6 Geese-A-Laying | The Bruery

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6 Geese-A-Laying6 Geese-A-Laying

Brewed by:
The Bruery
California, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
6 Geese-A-Laying is the 6th beer in our "12 Days of Christmas" series and is a return to the more classic dark and toasty winter ale, following the appropriately blonde 5 Golden Rings. Brewed with cape gooseberries, this malty ale displays notes of plums, dark cherry and bright, citrus-like flavors from the namesake berries. Delicious right now, but suitable for aging up to 6 years, upon the release of 12 Drummers Drumming.

Added by jvillefan on 10-13-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 68 | Ratings: 543
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, earth, dirt, spice, and dark fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with earthy grain and dirty, slightly tart fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earthy and spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the earthy and dirty aromas and flavors detract from the drinkability in my opinion.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

BOTTLE: 2013 vintage. 1 pint 9.4 fl oz. Brown glass. Branded pry-off crown cap.

11.5% ABV.

Served cold into stemware and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Reviewed live as a Belgian-style dark ale. Expectations are above average.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: About 1 inch wide. White colour. Average foaminess, frothiness, and thickness. Leaves uneven lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes. Retention is average - about 2 minutes.

BODY: Glowing deep auburn. Translucent but nontransparent. Ample brown yeast particulate is plainly visible within.

Appears well-carbonated. It's a nice looking Belgian dark ale, if a bit nontraditional.

AROMA: Candi sugar, plum, bright cherry skin, ample malty sweetness, some supple fruitskin, and maybe a bit of Belgian yeast. No prune or fig. Date juice is prominent. Lightly syrupy. Sweetness is right for the style.

Seemingly balanced and enjoyable. Aromatic intensity is above average.

No overt hops, yeast, alcohol, or off-notes are detectable.

TASTE: Prune/date juice dominates, with subsidiary notes of light plum and cherry skin. Not as supple as would be ideal. The yeast isn't as biscuity or raisin-y as would be ideal. The deep amber malts disappear beneath the sticky juice. Candi sugar is obvious throughout.

Balanced enough, but the depth of flavour is a bit lacking, and it's not as intricate as the best beers in the style. Still, complexity is adequate. Well put together for what it is.

No notes of aging are evident. I imagine this would taste the same fresh.

Flavour duration is above average. Flavour intensity is average.

Gooseberries? Citrus? Definitely not...and what the hell is a gooseberry anyway?

TEXTURE: Not as dry or coarse as it needs to be to satisfy (traditional) style conventions. Carbonation is near perfect. Full-bodied. Not too thick, syrupy, or viscous. Sticky, definitely.

Complements the taste well enough, but it doesn't elevate the beer as a whole. Its stickiness does accentuate the dominant prune/date juice. But this is one of the stickiest beers I've ever had...

OVERALL: Shockingly drinkable for its high ABV. It's a decent enough Belgian strong dark ale, but it's a far cry from the best beers in the style. The juiciness is interesting, albeit a bit geriatric. Aging has done this no wonders (even a scant 2 years). Another underwhelming-for-the-price but still enjoyable brew from The Bruery.

High C+

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 9/19/2013. Pours slightly hazy dark ruby red color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big caramel, toffee, molasses, raisin, plum, fig, red grape, orange zest, berries, cherry, toasted bread, light chocolate, clove, light pepper, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity/earthy yeast, and berry spice notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, toffee, molasses, raisin, plum, fig, red grape, orange zest, berries, cherry, toasted bread, light chocolate, clove, light pepper, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Fair amount of earthy yeast spice and light fruity tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, molasses, raisin, plum, fig, orange zest, berries, cherry, toasted bread, light chocolate, clove, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, balance, and robustness of dark/bready malt, fruity/earthy yeast, and berry spice flavors; with a great malt/yeast balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a smooth, fairly creamy, and lightly slick/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Belgian strong dark ale. All around great complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity/earthy yeast, and berry spice flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of oberon
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a tulip glass a hazy medium brown with a tinge of amber,a sticky one finger head atop,wasn't a fan of the hazed murkiness to the color.Aromas have a lactic kick to them from the gooseberries to go along with mild spiced phenols and lemony notes.Again some lactic-like notes imparted from the gooseberries on the palate along with some clove spice with a hint of barnyard in the finish but not real strong.Not a bad beer,lightly acidic and somewhat refreshing even for its size.

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Photo of jlindros
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Split with rudzud.

Pretty much no head, nice legs but no lacing or head, semi clear cherry maroon color.

Nose dark Belgian malts and dank candi sugar, little candy syrup, little jammy berry fruit like a boisonberry blueberry gooseberry candied blend, touch of cocoa nibs, and choc, not a ton.

Taste sweet syrupy mess, candy Sugar, syrupy candy and candy sugar, little Belgian malts dark malts, big booze, generic berry fruit, little toffee caramel, etc. Just a ton of sweet characters blending to a generic mess of sweetness, candy generic berry fruit.

Mouth is fuller bod but a syrupy mess, fair hot booze, decent but lighter carb, syrupy mess.

Overall a bit of a disappointment.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.96/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy medium reddish brown in color with moderate to heavy amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass along the edges of the glass and some amber + ruby red highlights. The beer has a half finger tall sudsy foamy dark beige head that reduces fairly quickly to a medium sized patch of thin film and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of gooseberries with slightly lighter aromas sweet dark malts with dark fruits (plum). Light amounts of tartness to the aroma and the distinctive Belgian yeast.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of sweet dark malts with moderate amounts of dark fruits (cherry, plum, fig, and raisin) and candi sugar. Light amounts of tartness from the There are light to moderate flavors of gooseberries along with strong flavors of the traditional Belgian yeast. Minimal amounts of bitterness are present and fade pretty quickly.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with slightly heavier than moderate amounts of carbonation. Very light amounts of prickliness on the tongue in the finish.

O: I found this beer to be quite delicious and a really nice holiday offering - I liked the addition of the gooseberries and the slight amount of tartness from the cherries. Definitely grab one of these if you see it.

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Photo of mactrail
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Okay, so they are "cape gooseberries" and not English type gooseberries. It's hard to say what flavor they add to this stuff, but it's tasty nonetheless. Deliciously sweet and fruity but with a dark tangy edge.

Malty and strong with alcohol. There's a candy-like flavor that is quite intriguing. Warm, roasted flavors with a hot blast of alcohol that is actually rather pleasant. Smooth with caramel and a touch of sugar and cream.

Thoroughly sippable dark amber brew in the small snifter. A tasty addition to the usual range of holiday ales. Maybe my favorite Bruery concoction as well. On tap at Local Habit in San Diego.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.1/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a hazy, medium amber-brown body, a bit murky, with a medium-sized, beige head.

Smell: Earthy, anise, with a strong scent of the added berries sprinkled with yeast. Thin sliver of smoke. Toasty, bready malts, a bit mild in aroma, when compared to the more potent aromatics. Pinch of allspice and a belt of booze.

Taste: Syrupy-soaked, toasty breadiness in the fore, but, right away, there's a burst of sourish, sharply tangy berries. Additionally, toffee and a shot of liquor. Orange zest. Lightly musty, yeasty. Spice, light vanilla, and varied-berry liqueur on the back-half with plenty of belly-warming alcohol driving into the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Overall: It's a tad hot. Don't go into this bottle alone, friends!

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Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 01/12/13 notes. Bought this in the RS in December, poured frm a 750ml bottle into my Bruery tulip.

a - Pours a dark brown color with a reddish tint, one finger of off white head and moderate carbonation evident. Head leaves quickly.

s - Smells of slightly tangy blackberries and dark fruits, spices, yeast, fruity malts, and earthy notes. A bit weird and tangy but ok.

t - Tastes of tangy dark berries, chocolate, sweet dark fruits, spice, pepper, yeast, roasted malts, and earthy notes. Like the nose but with chocolate mixed in. Not better or worse, just different.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation. No heat, pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall a weird beer; not necessarily bad, but not good and realy not sure what they were going for. Kind of feel like they knew the name was "6 Geese-A-Laying" for the next Christmas beer so just used gooseberries for that reason and it didn't work out that great. Had after 5GR and neither was great; think their Christmas beers have really gone down hill.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle shared by jayhawk73. Thanks Jeff!

The beer is dark brown with touches of garnet / crimson. The aroma brings Belgian yeast strains, toffee, ripe, dark fruits. Decent flavor with a nice subtle touch of berries. Alcohol content is right up front and strong. The beer is young and will benefit from some time in the cellar.

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Photo of stakem
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml into a matching Bruery snifter. The brew appears mahogany in color with a yellowish stained cap that retains decent for the strength. Nose is sweet caramel malt somewhat toasty with sugary qualities coming off like dates, raison, figs, etc with some booze warmth and slight herbal feel. The taste is strong with alcohol followed by dates, raison, prunes and plenty of caramelized sugar blending to an herbal aspect and alcohol just like the nose. Medium bodied, modest carbonation and overall not bad.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky dark amber/brown with a huge off white head that tries to escape from the bottle as soon as I pop the cork. Aromas of caramel and sweet brown sugar, tart berry, cherry and plum, rounded off by a hint of ethanol, and clove and earthy yeast phenols. Sweet sugary malt offset with tart berries, alcohol and cherries. Light spicy phenols and a touch of alcohol provide hints of balance. Medium to thick body with a moderate to high level of carbonation and a sweet syrup and bubbly mouthfeel. Wow that one is actually pretty damn good. I haven't enjoyed one of the Bruery's 12 days beers this much since 2 turtle doves. Nice balance of sweet and tart with just enough spice to remind you its Belgian inspired.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.96/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a dark ruddy orange with a half finger light tan head with excellent retention and lots of lacing. Aroma of sweet caramel malt, plums and cherries with a bit of darker dried fruit and Belgian yeast. Flavor is caramel malt, estery cherry, berry and plum; lightly tart, but still quite sweet. Belgian and holiday spices (cinnamon and clove). Medium bodied with pleasant active carbonation. An interesting and flavorful holiday ale. Rather on the sweet side, but balanced by a light tartness. Probably too sweet for anything except a holiday offering. I would like to see this in a small bottle to be enjoyed as an apertif. One of the better offerings from this series.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This beer pours a slightly turbid and hazy chestnut color. Large off tan head leaves a bit of lacing.

Smell is malty and sweet. Some hints of molasses and rich caramel. Not very "Belgian-y" contrary to what the label suggests. No big deal, nice aroma anyway

Flavor is muddled a bit. Nothing really stands out, and i would presume that this is a barleywine or some kind of old ale rather than anything Belgian style. Rich caramel with hints of molasses. A bit earthy. Some twang in the middle, probably from gooseberries. Flavor fades away on the end leaving a sweetness.
A solid beer, but for the price the overall goes down

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've always enjoyed these Christmas beers from the Bruery, and I've always been a bit surprised they don't receive slightly higher ratings. They are festive, fruity, and a bit sweet, perfect for the Holidays. This one is no exception, Belgian style with gooseberries this time, and you really do get the gooseberries- particularly at the finish, along with a nice dose of Christmas spices that complement the bright, tart/sweet gooseberries. Under all of that is a solid Belgian Ale that provides just the right yeasty and fruity (from the beer itself this time) notes as well as a bit of a bite. Still, quite smooth, despite the abv. I enjoyed it.

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Photo of Zorro
3.36/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Chill hazed brown colored ale with a small brown colored head. Guess the alcohol level is retarding the formation of much head. Held up to the light I can see how this could be described as a red colored ale.

Smells strongly of malt with some fruity scents of cherry and cranberry with a slight sour scent like lemon. Scent of brown sugar and date sugars. Trace of cinnamon and fainter clove scent.

Starts out mildly sweet with a slight musty flavor. Flavors are not as intense as expected, faint fruity flavor most cherry and berry. Mild bitterness. Frankly this could be more flavorful.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall something of a disappointment. I expected stronger flavors from the ale.

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Photo of rudzud
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Split with JLindros.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a dark deep chestnut hue with a thin halo that faded to leave light lacing and wisps.

S - Aromas of Belgian sweet malts and esters, dark candy sugar, not much tartness but a genetic berry fruit. Light chocolate. Solid nose, interesting.

T - Taste is esters, dark sugars, booze, light chocolate, booze, slight metallic twinge, genetic fruitiness not tart but fruit, lightly syrupy sweet malts.

M - Mouthfeel is a syrupy mess, heavy, boozy.

O - Overall the nose was fun but everything else is a mess, heavy, syrup, meh.

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Photo of corby112
3.09/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pours a dark golden copper color with ruby red/purplish-plum hues and a half finger off-white head that quickly settles into a thin, lasting ring. Sporadic spotty lacing left behind. Nice color but not much head retention/lacing.

Slightly tart, vinous dark fruit aroma with subtle peppery spice, silky chocolate malt and boozy sweetness. Hints of pepper, clove and candi sugar along with tart fruit, plum, raisin and fig. I'm not really familiar with gooseberries but I'm assuming they are giving off the tart sweetness that compliments the other ester-y dark berry notes. The fruit and spice aromas are followed by silky chocolate malt sweetness and subtle roast. I'm picking up some cocoa, caramel, toast and cola. Nothing too out of the ordinary but the aroma is decent with a nice touch of tart fruit incorporated into the classic elements of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

On the lighter end of medium body with tight carbonation and a blast of sweet boozy heat that overpowers the others flavors with somewhat overwhelming fuesel alcohol. Some peppery spice and slightly tart fruit integrated into light malt sweetness and vinous dark fruit flavors. Some pepper, clove and ginger followed by strong alcohol heat, tart berries, plum, raisin and currant. Finishes with light malt sweetness giving off hints of caramel, milk chocolate, lactose, burnt toast and ash. The tart fruit presence isn't as strong as in the nose and the spice and alcohol flavors are too prominent for my preference. After a while my palate adjusts to the alcohol and heavy spices, letting some Belgian candi sugar and vinous fruit sweetness come through. The high ABV is not well masked at all but the tart fruit, sweet ester notes and chocolate maltiness make this beer easy to drink than I expected. Not terrible like some of the other beers in this series but the carbonation is off, the spices are too strong and there is overwhelming boozy heat.

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Photo of Immortale25
3.96/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a New Belgium goblet. Bottleneck says 11/13/13.

A- Pours a light reddish brown color with a 1/2 inch light tan head that retains a bit before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a large center patch of surface foam. Non-resilient lacing leaves a jagged ring behind.

S- Spicy, somewhat boozy Belgian yeast aroma with lots of candi sugar, raisin and a bit of a glassy smell.

T- Pretty straightforward for a dark Belgian with some toasty malt flowing along with the yeast and spices. Definitely on the sweeter side which I attribute to the gooseberries and the alcohol is nicely hidden.

M- Also standard for a BSDA but it's a bit syrupy. Medium carbonation and a body leaning toward thew fuller side.

O- Fairly well done. I'm interested to see how age treats this one since I have another bottle I'm sitting on until next Christmas.

Edit: Better after a year's aging as there's a sour funk that developed in the bottle and has all but replaced the Belgian candi sugar sweetness.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11/13/13 bottling date. 750ml bottle . teku glass.

murky brown pour, big head. smell is candied sugar and yeasty...interesting...taste is extremely sweet at first...but as you drink it you start to like it more. plums and figs on the back end, medium bodied, mild carbonation...

overall didn't love it at first but it grew on me. not bad

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 ml bottle, 11/13/13 etched on the bottle so I'll assume that's the bottled on date. Served in a DFH Signature glass, the beer pours a reddish/copper color with about a half inch light tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like dark fruit (plums, berries), peppery spice, cloves, and some toffee. It tastes like dark fruit (plums, cherries), clove, peppery spice, caramel, tart berries and a sweet spiciness. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit coating and is well carbonated. I thought this was a good brew, definitely worth a try. $10.99 a bottle.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.94/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle opened on 12.25.13

A - Pours a medium to light brown with a huge, very light tan head that fades slowly.

S - Holiday spices and fruity sweet.

T -Dull spices with a fruity, cranberry - almost fruit cake like.

D - Good carbonation with a medium body.

O - Nice spices - Gooseberry is fruity without being overly sweet. Solid, but can it hold up for six more years.

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Photo of drpimento
3.46/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pretty good stuff, tho my bottle seemed a tad under carbonated. Poured it on the cold side with a smallish tan head that soon settled and no lace. Color is a somewhat hazy brown amber. Aroma is malt, fruit, citrus, orange pith. Flavor's like nose,while not much carbonic tang, the gooseberries' acid helps mitigate the heavy sweetness. Also present are malt, caramel. Body would've been great if better co2. Finish is like flavor, of average length, with strong alcohol warmth.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

bottle picked up locally cause i'm a sucker for this series and at this point, why start skipping them? enjoyed from a 5 oz brewery taster...stemless snifter glass.

a - a semi transparent mahogany brown with a thin bubbly head that bubbles away no real lace to speak of.

s - nose is sweet. dark berry and just sweetness. smells like a lot of the american takes on a BSDA...missing the lush creaminess of the classics.

t - definitely sweet...as the nose suggested. hints of brown sugar behind some dark fruit and berry.

m - extraordinarily thin. lacking the creaminess and body that a good BSDA needs.

o - overall, the bruery makes some amazing beers, and they also make lots of meh beers...because they make SO many different beers. there hasn't really been a superstar yet in this series and it makes sense since these are all one offs. i doubt time will do magic on this one, hopefully tame down the sweetness....all in all for some dumb reason i feel the need to try all of these and the BA versions (some of those are pretty solid) and every time i consider stopping and then just go for the tick. oh well, if you aren't ticking or collecting the set, i'd pass on this beer. not a drain pour...but that's about all i can say about it.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with Christmas dinner with my in-laws. Pours a murky light brownish or amber color with a creamy off white head. Aroma of sweet sugars, yeast, light spice, big caramel malts. Flavor follows with a big punch of sweet malts and Belgian sugars, the spice then comes in and the finish lingers with a very light tartness, I assume from the gooseberries. Pretty thick mouthfeel, adequate plus carbonation, a hint of booze in there that is nicely warming. I thought this was a success with a nice balance of sweet, tart, and spices. Perfect for a Christmas beer and exactly what they were going for with this one. Only complaint was that it was on the boozy side after warming just a little.

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6 Geese-A-Laying from The Bruery
3.79 out of 5 based on 543 ratings.
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