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Melange A Trois - Reserve Series Aged In French Oak Chardonnay Barrels | Nebraska Brewing Company

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104 Reviews
Melange A Trois - Reserve Series Aged In French Oak Chardonnay BarrelsMelange A Trois - Reserve Series Aged In French Oak Chardonnay Barrels

Brewed by:
Nebraska Brewing Company
Nebraska, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our first beer in the Reserve Series, Melange A Trois begins with a wonderfully big Strong Belgian-Style Blonde Ale and moves into the extraordinary category through an additional 6 month French Oak Chardonnay Wine Barrel maturation. The essense of Chardonnay permeates while a subtle sweetness remains from the Ale itself. Oak tannins combine to create a fascinating mesh of dry, sweet, and wine-like character. One of our favorites!

Added by RedHaze on 11-16-2008

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Reviews: 104 | Ratings: 381
Photo of stephens101
4.54/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This bright, yellow-gold brew is topped with a bountiful white head.

Piquant light, fruity notes float between a background of spice, grain, yeast and faint alcohol.

The taste is complex and redolent of ripened light fruits (pear, green apple, orange, lemon), a dose of spice, faint oak, and grain.

Well carbonated, medium-bodied and finishes dry with a noticeable chardonnay heat that quickly resigns itself to more lingering notes of fruit and a hint of diacetyl.

One of the most flavorful beers I've had in a while. And one that makes me want to go to Nebraska, a thought that has never really crossed my mind until now.

Road trip!

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

this is a huge beer, certainly all of the 10 percent abv its listed at, and can feel like a whole lot more in high doses. off blonde, more peach colored beer, with a ton of visible carbonation and just a bit of yeast floating about. tall white head slowly recedes. it smells like belgian yeast all the way, mildy spicy, extremely grassy, and with the acidity of the wine from the barrels its aged in. complex for sure, with notes of peppercorns and yellow corn on the front end, tough to nail down grain bill because of these unique flavors. then the yeast adds an orchard fruit element, maybe green pear, and a lot of carbonation keeps it light for how enormous it really is. a lot of beer in this bottle, with a fair bit of body too. this reminds me of something from ommegang or unibroue, a very authentic but also very creative take on belgian beer. some residual sugar, very fruity, in the finish, and one supremely interesting beer. everything ive had from nebraska brewing has been top notch, i had no idea such cool beer was coming out of there before these ones. close to 20 bucks a bottle in cost for this reserve series stuff, but its darn close to being worth it. these are one of a kind ales here.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Gouyasse tulip glass. Pours a hazy, medium golden amber with a beautiful three finger fine white head with great retention and lacing. Pleasant aroma of white wine, Belgian yeast and faint oak. Flavor is Belgian yeast, light grape, apple and pear juice; oak influence of vanilla and butter, slight tartness, Belgian and earthy spicing, absolutely delicious. Medium bodied with great creaminess. This is one of the best barrel aged Belgian ales I've had and possibly the only wine barrel aged ale that I totally loved. I'm a big fan of whiskey barrel aged ales, but wine barrel ales are often too tart and vinous for my taste. The Belgian ale base of Melange A Trois completely supported the flavors of the vinous oak, and incorporated them excellently. A totally enjoyable ale. This is the first time I've seriously contemplated moving to Nebraska. A fine production.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750ml brown bottle purchased from Belmont Station in Portland, OR. Brought back to Sydney and shared with Sam and Rich. At the time of drinking it was about 18 months on from when I bought it.

Pours a slightly hazed, but brilliantly golden colour, with a firm, solid head of pure white that stays slick and pleasant across the top of the glass. Carbonation is a little loose, detaching itself in erratic waves when the glass is tilted. Lacing forms languid strokes down the side of the glass. Overall, it looks very good.

Nose is great: bright, tight tartness with supple undertones of chardonnay and oak. Slight carbonic funk comes through, and there's a cleanness to the malt character: again suggesting deep white wine.

Taste is very clean and smooth. Moderated tartness permeates from front to the back, and there's never a spike of it meaning it meanders and hides amongst the other notes that come and go. There's a peach/stonefruit character on the front that is bright and pleasant, while on the back the oak is in fine fettle, giving a broad smooth finish. Some Belgian phenolics punctuate the very end, leaving a slight medicinal note. It's very good.

Feel is pretty smooth, but given a bit of life by the phenolics on the back and the slight acidity. Alcohol heat is nowhere to be found.

Overall, this is really cracking stuff. It's very complex, but blended into a delicate smoothness that belies its 10% ABV. This is a really exceptional beer.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to tulip.

A - Opaque cloudy bright orange colour with two fingers of bright white head.

S - Tartness up front with a big oak character present. Some lemon, Belgian yeast, spice and fruit esters are present as well.

T - Belgian yeast, toasted oak and a nice spice profile are dominant. A bready sweetness throughout with lighter apple and grape notes.

M - Medium body. Dry. Light carbonation.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle pour at the bottle share held at Chloe's inside Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a hazy yellow with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is slightly sour and tart with malt, grain, earth, wine, wood, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with wine and earthy wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and prickly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a nice wine barrel aged presence all around.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750mL bottle into a tulip. Bottle is dated 2010.

Appearance: medium golden hue with a very light haze and a strong effervescence. Head is two fingers of fizzy ivory foam. Attractive!

Smell: sweet, malty, grassy aroma with just a tiny hint of farmhouse funk. There's a hint of pear in there as well, along with a hint of chalkiness which I like. Great complexity, but with so much going on it lacks a little balance. Still quite nice.

Taste: very sweet right up front with a light hint of tartness and more of that funk. Grassiness is present and the alcohol, while not hot in character, is definitely felt in the throat as I swallow this brew. Mostly I like it, although again, it could have better balance between strength and character.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a great big carbonation and a massive, if somewhat ephemeral, mouthfeel. I like it a lot, although with a little more body this thing could be Brobdingnagian.

Overall: despite its imperfections, this beer just rubs me the right way. Good stuff!

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Photo of katan
4.39/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml into a goblet

A - Pours bright golden, effervescent. Lots of head, pearly white. Frothy, well retained.

S - Spicy at first, and then some citrus and fruity notes come in the background. Perhaps some apple must sneaking its way in.

T - Starts off smooth and sweet, light belgian malts. Mid-stream brings in the fruitiness, somewhat apple like. The grape from chardonay starts to appear, adding some more sweetness. Finishes lightly sweet, more of those fruity notes. THe aftertaste is more complex, some hints of those belgian yeast phenols and spices.

M - Full bodied, lighter on the carbonation end. Alcohol warmth is very present. Sticky in the finish.

O/D - A very well done beer. The chardonnay comes through just enough to add complexity. Its a big beer, very full flavored and full of alcohol.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A beautiful looking blonde ale. Clean golden/yellow, visible flow of high arbonation down the center of the glass, fluffy white head topping off at an even two fingers.
Smells of sweet malt, fruity: apples, pears, citrus bitterness of lemongrass, nice farmhouse smell.
The taste is harsh up front.. Like you're dipping your tongue into a glass of gasoline.. Yikes! As the beer warms up it develops a nice character. Definitely getting a white wine feel to this, though I don't drink enough wine to know the difference in styles. A sour/tart/bitter overall feel. A sweet malt backbone is present in the aftertaste. It's hard for me to like wine barrel aged beers since, like I already said, I don't drink/like wine. This is definitely a really good beer though. Pretty darn complex for a blonde ale, and well the abv doesn't do it any harm! A medium body, highly carbonated beer.. Very booze heavy and you definitely feel your chest warming up throughout the glass.

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Photo of Tone
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, gold color. 3/4 inch head of a white color. There is some suspended sediment. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of alcohol, wine, slight dry hop, hint of floral, and slight floral malt. Fits the style of a Belgian Strong Pale Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. The dryness level is not too strong, especially for a 'wine' beer. Tastes of sweet malt, slight floral, slight wine, hint of pale malt, alcohol, and a hint of citrus. Overall, great appearance, good aroma, body, and blend.

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Photo of John_M
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at TJ's, the day before their anniversary event.

The beer pours a bright, fairly dark gold color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is quite complex in this beer, as I pick up considerable citrus, light clove, honey, peach and of course, lots of vanilla and chardonnay. There's a light hint of sour as well, which I associate with the wine barrel aging. The flavor profile replicates the nose in this impressive beer, though it's nice that there's sufficient bitterness on the finish to buoy the tropical fruit and modest sweetness. The light sour wine flavor blends well with the bitterness, and completely dries this beer out on the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, with a long, lightly bitter, spicy finish. Alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile... there's really no sense of the 10% abv. on the palate.

An impressive beer, no doubt... I just wish it wasn't so expensive (as all Nebraska brewing beers seem to be... a tulip glass of this was $12 at TJ's!). In any event, I'm glad I had a chance to try this. (though I was more than a bit annoyed when I saw bombers of this beer at my local MofC, priced at a much more reasonable $13.99 a pop.)

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Photo of ehammond1
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011)

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Thanks for sharing this one with me, VaTechHopHead!

Clear golden with a large, creamy, persistent bone-white head that lasts and lasts, eventually leaving thick ribbons and lots of stick down the glass.

Chardonnay grapes and oak dominate the aroma, along with a touch of citrus, and bready sweetness.

The grape and oak barrel character is dominant in flavor as well, along with a hint of an acidic tartness, mild yeast, and sweet bread.

Medium bodied with high carbonation.

Very enjoyable and quite interesting.

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

Going into this one with high hops. For a fairly new (to bottling at least) brewery to charge $25-30 a bottle...we shall see. They better be Bruery-status in oder to pull this off! Pours a hazy, golden color with a large white head that goes down rather quickly. Scent is spicy at first...spicy Belgian yeast with some pronounced green apples and pear aromas. A little bit of french oak and chardonnay. A bit of lemon as well. Nice nose to this beer. Taste is just as nice, although...I was hoping this beer would be a little sour. Taste is mildly tart green apples and white grapes. A ton of crisp, Belgian yeast flavor...spicy as well. More spicy than I was anticipating, with a good amount of pepper and lemon zest. Some definite french oak and chardonnay flavors, but I would have liked to see more Chardonnay...something along the lines of a less sour Temptation. Finishes with some mild hop flavors and dry Belgian yeast. Mouthfeel is somewhat dry and medium bodied. There is a slight alcohol burn with the 10%ABV, but less than I was expecting. Overall, this is a very solid beer and I look forward to trying more that this brewery has to offer. Unfortunately, I may not take the risk if the price tags are this high. It took me 3 trips to Los Angeles and seeing this beer on shelves before I actually pulled the trigger.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – Served a hazy golden orange colored brew with a one finger white head. The head has a good level of retention giving way to a nice level of lacing.

Smell – The smell was big of lighter fruits and yeast ; with the fruit being of a sweeter orange, grape and pear nature. Mixed with these aromas were some lighter bready notes and an oaky and spicy aroma. Overall the aroma was quite pleasant.

Taste – The taste starts out with a good biscuit base with a good presence of a grapey wine like flavor. As the taste advances yeasty flavors come to the tongue with flavors of citrus and pear coming to the tongue, with the grape all the while grow stronger in nature. This sweeter fruit flavors reach a maximum more toward the middle of the taste, with it at the end declining a bit. The main reason for its decline was that other flavors of a spicy and oaky flavor start to come to the tongue. In the end a light boozy taste enter the profile and with the fruit, biscuit, oak and yeast flavors create a very pleasing taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer was on the crisper side with it being moderately creamy, but yet with a prickly carbonation level. Very appropriate for a style and nice for the fruit flavors of the brew; overall giving a dry and crisp mouthfeel.

Overall – A very nice Belgian style ale. It has fantastic transitions in the taste, with all being very smooth and pleasing. While it is quite tasty, for the price it is a bit over-rated. If you can get it at an affordable price (under 25 dollars for a bottle) then I say go for it, but if not then your much better off going for something more time true and affordable in a Belgian.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, no bottled-on date, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a very hazy, nearly opaque golden apricot color, topped with an inch of thick, white head, leaves tons of delicate lacing.

S- Pear, white grapes, a very light tartness that doesn't appear in the taste, and a decent amount of phenol and a bit of booze. Some vanilla comes out as it warms.

T- Smooth Belgian yeast, boozy phenols and a bit of spice. There's a nice fruitiness that consists of pears, lots of white grape and some apple. The barrel lends a subtle wood flavor as well as a more prominent vanilla.

M- On the full side of medium-bodied, smooth and creamy with a dry finish and a touch of alcohol warmth.

O- An interesting beer, very good use of the Chardonnay barrels, although it's still pretty drinkable at 10% ABV it's still a sipper, I picked this up at around $18, at which price I would say it's worth trying if you see it, although I've seen it on the shelf for a lot more in some places.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out as a lightly hazy golden color. It had a really nice looking fluffy white head on top. The retention was decent as well as the lacing. The smell was up oak with some citrus funk and a hint of malts. The taste of the beer was tart up front. The flavor was balanced though, it's moderately hoppy, tart and has just enough malt in there too. The mouthfeel is thin but not watered down. There is a crisp carbonation to the beer and very drinkable. Overall it's a very nice beer.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Darrell. Hooray beer!

The beer appearsa hazy golden yellow hue with a quarter inch of white head. The aroma offers citrus, wine barrels, white grapes, floral notes. The flavor brings grapes and white wine. The oak character is there, but light. Alcohol content is disguised very well. hard to believe this is 10% abv, other than just the slightest warming sensation in the finish. Overall, a really solid beer.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle shared thanks to durwoodx, thanks Darrell.

The beer pours a nice hazy pastel orange to near straw color, with nice big lacing and decent ring of head.

The smell has a great white grape vinous note right from the start, some sweet delicious dessert like smells as well. Apricot, peach, pineapple, great almost saison like malt bill with the yeasty farmhouse aromas. Has a nice composed balance to it, very nice.

The taste doesn't quite capture the magic balance of the smell, but still has a nice white wine flavor and yeasty malt. Some ethol alcohol tastes, and some pineapple and maybe coconut.

The feel is very carbonated, and a little boozy for me.

Overall not bad, but not great, especially with the price tag.

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Photo of biegaman
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Melange A Trois has a big, frothy capping characteristic of the style, the kind that to even attempt at sipping basically necessitates a snorkel. If you fell in you'd float. Despite retaining some glow, the beer looks as though it spent months in a barrel; the gold colour has lost entirely all its transparency and is no more clear than a rock.

A distinctive, complex yeast is the ballast for any Belgian-inspired strong golden ale, but this offering has so much more to it than that: the prevailing tartness of wild critters (whether a strain of wild yeast or bacteria from the barrel or both); the buttery, vanilla-cream sweetness and oak-wood must of Chardonnay barrels; the combination thereof the two which is as flattering as it is distinctive. Simply alluring.

The brewery doesn't specify a source for their Chardonnay barrels, but easy money says it's a California winery. This mouthfeel has enough butter that it could be spread over baguette. Think Napa or Paso Robles, and all the creamy (literally), big, oak-y, buttery (almost cream-soda) flavours you'd expect to find in those regions' flagship Chardonnays.

The flavour and aroma both are buffed up with steroidal oak and pure-fat butter. The more typical flavours of dried herbs, warmed white bread crust, vine-ripe hops still serve here as understudies, but the tastes of fleshy pineapple and stone fruit (white peach, nectarine) are in the spotlight. Spicy phenols hardly factor in given the musty, vanillin oak.

With robust flavours of apple and citrus, I'm sure this would make an ideal partner for seafood pasta, roasted chicken and all the cliche meal partners to consider, but I think it is best enjoyed on its own. Food would only take away from an already complex, layered ale. (Food afterwords, mind you, isn't such a bad plan given it's a 10%, 750ml bottle!)

I'd expect something like this from a Bay Area brewer - not because their proximity to the wineries, but because they have to struggle just to stay in the same place. Why a brewery in Nebraska of all places would challenge themselves with such an adventurous undertaking I'm not sure. What business they have in pulling it off so fantastically I've truly no idea.

I’m past the days where barrel-aged beers impress me simply because they’re barrel-aged. Sure, it's neat but so what? Doesn't mean it's good! Melange A Trois, however, is a truly memorable, ingenious, and exemplary offering that makes the case that barrel-aging beer can be an art form. The "melange", if you ask me, is a combination of innovation, complexity, and plain and simple carefree enjoyment. A shame to only do it once...

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Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The pour is a pale straw color with a soapy white head. Heavy on the lemon zest aromas with a touch of oak, coconut, and vanilla. The wine is there, too. Some sugar and fruit notes, though there is a bit of fake lemon character to the aroma, too. The flavor is a bit sweeter than expected, but nice. Sugar and bready malt to go with a fair amount of oak and barrel character. A subtle tartness and lemon peel flavor to it.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a cloudy light golden yellow in color with moderate amounts of yeast sediment in suspension. The beer has a half finger tall white head that reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of chardonnay and lighter amounts of sourness/funkiness. Very light hints of oak and vanilla.

T: There is a very light amount of pale malt body, sourness/funkiness, and yeast spices. There is a dominant presence of chardonnay and oak, almost buttery with lingering tannins.

M: Medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Extremely dry.

O: Very enjoyable and the brewer did a nice job of having the chardonnay and barrel complement and not overpower the flavors/aromas of the beer. A very nice sipping beer and one I would enjoy again.

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Photo of metter98
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is very hazy yellow in color and has a few yeast particles floating in suspension at the bottom of the glass. It poured with a half finger high bright white head that died down a bit but consistently left a thin head and lacing running down the sides of the glass.
S: There are aromas of chardonnay and oak from the barrel aging process.
T: Like the smell, the flavors of chardonnay wine are very apparent in the taste and particularly stand out and the tannins linger through the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very dry on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is packed with aromas and flavors of chardonnay but these don’t completely overpower the underlying beer. These really make the beer interesting to drink.

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Photo of yamar68
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pale honey gold with a milky, dense few fingers of head... perfect retention and healthy abundant beading.

The nose is pretty imposing - ripe figs, white grapes, soft woods, faint cherry, lilac, boozy honey, delicious.

Translates quite nicely onto the tongue. Big white grape notes, some vinegar-y booze that doesn't dominate, light fruits, floral bits. I can't even begin to dissect the flavors without considering the PERFECT mouthfeel. I can't stress this enough. All these flavors occupy the best consistency I've ever encountered in the style. It makes for such a lovely beer to drink.

Extremely well done.

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Photo of russpowell
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazed apricot with 3 fingers of cream colored head. Great head retention & average lacing

S: Pears with a bit of phenol, some breadyness & dirt too

T: Green apple skins, pears, chardonnay notes & dryness all over this up front, some lemon & grapefruit bitterness as well. Honey & white grape mix with pink grapefruit as this warms, also some very faint juicy fruit. More juicy fruit, tartness, & much grapefruit in the finish

MF: Medium bodied, slightly carbonated, becomes fairly fluffy as this warms, nice balance

Pretty tasty, not as good as the Hop God of the same ilk, but way better than most of the Chardonnay aged beers I've tried, goes down very easy

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Photo of rfgetz
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lovely and bright honey gold with light hazing, bubbly eggshell white head, lingering and lightly sticky. The beer quickly becomes all about the chardonnay aging as the dominant scent becomes a glass of heavy chardonnay - vinous with faint apple notes, base beer hidden behind the grape and oak, light spice and bready yeastyness. First few sips brought me back to some high end Napa chardonnay based sparkling wine, only slightly less vinous with more pronounced breadyness and light spice. Medium bodied, light oily heft despite bubbly carbonation, dry and tannic. Been waiting to sample for a while, just never comfortable with the price point, but well worth it in the end.

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Melange A Trois - Reserve Series Aged In French Oak Chardonnay Barrels from Nebraska Brewing Company
4.2 out of 5 based on 381 ratings.
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