The Bruery

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Old Ale
4.31 | pDev: 6.5%
The Bruery
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: Saule is French for “willow”, a traditional nine-year anniversary gift. Our ninth anniversary ale, Saule, follows in the footsteps of our anniversary releases before it, which are loosely based on an English-style old ale, fermented with our house yeast strain, aged in bourbon barrels and blended using the solera method. This means that a portion of each anniversary ale is saved in oak barrels and blended in with the next year’s production, providing more complexity and depth of character as the years go by. The result is layered in robust and complex flavors of toffee, caramel, dark fruit, vanilla and oak.
Reviews: 36 | Ratings: 128 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser from Georgia

4.55/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: deep amber. Nice tannish/red head on the pour.
Smell: bright vanilla, dark fruit, fat toffee and bourbon.
Taste: flavors aren’t poppin quite as much as they are in the nose. On the flip side, it’s Uber smooth for a 16%er. Another fantastic anniversary from these wizards.

May 07, 2021
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SHODriver from North Carolina

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

A: Poured into a snifter to a ruddy brown beer which is topped by a dense and slightly rocky two finger cream colored head which fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing.
S: Smells of intense dark fruits and oak with some caramel and vanilla from the barrels. Hints of mulling spices as well
T: Taste is dark fruits, caramel and toffee mixed with oak and vanilla along with a touch of alcohol. There's a hint of wine like notes as well. On the swallow there's more intense dark fruits with some red berries, caramel, oak, and vanilla.
M: This beer is on the heavier side of things with a silky feel on the palate. Carbonation is low but it's more than adequate for what we having going on here. Due to the ABV the beer has a drying finish.
O: Overall this is another nice iteration of The Bruery's annual anniversary beer. Big in flavors and complexity and packing a good bit of alcohol. It's a monster of a beer that rewards being sipped and savored.

Feb 20, 2021
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sjrider from California

4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle 2017 vintage - murky and turbid dark mahogany with quickly dissipating off white head leaving a scant ring of tiny bubbles. Nose is multi layered sweetness with an alcohol background. Taste follows with malty cereal . apple and stone fruit. Finish is smooth and creamy with noticeable alcohol creep. Easy to get in deep on this.

Oct 07, 2020
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ScruffySouthpaw from New York

4.36/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Served in a tulip glass from a vintage bottle dated 03/28/17.

Appearance: Dark mahogany brown coming off a semi cloudiness to the body with an off-white head rising just exactly one finger's length off the body.

Smell: Sweet mellow butterscotch aroma with deep notes of warm raisins and maple syrup. Complex aroma which lingers as the beer warm closer to room temperature.

Taste: Incredible complex of light brown sugar doused with barley and another feel of raisin cake. Tasty and far superior to almost anything I have had in a while.

Mouth: Soft carbonation with a ridiculously full body. Comes off super sticky and heavy after-taste makes this one a keeper.

Overall: what a gem, definitely happy I grabbed about 4 bottles of this beer not knowing one think about the brew. They salesman told me old ale, I told him I'll grab atleast 4. YOLO, grab it if you're ever so lucky. Salud!

May 18, 2020
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dd53grif from Michigan

4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brewed 3/2017. 16.1 ABV so it should have aged well. Pours a murky brown color with a minimal head that disappears quickly. Aroma is fruity. Tastes of apples and alcohol. No bitterness. Good mouth feel.

Apr 12, 2020
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mwilbur from Minnesota

4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2017 vintage. Bottled 3/22/17.
Poured from 750 mL bottle into snifter.
A: Pours a thick viscous caramelly brown hue with 1/2 inch light tan head that fairly quickly settles to a thin skim.
S: Strong sweet bourbon and dry caramel malt with oak wood, brown sugar, layered malt notes, and hint of vanilla. Strong!
T: Dried berry and red fruit, soft caramel malt, sweet bourbon, brown sugar, cola, and hint of wood char. Far more balanced than expected...likely due to aging for the past 3 years.
M: Surprisingly light feel with medium body. Moderately sweet malt and fruit notes. Lingers and matures on the palate.
D: Nice complexity with layers of malt and nice blending and aging. Superb spring sipper!

Mar 27, 2020
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keithmurray from Connecticut

4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - murky brown/chestnut body with tan head

Smell - molasses, toffee, caramel, butterscotch, bourbon

Taste - much like the smell - toffee, butterscotch, molasses, caramel, bourbon

Mouthfeel - full bodied, low carbonation, toffee/molasses sweetness upfront, boozy in the middle, sticky/hearty beverage, slight burn on the way down

Overall - decent old ale here, a bit boozy, but to be expected at 16+%ABV, barrel is a bit heavy, could use a bit more balance, but still an enjoyable beer

Price Point - $9.99/750ML bottle

Dec 24, 2019
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laketang from Arizona

4.31/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a murky brown and as expected not a very lively head.
Scents of bourbon and dark fruits, maybe some vanilla.
Good taste of plum, dark fruits, bourbon and raisins. Alcohol is present
but not an off putting feature. Faint anise.tiny bit thin but not to worry
with this ale. Great little tongue tingle. I like it even for the high price.

Aug 04, 2019
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bluejacket74 from Ohio

4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, 2017 vintage, bottled on 3/16/17. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a murky mahogany brown color with about an inch and a half tan head that didn't stick around for too long. There's also a small amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like brown sugar, plums, raisins, toffee, dark bread, vanilla, bourbon, dark bread and caramel. I think the taste is pretty much just like the aroma, but there's also the addition of some coconut, sherry, oak, fig and earthy flavors. Very sweet tasting but not quite overpoweringly so. It's a bit boozy, but that's to be expected at 16.1% ABV. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's coating and a bit thick with a moderate amount of carbonation. I thought this was pretty good, but I've also liked the Bruery's other Anniversary Ales I've had in the past so I knew what to expect with this one. Definitely worth picking up if there are still any bottles around.

Jun 28, 2019
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stortore from Illinois

4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into a snifter. Bottled 3/22/17, had 9/29/18.

Pours a medium amber, a little cloudy, with a short head and some soapy lacing. Aromas of figs, dates, tobacco, bourbon, plums, malt, prunes, oak, some brown sugar, light cherries, light leather. Smells divine. The taste is nearly as incredible. Flavors of bourbon, figs, dates, plums, prunes, raisins, brown sugar, some tobacco. Really smooth for the ABV, a great medium body, well carbonated.

I’m a huge fan of the Anniversary Series, and this doesn’t disappoint. Incredible aromas, excellent flavors, complex and well developed. There’s just so much here to pick out and enjoy. Can’t wait to have the 2018 edition.

Apr 19, 2019
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ajm5108 from Pennsylvania

4.06/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber, fairly flat as you would expect. The nose has a real rustic fruit aroma - dried raisins, fruit cake, fig - with some bourbon caramel. The fruit is just a tad sweet. Taste has lots of oak upfront, followed by more of that booze-soaked fruit, some old ale flavors (treacle) and some hints of bourbon. Definitely fruitier than previous Anniversary beers from The Bruery, doesn’t quite blend as well as it could with those old ale notes (which need to be more expressive IMO). Body is also a little thin & slick.

Dec 16, 2018
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snaotheus from Washington

4.04/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, anno 2017. Served in a pair of big snifters.

Pours a murky brownish color with a small head and a small amount of very fine, very slow carbonation. Looks thick. Smell is boozy, dates, bourbon, vanilla.

Taste is boozy for sure -- sweet, dates for sure. Something moderately caramel or butterscotch about it.

Mouthfeel is thick, a little too still but not bad. Overall, nice beer, but I think my half of the bottle is going to be challenging.

Dec 01, 2018
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Damian from Massachusetts

4.46/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 1 pint 9.4 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Downtown Wine & Spirits, Somerville, MA
Served in a tulip

The nearly clear, crimson-mahogany body was topped by a tight and creamy, inch-tall, light khaki crown that quickly dropped to a thin collar. Pretty impressive head given the ABV. Tiny dots of lacing trickled down the glass.

The aroma was fantastic. Huge malt and dark fruit presence. Big toffee and brown sugar notes. Loads of plum and raisin as well. Bit of vanilla. Moderately sweet. A touch boozy. Sherry came to mind. Winter spice notes were also detectable. With time, the nose intensified, especially the sweetness.

The flavor followed the aroma. Super malty and robust with big dark fruit notes. Raisins and plums were most apparent. Loads of brown sugar in the middle. Sweet but not excessively so. Sherry notes again came to mind. Big spice notes on the back end and the finish. Nice warming booziness. Perhaps bourbon. Loads of oaky tannins. Touch of roast too. For 16-plus % ABV, this beer drank incredibly easily. As the beer warmed, the booze intensified.

The mouthfeel was perhaps the least exciting aspect of the beer. It was medium bodied for the style but thinner than I anticipated. The liquid contained a finer beaded, moderate effervescence that turned light, frothy and creamy on the palate. The 16.1% gave the liquid a nice boozy warmth on the back end and after the swallow.

Despite their steep price tags, The Bruery’s anniversary old ales are one of the few beer releases that I make a point to purchase every year. Their unique, Sherry-like qualities resulting from the solera technique are really interesting and a pretty rare find in this current beer market. Overall, very impressive stuff and perfect for savoring next to a roaring fire on a cold night.

Oct 31, 2018
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yesterdayfaraway from Missouri

4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: thick and very dark brown with a small head that faded fast
S: big bourbon, with huge raisin notes
T: stats and ends with huge bourbon, and a little harsh at that. There are notes of raisins, butter scotch and caramel.
F: thick, but not smooth. The barrel is harsh and lacks the sweetness to off set it.

Sep 28, 2018
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Harrison8 from Missouri

4.31/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours brown with a finger of khaki head. Draft. Aroma is toast, caramel, booze, and bourbon. Flavor profile is caramel, toffee, plums, and bourbon. Despite alcohol being pretty loud in the aroma, it melds in a little better within the flavor profile. Feel is smooth and slick, without much as far as texture. It's medium-thick. Overall, a high alcohol beer that manages to hide most of its alcohol. It's flavorful, but is best in smaller quantities.

Draft. Reviewed from notes.

Sep 09, 2018
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this one is obviously a bit cumbersome, less interesting somehow to me than others, but im sure this does better in a bottle than a keg, and i had it on tap. i generally like the concept of these better than i like the beer, the first couple were unique in their hugeness, barrel heaviness, and bravado, but since then, they seem to have some element of oxidation, here its woody and soy-like more than rich and malty and whiskey forward, i like the solera method in theory, but the possibility of blending in beer that is well past its prime is entirely a reality here. even something this substantial cant usually go ten years unscathed. lots of soy on this one, ginger notes even heavy charred oak, vanilla and wafer cookie, toffee and sweet cream, its pleasant sure, but its also a bit overly mature, awfully boozy, and to me without the body that made some of the others in this series so rich and decadent, its not thin, but its not luxurious either, not by any stretch, tastes almost old already. sturdy whiskey, cola, and mild anise and tobacco, its sweet but its also kind of savory with that soy thing happening. i liked it, but not enough to drink a whole one, and i am sad to acknowledge that there may be a limit to how far this series can really go. boozy and odd, less compelling than many of its predecessors, yet still of course a treat to try...

Jul 19, 2018
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VABA from Virginia

4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-Poured a very nice brown with a slight head and lacing
A-Aroma has honey, bourbon and oak hints
T-The taste follows the nose with abundant honey, bourbon and oak flavors
M-A medium bodied very well carbonated beer
O-A very nice beer with a very strong kick!

Jul 15, 2018
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gshak from Texas

4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On the palate - cola, brown sugar, vanilla essence, a shot of booze, wood, caramel and traces of coconut. Complex and very filling even at a short pour of 3 oz.

Mar 29, 2018
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Another Bruery anniversary beer, these things are kind of like my continual ragging on Revision brewery: they all taste really similar, and what a first world problem to have, because that similarity also means, they're all very good/excellent stuff. So you know, take that gripe with a first world grain of salt.

Pours dark brown but without the heft of a stout or porter. Small lighter brown head 1/3". Aroma of bourbon, wet old world wood, caramel, toffee, general booziness.

Taste is more of the same, that liquified boozy cracker jack kind of delivery system. While its abv is huge, its existence taste wise and in the mouthfeel is slightly less than that. The brown sugar and vanilla notes surely help along those lines, same with the feint leather notes. This is just more of the same for the Bruery anniversary series.

Feb 02, 2018
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Pencible from Virginia

4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

A: This poured an opaque mahogany with thick tan head.
S: It smelled like super sweet vanilla nougat and caramel, with some nutty toffee and honey wheat bread and oak.
T: It tasted like sweet honey and caramel and vanilla nougat, with some nutty toffee and raisin and oak. It had a clean and sweet aftertaste with some alcohol warming.
M: It was thick and viscous with a little natural carbonation. Huge chewy body.
D: This was a sugar bomb. The scent and taste were bold and rich, but not super complex or balanced. The body was fantastic, but the finish was hot, so it was better to sip. Age would really help mellow this beast. Fresh is a nice dessert sipper, but not top tier.

Feb 02, 2018
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Bluecrow from New York

4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pretty and murky? definitely this time, mahogany tap pour with only the merest wisp of visible carbonation. This Old ale is distinctly bourbon and oak influenced. Wood, dried stone fruit and a pleasant sweetness are superb. The high abv is barely noticeable. Great!

Feb 01, 2018
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Beersnake1 from California

4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from fridge temp. Pours a beautiful brown with little head. Nose is huge bourbon and caramel. Also getting a good amount of nutty notes - almonds mostly. The yeast is evident. Very similar to past years of the anniversary beer. Taste follows the nose - huge caramel, bourbon, alcohol, vanilla, nuts, and figs. Absolutely fantastic beer. Mouthfeel is medium with some alcohol heat.

Jan 02, 2018
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andrewh995 from Arizona

4.87/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a beautiful slightly hazy and very dark ruby with a small off white head. Smells of bourbon, caramel, toffee, and vanilla. Tastes of light bourbon, caramel, toffee, sweet dark fruits, figs, dried fruits, vanilla bean, maybe some brown sugar, and a little booze. Heavy syrupy body with light carbonation. Overall this is an incredibly complex and delicious beer. One of the better beers I have ever tried.

Dec 29, 2017
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Sastohlman from Colorado

3.84/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

For what it is it's fine. It's simply unnecessarily boozy. For my taste that's a cop out because it buries the other flavors. Drink a pint of it. I dare you.

Nov 12, 2017
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Ciocanelu from Romania

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

Light brown color with beige head. Aroma pops with bourbon and toffee, follows with fudge and dried fruits, mostly dates. Taste has sweet fruity notes like dates and figs, bourbon, brown sugar and some booze. Medium body and carbonation. Complex, tasty and a bit boozy.

Nov 07, 2017
Saule from The Bruery
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 128 ratings