The Bruery

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Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Ranked #129
Ranked #20,988
3.84 | pDev: 11.46%
The Bruery
California, United States
Very Good
Notes: Batch 1: 10.0% ABV
Batch 2: 9.6% ABV
Reviews: 72 | Ratings: 133 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SHODriver
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #2

A: Poured into a Duvel tulip to a clear and bright light gold topped by a dense two finger white head that retains well and leaves some lacing
S: Smells of fruity esters, slight melong honey sweetness and a little spice from the yeast.
T: Taste is orchard fruits and honeydew with a little bit of spicy yeast influence. Hints of grassiness at times as well but the fruity esters are the stars of the show. Swallow is more honeydew and orchard fruits with a little lingering spice.
M: The beer has a medium mouthfeel that is a little silky with soft and adequate carbonation. The beer has a drying finish.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What would it look like if an American brewery tried to replicate Duvel? Well they killed it in the appearance department, excelling right past the beer whose image it was created in. Aroma dropped belgian phenols, hops, lemon, etc. . .

Taste dropped a crisp, boozy pear and green apple tinge to it. Super dry and with that citrus smack that makes it quite enjoyable. This is better than the original.

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Photo of Wolberjs
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Cloudy copper color. Pours with a bit of a head. Dissipates to a thin film. Will match to overall.

Smell is non complex. Lemony Belgium bread yeast smell.

Taste is bready bananas with a slightly bitter finish. Taste is better than the smell.

Mouthfeel is thinish with nice carbonation and dry finish.

Overall a solid blonde/golden Belgium I think, though I don't drink the style that often and don't have a good comparison or feel for it.

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Photo of stakem
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2015 rebrew. 750ml bottle into a bruery snifter. The brew appears a hazy golden golor with a white cap.

Initially it mostly smells carbonic with some belgian phenolics and then slight citrus to herbal hop character emerges.

It tastes slightly fruity like pear/apple with belgian yeastiness faintly of clove and finishes with an awkward herbal bitterness.

This is medium in body with modest carbonation. A bit disjointed and not really doing it for me. Im glad I only bought 1 of these.

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Photo of cvm4
3.67/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2015 vintage

L - Pours an opaque golden body with an off-white one finger head. The head leaves fizzy lacing around the edge of the glass.

S - A clean whiff of belgian yeast, grassy hops and a grainy element.

T - Sweet malts, banana and candied oranges up front with lemony and biscuity malts on the rear.

F - Medium bodied and medium carbonation.

O - I'd have to agree with some reviewer below, this is more of an imperial wit than anything else.

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Photo of rudzud
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split with JLindros.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a crystal clear golden hue with a nice white head that fades to leave nice creamy blanket and light lacing.

S - Aromas of Belgian esters, light spices and bananas, nice light wheat, faint alcohol.

T - Taste is similar to the nose, The Belgian esters are nice, light banana notes, the spices are nice too. There is a nice candy orange. Still though, almost wit like instead of Belgian strong.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, crisp, clean.

O - Overall this beer was rather solid. Good grassy hop notes. Alcohol is hidden nicely.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of jlindros
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Batch 2, shared with rudzud.

Light fizzy creamy head fades fairly quickly, little fizzy lacing, hazy tan straw color.

Nose little herbal grassy hop, light grassy straw malt, mild toasty straw malt, amber grassy, little candy orange, grainy gristy, definite esters, maybe banana fruity esters, cranny wheat, very imperial wit like.

Taste brings sweet malts, candy wheat, straw, toasted wheat, into citrus candied orange peel, big fruity esters, some peppery phenols, little warning and booze flavor, sticky candy orange and dried banana, wit like spices, big time imperial wit. Grassy herbal slight earthy hops mild bitterness. Finish sticky hint of booze, sticky sweet malt and wheat, little white wheat biscuit and candied orange zest dried banana and lingering peppery phenols.

Mouth is med bod, decent carb, little warming booze.

Overall it was a nice beer but def more of an imperial wit than Belgian golden ale.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.24/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

750 ml bottle. Hazy golden pale colored beer with a foamy white head. Aromas of Belgian yeast, spice, cloves and some sweet banana-like notes. Flavor lays a foundation with the pale malt and yeast profile, hints of sweetness in here with flicks of spice. Decent, not great.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 ml bottle poured into a large wine glass. 2015 version. Pours a hazed lemon golden in color with a half inch cap of white foam. Aroma of yeast and light ethanol notes, clean and not overly sweet in nature for the ABV. More intriguing with warming.

Taste is full and offers some citrus notes across the palate. Light lemony sweetness with a firm carbonation on the tongue. Offers a full mouthfeel with a good balance of spice and texture vs. a yeast sweetness. Less sweet than Duvel for example, with a bit more body in a texture sense, yet runs out of steam in a sense as well in balance. Sweet is a two way sword I guess.

In the end a nicely aromatic brew, yet without the body, but perhaps in a good way..

Batch 2015 9.6%

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Photo of Brolo75
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle reads Batch No. 1 Levud's 9.6% ABV, B # 1608, 7/14/15

A: Pours a honey orange color with bright white fluffy head, lots of carbonation, cloudy, not much head retention.

A: Belgian yeast, coriander, spice, cloves, banana, pretty straight forward aromas.

T: Belgian yeast, coriander, cloves, bananas, getting lots of bitterness, I'm guessing the bitterness is from the hops, but it's spicy not citrus forward, big dry finish with more spice and coriander like notes coming through, alcohol is well hidden, this is really good.

M: Medium bodied, heavily carbonated, fluffy, dry finish

O: I think this is a great example of a Belgian strong pale ale, not sure if my bottle is matching some of the other batches, but I think this is outstanding, complex, has depth, lots of different notes and alcohol is barely noticeable for 9.6%.

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Photo of BWood
3.18/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pretty nice Belgium style. Not as strong as I tend to like. Um more of a Quad fan. But this beer does hold its own. Its crisp with a nice Belgium finish.

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Photo of Rollzroyce21
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

- 4oz. pour off tap into tasting snifter at the Tasting Room (Placentia, CA) on 2-Oct-15

Creamy with a bananas and bit of cloves and spice. Definitely does not taste like 11%. Really enjoyed this.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour at the bottle share held at Chloe's inside Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles, CA.

Bottle # 1835/2157.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a sparse dots of foam on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, honey, and fruity aromas. Taste is much the same with honey and fruity flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer and while it seems to be a bit over the hill at this point, I am glad to be able to try the first beer The Bruery ever made.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 1 Levud's 1898/2157. Hand-signed and all that jazz. 750ml dark green glass (come on!) bottle with standard pressure cap served into an EKU 28 stem-snifter in me gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; cost was over $40.00. The Bruery's non-sour/non-stout offerings always disappoint me. 11% ABV confirmed.

Served straight from the fridge and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Paired with potato crisps.

A: Pours a one finger beige colour head of fair cream and thickness, and great retention for the high ABV. Decent lacing. Body colour is a pleasant burnt orange/tangerine. Hazy and nontransparent, but non-opaque. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: No oxidation is notable. Bright fragrant fruits - blood orange, orange, heavy oak, pale malts, and fruity hops. A fairly strong, surprisingly fresh aroma. Lots of sweetness and caramel. Nectary, even somewhat citrusy. I'm surprised at how fresh and fragrant it is for its age. No alcohol is detectable, nor is any yeast.

T: Nectary and oaky, with some lovely lactic notes and pleasant citrusy blood orange. The alcohol is well disguised. No oxidation or age related off flavours. Some fresh luscious grapefruit and other citrus fruit skin. Alcohol is masterfully wondrously disguised; 11%? No way. Age has done this one real well; I'm having it. Real well balanced. Masterfully built. The fruity character is incredibly well executed. I'm shocked at how well balanced it is considering it's from The Bruery, but then I remember that it isn't even their recipe - and it all makes sense. A fantastic build for a Belgian Strong Pale Ale; perhaps even unrivaled in my book as of yet. Tasty. Love the fruit skin.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and luscious. Perfect carbonation. Excellent palate presence. A bit too thin.

Dr: Obscenely drinkable for its high ABV. I really like this one; that's rare for The Bruery. The nectary fruity character really works for it. This is my new benchmark for the style. I can't believe how well the ABV is concealed; it tastes like it's about 6% tops. That said, it is a bit simple to warrant a higher rating.

High B+

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Photo of blakelive784
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

1 pt 9.4 fl oz green glass bottle served in a tulip, reviewed live:

A - Pours a burnt orange color with lively carbonation and a thin, white, one finger head. Retention is good.

S - Oaky yeast, sweet fruits, orange, sweet candi sugar, and pear. The yeast is dominant on the nose. Not overpowering in any way and well balanced. No alcohol on the nose. Smells delicious.

T - Heavy fruit notes throughout, specifically apple. Light citric hops make a presence. Belgian yeast are the dominant note. Oak notes are well placed and welcome. No alcohol comes through at all. It's unbelievable that the ABV is 11%. Tasty.

M - Thick, smooth and wet. Medium bodied.

D - This is damn good stuff. Obscenely drinkable for the ABV. It's about hit its peak.

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Photo of phichifiji00
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Bruery tulip glass.

Appearance: Golden/Amber color, slightly hazy, pours 1 inch of thick white head that fades slowly. Moderate lacing.

Smell: Apple, pear, estery, cidery, oak, boozy as it warms.

Taste: Malty, apple, pear, boozy, oak, candi sugar.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, light carbonation, somewhat viscous/boozy as it warms.

Overall: A decent belgian. The booziness overpowers the other elements. Not very complex.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.26/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Super stoked to check this out at Toronado SD. $27. Some dude autographed the bottle and wrote the number on it, 1000something out of 2000something.

Pours a vibrant yellow and orange with bubbly white head and great retention, she's a looker boys! Aroma of lemon and ginger, good belgian yeast character that has no clove to it.

Taste is zesty, pear flavor is mild, good hopping still for a bottle this old, relative alcohol heat to it. This is a beer that can do some damage, I was noticeably different after drinking it. Seems like a great summertime beer, but damn, it will knock your dick in the dirt because it is so high abv, yet so easy and light on the palate because of the light fruit (lemon, pear, apple) contingent it uses. Maybe some honey and apricot. Sweetness is never sugary in it. Extremely dry and tangy.

Price point hurts the overall score for sure, but this about my favorite Belgian pale on the market.

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Photo of kenito799
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured at Belgique tasting, Hugo, MN Thankggiving 2010.

Dark golden brew, murky, not much head. Czech and Slovenian hops. Apple and tutti frutti Belgian yeast aromas. Crisp, pleasing bitterness on the palate. Tart and tangy, a long finish that recalls Duvel.Smooth. A bit hot in the finish, you taste alcohol--this is 11% after all.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Azurelimits. Served in a snifter.

Beer pours a light peach color with a good white head and just a bit of lacing. The nose is a bit peachy along with some other stone fruits. A bit of orange there as well. Mild sweetness and a bit of oxidation in the background. Light orange rind as it warms up. The taste offers a bit of stone fruits plus some mild citrus character and a bit of yeast. The body is medium and the beer has a lightly-bitter, dry finish. A bit of honey on the follow through. This is okay. I'm thinking it's not really getting better at this point.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.66/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very excited to finally crack this open- Levuds batch 1- signed and numbered.

A- Body is a nearly transparent golden yellow hue. Pours with a minimal white head that eventually fades to a very thin collar- no lacing is left behind in the glass-but bubbles can be seen stradily rising to the top. Although there is no head on this brew I find the color fantastic with bubbles steadily rising to the top.

S- Nose is quite astringent- with a nail polish like ethanol scent. Behind this is a soft apple and soft pear scent.

T- Flavor is much more soft and well balanced than the nose. Tart apple and a hint of pear come through initially. A very mild yeast backbone is behind this. The overtones are boozy initially and the finish has the lightest touch of floral hops, belgian sugar, a moderate alcohol astringency, and a very large alcohol heat.

M-Soft medium carbonation and a lightweight body with minimal alchol consistency.

D- The flavor is soft-slightly sweet, slightly tart and well put together-but the alcohol is very persistent in this brew. This is a decent beer overall-but would be absolutely fantastic if the booze was kept in check.

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Photo of nkersten
3.45/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Chris for bringing this out. Reviewed from notes. Poured into tulip, golden liquid with almost no head that sits as a white collar at the edge of the glass. Shouldnt a belgian strong pale have a slightly more active carbonation? Smell is strong and unexpected - plums, mission figs, very sweet, pears, apricots, honey, some alcohol. Taste is somewhat like a light port. Honey, dark fruits, pear, slightly warm in the finish. Mouthfeel is heavy with a minimal carbonation. Not bad, but this beer seems a little odd for the style. A bit on the sweet side to drink very much of this, but overall a decent beer.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.11/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Chris for popping this one open. From notes.

A - Pours a light golden color, white head, some lacing along the sides and a thin film on tap as the cap.

S - Sweet honey, fruits, candies, sugars. A lot of sweetness which pretty much overwhelms the rest of the beer. There might be a touch of oak in there as well, but overall, too much sweetness.

T - Sugars, candy, fruits, etc. As Jason said, it's pretty much similar to a Port. Very sweet, just something to sip on. Pretty one-dimensional and too much sweetness.

M - Light to medium, very light carbonation, syrupy finish.

D - One small tasting glass was enough for me. This one is a sipper, no doubt. If you have some time to chill out and relax, a small glass of this with some cheese is a good mix. Slightly above average.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cheers to spycow for generously hosting and opening up this rarity.

A - A somewhat opaque, yellowish orange colored beer. A bit of foamy head that dissipated to a cap.

S - Huge honey smell on this, along with something that reminds me of apricots.

T - Pretty sweet, a lot of honey, as well as a little bit of fruit. Surpringly I like this one, even though I do not usually go for the sweet stuff. Definately a sipper though.

M - Medium bodied with low carbonation.

D - It's very sweet, would definately sip this one, but was a very mild 11%. Not bad, worth trying.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.18/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks Chris for hosting and for sharing this one. Seems to be autographed by someone from The Bruery. Served in a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours with a dime of white foam that settles to some hazy film, leaving behind spotty lace. Milky peach body.

S - Surprising wood and fusel alcohol notes (even though this wasn't the bourbon version). Intense honey mixed with stone fruits make this somewhat cloying.

T - Taste has less overt sweetness. Still lots of honey, but some lightly toasted grains, fruity esters, and toffee round things out.

M - Smooth texture, medium-full body, low carbonation, and a little alcohol warmth. Seems about right for an 11% brew, but could perhaps use a touch more spritz to keep things from getting heavy and cloying.

D - Too sweet to consume more than a few ounces. It's not a terrible first beer, but it still has more in common with homebrew than The Bruery's latest offerings. For compulsive tickers only.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.21/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Batch no1 bottle provided by Chris at our latest tasting...a light honey gold pour with NO carbonation at all...Sweet aroma of mostly honey accented by apricots, with a light tart note on the back. Smells good at first, just too strongly sweet without anything breaking it up...The taste is sweet honey with oak, reminds me of a port, as its a total sipper. No way in hell you could finish this bomber without at least five people helping out. Like the aroma the sweetness is fine at first, but then it just gets boring.

A sipper that is not worth trading for, if you get a offered a sip worth a try but that's about it.

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Levud's from The Bruery
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 133 ratings