The Bruery

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English Old Ale
4.35 | pDev: 8.51%
The Bruery
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: Sucré is our sixth anniversary ale, loosely brewed in the English-style Old Ale tradition using our house Belgian yeast strain and then blended using the solera method.
Reviews: 72 | Ratings: 707 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by 1000lbgrizzly:
Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Milky deep brown with red tinges, a thin lasting tan head, no carbonation visible. Rare spots of lacing. Labeling is regal, clean, explanative; wax-sealed top is appreciated but some might see it as cheesy. The $31.99 price tag detracts from this otherwise fantastic image a bit.

S: Oak/wood, but closely balanced by malty sweetness, some caramel, touch of heated alcohol.

T: Caramel, wood, vanilla, malt, sweetness. The wood/alcohol combo provides some harshness, but it is mellowed by the warm malt and moderate-yet-conserved sweetness. Nothing is held back here, and great balance. One of the favorable flavors will stick on yur palate for a while; which, I don't know, but you will enjoy it.

M: FULL bodied and nicely thick, smooth, exacted carbonation, but slightly filmy, though that is to be expected. The fullness is appreciated.

O: Exceptional in every sense of the word (my ratings are on an elevated scale from 'normal' brews), but it still falls short of perfection. The concern is there, the full, balanced, wide array of flavors is there, but it is still somehow short of a true masterpiece. I do not regret at all the price, but it would take a momentous occasion for me to return to it in favor of other go-to's or a highly rated untasted. Value: good/great, Absolute rating: very high!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of LaneMeyer
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into my glass.

A - A nice murky brown, lot of carbonation, thick head.

S - Bourbon and raisin up front. Dates, black cherry, rye, vanilla, rubbing alcohol, moistened panties.

T - Oak infused black cherry juice, rum, ethanol, plum, prune, fire water, brown sugar, unicorn tears.

M - Feels good, no complaints.

O - This is an ass kicking beer. Starts out sweet and bold, leaves you wanting more. The 16.9% alcohol lets you know it's there by kicking you in the face.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml wax-dipped bottle poured into a Bruery tulip.
16.9% ABV

A - Sucré pours a muddy pond water brown color that's complete with a well-formed off-white head that surprisingly lasts quite a while considering it's alcohol content!

S - The Bruery's classic bourbon barrel aromatics waft from Sucré with potency, blending in vanilla notes with oak into the robust and malty old ale. Bourbon soaked raisins give the beer a dark fruit complexity before straight alcohol heat finishes out.

T - Molasses and maple syrup wash over the tongue with smoothness, paving the way for dark chocolate-covered raisins soaked in plenty of bourbon. Vanilla bean nuances pull forward from the charred oak barrel as the beer warms up even more; a delicious blend with the bready, malty old ale base.

M - Rich and thick, Sucré has a full body that borders throat coating and would be if it weren't for so much alcohol in this beer, it's almost thin finishing with dryness and a sizable alcohol bite; it's the balancing factor.

O - If it's a booze bomb you're looking for, then look no further. The Bruery's Sucré aged in bourbon barrels doesn't leave any bourbon notes to the imagination as this almost 17% beer drinks more like bourbon than beer. The old ale base is wonderfully malty, working nicely with the bourbon barrel aging but, no where near as nicely as it does in the port barrel, which I greatly prefer.

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Photo of SHODriver
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep brown topped by half a finger of light tan head that fades quickly to a small collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of dark fruits, caramel, oak, toffee, and vanilla
T: Taste is a little boozy with some caramel, dark fruits, vanilla, toffee, and oak. Swallow is caramel and vanilla with a little bit of tootsie rolls and oak.
M: Heavier side of medium on the palate with soft and slightly prickly carbonation that keeps things moving on the palate. This beer has a drying finish from the alcohol.
O: Simply phenomenal. This beer has great flavors and complexity. These just keep getting better too. Alcohol is there but it's very manageable and smooth for the ABV. I can't wait to see how this one develops in the bottle.

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Photo of pattycakes8401
4.9/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: Pours a deep muddy brown, nearly opaque, with a faint copper/amber tinge and less than a finger of fizzy buff-beige head. The head rapidly fizzles down into several thin splotches and a nice ring on the edges with small amounts of clumpy lacing. All of this slowly fades away over time if you allow the beer to sit.

Smell: Extremely potent and sweet — in fact, as I was cutting away the wax around the edges of the cap before opening the bottle, I could smell it from over a foot away. Tons of bourbon and sweet bourbon oak barrel, caramel, toffee, molasses, brown sugar, maple, and some vanilla up front, all of which is clustered together tightly and permeated with a sweet malty deliciousness; everything overlaps in a very specific way to produce a highly distinct aroma. This heavily pronounced bouquet melds neatly with a rich chocolatey undertone and suggests some sort of light, aerated milk chocolate. All of this is delicately intertwined with hints of cinnamon, raisins, dates, and probably a dozen other things I can't think of, and the whole thing is surrounded by spicy booze and oak. It also has a slightly musty and oxidized quality to it.

Basically, you could try over a million different beers in your lifetime and then come back to this one in 40 years with a blindfold, and you would immediately know which beer it is just by smelling it.

Taste: Nearly identical to the smell, with the bourbon barrel, caramel, toffee, maple, brown sugar, molasses, and vanilla all coming together beautifully alongside that sweet malty richness as well as the subtle addition of raisins, dates, and cinnamon. Once again, the overall sweetness is imbued with that same aerated milk chocolate quality. It's also quite boozy, but considering its ABV this beer does an excellent job of concealing the alcohol and is ultimately very manageable. The whole thing is succulent and rich and almost dessert-like but not at all overwhelming unless you drink it too fast. The spiciness of the booze, the rich malty sweetness, and the woodiness of the bourbon oak barrel all merge together flawlessly, while the slightly musty and oxidized characteristics complement this balance in an oddly satisfying way.

Feel: Seemingly smooth and gentle with a decadent dessert-like sweetness and small amounts of carbonation, yet full-bodied and thick and laminated with the peppery sting of spicy booze. The sweetness and spiciness work very well together with the mellow tingly carbonation conjoining the two, and at the end you are left with some heat in the throat and a sticky sweetness on the tongue. The light carbonation also reduces the weight of the thick, full-bodied richness and makes it easier to drink.

Overall: An outstanding beer, probably one of the best I've ever had. Pungent and sweet and rich and succulent with a super thick and malty presence, warm peppery booze, and underlying qualities of musty bourbon oak barrel with some mild oxidation ... it all works together in just the right way; this beer is extremely well-balanced all the way through. Some may find it overwhelmingly rich or sweet or boozy, but that's totally subjective because in my opinion, this beer is phenomenal.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

sucre is a very neat beer, but it really needs some time to mellow and develop. bois, last years edition, is drinking incredible right now, and blows this one away, but the comparison is not all the way fair. this is newer, stronger, and arguably much more complex, is going to have some transition period, and im okay waiting a year to drink another one of these. for now, its darker than bois, more red colored, and plenty yeasty, hazy, and heady. the nose on it reminds me of red apples, dry and crisp, not heavily sweet and butterscotch laden like the bois was. its more malt driven i think, huge, but thin in body comparatively speaking. i smell the bourbon barrel, but i taste wine barrel, with a thin tart tannic almost acidic finish, and definitely grapey in that way. layers or rich grain and fruit go back and forth, culminating in a hotly alcoholic finish that has the bourbon oak and what i identify as red wine barrel coming together, still with the apple flavor, and with quite a crescendo of carbonation for how strong and huge this thing is. lots of barrel, but different in smell than in taste. i suspect this will unify with time, and the alcohol will undoubtedly mellow. i like these beers, but they are monsters, and require a couple of good friends to imbibe. a pleasure to drink, although one third of a bottle was plenty for me. i look forward to seeing it mature over time, and to revisiting it one day down the road.

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Photo of RickS95
4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As thick and rich looking a beer as I've ever seen. It pours like flooding water, so brown, murky and mysterious. A thin head, kind of an orangey hued tan, lives up top but dies an early death with little retention, not hard to understand given the ABV of this beast.

My nose suggests I bit off more than I could chew as bourbon singes my nose hair. A bit of toffee and vanilla take up residence as well, but this smells of spirits and not beer. If you mixed a Barleywine and a shot or two of bourbon, this would be the result.

I'm scared to take the first sip, and trust me, this is a sipper. Nothing but malt early on, which gives me hope. Toffee and caramel eventually give way to bourbon as the monster crosses mid sip. At this point, it feels as if a match has been lit as the alcohol takes over along with whatever fiery hops were thrown in.

As soon as the beer is beyond the tongue and hits the throat, it's like an explosion of heat and fire. Probably hotter than Utopias. The burn coats the tongue and the pain just lingers til the next sip. That next sip brings cool to the equation but it's temporary as the beer eventually has to be swallowed which simply fan the flames from the previous sip. Before my plates disintegrated, I noticed sweetness up front, but that's just a memory at this point.

Overall, I can't recall a beer quite like this other than Utopias, which is barely a beer. I know I'll regret this in the morning when my throat is sore and flames are shooting out my rear, but for now, I kind of like the manly aggressiveness of this.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%

Once again riding the fine line of quality and "are you crazy", for their sixth anniversary Bruery brewers devise an strong old ale that would dwarf the common barleywine both in complexity and power. But its Belgianesque influence give unique textures and surprisingly balanced taste.

Decadence is realized with the very first wafts- bourbon-laced maple, brown sugar and toffee greet the nose and draws you in. Underneath, the dark russet brown hues cast deep garnets about the margins. The first sips deliver all that lush and succulent sweetness with hints of chocolate, almond and fruit.

Once the palate is awash with dessert-like sweetness, the ale opens up with an ester forward display: apple, cherry and grape link up with deeper fig, raisin and date for a bright yet mature dialogue in taste. A slight nod toward leather-like pungency is greeted with peppercorn, oak, dry coffee-like acidity and unmistakable bourbon caramel and vanilla.

Broken up by carbonation and sliced by high spicy booze, the malt sweetness begins to dissolve, making way for dry and powdery textures to impeded its lavishly full body. Oak spices, bourbon heat and a peppery finish keeps the body out of the barleywine spectrum and into something more subtle and complex- a job well done!

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Photo of MadScientist
4.66/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A hazy, glowing deep copper colored beer that lets little light though. The head is tan with orange highlights and long lasting, made of compact and slightly rocky foam. After it warms it's clear it becomes a bright clear beer, not that it should be served too cold to begin with.

There is a strong Bourbon barrel aroma just as you crack up the crown. A moderate candy sugar malt character and dark fruit along with a light orange aroma as well. It has a slight alcohol sweetness but not near enough to warn of the potent ABV that lies ahead.

Malt, Bourbon barrel oak and dark fruit dominate with a light sherry background. The balance is fairly sweet from a caramel and toffee like sweetness against a moderate hops bitterness. There isn't any hops flavor to really speak of here but there is a light little tart flavor. The finish is medium with an aftertaste of malty sweetness and dark fruit

This is a medium-full bodied beer with a moderate level of carbonation. It has a bit of weightiness on the palate.

An outstanding complex, barrel aged beer. So I had all the patients of a five year old and was rewarded with a delightful beer even it is a beer worth aging, it's also well worth enjoying now.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From 06/14/14 notes. Bought a bottle of this in the RS this year, alongside a bunch of the variants. 750ml bottle poured into my Bruery tulip.

a - Pours a deep mahogany brown color with a slight reddish tint, with one and a half to two fingers of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Looks very nice, like previous years.

s - Smells of caramel malts, bourbon, toffee, sweet dark fruits, oak, toasted malts, coconut, molasses, sugar, and bready malts. Tons of caramel and bourbon as expected, but not too sweet. Really nice nose, I love it. Very similar to the last 2 years, which I consider a good thing.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, bourbon, sweet dark fruity malts, toffee, raisins, oak, brown sugar, molasses, toasted malts, and alcohol. Taste is way sweeter than the nose, and sweet than the last two years' versions. Alcohol is pretty well hidden considering the ABV, just a bit too sweet to drink too much of and keeping it from being great.

m - Thick, full body and low to moderate carbonation. Light heat in the taste but not too bad all things considered. Very good mouthfeel IMO.

o - Overall I tend to like their anniversary beers a lot and consider this one very good, but I do not think it is as good as the last two years. I thought from Paprier to Coton and Cuir there was steady improvement, but I have found that I liked Fruet the bestm then Bois a little less, and now Sucre a little less again. I'm afraid they found the optimal blend at Fruet and now every year that blend is changing a little bit, making it a littl ebit worse each year. Again, this is a very good (but big) beer so it is not like this is a bad beer at all, but it is getting farther and farther away from the pinnacle of what Fruet was IMO. Still worth checking out if you like previous years' anniversary beers.

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Photo of Roguer
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Just quick notes:

Strong, sweet aroma, slightly musty and oxidized (not an old bottle). Notes of caramel.

Flavor is very, very strong. Bourbon and oak notes hit up front; tons of sweetness throughout, featuring brown sugar and caramel prominently, but also toffee, vanilla, and more bourbon; strong bourbon notes on the finish.

The dominant flavor profile after a while is brown sugar; it's got that lingering aftertaste you get from eating a spoonful of raw brown sugar.

Pretty hot beer; the alcohol is not well-hidden, nor should it be, at 16.9%.

The closest beer parallel I've had would be Sam Adams Utopias. While obviously not at that strength, and with far less spirits influence, the boozy sweetness comes through with a remarkably similar profile.


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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - The beer was a murky brown color with some bubbles clinging to the glass.

Smell - In the nose, I get an impression most reflective of booze and malts.

Taste - My initial impression is to note the booze and sweet malts. Further along come warm chocolate notes, tobacco, and sticky molasses. The aftertaste runs warm and perhaps a little sweet syrupy.

Mouthfeel - With low carbonation, this is downright sticky. The aftertaste is generously allowed to linger.

Overall - It is expensive, but you owe it to yourself to try one of these.

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Photo of miggs3030
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Beerbom
4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of bsuedekum
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of ahbithwabm
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of swanfungus
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of psumjl269
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%

This beer is an outstanding Old Ale/Barleywine. Lots of caramel/fig/raison in the flavor, very smooth sipping drink, and the alcohol is pretty well hidden. If you drink the full fifth, watch out, you will be devastated because that ABV is the real deal!

Overall, another outstanding offering from the Bruery. I have yet to have a bad beer from them. The only complaint is the high price point (~$30) and the fact that you have to commit to an entire fifth (because they don't brew any beers I know of in 12OZ bottles).

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Photo of jayhunter357
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of Teen-o
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of sunofneurot
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of dmhurdle
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of sdeese21
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of likemike
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of RyanTheLion13
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sucré from The Bruery
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 707 ratings