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:
No notes at this time.

Added by DoubleJ on 05-11-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 312 |  Reviews: 226
Photo of beerman999999
5/5  rDev +39.3%

Photo of Jspriest
4.75/5  rDev +32.3%

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Vol. II Issue IX:

Ah, the elusive Black Witbier--an emerging version of the Witbier.

Good foam with a moderate pour that crackles down to a thick rim of tan lace. A shade or two away from pitch black. Aroma ranges from light peppercorn and citrus peel, carob powder and toasted grain husk, to light licorice root and plum fruitiness. Needless to say, this is a very aromatic beer. Big on smoothness that comes from a really deep, crisp carbonation. Dry malt flavor to star, carob powder and dry toast. Pithy with citric, hibiscus-like orchard flavors of fruit skin and pit. Mild sweetness from the oats is deep within. Suggestions of anise, plum skin and green apple. Faint mineral, chalky yeast and earthy tones in the middle; modest hopping with a muted bitterness though the orange peel that seems to balance more. Bone dry finish with lingering spices and a light, peppery alcohol.

Beyond complex, though still easy to drink thanks to the smooth, dry character. An absolutely stellar beer that we were not ready for but happily welcomed.

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Photo of clarkenstein
4.5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of TheMultiYeast
4.5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of brheuer
4.5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of BeerSox
4.47/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into 25oz snifter.

Pitch black, opaque, with a one finger tan head that settles to a thin cap with a thick rim.

Lots of roasted malt characteristics, with a little bit of smokiness, followed by some spices created by Belgian yeast esters. There's an overall creaminess in the aroma.

Lots more roasty and burnt malts in the flavor, this time met by a little bit of a dark fruit flavor. A little spicy. Very creamy and smooth just like in the aroma, along with a bit of cocoa. Full bodied.

This is classified as a Belgian Dark Ale, but it fits well into the style I want to create: Belgian Stout. There's a Belgian IPA, why not a Belgian Stout? This one could even fit into the Belgian Oatmeal stout. Dark, roasty flavors, smooth, with a bit of Belgian ester-spice. Recommended.

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Photo of JustinMatthew
4.47/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First off this beer is retired (sadly) and I've been obviously lucky to find it. This pours pure black with a tiny thin tan color head. Not much of a smell but what I am getting is something like a red wine. Tastes of fresh citrus, yeast spice, and a blast of pinot or rich fermented grapes. This beer somehow ending in a very evident coffee stout like flavor, Very strange. I would love to come across another bottle of this. Very good.

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Photo of AdamBear
4.46/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A-black with a thick light tan head

S-very strong scent of plums and red grapes. Slight scent of burnt chocolate.

T-comes in with a simply wonderful taste of dark fruits and cocoa beans. The after-taste is strong of dark roasted coffee beans. What a unique and complex taste. 

M-medium creamy carbonation with a creamy finish

O-well this is quite an interesting beer. I cant think of any style that suites this beer. It's so unique and the flavors are so...bold. 

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Photo of albern
4.45/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was an exemplary Belgian dark wheat ale. I think the label "Belgian Dark Ale" may be painting with too broad a brush, for this beer is more a wheat beer than anything else. It pours an outrageously foamy and efforvescent head that absolutely froths and pours over the glass even with the most careful pour. This will retain for as long as you have something left in the glass, and it does lace well too.

The most noticeable characteristic is the incredibly prickly mouthfeel, the yeasty carbonation, the caramel maltiness, the candied sugar Belgianesque sweetness, and the floral and phenols running all around this beer. I will re-review at a later time because I want to be able to sit down with this beer and take in its complexity, which I wasn't able to do the first go round.

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Photo of mfhlucky13
4.45/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Huge, explosive head that lasts. Dark, dark, dark. Yea the name is "Black". Wow.

S; Yeasty, bread, spice with hints of burn fruit and dates.

T: Slightly sweet, light yeast, bit of sourness and burnt orange peel.

M: Smooth, nice bubbles dancing on my tongue.

D: An easy drinker, very enjoyable. I'm becoming a big fan of The Bruery.

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Photo of bitterthebetter
4.33/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a deep dark opaque black with off white heady, very frothy and active, structure of a Belgian ale with big fluffly head, yet it goes down faster than most Belgians

dark malt, apples, spices, slight chocolate

smooth malty body upfront with slight raisins and notes of apples leading to chocolate malt, slight oats flavors, sturdy spices, slight lemony notes on the finish, slight hops and dry malt notes. coriander taste as it warms up, and some floral notes tucked in there as well

medium bodied, not overly sugar, a lot a depth and complexity, enduring finish with a slighty spicy edge to it, in a good way, layered and balanced

a really intriguing beer, lots of layers of malt, spice, fruits, hops, and slight yeasty notes. if it was served blind I wouldn't think it was made in the USA. A lot of complex flavors and excellent balance make this a great beer to sip on and enjoy slowly, deciphering its nuances. probably excellent with a cigar, but alas I do not have one. very original, and I cant think of another beer that has this kind of profile, so very much worth a try

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

Purchased at Julio's. A 750ml bottle, poured into a tulip, served with the Easter ham. Dark brown/black color, tiny off-white head. Aroma of citrus and sweet malt. Nice taste of Fig Newtons and orange. The beer was very smooth, and was an excellent accompaniment to the ham.

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

750mL bottle purchased at Vendome Fullerton.

A- Poured into a Duvel tulip glass, this beer pours black with a massive three-finger head that resembles the color of sand. The head takes about fifteen minutes to settle to a thin layer that sticks around for the duration of the beer. There is no lacing left on the glass after each sip.

S- Crisp aromas of wheat malt, lemon rind, and grass are supported by notes of roasted malts and coffee. Some nice bready aromas emerge after a good swirl and also as the beer warms. The roasted coffee characteristic really shines through as the beer hits room temperature.

T- The initial taste is of dark fruits, roasted malts, and mild coffee. The second wave of flavors are of wheat malt, spicy yeast, and tangy citrus rind. The finish leaves some nice malty and cakey flavors on the palate.

M- The mouthfeel is exactly like Orchard White. It's way too sharp and prickly at first, but as the beer warms, the carbonation calms down substantially. Other than that, it's full-bodied and slightly coats the inside of the mouth.

D- This beer is a bit heavy on the stomach, but the 5.7% ABV and the refreshing flavors that are characteristic of most Witbiers make this a balanced, drinkable brew.

This is a totally unique beer. I loved the combination of dark malts with typical wheat beer ingredients. This brew just worked for me. Highly recommended.

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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 czfreeman
4.3/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank July 27 2010 with my Dad, purchased in Greenville, SC.
Opening the bottle produces a nicely carbonated sound.
Pours very carbonated, thick creamy foamy tan head, color is black, head dissapates quickly, showing high carbonation.
Smells brown sugar, candied orange, malt, spices, orange juice,coriander,musty, grainy, oats,grapes(red) and cherry wood.
Flavor recalls orange, young merlot, oak, sharp sourness,smokiness, coriander,malt, funky cider-like apples, cherry is also appreciated. Very fruity, light and intriguing, opposite of its appearance.
Mouthfeel is light, carbonated, looks much darker and heavier super light on the palate as I take subsequent sips.
Overall very enjoyable, warming provided a new flavor spectrum and the carbonation was very llively and cleansing. Would drink again and now am interested in White Orchard

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Photo of taxguyjase
4.3/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Appropriately black for the name, cola colored head, mild carbonation except the head which reminds me of a coke, lots of sediment at the end. - 4.0/5.0

Smell - Sweet, malty, spicy, little bit of tart cherry and curant - 4.0/5.0

Taste - The wheat and Belgian spices blend well together. Sweet, but not terribly so. Cherry, caramel, blackberry and some breadiness. 4.5/5.0

Feel - Full, frothy, excellent mouth coverage and a mildly sweet aftertaste. 5.0/5.0

Drinkability - Excellent! Makes me want to take a road trip to Cali! 4.0/5.0

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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 Varkias41
4.25/5  rDev +18.4%

Photo of beerthulhu
4.25/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A :Poured a dark merlot red when held to the light with a 3 finger foamy sandstone colored head that was well lasting. Underneath lied an explosive onset of carbonation that translated to the head with an active fizziness similar to a pancake ready to be flipped. The head receded cleanly down the glass leaving little or no lacing while a tiny deposit of yeast settlement lines, but does not wholly cover the bottom of the glass. A beautiful display to say the least.

S: The nose was vinous and wine-like (red) lined with dark fruit, dried cranberries and ripe plums with a medium strong showing.

T: The flavor opens up with strong hints of fruitiness, fresh pear juice, dark fruits (juicy ripe plums) and grapes. Again the flavor matched the aroma with a vinous wine like nature (red) and a alcohol spicness. There were moments of sweet molasses as well earthy peat moss that appeared in the middle of the palate. The finish finds dark fruit of prunes with an acidic bitterness of grapes, ending dry, tart and quickly off the tongue. A warming alcohol spiciness combined with a complex fruity and tart nature gives this a refined nature similar to finely aged wine.

M: The mouthful explodes from the vibrant carbonation providing a bright alcohol spiciness of tart grapes on the fade. Lively, bubbly, crisp and tart best sums up things here, had a lot going on.

D: The complex dark and fruity nature of the drink that makes for a slow savory sipper that provides a unique experience that is sure to please with a wide variety complexity.

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4.25/5  rDev +18.4%

Photo of Onibubba
4.24/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nice black pour with a beautiful high mocha head. Very nice, and retains it with every glass poured. Not really able to discern what is going on in the tastes or smells. Mildly tart and funky, vaguely medicinal. Also, a bit like a dubbel. What I found most amazing was the drinkabilty and mouthfeel. Carbonated yet super smooth, it is damn hard to savor. I could easily drink a few of these. Will definately buy again. Super good for 8.99 a bottle, and a fantastic slammable low abv session beer.

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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 hsway
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: Almost black with a slightly off-white head that stays around, and laces a bit.

s: Yeasty, fruity, spicy.

t: I thought this aspect of the beer was most unusual and interesting - you get all the elements of a good dark Belgian, but with added spice and orange peel. A very interesting combination, and it works.

m: Smooth and not too heavy.

d: Easy sipper. Wished I wasn't sharing the 750 ml bottle with two others.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Found this in a BevMo recently sitting on the shelf. Didn't get around to trying it before, so I picked it up since it's retired. Poured into a La Fin Du Monde tulip.

Fat 3 finger off white head. Dark black with amber hues towards the outer edges. Head snap, crack, and pops its way down to a decent foam cap.

The nose is pretty much composed of a semi tart fruity ester (apple) fragrance. I get some raspberries as well, and a hint of lactose.

The taste begins with a slightly lactic sweetness reminiscent of a milk stout that gives way to roasted almost chocolaty malts. The flavor ends on a fruity apple/raspberry note with a hint of champagne like tartness. Smokey sweet malts linger.

The mouthfeel is light bodied with a high level of biting carbonation (the carbonation is the only part of this beer that I'm not too fond of). Quite dry due to the high level of carbonation.

A very interesting beer that seems to march to the beat of it's own drummer. I can't think of a single beer it is similar to. I'm kind of sad that I didn't get around to trying this earlier as it is a really nice and different beer that I would definitely buy more of if it were available.

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