Mélange No. 15
The Bruery

Mélange No. 15Mélange No. 15
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Strong Ale - American
Ranked #58
Ranked #7,442
4.07 | pDev: 18.67%
The Bruery
California, United States
Very Good
Mélange No. 15Mélange No. 15
Notes: Inspired by rocky road; brewed with walnuts, cacao nibs from TCHO and vanilla into rich, bourbon barrel-aged barleywine and old ale to mimic the flavors of the rich, nutty dessert. Lactose was added to impart a marshmallow character and an extra creamy mouthfeel.
Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 86 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser from Georgia

4.41/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: dark ruby/copper, plush off white head on the pour.
Smell: obtained a few bottles. 1st was infected. 2nd was wonderful. Chocolate, vanilla, nutty, richness. 5 years in, mellow as hell.
Taste: like the nose. Fantastic.

Mar 31, 2021
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

2.43/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

About to get all pastry old ale up in this.

Pours a brown color, looks kind of thin. Smells like chocolate chip cookies, in bourbon. Smells like that possibly short evil girl who likes decadent shit with a red wine note to it.

Taste oh no, I thought it would start to separate that stuff into more discreet feels like marshmallow and walnut compliment the chocolate bourbon cookie note. Unfortunately, it set a record for the strongest unintentionally soured beer I've ever had. Thinned out body and a bunch of cranberry and chocolate sensations. Ugh. What a bummer. A little bit impressed that an infection could survive in this high alcohol environment. Shit I dunno if I even got my money back for this one. Drank what we could, in November 2017.

Aug 24, 2020
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superspak from Ohio

3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 7/19/2016. This was infected as noted in other reviews, but not too bad. Pours a hazy dark ruby red/brown color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense and fluffy light khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, maple syrup, toffee, vanilla, cream, cocoa, walnuts, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, biscuit, and brown bread/crust; with lighter notes of raisin, plum, prune, fig, cherry, date, apricot, red/green apple, red grape/wine, leathery/musty/lacto funk, hay, straw, grass, peppercorn, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, cocoa, walnuts, vanilla, lactose, bourbon barrels, and light-moderate fruity/funky/acidic/spicy yeast notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, maple syrup, toffee, vanilla, cream, cocoa, walnuts, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, biscuit, and brown bread/crust; with lighter notes of raisin, plum, prune, fig, cherry, date, apricot, red/green apple, red grape/wine, leathery/musty/lacto funk, hay, straw, grass, peppercorn, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate fruity/lactic tart/sourness; and Brett, bourbon, oak tannin spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, maple syrup, toffee, vanilla, cream, cocoa, walnuts, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, biscuit, brown bread/crust, dark fruit, cherry, apricot, red/green apple, red grape/wine, leathery/musty/lacto funk, hay, straw, grass, peppercorn, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, cocoa, walnuts, vanilla, lactose, bourbon barrels, and light-moderate fruity/funky/acidic/spicy yeast flavors; with a nice malt/tart/sourness, and yeast/oak tannin spiciness balance. Light-moderate increasing dryness from lingering tart/sourness and bourbon/oak spiciness. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a smooth, creamy/silky/bready, and acidic/tangy/tannic balanced mouthfeel that is good. Mild puckering sourness and tannic astringency through the glass, but not overwhelming. Mild increasing warmth of 14.8%, with minimal lingering barrel booze after the finish. Overall this is a very nice barrel aged infected strong ale for being infected. All around nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, cocoa, walnuts, vanilla, lactose, bourbon barrels, and light-moderate fruity/funky/acidic/spicy yeast flavors; smooth and easy to sip on slowly for the huge ABV, with the modestely acidic/tangy/tannic/drying finish; not overly lactic. From an imperial dark sour standpoint this was really enjoyable. The initial strong ale malt/barrel character is noticed in the nose and the front of the palate; but the Brett and Lacto take over immediately and clean the sweetness on the finish. Got better as it warmed.

May 06, 2019
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nickfl from Florida

3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is over the top infected, real good and sour. Everyone else I had it with hated it, I actually didn't mind it, but it would clearly work a lot better if it wasn't sour.

Jun 29, 2017
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4


A- pours a clear deep ruby-brown color with a small fizzy off-white head that has short retention

S- big marshmallow aroma up front with lots of sweet vanilla. Sweet caramel and toffee mix with bourbon barrel and plenty of booze

T- sweet caramel and tobacco up front give way to creamy marshmallow and vanilla sweetness. Mid-palate gives plenty of bourbon barrel, the finish gives more caramel and a linger of toasted nuts

M- medium viscous body with low carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel and a long boozy linger

O- pretty good blend with a noticeable walnut presence

May 27, 2017
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crob3888 from California

4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At nearly 15% alcohol it is incredible that I get no alcohol heat here. And the pour almost seems thin when you're expecting motor oil; but the mouthfeel is impeccable. The aromas and flavors are too: walnuts, bourbon, oak, vanilla, some coffee, and good amounts of dark fruit flavors come through as well.

May 20, 2017
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dannyhipps from California

1/5  rDev -75.4%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Infected beyond belief... picked this up to share with my wonderful wife on our 20th anniversary... she's always loved walnuts, and hey, Rocky Road ice cream cuz we're old school like that...

on the bright side, I'm enjoying the aftertaste of battery acid with hints of rancid cherry yogurt showing through... yay.

May 18, 2017
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SomethingClever from Ohio

3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750 ml bottle poured into snifter

A: good clarity, caramel body very little head as you pour light off white khaki.

S: lots of sweet bourbon, toffee, vanilla, caramel. Vanilla is fairly prominent.

T: lots of chocolate, vanilla, toffee, caramel very sweet a little alcohol heat too.

M: medium bodied to slightly watery a little more carbonation than I expected.

O: this beer is sweet it's boozy and it's not bad, really wish I had shared it with someone. I'm surprised how much chocolate comes out in the front I'm wondering if I'm mistaking some of the chocolate for some of the walnuts because the finish is definitely walnuty.

Apr 30, 2017
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nataku00 from California

1.97/5  rDev -51.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured a hazy ruddy brown with a finger of quickly dissipating tan head.

Aroma: Tart cherries and vinegar? Hmm, not in description

Taste: Definitely infected, just sour and not in a pleasant way. Some of the vanilla and cacao still in finish, but the taste is just all apple cider vinegar.

Really disappointed in this infected beer. Description sounded interesting, but the tastes and aroma was all infection.

Apr 02, 2017
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rspauldi from Texas

1.54/5  rDev -62.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

It appears like Infection is setting in on this beer. The tart cherry flavor was really off putting. I didn't get any aroma or flavor of walnuts. Took a few drinks and poured the rest down the drain.

Mar 15, 2017
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SpeedwayJim from New York

1.75/5  rDev -57%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

750ml foiled and capped bottle into a Surly teku.

When a beer is this bad, it doesn't deserve a proper review. The light sourness/tartness that previous reviewers were alluding to has developed into a full blown infection at this point. There some walnut aromas present but make no mistake, this beer is ashy with hints of white and dark vinegar. The high ABV mixed with the tartness just makes things worse. Body is much lighter than it should be for the style and way too carbonated.

I've always forgiven the Bruery for their sours because their stouts, barleywines and old ales have been top-of-the-line. However, when you start to make infection mistakes with your bread and butter style and still selling to to the consumer at $30 plus/per bottle then its over. What a disgraceful showing.

Feb 24, 2017
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ThickNStout from Georgia

3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Gold foil capped 750mL bottle acquired through The Bruery's Society. Bottled 7/19/16. Served in a Bruery snifter.

Pours an opaque, deep red with about two and a half fingers of manilla head. Splotchy surface, full collar, a few dashes of lace.

Sweet aromas of vanilla, toasted nuts, bourbon, a mild, creeping sour funk, lactose and some cooked sugar. Not a fan of that semi sour element but even with that going on in the background this smells excellent.

A hearty smack of booze is initially apparent in the flavor and reminders of that substantial abv crop up throughout. Bourbon-soaked walnuts, cocoa, caramel, milk sugar, slightly funky wet wood, vanilla and some of that familiar Bruery house yeast in the background. As in the nose I may not like the subtle signals of possible infection but this is still damned tasty.

Full, almost sticky feel with light carbonation. The aftertaste is like bourbon-doused rocky road with just a mild oaken funk.

I always appreciate The Bruery's commitment to a theme. This rocky road Melange is some solid work. I detect a subtle creeping funk but this was still a mighty enjoyable brew. I will be drinking my other bottles in short order rather than cellaring them.

Feb 01, 2017
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Beersnake1 from California

3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from fridge temp to Bruery snifter. Pours a golden brown with good carbonation. Smell is vanilla and cocoa, with a hint of sourness (hope this isn't bad). Taste is interesting, for sure. I'm picking up the lactose and the walnuts, but I'm not getting much bourbon. I think it's a bit sour and perhaps on its way out, which is a bit disappointing. Mouthfeel is quite nice, although perhaps a bit thin.

Jan 15, 2017
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SHODriver from North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep brown topped by a finger and a half of dense light tan head that fades to a small collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of bourbon barrels with notes of caramel, vanilla and oak. There's also some definite walnut on the nose as well as a little chocolate and some marshmallow notes
T: Taste is caramel, chocolate and vanilla up front with some walnuts and lactose sweetness. Oak comes in at times as well but this one tastes like rocky road. Very chocolatey with the other flavors providing some nice balance. Swallow is more oak, chocolate, caramel and vanilla with some lingering walnut flavors. The nuts and oak give the finish a little astringency.
M: This beer is big and smooth on the palate with soft but adequate carbonation. The ABV makes this one finish on the dry side.
O: Overall this beer is really good. It has great flavors and complexity. It definitely hit what they were shooting for flavor wise. Very interesting in a beer and one to try if you like things that color outside of the lines.

Dec 18, 2016
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MeanMotaScootah from California

4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very deep copper. No head and very little carbonation (if any). Aroma is very bourbonish, hot alcohol with sweet notes. Taste is a mix between straight bourbon and hot chocolate (without milk.) A very interesting ale to say the least. Definitely a sipper.

Dec 17, 2016
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stakem from Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle into a cervoise appears an amber to brown color with a khaki colored head.

Aroma is sweet with vanilla, chocolate and slight nuttiness. Some bourbon-like qualities.

Taste is milky sweet with vanilla, almost tastes like a white russian made with almond/soy milk. Slight nutty character mixed with a faint hint of chocolate and lingering alcohol warmth.

This is medium bodied and modestly carbonated. A unique and enjoyable tasting sipper.

Nov 02, 2016
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Wolberjs from California

4.54/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into a glass.

Dark dark amber Brown with a head after the pour that dissipates. Smells like vanilla, walnuts, chocolate, and milky lactose with a hint of bourbon. All the added ingredients are really distinctly there and meld together into a fantastic nose. The taste upfront is sweet with then the walnuts, bourbon, and vanilla come through on the swallow and the finish. Very nice but not quite as balanced as the nose. Nice smooth effervescent mouthfeel. Top notch flavored ale. The bruery has had some misses on trying to make beers that tastes like something else (l'dera cola, Robles blanco, etc.) but they nailed this one. It's sweet and candies but that's what they were shooting for.

Oct 19, 2016
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Gregaroo from Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

10-6-16 - From the Bruery Taproom. Full 5oz. pour into a tulip. Clear straw ruby color. Slight head. Great aroma and dry flavors. Slight Hints of coffee and cocoa. So good.

Oct 07, 2016
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Hop_God from California

4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: clear ruby. Red wine. Taupe thin head.

S: booze. Bourbon. Vanilla. Candied walnuts. Sweet dark fruit. Dates. Vanilla ice cream with toppings

T: fucking fantastic. Everything in the nose. Vanilla. Sweet candied dark fruit. Marshmallow. The nuts come through. Booze. It's sweet but awesome.

F: so soft and creamy. Not overly boozy. It's a bit on the cloying side though but I can deal with it since it lends itself to that example.

O: I really like this a lot def sweet but for what they wAnted to make and what it delivers is quite good.

Oct 05, 2016
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pkalix from California

4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

been wanting to pop this one for awhile.... red chestnut (as noted earlier) with a very creamy skim of bone-white on top. licked the top and got a lot of salt. aroma is magical. not as magical as some of their others, but very nice, intoxicating and sweet. lots of walnut in the aroma and taste. amazing! how do they do that? it doesn't taste chemical or artificial. brown sugar. vanilla. fudge-y chocolate.... typical Bruery offering....wish they had smaller bottles, for those of us who drink alone or who have no friends (me-both). actually, could i recommend an 8-oz bottle? i think it would be perfect for the party as that incredible after-dinner dessert drink..... and i believe they would sell more of it.

Oct 03, 2016
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Smakawhat from Maryland

4.24/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the bottle into a Bruery tulip snifter glass.

Chestnut red body color, with a bit of carbonation that seems to be very quick. Light tan head, two fingers off the pour but lots of snapping carbonation, and a quick dissolve. No collar. No puck. But a very nice body color.

Milk and nutty cream sensations hit the nose with a real nice character. Slightly boozy, but controlled but also some cola like sweetness that luckily disappears after awhile.

Appearances and aroma aside, I was very concerned this was heading towards disaster. What a sleeper. Rich toffee and dark chocolate flavors, and particularly in feel, just coats the mid palate on first sip. Creamed nuts and vanilla with excellent roast character roll right off and particularly down the gullet. Aftertaste has this intense fudge like flavor that builds with every passing gulp of air. Chocolate bar and cream vanilla hit with exceptional warmth with each passing sip.

Seems a little lifeless at first, but really delivers where it counts.

Oct 01, 2016
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Kevinpitts from Illinois

4.6/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is in a class by itself. Tastes like a very well made cocktail. Get an overall cherry flavor. Has touches of vanilla present as well as walnut. Don't taste any cocoa, but it doesn't matter. Incredibly good. Only The Bruery does brews like this. Glad to have more.

Sep 26, 2016
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Phil-Fresh from California

4.21/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Big walnut aroma, with light chocolate and vanilla with rich malts, and faint oak.

A: Deep amber, hazy, with a very thin head that quickly dissipates into a thin ring around the glass.

T: Lots of walnuts upfront, with light chocolate, moderate caramel malts, with a light vanilla character.

M: Full bodied with light carbonation, and moderately high alcoholic warmth.

O: Delicious; this Strong Ale has a great nutty character, coupled with chocolate, vanilla and a light oak presence. The beer is big - real big and has a fair amount of warmth in the mouth-feel.

Sep 18, 2016
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IKR from California

4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2016 Vintage

Appearance: Clear medium-brown color with a medium sized beige head that quickly faded. Good looking beer.

Smell: Moderate Bourbon and vanilla notes. I also pick up some chocolate notes as well.

Taste: As the nose suggested, moderate bourbon,vanilla, chocolate with some mild brown sugar notes followed by modest oak notes. The beer initially is mildly sweet but the finish is reasonably dry with tannic oak notes present in the end. Fairly restrained alcohol presence for the listed ABV.

Mouth-feel: On the light side of medium bodied with a medium level of carbonation. Could stand to be a touch thicker as it comes off a tad prickly.

Overall: A good Melange offering. The flavors and aromas come out quite a bit more when the temperature is higher than the suggested serving temperature.

Sep 17, 2016
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BWood from California

4.51/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: hazy ale with coppery red color.

S: walnut heavy. The vanilla and chocolate do show up too.

T: excellent taste. The walnut is nice. More walnut than I've ever tasted in a Beer. It really does the Rocky road taste well.

F: very smooth. Maybe a little more thickness needed. Just a little.

O: great beer. Excellent beer. I bought 4. Probably going to buy another case. Home run on this.

Sep 09, 2016
Mélange No. 15 from The Bruery
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 86 ratings