Looping Owl
Right Brain Brewery

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Red Ale - Imperial
Ranked #100
Ranked #38,861
3.68 | pDev: 14.13%
Right Brain Brewery
Michigan, United States
Very Good
Notes: Our N. Hawk Owl Amber Ale laid down on a Grand Travese Distilary bourbon
Reviews: 8 | Ratings: 67 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Tripel_Threat from Michigan

4.14/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at the pub. Glowing brown in color with a couple fingers of off white head. Beautiful amber ale base, lots of malty, nutty characteristics enhanced by whiskey barrel. Notes of oak, whiskey, apples, pears, some spice, and vanilla create an extremely rounded ale with incredible smoothness.

Jul 26, 2016
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leprechaunandfatman from Ohio

4.34/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A very interesting and different beer. But the sweet fruitiness mixing with a strong malt note and a hint of wood/bourbon makes it a very pleasant kind of different.

Jun 14, 2015
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StaveHooks from Oklahoma

3.57/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Growler from the brewery served in a pint glass
Review from notes:

A - Hazy light brown with big bubbled head. Low retention with minimal lacing.

S - Sweet woody malts, sugary fruit, apples, caramel, muddled whiskey aroma.

T - Starts off with sweet caramel malts, slightly toasted, very fruity, mainly apples, woody tannins, there's earthy/spicy bitterness but it's hard to detect the source. There's notes of mild earthy hops underneath the rounded nutty malts. Finishes semi-dry with notes of fruit and toasted wood.

M - Medium weight with active carbonation that mellows out as it sits. Woody tannins are left on the aftertaste.

Interesting brew. The malts and fruit combined with the wood create a complex mix of flavors that seem uncommon.

Jan 19, 2014
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WoodBrew from Ohio

3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow...this is a good beer. Bro-in-law brought it to the 4th of July soiree. The beer poured a amberish-brown with thin slightly offwhite head that is not lacing. The smell has hints of whiskey/bourbon. The taste is a beautiful balanced beer with a not so overpowering flare of whiskey. The mouthfeel is medium in body with subtle carbonation. Overall this is a solid beer.

Jul 05, 2013
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StoutHunter from Michigan

3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I picked up a bottle of Right Brain's Looping Owl a couple weeks ago for $8.29 at The Lager Mill. I've been wanting to try this beer for a while, but when I was last at the brewery they didn't have it, but I did get to try the base beer Northern Hawk Owl and I thought it was a nice Amber Ale, and I also tried Dead Owl which is the sour Barrel aged version, I wasn't a biggest fan of that one, so I hope this one turn out better, so lets see how it goes. Aged in Bourbon barrels from the Grand Traverse Distillery. No bottling date like their IPA had, it's a late spring 2013 Vintage. Poured from a brown 22oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks ok, it's not the most eye catching but it doesn't look bad and it goes with the name. It poured a very hazy mahogany color that took on a ruby/amber hue when held to the light with two and a half fingers worth of light tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and left some decent lacing behind. This a good looking beer, the color and head were both pretty good.

S- The aroma starts off with a slightly higher amount of sweetness followed by a pretty big woody aroma, I get lots of oak with some vanilla in the background along with some caramel and pretty toffee like aromas. Up next comes some malts which impart some bready and grainy flavors with brown bread coming through nicely with just a slight bit of molasses in the background, and towards the end comes a whiskey aroma that reminds me of some Canadian Whiskey . The aroma was pretty nice, the barrel was the main attraction with some Amber Ale aromas in the background.

T- The taste seems to be very similar to the aroma and it starts off with a medium amount of sweetness followed by lot's of woody flavors, oak seems to show up the most but there's also some nice woody vanilla flavors in the background that are followed by some whiskey flavors that make me think of Canadian Whiskey. Up next comes the malts that impart bready caramel and toffee malt flavors that blends nicely with the barrel flavors. On the finish there's a lower amount of bitterness with a very whiskey like after taste along with some caramel malts oak flavors. This was a nice tasting beer, it had some nice complexity to it without the barrel completely taking over.

M- Fairly smooth, well hidden Alcohol, a little creamy, medium bodied with a higher amount of medium carbonation that was slightly prickly. The mouthfeel was nice but I think the carbonation should be toned down a little.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and a nice example of the style, the whiskey barrels really showed up, almost too much so, but right at that point the Amber Ale base comes through and that helps bring a little bit of balance to this beer and the flavors seems to go together nicely. This beer had nice drinkability, it was fairly smooth, not overly boozy and the flavor did a nice job at holding my attention, I could probably drink a bomber to myself but I think it's best to split this one, I think the heavy whisky flavors might start to wear on me after awhile, I think it would make a nice campfire beer. What I liked the most about this beer was how unique it was, there's lots of Bourbon Barrel aged beers, so I like the fact that they went a different route and used whiskey barrels from their local distillery, and I think the whiskey flavors go nice with the Amber Ale Base, the appearance was also pretty good. What I liked the least about this beer was the mouthfeel, it wasn't bad, but i wish the carbonation was toned down a little. I would buy this beer again when looking for a Barrel Aged beer that isn't high gravity, it's a little pricey but I think it's pretty worth it, I would recommend this beer to anyone who likes barrel aged beers. All in all I enjoyed this beer, it didn't taste too similar to most of the other barrel aged beers and that mainly has to do with choice of barrels, but I think that the base beer also had something to do with it. Nice work guys, I really like being able to pick up these beers without having to make a trip to the brewery and so far this is my favorite variation of Northern Hawk Owl and one of the better Right Brain brews I have had, keep up the good work guys.

Jun 26, 2013
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superspak from Ohio

3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into pint glass, no bottle dating. Pours lightly hazy orange copper color with a 1 finger dense cream colored head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing lacing clings down the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of caramel, apple, cherry, toast, toffee, clove, pepper, oak, bourbon, light vanilla, floral, grass, and toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of malt, fruitiness, and barrel presence; with solid strength. Smells moderately like an oak aged sour here, but it’s not offensive. Taste of caramel, toast, toffee, cherry, apple, oak, clove, floral, light bourbon, grass, pepper, and floral earthiness. Light earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, light fruits, clove, oak, pepper, light whiskey, and earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Good balance and complexity of malt and fruitiness; with moderate barrel presence and no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and smooth mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with no warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a nice and unique amber ale. Good balance and complexity of malt and fruity flavors, with moderate barrel presence; and very smooth to drink. A pleasantly enjoyable offering.

Jun 10, 2013
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hackmann from Michigan

3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

This ale is aged in Whisky barrels from the Grand Traverse Distillery. I have had a few of their beverages; Rye, Straight Rye and Bourbon Whiskey. I’ll have to get the Bourbon Whiskey out and have a few sips during this review.

I purchased a variety four pack of 22 oz bottles for 45 buck at the brewery. That is a bit pricey but they are just starting to bottle their beers.

Appearance: rich amber body with a very little fizzy head and no lacing. Refilled the glass with an aggressive pour and got a light beige ¼ inch head.

Aroma: a very faint malty bready nose, I am waiting for the whiskey or oak … half way thru the bottle and still waiting for the whiskey or oak.

Flavors: this is nice; lightly toasted grains, toasted sweet bread, touch of sweet whisky, soft herbal/grassy hop note, I’m thinking of a light pecan note – interesting because I am waiting for a strong oaky note, the light oak is more on the finish and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: very light fizzy carbonation, smooth, light toasted notes on the taste and aftertaste.

To the Point: on my first sip I said, ‘this is nice’ and I’ll have to stay with that; this ale does not have that wow factor but it is very nice and enjoyable to drink. I bought two bottles of this ale and I am glad I did.

Just poured the Grand Traverse Whiskey and it smells like Whiskey – sweet corn Whiskey. I wish the ale picked up some of the Whiskey aroma.

Mar 17, 2013
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jlindros from Massachusetts

3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Keg @ EBF.
Never had any beers from this brewery before so this should be interesting.

Light fizzy head, slight haze golden orange almost amber color.

Nose is fairly light, hint of malt, hint grassy hops, light fruit and a bit of woody esters with maybe a whisky aroma?, and juicy reddish malts.

Taste starts with fruity esters and a bit of barrel flavors, light yeasty flavors, bit of bitter earthy grassy hops, juicy toasty reddish malty flavors and hint sweetness. Finish is drier, a bit quick, with more toasty malts, and touch of whisky finally coming through later.

Mouth is med bodied, decent carb.

Overall a lighter beer esp for a barrel aged one, decent malts, very little whisky overall, but at least the hops are able to still cut through.

Feb 13, 2012
Looping Owl from Right Brain Brewery
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 67 ratings