cover. Some trailing lace sticks.

The smell is nutty and toffeeish with a coffee-like roastiness. There's a sourness mixing in. It's not robust, but what's there is nice.

The taste is toffee with booze-doused soured prunes. As it progresses, a roastiness comes in, though the sour grows too. It's a bit of a struggle to reach potential complexities due mainly to masking alcohol and palate-cleansing carbonation.

Carbonation gives it a prickly feel (that I was hoping would recede in second half - it does a bit, but not enough). Maltiness seems to want to linger on the palate, but fizz and alcohol sharpness are too much for it.

Alcohol is noticeable here. I've already commented on the carbonation. There's a thinness, to boot, that just doesn't develop even after warmed to room temperature. It started out well enough, with a nice look and aroma (though the latter a bit restrained). The taste is decent, though, again, restrained, and I could do with less sour. It just doesn't develop to anything rich. The detractors in this make it almost fall apart at the seams. In the end, it holds up, but doesn't go much further than that.

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Photo of Beerbuddha
2.1/5  rDev -42%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Received this in a trade with edmedina. Man, I was really hoping for a good beer here on this one. I was let down.

Appearance- Nice dark, amber brown with little to no head and no lacing.

Smell-A nice nutty and sweet aroma. Nice hints of roasted malts and caramel.

Taste- Horrible! There is this bad sour taste that just ruins this beer. Ugh, this beer became a drain pour.

Mouthfeel- Medium body with very little carbonation.

Overall- A HUGE disappointment! I really hope the beer went bad and this taste wasn't intentional. Started off great but then went south! I don't even think the Jamestown colonists would have consumed this swill.

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Photo of blackie
2.93/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

a: into my snifter, pours a low tan head that soon recedes to a thin layer, the beer is a very dark ruby-brown in color

s: sour upfront (I doubt this was intended, but it's at least interesting), soured fruit in a toasted toffee brown malt base, dark fruits rolled in cocoa powder, earthy hops way in the back, funky red wine, dry, complex

m: low carbonation and a medium body, pretty lifeless

t: the sour that works okay in the aroma sort of makes a mess here and kills off the complexity...starts with sour cherries and turns to a dry brown malt, powdered cocoa flavor

d: not a bad smell, but drinking it is a different story...enjoyable for awhile but finishing the bomber was trying

overall: another infected beer from Williamsburg, but a unique example of how a mistake can turn into an interesting beer...scores might be higher if this was intended (giving it some extra-credit already), but as far as I know it's nothing more than a mistake, an infection

bomber from Whole Foods Vienna, looks to be a little over a year old...with the sour apparently showing up about 5 months ago

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Photo of ArrogantB
2.1/5  rDev -42%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

This smelled really like a nice brown ale, roasty, nutty, cool! Unfortunately the taste was sour but not in a good way. I don;t know if this was intentionally sour or not but it does not work for this beer. Sadly, this beer ended up as a drain pour as I could not drink it.

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Photo of Traquairlover
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22-oz bomber poured into pint glasses.

A = Dark reddish brown, dark but good clarity. Small tan head that quickly dissipated, medium to heavy lacing.

S = Relatively nondescript smells of light yeast, maple syrup, toaste malts and bitter hops.

T = Wow, this stuff is sour! The smell did not prepare me for this, but after tasting I do get a slight whiff similar to a Flander's Red Ale. There is a very sour, yeast flavor but also a creamy toasted malt backbone underlying it. The two flavors are not well blended however. I could see where some might really like this, but it is a little unbalanced in my opinion.

M = Medium bodied, good mouthcoating, frothy level of carbonation when swished. Would be perfect if not for the pucker inducing sourness.

D = Slightly above average. This is an interesting beer and I can imagine having it again now that I know what I am in for, but it is not a typical Brown Ale, so as long as you know that, go for it.

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Photo of guinnessfan
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber purchased at the brewery.

A: Clear, dark brown,with a reddish hue, capped off by a thin ring of tan head. Virtually no lacing and not much retention at all.

S: Roasted malt aroma, peaked with a slight hop bitterness.

T: Roasty, bready, some mild dark fruit, perhaps up front. The flavor peaks with a mild bitterness and ends slightly dry.

M: Smooth, slippery, only slightly carbonated.

D: Good beer, one of the Alewerks better offerings. Starts malty and has a nice hoppy ending. Cool!

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Photo of tfuchs
4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber I picked up at Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits poured into a 14oz glass mug.

Poured an opaque reddish brown with a very thin cream head.

I picked up a very light scent of toasted malt with a whiff of coffee. I did drink this way too cold, straight out of the fridge, so I'm sure the aromas were numbed a bit.

The taste was out in full force though. Delicious wallop of caramel, toffee, and coffee up front with an excellent balance in the middle from earthy bittering hops. Alcohol comes through on the tail-end, pleasant and appropriate for the improvised style. Nevermind that the "Imperial Brown Ale" tag that the Williamsburg Alewerks gave this beer may be a bit tacky, that's exactly what it tastes like and it makes for an excellent beer.

It is a little thin and slick for an imperial. A little heavy on the carbonation, too. Perfect for a Brown Ale, I'm just can't decide about this Imperial Brown Ale thing.

I thought it was very drinkable for an imperial. Although, again, I drank this pretty cold. ABV isn't listed on the bottle or on Williamsburg Alewerks website. I guessed it to be around 7%. I stumbled on some blog that listed it as 6.5%, which I'm inclined to believe.

All in all, this is an very good beer that I'd highly recommend. But I'm just not sure that it's an Imperial Brown Ale so much as it's simply a very good Brown Ale or maybe an ESB.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz. bottle thanks to Cliff and Carol

Pours a rich, deep chestnut brown with a creamy tan head that fades. Nice lacing on the glass.

Nice toasted aroma with a herbal hop aroma. Some nice bready and biscuity smells come through as it warms.

Toasted malt upfront with some bready tones. Leads into a medium bitterness and herbal hop flavor. Finishes with a lingering hop flavor and bitterness.

Full body, medium carbonation.

A nice brew, but one glass is plenty for an evening. Brown ale is one that I prefer as a non-imperial brew for a nice session. I'd like to see them make a smaller brother version of this.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.82/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, slight head. Mellow roasted aroma. Brown sugar, slightly spicy. Deep malty flavor. Very clean-like a lager. Sugary flavor. Heavy dose of hop bitterness abd flavor. Good body. Curious as to the abv. Nice brown ale-I would think an amped up brown. Nice.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, dark brown body with a wispy white head.

Smell: Aroma of dark caramel, walnut meats, tobacco, dark fruits, and unfinished wooden furniture.

Taste: Dark caramel maltiness with a subdued sweetness, at which point it becomes increasingly drying. Lightly fruity. Notes of roasted nuts, dried tobacco leaf, and wood. Mild earthy bitterness. Warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Pretty good for a hefty, robust brown ale.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.23/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received this 22oz bomber from my "Bro", Artied2, after one of his trips down to the DC area this summer. Nice little bit of history of Jamestown and bier at that time on the painted label, but no freshness info.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, it is a clear, deep, luscious ruby/garnet color. Scant carbo rises slowly within, towards a thin, almost non-existent head. What does cover the liquid is an extremely fine collection of tan bubbles, most of which cling to the edge of the glass. They leave little to no lacing behind, though. Nose intimates semi-sweetness, with nice malty notes coming forth, and suggestions of caramel. A bit on the mild side, all-in-all. Solid medium body here, with low carbo-prickliness producing a smooth ride over the tongue.

Flavor drives forward with a healthy dose of malty sweetness. 400 definitely has a good combo of caramel, toffee and brown sugar notes hitting the palate. It's a souped-up brown, reminding me a lot of some tasty doppelbocks. After the malt surge, hop bitterness comes forward, leading into the finish, all the while lingering quite long and hard with floral characteristics coating the tongue and throat. I'm finding this bier quite to my liking; too bad it's a one-off.
Thnx again to Artied2. Nice choice, Bro!

Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.2
appearance: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5


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Photo of Gavage
4.12/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: brown in color with a short 1/2" head that quickly falls to a surface foam. Spots of lace develop during the session.

Smell: loads of malt sweetness, brown sugar, and a hint of coffee.

Taste: brown sugar, caramel, soft coffee tones, and a hint of chocolate make up a hearty ale. Little bitterness here along with some ripe red fruit sweetness. Alcohol is barely noticeable.

Mouthfeel: smooth from start to finish. Medium-heavy in body. Aftertaste is long as caramel, brown sugar, and coffee tones linger on the tongue.

Drinkability: a smooth slow sipping brown ale that has a kick of alcohol. But this is quite enjoyable and a bit of disappointment hits as the bottle empties. Nice beer.

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Photo of WesWes
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a typical "brown ale" aroma which boasts of crystal and roasted malts. It's also got a slight sourness to it as well. The taste is decent as well. It has a nice brwon ale/porter feel. It's sweet with a roasted undertone. It goes down easy and finishes a bit sour. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a pretty good brown ale. It has a lingering sourness that I suspect may mean it's sat for a while, but other than that it's a well rounded brown and easy drinker.

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Photo of FenwaySquid
4.65/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22 oz brown bottle, no dating of any kind,, poured into a pint glass. Nice spiel on the back about how beer was a part of everyday life in colonial times and most were brown, as is this one.

Appearance: Pours a deep dark brown color with some reddish tones, almost entirely opaque. The head formed a thin creamy tan color and faded into some lacing.

Aroma: Earthy, caramel, brown sugar, mollasses, some nutty undertones in the background.

Taste: Wow, this is complex. Roasted and dark chocolate malts with some hints of coffee at first. The earthy flavors come through in the middle and transition nicely to some roasted malts that linger throughout the finish, leaving hints of brown sugar and mollasses as well.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium body. The cabonation was a little weak though. Oh well, nothing's perfect.

Overall: The label proclaims the beer as an "imperial brown ale," I guess that works. It's got enough flavor to pass as an imperial stout, to be honest. Still, it makes an excellent brew with which to toast the founders of Jamestown. Highly recommended.

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Photo of oelergud
4.59/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque dark body with mahogany edges. The head is a large sturdy looking
tan float, the outer half is cramy and smooth while the center is an
uneven fluffy mess. Good retention and decent lace.
The smell seems to annouce that this is undeed a brown ale. Earth, molasses, abit of nut, dark bread, some brown sugar with just enough caramel and roughened spicy hops. As the beer warms it reveals a delicious chocolate character.
A sweet earthlike quality with plenty of dark malts and a note of peat smoke, all among bittering hops and an aftertaste of almost resin strong hops again with a rough character in an overall smooth flavor.
Full body and robust as the bottle admits. Good coating is present
and the finish is dry and sticky.
This is a very drinkable brew. I do not know the abv nor is it apparent in the scent or taste of the beer but it certainly has an effect. Alewerks appears to be one of our better local breweries in the same category as St. George and Blue & Gray.


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Photo of HugoGrim
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

While ordering lunch at The Cheese Shop (highly recommended) in Williamsburg, VA this beer caught my eye. Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a standard pint.

Dark brown almost black body with a burnt cream head.

Aroma is of sweet malts accented by light hops.

Smooth malt flavor backed by hints of baking chocolate, molasses, and dark fruits. Subtle hop profile shows itself in the finish.

Mouthfeel is smooth yet slightly acidic and oily.

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Photo of SwillBilly
4.12/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle commemorating the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Va. Spiel on the back of the bottle talking about the importance of beer in colonial times. Bottle says this is a brown ale but may be more robust than you typical brown, Williamsburg Alewerks calls this a contemporary Imperial Brown Ale. We'll see.

Appearance: Pours dark brown, bordering on black in color with a really nice off-white, foamy head that slowly fades to a sheer lacing topping the beer.

Smell: Big and malty with hints of raisin bread, caramel, and brown sugar. Has a very subtle hint of citrusy hops thrown in for good measure.

Taste: Starts with a malty bang, with plenty of molasses and brown sugar sweetness. The middle has a biscuity element that then moves the beer along to a finish that has hints of milk chocolate with a subtle roastiness. Ends dry in the mouth and slightly bitter has the hops make an appearance. The dryness in the finish definitely makes you want another sip.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a creamy texture, light carbonation.

Drinkability/Notes. A really nice brown ale from the folks at Williamsburg Alewerks. Nice and malty with a subtle roastiness. Bittering hops show up in the finish as a nice bitterness lingers on the tongue after the swallow. Nice and dry belying the full-bodied texture of the beer. Almost borders on a brown Porter but keeps enough of the brown ale qualities. Overall a very tasty beer and one I definitely wouldn't hesistate buying again. The folks at Williamsburg Alewerks are doing some really good things. Glad that I can get their beers locally. Seek and enjoy, highly recommended.

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"400" Ale from Alewerks Brewing Company
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 19 ratings