Papier | The Bruery

very good
107 Reviews
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Brewed by:
The Bruery
California, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 14.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Papier is our first anniversary ale, loosely brewed in the English-style Old Ale tradition using our house Belgian yeast strain. The traditional first anniversary gift is something made of paper. The Bruery is giving their loyal fans the gift of Papier, their first anniversary ale. Layered with complex flavors of dark fruit,vanilla, oak, and burnt sugar, Papier is a robust ale, surely the perfect beer to mark our first big milestone. Best for sharing, this beer is ideal for cellaring until you have a celebration of your own…if you can wait.

Added by Halcyondays on 05-16-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 107 | Ratings: 222
Photo of brdc
1.06/5  rDev -73.6%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Thanks to a kind BA for this one, I believe it was masterhomebrewer.

Large bottle, poured into a snifter. Dark brown, hazy with lots of sediment, no head, obviously no retention and no lacing.
This is such an incredible mess, it is hard to describe. It smells like melted brown sugar, with rubbing alcohol.
It is incredibly thin for the ABV, and it tastes acrid, boozy, incredibly hot. Two different people, with very different tastes, drainpoured the first glass; attempted again late in the night, and drainpoured again. One of the worst beers I have ever tried, unfortunately.

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Photo of charlesw
1.35/5  rDev -66.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Two layers of thick and difficult wax cover the cap. Bleh. Wax sux. Bottle 3078 of 4777. Not even a whisper of carbonation on popping the cap. Great. Just great. This bodes ill.
Thick and murky flat brown. No head at all. Nothing. Bleh.
Smells boozy. Bourbon. And bleh.
Tastes boozy, syrupy sweet, hints of bourbon and bleh. The back of the mouth has a cloying, thick something. Slightly sour, hugely astringent. Gross.
No carbonation at all and thus wha? for mouthfeel.
Drinkability? Are you kidding me? My wife smelled it and dumped hers out. I at least drank 4 oz before dumping the rest of the bottle. 2 for 2 of uninteresting expensive beer from this brewery. I'm so not impressed.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
1.46/5  rDev -63.6%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Reviewed on 11/28/2009. Bottle thanks to j12601. Pours dark brown with absolutely no head (although a lot of sediment in the bottle...). Aroma of raisin, prunes, sweet sweet malt. One of the worst smelling beers I've encountered. Kind of makes me want to vomit...Flavor is so sickly sweet, sticky, and boozy. Wow, this is an absolutely awful beer and even one sip is painful. One of the worst beers I've encountered in quite awhile.

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Photo of BDLbrewster
2.22/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a dark maple mahogany hue with no head and no visible carbonation to speak of and very little slippery lacing.

The smell is rough. Cough syrup and soon to be burnt baking chocolate. Lots of expected booze in the nose and some woody notes hiding beneath all the burnt and booze.

Burnt sugar and bitter baking chocolate chips mark my first impression. Then booze, followed by overwhelming and cloying syrupy sweetness, then more booze. Brown sugar and black licorice with more heat. Ughhhh. Any body have a chaser?

The mouthfeel is limp. Heavy syrup and no carbonation to speak of. Goopy and coating I can tell that I will taste this the rest of the day.

Overall, not enjoyable. One dimensional cloying flavors prohibit this beer from being what it could. The thing I liken it to most is Jagermeister, with more heat.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.02/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I was very excited to find this one initially, as The Bruery hadn't been out here all that long. This one poured a deep, dark brown, with very little carbonation. Huge boozy nose here, with prunes, burnt sugar and roasted malt. On the palate, this one is way to hot--booze, bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark fruits and heat. I plan on letting my last one sit for at least another year.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.24/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle (2009)

The Bruery RS Initiation Party 2012

(Aged for 2+ years)

Murky, dark amber and caramel in color with not much visible carbonation. This leaves an oily sheen on the glass.

The aroma is quite nice, though a bit acidic, which I don't think was the brewer's intention. The sweet component of brown sugar, caramel, and toffee comes through nicely, along with a hint of red wine vinegar sharpness, unfortunately.

The flavor too is nice, well-rounded, and very drinkable. The sweet, complex flavors of brown sugar, molasses, caramel, and mild maple complement each other nicely. There's a hint of acid that isn't the most pleasant.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

This was my first time trying this beer, though I imagine, at least this bottle, has seen better days.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.27/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1287th Review on BA
Bottle to Goblet/Wine
750 ML Black Wax

@Toronado SD

Split with JazzPatel, Ehammond1, MrHirschybar

**My 1st words when tasting this..DAMN IT**

App- A creamy dark brown with a bit of crimson around the edges and a bit of red in the center. Zero bubble activity with Zero cling or lace. Pretty flat.

Smell- I really felt this was losing its steam. Take a dubbel minus the yeasts. Had a lot of dark fruits with a healthy dose of raisins and caramel behind it.

Taste- Really not a whole lot to say about this one. The essence of the Old ale is pretty much gone. I got a creamy lifeless dubbel really. It was tasty but I have a feeling in another year when I do my 5 year vertical its just not gonna be good. Bourbon, vanilla are gone and its fairly sweet now.

Mouth- A creamy lifeless medium body. A low carbonation level on this one with the residual fruits and molasses taking over.

Drink- Not at all what I was hoping for. Really starting to show its age.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.3/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a deep amberish brown color with good carbonation. Nose is dark fruits and smells like an instant bowel movement. Taste is bourbon, vanilla, figs, raisins, prunes, and caramel. Mouthfeel is hot and thin to me with bourbon notes. A bombradment of messy flavors. Not an Old Ale I would return too.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.34/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Have had this bottle since late 2009 or so. Heard it was a boozy mess fresh, so sat on it for a long time in a proper cellar. 750ml bottle poured into my Bruery tulip. Bottle #3628/4777..

a - Pours a murky reddish brown color with light carbonation evident and a few bubbles of dark brown head. Looks a little oxidized.

s - Smells of sweet dark fruits, alcohol, molasses, bready malts, toasted malts, light caramel malts, bourbon, roasted malts, sugar, and light cocoa. Smell is pretty good, albeit strong.

t - Tastes of sweet dark fruits, figs, plums, alcohol, molasses, burnt sugar, toasted malts, musty earthy notes, light caramel, and wood. Tastes has more alcohol present than the nose. Super boozy.

m - Thick full body and no carbonation at all. Pretty hot still.

o - Overall this is super hot, even for me who likes hot beers. The last few years have been fantastic but the first anniversary beer is a bit of a boozy mess...maybe the 100% BBAing has helped more than I thought. More fruit and less caramel, I wouldn't say this is worth seeking out, and I love their anniversary beers. Better off just buying a Cuir or Bois.

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Photo of brentk56
3.38/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle #2269

Appearance: Pours a carbonation free burnt caramel that leaves no lace

Smell: A boozy blend of brown sugar, oak, bourbon, vanilla and a range of dark fruit

Taste: Opens with a boozy blend of bourbon soaked dried fruit (raisins and prunes), cocoa powder, bruised apple, cherries and vanilla that gets hotter by mid-palate; after the swallow, the bourbon elements add increasing complexity and linger into the finish

Mouthfeel: Thick, viscous and chewy, but flat

Drinkability: Maybe this will improve in a few decades (per the label) but right now the flatness and booziness makes it hard to enjoy; I don't think the lack of carbonation from San Diego breweries is a trend that has any legs

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.51/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Thanks to SuzyGreenberg for the bottle.

Pours a murky ruby brown with absolutely no head whatsoever.

Nose is full of sweet caramel and big malty notes. Some brown sugar and a little bit of vanilla are in there as well, and of course, booze.

Well. Where to start. Super complex with large sweet raisin and plum notes. Caramel and some toffee are also evident. Vanilla and oak are obvious, and booze definitely shows up. The finish is slick and slightly bitter.

Mouthfeel sucks. This beer is about 2% carbonated and it shows. The viscosity is where it should be, which is the only reason this gets anything above a 1 for mouthfeel. Low carbonation is acceptable in a beer like this, but no carbonation is inexcusable. Must be a California thing...haha.

Drinkability is ok, but the alcohol heat definitely shows up, and the poor mouthfeel does not help either.

Overall, this beer has potential to be fantastic, but what apparently is bad QC has completely negated that. Alot of promise in this one though, would be quite tasty if it was carbonated, and not quite so hot. Probably would have amazing cellaring capabilites. A beer with alot of potential, but horrible execution.

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Photo of Tdizzle
3.52/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Poured into my Bruery tulip glass, Papier pours the color of root beer. Completely opaque with almost no head or lacing even after an aggressive pour. A super thin ring of dark-tan foam lines the inside of the glass, and that's about it.

S- Rich, syrupy-sweet notes of caramelized dark fruits, brown sugar and molasses. Woody notes of toasted oak barrel too. The 14.5% ABV comes through with an almost scotch-like aroma as the beer hits room temperature.

T- The taste is massively sweet with notes of brown sugar and molasses, but these flavors are quickly overtaken by strong notes of unfermented sugars and burnt toffee that last for days. The finish leaves a big alcohol aftertaste and tons of residual sweetness plus a hint of oak wood. Lots of boozy warmth moves around in the chest.

M- Thick and syrupy with just a zing of carbonation. The liquid practically coats the inside of the mouth.

D- It took me a while to finish my half glass of Papier. I'm a big fan of most of the Bruery's offerings, but this one doesn't really do it for me. The huge ABV is fairly well-hidden, but the cloying finish combined with the lack of carbonation makes this a bit difficult to enjoy. However, the rye whiskey barrel-aged Papier was one of the best beers I've ever had, and the bourbon barrel version is great too.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on 1-12-10. Papier poured out as a light brownish color with a thin head on top. There wasn't a lot of lacing going on here. The smell was giving off a heavy amount of barrel aged aromas. I wasn't able to pick up on much bourbon though. The oak aromas overpowered most of the brew. The taste of the beer was flavorful but didn't really do much to impress me. To me this tasted a lot like a typical barley wine. The mouthfeel wasn't too bad. It had a good amount of body for a beer that's almost 15%. Overall I feel that I should have aged this brew or something. I have a feeling that it would have been much better after a year or more.

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Photo of ibbjamin
3.59/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Paid $37.50 for a 750ml bottle and shared with someone over lunch at Monk's Kettle in San Francisco, CA. Beer was served in a tulip glass. This is the 2009 vintage and is bottle 77 of 4755.

Pours black and rather thick with no head.

Nose is of roasted malts, brown sugar, bourbon, oak and some hints of dark fruit. Aroma is somewhat alcoholic.

Taste is similar to the nose. As it warms, deeper flavors of bourbon come through more. This one comes off as a bit too boozy to me, especially as it warms.

Nice, thick and creamy mouthfeel with a full body. The mouth of this beer is it's best attribute. Minimal carbonation.

Certainly a sipper that you should share with 2-3 people. Glad I tried it, yet probably won't go out of my way to get it again. I'm seeming be to less impressed by the bourbon barrel aged beers than standard oak aged ales and this one is a good example.

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Photo of nkersten
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours a murky brown with no head despite a vigorous pour. Thought it was still, but after some swirling around there are some tiny bubbles forming around the middle and edge.
S- Booze, lots of malt complexity that end up smelling like raisin and dark fruits, some more booze, some sweet oak charcater.
T- Very sweet caramel, vinous dried fruits, slightly boozy but not nearly as hot as you would expect for a 14.5% brew. Some oak, a little bourbon in the finish.
M- While not flat, this one is as close as you can get. At the bottom end of carbonation for the style, but probably within range. Heavy body coats and leaves a warming feel.
D- I probably should have shared this one as I dont know if I can finish the whole 750ml on my own. This is a big beer with a lot of strong flavors, probably best saved for the serious old ale fan.

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Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle at The Ginger Man. Black with little faint lace dots. Faint bourbon aroma. Like a chocolate burboun barleywine. Rich, but a sipper, and would need a whole meal. Not so drinkable right after work. A characteristic is that it is a bit syrupy, slick oily.

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Photo of birchstick
3.74/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a blackish raisin color without a head. Nose is caramel, sweet toffee, raisins and plums. Taste starts off with soy flavors that move to caramel malts. Dark fruits show up next with a slight bit of oxidized flavors coming through. Finishes with a toffee, caramel, oxidized Barleywine flavor. Mouthfeel is a little watery and thin. Overall, this is good, but there is definitely an oxidized presence. I wouldn't suggest holding to one for too much longer...

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Photo of bamadog
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Three years is plenty. Review is from notes taken on 10/12/2012, poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is a murky and dark caramel brown; starts with pretty much no head, but just a thin, loose ring around the surface and a couple of strands of wispy lacing on the surface; as mentioned, the body is murky, hard to see through; body poured a little on thick and viscous as it hit the glass; a lone ring of lacing is left behind on the glass.

Smell: Wow. Huge and robust, and it's going to be a warm one, that's for sure. Plenty of big sweet caramel malts and that nice old ale spiciness; big booziness lies underneath; touch a sweet fruitiness

Taste: Just like the nose -- big and robust. The caramel malts are huge, sweet and dominant, almost overly so. It's really good, just really sweet. Big booziness with a touch of bitterness, reminiscent of a big DIPA bitterness with some orange peel; kind of a candied fruitiness that's big and ripe; some vanilla and oakiness.

Mouthfeel: Thick, oily and slick; unfortunately is pretty much flat. The only life comes from the warming alcohol. Belly is left warm from the booziness.

Overall: It's big and pretty bad ass, but it's one that I probably should have shared. The crazy sweetness is going to make it tough to finish the bottle. Probably shouldn't have waited so long as with some more carbonation to make it a bit more alive, it probably would have been a little easier to get down.

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Photo of ivegot3Dvision
3.76/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Alright, I had this last night with a vertical of the anniversary ales... it wasn't the best of the lot unfortunately.

A - Opened the bottle to not much hiss. Poured into a Bruery tasting glass (the original printed ones), poured a VERY murky brown, mind you it had been sitting upright for a good few weeks. There was little to no carbonation, even when I poured it hard.

S - Smelled great, lots of dried fruits and caramel malts with a smattering of oxidation.

T - Tasted very similar to the nose, which is nice. Definitely oxidized over the years, but in a good way.

M - Chewy and somewhat thick because of the lack of carbonation, but I'm fine with that, it's the mouthfeel I wanted out of the beer.

O - It was good, I'm glad I got to try it, but I can't help but think that the 25/75 blend gave me a beer that wasn't as interesting and lasting as I had hoped.

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Photo of ottovon
3.77/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

shared with whiterascal for my birthday.

A: a murky, maroonish-brown with almost not head. looks like it isnt carbed much.

S: hints of bourbon, oak, and vanilla. i get a lot of molasses, toffee, caramel, and roasted malt. there is a bit of alcohol, and i get some chocolate as well. a bit of sweetness in the aroma. more bourbon comes out in the nose as it warms.

T: just like the aroma. molasses, toffee, and caramel dominate. i get some bourbon, oak, and vanilla, but they aren't dominate flavors. there is a bit of roasted malt and dark chocolate. some sweetness. i get dark fruits like fig as well. finishes a touch bitter like dark chocolate would.

M: medium with low carb. smooth.

O: this is a good beer for sure. nothing earth shattering, but a solid beer.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.79/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this beer many times, but finally giving it a review.

A: The beer pours a murky dark amber color with very minimal carbonation.

S: The booze has really settled down in this. You can actually get some of the caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and molasses. The vanilla and bourbon still come through. Quite a lot of oak is still present.

T: Lots of oak, vanilla, and bourbon are quick to hit your tongue. Still a bit boozy, but not annoyingly so. Caramel, toffee, and maple syrup give the beer its trademark sweetness.

M: Medium to full in body with a low level of carbonation.

O: Amazing how much better this beer has become in a couple years.

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Photo of phichifiji00
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Rich dark brown with red hues. No head, no lacing.

Smell: Bourbon, brown sugar, sweet, raisins, figs, oak, vanilla.

Taste: brown sugar, sweet, raisins, figs, oak, vanilla, brandy.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, no carbonation, silky, smooth, boozy.

Overall: A good beer. I liked Coton and Cuir a bit better, but nice to finally try the original anniversary blend. Drinkability is good. Flavors/aromas are complex.

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Photo of rudzud
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to JLindros for sharing. Bottle #2006/4777

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice dark crystal clear black hue with a very thin halo. Nice legs.

S - Aromas of sweet raisins, malts, sugar, oxidation, faint bourbon, no real alcohol.

T - Taste is lightly boozy, lots of oxidation, nice light bourbon, malty sweetness, nice light almost prunes, caramel, more oxidation.

M - Mouthfeel is very sticky and syrupy, little booze.

O - Overall this beer was really great to try, but yah definitely has fallen off. Glad to try.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Papier, Strong Old Ale, 15%

A: Almost transparent caramel character to it. There is no lacing but a petulant heat that lets me know what kind of hatred I have unleashed. This genie does not dole out wishes with ironic consequences, just a tepid coating with baleful intentions.
S: There are intense deep caramel notes and despite the fact that there is no lacing, is emit’s a warning waft that is hot and irritated. My friends already were disinterested, leaving this beast to be wrangled alone. The ruby notes are a ploy, like carcinogenic animals, it warns that something hateful is in store.

T: The ruby notes were a Trojan horse for a huge caramel stickiness that coats aggressively. There is an insane heat this is at home with Avery Beast and other beers that need to be put in solitary confinement to learn some manners. The heat just runs rampant, drying out my taste buds, using leveraged debt to sell my own nostrils back to me. Unsound taste practices due to aggression. This is oak Armageddon and I enjoy it mildly if not for the abuse. My tongue is a battered housewife in reverence for this crazy deep fruit bouquet, but I also wish it wouldn’t drink so much.

M: This is just a hatred on earth. The coating just digs in deep and starts fights with each taste bud individually. It coats and then just sits there with an insane deep waft of herbal hops and burned caramel. It end up as a beer paradise, but the layers of hell are confronted first

D: If you can finish an entire 22oz to yourself, good job, you must have a tolerant girlfriend. I don’t know what it was about this beer but it just presented way too much. It had heat, caramel, deep coating, boozy wafts, juicy fruits with hateful intentions; I just wanted to tell it to settle down for a moment so I could see the true Papier at its core. This was not possible.

Narrative: “Yeahyeahyeah and you know when they say Green Day has a new single I saywhyisitevenasginlein the FIRST PLACE!” Brayden exclaimed as he set for pulling apart the US Weekly’s in the psychiatrist’s office. “yes dear, please just-” It seemed as though every surface was an improvisational drum set for young Brayden, and his virtuosity was appealing, if not annoying. No sooner were you taking in his percussive skills than he was performing acapella freestyle rap battles for your viewing pleasure. “They always be saying medicationmedimedimedimedi-” He trailed off pulling the leaves off of a synthetic plant. There was pure genius in there somewhere, but his parents had no idea how to harness it, much less control it. “Knock knock! Who’s there? Hegel! Hegelian Dialectickle THIS!“ Sometimes his parents just wished that they could put him in an oak barrel for a few, years, mellow him out. His musical virtuosity and natural inclination towards the sciences gave them hope, however, his present gymnastic endeavors within the waiting room were more than trying on their waning patience.

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Photo of bum732
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown, murky with no head. Some bubbles on the outside. Smells of cinnamon rolls, predominant oak, very bready, some dark fruits, raisins in particular, some bourbon, unbelievably complex. Tastes of sweet caramel breadiness with dark fruit undertones. A nice wave of breadiness follows with something slightly funky, cheesy almost. Virtually no bitterness, just a touch at the end, very sweet. Ends with a very nice wave of chocolate roastiness with some oak and bourbon. Almost no carbonation, nice sweet mouthfeel, alcohol is scary hidden.

A very interesting beer, lots of complexities. The cheesy funk was something i couldn't get past, perhaps it was a combination of oak and some other flavor that tasted off. I would also have loved a bit more carbonation, this beer was almost flat. That said, i was blown away by the different flavors that passed over my tongue with every sip, one after another, incredibly complex. A very sweet beer and a treat, careful of the alcohol, dangerously hidden.

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Papier from The Bruery
4.01 out of 5 based on 222 ratings.
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