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Black Orchard | The Bruery

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Black OrchardBlack Orchard
312 Ratings
Black OrchardBlack Orchard

Brewed by:
The Bruery
California, United States

Style: Belgian Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 312 |  Reviews: 226
Reviews by coldmeat23:
Photo of coldmeat23
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%

More User Reviews:
Photo of micmillon18
4.26/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pouerd from a 750 Bottle into a tulip glass. I've had this one before and sadly its the last of three that I bought, which also means its the last I'll ever have of this truly extraordinary beer. No freshness date on the bottle.

A - Fluffly, bubbly, tan 3 finger head after a conservative pour which dissipates quickly. Dark brown color however the true beauty of this beer requires a closer look to fully understand it. Holding it to the light reveals a light orange layer that sits underneath the head. I've exposed it for its true wit qualities! To top it all off, for lack of a better term, the head leaves a cool orange circle in the center as it lessens.

S - Coriander, orange, chocolate cake, wheat, bready.

T - Very unique. Chocolate, slight orange sweetness. Spicey upfront, bready in the middle and finishes with a dark chocolate flavor. An incredible combo of light and dark tastes.

M - Very crisp and smooth. Goes down like any witbier.

D - Oh so drinkable and leaves you wanting more which is unfortunate considering I'll never have it again. Has alot of witbier qualities, you could almost call it a dunkel wit if that makes any sense. I had to resist temptation and sip it instead. Great balance of flavors light and dark. Here's to you Black Orchard, may you live on only in my beer dreams!

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Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of ehammond1
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle (2008)

Thanks for sharing this with me, Alucard4!

(Aged for 4+ years)

This one's a gusher! Be ready!

Very dark brown but not quite black in color. Lots and lots of visible carbonation--a huge, persistent, small-bubbled head. Leaves the glass messy with irregular stick. Pretty enough.

Earthy aroma along with some definite citrus zest and some very mild banana and clove characteristics. This doesn't smell nearly as old I would have imagined it would, though there's a bit of musk character to it--it actually comes together somewhat nicely.

The flavor is similar to the aroma, with brown banana bread crusts combining with earth, citrus zest, some very mild funk, and spice character.

Medium bodied with high carbonation.

I never though I would get to try this one. Happy for the opportunity, though once is enough.

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Photo of patmcd
4/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.8/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an even dark brown with a tan head. Big head, with nice lace.

Aroma is all over the place. Cocoa powder, anise, citric notes, white pepper, grain. It works.

What a unique one. Darker roasted malt with some light chocolate and licorice flavors, with some darkened fruit, yeast, bruised apple skin, citric rind, oat nuttiness...bitter, spicy, yeasty bready and sweet.

Medium body and carbonated. Good.

I dug this, even though I'm not sure what I drank. Goes down easy. Try if you can.

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Photo of jerz
3/5  rDev -16.4%

Photo of SaintPeter
3.74/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours a jet black color with a tan brown 3-finger head, which collapses on itself very quickly. Not much cling or lacing to speak of. The head hovers over the top of the beer like a lily pad.

The aroma is of sweet wine, sherry, caramel, Belgian yeast, blue cotton candy, Belgian candy sugar, black currants, whole wheat pizza crust, overripe plums. Very light but you become aware of so many aromas.

Wow, the taste is a tantalizing experience on the tongue and palette. Starts with a pricking on the tongue, then a woody bourbon flavor takes over and it tastes like a smoked porter. Finishes with hints of cloves and a mild Belgian yeast strain. It finishes much like a nut brown ale. Extremely oaty when swirled and decanted. (Maybe I shouldn't have done that!)

Very frothy once in the mouth, maybe a bit over-carbonated. It steals the flavor as the mouth is filled with bubbles rather than beer. If you swish it around in your mouth, you just get a mouthful of foam, so don't do it!

Light to medium bodied. The foam really ruins the beer.

Due to the low alcohol content, the drinkability is high. The foaminess detracts from the drinkability. I swirled and decanting, the oaty sediment really improve the taste.

The aroma was fantastic for this beer, the foamy mouthfeel highly reduces the overallness of this beer.

A good pair with a green curry with vegetables, duck and basmati rice.

 1,396 characters

Photo of BarleyMine
3.39/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured this into a wide mouth wine glass. It's a good thing because the head foamed up instantly and aggressively atop an opaque black brew, receeding rather quickly leaving little lacing. Smells of wood with slight resiny notes and hints of caramel and rasin. The taste follows the nose with a woodiness that opens into a toasy, porter-like flavor as it sits a bit. Has some grainy tones to it with a subtle malty sweetness and a slight piney-hoppy finish. Medium bodied with gregarious carbonation. Gets better as it sits for a minute or two.

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Photo of StoutSlayer
3.96/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this beer on tap at Fathers Office in Santa Monica while visiting a friend. As I've read in other reviews this beer it was extreamly carbonated. In fact, coming out of the tap they had to use 2 glasses to fill up my glass because the head wouldn't subside! Interesting. The appearence was inviting when I got it back to the table, black as night, and a small but tight head with super small bubbles. At first taste I didn't get a whole lot because of the carbonation, and the fact that I was honestly excpecting a sweet thick beer as I have been used to. But by the third or forth gulp it was clear I loved this beer. Unfortunately after a week after having this beer I'm giving my review and I can't remember all the flavor notes, but I do remember this... It had the darker toasted flavors of a stout or porter, but was absolutly refreshing with a very light mouthfeel. Some friutyness, but it was subdued. Honestly I think the beauty of this beer is that despite the very light mouthfeel it retains great flavor. There where plenty of other great brews on tap but I kept coming back for the Orchard. Some might find the carbonation a turn off but I think it really compliments this beer. All in all a unique treat.

 1,221 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a near black color with a nice head. Pretty good lacing on the way down. The nose is quite aromatic, with some nice pepper, roasted malt, light citrus, and a bit of coffee. The taste brings in some really nice spice and yeast as well as some mild roast. Good, light mouthfeel with nice carbonation. Really a unique bear and another success.

 368 characters

Photo of PaBeerLover
4/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of unclejimbay
4.32/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bruery Review, we performed a comprehensive sampling of Bruery beers courtesy of CampusCrew and Troywittaker on 8/13/2010. Cheers this was a great sampling and evening guys!
I reviewed all brews we tasted in order of sampling, info, and some minor notes for my future homebrew reference. These reviews are to serve as a comprehensive review of the beers as purchased during 2010, sampled 8/13/2010 with about a group of 8 tasters.

This was the order of sampling...

Saison Rue, 8.5% abv

Mischief, 8.5% abv

Tradewinds Tripel, 8.1%

Orchard White, 5.7% abv

Black Orchard, 5.7% abv
Described as a black Witbier, interesting twist on the style. Give a dark color with a dash of roasty malt character, but still drinks with a nice light body like a true wheat ale should. Unique idea and execution.

2 Turtle Doves, 12% abv

Coton (2010 Anniversary Beer) 14.5%

RUGBROD, 8% abv

Autumn Maple, 10% abv

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Photo of TheycallmeTim
4.22/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750 ml. bottle poured into Hennepin flute.

A--Darker than most belgian pale ales, this is pretty much black coffee in the glass. The foam, however, undeceives you from thinking this is a cuppa joe: mounds and mounds, maybe four fingers or so, of creamy tannish head billow up and endure at about half a finger throughout the tasting, with considerable lacing. My only bitch is that the bottle was a bit of a gusher, and I lost some liquid on the counter.

S--Plummy, very plummy to me, with some dark chocolate-covered cherries in there. Smells rich but light at the same time, as another, more floral characteristic creeps into the nose. What is that, like lavender? Hoping it comes through in the taste.

T--Wow, unexpected and almost totally different from the nose. The taste is somehow sweet and bitter in one go, with again that weird ripe magnolia or lavender scentflavor bounding in to lighten the whole thing. Can't pinpoint it, but I can say that there are more coffee notes than chocolate in the flavor profile, though they are gentle, with oats clearly making their presence felt by smoothing out all the flavors' edges. The wheat's spiciness is there with some faint medicinal esters, but they're held in check by the bitter notes from first the malt than faint echo of hops at the end of the tasting spectrum. The fruits that lend sweetness have switched from plums and cherries to more raisins, like raisins that have been soaked in coffee, which is one hell of a combo. Totally unique flavor--challenging but distinct.

m&D--Mouthfeel's average as even the smoothness imparted from the oats and the champagne bubbles can't mask the wateriness, though I'm not sure how you could avoid that in a wheat beer. It's just that it's so dark you expect a fuller mouthfeel. Drinkability is good as this is different without being annoying, if that makes sense. It's not overly challenging while still being memorable--pleasantly new, not EXXXTREME with three x's for excess.

Today was super bright and sunny and all the springtime flowers were beaming in it, but it was also windy and coldish for the season. Weather matched the beer perfectly, but even without it I'd recommend this brew. Wanna check out more of the Bruery's offerings.

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Photo of CampusCrew
3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I hosted a Bruery tasting and we had 9 of the bottles collected. we had 4-6 oz samples. I'm reviewing these on memory from a few nights ago.

Hmmm, retired. We may of goten an infected bottle. Poured uncontrollable head and had a sublte sourness. Which by reading specs, it shouldn't. Black wit is a great idea. I wish they would bring this back and work on it. Still not a bad beer. Weak body but some good flavor.

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Photo of swhite11
2.94/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A] - Very dark red, cabernet like appearance. Head pours a foamy, off-white masterpiece. Pours 3 1/2 fingers and retains for days. Lacing is very apparent. Core of beer appears mahogony.

A] - Phenols are very present. Slight graininess with a spicy hop/yeast aroma. Minimal amount of of raison/fig dark fruit nuance.

T] - A little bland upfront. Slight anise notes followed by fig/over ripened grape notes. Slight breadiness closed out by spicy yeast phenols.

M] - Velvety upfront. Feel becomes watery very quickly but finishes a bit thicker.

D] - Alcohol has a minor prescence back palate. Beer is very thin overall. Carbonation is high even for the style.

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Photo of SShelly
4.08/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a growler on my way down for the AFC contest.

Pours dark, deep brownish black with a HUGE pillow of head, decent retention, super fluff.

Smells fruity with a mild amount of roast, very mild aroma.

Flavor has some fruityness to it but also a very subtle roastiness, very enjoyable beer with fairly high carb, really bounces around the mouth. There is also a certain earthiness to this beer that is hard to quantify.

Patrick is really picking up steam with his regular line of beers!

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Photo of rhinos00
3.61/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 mL into a wine glass.

A- Pours a dark mahogany, almost black. Produces two fingers width of off-white head. Quickly reduces to a thin layer. Really liked the contrasting colors in the one.

S- Lots of wheat and oats up front. Really didn't think it would be that prevalent, but I was mildly surprised. Also detectable are hints of various spices. Not very complex.

T- Rather interesting. Lots going on here, just not sure if all the ingredients go so well together. As the beer hits the palate a mild wheat flavor comes forth and blends with what seems like a cake batter mix. As the taste progresses, citric rinds and spices finish it off with a mild bitter sweet flavor.

M- Light to medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. Doesn't leave the mouth too dry.

D- After a while, the citric sweet finish was just too much of a contrast from the dull, wheat flavor. At 5.7% abv, alcohol was not really noticeable. Still, I'm finding it a little difficult to have multiple glasses of this.

Overall, interesting beer but just not my cup of tea. The ingredients were too different and didn't really mesh well or so my palate told me.

 1,158 characters

Photo of alleykatking
3.34/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 750ml bottle. Review from notes.

A- Well to be honest my first pour of this resulted in a huge head that took up the entire glass. After waiting a little I made a few smaller pours and this is what I ended up with. Very dark cola color appearance. 3 finger mocha colored head stays around for awhile before dying down to nothing and leaving no lacing on the glass at all. Kind of sad about the lacing part.

S- There seems to be a lot of aromas coming at you all at once with this beer. The smell of wheat and oats, roasted malts, light orange peel in there. Some chocolate notes come and go with this beer as well. Spices and darker fruits come into play as well but only in light hints. This beer is complex and makes me thirsty.

T- This beer drinks like it smells. The only thing I didn't enjoy about this beer was the fact that it was almost a little too much in the complexity of itself. The flavors I felt went together well but didn't balance itself out as a whole. The upfront brought together the roasted malts and light chocolate with some orange citrus in there. The wheat and oats came in the middle with some dark fruit presence with the ending having a bready yeast taste to it along with some roast malt flavors as well. It was almost like a stop and jerk ride for the mouth.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation was somewhat too much with this beer resulting in a soda like presence. A mix of flavors but roasted malts were the most left on the palate and even in the aftertaste. I felt the mouthfeel was a little lacking.

D- This beer was enjoyable for the most part. The complex flavors made you think a little bit about what you were drinking and that I did not like. I would and will buy another bottle of this to review again. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this beer when I cracked it open.

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Photo of rossthefireman
3.91/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark blackish /broen colors with a huge foamy head. the head to awhile to go away.

S- Alcohol, some dark fruits, bready/biscuit

T- Interesting. This beer is all over the map. Its like a hybrid of a wit and a Belgian dark ale. Lots of flavors playing around. I get chocolate cake, dark fruits, malt, sour, citrus, mild hops, and some spices.

M- May be a slight bit over carbonated but a good mouthfeel none the less.

D- Its drinkable , but not for everyone.

This beer was good but confusing. I feel that this beer just didnt know what it wanted to be. I did like it, dont get me wrong, but it was definately something different. This beer definately blurs the lines. I enjoyed the beer and cant wait to try their other offerings.

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Photo of bamadog
2.98/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I recently received this is in a trade with ggwheeler -- a great BA if there ever was one -- thanks for the hook-up! Man, the reviews are all over the map with this one... I'm kind of curious as to where this one will lead... Review is from notes taken on 3/5/2011 and poured from the bottle to goblet.

Appearance: Pour is a deep dark brown with hues of plum and it starts with a massive 3 and 1/2 finger light tan head; fades fairly quickly for a Belgian and creeps to full 1/2 finger cap; body is nearly opaque with the exception of some mahogany highlights near the bottom where the light sneaks through; an oily residue and a few spots and swaths of lacing are left behind.

Smell: Some definite scents of wheat; some musty and dank and slightly faded dark sweet ripe fruits (raisins, figs, etc.); faint spiciness in the Belgian style; lastly I detect a faint bit of bittersweet chocolate and mild presence of the oat (reminiscent of a bit of a no-bake cookie with the sweet fruity and spicy characteristics of the Belgian). Interesting... Good, but interesting...

Taste: Well, here's the danger in drinking a beer that's retired that really isn't meant to be cellared for any real amount of time - it's definitely past it's prime and the flavors are definitely muted and faded... With that being said, there is the dank and musty fruitiness, but it's far from the robust blast that I typically get, and I would say the most dominant presence is a bit of a roasty and earthy maltiness with a slightly stale fruit juice flavor... I know that sounds pretty bad, but it kind of works; there is a mellow spiciness to it but yeah, overall it's pretty faded and unimpressive.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation has held up well and is prickly yet kind of soft; body is of medium weight and there is a moist stickiness that just drips from the roof of the mouth and it's left sticky for a long time afterwards.

Drinkability: Not impressive in its present state, but I have to believe that in its intended age range, this beer would be solid.

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Photo of chcfan
3/5  rDev -16.4%

Photo of pperez38
3/5  rDev -16.4%

Photo of stoutfiend27
3.93/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750 poured into goblet

a-black cola like color..huge rocky head that seemed to last forever..i spent a lot of time looking at this..no real lacing to speak of..

s-a tad of bitter chocolate hint of some mustyness??...opens the airways quite well..sort of medicinal..

t-sweet malt..sugary...porterish...orange peel adds a little zest towards the end...nice roasty character....finishes sweet and clean...

m-a little weak for me...a little thin and watery....but it will suffice..seems a bit over carbonated as well

d-could drink this all night..excellent abv for almost a session beer...bottle format and price a little bit much for a session though

i really do love this beer...had it a time or two and its pretty consistent...the bruery has done another good thing for beer

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Photo of PDXHops
3.91/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to goodbyeohio for this 750 ml bottle, poured into a snifter.

Body's a deep rubyish brown with a 2-finger head that disappears almost completely within 20 seconds. Swirling can't coax much retention, and there is very little lacing (oddly enough, the carbonation seems quite active, but none of the bubbles stick to each other or the glass for long).

Interesting bouquet- distinctive Belgian yeast in combo with acrid dark malt, coffee, floral and spicy notes with a hint of sourness.

A very 'busy' beer in the mouth, with a whole lot of flavors mashed together. A bit disjointed, but quite tasty. I pick up, among other things: candi sugar, cloves, dark roasted and sweet malts, coffee, and molasses. Kinda like a Belgian pale with dark malt added. Fun to drink.

Mouthfeel is good. Hits the mouth with a medium body, but the zippy carbonation seems to fluff it up to a much bigger beer. Lingering raisiny tang, coffee and citrusy stickiness.

Overall impression: Interesting and enjoyable brew.

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Black Orchard from The Bruery
Beer rating: 3.59 out of 5 with 312 ratings